Macro Photography + Lens Review

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Hello, dears!

Well that was a rather unanticipated mini-hiatus, huh? I think this is the longest break from blogging I’ve taken in… I don’t know, a very long time. 😛 As usual, it was because of our agonizingly slow internet and hectic moving schedule. *sigh* Anyway, I won’t elaborate on my excuses anymore – must make the most of fast Wi-Fi while I have it! XD

Today I am excited to present a review of this Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube Kit, plus some close up pictures I got with it!

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I got the kit for Christmas but have only lately really learned how to use it. It definitely has its quirks and difficulties, but overall I LOVE it and I’ve had so much fun playing with it.

The kit comes with five pieces…

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only three of which are the actual extensions (the other two attach the extensions to the lens and camera body).

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The extensions are 28mm, 14 mm, and 7 mm: the higher the number, the more macro the photo will be. You can screw them on and off individually and in any combination. The pieces all seem very sturdy. It IS a little hard to screw the normal camera lens onto the respective attachment, but it works okay.

Here are some variations of… um macro-ness? XD

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The amazing thing about this kit is that it’s only $12.59 on Amazon! Isn’t that incredible? Considering how high lenses – or really anything DSLR related – usually cost, I think it’s a huge bargain.

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Now granted, it isn’t the easiest to use at first, as aforementioned, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty fun.

For one thing, you have to use manual mode. This isn’t a problem for me because I always do anyway, but it’s something to consider.

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You also have to manually focus the lens, by which I mean move your camera back and forth until you get just the right distance away from it that the subject is (mostly) in focus. This makes it practically impossible to get a clear picture of a moving subject or an object that’s spiky or generally not very flat, like these:

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Not surprisingly, the longer your lens extends, the closer up it gets. Also basically the closer up you get, the harder it is to take pictures. Because besides the things I just said, one, it will require pretty bright light (or high ISO/low shutter speed) to compensate for the zoom; and two, it will have a TINY f-stop/aperture, which means the portion of the picture in sharp focus is very small, like the first picture below.

(By the way, this EXTREMELY WEIRD thing is called a cedar apple – and no, it’s not edible. XD You should look them up – they’re so strange!)

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You can see how much more subject area is in focus when you use a 14mm versus a 28mm:

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And I believe this is just with the 7mm, although I’m not entirely sure what extensions I used for any of these pictures because it’s rather hard to keep track of. XD

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I prefer to use something like the 7mm + 14 mm instead of all three together. Even the 7 mm by itself is a lot of fun, though it isn’t super macro. However, you can still get some super neat photos with the full extension, it’s just a bit harder to work with:

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One thing I love about these extensions is how soft and dreamy they make the lighting. ❤ They’re also super good for bokeh, although this specific picture isn’t a great example of that…

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The colors are also usually quite vibrant, as you can see here. I didn’t edit this at all!

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And there you have it! I hope you guys found the review helpful and interesting. 🙂 Before I go I wanted to show you a few more macro photos I’ve taken recently. Enjoy!

Weeds are great for macro photography because they look a lot prettier closer up. 😉

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I also love how the extensions work with water drops! (Well let’s be honest – I just love water drop photography in general. XD)

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Another photography subject I love is eyes. ❤ I tried to get some shots of my own eyes, but it was pretty hard to do as a selfie. :[] Oh well, I think the blurry ones still actually look pretty!

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Ahh, I really like this last one! Se the reflection of me holding the camera? It looks like my pupil is the lens. 😀

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OKAY OKAY I LOVE THESE NEXT ONES TOO EEP. I’ve always wanted to get a good picture of a cat’s eye, and I finally did! Ahh, the color and texture is just gorgeous. ❤

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Good thing Tom was sleepy or he would have moved around way too much. XD

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Hee hee, isn’t his nose cute?

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This is an ear, in case you were wondering. XD I actually like the softness of this picture too.

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I could go on, but this is a long post already, so we’ll stop here. XD *sigh* That was fun.

