Hunt for Joy Challenge: Say Cheese

Cee Neuner has a new weekly challenge entitled On The Hunt For Joy. This is the second week and the theme is Say Cheese. She says,

“find some photos of you smiling and feeling joyful, or find some photos that brings a smile to your face or brings you joy.  Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee [who is the inspiration for this challenge]: ‘Studies show that our expressions can influence our emotions. So when you’re feeling down, try faking it ‘till you feel it by smiling, doing laughter yoga exercises, or looking at a photo of yourself taken at a particularly joyful time.'”

I selected photos that represent happy times in my life. The first is me having a fun moment with my son when he was a little boy, circa winter 1988.Jayme & Katharine Villa-Alvarez
A wedding photo taken when I married the man I love, Dale, in November 1995.
Katy & Dale wedding picture - 11-19-95
Playing around with the photo software on my computer in my classroom at Anne Sullivan School. This was one of the happiest years during my teaching career, 2009-2010.
Me from PhotoBooth
Here are some happy times traveling.

DSC_0967-Laclede, StLouis
Me with fish band sculpture, Laclede, St. Louis, MO (2016) – I include this because of the interesting & humorous sculpture.
You may recognize this as my profile picture on WP. I’m smiling because we were in Monterey, CA (2015), one of my favorite areas in the U.S.
Relaxing on deck with a margarita during our cruise to the Panama Canal (2017).
1-29 enjoying a snack at Rijksmuseum
Relaxing with hot drinks and pastries after a few hours looking at art, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2018).

Finally, one of my “shared” birthday celebrations – my brother-in-law and I have birthdays nine days apart, and he is 10 years older than I am.  (They spelled my name wrong at the bakery – it’s Katy, not Caty! 😦 )
Elmer & me - joint birthday celebration


CFFC: What’s in the Picture?

Cee is back this week with all her challenges! Today’s Fun Foto Challenge is to use the photo she has posted to find a subject, topic or theme. She writes that this week’s possible topics are black and white, mirror, reflection, air plane, jet, cloud, vehicle, building, power lines, frame in frame. If you see other topics, you can use that too. Just tell us what your topic is.

Seen through a rear view mirror
The picture I am currently using as my profile picture was taken in December 2015 in Monterey, California. I took this selfie using the rear view mirror next to me. I was standing outside my car with my back to the coast.20151223_163909
While at Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2018, I experimented with this idea again, this time showing the scenery both in front of us and in back of us through the mirror.
Just to be funny in a political context, I’m including this photo I did NOT take! 😉mueller2.jpg
Airplanes and jets
View from the window of a small airplane from Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania, Feb. 13, 2018. Ngorongoro Crater is visible in the background.
2-13 from airplane-Ngorongoro Crater
The jet that would take us from Chicago to Amsterdam, August 2015
20150805_153153Black and white
On a rocky beach in Alaska, August 2016
On the beach at Orca Point Lodge, looking for "treasures"
Chicago skyscrapers, 2017
20170515_161936 (2)
The foliage of summer hides most of this house, but like Cee’s picture, there’s a roof in it!
20170731_171518 (2)


WPC: Experimental Photography and Drawing

When I got my new computer last spring, I was chagrined to find out that not only Photo Gallery wasn’t included, but that I could no longer download it!!

Apparently, many of the features of that program have been incorporated into the Photos program that comes with Windows 10 – not all, by any means, but some at least! (I don’t have Photoshop, but am thinking of buying it.)

I looked for pictures to experiment with. Through cropping and enhancing, I put the focus on a bench on a rocky shore in Monterey Peninsula, CA, which I think is a lot better than the original.

The original:

After cropping/enhancing and experimenting with contrast:
20151223_163346 (2)

Some other experiments had less interesting results – this sunburst came out quite dark originally:
20151223_170202 (2)

The experimentals:

Actually, just lightening the contrast actually improved the picture (last of the four).

On my cell phone, I also have done some experimenting with color, filters and contrast. Here’s one that I like of my husband fishing off the pier at our cottage in northern Wisconsin in 2013 (first picture is original, second is experimental):

I have also done some experimental drawing (admittedly for a summer art class) – using various bones of a skeleton. Here are collages I made using a vertebra (the first is using colored pencil only, the second incorporates colored pencils and watercolor):

I also used a full skeleton model to draw using color pencils and with charcoal only:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental

Sunday Trees – Monterey Peninsula

First, congratulations to Becca on her 6th anniversary of Sunday Trees. Second, this is my first time participating in this challenge, although I am fascinated by trees and have a huge archive of pictures of trees!

But for today, I decided to feature the trees (and other sights) along the 17 mile drive on Monterey Peninsula, California, where we traveled in December 2015, to spend Christmas with Dale’s sister, nephew and family who live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

2015-12-23 17.47.44

I hadn’t been to the Monterey Peninsula in many years, but remembered the 17-mile drive as one of the most beautiful in the country! Anytime I travel on the Pacific Coast Highway (which this drive is a small piece of), I have a particular piece of classical music that I always listen to, because it is so evocative of the nature of the Pacific coast: Symphony No. 1 by Gustav Mahler. If you own this music or want to download it on YouTube, I invite you to listen to it while looking at these pictures (although it’s not the same as seeing the scenery for yourself). Here’s the link:

The wind blows constantly along this stretch of road and coast, so the trees and even rock formations are shaped by wind erosion, as well as by the constant motion of the waves breaking against the rocky shore. The trees take on windswept, sometimes gnarly shapes.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Wildlife: Birds on rocks, sea lions basking on beach

As the sun began to go down in late afternoon, the landscape looked even more dramatic.








Finally, we stopped at the ritzy Pebble Beach Golf Course and Clubhouse. The trees in front of the clubhouse were covered in festive lights for Christmas.20151223_175151



Partial view of the golf course and sculpture “Just Like Dad” by Walt Horton, 1997.