Photography Feed

Eyes on the Sky

I've been a little particular about letting the boys use my new digital camera since the last one bit the dust a few months ago. (It fell victim to some rather rigorous "Lego" filmmaking.) So now when they ask to use it, they know they have to have a pretty good reason for it - not just that the cat is being really cute or because the crazy squirrel's climbing the windowscreen again.

So, last evening, when Bookworm bounded up to me all excited and said ...

"Mum, can I please use your camera for a quick minute - PLEASE? You just can't believe the sunset tonight!"

... well, what could I do but hand it over? :)


A few minutes later Bookworm returned the camera to me (unscathed), but first he showed me the image he had just captured on the digital screen. As you can see above, it truly was a breathtaking sky.

My son looked at me proudly and said:

"Now that one's making the blog."

(But of course.)

You know, we mothers get all excited when our children show an interest in something. We can't help ourselves - their enthusiasm is catching! It's fun to watch, to wonder where it might go. It gets our parental wheels turning. So of course I found myself wondering - maybe Bookworm will be a naturalist some day, or a professional photographer? Perhaps he'll be interested in meterology, or maybe he'll develop an eye for color and become an artist?

Any of those things could happen, but maybe it's simpler than that. Maybe, he'll just grow up feeling in tune with the world around him, conscious of the day's subtle rhythm. As he matures and his life gets busier and more complex, I'd like to think that these little things will still grab his notice. That something as fleeting and ordinary as a sunset will still give him pause for thought.

It's not part of any lesson plan per se, but it is something I hope to pass on to my boys - an appreciation for the simple, little beauties of life. They're free for the taking, and they're always with us. You all know how often I post pictures of the sky here at my blog - whether it be sunny, snowy, shadowy, or somewhere in between. It's a constant that's always changing and it's always, if nothing else, interesting.

Well, I guess someone has been paying attention - I guess a few pairs of eyes have been following my own to the sky. And I guess, maybe, my own enthusiasm has been catching.

By the way, this evening's sunset is just as striking - Bookworm just called my attention to it.

Have a wonderful evening, my friends. :)

~*Dawn at Home*~

  dawn: n. The time each morning at which daylight first begins ...

I have always been a morning person, and I especially love that very first moment of the day, when night officially ends and the light returns. Have you ever noticed how, when and where the first rays of light enter your home? It's a neat moment to watch for - and right now, just days before we turn back the clocks, it's easy to catch it, even if you don't rise as early as we do. ;) It's still dark at 7:00!

But with autumn passing on, and winter fast approaching, every bit of that golden light is precious. I felt the need to capture it this morning as we settled into our day ...










The windows of my soul I throw wide open to the sun. ~ John Greenleaf Whittier

When fall comes to New England ...

This past weekend was so lovely ~ temps in the low 50s, a brilliant sky, and a chilly breeze overall. When fall comes to New England,* it's time to bundle up and get out there to enjoy nature's last dance of glory.

And where does one find fall at its best? Well, everywhere and anywhere, of course - within the deepest of woods, at the peak of the hills, and right inside our own garden gate.

I hope you enjoy these random autumn pictures, taken on family jaunts to the woods, the seaside, the fair and the farm ... and a very happy fall to you all.























It will not always be like this,
The air windless, a few last
Leaves adding their decoration
To the trees’ shoulders, braiding the cuffs
Of the boughs with gold; a bird preening

In the lawn’s mirror. Having looked up
From the day’s chores, pause a minute,
Let the mind take its photograph
Of the bright scene, something to wear
Against the heart in the long cold.

           ~ R.S. Thomas

*Please do take a moment to listen to Cheryl Wheeler's amazing song, When Fall Comes to New England. She is one of my favorite folk singers (introduced to me by my parents!), and her song - in a beautiful and sentimental way - captures the essence of autumn where I live. Click and enjoy. :)

A Quick Sunday Night Post ~

Consumed as I am with finishing the final chapters of Breaking Dawn (oh, my!), I still feel the need to put up a quick Sunday night post, so here are some random summer nature photos for you all (and yes, that would mean I finally found my lost photo-card-insert thingy - thank you, Bookworm!) ...











