Lens help needed

One of the stupidest things I’ve ever written is that I use my point and shoot Panasonic around the house for snapshots of the family. I realized as soon as I’d posted this (I can’t remember which blog post it was) that things should be the other way around as pictures of my family are way more important than any of the others I take.

So I’m glad I wrote that stupid thing because it made me realize that I should only use the point and shoot when I have to (places where dslr cameras aren’t allowed, such as concerts) or on a trip where I don’t want to be weighted down with a heavy camera.

To be fair to myself, the point and shoot does take wider angle photos which is great for shooting inside a house especially if there are a lot of people to fit into the frame.

So. Wide angle lens needed!

With this newish camera I have, I only own a couple of lenses, so this Christmas would be a good time to add a wide angle lens. I haven’t done much research yet, but I know I don’t want a fish eye lens.

Anyone have recommendations? This is mostly for carrying with me on trips, so I think I’ll go with a fixed length good quality glass.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Removing Distractions

I’ve had this photo rat holed for a few years. I took it into Photoshop and cloned out the cars, then desaturated all the colors except for red since this is one of the most famous red things in the world. Then I took it into Lightroom and added some sepia to warm up the black and white tones.

Here is the before:

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Next stop, flash

I finally ordered that clamp for the flash to go on the umbrella stand I got last year. Now I’m looking at ring flash adapters and it seems as if I’ve gone down the rabbit hole. My attention is just all over the place, one minute I’m looking at the Ray Flashes and the next I’m all over soft boxes.

I got a new lens for Christmas, a Canon 28-135 f3.5 with image stabilization. It’s okay, but not as spectacular as the Canon 50mm f1.4 lens I got last year. Seriously, that fitty is just amazing. If I could have only one lens for the rest of my life, it would be that one. It’s a light eater and has a crisp focus. Even better, it is small and lightweight. With the new lens, everything looks sort of fuzzy and dim.

The thing about the 50mm lens is it is fixed, so I can’t zoom in or out with it. It’s great for portraits, but not so good shooting landscapes and wildlife. Still, it’s the lens I take with me on vacation since it is so lightweight.

Here’s a photo with the 50mm lens at 1.4 on an overcast day.

It’s supposed to snow here later today so I’ll go outside and try that new lens. Maybe it’ll do better out there than inside the house since it needs more light.

Anyway, I’m ready move on and master that flash, that way I won’t have to rely so much on natural lighting. I keep a photoblog :::here::: if you are interested.

She sells electricity

Sometime this year or maybe last Christmas I got a flash for my camera. I’m not one to use much flash in photography, but sometimes objects need a little fill light. It is quite flattering for people photos.

This flash unit I got, a Canon 580EX is huge and looks ridiculous on my camera (no built in flash). Not that a flash really belongs on a camera (that’s why my good camera has no built in flash), it doesn’t unless you’re just taking family snaps around the house. I find it way too powerful and haven’t learned all the controls so it is like this massive amount of light that overexposes the hell out of my subjects.

I need to get a clamp for it to go on my umbrella stand, a simple $10 clamp that I can’t find in any of the stores when I think about it. I should just get a damn roll of duct tape and attach it to something so I can at least play around with the thing. Or get Blane to jerry rig something, he’s good with that sort of thing.

Or go online and order the thing. I just need to figure out which is the right clamp.

Speaking of lighting, years ago, I got an umbrella from a street vendor in Portugal for $5. It’s this huge thing and is made for rain, but oddly enough, it has a reflective surface on the inside. So I’ve kept it all these years and managed to never lend it out because, hey, people never bring back umbrellas no matter how much you threaten them. I haven’t tested it to see how well it reflects light for photographs but I know it’s there.

Last spring while on a walk in my neighborhood, the tornado sirens went off and dark clouds rushed in in a matter of minutes. I quickened my pace and about a block from the house I met a stranger, a frantic door to door salesgirl. She was panicked, her manager had dropped her off to sell electricity subscriptions and she didn’t know what to do.

I told her to come with me, that she could take shelter in my house. She was young, about 20ish, and this was her very first day on the job. We ran to my house and as soon as we got inside it began to pour down rain and the electricity shut off. I showed her the closet under the stairs and told her that’s where we’d go if we heard the sound of a freight train.

