Photo Tuesday

Book Bites for Kids — Blog Talk Radio

On Monday, I was a guest on  Book Bites for Kids, a talk radio show hosted by Suzanne Lieurance, director of the National Writing for Children Center. During the half-hour interview, we talked about how I wrote Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator and how Richard and I took the photographs that illustrate it. You can hear the entire interview here. As soon as the new, improved website is ready to “go live,” I’ll post a link to the interview there. We had less than a minute to talk about Growing Patterns (the Fibonacci book); the half hour flew by.

fibonacci-14Speaking of Growing Patterns, I checked in last week with my editor. We talked about a few small changes and then he sent the text on to copy editing. The art department has all the photographs. As soon as the copy editor finishes, the art director will design and layout the book. I can’t wait to see it! This flower is called a Spiderwort. I love the color of the petals and how it contrasts with the color of the stamens. This is my photo Tuesday offering; it’s from the new book.

My Dad in the Fantasticks

We went to Vicksburg over the weekend for the Vicksburg Theater Guild‘s final performance of The Fantasticks. Dad played Bellamy, the father of Luisa. A tornado came through their neck of the woods earlier in the day so parts of Dad’s costumes were locked in the washing machine when the power went out. He improvised. We learned about the costume crisis before we left our house so we threw various pairs of shoes into the car — just in case. Luckily, he had found some before we arrived (just minutes before curtain). The boys and their friend, A, sat in the front row in an intimate seating configuration.
Bellamy tossed his vest to G early in the show and G tossed it back a few minutes later. I loved seeing the musical, which I had listened to as a child but never seen performed. Richard and I could really relate to the “Plant a carrot, get a carrot” song. A bunch of the songs made much more sense with the connecting tissue of the story. Henry and Mortimer, the two players who provide comic relief, were terrific; they had us in stitches. We got to meet the talented young performers who played Matt, Luisa, and The Mute. Richard took these photos using the D200 with no flash.
Another Fib:

Tossing squares
Red, Green, Yellow, Blue
Cheer Grandpa Dave Singing Fun Songs

Which Way Up? — Photo Tuesday


Twyla Miranda, a participant in Writing From Nature 2009, took this picture of me while I was taking pictures in the woods of Boyds Mills. Richard noticed that I had the camera turned “wrong side up.” He can’t understand why I constantly flip back and forth between the two options for taking vertical shots. In the case of the D200, it seems particularly perverse because it has an extra button positioned for taking vertical photographs.


One of my regular readers said the photo in my previous post made her wonder what was surrounding the image I actually posted. Here is a shot with the scene from slightly further back. You can see the moss, the nascent Canada Mayflower (False Lily of the Valley), some flowers from a red maple (in the curve of the brown leaf at the left), and some fallen twigs. I posted a photo gallery from Writing From Nature on my website.

Wolfsnail Update: I learned when I returned from Pennsylvania that Wolfsnail has been nominated in the nonfiction category for the 2010 Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award. This is sponsored by SLAYS (School Libraries and Youth Services) a division of the North Dakota Library Association.

Weeds in Cornwall — Photo Tuesday


Today’s image comes from my Dad. He took this photograph during a trip to England about 20 years ago. I’ve posted a bunch of my mom’s photographs on this blog (American Gothic; The Eight Balls; Lemuria signing). Well, as this one shows, I also take after my Dad. Light. Color. Leaves. Very nice. Dad could tell from the blog that I was having a really busy week (SCBWI conference Friday-Sunday and Read Across America Day Monday) and I appreciate this image for photo Tuesday.

Student Photographers Go On Field Shoot


Davis second graders went out today on their photo shoot. After walking around the block last week on a scouting trip, the students chose four destinations: The Commons at Eudora Welty’s Birthplace, the law firm, the restaurants, and the mission house. In the photo at the left, this student is taking a photograph inside a restaurant. The building was built in the early 1900s and featured some interesting woodwork, brick flooring and walls, and some copies of archival photographs.


