In [mostly] Black and White

It's the last Friday of March, aka the month that flew by so fast, I don't hardly remember it all!

Black and white was this month's [in the picture] challenge and I enjoyed it so much that I took more than my target four photos. Note - all of this month's selfies were taken with the iPhone4s and processed with various iPhone apps.

Soak up the Sun #selfie
I was inspired by one of Christy's Instagram shots so I tried it myself. It's not a true black and white, but more like a bleach process.

After several weeks' absence from church, my knee was finally healed enough for me to attend worship service. I took this photo because I was so moved by my experience that day - I really missed the singing.

65/365+1 Afternoon Fading Sun #profile #selfie #silhouette #flare
Right after the switch to daylight savings time and we are enjoying the afternoon sun.

Playing around with the self timer. The first time I got slightly dressed up since my knee surgery, aka I'm wearing jeans instead of sweatpants and a nice sweater instead of a sweatshirt. Later that night, I went out to dinner with friends.

Waiting for The Shot
This one is a favorite of mine, mainly because there's a ton going on in this shot. I'm in a cornfield and I have my leg brace on. My daughter's horse is coming up behind me at a good clip and I'm oblivious to it all.

On Location
More photos from that day in the field.

A Little Attitude This Afternoon
In this shot, I had picked up my daugher from soccer practice and I'm really hungry, but she really wanted some ice cream from the Walgreens. So I'm waiting for her in the car. The kicker - she didn't read the label on the ice cream and when we arrived home, she declared that she wasn't going to eat it. Teens.....

Reflected #selfie #reflection
A reflection photo from Tuesday, which was a super busy day - PT before work, violin lessons, soccer games and baseball practice. The chaos of spring has started!

That's a wrap for March. If you want more details on getting [in the picture], check out Christy's blog - she even has a great giveaway today.

In The Picture


Of the Prairie

I've always wanted to take a picture of that "lone tree in the middle of nowhere". If I had a photography "bucket list", it would be on it. It's hard to find such subjects, even along the flat prairie, but last Saturday, while driving east in unfamiliar territory, I spotted one.

We were headed to my daughter's soccer tournament, and on the way there, I only had access to my iPhone. I was better prepared on the return trip to capture my "Lone Tree".

All Alone

I guess it's not really alone - the county road runs by it.
Down the Road

Of course, we passed by several barns during our trip. This one caught my eye because of the flag mural on the side.
Bless The USA

So one "bucket list" item done, a thousand more to find.

Linked to This or That Thursday and Rural Thursday


Pink and White

I think pink and white flowers epitomize spring. We are lucky to have such an amazing show this season.

Branch Out
Textured using Kim Klassen's Be Still Texture.

Snow White
Textured using Shadow House Creation's Oil Painting Texture.

And the originals for your comparison:
Branch Out

Snow White

I think I like the textured versions better. Flowers particularly are good candidates for adding texture, so if you have never tried to add a texture, it is a great place to start.

Linked to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.


Start of Soccer Season

Saturday marked the official start of the soccer season for Erica and her high school team. I've learned that high school sports are quite intense - two hour practices each day after school and on Saturdays. She even had practice each day during Spring Break. [Imagine if students spent a minimum of two hours every day on homework - they would complain incessantly, but somehow it's OK with sports? While I do recognize the importance of physical fitness and the benefits of playing on a team, I wish this country would emphasize science and technology as much as they emphasize sports. But I digress]

In middle school, she played locally with the Park District and the games were always local. But in high school, many of the match ups are far away - we drove an hour to the inaugural JV tournament, through miles of prairie, to a town I had never been to before. I expect we'll broaden our horizons over the next several months.

The girls played three games, all back to back. By the third game, even I was feeling exhausted just by watching. They were clearly tired by that game.

A small smattering of photos I took:

Out of the three games, they tied one, won one and lost one (they lost the third game to a team with twice as many players and fresh legs). We think it was a successful day!


P365+1 Week 12 - Spring Break At Home

It was Spring Break week and while we stayed at home, it felt like we were visiting Florida with unseasonably warm weather. You couldn't ask for a nicer week, even though I had to work. The kids got to enjoy the warm weather, although I'm not sure if they really took advantage of it. Oh, to be a teenager again....

Here's the weekly summary:
Saturday: Today's fashion statement - shorts, leg brace and freshly painted nails. I'm not able to go get a "proper" pedicure at the nail salon, but I am perfectly capable of painting my nails - I chose a deep purple for the first color of the season.
76/365+1 The Outdoor Arena Gate #fromwhereistand
Picture taken at the horse stable, where the girls enjoyed a riding lesson outside. I learned the hard way not to touch the wires around the tops of the arena fencing - yup, I got shocked. Weird feeling, for sure (and maybe that electric current through my body was good for my knee....)

