Well, there are only four posts left in
my 365-day photo blog. It has been a lot of fun, and a lot of work.
Since 2012 isn't a prime year, I can't keep up "A Prime Year in
Pictures." So, I will be launching a new blog on January 1, so please
stay tuned for more information! I would love for you to follow me over
A business associate of my husband's sent him a very nice gift of some wonderful olive oil, which is great, because I was running out! What I really like is that it comes in a quart container! Like...a quart of oil! Ha ha ha!
Today passed in a holiday haze of travel and shopping, leaving me with only two photos on my camera. This was the best of the two. It looks like I feel - a bit fuzzy around the edges (okay, and everywhere else!) and slightly unfocused. Tomorrow should be an interesting day at work!
We enjoyed another wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at my mother's house tonight. It is our tradition to have a big candle-lit meal together, open a present, and then roll ourselves off to bed. We forgot to light our most treasured set of candles - a set of wooden reindeer pulling a sleigh, which are running down the dark spot in the middle of the table. But it is probably good that they got the year off, because one of them is still recovering from having most of his antlers burned off in a "flaming reindeer" mishap a few years back. Do you smell something burning? Oh no, Rudolph!
My sister-in-law sent us the most wonderful set of dipped strawberries for Christmas. I couldn't decide which one looked more delicious, so you get to see them both. And I'm afraid that's all the closer you are going to get to them!
Chocolate covered cherries are a family favorite, although we are all still mourning Brach's decision to discontinue theirs several years ago. Queen Anne's just aren't as good. However, when my husband brought home some chocolate-covered blueberries, I just had to give them a try. As you can see, they went fast!
I was going to take a nice Christmas lights photo tonight, but I forgot my tripod. So, I was stuck doing an "interesting" shot instead of a pretty one. This particular light display had us really baffled, until I downloaded it to my computer and studied it further. It is actually an angel blowing a horn, but a lot of the lights are burned out. Cory still thinks it is a turkey, though.
Strobist has a good blog post about photographing Christmas lights that I recommend checking out.
Tonight I enjoyed Topeka Bible Church's annual drive-up light show. Musicians play in the windows, and thousands of lights are synchronized to the music. It is a really neat experience. I played with different exposure/aperture combinations throughout the show, and was happiest with a large aperture (2.2) and fairly fast shutter.
Here are some of over 550 pairs of shoes donated to needy kids by the children of our church last weekend. They were lined up on the sanctuary steps today, and served as a great reminder to us grownups to be generous. I love the ones in the lower right-hand corner - I totally rocked those laces in grade school!
I left work about 20 minutes early today because the sun was shining after a long day of rain and storms. By five o'clock it had pretty much gone down, but I did get to take a pretty shot south of town. The 60-degree weather made the outdoor shot a pleasure to take. These shades of blues and purples are unusual for this time of year, in my experience.
It was Ladies Night at Topeka Bible Church tonight, with a special Laugh Out Loud Christmas special. We enjoyed snacks and an great performance by comedienne Kerry Pomarolli. They are repeating the program Tuesday night, so any ladies with a free evening should definitely check it out!
Tonight we had a special Advent version of Overflow at church. Overflow is a evening of praise and worship held once a quarter. It is always a tremendously uplifting experience. This time they brought in some special lighting equipment which really enhanced the evening. I love the gradient effect on the light panels.
This gingerbread tree is one of my favorite Christmas decorations, probably because I love gingerbread so much! It is so time-consuming to make, I never realized how much trouble it was for my mom all of those Christmases growing up.
Tonight I attended a special Holiday Remembrance Ceremony at Mount Hope Cemetery. It was a time to gather and remember family and friends who we have loved and lost. Memory candles were lit, and ornaments with enclosed messages were placed on two trees. It was a beautiful ceremony.
On a technical note, the lights on the tree in the background are the truest exampleof bokeh that I have ever accomplished. And I have to commend the 5D on some great low-light capabilities at ISO 1000. Even at magnification, it is noise-free.
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 24-105mm f/4
105mm - ISO 1000
1/40s - f/4
I hope you don't think this is creepy. I am not really a fan of the "blind angel/cherub" statues. I am in Green Bay, WI, on what is probably a warm day for them, but was quite cold for me. I got out for just five minutes today, and walked by this poor cherub. He looked cold even for a stone statue.
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 24-105mm f/4
58mm - ISO 200
1/13s - f/8
Spending the night on the Plaza in Kansas City.Here is the view from my room.My hands were too full of shopping bags
earlier to take pictures, plus it is bitterly cold.So, a hotel room shot it is! The Plaza has been decorated with Christmas lights for over 80 years, and according to the Kansas City tourism website, the show includes over 80 miles of lights that are put up and taken down each year!
