Important Photo Tips

Somewhere out in the world there are people who like to have their picture taken.  Perhaps they are models, or just selfie-obsessed narcissists.

nikonsmashed-700x445Then there are those of us, like me, who hate to have our pictures taken because it always is a depressing, illusion-destroying experience that instantly makes me resolve to go on a severe diet and begin an aggressive workout regimen.  My passport photo, for example, makes me look like a cross between a homeless person and a bloated zombie whose had far more than his share of living brain tissue.  It’s amazing that the immigration officers of any country, including the U.S., that look at the photo would allow me to enter.

Is there anything that can be done?  (Anything, that is, other than actually losing weight and becoming more “toned” so that multiple chins aren’t evident when the shutter clicks?)  Fortunately, according to professional photographers, there are some simple, immediate things you can do when you get your picture taken to make you look slimmer and therefore better.  The pros say, for example, that you should stand at a 45-degree angle to the camera.  Don’t squish your arms against your body.  Stand up straight and don’t slouch.  Be sure to wear dark colors.

And above all, keep your chin our and hold your tongue against the roof of your mouth, which is supposed to tighten your neck muscles and therefore reduce your multiple chin count.  Having the photographer to take the photo from straight on, or from an angle slightly above your head, also is supposed to cut down on overexposure of that unslightly, bulging neck flesh.

So there you have it!  There’s no need to actually work out — just stand ramrod straight an at an angle, keep your chin thrust out like Mussolini, and always appear with arms akimbo.  Dodging the camera works pretty well, too.

Sunrise, Sunset

When you go on a beach vacation, oohing and aahing about the sunrises and sunsets is an ironclad requirement.  There’s something about the combination of sun, clouds, water and a distant horizon that just grabs you — especially if you’re a landlocked Midwesterner.

Here at our resort in Belize, the sunrise part is easy.  Our cottage faces east, and when Old Sol peeks over the horizon you notice it immediately.  Step outside the front door, walk out onto the beach, and voila! 

The sunset requires a bit more work.  Just to the west of our resort is a kind of inlet, with small islands and plants dotting the surface.  You have to walk off the resort property, cross a dusty road, and stand and wait.  In some ways, it’s more visually interesting than the ocean.  Quieter, too — without the crashing surfing you can hear the birdsong and the lapping of the rippled water.  It’s a striking setting.

We’ve really enjoyed our trip to Belize, which ends today.

More Puppies

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Richard and Julianne are getting a new dog in the near future.  It’s a Lab that has been bred and recently gave birth to a litter of three puppies — who are now two weeks old — and the breeder sent us this photo of the pups.

It’s kind of shameless to post pictures of puppies, but I just can’t resist it.  Is there anything cuter than puppies?

Misty Morning Shimmer

Morning walks around German Village can be a feast for the senses.  On days like today, where lingering traces of pre-dawn fog hug the ground and leave a glowing sheen on the brick roadways, you feel like you might just live in a mystical land.  

Those bricks look great on these kinds of mornings, but be wary — they’re death when sleet or freezing rain come to town.

Around Ghost Ranch

It’s not hard to see why Georgia O’Keeffe felt that the countryside around Ghost Ranch, in northern New Mexico, spoke to her.  With its stark shapes, interesting geological formations, and colors that used just about every pigment In Mother Nature’s pallet, Ghost Ranch on a sunny day is a feast for the senses.

On The Trail To Chimney Rock

Yesterday we drove over to Ghost Ranch — Georgia O’Keeffe’s old stomping grounds — and hiked up to the top of Chimney Rock butte.  It’s about a three-mile hike, round trip, heading up and then scrambling down more than 600 feet.


The trail is classified as easy to moderate, but it was complicated significantly by a lot of mud and some icy patches.  Fortunately, the welcome center offers walking sticks, and we took them up on their offer.  The walking sticks came in handy as we navigated the trail switchbacks and tried to avoid spills on the icy sections.


The last section of the hike was especially steep and icy, but once we reached the top the view made the hard work all worthwhile.  The butte is an outcropping that gives a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.  We felt we could see for miles.  The views on the way back down weren’t bad, either.