June 30, 2009

Newport, RI


Mileage 157

Bike Mileage zero

Destination Boston

We stopped over at relatives for dinner today, which was relaxing and a nice break from a road trip. On the way to Boston, we stopped in Newport, RI and viewed the Mansions and Touro Synagogue. Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the United States. It is located in Newport, Rhode Island. Here are two images from my lens.

June 29, 2009



Mileage 236
Bike Mileage 5.8

Destination Riverdale Farm Campground Madison, CT

Today was fun. We arrived at Riverdale farm campground in Connecticut earlier than usual, set up our tent in a shady spot by the small river (E-74) and set off to ride bikes to the beach. The ride was not safe, and we turned around. We drove to the beach which was at Hammonassett State Park. (This state park has a nice grassy area for tents and hot showers.) The sand was rocky, but smelled like a beach! Here is my self-portrait with camera bag and skirt.

The flowers are pretty at the beach just a few feet from the water. We are going to have a sandy tent tonight... Later, two kids are now in the pond "to wash off the sand" at 8 PM. One kid is playing basketball with about six other campers. And I have a coat on!!!

June 28, 2009

Philadelphia Quick Stop

Mileage 268

Bike Mileage 5.38

Philadelphia is famous for many successes including Ben Franklin whose history is rich here. But we visited a few years ago and saw Ben's traces and the Liberty Bell. Today we walked down South Street and tasted the Philly Cheese Steak at Jim's Steaks. This was a good sandwich. Look at the line!

This city is very bike friendly with city streets reserving the right lane for buses, right turning vehicles and bicycles. Hopefully, we will be able to ride tomorrow morning.

Pocahontas State Park -- Water, Bikes and Nature

Mileage 326.1
Bike mileage 6.66

We arrived at Pocahontas State Park in Virginia last night. It is a nice space. The pool is amazing with slides and a water park for young children. The campground driveways are paved and great for bikes. There is also a mountain bike trail. Here is our campsite.

On the way, we started listening to Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli yesterday. All three kids were listening intently. Maniac is a talented orphan who is looking for an address to call home. One of my favorite things about camping is getting woken up by nature. This morning the birds were out in full force. And I got up at 6:53.

My camping tip for today is to keep everything in the place you put it for the whole trip, so you can find it. (ie. phone charger in small green duffle bag)

June 26, 2009

Sara Evans -- Pray for You

Car mileage -- 260.5

Bke mileage -- zero

Our road trip has begun... We stopped past Charlotte, NC to avoid traffic in the AM. On the way we listened to music mostly. By far Sara Evans is my favorite artist. She is country... with a twang that won't be for everyone. My favorite song of hers was released last year on the greatest hits CD. I listened to it to today and it was a great song to start off our road trip... Sara says, "And baby what don't kill you, will make you strong. Just love the journey that you're on."

Pray for You starts off, "I wish I could run home to mama's lovin' arms... sittin' with her on the porch, glass of tea and nothin' more." To me this is a sweet song about strength and grabbing hold of it.

Packing was hard... driving 2600 miles with three kids in tow will be hard too, but it will all be worth it. I hope you will follow us on our journey to Cape Cod for the 4th of July and back over the next couple weeks. We will be listening to many audio books, camping out, cooking, sight-seeing and of course I will be publishing my photographs here.

June 24, 2009

Georgia Geography Lesson -- salt marsh

While researching today I came across this concise article in the Atlanta Journal and Consititution about Georgia's beautiful sites. This is an article to check off as you visit each location.

I was looking up salt marsh because the Chattahoochee Nature Center has several near its location on the Chattahoochee River. This park is great for younger children. They have several beavers, bald eagles, owls and hawks.

The salt marsh is important to the river. Pictured here in these rich green photographs are the marsh in June of 2009 and also a close up of the tall grasses of the marsh. In these images the water is high. The plants that live in the marsh are able to grow in salty conditions. Tidal surges bring in nutrients including salt. Grasses first establish in the mud of the flat. Once they flourish, their root system carries oxygen, which allows other plants to take hold. The marsh collects unwanted nutrients from the river and sends "clean" water back out to the river. If you drive by a pond on a regular basis, notice how its changes with the contents of the water. I'll add a photo another day when the water is low, so you can see the difference.
Here is the marsh in March 2010 in the bottom two brown shots. (Sorry for the delay.) I missed a few opportunities to take photos, but these definitely show the contrast and are worth waiting for. All four of these images were taken from the same location along the Chattahoochee River.

June 21, 2009

Butterfly Plant -- Lantana

Children are easily delighted with butterflies. Why not add a plant meant to attract these creatures? We have a lantana plant and it is wonderful in that it spreads and does beautifully in the heat. It doesn't mind a drought either. Here are a couple blooms from our plant.

June 20, 2009

Etsy Shop -- MagMoment

I added an Etsy shop this week... Let me know what you think! I added a link on the right side of this page. http://www.magmoment.etsy.com/ I will be adding a couple photographs to the shop each day, so check back. Above is one of my latest experiments in photoshop. This is another Japanese Magnolia.

June 17, 2009

Quick Photography Composition

I am teaching digital photography this week to elementary and middle school students, and it's a blast! We have discussed the following composition elements:

landscape vs portrait
diagonal lines
bright colors
removing clutter from photos
shirts with words on them interferring with photograph
framing subjects
using an odd number of subjects

Yesterday we looked at images from Robert Weingarten. Take a look! They are beautiful. He will be in Atlanta the beginning of next year at the Lumiere Gallery and a show at the High Museum of Art.

The children are creating a beautiful wall of their work!

