Monthly Archives: May 2009

My Hubby’s Photo

 

Muir Woods picture by Bob

Muir Woods picture by Bob

When my camera died last weekend, Bob handed me his 2-megapixel Kodak to borrow. I did take a few shots with it and when I uploaded them to my computer, found he had some pictures on the memory card already. They were from Muir Woods in Marin County (California), taken in November, 2006. (That’s an indication of how often he uses his camera!) I had to check them out, of course, and I found one that I especially liked, so I’m sharing it here. For those who don’t know him, he’s the guy with the coke-bottle glasses and calls square dances.

Anyway, I wanted to show off this picture because I think it’s especially nice.

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Camera Practice

 

Lizard

Lizard

Yesterday was nice and warm and the perfect time to go for a walk at Lake Chabot and practice using the 20D. The camera is much larger and heavier than what I’m used to, especially with the battery grip, but I felt I started to get comfortable with it. Some of the controls that are a little different from my Rebel are even easier to use. It was a nice walk, although I probably did more shooting than walking.

This lizard stopped in the middle of the path and let me get several shots. As I tried to move closer he skittered off into the bush. Same thing with the squirrel. I managed to find a decent view through the leaves just long enough for a couple of shots before he felt he had posed enough for me.

 

Squirrel

Squirrel

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Camera Update

         I have a temporary solution to the lack of a decent camera for my SoFoBoMo project, not to mention the issue of just not having a camera. A friend, Doug, has loaned me his backup camera, a Canon 20D. Yay! Thank you, Doug! It’s much bigger than what I’m used to, and other than a few controls being in different locations, it’s very similar to mine. This may be good or bad news to my cloggers; I’ll still be annoying you with a camera for another couple of weeks to continue the project.

         As for my Rebel, I confirmed with Canon that it needs servicing. Now I just have to decide whether to send it to Canon in Virginia or use a local camera repair shop.

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Tennessee Trip – Day 4 Sunday

      Sunday it rained. We took it easy in the morning and then took her car to WalMart for rear tires. While they did the tires we walked to Waffle House for breakfast, and then headed north to Norris Dam State Park. More rain. The rain didn’t stop me from taking pictures, but it did make me hurry them a bit. Jenn showed me a really pretty little waterfall she remembered from a previous visit. Using a plastic bag as a camera raincoat, I took several photos of it with the amazing green foliage.

Small waterfall in Norris Dam State Park, Tennessee

Small waterfall in Norris Dam State Park, Tennessee

      We also stopped briefly at a grist mill in the park. Even in the rain, the place was beautiful and photogenic. In fact, I think the rain added something to the pictures.

Grist mill in Norris Dam State Park, Tennessee

Grist mill in Norris Dam State Park, Tennessee

      From there we headed east to Tazewell and Uncle Willie’s place. Uncle Willie is my mother-in-law’s brother, so he’s Jennifer’s great-uncle. He has a beautiful little farm on the top of a hill. The rain let up a bit while we were there so Jenn and I walked around the property. Beautiful but wet and muddy.

Jennifer checking out the cattle

Jennifer checking out the cattle

The bull comes over to check us out.

The bull comes over to check us out.

We saw cows, bulls, two calves, the huge barn, funky mushrooms, grapevines, an evergreen tree with weird orange noodly-stuff on it, and more. I’d really like to know more about this orange noodly-stuff tree. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Orange noodly things on an evergreen tree. What is this?

Orange noodly things on an evergreen tree. What is this?

Beautiful trees on Willys farm. One of my favorite shots of the day.

Beautiful trees on Willy's farm. One of my favorite shots of the day.

      Willie’s son Robin was there and fixed us dinner. It was good to talk and catch up with family. I had met Willie only once before back in 1980. From Tazewell we headed north and went through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel.

Cumberland Gap Tunnel

Cumberland Gap Tunnel

I had remembered the road cutting through the tip of Virginia, but we didn’t do that on this trip. That’s because the tunnel, which only opened in 1996, is a straighter route and doesn’t go through Virginia. The tunnel is 4,600 feet long and connects Tennessee and Kentucky under the Cumberland Gap. The road it replaced had been dubbed “Massacre Mountain” due to the large number of accidents on the twisty road. After the tunnel was built, the old road, which was blazed by Davy Crocket, was torn up and left in a more natural state.

