Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Floating Puzzle

Floating Jigsaw PuzzleFloating Jigsaw Puzzle

It's happening, here folks. The leaves are turning and coming down.

Trees in the Mist (and not)

Trees in the Mist

This image was taken in that forest on Lambsburg Road about a dozen years ago. It's one of my all-time favorites ever, shot with my first camera, a trusty Olympus OM-1 on a cold, dreary, but mysterious day. At that time in my life, I wasn't shooting any black and white to speak of because I thought I had lost my touch. In reality, I didn't have a darkroom I could use, and had just resorted to sending my black and white film away to the Walmart lab so I was repeatedly disappointed in the flat, muddy results. But I just knew when I was shooting that day, I had something special. So I found a true black and white lab in Greensboro, called "Dalmation Black and White," and sent that roll of film to them to develop and contact print (along with several others that I had shot at Corolla during our Christmas vacation week there. I was so pleased with the results, that I now had a new problem. It was going to cost me about $250 dollars for them to print up everything I liked. At the same time, my friend Monika (thanks for the props on the blog today, my sweet friend!) was a student at New River Community College and she was urging me to go take a photo class over there because they were begging people to sign up for it so the class would make. Well, I did the math, and figured that it was cheaper to pay tuition at NRCC than it was to send all those negatives away for somebody else to have all the fun printing them. So I signed up for the course, and did it myself.
Later that spring I got a post card in the mail from the Dalmation lab that they were sponsoring an exhibit of Ansel Adams prints in the High Point Museum and also they were sponsoring an amateur photo contest in honor of the Ansel Adams exhibit, Since I had made some pretty good images I thought I would share them. I had to take them all the way to High Point, North Carolina. The following week, I received a phone call from a lady at the museum. The lady asked me would I like to have some good news? "Really?, Of course!" I thought to myself, "What do you know; you got an honorable mention!" But then she said, "Your print, "Trees in the Mist" won second place in the show!" My Goodness, was I surprised and ecstatic!!! After the whoopin' and "I can't believe its" settled down a bit, she calmly asked me if I would like some more good news? I really couldn't imagine what else she was going to say, so I was actually stunned speechless when she continued, "Your print, "Season's Rest" won FIRST PLACE in the show!" As I said, I was literally speechless! I really could not comprehend that I had just won the first AND second place awards in the first juried show I had ever entered!! And to beat that, my prints were hanging in the same exhibit space with Ansel Adams' work. I had to go down there to a reception to pick up my awards, and they actually wanted me to speak to all the others there (like I knew what I was doing, HA!) One of my prizes was a huge enlargement of this photograph, "Trees in the Mist" which hangs in my precious husband's office to this day. I guess you could say, he has a big refrigerator door in there!

Here are some shots I made at the same place on Monday while waiting for my car to be inspected:

More Trees (Not in the Mist):

Not bad, but not quite the same impact. Leqving the comforts of home on a cold day in January does have its rewards!

Here are a couple more shot at the Felts Bros. garage while he was inspecting vehicle number 1 this week. 2 more to go . . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Incident on Elk Horn Road

Saddle and Bag Jigsaw PuzzleSaddle and Bag Jigsaw Puzzle

So, why did it take me four hours to get my car inspected today??? Stay Tuned.

Here's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

We have three vehicles that need to be inpected this week; the stickers on two of them have actually already expired (dear me!) It's a pleasant jaunt through the bucolic Carroll County countryside to get to my favorite state inspection garage out at Pipers Gap, so me thinks to myself: I should take my own advice to make more pictures, then I tossed the camera bag into the car, just in case I get inspired. It's a glorious Indian Summer day as the last wisps of morning mist flee from the relentless sun. I drove past a herd of Holsteins knotted together in the corner of a pasture, and something about the jumble of black and white excited me. I turned around twice, pulled my car ever so carefully off the road on a nice level place, then eased forward right into a hidden hole! (Notice the first slide in the show. What you can't see in the picture is the right front bumper sitting on the ground and the left rear tire completely suspended in the air! Not to worry, though; AAA is just a phone call away; but I'll make the call after I get a few shots.

