Thursday, December 31, 2009

Parents-a blessing

I have really been counting my blessing lately. I guess as you get older you begin to do that. Today is the last day of 2009 and I know that 2010 will be as blessed for me. My greatest blessing is my relationship with Jesus Christ. But 2nd to that is my family. I have wonderful parents who raised me to be a hard worker but to always live my life with integrity. Thank you mom and dad (now we call Granddaddy and Grandmama!). I have a dear husband who puts up with my outbursts and my short memory (I am always losing things!), and I have 3 precious children--a new son-in-law and a boyfriend-in-law too. I get to spend my days working with amazing folks at New Prospect Elementary School and touching the lives of 502 children every week.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The mountains are calling

Ronnie and I are headed out tomorrow for our annual trip to the mountains. We usually go in November but couldn't this year because of Ronnie's classes. So we decided to go this week since we are both off. Can't wait for some beautiful scenery and relaxing in the hot tub. It will be a bit colder than our usual trips but hopefully I will find some wonderful things to shoot. (with my camera) We will be staying in a cabin in Pigeon Forge, but we plan to visit Knoxville on Tuesday and although we make this trip often, we have never been to Knoxville. From photos I have seen, it is a beautiful city. (Photo from a previous trip)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sign of the times!

If you have any teenagers in your family, this is almost always what you will see. Especially girls--they just can't survive without their phones. Sometimes I even panic when I realize I left mine at home. How did we ever get along without them. But you know--every now and then I long for the good old days. If you needed to call someone-you just stopped at your local convenience store and used a pay phone. Sorry to say those are long gone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Lies Around the Bend?

As another year comes to a close, I began to think about next year. What lies ahead for 2010? Hopefully a better economy. Perhaps leaders who find their moral compass. Maybe a new member for our family. We don't know what we may encounter in the new year. Like the bend in the road, I don't know what lies ahead. But what I do know is that God is in control. And whatever blessings or trials lie in my path, He will be my rock and my salvation.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Still working on my capturing people skills.
Reagan was a wonderful subject when she was just being herself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


My son, my oldest, whom I adore. He is a joy to be around and a tender soul. He can make you roll in the floor laughing. Just captured one of his "moments" here. Skeet shooting with family on Thanksgiving Day. A new family tradition.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Photo shoot last Sunday with Reagan. She is a precious little girl--my great niece--and easy to take picture of.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Alexander Family

Christmas shoots for Meredith and Reese and the girls-Riley and Bailey.
What a good looking family!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Being a Tiger is still better than being a Gamecock!

Having fun working with some old images tonight. Here is one for today. We didn't get the gift that Tiger fans wanted today but maybe it will come next week. Here an image for good luck. Merry C

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Bench

Another bench--the leaves tell the tale. Once a spot to sit on a summer's eve--a bit too cool on these fall evenings--and dusk comes too soon. Winter is close behind--maybe I'll get a chance to capture some snow on this bench before spring makes its way.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Say hello to Jack-my sister Donna's Caryn Terrier-He is quite a character. He loves to hang his head out the window while riding in the car. He if full of energy but sometimes in the evening will settle down for a snuggle.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Red Barn

One of my favorite shots from our trip to Boone via Charlotte. Went to Charlotte to vist my sister Donna Lynne--then from there to Boone to visit my niece Danielle. While D.L. ran a 5K for Danielle's sorority, Anna (baby sister) and I ventured to Valle Crucis, a quaint village near Boone, and I found this shot. Anyway--I love old barns and this one was in the perfect spot for a picture.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A long way to the top

A couple of weeks ago we took a day trip to Tallulah Gorge. It was a lovely fall day and the leaves were just about at peak. To get to the bottom of the gorge you can walk down about 900+ steps. The problem have to walk back up. My 50+ out of shape legs barely made it. But that wasn't the worst part. For the next 5 days, my calves hurt so much I could barely walk. I think I will stick to trails from now on. They are a little less wearing on the legs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just Precious

I enjoy taking photo of toddlers. They are never worried about posing and just have fun in front of the camera. Caroline was precious and and easy subject. And what amazing blue eyes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Today I took family shots of Bethany, Adam, and Caroline. It was rewarding and fun. I actually took 448 shots. Out of those there are probably 25-35 that I really like. Some of the lighting was too harsh but I am working on editing. Caroline was perfect and so happy. She was an easy baby to get shots of. I think Bethany will be please with some of the shots. And I am learning lots in the process.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Always in Style

Got participate in a photo shoot with real models last week-end. It was lots of fun. This is Joy dressed in clothes from blake & brady boutique; hair by Images; make-up by Amanda; Penny (the car) courtesy of my dad. Photo shoot was at my parents home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


My blog posts have been few and far between lately. Lots to do both at home and school. And since I started with my couponing addicition, I am spending lots of time cutting and planning. But I am saving lots of money. I finally got around to getting some shots. This is one that I took last week. These silos at the end of Highway 187, just draw me in. In the evening the setting sun makes them glow against the darker sky. I have posted a similar image before, but I like this one much better. I especially love the contrast between the older brick silo with the rust at the top and the slick newer ones.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meredith and Reese have a lot of Charleston prints in their home and Reese loves Shrimp boats. This is actually a shot he took with my camera when we were in Gulf Shores 2 summers ago. I editing the image to bring out some of the colors. It turned out pretty well. Gulf Shores, Alabama--July 2008. Taken by Reese Alexander-son-in-law.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three of a kind

Haven't had much of a chance to shoot fall shots yet. But I am headed for the mountains this week-end. This a shot I took in downtown Anderson. Just looking back at some oldies. Love the colors and the symmetry of this shot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh Deere!

