The World Through My Eyes

Unless otherwise marked, images were taken at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia.

This week’s photo challenge is to share the world as we see it through our eyes.

As much as I love writing, my photography has improved tremendously and is a big draw to my blog.  The saying goes that a picture is worth a 1,000 words and it’s true.  Pictures show so much more than words can describe, something I wrote about recently when I saw the play, Hamlet.

So when I’m out with my camera (or even when I’m not!), how do I look at the world?  What am I attracted to?

I love blue skies.

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The roses were so pretty this year!

And white clouds, lots of white clouds.  Especially when I can lay on the deck and make up the images I see floating by.

View from my driveway - I think it looks like a whale eating a smaller fish!!
View from my driveway – I think it looks like a whale eating a smaller fish!!

I like to look up and see the landscapes, to look far.

Shenandoah Valley taken from Skyline Drive in Fall 2011.
Shenandoah Valley taken from Skyline Drive in Fall 2011.

I also like to look close, to see the beauty in the details.

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All kinds of asters are in bloom this week.

I like the sun, in whatever form I find it.

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This is much easier on my eyes than looking at the sun!

Although green and water also satisfy my soul.

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I always enjoy standing here for a few minutes and listening to the water tinkling over the rocks.

I like the unusual. . .

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This coneflower is truly this bright pink.

. . . and the ordinary.

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Queen Anne’s lace is such an ordinary flower, yet it’s so very pretty, even with a friend. It’s a sure sign that summer is here when these appear.

I can find beauty nearly everywhere I look, whether in a small space between office buildings in downtown or

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These coneflowers are to the right of the door where I exit the building for my lunch time walk.

. . . going out to my favorite places for photography.

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The greenhouse at the botanical gardens is a favorite place to visit.

There is beauty everywhere.  All we need is to look for it.

I cannot resist chasing the bees with my camera lens.
I cannot resist chasing the bees with my camera lens.

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
~ Anne Frank

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures that we can have
if only we seek them with our eyes open.
~ Jawaharlal Nehru

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious –
the fundamental emotion which stands
at the cradle of true art and true science.
~ Albert Einstein

Wanderlust Hits Hard

This week’s Six Word Friday uses the word “wander”, which I thought described my life very well as in:

Wanderlust hits hard every Friday afternoon.

Actually, it doesn’t usually even wait until Friday afternoon.  By Wednesday, I’m plotting where I want to run off too for the weekend.  In a way, it’s a necessity because if I go too far with my favorite boy toy, arrangements have to be made for the boys.  We have a dogsitter who will come on the weekends, but if we’re gone too long, it’s off to the kennel and doggie day care for them.

This wanderlust is not new for me or my boy toy.  When we were dating and newly married, we’d just hop in the car and drive.  Sometimes our destination was someplace for taking photos.  Other times it was a store of some kind, whether for my needlepoint and books, or for his antique hunting (note to my child:  see, I told you we’ve always been like that).

That stopped for a long time, especially when my daughter was in sports.  When she went to college though, we started up again.  Since moving to Virginia, we’ve ramped it up even more.  Some weekends have great finds, for other weekends it’s a waste of our efforts.  That doesn’t stop us from trying again though.

We take turns driving, we visit, sometimes the passenger even naps.  Sometimes, we even get a spectacular view as we drive!

Joy In The Outside

The February Joy Dare earlier this week was to find gifts in three things outside.  Easy peasy, I thought.  And it was.  I found more than three gifts, which made up for the day I couldn’t find three gifts when bent over(!).

  • The brilliance of the full moon shining into the skylights in the early hours of the morning.  The backyard is so bright, there are shadows.  I find it beautiful and mysterious and could look at it for a long time without thinking any particular thoughts.  The beauty of a bright night is enjoyable just as it is.
  • A heavy frost on the cars and roadways.  I’d rather not scrape the frost off the car, but the roadsides were pretty for my morning commute.  More heavy frosts (and some sustained cold) would also help kill some bugs before summer comes.
  • A pale and delicate sunrise, with tints of silver, orange, and lavender.  The sun was behind thin clouds, giving it a translucent yellow appearance.  I was driving and had to pay attention, but this is something else I could look at for a while simply to enjoy.
  • A clean car!  My favorite boy toy showed me the new car wash in town – very nice!  It was well worth the money and I had a nice waiting room as my Honda Civic was vacuumed and wiped down afterwards.
  • Gorgeous clouds all day.  They were very wispy and curly, not what I usually see during my lunch walk or from the windows during work.  Something else I could stare at for a long time.
  • The full moon again at night, shining from behind thin, filmy clouds.  The clouds were moving quickly.  Even if I’d wanted to photograph the moon, the clouds would have made it all a blur.  I’d love to have recorded it though.

