MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017: Blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017 (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 17 Feb 2018 23:58:00 GMT Sat, 17 Feb 2018 23:58:00 GMT Macro Madness So in addition to no less than 4 dog training classes (online) I am taking - well okay, I'm saving 3 of them and actively working on one, I signed up on a whim for an online macro photography class as well.  That I just finished and honestly, how else should I be getting through these dreary winter days (not much sunshine recently) when it is too cold, windy, snowing, raining and just plain miserable (not to mention dark early) to do anything fun.    The class was very inspirational and afterwards I decided to go find some things to try to photograph indoors.  Luckily I hadn't thrown our my little light box studio I had purchased years ago to photograph collars and leashes that I was making.

Off I went to purchase new LED bulbs for the lights (the halogen just got so freaking hot they honestly were a fire danger) and set it up in the family room on a folding table.   So here are some of the results starting with my first subjects the first evening to the last.   I need more practice and I still am HATING the ball head on my tripod (the adjuster for the tilt is difficult to deal with so I need to do some research to see if I can remedy that) and I am using extender tubes with my 70-300 lens but I'm pretty pleased with the results.   I also am getting comfy with Live View on my camera - burns up the battery quick but for this inside work is extremely helpful.    My biggest hurdle is manual focus as auto just doesn't cut it when you have a specific part of a macro piece to focus on.   Even with my glasses on and live view the focus just isn't as crisp as I want.   It is also great fun experimenting with lighting and with different color backgrounds as well as assorted depth of field options.  

Anyway, here are my first round and hope you see something you like or are also inspired to try it out.  Again, great for poopy winter days!   May have to go out and see about some real LIVE flowers to attempt as most of what I did is dry dead stuff from my garden.  Although I will say it does give me a new appreciation for some of those things.

Oh ohhhh I forgot I will FIRST put up some pre-class rose photos I did - the pinecone starts the stuff from after class.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 17 Feb 2018 23:57:43 GMT
Never Ending Winter So my bird feeders are still very busy, except I noticed on some days.  Those I have discovered, only by a brief glimpse, that there is a small bird of prey hanging around.   Now I know I had a shrike here years ago taking out some of the small birds but this bird has been so quick that I've not even caught enough of a glimpse to figure out what it is!    

However I did actually have one morning last weekend where the sun came around and I caught a few photos of my feeder friends.   This winter the regulars have included house finches, red polls, downy woodpeckers (both the boy and girl), hairy woodpeckers (both the boy and girl), a family of red breasted nuthatches, pygmy nuthatches (although they don't seem to show up often which is likely due to....), and white breasted nuthatches (which seem to chase off all the other nuthatches.

Now the crossbills have also returned and boy are they hungry!   Besides they are just so goofy looking that they are fun to watch.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:31:03 GMT
Stormy All I have to do is mention I've not had the cameras out and the sunset gives me a reason.   I watched the storms roll down the south mountains all day while I got sunshine (love that) and in the end I stepped out on the deck and got these to share.....I love where I live!   First ones as you can tell were before sunset and the others just as the sun was going down.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 23 Jan 2018 16:20:15 GMT
Winter Memories Okay I'm cheating because I don't want to get out of the jive doing my blog but honestly haven't been out with the camera to be honest.  While I've been walking with Epic - the neighborhood is rather the same day to day right now and the other mileage I do on the treadmill.  So I did some digging around and am going to share some previous years photos.....while I enjoy the fact that we are on the upside towards Spring (yup I just ordered my flower seeds in some nutty attempt to try to start things from seeds this year for the flower pots - we will see how that goes and if my pet sitter will water them when I do May vacation).

Gallitan RiverGallitan River Hyalite CreekHyalite Creek

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:40:32 GMT
Frisbees, Frost and Sunbeams This boy (Epic) makes me laugh almost every day.   Yesterday it was fairly warm out and he had located one of his missing rubber balls in the car when we ran errands.  After snarfing down dinner he went up back and spent 45 minutes playing with it, letting it roll into footprints and then digging it out.  Meanwhile we take every chance we can to get in at least some play out in the snow.  This was from a few days ago -- pure joy and he just doesn't seem to get cold (much less wear out)!

This morning we had freezing fog and I was so very happy I didn't have to drive into the office.  I did however have to spend the entire day on a conference call and during the brief potty breaks got out with the big camera to take a few photos.

This was as the sun came up over the fog bank (which sat in the valley all day).

Here I was trying to capture the frosty needles backlit, I was excited to see I did get the frost floating off of them.

Snow dunes in the front yard.  Sometimes you need to look closer at the simple things.

