About the word Shekinah

The word Shekinah (shuh-kigh-nuh) means dwelling. It refers to the visible manifestation of the presence (or Shekinah Glory) of God. A luminous cloud. It is the very presence of God on earth. (see Holy Bible-Exodus 24:9-18)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Re: Today's Blessing

I was blessed with another winged visitor to my yard today. A Northern Flicker. He wasn't there long...just long enough to drink from out pond fountain and then he was gone.

I just happened to be sitting by the window that is next to our pond and I saw him arrive. I am wondering if he's the same one I saw eating berries, hanging from our vines yesterday. It was too dark and too late when I saw him then, he was gone in a flash...just like today.

I haven't been feeling too well lately, so I suppose God's been bringing me the birds to photograph. I just haven't been feeling up to going into the field and also we've been busy with Christmas events. Thank you, Lord, for another close encounter. What a blessing it has been to have these little winged creatures visit me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Hunter in my Yard"


I was sent quite a treat from God this Christmas Eve. I was in my room wrapping Christmas gifts when my daughter's excited voice called to me to come downstairs quick. She said there were two birds, but not our usual birds on our backyard fence. I looked out the window and knew immediately what they were. A pair of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) also known as the "Sparrow Hawk." The Kestrel is actually a small, jay-sized falcon. The smallest, most common and most colorful of raptors, and one that I haven't yet had the pleasure to see in the field while photographing scenery and wildlife...until now!

I knew I couldn't get good shots from the ground level, nor could I get outside to shoot without spooking them. I ran upstairs to my make-shift bird blind, actually my laundry room window which has the screen removed and some thick dark sage green material covering it. One of the pair had already flown off by the time I reached the blind.

Still, my heart was pounding with excitement of having this falcon in my own yard. I took a few shots through the window, just in case my opening it scared her off. Then, I slowly opened the window.


She did look my way when she heard the window creaking, but made no attempt to flee. She also looked when she heard the noise of the camera shutter, but didn't seem to be bothered by it or my presence.


She was such a pretty bird, even prettier in real life than online or in my bird books. She looked so nonthreatening just sitting there.


She was sitting high on our trellis and looking at the bush below her which contains many sparrows . This is when I realized she wasn't just stopping by to hang out for a while. She was here to hunt...


She patiently waited and watched, while I gathered my stool and my mono pod sensing that I would be there a while.

I tried to catch her in flight, but she was so fast that by the time I realized she was about to move, she was already out of my frame and in the bush. She was also faster than my auto focus could handle in most of the shots I took of her in flight. I did finally manage to follow her flight path and capture her attack.

I was amazed at her speed and agility.

How she twisted and turned her wings and body to get into the bush.

She didn't catch her prey this time, or any of the times I saw her hunting in my yard that day. Perhaps she is young and new at this skill...


...or, perhaps the driving wind threw off her aim. I guess I'll never know. I do hope she visits me again, though.

Thank you, Lord, for sending this special gift to me. It was truly a pleasure to be so close to such a beautiful bird that you created.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Visit from a hawk"

This juvenile hawk visited me last week and I wasn't able to get a good picture of him before he flew off. Well, today he once again landed in the tree in our back yard. He was no doubt in search of prey and our yard is certainly full of that...usually.

Of course, he had scared away the many finches, sparrows, mourning doves and juncos that frequent our yard by the droves. It was exciting to capture this bird of prey in the wild, yet so close to me, right in my yard. He's very young and quite small, but I believe I have properly identified him. I hope he returns again, but I sure enjoy watching all of my little birds, too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"That's Not Natural"

I took this photo to enter in an online photo challenge. I actually got to choose the current topic this time because I was the first place winner of the last challenge.

The topic I chose was "That's Not Natural." Here were my instructions:

"In this challenge, we're looking for out of the ordinary subjects in nature. Things you don't normally see in nature, shouldn't be found in nature or things that seem out of place. (see my first entry for an example). For those who physically cannot go outside to shoot, due to illness or being housebound for some reason, you may enter something not natural that you can photograph indoors such as: kittens nursing on a mother dog or peanut butter and tuna sandwiches...I hope by those examples you get the idea. Have fun finding the unnatural in nature! I am looking forward to seeing what you all come up with."

So, I took this shot this morning. I actually got the idea to take this shot and enter it in this challenge when I was taking my girls to dance recently, as it's on the way. I knew it would need to be backlit, though, so I waited for the right light. I got my chance today since we had to go that way just after sunrise.

I know it may fool you at first, but it's not a real animal, but a statue and...that's not natural! I do hope I fooled some of you!

