Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Light of 2012

It is unbearably cold but I got a set of diopters to fake a macro lens so Sadie and I did a walk about the yard in the last of the day's and year's light to capture some of the colors of the season. Everything is pretty dead and muted, I picked these four out:



I found that all is not drab and ugly, 
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

From Me and Kyle and Sadiepants to you and yours-
Happy Holidays!



And to all a good night.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Longest Night

Just a quick photo of this year's luminaries for the celebration of the days getting longer to come.
Here's to the longer days ahead!
Warmth to you and yours this holiday season.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Newbie

I got a new camera. Well O.K. I got a new DSLR and then quickly learned that my money wasn't that well spent and I was lucky enough to upgrade with only the loss of the cost for the backup battery for the first one that won't work with the new one. I'll take that loss any day. What I ended up doing was getting a camera that I could grow and learn with. It has some dummy settings for the times I get flustered, but I'm already comfy with shooting in Aperture priority mode, so I consider that a sign of moving forward.

Unfortunately, I fall into the category of consumer that completely over analyzes everything. I am a professional Internet investigator. Like a present day Colin Laney I scrub the Internet for any last detail on anything to find any shred if information I can. Unlike work stuff, I can sometimes run into dubious territory like I did with my latest research on my new D7000. I found this wonderful site. I thought to myself, "what a goldmine". Ugh. I wish I could have that day back. At least I only spent a day.

Apparently the author of that site is a bit controversial. This article was the last one I found last night.

After thinking I'd found a goldmine of info and stupidly had the guys name tacked to every file my camera shot. I realized that I'd been had. If I wasn't so proud I'd ask my own local photography hero about these things, but as I still haven't learned, I have to reinvent the wheel with each of my endeavors and DO IT ON MY OWN. Jeez, why do I do this to myself? (Don't worry Emily, I'll still be stubborn and want to learn this joyous world in my own way, you can chuckle all you want)

I've reset my camera to factory defaults and started to slowly make my own settings. What was I thinking? Things are looking good for my new journey with my D7000.

Maybe one day I'll post some photos I've taken with this new bad boy...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Its Here!

 
Its here! Yay! It is big and beefy (to me, I wear large gloves at work). I had the 35mm 1.8 lens already and I've only taken a few shots because it arrived during blackberry jam making and I had no desire to get jam on my new camera. The button and dial locations make so much more sense to me. It still has a few "safety net" settings, but this is going to be my new school for a while. Unfortunately I'm beat from canning and present making, so any semi-decent photos won't be happening right away. I can't wait to see what Emily's new purchase looks like.

Shot with my super-awesome Panasonic Lumix that will continue to be my go-to point and shoot.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Goodbye D5100 or why I love Costco

No photos for this post, as I have no camera. I have a few really neat lenses and a flash, but I returned the very nice Nikon D5100 to Costco today. I love those guys. They seem to get it that since they don't have experts on the floor to help with choosing merchandise, they'll take returns with very few to no questions asked. I bought the D5100 in a kit with two lenses for a great price of just under 1,000 bucks. It included a bag, a 16GB SD card, a bunch of DVD,s, battery, charger, connectors, and a camera strap- not too bad.

 This was my first personal DSLR (we use them at work, but not artistically). It took great photographs and had the versatility my old point and shoot could in no way keep up with. I  pushed that point and shoot hard, I learned how to tweak it to it's fullest extent, but it was never going to reach my creative expectations.

The D5100 has a great sensor in it for sure. The first problem I noticed was more the body construction and design, such as in the battery compartment door. It was really hard for me to open and was, to be honest, really cheaply made. The menu was a bit strange as well. But, ultimately, that damn battery compartment door was really eating away at me. I felt that I might break it if I tried to hard to get it to open.

It also had that rarely useful on-board flash that with most cameras seem to ruin a night shot with the harsh shallow lighting. So I got a nice Nikon Speedlight flash that will take me a long while to learn, but also has idiot-proof settings that instantly made my flash pictures lots better. The only problem is that the D5100 can only use the Speedlight when mounted on the camera, not as a remote. I was outgrowing the camera at light speed-fast.

I had checked out the D7000 a bit, but at the kit price, it was almost twice as much. The pros all say to get a good camera body on its own because the kit lenses are usually cheap (I read that last week). Once I got a nifty 35mm 1.8 prime lens and a really cool cheap real fish eye lens, the kit lenses never touched the camera again (I had it for approximately 1 month).

Luckily the lady at Costco understood my dissatisfaction having spent almost 1,000 bucks on a camera with a crappy battery compartment lid and limited functionality with the Nikon flash system, she gave me a full refund. I will remain a loyal Costco customer and buy all my SD cards, and external hard drives there no problem. I will skip their D7000 kit for 1,499.99 though. I ordered a D7000 (body only, but they threw in a bag, and an SD card) from B&H for a bit less than I originally paid for the D5100 kit.