So tell me. Would you consider buying this extension kit? What was your favorite photo? Do you like taking close-ups, or do you prefer a different genre?

Thanks for reading, dears, and have a wonderful day! ❤

***Allison***

P. S. I was going to do photography tips in this post, but then I was like, “Clara has done such a good job saying what I would just repeat, so…” XD Click here to read a super helpful and beautiful post with lots of great photography tips! And follow her blog while you’re at it – IT’S ABSOLUTELY WONDERMOUS. ❤ 😉

If you DO happen to have any photography questions left over afterwards, by all means please let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them, perhaps in a later post. 🙂

Poems {Third Edition}

Hello, my friends!

I’ve been collecting some poems in a draft for a while now, and today I thought it’s about time to share them. 😉 I quite enjoy writing poems, and I’m so glad that you guys have enjoyed reading them so far! Hopefully that trend shall continue. 😛

Ahem, shall we begin?

poem 1

moon hammock

the moon through

bare black branches

becomes a lacy hammock,

spun with delicate glowing threads,

and suspended from stars.

cradled inside,

the man in the moon

watches the people below

hurrying and worrying

about their day,

and smiles softly.

for he knows how big a problem is

in a universe

millions and millions of miles wide.

he looks at the stars and knows –

not big at all.

 

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home

we’re back again,

back to our memory foam house

that remembers how we sat

and laid our heads

and walked the floors

and made the beds.

it welcomes us back again,

back into the old nooks and

comfortable crannies.

we slip back into

the familiar grooves,

take our old places

in hearts and homes,

and smile the smile of

back again.

we were trying to carve out

new places for ourselves,

new dips in new pillows,

new ruts in new roads,

new places in new hearts,

but carving is hard work,

you know.

so for now we snap

back into place

like a seven-piece puzzle,

and breathe a sigh of relief.

we’re home again.

 

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wildflower

they called her

brown-eyed Susan.

she was a wildflower,

her beauty fresh and pure

as sun rays and raindrops, with

wind-blown hair

and dewdrop eyes,

poppy petal lips

and a bright daisy smile.

she lit up her meadow

and spread her heart wide.

but wildflowers stay

only for a season

and then they

f a  d   e      a    w     a      y.

 

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first world problems

this page won’t load,

the internet is slow,

and my tv only covers half the wall.

they’re out of organic,

i ate too much,

and i had to make that crust from scratch.

my purse must weigh ten pounds in coins,

they only take cash,

but no one has change for a $100 bill.

i have nothing to do but sleep,

but there’s not enough time in the day,

and i need to get away from all this stress.

maybe i’ll go to africa.

 

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roses

once i wandered through

an old abandoned house

whose bones had broken long ago.

and in the cellar,

hanging in the dark,

i found roses.

they were tied to the ancient rafters

with brittle, yellowed thread,

fragrant with the soft, crumbling scent

of nostalgia.

i touched a faded petal and wondered

how something so old and fragile

could still be beautiful.

and i wished

to grow older

with all the grace of

dying roses.

poem 6

the voiceless

we are the voiceless;

hear our silent cry.

our eyes have never opened,

our ears have never heard,

our lips have never spoken,

but if we could, we would say…

why do the ones who gave us life,

bring us death?

what have we done

that we should die?

_

people say,

the color of your skin

doesn’t matter –

it is who you are inside.

but does your size matter?

if your heart is too small,

perhaps it does not matter

what it holds,

if it will never get a chance

to tell.

_

we are the voiceless;

hear our silent cry:

we are innocent.

you cannot prove us guilty,

but we still die –

helpless.

hopeless.

voiceless.

**********

*sniff* Why is it so satisfying to write sad poems? :’) What do you think – do you like writing sad or happy poems/stories best? Which do you like reading best? Regardless, I hope you enjoyed these and I’d love to know which poem was your favorite!

Also, before you go, could I ask a favor of you? I have sooo many post ideas and not enough time (and data XD) to post them, so would you help me choose which ones to post first?

