Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

Aww…some Monday

So what are you doing with all of your “Home Alone” time as we wrap up our second month of sheltering at home?  This COVID-19 pandemic has literally brought our world to a halt and shown us that we are not truly masters of our own destiny hasn’t it?  Many families have rediscovered the joy of time spent together.  Since both of us are retired, my wife and I have spent a lot of time together the pasts four years, but since social distancing and shelter at home orders have severely limited our interaction with friends, we have found ourselves spending even more time with one another.

Most recently the weather has stabilized and we have spent more time in the yard.  I have already mowed the lawn twice and my wife has gotten her spring flowers planted.  We have plans to landscape the areas on each side of the house, but that is going to require some professional help.  I will be getting bids for that work soon.

Personally, I have been taking a couple of online photo classes from Creative Live.  One class focused on a DIY home studio and gear while the other was all about portrait photography.  I also purchased a new photo editing program from On1 called On1 Camera Raw.  It can be used as a stand alone photo editing program or it can act as a plug-in to PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements.  I love some of the presets that this program has.  Over the past couple of years I have posted articles that I have called “Fun With Filters” and this program is going to open up a whole new world of possibilities.  This past week I photographed some of the blooms of the knockout roses in our front yard and edited them in On1 Camera Raw.  Here are the results.  This first image has had very little editing done.

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After applying a couple of presets from On1, the image looks like this.

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Once again this rose bud required almost no editing.

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However, after adding a couple of presets the results look like this.  Not every edit is pleasing to everyone, but I love the creative possibilities.

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Okay, time for one more and this virtually unedited image is my wife’s favorite from this photo shoot.

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I have to agree, I think the image above is my favorite, but I still had to add a filter just for fun.

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Stay tuned.  The possibilities are endless and I have just scratched the surface of my new toy.  Best of all this program was on sale and extremely affordable.  I mean EXTREMELY affordable.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

This week the theme at 4M is blogger’s choice and I am trying to come up with a fitting theme for the current state of affairs.  While several states are still under strict shelter at home orders, others are beginning to loosen certain restrictions.  Last Friday the state of Arkansas allowed gyms and fitness centers to open, but with the restriction of no pools, spas or showers.  Some retail stores, like Hobby Lobby opened Friday as well.  Wednesday restaurants can resume in-house dining with limited seating, and social distancing practices in place.  Wednesday will also be haircut day for tens of thousands as barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and tattoo parlors will reopen with occupancy limits and social distancing guidelines.  I believe that the governor will make an announcement today regarding places of assembly such as churches, movie theaters, and concert venues.  I know that some folks believe this is happening too soon but I believe that we have to come out of our shells and begin to recover, we just have to be cautious. Besides, the individual still has the option to remain sheltered.  For the immediate future it appears that face masks and social distancing will be the new normal for all us.  Sooo… what have I decided that my personal theme for this week should be?  How about “Change”.  While we believe we are moving toward getting our lives back to normal, the truth is that things have changed and some of the changes will be for the better and will be permanent.  Have a blessed week.

Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

Aww  Mondays

While out on a recent photo walk I remembered that I had not photographed any dogwood trees this year.  Typically the dogwoods bloom immediately after the redbuds.  For Ozark fishermen the dogwoods in bloom mean that the crappie are biting and the bass will soon be spawning.  I managed to find a few dogwood trees around town and captured a few images for your enjoyment.

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Monday’s Music Moves Me

This week the theme at 4M is Angels.  Angels is an awesome topic and a big thanks goes out to our co-hostess at http://www.angelswhisper2011.com for giving us this theme .  The best place to find angels is in the Bible.  They serve all sorts of rolls but the most common one seems to be as God’s messengers.  It was an angel that delivered the message to Mary that she would give birth to the Savior of  the world, God’s only Son.  It was an angel that rolled back the stone at the tomb of Christ to reveal to Mary Magdalene that Christ had risen.  The book of Revelation tells us of seven angels responsible for seven churches.  Time as space do not permit me to elaborate here, but rest assured that God has provided each of His children with a guardian angel and know that there are angels among us.

On the lighter side, angels have been the subject of songs forever and I will present a couple of them here.  I can say that I appreciate jazz music in nearly all of it’s forms, but in the mid-sixties I really enjoyed contemporary jazz, specifically the music of Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck.  My first introduction to the latter artist was the iconic album, “Time Out” but it was the cover art and title song from a later album that sealed the deal for me.

Pop music has been singing about angel like qualities in people since the beginning. In 1960 Bobby Vee virtually cloned The Clovers 1956 release of Devil or Angel and it became one of his early hits.

