Showing posts with label Mary Beth Granger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary Beth Granger. Show all posts

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review of Mockingbird Information


Mockingbirds have long been the subjects of songs, literature and even movies.  When an early December snowstorm brought the first Mockingbird I had seen to my backyard feeders, I was curious to find more information about these popular birds.

Some Facts about the Mockingbird

From Miriam Webster dictionary I learned that Mockbirds are" a common grayish North American bird (Mimus polyglottos) related to the thrashers that is remarkable for its exact imitations of the notes of other birds."

I did some more research using Wikipedia and All About Birds online and the National Geographic book "Backyard Guide to the Birds".  Here are some additional facts I discovered.

  • Mockingbirds are a New World group of passerine birds. (Passerines are distinguished from other birds by the arrangement of their toes-three forward and one back-which helps them in perching)
  • They are best known for their habit of mimicking other birds, insects and amphibians.
  • There are actually 17 different species of Mockingbirds.
  • Only the Northern Mockingbird is normally found in North America.
  • Mockingbirds are well known for their fun personalities of mimicking other birds songs.

 Mockingbird in Music


As I was researching Mockingbirds, I kept coming up with song lyrics and music with references to the bird.  Here is one of the most popular ones, a lullaby sung by many top musical artists.  Here is the first line.

Hush, little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird And if that mockingbird won't sing, Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.

Does that sound familiar to you?  I found this cute child's book that features that song.




Mockingbird in Literature

I found several references to the Mockingbird in books.  The most famous is a Pulitzer-prize winner by Harper Lee.



Another book I found with a reference to Mockingbird in the title, is this fun sounding book on cocktails.  The books teams up various classic books with a cocktail.


I took the three photos of the Mockingbird about a month ago and I have not seen the birds since.  I'm hoping they come to visit my backyard again soon.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Explore St Louis - Visit Missouri- Review of Zoo Lights

The St. Louis area has many beautiful light displays during the month of December and one of my favorites is the Zoo Lights.
On a chilly night in mid December my friend and I spent an evening at the St. Louis Zoo enjoying the lights and taking photographs.  We had never been there before and wasn't sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.  We spent about 1 1/2 hours out in the park enjoying the lights before we went inside to warm up with some hot chocolate.  In that time we didn't even begin to see all the beautiful lights.  The displays were wonderful and all focused around the animals in each particular area.  

Information about Zoo Lights

The Zoo Lights display is open from Thanksgiving through December 30th.  It starts at 5:30 each night and there is a nominal fee for entrance which includes free parking.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.  Besides enjoying the lights you can was a 3D movie of Rudolph the Reindeer, roast marshmallows over fire pits, enjoy hot chocolate and other snacks at several stands around the park and have your photo taken at several different displays.

Photographic Tour

I enjoy taking photographs and shooting the zoo lights was a real pleasure.  I found that I was able to get wonderful shots without a flash.  I hope you enjoy my photographic tour.








Zazzle Poster from my Photos




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Book Review- The School of Essential Ingredients

Are you looking for a good book to read that is just a bit different?  The School of Essential Ingredients has a delightful main character, an interesting take on cooking and a look into the lives of a wide variety of cooking students.
Apples are one of my Favorite Basic Ingredients

When our book club picked this book to read for the monthly meeting, I was not sure if I would like it.  I enjoy a good mystery or historical fiction and this book did not fit into either of these molds.  However, it only took me one chapter to get hooked on this book.  The author has such an interesting way of writing that I instantly got involved in the book.

Lillian, the main character owns a restuarant and conducts a cooking school in the back rooms.  She has a very unique way of cooking that instantly got me interested.  She didn't use recipes but rather concentrated on the basic ingredients for each dish and explored with her students how to make the most of the ingredients.  Lillian surely was a true artist when it came to her cooking.  She had a way of making everything magical and made me want to get in my kitchen and experiment.

The book is set up with a chapter for each student of the cooking class.  As the dish for that evening is explored we also learn a little bit about each of the students and why they came to the class to start with.  Each student had their own story and they were a very diverse group.  Lillian not only had a way with the food but also with each of her students.  She seemed to bring out the best in people and helped them to explore the situations in their lives.

                                                             
I don't want to spoil the story line for you.  But I will tell you if you enjoy cooking and reading you must try this book.  I highly recommend it.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Visit Missouri-Explore St. Louis Review of Fall Photography in Forest Park


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love to photograph the beautiful colors of the season. On this page I will review Forest Park in St. Louis through my Fall photography.