 

Thank you so much for your feedback, dear readers. ♥ Have a simply lovely day. 🙂

***Allison***

~Etcetera~

Guys, I have SO many extra photos. And that happens pretty much all the time. So I decided to make a new little series: these “Etcetera” posts will have random photography as well as recent life, thoughts… etc. XD (kind of like monthly wrap-ups, but different). I hope you enjoy reading them!

Now, where to begin? I have SO much to cover. Aha, Maggie is a good subject to start with.

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I was trying to take a picture of Maggie’s eye but she kept MOVING. XD I did get this one good one, though:

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I also got some other, less close-up shots of her. I just love all of Maggie’s expressions, hee hee. It looks like she’s saying, “Aww, you shouldn’t have,” don’t you think?

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Such a pretty pup. ♥

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It looks like she’s praying. 😛

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Dad just finished combining (harvesting corn) for the year. WOOHOO! Now maybe we can jump in the grain bins

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Mini Sister’s Photoshoot

Speaking of fields, Megan and I (and Maggie) did a little mini photoshoot in the soybean field while it was golden green and brown. Isn’t the lighting AMAZING?

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If you guys like my photography/lifestyle posts, you should totally check out Emmaline Figura’s blogs, Lucillian Photography and Crystal Ice Studio! Her photography is AMAZING – she deserves so many more followers!

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I love this picture, but it sure took a while to clone out the soybean that so rudely butted in front of Megan’s chin. XD Humph, I shouldn’t have said that. Now you’re all probably inspecting Megan’s chin…

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Megan got a few pictures of me but most of them didn’t turn out or I had a weird expression, heh heh. This is probably the best one. Still have a weird expression. XD

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Guess what? My younger brother and I were driving to piano lessons today, and when we got there we found that one of my car’s tires was completely flat. O.o But guess what again? My brother changed it himself, while I was having my lesson! I really want to learn stuff like that – I’m much better at art than mechanics. XD

Sunset Bokeh

The sunset did capture well on my camera, but it did make for some neat silhouettes and bokeh!

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Singing hymns is one of my favorite things at our church. The congregation sings beautifully, and it’s glorious when we do an a capella verse. ♥ I like singing for things like that, but not enough to take voice lessons or anything. I usually just hum and whistle at home. 🙂

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Do you guys have any special plans for Thanksgiving? We’re having three different celebrations because we have a rather large extended family. 😉 Are you traveling? We aren’t – most of our family lives quite close by. But if you are, here’s a tip: salty snacks like chips really take carsickness away. Well, I mean they help if you eat them. They won’t do much good just sitting there by your seat.

Flowers

Dad and the kids always pick out a hanging flower basket for Mom for Mother’s Day, and it lasted all the way into late fall this year! Isn’t it pretty?

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Ugh, I have to write a 15-30 page research paper for school. *Long sigh* At least we’re taking this week off for Thanksgiving!

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We also have a rose bush (well more like a rose vine) by our door, and it’s a weird mix of knockout-type roses and “real” roses, as we like to call them. There are usually only a few “real” roses a year and this was one of them. ♥

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To find the rose you must first get past the thorns. To find the rainbow you must first walk through the storm. Bad things make the good more beautiful. And always remember, my dear, there is beauty even in brokenness.

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GUYS. LOOK AT THIS PHOTO! I just pressed the button and the moth behind just happened to fly in at the right moment. I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

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Pretty butterflies + pretty zinnias – my photobombing car = a mildly pretty picture.

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The Big Apple

We have one very old apple tree that usually produces nothing but food for worms. XD However, this year it actually grew real apples and they were DELICIOUS! I don’t know what kind they were, but they were stupendous. And I found this one extremely large apple – see? (The one on the right is a more normal-size one.)

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It weighed 15 OUNCES. ALMOST A POUND.