This is what it looked like past my road all day.

As the sun rose looking east to the neighbor's place.

As I mentioned I was on a conference call most of the day and once the sun came around the south I opened up the front door and let the rays come in.  It was quickly noticed by my pups and I sat in my office chair and took advantage of the sunbeam portrait opportunity.  I just love my days working from home and spending time with these "co-workers".  Love em to death.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:24:14 GMT
January Centered I will say I am not disappointed that January is 1/2 over.   It really is kind of a blah month in my mind and I've always figured if winter is tough, once I hit Valentine's Day, it is all downhill.  Not that we won't have more "winter" but there is an end in sight.   January just seems to be ALL winter and while I do enjoy the snow and cold, by the end of this month I'll be rather "over it" if you get what I mean.   So in my quest to keep my hands out of the cookie jar and the comfort food (I gotta get this weight off that has piled on) I've been feeding my creative with some crochet and Zentangle work.   

I also am trying to be better about getting outside to walk (and get on the treadmill) with the dogs.  Sterling isn't a big fan of walking but I've decided honestly he needs to get out too so I bootied up both boys and got my trackers on my shoes and we made it out on Friday after the latest storm blew through.  You can tell from some of the pics that Sterling really does still figure his baby brother is a nutcase but Epic is all about the fun of it which makes me smile.   Sterling had a bit harder time of it with his long legs and the slip sliding of the booties but he made it back in one piece and slept the rest of the day away pretty much.    Since he has therapy dog duties on Sunday he will be restricted after a batch and grooming, from anything outdoors until after that visit.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 13 Jan 2018 18:08:45 GMT
And then the Cold Returned Booooo, so here is some ice for you all (the balls are not mine).

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Thu, 11 Jan 2018 23:45:02 GMT
A Warming Trend We have had 40s here for a few days and boy has that helped my attitude and everyone's driving!   The last of my holiday visitors left this morning and I am kind of sad about that (the dogs are seriously sad).   So just a few more photos to share with you on this warm, pre-next-storm day!






]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 09 Jan 2018 18:42:10 GMT

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sun, 07 Jan 2018 15:45:33 GMT
Baby It Has Been Cold ...and may still be cold where you are.  Heck we got to 20F today and thought it was the tropics!   I can testify that I have about oh a week or 2 of wood left in my wood stack as we've been burning pretty much full time for about a month (which tells you it has not been anywhere near 30 in that time).  Still I am dreaming of Spring and have been planning my vacation to help get me through.   Even forgot that I had some snippets of Summer stashed away in my flower press.

Ahhh they made me feel a bit better.   We've also had a few bits of sunshine here and there but we have a nasty ongoing inversion in the valley so we don't see it often enough!

Louie does prefer the warmth of the stove and Elliott (above) is by the stove MOST of the time.  Old bones like that kind of warmth on these frigid days.

Epic the snow dog though LOVES the snow and I really REALLY need to get my body moving so we've been out a couple of times.  One day just to play fetch in the yard with a toy in between loads of wood (I haul mine from the carport up to the front deck).

Yeah being covered in snow is just part of the deal so there is a towel sitting next to the door so I can brush him off at least somewhat before he goes in the house.  Then he just melts and leaves spots of water - let's call it "raising the humidity in our dry house".

We did start walking though - just a short bit down our road as much as we can and instead of a toy I sacrifice a piece of kindling so when he loses it in the snow we can find it back.   

So happy to have a walking buddy and honestly he does just make me laugh.   It has been interesting that we've had no wind so there is still snow sitting in the pines.  Of course that is also why we are stuck in an inversion - so it stays cold and the air quality sucks.

One last dog shot, Tinker still loving the new couch and getting better about letting me sneak a photo.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 06 Jan 2018 00:57:50 GMT
Holiday Wrap Up I have been enjoying family time this past week plus so no blogging and honestly not a lot of photo taking either.   Unfortunately right when family arrived so did the snow and bitter cold - white Christmas for brother - check!   We really didn't get out and about very much honestly as it was just too freaking cold and miserable.  Couple shopping supply trips and one - replace truck battery trip when my < 2 year old battery died.  Not funny!   Thank goodness the roads were clear enough to take the little car into town to take on that event and thank you to my brother once again for getting the new battery installed!

Basically there was a lot of this....

and then some moments (not very many) of sunbeams and this....

But truly wayyyyy more of this.....(read - me out hauling wood in and keeping the fire going)

Evenings were mostly this.....

