Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm ready for my close-up.

It should come as no surprise to you now when I say, I love my little dog.  Her face worked it's way into my heart from the moment I first saw her in a somewhat blurry photo emailed to me by my aunt at the animal shelter.   In last two (plus) years she and I have got to know each other better and I have to come to determine that we are a perfect fit. 

In the very beginning I realized that Bianka was of all things camera-shy. She'd often run away when I tried to snap her photo. I guess she's gotten used to me having a camera pressed to my face a good bit of the time, and now believe it or not, she's a ham.

At Christmas I did some impromptu  family portraits, and in the middle of all the confusion was little Miss Bianka, quietly posed at the foot of every family grouping. 

(Christmas 2008)

Then last week  a good friend of mine came to visit and she agreed to let me do some photos of her to try out some new equipment.  Guess who had to be right in the thick of things? Yes, Little Miss Binx.   She started off observing from the stairs, but eventually she found her way to the middle of the action and by the end she practically demanded some time of her own in front of the camera. 
(patiently waiting)

Eventually, I gave in. I mean how can you say "no" to this face?

She's a great little model. Don't be surprised if you see more test shots  done with her.

Like I said a  camera-loving dog, photographer owner... a perfect match.

These next three are actually the same image processed different ways.  I can't decide which one I like the best.

This one is straight out of the camera with no adjustment.

I think this one needs the  caption...Snakes Beware.

And, I'm leaning toward this one as my favorite.  It seems a little softer than the rest. I don't know. Tell me what  you think.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crys' picks for Yellow Springs

This post is partly for my yoga instructor, Sharon. She's going to be coming up to YS for a yoga workshop and asked me for the skinny on things to do and see in town. Admittedly, I feel like I'm a visitor to the town even with all the time I spend there. Mostly this is because much of my time is dedicated to working at Village Artisans and not out exploring. That being said here's my list of favs.

#1 When you get close to Dayton tune the radio to 91.3 WYSO.  You know how I love my NPR. Well, I blame WYSO for this addiction.   Their programing is always eclectic. 

#2 Coffee. You have to love a town that has so many choices for a good cup of Joe. My personal favorite is Dino's Cappuccino's, especially if the daily brew is Highlander Grogg, Moonstruck Malzabar, or Jungle Love (Don't you love that name.) But the Emporium and the recently opened Brother Bear's can also hook you up with some great coffee too.

#3 Artsy shops. Time for shameless self-promotion here.
Village Artisans is a must. I've been a member here for 10 years, and it is the oldest artist's cooperative in the Miami Valley. You'd be surprised at the tallent of the people in the area, and usually the person working in the shop is on the artists. Be sure to ask which art they do. I also love Yellow Springs Pottery (another co-op), Would You Could You In a Frame, and the Shirley-Jones Gallery.

#4 Other Artsy spots. The whole town is covered in art. You'll find loads of murals on the building. Then there are the
Jafa Girls. These are the ladies responsible for decorating the park benches, the street signs, telephone poles and even trees about town with their colorful art.  Many of them are friends of mine and I love their creative energy. Then let us not forget about the Chamber Pot Gallery. The space is actually a public restroom, which can be hard to find in a town of this size, but here it is a Louvre in a Loo. Check it it. It's a lot of fun.

#5 More fun shops. There are too many to list here but check out the
Chamber of Commerce site for a complete listing. My personal favorite is Mr. Fub's Party. Nothing like an old fashioned toy store to make you feel young again. I also love a good bookstore, and Sam & Eddie's Open Books is a fun place check out.

#6 Nature. Its everywhere. (I know it sounds cheesey.)
Glen Helen is one of my favorite places, and sadly, I've not been there in years. I need to fix that. The Glen runs along the Eastern side of the town and has a variety of hot spots, including the town's namesake, the Yellow Spring. There is a trail map that is handy to help you find your way through the Glen. If that isn't enough there's also John Bryan State Park and Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve nearby.

#7 Food. Most of the time when I'm in town, my dining experiences are limited to things I can grab quickly and get back to the store. That's when Ha Ha Pizza saves the day. My favorite mushroom, artichoke, and black olive on whole wheat crust. YUM! I also enjoy the eggplant sub. There are plenty of other wonderful places to eat, but like I said I'm usually on the go and don't get to enjoy places like
William's Eatery, The Winds or Current Cuisine.  

