Decent To Better

So, I’m still playing and trying to learn more of the ins and outs of the new software, though I don’t have nearly enough time each day to play as much as I’d like. The above image is the altered version of the photo below. I wanted to see how much better I could make a not great photo.

I don’t think this was the best choice as part of the reason this wasn’t great was the focus was off in addition to a lot of other factors. Still, I’m surprised I was able to get it to look as good as I did. It will be interesting to try this with a photo that had other issues to see if I can turn a meh image into a really good one.

Unedited Pathway Image
Unedited Pathway Image

 

While I’m loving that I have a lot more options, I’ve always been kind of a purist when it came to photography. I liked the challenge of getting an amazing photo with only my camera, with no additional help other than a simple crop or shift to black and white along the way. Yes, being able to manipulate a photo with software still takes a certain skill, but it kind of felt like cheating a bit.

I’m torn, but I love the idea that I can end up with photos that are so much better than what I’ve done so far or that I can potentially take a photo that would have been amazing “if only… ” and still get that amazing through software instead.

Epicness And F-Bombs

It isn’t always clear on here, but I tend to be a huge potty mouth. Granted, I’m also a courteous and polite potty mouth and I don’t cuss around people I don’t know or aren’t certain they are okay with cussing and is why I tend to keep it mostly clean on here. I also don’t cuss at people unless they are idiot drivers and even then, they aren’t the ones to hear it.

I do cuss around my kids and they know my rules around it. I’d be fine with them cussing as long as it followed those rules, but they think it is funny to NOT cuss. At least around Hubby and I. We know they do it. They know we know, but they still won’t cuss in front of us. It has become something of a game for them. And yes, we all have a twisted sense of humor that not everyone can appreciate.

Yesterday, MC gets home from school and tells me he nearly got into a head on collision with a bus in the neighborhood. It was in an area where there is kind of a blind curve, at least when you have several large pickup trucks parked in the street. MC was on his side of the road and didn’t see the bus (who was driving WAY too fast for a residential area) and lucked the hell out in that they came up on each other when MC was right in front of a small cul-de-sac and was able to swerve. Otherwise, it would have been one hell of an ugly wreck.

He was obviously a little shaken up, but okay. We talked about it a bit and went on with our afternoon. While I was at dance, Hubby sends me a picture of how close he came, reminding me that we have a dash cam in the car that MC drives. It was kind of freaky to see how bad it could have been in that shot.

When I get home, Hubby is all excited (weirdly) and all “You’ve got to see this!” He shows me the video and I can see exactly what happened, which is even more disturbing, but also kind of shocking at how smooth MC handled the whole thing. I’m still not understanding Hubby’s attitude. Then he’s “now you have to HEAR it.” Apparently our dash cam also records sound. We did not know this.

He turns the sound back on and replays the video, but it is silent. I’m giving him the eye and he just tells me to listen. I see the bus come along, deep into MC’s lane to avoid the trucks and what look like several workmen that were near the trucks. I see MC swerve into the cul-de-sac to avoid the bus and keep going. All still silent. I’m seriously impressed at how cool MC is through the whole event.

Again, I give another side eye to hubby. Then, about two houses after MC passed the bus, you start hearing sound.

He is about a block away from home and he just lets go in these epic bursts. What puts the icing on it is that he has somehow developed this deep, country drawl in his voice that I’ve NEVER heard from him before (he is now blaming his girl, saying that he must have picked it up from her after talking to her so much). It is so much and so different, I almost don’t even recognize it is MC talking.

The first burst is a little mild, then it gets quiet again. I think we are done. Nope. Another couple of houses and we get another burst that is a little longer and a little more colorful before it gets quiet again. Again, I think he is done as it is quiet until he pulls into the driveway.

That is when he lets it ALL come out. All the best, most colorful words are flying from my kid’s mouth. It is this over the top, epic curse fest rant at the bus, the trucks and the guys around the trucks. Hubby, BG, MC and I are all laughing so hard we can hardly breathe. I think we listened to it half a dozen times before we had enough.

