As with my last blog I am posting an original photograph and five different versions that I hope you will enjoy!  Keep those comments coming too :~ )  I treasure your opinions and critiques and actually love talking with each and every one of you!  So say "Hello" anytime :~ ) 

May this day be finding you well within the embrace of good tidings, joy and smiles all around!  Welcome to my "Pinkly Lit" version set :~ )

Benjamin

p.s.  HAPPY HUMP DAY
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The Original Portrait :~ )
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"Pretty Pink Buttons"
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"Softly Seen"
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"Painted Gold"
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"Just for Fun"

May you have enjoyed these versions as much as I and may the final, strike you the same in time :~ )

"For You"

~Dedicated to my Grandma Elenore... and all others whom have past into the beyond and in our hearts have left a great beauty and light, within their smile remembered inside~
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"For You"
 
 
Welcome back folks and thank you for visiting.  Today we are going on a little visual trip and I hope you will like the ride.

Over the past few weeks we have been so busy; with school starting, car needing tires, our washing machine blowing a belt, leaves falling from the trees and etc, etc, etc... (I am sure you can relate), I have really been missing just sitting at the computer and letting my creativity run wild....

...and so that little trip I mentioned is actually just a tour of one photograph.  From the original picture (unedited) through five different edited versions of that same picture.  With all hopes at least one of them will make your liking but I am also looking for a little constructive feedback on these, so please don't hesititate to leave a comment below or just say what ya feel.  I thank you either way :~ )

...and so without any further delay, I give you my "Softly Lit" version set, for your enjoyment!

Sincerely,
Benjamin

p.s. HAPPY TUESDAY :~ )

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Unedited Original
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Just a little edge burn :~ )
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Making it pop :~ )
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Playing with black and white :~ )
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Believe it or not, this is the same picture :~ )
Now I know I took a little bit of a jump there but if you will hang in there, I am hoping the final piece will bring you back home safe :~ ) 

"Life and Light"

Dedicated to my wife Susanna (who loves fairies and butterflies) for our second year anniversary.  September 16th,  2011
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Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of my happy days  blog.  I hope you all didn't mind my little "vacation" but I have been so busy as of late and it has been so hard to get back into doing what I love most; sitting in front of my computer, turning on my ipod, uploading some pictures and turning them into something that I think will make you feel just a little bit better to smile...or whatever my eye and mind might see;~ )

I have good news too... 

...we have been blessed with a wonderful oppurtunity, as "Diane's Frame Shoppe" here in Rhinelander, WI has welcomed me into their store to showcase and sell ten of my pieces.  I am so honored to have my work in such a beautiful place with other talented and quite brilliant artists.  As well with this, we have teamed with "White House Custom Colour" to offer some great new options in printing for my portraits, to be uploaded on the site soon.  AND coming just as soon will be my brother Aries' page with his custom, one-of-a-kind folk-art wood pieces.  We all hope you will keep coming back and checking in with us as we expand and expound with new, beautiful things just for you but enough of my bantering and onto some pictures :~ )

The following four pictures were taken with my cousin Jamie on my recent visist with her and her family in Cascade, WI.  Jamie, as you may recall, is the owner/artist of JMS Custom Designs and as much as I wanted to post all 475 pictures I took with her that day, there just isn't enough time in the day.  I hope you will enjoy these four examples of the beauty we found that day and if you get a chance please visit with her as well at
www.jmscustomdesignz.com

Happy Thursday everyone and I'll see you again soon :~ )

 
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"Faraway Barn"
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"Upward and Onward"
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"Beautiful Beyond"
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The Masts Are In"
 
 
Welcome back everyone and thanks for being patient with  me as I compile, edit and categorize the 903 pictures I took last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I am happy to say though that with todays posting you will be caught up to Friday evening and my last pictures with my good friend Karl, who has also sent me a few of his own shots that I am honored to post here.  Look for them below!  This will be the close of the "Happy Monday" trilogy though, as these were my final shots in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

Don't worry though because my trip didn't end there.  So be on the look out in the next few days for a new blog series from my wonderful visit with my cousin Jamie and her family in Cascade, Wisconsin.  If you would like a sneek peak, please visit her blog here:

www.jmscustomdesignz.com/2/post/2011/08/maritime-festival-and-fun-photo-shoot
 

You'll love what you see.

