Category Archives: Photography

Words of the Past This Wednesday — Poetry From Years Ago

I’ve been working on new posts but have neglected to finish any recently. With that in mind, I went back to some old poems and pulled a few out that caught my eye for one reason or another.  I’m rather undecided about whether or not I think they’re “good”, but still, there is something about most of them that appeals to me.  Here is an untitled piece that is at least 15 years old… Hope you enjoy!

full moon

Closing sunset’s door
night creeps in without offering a candle.
Imprisoning me with the stench of desperation…
it wraps its charred fingers around my throat
and chokes out any hint of light
remaining in my dismal room.

Lulling me with its siren song
the twilight offers a flicker – a flame.
Through the warped and greasy lens of age
I glimpse one last vestige of an ambient dawn
exultant and guileless –
like cartwheels in the sun…

The mirage falters and fades
burning my retinas for the briefest moment
in its glorious jubilation.
And then night returns –
creeping into each far corner
and extinguishing the beacon of my memory
leaving cold oppression
in this claustrophobic room.





© 2016, Heather M. Tolley, All Rights Reserved


Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Here I am posting my ‘photo challenge’ at the 11th hour, as usual.  🙂   I’ve had the photos picked out to post, but unfortunately, a pretty stout headache this morning had turned into a full-blown migraine by tonight…  After hours of ice packs and pain meds, I’ve finally taken the edge off and I’m going to try to get some sleep.  (YAY!)  Since I already had the shots I thought I’d drop by and put ’em out here.

The theme this week was “Together” and although there were a couple of other photographs I would’ve liked to share there wasn’t time.  Maybe they’ll fit into the theme a different week!

baby animal and mother, mother and baby donkey, baby mule, donkey grazing, donkeys in the field, mules
Sweet baby stays close to mom…


sweet couple, older couple in the ocean, older man and woman swimming, man and woman at beach, grandparents at the beach
This sweet couple went out into the water most days that we were on our vacation… She would swim on out pretty fearlessly and then wait for him while he slowly made his way out with his inner tube to keep him afloat. They were so cute together!


baby ducks, mother duck leads her young, ducklings, baby ducks swimming, ducks in the river,
A mother duck trying to keep her young together as she leads them in a swim down the river.


two shadows, shadows on the sand, the shadows of two people on the sand
Pretty disheartening how much bigger my shadow is than my mom’s… lol!


pelicans flying, pelicans in v formation, birds flying in a v, pelicans against bright blue sky
It’s the ‘pelican patrol’! I love how they always stay together in such great formation…


I’m glad you stopped by and hope you enjoyed!  🙂

Take care~

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

I got excited about this challenge because I take a lot of photos with the sun as a feature…. Between the leaves of trees or buildings, through the petals of a flower, through cracked windows in abandoned buildings – there are many ways I’ve tried to capture the sun or sun rays in shots.  The problem with this challenge is that I waited until today to post it and today I’ve had horrible nerve pain all day long.  I didn’t get a chance to sort through some of my older shots (which contained better examples) and restricted my choices to about the last 5-6 months.  Even though I didn’t get a chance to pull out a couple of shots that I thought would be nice interpretations of this challenge, I did find some other captures.  Actually, I found quite a few.  So with no further rambling – here they are!  🙂


Roosevelt's four freedoms, 4 freedoms, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, east tennessee veterans memorial, world's fair park, knoxville tennessee, granite pillar memorial park, Franklin D. Roosevelt's freedoms
A side view of the granite pillar showing two of Roosevelt's four freedoms at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial.



sunset over the river, norris dam state park, sunset over the mist on the water
Sunset and the evening mist over the river~



sunflare, sunflare across abandoned building, abandoned building, sunset over tin roof of abandoned building
Sun flare across the tin roof of an abandoned building...



golden sunset, orange and peach sunset, sun setting over the hills and river, sun setting over the river
Golden glow of sunset~



sunshine reflected in sunglasses, sun reflected in sunglasses, reflections in sunglasses
I've always called this one "I See the Light"... haha!



sun setting over the hills, sunset over the meadow, golden sun over the hills
Sun setting on a day in a country meadow...


