A view of my world in Central Illinois and places we go.

Grand 4th of July Weekend

It was a truly grand weekend in east-central Illinois – a bit on the “warm” side after a really beautiful week, but a weekend typical for what one should expect for this time of year. Kathy’s mom came up from Robinson and joined in the weekend fun. Festivities began for us on Saturday (the 3rd) at Harry & Diane Breen’s. Harry has a wonderful back yard flower garden that, according to Harry, has changed tremendously over the 50 years that they have lived there. From whence sunflowers overlooked-drenched space, it is now dominated more by hostas and shady plants; however, his prize lilies still rule visually and, the scent, oh my…

I will go back and take some more photos – there are a couple of varieties that are just about ready to burst forth.

Given the occasion, I must also include this photo of the host and good friend Doyle Moore. These two know how to put on the ol’ red, white, and blue! By the way, Harry tells that he has often been asked if he is actually Colonel Sanders (of KFC fame). It’s understandable.

On the 4th, Gale and I hit the links up at Railside GC in Gibson City. My goal, as ever, is to some day break 100 and as we got close, I confided in Gale that I was really going to give it a shot. And, I will confess, I did not get as close to 100 as I would like (I carded a 106), I shot a 48 on the front nine and so got at least halfway to my goal. If not for two or three really bad holes (an 8 on the front and a 9 and a 10 on the back), I think I might have made it. Such is golf, you have to keep your mind in the game for the whole time you’re out there AND you must have an ability to put bad shots out of your mind and recover from them.

As the evening rolled around, it was over to Karen and Tym’s to pig out and watch the fireworks. I shouldn’t be hungry all week after all the food I ate at their place (not to mention the wonderful spread Diane put out the evening before). Below are a few images from the fireworks show – I have a growing admiration for those folks that can take good photos of fireworks – it is not just a matter of pointing your camera and clicking away and I have a lot way to go to master this kind of event. Similar to full moon shots, the lighting (i.e., exposure, focus, etc.) is very tricky. I will add that the wind must have also been having an affect because I do not think the displays were getting as high up in the air as they have in the past, and I know the westerly breeze blew away the explosive blasts such that we really did not hear them go off.

We ended the weekend on Monday in very laid back mode. While Kath took Betty back down to Tuscola, I snapped some images in the back yard. It is a great place to hone what skills I have and learn about what works and doesn’t work in the world of photography. Having a yard with some good subject material certainly helps and our pond is an excellent place in which to work.

It also provides a great opportunity to work on post-processing. For example, below is the same photo, only cropped in one shot to hopefully bring more focus on the shapes and leaf edges.

As you can see, I was getting off on the lotus fronds. The wind was blowing, so these are not as sharp as they could or should be.

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