The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Photography’ category

Papalia Family Photo Session

I conducted a family photo session yesterday afternoon, my first since late December last year. My friend Janice messaged me about a month ago.  Janice wrote that she was having a surprise 60th birthday party for her husband John.  She asked if I was available to take a few family photos.  I was available and accepted the photo assignment.



John arrived at his surprise birthday party,
accompanied by his oldest son and one of six grandchildren.


All five children and six grandchildren celebrated John’s 60th birthday.

_LG25519Papalia Family

John celebrated his 60th birthday with not only immediate family members.  Some of his extended family shared in the celebration as well.

Untitled-1Papalia Immediate and Extended Family

_LG25526John, Janice and their six grandchildren

Thank you, Janice, for thinking of me to photograph your family.  You have a wonderful family!  I hope that John enjoyed rest of his birthday surprise.

Picturesque Red Barn Torn Down

On Wednesday, February 14th, a woman by the name of Anne contacted me via private message at my Linda Gross Photography Facebook page

Anne: Please contact me about photo(s) of the Cochranton red barn…thank you.

Anne provided me an email address and telephone number.

MeWould you please leave a comment on the particular barn that you are asking about? Thank you.

Anne responded this morning to my question.

Anne:  This barn has now been prepared for “relocation” on the Cambridge Springs Riverside Hotel site. Brew pub planned by Jason and Deanna Howles. It had 3 cupolas and sat very close to a narrow dirt road going up Bell Hill….very sentimental for me as sight of it meant we were almost to my grandparent’s home…now I am 78!

After a quick search for “barn” on my Flickr photo page, I found the barn to which Anne referred.  Anne’s description of the barn, as having 3 cupolas and sitting very close to a narrow dirt road, helped tremendously.  Another quick search, this time on Google, yielded the following article regarding plans for a brewpub at the former site of the Riverside Inn located in Cambridge Springs, PA.  The historic Cambridge Springs Riverside Inn was destroyed by fire in May 2017.

I wrote back to Anne.

MeI stopped posting to Linda Gross Photography in July 2015. I photographed the red barn picture to which you refer on March 12, 2016.  Picture(s) of that barn may be shared on my The Beauty Around Us Facebook page, which replaced Linda Gross Photography. I didn’t look on that page, preferring to search for “barn” on my Flickr photo site. I have two pictures of the barn. I believe it is the barn to which you refer.

I shared the two barn pictures with Anne.

Here is the barn, as it stood on March 12, 2016.

_LG20125 4x6Cochranton Red Barn
March 12, 2016

The barn has now been torn down.

I telephoned Anne and informed her that I had found pictures of the red barn to which she referred.  The reason Anne contacted me was to ask if she could purchase a print of my picture.  I am emailing Anne a copy of the picture, free of charge, so that she can make the requested 5×7 print.

I never know what sharing a photograph on the Internet will bring to me.  The sharing of a barn picture made MY day today, which happens to be my 62nd birthday, as well as the day of a woman whom I know as Anne.

Christmas Eve Family Portrait Session

On December 14th I received a message from Jayme, one of Bob’s coworkers.  Jayme shared his sister-in-law’s Facebook Post with me, which read:

“Recently found out that my entire remaining family (27) will be together on Christmas Eve. We missed other opportunities for a complete family photo in the past and now have lost some. I am looking for someone willing to come and photograph our group on Christmas Eve. I understand how busy everyone is, but thought i would try. Recommendations Please.”

Jayme wrote to see if I would be interested in this photo assignment.

After asking Jayme a couple questions regarding the photo session, he gave me his sister-in-law Stephanie’s phone number.  After conversing with Stephanie, I agreed to photograph her family at 7:00 pm on Christmas Eve.

Munch_FamilyMunch Family
(Click on this image for a larger-size photo)

I photographed the family as a whole and then each individual family unit.  Stephanie had hoped that all 27 family members would be available for the family photo.  One individual, however, was not able to make it to the Christmas Eve festivities.

I am so glad that I agreed to conduct this photo session.  The Munch family was enjoyable to be around and fun to work with.