I promise I’m almost finished!  🙂


sunshine over the river, sun reflected in water, sunshine reflected in river, sun shining over the lake
Blue skies & sunshine!


And finally – the only picture that I actually took this week.  Hubby wasn’t crazy about it, but for some reason I loved it.  It was such an eerie, strange sky – the photo has only been slightly sharpened and cropped.  It may look like it’s a b&w photo but it’s not!  That’s just how different the sky and lighting were at that time of day at that spot.


God's rays, God rays, sun shining through the gray clouds, sunshine and clouds, rays of sun shining through the clouds, monochrome sunset, faux monochrome sunset, black and white, b&w looking photo
Sun & clouds~



I hope you’ve enjoyed & thanks for stopping by!


As always, please remember that these images are my private property and not for public use or copying.  Thanks!  🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

Friday is when the new photo challenge posts so this is technically late since it is last week’s challenge.  I let too many things distract me and didn’t get it posted in time, but I already had some pictures picked out so I thought I’d go ahead and post them.  The topic for this challenge was ‘two subjects’.  There are many ways to interpret this so I chose several different shots.  Hope you enjoy!  🙂

bumblebees on purple coneflowers
'Bumblebee Cafeteria'


no parking at barn, Massey Ferguson tractor, small town life
Apparently they didn't read the sign before parking their tractor here...



cherub fountain, Seacrest Beach Florida
The yellow hibiscus flowers blooming around this cherub statue (or was it a fountain?) were so beautiful~


broken recliner in a weed-choked vacant lot
Have a seat!


I’ve only been to Chicago once, but it was a fantastic trip and for some reason I always liked the next photo a lot…  🙂


reflection of Trump Towers in Chicago Illinois
I always refer to this one as 'Reflections of Trump Towers'...


Northern Mockingbird on rooftop
Can't really call this a bird on a hot tin roof, just a Northern Mockingbird on my roof! lol


And finally – the photo that is currently my profile picture for my Etsy shop!  🙂


greek goddess sculpted concrete planter
"Face Plant"

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you enjoyed…  🙂


My 50th Post… Or, How I Spent a Lunch Hour With Joan Osborne

50 posts!  Wow… I can’t believe I’ve been able to write this many posts and still have people stop by and read them!  🙂

on the air radio sign

At the beginning of the past week I realized this would be a milestone post, so I tried to come up with something interesting to write about.  It didn’t take long for me to realize there weren’t any good ideas in my brain.  So I did the only thing that makes sense when faced with a challenge – I procrastinated!  For days.  That doesn’t usually accomplish anything but wasted time, but luck was with me this week.  I received a phone call from my sister one afternoon that changed any plans I might have thought I had for post number fifty.  One of our local radio stations – WDVX – has a program they call the ‘Blue Plate Special’ which airs live Monday through Saturday at noon.  Various musical acts perform in front of a live studio audience and my sister wanted to let me know that Joan Osborne was the guest Thursday.  !!!!  Ms. Osborne is a singer-songwriter that is, perhaps, best known for the song “One of Us” from her 1995 album Relish.   In my opinion, ‘One of Us’ was one of the weaker songs on the album while most of the others showcased more of a rich, edgy sound that the single lacked.  It was certainly more of a radio-friendly song, but many of the other tracks far outshine it.