Now without any further delay...and if you have been keeping up along the way...guess what...

...it's LUNCH TIME :~ )
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Welcome to the "Smiling Moose Deli" :~ )

Now I have eaten at some good deli's in my life but trust me when I tell you, "This place was absolutely wonderful!"
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A view from our table, waiting for our cooked-to-order grinders :~ )

The place is beautiful.  The staff was great and the food...

...the food was OUT...OF...THIS...WORLD!
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Mmmmm MMM Mmm :~ )

Now if I were you, I would already be in my car heading straight for historic downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin for just one more bite at the "Smiling Moose Deli" :~ )

As you can see, lunch was wonderful and afterwards we walked across the street to "Phoenix Park" and a breathtaking bridge and walk.  This next picture is one that Karl caught on our way to the bridge.
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Great Shot Karl :~ )

Now if there is one thing I love about taking pictures, it's the angles.  I hope you enjoy just a few of the shots I was able to catch.
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Man on a bike, halfway across :~ )
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The Foot and Bike bridge over the Chippewa River below :~ )

I had a little fun with this next picture and what else can I say...I couldn't resist :~ )
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Did I mention how good lunch was ;~ )

It was a great afternoon for certain and with one more stop on our agenda, we headed back to Karl's to recharge our batteries and the cameras needed it too :~ )

If you would like to know more about Phoenix Park in Eau Claire, Wisconsin please visit here:

http://www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us/home/parks-recreation-a-forestry

Now our last stop was the "Eau Claire Big Rig Truck Show" to see the "Honor Truck".  I had heard about this truck over the years and when Karl and I saw that it was going to be at the show, we just couldn't pass up this chance to pay some respect to all those Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and who are fighting still so far away from home.  So please, as you look through the next few pictures, have a moment of silence with yourself and honor them, by remembering.  Thank you :~ )
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As you can see, it truly is a truck of honor!  Now as to not end this blog with thoughts to sorrow I hope you will stand with me and say THANK YOU.  Thank you to all the men and women of our armed services, past, present and those that rest in peace.   And for the freedom we enjoy...you have our unending, unyielding and unstoppable devotion, say we.

Please leave your own comment below if you wish :~ )

Well here we are folks...the end and as we say goodbye until next you visit, please enjoy these last couple of shots.  Thank you Karl, you made it all possible :~ )
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~Fin~

 
 
Hello everyone!  As much as you may think you are stuck in some sort of crazy "Back to the Future" rerun, rest assured you are alive and with all hope, well within the embrace of a good day.  

Welcome to part II of my Happy Monday blog, recounting my recent trip to Eau Claire, Port Washington and Cascade, Wisconsin. 

When last I left you, we were at the beautiful "Rod and Gun Park".  I did find out that the land first became a park in 1935, when the Eau Claire Rod and Gun Club sold it to the city of Eau Claire for one dollar.  It is so wonderful to know that so much tangible beauty came from such a wonderful act!   A must visit and well worth the free-admission it is to see and enjoy it.  Not too bad for a one dollar sale so long ago!  
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Rod and Gun Park. Eau Claire, Wisconsin

So now we are all caught up and so onward we go.  The next stop on my little venture, with my good friend and Eau Claire guide Karl, was "Big Falls County Park".  A 136 acre park with great trails, a beautiful rocky water drop and a great view of it all.  Enjoy :~ )
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Welcome to Big Falls County Park :~ )
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The view atop the rocky climb :~ )
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Such serenity :~ )
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The Big Fall's, falls :~ )
The day was a warm one but we braved the sweat and back-aches (we're not getting any younger :~ ) and had a wonderful time shooting pictures of all there was to see.  I would recommend it highly for its ease of access and visual splendor for sure.  To find out more, please visit: 
www.co.eau-claire.wi.us/parks_and_forest/big_falls_county_park

After an hour or so, of shooting at Big Falls our next stop on the road was the "Beaver Creek Reserve" and their beautiful "Butterfly House".  Now I love taking pictures of butterflies and caterpillars in the wild but a chance to take pictures of them in all stages of transformation, in one place, was phenomenal and well worth the drive to get there.  Enjoy :~ )
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Welcome to the Wise Nature Center, Beaver Creek Reserve :~ )
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An Eight-Spotted Forester, having lunch :~ )
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It may be a common butterfly but this one, stopped me short one breath :~ )
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Just one of the hundreds of flowers the butterflies get to enjoy :~ )

Now at this point of our day; it was getting hotter, we had been shooting pictures for four hours, lunch was on our minds and we were getting ready to go...