Half an hour later, I get back in the car to call the tow truck, but alas; I have left the cell phone at home! (nothing unusual; it's not a habit that I have been able to make, yet.) I'm still not ruffled. I decide to walk back to Gary's garage to ask him for a tow. I might as well take the camera, too, since I might see something photo-worthy. Another hour later, I have only walked about a 1/2 mile, when Gary comes by. "Ah saw yer caurr 'side 'o de rode; you OK? I could sing praises of my mechanic 'til the cows come home. For now, suffice it to say, that I would have to think LONG and HARD about ever leaving this place because we are so dependant on him to maintain our old vehicles lifestyle. (Side-note: Twice this week, Dave has mentioned not sinking any more money into the "White Chariot of Funness," our beloved '84 Corolla . . . GASP!!)

Gary went to get his chain, I took more pictures until he got back, then he had me properly back on the road, lickedy-split. I managed to drive the rest of the way to Felts Brothers without any more stopping, but it was hard because I saw two woolie worms crossing the road; the first that I've seen this fall; and a certain affirmation that fall is, indeed, here. Why do woolie worms like to cross roads??

When I arrived, the doors were all shut, but the lady in the store assures me that he has just gone to lunch and will be back in about an hour. It's too far to go back home and return, so what else to do, but . . . take more pictures!! Now, I have a favorite place to shoot just down the mountain from there. It's a forest of trees that look like straight, tall soldiers, marching right down the mountainside. I've known about this sport for decades, and I have a shot in my mind's eye that's waiting for the perfect moment. It has to be a crisp, clear winter morning, with fresh snowfall, at least 5 or 6 inches to cover the forest floor. The trees are going to be black against the sun and their shadows are going to thrust straight towards me across the blanket of snow. I'm going to shoot at F:16, and the sun will look like a giant diamond dangling in the treetops. Alas, the magic shot still eludes me because I don't have a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get down the steep, curvy road, and venturing out of my cozy house early on a January morning is almost unthinkable. But one day, like a patient, persistant fisherman, I'll clip another prize-winner on my stringer.

I DID get the car inspected, after all (even took a couple of shots at the garage) and I will post those up tomorrow, along with the tree shots. Without further ado . . . . here is the slideshow of things to see on Elkhorn Road when you're stuck in a hole. Relax, and I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did!
PS: Did you notice the first blush of color in the leaves?

The cows that started it all:

Just a couple to enjoy right now in case you don't have time for the slideshow:

Monday, September 24, 2007

The JoyBell Ringers

Hoy Cow!! I CANNOT BELIEVE that I have never posted up this picture of my terrific little ringers!

Go ahead and click on it so you can see them better.
Last week was our first rehearsal of the fall, and I am SOOOOO excited!! I only had one turnover in personnel. This is the best beginning I have ever had, PTL!

The Look

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What can I say? My nephew is just the cutest!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mermaid Musings

Snow White Jigsaw PuzzleSnow White Jigsaw Puzzle
Isn't she a fun gal? We just had to do a little bit of cutting up when we were shooting Christina's portraits this week. Only 2 more weeks until you can see those; I can hardly wait!! I thought this shot would be a safe sneak peek in case Chris comes snooping around; he won't be getting any clues about her exquisite dress. Your days are numbered, buddy; seriously, you will completely disolve when you see her coming down the aisle.

We took a walk tonight on the Beaver Dam Creek Trail over in Hillsville and there were little splashes of fall color everywhere. That trail is a secret jewel! The sound of rushing water, the sweet air, the pasture with the friendly horses that turns misty before your eyes when the sun sets, the red benches, the springy mulch under your feet, the stately Carter Pines, the landscape still dotted with wildflowers, the goldenrod almost at the peak of bronze
bloom . . . . ahhhhh . . . .

