More Fall Shakiness

Enough with the kitty, let’s head back to Minnehaha Falls.

5dsr5960-webToday’s series features images that are less abstract than my last post on shaking the camera. I had better luck with the color on these.

5dsr5967-webSo, are they truly abstract? Or just blurry photos of trees? The definition of abstract photography is itself a little blurry. Eye of the beholder, I guess. Either way, I like them.

5dsr5969-webI’m definitely going to keep experimenting with this effect. I mean, I can only take so many photos of trees with pretty leaves in the fall.

Escape Attempt

Ripley almost gave me a heart attack yesterday morning. First, I found his toy basket, which is normally perched on a high shelf, laying on the floor. Either we had a small earthquake or he somehow figured out how to get up there.

5dm32635-webThe thing is, he’s constantly sitting at the base of the cabinets that are under the shelving and meowing loudly, precisely because he wants to get up there so badly and he can’t figure out how. So I find it puzzling that he managed to do it once and then never repeated the feat. Maybe I just did a bad job of setting the basket on the shelf and it eventually toppled over. It’s a complete mystery to me.


After our morning play session, I went into the kitchen to get his breakfast. He’s been a little more insistent about trying to get out of his kitty prison (which is half of our house, by the way) and the little crinkle balls no longer work to distract him when we are trying to get through the barn door. He’s one smart little kitty. Consequently, getting through the door with anything in your hands is becoming next to impossible.

5dm32885-webUnfortunately I was a little careless when I came back with his food and he shot past me into the living room. By the time I set the food down, turned on lights and located him, Ripley had made it all the way to our sunroom. When he saw me, he headed down the stairs to the basement. I caught him about a third of the way down. I’m not sure whose heart was beating faster. The basement is just a big kitty death trap filled with sharp objects and chemicals.

So now I have to either secure him in the TV room when going in and out, or have my hands free so I can catch him when he bolts. Life just keeps getting more and more complicated.

Quirky Kitty

Just like humans, pets have their quirks. One of Ripley’s is his obsession with our shower. I mentioned before that he enjoys sitting in the sink, but that’s nothing compared to his intense interest in watching my husband or me take a shower.

5dm32575-webSeriously, it’s a little stalkerish. We have a large walk-in shower. Ripley will follow me into it, only backing off when I turn on the water. Then he backs away to the far wall or just outside of the shower, watching intently until I turn the water off.

5dm32601-webThe other day he made the brave/foolish decision to run around the stream of water coming from the showerhead before retreating to a safe and dry position. I know cats are fascinated by moving water, but this just seems like crazy behavior.

5dm32604-webAfter I’m done showering and have turned off the water, Ripley rushes into the shower and then gingerly walks around, shaking off each paw as it gets wet. I just don’t get it.

Foundational Start

The house project continues to move forward. The footings are complete and have passed inspection. At the urging of friends, we had a little impromptu celebration at the site last Wednesday, complete with champagne. Now the first of the foundation “walls” have been poured and the forms removed. I use the word walls in quotes because the ones that have been completed will be totally underground. Since the house is a reverse walk-out (the entry/garage level is the basement) we have “walls” underneath the garage doors.

Is it a wall if it’s completely buried? Not sure about that one. Next step is waterproofing, laying rock for the radon removal system and then some backfilling. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so the waterproofing is on hold until that passes through. Meanwhile, our landscape architect brought a copy of his design plan for us to review in our meeting today.

It looks amazing. The only problem is we have no estimates except for the driveway, so we have no idea whether or not we can afford it. I’m already trying to think of things that can be tweaked to reduce cost without destroying the whole design. Meanwhile, I’m holding my breathe and waiting for estimates.


Continuing my theme of not photographing the falls…

5dsr5951-webThere is a long pergola at Minnehaha Falls Regional Park. It was just screaming out for the black and white treatment. Of course, we had to work around the people who would frequently walk under it. People are great at ruining a good photo op. Fortunately, it wasn’t too busy on a Saturday morning and I was able to get a few keepers. Here’s three of them.


5dsr5952-webI tried a number of different black and white conversion filters on each of the images, using Silver Efex. Interestingly, I ended up using a different filter for each image. Don’t ask me which ones, I didn’t keep track. The light was great and the pergola made amazing shadows along the ground. As usual, I didn’t quite get exactly the image I wanted. That’s pretty much par for the course, though.


5dsr5953-webDon’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy with the results. I just felt like I could have done better. It’s been hard to keep up with photo processing and blogging, now that we have Ripley. I never would have imagined that a kitten could occupy so much of our time. I’m hoping/assuming it will get better once he gets older. I’ve gotten very spoiled about having a lot of free time since I retired.

Shake it Up

I’ve been so busy writing about Ripley, I’ve only managed one post on my photo outing with Jane last Saturday. I was feeling pretty good about my images when I viewed them in the camera, but was less enthusiastic once I managed to upload and start working on them.