When will Fall Colors Peak


It is always difficult to predict when colors will be at their peak and this year was no different.  All October I waited and watched for the colors to change.  Oh there were glimpses of color here and there but not the outstanding colors that you think of when Autumn arrives.  I read that you don't get the really good colors until after the first hard freeze.  Well last week we got temperatures down in the 20's several nights so I knew it was time.  On November 1st I headed to Forest Park with my husband and some friends and was delighted with the amazing display of colors.  The day was clear and crisp and great for capturing the beauty of Fall.

A Favorite Venue for Fall Photography


Forest Park in St. Louis is a venue I have written about before, it is one of my favorite places to visit.  Here is a link to more information on Forest Park from one of my previous posts. Forest Park and Jewel Box.  In this post I will highlight fall colors around the History Museum, the Art Museum and the Bandstand area by the Muny.


Art Hill and the Art Museum


Our first stop in Forest Park was at the base of Art Hill.  This hill extends down from the Art Museum and in the winter it is a favorite place for kids of all ages to sleigh ride down the hill.  On this beautiful fall day it was the perfect place to capture a photo of the Art Museum and the bright red trees that were on either side.


This photo was taken when the sun was high in the sky so the glare takes out the details of the building.  We decided to head to the History Museum and continue my photography later in the day when the sun was lower in the sky.  Here are two photos taken a couple of hours later.  The first is a statue of St.  Louis which overlooks Art Hill and the scene of the 1904 World's Fair.


I took the next photo from the parking lot of the Art Museum, looking down on Art Hill.


Muny Area



The next area that I photographed is the area in front of St. Louis's outdoor theatre, commonly called The Muny.  This area has a bandstand on a little island.  The bandstand was built in 1924 to replace the original wood bandstand built in 1876.  This used to be a popular place for musical entertainment in the summer months.  The trees surrounding the water were a brilliant red color and I was able to capture some beautiful photos. 




History Museum


My original purpose to go to Forest Park was to take in the display of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs that were on display at the History Museum.  This was a wonderful display and we spent a couple of hours enjoying the photos.  We had planned to go on a Wednesday but had to cancel.  I am so glad we changed it to Friday because first of all Wednesday was a very rainy day and secondly Friday was the perfect day to photograph the changing fall landscape.  The photos below are of the museum and one of my cousins leaving the History Museum.





The Camera I used for this Outing


One of my favorite camera's is my Sony A6300 mirrorless camera.  I wrote about it in the following post. Sony a6300.  I used a wide angle zoom lems with 16mm to 50 mm. 

   
                                                     


Zazzle Card from my Photos

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review of New Wheel at St. Louis Union Station

The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station was opened on September 30th, 2019 to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Union Station.


Facts about the Wheel

  • 200 foot high observation wheel
  • 42 fully enclosed and climate controlled gondolas that each seat 6 adults
  • 3-4 rotations high above the St. Louis skyline during the 15 minute ride
  • The wheel is  now open from 10 am to 10 pm till October 31st when the hours will be changed to noon to 10 pm for the rest of 2019


My Experience on the Wheel

When my granddaughters visited in mid October, I decided to take them to Union Station to ride on the new "Wheel" that had just opened in late September.  In the photo above you see my friend DeAnn, my sister Julie and my granddaughters Ella and Rachel waiting for their turn on the wheel.

I had seen on the news that there could be rather long waits to ride the wheel, but the day we went we were able to walk right up, buy our tickets and ride the wheel when it stopped for the next rotation.  It was a rather chilly day but the gondolas on the wheel are all climate controlled so it was nice and warm.  There were five of us in our gondola and we had plenty of room to be comfortable and even move around a bit so I could get photos from all angles.

I am sometimes a little leery of heights but this  did not bother me at all.  I felt very secure in the enclosed gondola and thoroughly enjoyed the views of the city.  It was a cloudy day so I'm sure you would see more on a clearer day but I still thought it was fantastic.  I would like to go back at nighttime and take photos of the city lights from up on the "Wheel".


Views from the Wheel

This is the view looking east.  Directly in front you see the Enterprise Center where the Blues play.  Farther in the background you get a glimpse of the Gateway Arch. Also if you look close on the far right side of the photo you see the red brick of Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play.

This view is to the north/east.  Here you see the tops of the old train depot  and the red roof of the top of Union Station.
This view is looking to the south.

Information about St. Louis Union Station


St. Louis Union Station was first open to the public on September 1, 1894.  At one time it was the biggest and busiest train terminal in the country.  It is on the registry as a National Historic Landmark.  Today it is being renovated as a family entertainment complex.

Inside of Union Station you will find the St. Louis Union Station Hotel.  A beautiful hotel that serves guests from out of town along with many meetings, weddings and other celebrations of St. Louis residents.