We’re not here, however, to discuss Joan Osborne as I remember her from the 90’s… we’re here to discuss Joan Osborne from a couple of days ago when I was lucky enough to join a room full of people gathered to hear her sing a short set for WDVX.

joan osborne at radio performance WDVX

Joan and her band were actually the second part of the show – the first performace was from the group HuDost.  I don’t know much about them, but they had a very unique and creative sound that everyone seemed to enjoy.  If you’re interested in eclectic world music you should definitely check them out!

moksha sommer hudost blue plate special performance
Moksha Sommer of the group HuDost~

After HuDost finished their performance Joan and her band came out and took the stage.  Their set was not a long one – 30 to 40 minutes – but it was so much fun.  Her voice is still as gorgeous as ever and I was thrilled to finally be able to see her live!  Performing songs from her new CD Bring It On Home – she captivated the crowd filling every corner of the small room with the selection of vintage blues and soul songs.  Bring It On Home rocks with songs from R&B greats like Ray Charles, Al Green, and Otis Redding, and Joan was in her element singing them.

Joan Osborne and band performing at WDVX

Joan Osborne singing

If you haven’t heard her new CD and enjoy that type of music you should look it up and at least listen to a couple of songs.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.  🙂   Everyone in our small group had a great time and agreed that having a ‘Blue Plate Special’ with Joan Osborne was a great way to spend a lunch hour!

Joan Osborne singing Shake Your Hips
Singing "Shake Your Hips"!
Joan Osborne interview
Answering some questions about her new CD - "Bring It On Home".

If you told me Monday that I’d have such an experience to write about by Friday, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.  It was a great week to have a milestone blog post and I’m so glad my sister heard about the opportunity and invited me along!

Joan Osborne performing
Such a fantastic voice!

Joan Osborne and her band Blue Plate Special performance WDVX

Joan Osborne
The lovely Ms. Osborne...

A huge THANK YOU to Joan for a wonderful show!!  Thanks to my sister for bringing some ‘glad you’re feeling a little better’ cheer to the week and thanks to hubby for making sure I was able to get out of the house to enjoy it!  lol!

And as always – thanks to you for stopping by and visiting me here…  Hope it’s a great weekend!

~heather  🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged



The topic for this week’s challenge is ‘arranged’.  This is how it’s described on The Daily Post page:

Arranged.  Sometimes you chance across things which were arranged on purpose, or on a whim – find something in your environment which was arranged by a human hand for others to enjoy!

 Share a picture that means ARRANGED to you.

Seems easy enough… but I ended up with way too many photos to choose from!  I narrowed the list, although it wasn’t by much, and came up with the following shots for this topic.

row of bottles colored wrappers bottle display
I liked the variety of colored wraps on this display of fruit juice bottles.
row of standing yellow barrels
Row of yellow barrels comprising a 'fence' of sorts at a local little league ball field.
colorful beach umbrellas white sand blue water
Pretty arrangement of beach chairs and umbrellas...
bicycles for rent row of bikes at Rosemary Beach
I've always called this shot "Handle It"! 🙂
hay bales in the field bales of hay
Arrangement of hay bales stretching back into the field.
oranges in blue colander kitchen photography
I like the pop of orange against the deep blue in this kitchen counter arrangement...

Almost finished – I promise!  lol!  🙂

red stirrers red stirring straws photo
Stir things up!

And finally —

stack of pans commercial kitchen silver baking pan stack photo
I love the lines and stacks of equipment in a professional kitchen. Last time I was in one this stack of pans just caught my eye... 🙂

I know that was a bunch of photos!  Thanks for sticking it out and making it to the end.  🙂  Let me know what you think… and as always – thanks for stopping by!

Also – make sure and check out what some of the other bloggers are posting for this challenge!  🙂



raindrops on blade of grass macro photography
after the storms this afternoon~

a little rain must fall,
i know it’s true,
on me and you..
but what if we could stay
warm and dry…
would you want to try?

can you face the dark
on the blackest night?
will you be alright?
or does it quicken
that darkness, too,
that lives in you?
it brings a flood
of misery
back down on me —
the downpour never
seems to end
and we’re here again…
where you
make the easy choice
and i have no voice.
stripped bare
by your sharp neglect,
shouldn’t you protect?

the rain devours me
and you still crawl
was it worth the fall?
shame and stench
of your temptation
was it an obligation?
the tired cliché,
a storm has passed,
come clean at last…
pounded out
upon these stones
your fragile bones ~
broken but free
bring me light again
& end this salted rain.

