#46 Seeing the Paul Bunyan Statue

While at a family wedding in July in Bemidji, Minnesota, we experienced the famous Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statue. It seemed like an impressive statue for such a small town to display. I thought this was the only statue of this kind. However, when I finally looked it up, I found that there are several Paul Bunyan statues in the U.S., but only a few that include Babe the Blue Ox.

So the next time you are in Bemidji, Minnesota or nearby (no, there isn’t anything nearby. Haha.) you must stop by the statue and get your picture taken.

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#45 Cutting with a Riding Lawnmower

All my life I have used a push mower to cut lawns, ever since I was about 12. Although I was not real excited about cutting lawns when I was a teenager, I do enjoying the activity now. I get exercise, thousands of ‘steps’, and a sweat and thirst that can be best satisfied with an ice cold beer. A freshly cut lawn is a beautiful sight.

I have never really had an opportunity to learn how to use a riding lawnmower. This opportunity presented itself when my sister and her husband were out of the country for over 2 weeks. They just moved into a new house that is 3 acres and would need some assistance, for which I offered.

The first time I drove their lawnmower at their old house, the controls were so responsive and the speed so fast that I ran into one of their trees. Everyone got a good laugh at me for that. Now this time it was for real. My brother-in-law’s mower is the ultimate. Besides the quickness and speed (10 mph?), it has a zero turn radius.

So on July 12 we set out to their house in Virginia to complete the task. At first I was so shaky that I avoided the fence and trees, relying on Mary Ann to cut with the push mower around those edges. (She got the raw end of the deal. Sorry, Honey.) After a half hour or so I started to get the hang of it. By the end of the two plus hours of cutting, I was well coordinated with the controls and was cutting the lawn quickly and efficiently.  And I did not hit any trees.  I did, however, ran over one of the dog’s tennis balls, but in my defense I couldn’t see it hidden in the tall grass.

This was a fun experience.  I’d do it again.  I may have found a new skill and retirement job. I might be available to my local blog followers to cut lawns. Riding lawnmower or push mower.

Below is a picture of the John Deere before I started cutting.  Hey, don’t laugh at the socks; I only wear them to cut lawns.

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#44 Digital Photography

On May 11, I culminated my experience of learning how to take more advanced digital photographs using my new Nikon D5600. I presented to guest professors a range of 8 x 10 photographs that were dry matted. The photographic concepts included motion photographs (stop action and intentional blurring by panning), photographs of still life, portraits, landscapes, and photographs showing the quality of light.

I learned techniques for adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity, without relying on a flash or the simplified ‘program mode’, to get the proper exposure and effect. Also, I learned lighting and composition to get the most interest and how to edit photographs using Photoshop.

Perhaps the most rewarding types of photographs I like to take are portraits of willing participants and motion photographs. Below are a few samples of my favorite motion photographs.

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