I have a storm radio that goes off automatically and alerts me of when to expect a tornado, so this thing is blaring that the tornado will touch down in ten minutes. Wind and rain pelt the roof, flashes of lightning and crazy booms of thunder shake the fixtures in house. In the middle of all that, the girl’s manager calls on her mobile. Wants to know where she is. I offer him a place to stay too, but he refuses and insists on picking her up.

He finds my house and calls her to come out. Right now. In that storm.

The girl did not know what to do. I told her she was safer in a house than in a car. Through tears she told me she was afraid to lose her job. Her phone kept ringing and ringing.

She decided to leave, so I offered her my special umbrella from Portugal.

The tornado touched down a mile or so from my house and I don’t know if that girl and her manager happened to see it or not, but I do know she survived the thing and kept her job. About a month later, Blane answered the door and it was this same girl, returning the umbrella and asking if we wanted to buy electricity.

Bugs

I don’t believe in fate, destiny, predestiny… 

But sometimes there will be a string of coincidences that are just fantastic and I like to just get in the moment and pretend there is just a thing. Just to see what else happens. 

I got a new lens for my camera last week and while researching it, I read about how I could buy a reverse mount ring adapter and turn it into a macro lens (for photographing tiny things such as bugs). So for less than $10, why not? I ordered it.

A few days ago, the thing came in the mail and as I walked up the sidewalk I thought, won’t be using this for a while, there are no bugs in winter.

Get in the house, the kitchen, look over at the stovetop, and there is a ladybug crawling around on it. Out of all the places in my house, the stovetop is the best spot for a photo of a bug (yes, I get it, a bug on the stove, gross). I’ve got two recessed halogen lights directly above it and the stovetop surface is a highly reflective stainless steel.

I thought for a second, this could be a sign or signal that I should get my camera out and set that thing up and maybe I’ll take the most amazing photo I’ve ever taken. Ever.

I got a tiny jar and put her in there while I set up the camera.

bug1 

One thing about using this type of lens setup is that it is all manual focusing and the aperture can’t be set, so what that means is there is a very tiny spot in there that is in focus.

Also, every little bit of camera shake is magnified.

Here’s a good example of how tiny the focal plane is.

bug2

See the edge of that paper, how only one part of it is in focus?

See the writing on the paper, how only the top part of the “t” is in focus?

You know how fast ladybugs crawl?

So what I did was wait until she stepped into focus to hit the shutter. This was handheld and I was also holding the paper she was on, so really, now that I think about it, this photo’s almost impossible to take.

Everything was lined up just right and I had a lot of good luck. 

So did she. I flipped her over so I could photograph her underside. 

She thrashed about helplessly, so her arms and legs were all blurry in all but one photo. I thought about Gregor Samsa in that story “Metamorphosis”. Then I thought about how I didn’t like it that it was all up to me whether this bug lived or died.

I brought her outside where she can enjoy the woodpile for the rest of her life.

And I can’t for the life of me post a photo of her underside, because, you know, she is a lady.

What’s the Deal with Bokeh?

I’ve seen it before in movies but never knew it had a name. Bokeh.

Bokeh is an out of focus point of light you’ll see in backgrounds of photos. When I joined Flickr, I noticed there were groups dedicated to nothing but bokeh. I also noticed some photographers do only bokeh photos. And photos that have that stuff have a gazillion adoring comments.

There is some in this photo I took, but it is not ideal.

bokeh2

Here’s an excellent bokeh photo someone has over there.

So I wondered, what’s the big deal?

I thought about some of my favorite moments in film and the images that flashed in my mind were ones that had bokeh in them.

A moonlit kiss on a porch with a fuzzy moon as a backdrop would be a good example.

But I don’t have one to show you.

Then I thought about some dramatic moments of my life. Bokeh in the background. Like when my son was born and his face was the only thing I could focus on because they gave me a powerful hallucinogenic drug.

That’s when I really got it.

Just My Luck

I have a couple of hummingbirds that come in my yard for the honeysuckle. Blane sees them almost every day. By the time he calls me over to see them, they are gone. I’m just dying to get a photograph of just one of them, so I go and get a hummingbird feeder at the store. This will get them to come by more often and up my odds of getting that shot.

Now I know hummingbird snaps are cliche, but I don’t care. I want to test my zoom lens and what better than this bird to push it to the limit?

I almost get him one day. But that’s not the sort of shot I had in mind.

So Monday I’m sitting by the window watching the remnants of Hurricane Ike whip around my backyard. That’s something we never get here, we’re too far from the coast. 

Guess who decides to stop by and sip on the feeder? Yeah. Of all times.