...and Mom and I are on the 3rd of the 4 brand new puzzles I bought.  Disappointed by the first one - 750 piece Walmart version with 2 missing pieces and the second one - 500 piece Costco National Parks series with 4 missing pieces.   We are hoping this Hobby Lobby one (1000 pieces) isn't a bust.

Because outside today it is dumping snow but we saw THIS the 10 days prior....

In fact I broke out the headed bird bath and had to go stock up on more bird food.  We have flocks of finches and red polls as well as the 3 species of nuthatches and the woodpeckers that are trying to stay warm and fed.  This is the packed down snow from the small birds....

Makes my feet cold!   Brother did request Christmas sweets so there was baking and candy making as well.  He went home with suitcase full of goodies, coconut balls, marshmallow roll and the divinity that didn't make it to when he left (also MY favorite).  We also sent back probably 10 pounds of this....

Glass candy, which we have not made in YEARS!   We got the 3 of us in an assembly line and it actually was done (8 batches) in about 2 hours.  YUM!

Since we are getting a major snowstorm today I'm spending the day shoveling every few hours as it snows and blows and will be making one more trudge out to bring wood up to the house for the stove.   No travel for us for the next few days but Lord knows we are not going to starve and have plenty to keep us busy.   I did manage to get the outside lights and ornaments down before the storm and they all got warmed up and put away today.  The lighted poodle, Snoopy & Woodstock and flamingo are all safely tucked into the garage for now as I needed stuff OFF of the deck so I could keep it cleaned off.   We are expecting up to 18" new snow through Saturday then we shall see what happens.  Definitely will need to get the drift in front of the garage busted through before work on Tuesday.

If you don't hear from me before then - Happy New Year to all my readers and one last share of our Christmas photo.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Fri, 29 Dec 2017 22:09:25 GMT
Wander I promised the rest of the "non-poodle" pictures for this post from our walk.  Yup, pretty much lots of brown and with the wind, macros of any sorts were well, difficult.   I just love all the various stages of cattails though!

This was a series of 3 on "perspectives.  There was this bridge (of sorts) and I did 2 shots towards the tree (all alone out there) and one the other direction.  I think I like the first one the best even though when I straightened it out (hey it was cold down in that snow) I hacked off the very top of the tree.

These were just "whatever" shots on the way back to the car.   I told you - lots of brown and a tad of snow, that is pretty much the way things are around here this time of year so kinda hard to get very creative - but I'm trying!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 19 Dec 2017 17:14:13 GMT
Weekend Done Already? How can that be??   Well because I was super busy for the most part I guess.  On Friday I got Iago's new cage and with the help of a good friend got it put together.  Then had to break down the old one and get it out of the house (could hardly move around in the family room).

That meant Saturday started as a work day.  I had a truck full of cardboard to get to the recycle bins (between my couch and cage there was a lot!) - check.   A quick grocery store stop - check.   Some house cleaning before I figured out how to live stream the Eukanuba Nationals dog show - check.  The rest was in front of the computer since stupid Apple TV and Air Drop wouldn't work.  Grrrrrr!    Still I got to watch live even if it was sitting in my office in front of the computer screen - pretty darned awesome and so glad I have this lovely monitor.

Sunday I knew I needed to get up and get going as the remaining dog show live broadcasts started at 3 my time.  First up was my Sunday morning spa for Teddy (getting him combed out) and then a quick stop in town and Epic and I got to go for a walk on the way home.  With snow on the ground I knew Sterling wouldn't last out there (and it was super windy which he hates) so he got to stay home warm and toasty and taking care of the littles.

Epic and I had fun - him running amuck and me taking some can I not love this face.   And this boy is always game for whatever monkey business his Mom thinks up.

We were both ready to get in the car though as we were walking face into the wind as we came back from exploring.   Because the car was parked not far off the highway I didn't want him running amuck in the little teeny parking lot so he had to wait in the gate.  Which he did very well I will say <grin>.    He definitely had a great time and needed to get out and just run and sniff and pee (he's a boy what can I say).  He even managed to lose his bells off his harness.  Guess I'll be looking for more of those before Christmas stuff goes away in the stores!