...when high-and-behold a Monarch Butterfly paid Karl, a well deserved good omen.  I was so happy to have captured it :~ )
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A friendly visit :~ )
It was an incredible visit! 

To find out more about the Beaver Creek Reserve, please see their website at:  www.beavercreekreserve.org  and go visit!!  You'll love the smiles you find :~ )


Now at this point, Karl and I are "starvin marvins"!  We are hungry and ready to rest our feet a little but before we could even get back into town we caught this barn...

...and had to stop, turn around, stop, turn around and stop to catch it just right...
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...but as for the lunch we found (which was out of this world by the way)...as they say...

To Be Continued..:~ )

 
 
Part I:

Hello again everyone and welcome to another Monday.  If you've been keeping up with my blog you will notice that my plans to update it on my recent trip did not go as planned but I am happy to write, that it was a great success.  With that in mind though, I managed to take almost a thousand pictures and as much as I want to post them all I refuse to be the one responsible for crashing the entire midwest's internet server, so welcome to part one of my recent journey.

We begin in Eau Claire, Wisconsin just a few days gone from now.  The sun was warm, the sky was dimming and as the afternoon reached the evening to become the morn, my friends Karl and Felicia (bride and groom to be) were gracious enough to show me the sweetness of their smiles and the beauty of one of their favorite places to see...
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The Rod and Gun park is one of the smaller Eau Claire parks at 36 acres but according to www.eauclaire-info.com, it is one of the most visited.  If you ever get a chance or are in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin area, DO NOT pass up the chance for a visit.  You won't be dissappointed.

Here is a link for more information:
http://www.eauclaire-info.com/outdoor-recreation/city-parks/rod-and-gun-park.html


...and now...onto the pictures :~ )
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Welcome to Rod and Gun Park
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Karl and Felicia :~ )
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Where's Karl :~ )
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Felicia loved this duck :~ )
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One of the many water drops in this park. The paddle wheel on top spills into the large pond pictured in "Where's Karl" above :~ )
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The Park's bridge across the babbling brook :~ )
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This park is absolutely gorgeous :~ )
Thank you so much for this visit today and remember...this is only Part I!  Which means there is only one thing I can write next...

To Be Continued...

 
 
That's right, I am hitting the road!  First stop: Eau Claire, WI to deliver a custom frame to our good friends Karl and Felicia.  Karl was then was gracious enough to offer a full Friday tour and shoot around the Eau Claire area and I jumped at the chance.  It has been too long since I went exploring and I will do my best to keep the blog going this weekend, so you can share in the sights.

I will then be onto Cascade, WI, to visit my dear cousin Jamie, for a business meeting and photoshoot as well.  I am so excited and I hear from Jamie that we will be stopping in at Port Washington's Maritime Heritage Festival!  www.portmaritimefestival.com  It should certainly make for a beautiful Saturday.  Jamie, by-the-by, is a talented artist and runs "JMS Custom Designs".  I would highly recommend you check out her website  @ www.jmscustomdesignz.com  

Well folks, I really hate to tease and run but I have to load up the car and jet.  I hope you will come along for the trip and check back...

...after all, its a write-off, right :~ )

See you soon,


 

Benjamin 



 
 
Hello everyone and Happy Friday to you all! 

Today's blog is going to be a little different; mainly because my back is hurting, because I took a lot of pictures this week, because the weather was great and I need to rest up a little...so I can go and do it all again :~ )

I hope you enjoy this week-long photo-journey and I look forward to reading all your comments.

