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Winter Wonderland

I woke up this morning to freezing rain, super icy conditions, and almost busted my bum when I decided to "test" the road.  It's still pretty gross out there and since I live on a back road, it's taking a little while to clear up.  So while I enjoy my hot coco and snuggle with my kitties, I thought you might enjoy the beautiful sunrise that I experienced yesterday morning.



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Camera Basics: Let's talk Composition

As in any art there are some basic rules that help you understand what is good and what is not good.  In photography there are some basic rules of composition that help you discover why the eye looks to certain parts of a photograph...what draws us to that point?  But really, for me, I love to break the rules.  And after all, they're just guidelines. One of the most famous rules of composition is the rule of thirds.   Basically you want to imagine that your photo is divided into nine equal segments by two horizontal and two vertical lines.  You want to put the point of your focus along these lines or at the points where they intersect.

Another example.  At times however, I feel it is fine to break this guideline.  Sometimes it works to have your subject right smack dab in the middle.

Another thing to remember in the rule of thirds composition is that if you do not want that sense of emptiness in the rest of the picture, it is sometimes nice to balance out the other space with other elements.

Another guideline of composition to keep in mind is perspective.  What are you intending the viewer to see?  This is one of my favorites.  Do you want to take the picture from up close? Far away? Above? Below?  Right on the level?  Anyone can just snap a picture but determining what is important in the photo is up to the photographer and your unique "perspective."

The human eye is also drawn to patterns and repetition.  You can draw the eye of the viewer by capturing unique patterns and where they end.

Another composition element similar to capturing patterns is the use of the natural line.  Our eyes follow lines, we follow lines all day long, so naturally we try to find the source.

Another interesting element of composition is the use of natural frames.  This could be a doorway, a window, trees, arches, or anything else that frames an interest.

Depth is also effective.  Here there are layered elements that keep the eye moving in the photograph.  First the field, then single tree, then tree line, mountains, and finally sky.  It would probably be even more effective if there was something more prominent in the foreground.

Cropping is the most direct compositional element.  You are simply saying as the artist, this is what I want you to look at.  Nothing else is important.  And it's quite effective.

Finally, the last composition element is background.  Having a simple, non-distracting background lets the viewer enjoy what is in the foreground.  Photography is a 2-D art, and so even though our eyes might easily separate what is in the foreground and background, it is harder for a camera lens to do so.  Get rid of the distractions either by focus or moving location, so that you can focus on your subject.

Those are some of the main composition elements to think about when you're getting started.  You can mix and match them, isolate them, or just plain ignore them if you'd like, but sooner or later they will sneak into your photographs without you even realizing it.

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Evening Escape

After a long day of editing and writing, Speed Racer and I just absolutely had to get out of the house last night.  We didn't want to spend money, and we wanted to just talk and relax, so we headed to the mountains.  It wasn't as relaxing as planned (there was a lot of traffic) but we did manage to get some photos!

We headed up to Cade's Cove, which as you know from previous posts, is one of my favorite places to go.  As Speed Racer pointed out last night, it's also always kinda hard going there, because it's so similar to where we use to live.  It does make us a little home sick at times, but it's also nice to get some fresh air.

The rest of his turkey friends were too fast for me, sneaky sneaky turkeys.

It's like being on safari!  I'm not lying, half the time I'm in Cade's Cove I expect a T-Rex to come attack our vehicle like in Jurassic Park.

You can't see it, because I didn't have a long enough lens, but there were two beautiful bucks in this field.

We had a little company.

It was a gorgeous night.

I was kind of in love with this tree.

There are lots of pictures of it.


I'm sorry.




It's official.  It's going on my wall.


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Hard Knox

So I realized today that after all this time of posting about places I like and the rural area around my house, that I haven't posted any downtown Knoxville pictures! 

I really do love downtown.  It has the feel of a small town main street but with a lot more to do.  So without further ado, here are some of my favorite downtown pics.

It's funny, Speed Racer always seems to sneak into my pictures.  Weird huh?

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Rural Retreat

Ever since I was little I've felt comforted in rural areas.  My family use to go on a retreat every summer at Oak Hill Academy, and they had a beautiful barn on campus.  I would get up early in the mornings and go watch them feed the cattle, help brush the horses, hang out in the barn, and do a little horseback riding.  I absolutely loved it.  When I moved in high school, I moved to a more rural area and would always find my escape in nature.  So when Speed Racer told me we were moving to Knoxville, I was a little hesitant.  I had seen downtown Knoxville once in high school and swore I would never live here.  Careful what you say, right?  But when Speed Racer took me to see the house, I was immediately at peace.  Where we live in Knoxville, is surrounded by rural farms, holding out against the sprawl of the city.  There's even a cattle farm just down the street.  Early in the morning on the weekends, Speed Racer and I will climb on our bikes and head into the heart of this rural area, and it's especially beautiful in the morning light.  So today, I thought I would go out and try to capture a little of that.

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The Boys Are Back in Town

So that title isn't completely accurate, the boys were back in town and have now left again, is a little better.  While I was catching up on girl talk and celebrating Father's Day, Speed Racer was out having a "Boys Only" weekend.  There was canoeing, there were guns, there was mockery, and there was laughter...sounded like an overall good time.  Wish I could have stuck around a little bit longer before they kicked me out, I love being one of the guys, but alas, they needed to talk man talk.  But here are some pictures I snapped before I left. Obviously you know Speed Racer...

Mr. B...

The Preacher...


And hiding back there is Mr. Hokie.

After a crazy weekend, we high tailed it back to Knoxville.  But before Mr. B left the next morning we got a chance to show him Norris.

All in all it was a fabulous weekend!  It was great to see so many old friends, both Speed Racer and I miss them a lot.



Friday Escape

Today I'm going back to the land that I love.   The land where I fell in love with Speed Racer, and where magical things can happen.  To dramatic of a start?  It's true though, that's how I feel about this place.  Speed Racer and I are going back for a fun filled weekend of canoeing, hiking, camping, girl talk (for me), meeting up with old friends, and celebrating my Father's Birthday and Father's Day!  It's going to be a packed weekend, but much needed.  We're literally about to get on the road, so have a fabulous weekend fair readers, and get out and enjoy the sun.



Dam Blog Post

Last night Speed Racer and I were feeling a little antsy in our pantsy after a lazy afternoon.  We had managed to go on a nice 23 mile bike ride in the morning before the rain started.  But after that were trapped inside, and quite frankly, took advantage of it with a long Sunday afternoon nap.  After dinner with some friends, the clouds cleared up and we hit the highway. To Norris Dam.

We really got there at the perfect time of day.  The rain had cooled everything off, leaving a slight mist on the water.  It was gorgeous.

This is one of our favorite "date nights."  We just get in the car and drive somewhere.  We've been doing this since either of us could drive and it's great because it's cheap, and relaxing, and just the two of us.

The two of us AND my CAMERA!

Unfortunately for Speed Racer...but he's very nice and lets me take picture of him...except when he decides to start moving around, to be mean.

Of course we were lucky to get a hot press car to ride around in too.

It was a wonderful night, and a great way to start the week.