I'm still working through the pile of photos that I took at Diagon Alley (see Wizarding World of Harry Potter album). This photo keeps calling out to me, an unexpected surprise. I love the perspective and the distinct morning shadows. There is a story hidden in this shot begging to be written, and I find the image so dramatic and engaging.
In Florida, Fall is a miserable, oppressively hot time of the year. It makes me long for my hometown, Columbus. I miss the leaves, the autumn colors, crisp, chilly weather, apple cider, hay rides, big sweaters, pumpkin farms, and boots.
We do get some color change here, but it isn't quite the same, so I have supplement my Fall longings. This year, I painted my own leaves. Truthfully, it's for a project, but it made me feel good to look at the colors and imagine the smell of fallen leaves and the crisp way they crunch underfoot.
I finally visited Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. I had high hopes, and they still completely blew me away. Some places give you a hint at what a place might feel like, but as I walked through the crack in the wall, I felt like I had walked directly into the books.
I really wanted to see Diagon Alley at night. It really does become even more magical as the sun goes down. At dusk, everyone started grouping in the street with their cell phones and cameras ready to take photos of the dragon's fire. People were intent, patient, and so focused. You would think it was real magic. To me, this photo is so much more interesting than the actual photo of the dragon's fire.
I'm in a phase. My photographs have started looking monotonous, so I've turned to paint. I searched through some of my favorite blogs for art inspiration. I wanted new art supplies. Me and the art section on Amazon have a problem. I could probably use a 12 step program.
I've always longed for my Middle School days of screen printing, but it seems so expensive and messy. So, when I saw multiple bloggers loving the Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate, I had to have one. These are crappy iPhone photos from my first night. It was just me, some Ray on the turntable, the new Gelli plate, my inexpensive craft acrylics, printer paper, and a small collection of masks and stencils. It was a fun few hours experimenting and playing. Each print is a new discovery. I have a lot to learn, but it was seriously fun.
Plus, I love any excuse to get all painty.
Ah, my Zander, I loved him instantly. For the last 11 years, he has been my bestest buddy, my familiar. He met me at the door, guarded me Cleopatra cat style, slept on my feet at night, and snuggled on my chest on particularly shitty days. He was always by my side, my Halloween cat.
Our vet begged us to take Zander. Officially, they named him Alexander the Great Spawn of Satan because my legendary hurricane of havoc was perfectly skilled at stealing the food before the receptionist could get it to her mouth. All I heard was Zander, and thought of loyal, loveable Xander Harris. I was right.
My boy never lost his devious spark. He dug up flower beds, ate my plants, chewed the faces off of his toys, and tore holes in the screen. His fascination with water was beyond crazy. I couldn't find a bowl big or heavy enough to stop him from constantly spinning all of the water out of it.
But mostly, he lived up to the great. He was beautiful, sweet, and an expert cockroach killer (and eater). He had a radar for ideal spots of sunshine and was a world-renown sleeping contortionist. He was ornery, curious, and so much fun. He was my favorite photography subject, the perfect bullshit boyfriend detector, photo-bomber, lap-warmer, and cat treat connoisseur. I will forever love that crazy, silly little pumpkin butt.
It has been a long, dramatic, emotional month, which is adequately reflected in the somber choices for this mixtape. But truthfully, Tom Petty was right that some days are some mofo'ing rocks.
What's a girl to do when life gets tough? Exactly. Camp out on the couch, and spend countless hours falling in love with Logan Echolls. I moved on to Dean Winchester, but only when the Veronica Mars episodes ran out. Fighting demons is probably more of my style, but, wow, does that Logan have the most adorable getting out of (or getting into) trouble smile.
I get lost with my camera. I see the trees, and the forest disappears. I follow lizards into the dark, back corners of people's patios and stumble on crisscrossing spiderwebs. This was my attempt to weave myself between their webs without disturbing them but still getting an interesting shot.
Orchard Orbweavers can be difficult to photograph well. They are smallish and often found in the woods where their vibrant green and yellow hues blend in with the trees (color version). However, they are worth the effort. Their webs are works of art, and they are dramatically long-legged and elegant. I could watch them quietly hanging out on their web for hours.
The funny thing about visiting the theme parks is that I never end up with the photos that I am expecting. Butterflies at Epcot and a world of birds at Universal Studios (Blackbird from the same trip).
At The Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is a patio on the lake. In addition to having wonderful views of the Hulk coaster and Hogwarts, there are always beautiful little sparrows flying around begging for chips and Butterbeer (that stuff is crazy addictive!). I felt a bit like Cinderella with all of the sparrows flying and hopping around me.
I caught this guy hanging out on one of the iron gates on the wall, and I just loved his sweet face. I really have fallen for the birds lately, haven't I?
The first time I met him, he sat alone, waiting for me. He glanced up at me through dark eye lashes with a stern look on his face. I was nervous, and he barely spoke or smiled. I was sure that he hated me, which only made me bumble and babble worse than normal. He was so handsome, and I didn't want him to see that my hands were shaking being so close to him. I was humiliated and feeling so vulnerable.
Somewhere in that first conversation, I can't remember exactly how it happened, but I laughed, and he laughed too. It transformed him, made him so adorable and sweet. Kind of insanely loveable really. He never stopped smiling at me that afternoon. I've liked him ever since.
He still watches me. It is exciting, and I show off for him. He is mostly serious, reserved, and extremely shy. He is hard to get to know, and I get frustrated because I really want to know him. Each time I am ready to give up, he smiles at me in that beautiful way, and my entire world turns upside down.
I don't do color often, but I thought this one deserved it. Back in April at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, I spent a lot of time in Tinker Bell's Butterfly House. It was beautiful to be surrounded by such beautiful, colorful flowers, and then have these gorgeous butterflies floating everyone around you.
Since then, I started growing milkweed at home. I've been lucky, and my plants are covered in Monarch caterpillars and Milkweed bugs. I could spend hours watching them doing their thing.
However, last night, I saw carnage that I really wish I could unsee; a wasp attacked one of the caterpillars, skinned it, and ate its head. If my neighbors didn't already think I was crazy for hanging out looking at my plants all the time, I'm sure that seeing me screaming You F@$@#$ Jerk! and throwing mulch at the plant didn't help my case. Wasps are assholes.
So now, when I see a beautiful Monarch butterfly, I also think about what a badass it is for surviving wasp attacks.
Also, do something awesome and plant milkweed in your garden. It helps the declining Monarch populations, is entertaining, and gives you some good karma.