A Victoria-Worthy Tea in the Library

Evening light is beautiful in “The Library” as the living room is now affectionately called. The bookcases are coming along, the corner hutch is filled, and the mantel is decorated for summer.

But today is all about reading, ethereal light and tea…

Victoria is  my favorite magazine of all times ever since my sister-in-law Linnea left a few issues at my mother and father’s new home then in the early 1990’s. I came to visit and found something I didn’t even know I was looking for ~ ethereal photography in a magazine fresh and light and utterly beautiful.

The Library bathed in sunlight is the best place for reading in the late afternoon with its ethereal lighting. Beautiful light ~ a bit overblown but the light changes rapidly as the sun continues its descent beyond the oaks and fence and neighboring home outside.

Capturing a bit of the essence of Victoria’s now retired photographer Toshi Otsuki was the ideal for me…

Just beyond crickets are beginning their evening song. The robins snack at the birdfeeder just hung beyond the windows and Mr. Squirrel scoots around picking up fallen treats along the ground.

Peaceful and airy and dressed in white ~ the Golden Hour has come and one must capture it as best one can…

“Take a break,” the tea table calls to me. 

“Come read a bit and let your heart be free!”

Pulling up a chair I do sit for a bit thumbing and revisiting 
Old Friends…

Sip by sip the tiredness washes away on the dust particles floating by in the waning light.

To be lost and forgotten in a world of one’s imagination…

Sharing with
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage


Winter Photography Fun in the Fall… More From South Dakota

How much  is that doggie in the window?  So sings the song and it was especially apropos on this early fall snow day at our son and daughter-in-love’s home.  
Our trip to South Dakota just a short time ago was plumb packed with apple picking, 
Mall of America shopping and lots of photographic moments like this one.

Come along as we enjoy a little fall snow fun!…

Snow is  enchanting when there is just a dusting of it on the ground ~ it is a bit magical with each tiny snowflake sparkling as the sun peaks through the clouds and sets it aglow.
Our son and daughter-in-law’s dogs were excited to go out and play in the snow as was I.

 Snow is also fun to enjoy from a dog’s point of view.

Luna ~ part Siberian Husky, collie and sheltie, if I remember right.  She has the long nose and a collie’s face with those pale blue husky’s eyes!  Striking!!!

Part of what I wanted to accomplish while I was visiting was to try and capture Luna and Bandit’s expressions.

Bandit ~ like his name, he is hard to photograph.  A bit shy and very quick, I had to focus on his body where I thought his face would be later and click-click to get him to turn.  Love this of him!

I started taking pictures the first morning after we arrived.

This photo of Luna I had to sharpen ~ she moved ever so slightly as the shutter clicked.  Also added a bit of blue to her eyes, backed off the whites and highlights.  Decreased the blacks.  🙂
The lead photograph for this post says it all.
Luna and Bandit are best friends; attached
at the hip.
Where one goes so does the other.

Happy with these pics I then went on to shoot pics
of the October snow day outside.
According to the weatherman this day and snowfall tie the record for the earliest day since recorded snow in Sioux Falls history.

This was just a study of leaves and eaves.
Ha ha, pun not intended.

I love how the snow highlights the rolled up
garden hose…

Pristine snow and leaden skies with just a
hint of blue…

The doormat says it all…

A neighbor’s cute entryway.
How much  is that doggie in our homes’ windows
waiting patiently for us to return each day ~ our best sparkling home decor ever??


