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California Dreams

After spending a week in northern California and bringing back thousands of photos, JR has narrowed them down to a gallery of about a hundred of the best posted online for your enjoyment – and purchase if you like.

It was a whirlwind road trip originally just to take her mom to see the redwoods. From San Francisco to the northernmost edge of California and back, it became a never ending string of scenic landscapes and seascapes.

It started with a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. A stop along the way at a rustic inn provided the inspiration for seascapes with crashing waves on ancient waterworn rocks and an opportunity for some amazing seaside photography. Making special outings in the early morning and late evening, JR took photos using the special light that can only be found in sunshine reflected on the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Further up the coast, an oceanside town held more than she ever hoped for. Early morning photo excursions resulted in a jetty full of  noisy seals, a beach with the incoming tide swirling around a companion’s feet and a small lighthouse on an island only accessible at low tide.

Returning south using an inland route gave open vistas of forested valleys. The beautiful, misty look of these scenes was bittersweet because the mist was in many cases smoke from nearby forest fires.

Next came the unique grandeur of Yosemite. Nowhere else can you find the scale of trees hundreds of feet tall that are only dwarfed by nearby shear rock walls.

And lastly the city by the bay, where everyone leaves their heart, San Francisco. This is where JR got some great shots of the island of Alcatraz, the fishing fleet, and some very cooperative seagulls.

All of these and more are available at the Wizard’s Touch Designs Online Shop. Picture one of these amazing landscapes or seascapes on your wall. Large quality framed prints, stretched or traditional canvas are delivered ready to hang.

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Angel in the Mists

A montage portraying the vision of Ruth Ann Dodge in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Black Angel in her vision offered her water that sparkled as diamonds

A montage portraying the vision of Ruth Ann Dodge in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Black Angel in her vision offered her water that sparkled as diamonds

Ruth Ann Dodge was the wife of General Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War veteran and the chief engineer of the Transcontinental Railroad.

In September of 1916 she had a vision of a young woman in a glistening white garment. The young woman carried a grecian urn filled with water that “glistened, glittered and sparkled like millions of diamonds.” The woman urged her to drink from it saying that it contained a blessing. But Ruth felt she was not ready to drink from it just yet.

Ruth had the vision three times. On the third occurrence of the vision, she drank from the water and died a few days later.

Her daughters commissioned Daniel Chester French to create the Black Angel statue to the strict criteria of their mother’s visions and he succeeded. It stands today near the entrance of Fairview Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

This montage, available in our online store, highlights the mystery of the Black Angel statue by overlaying it with the beauty of the mists and sparkling closups of crystals and other materials.

More material about Iowa’s Black Angels can be found at http://www.prairieghosts.com/oakland.html.

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JR Wins Honorable Mention

JR’s piece, And the Crowd Goes Wild has won Honorable Mention at Metropolitan Community College Photo Club’s show A Certain Light being held at Hot Shops Nicholas Street Gallery now through March 29. The silver prints as a diptych, which is two prints in the same frame, are multiple exposures of the crowds from a Nebraska Huskers game in 2014.

Two other pieces that were accepted in the juried show were Family Garden, which is a lumen using objects set directly on light sensitive material then set out in the sun, and Ghost Walk which is an archival pigment print.


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The Magik Apple

Mortar and pestle, candle and potion combine to create a spell of fantasy and wonder.

Ancient stone walls echo with voices of the long-dead. Moisture condenses on every surface and is heard dripping unseen in the distance. Candle flames dance with each cold draft that sweeps through the room. The evil queen begins to mutter incantations as the growing mist from her potion enfolds her. Powerful forces from the other side are building in the bright red fruit in front of her. A glamour spell will disguise the queen as she delivers the apple that will carry the curse of eternal sleep to the beautiful princess.

Let your fairy tale imagination run wild with this studio photo of the tools of spell work. Mortar and pestle, candle and potion combine to create a spell of fantasy and wonder. To purchase this design click on the picture or for some other versions of the same subject go to the studio still life gallery in our online store.


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The Piano Man

Piano bar

“Sing us a song, you’re the piano man.” Click on the photo to go to this item in our online store.

“It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday, the regular crowd shuffles in…” So starts The Piano Man, the classic song by Billy Joel. The song is the inspiration for this mood-filled studio photo by JR.

From a day when smoking and drinking were constant bar companions, the late evening shading and brick wall reflection of this scene are reminiscent of the typical piano bar.