5dsr5886-webI attempted a whole series of abstract images, similar to what I did last fall. Unfortunately, the sun was very bright and there wasn’t a lot of color contrast. So I ended up with mostly green in the photos.

5dsr5887-webAs you can guess, this involves a lot of trial and error (mostly error) by moving the camera while exposing at a relatively low shutter speed. It may take a couple of years, but I’m convinced I will produce a masterpiece this way. Patience, grasshopper.

5dsr5961-webMeanwhile, I’ll have a lot of fun experimenting.


Ripley was a bit of a holy terror when I went to bed last night. He was amped up, so instead of settling in next to me, he kept bopping around the bed and going on the attack. At one point, I pulled the sheet over my head. He was restless most of the night.

5dm32731-webWhen Ripley wasn’t actively going after me, he was crowding me by sleeping on my pillow, just above my head. Then, even though my husband got up earlier, Ripley decided to stay in bed with me. Once again, I’m questioning my sanity on the decision to adopt a kitten. Of course he tried to redeem himself by catnapping on my lap later in the morning. I managed to almost finish the book I was reading while he was asleep. Ridiculously cute.

5dm32855-webHe has a few quirky habits. Like an obsession with sitting in our sink. While my husband was shaving this morning, Ripley stood on the narrow strip of countertop in front of the sink. Of course he ended up falling in and freaking out about getting wet. He hasn’t quite figured out that granite and porcelain don’t offer a lot of traction.

5dm32884-webLater on he disappeared. We were enjoying the peace and quiet until we realized that we had no idea where Ripley was. I checked everywhere and couldn’t find him. Then my husband noticed a suspicious bulge under the shirt he had set down on the bench in our bedroom. Sure enough, Ripley was sleeping under it. He was totally zonked too.

No Going Back Now

We let the kitty in the bedroom yesterday. He’s now sleeping with us. There’s no going back from that. It went pretty well. He started out on my pillow and at some point ended up between my pillow and my husband’s pillow. Early in the morning, maybe 5:00 am, he started putting his nose on mine and patting my face with his paw. So I rolled over. Then he shifted to laying in the middle of the bed.

5dm32621-webWhen I woke up, he was nowhere in sight. I got out of bed and felt a soft tap on my ankle. He was hiding underneath the bed. I’m going to have to be a lot more careful getting up in the morning so I don’t step on him. One more thing to worry about.

5dm32784-webLike all small creatures, he is an absolute angel when he’s asleep. And kittens do sleep a tremendous amount. We are hoping that giving him access to the bedroom provides him with more room to explore during the day and a sense of security by being close to us at night. We’ll see how it goes.


Falling For It

I had a little photo outing with my dear friend Jane yesterday. Originally we had planned to go to the Arboretum, but the traffic in Chanhassen is terrible this week due to the Ryder Cup. So we went to Minnehaha Falls instead.

I’m going to come right out and confess that I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Minnehaha Falls. Not as an adult for sure. If my family visited sometime during my misspent youth, I have no recollection of it. It’s a pretty sad statement when a photographer has never been to one of the most iconic local sites, less than 15 minutes away.

5dsr5859bw-webI was planning on bringing a tripod. I had it sitting out, right next to my clothing. And yet, somehow I managed to leave without it. Then I spent 10 minutes sitting in my car in the driveway. The first 5 was dedicated to trying to determine why my car wasn’t recognizing my iPod. The second 5 was spent in a futile effort to program the address into my GPS. I finally gave up and just navigated using my phone.

5dsr5867-webTurns out, the tripod wasn’t really needed. Plus, not using one allowed us to stay in Ninja mode, as Jane pointed out. Of course I didn’t get any really good shots of the falls. But that’s not really the point, right? The point is to get outside on a (rare) beautiful day in Minnesota and take some photos. So, we did. And, as usual, I will milk them for far more posts than is reasonable.

On Firm Footing

We had a moment of panic yesterday. We went out to our lot and saw that the forms for the foundation footings were being installed. The panic came when it looked like maybe the house was closer to the tree line than what was specified on the plan. An earlier version of the plan had the house closer to the trees. After a few somewhat frantic texts, we confirmed that everything was correct.

I would imagine there will be many more moments like these as we proceed. The site was covered with people working yesterday, so we went back today to take a better look. The footings had all been poured. Which is amazing, considering the forms were still being installed at 2:00 yesterday. So we walked all around and compared the footings to the plan. It’s a fucking big house.

I still haven’t heard that the permit changes were approved, but I guess they are assuming the city won’t have any issues, since the footings are done. They will have to be inspected before the foundation work can start, so I hope the city gives us a thumbs up pretty soon. I can’t believe it’s October already.