The co-owner of the restaurant is talking here about how she visited the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and found photographs of the neighborhood in its earlier days. In one photograph on the wall on the right, the street that Davis is now located on (Congress Street) is a dirt road.


By this point in the day, we were using four cameras. (We started the day with only one charged camera. One was showing a low battery; the other two had not been charged at all. We had a breakdown in communication so no one took care of charging the cameras. This will go under our lessons learned column.) As you can see, even the student without the camera is modeling picture taking.


Once we explained a few simple things about the cameras — how to turn them on, zoom in and out, and view photos — we found that the students were remarkably self-sufficient. Several had used digital cameras at home. They were very quick studies. In order to keep track of which photos were taken by which students, we asked them to take a self-portrait at arms length at the start of their shooting session.


Here some students are on the balcony at the Tattered Pages Bookstore in The Commons at Eudora Welty’s Birthplace. The fountain on the plaza had to be the favorite subject of the day — especially when a friendly employee offered to show the students how the fountain looked when the water was set at a higher pressure. Wow!
For those you who were curious about Eudora Welty’s birthplace, here’s a photograph.

Photo Tuesday — Dying Camelia

I thought the light falling inside this camelia looked nice so I snapped this picture of a dying flower.

Putting on a Necklace — Photo Tuesday

Richard took this over the weekend. I’m going to let it double count for Photo Tuesday and the Photo Friday Challenge, the theme for which is “costume.” I suppose putting on jewelry is a form of costuming. So, not too much of a stretch. Richard used his Nikon D200 with a Nikon f1.8 50mm prime lens.

Another “Walking Away” Photo

Richard took this on New Year’s Day as we walked along the street. We were headed to a friend’s yard to jump on the trampoline and swing on the air pogo. (See Lovely Lazy Day.) My mother has taken quite a series of “walking away” photos. One of the more famous ones in the family was taken in 1994 of Richard and me on our graduation day in Oxford, England, walking down Magpie Lane. I’ll try to scare up a copy for scanning — though my scanner is currently on the fritz.

Favorite Holiday Shots — Photo Tuesday

There’s nothing like arriving at grand-mother’s house to a delicious meal — though, in this case, it was grandfather’s doing. A lovely bowl of penne pasta with a savory sauce. Mmmm. Dad also served warm french bread with a crispy crust. My sister made a tasty salad. The grownups had glasses of wine and we ate Dad’s spiced walnuts for dessert.

I like this one because it shows my 10-year-old wearing the fleece robe I made for him for Christmas. I ordered double sided fleece and got a quick sew pattern from a local sewing store. Today, now that it is cold enough to wear the robe, Douglas found a pin near the right pocket. Oops. My newfangled Bernina sewing machine came in handy because it has a double overlock stitch. The boys had no idea why I was keeping them out of the sewing room in the days before Christmas. I ordered yardage in two other colors (cappuccino and dark navy) for the older boys. They are deciding if they want robes or caftans.

May Apple & Bell Tower – Photo Tuesday

How’s this for a mid-winter post? A may apple (Podophyllum peltatum L.).

may apple

I took it in March in the woods near my parents’ house. As a child, I always loved it when the may apples popped up — looking like umbrellas on the forest floor. We’ve had weather ups and downs in the last few days. On Saturday, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts and Monday, we stood shivering around a fire pit in the back yard. (The highs were in the upper 30s.) The forecast for Christmas day is highs in the 70s and we’re heading down to my parents’ house. I hope it’s sunny.

This is one of my favorite images of the year. Richard took it in Garvin Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas, during our annual getaway without kids. It is the bell tower of the Anthony Chapel. I love the lines. We bought day passes to the gardens and spent time there in the late morning and late evening. We photographed squirrels, Koi fish, bees, and the magnificent glass and wood chapel. When we arrived at the chapel, a pianist was practicing on the grand piano. I sat and listened while Richard set up the equipment and snapped photographs.