Big week coming up for us around here ~ VBS starts bright and oh-so-early tomorrow morning. I'll be back with a new post just as soon as possible. :)

~ Thoughts on Nature Journals ~

Many homeschoolers relish the practice - or at least the idea - of keeping a nature journal. Really, it's a wonderful tool for channeling those lessons learned through formal, or informal, nature study. Personally, I love the idea of a handmade journal, filled with notes and drawings and maybe even real-live (or once-live) specimens. This is my ideal form of nature journaling - for myself as well as my boys - but so far our attempts at paper journals have pretty much fizzled. We're good for a week or two, and then those new notebooks gets put aside.

I have not given up hope, though. (I'm nothing if not hopeful!) After much contemplation, I have come to think we will do better with one big family field journal instead of aiming to keep up three or four. After all, for the most part, we experience nature all together, and those experiences are all the more fruitful because they are shared. I think (and hope) the same reasoning will apply to a journal. This is our summer goal #1, and the cornerstone of our summer project, Forest School (details soon!), so stay tuned to follow along with our progress. :)

But in the meantime, I hate to see our nature study go by without chronicling it in some way, so I turn to the wonders of virtual reality; I post our photos and nature notes here at my blog (and in turn at my Nature Corner for storage). But because my boys don't regularly tune into my blogs, I also keep a nature shelf up-to-date with their little finds and other symbols of the season (books, puppets, etc.). In this way - through the notes and photos and tiny treasures brought home - bit by bit, we capture the everyday nature that makes up our world ...

If you love the idea of nature journaling, but find it a challenge to work it into your already busy home-learning life, consider an online journal (or in other words, a blog). You don't have to go public - it can be made private, and available only to those folks with whom you share your password. If you have a digital camera, uploading pictures is so quick and easy (believe me, if I can learn to do it, anyone can). And jotting down brief observations daily or every few days, could not be easier. For a better idea of the possibilites of online nature journaling, check out my Nature Blogroll over on my righthand sidedar - there are many lovely sites there to peruse. :)

But finally, it's on to my photos for today! I have scads of them piling up, and since Spring moves fast around here, I'd like to share them before they get outdated! Thanks for listening to my thoughts on nature journaling, and thanks for checking in to see what we're up to!


The first tender shoots of what I believe to be lilly-of-the-valley.


The bleeding hearts are, at last, in full boom.


This is a red-winged blackbird at a local park.


This is an earthworm the boys found; it was huge. (A nightcrawler?)


The sky-view from where I stand as I push Earlybird on the swings. :)


Tree buds a week ago - they've since opened!


Another tree-in-the-sky shot. (I just love photographing trees.)


A busy bee at a local park. (Unidentified tree.)


Can you see the robin in the evening light?


The last bit of sunset.


Photograph by Bookworm ~ a baby dragonfly (?) resting on my hat!


A killdeer we spotted at a nearby lake.


A mourning dove pair nestled in an evergreen. (See his mate?)


I loved the way these tree buds (blossoms, leaves?) looked in the sun.


We found an owl pellet at the base of this tree, so we think this is a nest!


These will become helicopter seeds in the fall!


A lovely but unidentified flowering tree, pretty against the blue.


A johnny jump-up I'm attempting to press.


A morel mushroom we found in our yard; now it rests on our nature shelf.

As you can tell, I get as much pleasure - and education - out of nature study, as my boys do! And this is another good reason for working on one journal all together ~ none of us is an expert. Even though I wear the teacher's (and mother's) cap, we're all learning right alongside each other. As with so many things in our life, this is very much a joint venture. :)

Well, I must be off now, but if I may, let me leave you with a quote from one of my favorite nature handbooks ...

