Sunday, January 31, 2010

Surprises, in more ways than one

First surprise: The response to my most recent post. You continue to surprise me when you answer the simple questions I sometimes pose here. One thing that really didn’t surprise me was the overwhelming majority of readers who, when answering the question “have you ever fired a gun” not only have fired one but own several firearms. It didn’t surprise me because I’ve lived in the country. And this is how things are.

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Second surprise: It snowed here today and, in fact, it’s still snowing. It was a nice surprise as we thought the storm was going to be south of us. My husband is already planning his morning which will consist of making his cross country ski path which the help of a best friend he affectionately calls “the black and white”. I don’t think I’ve ever told you that before.

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The black and white loves the snow. He’s from Maine, you know.

My husband has been rhyming all day. When there’s rhyming, things are okay.

Oh, crap I did it again. It’s infectious, isn’t it?

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I bundled up this afternoon, put on my sorel boots and hung the camera from my neck, zipping my jacket up over it. I had the 18-55 mm lens on it and the last time I used this particular lens in a snowstorm, I’d gotten it wet. The auto focus hadn’t worked properly since then. It was fine inside but once you took it out into the cold, it would jam. Today was my test run after putting it in a baggie full of rice overnight, advice I had from a few commenters.

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The autofocus works again.  But rice is very dusty. I was careful to set it gently inside the bag.

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I’ll tell you the third surprise in a moment. I thought of it while I was cleaning today. I decided to clean the upstairs which is now gleaming and fresh-scented. While I was in the midst of cleaning, I kept seeing the same few things I always do and in the interest of getting rid of things that I have no use for, well here’s the third thing:

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Third surprise: Later this week, look for a giveaway of some of the things I’m ridding myself of. Call me crazy, but they need to go. And I don’t mind spending three or four dollars to ship something to a reader. Here’s a sneak peak of what’s on my list to give away:

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L TO R: Beauty samples from DHC, Lancome, Laura Mercier, Smashbox and Kiehl’s to name a few; A rustic coffee mug; Daniel Green bedroom slippers in sz. 9. The beauty samples were all free, and the mug and the slippers were under $10. The slippers were the best deal ever, at about 90% off from Garnett Hill. More details to come.

Because I luvya.

All photos taken with a Nikon D80

Friday, January 29, 2010

Where do you call home?

I forced myself to take a walk today. It was colder than yesterday and the wind was crazy blowing. But it’s good to walk, although today wasn’t too good when I got home.

It’s MRI time again, something that happens every two months. It’s hard on my husband and that makes it hard on everyone, and it’s just a fact of life that we both have to live with. And then there is the waiting for the results.

I couldn’t stop the tears while I was walking with George but it wasn’t from sadness, it was from the damn wind! And I can hear it now blowing out there. I think it’s why I chose these dark and dreamy photos today.

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I took these on New Year’s Eve in the early evening and I loved how ethereal some of them came out. Especially when I used Florabella’s vintage wine action on them.

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There’s just something about the lacy branches of the trees that get to me. I know they do to some of you too, because you’ve mentioned it before.

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all photos taken with a Nikon D80

I think I hurt a friend’s feelings today. And I didn’t mean to. Is it just me or have these photos begun to look darker the further the post goes?

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And now for some questions. Inquiring minds want to know the answers, you know.

1. What’s your weather?

2. What was the last party you went to?

3. What’s your favorite board game?

4. Have you ever fired a gun?

5. Where do you call home?

See you in the comments, my friends . . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Virtual walk. Because I’m lazy.

Today I just did not feel like going on a walk when I got home. I tried to force myself, but I refused to listen. I could tell that my heart wasn’t in it, so I gave myself a break. Besides, it was cold (I told myself). And the sun had already gone down and it will only get colder.


And before I knew it, I had on my warm socks and sheep slippers. And believe me, there is no walking once the sheep slippers make an appearance.

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So I figured I’d do a virtual walk. And hey, I could take you on it as well. I’d forgotten that I had only shared a small handful of photos of our day trip a couple of weekends ago when we drove out to Harper’s Ferry.

