Friday, March 4, 2016

1,000 Beautiful Photos of Beautiful Places

I consider myself an introspective person. Quiet moments will typically find me in a place of deep soul-searching, looking to mind and emotions for answers and reason.

Not that I have a lot of quiet moments, but when they arise, whether it's during my morning amble to work or in still moments after supper is cleared away and before the television is turned on, my thoughts typically lean towards this type of contemplation.

Sometimes, I suppose a person can think too much. I've actually reminded myself on occasion to stop when my mental meanderings are taking me places I'd probably be better not going.  No good can come from dark or scary thoughts.

But in the right place and right state of mind, I find that quiet moments of reflection are both healing and enlightening.  It's really all about getting to know oneself.

Think of the places that encourage the ability to let one's thoughts turn inward, to search your soul for what's important, for an understanding of things that seem to be cluttering  a need for order and calm.  They will, of course, be different for everyone.  For my son, it's the mountains, for my daughter the woods. Their brother finds his calm under headphones, their easy-going sister,  just about anywhere.

For me, a barefoot stroll through a meadow of daisies, a deep inhale in the glorious tranquillity surrounding northern Ontario's beautiful French River, or a sojourn on my deck in summer, while birds trill and flowers bloom around me are the pause in a busy life that allows for peaceful introspection. In such places I don't just have thoughts; I'm able to think about them too.

Given where my mind has taken me today, and wondering what photos could accompany these musings,  I thought it might be nice to source out a collection of beautiful places where contemplation would come easily to a person. At least this person.

iPHOTOS.com Pictures of Beautiful Places

The World's Most Beautiful Places

22 Unbelievable Places

Stunning Photos of Beautiful Places

Amazing Photos of Our Beautiful World

Photos of Our Amazing World

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How to Take Better Travel Photos

Today on my Facebook page I posted a Throwback Thursday photo of a trip my husband and I took to St. Augustine, Florida, in 2005. It was a celebration of our 25th anniversary.

And yes, as that hints,  we don't go south every winter, despite my complete aversion to the cold and the lack of sun.  My mind knows I would thrive in southern climes.  If proof was necessary, that holiday was as therapeutic as one could hope, a lovely combination of relaxation, socializing, water and sun, sun, sun.  I returned home rested and ready to take on what was left of the winter.

However, for many of our years together my husband was an avid snowmobiler... and still is a workaholic. If there was a blanket of white on the ground, with groomed highways cutting through it, there was no way he was leaving it given the capriciousness nature of our winter. There was always the concern that even a week away could bring us back to find the trails ruined by an early thaw or rain.

Had it not been for the St. Augustine trip being a result of a special occasion and in response to the umpteenth invitation from my sister and her husband to join them there, it wouldn't have happened.

Now, while riding the trails doesn't seem to hold the same interest for my guy as it once did; he's more a collector of snowmobilers these days than a rider; we have still never managed to follow the sun in the winter.  The reason? Unfortunately, there is still work getting in the way. If there's a job to be done there's nothing will entice my guy on an extended holiday. 

His mistake, but finally with retirement not that far off I look forward to making up for lost time.

Actually, we are going to get a bit of a head start on that. Another invitation has come our way, this time from our daughter and her family, to enjoy a sojourn in the sunny south.  So,  in a few weeks we will be heading back. I can hardly wait to be soothed by the warmer climate, to rest and to take in some new surroundings.

For me that will be with camera in hand, to photograph the scenery and the people within it. This is a favourite pastime that allows me to relive the time spent in places that revive me when I'm in places where I need it.

With plenty of new sights to see and my two beautiful grandchildren seeing them with me, the subject material will be abundant. to make the most of it, I decided to scope out some  tips on vacation photography. These are ones I found most helpful:

How to Take Better Travel Photos

How to Take Better Vacation Photos

A Travel Photographer's Tips for Getting the Best Travel Photos

Tips for Taking Great Vacation Photos

6 Simple Tips for Better Vacation Photos

10 Ways to Improve Your Vacation Photos

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

4 Collections of Beautiful Spring Photos

We were promised snow, and Old Man Winter delivered it in spades. After a good blow yesterday and last night we looked out this morning at a fresh new blanket of white laying over the patches of grass that had begun to peek through.

It really would have been quite disheartening had it not been for the blazing sun and azure sky overhead.

As I headed to work this morning, trudging through the knee-deep snow in my driveway, I lifted my face to the brilliant heat above and felt my spirits rise. Snow or not, there's no question that spring is on the way. Days are lengthening, St. Patrick's Day and Easter decor are popping up everywhere, and the sun is growing warmer.