"The chief charm of nature study would be taken away if it did not lead us through the border-land of knowledge into the realm of the undiscovered. Moreover, the teacher, in confessing her ignorance and at the same time her interest in a subject, establishes between herself and her pupils a sense of companionship which relieves the strain of discipline, and gives her a new and intimate relation with her pupils which will surely prove a potent element in her success. The best teacher is always one who is the good comrade of her pupils." (Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Comstock) 

April Smiles ~ Spring Violets


I popped over to my mum and dad's today to get some help with my knitting. (The scarf is done! And I'm onto something new! More on all that later ...) And on my way in, I was so delighted to see a patch of vibrant violets growing by their front door ... Of course, I had to bring some home for our nature table, and there they will sit as long as the water keeps them fresh. (That's a votive candle holder wrapped with a little lace ribbon, btw.) For this picture, however, I moved the tiny bouquet off the shelf, and onto a sunny spot which showed them to their best, and most cheerful, advantage. :)

I'm sending Bill over tomorrow to dig up a clump or two to bring home to our own yard. I hope they transplant well!

Nature Study Club ~ Our April Meeting

Spring, we're happy to report, is alive and well in the woods ... :)


I can hardly find the words to tell you how lovely a day it was here in New England. What is that saying? April in New England is like first love? How very true. When Spring at last returns, Mother Earth's charms seem at once familiar and new.

We could not have asked for finer weather today. The temperature hovered close to 70, the sunshine was bright, the air was fresh ...

Our April Nature Club meeting, led by my friends Holly and Leigh, had a very special theme: Silent Spring. Our large group (approximately 10 families in all) was instructed to go forth into the woods and search out the new season in total and complete silence. By doing so, we would amplify our other senses, and catch things we might otherwise miss. We could sketch, draw, take pictures, write notes or even poetry ... but not a word was to be passed - until we met back up again an hour later to compare findings.

So the boys and I set out, establishing signals as we went ...


We heard a lot of birdsong. Some familiar, some slightly mysterious.


And we wrote notes to each other when the hand signals didn't work.

Here is a sampling of the spring things we found in the woods ~


Skunk cabbage - we think. It didn't smell strongly, but it was growing in a marshy area where mature plants were situated.


This is not a great picture, but I had to show you these butterflies! Can anyone help us identify them? They were dark chocolate brown (perhaps black) with yellow (or maybe white) along the edges of their wings. These two appeared to be courting. :)


We found this fur in a few different places. Deer, skunk, or coyote, perhaps?


Such a strange and very cool fungus! It looks like the turkey tail fungus we've found in our own woods, but this stuff was green! (Algae, maybe?) Someone else found a vibrant pink fungus - now, I would have loved to have seen that!


Here we have a mallard pair. He was so watchful of her! She was oblivious, however, and just fished around the pond muck for ... well, whatever there was to be found down there!


And here is a phoebe taking a break from some vigorous nestbuilding.


We couldn't get over these gorgeous tree buds. Wouldn't they make lovely yarn? :)

The light through the trees was just fantastic. Everywhere I looked I saw another picture I just had to snap. (No wonder I filled up my memory card, lol!)



And of course, where there's light, there will be shadow ...



"Winter's done, and April's in the skies,
Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes!"   

     -   Charles G. D. Roberts   

Well, as always, I thank you for stopping by and sharing in our day. I'll see you again sometime tomorrow ~ have a happy and peaceful goodnight! :)

April Smiles ~ Signs of Life

~ A morning nature walk in our backyard ~


Lilac buds with a hint of the color to come ...


A slug doing what slugs do best ...


White crocus in full bloom ...


A tiny ant sipping sap on the spruce ...


A firefly minding his own business ...


Bits of green found here ...


... and there. (That's natural whatever it is!)


The first dandelion of the year, growing in gravel of all places! :)

Happy Spring!

April Smiles ~ Natural Light






The one thing I can't resist when it comes to photography, is capturing natural light. I am stymied without it, actually. I am drawn to its moods - the way it personifies a time of day or the season at hand. And I can't help but think it makes everything look better; it takes the most humble of subjects (a walnut shell, for instance) and reveals its inner beauty...

