Thursday, January 31, 2013

Photographer's Choice


Photo 52, Week 5:  Photographer's Choice


Our first month of Photo 52 was quite a success!


This week we are posting some photos we liked from the month 
that didn't fit any of the themes especially well.
One of the things I set out to do was to get outside in the winter weather.




I also paid attention to the effects of different angles


on things like depth of field.



I have been reading Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson (finally!)
and trying to be much more deliberate about the apertures I choose.
I have a long way to go on that one, but it was a start!


Hope your year is off to a good start too!

Monday, January 28, 2013

In the shadows


Photo 52, Week 4:  In the Shadows


There is something I never really noticed about January on the tundra


before I started thinking like a photographer.


It can be noon on a sunny day 
(as in all of these photos)


and the shadows go on



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Note to Self


Or, "Why Raising Teens and Tweens is Wonderful"

Several years ago I saw the clipping below online (the author of which, my search skills were unable to surface), and stashed it away in a folder for later.  Later, it would seem, is now.

Everyone told me I should savor my kids while they were little because it goes so fast.  I did.

Some of them also sort of vaguely suggested that the fun would end there.  It didn't.  

I'm hoping to share some of the details of my parent of teens experience here, little by little.  It might encourage the parents of little ones who have been tempted to believe the warnings.  You may need to stash some evidence in a folder of your own.  For later.  (Or sooner.)

Dogs and Cats
(author unknown)

I just realized that while children are dogs--loyal and affectionate--teenagers are cats.
It's so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around. It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.
Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat. When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your doorsteps, it disappears. You won't see it again until it gets hungry--then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn its nose up at whatever you're serving.
When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare as if trying to remember where it has seen you before. You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed. It won't go to family outings.
Since you're the one who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.  
Only now you're dealing with a cat.  So everything that worked before now produces the opposite of the desired result. Call it, and it runs away. Tell it to sit, and it jumps on the counter. The more you go toward it, wringing  your hands, the more it moves away.
Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door, and let it come to you. But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection too. Sit still, and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it.
One day, your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say "You've been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes for you."
Then you'll realize your cat is a dog again.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

C-c-c-cold crafts!

Monday we had this wonderful gift of a day off.
It was one of those days where otherwise you would drive the kids
the half block to the bus stop to wait in the van for the bus
in order to help insure that they would get to school with all their digits.
Still no guarantees.


I had seen this idea to freeze water with food coloring in balloons to decorate your walkway.
I found it pinned on Pinterest with the comment "Epic fail".
Didn't freeze all the way.
Big mess.
And of course, I immediately thought, "Oh, we should try this!"
After all, if they can freeze, they will freeze in -11ºF.
But we put them in muffin tins to make sure they were well exposed to the elements.
Because burying them in the snow just insulates them.


The next morning I looked out the door.
Yup, frozen.  


7.63 seconds later the door was frozen too.


It just took a second under the faucet for the balloons to be rinsed off since they had already popped.


My decorator extraordinaire.


Last night temperatures soared into the positive digits, and we woke to this delightful soft snow.



We have officially rolled out the winter welcome mat.
Doesn't it make you want to come and visit?

Tips for those who might want to try this:

1.  I had both liquid and gel food coloring.  They worked equally well,
BUT the gel ones faded fast in the sun.  Not melted, faded.
2.  Put one or two drops (or a squeeze of the gel) into your balloon before filling.
3.  Do this over the sink. It is ridiculously messy.  Be warned.
4.  Attach the balloon to the faucet to fill.
(And you thought adding the food coloring was messy.)
5.  We found it helpful to blow the balloons up first to stretch them.

This gave me such a flashback to another cold day.
Click here to be amazed at the adventures you can have here on the tundra!  Fun times!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rewind to Stone Mountain


Since I have already blogged the last two legs of our Christmas trip in reverse order, 
it seems fitting just to go with the flow in documenting the rest of it.


My brother and sister-in-law moved to Charlotte a couple of years ago, 
and this year they agreed to meet us in Atlanta on our return home.  
We spent a very special New Year's Eve and morning with them at Stone Mountain.  
What a fun place!



We stayed at the lovely Stone Mountain Inn, 





allowing us to take full advantage of the shows,








and special events.


I loved how festive everything was to make the celebration all the more beautiful.



People would just pop up with entertainment.
This professional bubble-blower was like the Pied Piper.


Can I just point out my brother back there, the one with the camera?  
(Hi Dave!  Do you still read my blog?) 
See, it's genetic.


And my sister-in-law, also with camera (hi Mary!), 
who intrigued me with her daily photos quite a few years ago now.


So there we all were, ready to capture these gigantuous bubbles.



(And once or twice they captured us.)


And then it was night.




So we watched the fireworks


and brought in the New Year with a bang!


(Which I won.)


It was the perfect way to welcome 2013!