Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Two Cardinals
May 27, 2012

Captured these two cardinals at the feeder on a window

This week’s photo challenge is to post an image that signifies summer. What signifies summer to you? Learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge here.


Summer Photo #2

Waiting for the fireworks to begin



Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

April 21, 2012
A Different View of a Sunset

The docks at White Bear Lake at sunset.

Sometimes the best view of a sunset is where the sun is striking an object or objects. One recent evening I found the setting sun lighting up these docks on White Bear Lake. The silver and gray docks against the blue water created an eye-catching contrast. The wind was fierce and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep my small camera steady enough for the shot. Fortunately, I was able to snap a couple of photos that captured the silvery light reflecting off the docks.


I was browsing through some photos in the archives last night and came upon this one. I thought it fit this challenge quite well.

April 26, 2012

It’s a full sun afternoon and I have time for fun. I went out with my camera because this is what all passionate photographers do. Here are more “sun” captures. Let me know if you have a favorite. You might need  your sunglasses for this first one.

Blinding Sun

Natural and Artificial Light

Sunlit Tree Trunk

Sun Shining Through

Sun Growth

Sign and Shadow

A Tree and I Keeping Company

Me-1 | Self Portrait

Me-2 | Self Portrait

Thanks for stopping by. I had a fabulously fun time playing in the sun with my camera.




Keeping it Local

Ten Great Things About Shopping Locally

Friday after Thanksgiving is typically known as “the biggest shopping day of the year” and as “Black Friday”. Monday has become known as “Cyber Monday” when folks spend millions of dollars online. I would like to make a case for spending some of those dollars locally.

The other day my sister told me about someone sailing on Wayzata Bay. She thought it would make for a good photo: A sailboat cruising along the open water with the icy shoreline. Alas, by the time I got to Wayzata Bay, the sailboat was gone. Still, I found plenty of photo opportunities.

There was a beautiful sunset over the Wayzata Bay…

Local shop windows were decorated with holiday flair. Here is the shop with the name The Bookcase:

The Bookshop’s doorway is decorated with greenery and ornaments. The sunset can be seen in the window reflection.

The adjoining Caribou Coffee shop is a nice place to take a break from shopping and taking pictures as well as a place for getting gift cards and meeting friends for a hot drink. The windows were decorated with the season’s theme of snow.

Down the street from The Bookcase is Five Swans, another locally owned shop with beautiful housewares and other gifts. They, too, have nicely decorated windows and a wreath on the front door.

But back to the ten great reasons to shop locally. Here’s what you do when you shop locally:

  1. You keep dollars in our economy. For every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 stays in the community. When you spend that same $100 at a national chain, just $43 stays in the community.
  2. You embrace what makes the shop unique. We don’t want our houses to look like every one else’s so why would we want our communities to look alike? I relish finding local gems whether they be shops, restaurants, theaters, parks, etc.
  3. You create local jobs. Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  4. You help the environment. Less fuel for transportation and less packaging = conserving energy and resources.
  5. You nurture community. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.
  6. You conserve your tax dollars. Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify our community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong–right in your own community.
  7. You create more choice. Local businesses carry a wider array of unique products because they buy for their own individual market. They pick items based on what they know you like and want.
  8. You take advantage of their expertise. The shop owners are our friends and neighbors, and they have a vested interest in knowing how to serve us. They’re passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?
  9. You invest in entrepreneurship. Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community.
  10. You make it a destination. The more interesting and unique a community is, the more it attracts new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone in the community.

Another simple truth is that some of these independent shops are really struggling to make it right now. They need your business to survive. Read more on this topic from the owner of The Bookcase.

Bookcase of Wayzata website

And learn more about Five Swans at the link below. I’ve noticed a significant reduction in inventory in their store both last year and this year.

Five Swans website

And more local shops in Wayzata that are worth the trip:

Anne and Friends–Wayzata Artists’ Market–represents 100+ local and regional artists, both established and up and coming. You can find paintings, jewelry, ceramics, glass, fiber, photography, and more.

Fleurish–A Purveyor of Find Gifts and Stationery – specializing in corporate gift baskets but also has a variety of items that will appeal to the individual shopper.

Blanc de Blanc – tableware and apparel in the neutral color families of white and beige. One exception to this color scheme is the Christmas holiday ornaments.

Circa Vintage–High quality retro finds in a quaint shop.

Pick up a boxed lunch at Village Meats.

I love local. I try to do much of my own shopping at local merchants. It’s a charming and fun experience with a more interesting mix of gifts and products to choose from. The passion is evident. Let’s spread the word about local shops that are gems. Use the comments section below to tell your story and share the name of a local shop you like.

Lastly, another shot of the sunset, taken later this same day. Nature’s own decoration.



Bastille Day Remembrance

Bastille Day holds a special place in my heart. It was on Bastille Day in 1955 that my older brother was born. He loved celebrating Bastille Day on his birthday. And why not? Our family loves the French people, the country, the French food and wine, the culture, the history, the architecture, the gardens, the monuments, and the French way of life. Amour de la vie Française!

My brother was a photographer. He spent time in Europe learning the craft and continued to enjoy it throughout his life. Photography and Bastille Day celebrations were both passions for him.

I almost missed seeing the sky tonight. I spontaneously ventured outside at 9:00 p.m. to run an errand. The evening sky was ethereal and I thought of my brother. Perhaps, I thought, he is looking down upon our family, providing a brilliant evening sky to let us know he’s doing fine.

There is a poem that has brought me comfort in times of death. It’s often attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye although the origin has been disputed over the years.  Abigail Van Buren, the newspaper columnist known as Dear Abby, confirmed Frye’s authorship after researching the subject. There is more than one version of this poem floating around on cards and the internet. I share this one, the first version I read:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

—Mary Elizabeth Frye


Rest in peace, Richard. See you on the other side someday.