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Lemons Redux

I had fun editing one of my lemon photos in a new way, using a texture I found on Flickr- and then applying a Lightroom preset from One Willow. I really enjoy those presets.

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Moody Portraits

Last week’s unexpected visit with our beautiful daughter gave me an unprecedented opportunity to take some portraits of this busy mom (without the beloved boys) using the Lensbaby with the Edge 80 optic.  I asked her to look pensive and moody in these first two- and she cooperated.

20150124-DSC_1437_melinda_anderson-Edit 20150124-DSC_1366_melinda_anderson-EditAnd here she is with her gorgeous smile!

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Citrus

I’m attempting to do a bit of catch-up on my lessons from BeStill and The Studio.  The first image is for Lesson 33 in BeStill52 (and for Texture Tuesday).  The assignment was to create a still life using lemons or other citrus fruit, create a bit of a story, and include varying heights.  Well, my story is that lemons were being sliced (you can invent the rest. . .).

20150125-DSC_1550_melinda_anderson-EditThe image below is for Texture Tuesday (no real props, no varying heights, and no story).

20150125-DSC_1566_melinda_anderson-EditBoth photos were edited with textures from Kim Klassen’s Cloth and Paper collection.

Unexpected

20150125-DSC_1499_melinda_anderson-EditMy husband had an unexpected hospital stay last week, and both our son and daughter decided to fly out and visit him in the hospital and be here when he came home.  All is going well now, and we had the best time having both our kids home (can’t remember the last time that happened)!

Our daughter left her kids at home with their daddy, but she parented via Facetime.  These shots are from yesterday’s homework session with Miles and a conversation with Henry.

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Coffee and Presets

 

I had some fun yesterday creating a still life featuring a coffee cup and then editing with 2 different presets from Kim Klassen’s Studio.  The top photo is edited using the gentle preset, and the bottom one has the chocolate preset applied (faded quite a bit with the Fader and additional contrast reduced).

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Weed Wandering

From our weekend wandering at Willow Lake

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Textured with Kim Klassen’s bamboo for Texture Tuesday

Predator

Almost as soon as we started our walk at Willow Lake on Saturday, we noticed this hawk (perhaps a Cooper’s Hawk) at the top of a far tree. Fortunately, my husband had his Canon Powershot sx50 along- as well as some binoculars- so we shared the camera and were able to get some decent closeup shots. I know that the photo that is not all the way zoomed in is mine, but it is very possible that Lonnie took the second shot.  Next time, I will take a photo to mark when we switch from one shooter to the other.  Eventually, the hawk spotted some prey and swooped off into the grasses, and we continued on our way.

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I can’t close without mentioning how appreciative I am of all the positive comments and support I received for Friday’s post about my father- here on the blog and on Facebook, as well as e-mails and texts.  Thank you all so much.

 

Missing in America: When Genealogy Becomes Personal

Get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine- this is going to be the longest post I’ve ever written.

Genealogy has been a passion for me for almost 25 years- and an interest of mine since childhood. I am an only child, who was blessed to have three of my grandparents living with our small, quiet family for much of my childhood in Chico, California, where my father had his dental practice. A desire to know how our family connected with others, plus an interest in history, led me to finally start actively researching my family’s ancestry when my daughter left for college in 1992.  My father had died ten years earlier at age 80, and I began to realize I needed to find out the answers to all my questions before my mother and father’s generation was gone.  This was the days before internet research, so I started writing letters and doing research at LDS libraries.  I was hooked.

20150116-DSC_1129_melinda_anderson-3Flash forward to January of 2015: Most of my family lines go back about as far as I can take them, I’ve met many cousins online, and my genealogy is now uploaded to ancestry.com.  Last week, I was sitting at my computer idly looking at the leaves on my parents’ branches of my online tree. The leaves are placed on an ancestor’s name when Ancestry’s computer finds a record or family link to someone in your tree, and, since I thought I knew all about my parents, I hadn’t looked for information about them very assiduously.  When I clicked on my father’s name, there were several clues about census records I already had, as well as his death record.

Then I noticed something new.

There was a link to a Find A Grave record.  Find A Grave is an internet site that indexes cemetery records- very useful for genealogists.  My mother and grandparents and many other relatives and ancestors can be found on there- but my father should not have been listed for reasons I will explain shortly.  When I clicked on his listing- there was my father- correct name (with the middle name misspelled), correct birth and death dates, and correct rank in the U.S. Navy.  He was interred at the Northern California Veterans’ Cemetery in Igo, California (just outside Redding).

I was in shock. My parents were very private about anything related to death. As a young adult, I had never known (or even thought about) where my grandparents’ resting places were. There were no graveside services or visits. It wasn’t until my mother was near death and we had to start thinking about her arrangements, that my husband made some calls and discovered that my grandparents’ ashes were at a cemetery in Chico, where they had lived their final years.  However- we knew that was not the case with my father.

When my father died suddenly in 1982, my mother said that he was to be cremated, and that his ashes were being scattered at Lake Almanor, where he and my mother had spent many happy times in their retirement years.  I cannot remember the conversations exactly, but both my husband and I remembered that this was to be done by helicopter or plane.  It never occurred to me to think that this had not been accomplished. I was a busy mom, with young children, lived 100 miles away, and was still at the stage of not questioning my mother’s decisions and or taking charge of her affairs. Besides, I thought that Lake Almanor was a fitting resting place for him, and was happy knowing that’s where he was.