Have a great weekend,

Benjamin

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Under a bridge :~ )
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A colored puddle :~ )
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Truck over the bridge :~ )
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Mirrored :~ )
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Ripples :~ )
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Spotted Greeny :~ )
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The Bloom :~ )
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The Hover :~ )
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Our little Jaxton on his Brand new Big Wheel! Vroom Vroom let the weekend begin :~ )
 
 
Happy Saturday Everyone!  Thanks so much for visiting and I hope you enjoy today's tale.

It was a morning like any other as of late...up at 5:30 am... save for this time I was sneaking quietly out the door with my water and fishing pole in hand.  It is odd sometimes when a "Moment" hits ya...whether bad or good, they always seem to be on their own time but this morning, crossing the threshold out, I caught a good one!  A moment where all that could be heard was resting peace and fond memories of a yesterday's smile, as the children and Momma lay asleep and as I closed the door behind me, the wife kissed ever so softly upon the forehead, I realized just how happy I was....

...because I was going fishing :~ )

*Click* I closed the door to find my brother Aries (come to pick me up) revving his truck, ready to go and so we did to find this, on the ways' road.
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"Let's Go Get em Roscoe"

The fishing, unlike the morning's sunrise above, was less than stellar.  Although both Aries and I had a monster Bass on our lines, only to end with the sound of a snapping line!  *CRACK* ...and then a bit of swearing that I most certainly won't repeat here:~ ) 

Despite the letdown of our fishless morning the sites and sounds could not be beat!  The call of the loons, the light wind rustling through the trees and then we came upon this:

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What a pleasure to see :~ )

It was certainly a memorable morning and I was so glad my brother invited me along!  We got some great stories, some wonderful photographs and we are so happy to share it all!

Now I had thought about ending this blog here but I just couldn't do it without posting one more picture!  (Its an addiction I tell ya :~ )

This is a couple of Woodland Sunflowers we found on the way home and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

With the happiest of regards,

Benjamin

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The Two Suns
 
 
     Hello again and welcome everyone.  Wow, what a great couple of days.  The comments and well wishes have been a pleasure to see and we thank you all for your support.  It was a little nerve racking having the site go "live" without all the bells and whistles (and prices) I have tucked away in my brain but low and behold,  just hours after hitting "Publish" we got a phone call from our good friends Joyce and Ron at "Balsam Meadows Farm" and were invited to take some pictures for their new website.  Here are just a few :~ ) 
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                                                         www.balsammeadowsfarm.com

Now it is always a difficult thing; describing to people you don't know, people that you do and have it be as meaningful as you wish to portray them but alas one must try and I hope you can feel me, despite all the cheesy, when you read that Joyce, Ron and their family are good people, great friends and an absolute pleasure to have laughing and smiling around a country kitchen table morning!  We are honored to be a part of their dream come to life and we thank them truly! 

I had a blast; chasing the chickens, talking to the cows, seeing all the little piggies oink and squeal for Momma (I oinked and squealed just for fun), the sunshine through the Balsams and a baby calf in the front yard too! (upwind of the chicken coop)
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Darling Charlott
Which brings us to the smell...

...now some would argue that smelling a farm is always an unpleasurable event but then again, they would be arguing with me :~ )  There is nothing quite like it in this world... the smell of the morning dew caught on a gentle breeze through pastures green, as the cows graze...and moo...and then graze some more as the chickens cluck and the rooster call soars!  Now I will admit that the chicken coop does leave one in a daze...if that smell hits ya in the face... but a farm, to me, is life: beautiful, born again and a whole lot of hard work with ease :~ )
  
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Chicken Pose

It was a great couple of hours and as you can see, the sights were glad to be had!  We thank you for your visit with us today and if you ever get a chance to visit Rhinelander, Wisconsin  I would obviously recommend just a short beautiful drive, down a winding wooded road outside of town to "Balsam Meadows Farm" to catch a breath of fresh air and a happy welcome warm.

With the cluckiest of regards,

Benjamin

p.s.  "Cluckiest" not being a word has no affect on the fun you'll have saying it :~ )
 
 

    Blog by Benjamin

    A decorated, retired, disabled U.S. Army Military Police Veteran, poet, photographer, artist, husband and father.

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