So now I have the camera ready and on a tripod, along with the new polarizing filter so I can shoot through the window glass, but it is just too dark. Too much movement outside. That is a 13 second exposure of a hummingbird in a hurricane. Okay, technically a tropical storm, still odd. Nothing to brag about since it is so blurry.

I did take one photo at 1/6 second and corrected the exposure in Photoshop.

Finally, a hummingbird. Not cliche, no, this is a hummingbird with rain soaked wings. Have you ever seen one not moving his wings?

If you try hard enough, even if the goal is a little stupid or cliche, you might just get a lucky break.

These days I’m photoblogging at TheCuckoosNest , go check it out. If you click on the right side of the photo there you will see another. Just keep doing that and you will see more of them.

Neon Flower Times Two

We all went out to watch the fireworks the city does every year. It seems like it used to be a bigger show that lasted longer. They also moved the location which is so unfortunate because we used to sneak past the police tape and lie down on the bleachers in a nearby soccer field and watch them fall right over our heads. We had the whole place to ourselves.

This year we weren’t exactly sure where they were launching them, only knew the general area. So we followed the people and I looked everywhere for anyone with a tripod setup. Maybe they would know the best spot? I didn’t see anyone like that so we just parked ourselves in a field where a lot of people were gathered.

I brought my Canon and tripod along with the zoom lens.

Exposure: 6 sec (6)
Aperture: f/8
ISO Speed: 200

I also had Blane use the Panasonic point and shoot (no tripod) and he took some shots along with me (I’m trying to get him interested in the hobby). He had it set on the fireworks mode. I love the way this one turned out.

Exposure: 0.25 sec (1/4)
Aperture: f/3.9
ISO Speed: 80

With image stabilization on, it didn’t allow longer than a quarter second exposure.

Hope you all had a great Independence Day.

I’ve been really busy with the kids out of school for summer and haven’t had much time to blog. I’m collecting lots of fun stories to tell you later. We have three more big concerts lined up to go to before summer’s out (Metallica is one of them, taking Blane Jr. to that one). We still don’t have any plans to go out of town but would like to go somewhere at the end of July.

Maybe a road trip in the RV? Blane Jr. just bought one sort of like ours (used, from his grandmother). Maybe we can get on the road and see some of America together this summer. Colorado? California? Florida?

Fireflies and Bubbles

There is a walking path through some woods that back up to my neighborhood where I take my dogs for a walk. Sometimes I take the leash off Mireille and let her chase the wild rabbits. She never catches any but she thinks she can and she gets lots of exercise running full blast.

I call that blowing out the carbon.

Lately the fireflies have been out at dusk so this is my favorite time of day to go. Last week Blane caught one and held it in his cupped hands. In the darkness I could see the translucence between his closed fingers. It was like a artist’s lamp that was all iffy about staying on.

I didn’t have the camera or tripod with me but wondered if it was possible to capture a photo of this.

Fireflies are almost impossible to photograph because the light is so low. On top of that, they fly. Setting the exposure and trying to focus on something I can’t see (and will not stay still) has been enormously challenging.

So that’s been my mission the last couple of weeks, get a photo of fireflies. Later I will try to get the artist’s lamp thing.

I did see these fireflies in the drugstore while waiting for my prescription to get filled:


Photo from this blog.

Gummy bugs that light up when you pinch them with the magic tongs. Of course I got them. I have to amuse myself in the midst of all this firefly defeat. I also got a bottle of industrial strength bubble soap. The package claims the bubbles are so strong you can touch them and they won’t pop.

I wanted to get this:

But thankfully the pharmacy snapped me out of it by saying my prescription was ready. (that was a really close one)

Anyway, Blane and I are out on the patio and I whip out my bubbles knowing full well he will laugh at me for buying that. He doesn’t know these are special, that they don’t pop. Soon, bubbles are collecting on the patio table, the ground, and, ah, on a spiderweb…

He watches the spider glide down its web and attack the bubbles. I’m still blowing bubbles and have managed to create a bubble tree. Then I sit down by him and we both wonder how far the wind might have taken them, and if anyone spotted one. Blane’s calm and relaxed, and laughing. No longer making fun of my purchase. I can read his mind. It says, “I love you, you goofy girl.”

Fireflies. Here’s the best I can do so far:

I adjusted the colors of the leaves and trees so the fireflies would show. I’ll keep trying to get a better photo.