So, what's this blurry picture doing up on my blog???? I took that snapshot tonight with Agape's camera (hand-held at about 1/5 sec.) while we were on our walk, and I'm posting my technically bad picture up here because, even though it is far from perfect; when I see it, all of the memories of a delightful walk instantly fill my mind in vivid detail. So take more pictures y'all! You can never have too many pleasant moments stored up, and the bad shots work just as well as the prize-winners to unlock those memories for you to savor again.

Britney spent the night with Agape. Already they are practicing for next semester when they both will get to bring the baby, "Think it Over" home.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Beep Beep Jigsaw PuzzleBeep Beep Jigsaw Puzzle
"Beep-Beep!"That's what speed my life is moving at right now. I'm tooooo far behind to be blabbing on a blog, but here's a fun puzzle for you anyway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Coming Home

McPhersons Jigsaw PuzzleMcPhersons Jigsaw Puzzle
Put the McPhersons back together again! If only it were that easy. Amber returns to Germany tomorrow and Jimmy And Carol are headed to France on Thursday. And MOI??? I still haven't recovered from my week in California (with red-eye flight and drive from Charlotte to get back home.)

Indian summer has arrived here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today, I saw a tree that was already changing! I spent this glorious day with Christina, shooting her bridal portraits, which I am JUST DYING to post here, but of course, we don't want Chris to be sneeking any peeks. But I will say, that he is going to be one big 'ole puddle when he lays eyes on her!

Here is a parting shot that shows you even though Los Angeles is a killer culture shock for me; never the less, it is a mermaid-friendly state.

Photo made by Amy with her cell phone.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pacific Sundown

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The sun sets just as purty on the left coast as it does on the right!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Castle Builders Jigsaw PuzzleCastle Builders Jigsaw Puzzle
It's come to my attention that I have fallen behind posting my puzzles. Please forgive me as my recent travels have disrupted my connection to the world-wide web. So tonight, I have internet, but not my computer. However, I brought a DVD of beach pics to give to Amy, so I did find something to share along the theme of our beach week traditions, which after 24 years, there has been some evolution, but some things never change.
LIKE . . . .
Building sand castles. (photo thanks to Vicki McPherson}

The family photo.

Going to the sound for the sunset. (photo by Amy Mac Renzulli)

Somebody's flesh being stitched back together by Dr. David. (Thankfully, this isn't an every year occurance, though he ususally ends up doing some kind of doctoring before the week is finished.)

Kite flying.

Showering outside. (photo by her mom, Vicki)

Riding the ferry to Ocrcoke,

and feeding the seagulls.

Going to see the lighthouses (photo by Vicki McPherson)
The Trivial Pursuit war between the genders.


Creative arts. (In years past, I planned the craft activitiy for all the cousins; now they are creative on their own.

Other traditions not pictured:
The Seafood Feast!
The Curry Dinner!
Sailing (Oh, the stories I could tell!)
Brave attempts by the Coast Guard to Rescue us (stories I really should tell. These are rich!!)
Long walks on the beach.
And this year, a new tradition to add to the list: Letterboxing. (photo by Agape)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

From Coast to Coast

The Atlantic last week, The Pacific this week!! Does that make me a multicultural mermaid? I am in Los Angeles for the Pictage Partnercon soaking up the wisdom so freely shared by some of the absolute best in the wedding photography industry. What I have learned so far:
1.I am not in the photography business, I am in the photographer business.
2.I need to outsource every task in this business that does not absolutely require my presence. So, as my roomate Tracy said, I want to shoot more and click less. "Shoot.Dot.Edit;" I will be banging your door down!!
3.Photographers are very serious people. See below:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chris and Christina, The Show!

This also could be titled, "Lost in Blogger Cyberspace." I know I wrote an entry late Sunday night about Chris and Christina with a link to their slideshow. I even remember what I wrote, though it was about 3:00 am! But now, I can't find it anywhere. So, will somebody help me out here, and tell me if you ever read it here, Under the C., or am I just delirious from being hauled away from the sea?