The Grand Hall is a wonderful meeting place for people.  It is beautiful and the architecture is truly amazing. After our ride aboard the "Wheel"  we visited the Grand Hall and as we stopped to rest at one of their many comfortable seating areas the lights dimmed, we heard a sound of a train coming, and then a fantastic 15 minute 3D light show began.  We weren't expecting it so we were pleasantly surprised.  Beautiful music played and the ceiling was transformed with an different light scenes.  The photos below show two of the scenes.



More to do at St. Louis Union Station

There are several places to eat in the complex and we chose to stop at the new Soda Fountain Restaurant which also opened on September 30th.  It features "Freak Shakes, Boozy Shakes and Remedies".  We were however a bit cold to try the shakes so we enjoyed their delicious cheeseburgers and fries.  They also have a gift shop and a candy counter with lots of barrels and bins of old fashioned candies.

The outdoor area at Union Station also includes a carousel, a mini golf course and in the evenings a fire and light show with dancing lights, water and fire.

A big coming attraction for Union Station will be the 120,000 square foot St. Louis Acquarium.  It was under  construction while we were there but should be open by the end of 2019.  




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Photographing Reflections

One of my favorite things to photograph is reflections.  They can add beauty and interest to any photograph.
The photograph  above shows reflections in a nearby lake.  It was taken early on a foggy morning.  In this post I will review reflection photography techniques and show you some of my results.


Where Can You Find Reflections

The good news is that reflections are everywhere.  As a photographer you just need to train your eyes and camera to look for them.  You can find reflections in water, metal, glass, ice and many other surfaces.  A rainy day when many people might avoid photography can also be a great time to photograph reflections.  

In researching tips for this article, I found many different ideas of how to shoot reflections.  In fact some were contradictory to each other.  So here is my best advice on taking reflections.

It matters more on how you look at things than the type of camera you use.  I have taken good reflections photos with my DSLR, a point and shoot and even my camera.  Train yourself to look for reflections in everything and Practice, Practice, Practice.  In doing this you will learn what works best for you.

Reflections on Water


Water reflections on a still, foggy morning can really add interest to your photograph.  As you can see in the photo above the air was very still and the water was like glass.

On the other hand a little movement in the water can add an interesting abstract quality to your photo as in the photos below.



Water reflections are also a great way to capture a different view of landmarks as you see in the photos below of the St. Louis Gateway Arch.


Reflections on Buildings

The cities are full of buildings  with lots of windows and other reflective materials.  When you are taking a photo of a scene take the time to look at the nearby buildings and catch the reflections in them.  In this photo, I was shooting the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.  I turned to go and noticed the reflection of the courthouse in the nearby building.  I think it gives an interesting look to the photo.


Glass Reflections

Glass picks up lots of reflections.  As I looked in store windows in historic St. Charles, I noticed the interesting reflections I was getting of the street and historic buildings along with the items in store fronts.  I did have to be careful as I shot so I did not capture unwanted images in the reflections.

Here is another interesting reflection in glass.  I was shooting a glass full of jelly beans.  When I look at the photo, I noticed the reflections of the jelly beans in the top half of the glass.  To enhance this look, I played with the sliders in Photoshop Lightroom to bring out the reflections.


Unwanted Reflections

Did you ever take a photo and capture yourself reflected in the item you were photographing?  Sometimes this is good, but mostly it is unwanted.  To prevent this you need to be aware of items that will cause these images and move so that you will not be in the photo.  Here is a photo I took of some Mardi Gras ornaments and captured myself in one of the ornaments.  It was not the look I was after.

Enjoy Yourself and Experiment

I do think that getting great reflection photos is a matter of taking your time, looking at your surroundings and experimentation.  So relax, enjoy your self and happy shooting!!

Zazzle Products from My Reflection Photos





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review of Refrigerator Liners

Refrigerator liners can organize the space and help to keep your refrigerator neat and clean.

I used to dread the job of cleaning my refrigerator.  Forgotten spills would become sticky and hard to clean. Then I read about organizing with refrigerator liners and my job became much easier.




Features of DII Refrigerator Liners


  • Ultra-absorbent
  • Reversible
  • Cut to Fit any Size Shelf or Drawer
  • Quick-Drying
  • Machine Washable
  • Shape Retaining

Above photo shows the patterned side of the liner.  Photo below shows reverse side which is a checked pattern.

What I Like about These Liners

I hated to clean my refrigerator.  It seems like I never saw the spills till after they were sticky and hard to remove.  Now when I see a spilled area on the liner I can just remove the liner and throw it in the wash machine.  No more scrubbing and rubbing and I always have a clean refrigerator.

The liners in the produce drawers are great too.  The liners have a cushy  feel and provide a soft place for fruits and vegetables.

The set I purchased had 6 12x24 liners which I cut to fit my refrigerator.  They ended up fitting all my shelves and drawers.


 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
forEvents
Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X