So. . . last Monday, after finding that my father’s ashes were at a veterans’ cemetery instead of scattered at the lake, I called the cemetery.  I cannot begin to say enough about how impressed and grateful I am with the speed at which everyone concerned called me back and the care that was taken (with me- and with my father’s remains). I was called FOUR times that day by various people involved in this story- and I had my answer.

Here’s the story: amazingly, my father’s ashes remained at the mortuary from 1982 until 2009. In 2007, a group called Missing in America had been formed to find unclaimed remains of veterans, search for relatives, do the necessary paperwork, and place their remains in a veterans’ cemetery with a full military service.  My father’s remains were discovered at a funeral home in Chico- and the only information about him was a piece of paper in his urn with his name and birth and death information- no instructions for the ashes.  Since he was a World War II veteran, Missing in America took charge of his remains, placed a notice in the local paper asking for relatives to contact them, and filed the necessary paperwork with the V.A.

Twenty-seven years after his death, my father was laid to rest on November 18, 2009 at the Northern California Veterans’ Cemetery in Igo.

I never knew.

Several people have asked me how I feel.  It’s only been a few days, but I can say I feel grief, guilt, sadness (and have shed lots of tears)- but also immense gratitude to Missing in America for taking care of my father- and many others- all across the country. I cannot place blame- I don’t know how or why this happened. Knowing my mother, she may have been too shocked or upset to follow up on the scattering of the ashes. Or perhaps it was neglect on the part of the funeral home- or whoever was to do the scattering.  But, according to Missing in America, this situation is all too common.  And, of course, we’re not just talking about veterans.

The genealogist whom I had spoken to from Missing in America went to the cemetery Wednesday to take photos for me- and is sending me photos that were taken at my father’s service.  There was a TV news crew at the service as well; it’s possible there may be video available.

I still cannot believe this happened.

I have signed up to be a volunteer genealogist with Missing in America and to take photos of graves for Find A Grave. My hope is that my interests in genealogy and photography will come together to help other families like ours.

Linking to Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds.

Black, White, and Pink-ISH

Here are a couple images from my still-life shoot the other day. These are the same photo with a black and white conversion, except that the second one has a slight bit of pinkish split toning.  I printed them both, and it is really hard to tell the difference!

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Snow Drops

We had an unexpected snowstorm yesterday morning! We woke up to snow falling and snow on the ground.  It continued to snow until 9:00 or so, while we were at my husband’s eye appointment, but by the time we got home the sun was out and the melt had begun.  I raced outside with my Lensbaby Edge 80 with macro converters and managed to capture sunshine on the melting snow on trees and plants before it was all gone.

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I’m also posting another snow shot from a week or so ago, before the New Year’s snow melted away.  This is one of our more quaint downtown establishments- I’ve never been inside, but it looks cute. It was shot with my iPhone and edited with Snapseed (an HDR treatment) and Mextures.

Photo Jan 13- 2 16 35 PMLinking up with Barb’s app-happy Wednesday at Keeping With the Times.

Sunny and Cold

The sun came out for awhile last weekend, but it was still cold as I ventured out to my studio (AKA garage) for a photo session. I opened the garage door for natural light, set what was left of my latest Trader Joe’s bouquet on some bead board, and had fun with my Edge 80 for as long as I could stand the cold. I tilted the lens down and to the left, focusing on the scissors for this shot. I liked the result and added texture to the image for Texture Tuesday.

20150111-DSC_0897_melinda_anderson-EditAnd here is the same photo with a black and white conversion.20150111-DSC_0897_melinda_andersonHappy Tuesday!

 

Just Hangin’ Around

The latest Be Still-52 assignment was hanging bottles. Whaaat?  In Kim Klassen’s beautiful vintage home, she hung a bottle with a rose in it from a hook on a door- and it looked perfectly natural- and beautiful. I was running around, hanging my little medicine bottle everywhere- and ended up with a serious case of the giggles. Needless to say, this one did not come naturally to me.  I, perhaps, should have interpreted the challenge more loosely and come up with something more “me”, but, oh well,  I did have some fun with it.

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I wonder what the neighbors thought of me hanging this bottle in a tree?

20150110-DSC_0872_melinda_anderson-EditIn case you are wondering, the first image was shot with the Lensbaby Edge 80; the one outside was with my 35mm lens.

Edge 80 at Willow Lake

Still practicing- and having fun with this creative lens and optic!

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Rose, Darkly

Over the weekend, I took some macro shots of this rose.  I decided to go with kind of a dark, gothic edit for these, using textures from Kim Klassen and Florabella.  And yes, of course, I used the Lensbaby macro converters! :-)

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Adventures in Lensbaby

20150105-DSC_0221_melinda_anderson-EditThis may look like a very simple, ordinary still life to you- but to me it represents a breakthrough!

Mastering the combination of appropriate aperture, manual focus, and correct tilt of the Lensbaby has been a challenge to say the least.  To create this still life, I had some seemingly simple goals.  I wanted window light, soft focus on the window and edges of the photo, and, most importantly, the face of the little girl figurine/vase to be in focus.  It was the last goal that was, of course, the most difficult.  Out of the 31 photos I snapped, two had good focus on the face.  This actually represents improvement to me!

I wasn’t thinking I would use the Lensbaby on still life, but now I see that I like the effect- and that, with lots of patience, I can create the correct focus and the amount of blur I want.  Yay!  In fact, still life is probably what I SHOULD be practicing on, because it is, well, STILL!

This was taken with the Sweet 35 optic at f/4.  Textured with painterly and chill by Kim Klassen.

For Be Still- 52. Week 30 (a fresh start for 2015) and Texture Tuesday

 

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