Photo Tuesday

Selft-Portrait for Challenge

I am trying to be more intentional about my photography. I decided to check in again with the Friday photo challenge. This week’s challenge is self-portrait. In embarking on my self-portrait, I took along my husband. I’m not sure whether it says something good about my prowess as a photographer, but I know it says something good for our marriage. Richard used the Nikon D7000’s video setting to document our session and I’m sure he’ll be weighing in with a short movie soon. (I cringe to think of it.)
Sarah self-portrait

I took this with the Nikon D700 on a tripod. I am holding the Nikon D200, pretending to take a photograph. I had the camera on the timer setting, which gave me about 20 seconds to get into position. I tried from several different angles. This is the one I liked best.

A Bee and Some New Reviews

A Bee Feeding

I spotted this bee hovering around my Indian Hawthorne bushes. I was using our Nikon D200 with a Sigma telephoto lens. Richard was equipped with the D700 and Tamron macro lens. We had spent a few hours in a field outside Clinton searching for milkweed and monarch eggs. We had no luck on the monarch eggs, but we had a fun time taking photographs anyway.

Richard taking a photo of me taking a photo of him

This next one is for no reason other than I looked through the lens and I liked the lines and the contrasting dried weeds against the green.

At Choctaw Trail

Bee from a different angle

Growing Patterns Update
We found out yesterday that Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is going into a second printing. My editor got in touch because he wanted me to see the new text for the back cover. It will now include excerpts from reviews. We’ve had a few new reviews in the last few days. In the April issue of School Library Journal, Jody Kopple writes: “This slim, attractive volume makes clear the appearance and significance of Fibonacci numbers in nature, both through simple, precise explanations and eye-catching photographs.” Read the whole review here (You’ll have to scroll down to nonfiction).

In the May/June issue of Horn Book Magazine, Tanya D. Auger, writes: “With its glossy, clutter-free pages; crisp, colorful photographs; and clear, straight-to-the-point text, this interactive picture book by the creators of Wolfsnail is an attractive, satisfying introduction to the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 …” The entire review is not available online.

I am feeling the strong pull of beautiful spring weather. It’s all I can do not to grab the camera and wander the neighborhood snapping all the beautiful flowers or catch a nap on the back porch. Has spring arrived where you are?

Science Olympiad

My middle and youngest sons spent the day Friday at the Mississippi Science Olympiad at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. They competed in events such as trajectory, elevated bridge, Wright stuff, pentathlon, and dynamic planet. I went along to chaperone and take pictures. The photography challenges were that most of the events we could watch were held in the gymnasium and the student union. I had to use a very long lens to get close enough, but my flash wasn’t effective at that distance. I propped the lens a lot to try to steady it. You can judge the results.

Wright stuff

Wright stuff team

Interesting design by competitor

Interesting design by competitor

This one flew very nicely

motorized wind-up


Bridge team

Does it meet the construction parameters?

Test set-up

Pouring the final cups of sand to equal 15 kg

Nice design by a competitor

Studying the bridge results; ours held!

Trajectory team sends a tennis ball to the target

Talking it over

A accepts congratulations on behalf of the Experimental Design team

E aglow with the glory of winning

Richard’s Close-up Images

Richard went in search of interesting objects to photograph with the macro lens. These are the things he found — most of them on the kitchen counter.


a quarter

hair brush

rehydrating red beans

Tanner's eye

Gulf Fritillary on Neighbor’s Lantanas

Gulf Fritilary

Gulf Fritilary

As the second in a week of posts with photographs of my Sunday morning walk, I offer a Gulf Fritillary feasting on Lantana flowers. Three of these were fluttering around the same group of bushes. What a fantastic color they are! I love the orange tip on the antennae. It looks like the head of a pin.

Gulf Fritillary

Gulf Fritillary

New Material for Website

amaryllis close up variegated-4054My website was created using Joomla!, which has a very blog-like user interface. I find it easy to update my site because Joomla! stores content in ways that make sense to me. Rather than creating individual pages that remain static and must be changed individually, Joomla! creates pages on the fly by pulling the blocks of information you tell it to. A block of information could be an article, a document for download, a menu, a photograph, etc.