I have a herd of deer on my living room walls. Apparently they are my theme this Christmas. I promise not to post pictures of Christmas decorations all month-long, but I am getting ready for a trip tomorrow, and didn't get to do much else tonight.
No, I didn't go hunting this weekend and bag a 10-point buck. Every year my mother holds a "December the First Party." It used to religiously be held on the first, but now we just go with the first Sunday of the month.
She makes a great meal and we decorate the house together. This year we are going with a red, white and deer theme. There are two deer in the shot (and at least nine more outside of the frame). Can you find them?
We are singing this song at church this weekend (Joyous Light). It rather ironically came to my mind while I was turning off the electric candles on the stage after service. Hey - safety first, people!
Christmas is my cat's favorite time of year because he gets to play with all of the Christmas decorations. Whenever he hears the first rustle of garland coming out of the box, he comes running. Here he realized that it doesn't taste as good as it looks!
When someone asks "Will you take my picture?" always say "Yes!" There will be plenty of people the rest of your life who say "You aren't going to take my picture, are you?" This guy was a lot of fun - full of smiles!
One of our favorite Christmas traditions is our annual trip to Strawberry Hill, a Christmas tree farm just west of Lawrence. We decided to make the trek out there late this afternoon to pick up a fresh wreath for the house. Here the proprietress is creating a bow for me. I tried to figure out how she did it, but couldn't. I am hopeless at bows. The wreath is on the wall right above my computer, and I will be enjoying its fragrance for the rest of December while blogging.
You probably wouldn't believe that I spent most of the day in NYC, based on today's photo. We were unfortunately doing photo-unfriendly activities today, so my camera took a long snooze in a parking garage. I spent most of the day feeling like I had forgotten my right hand somewhere. Finally, after returning to the parking garage, and desperate to find some photo, any photo, we attempted to visit Liberty State Park. Across the Hudson in New Jersey from the city, it supposedly has fantastic skyline views, but the park had already closed. So we snuck in, evading security, and took one or two shots of a building or two between a bunch of boats. As skylines go, not so much. Oh well. Here's hoping I will be back there soon!
It is that time of year - two days after Thanksgiving, and the Christmas carols are already ringing through the mall. Another sign of an early Christmas is the annual blooming of the family Christmas cactus. Jessica's cactus started as a cutting from my mother's plant, who started hers as a cutting from my Grandmother's. So who knows how old it actually is! It blooms every year, sometimes at Christmas, other times at Easter, and some years not at all.
Jessica and I spent an enjoyable afternoon painting today. She is doing a fun series of four paintings of a tree in winter, spring, summer and fall. The spring one is pictured below. I like the dreamy, idyllic look that the 50mm brought to the scene. Although in this case, real life was pretty idyllic too!
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
50mm - ISO 200
We had a busy, delicious day, with lots of turkey, stuffing, and of course, dessert! Here is a before-and-after of one of the desserts, and a bonus photo snapped by my husband of my sister Jessica and me as we rushed around putting the finishing touches on dinner. A lot was going on, as you can tell by our motion blurs!
Okay, so this is Newark, not Hockessin. I just like saying Hockessin. And we were there earlier in the day, so that counts, right? This is one of the buildings on the University of Delaware campus. Delaware is so rainy and wet that moss grows everywhere. Everywhere.
Tomorrow we are making strawberry jam. So tonight, the mission was to drown several pounds of berries in sugar in preparation. It smells delicious - I was begging everyone to go out and buy an angel food cake so I could dig right in!
It has been a nice day of relaxing at my sister's house. We roused ourselves enough to do some shopping and get a bite to eat at a nearby Italian place. And of course we couldn't say no to the tiramisu! (Or the chocolate torte, or the limoncello...)
Some parts of Delaware in the fall make me think of the Lord of the Ring movies; especially the scene in the first one when Frodo, Sam and the other two Hobbits spend what seems like 20 minutes running down the longest hill on the planet. The parks and natural areas have some of the tallest trees I have ever seen, and this one was especially interesting because so much of its root system is exposed.
Every year my husband and I take a Thanksgiving-week trip back East to see my twin sister and her husband. We have been doing it for eight or nine years now. One of our traditions is to have dinner at one of the first restaurants they ever tried when moving to Delaware.
Why did they pick it? Well, let's just say that the sign, on a dark stretch of highway, is pretty inviting! It actually took me about five years to realize that the name of the restaurant isn't actually EAT (but instead Jose's Border Cafe).
I read an article that challenged me this weekend to spend some more time with my 50mm lens. Its fixed distance can make things a little more challenging, but the nice big aperture is a real plus. This is a photo of a railing and it's shadow on a stucco wall. I love the clean lines and the color palette.