The Psalmist tells us:

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human being that you care for them?
Psalm 8:3-4 (NIV)

When I look at the moon and the stars, the clouds and the frost, I do consider God’s graciousness in caring for us and providing for us.  I thank him for a day of beauty and that everywhere I looked, it was good.

Over at A Daily Life, a new post links to The Simple Woman’s Daybook.  The daybook has prompts to use in recording your life at the moment, making a mini-time capsule in your diary / blog.  There is also a post about why a field trip can help your blogging and photography.

Here’s one of the cloud pictures that I talked about in today’s post.  Double click it to get a better look at the sky.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Walking During Lunch

These last several weeks have been unseasonably warm.  I enjoy walking during lunch for my exercise and thought you might like to see Brown’s Island and the canal off the James River in downtown Richmond.

This is the bridge I take across to get to the island, shown from the far end.  Click here for a close up picture of the bridge from last year.

Of course, I like to check the sky and see what the clouds are doing.  It’s one of my favorite things about taking pictures.  They’re all different too.

The trees have started budding, which I don’t think is a good sign.  Our maple and oak trees in the backyard are waking up.  So are the mosquitoes and the flies.  My herbs never died back.

Instead of crossing on the bridge, I can also go down these stairs instead and walk on the near side.  I usually don’t as it’s just benches and concrete.  Some days if if I’m not walking and the weather isn’t too nasty, I’ll eat my lunch on one of the benches just to get away from my desk for a while.

This is the view from the left of the bridge (looking east).  There are several restaurants down that way and I can cross back over the canal and walk on the sidewalks into Shockoe Slip.  To see some pictures I posted last year of walking along the canal in that direction, click here and here.

This is the view from the right of the bridge (looking west).  I posted pictures from when that white bridge was put into place here.

This cool sculpture is along the walking path.  It’s called “The Headmen” and is a tribute to the African-American boatmen who were part of the development of commerce in the city.  The city has other sculptures around it and I will post those a different time.

This beautiful building behind the sculpture is actually a corporate headquarters.  Several times a year, tourists try to get in, thinking it’s a museum.

The trains still run along here.  This one rumbled by as I was walking.

Here’s a view of the river.  The water was very sparkly the day I took it, but my camera didn’t quite catch it.  Along with the warm days, the humidity has come back.  My distance pictures have a fair degree of haziness because of that.

Shortly after I took this picture, a kayaker came through.  I thought it was a bit fast and choppy in this section, but he made it through without a problem.

There are some interesting things to see during my walk, although when the leaves are down it’s pretty barren.

While everything has a beauty to it, the winter makes it more difficult to find the beauty.  I have to work hard to make it look pretty, by being selective about the angle of my shot and cropping closely when possible.

This is what I see from the far side of the island.  My employer is in the far building to the left.

The river is full of seagulls.  These were so big that I thought they were turkey vultures until they took off.  I took several pictures as I walked until I got one where they weren’t so black against the sky and I could see the gray coloring of the gulls.

I took my walk about 1:30 pm.  The sun is angled low at this time of the year.  I miss the endless summer days of living in the Midwest, but I do not miss the endless winter nights.  The sun may be low, but it is light longer at this time of the year.

From here, I can either go back through the island to get to the bridge or I can continue up the sidewalk.   If my time is getting short, I’ll just take the sidewalk back.  I’ll sign in at the health club that I worked out on the outside trails.

A lot of people are used to seeing me come back into work with the camera.  It’s a great conversation starter as people are curious what I took a picture of during my walk.  All kinds of things, I’ll say.  All kinds of things.

Detect The Music Of Nature

The author, Kate Chopin, once wrote:

I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe?
One of the things I’ve loved about being outside so much lately is the slowing down of everything, the opportunity to just enjoy fresh air and feel the warmth of sunlight.  It is a music of the universe.The botanical gardens have a giant wind chime in one of the trees.  It’s a pleasant enough sound, but not as pleasant as listening to the wind through the drying leaves of fall, the insects still chirping, the birds who are still singing.