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Golden Garden

These might be some of my favorite pictures ever! I just love the golden lighting so, so much, especially with the golden tones of the flowers. ♥

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Sometimes I feel wise and knowledgeable, and then I wonder if that simply means I still have so much to learn. I guess that happens when you’re a teenager, huh? 😛

(Side note: I rather dislike the word “teenager” for some reason. Don’t exactly know why.) 

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And would you look at all that bokeh? AHHHHH.

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This picture seems relaxing, like you can feel the sun and hear the breeze through the willow branches. 🙂 I can sort of remember planting this willow tree, even though it’s quite a good sized tree now – it’s a curly willow so it grew SUPER fast.

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This isn’t really a garden, but it’s golden. Even dust is beautiful when the sun shines through it.

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I think cameras can make anything beautiful. In fact, here’s a challenge: find three things you think are ugly and try to take a beautiful picture of them.

Etcetera

We also have two black and two English walnut trees in our yard. I strongly dislike the bitter taste of black walnuts, but English walnuts taste great! (They’re the kind you get in stores.) We don’t usually shell these though, because it’s a lot of work for not much result. Have you tried black walnuts?

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This is rather random, but I wanted to take a picture of a begonia blossom from my grandmother’s hanging flower pot because I noticed the beautiful, intricate curlicues in the center of the blossoms. I love the little things like this. 🙂

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I got a picture of my youngest brother pressure-washing one of the wagons. 🙂 His birthday was today, actually! The frame was supposed to be transparent but it’s showing up black here…? I hope it works once I publish the post, but I’m doubtful.

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I like the way shadows look on this barn. 🙂

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And now we have come to the end of this post. Wow, Allison, what a moving conclusion. *clap, clap*

ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed reading this gathering of orphaned thoughts and photos. 😛 I know it was an enormous post, but I’m only half-sorry because phew, I now have a large chunk of my random photos squared away. XD I don’t think Etcetera posts will usually be this long, though, if I do them in the future. Which category/picture/random thingy was your favorite? Do you think Etcetera posts would make a good series or are they too random and scattered (because I would kind of agree with you on that XD)?

Have a wonderful day, dears, and thanks so much for reading. ♥

***Allison***

Bunnies in Autumn

EXTREME CUTENESS ALERT: If you are not able to cope with impossibly adorable animals, perhaps you should skip this post.

Okay, everyone’s still here. Good. BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO CUTE TO MISS, EEP! This is definitely my favorite bunny photoshoot I’ve ever done and it turned out gorgeous, if I do say so myself! 😀 Special thanks to my sister Megan who posed and calmed the bunnies throughout this traumatizing time of sitting on white foamboard and being bombarded by flowers and shot by cameras.

And now let’s just get to the pictures. I CAN’T WAIT ANY LONGER. (Actually I can wait long enough to give you a warning that there will probably be a lot of caps in this post. Obviously.)

Let’s start with the one and only Olaf. Olaf’s prop was a rosebud from our bush, and it was perfect! Also sorry for all the weird different shades of white in the backgrounds. The original pictures were rather bluish and they were hard to adjust properly since Olaf’s a different color of white. :/ Anyway, just ignore that part and hopefully enjoy them anyway.

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Wait. That… wasn’t a rabbit. Oh well.

I dub thee, Princess Olaf. (Yes, Olaf is a girl. We thought she was a boy and had already named her by the time we figured out that the seller had given us the wrong one. XD)

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BWAHAHAHA isn’t this picture hilarious? Olaf kept winking for some reason.

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AGAIN WITH THE WINK.

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Ugh the white is so off on this one but I love it otherwise! Isn’t it so pretty?

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And now for my dear fluffy Willow. She actually had recently gotten a trim when I took these pictures so she’s not as fluffy as normal. Also Willow gets more pictures because I didn’t need to edit them as much, heh heh. AND BECAUSE SHE’S FLUFFY.