Sharing with
Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondock’s Blog
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Katherine’s Corner

If you missed Photography Lessons at the Falls of Sioux Falls or apple picking at Country Apple Orchard just click on these highlighted sections.  🙂

Sweet doggie dreams,

Photography Lesson at The Falls of Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls  is a beautiful place all year long as I’ve seen first-hand on my trips out there these past years, but the city really sparkles and the parks become just magical places after the first snow falls of the fall/winter season… 
Come along as we explore a bit of fun photography here at The Falls of Sioux Falls, South Dakota…

I really brought up the greens and yellows, pinks and orange a bit and lessened
the blacks to make the writing legible when on screen.  This had been a very
dark photograph originally and in Lightroom I was able to bring up the exposure.
My family  went out and braved the crisp 30 degree weather for a quick morning hike on my husband’s last day there to enjoy the beauty of the year’s first snowfalls and to shoot a little photography

Later in the evening, my son Peter and I did a little editing on photos we had taken as you can see here.
On the left is my photograph just lightly edited to warm up the blue sky and the greens of the trees.
I believe I added just a touch more red to brown up the bridge a little. 

Peter’s photo editing is the photograph on the right and he went in and toned down the whites and highlights and really increased the blue saturation ~ I love how dynamic his photograph is!  By doing so he was able to bring out individual clouds in the sky which was quite cloudy that morning since the snow storm had just blown by.

All editing by both myself and Peter was done using
Adobe Lightroom by the way.

I am not sponsored by Adobe for this in any way but I do like this program very much and all thoughts are my own.  For the full Adobe suite it costs about $400 per year for online updates and includes Lightroom and Photoshop programs.

Here I brought in a lot of blues and left everything else as it was.
I like how dark and moody this shot of the bridge turned out!

In the afternoon just my son and I went to the The Falls to capture the beauty of the fall’s rushing water and other scenes around the park.  We talked shutter speed and aperature a bit then Peter took over shooting the water cascading down the pinkish Proterozoic quartzite.

If you haven’t played around with your camera much you’ll want to try this with your camera on a tripod.

These two shots are almost identical but Peter was working on blurring the water ~ luckily some obliging rocks acted as a tripod so he could turn on the camera’s timer and let the aperature (eye’s iris) stay open longer.
Keep your shutter speed at 100 which makes your images nice and crisp. 
This created the top photo’s “running water” effect.  The photograph below just “stops” the water ~ good but less dynamic.

Playing with the coloring effects ~ increasing or decreasing magenta, blues and greens really changes how a finished photograph looks as you can also see between these two photographs.
The bottom pic shows the colors more as they really are ~ because of the cloudy day the rocks were looking bleached out.
Sioux falls’ rocks really are this pinkish color!

Full running water effect ~ makes for a powerful photograph.  Photographs by Peter E. Chapman
Chapman Wedding Films.com
One last look at the falls at Sioux Falls ~ stunning!

The photographer and his dad.
(think “heart”)

Sharing with
Dishing It and Digging It ~ Rustic and Refined
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondock’s Blog

Happy weekend,

Flash Forward ~ Lightroom and the Canon Speedlite

Oh my!  Even though this photograph is
still dark on the statue’s face…
I am loving what the program Lightroom
and the new flash 
Canon Speedlite 430 EX III
{picked up a couple of weeks ago}
and a soft diffuser can do for photographs…

This was an accidental photograph
I took and was going to erase
then I thought maybe I’d include it…
Totally ugly, isn’t it?
I was just shooting in the room checking
the lighting and hit the shutter 
without focusing.
***This second photograph was really the third photograph ~
taken after shooting a photograph using the auto focus.

I learned a little bit this week about
using math to figure out what f-stop
to use when photographing.
All this time I have been playing around
with the aperature and shutter speed ~ 
the length of time
the shutter needs to be open.
Most of my photos are grainy
I like a lot of them that way.
They have a 1970’s look to them
that I grew up with shooting film
with my old instamatic cameras.

However if I really want to get better 
at this whole photography thing
{and I obviously do}
I need to bring some
Big Girl photography skills
to the table.

This one was one I took with the Canon Speedlite
attached to my Canon EOS Rebel SL1 camera
but without the portable pop-up
diffuser on top of the flash’s clip on plastic diffuser.
It’s blown out but not a bad photo overall.
This pop-up diffuser is a portable 16″ 
round “cover” that gets put overtop 
of the flash unit.
It works great and is a good
first diffuser and less expensive 
than purchasing a large umbrella-type diffuser
professional photographers use
in their studios and on location.
The portable diffuser I purchased is the
Fstoppers Flash Disk.