I would encourage all of you to enjoy the last days of autumn’s warmth and the sun on your face.  Already there are days when the wind is too chilly to stay outside very long.  Parts of the country have had snow and will have more soon.  I’m not ready to come in yet, but I don’t think I have much choice about it.

Surprisingly, I took this picture on the way home from work.  As I watched the sunset unfold, I pulled into a school parking lot and grabbed my camera.  A sunset like this is also a song of the universe.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – BULK.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.

Vertically Challenging Photo

© 2011 dogear6 llc


I take my photos in both portrait and landscape (i.e., horizontally / vertically).  Some photos lend themselves better to one or the other, sometimes I’m just trying different perspectives to see what works.

For example, this vertically snapped photo shows not only the sweeping lines of the skyscraper, but also a wonderfully reflected cloud as well.

Word for tomorrow – GRAB.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.

Myth Busters Quiz

For a change of pace, we are having a pop quiz to see how many urban myths you can identify as false.  There are three questions here, and a bonus question at the end.

Ready?  Here we go!

Now that the garden is down, does it still require extensive guarding from danger?

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Very good!  For the second question, is it necessary to keep the bed warm when there are no humans to occupy it?

© 2011 dogear6 llc

You are all so smart!  I haven’t decided on a prize yet, but if you get a box in the mail that’s barking like mad, that means you won your very own miniature pinscher.

For question # 3, if you get up at 6 am to help your husband take a van rental back to Enterprise by 7 am, is it possible you will be rewarded with a wildly beautiful sunrise that goes on and on?

© 2011 dogear6 llc

And for the bonus question, how does a goatee look on my favorite boy toy?  Actually, pretty good but I haven’t been able to get a good picture of him with it yet.

Thanks for playing urban myth busters!  No, no, I’m not giving away a miniature pinscher as a prize.  Maybe I will do that next time.

You can go back to your life now.  The quiz is done.

Word for tomorrow – REFER.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.

Pale Skies Are Pretty

I love taking pictures of clouds.  I have no idea what I’ll do with them, but I ooh and aah over them to no end.  I’m actually struggling a bit with this right now and have taken off a few days from my photo a day project.  I love my pictures of clouds and flowers, gardens and cute little homes.  But 20 years from now, what will they matter?  What I’ll want to see is what I was doing – the people in my life, my pets, my hobbies, the things I did with my life.

I recently found an album of a family trip that from over 40 years ago.  My Dad labeled all the photos very nicely.  The mountains are pretty and so are the pictures of the gardens and hotels.  But what I want to spend time on are the pictures of my grandparents and great-aunt, of how young my mother looked, of the things my sister and I did during that trip.

So I’m taking a little break, thinking through what I want to do with this project besides take more pictures of downtown, which is about all I have available during the week.

In the meantime, here’s a cloud picture from earlier this year, with delicate shades of pale pink.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – NIMBLE.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.

Fair Skies Not Predicted This Weekend

The weather has been surprisingly moderate since the hurricane blew through.  The humidity has stayed down and the temperatures have fallen to the upper 80’s as well.

Rain is predicted for this weekend – anywhere from 20% to 50%.  The skies reflect it too.  Instead of the fair skies that I’d hoped for to take pictures, it’s a flat gray.  Not puffy white clouds and not deep blue, but just a dull gray.

That didn’t stop me from going to Williamsburg today, but I had to be careful to crop the sky out of my pictures.  The sun came out frequently, but even with the sun out, the skies were dull.

Is this a metaphor for life?  Definitely.  I still had fun today.  There were plenty of pictures to take, the cooler weather with a breeze made the day physically comfortable, and Williamsburg was not overly crowded.  Just because the skies are gray doesn’t mean life can’t be fun.  It’s just not fun in the way I expected it to be.

It’s like that for most of my life.  I have a good life, but it is often not what I expected it to be.  I can bemoan that or I can look for a good life no matter where I find it.  I choose to find a good life, drop my expectations of what I expected my life to be, and enjoy it as it comes.

© 2011 dogear6 llc


Here’s a corner of the gardens from the Governor’s Palace where I showed the sky. . .

© 2011 dogear6 llc







. . . versus a more cropped in view where it’s less noticeable how blah the sky is today.






Word for tomorrow – COME.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.