Autumn Country Drive...

Just a few random scenes from last weekend. .....and my "texture tuesday" submission (my first!) which used a lovely texture made by Kim...

Most of these were taken on the way to Putnam, Connecticut from RI. Putnam had a lovely little downtown festival going on last weekend. It's a great little place to find antiques, too.

I discovered this new coffee place in Plainfield, Baker's Dozen, that I am obsessed with. Above was their tempting Pumpkinchino ad, but I opted for the Iced Chai, which was the BEST iced chai I've ever had. Sweet, with skim milk and just the right amount of spices. YUM! I should have taken a pic of it.

Above, top, this deer was staring at me when I  was stopped at a traffic light. It was a rather long time, so I got out my camera and snapped a pic. Isn't he cute??  Center and bottom: maple leaves and cozy brown house; colorful lakeside leaves.

That's the great thing about New England..I am always finding new places to discover. RI is so small that "taking a drive" means you end up out of state at least twice a week. And the changes in nature, wildlife, foliage, and even people from just a few minutes of traveling in any direction makes it fun to explore.

We're having a snowstorm right now, (unheard of in October) so this may be the last time I had to take fall pics....(sniffle!)  :)  ~Mary

Light + Orange & Red Maple = Bliss

I had some time this weekend to do nothing but drive around looking for the most colorful trees I could find. It seems the further west I drive, the more colorful they get. We still think it is due to Hurricane Irene and the salt from the ocean that burned a lot of the trees in coastal New England. Here is a preview. Happy Monday!

True story: for the third photo above, I snuck into a deserted parking lot of a church. I figured it was empty and no one would mind. Right as I pulled out my camera, these HUGE dogs came running over to the chainlink fence that was there and began barking. I guess they were church guard dogs? I love dogs, but I swear these dogs were bigger than Saint Bernards and had fangs. As I took the photos I said out loud "Nice Doggy!" until finally I figured the barking would annoy the neighbors and left. But I got some nice shots..heheh!

Weekend Maine Getaway.....Indian Summer

Hi, my name is Mary, and I'm a recovering Fall-o-phobic.  Heh.

Maybe it was Maine, and the super nice people that seem to all live there. Maybe it was the Moose adventure.  Maybe it's the fact that it hasn't really gotten cold here yet in Rhode Island. My attempt to sit back, relax and enjoy the change of seasons (Autumnal Acceptance) has resulted liking it, kinda. Woo hoo.

A beautiful time of the year in New England...the part of October that still remains sunny and warm enough to go outside without jackets, even into the night hours.  The butterflies are still out, the water is cooling down in the ponds and lakes..Why haven't I noticed all this stuff happening before? It's probably something I can attribute, again, to my camera.

Above are more scenes from the Maine Highlands...Moosehead Lake..and surrounding areas.

As a kid I remember the night of Halloween always being super cold, and my mother forcing me to wear a huge puffy Michelin-Man coat over my costumer- ruining the whole effect. So I'm trying to enjoy the days before that fateful day arrives this year.. and it always seems to take everyone by surprise!

These adirondack chairs sported cutout pine trees and overlooked Moosehead Lake.  The water was cobalt blue and the mountains surrounding the lake were tinged with red, orange, yellow and green.

Above are some views from the same hill above the lake, and the sherbet hued sunset behind the pines.  A great place to sip some cider and take in the sights and scents of the changing season.
Hope you enjoyed! (While all of this color is happening in Northern New England, we in the Southern section have yet to see the brilliant color of seasons past...still waiting (hoping)! for some additional color, but if it doesn't come I will set out with a few choice lenses this weekend, anyhoo.)   :)

Moose Safari Fun! - Moosehead Lake, Maine

I've been wanting to see a real Moose for a long time, and this unusually hot and sunny Columbus Day Weekend was the perfect time to visit the Moosehead Lake region of Maine for some Moosey goodness.

So above the Momma moose (moose #1) emerged from the side of the road and hung out for a few minutes, waiting for her baby (#2) to arrive.  There's also the sign we passed which had a built-in sensor and would light up as we drove by, warning us about moose crashes!

Above this young male moose (3) and his Mommy (4) are returning to the road after a scare from a car horn. In the right photo, you can see the baby moose (2) from my first photos crossing the road to join his Momma. These are winding roads and this was very early in the morning, just at dawn, so the lighting was not ideal for either photography nor driving with moose :) I really have to fiddle with my camera settings to find out the ideal way to photograph wildlife at dawn!

Above you can see Momma Moose 4 and Baby Moose 3 taking turns at a roadside stream. Moose also like to lick salt off the road, and this is what keeps them in front of cars during the dawn and dusk hours. Their bodies need it for energy.

