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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Big Trees Indeed in the Bootheel aka "Swampeast" of Missouri...

I have lost track of the number of times I have driven past the sign for Big Oak Tree State Park ( in Southern Missouri. 

Often it's in a hurried rush to get to the beach or a hurried rush to get home from the beach. 

This summer, instead of our usual beach trip, my family headed to Reelfoot Lake, TN for a little fishing and Union City, TN to an awesome Discovery Park ( 
When I realized I could easily head north to Kentucky and take the Dorena-Hickman Ferry across the Mississippi River on the way home and fit in a few hours at Big Oak Tree, I was beyond excited. 

I am always trying to find new experiences for my daughter and I to share. I have to admit the ferry ride kinda pushed my "fear factor" limits, but she loved it. When my feet were on solid ground in Missouri, that's when my appreciation for the ferry finally kicked in. 
It was a little humid (go figure!) for June in Missouri, but Karlene and I really enjoyed the trail we did at Big Oak Tree. It was elevated above a swampy area, so we caught a lot of glimpses of wildlife, plants, and (of course!) HUGE trees. 

My daughter told me several times that she bet those trees could really tell a story. I have to agree. 

They simply tower above you. Beyond their size and age, it's a true moment that makes one realize that we humans are only here but a moment and then gone. I had a similar feeling when exploring the redwoods in Northern California. 

When we were there in June, Big Oak Tree was GREEN and so full of life. I can only imagine the other seasons at this park. It's something I hope to experience soon. Can you imagine these trees covered in ice or fall color? I can! I bet this snake can, too... maybe? 
Overall, taking the "long way home" can be so fun. Sure, the way back from Reelfoot, TN to our home is about 5 1/2 hours. On this June day, we turned it into about DOUBLE that time. A roadtrip, a ferry ride, a beautiful state park, Mexican for a late lunch on the way home...that's a pretty good way to break up a drive and learn more about your country, your place in the world, and much much more! 
I encourage you to take the long way home sometime, and if you can - go see Big Oak Tree State Park. 

Until next time, 
M of MK Designs

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Franklin County Area Photographers: Getting Me OUT and CLICKING!

Sometimes I feel antisocial.

OK, a LOT of the time when I am off the clock I feel antisocial.
I am surrounded by people with my day job, side jobs, and more. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in a sea of people.

Well, yesterday (Saturday) around 5:45pm I found myself sitting on my deck thinking, "Why did I RSVP 'yes' to this...why?"

However, I am someone that when she says she'll go, she goes. And, I am also someone who remembered she helped select the date of the event, so that would be even WORSE if I didn't show. 

I am thankful I did. 

As my images from the photo walk show, it was a beautiful time to go on a shoot!

The Franklin County Area Photographers group that my buddy Tyann Marcink founded several years ago has helped me in many ways. 
#1. I have expanded my (not-so-anti)social circle and made new friends. I enjoy their company greatly, even if I don't see them face-to-face as much as I'd like. 
#2. It gets me off my deck, couch, bed, etc. and SHOOTING. 
#3. How else would I have been able to test out a fixed lens for free yesterday if it wasn't for this group? (Thank you Mr. Covert!)

#4. In all honesty, this group has gotten me through difficult moments. How? See #2, but also note that when they first started hosting Photo Challenges...well, those lists of topics were a guide for my weeks. I would make it a part of my routine and, at the time, it was a WONDERFUL thing to zone in on instead of filling out disclosure papers, etc. for a divorce. 

#5. Now, all these years later, I am in a much happier place in life, but I still find that FCAP is a beautiful part of who I am. Tyann lets me help her with the group at times (even when I am antisocial), and when I look at the people it has brought into my life that I otherwise wouldn't have met... well, that's a joy to me. See #1. 

#6. This has pushed my photography to new places. I have tried new things. I have looked at the familiar in an unfamiliar way. 
This group reminds me of my photo buddies I had back in the day at CMSU (now UCM). We often would bounce ideas, share our images with each other, talk shop, and do photo walks before they were even called that. 
Whatever your hobby, escape, or passion is: make sure it's a healthy one that benefits and grows you as a person. Also, find your "people" - a group like FCAP is a prime example of how much we can benefit from the pack and not always being the lone wolf. (Yes, I made a reference to the classic laugh out loud comedy: The Hangover. Why? Because it's my blog and I can.)
You can find Franklin County Area Photographers on Facebook. Follow our page and pop in from time-to-time to see what we are up to. We have; photo walks, events, giveaways, SUPPORT, and more! 

Until next time, 
~ M of MK Designs Photography

PS Thanks for stopping by!