Thursday, October 08, 2015

Understanding the Times Conference 2015

Doug and I traveled to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis, last week, to attend a Christian conference called "Understanding the Times." This is an annual conference, part of the ministries of Olivetree Ministries; but it's the first time we've attended. 

The conference sessions were on Friday night and all day Saturday, and there were some great speakers, all with messages on understanding the times in which we live in light of Bible prophecy. And, of course, it was nice to be among thousands of other like-minded folks.

Today, I'm sharing a few images from that conference.

Grace Church, where the conference was held

Jan Markell, Founder, President and host of Understanding the Times

The large screen enabled easy viewing of the speakers from any seat in the auditorium.

A panoramic view of the crowd

Books, CDs, and DVDs were available for purchase in the foyer during breaks in the conference.

A view from the other end of the foyer during the same break pictured in the previous photo

Our driving route to this conference took us near Wisconsin Dells, so we spent a couple of days there on our way back home. I'll share more about that in future posts.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

An Afternoon at Ouabache

We spent an afternoon at Ouabache State Park last week. These are some of the things that caught my eye.

A Cluster of Fungi

Canada Geese

A Pair of Sparrows

Purple Asters

Eastern Comma Butterfly

See the little comma on the underside of the wing?

A Footbridge on A Trail We Explored

Another Footbridge on the Same Trail

A Touch of Fall Color 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Remembering Snow

This set of photos is from earlier this year, when snow was still on the ground...and, in fact, still falling. The first three were taken on February 21, 2015. A hawk had apparently made a kill in our backyard and was alternating between sitting on it and snacking on it. 




The next three photos were taken on March 24, 2015, a few days into spring, although the rabbit and his robin companions may have been questioning that.




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Flowers and Flying Things

As most of you know, Doug and I enjoy spending afternoons at Ouabache State Park frequently during the warm-weather months. I probably wore you out with dragonfly photos during the weeks that they were thick there. So you may be pleased to know that there's not a single dragonfly among the flying things in this post.

Most of these images are from recent visits to Ouabache. I hope you enjoy them.

Purple Wildflower and a Pollen-Coated Bee
Purple Wildflowers

Monarch Butterflies are so beautiful. I was pleased to have found one today that allowed me several photo opportunities.



I love their polka dots


Now, this last photo wasn't taken at Ouabache. This was a moth that Doug found on our house this evening as he was scraping paint from our shutters in preparation for having them repainted. The moth startled Doug when it emerged from behind the shutter that Doug was scraping. 

Zale Lunata Moth
Knowing I wouldn't want to miss a chance for a photo, Doug called me to come and see his discovery.

I'm grateful to the organization, Butterflies and Moths of North America, for their help in identifying the Zale lunata moth. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Smoky Mountain Owl

Doug and I were reminiscing today, about various things we'd seen during our many trips to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Among his all-time favorite pictures that I've taken there are these of an owl that we saw one evening, as we neared the end of a hike on the Little River Trail.

HPIM0691c-Owl-Little River Trail

These were taken in November, 2005, with my very first digital camera. It was a little sub-compact, five-megapixel camera, with a 5X zoom, made by Hewlett Packard. I'll bet most of you didn't even know that HP made digital cameras. But that little camera was phenomenal. It became the standard by which we measured later cameras that came into our hands.

HPIM0692f-Owl-Little River Trail

Anyway, these photos are not great quality, but they remain favorites of ours, partly because this is the only time we've ever seen an owl in the Smokies. Doug refers to it as a "demon" owl because of the red eyes caused by the camera's flash.

HPIM0694f-Owl-Little River Trail

The originals were quite dark, but I've been able to lighten them up with photo editing software so that more of the owl is visible than just the red eyes.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wedding Photographer

Some of you may recall previous posts where I've talked about our friend, Pat. Her first husband, Gerald, died in 2006, before I started this blog. They were married just shy of 50 years. We had known them for about 10 years at the time, and Gerald was probably Doug's closest friend.

Then Pat married Richard, a man of terrific wit and insight, whom we soon learned to love and appreciate. Richard was a little older than Pat and had some health issues when they married. He died shortly before their fifth anniversary, in 2012.

And now, Pat has married again. She and her new husband, Adrian, were wed on Friday; and Pat asked me to "take some pictures" at the wedding. I was a nervous wreck about the assignment because, after all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for them; and what skill I have in photography is more that of a nature photographer than a wedding photographer.

A friend, who is an amateur photographer himself and has served as a wedding photographer on occasion, loaned me an expensive external flash, complete with a mounting bracket, and gave me a quick lesson in its use. That external flash saved the day.

Here are some of the results:





Congratulations to the happy couple and best wishes for good health and much happiness together.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Peace in the Midst of a Storm

It's been a trying week for me, as some of you already know. My Gmail account was hacked on Tuesday, the 18th. The hacker somehow got into the account and succeeded in locking me out. Then a phishing email was sent out to all my contacts, advising them that I was stranded in Cyprus with no money, no phone, and no passport and needing their help.

It took a couple of days for Google to investigate and let me back in. Meanwhile, I was locked out of all things Google, including my blog.

There is still a lot I want to do before I will feel semi-secure again; but, in the midst of it all, Doug and I enjoyed a day away at Ouabache State Park yesterday.

Here are some of the peaceful scenes that refreshed my soul.

The place at the park where we enjoy relaxing and reading

A butterfly paused just long enough for me to snap this shot.

Wildflowers growing alongside the lake
We try to get to Ouabache State Park about once a week, weather permitting. This summer, some friends have joined us most days; and we usually have supper together at the end of our relaxing afternoons.

It's always a treat to get away for an afternoon, but it was especially nice this week, taking time away from the computer woes at home.

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