Monday, December 31, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #23--Groups

So!  This is probably my last post of 2012.  Wow, another one of those "how-did-that-happen?" moments.  Really, didn't the year just begin a few weeks ago?

At the beginning of the year I began labeling my posts with a number, i.e. this is post 144 of 366 days in 2012.  I don't know why I did that--I guess because I like lists and keeping records although I'm not as good at it as I would like to be.  It appears that I blogged an average of once every 2.5 days. That's something like "the average family in America has 2.5 children".  hmmmm

Our scavenger hunt assignment for last week was "groups".  It sounded easy, since Christmas took place last week and it seemed like there would be an opportunity to be in some kind of "group" during the week.  Well, "seeming" easy and "being" easy are two entirely different things.

When we gathered together for brunch on Christmas morning at my daughter's house, I put in a request for a "nice" group shot this year, instead of the usual "everyone standing in the corner so mom can take the obligatory Christmas photo".  In spite of their apparent cooperation, I knew I couldn't push the envelope too much by being too fussy about "sit-up-straight", "turn-your-head-this-way", "please-put-on-a-nicer-shirt", "wait,-let-me-take-another-one,-I-think-you-blinked".  

So because I was only involved in one "group" situation, I decided to make this collage, which in itself constitutes a "group" of photos.  Kind of a loose interpretation of the assignment.  

Tomorrow, Jan 1, 2013, I'm beginning my Thankful Thursday project.  Each evening I'll write one thing I'm thankful for that happened that day, and put the slip of paper in my "Thankful" jar.  Each Thursday morning, I'll pull out one random paper, and by evening I hope to have one photograph to accompany the "thought" and that will be my post for that day.  

To all my blogger friends, I hope you have a fun New Year's Eve and a blessed 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

At The Hospital

Well, I managed to document a little bit of my visit to the hospital this week.  For some of the time I was totally convinced that this photo session wouldn't take place considering how badly I felt yesterday.  But today my body pulled itself together and I felt pretty good.  Then I heard my camera calling my name.  Needless to say, I didn't exactly "work" the subjects, but I got something.


The snowy view from my room

The little gift that was delivered to me from the folks in the operating room.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #22:  Mail

The day after receiving the assignment, "Mail", my mailbox was stuffed with the stuff.  I figured it was as good a day as any to take my photo.  So without even looking at what it was, I threw it down on the living room floor intending to try for a creative image of random, scattered mail.  And then I had an epiphany!

"Why not make it look like part of the Christmas loot?"  So I tried a several different compositions and came up with a couple I liked.

After taking the photos I finally looked at the mail.  Believe me when I say that, except for the small flat-rate box, none of it was worthy of the name "gift".  Bills, bills and more bills. Oh...and an occasional advertisement.  Sigh.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday

A few weeks ago I saw an idea online.  I can't remember if I was blog-surfing at the time or if it was something posted on fb.  In either case, it's been on my mind since then.

My take on it is this:

I labeled a large peanut butter jar with a label saying "Thankful Thursday Jar".  Each day I'm going to write down something for which I'm thankful that occurred on that day.  It won't have to be a huge thing--it could be something as little as finding a parking spot near the store entrance, hearing from a friend, finishing a good book, or it could be something big: coming into an inheritance, getting good news from a medical test, a son or daughter getting married.

The idea is to be aware of "being thankful" FOR all things and IN all things.

Every Thursday morning, I'll randomly pull out one of the papers and write a post about it, ideally with an accompanying photo.   I'll keep accumulating the papers so that by the end of the year, I'll hopefully have 365 things that I've been thankful for in the past year.

If I pull out one I've already used, I'll just pick another.  There are too many blessings to be posting about the same ones.

I'm hoping I can challenge others to do this too so we can share with each other, and any of our readers.  If you decide to join me in this challenge, when you leave a comment on my blog, be sure to leave the link to your blog or fb page so readers can go back and forth.  If posting about this once a week is too much for you, consider posting once a month, but be sure to write your "thankful note" each day.

I'm beginning this on Jan 1, 2013 and my first "Thankful" post will be on Thurs, Jan 10.
hmmmm, I think I'll even date the notes--who knows what this might turn into:  a book, a journal, a MOVIE, a Broadway play!!  I wonder if Sandra Bullock would be available to be me. hahahaha

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just Playing Around

The other day I woke up early and decided to play around with taking some pictures of the lights on the Christmas Tree.  