We’re walking along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. It runs along the Potomac River from Washington DC to Cumberland and passes through Harper’s Ferry, about the half-way point on the 185-mile long canal trail.

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We saw a lot of old ruins along the way. Buildings lie along the remnants of the canal and were built to service the scores of boaters who used this as their main transportation in the 1800’s to the early 1900’s. I have no idea what this building could have been used for, although I don’t think it was the home of one of the lock-keepers.

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An old wooden house sits on this hill. The view must have been incredible when this dwelling was inhabited. and it’s wisely built above the flood line.

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This lift-lock was filled in. The river is just to the right through the trees.

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Here’s the other side of the lock-lift that was filled in. We guessed it was because when this became a National Park, they were filled in for safety purposes. Some of them are so deep that they’d pose a danger to the public who was wandering about.

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Boats used to pass through a series of seventy four lift locks that raised and lowered water levels adjusting the ride like a staircase to adjust for the 605-foot difference in elevation between Georgetown and Cumberland.

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Here are some archival photos taken in the 1800’s. NPS photos. These were the dwellings that the lock keepers lived in while tending to the travelers.

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Thanks for all the encouragement on becoming an affiliate with B&H Photo & Video. I do hope you don’t think I’ve gone all commercial. All I ask is that if you’re looking for photography or video equipment (or any kind of media equipment) to please link through one of the B&H ads or links on my site.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

B&H Photo in NYC now sponsoring my site

Well, I did it. I was approached about a year ago by B&H Photo in NYC to become an affiliate of their site. At the time, I wondered why they would be contacting me and after several e-mails back and forth, decided I just wasn’t ready to advertise on this blog of mine.

In the interest of branching out, and possibly making some pocket change in the process, I’ve decided to take them up on their original offer. When you click on the ad to the right, and actually purchase something, I will make a small amount of money.

B&H Photo is fantastic company to get anything and everything you need for photography, video, home entertainment, computers and you name it. Their prices are very competitive and their service is top rated. They are not paying me to say these things. I will only accept advertising offers on this site from companies that I trust and respect and I’m proud of the relationship I now have with B&H.

New Image In the future, I’ll be reviewing some of the equipment I already own, so look for that to come.

And now I must get back to the Singing Survivor Show. It’s already shaping up to be quite an interesting evening.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Photo credit Scott Beale/Laughing Squid 

Thanks, Scott!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The eagle has landed

In one of the trees in our yard this afternoon, after the rain and the wind had finally subsided, my husband saw an eagle land. And he did exactly what I would have done.

He quickly ran into the house and got the camera. He put on the long lens and he got right back out there.

Part of being a decent photographer is to simply show up. That’s what I say.

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I think he did a pretty good job of capturing this bald eagle.

Odd that a bird with feathers all over its head has the name bald. However, back in the year 1200 a language was spoken called Middle English. The Middle English word balled (or balde) meant "shining white" and was a reference to the mature bald eagle's white head (Choate 1973).

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Bald eagles tend to be in areas where there is a large amount of water-to-land edge, such as seacoasts, rivers and lakes. These areas provide an abundant source of their primary food, fish. In Oregon, 87% of bald eagle nests are within one mile of water. (Palmer 1988a; Farrand 1988). (Anthony and Isaacs 1989)

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Females are larger, but both sexes are between 28 and 38 inches in length and have a wingspread between 66 and 96 inches (up to eight feet!). Females weigh between 10 and 14 pounds, males between 8 and 9 pounds (Palmer 1988a).

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They can fly between 36 and 44 miles per hour. One was clocked at 30 miles per hour carrying a fish. (Terres 1980).

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And then he flew away towards the water. This is the view from the field in front of our house, on the other side of the wood. In the center of the photo, you can see a bridge. The water is not far, really.

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And that concludes our lesson for today. There will be a test on this subject later on in the week, so I do hope you were taking notes.

Not really. Although you’d probably be into that, wouldn’t you?!!

