Summer Vacation

We are back from our summer vacation, also known as our last hoorah before school begins in one week! This time away was much needed for all of us. It was good to scoot out of town and away from home following having to put our Gigi down.  Leaving allowed us to separate ourselves from that hard decision and start healing from the loss.

If you follow on Instagram you’ve seen these, but indulge me to show some scenes of our time here as well. My in-laws live in North Port, Florida inside Sarasota County. They are so close to some truly beautiful beaches like Siesta Key, which is the biggest beach I have ever seen.

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My favorite of all the beaches is Gasparilla Island in Boca Grande. You may have heard me mention it before. It’s a quaint little barrier island with low numbers of visitors, essentially perfect in that respect. While it’s fun to visit other beaches, I’m always drawn right back to Gasparilla.

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Can you see the difference between the top two Gasparilla images and the bottom two of Siesta Key? Gasparilla is just paradise, to me. The shallow waters are teeming with fish, and even sweet manatee who swam along the shore all day long. The kids were able to snorkel alongside the manatee for up close encounters…but without touching them, per the law.

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We also enjoyed the pool at the grandparents’ house. We jokingly bought our daughter the dolphin float when she requested swimming with the dolphins for her birthday. Little did she know that she would receive a free gift of swimming with manatee instead. Such a beautiful gift from the Lord!

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See where my daughter is standing? The manatee swam in that depth of water right by our feet near that rock outcrop. Of course, my phone was put away when that happened. We were able to look right down and see the huge bodies. Their noses were so cutely covered in barnacles. It was so fun to watch them swim circles around the pier and the beach every thirty minutes or so. Each time the kids grabbed a mask and swam with them. I do have a little video clip on my IG account @kim_littlebylittle of one encounter with the manatee.

The beach is pretty much filled with shark teeth, though, which means what you think it means. There are shark swimming along Gasparilla pass on the other side of the island. So you do need to be watchful and stay out of the waters flowing with the current. We stayed in standing areas only on the other side of the pass.

The waters are amazing. They were delightfully warm and clear.

It’s a fun treat to lunch at South Beach on the right side of the pier and rocks. It’s becoming a tradition for us. The town of Gasparilla is filled with gorgeous homes, restaurants, cute shops, and even has a Pikachu near 1st street for Pokemon Go players. I caught mine!

I definitely recommend this destination for beach goers, but I do hope it stays just as quaint and idyllic as it is now.

Linking up with Good.Random.Fun. this Monday morning!

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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday! I finally was able to transfer some of my photos from my laptop to my regular desktop PC. Thanks to Gina for reminding me that I could just use a USB drive! I was over-complicating the situation, which I’m prone to do when tired.

So, today I’m sharing just a few more of the cute faces of Cherokee from our trip.

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Until next year little friends…

So, how’s your little portion of the world this week?


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Summer Vibes

I’m trying to absorb as much summer as I can right now. I just looked at the calendar and we have 3 weeks and 6 days until the first day of school.

I’m kind of hitting that end of summer panic mode, the one where I realize I’m just not ready to get back into the swing of a school schedule. I’ve ordered curriculum, we’ve been supply shopping, and we’ve started cleaning up the school room. But, I’m holding on to summer as long as I can.

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I’ve been peaching. Trying new coffee houses. Scoring new colorful pens. Enjoying snow cones by the pool.

I’ve climbed more stairs than ever before at Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia. There was over 1000 steps (as in stair steps) involved to see these breath-taking views. Jasper was ready for a rest. My legs are still aching. We rewarded ourselves with fresh strawberry-peach ice cream on the way home as we stopped once again at a nearby farmer’s market.

We aren’t closing out summer just yet. We’ve a little more fun and relaxation on the schedule before school begins in earnest once again.

Linking up with Random-osity!

 

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Cherokee

I didn’t mean to disappear for over a week. You may remember that my kids and I traveled to Cherokee, NC to participate in a trip to serve the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina. The internet was bad, very bad. So, I was not able to blog or check in. In fact, I pretty much used up our monthly data just to check in briefly on my phone.

However, our trip was good, very good.

I’m not sure how to talk about it here. I want to be careful to keep the dignity of others in tact. I’m not sure how much you may know about the lives of the people of Cherokee, but I want to speak of those concerns with grace. I’m still figuring that out a bit. I’ll share more this week.

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Cherokee is in The Great Smokey Mountains. Aptly named.

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There is a good deal of touristy type things along some stretches of roads, but there are also some great museums that tell the story of the Cherokee. I wish I could have visited those. I hear the Cherokee have a drama that is really well done and tells their story.