How to Take Clandestine Cathedral Pictures in 10 Steps


Photo by http://www.stuckincustoms.com

I was browsing Flickr today and found this dude’s Flickr page. His photos are out of this world amazing. His blog posts about them are also amazing and entertaining. Here’s an excerpt of the post on the above photo. (Go on, the guy has character.)

My method for getting tripods into cathedrals and shooting is this:

1) Go in the exit and act like you are lost if someone asks

2) Wear a long matrix-coat and stuff your tripod up inside like a shotgun. Try not to walk with a limp.

3) Stride confidently through the crowds like you are in a hurry on a photo assignment.

4) Work your way into the pews and have a seat. You can even pretend to be Catholic and say a few Latin words as you sit down. I suggest “Pater Noster (My Father) or Quid Pro Quo (Rub Beads and go to Heaven)”

5) Slide out the tripod and assemble along the ground, When other parishioners look at you suspiciously, give them the sign of the cross.

6) Watch for old people in the main aisle, because they have trouble getting around tripods. Jump out, take your long exposures at 100 ISO, then sit back down.

7) If securty comes to get you, blame Stuck In Customs and that will confuse them long enough so you can make a getaway.

8) Don’t worry about getting caught. The church is much more leniant than they were during the Inquisition. Most big cathedrals do have crypts, but they are full of dead saints and they have never put a photographer in there.

9) If you see a tourist with a tiny camera taking a picture with the flash on, please tell them to stop. The flash does nothing in that situation. It’s just embarassing for them, really.

10) If you want some post-processing techniques, check out my tutorial at stuckincustoms.com/2006/06/06/548/

from www.stuckincustoms.com

What a personality.

Here are some quotes I like from his post about post-processing techniques/.

Regarding Photomatix:

Now it is time to fire up Photomatix and get crunk in the HDR house. Okay that was stupid.

Regarding tripods:

You gotta have a solid tripod. What? You don’t want to carry around a tripod? Comon… if you are going out to shoot beautiful pictures, you better get serious. Also, if you have it over your shoulder or carry it in an aggressive way, it makes an effective weapon. As you can see, I go all over the world, often into sketchy areas, and a big tripod is often an effective deterrent. I carry it so much, I am very good at flipping it around and whipping it around my body like ninja nunchaku.

Regarding Photoshop:

What? You are not good at Photoshop? First you tell me you don’t like carrying tripods, and then you tell me you don’t like using Photoshop. How about this… Let’s get you a little bit out of your comfort zone, eh? That’s what good friends do right… push you to make yourself better. If you keep doing things you are comfortable with, then you are never going to improve and experience new things, right?

Amazing, huh? Check out his website, he has some bad-ass night city photos. And travel photos, and, and, and, just go see.

Water Ghost

I took the camera and tripod out today to work on photographing water. My aim was to work past the reflections and get a shot of a flower in the pool or something. 

I changed my mind when I saw the reflections and decided to work with them.

This is what I got on the first shot:

Is that wicked or what?

I didn’t use any filters or change any of the colors but PhotoShopped out a few bugs that were on the water’s surface. 

In an ideal world, the reflection of the trees wouldn’t be in there. If you like this photo, I’ve got another similar one on the photoblog.

Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m using WordPress’ new monotone photoblogger theme on there which is cool so far.  The matting color around the photos changes with each new photo posted.

Anyway, this has been a great opportunity for me to finally get to know my digital slr. I’m finally learning how to use it manually instead of always shooting on automatic. I’m also learning the limitations of my camera, lenses, and the built in flash (that thing is harsh). 

Be First

I noticed WordPress has a new template especially for photoblogs, so I started a new blog where I will post photos. So far I have six hits!

But no comments yet. So haul it over there and be first. Or else! The Cuckoo’s Nest

Let me know what you think of the title. It’s early, so I can change it to something else if that one is not good.

With this photoblog I am looking for constructive criticism to help me take better photos. There won’t be much writing over there, just working on photo skills.

 

Show Me the Halloween

I’ve been looking everywhere for some fun and creepy halloween yard decorations, but people are holding out. Waiting for the big day to trick out their yards.

I did see some cool pumpkin snowglobes. Those are pretty cool.

Check it out:

The little ghosties in there spin round and round. I almost want one, but if I did do something in the yard it would be two scarecrow gravediggers over a faux grave.

But wait. Let me zoom out on the yard with the pumpkin thing. Check out this street deco:

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Have camera, see Viper, take photo.

Have a great day.

