Just Mom and Her iPad Camera

Terry, Meg and I first visited Ambergris Caye, Belize, in October, 2003. It was a marvelous trip.  We stayed at a small condominium complex, “The Palms”, near the center of town.  We so loved our experience that we purchased this wonderful, and inexpensive, oil painting depicting the main street running through town.  It accurately depicts Rubie’s Hotel and Ruby’s Cafe, (yes, different spellings), as well as the surrounding buildings.

Because this painting is vivid and colorful on its own, I decided it was a perfect vehicle for checking out the special effects possibilities on my iPad camera.  Who would think modern technology can create such a variety of images.  All it takes is a willingness to explore the possibilities of “Photo Booth” on your iPad–or your Mac–for that matter.  The special effects options run the gamut from “Squeeze” to “X-Ray”.  For these photographs I chose “Squeeze”, “Twirl”, “Kaleidoscope”, and “Light Tunnel”.  Here are the results:



“Twirl” again:


“Light Tunnel”:

Aren’t they fun.  If you have a Mac of any sort, give it a try!  Happy Saturday.


The Itsy, Bitsy Spider Grows Up

We all remember the song The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.  While I can’t identify the writer of this classic children’s song, Iza Trapani wrote a children’s book by the same name, all about that spider.

I cannot help but believe that if that itsy, bitsy spider had grown up, it would look much like this spider, a bronze sculpture cast in 1997 by the artist, Louise Bourgeois. It sits on the lawn of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art,  a short walk from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Mid-Town Kansas City.

Behind her, poised on the museum wall, is the “bitsy” version of the Kemper’s Spider.


Benjamin Franklin is one of our nation’s most beloved and celebrated founder. Truly a leader of men, he was a diplomat to France, author of the original Poor Richard’s Almanack, authored portions of the Declaration of Independence and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. And that is just the beginning of his talents and accomplishments.

Noted for both his eloquent descriptions of life and government, he could be witty, pithy and wise.  This wonderful sculpture of Franklin, created by George Lundeen, [1] sits by Latte Land on the Country Club Plaza.  Feel free to sit with him for a while.  There is plenty of room on the bench.

                                                   Where liberty dwells, there is my country [2]

[1]George Lundeen sculpted this wonderful bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin.  It is a warm representation of Franklin, one of a series of similar sculptures, large and small.  Lundeen’s creations include national heroes, child athletes, newspaper boys, Native Americans and others are charming and seem to capture the spirit of our national character.

[2] Widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Two Cameras: Two settings, Same Image

My old Canon FTb was a wonderful camera.  I used it to take this shot of a rusted metal sign advertising Kent cigarettes overlaying an earlier advertisement for L & M cigarettes.  Never a smoker myself I was attracted to the worn, faded image rather than the message.  The original photo was taken 35 years ago.

Since I bought my new Nikon D-5100 DSLR I have been struggling to master the camera’s potential.  Because this weekend is wonderfully dark and dreary, I have little opportunity for outdoor photography.  No complaints here, we’ve needed the rain!  But I am anxious to continue to explore, and have fun with, my camera.

I decided to manipulate  the image of this ragged old  sign.  Here it is.  The photograph was taken using he “effects” mode setting on my Nikon,  dialed to “color sketch”.

Oneida Community–Where Giants Walked

“Where giants walked”.  Those are the words our tour guide, the curator of the Mansion House in Oneida, New York, used to describe the Oneida Community.  Disbanded more than 120 years ago, the community grounds still emit a feeling both vibrant and tranquil.

I didn’t know what to expect when the “cousins trip” arrived in Oneida.  What we found far exceeded even my enthusiastic expectations.  We spent a night in the Mansion House where our rooms were simple but lovely.  The environment was so much more.

The Oneida Community was founded in the belief that individuals can become free from sin while still here on earth.  Beyond their religious aspirations, their practical reality involved a focus on hard community labor, culture, music, art and literature.  These values resonated throughout the community.  Beautification of the grounds of the Mansion House and of the surrounding community are evident today.

While much of the Mansion House is plain, befitting a society based on de-emphasizing private property, there was an emphasis on beauty of the common areas.  The great hall that was a central meeting area demonstrates the community’s commitment to perfection in its culture and art.

The grounds are lovely, incorporating gardens, simple fountains and open areas surrounded by trees.

Artistic endeavors were encouraged.  The museum displays beautiful art such as this unique braided rug that are  wonderful works of craftsmanship.

The library was a focal point of daily life, filled with books that were identified as incorporating all of the knowledge important to a learned community.  It remains a great place to visit and study.

While long disbanded as a religious community, descendants of community members continue to live in the shadow of the Mansion House.  While their homes are not elegant, they are as graceful, well-groomed and inviting as the people who live there.

Welcome to “Utopia”.

Ann’s Office through the eyes of Color Sketch

Color sketch is a so-called “effects mode” on my Nikon.  Described by photography writer, Chris Hall, as “making something out of nothing”, these photographs prove you can create art out of everyday things.  The first photograph is the view from my office chair.  You can see my clock, weights, M&M machine and books.  In the upper left hand corner is a calendar Meg gave me for Christmas.  The cover is a photograph of my husband, Terry, sitting in the back yard.

The beautiful flowers in this shot are really ink pens Meg gave me for my birthday in 2009.  She was  in the midst of final exams her first year of law school.

These photographs include some of my favorite reminders of Meg and Terry. But color sketch sure does make my office more fun for those who don’t understand the pure pleasure I get from the treasures with which I have chosen to surround myself.