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A test?
I want to take a test!

George loves tests. Especially if there is a squeaky toy involved. Or a stick.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thanks, as ever, for your continued visits, for your kind words and for your friendship.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hi, it’s me. I’m just sharing the love today.

My husband took this photo of me over the weekend and I think I like it. I used a couple of textures on it as it was sort of fuzzy to begin with. I liked it that way. I was about to take George for the late afternoon walk and had my favorite mittens on and the hiking sticks. I think my husband had said something funny, or done something amusing and I was laughing.

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I don’t like posting photos of myself. Flowers are always better to look at, or horses, or anything else as far as I’m concerned. But this is me, and you should always know who you’re dealing with, dontcha know.

I’ve found a couple of new blogs that I’ve added to my ever expanding blogroll and thought I’d share them with you. I think it’s good to visit new places and meet new people, so on that note, let me introduce two sites that I’ve recently discovered.

JerryJonespicOne blog that I’m completely enjoying is Jerry Jones’ Shadowhouse Creations, where there is sharing galore going on. Jerry is the creator of SkeletalMess (formerly Ghostbones) textures, and his talent abounds. I’ve always enjoyed perusing his work on Flickr, and I especially like {this set}. His generosity with his free textures, tutorials and font downloads are just a few reasons why this place is a must stop for digital photographers who are into Photoshop and all that it offers.

His work is very inspiring. (Photo by Jerry Jones)

IMG_5765 copy 2 Another blog that I just found today is Low Tide High Style, and features Kat, a fellow Marylander and lover of all things beautiful. Kat especially enjoys interior design and entertaining. I love her before and after shots of remodeling jobs.

She’s hosting a Giveaway until Tuesday evening, so head on over there and tell her I said hello. You could win this gorgeous assortment of ocean-inspired decorative items and yummy extras that you see pictured here. Kat is also a huge proponent of something I call sharing the love, and she highlights the blogs of others when she sees something she really enjoys. (Photo by Kat)

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I love day tripping on Saturday (winner announced in post below)

My husband’s original plan for today included getting up at 4AM, which is something I whole-heartedly promised him I could do. If that’s what he wants every now and then, I’ll get up at 4 AM. “Sure, no problem honey”, I told him (I really meant it).

My husband knows me very well, however. He knows I will not like getting up at 4 AM just to photograph a sunrise in the freezing cold after a two-hour journey. So on Friday evening, he changed the plan to rather than getting there in time to see the sunrise, to leaving around 7:30 just take a walk on the beach when we got there.

And I loved this idea even better.

(Even though I had trouble waking up just to do that.)

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Much to my husband’s surprise, we managed to leave the house at 7:30 this morning for our drive to Assateague Island National Seashore on the Maryland coast. We’ve been visiting this spot for around 20-25 years and today the beach was pretty darn cold, let me tellya.

I loved it! I love the smell and sound of the ocean. It is just so wonderful to watch the waves roll in, a repetitive motion that reminds you that no matter what happens in this world, the waves will continue.

I saw the usual things I see when I visit this park.

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I saw some wild ponies.

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I saw the ocean in all its majesty.

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I saw a lot of my husband’s back.

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And front.

I saw seagulls.

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This one is surveying his territory.

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Fishing for something tasty.

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And just flying.

We both noticed how different the shoreline looks from when we first began visiting the park when our sons were really young. Every year, my husband’s parents would take our two boys with them to ‘camp’ in their RV for a week at the beach here. In later years when the boys stopped going, my husband and I would go and meet them there for a weekend.

They gave up the RV several years ago and I don’t remember the last time we camped here. But it’s a wonderful place. And in the winter, you practically have it all to yourself.

Thanks for coming along. And hello to all the new visitors. Oh, you think I didn’t see you out there, did you? Well, I do. I have ways, you know . . .

PS ~ I really do have ways to see who visits but I just don’t have the time to investigate. So don’t worry. Your lurking is safe. Honestly. And I don’t mind in the least.

Unless you’re an axe-murderer. Please go away, then.