Comments and conversations

Yesterday’s request for questions met with a great response. Thirteen, to be exact. I’m going to answer all of them by grouping them into themes.

1. Plants, flowers, and trees.
from Shalz75: Seeing the gorgeous fall pictures I am wondering if you
could share the names of these trees and perhaps share some more such pics.

Our trees are maple, ash, hickory, and red and white oak, for the most part. We have willow trees, but I haven’t photographed very many of them. We also have white pine, various types of spruce, and various other coniferous trees. Maple trees are the ones that get those beautiful red and yellow leaves. Yes, you can expect more photographs of trees, as the leaves get closer to reaching their peak colors.

from Corinne Rodrigues: Great idea for a post, Alice. 
Do you call chrysanthemums, ‘mums’?

Yes, I do. It’s easier to pronounce and far easier to spell! I try to avoid writing down words that I can’t spell!!

from Barbara Radisavljevic: What are your three favorite trees?

White pine, shagbark hickory, and Japanese maple are my favorite among trees that will grow in Western New York.

My dream is to see and touch trees that don’t grow here. I’m thinking of the redwood and giant sequoia and the baobab trees. 

From Reema D’Souza: Lovely pictures as always! My question to you is, which are
your favourite flowers?

Some of my favorite flowers are: portulaca grandiflora, mainly because of the vivid colors; sunflowers, because they are large and face the sun; and coneflowers, because they attract bees.

from Ls: I love your pictures, Especially the flowers and greens.
Many of them are alien to me in India. Give some suggestions on how to plan a

Thank you very much. My suggestions will have to be general. I looked up India and found a wide variety of ecosystems, including mountain, plains, forests, rain forests, coast, desert, islands, and more. There’s an incredible amount of biodiversity in India! When you are planning a garden, it’s always best to plan around native plant species for your region. They grow best, and they will attract pollinator insects and birds. They also will be tolerant of however much moisture that you receive and the type of soil that you have. Once you’ve chosen native species, you can then try to mix plants in terms of color and size. 

from Why is the sky blue and the leaves green?

Oh, wow. Light from the sun enters the atmosphere and collides with molecules in the air. The blue part of light, and light is made up of all colors, is scattered more widely than any other colors… hence, a blue sky. 

The leaves are green because of photosynthesis. The green covers up other colors that are natural to the leaves. When photosynthesis stops in the fall, the yellows and reds and oranges and browns become visible.

2. Exploring the world
from Alana: OK, you asked. My question is not related to any of your fine flower photographs. What was your most enjoyable long distance walk and why?

Wow, this actually very challenging to answer. There have been wonderful things about each walk. But I would have to say that the Witness Against War walk in 2008 was probably the most enjoyable. It took seven weeks and we created a walker community during that time. We stayed with many different host families as we walked from Chicago, Illinois, to Saint Paul, Minnesota. It was a fantastic way to explore cities, suburbs, and countryside. Walking along the upper Mississippi River was spectacular. I would love to go back there and paint. It was truly beautiful.

3. Photography
from Natasha: Lovely fall colours Alice. Do share with us how your passion
for photography and writing took you to a new journey.

I’ve kept a diary for many years and I documented my adventures that way. Of course, no one read the diary but me so it was a very private journey. When I started my blog, I had no idea of how to maintain a blog. At the time, I didn’t have a digital camera. I was using disposable cameras to take pictures for the local newspaper and that was kind of expensive. The editor suggested that I get a digital camera. That’s when I started adding photography to my blog posts. I’ve taken thousands of pictures since then. It’s been a great adventure.

From SciFi Fan: What thoughts run through your head when you’re taking your lovely pictures?

My thoughts include… I hope that this picture is focused… I hope that the humans in the pictures keep their eyes open… Can I fulfill my weekly challenge? Where’s the bug that I want to photo… oh there it is. Hurry up and take a picture of the bug. In short, my thoughts are random and, I like to think, entertaining.

From mahathi Ramya A: How did you get interested in photography? Which camera/phone do you use to capture?

When I started as a freelance journalist for a local weekly newspaper, I was told that I had to take my own photographs. So I started taking pictures for the newspaper. That was when I really got interested in photography. The camera that I use is a Pentax Q. It is a mirrorless digital camera with interchangeable lenses.

from Nidhi Garg: Lovely post, Alice. Which skills make you feel more connected with life, photography or writing?

Although I feel that both connect me with life in different ways, I will have to choose photography. That gets me outside and exploring, looking for something interesting to photograph. It also helps me to see the world as a beautiful place, because I see so many amazing and vivid images from the very tiny (insects and flowers) to large, expansive landscapes. It helps me to see people in a different light. I love taking their photographs and I always tell them that they look very attractive… and they do.

4. writing and journalism
Nut-a-tut asked: How do you decide whom to interview?

Sometimes, I am asked to interview a specific person, either by the editor of the Island Dispatch or by friends of the person to be interviewed. Sometimes, the interviews happen by magic, or so it seems.

Other times, I pick someone at random and interview that person. Interviewing and photographing a stranger was my challenge for week 35 of the 52 week photography project. That was an interesting experience.

from Jeanine Byers: Oh, I can think of lots of questions, but I’ll limit myself
to a few…
(1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
(2) Did you major in journalism?
(3) Have you ever written fiction, and if so, what did you
(4) What does this blog mean to you, personally and/or

1) I first started thinking about being a writer, when I was in fourth grade, and I tried to write a play and draw a comic strip.
2) Did you major in journalism?
Yes, I have a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.
3) Yes, I have written fiction. When I was in college, I took a fiction writing class and I wrote a series of short stories. When I went to journalism school, I attempted to write a novel but never finished it. In January of 2015, I wrote a series of stories about bears, including a radio station bear, a seagoing bear, and an art museum bear.  I am planning on expanding those stories in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
4) The blog started out as an outlet for me to tell stories and to express myself. Over the years, it has grown to be more than that. It has turned into personal journalism and I’ve been able to share other people’s stories, as opposed to only my own, which is how it began. I’m not sure where I want to take it professionally. Right now, the blog is a labor of love. It would be wonderful if I could learn how to make this some sort of paid work.

5. Last comment
Thank you, everyone, for reading this blog and for your questions. You are very much appreciated. Please keep visiting. I really enjoy sharing stories with you.

7 thoughts on “Comments and conversations”

  1. Wow, those were great questions and great answers!! Thanks for answering my questions! I love to ask journalists if they have ever written fiction because (a) they always have and (b) they often want to go on to write fiction professionally.

  2. Wow! That was quite a lot of information I gathered while reading your answers, Alice! Your answers tell your readers a lot about you and so, in a way, it was nice t get to know you a little better than I'd have known otherwise.

  3. It was so nice reading this. I enjoyed your blog before and now I will enjoy it even more with this background in mind. And, yes, walking along the upper Mississippi would have been awesome – I've only been to Minnesota once (including an overnight stay in Minneapolis with one of my husband's cousins, who was going to law school there at the time) and I would love to go back one day.

  4. WOW< what great questions and like your other readers I love the flowers you share. The horses are beautiful and I was excited to learn more about you and why you do what you do.

  5. I love your photos. I also had a dream from primary school to be a writer. This year I am being published as a co-author and next year my own book will be published. Right now my blog is a labour of love too.
    You mentioned the November writing challenge – have you got any tips for anyone thinking of taking part? I am interested but don't want to be too overwhelmed by the commitment ?

  6. Thnak you for answering my question and I am looking forward to seeing the pics of the brilliant hues fo the fall colours on the trees. We have a variant of the Maple in Kashmir and it turns a brillaint red/orange/rust shades that are a delight with photographers here!

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