East Syracuse NY to Mt. Morris NY

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area.

We checked out of the Best Western East Syracuse, after breakfast, on Monday July 3, and were on our way home shortly before 8:00 am.

On our way to East Syracuse on Saturday, we stopped at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.  We stopped at the wildlife refuge once again on our way back home. I am so glad that we visited Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. I put my new camera lens to good use, as we drove around Wildlife Drive.

New camera lens, you ask?  I just realized that I hadn’t shared on my blog that I purchased a new camera lens.  I waited for well over 1-1/2 years to purchase this camera lens.  At first the camera lens wasn’t in stock.  Then I didn’t have the money available to purchase the lens.  Finally, everything came together to make the purchase.  I purchased an Olympus m.Zuiko ED 300mm f4.0 IS Pro lens, specifically for wildlife photography.  Coupled with a 1.4x teleconverter, I have an effective focal length of 840mm!  My new lens arrived on Friday, June 30, the day before we left on our weekend getaway.  I need to use the lens more to increase my proficiency in its use, but I am very pleased with the images that I captured at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

_LG22411Bird ID needed

_LG22424Osprey in Flight, with seaweed attached to its claw

_LG22428Are these birds American Coot?

The highlight of our visit to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge was the sighting of two American Bald Eagles.  One eagle flew off to parts unknown, but one eagle landed in a tree not far from where we were on Wildlife Drive.

Bob took this photograph of me, while photographing the eagle.

And to think I didn’t want a moon roof, when we were car shopping. I didn’t want to spend the extra money. The car on the lot that we liked came with a moon roof. I am glad that we got a moon roof, because it enabled me to capture a couple good photographs of the eagle!

_LG22462American Bald Eagle

My new camera lens is a keeper!
These two eagle images are the best pictures I have ever taken of an eagle!

We sat and watched a group of Canadian Geese farther along on Wildlife Drive.

_LG22481Canadian Geese, quietly enjoying the pond

The quiet didn’t last for long!

_LG22482Noisy Canadian Geese!

_LG22487This duck had one of the Wildlife Drive ponds all to herself.

_LG22499Great Blue Heron

We stopped once again to admire the newly installed eagle monument.

_LG22529The eagle monument was built in honor the the 40th anniversary of New York State’s bald eagle
reintroduction program, which largely happened at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

_LG22532The eagle monument is visible from Interstate 90.

Leaving Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, we drove to Mt. Morris, NY.  We ate lunch at Brian’s USA Diner.  We selected this restaurant for lunch, based on its positive reviews. Yes, as stated by reviewers, the service was quick and friendly. Bob ordered a Reuben sandwich with Onion Rings. I ordered pulled chicken in a hoagie bun with potato salad. The restaurant reviews indicated that the portions were large. I agree. My pulled chicken hoagie sandwich was huge! My potato salad was heaped high in a small bowl. At first, Bob’s Reuben sandwich looked average size. He said, though, that there was lots of meat in his sandwich, so much meat that he could barely taste the dressing. Reviewers raved about the taste of the food. The food tasted okay, nothing really to boast about. Nothing to complain about either.

After lunch, we drove to nearby Letchworth State Park.  I will share details and photographs of Letchworth State Park in the next (and final) blog post I write about our East Syracuse NY weekend getaway.


Brian and Deborah’s Wedding Day

This past Saturday (June 24) I photographed Brian and  Deborah’s wedding.   Brian is our friends’ Sheila and Doyle’s oldest son. The last wedding I photographed was in September 2014. I vowed then that it would be the last time I was the official photographer for a wedding. I was “retiring” from photographing weddings for family and friends. Well, after a little arm twisting by Sheila, I agreed to photograph Brian and Deborah’s wedding.  Thank you, Brian and Deborah, for choosing me.  It was an honor to serve as your wedding photographer.

I created a collage of some of the pictures that I took at the wedding.

Brian and Deborah had a beautiful wedding.

 Congratulations Brian and Deborah!  May all of your days together be as beautiful and cherished as your wedding day – here’s to your future together as Husband and Wife!




