Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Trip to Alaska

This morning I boarded the plane at 7 am bound for Alaska to attend a photo workshop in Denali Park.  My big-girl camera was packed in my camera bag so all of these images were made with my point and shoot. 

Totally full plane

Flying over Chicago where I transferred flights

The scene as we approached Anchorage

Flying over the outskirts of Anchorage

I thought I was well prepared to keep myself occupied on the plane.  It was a two hour flight to Chicago, then a 6 . 5 hour flight to Anchorage.  I had my electronic book loaded with a brand new book (House Rules by Jodi Picoult) and my recently charged ipod. 

Well, it was too noisy to listen to the ipod and the only way to watch movies/tv on the plane was to pay for it and for some reason I just didn't want to do that (pay) this time, and wouldn't you know it - - my e-reader battery died---aaarghhh!   So I spent some time working on the sudoko and crossword puzzles in the onflight magazine, and still had time to spare. 

In desperation I got out my point and shoot and started taking photos of my soda can.  Well that kept me busy for, hmmm, let's see, maybe about 15 minutes.  Fortunately by then we were pretty close, so I forced myself to sit still and do nothing - - which, for your information, is practically impossible for me to do successfully!

So we finally arrived.  My roommate was on the same plane, although in a different section of the plane, so we arranged for a shuttle to bring us to the hotel.  We checked in and unpacked - - kind of. 

This is where it gets really interesting because it's another one of those situations that would make you snicker if you read it in a novel.  Caleb (my baby who's been living in North Pole, AK for the past two years), just left for Florida two days ago. Good timing, huh?  North Pole is about an 8.5 hour drive from Anchorage.  It just so happened that Caleb's girlfriend is in Anchorage (she lives in Fairbanks, right next to North Pole) for a work situation and a wedding on Saturday.  Really!!!  what are the chances that she would be in Anchorage on the very weekend that I arrive?

Anyway, long story short, we were able to go out to dinner and play catch-up on getting to know one another.  It was awesome.

While looking for a place to park, I saw this license plate and told her she just had to stop so I could photograph it.  She did. I think she's a keeper . . .

After dinner we took the dog for a short walk around downtown Anchorage and I got a few more shots for the record.

Visitor's Center

Flowers at the Visitor's Center

Tori and Kashmir

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Some More Albany" & "Now For the Good News"

Another Albany scene.  Another HDR.

Directly out of the camera
HDR version

We decided to get something to eat, but first I had to get the address of a particular building that I photographed.  We packed our gear in the car, grabbed our purses and headed to the building with the intention of finding a restaurant after getting the address. As we approached the building we saw this great scene under an over-pass.  Of course, our cameras were two blocks away, locked in my car, but I remembered I had my point and shoot in my purse. Trish was a willing model and I was able to get this shot.  Maybe we'll go back with the big guns and get some really creative images.

And now for the good news.  In just about 36 hours I'll be boarding a plane for Alaska!  Yup, off to a photo workshop in Denali Park, AK.  Very excited and hoping I get at least a few keepers. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Day in Albany

Well . . . it wasn't actually a day, it was more like a few hours.  A friend and I decided to go to Albany to photograph some of the architecture.  We didn't have a particular destination in mind, but as we drove down Central Avenue, we stopped where it looked good and then moved on.  The weather was wonderful and the sky was blue.  Almost too good to be true.

We ended our photo safari at this little plaza. I was beginning to think HDR again so I gave it a try on this scene. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

700 . . .  But Who's Counting ? ?

As I was getting ready to write this post, I noticed that as of my last post, I have blogged 700 times.  Wowzer.  But really, if I had been more faithful, I could have achieved that many in just two years, and the last I noticed, I began this blog in July of 2006 -- 5 years ago. (I actually had to go back and look because I forgot -- but I know it was the summer I went to Hawaii for the first time to help my daughter get settled in for graduate school.)

So I've averaged 140 posts / year, which really isn't terribly accurate because for one year I posted every day (minus about 3 times) during a challenge I had with some friends.  Anyway . . . I'm sure these statistics aren't knocking your socks off, but I'm impressed that I've kept this up for 5 years.

So . . . . in light of that bit of trivia, here's my post for today.  Actually, I made these images yesterday.  I had an assignment to create some holiday images.  I converted my sewing room into a temporary photo studio and this is what I came up with . . . so far.  I have a few more ideas, but I needed to go for a bike ride today.

My temporary "studio" has north facing windows, but they're small and the light is uneven, so I had to use a flash.  I took it off the camer and bounced it off the ceiling to avoid creating shadows.  I think I've got the beginning of a Christmas card collection. 

So there you have it, post #701.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Friday Hike

Yesterday was one of the best days of the summer.  I went hiking.  Usually there are 3 or 4 of us, but this time only 2 of us could make it.  The other person is a photographer, so we knew before we started out that this would be a photography hike, as opposed to a hike during which we might get a few shots on our point-and-shoots. 