Got home in time to finish up chores (only the bathroom left to prep) and one bed left to make before it was time to finish watching Nationals and friends of mine that were in the Herding Group competition!   Now I need to leave the rest of the photos for the next post but will leave you with a hint - while I go see how Epic's Daddy did at Nationals in dock diving!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 18 Dec 2017 01:53:00 GMT
TGIF - Baby It Is Cold Outside Okay so it isn't THAT cold but we have been struggling to get the inversion in the valley to blow out.  We finally got some weather (and some snow) a few days ago and then right on behind big time fog!   That definitely makes it "feel" colder out but makes for some lovely frosty scenes.   Meanwhile I am frantically preparing for my company that will begin arriving Tuesday, got Iago's new digs today so that assembly is on tap for the weekend, had a lovely dinner with a friend last night, work (yup still gotta do that for today and then 3 more days before vacation) and things I've likely not even thought of yet.  Therefore wanted to get these photos up for you all to enjoy!  First to share is the most pink lovely sunrise (for 3 whole minutes) we had this morning.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:48:50 GMT
Natural Abstracts and Watercolors

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:25:00 GMT
Doing What We Do One thing we do as you know is therapy work and Sterling went with bells on this past weekend.   He is wearing a head halter this time after getting a bit too nosey for my liking previously - he was pouting and played it for ALL it was worth!   Doesn't matter, the residents and staff all lovedh im up extra much anyway!


It has been cold cold cold here.   While they are roasting in the rest of the state all of the western valleys are suffering from the inversions.  Then ta-da all clears off at night and gets seriously frigid.  So the wood stove is fired up and I need to make an effort to keep it going now.   My work from home days help a ton and after paying the last electric bill I am "encouraged" to keep up with the wood hauling!  Just sayin.....

My week and this coming weekend are focused on getting ready for my holiday company.  I am so excited that they are coming to visit but boy, I realize what a slacker I've been with the house cleaning!  Yikes!   So today was Iago's turn, her apartment (cage) needed maid service pretty badly so she got to come out and get a good shower as well (while the pups protested in the back room - HEY they got their dinner!).  She is just on the tail end of a molt so her feathers are kinda raggedy right now and the good spray down helps a ton.  She even posed for a photo!

Still kind of fighting with the new camera but you know, it will work for the snapshots I want to use it for.  I keep reminding myself that nothing point and shoot (and in that price range) is going to measure up to my big bad boys.    Still working on some more nature abstract and will share those next post just for fun.  Sorry not very newsy in this post but just busy keeping on keeping on!   

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:42:20 GMT
Saturday Errands Today I had to make a run to Great Falls to pick up the dog food I had ordered.   I wasn't sure how the roads would be ads it was super frosty and 10 degrees at home when I left.   Had the poodles with me in the truck and away we went.  By the time we were 60 miles from home the temp was 51 degrees but that was because the chinook winds were howling!   I will admit I was torn, cold and calm (at home) or warm-er (the wind was cold) and windy.  I've decided I still am not a windy fan (pun intended) so cold and calm it is.

After meeting my friend for the dog food I had 2 Christmas stops to make, one at their mall (which by the way is still very active and pretty fabulous).  I got there about 5 minutes before the stores opened and had to smile as I wandered in and almost got clobbered by the "mall walkers"!  All in all I had my 2 errands done and we were headed home by 11 a.m.    Goes to show I really CAN focus if I want to.  

I decided that maybe it would be less windy on the Recreation Road and honestly it doesn't take that much more time to drive that than to take the interstate.  I had packed the new baby camera and of course wished I had my big ones but oh well.   I'm liking the little one especially for ease of hauling around BUT I already am finding the limitations.  Mostly what bugs me is the depth of field on the macros.   But for now it is fine and while I find my footing for some of the more artsy shots it will be just fine.

We won't talk about the bruise on my leg from the truck door blowing shut on it while I got this shot but I am pretty happy with it.  Again, remember we are in brown land right now so to see any green was a treat.   I'm not sure what I think of  having the fence in the background but I liked how it sloped so left it.

The boys and I stopped at one of the deserted campgrounds for a potty break and I think we lasted about 10 minutes before I was cold and wind blown.

I also took this as we exited the Recreation Road.  I don't remember that the wind was blowing enough to blur those trees so kinda bummed about that.

Meanwhile I did find some things to take some artsy fun kinda shots'll see what I mean about blur on the edges because of the DOF.  These below are all from our campground/river stop.

Then I stopped at a pullout by Prickly Pear creek and found some cool ice....Couldn't decide if I liked the first or the second one so you get both.

Meanwhile we are enjoying some sun in the house this afternoon and my crazy dogs cannot get enough of it!  That about shoots it for our week.  Tomorrow is therapy for Sterling and I gotta get cracking now on gift wrapping.  Time is getting short and I want my chore list cleaned up before my company arrives in 10 days!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 09 Dec 2017 22:21:39 GMT
Getting Back to It More blogging less Facebook!