Hopefully these two pins I saved from
Pinterest will show for you.
And here’s one final photograph
that I copied to bring over
to share.
I can work with this one and lighten up
the statue’s face and sharpen it up a bit.
Our washer was spinning at the time
so you can see the shake
in the picture…

Oh, and that watercolor which snuck in
up above in amongst the photos…
That’s a work in progress and a project 
I’m getting some help with…

Hope you like the changes
going on,
Happy Friday!
Sharing with
Friday at the Firestation ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondock’s Blog
Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Friendship Friday ~ Create with Joy
Dance with Jesus ~ Susan B. Meade
Saturday Sparks ~ Pieced Pastimes
Dishing It Digging It ~ Rustic and Refined


Blogger Thoughts and Special Moments…

Yellow coreopsis blooming in Arizona ~ 2016

Okay, sometimes we’ve just got to have
a totally random post… just because!
Here’s what I’ve been up to
for the past couple of weeks now.

What I’ve been working on:

Getting gear for an upcoming birthday party
photography shoot.  Here are some of the goods:

I’ve been texting and talking back and forth
with our son about what kind of tripod
I should purchase for this upcoming photoshoot
as the current one we have is just falling apart ~ 
one leg falls off when
it’s not convenient and the swivel head
sags so you have to hold it up with your left hand
{kinda defeating the purpose of the whole tripod thing}
He suggested getting this bad boy!
It’s the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 with a 3-way head.
It weighs in at 17+ pounds ~ and should hold up
our Canon camera and a mounted flash
no problem!

He also suggested getting the Fstoppers
flash diffuser to create soft light
on the subject being photographed.
I’m excited to see this in action!
Can’t wait ’til it gets here.

Learning programs

I’m currently working on learning how to 
create special “pins” in Canva and I’m also
beginning to work on editing photos
in Adobe Lightroom.

I can shoot pictures all day long
but shooting the right way
and then editing each photo in a new
program is tough.

Does it ever seem to you that there
just. aren’t. enough. hours. 
in. the. day
to first read about using a program
then practice with it
then really do it.
{I fell asleep at the computer last night head fallen down
probably snoring
and woke up sometime after midnight. 😉 }

Maybe you never get stressed out
but this week I. am.
It’ll all be good and worth it when it 
all comes together, thankfully.


Friends gave us a couple of herb plants
so I’ve been figuring out just
what kind of ceramic pot or wooden tub
I’d like to plant these in.
I found one yesterday at Lowe’s
so I’ll be out photographing
in the garden soon.


Sometimes we are given dreams.
A new hope.
A new direction.
I feel that is happening for me, for us
my husband and I
right now.

Sometimes everything you’ve done
in life
just all comes together in one
special moment.
Coming to Texas has given us an
to live a better, happier life.
Faith is something that is unshakeable
sometimes maddening
sometimes very difficult
but what someone or something else
meant for bad
God can make good.

Sharing with
Totally Terrific Tuesday ~ Savvy Apron
Blogging Fifty

Happy blessings to you,



Inspirational Designers ~ Styling Your Photoshoots Like a Pro

Jickie Torres ~ editor of Country Cottages and Bungalows
Hello from Beverly Hills and the
Design Bloggers Conference!

Today I thought I’d share a little about styling your own
photoshoots like a professional.
This was the talk Jickie Torres and Courtney Allison
two of my favorite photo stylists and designers
gave on Sunday afternoon.

Jickie is the editor of Cottages and Bungalows magazine 
Courtney is the photographer and blog-author of
French Country Cottage
one of my favorite blogs out there
in Blog Land.

Together they spoke about creating 
good quality photos and the differences between 
creating photos for your blog -vs-
creating photos aimed towards 
magazine publication.
Two slightly different ways of photo shooting
that I think most bloggers wouldn’t just
intuitively realize.