The light this morning was absolutely perfect and I actually took it while driving past it as there's not a place to pull over and there were cars behind us.

CLICK HERE to see my other entries as well as everyone else's entries.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"At the Beach"

In July, when my family went to back to where I spent my childhood, I saw this young boy and his sister playing and I couldn't resist taking pictures them. As these children played, they were so carefree. Devoid of all the stress and responsibilities of adulthood, their biggest upset was not wanting to leave when their parents were ready to go home.

As a grown-up, with my youthful years behind me, it's hard to remember those lighthearted days. Too many things seem to cause me stress these days and I must entust them to God so they don't overwhelm me.

The foolish thing is that most of those pressures, I place upon myself and then I feel bad for succumbing to them, when others have much greater cause for unrest than myself.

I grew up not far from where I took these images. Maybe I need to go back there to the beach again and play in the sand and forget my cares for a time. That sounds really nice. Just to go stick my hands and feet in the sand and build castles for a while...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Souvenier Postcard Project"


Okay, so I am researching a new project. I'm looking into making postcards for the area where I live. This is a test postcard that I did just to see how one might look. I actually live in a small town outside of Boise, Idaho. The owner of a local gift shop told me that people are always asking for postcards of our little town. Well, to my knowledge, they don't exist. So, I am going to try to make that happen.

Big publishers don't usually do postcards of small towns since they aren't a large print job; at least that's what my research has shown so far. So, I am researching other options for having them printed. I will have to pay more for them since they will be printed on such a small scale, and that then begs the question, "How much would I need to charge for them and would people pay that price?" I would tend to think if they are the only ones on the market that people would pay whatever price I put on them, within reason.

Some of the online photo places have postcards you can make out of your photos, but they are like $1.99 each! That's outrageous and I would then have to mark them up from there. In this economy, especially, I can't see people paying what I would have to charge for a single postcard even if they were the only ones.

Some of the printing places I've researched can do them much more cost effectively as far as printing in bulk like 100/250/500 and up, but they also charge like $5 per photo uploaded to make the postcard. That would also have to be added to the cost. Hmmmmmm...what to do.

If anyone reading this post knows anything that could help me in this process, I would be grateful to hear any tips, suggestions or ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me.

*Feel free to comment on my postcard. (just click on the word comment, below) I would like to hear what you think.*

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Lake Lowell @ Dusk"

This is Lake Lowell. It's part of the Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge in Nampa, Idaho. These next four shots were all taken near the upper dam.
We arrived at this spot just after sundown, after scouting the south side of the refuge for flocks of birds. The light was magical or rather supernatural and constantly changing.
Although we didn't find exactly where the about 15,ooo geese are supposed to be on the refuge, we did find a few lone birds here and there. It was getting too dark to keep driving the thirty some miles around the place, and some of the access gates were closed, so we stopped to get some images of this lovely evening before we headed home.


The soft look of the water in the image below, was created using a very slow shutter speed.
I like the soft pastels of this shot very much.

I don't use color filters nor did I add any in post processing. These are the actual colors that we saw. The light just kept changing as the sun went down and I composed the different shots.

Many people think that once the sun goes down the time for taking pictures is over. The 20-30 minutes just after the sun actually sets can often bring on the most beautiful light, as evidenced here.

We spoke to some local folks that were also enjoying the gorgeous evening and they said that it was even more beautiful the night before, although I could hardly imagine that.

Click here for more about Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge

**You comments and critique are welcome**

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Fall Color Update"

I am happy to report that I was hasty to assume that the latest storms would wipe out any and all leaves still on the trees where I live.
Although they were certainly at their peak when I last posted and many leaves have since fallen, there is still some fall color left to be found for those sad to see the last of it, and willing to seek it out.
I will post some images of the fallen leaves, but for now I will post just a couple more in their full glory...


To see more of my autumn images CLICK HERE!

Friday, October 31, 2008

"Farewell to Fall"

The winds of change are blowing our way today. According to the weather report, rain is expected this evening and through the middle of next week, as well as cooler temperatures.

This will mean the end of the fall foliage in our area. The wind and rain will surely fell the rest of them. This is such a sad time of year for me. This means my favorite season is on its way out and I must again wait another year for the visual splendor that is autumn.


This fall may be even more melancholy for me than usual, since this time next year one of my children will have graduated and I will only have one child left in school. The seasons of life seem to continue to change and bring the close of some things and the beginning of others. Things that were will be no more, and things that were not before...will now begin.