4-3-2-Pop

Okay, as promised, a little bit on Parisian sounds.

Paris is called the City of Lights. It’s a reference to many things, one being the Lumiere brother’s first public showing of moving pictures. But mostly it’s because the city doesn’t sleep (I think New York City already has that title). So if you have a room in Paris that is on the street side (versus the back, or garden side) and it is summertime, you aren’t going to get any sleep. Most hotels do not have air conditioning, so your windows will be open or you will suffocate.

It is noisy.

Mostly with buzzing cars and motorbikes. I don’t know why they are so loud, but they are and when the traffic is light at night, they rev those little engines to go faster. It reminds me of bees, multiplied by about a thousand. I’m a heavy sleeper, so I can do streetside. I like waking up to the street sounds of Paris.

Falling asleep in Paris, you’ll hear people walking below, heeled footsteps, and often singing. People in Paris love to sing.

Speaking of singing and sound, we did catch a My Chemical Romance concert at Le Zenith. It was the only concert of theirs we have gone to that was exclusively theirs (versus a festival), so we got to hear them for two full hours versus about 30-45 minutes.

We were shocked when we got to the arena because it was so small and the upper levels were curtained off. There were only about two to three thousand people there. Unheard of. It was like having our own private show. Anyone was allowed to go into the pit and the French didn’t crowd us. Or mosh. Or throw bottles. Quite a pleasant experience. It is no doubt the best show I have ever been to or will probably ever see.

They played every song from The Black Parade in the order that they are on the CD. They also wore those marching band costumes and called themselves “The Black Parade” during that half of the concert. They even played some B-sides from that album. After that, they said they were leaving, that their friends “My Chemical Romance would be out to play some old school stuff, if you’re into that kind of shit.” While they went backstage to change, a lot of people got confused and thought the concert was over. So while they leaving, we were able to inch closer to the stage. MCR came back and those suckers lost their places.

I know. Where are the photos? Well. Those bastards at the Zenith confiscated every camera and held them until the concert was over. Zenith’s policy, not MCR’s. I am bitter about that, bitter. My best opportunity for some amazing concert photos and, fuck, no camera.

Life is funny isn’t it?

You’ll just have to settle for Metro (subway) photos. There are lots of adverts on the walls which Parisians frequently complain about. Most of the time they are entertaining and tastefully done. This is Paris, they lead the world in taste.

The Metro is one of my favorite things about Paris. It’s been around for about a hundred years. It’s hard to imagine people zipping around town in these underground tunnels 100 years ago. These days it takes minutes to cross town in this thing. Above ground it doesn’t seem to take more than a five minute walk from anywhere in Paris to get to a Metro entrance.

The tickets are only about $1.30 each if you buy them in books of ten. Considerably cheaper than London’s underground which is about $6 per ticket. Both are even cheaper for the locals who get Carte Orange (Paris) or the Oyster card (London). Tourists can get them, but station agents are reluctant to sell them to visitors.

I have always loved this warning sticker in the Metro cars.

Wait, wait. This one too. I am a sick puppy. But hell, if you fall on the tracks I might save your ass.

Here’s a video of what it is like to walk through the Metro tunnels and ride the trains under Paris. It was done by some Parisians so you can hear their lovely voices and laughter.

I hope you watch it.

Here is a drawing in the guestbook at the home where we stayed just a few miles outside of Paris. A guest from Denmark or Holland did this with an ink pen. Amazing.

Beautiful Things

I asked my French friend once, “Paris est belle ou beau?” (Paris is beautiful (f) or beautiful (m)? She answered, “Paris est beau.” What that really means is Paris is a masculine word in French. I would have guessed feminine. No doubt about whether the place is beautiful.

Everything there is beautiful. To the eye, the ears, the nose, the palate, the fingertips. And some.

There is lavendar everywhere. Did you know that it chases away scorpions? In the south of France there are beautiful rolling hills of blue, so much of it you can smell it in the air.

They say in France a baker is either a good at making pastries or bread, never both. There are bakeries everywhere to tempt you.

If you take it “to go” they always wrap your pastry in lovely paper, just like this:

And speaking of pastries, can’t you just smell the wedding cake?

I stumbled upon this wedding and watched the guest throw confetti on the bride and groom. I love the way the confetti looks on this gown.

In the Montmarte district, I saw this window and wished I lived there.

Even when things are weathered, they still look amazing.

And who would think Contact paper could look so good on something?

This light fixture in this clothing store, I have to have one.