My dad owns an old John Deere but these three belong to A.C. Wilson. Classics and you should here them run.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tiny Rider

Agriculture was an important part of the early beginning of southern culture. I was raised in the country and my daddy taught me a love of all things outdoors. The Bowie Farm in Iva, SC held its annual "Old Farm Days Reunion" with many demonstrations and events from the old days of farming. I met this charming young lady on her horse. I didn't catch her name but her steed was Little Bill.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Old Farm Days

Here are 2 new friends I met at the Bowie Old Farm Days in Iva. My dad is on the board that plans and supports the event. They had lots of interesting activities. But these guys were my favorites.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chillin' in the Swamp

This was quite comical with the lone turtle chilling with the ducks.
Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC
Summer 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I just love my mom's garden. This old wheelbarrow has held flowers and even the birdseed from Meredith's wedding. Now it sits rather lonesomely under a tree. It appears to be waiting for its next job.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Last of Summer's Bounty

The tomato vines at my parents' are yielding the last few fruits of the season. They have been plenitful as both my parents have 2 green thumbs. My dad loves to be in the soil...plowing, planting, weeding. My mom is the picker and preparer. But best of all they always share the harvest with friends and family. From blueberries to beans, corn and tomatoes, and now scuppernongs and turnip greens, there is always a crop in season at the Hopkins "Farm". I appreciate that my parents taught me a love of the outdoors and the joy of growing something from a seed that can beautify your yard or provide a delicious meal for your table.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Scuppernongs--The Taste of Fall

Scuppernongs as defined by Wikipedia--A scuppernong (also called "scuppernine" or "suscadine" in parts of Georgia, and "suppeydine" or "scuppeydime" in central and Western North Carolina), is a large type of muscadine, a type of grape native to the southeastern United States. It is usually a greenish or bronze color and is similar in appearance and texture to a white grape, but rounder and about 50% larger and first known as the 'big white grape'.

The fruit of my childhood. Daddy had a huge scuppernong arbor. As children we climbed in it, played house under it and used it as a hiding place during a game of hide and seek. But come September you could smell the fruit on the vine. The smell and taste of scuppernongs bring back a flood of childhood memories for me. My sisters and I picked the ripe fruit which our parents took to work and sold for a quarter a quart. This was our fair money to spend each year when the Anderson County Fair came to town. My dad now has a smaller arbor but the fruit smells and tastes exactly the same. Want to know what fall tastes like--a scuppernong. At least it tastes like fall to me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

All Shapes and Sizes

I thought today I would take a break from posting Charleston images, although I will probably have more to post in few days. I have been thinking about fall lately. There has been that crispness to the air in the evenings and the scuppernongs at my parents are ripe. If you want to know what fall tastes like, try a scuppernong. Don't know what scuppernongs are. Well that will be a post on another day. Fall is my favorite season for shooting images. The colors are wonderful. So I l9oked back through my folders to find some shots from last fall. This one was taken in Cashiers on a visit to see my friend Janis.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Across the River

Here is a view across the Ashley River of the aircraft carrier Yorktown. Charleston, SC

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Along the river

Ronnie and I really enjoyed our visit to Magnolia Plantation. It has such a rich southern history. If you ever get to Charleston, be sure to visit. We did the whole tour which included a tram ride around the plantation, a boat ride through part of the swamp, a tour of the house, a view of 4 original slave cabins. and a self guided tour along 3/4 miles of boardwalk through the swamp. It was all very lovely. If you want to know more here is the web site. I would love to be able to photograph this bridge in the spring when the azaleas and camellias are blooming.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Along the street

To really "see" Charleston, you have to take a stroll down some of the streets in the older parts of town. Ronnie and I parked near the battery and just ambled our way up and down a few of the streets. How neat to peer over a fence or through a gate and see the lovely gardens beyond. It is quite easy to close your eyes and imagine how it was 200 years ago along these quiet thoroughfares.

Monday, September 7, 2009

High Above the Water

Ronnie and I spent a wonderful relaxing week-end in Charleston. We stayed at a hotel near the Ravenel Bridge and got up early (well not too early) to walk to the peak of the bridge. What a beautiful view of Charleston Harbor. More shots coming--I think I probably took 400 pictures over this short weekend. There is so much to see in Charleston. We haven't been in 5 years. I won't wait that long to return.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Look Back

Today I am posting an old photo of my parents wedding day. On October 28, my parents will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. They have stayed true to those vows spoken quite a few years ago. They have taught me to endure, even during the difficult times.