Unlike mid-winter, a nice, clear day now can go a long way in eliminating some of that snow at this point. The drip of icicles melting from eaves despite freezing temperatures to hold them there,  proves the burgeoning intensity of a March sun.

That said, there's still a lot of the cold, ice and snow ahead of us, mixed with plenty of sloppy slush and dreary rain. This I will forget about, though, instead filling my mind with images of budding leaves and greening grass. When I need a little something to brighten my mood, my memory recalls the sweet morning trill of robins, which will soon be making their way back home.

I daydream about lazy outdoor afternoons, reading on the deck or with fingers playing in the earth, planting and pulling. In January these reflections were accompanied by an intense longing. Now I can almost feel how close they are.

Today, the snow is deep, but spring is definitely in the air. The lightness of my heart and the spring in my step prove it.

So as we await the arrival of all the signs of spring to which we look forward with eagerness, here are some terrific collections of photos to chase away the residual lethargy of winter.

iPHOTOS.com Spring Photos

Clipart.com Spring Photos

Acclaim Images Spring Photos

ClickArt Online Spring Photos

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thousands of Lion and Lamb Illustrations for March

March has arrived, the time of Irish blessings, Easter and spring.

It is too, an unpredictable month, with hints of the promised warmth bookended by mid-winter blizzards, biting cold and dreary damp fog.  March in this country can mean a snow shower one day, a drink on the deck the next.

There is a well-known proverb which highlights this capriciousness we've come to expect with March. It offers an imaginative prophesy of what we might be able to expect at the beginning and at the end. The question heading into the month is will it start with gloom or with the calm before the storm. Will it come in gently and with all the meek manner of the lamb or roar and bluster with the might of a lion?

Perhaps the 'in like a lamb, out like a lion' folklore began with a human need for balance in all things. Hence the suggestion that if we are greeted by a nasty hello to the month, then it is only fair it should be a smooth goodbye.

I suspect, though, this saying is based more on how March weather can change from one day to the next.

The prediction of a major winter storm system targeting our area for today, gave us our answer for this year in advance. Though we woke to a fairly pleasant dawn, by early morning the flakes had begun to fall, pushed by a hostile east wind.  If we get what they've promised it's going to be fierce.

Given that then, if we care to put any stock into old lore, we have something to look forward to. March's harsh arrival should mean it will depart quietly. While I would be less likely to believe the saying if today tiptoed in, my heart was gladdened by the notion that the month will depart quietly.  If it turns out false, I'll deal with the disappointment. In the meantime,  I have something to look forward to.

Here are some fun lamb and lion illustrations to bring us into this new month of change and promise:

iCLIPART.com Lamb Illustration

iCLIPART.com Lion Illustrations

Clipart.com Lamb Illustrations

Clipart.com Lion Illustrations

Monday, February 29, 2016

4 Collections of Birthday Clipart

Today I wished some friends a happy birthday.  Nothing too unusual about that, except this is the first time in four years it's been completely accurate for this group.

It's a Leap Year, so  those born on this particular day actually get to celebrate the way the rest of us do on our birthday every year. Taken literally though, this is a group that  looks far older than the years they are marking.

Those born on Feb. 29, spend the majority of their lives commemorating the occasion one day before or on March 1. I know in the big scheme of things this is fairly low on the list of life's problems. Besides usually having choices is nice.  But I honestly think in this case either alternative would be a bit strange. 

Since a Leap Year baby wasn't here on Feb. 28, it doesn't seem ideal to celebrate that day. The flip side though is to celebrate your February birth the next month.  I know, having been born in September, I consider myself a September baby and wouldn't be too keen on that.

The Feb. 29 celebrants I've known, or have heard talked about, seem equally divided in their choice. And none appear particularly upset about being forced to pick a day rather than the actual birthday. It is, what it is I guess.

Sadly, there are plenty of other concerns that go along with this strange birthday. Official documents can be problematic as renewal notices have come to my friends for a date that doesn't exist. Also, websitess often don't include Feb. 29 in dropdown boxes.

On the plus side, they apparently are able to get into bars one day before they legally are of age because most bouncers don't know what to do about it.  And, stupid jokes and comments from others aside, what fun it must be to tell people your age.  An acquaintance born in 1952 never gets tired of this and is pretty excited to finally be 16 this year.

So, while the rest of us go along choosing to celebrate our birthdays on the date of our birth,  I thought it might be nice to honour those among us who really only get that opportunity once every four years. Here are some awesome birthday illustrations for our Leap Year babies:

iCLIPART.com Birthday Illustrations

Clipart.com Happy Birthday Illustrations

Acclaim Images Birthday Clipart

ClickArt Online