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." Aaron Rose

Tuesday's a busy day here ~ have a good one, my friends!

April Smiles


Last night, on my way out to a meeting, I spied these tiny, tender spring heralds. Naturally, I had my camera on me, so I snapped a picture or two before I hopped in the car. :)

You've probably noticed by now that I love taking photos, especially of nature. I must admit though, I was never much of a shutterbug till I started this blog. Now it's a favorite hobby of mine - though I still don't really know what I'm doing! I've had my camera for about a year now, but all the settings still confuse me. I suppose I could read the manual, but A. manuals bore me, and B. I can't find it anway, so I guess I'll go with my original plan which is to learn "on the job," so to speak. ;)

If you're wondering where I'm going with all this, well, I will tell you ~ I am heading over to Jennifer's where she's kicked off a new blogging project, an April Shower of Photos! Here are Jennifer's own words to explain more ~

If you would like to join me in a month of photos, please drop a comment into the comment box and I'll collect all our info into my seriously outdated sidebar. Set your own goals for the month or focus on a theme that interests you (Spring Flowers, macro photos, portraits, or perhaps the color green?) or simply have uploading one photo a day as your goal! Goodness knows that's all I'll get done some April days!

I hope to make April's Shower of Photos a little Loveliness to look forward to each day, won't you join me?

I will definitely join you, Jennifer! I will shoot for one photo a day, but I can't promise. As for a theme, I think I will stick with what makes me smile. In the merry month of April there should be plenty of things to choose from, both inside and out. :)

Have a good day, everyone!

Makes Me Smile


The little red squirrel who visits our feeders ...


Our cat, Penny, 17 years young ...


A brand new journal started just today ...


New buds dotting the tree-tops ...

And April afternoons like this one ~ breezy, bright and beautiful. The boys are playing in the yard and I'm preparing notes for my Mittenstrings meeting tonight. If I have time I'm going to bake some carrot breads for the morning ... but that's a mighty big if. I still have math to correct, supper to start, and a big load of laundry to fold.

Where does the day go, I ask you? :)

Have a lovely evening, my friends ~ see you all again sometime soon.

A Few Morning Pictures






It's lightly snowing here this morning, and the birds are flocking to the feeders like crazy. (The little red squirrel too, as you can see from the pictures.) It's all just so beautiful, I can hardly put my camera down to post!

Though we're on the doorstep of March, it is a true winter's day - flurries through the morning, and then sunny and cold. In fact, it will only get into the 20s! Fine by us ~ we're off to an indoor pool party today! What a welcome respite that will be!

Have a great day, everyone. :)

Camera Talk

Thank you so much for all the kind comments about my pictures! I must say, this winter weather has provided me with plenty of inspiration. :) Before I call it a night, I wanted to answer a few questions about my camera ...Camera

I have a Sony Cybershot 7.2 megapixel digital camera with 3x optical zoom and super steady shot. (I felt a bit like Ralphie in A Christmas Story just then, lol.) It is a slight upgrade from an earlier Sony Cybershot I owned. That camera served me well until the gears locked up and the lenses wouldn't open (something to do with taking pictures in the, ahem, rain). This one is great - lightweight, slim, easy to use. I am ridiculously unversed in the many buttons and settings it offers, and still I manage fairly good shots. I almost always use no flash. I play around with light and angles a lot. I take closer pictures now than I used to (this makes a huge difference). I sometimes use the tiny "macro" setting that allows me to zoom in tightly on small things like petals and feathers.

I take most of my bird photos through the windows. It's really the only way, as birds are pretty skittish subjects. The only bird I've been able to photograph in "the wild" is a chickadee. (They're brave little things, those chickadees.) We have a lot of feeders and we've been feeding the birds for a long time. (Almost eight years at this house.) As a result, we get a nice variety of birds here and many visitors a day. If you'd like, I will describe in a future post the kinds of feeders and foods we use.

Well, that's all for now. I hope you had a nice day ~ I'll be back again sometime tomorrow. :)