Rhode Island Floods Cause State of Emergency

I've taken in a family that was evacuated from their home - including a cat. Where are they supposed to go?
It's been raining...and raining... for several days. Now I'm not just complaining here because my car window does not go up all the way (although it doesn't, making for some bad-hair days galore). A few weeks ago residents of my town, West Warwick, had to evacuate their homes due to the Pawtuxet River flooding in record levels. A quick drive past the area saw neighbors rushing to pile sandbags in front of their homes. Many local businesses were shut down due to damage and have remained that way since...and until Sunday when it started to rain again.

Photo courtesy of Wbru. (cc).

The President has declared Rhode Island in a state of emergency and the Governor has asked that people go home and/or stay off the roads. Last I heard we had almost no suburban roads open and there was talk of shutting down the highway (route 95, our major artery.)
It seems silly that I would post something as trivial as rain, but it's going to affect lots of people and I really hope these residents can get some assistance. My own ceiling is leaking, but luckily I have the condo association hiring roofers to fix that.
Excerpt from my hometown news: "I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Diana Lumpkin, who watched a sand box float across her flooded back yard. Sand bags are piled high around their cellar door to little avail. The river is flooding inside . Read more of this article here.
I hopped over to the EMA's state website  to see what advice I could give my boyfriend's family who I've told can stay at my house for now, but there is no information there as to what these evacuees are supposed to do. Put in an insurance claim? But they're not in a flood zone, technically. It's only due to fear that a certain river is going to overflow that police have put this in place. I don't know what they're going to do, hopefully the rain will subside before anything happens to their home. Please send your thoughts our way...
xo Mary

New Macro Lens, yay!

Experimenting with my new macro lens...today was cold but I headed down to the beach for a bit...

Yep, I can definitely see myself becoming obsessed with this lens. Also now I can experiment with making my own textures, which I've been wanting to do for awhile.

After the tide started to hit my shells I whisked away my bag and moved to higher ground...
While I was there I met a nice lady and her dog who asked if I would take some portraits of her with the dog at the beach. I agreed that we would set something up sometime this spring...how sweet! He was a very friendly bichon frise wearing a sweater...I would have taken a pic of him, but I'll save that for our photo session. Plus, he was kinda shy. Happy Weekend!

Blogger's New Templates...and Caryn Drexl purchase

Like many artists turned bloggers out there, I was rubbing my eyes read trying to figure out coding, favicons, cascading style sheets and rss feeds. Who signed me up to learn all this, anyway? I just wanted to write and share my pictures, that's all. But..sigh, we must learn a bit about how things work, right? Wrong...sort of.

Blogger, I just discovered, has a draft version of a new Template Designer, in which you can build and customize your blog to your little heart's content- without needing to know any code! It's pretty easy, and I've already updated my own blog, to try and make it a neater 3-column design with room for buttons.
If you're feeling creative, roll up your sleeves and login to the draft blogger here to give your blog a makeover!
In other news...soon I will be the proud owner of a provocative print from photographer Caryn Drexl, of the Palm Coast of Florida. Here's the one I chose:

"Learning to Sin",  by Caryn Drexl

Caryn's a fellow member of the Female Photographers of Etsy and runs two successful and worshipful shops on Etsy, both with stunning imagery and thought-provoking themes. Her work is truly unique and just beautiful, and I'd been "stalking" it for days...
Caryn's deliciously dark and dreamy prints can be found on her shop LightLeaks, her newer shop featuring life's dark humor can be found on her shop Keeping Still. And if you want to read and follow her website replete with her gorgeous conceptual images, giveaways and other goodies check out A Pretty Binding.

The Lobsters are Here!

Sounds like a B-movie you might come across at 3am on the Syfy channel....but it's not! I went to the port of Galilee last weekend and saw long lines of people in various docks waiting for their seafood to come in.

I love going down here before the unimaginable bustle of summer. Around June, the crowds get so thick it's difficult to find parking before embarking on a day trip to Block Island on the Ferry, which departs from Galilee. This first day of Spring, the sun was shining and the lining the port were opening their doors and windows and it was just nice to enjoy the "local flavor" (so to speak...)

I love seeing the hustle and bustle of this fishing port and this little area coming alive again. Winter in Narragansett, Rhode Island is a bit dull, but it's never lacking in beauty. 