The other great thing about Joomla! is that it is free. Richard did the set-up but, by and large, I keep it maintained. Since Joomla! is an open source program, there are a lot of add-ons available. This means we can choose from several types of photo galleries, search functions, etc.

I spent several hours yesterday and today updating my website. I didn’t do any major overhauls, but I added new pictures to the galleries, updated the information on my appearances page, and added some new teaching materials in the photography section. Please let me know what you think. Also, if there is content you’d like to see that’s missing, please let me know.

Richard took this close-up of an amaryllis. I love the detail.

Photoshop Creations

flowers-2-2I created this using Photoshop and one of the photographs I posted yesterday. I like how this one turned out.

flowers-4If you remember yesterday’s post, I showed two photographs of this trailing verbena. I created this image from the blurry photograph.

Wonky Log Cabin and More New Quilt

s quilt outside cb2-3This is my first wonky log cabin block. I have admired these in other places, but I hadn’t quite figured out how to do it myself so my friend Julie and I scheduled a wonky block get-together and I managed. I like the way it turned out and I’ve started the next one. This could be my next project.

s quilt outside cb2-2In the meantime, I worked more on my other quilt and took some (hopefully) better photographs of it. I should have known better than to try to get a good picture in the house on the floor in bad light. This time I took it outside and used natural light. Like I said, I should have known better. This photo also gives you a better idea of the size of the quilt. It’s still little bitty.

s quilt outside cb2 with wonkyI haven’t decided whether this is one long panel of a quilt with some long solid panels, too, or whether this is just a fraction of what will be a quilt that is all bits and pieces like this. Do you have an opinion?

Maybe I’ll figure out how to combine the bits and pieces and the wonky square??

s quilt outside cb2-4My boys are into their second week of Campbell Boys Camp for Boys (or CB squared). Here are some shots of them.

I just finished Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett (my second time; we selected it for book group) and D and I are in the middle of The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. N just finished Unwind by Neal Shusterman. He liked it and requested more. I’ve put holds on several of his others. G just finished The Ancient by R.A. Salvatore. Soon it will be time for the official summer reading.

s quilt outside cb2

Library Visit in My Hometown

growing-pinecone-larger-21I had a great time this morning with the Summer Reading kids in Port Gibson at the Harriet Person Memorial Library. We had a large group with a big age-range and lots of wide eyes as I talked about the wolfsnail. There were some in the audience who heard me last summer when I visited A.W. Watson Elementary School. The kids had fabulous questions — including ones about how books are put together. In this photo, I am telling them that the end papers are glued to the book’s cover. This photo was taken with my new point-and-shoot. Helen McComb took it for me. She was very helpful with all of my equipment.

growing-pinecone-larger-3There were definitely challenges in the photography department. There was a lot of natural light — from a skylight. This led the camera to believe there was enough light that it didn’t need the flash. You can see what the bright sunlight did to this photo.

growing-pinecone-larger-4Helen knew how to override the flash so she did that for  this photo. When Deborah Peterkin, the assistant librarian,  said  the librarians were going to place names of summer readers into a box and pull a winner’s name for prizes, I decided to donate a book. If you’ll remember from yesterday, I had planned on shooting video, too, with my new Sony webbie HD. However, it malfunctioned. It did OK in the short test I shot before the kids started coming in, but went to sleep while we were waiting to begin. When Helen tried to wake it up to get it going, it wouldn’t shoot — displaying a formatting error. I was able to reformat the memory stick when I got back home, but I was not happy about the malfunction. I’ll try to use it again soon.

growing-pinecone-largerDoes this look like a kid who several hours later would wake up with a bad earache? Poor guy. He’s got a touch of swimmer’s ear and a touch of something else in his throat and sinuses. He’s bummed because he can’t go to the pool for a few days — and it’s 97 degrees outside — but we found out our pool is going to be closed anyway for a much-needed cleaning. C’est la vie!


fooled by the skylight


a little bit better here

New Desk

beforeRichard and the boys built a new desk over the weekend. D, our youngest son, saved enough money to buy the components for a computer; he’ll be building it with his Dad. We decided we couldn’t fit his computer onto the table with his older brother’s computer and the one the two younger ones had been sharing. Richard decided to build one that would hold all three. You can see the set up before, during the final clean-up, and after. The new computer will be here any day now — in parts of course.sanding cleanup
set up