It's time to light the fireplace and make the mix for our favorite hot cocoa. Time to get out the winter clothes, dust off the snow boots, stack the wood pile and to look forward to cold, and snow and icicles and Christmas lights! Okay, so I like winter too, but I will surely miss fall.

And now, a parting shot as I bid farewell to autumn...

To see more of my fall images, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"A rose by any other name..."


I just love roses. My mom's yard always has the most beautiful roses and I am more than happy to capture their beauty. This rose was originally a lovely pink, but I converted it to black and white in order to showcase the light in this photo. I used a very shallow DOF (depth of field) to focus only on a portion of the petals on this flower and have the rest fall into a soft blur. I also added a pumice filter to give it a bit of an aged tone. I like this photo very much.

Here's a similar shot of the same rose that is still the original pink color. I'll let you decide which one you prefer. Feel free to comment with your thoughts.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Fall Foliage Hunt"

Sunday evening, we went down to the Boise River to find some fall foliage. We didn't arrive too much before sundown, so I had to find my subjects and shoot hurriedly, as the light was quickly fading.

As we walked down the path, the scene below caught my eye. It was the glistening sun shining through the large, stately tree that I wanted to capture, so I quickly set up my tripod and composed the scene. A star filter would have helped with the sunburst, but then I would have likely had to combat flair. Here is the resulting image...
As we continued walking, only a few steps from where I took the first shot, I looked up and saw brightly colored leaves with a blue sky background and the trees falling into shadow. I again composed and shot this photo...

As we continued on, our ears were blessed with the songs of all the many birds that reside in the area. I will have to go back just to photograph the birds. Anyway, when we reached the river, it was a lovely scene. The sun was still hitting the foliage of the trees on the opposite side of the river, allowing the same leaves to reflect in dark, rich color on the water below. I liked the stones at the water's edge and included them in my shot, although I had to get rather low to do so and still include the tops of the trees. I laid down on my stomach for a few shots. One of these days I will get an angle finder for my landscape photography, which will make my job a lot easier and save my neck a lot of pain.

There was a couple fishing down where I was shooting and I asked them to step closer to the edge so I could include them in some of my final shots. They obliged, and I thanked them.

I love the way this set of photos shows how important light is in photography and how it can change the mood of a scene in just seconds. It can truly make or break the image.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Full Hunter's Moon"

I shot this moon portrait last night. This is the Hunter's Moon. Each full moon actually has a name. Who knew? I had always heard of the Harvest Moon and I photographed it last September, but hadn't heard of all the rest. I love the fact that as I practice my art I am also always still learning as I research the subjects of my images.

"Full Hunter's Moon - October With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals
which have come out to glean." (Farmer's Almanac)

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Our Burrowing Owl Encounter"

We were driving out by a butte when my husband spotted this burrowing owl on a post. We turned around and went back. I took a couple of shots as we approached, knowing he'd probably fly away quickly. To my surprise, he didn't! At least not until I got a few shots off.

Once he did fly away, he didn't go far. Just down by his burrow. It was so cool to see him fly by silently, as we were still sitting in the car with the windows down. What a treat God was blessing us with!
Before too long, he flew back up on another post. We edged the car forward to get closer to where he had landed. What a treat this was for us to see this little owl in the wild and for him to sit there posing for me instead of flying off.
The light was changing the whole time we were there. My husband kept letting the car silently ease closer to the post the owl was on.

I had my long lens on my camera, the light was getting low and I was shooting hand-held, so many of the images came out very blurry. Especially the ones where the owl was moving.

My husband asked me how long I was going to take pictures of it and I told him, "As long as he'll let me!" Well, he finally did fly away...much to my dismay.

Some of my shutter speeds were pretty slow by then, only 1/30s. I kept boosting my ISO to compensate. I did manage to get some halfway decent, albeit grainy shots that I'm quite happy to have captured. It's so fun to catch animals out in the wild. I love it!



Friday, October 10, 2008

"Hitching Post" circa 1869

Last weekend my husband took me shooting. It was a rainy day, so colors were beautifully saturated. We went along the old part of town on a street called "Warm Spring Avenue" and found this old hitching post in front of one of the houses. The house is circa 1869. I took photos of the house and porch, too, but I loved this image of the isolated hitching post. I added a filter that makes it look kind of dreamy. I also did one to make it look aged...here's that one.

Feel free to comment and tell me which one you like best!

To order a print, CLICK HERE.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Cover Shot!"

Above is my image entitled, "Indian Creek Reflections", as it currently appears on the cover of the 2008 fall issue of CHOIS CONNECTION magazine. This magazine is the first statewide magazine for home educators and is published quarterly by Christian Home Educators of Idaho State.