Cute baby moose 3 is munching away! I'm really thrilled we got to see these guys in their natural environment. Some people travel to this remote region just to see moose and never do. Part of me wanted to put down the camera and just watch, but I knew I had to try and get some photos since I had driven 7 hours to get here!

This part of Maine really has a sense of humor about their beloved Moose neighbors. After tourist season is over, moose outnumber the folks here 3 to 1.  Top, a winged "Pegamoose" is visible from the main road in Rockwood, Maine; middle, the imposing shadow of a Bull moose from a statue at a rest stop;  bottom, a moose chases Santa up a mailbox.

And here I am, posing next to another moose advertising the moose safari we went on!

Maybe you want to go on a Moose Safari, too? Some suggestions we learned along the way!:
  • Moose are most often active in the summer and you will mostly seen female moose (cows) with their young. Babies are born in late Spring and the adorable young moose are viewable in June and July with their Moms. They spend a year with Mom before going out on their own.
  • Bull Moose (males) have a thick, soft velvet on their antlers that falls off in the early Autumn, so many photographers seek them out during this time because their antlers are most elegant. However, male moose are more elusive, and rightfully so, because they are hunted.
  • It's best to seek out a group to go with, because locals and trained wilderness guides know the "moose hangouts" and even know some of the moose by name! We chose the Northeast Guide Service, who are wonderful and convenient to the Moosehead Lake region. Our guide, Jessica, was respectful of and very knowledgeable about the moose.  In fact, she runs a cool blog where she writes and shares photos from their Moose Safaris!
It seems that every town has a "theme". This is my favorite sign though- it has a moose and a loon!

Moosehead Lake and its southern hub, Greenville, is a great place to start your Moose journey. There's a lot to do here including boating of all kinds, hiking, a historical plane crash site, birding, whitewater rafting of all class levels, swimming, camping, a museum, a tourboat, seaplane rides, fishing, and excellent shops and antiquing. The foliage in fall is awesome, but we plan on going back sometime in early summer for Maximum Moose! (a tip from Jessica.)   And a wonderful bonus is that everyone here is super friendly! :)

Dahlia & Zinnia love!

While walking through Rockport Massachusetts a few weeks ago I captured some of the awesome, huge late summer blooms along the main street area...

This dahlia was pale, pale pink and its petals had dark purple edges. 

This is another dahlia that was light purple with yellow accents inside. I love the center portion of this one - all the little petals clustered together. I used my macro lens to capture the sharpness and detail of the petals

Above, I looked this one up online and found out it's called the "White Wedding" zinnia. Endless layers of white, fluffy petals.

And here is another colorful fuschia zinnia. Very different looking from the white one! It has a little crown in the center.

For the White Zinnia and the first picture of the pale Dahlia, I used a white canvas texture in Photoshop and layered it lightly over the image of the flower to give it a lighter look and block out some of the background (which was a busy garden outside a storefront.)  It also tempered some of that bright sunlight in which I had to take the photo. Bright sunlight is just not photography-friendly, but it sure made me happy that the sun was out..

To find textures like the ones I used above, you can visit the awesome Florabella Collection site and click on Textures. She has a lot of soft and pale options that look amazing with floral photographs and make any photo look like a piece of fine art and she is a joy to work with if you ever have questions or issues.
Have a great weekend...we are off to Maine until after Columbus Day! Enjoy!  M

A Bookstore Surprise, Free Textures, and Signs of Autumn :)

I passed this sign in Gloucester, Massachusetts and created this altered photograph with tons of texture and colorful mums!  (wait til the end of this post for some free textures which you can steal from me to do fun stuff in Photoshop, too.)

I had fun making this in Photoshop, it's not perfectly layered or lined up but I love the way it came out like the fun, orangey and vivid Autumn I imagined. I had to really brighten the colors because sadly, hurricane Irene from last month has ruined our change at colorful foliage here in Rhode Island. :(  So I used Mums instead of Leaves. :)

So, last week I was at the local bookstore, happily and caffeinatedly flipping through the latest issue of Somerset Life, when I did a double take near the end...Wait, isn't that my photograph? Yes! it is!  :)) (Big smiles and a dropped jaw in the bookstore didn't seem to faze anyone else, though. The cashier didn't really care either. sigh.) But here it is:

So that was exciting! If you're interested you can submit work to them, too- they are now accepting submissions for everything from photos to projects and jewelry and..well, check out their site above. Each issue lists items and ideas they're looking for in the back.  And finally..

Sunflower Field texture by Mary

Hunter's Beach texture by Mary

Two more free textures I made- feel free to download them here by opening in a new window in your browser or visit my flickr textures for more you can download. For the image at the top of my post I used some of the lighter brown textures mixed with bokeh, and then I used a hard brush in Photoshop with the brush tool to dodge out more bokeh around the top of the mums and bottom of the sign post.
happy Monday! :)