      Soon after exiting the tunnel, we arrived in Middlesboro, Kentucky and then continued on up the road to Pineville, where Jenn’s grandmother grew up. The old family house is still there and we found it without any trouble. It’s in a lovely setting but has certainly seen better days. It’s right next to Pine Mountain State Park, so we took a road through the park instead of returning the same way. (We often made circles rather than backtracked. It’s more interesting to see something different.) We came across very few other cars and no people on Pine Mountain. Of course, the day was a bit foggy and rainy. Most of my pictures on the mountain were taken through the car windshield.

Jennifer on the merry-go-round

Jennifer on the merry-go-round

One stop was made at a picnic area to take advantage of the rest rooms and Jenn found a merry-go-round in the playground. Whoo hoo! Photo op!

      It was quickly getting dark as we headed west toward the highway. We came across a downed tree across the road, but luckily there was just enough room to squeeze the car around it. It felt good to get on the highway (I-75) to head south again, until we got into a traffic jam due to some road work. There was no place to get off and go around, but we finally got past the construction, made a quick stop at a Starbucks in Clinton for a hot mug, and then headed home.

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Disaster Strikes!

Yesterday morning my camera died. As in DEAD. As in send-in-for-repairs DEAD. It has been my almost constant companion since my family gave it to me in December, 2005. Perhaps almost 4-1/2  3-1/2 years of somewhat heavy use is a pretty good record, but that doesn’t help me right now. I’m so bummed. (Oh, and if it sounds like I’m a little too much attached to it… yeah, that’s probably right. In high school it was my guitar that was my best friend. What does that tell you about me? I’m not sure I want to know.)

So… after a little research on the problem, I’ve realized that it will have to be sent in for service, which means I won’t have it back for a few weeks. Which also means I have to find alternative ways of finishing my SoFoBoMo project. I have a little P&S (point & shoot) Nikon Coolpix L3 which is fine for snapshots outdoors, but is inadequate for most indoor shots. I also can’t control it the way I can my Canon Digital Rebel and it has some major limitations. I could rent a camera, borrow a camera, or buy a camera. Another possibility I’m considering is to use my Olympus OM1 SLR – with film! What a concept. We’ll have to see where I go from here…

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New Flash

After I started using my Canon Rebel XT (December 2005) I knew that one accessory I’d eventually get was an external flash unit. These could be pretty expensive and I didn’t know much anything about using external flashes, so I wasn’t in a hurry for it. Besides, I had plenty to learn about the basics of the camera, first.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more about getting a flash. Which one? How much do I need? How fancy am I going to get with this external flash stuff? How can I justify spending the money for one right now?

Well, the time has come. Needing to get better light on my dancers for my SoFoBoMo project has given me a big push to get a flash. It arrived today, well, this evening. (UPS always delivers late if it’s something I’m anxious for!) So, I’ve been reading up on using an external flash/strobe – boy, is there a lot to learn! However, I’m already biting at the bit and can’t wait to really start using it. Watch out cloggers!

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SoFoBoMo

This refers to a project I’m doing during May (and into June a bit), along with several other photographers online. The name stands for “Solo Photo Book in a Month” and you can learn more about it here. I decided to participate this year and do something different… for me anyway. I usually take nature or travel photos, but doing a project is a chance to push myself and learn something new. Since I teach clogging (learn more about that here), I decided to make a book of photographs of my dancers. When looking at photos I’ve taken at clogging events, I always enjoyed the closeup shots of the dancers the most, so that’s what I want to do more of. However, shooting portraits and candids of people is not in my comfort zone, so I’ve been cramming and learning about techniques.

I started shooting the project on May 11. My dancers are being very cooperative so far. I’ve promised them I won’t publish anything that they don’t want published and they know this is just for one month (well, until the next project!) The goal is to create a pdf of a photo book by the end of the 31 days. If it turns out as I hope it will, then I’ll also make it into a real, hold-in-your-hands book. Stay tuned for more updates.

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