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It is no secret that Christmas is¬†the one and only holiday for which I go ALL OUT. When early December rolls around, the boxes come out of the attic and it is on. ūüôā

The goal each year is to look at what we have with fresh eyes¬†(try it – ¬†it’s like shopping your own stuff) and¬†rarely do items end up in the same location from year to year¬†(‘cuz¬†that would be boring now wouldn’t it? ūüėČ )

Don’t believe me? Well, you can check out the 2010 and 2011 line-ups to see what I’m talking about.¬†If I do say so myself, I think I just may have out-done myself this year. So, grab a glass of eggnog and turn up your favorite holiday music (Trans Siberian Orchestra is playing here) and enjoy the tour! ūüôā

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As promised, here are the revelations as to¬†what the images I posted yesterday in Abstract Reality actually are! Everyone¬†had really, really good guesses! I was very impressed! ūüôā

First image: Grill Cover Tear

“Fissure” (Grill Cover Tear)

I focussed in tight on that top corner and then converted the image to¬†b&w. Boy, this thing is really in sad shape, huh? ūüėČ

Second image: Rusty Metal Wing of Hummingbird Garden Stake

“Wired” (Rusty Metal Wing of Hummingbird Garden Stake)

I composed this image using just the wing of the hummingbird garden stake. Because the leaf-strewn ground color was so close to the warm colors of the wing I decided to desaturate the entire image and then selectively bring back those wonderful rusted tones of the metal. Works for me! ūüėČ

Third image: Rusty Saw Blade on Dirty Grill Cover

“Rusted” (Rusty Saw Blade on Dirty Grill Cover)

Yep, nothing more than a very rusty saw blade on a very dirty grill cover. Can’t fake this kind of texture! ūüôā

Fourth image: Grill Cover Mesh Panel

“Grilled” (Grill Cover Mesh Panel)

Okay, I admit it, this one really wasn’t fair but Scott never said we had to play fair. ūüėČ Inverting the colors on the mesh part of the grill cover with the very reflective stainless steel behind gave this abstract a sequin-ish look (I really liked that guess, Kiwi! ūüôā )

Fifth image: Star Suncatcher

“Inprismed” (Star Suncatcher)

Going in close on the center portion of a bevelled-glass star suncatcher made for an interesting abstract. Except for the blue center, the glass is actually¬†clear and gains its colors by reflecting all that is around it¬†(green/blue tones¬†from the evergreen trees close by¬†and¬†warm tones from the leaves and cedar mulch that lay below). My, that 105mm lens gives a lovely shallow depth of field at such a close range, doesn’t it? ūüėČ

Sixth image: The Inside of a Sunflower Bird Bath

“Rosebud” (The Inside of a Sunflower Bird Bath)

I figured most would guess this one!¬†(Does it make up for the grill cover mesh image? ūüėČ ) The inside of my sunflower bird bath has such interesting patterns and textures. Small red buds from the tree overhead added just that tiny pop of needed color.

Seventh image: Water Bottle with Reflection

“I.C.U.” (Water Bottle with Reflection)

My trusty Cool Gear water bottle! LOVE that it is orange and hot pink! (Yeah, sometimes I’m really such a girl).¬†This thing is GIANT and is with me pretty much at all times¬†when home. One evening, it was sitting on my desk when I noticed the light from the monitor was creating an eerie glow¬†as well as a very cool miniature¬†reflection of the bottom ring in the water line above. I played with many different compostions and angles and ended up liking¬†how this one looks cyborgish.

The eighth imagewas fairly obvious: One Red Sneaker, Two White Pant Legs, Three Black Rails

“One Red, Two White, Three Black” (One Red Sneaker, Two White Pant Legs, Three Black Rails)

A pair of legs (if I recall, belonging to a man) wearing white pants and red sneakers. This shot was taken pretty much by accident while watching a parade in the Magic Kingdom and aside from a slight levels adjustment, is straight out of the camera.

So, there you have it, folks! Thanks so much for playing! ūüėÄ

Amidst all the Christmas preparations, we shouldn’t forget there’s a whole lotta people who celebrate a completely different set of traditions this time of year.¬†

"Star of Wonder" (Star of David) Nikon D300, 62mm, F/8, 1/320s, -0.3EV, ISO 200, Built-in Slow Sync Flash, -1.0EV

Therefore, on this (chilly) first night of the Festival of Lights, I wish those who do, a Happy and Blessed Hanukkah!

Who knew the garden task of pulling weeds would lead to today’s photo?

Some rather tall and slender plants were growing amongst my daylilies so I began to pull them. While doing so, I noticed the very pretty (and ever-so-tiny) star-shaped flowers and apricot buds eminating out from the center stem.

A quick google search revealed¬†that the¬†“weed” is¬†a¬†actually a native wildflower¬†called¬†‘Whorled Loosestrife’, which came as little surprise¬†since¬†it closely resembles¬†the perennial ‘Yellow Loosestrife’ I¬†have planted about 10 yards away.

“Budding Star” (Whorled Loosestrife) Nikon D300, 550mm (400mm w/1.4x teleconverter), F/16, 1/50s, -1.0EV, ISO 640, SB900 TTL flash w/Gary Fong Lightsphere Cloud, -1.0EV

So, rather than pulling them all, I simply thinned what was interfering with the daylilies and left the others to continue to thrive as Mother Nature intended.

Happy Sunday!

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