This first image is pretty much a straight shot of the tree.  I had my camera on a tripod and all the lights in the room were off except for the tree lights.  I pre-focused with a room light on, then after locking the focus, I turned the room light off.  It was actually pretty dim outside, but because of the long exposure, it looks like it was daylight.

I like this one because of the way the lights reflect on the presents at the base of the tree, and even though it looks  bright, you can still see that the tree lights were on.

Then I tried some bokeh.  I haven't done that in about 4 years and almost had forgotten the process.  After a few tries, I got it.  This would have looked a lot better with a foreground subject, but I still think it's kind of funky and it was fun refreshing my memory of the technique.

For this last image I used a technique that I really love--although it can't be used too much or else it's too much, if you get my drift.

I set my lens for a wide angle shot of the tree and put the camera on a slow shutter speed.  I began rotating the lens before I pressed the shutter button and continued rotating the lens slowly the entire time the shutter was open.  This technique yields random results, so you have to take several shots so you can have some to choose from.  

Originally the bottom part of the image was practically black, which wasn't too appealing.  When I put it in photoshop, I lightened all the dark areas, and that yielded some detail in the bottom area, which I think helped "make" the image.  

All of these images were made while the camera was on a tripod.  The last two could be done while hand-holding, but I think that by using a tripod  I was able to get more pleasing images because I was shooting in such dim light and the exposure time was so long.  In the past I've done both bokeh and zooming by hand-holding, but because there was more light, the results were fine.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #21
"The Area Where You Do a Lot of Your Thinking"


Random Images

Last week when we got the assignment, I groaned out loud.  "Where I do a lot of my thinking...."  really?  These days I feel like I don't do any thinking at all.  I just react.  I just do what needs to be done by rote.  I just get through the days on auto-pilot.

Get up in the morning, check the wood furnace, clean out the litter box, take meds, check email, do dishes, vacuum, do laundry, pay bills, shop, cook, wash dishes, clean up cat vomit, put gas in the car.  None of which requires ANY thinking, of ANY kind.

So I was really stymied.  But then I remembered that when I'm in the car, I have a tendency to put my mind in gear and have a few thoughts--not necessarily creative or provocative, but thoughts, nonetheless.

So here you have a photo of "where I do a lot of my thinking".  Whew, glad that one is done.

Now for a couple of random images. Today was fairly warm and sunny.  I finally remembered I had these decals, so I forced myself out the door to put them on my car.  It's supposed to be a wintry mix tomorrow.  So this is my little taste of Hawaii in the midst of an upstate NY winter.

The other night I had to stop at the library and I had a friend with me who had never been to this particular library.  He was totally taken aback with how impressive it is--he grabbed his camera and started taking photos.  I took this one.  I love the graphic look of the scene.  Doesn't it look bright and inviting?  I LOVE libraries!

Only 10 more days till my surgery.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Interesting Plates
The Countdown Continues

This morning I had to go to the mall.  When I came out I decided to drive around the parking lot to see if I could find any interesting vanity license plates.  (Lately I've been seeing some very creative and fun plates, but as usual, I'm driving when I see them.  Chasing them down just doesn't seem like a good idea...)

These were all I could find.  It was a little disappointing that I could only find three, but it is what it is.

It's the end of the day on Dec 10.  The countdown continues to Dec 26, the day of my hip replacement surgery.  Only 16 days. Oi vey!  

Two weeks before the surgery I have to stop taking my Fish Oil tablets.
One week before the surgery I have to stop taking ibuprofen.  Now THAT'S going to be the hardest adjustment.  I have Celebrex that I can take, but in the past it hasn't seemed to be as effective as the ibuprofen.  Maybe I should start it sooner to get it into my system....hmmm, I'll have to figure out what to do.

Some good news is that I accomplished my 2 previous goals:

1) Get a flu shot--check (not even a sore spot where the injection was)
2) Buy some sweat pants for around the house--check (more like flannel pj pants, but very cute and comfortable)

Now I have a few more goals:

1) get a book or two to have handy for the first weeks home from the hospital
2) stock up on some movie cds that I haven't already seen a bazillion times
3) buy a large bag of dry cat food to insure the critters don't run out
4) buy my plane ticket to Hawaii for the end of January
5) find out if I can have my computer in the hospital and if there's wifi available
6) borrow one of the very stable padded chairs with with arms from the church

I'm sure there's more, but it's late and I'm not really thinking too coherently right now.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Scavanger Hunt #20--"Anything You Want to Photograph"

So the assignment was, "anything you want to photograph".  Hmmmm, considering all the work I've been doing this past week, it should have been easy.  But it was all people....and mostly young children that I don't know.

