Delays and Distractions

A lot has been going on lately. I’m having a real hard time processing the emotions and confusion from this “stuff” I’ve dealt with for the past couple of weeks (or months, depending on how I look at it; but definitely this past two weeks). I felt the need to get away yesterday, so I did. Most of the fireworks shows in the area for the 4th of July were cancelled due to rain. No, it wasn’t just rain. That first week of July was like monsoon season in TN! The photos below are from a walk I took at Cane Creek Park on July 5th. The lake was higher than I’ve ever seen it. I had to walk the high paths all around the lake that day because most of the lower paths were under water.

Click on any of the images to view larger or view more photos from July 5.

Back to yesterday, I decided to head out to Pates Ford Marina for the fireworks show that had been rescheduled for last night. David and I went there last year for the fireworks, and had a pretty good time; so I thought, why not? As I was getting ready to leave, the neighborhood kids came over to talk to me. The neighbor’s granddaughter told me I looked pretty. That really made my day, and I told her how much I appreciated her saying that because I haven’t heard that from anyone in quite a while. It’s funny how a compliment like that can uplift your spirit.

Then, there was a man at the gas station who showed me a random act of kindness by guiding me through two parked cars, one at the pump in front of me and one at the pump beside me, blocking my exit from my pump. I wasn’t sure if I had enough clearance between the cars to get through, but his help as he motioned me through gave me the confidence to try to succeed. His big smile as he said, “There ya go!,” as I drove up to him was totally deserving of my thanks and gratitude.

Pates Ford Marina is a little over an hour’s drive away from where I live. I decided to get there early because parking was such a nightmare last year. However, I got there a little too early; and the advertisements for this year’s show left out a very important detail. There was a $10 fee to park this year, probably to cover the expenses of hiring police to direct traffic and the golf carts they were using to shuttle people up and down the hill from the field where they parked us. I decided that since I drove an hour to get there, I might as well pay the parking fee and stay for the show. Luckily, I had $10 on me or I would have had to drive all the way back to Smithville to get cash.

Shortly after arriving, the sky darkened and it began raining. I sought shelter at the Fishlipz Bar and Grill. The young waitress who served me allowed me to stay long after having finished my mozzarella sticks and lemonade because by this point, it was pouring rain. She deserved a big tip for that alone; yet I didn’t tip her at all which I feel very bad about, now. That was the point where I let fear take over and began worrying what David would say for me having spent $10 to park and another $10.71 for 8 mozzarella sticks and a lemonade. I almost left completely due to my anxiety about the money , the rain, the cooler than expected temperature, and having to be there alone.

I took one of the shuttle rides back up to my car in the field and just sat there for almost two hours before I finally talked myself into going back down for the fireworks show. I’m glad I did because I would have missed the company of some very nice ladies there with their children.

The fireworks were a real disappointment, though. Some very low clouds had moved into the valley causing huge dead spots in the fireworks. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that happen; but I guess, it will actually make this year’s fireworks show even more memorable. They began a half hour later than expected and kept pausing the fireworks which led to lots of people packing up to leave mid-show. I think the pauses were an attempt to wait-out the clouds. Over-all, not the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen; but no one has control over the weather.

I didn’t even bother taking my tri-pod down with me for photos even though I had it in the car. I decided to simply enjoy them this year. After realizing that the clouds were going to be a problem, I did take a few short videos in order to memorialize this odd, cloud phenomenon. I’m not really sure how visible it is in the video clips, though.

I decided not to wait for one of the golf cart shuttles because the crowd waiting to be carted back up the hill was pretty huge. I would have waited there forever! Thankfully, I had my flashlight with me for the walk back to where I parked because I wasn’t expecting there to be shuttles. I knew from last year how rough that walk is without a flashlight. I walked up the hill as quickly as I could with ease this time, compared to last year. In fact, I got up the hill so quickly that I was one of the first to leave.

I had to laugh as I was walking up the hill every time I heard someone complaining about the walk. It was a long walk; I’ll give them that; but I must have passed at least 30 people on my way up, all complaining. Well, everyone but that one drunk guy who almost staggered into me, lol. I, honestly, didn’t mind walking at all. I rather enjoyed it after sitting around all day. The drive back was good, very little traffic, even getting out of the marina.

At first, I was a little mad at myself for spending the money and disappointed with the actual fireworks show; but after thinking about it for a while, I’m glad I went. It’s always a challenge for me to take these adventures on my own. I do it because they strengthen me and prove to me that I can, at least sometimes, overcome my anxiety. I really needed the distraction, and the good parts of the day totally made up for the bad. I’m thankful for that.

Day 189 Pates Ford Marina

Day 189 Pates Ford Marina, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

David and I went out to Pates Ford Marina last night to watch the fireworks show. We didn’t get back in time to post my daily photo yesterday, but I didn’t expect that we would. We decided to take our time coming home, stopping by Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area and the Scenic Overlook off of State Route 56 to view the moon and stars. This gave me the opportunity for more night photography. It would seem that a lot of my photos lately have been at night. I blame it on the heat during the day because I don’t do well in temperatures over 100°. I’m also enjoying the effects of playing with the long exposure settings on my camera.

These two photos from Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area were both set at a 15 second exposure. I like that I captured the boat lights moving on the lake in the above photo. The moon shining behind the clouds almost looks like a sunset; but if you view the photo larger (clicking on any of the images here will take you to a larger view on Flickr), you can see the stars in the sky as well, which brings me to the photo below. I’m so happy that I managed to get a shot of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). It was the first constellation that I ever learned, and I always look for it in the sky. You may have to view the larger version to really see this one well. Even though these turned out a bit noisy due to the 800 ISO speed that I used, I can honestly say that this point and shoot camera is outperforming what I expected from it.

Back to the fireworks, I was disappointed that they didn’t have music to go along with the show, but the fireworks were quite beautiful. Hearing the boats blow their horns at the end of the show reminded me of the times I spent out at Land Between the Lakes watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite fireworks shots from last night. I’m posting my top 6 here, but there are more on Flickr if you want to follow that link over to view the full set.

This one should have been purple because it would have looked just like a thistle!

I really liked this one because you can see the hint of boat lights on the water.

While the majority of these photos were taken using the “Fireworks” setting on my camera, which uses a 2 second exposure, this one was a 4 second exposure. I only did a few like this and only two of those were worth sharing on Flickr. It seemed harder to get the lights in focus with the longer exposures. I probably just need more practice.

I’m pleased with the resulting images this year. Let me know what you guys think. Feel free to share helpful suggestions and constructive criticism as they are always welcomed!

Sparkler Fun

I’m probably going to replace the above photo as Day 186’s daily photo when I have this month’s photos printed because I love, love, love that photo! David was so patient helping me out with this one because it took a few tries to finally get it, and it was his idea to take a step over for each number. I couldn’t have asked for a better result! David said, “I’m standing beside myself in this photo.” Haha!

I really wanted to do this for the scavenger hunt last week; but I didn’t get around to it during the time frame, not to mention weather conditions have been so dry that I was worried about a fire hazard. We kept the garden hose close by just in case and stayed on the gravel driveway to be extra careful. We didn’t go out to see a fireworks show this year, though we may try to head out to Pates Ford Marina on Saturday night to catch a show there.

My Heart

David’s Heart

Smile 🙂

Happy 4th!