Friday, November 1, 2019


We had a surprise snowstorm on Halloween--six inches of wet, heavy snow.  The fall colors were past peak, particularly after we had had a couple of extremely windy days just prior to the snow.  Still, as I have in past years, I had visited our subdivision's multi-acre deciduous woods with my camera to capture some of the color, both the yet-to-fall . . .

. . . and the fallen.

Then the snows came, and even the local flock of turkeys that roost in the woods seemed surprised, as I watched this one in my backyard scratching the snow in search of breakfast.

In an attempt to capture the early snow and perhaps to tell a visual story, I tried to juxtapose the remaining fall color against the snow that was coating the background trees.


Monday, October 28, 2019


Sunday was a sunny day and warmer than normal for late October, so my wife and I decided to drive out to Holy Hill, formally known as "Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians," a catholic basilica about 30 miles from our home.  The basilica is situated at the top of a hill in Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine area.  The church itself is lovely, and from its exterior one can see miles of wooded land in all directions.  It was a little late for fall color, but still promised beautiful vistas on a crisp fall day.  I brought my camera, hoping for both exterior landscape and interior architectural opportunities.  Apparently, thousands of others had a similar thought, as there were at least 500 cars in the parking lots and it took us a good 10 minutes of driving around waiting for a parking space to open up.  I did get a few interior shots, but nothing that I haven't shot a number of times previously.  It was actually on the way home that an opportunity presented itself in the form of a Halloween display on the road leading to Holy Hill.

When I spotted the display of skeletons I recalled that I had driven by the display in prior years and had even taken a shot or two.  This year, though, I believe the artist responsible had outdone himself.  The theme this year was leisure activities, as the following photos indicate.

To give an idea, this first couple are of a rock band.

But there were other activities as well, including a poker game, a group having a hookah smoke, a pool game, and hanging out at a bar.

And finally (and my favorite) one poor skeleton appears to have had a bit too much to drink.


Monday, October 14, 2019


This morning's walk revealed our first frost for fall of 2019, at least in our neighborhood, just about right on schedule for this area.  So I grabbed my camera to capture the frost before the morning sun burned it off.  Here are some of the shots I took amid some broader-leafed plants (aka weeds) a few blocks from our home.

This was shortly after dawn, and the amount of light was less than optimal.  But I was in a bit of a hurry and, let's face it, a bit too lazy to use my tripod.  As a result, these handheld shots involved some compromise among shutter speed, depth of field, and ISO.  In terms of aperture, these were shot at f/8, which at close range left some of the components somewhat out of focus.  In retrospect, I probably should have used my tripod or else ramped up the ISO further and reduced the aperture to, say, f/16, to maximize depth of field.  Still, after a hiatus of several weeks for some eye surgery, I was happy just to be out with my camera.


Sunday, August 25, 2019


As I mentioned in my previous post, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is just across the street from the Albuquerque Museum (of art and history), and both venues are essentially adjacent to Albuquerque's Old Town district.  The science museum is not huge, but it is extremely well organized, fresh, and consistent with current scientific knowledge.  It includes exhibits that can appeal to all ages.

We had a couple of hours available for our visit before our flight home from New Mexico and focused on those exhibits that traced the history of the universe, the earth, and life since the Big Bang.  We somehow found our way through the exhibits in reverse order chronologically, but it really didn't matter.

Some of the exhibits were aimed more at adults, such as the following regarding theories on the origin of life.

Others address the evidence concerning the earliest known forms of life, from some 3.5 billion years ago.

In addition to well done exhibits concerning the asteroid that led to the devastating extinction event, including the end of the age of dinosaurs, there was also an interesting exhibit on an even bigger extinction event from some 250 million years ago.

New Mexico has been a rich paleontological source, particularly during the age of dinosaurs, and there were plenty of displays of fossils, as well as what appeared to be a working paleontological lab.

There were also aquatic exhibits, both recreated extinct models, as well as living fish.

More recent exhibits included this saber-toothed tiger that I shot in silhouette.

One of the crowd-favorites was a model of an animated dinosaur.  Most of the time the model remained "sleeping," just gently waving its tail.  But the docents could "wake up" the dino, at which point it would make menacing gestures and sounds, much to the delight of younger visitors.

All in all, a great museum.


Saturday, August 24, 2019


The name of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History was recently changed to simply the Albuquerque Museum.  Its collection and layout, though remain essentially the same.  We revisited the museum earlier this month at the end of our New Mexico getaway.  The museum is not large, but it is excellent.  It sits just to the northeast of the city's Old Town district and is essentially across the street from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, which we also visited.

On the history side, the museum sports a number of interesting exhibits, including one on "The Face of the Enemy," juxtaposing information on the unfortunate internment of Japanese Americans in World War II with information on the current treatment of Muslims and Hispanics.  The implications were obvious.

There were also a number of novelty exhibits.  One that I caught was of a small poster showing Lincoln being embraced by Washington.

And another exhibit of photos, apparently of studio portraits that involved a good deal of whimsy.

The art collection is much smaller than Milwaukee's but I liked it, most of which I would classify as modern to contemporary.  Here are some those pieces.

The following sculpture, positioned in an exterior courtyard, was strange but somehow caught my attention.

Following is a shot of another courtyard.

What attrracted me to this was the geometry that the stark light and dark shadows provided.

There was a good deal of sculpture art in other courtyards that surround the museum building.  Here is just one of those pieces.

Not only was the museum interesting and well laid out, but the price of admission was a bargain. A real gem, I thought.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Santa Fe, if nothing else, has great Southwestern charm, and I thought I would end my posts for our fourth visit to this town with a few shots I took during our strolls around the town.

First, a puzzling doorway on the side of a typical adobe structure.  I assume the painting, both of the door and the surround, has a private meaning.  (Needs work, though.)

There is a colonnade outside a museum of contemporary native American art on the main plaza that presented an interesting opportunity.  The museum was a disappointment, but I did like this walkway.

And here are a couple of signs outside establishments in the town's historical area.

I stumbled on the following cabinet door in a shop filled with such apparently dilapidated wooden furniture.  I couldn't figure out whether the piece was specifically painted to look old and shabby or had simply wound up looking like it does through wear and tear, but I did like the overall effect.

Finally, here is the front facade of a local hotel fashioned in adobe.  I converted the shot to a black & white and darkened sky to accentuate the lines and create a little drama.