December 31, 2013

Four Favorite Theme Photos, 2013

I contribute photos to several sites for bloggers that challenge us to come up with a picture to match a theme. The sites link back to my site and pick up the picture via the magic of code. This shares my picture with others and gives me a chance to see theirs. Most important to me, it challenges my creativity to come up with something for the theme.

This first picture is one that I set up for a City Daily Photo monthly theme: Umbrella. I would never have taken this photo without the challenge of coming up with something for that topic, but I like it well enough to consider it for my photo of the year.

The next two images were inspired by the weekly Skywatch Friday website. By the way, these theme sites are not offering prizes; they are just places to share and hopefully be inspired.

A funny thing about these two "sky" photos is that I took them on the same afternoon! I was on my way home from a history tour offered by Lord Fairfax Community College and I stopped near Stephens City to photograph fall color and noticed the sky was filled with little clouds.A little later I saw the clouds turning pink so I decided to stop at Dinosaur Land and take some more photos.

This shadow picture came about because I noticed the orange wall in Strasburg and decided to photograph it for "Orange You Glad It's Friday." The man's shadow is distorted by the low angle of the winter sun.

I still have a few more pictures that I'm considering for my photo of the year. Which do you like best of this bunch?

Skyline Drive Faves of 2013

 I took quite a few pictures on Skyline Drive this year and never even posted most of them. (That's a problem with taking so many — they get overwhelming. I intend to do better this year.) We live about 20 minutes from Skyline Drive, which runs the length of Shenandoah National Park.

I particularly like these two. Do you think one of them should be a finalist for my best photo of 2013?
View of Old Rag Mountain

December 30, 2013

Shenandoah Photo of the Year

The City Daily Photo Theme for 1 January is "Photo of the Year 2013." I'm trying to decide which picture to choose and I've narrowed it down to a couple dozen candidates. Some I picked because they follow the stated theme of this blog, which as currently worded is "Shenandoah! A beautiful valley and a winding river -- how fortunate we are to live here!"

Others fall roughly into categories of Shenandoah National Park, pictures I took in our back yard (including lake views, birds, and a squirrel), and a few creative ones that were inspired by topics of "Linky" pages (like Orange You Glad It's Friday or Skywatch).

Here are my favorites for the first category, Shenandoah Valley and River.

South Fork Seen from Cullers Overlook
Barn in the Snow, Middletown
Road Near Berryville
Shenandoah River State Park
Which do you think is the best in this category?

December 29, 2013

What Did You Get for Christmas?

Lynn had posted the lyrics to "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" on Facebook, so of course I got her one.

Lynn gave me a nice birdhouse made by her friend Robert Sexton.

I gave each of our dogs a "card" made of rawhide. Here's Flash looking for a place to hide his new treasure.

December 28, 2013

December 27, 2013

Sunset over Target

We were leaving a shopping center near Front Royal when we saw this beautiful sunset. I was driving so my husband snapped some pictures as soon as I stopped for a red light.

Linking to: Skywatch Friday

Our Group Photos on Christmas

It's not easy getting everyone to pose for a group picture! First both Allison and Marie looked away just as I pressed the button. Then Marie did not smile in the second shot, but I think it's okay anyway.

There are ways to combine pictures so that everyone is smiling, but that requires smiles from everyone in at least one of the images, plus it sometimes looks fake so I'm not bothering with it.

Frank took the third picture, with me standing behind my daughters. Yes, they are taller than I am!

December 26, 2013

Flash Thinks He's a Lap Dog

Flash is a heavy little fellow but he likes to visit family members up close. He'll jump up on your lap with a big thump! It can be startling and sometimes painful, but he's sweet so we don't really discourage him.

When my daughters visit, he jumps right up and makes himself at home.

Two Maries

When my daughter Marie arrived at the station on the 24th, her friend Marie picked her up and brought her here. They were friends in high school and  later were roommates in New Jersey. The other Marie lives in Virginia now with her husband and children.

See them in a 2008 post here.

December 25, 2013

Posing With My Daughters

With Lynn

With Marie

Seasonal Miscellany

Merry Christmas!

On Christmas Eve we were surprised to see Santa Claus in front of our house. He was riding on a fire engine. I hurried outside in below-freezing weather to take his picture.

The vertical image shows our kitchen window decorated for the holidays. And below that we see the miniature village that Frank assembled. Our cocker spaniel chewed on the white cloth that was supposed to represent snow and almost pulled the whole set-up off the desk! I pulled the cloth out of his reach before I took the picture.

Our Christmas Lights

December 24, 2013

Wayside Santa

Look who we saw in Middletown! He even gave me a candy cane!

Looks like someone left a basket of treats for the reindeer.

December 23, 2013

Poinsettia Up Close

Euphorbia pulcherrima

December 22, 2013

Santa in Strasburg

In Strasburg's Christmas Parade

We spied two different Santa's in Strasburg's Parade. Which one is real?

My instincts tell me the first one is a pretender because you can't see much of his face. Why, I don't think that beard is real!

The second one is riding with Mrs. Santa by his side. They look like sincere people so I vote for them!

I didn't get the horse in the frame above, so here's a picture I took as we got back to the car. Santa and his wife have left the carriage, perhaps to attend the outdoor concert.

And then there's the inflated Santa we saw in front of someone's house. I'm sure he's an impostor because the real Santa would not cheat at cards!

December 21, 2013

Scenes from a Christmas Parade

We went to the parade in Strasburg two weeks ago. Strasburg is in the northern part of Shenandoah County, Virginia.

People at a Christmas Event

These pictures are from a holiday event on December 7. After Strasburg's Christmas Parade, a crowd gathered for a concert next to the Town Hall.

Linking to: Orange You Glad...

December 20, 2013

Sunset on the 19th of December

You can still see a little snow on the ground here, plus there's light reflected on the lake. That's the Massanutten Range rising up to meet the pink clouds.

Linking to: Skywatch Friday