Last weekend, though, a friend of mine asked me to take individual and groups shots of her and her physical therapy team for their office.  We had a great time, and the ladies were more than willing to work with me to get a fun shot or two.

This is one of the out-takes.  I love it!  It didn't make the cut for the office wall even though it was really the most fun image of them all.  The string going through the two faces in the back row isn't super-flattering.  

But it was all fun.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Visit With Santa

Today I had the great opportunity to photograph some beautiful children with Santa.  I'm not one to idealize Santa or make it the be-all-end-all of Christmas, because for me
Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

But I think it's fun.  And kept in perspective, it's part of the Christmas festivities.
The senior center in our local town invited me to be the photographer for an open house they held today.  There was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with some lovely packaged "gifts" scattered around.

Amazingly we had 65 children attend the function in a 3-hour timeframe.
I had a wonderful assistant who manned the printer and who contained the chaos, keeping me on track and keeping all the parents happy.

It was a fun session, but I have to say that I'm glad it's over. 
I must be getting too old for this.  Either that or I'm not getting paid enough.

Hmmmm, maybe a little of both.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Basketball Game

So after the fiasco of last night (taking the camera to the BB game, but leaving the media card home on the counter), I had a second chance tonight.  

Grandson #1 had a lot more time on the court tonight, so I had many chances to capture him in action.  Even so, I deleted about half of the images I took due to poor composition, blurriness or duplication.

I had to crank the iso up to 1600, so there's some grain when the images are enlarged.  But I'm happy with what I got.  

BTW, they won last night and tonight.  Good start to the season.

The Countdown Begins

When I was younger, I seem to remember feeling invincible.  Yup!  I was never going to need glasses like all those "old" folks.  I wasn't going to "slow down" just because I got older.  I wasn't going to "forget" my thoughts like those really-old-people I heard about.  My hair wasn't going to get "thinner"  just because I reached the golden years.  
And I certainly was never going to need a hip replacement!


Aging happens to the best of us.  So the countdown begins for me.  In 26 more days, December 26 to be exact, I will make the short but nerve-wracking drive to the local hospital for my hip replacement surgery.  

First and foremost
I trust my God, Who will see me through this.
And I trust my doctor.
And I trust the hospital I'm going to.
And I trust my fairly healthy body to heal well.

I'm still nervous.
But I am oh, so looking forward to the end result.

No pain.
Restoration of mobility.
A great war story to tell.
And much praise to the God Who has provided mankind with the knowledge and skill to do this kind of surgery to improve the quality of life for those of us who are aging, even if we are doing it (aging) kicking and screaming all the way. 

I have a short to-do list before the surgery. 

1) get a flu shot (which I've never done before)
2) buy some sweat pants to wear around the house

Well....there's probably more, but those are the two things that are upper-most in my mind right now.
I hear the ibuprofen bottle calling my name.  
Have a good day my bloggy friends.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The First Basketball Game of the Season
Don't Forget Your Media Card

I do actually believe that this is the very first post, and hopefully the only post EVER, that does not contain a photograph.

And here's why:

Tonight was the beginning of the high school basketball season.  Grandson's game began at 7:30 pm. I arrived home from running errands in plenty of time to eat, get my camera ready and get to the game before it started.

I put my super-duper long lens on my camera.  Checked the battery level.  Put the camera in a place where I wouldn't forget it when I left the house (as if that ever happened!)

Arrived at the game early.  Found a decent parking spot.
Opened the car door, preparing to get the camera out of the back seat, when BINGO, I remembered that I left the media card in the card reader on my kitchen counter.

And.....because I didn't bring my purse (just stuck my driver's license in my back pocket), I didn't have access to my emergency 64 meg card (good grief--what is that anyway?) that I usually carry in my purse for backup.

So.....For.   The.   First.    Time.   I.    Can.    Remember.  I sat at the grandson's sporting event without a camera in my hand.  

Tomorrow night is another game which is part of the same tournament.  It remains to be seen if I can do better then.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Honor Roll

This morning my daughter called me bright and early....very bright and early.  "Oh, were you sleeping?"  "Well....I was, but what's up?"

The kids were each chosen for Character Honor Roll in their grade.  There was a breakfast in honor of the award and since she couldn't attend because of working, she asked me if I would go.

It was cute.  Short and sweet. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner, or, Why You Need to Take
More Than One Shot

Thanksgiving Day and we spent the afternoon at the sister-in-law's house.  I forewarned everyone that we would be gathering for a group photo after dinner.  Amazingly, not a single person argued the point. (image me doing a victory dance)

So while everyone was hovering around, sis-in-law decided to pose.  I couldn't resist this image.