Courtney of French Country Cottage
In this slide, Courtney compared two
of her photographs and talked about how
the one on the left is more of what the industry
calls “a vignette scene.”
See how it’s more of a “close-up?”
It shares more details like the pompom ruffle
around the chair pillow,
the thick plush down seat cushion
and of course
the ever sweet doggie!

These kinds of photographs work great
on your blog, but for editorial print work
there needs to be more of a “room shot.”
Editors also need your photos to
“tell a story.”
Jickie mentioned to make your photos
realistic ~ have a cup on the table,
drape a blanket over the chair’s arm.
You want those things in your scenes to draw a 
reader in and make him or her
want to jump right into the picture and just
plop right down making oneself 
right at home.
Well, those are just two of the big takeaways
from Jickie and Courtney’s talk late
Sunday afternoon!
There’s sooo much more to share from conference and I’ll be sharing more in tomorrow’s post.
As always, feel free to share this post and any others and please sign up if on my sidebar and follow along on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as I’m posting video and other photos there.
Thank you!
Leave a comment and ask questions, too.
I’ll get back to you as soon as I
am able.
Have a lovely Tuesday!
Barb 🙂

Sharing with
Wordless Wednesday ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!

Playing with Black and White ~ My New Canon Zoom Lens

This week has been all about something
I can’t share yet… until it happens
you’ll be sure to hear if it does!

Until then, I’m all over the place making ready
so no real posts this week yet
since Sunday until now…

Today I thought I’d share some 
black and white 
and sepia
photos with you that I’ve taken recently 
with my new
Canon Zoom Lens
EF 24-105mm IS USM
{hopefully I’ve got all that right! I put the whole thing in the title
up top, just in case! 😉 }

taken with the new lens
Today it’s really about letting the camera 
do the talking…
I just worked on focusing the lens
on different spots and seeing what came of it.
Taken with the standard lens which came with the camera

Taken with the new lens?  No, I think this is with the old. Love it, though!

new! focused on the front board ~ love the bokeh effect
or the blurring of everything else
The Canon zoom lens is able to hyper focus
to a specific point/plane
which is exactly what I was looking for
for photographing 

Love the caning on this settee!
Don’t you?

It mirrors this: the chair back seen
earlier in a Valentine’s Day post.
Changing gears ~ the house across the main road.
Up, up and away…
{I hope this comes out so it looks cool putting it in this post
with nothing but white around it!}

Finally a photo from last summer’s visit
to Magnolia Market.

I don’t usually shoot black and white
pictures, or edit them to remove color
but it’s fun when they come out that way.
I do like playing with high contrast.
It’s kinda fun! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope
you have enjoyed these little ole photos!
Let me know how you liked them and 
post up some of yours on FB
and tag me on French Ethereal.
It’d be fun to see yours and I know
other readers would 
love to see them, too!
Please share, pin, comment as you feel
with these. 
Thank you.
Blessings to you,
Barb 🙂

Sharing with
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondocks Blog


In Ambient Light…

As a blogger/photographer
I take a ton of pictures
and not all of them 
make it into the posts 
I’m currently working on…

So this post I thought I’d share a number of 
“light” posts I’ve shot just because
they are beautiful.
This is a recent one I took
before switching out the green light strand
for a white one.
I ended up restyling
the window cornice
to hide that not so pretty brown
front fabric.
This photograph was from when I was
making the toile pumpkins last fall.
I love the different lights and darks
in this shot.

This one you’ll know from the more recent photos
when I was shooting the pink transferware.
The same story where I shared the recipe for
banana chocolate chip muffins.

And these are old favorites from our former home from Christmas time
a couple of years ago…

And our garden at the time.

One last one ~ one of my favorites
of all times from
playing with light.

*p.s. As always, please feel free to share, pin,
and leave me a comment about anything here. Thank you!

