At age ten, I received an Agfa camera as a Christmas gift from my father. With it was a roll of film that allowed for twelve images. It was Christmas day – I chose each shot with great care, utilizing three “cube” flash bulbs – a revolutionary idea since one cube had four bulbs, one on each side. I can still recall the smell of a blown bulb, and recall the milky melted mass the bulb became after use,  and feel the unnerving heat they gave off just over my eye as they blew.

My father also gave me a developing kit – a “junior” developing kit. As a hobby, he had been a photographer and had developed his own work in a darkroom. But this must have been his first try with a junior kit – all my photos were ruined. I was crushed. He was crushed.

For the next year or so he gave me tips about lighting and setting up a shot for context and perspective and interest. He talked to me about how he had learned camera settings by noting, literally logging in a notebook, the settings for each shot and then reviewing and studying the outcome of each frame. I didn’t go to that extent with my little frame and shoot camera.

And for years I’ve taken snapshots to record my family’s history.

Now, all these years later, my father and his advice a memory, I have rediscovered my love for photography.

From Winter 2007 until Spring 2012 I photographed the seasonal activity in nature at a pond near my home. I photo-blogged about it at SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy.com

Almost never do I enhance or alter an image with the myriad tools that are available for digital photography. My objective is to show in pixels what the eye sees – without interference, either in the moment the image is taken nor back at the computer after the image is downloaded.

At the end of the day, I review what my eye and camera have seen. From the  images, I pick and share with you the ripest, those that are most like what my naked eye saw – in color, lighting, mood, and action.

I hope you enjoy what I’ve seen.


  1. Love your photos. You’ve reminded me of my early cameras and those funny cube flashes. My first very own camera was a Polaroid that took B & W pictures. I took my first selfie with it in the 60’s! I think Colin Powell beat me by about 10 years!

    • Thanks for your visit and comment!
      I never had a Polaroid camera though I grew up not far from the Polariod headquarters.
      My father had a Polaroid “pack film” instant camera among his equipment in the late ’60s/early ’70s.
      In my early years, I don’t think I ever thought to turn a camera on myself, so I don’t think I have early selfies. (Not very creative…!)
      Politics aside, Colin Powell’s youthful selfie is great! I love it!
      Have you posted your selfie from the ’60s? I’d love to see it!
      PS If you want to read my writing blog, it’s at sublimedays.com
      Here at The Ripest Pics, I only post photos.

      • Colin’s early selfie reminded me that I had been a trend setter too! 🙂 Unfortunately my selfie is in a packing case in storage in England. One day when I dig it out, I will post it. 😀

  2. Hello Mary,
    Beautiful photographs. I have a few meager pics on my site but my goodness what a difference between my amateur effort and your polished professional eye.
    Like you I got my start in photography from my dad…we built a darkroom in the basement. I am happy to have found both your sites.

    • Hi Ron, Thanks again for the comments and follows. I’m so glad you’ve found my sites too and I’m glad you enjoy the photos. Hope you saw the ones of Maine! I appreciate your compliments but please know I have no real training in photography! I have sold some and had several exhibits but I’m really in the junior league when it comes to professional photography. I guess I’d say that I shoot from the heart and some photos come out pretty well. In the past seven years, I have done a lot of photography but not much before then other than family snapshots. What got me into it was a nature photoblog I posted to for five years when I lived near a pond. If interested check out http://www.SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy.com I started that blog in 2007 with a beat up Canon Powershot. Maybe a year later I bought my first “real” camera – a Nikon D40. It came with an 18-35mm lens. So I worked with only that for a long while. But it became really frustrating as I became more drawn to taking photos of birds and wanted to get closer with my shots. So, I bought a refurbished 55-200mm lens. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!!! It worked great for a year, then it stopped responding to auto focus… Actually, learning to respond fast in manual was one of the greatest learning times for me. So, I’m still really happy I had that lens. A few years ago, Nikon came out with a 55-300mm lens. I invested in it (it’s not terribly expensive). For me, it’s the perfect lens. It’s not as heavy or huge as a 400mm and it takes great hand-held photos. The 400 really needs to be on a tripod for full zoom. For the kind of photography I was doing – tracking birds in flight, responding to surprises in nature – I needed the flexibility of handheld but also good zoom. The 300mm lens is my always favorite except when I want wide-angle shots. Then I switch to the 18-35mm. I still have so much to learn and am now thinking of taking a basic course! I really don’t know how to use all the features – even some elementary stuff.
      That you spent time in a darkroom with your dad at a young age means you probably know way more than I do about the technical aspects of photography. I’ve been to your site but look forward to spending more time there and following.
      Thanks so much, Ron.

  3. Pingback: A Picture Worth A Thousand Words, But Is It Worth $69.00? A Review of RescuePro The Application That Recovers Deleted Photos From A SanDisk | sublime days

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