This last print is a new one up for sale in my Etsy shop. Let me know what you think! Have a great day! Mmm, now I'm seriously craving lobster...                                                              

SIGNS of Spring...Joe's new Etsy shop, Boulevard Concepts!

I had to include this awesome banner to get your attention....(plus, I made it..which makes it special.) Now...

My friend and coworker Joe has been dreaming of opening his own Etsy shop since before the holidays last year. He must have seen me squeal every time I sold something or got convo'd (that really makes my day!). Anyway, I'm thrilled for him because he's got his shop open now and it's already hugely popular!

Above: KAREN Dr.  Available as individual print in multiple sizes....OR... (drumroll)

Above: Karen as part of her family (with spouse name and last name, plus custom calligraphy by Joe.

 How did this idea come about? Joe had been taking photographs for a long time when he started noticing signs...no, not THOSE kind of signs. Street signs! In various first and last names of people he knew. So, he started shooting. No, not THAT kind of shooting.With his camera! Every sign he saw, every weird sign, phrase, or name of someone he knew...and then names of those he didn't know.

 Above: Thomas St. rendered in black and white, with Joe's personal message.

He combined names and words to design the journeys of his gift recipients....for example, Donna & Jason and thirdly the street sign Ocean St....for a couple who found love in a city by the sea. With beautiful calligraphy, custom matting, and total passion for his work, Joe's pieces truly are spectacular!

 Above: Joe's mat, ready for your name.
And what's more interesting is that every one of the signs he uses is a real sign, no graphic manipulation, no photoshop tweaking. Joe keeps a very detailed log of all of his names, including where they were in New England, anything intriguing about the surroundings, the time of year it was taken, and even a brief blurb about the meaning of the name. Read his profile and it's crystal clear: Joe's intention is to make people feel that their path in life is unique, and should be valued and celebrated.

Above: an example of Joe's street sign with a word instead of a name. 

You can find Joe's shop at www.boulevardconcepts.etsy.com. Don't see your name there? Just send a message to Joe through Etsy, and he'll check his vast inventory for you!
I really enjoy being able to share the journey of Etsy with my great friend Joe! He's such an inspiration, isn't he?

Summers in the 80's

Memories of this time include..
  • filling my grandparents' shoes with seashells I found at Second   Beach, Middletown, Rhode Island
  • eating mystery candies in a jar in my papou's cupholder (they had no label or date...I think he had them for years..but they were good...like chewy little white taffy)
  • wearing sundresses and white leather cutout sandals
  • visiting Uncle Vahe's beach house near Rocky Point Park, and if we wanted to go swimming we had to wear our patent leather mary janes because the land was so rocky it would cut up our bare feet
  • having about 150 relatives and friends come to my parents' house for lobster and quahogs
  • instant satisfaction with the grayish print from a clunky Polaroid camera...and subsequent excitement of watching it develop before my very eyes!
  • jumping off the diving board and into an inner tube
  • fighting with Uncle Dean, 15 years my senior, over who got the window seat on his first Airplane ride (and then demanding cash for the privilege...and getting it)
  • my mother recording my only-child antics with her 32 pound video camera (this was before my sister was born...)...things such as "painting" the bricks of our porch with a cheap paintbrush and bucket of water...which kept me entertained for hours, as the "paint" would dry and fade and I had to then "re-paint"....thanks Ma!
  • good times, hot summer sunshine, great friends, family love, warm hugs, cold pools, flimsy clothes, bare feet, wet grass, rocky shoreline, rough sand, salty air, seagulls crying, laughter  ;)
****P.S. read my Guest Blog today from Katrina and the King's "The You and Me Show"!

Poppytalk: Spring Color Week

Over at Poppytalk's blog, artists and photographers are posting beautifully single-color imbued works to celebrate "Spring Color Week"...sounds good to me!  After going through my entire flickr stream and discovering I had nothing green (thanks, winter!), I waited for Yellow day and posted away. Today I was super-psyched to see two of my photos featured: "Yellow Bird" and "I Left my Heart in Paris". Of course while I was there I admired some fellow fPOE members' works in the yellow canvas including Caitlin Brookes of The Paper Butterfly (she was actually featured on Green Day), Amelia Kay Photography, Jane Heller, and Jennifer Squires-Ross.. Amazing to see the continuity of one color bring so many diverse styles together.

