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February 18th, 2011 - Mish-mash, Goulash, and Ratatouille

Got a bunch a stuff here to lay on you, kind of a yarn-ball of photographic threads and lint that have been rolling around the computer and through dark alleys of my soul for a while, looking for a home.
I apologize insincerely if you may have seen some of these things on my Facebook site
I have been bouncing back and forth about putting things up there or here, or on my photo web site. I don't necessarily like the way FB controls your images, but people actually take the time to comment about them there so what can you do. I try to put up smaller versions there and save some good stuff (as if) for the blog, as I have people that read me here and not there, and those that read me there but not here, and well, here it is.
I was at a nursery (plants) the other day in Illinois, and I was blown away by their awesome counter top/table/desk and the home-made wooden furniture in their office.
I guess the original members of the family that started the business about thirty years ago built it, and it has been gracing their office ever since.
It's all made from pieces of cut saplings and tree scrap  attached to a 'credenza-like' wooden counter form. 
The top pieces are about 3 to 4 inches long in various diameters covered with glass-plates, and the front is composed of about three foot long sections of many different species of trees of about the same diameter.
They also had a cool bentwood chair and end table made in the same style. 
Pieces of furniture don't often turn my head, but when I see something I like, I get really engrossed in it. I like to build my own stuff, and it's not always very decorative, but I can appreciate when someone's concept and craft all comes together.
Combine that with a sweet Weimaraner named "Gracie", and you've got yourself a nice comforting place of business.
I just have to remind myself that although Weimaraners were bred to bring down deer and other animals by biting them in their genitals, this has been mostly bred out by now and that I will probably be okay even though I find myself shielding my nuts every time I see a Weimaraner coming my way. 
The next day I went snowshoeing at Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha, WI. 
It was late afternoon after our 'Landscape & Grounds Maintenance' class, about the latest in turfgrass fertilizers and weeds of turf and sod, which I expected to be boring as hell but was actually very interesting. Did you know that recent studies have shown that turfgrass can sequester more carbon than equivalent acreage of woody forest...?  Well, that is a powder keg topic probably not to be addressed here, but the workshop was a great excuse for me to bring my snowshoes and get in some shoeing at the park before everything melts.
And it was quite literally melting underfoot as I was out tromping around. The haze of water vapor coming off the dwindling snowpack turned into a thick ethereal fog.
I saw one large deer and tried to sneak up on it, but sneaking up on snowshoes in this crunchy slop was a fool's errand. I did see that it had been leaving bloody hoof-prints. Not sure what was up with that. Maybe just cut on the ice, or the old barbed-wire fence-line I kept seeing coming out of the melt around the edges of the park.
A Facebook friend said she she wanted to paint this image as a watercolor, and I was going to try apply a PaintShop "brush-stroke" effect and see if I could watercolorize it, but I ended up going a little further and making an abstract out of it. 

I tried to make it as minimalistic it as I could without losing the forms. I tried to keep the horizon line, the contrasts to trees, snow, grasses, and accentuate the color. 
The geometry comes from an effect called "Fur", which I over-tweaked to strengthen the lines. Fun stuff.
Couple more here - the running Whitetail deer from Blue Mounds State Park in southwestern Minnesota, near Luverne... 
I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when the deer was caught by surprise between two hiking groups, and I got a jump on firing off some quick succession shots as I could see which way it was going to go.
Then there is the um, little spoof on the "Carbohydrate Death Bowl" that a certain pizza distribution chain was featuring for awhile.
Anything stuffed with that much carbo-laden cheese is begging for a little friendly criticism.
The one on the right isn't my image, but I came across it while I was researching some pictures for my New York story a few posts back.
If you have a big family to perform a lot of sacraments for, hey, we got ya covered.
Buy a jug, get the second at half-price. Get to sacramentin' and save yourself some shekels.
Last but not least, our very own Happy The Dog, doing what he loves best, levitating at the beach.
He loves his Lake Michigan, unless he has to get his doodle wet in a big wave. But then again, who can blame him?

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