I have to admit, I did order and receive a new point and shoot camera (thanks Cyber Monday).  The Lumix and I never ever got along well and it has gotten worse and worse so wanted something lighter to carry along on walks and just for having around the house for quick shots.  Sometime hauling the heavy big bad dudes just ins't an option and often I'll just not take any (or use the phone which is really a pain when it comes to editing and saving).  Back to a Canon Powershot and so far so good.  Thought I'd run it through some paces and see what I got and here are some results (some edited again, to start opening some of my creativeness).

The redpolls have flocked here today so was able to capture a couple (okay the big cameras do this better).

Last night the super moon was out and the clouds were moving along at a pretty good clip but figured I'd give this a try as I wasn't going to set up the big camera and tripod and freeze my buns off.  Taken from my back door and blurred in Lightroom for effect.

The rest are just some more fun shots.  Wanted to see if the macro was as good as promised - I'm pleased although the depth of field suffers some.  Again, if I wasn't just practicing I'd work more with my big full frame camera and a wide angle lens.

I think this pinecone if I could get just the cone in a frame would be kinda cool - next time!

Then of course I couldn't forget my favorite subjects.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 05 Dec 2017 23:15:02 GMT
Weather Did Turn We woke up to a skiff of snow and then boom, it rained and snowed.  Frankly I am tired already of the gray days and this doesn't bode well for the winter here.  I remember a winter of gray and not really any snow a few years back and boy were people cranky by January.   This really isn't "normal" for us.  Back in the "old days" we would get snowy days, lay down great snow pack and even have some bitter cold below zero stuff, BUT it would be sunny.  May be -20 but the sun was out.   Gray crap is why I didn't move to the coast 30+ years ago.   So really no pretty snow, just spits here and there but will try hard to not complain about moisture.

I promised some more odd ball shots from our walk and that is the purpose of this post so here ya go! I am going to work on the bare naked tree shots, I know there is some good stuff in them if I can find it. I also didn't exactly have a great lens for getting the whole frame as sharp as I wanted so that is next on the list.  Shorter lens especially for the close up stuff.   

So do you guys have any in here that you like and why?  I'm just curious!



I am and always will be a sucker for barbed wire.  I think there is some Zentangle inspiration in there somewhere too.


I was kind of amazed at the different colors of lichen I saw in this shot below.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 04 Dec 2017 14:47:51 GMT
Before the Weather Turns Well it isn't supposed to get THAT bad but I have been so horrid at taking the dogs out exploring that I made a real effort and took off today for a lovely 90 minute walk (for me - a run amuck for the poodles) today.  I've been fighting knee/hip issues since Spring and frankly I used that as an excuse not to get out - well I think I need to get out and get those muscles around those joints toned up.  I took the big camera with, again to try out some of the more of the things I heard in my class but also just to get me back into really looking around.   So some of this stuff may be your bag or not, but it is fun for me.    This time of year the scenery sucks (can you say brown on brown on brown) and there isn't much for wildlife so some macro and abstract-y type stuff is kind of what I'm working on (more of that in the next post but I'll give you a teaser at the end of this one).

I think we need to be getting out more.  See how they are walking like this is gonna collapse (Epic even looks like he's watching for the "under bridge boogie man"?   They ran back and forth on it a few years ago - so need to get them out too and confidence in footing reworked (for me too!).

Still I love these areas to walk.  Even with bells on Epic (so I can make sure he stays close) it is lovely to have space for them to go and run and I can still see where they are.  Watching the joy in Epic's explorations makes me realize I've been remiss in not taking him out more.  Sterling is good for about the first 30 minutes, then he's ready to go back to the car.  He did have one spurt of energy and bounding where we turned around but then he dragged behind me the whole way back.   This photo pretty much sums up the two of them!  haha

See, so much for "scenery".  

Not only that but we had to give up our normal walking spot for all the bird hunters and THEIR crazy dogs.  Still we made the best of it.

We got down to the marsh area and the boys just got to sniff, eat "stuff" and poke around.  I threw a stick for Epic that then exploded apart when it landed so he kinda thought THIS was the stick to be using (and yes he brought it to me and then tried to trip me up with it).

Sterling just watched and thought he was being the most dumb puppy ever!

He isn't entirely wrong!  LOL   We also came across the most huge cool downed tree/log so it was appropriate to take the obligatory walk photo!  Yes, Sterling was "thrilled"!  

These are some of the abstracts from that log.

Did you find the face?

One last poodle-y photo.  Epic showing his balance and core strength (thanks Auntie Adele for all the Fit Paws fun)!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 02 Dec 2017 22:58:13 GMT