Postal Deliveries

The mailman delivered several packages to me yesterday. I received a Shutterfly print order that included one 8×10 print and a few 4×6 prints. The 8×10 print is a picture of our granddaughters hugging each other.  I took that picture in our living room but successfully made a selection of the girls and placed another background behind them.  The 8×10 print, which is now hanging on our living room wall, is the picture of the girls with the brick wall behind them.


In addition to the Shutterfly order, I received two camera accessories: a Think Tank Photo battery holder for 8 AA batteries and a 16GB Toshiba FlashAir SD card.

The battery holder will contain the batteries better than the original packaging, which has been weakened by repeatedly opening and closing the plastic case.

The Olympus XZ-2 compact digital camera, which I purchased in November 2016, is capable of making a WIFI connection. The WIFI connection, however, is not built in as it is on some other cameras. The Toshiba FlashAir SD card, with its internal wireless LAN, provides the means to make a WIFI connection.

Following the Olympus XZ-2 instruction manual, I configured the FlashAir card to make a wireless connection with my iPhone.

I took a picture of the fog rolling in from the Conewango Creek.

IMG_2964The fog was impressive!

I followed the Olympus XZ-2 instruction manual to connect the camera to my iPhone.

Once the connection between the camera and iPhone was established, I used the OLYMPUS Image Share app to import the fog picture onto my iPhone.

With OLYMPUS Image Share you can add Art Filters to imported photos.

20170117_195119000_iOSThe pinhole art filter worked well with my fog picture.

Although I like both the original and edited fog pictures, I prefer the edited image.  The edited fog picture gives off a feeling of eeriness, which I like.

After applying the art filter, I uploaded the edited fog picture to Facebook.

I purchased the Olympus XZ-2 camera as a replacement for my iPhone camera for taking everyday pictures (snapshots). I am quite pleased with the quality of my everyday pictures, since switching from the iPhone to the camera. What I have been missing, though, is the ability to share everyday pictures quickly on Facebook, as is possible with the iPhone. With the FlashAir card and OLYMPUS Image Share, I now have that capability.

A “Sunday Drive”, a Family Visit, Grocery Shopping, and a Winning Photograph

We stayed home most of the day on Sunday. We did go on a short “Sunday drive”. I brought my camera, but I didn’t take one still image. I did, however, take a short 5-second video with my iPhone as traffic began to move past an automobile accident.

In the video displayed above, there is a car, with a smashed windshield, in front of the police car. It looked like either the passenger’s head had busted through the windshield or an object had fallen through the windshield. My heart leaped into my throat, when I saw that car.  There was an older man in the car, sitting in the driver’s seat.  Farther up the road, we saw a helicopter land in what must have been a staging area. I said a prayer for the person(s) life flighted and for the family.  I pray that no life was lost in this accident.

**UPDATE:  Roadside Worker Killed After Being Struck by Car
How tragic.  Prayers for the Michael Robertson family, as well as the man who was driving and his family.**

On our way back home, we stopped briefly at Stacey’s house to say hello to Stacey and our granddaughters. Our visit with Stacey was brief. Bob wanted to be home for a 2:00 pm podcast (Leo Laporte “The Tech Guy”), and we still had grocery shopping to do. Shopping at Walmart was unremarkable. We returned a Redbox DVD that we had rented the day before and picked up some groceries.

A guest on Leo Laporte’s podcast was Photographer Chris Marquardt, of Discover the Top Floor”, who reviewed his “Faces in Things” photo assignment. Chris is a regular guest on the podcast. During Chris’s guest appearances, he gives listeners a photo assignment once a month.  Bob participates in the photo assignments.  The past month’s photo assignment has been to find “Faces in Things”.


Bob’s “Faces in Things” submission was top pick in the assignment!  Congratulations Bob!  What a GREAT photograph!


National Parks USA

A tour of Public Lands & National Parks with T

Forester (Farster) Ancestry

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Skid and Sandy On The Road

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Brown About

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My Mommy's Place

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A Tree Falling

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Stacey Gross Tells A Story

I'm not crying. You're crying.

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Deep Thoughts

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Rambling On

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Life's Funny Like That

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I'll give you a piece of my mind

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