#8  Misc things.  There are other sites to see.  Saturday Mornings is the Farmer's Market in the parking log behind King's Yard off Walnut Street.  On weekends it isn't unusual to find musicians jamming on the street.  You can rent bikes or roller blades and hit the bike path. Just north of town there is the ever popular Young's Jersey Dairy. This started out as a working Jersey farm, and it still is, but it has grown to be an attraction in and of itself with hayrides, a petting farm and even a miniature golf course named Utters and Putters.   It's fun to go up feed the goats, say "hi" to the cows, and get some of the best homemade ice cream.  In the evening you can take in a movie at the Little Art Theatre.

So that is my little list of thing I like to do in Yellow Springs.  Writing this has made me long for a day when I have more time there myself.  I'd like to hang out and explore, and perhaps find some new favs to ad the list. 

I hope you get the chance to Explore Yellow Springs.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Snake Hunting Season -OPEN

Yesterday marked the opening of  garter snake hunting season.  As I mowed the grass and did other yard work, Bianka was on the search.    A couple of sightings in the morning, but it wasn't until 2:00 did she get a confirmed catch.  Now because the this is usually followed by a 30 minute stand-off, with her guarding her catch, I ended up missing a workshop I was trying to squeeze into my day.  Oh well. It beats the alternative, her bringing the thing into the house with her.  

Not much later I came inside for a minute or two only to have the little dog scratch at the door and beg for me to follow her back into the yard, as if to say, "Come look at what I've done." There it was. Snake #2.   Two confirmed snake catches in one day....and here I had thought snake numbers would be down this year with the removal of overgrown vegetation and Bianka's impressive stats from last year. I guess I was wrong. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Work In Progress

Many months ago I decided to start a second blog...a photo blog. I've dabbled in it a little here and there, but I've never felt like it was finished. Therefore I've not wanted to promote it. Well, guess what? It's still not "finished." I can't decide if I like the categories or the way I've done the header, or if I should change the background color, but you know my real hesitation has to do more with fear and insecurity than anything.  

The fear and anxiety is associated with announcing the blog directly correlates with the fear and anxiety about adding the business aspect to my photography.   I definitely have more of an artistic sensibility when it comes to this type of thing.  The thought of a "business plan" intimidates the hell out of me, and, it's this type of intimidation that keeps me from working toward my goals...which in a way is sort of ironic because I'm not really even sure what my goals are yet.  
I know I need to get over this hang-up because the fear takes over and I end up doing nothing.

So, let's adopt the artistic attitude.  
Create something.  Give it a little time. Evaluate and respond to it.  Be okay with the fact that it is most likely going to change. Be okay with not knowing which direction this is going to take you.  Remind yourself that you do not have to have this all figured out before you actually do it. (If you did....well then what's the point?)

So my blog, like my "business" (and I use the term very loosely) is a work in progress. 
I don't have a logo yet, nor an official website, and that is okay for now.  If you'd like to stop by and check it out, please visit  I'll be posting some of my images and stories, and perhaps images I find by other people.  I love the idea of sharing knowledge, so I'll pass along tips, tricks, and interesting tidbits along the way. 

I openly welcome input and comments from anyone that checks it out. Please check back from time to time. Right now I'm adding posts from the various sessions did over the last year, plus my personal photography. Also I'm sure the layout and the categories will change from time to time. It might be fun to watch the progression. 

Don't worry you loyal readers of this blog, and I mean all 5 of you.  I'm still keeping this blog. There will very likely be some cross posting, but I think I'll keep the other one more focused (no pun intended) on photography.  Yes, the Bianka Snake Hunting stats will still be broadcast so you can update your tally sheets.*
*Incidentally Snake Hunting Season officially opened yesterday.  Stats to be posted soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Goldie

Today my great grandmother turns 109! I think she may be the oldest living person in Greene County, Ohio, but I'll need to confirm that one.
(Photo from the Fairborn Daily Herald)
Happy Birthday Goldie!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signs of Spring

Here are some real signs of Spring from my back yard.

  • Grass stained tennis shoes
  • Asparagus breaking through the Earth
  • Bees pollenating the peach blossoms.
  • Bianka digging for snakes...
  • and coming up with a dirty nose.