It is truly an honor to have my image grace the cover of a publication that is so close to my heart. I'm so glad that my first cover was for a magazine that supports my ideals of raising a family and teaching & training my children up in the Lord.

I praise the Lord for this wonderful opportunity and pray that I will have more occasions to use my images in ways that bring Him honor and glory, whether it's in this magazine or in any number of other ways. After all, my ultimate goal is to honor and glorify Him through my photography. Oh, and maybe bring in a little money while I'm at it. LOL

To God Be the Glory!
For more about CHOIS, CLICK HERE

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Welcome, Fall!"

Welcome, fall!

I took this image near the end of the fall 2006 season in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. It was my first visit of which I hope are many to this beautiful state!

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year...the long, hot days of summer are over and the air is now crisp and clean. Breezes blow and leaves turn. Ah welcome, fall, my friend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Long Time No Post"

Summer is a busy time for me personally, making blogging a challenge.

In June we are very busy as a family with church events in our community. I took over 1,000 photos of our VBS and our big community event and then had to post process those. I only finished those this past week and still have CD's to burn.

In July, I scored my first magazine cover! I had to ready the file for the cover and make sure it was to the magazine's publisher/printer's specs. I also made an ad for my business, to be included in the same magazine. The magazine should be arriving in my mailbox any day now and I'm very excited. We were also gone for three weeks of July as we drove to and from San Diego to visit family. I took so many photos! (I didn't count, but several thousand, no doubt) I haven't even gotten to post processing of those, yet.

August and September are extremely busy months for me as a homeschooling mother. This year I have a freshman and a senior. August is my school planning month. I create our girls' elective courses from scratch and tailor them to their own interests. This takes quite a bit of time and planning on my part, but it is well worth it. Of course, there are also the transcripts to do and graduation to prepare for. Oh, and don't forget the all important school pictures. As usual, we had to start school before I was actually finished preparing, so now I have the daily teaching things to do, as well as finishing up the planning.

August also means the county fair and photo contest entries to choose, (only 3) print, mount and enter. I will post one of my photos. It took 3rd. place out of approximately 68 entries in the category. I don't remember the exact number at the moment.

I have also continued to do some shooting in the field and have those photos to work on. I'm way behind on my photography, but that's the way it goes. I was able to do a quick process of the photos from the Wildlife Refuge I visited. See those HERE. I have been able to do at least a few from the different events and shoots. Mostly for family, though.

As you can see, the activities of summer have pretty much brought my blogging to a screeching hault! I can imagine I may be just as busy or more so when I go into full time photography, but until my kids are grown and gone, blogging, post-processing and photography will often be put on the back burner. Such is the life of a homeschooling mom...I love it and wouldn't have it any other way!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"On the Road to SoCal"

I took this photo on our drive to Southern California last Thursday. This is a portion of the Eastern Sierras. So much of it was hazy from the smoke of the fires right now, but this was a fairly clear area. Because we're on a time schedule to get to San Diego County, we couldn't stop the car for many photos, so most of my shooting was "drive by." At least this one doesn't have the crack in the windshield in it or the bug guts. LOL

Friday, July 4, 2008

"Independence Day 2008"

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Thanks to all who've served and are serving this great nation! I appreciate your great sacrifice for our freedom!





Monday, June 16, 2008

"Inspirational"

I added scripture to this sunset image that I took at Table Rock, near our home. You can see the whole valley from up on this hill.It's just gorgeous!

Click on the image to see more inspirational images with scripture.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"MK Nature Center"- Part 1

Allow me to introduce you to The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center. It is a 4.6 acre site by the greenbelt near downtown Boise.


The pond is a lovely place to view many species of birds and wildlife. There are viewing blinds throughout the park to give visitors a spot to quietly observe without disturbing the wildlife that abounds.



It offers a unique fish and wildlife experience to visitors. Below are the beaver dams, found along the stream walk within the center.


In the viewing exhibit below the water level of this waterfall, you are treated to window views of many fish and even a nursery.


Many birds and small animals reside in the snags located around the center.


The Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden provides a variety of plants and flowers to learn about as you stroll along the pathway.



The center is truly a special place to experience many of Idaho's wildlife and landscapes. From Alpine lakes to High Desert and don't forget the vistor's center at the entrance of the Nature Center. For more information Click Here.
Be sure to come back for Pt. 2 of this amazing place as my camera's focus will be on the wildlife and animals themselves that reside in this beautiful habitat. In the meantime, you can see more photos HERE.

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