His reaction to the whole thing has now given us material that we will never let him live down. “Fucking lumberjacks” said in a deep country drawl will live on for all eternity here and will come back to haunt him over and over again.

It may make me a bad parent, but I was beaming proud of my kid in his amazingly creative use of the F-bomb. I’m also crazy impressed with how ridiculously calm he was during the actual encounter. If I’d been in the driver’s seat, the dash cam would have had a boat load more F-bombs and then some from the very first sight of that bus and there might have been a bit of a wet spot on the seat.

In all seriousness, I’m just thrilled to death that this is something we can laugh about and it all turned out okay.

*The photo is an old one and has nothing at all to do with this post. I just liked it and felt like posting it. We haven’t seen that much snow on the ground here for several years.

 

Eagle Trail Hike

Our first hike of the trip was the 2 mile Eagle Trail. I really wanted to do this one in particular because of some of the pictures I’d seen online. They had shown that it had a lot of different interesting features. What I didn’t pay any attention do was the difficulty. Difficulty isn’t something that I’d ever really paid a whole lot of attention to, mostly because there isn’t anything like that around here.

Tree Root Covered Trail Floor
Tree Root Covered Trail Floor

For this trail, the difficulty wasn’t in incline or altitude change so much as how uneven a surface you were walking on. If it wasn’t a woven crisscross of roots, it was haphazard rocks. There were a couple of points near the water’s edge where the trail got incredibly narrow, which was fun when you ran into people hiking in the other direction.

Mossy Rock Lined Trail
Mossy Rock Lined Trail

The first third or so of this trail was heavily wooded with a few smaller rock formations along the way. It was such a rich, dark vivid green, it was almost unreal. I hate that none of my photos even come close to doing it justice.

Wooded Pathway
Wooded Pathway

It sort of reminded me of the kind of scenery you’d see in some fantasy movie with an enchanted forest, but not the dark, creepy kind. It was so pretty there under the trees. I could have spent hours in there just taking pictures and would have if it had just been me and not the entire family.

Moss and Fern Covered Mall Cave
Moss and Fern Covered Mall Cave
Rock Step Pathway
Rock Step Pathway

Once you got closer to the water’s edge, there were a lot more rocks and the landscape and feel of the space really changed, becoming harsher. Even though we were really close to the water, sometimes within a few feet, there weren’t a lot of places to see out onto the water because it was still really heavily treed.

Small Rock Wall Topped In Misshapen Trees
Small Rock Wall Topped In Misshapen Trees

One of the things that was really fascinating along this hike were all of these little cave like areas. Some were way bigger than others, able to hold multiple people and others would have been barely large enough for a small animal den. None of them went very deep into the rock, but were enough to give a sense of space and wonder. These were some of the kids favorite places to explore along the way.

Rocky Caved Area With Lone Tree
Rocky Caved Area With Lone Tree

The middle third of the hike was this really rocky area along the base of the bluff and the water’s edge. This was one of the most difficult areas of the hike because of all the rocks and how many narrow paths you had to take. There were more points where you could see out across the water, but there were still a lot of trees along the shoreline, which is something that kind of surprised me in general about the peninsula.

Eagle Trail Rock Formation Cave
Eagle Trail Rock Formation Cave
Tall Rock Bluff
Tall Rock Bluff

By the time we got past the last of the bluff area, things got back to being similar to how the hike started before thinning out even more. Even though it was only about a 2 mile hike in all, it was still pretty intense. I didn’t get any pictures after the rocks. Mostly because I’d already taken way too many and what I was seeing wasn’t much different, but also because I was about out of gas and getting cranky. I discovered the backpack I was using had a rough spot that rubbed on the skin on my shoulder since I was wearing a tank top and had to have my hand around the strap to protect it. We were all pretty wiped out at that point and were more concerned about just getting done. As exhausting as it was, it was an amazing hike.