Before we arrived at the trailhead, we stopped at a pull-off where there was a pretty stream. I totally forgot to take my tripod, so I couldn't do any hdr work.  Jane, however, not only remembered her tripod, but she had her infrared camera with her and was concentrating on refreshing her infrared skills.  While she was working, I was trying desperately to photograph something, anything that was interesting but didn't include the sky. 

This was the best I could do.  Too bad there wasn't a cow or something standing on the other side of the fence.

As you can see, this was a short hike, more of a trail--some incline, but not up a mountain.  It was a beautiful walk.

There was a small lake at the end of the trail, and there were a lot of these sweet little flowers.  While Jane was working on her infrared, I decided to try, for the first time ever (I think), the macro setting on my slr.  Now I've used that setting on my point-and-shoot many times, but never on the big boy.  Pretty amazing.  The wind was blowing these flowers around, but I held onto the stem with one hand and shot with the other.  Not too bad, although not critically sharp.

So here's the lake--practically the same scene in horizontal and verticle.  I like them both, but have a very, very slight preference for one of them.  Which do you like better?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

 It's the Little Things

I've discovered over the years that often it's the little things that bring pleasure or get me psyched.  Here are a few examples:

1)  About two years ago I purchased a new lens.  I loved the focal range and it seemed to be a very good lens.  But lately I began to notice that the images weren't sharp.  Even after sharpening in Photoshop, they weren't as crisp as I felt they should be. 

Well . . . I was going to buy another lens (an L-series Canon lens = big $s), but I decided to send mine back to the company so they could check it first.  I called, told them my thoughts and said I would need the lens returned by Aug. 20 since I'm leaving for Alaska on the 26th.  They assured me the lens would be in my hands before then.

Eureka ! !  I received it today.  Gotta love Tamron.  Not only do they have great customer service, but their lenses are guaranteed for 6, yes-that's SIX full years from date of purchase.  I haven't put it on the camera yet, but I'm still happy. (I know, I know this image is soft - - I handheld the camera in low light without flash)

2)  We have two dogs and two cats.  Needless to say, there's an issue with dog hair and fur flying around all the time.  That means that I have to vacuum quite often - - ugh ! 

The other day I was in the store, browsing, when I came across this gadget.  It's a Swiffer-Vac.  Now, I've heard of the original Swiffer, and the Swiffer-mop, but this one was new to me.  It's a Swiffer (with the Swiffer cloth), AND a vacuum.  So it catches dust/hair on the cloth and then sucks up more into the vacuum.  OMGoodness ! ! !  That means I don't have to lug out the big, clunky vacuum every time I want to clean up a little.  When done, you plug it in so it can charge and then when you use it, it's cordless.  Sweeeet !

Check it out in the store, you might like it.

3)  For several years now I've been whining about what a bother it is to need glasses. My distance vision is good enough that I don't usually need my glasses for TV, movies, driving or anything that's at least three feet away.  But heaven forbid I go into the supermarket without my purse (in which my glasses usually reside), cause then I can't read a single label.  Or forget it if I'm in a part of the house where I haven't left a pair of glasses . . . 

As a result, I purchased about 1/2 dozen pair of those inexpensive magnifying glasses and there's a pair in every part of the house and in every bag I own, in addition to my prescription glasses.  What a PAIN ! ! ! 

Well, yesterday I finally got . . . . . . . . drumroll please . . . . . . . CONTACTS ! ! ! ! !  I'm sooooo psyched.  Still can't see without my glasses really close up, but seeing the computer is good along with many other close things that required glasses before.  Be.       Still.     My.      Heart !

These things may not be a new house, brand new car, jewels, trips, furs or fancy new furniture, (none of which I would refuse if they came my way, thank you very much), but they make me really happy and remind me to count my blessings no matter how small. 

Hopefully you can rejoice in and enjoy the small blessings that have come your way lately. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Zooquarium

Yesterday we took the kids to the Zooquarium.  Pretty interesting and the kids had a good time. 

Seems like 3 out of 4 homes and businesses here in Cape Cod have Hydrangea bushes in their yards.  They're so beautiful and there are many different colors.  This one was in the yard of a gift shop.

I haven't found a single interesting vanity license plate here, but I did find this sign at the same gift shop as mentioned above.  

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cape Cod

Born and raised in NYC.  Residing in upstate NY for all of my adult life.  Many trips to Maine, NH, VT & MA, but never have been to Cape Cod. 

Until Now!

Spent some time at the beach yesterday.  The kids finally got themselves busy creating a sand castle of sorts.  Grabbed this shot just before we started getting ready to leave for home.  Dang, they're cute!

New England beaches have their own beauty.  I love the beach grasses and paths leading to the beach from the parking areas.

And then there are the occasional really colorful beach umbrellas.