National Wildlife Refuge

Yesterday, it was unseasonably warm in Rhode Island, so I packed up Elsie and headed for the Sachuest Point NWR in Middletown, RI. I don't know what I was expecting to see really, but I thought it was a good excuse to get out. Here are some images from the day:
Fence leading to the refuge. In the background is Sachuest Beach (aka "Second Beach"), Middletown, RI. So crowded in summer we've waited for a parking spot in line for hours. But today it was all mine.
Weird little spiny pinecones.
Berries everywhere.
I wish I could have shot this tree from the other side so I could get the color, but I love the sun flare and the silhouette.
This is the refuge part of the preserve, where humans are not allowed! It looks like a prairie.

Then, I headed back to Easton's Beach (aka "First Beach") in Newport, which is adjacent to the famous cliff walk. It was completely littered with quahog shells! I guess they just rake them in the summer, because otherwise no one would be able to lay down their towel. 

These two doggies carried a frisbee between their mouths for about a half an hour. Neither would let go. Seriously! It was adorable.

Father and son walking on the beach.
I can't wait to go back to the refuge in the spring....I know they have tons of birds there that are not seen in other parts of the state.

Glass Photo Pendants

I started making these last summer. I purchased my supplies from Etsy, read some tutorials online, and got to work! The results were so cool, I ended up keeping most of them for myself...hehe! Then for holiday gifts, I used my technique to make glass photo ornaments and two "baby Oliver" necklaces for my cousin-in-law, with cute little photos of her new baby on them. Anyway, here are some of the ones I made early on that were on my old Etsy shop, which I closed down. (I'm now redoing more necklaces for my newer Etsy shop- the one I have for my photography!) So here are some of them:

Oh and P.S.I plan on putting together a how-to on these soon...with some tips and tricks and warnings I learned along the way!  And P.P.S. I purchased all of my supplies from the awesome Etsy seller, Candy Tiles! I used the 1" by 1 7/8" size for the ones above, but I also like the 1 3/8" squares.  ;)

Dear Sun, I miss you.

Fence - vintage blush
Originally uploaded by maryvican

Please come back and bathe everything in warm, shiny blushing light so I can go out there and capture some beauty. Without you, there are no shadows and only dullness. No bokeh (boo!). No shimmers on the waves. No rays on my hardwood floor in the morning. Nothing to make me want to open the curtains. My windows face North and this does not help matters. I need you to uncover dark corners and secret paths and make every scenic road worth driving down. Also, I think I'm lacking vitamin D.....Anyway... please come back. Soon. xoxo

TTV Texture used for Layering - First Attempts

Ok, so I'm learning to work with Photoshop to take advantage of some of the awesome free textures available on Flickr. I picked some files of varying quality and genre, and sat down to learn how to do it. I had used layers before but not used textures and not with my own photos. So, here are the results. All textures are the same: "dirt ttv 1038", courtesy of the talented Nesster.

This is a photo of a tropical bird which was immortalized at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature center in Mystic, CT. I had some shadows behind the bird, which did not look quite right, plus the whitish, blank background I thought would work well with TTV. I like it, but I'd like it more with a sky ttv background.

This is another piece I shot at the nature center, of a butterfly under glass. It's supposed to look distorted and old, so the texture works really nicely here, I think. I used the "darken" feature in the layer tool to bring through the color of the butterfly a bit more, since playing with the opacity under "normal" didn't do it justice.
This is an older file taken with a 6 megapixel digital point and shoot. It's of the San Francisco skyline under fog and behind clouds. It's poor quality, so I really played around with it, giving the clouds above a colored, hdr-effect, and then applying Nesster's texture. I like using landscape with this texture because it's believable that someone see this far away scene through a dirty and smeary lens. Or maybe that's just me. I like how the detail-less, one color skyline matches the ttv frame.

I reeeally love this one, although I took it as a screen shot- from a television commercial. I was testing my  Nikon d90 at the time, trying to see what kind of quality shot it would take from the tv, and playing with the automatic settings. I ended up liking it, so I kept it and used it here. I love the way the texture really matches the scene, I can imagine capturing a quiet moment like this with an old toy camera. Plus, the texture hides the screen shot's effects of electronic noise and strange color aberrations, so it comes out looking more like a normal photo. I imagine this is something my cats would do.....if I had a piano in my condo. 
I hope to try more work with textures this week, they're incredibly fun, and are helping me learn some of the features of Photoshop I wasn't using before. As I improve and learn what works, I may post some of them on Etsy as well.