Sunday: Perfect Sunday Afternoon. Who needs to go away for Spring Break with gorgeous weather right here at home? Relaxing, reading and catching some rays - perfect! I am reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. If I can't run, I may as well read about running.
77/365+1 Perfect Sunday Afternoon

Monday: Cruising With the Top Down. We took the convertible out to the ice cream place after dinner. It was perfect top down weather and my first ride in the convertible this season.
78/365+1 Cruising With the Top Down

Tuesday: Retail therapy. Erica wanted me to take her shopping, and since it's Spring Break and the first day of spring, I agreed. I mentioned the shopping trip to my Physical therapist and my comment was "the shopping is going to be painful". His response - "make sure you ice your knee when you get home". I clarified by saying "oh, my knee will be fine, but my wallet is going to feel a lot of pain". And it indeed did.
Afternoon Shopping Trip
I managed to score some great outfits, so I really can't complain....

Wednesday: Work Dinner at Silvercreek. Our site is hosting an Operations meeting this week, so there's a big dinner party for Scott and I to attend. In the past, we switched off who would attend, but since the kids are older, we both get to go. It was a perfect night for dinner out.
80/365+1 Dinner at Silvercreek
Bonus picture - the lights in the Greenhouse where our party was held. Magical....
Twinkle Twinkle #lights

Thursday: Cleared for Activity! I had my 5 week post ACL reconstruction surgery appointment with Dr. Li today - he's very pleased with my progress and cleared me to start "light running". He prefers I use the elliptical to start, so I immediately headed to the Y and gave it a whirl. First good sweat in a long time.
81/365+1 Cleared for Activity

Friday: Out for an Evening Walk. Beautiful, clear weather followed the thunderstorms that rolled through our area this afternoon - perfect for an evening walk. Bonus - I don't need my leg brace anymore. I watched the sunset over the lake at the park.
82/365+1 Out for an Evening Walk #selfie #ilovemynikon
Here's that sunset:
Calm After the Storm #sky #bif #water #chambana #sunset

A Lovely End to the week.... And I hope yours was a great one too.


Spring Flowers

The last several days have been busy, busy, busy, so no time to play....

Until tonight, when I finally installed my Lightroom 4 Upgrade which arrived Monday. The upgrade was a cinch - my previous Lightroom Catalog was transferred and I was up and running. There are some differences in the Develop Module (Exposure) which took getting used to, but so far so good.

Pretty in Pink



Enjoy your Thursday evening!


Collages and Mosaics with the iPhone

The warm weather has sent the trees, plants and flowers into a frenzy. What was bare just a week ago is now in full bloom. Since it has been so warm, these blooms won't last very long, and Friday afternoon I went out with my SLR and my iPhone to capture these fleeting moments.

But today I only have photos taken from my iPhone. Seriously, it is hard to beat the ease of taking the photos, editing them, making a collage / mosaic and sharing these photos with this phone.

For the photos, I used the Olloclip Macro lens. I've posted about this lens attachment before and I love the clarity and bokeh of the resultant photos. Here is a picture of the olloclip in the package:
27/365+1 Yet Another New Toy #olloclip #iphonography
Once I had a nice collection of photos, I brought them into the Photogene2 app. I can adjust the photos there if I want. I used a tiny bit of Clarity on these photos to make them pop.

For the collage, I have two apps I normally use - Diptic and Montager. But I remembered that Photogene2 has a basic collage function too! It was easier to use the Photogene2 collage option and here are the two mosaics I created:

Magnolias in different stages of bloom:
Magnolias in Bloom #spring #flowers #olloclip #macro #iphone4s #photogene2 #mosaic

Weeping Willow:
Weeping Willow Details #olloclip #macro #iphone4s #yellow #spring #collage

Once I created the collages, I shared to my flickr and Instagram feeds. All from the phone - no computer, no card reader and no wires. And while I don't think my camera phone will ever replace my big camera, the camera phone certainly wins from an ease of use standpoint.

Now to hook up my DSLR and get those other photos downloaded......

Linked to Mary and Mosaic Monday


P365+1 Week 11 - Is It Summer?

I know the calendar say mid March, but it feels like early summer as we wind into Spring Break Time.

Saturday - I went and picked up my marathon training T-shirt
69/365+1 Marathon Training Shirt

Sunday - a Beautiful afternoon with the Girl and her horse.
70/365+1 Girl and Her Horse

Monday - our area set a new high temperature record - 81 degF. We celebrated by going out for ice cream.
71/365+1 Feels Like Summer
And then we went to the Old Navy to buy the kids new shorts because they have outgrown last year's.

