Why Did the Chickens Cross the Road?

Well, that’d be to get their picture taken!

Boredom and heat have been known to drive many a sweating person to do things out of the ordinary. Some people pant and complain. Others go mad. But, a few are driven to do featherbrained projects for sheer frivolity. Recently, we fell into the later group. With temperatures soaring into the upper 90’s for months, the lawn baked crispy brown and the elephant ears drooping with exhaustion, we were ready to fly the coop. All the outdoor subjects were scorched from the intense sun and heat. Summer has been on us like a chicken on a June bug.

chicken portraiture

My dad was in town with his camera and we were pecking around for a photo project. Capturing water droplets on the weary elephant ear plants was a bust. That’s when we took inspiration from the chicken coop, as we often do. At least chickens don’t turn brown and shrivel up in the hot September sun. They do pant though. Sultry chickens, in their element, remind us that we aren’t alone struggling against heat and dirt.

Somehow, we managed to set up the dark side of the reflector disk and attempt chicken portraits, just like your typical back-to-school pictures in the fall. It took a little wrangling and a few attempts to get the gals to hold still. Plus, they were a little stinky. But, eventually, we found a way to set them on a black fabric-covered block and capture a few in-focus profile and side angle shots. In the end, the hens calmed for a few seconds and I took a couple of head shots. It was a riot experimenting with poses and back drops. Gabe even brought his green screen.

Alas! These chickens didn’t have to cross the road to get their photos taken. They just needed to perch and hold still.

What’s Been Going On?

Its been a hot, crazy time of back-to-school. That’s what! Here we are after 6 pm on October 2nd and the temperature is still 93 degrees ! But, Lord have mercy, nobody’s cancelling all the activities. The show must go on: Marching band, baseball, photo competitions, cousins and grandparent visits, scouts, baptisms, 4 birthdays and somewhere in there, school. That’s why you haven’t heard from me in weeks. I’ve missed you and I’ve missed writing! Here is a little of what’s been going on these last six weeks.

105 degrees! That is the temperature the concrete bleachers were on August 16th for our first home game. The NMME Eagles marched on. This was a night of firsts: 1. Adjusting the hat so that it wouldn’t wiggle off during the performance. 2. cutting holes in the white gloves so he could finger his instrument and 3. performing in front of an actual audience! Camp was over. Now it was time to rock. I was so proud of all the musicians. They looked and sounded fantastic, especially for a first ever field show.

The day before Gabe’s 13th birthday, we connected with cousins for a time of urban naturalism. Believe it or not, these photos were taken deep in urban Atlanta on Tanyard Creek. The cool rocks and ankle deep waters were a respite on another hot August day. Frogs, fish and plenty of trash keep the youngsters busy while the mamas caught up on family affairs. Rule for the day: Keep your head out of the water. Just to make sure, we finished off the bottle of hand sanitizer just after we loaded back into the truck.

My dad popped into town mid-September and brought his camera.

“Hunter is playing tonight. Want to come along and we’ll take some night action photos?” I asked him.

“What time do we leave?” he said.

We got out there and I was looking everywhere for Hunter. He usually plays mid outfield. It was a dark night, but a gorgeous moon was rising in the east. After a few more minutes wondering where he could be and looking at all the players’ faces, I heard, “Good pitch, Naz!” There, on the pitcher’s mound, right in front of us, was my boy.

Dad laughed. “We are such goobers!” I said.

By late September, and a birthday under his belt, playing in the stands was no big deal. He’s a pro now. Nothing new here!

Now you know some of what’s been going on.

I bet you’ve been just as busy.

Check in tomorrow for a photabulous (that’s a brand new word I just made) post on a silly project we’ve been working on.

See you soon.

Slice of Life 2019: Day 1

Well, here we go! It’s Slice of Life March!

“What is Slice of Life March?” you ask.

The Slice of Life March Story Challenge is a challenge to writers and teachers of writing to write every single day for a whole month. March 2019 is my second year joining with the Two Writing Teachers Community who sponsor this contest every March.

So, basically, you are going to see a blog post from me every single day this month, Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise.

Although difficult, the Slice of Life Challenge is rewarding and I love it. I am joined by several hundred other writers, slicers and blogger friends who seek the treasure of having written and posted 31 days in a row. Slices are little snippets of life, small wedges of what’s happening around me on a given day.

This month, you’ll see poetry, short fiction, day in the life, creative non fiction and lots of photography. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my slices. I am grateful to you.

Today’s inspiration comes from a couple of photos I found as I was looking back on February. I’ve really been trying to improve my photography skills in 2019 by just being with my camera more. Kind of like osmosis, I’m figuring that even if the camera mojo doesn’t wear off on me, then at least I look cool. Below, is Gabe, who doesn’t try to look cool. He just is! Thankfully, he likes practicing this camera hobby with me and doesn’t mind taking photo walks. Plus, he’s a ham, so I always have a subject.

I look forward to sharing my slices with you this month! As you know, your comments and words of encouragement are always welcome.

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Slice of Life: Day 15

This is Day 16, but I’m still on Day 15!   I’m still plugging along.  Life happens and I’m rolling with it.

For the last year, I’ve been obsessed with photographing in the golden hour.  Having just discovered that the sun’s special angle and projection at this hour is truly breathtaking, I feel like I’ve been let in on a tremendous secret.  In November, you can get as much as 3 hours of golden, if you plan it just right.

On a recent late November day, I ventured out with my daughter for a photo walk.  On these ambles, we talk, laugh, visit some beautiful place and I fool around with my camera.   It is nice to have a daughter who is a willing participant in my photography adventures!

Here is a poem I wrote in response to what I captured that day with my lens and my heart.


Eyes like pools of glass,


A smile, like gently blowing stalks of wheat,


Hair like rays from that self-luminous body

which gives us warmth,


Prone to laughter and contemplation

as the moon tracks the earth,


You are the golden hour,


I watch and breathe and admire your light.