June 14, 2009

Taylor Swift Shines in Atlanta

Amazing. The girl is just 19! She played to a sold-out Phillips Arena Saturday night in Atlanta before Keith Urban. She sang "Love Story," "Our Song" and "Teardrops on My Guitar." Her goal was to utilize technology and she did a great job with this.

The color, videos and three enormous screens really added to the show. My favorite part was at the end of "You should have said no" when Taylor was in a bright red sequined dress and was dancing as they filmed parts of her three times on the big screens. The woman played piano, guitar, bass and managed an incredible duet on some out-of-this-world tin can drums.

Yes, Keith Urban was there and he did an amazing job, but Taylor's age really stands out. As a parent she strikes me as an example to the kids to take piano, guitar or voice lessons and practice! My son likes to say that "Everyone has equal ability to make tons of money." With a little practice you never know what might happen.

We sang Toby Keith's "I want to Talk about me" the whole way home because we didn't have a Taylor CD in the car. She'll be back in Atlanta on Sept. 3rd. Tickets go on sale on June 19th. Don't miss it.

June 12, 2009

Dance Photograph


West Paces Ferry Road Atlanta

I stopped today because the background leaves were so pretty against these Day Lillies. See how beautiful the leaves are! This family has a great gardener. The first image isn't colored, but the second is a bit.

Have a great Friday!

June 11, 2009

Women in Focus Photography Group -- Atlanta

I attended the monthly Women In Focus meeting last night. We held a critique where we offered our own comments about 5 works from fellow members. This was an inspiring event. It also reiterates how important it is to obtain feedback from other people. Also, viewing a lot of works can help me gleam perspective about where I am at with my work.

And, it is so important to learn about shows and other opportunities to get my name out there. These women are in the know. This Atlanta women's group will be holding several shows in October. The steps involved in choosing 6 works I like, printing them (or having them printed) and giving them titles and prices and mailing them in to a potential show is in many ways exhilarating. The last step is framing those images that are chosen, so I don't submit anything I don't want to frame.

Shoot more images. Membership is only $25/year. Our next meeting is July 8th. Don't miss it.

June 10, 2009

TripTik Travel Planner from AAA

We are planning our 5th road trip with bikes in tow.

The first was driving up the outer banks of North and South Carolina. The car ferry ride was definitely a highlight.
The second was to Washington DC. Here we started a tradition of viewing a baseball game.

The third was to Pennsylvania. We drove up to Pittsburgh and then crossed the state. We loved both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. In between we visited Hersey Park and Gettsburg. This trip home includes stops in Atlantic City, and Norfolk and a ferry ride.

Thje fourth was the most adventuresome and included passports because we drove through Ohio and Michigan into Canada to Toronto and then to Montreal. We drove back through Niagra Falls and West Virginia.

Each year we also camp on our trips, which allows us to stay in some nice hotels on the other nights.

So how do I do this? With the aid of AAA. Their TripTik software is super. Of course it allows me to book hotels on-line. I like the map that I can zoom into, which plots attactions, parks, pro sports venue, and lodging. I end up with incredibly easy to follow directions. It has total mileage like mapquest.com and yahoomaps.com, but I like the printout that AAA creates that is landscape instead of portrait.
Also, because I am a member, I can go to AAA and pick up free TourBooks and maps of each state. I recently requested they add more than 22 destinations or points on the map, and their programmers already had this on their list of tasks. So, check it out. Let me know what you think. This image above is from their software. Notice the choices in the list. Once you select an option, a couple more dropdowns appear and then the software adds the point to the map.
Oh, I almost forgot... I am armed with lots of books on CD at the beginning of the trip. I'll talk about those in another post. Happy camping!

June 07, 2009

Iris Seed Pods

By now I have learned that gardening is like life -- I learn much from my mistakes. I have also learned to study one plant/flower a season. Otherwise to me, gardening becomes a chore. This year I planted iris bulbs to go with a few left by the previous homeowners. Many of the new iris flowered the first season. Curious, I got out my Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening. The book said that some will take a couple of years before they flower.

But there is also a section in the book about growing iris from the seeds. It says to stake up the seed pods shown here and pull them from the plant when they turn brown. After browning, the seeds are ready to plant. So... we shall see what happens.
Another text says to remove the seed pods, so the plant can expend its energy enhancing the root system and base plant instead of creating seeds not to be utilized. Being a science teacher, I did a little of both. I cut some seed pods and left two stalks in the garden.
I like this photograph because of the dramatic lighting and few colors. The "blue" background is the gray asphalt street. Looks pretty, doesn't it?

June 06, 2009

Jersey Boys Plays Atlanta

What a show! It was pouring rain when we entered the Fox on Thursday night, but I thought to myself, "I am certain it will be worth making it through the rain to see this show."

Jersey Boys was very well written. At the end my son said, "I haven't heard any of this music before." I responded that "all later music is influenced by all previous music in one way or another." Jersey Boys is a well done biography of Frankie Valli. It was fun, entertaining and educational all at the same time. The amazing music included: "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man" and "December, 1963 (Oh, What a night)."

I liked this show as a contrast to Mamma Mia, which features Abba's music, and Movin' Out, which features Billy Joel's music. This was better because it utilizes the singer's music to tell his own story. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Mamma Mia and Billy Joel's music moves me. All of these broadway shows are riveting! But this was special and a nice tribute to Frankie Valli who is still living.

And, one of the best parts of attending this show was seeing the Fox Theater FULL! Perhaps the recession is receding. It's playing all next week... buy tickets!

June 04, 2009

Spring Photography

So, the bar mitzvah happened!
and now I have time to work.
I just pulled up and edited
images to match the latest magnolia.
This bottom image is closest to the original.
Let me know what you think.
This is the first day of summer vacation!
We started our list of what we want to do
this summer! Sew, experiment, build, cook...