Tuesday - It's cool in the morning, resulting in some fog:
72/365+1 Foggy Start #morning #tree
That fog burned right off for another 80 degF day. I hope I don't have to turn on the A/C....

Wednesday, 3/14, which means it is Pi day!
73/365+1 Happy Pi Day #geeky
You know, 3.14 is Pi, the constant used to calculate all sorts of stats on circles. Math classes celebrate with pies (I'm sure they calculated out the diameter and area of the pies before eating them).

Thursday - Good weather means road work and in this case, tree trimming work - I spotted this crew on the way to physical therapy.
74/365+1 Overhead Work in #Chambana #silhouette   #tree #lux #sky #sun
The kids had a half day of school and officially commenced Spring Break. Many of our neighbors are going away, but this year, we are staying put. Probably a good thing given my knee situation. But who needs to go down South when we've got southern weather right here?
But a slight downside to the warm weather - swarming bugs! Little black gnats were everywhere and because I had the windows opened during the evening, they got inside the house (screens don't keep them out). This freaked out the kids, especially Erica. Normally on non-school nights, she stays up very late (at least midnight), but tonight she went to bed at 10pm because she couldn't stand the bugs on the computer or TV or anything illuminated. She's calling this the Plague of the gnats.

Friday - it's still 80 degrees outside, so Scott and Brian brought the grill out and I used it immediately.
75/365+1 First Grill of the Season
So it still feels like summer. And yes, the A/C is on.


Girls and Their Horses

It's spring, and while many people are excited about college basketball, these girls are enjoying time with their horses.
Girls and Their Horses

They've got to get their trail riding time in before the farmers start working the fields.
Down the Path

Because combines and horses really don't mix....
In The Field

We are in the process of moving the horses to a new stable. We own Caesar, the Appaloosa, and another family owns Cody, the Quarter horse, but they are such good friends, we are keeping them together. The move is scheduled for April 1, so this may the last time they ride in this particular field.

I don't know who enjoys it more - the girls or the horses, but they have the best time galloping in.
Galloping In
Note - I uploaded too small of an image, I'll fix it later....

Linked to This or That Thursday


The Weekend

I'm reflecting on how NICE the weekend was. The boys were away at the NCAA Big 10 Tournament, so it was just a girls weekend in the house. I didn't cook, I didn't straighten anything up and I watched whatever suited my fancy. I didn't even mind making special trips to the Super Pantry just because my daughter was craving some Krispy Kreme doughnuts - it was just low key like that.

So the weekend recap?

Friday night - We watched the movie "Stupid Crazy Love". Trailer is below:

If you haven't seen it, go rent it next weekend. Funny and touching.

Saturday morning, I made a trip out to Marathon Training headquarters because the training T shirts were being distributed. Hey, I paid for it, and even if I can't run this year's race, I'm getting my T shirt.
69/365+1 Marathon Training Shirt
Bright, eh? It's even brighter in real life. I desaturated the photo because it hurt my eyes.
I ran into a couple friends from my pace group and gave them the update on my knee. They think I should train for triathlons now. Hmm, I'll have to think about that really hard. After next year's marathon.

Saturday afternoon, a late lunch with Erica. We originally planned to eat at Red Lobster, but right before leaving, we got into an argument. This resulted in a two hour silent standoff delay. Panera was easier and just as good.

Saturday evening, and it's time for me to go out with several friends. We ventured down to campus to eat at The Flat Top Grill - a custom stir fry restaurant where you pick out the ingredients for your stir fry, and they cook it up fresh for you on this open grill. A really neat restaurant.

But since there was an hour wait, we ventured around the "Main Strip", aka Green Street:
Down 6th and Green #uiuc #lux #chambana

Into the Urban Outfitters store, that has cool stuff that I would buy if I didn't already have a bunch of similar toys:
A #Holga to Match Every Outfit #lux
The clothes there are really cute, too, but at my age, I really can't pull it off....

Finally, it's dinner time:
Bowl of My Dreams

We were tucked into a nook at the back of the restaurant and I loved the big red lamp above our table:
Seeing Red

Sunday Afternoon - we went out to the horse stable and the girls took Caesar and Cody out for a trail ride.
Trail Riding #twotakes #horses

And I'm having fun with the self timer on my iPhone camera:
On Location

I took a bunch of pictures of the girls galloping in on their horses, but I don't have time right now to get them off my big camera - perhaps tomorrow.

And that was our relaxing weekend. We're looking forward to the warm week ahead and Spring Break just a few days away. I guess that mean more relaxation for the kids but not for me.

Linked to Mosaic Monday



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