Also pictured here are my grandparents, all now deceased. On the left--my mom's parent--Big Daddy and Big Mama. Although after 25 years of calling her Big Mama, she decided she didn't like that name because she wasn't big and we had to start calling her Grandmama McKinley. Big Daddy used to pour his coffee in a saucer to let it cool and then sipped it from the saucer. We of course had to follow his example.

On the right, my dad's parent's--Mama Lucy and Papa Hop. I didn't know Papa Hop very well. He died when I was about 6. I know he was a barber. But Mama Lucy--who also later changed her name to Grandma--taught us how to crochet and let us cut paper dolls out of her old pattern books.

My grandfathers both died when I was young, but my grandmothers played an important role in my life as a young person.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Standing Tall

With school starting, not much time for taking photos. So I decided to work on my editing skills and went back to some of my old shots from last summer. It is funny how you sometimes dismiss a shot as mediocre, but when you come back to it a while later, you find something pleasing about it after all. This is a shot of the lighthouse on the US Naval Air base in Pensacola. We visited here in the Summer of "08 while vacationing in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Here is a bit of history, taken from

The U.S. government designated Pensacola as a naval base 1824, and authorized a lighthouse for the location--making Pensacola the oldest lighthouse site on the Gulf Coast. At 80 feet in height and blocked by trees; the original lighthouse was not tall or bright enough for the location, and was replaced in 1859. The tower's stands an impressive height of 171 feet which is augmented by it's location on a hill.

The first Keeper, Jeremiah Ingraham, was appointed December 22, 1824 and served as keeper until his death on September 6th 1840. His wife, Michaela, succeeded him and continued as the keeper until her death in 1855.

At the start of the Civil War, Pensacola and the mainland were taken over by Confederate forces while across the bay, Fort Pickens was in Union hands. On April 12, 1861, the same day that the first shot of the Civil War was fired at Ft. Sumter, the occupying confederate troops extinguished the light. They feared the Union Naval ships were using the light to re-supply Ft. Pickens. As part of the siege of Fort Pickens, the lighthouse was used as a lookout tower and cannons and mortars were emplaced in the immediate vicinity. On November 22 and 23, 1861 the opposing sides exchanged canon fire. The lighthouse was struck several times by Union shot but not badly damaged. Following evacuation of the confederates the Union Army tried to re-exhibit the light. They found that the lens and apparatus had been removed. Following the end of the war a fourth-order lens served temporary duty until it was replaced by the present lens.

Prior to 1939, the lighthouse operation was done using clockwork mechanisms. The light was done in oil, whereby the Keeper would have to traverse the spiraling steps of the 171 foot tower with a 5 gallon bucket of oil. In 1939 the old mechanisms were taken out and the lighthouse became electrified. In 1965, the lighthouse operations became automated.

At present time, the Pensacola Lighthouse is maintained by the US Coast Guard, but it is located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The NAS is open to the public, and the grounds are accessible for a lighthouse visit. Tours of the tower are only by appointment or during s
ummer Sundays.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coming Soon

As the air starts to get a little crisper, I have already started thinking about our Annual Family Bonfire the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It is always the one of the highlights of my fall. We have it at my parents. My dad has built a firepit just for the occasion. Here are some shots from last year. All family and friends are invited.
Grandaddy lighting the fire.
Chris roasting a wiener over the fire.
The guys!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last One--I promise

Okay--last Jennifer and Josh shot. I had such fun taking these. Jennifer didn't love it, but Josh is an actor at heart and love working it for the camera. Thanks Josh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Historic Falls

Visited Falls Park again in Downtown Greenville.
A beautiful spot in the Reedy River, with lots of history.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shiny but not new

Took this shot at our Isbell family reunion on Sunday. Someone in the family has restored this beautiful old car. I always wonder about the history of old cars--who road in them--where they have been. Not sure if this one was in the family all along or was purchased for its beauty.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quiet Passion

Playing around with Jennifer and Josh. They make a great pair for a photo shoot.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fresh Flowers

Taken at a friend's home. I noticed this lovely bouquet under the lamp light. It made a nice image. Thank you Janis C.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Quiet Spot

I don't know what it is about benches that is so appealing to me. I think maybe it is because they are usually weathered from the hot sun or various types of precipitation. ( i am getting a little weathered too.) Or maybe because I like to sometimes just sit in a quiet spot. Regardless, if I have my camera and I see a bench I will be looking for a good angle for a shot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Longing for Rain

My parents have a beautiful stream behind their house. My mom has spent many hours planting and tending this garden spot. Right now, due to the lack of rain, there is a dry stream bed and only a bit of stagnant water in the pond. But here is how it looked in the early spring, when everything was green and new. I love summer but I am getting a bit weary of these hot, humid days and the brown, crunchy grass in my yard. Longing for long, soaking rain to refill the stream and the pond. (By the way, my dad built the bridge himself!)