A Drunken Road

This road is along the very northern edge of the Door County peninsula of Wisconsin. I’m sure we would have run across it at some time as we tried to explore every inch of this area, but were told about it from the lady at a candy store (Uncle Tom’s if you are really interested in some AMAZING fudge). Hearing about it, we were like “It’s a road. How interesting can it really be?” How about FUN more than interesting?

I think we drove up and down this road half a dozen times before calling it quits because it was so much fun. This stretch isn’t really that long. Maybe half a mile or so, if even, but it was kind of like riding on a kiddie roller coaster. One that isn’t too crazy, but just wiggly enough to entertain really young kids. Apparently we are really young kids at heart because driving this was hilarious and fun. Who on earth decided designing a road like this was the way to go?! Whoever it was, I’m glad, because this was so silly it was awesome making it worthy of its own post. It was also such a notable feature of the area that it is on a lot of the souvenir merchandise as well.

Newport State Park, Wisconsin

Our last day in Wisconsin was crazy busy and really had three distinct pieces. Two different hikes and then the star viewing. The two separate hikes we went on ended up being over 7 miles in total, the second hike being the bulk of that mileage. Considering I’m not overly active, that was nearly miraculous.

The second hike was in the Newport State Park area when we went to to scout it out for the dark sky viewing. It was such a nice area, we decided to check out the trails while we were there. Trails that ended up being WAY longer than we intended to hike, but by the time we realized that, we had to hike pretty much the same distance to get back out as we had to get where we were, so turning around wouldn’t have made a difference in the distance.

Newport State Park, Wisconsin - Pathway
Newport State Park, Wisconsin – Pathway

I took way too many photos of pathways while hiking because I love the look and feel of pathway shots. Sadly, I don’t think I’m all that great at actually taking them in a way that truly captures the feel of the paths I was on at the time.

Newport State Park, Wisconsin - Pathway
Newport State Park, Wisconsin – Pathway

I also didn’t end up taking a whole lot of pictures on this hike because, while it really was beautiful, it was also kind of a horror show. We battled clouds of gnats and mosquitoes and I don’t know what else for nearly the entire 5 miles or so. I needed both my hands to wave around like a complete spaz in order to fend them off. It was incredibly annoying as we had bug repellent, but because this hike was kind of a last minute decision and hadn’t really run into issues with our other hikes we chose not to go back to the car to get it. Big, big, BIG mistake.

Sunlit Gnat Cloud
Sunlit Gnat Cloud

The above picture wasn’t taken there, but is a perfect example of what we hiked through. As annoying as the bugs were, we didn’t think all that much of it until about 12 hours later when MC’s hand looked like someone had inflated it full of air and turned it into a hand balloon. I still don’t know what bit or stung him, but the antihistamines seem to be helping, though slowly.

Mine took closer to 24 hours to show up. Looks like I brought my own version of the stars home with me in my own personal constellation. My other shoulder and lower legs look pretty much the same.

Constellation of Bug Bites
Constellation of Bug Bites

That particular park ended up being one of the best and worst parts of our trip. Once the bites quit itching so badly, I might be able to let go of that part of it and just remember the best parts.

Searching And Questioning

My steps towards finding an editor have been… interesting. Yet again, expectations and reality didn’t quite meet up. After a few initial conversations and some deeper digging, I’ve discovered that I am probably looking at several thousand dollars to go through an entire process of different levels of editing as well as cover and design work for my book.

Continue reading “Searching And Questioning”

Icy Drive

Another one from the ice storm years ago. This is probably one of my all time favorite shots, partly because of the color, part the ice and part because I adore pathway shots. I have a handful of those, but this one I was crazy lucky to get as the ice didn’t stick around all that long in the sun. As dangerous and damaging as an ice storm like that is, it is one of the most beautiful things to experience. It is like the world has transformed into this crystalline wonderland with everything thickly coated and sparkling in the bright sun.