For those of you who think Norman Rockwell only painted idealized images, he didn’t. His idealized images are the most popular, but he painted many other, hard-edged pictures. If you’re in the neighborhood of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, I recommend the Norman Rockwell Museum.

It’s a particularly American experience. I especially love this Thanksgiving cover for Life Magazine — reminding us that the Pilgrims were a humorless bunch. Not the kind of people I’d like to know.

Indian corn in kitchen window

They wouldn’t approve of our traditional Thanksgiving, not one little bit. I don’t think you’d want them at your table and they would not be thrilled to be there, either.

I enjoy Thanksgiving. The idea of it. It’s good there’s a day dedicated to gratitude. And eating too much, visiting with family and friends. But — you knew there was going to be a “but” didn’t you? — I am frequently reminded there are people who don’t have a family. Others who don’t have much to celebrate. And of course Native Americans, who on the whole, don’t find Thanksgiving a reason to rejoice.


So, while we are consuming our dinners and enjoying our family, please give a thought to those who aren’t celebrating. Can’t celebrate. Are disinclined to celebrate. We do not all have to celebrate the same way.

Enjoy your holiday. Your way.




One of the very first principles of composition I learned … maybe the only principle of composition I learned … was that a leading diagonal line give a picture “movement.”


Without some kind of angle to take the viewer’s eye into the picture, the scene tends to be static.


That’s why pictures of horizons with sunsets are often pretty, but unexciting. Because there’s a flat horizon and nothing going on in the foreground. Does that make sense to anyone but me?

dawn on Misty beach Ogunquit

I’ll shut up now and just show some pictures!

UU Church 44

A few words about cropping:

Tight cropping often completely changes a picture and what it’s about. When the diagonal is part of the larger picture, it is drawing the viewer’s attention to something else — other than itself. When the diagonal is the picture, it’s about that wire, or that edge, or fence, or stream.


There’s nothing wrong with it and it may be a more interesting picture … but it isn’t the same picture.


When you crop, you need to decide not only what looks good, but what you want to say. In other words, what’s the picture about?


And for extra credit, this from the leading lines challenge a few weeks ago, zig-zag fence in Vermont is about as diagonal as you can get.



25 November 2015: WRAPPING UP

This is going to be the swan song for this prompt. I’m crazy busy and it isn’t getting easier to meet my schedule. I’m either going to cut back my blogging or I’m going to start dropping some of the balls I’m juggling. Bang, thud, whack, wham. Ouch!

At the grocery store, it's definitely Christmas

At the grocery store, it’s definitely Christmas

Okay, so if dropping those balls isn’t an option, then I’ve got to lighten up my schedule, at least until the end of January. I keep saying I’m going to do it, but then I find myself in the grip of blogging fever. Is there a 12-step program for this?


The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving tomorrow. Christmas in a month, then we’re off to Arizona for a couple of weeks just after New Year’s Day.

I’ve enjoyed doing this prompt. From now on, I’m will enjoy not doing it.


The weather is turning cold at night. It’s still relatively warm during the day … warmer than it usually is this close to Thanksgiving and you won’t hear me complaining about it. I took a bunch of crunchy leaf pictures, down by the river pictures, wide-angle pictures with my new Pentax lens.


It’s my farewell to Autumn, the last of the best of this year. The long, dark shadows on the driveway, the piles of crunchy oak and maple leaves.


For me, piles of autumn leaves are deeply evocative. My fondest early memories of walking to school was the feel of new leather shoes and those leaves crunching underfoot.


The snap of the leaves, the squeak of leather. The smell of fall. Crisp air.


I always say goodbye to autumn with utmost regret. I say goodbye to this prompt with equal regret. Maybe I’ll try something new in the spring, but it’s time for me to take a breath, step back, and recognize that I can’t keep up this pace.

Should you decide to accept this challenge, you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture or make something up, using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

This is the easiest prompt in the world. And this will be your last chance, so if you want to play, come one in!

Scotch Pride

Marilyn Armstrong:

I couldn’t help myself. Laird Morrie and the gang are TOO cute

Originally posted on lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown:

img_64411 My name is Laird Morrie and I’m the ruler of all you survey.

Version 2 This is my princess.  We’re about the same size.

Version 5 As you can see, my brother Diego is twice my size

IMG_7906 And although it looks like he is killing me in all of these tussling  matches,


IMG_7913 In fact, I always come back for more.  More often than not, I am the aggressor.  More often than not, the bigger dog wins.

IMG_7916 Yet still, I remind myself, I am royalty.  And I pounce again!

DSC07911 This is Frida, one of the three ladies of the house.  Here she maintains her distance.

IMG_3937 This is the other non-human lady of the house. Neither of these ladies likes me much, for I like their dinners entirely too much. Sometimes I jump up on the ledge of the wall and reach up to dine on what this lady leaves behind. Sometimes I dine on it before she’s…

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