Hope you have enjoyed 
this little tour as we played with light…
Blessings to you,

A Camera Try-out ~ Canon EOS 70D

A mini vacation after a busy weekend
was just what was needed with a day trip visiting thriftshops
and getting out and 
photographing nature…

On Tuesday, driving over to Yankton, South Dakota

to browse through the local thriftshops, 
{still searching for old Ball jars to use for table pieces
for our son and his fiancée’s wedding this summer}
I came across the
KOA campgrounds
I’m writing up for the next blogpost. 
Then I found the other KOA yesterday morning…
along with these beautiful flowers…

While walking around North Sioux City,
where my son and his fiancé just moved,
I found these sweet flowering plants
growing alongside the walking path.
Sorry, I don’t have any idea what the name
of this sweet pink flowering plant is…
If any of you know the name of this plant,
please let me know!

I forgot my camera when we drove to the airport last Friday,
however it turned out to be a blessing to be able to borrow my son’s!

This camera is a bit heavier than my little
Canon EOS Rebel especially with the bigger lens.
Please forgive me for some of the photos being 
slightly out of focus.
I didn’t find a tripod amongst my son’s things.
But it was fun shooting the photograph above 
and the one below.
I was down on my hands and knees {seriously} 
for this next shot.
Even came away with grass stains and wet spots on both knees.

I was having The Best Time shooting with his
Canon EOS 70D camera
his used and refurbished
Canon Ultrasonic 24-105mm lens!!!

The quintessential French Ethereal flower: anything lavender ~ love this!

He started borrowing this bigger lens 
for filming class projects and then quickly
decided he needed to buy one!
He bought it used from
Borrow Lenses
a company which ships lenses to customers 
inside well-padded suitcases. 
When you are done using a lens
you just ship it back.

{You can click on the link above to visit Borrow Lenses.}

The Canon Ultrasonic 24-105mm wide-angle lens
is perfect for taking really close-up photographs plus it 
creates the “boca” effect that photographers
try really hard to reproduce
{like me!}
where what you are focusing on is “in focus”
and the background and the surrounding area
is slightly to fully blurred.
*called bokeh*
Love it!!!!!

I even just looked up into the sky and shot a few pics of this
cottonwood tree that was next to me!
The leaves were rustling in the light breeze
and interestingly enough
this shot has a 3-D effect to it!

More of these purple lovelies! Perhaps purple loosestrife?? Might be larkspur.

My favorite shot: amazing clouds in a French blue sky! Also, check out the “moving clouds…” Just stare for a bit… 😉

This is one of the United States of America’s tri-state areas where South Dakota meets up with Nebraska and Iowa.  
The convergence of the Big Sioux and 
the Missouri rivers 
happens a few miles down Highway 29 
from where I shot these photographs, 
along this 
very lower right tip of South Dakota 
where it overlaps with 
Nebraska and Iowa.
“Gateway to South Dakota” say the words on the blue water tower ~ the opposite side says “Welcome to Iowa.”
I think I’m going to have to save up my money
for a really long time so I can get a lens like this!
I love how you can shoot photographs 
really up-close then turn around 
and shoot far away and get photographs
like this landscape portrait.

 My son and I will be going over to the
Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve
later this morning so I’ll be sharing
about this lovely place and more photographs 
of this beautiful area and my 
“second spring” with you soon.

Happy Thursday to you!
Blessings to you always,
Sharing with:
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Studies in Black and White and Sepia

Just a study in black and white today…
Few words,
just photos…
A photograph I took of our cat, Tigger, back when I was 15 years old with an old 110 Kodak instamatic camera.
I went out to milk our goats. She hopped up on the milking stand. I had the camera. She turned her head ~ and this is the shot!

Still learning about photography
and changing to black and white…
I did not realize until now
that one has to lighten up the photograph
if the original photograph was shot
in color
or it will appear dark.
What’s your favorite way to photograph?
Hope you have a great weekend!
Barb 🙂