~heather m. tolley

beaded raindrops on leaves of rosebush

This was one of those times that I started typing and the words just came out… I haven’t reread it so it might be really REALLY bad!  🙂  If that’s the case, please go easy on me in the comments, okay?  🙂

thanks for stopping by~

Let’s Enter the Epiphanie Bags “Picture It” Photo Contest!

If you’re interested in photography and anything like me you probably have a gear wish list that exceeds your budget… lol!  That’s why I got SO excited when I saw that Epiphanie Camera Bags was having a giveaway!  If you’re not familiar with their products you should definitely check out the website.  Their bags are a modern, stylish way to safely carry your camera equipment without having to lug around an unattractive camera bag.  (Incidentally, that’s what I’ll continue to do until I can afford an alternative!  lol)  The winner will not only receive a 16×20 photo canvas from ‘Canvas Pop’ – they’ll also receive an Epiphanie Bag!!  If this sounds at all interesting you ought to check it out!  One of the ways to earn an entry in the contest is to post your photo submission – the topic is “green” – but you need to do it soon because the contest ends on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 11:59PM CST!

There were several photo options I considered for my entry, but since I’ve recently been researching small space gardening I opted to go with a veggie photo – a green tomato on the vine!  Hope you enjoy!

green tomato small space garden epiphanie bags contest
I entered the Epiphanie Camera Bags Picture It photo contest.


Hope you have a great Friday!  🙂


Weekly Photo Challenge: Through (#2)

I know I already did a post of photos for the “through” challenge, but there were several shots I didn’t include.  Then I took some shots a couple of days ago and thought one of them would be another good interpretation of this challenge, so I decided to post another set with some of the originals that didn’t make the first cut.  lol!  Hope you enjoy!  🙂


blue macaws on tree branch photograph photo
A pair of macaws seen through the branches of the trees...


rocking chair through the window photo
Rocking chair through the window~


Tunnel walkway - sidewalk path under the road
Through the tunnel! One of the local greenway paths winds back and forth through different neighborhoods and includes this tunnel under the road...


seaside beach dune walkover architecture photo
Through the posts! This is a photo from one of the beach paths over the dunes in beautiful Seaside, Florida. Lovely location!


Finally, the shot I got a couple of days ago —


red tulip petals and yellow stigma photo
Through the petals of this gorgeous red tulip you can see the stigma peeking out...


Hope you enjoyed these shots!  You can check out my other entry for this challenge here…  Thanks for stopping by!  🙂


Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Well, I typed an entire post and tried to add the last photo only to have the whole post disappear.  I stared at the screen with a stunned expression, went to look at the draft and guess what?  It had already auto-saved the blank screen.  Nice.  lol!  Guess I’m still a little grumpy from being sick all week…  🙂

Ok.  Enough of that!  The original post was about how much I missed participating in the weekly photo challenge each week on The Daily Post.  It’s something I really enjoy and great fun even if your blog doesn’t focus on photography!  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the challenge, this is how it works (instructions taken from The Daily Post):

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.


Check it out or try it on your blog – just make sure you come back here and let me know so I can come visit the post!  🙂  If you’d like to start this week, the challenge is “Through”.  Photos taken “through” something or framed by something… what would YOUR interpretation be?  Here are some of mine:


photo of playground swings through slide
Swings at the playground taken through one of the holes in a tunnel slide. (You can't say you're surprised - you knew I was just a big kid! lol)


abandoned warehouse windows
For some reason I love all the details you can see through this abandoned warehouse window! The windows on the front of the building, the row of light bulbs... I took a lot of shots that day so you may end up seeing more of them. 🙂


And finally –


community pool through chain link fence photo
"No Swimming" - community swimming pool through the fence taken the day after it was closed for the summer...


Hope you enjoyed & hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

~heather  🙂