If it's true that "All you need is love," then Chris and Christina are the richest 2 people around. We did their engagement shoot one sultry night a couple of weeks ago, and he was sweatng buckets and dabbing at a self-inflicte flesh wound (clean shave, off the scale!) but NEVER WHINED!! His only desire all evening was to please his beloved and make her wishes come true. It's always inspiring to be with them and I am so blessed and honored that they have invited me into their lives and their love. Watch their slideshow, and you will see what I mean!
Chris and Christina.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Message from another McPherson

Dear All,
Greetings. I'm Charlotte's sister-in-law/friend, Lilless, the oldest living member of the McPherson clan. Charlotte has been busy being on vacation, chronicling our vacation (some of her photos are on the blog), and doing a slide show for an engaged couple. Today she leaves for a photography conference in California and asked if I would be a guest blogger, something I've never done but I do know how to write on the computer since I'm a college professor and teach an online writing course.
As many of you know, Charlotte is extremely intelligent and creative. Her photographs have won numerous awards and although she donates much of the time she spends on photography, she is also earning money with her skill now. For example, she sells her work online and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina among other places. You can see I'm a fan and since Charlotte is modest, she might not put all this information on her blog. She takes her cameras and a computer everywhere she goes except when she's actually in the ocean, tubing down the New River, water skiing, jumping off the bridge in Manteo, NC, into the water, or playing in some other body of water (as befits a mermaid).
Since I recently retired (although I'm still teaching some), I've come to stay a couple of days at what people refer to as Camp McPherson, whose proprietors are Miss Charlotte and Doctor Dave. Their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a refuge for many.
I'm now reading "The Mitford Bedside Companion" by Jan Karon and recommend it to anyone who has read any of the Mitford Years series and to others who just want a peaceful book to read. The series is about Father Tim, an Episcopal priest, and his family and friends in a fictional town in the mountains of North Carolina. I've read all the other books in the series with my ears (Books on Tape).
Hope you are having a wonderful day. Thank you for reading my first blog entry.
Lilless McPherson Shilling

Home, Sweet Wi-Fi

At last! I am rolling down the information highway again. Goodness, I didn't realize how dependent I have become.

So, the 2007 McPherson beach week is now history. sniff, sniff. . . but there are lots of lovely photos waiting, when I have some time. We had perfect weather the whole week and left just in time for Gabriella to move in. I've been watching news clips of the storm on the weather channel site today. It's a little surreal to be watching surf on the very same beach we just left. It was vigorous swimming on Friday with some swells in the 5 to 6 foot range and a little rip current action going on: just the kind of stuff a mermaid needs to satisfy the soul.

Thanks to Amy, I will have some lovely portraits for my website's bio page; no mean feat, I might add, considering the model she had to work with!

It was a nerve-wracking ride home in the party wagon. (Always an adventure lurking, huh?) We were 20 minutes late out of the starting gate, but not to worry because I had padded our departure time by an hour so we wouldn't have to stress over making Amy's 3:00 pm flight from Raleigh. Well, 3 stops later we had whittled all of our bonus time away and were on course to arrive at the airport 1 hour before her flight time, when the van started swaying like a leaf in the wind. I slowed down and took note that the trees were not dancing with the wind like we were. Hmmmmm . . .no wind, so what could it be???? We were pulling off to assess the situation ( it felt like the van would topple at any moment), when we heard the rumble of a tire going flat. Uggghhhh!!!!!!! Of course, all the tire-changing gear was buried in the depths under the back seat, barricaded by a week's worth of beach life support gear. We looked like the Keystone Cops unpacking, ripping that tire off, and shoveling it all back in, then rolling pell-mell the last 50 miles to the airport, even though, by now, the prospects of Amy catching that plane looked hopeless. We screeched to the curb at 2:35pm, Amy bolted out, and was miraculously seated on the plane before I could get parked and come inside!! Who would have imagined in this day and time that you could arrive 25 minutes prior to departure and both your body and your luggage would make it onto your flight!!