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We stayed on the “reservation” and I was in awe of the beauty of the land. With the exception of a few areas of shopping and tourism, the land is just gorgeous this time of year.

The Cherokee reside in the Qualla Boundary which is roughly 82.6 sq miles and is not truly a reservation, but a land trust governed by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Our church has served the people here for 18 years of summer trips. There are generational connections and relationship that have been built in those 18 years and both sides greatly look forward to the week spent together. It was so good to go and photograph the trip and just be a learner.

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We spent the week with babies, kids, teens, young mothers, and older mothers who have brought their kids in those very first years, and are now bringing their grandkids. It was such a sweet time.

The Cherokee kids love painting rocks, and the day began this way every day. What a joy it was to spend a week with new friends.

More on that later…

Linking up with Randomosity!

 

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Little Things Thursday

I’m sliding into to Little Things Thursday today, completely exhausted. But for all good reasons!

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I’ve had a lot going on, as we all do. We are currently preparing to head up to Cherokee, NC this Saturday morning for a week long traveling VBS (Vacation Bible School) for some sweet kiddos that live in Cherokee. Our church has participated in this ministry for going on the 19th year and this trip is greatly looked forward to every year by the youth and adult volunteers. My 3 kiddos are going to help run the VBS and love on some kids, while I document the trip for the team.

I’ve been trying to get my photography type things ready to travel, which means setting up a laptop with all my editing software. I’m a desktop editor, so this is no quick task to get myself ready to edit on the go. Currently, I’m wringing my hands trying to figure out getting my new laptop color managed, because, of course my calibrator is not compatible with Windows 10. Sad face.

Not sure what I’m going to do with that because I just can’t with this uncalibrated monstrosity of screen color management.

In addition, I’m working round the clock to get all my clients prints and products out for order before leaving. So basically, I’ve been glued to screens. I’m now accepting shoulder rubs, meals, and pep talks. I’m working on a few other fun things that I’ll wait to share. It’s just all happening at once!

The kids and I are trying to pack in between all of these things and I know we will get it all checked off the list at some point. Right?

So, let’s see all your peaceful summer photos so I can live vicariously.


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday, where we share our little moments of life through image and words. This week has been all about catching up and getting back into routines since spring break. Needless to say, I’m behind on last week’s blog entries. But. I will be going back to visit soon!

I still have a slew of photographs to edit this weekend from our trip. I’m looking forward to revisiting those shots because it has been gray and chilly here most of the week. Warm, sunny beaches are far better, in my opinion.

I’ve edited just one personal photograph.

Our family had just visited a replica exhibit on the water of the ships Nina and Pinta. We were surprised at how small they actually were. Afterwards, we drove over to Peace River Wildlife Center and found these mangroves. It’s funny because these beaches are what I would expect Columbus an his gang to wash up on. They just have that look. Or maybe caskets of rum and pirates, whichever.

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The mangroves and quite beach nooks were serene and so enjoyable to explore. I have several photographs from our walk through this area, coming up soon!

How’s your week been?


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Florida Filled

We are back from spring break with full tanks and hearts. We desperately needed every ounce of this trip.

You know those times where you feel like you are living on just fumes? That was us. The last year has been a season of pillar to post living.

We needed extended down time where we could truly relax and not think about anything else other than enjoying time with family. My husband’s family was so gracious to love on us well, and show us a great week. We realized, at some point, that this was our very first spring break vacation as a family. We are fans!

I documented the highlights on Instagram. I tried to tone down the volume of posts, but I gave myself permission to just enjoy capturing for the sake of loving to freeze moments.

 

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Gasparilla Island State Park in Boca Grande is my new favorite Florida beach. Bea-u-ti-ful. The water is gorgeous and the beaches are densely filled with shells and shark’s teeth to the delight of my kids.

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Exploring Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda was another favorite. The mangroves here are impressive and there are little private nooks to enjoy along the coast.  We had the little cove above to ourselves. The kids hunted for crabs, which were plentiful among the mangrove roots.

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We loved Gasparilla so much that we decided to close out our time with a third visit. The boys had spent a few mornings on their grandpa’s fishing boat while we ladies enjoyed these beautiful beaches without them, so we knew we had to let them experience Gasparilla before leaving. We informed them that they could fish AND enjoy the beach, so poles were packed. Jack caught a Jack (Pompano) roughly minutes after casting the first line. Human Jack is now a fan of fishing off the beach and vows to never go to the beach again without a rod. Fish Jack lived to see another day, due to being caught on our last day and not having adequate cooler space to keep him fresh. Under other circumstances he would be dinner.