It won’t go anywhere in this house, but I’m going to make one of these. I will.

See these patches of grass on the table?

Those things are everywhere this season. Decorating store windows in England, Switzerland, and France. This is real grass here in Paris, the other countries had plastic grass. Don’t know what’s up with that, but maybe we’ll be decorating our store windows next year with that stuff.

Oh yes it is…

Not just the regular Coke Blak, chers, they do have that, but also an extreme version of it. The bottle is metal, not glass as it is here. Heaven this place, heaven.

The most beautiful thing about Paris is this:

My daughters buddying up and walking real close to each other like the Europeans do. They never hang out like that at home.

I will give you the sounds of Paris in another post. I am off to my dreams now. A bientot (later).

Chat Noir

No matter where you go or live, there always seems to be a house that is spooky. A house where everyone says “the witch” lives and kids take dares to run across the yard. We saw one in France so I took the opportunity to tell the kids a creepy story about a French witch in that house.

And then a black cat came out. Of nowhere. I poked the camera through the wrought iron fence and took this photo. It wasn’t until I uploaded it that I realized I took that photo through a spider web.

scarycat.jpg

So I sit here creeping myself out with this photo and decide to zoom in on the cat’s eyes. That is not red-eye. That cat’s eyes are glowing. I did not Photoshop or enhance it in any way, just crop and zoom.

catcloseup.jpg

Hell, while zooming in why not look in the windows?

face.jpg

You see that ghostly face?

Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Getting On Like A Housefire

After losing power for about an hour or so (there was a bad storm) the girls and I jumped in the car to see how extensive the power outage was. We heard on the radio that power lines were down near our house and that we should avoid a certain intersection because there was a housefire.

Ha. Me? I drive straight to it. There is a cul-de-sac right behind the house and the firemen are fighting the fire from the front of the house. I see a perfect shot, firemen in backlit mist, a powerline on a house, blasts of water on that fire. One big problem. No camera.

We drive back home, get the camera and go back. The shot is gone. The hoses aren’t even on anymore. The flames have died down. And Spanky is raising hell. She says I’m sick, that I should not be so excited about something like this. I tell her it is an empty house, (it is owned by a builder). Sweetpea on the other hand is saying “C’mon fireman, turn that hose back on.” When he does, Sweetpeas yells, “Whoa, look at that, get that shot, Mamma!”

This is the best shot I could get.
I don’t have any good firehose shots and the firemen didn’t go back in the mist. I missed that shot. It’s just gone.

I’m sick alright.

We didn’t stay long because Spanky was raising so much hell about it. She said Sweetpea and I were pretty disgusting. She even had the nerve to call one her friends, right there in front of us to dog our behavior. We said she was a wet blanket. It was a total girl fight in that car about this stupid housefire.

So, would you go look at a housefire? A friend of mine sent me a funny email the other day, it was a joke Louisiana driving rules list. One of the items was, “When you come upon the scene of an accident, drive slow and rubberneck to show your respect for the victim.”

Crazy Dreams

I am really lucky, I have the best dreams. I’m talking about those sleep dreams, deep REM sleep dreams, those. It is rare that I have a nightmare or night terror, really rare. What I often have are show dreams, like Broadway shows, dancing, music, entertaining stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I wake myself up from laughing in my sleep. It is often.

Last night I dreamed someone hacked my blog and put this on it:

No kidding, and in this dream I was touched that someone went to so much trouble to surprise me for my birthday, but I was also a little pissed with them for doing it. Hacking my blog like that. This amuses the hell out me.

In real life, Blane surprised me with the camera I had wanted but told him not to get for right now. The Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Oh yeah, bay-bee! The kids drew me these lovely cards which are amazing and so thoughtful. Blane Jr. and Angela are coming over for another Monopoly beating.

I guess I am too stupid to start hating birthdays, at this age, you know.

First Photo

Here is the first photo with the new camera.

It’s a closeup of my angel topper’s basket. The star in the basket is from Shane’s tree.

I’m loving this camera, it shoots much faster than the old one and has 10x optical zoom. I’ve only read about two pages of the book, so I’m not sure yet what this thing can do. I just got the memory today from my son, he was too sick from food poisoning to come over on Christmas. Yeah, on their way back from their honeymoon, a stewardess offered he and his wife some rice pudding she had made at home. They both got sick but are better now.

I am so glad Christmas is over and everyone is safely back home. I am so behind on the workshop, workouts, everything…