Here we have a behind-the-scenes picture. My little sister Carmen also wanted to help (but just briefly), and poor Willow was a bit befuddled with all the chaos, I think. We chose marigolds because they’re pretty, but I think they may actually be poisonous to rabbits? I’m not sure. Anyway, we made sure she didn’t so much as nibble one, and she’s still alive to tell the story.

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I’m pretty sure that’s an orange teardrop of stress on her cheek.

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Good JOB, Willow! You stayed!

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HA HA. I don’t even know what her expression is but it’s funny.

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THIS. IS. HILARIOUS. It looks like she’s directing a plane coming in for landing or helping someone try to parallel park. “Okay a little to the right. Nope, your other right. There, you got it. Keep on a-coming, beep, beep, beep.”

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We actually did get some good photos in the midst of all the funny ones, though! While it may look like she sat there innocently staring at me, she did not. She took every chance to meander away from where she was supposed to be in hopes of greener grass. (But this grass is pretty green, so…)

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Ha ha, she looks like a scared little fluffy pancake. But a cute one. ♥

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Aww, so sweet! That’s it, your getting the hang of it now, Willow!

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Mmpf, maybe not. SOOOORRY.

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Aww I love this one! Isn’t it so beautiful and adorable? You are a lovely Queen of Summer, Willow.

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Next we have Diamond. I think she’s very noble-looking and handsomely beautiful, don’t you? I love the colors in these pictures!

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Whoops, I think I over-edited this one…

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Next we went to the soybean field, which is mostly featured in these pictures as a yellow glow.

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I LOVE this one!

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Ha ha, her dewlap. XD (A dewlap is the big floppy thingy around their neck that some adult female rabbits have. It’s normal, don’t worry. 😉 )

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Now for Snickers. GUYS, HIS CHUBBY CHEEKS HELP ME. Is he not the cutest?

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AHHH THIS PICTURE THOUGH.

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I LOVE HIS SQUISHY FACE.

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And lastly but not leastly, a picture of the three compadres, Diamond, Olaf, and Lily. They are similar breeds (Diamond’s a Silver Fox and the other two are New Zealands), but they’re different colors, which makes for a lovely group shot. (And again I have kind of a weird white balance thing going on. Sorry ’bout that!)

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Lily: Let me just move up a little bit so you can see me better. Is this a good angle?

Olaf: Mmph. You’re squishing me.

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In which three frightened rabbits cower under the… oh, it’s just a camera.

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HA HA WHAT IS UP WITH THE WINKING AGAIN, OLAF?! XD It cracks me up.

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And that’s about it! I took tons more photos than that but those were the best. What did you think, guys? Guys? Oh dear, perhaps that was a little too much cuteness for one post…

If anyone survived, which bunny’s shoot was your favorite?

Thanks so much for reading, my dears, and have a wonderful day!

***Allison***

P. S. OOPS. Nearly forgot about the Caption It contest! Here’s the photo:

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And my favorite caption was by Zielle.

Maggie: Wait, wait, I think I got it! I can wink!
Allison: That’s blinking, Maggie.

HA HA IT’S PERFECT! Thanks, Zielle, and everyone else who participated! I loved reading your captions.

Random Photography Part 2

I have a bunch more stray pictures for you today! (23 to be precise. XD ) You’d better warm up your scrolling finger…

First we have some flower pictures:

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Sunflowers are such sunny things!

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I love looking closer at things, like this zinnia. The centers are so pretty!
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A little crab spider (I think) came in with our bouquet. But he was tiny, so it was okay. XD
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Does anyone see any evidence that maybe the crab spider was here? I do!