As a canvas wrapped wall hanging, or poster this photo would bring a feeling of sophistication to anywhere from a quiet lounge to a man cave. It’s even available on a set of coasters. You can find this photo here in our online store or just click on the picture above.

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Facing Challenges for the Perfect Shot

Any artist knows that they will do almost anything for their art. For photographers like JR that means literally going out on a limb or climbing a rock face to get that perfect shot. The real danger comes when the photographer spends more time watching their subject than their own surroundings as JR found out during a trip to Colorado.

Rams standing on a rocky outcrop.

JR was driving through the Rocky Mountains with her uncle. He lives in the area and was giving her the grand tour. They are both photographers so they were constantly on the look out for the outstanding wildlife and landscape shots that the Rockies are famous for.

Suddenly JR shouts “Stop!” Above them on the side of the mountain, two rams are posing on a rock outcropping. So JR’s uncle pulls over and stops as quietly as he can. What neither of them noticed was that the passenger side of the car was at the very edge of the road with nothing but a fifty foot drop below.  As JR got out of the car she realized that her feet were not touching the ground. With the help of her uncle, JR managed to barely escape back into the car without falling to the rocks below.

The entire time that JR was fighting for her life the rams just stood there and watched the stupid humans. I’m sure they were as entertained as any tourist in the area. Finally JR managed to get to safe footing and snapped several pictures of the rams before they leaped away. After the episode was over JR’s uncle admitted that the only thing he could think of was trying to figure out how he was gonna tell JR’s husband what happened.

If you know someone who is a fan of the outdoors this photo from the Colorado Rocky Mountains would make a terrific addition to their decor. Its available in everything from poster prints, canvas wrapped wall art to mouse pads and refrigerator magnets. Just click on the photo to go directly to that item in our online shop.

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Quit Monkeying Around For Gift Ideas

This is dinner?

So mom, it’s late, you just get home from work, you’re tired and you don’t feel like cooking. Then someone asks that question you hear every night, “What’s for dinner?” Wouldn’t you love to just throw some raw carrots in front of them and say, bon appétit. We know you’re a good mom and you would never do that but now you can show someone what could happen if you ever hear that question again.

This photo, taken of one of the gorillas at Omaha Nebraska’s Henry Doorly Zoo at feeding time, is titled This is dinner? You can tell from the disappointed look on the monkey’s face he was expecting a little more than just a handful of carrots.

If you’re looking for a different sort of gift for the family member who seems to always be hungry, give them a gift with this unusual gorilla picture. It comes on a variety of shirts, hats, drink ware, magnets and posters. This framed print is perfect for the executive office.

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Summer Blooms For A Winter Day

This lily close-up is available for sale in our online gallery.

Most of the country is covered in snow or at least a lot colder than normal for this time of year. So what better time to think with fond remembrances of the flowers of summer.

Our gallery, Summer’s Blooms, is a collection of photos taken in JR’s backyard garden and has a wide variety of flowers including lilies, passion flowers and more, all with a unique close-up perspective that will introduce you a new beauty of the blossoms shown there.

The Castor plant has a strange foreign beauty in this close-up found in our gallery.

All of the photos in the gallery are available in a range of sizes and formats from print to poster, canvas wall hangings, and even mugs, magnets, and mouse pads in our online shop hosted by Smugmug.

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A Storm for the Season

Lake Tahoe, Nevada on a cold, stormy afternoon.

The seasons are changing and for many of us not in a good way. If you are like me, you are not looking forward to the cold days ahead. On the other hand maybe you like cold and cloudy; the days that show how nature is beautiful even in her stormiest forms.

This photo taken on a cold, stormy afternoon at Lake Tahoe, Nevada is one of my favorites. It portrays the feeling of that day.

Prints of this photo are available in our online store. This photo would make a great gift for someone who enjoys the beauty of the season.

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The Veil Between Worlds Becomes Thinner

Reflection of the general and his wife in the window of his old administrative building.This is the time of year when we see ghosts walk the land. Dark images flash in the corner of your eye. Reflections in windows seem to take on a life of their own. Scenes from the past return to life for a moment and then disappear just as quickly.

As part of her montages of history series, JR has created this ghostly reflection of a civil War officer and his lovely young wife in an old window of the administration building. Fall leaves displayed around the window make this a perfect autumn print. Find this and more at http://shop.wizardstouchdesigns.com

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