A couple

Here's exactly why you need to take more than one shot:

the yawn

the hunched shoulders

the closed eyes

finally, the best of the bad shots

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

They're Here

Late last night, or really, early this morning, Scott & Sybil arrived at Albany airport.  My husband drove over to get them while I tried to nap before they arrived at the house.  We all finally got to bed around 3 am, which was only midnight for them, but was  REALLY  3 am for me.

It was worth it.

This afternoon Scott took Sybil and me to Lock 27 in Little Falls to scramble around the rocks on Moss Island.  It was an awesome little hike (we estimate only about 1/2 mile) with some challenging spots getting up and around the rock formations.  I was thrilled to be able to do it in spite of the issue with my hip.  

Tomorrow we're going to the aunt's house for Thanksgiving dinner late in the afternoon, and by then Leah will be home too. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #18--"Something with Stripes"

When I got the news that the scavenger hunt theme was "something with stripes", I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to find a photo op for the topic.  

We have a glass enclosed porch and several months ago my husband hung an American flag in one of the window sections.  I thought this would make a great photo for the theme.  I kept looking at it from the outside, but this afternoon I walked past the porch and saw how great it looked from the inside.  So here it is.  I know the flag is pretty cliche for "something with stripes" but I love the way the flag looks with the light coming through it...

Another thought I had was this window with these blinds.  The afternoon sun comes directly in this window, casting the most beautiful soft yellow light into the room.  The slats of the blinds make great stripes.

When I crack the blinds open, the sun creates a beautiful striped pattern on the wall...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thumbprint Practice

A couple of weeks ago, a young friend of mine posted a picture of these cookies on Facebook....well, okay, not these exact same ones.  I think hers looked a wee bit better than these.

Anyway, I think I've only made this kind of cookie once or twice in my entire life, and that was a long, long time ago.  So I decided to do some thumbprint practice this morning.  They didn't turn out too bad taste-wise, but I was reminded about how bad I am at decorating.  You should see my cakes, sheesh!

Funny thing about the recipe though.  It said to use about two teaspoons of dough for each cookie and that the recipe would make 4 dozen.  I thought that was too much dough, so I cut it down to one teaspoon per cookie and it only made 3 dozen.  What's up with that?  If I had done what the recipe said, it might have yielded 5 cookies total!

They're kind of fussy to make, so I probably won't be making them too often.  But I'm glad I did today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No Purpose

Once in a while I get the urge to do some photography.   If I don't have any place special to go that offers an interesting photo op, I'll try to work on still life.  

These photos were created last summer.  They have no purpose, except that they provided me with some photography practice.  

I didn't do them in the same session.  

I have no use for them.

There's not much WOW! factor going on.

But the sessions were fun.  And I learned a little bit of what not to do when doing still-life like this.

Of course, it was so long ago, and I haven't done any work like this since, so by the time I try it again, all those things I learned not to do will be forgotten, and I'll have to start all over again.  Sigh!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #16--Strangers

Last April I decided to transfer my allegiance from PC to Mac computers.  I became the proud but inept owner of a Mac laptop.  Upon the advice of several good friends, I wisely purchased the One-to-One training package.  It was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.

So a few days ago I was at the Apple Store waiting for my group training session to begin, when I got the idea to take some stealth photos of "strangers".  

Whenever I do this kind of "street" photography, I totally remember how much I love it.  

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Grasping at Straws

My motivation for posting to my blog seems to be waning.  I'm not totally sure why but it could be partially because I don't seem to have much inspiration for doing photography lately & and I don't really enjoy posting without some images.  

So this post is pretty much a grasping at straws.  Last night was my weekly photo meeting night and being the first Wed of the month, it was also the print competition night.  There were a lot of people there and a goodly number of them participated in the competition.

For some reason I had my camera in hand, which isn't usually the case at these meetings, and I took this picture just for kicks.  There was some beautiful work on display.  I don't envy the judges on nights like last night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #14--Something You Collect

Last week the assignment was "a collection".  At the beginning of the week I was super-busy and trying to get ready to leave for my trip to Tennessee, and then I was traveling, and then I was in someone else's home where I don't have my own things to photograph.

I don't really do "collections" anyway, so I was kind of at a loss as to what to photograph.  But I wanted to post something, so I decided on coins.

Yes, I save change (coins) in a jar.  I don't keep them forever--I wind up spending them eventually, but I guess you could say that coins are "something I collect".  

So.... there ya go!