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And then a bunch of Nature pictures:

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This is a gourd tendril. Aren’t they so pretty? They look like curly green hair. 😀

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Such a picture-perfect tomato. 🙂 It had a lovely cross in the middle.
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I took this picture on Corn-Creaming Day when we harvested our sweet corn.
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I love this shot! After I took it I noticed the fly. XD Can you find it?
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I was trying to get a picture of the bird taking off, but it didn’t work so well, so I finally stooped to taking a still out of a video. XD

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Does anyone know what this beetle is called? It was on the side of our car.
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Ohhh I love dew drops!
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Butterflies’ eyes are weird.
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Look at all the teensy-weensy baby spiders! They were way tinier than this in real life, but my camera has good zoom. I don’t know if they’re cute exactly, but I think it’s the closest spiders can get. XD
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This guy is NOT so cute. But he is beautiful! Isn’t it amazing how God creates even the tiniest creatures with such beauty and intricate detail? I mean just look at all the different markings!
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And last but not least, a sunset. ♥ It was oranger than this in real life, but my camera was on Dawn/Dusk setting which always makes the sky pinker than it is.

Are you still with me? Oh good. 😀 Then which picture was your favorite?

***Allison***

P. S. Ahh, it’s so beautiful outside today! It’s really starting to feel like fall, even though not many leaves have turned color yet. How’s the weather where you live?

Quote Edits

I’ve been using this great photo-editing site (PicMonkey) to make quote edits recently. It is SO much fun! PicMonkey has some great fonts, but my sister told me about another website (1,001 Free Fonts), that has gazillions more free fonts, so I also used some of those.

All of these edits were made by me, from pictures taken and edited by me. The quotes are either verses from the Bible, quotes from Pinterest, or part of the lyrics songs or hymns.

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#1. This is one of my favorites of the edits I made. When the world is storm-tossed all around you, cling to the Rock that stands strong above the storm.

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#2. Stop and smell the roses – take time to enjoy the little pleasures around you. (Picture from this photoshoot.)

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#3. I love this verse, and the ones that go with it. Why should we worry when God holds all of creation in his hand? The third and fourth edit are consecutive verses, so they go together.

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#4. (Picture from this post.)

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#5. Always look on the bright side. Find the blessings in disguise.

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#6. Kind words are as pleasing as honey. Or more so! (This picture was from my “Bee Tree” post.)

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#7. From the Doxology…

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#8. Great things can come from small deeds.

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#9. From the song “Waterfall,” by Chris Tomlin.

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#10. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made the whole wide world.

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I hope you enjoyed reading those quotes – I enjoyed making them! Which was your favorite?

A lot of those pictures came from a big Western trip my family made in 2013 – some more of those pictures may show up in a “Photos from of Old” post. 🙂

***Allison***

P. S. The first WordCrafters story is finally finished! (At almost 10,000 words o.O :D) You can read it here. It’s a wonderful story – thank you SO much everyone, for participating!!

P. P. S. I know I haven’t been posting much about Farm Life, but the fact is, not many post-worthy farm things happen in winter. I suppose you’ll have to make do with photoshoots and stories and tutorials until spring. 🙂 There’s a clay tutorial coming up soon!

♥Happy Valentine’s Day!♥ {Rose Photoshoot}

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovely readers! For your Valentine’s Day present, here is this photoshoot I took a few days ago  of some gorgeous roses that were my mom’s Valentine’s Day present from my dad. (Sorry about the pink words, you pink-haters, but hey! Valentine’s Day only comes once a year… XD )

I had entirely too much fun with this photoshoot, as you can see by the gazillions of pictures. XD But they were to beautiful to resist, especially when I misted them. Two notes before you dive in: #1. Hover over the pictures with your mouse to see any captions. #2. Click on a picture to enlarge it. If you click on one, it will let you scroll throughthe rest of them in that collage, enlarged. Okay, let’s do this!

Whew! That was nearly thirty photos! XD I hope you don’t see roses swimming before your eyes all day now… 

Thanks for reading! (And looking.)

***Allison**

P. S. This is a funny tweaked Valentine’s poem my dad told us a while ago. (I’m not sure if he made it up or not.)

“Roses are red,

Violets are purple,

Sugar is sweet,

And so is maple surple.” XD XD

P. P. S. Yesterday we had walnuts on our cereal and it was actually really good! Okay, that was random. XD