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The days were filled with good food, beaches, shark teeth hunting, shell collecting, wading, boogie boarding, fishing, morning and evening swims in the grandparent’s pool, and more! The days were full, but restful. We are thankful that we were invited to come take up space for the week with family. Thankful are we for these memories that our three will carry with them. There is nothing quite like remembering childhood family vacations.

Of course, I have other images on my real camera coming up soon! Thanks for sharing the joy of our experiences!

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

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Flashback to Thanksgiving

It takes me a few months to get through a couple rolls of film, so I just got my scans in this past Thursday from late fall! My family and I spent Thanksgiving in Florida with my husband’s parents. I only brought film cameras along so I could not only practice, but also be in the moment.

My keeper rate was slim out of 72 shots and 5 or so were blank due to a sticking shutter. But, failing is part of the process of making changes for future rolls, so I always take a little something away to work on. And I made a big boo boo on one roll of film in which I thought I was shooting with one stock, but it was actually not the stock I thought. I rated for the other stock, which meant that I have to compensate for my mistake in development by pushing.  I know many wonder, “why bother with film?” But, I really find the experimenting fascinating, challenging, and creative. So, I persist!

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Portra 400 35mm rated 200

We spent most of our days in Mimi and Puppa’s pool. Heated, of course. The hot tub was also a hit.

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Ektar 100 rated 200 and pushed 1 stop in development.

Here is where I made a mistake. Can you see the difference in the two stocks of film? I thought I was shooting Portra the whole time, but in a rush I grabbed Ektar 100 and loaded. Ektar is punchy and a great stock for summery colorful images.  But, you need to rate your ISO properly.  Thinking I was using Portra, I left the ISO at 200 because I  like to overexpose it.  But, 200 on Ektar 100 is underexposed.  I needed to have the lab leave my film in the developer longer to bring back contrast and cover my mistake. The punchy, strong contrast doesn’t bother me, but I typically favor creamier skin tones. 

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Ektar 100 rated 200 and pushed 1 stop in development

I ended up toning down the red around her eyes in Photoshop. Ektar can really make redness pop. I do love the strong colors here, generally. The greens look amazing!

One of each. Can you tell which is which?
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Portra 400 rated 200 and Ektar 100 rated 200 and pushed 1 in development

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Ektar 100 rated 200 and pushed 1 in development

So my take-aways from this round were to watch my stock and rate accordingly. Two, try to control the harsh light a little better in strong sun, and to maybe use my other film camera more to combat the shutter issue with the Minolta SRT 101.  I just love that the Minolta has a prime lens, and my Nikon FM 10 is a zoom.

Until next time…

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Little Things Thursday (Serenbe Part 2)

Earlier this week I shared part of our family day outing at Serenbe. I had so many photographs to share that I decided do two posts.

Continuing on… After lunch at The Blue Daisy, we hit the trails and found a tree house in the woods. The boys went for a climb and so did I.

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Serenbe

We explored a bit more and attempted to find a geocache in the area that my husband found on his geocaching app thingy. We didn’t find it. We think it was swept away in recent flooding since the clue would have had it by the edge of a stream.

Thwarted, we decided to walk back to the farm area and making pit stops along the way.

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We found someone’s art project. 

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All this one cared about was this sweet little goat called Izzy, so we had to make one more visit on our way out. Izzy was really friendly and loveable… and tried to eat my camera bag.

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I grabbed one last image on the way out, mottled light and all. It was a family Saturday well spent. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. Spring and summer afford a lovely little CSA and farmer’s market with fruits and veg grown on location. Check out the details.

How was your week?


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday! I loved everyone’s blog post last week.  I took so much encouragement from your shares! Thanks for that!

I’ve got a few more film shares from our fall mountain get-away. One thing we like to do on trips is drive off the beaten path.  We saw this road and decided to detour…mainly because we saw a huge flock/gaggle of turkeys in a field.

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I really liked the color in these in spite of the steady rain that fell all that day. And I love the way the light reflected in these wet mountain roads.   One of you asked last week if film scans are editable. Yes, you can edit film scans, but I find that with a great developer/lab that it is rarely needed. I usually just edit blemishes, under eye circles, and that sort of thing. Your lab will work with you to get the look you like and there are a couple scanners that can give you varying results. I indicate my scanner of choice (Noritsu here) and whether I like my images cooler/warmer/neutral, how I like my mid-tones, and how I like my contrast. This saves so much time in achieving your look. Of course, the type of film you use plays a huge role in getting those looks so you need to have that in mind before loading the film. Again, this is Portra 400. Our beach trip last month was all Ektar 100 for punchy colors.

 

I hope you guys are all having a great start to your holiday season! Let’s see how it is going!

 


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