What would become known as “Do Wop”, pop music of the 50’s & early 60’s had a multitude of angelic titles. Pretty Little Angel Eyes was a great song, but I can promise you that my worst night on the dance floor never looked like this.

Let’s put a cap on this with the haunting voice of Ms. Sarah McLachlan and Arms of an Angel. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay close to home.  Have a blessed week.

Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

I mentioned last week that one way I find relief during this pandemic is to get out and do a little photography.  One of the hidden gems in our fair city is a small park in a residential neighborhood.  It is private property that the owners allow the public to use.  During high school homecoming and prom this place is packed with parents and prom dresses.  It used to be the only place in town that the kids would meet in the afternoon prior to homecoming or prom.  It was a city cultural event.  Now there are several venues in the area where people gather and take photos of the prom participants.  Right now the park is closed but a walk around the perimeter fence and the plants growing near the fence provide ample photo opportunities.  Like most of my photo walks, I found myself to be the only human in sight.  Social distancing is typically not an issue for photographers as most people disappear when the camera comes out.

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You can see why this is a favorite gathering place for  prom and homecoming photos.  You also probably wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that the property owner was a master gardener and plant nursery owner.  The family has been in business over 50 years and lives across the street from the park.

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Sadly this year there was no prom and this park will remain closed until the sheltering order is lifted.  Looking forward to the day when this place will once again hose bridal shoots, homecoming gatherings, and just a place to photograph some of the best flowers in the city.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

This week’s theme at 4M is bloggers choice, so I get to pick my own theme and the songs that are appropriate for that theme.  I think I will pick “Kindness”.  One of the good things to come from this pandemic is that people are being kind to one another once again.  I must say that during an election year I don’t miss the political attack ads that proliferate our homes almost non-stop for months on end.  Being kind and respectful has become a bit of a lost art, yet in 1 Peter 3:15-16 the Bible tells believers, “…set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.  However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.”  Collossians 4:5-6 reminds us to “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”  The Bible is the instruction book on how to do life and if we call ourselves a Christian then we should act like the Scripture instructs us.  Peter is saying that God’s child should be acquainted with the Word of God and always be ready to tell someone why they have the hope that comes from inside of them and we should always answer in a manner that is kind and respectful.  We are not to be an offense to others nor an embarrassment to our Lord.  Collossians affirms the instruction that all of our speech should be with grace.  One of the purposes of salt is to improve the taste of something.  All of our speech should be pleasant to the ears of the hearer, especially the unbeliever.  Even difficult subjects can be approached in such a manner that no one gets angry and a relationship is not ruined.  So my theme is be kind to one another.  We don’t know the circumstances in which some folks are living and the reasons for their seemingly abrasive actions.  We might be the only kindness that they experience during a day.  Stay safe, stay sheltered, and stay healthy.  Have a blessed week.

And now for the old church hymn that inspired the Kenny Rogers song.

Aww…some Monday’s Music Moves Me

Aww…some Monday

Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic and we have little idea when all of the restrictions will be lifted, I try to get out once a week and photograph something.  I get outside, get a little sunshine or rain, and get a little exercise.  With a little good fortune I even manage a decent photo or two.  We are blessed to live in Bentonville, Arkansas.  That may only mean one thing to you and that would be the home of Walmart, but it is also home to a world class museum named Crystal Bridges.  One lesser known attraction is Compton Gardens.  Dr. Neil Compton was a local physician, writer, photographer, and lover of nature.  Compton Gardens a seven acre site that includes the Compton Home that was designed by noted architect E. Fay Jones who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Being a naturalist Dr. Compton filled the site with plants native to the Ozarks.  In recent years the house has been restored or repurposed into a meeting venue and the site has had a couple of trails added that serve as an entry point to the landscape around Crystal Bridges.  A round trip walk to the museum site and back to the Compton Gardens parking lot is about a mile but the return trip is up hill.  Still it is a marvelous site for capturing images of plants and flowers as well as being a prime location for portrait photo shoots.  Last week I walked a very short portion of the trail and found these blooms.

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This week is supposed to be cold and rainy, so I don’t know how much photography I will get to do but I’m sure that I will find a reason to get out and capture something.  Have a blessed week.  Stay home (kinda), stay safe, stay healthy.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

I didn’t have a good transition from Aww…some Monday into 4M so I just broke them apart and the theme this week is “Fools” either in the title or lyrics.  After a brief search I found a song by one of my all time favorite artists and I just can’t pass up the chance to feature Dwight Yoakam performing King of Fools. Enjoy.