Thank you Costco, I doubt any camera store would have saved my butt like that after having the camera for that long. (I'm sure the local camera store would have explained the features so that I would have understood what I was getting into in the first place.) Why do I have to be so stubborn and not ask for help from qualified experts? It must be the Lithuanian in me:)

All in all, the experience taught me a lot and I'm only out 1 spare battery I bought for the D5100. I can live with that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Really Poor Quality Photos Overprocessed

But I just got my cheapo fish eye lens today and although the light was too low and I had no tripod, I had to dash outside in the gloom to try it out. I am in love with the new camera and lenses. I hope to reproduce these shots again after I get more practice in. Next time, in focus.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I think I figured out how to share more photos on Blogger. This was the pumpkin cheesecake we made out of the Sugar Bear pumpkin I posted about earlier. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blogger Bomb

I was just notified via Blogger that I have no more room for photos. Maybe I'll start a website. I'm a bit torn on the subject. Either way there will be no photographs of the pumpkin cheesecake we made for tonight's dinner. Or any new photos for that matter until I either pay Google 2.49 a month or publish my own website. I just got my nice new DSLR too. GRRRRR!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Presents

My Cousin Sarah sent me this table runner she made. We are a few fans of Facebook as we weren't raised to be with each other's families much. Thanks to FB, several of us cousins have been reunited. The wonderful amazing thing is that although we have very different backgrounds and beliefs  we have so much in common. I've wanted to do justice to her hard work by not putting up a snapshot. I set up the new camera and I think I got a few OK photos for this post. I can't wait to have a proper dining room with a table I've hand made to place it on. 
It is reversible!
I also got a framed vintage Halloween card that I didn't get any good photos of yet. Now I need to learn to be a good person and figure out Thank You cards. 

Sugar Bear

 We picked this little guy up at the new Whole Foods for this years Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake.

We cut it in half and scooped out the seeds and strings and will bake it in foil overnight at 200 for 8 hrs. The rest of the pie will be made Wednesday night. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lost Apostle

I can't believe I haven't made a post about these guys yet. In my fantasy world, Lost Apostle is my signature jeweler. In the real world they are as well, so let's stick with the real world. My taste is quirky and I love something that is really well crafted. I've been known to have champagne taste with a Milwaukee's Best budget. Lost Apostle is my dream jeweler. I love their take on dark and humor. I started with this set of skull and femur bone pendants. All is cast in bronze and heavily plated with silver. They also have pure bronze and pure silver options. They are very detailed and wonderfully crafted. All photos are from Lost Apostle.
They have great weight and balance. To me they seem to avoid the cheesy biker skull look. I wear them all the time at work with my straight up schoolteacher type outfits. I doubt most people notice them. But once in a while someone does and they love them. 
 This was my second purchase. It hangs on a longer chain. The cool thing is that they are all interchangeable. When we went to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights I wore both chains. 
 I love this one and emailed the jeweler to find out if I could get it paired with the old fashioned syringe pictured below. Sure enough, they can at a good price. I'll have a lot of mix and matching to do soon. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Potatoes

We used some of this years All Blue and Rose Fingerling potatoes tonight for this yummy potato salad. It is dressed with red onion, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, capers, chives, salt and pepper. They turned out great. It was nice to still use the year's harvest when the high for the day was only 35 degrees. 

We also successfully winterized the stock tank and all this year's surviving fish with a deicer. I hope to see some fishes alive in the spring.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The American Scream

My favorite quote from this show is " Halloween is a community thing, Christmas and Thanksgiving are a family thing". This is why I love Halloween. 
I just found this on Netflix watch it now. I've heard of it from the forums I follow. I have been hesitant because I fear it will make haunters out to be total crazies, but we are, in a good way. At the very least, it may comfort Kyle that he is not the only significant other with such a "special" person in their life.
click photo for the IMBD link
images courtesy of the Chiller Channel.

I had to stop the video to comment on the Davis Graveyard faux pas. Wow, who that is into haunting that has the internet wouldn't know that that was the antithesis of their beautiful haunt? Click to check out their website.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Uploaded videos (playlist)

Dark Halloween

I officially spent 4 hours getting all my 100+ spotlights right, Everything was working, I even got crappy video. Then something went horribly wrong and the lights went out. I had so many kids go by today to check out "the show" and I don't know it the lights will even work tomorrow. I am about as bummed as I can be right now. Something is horribly wrong. I even smelled melted plastic in my project enclosure. If I wan't aware of much more horrible things in the world, I'd cry.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Practice

I got blackout contacts for this years banshee/la llorona costume. This was a trial run with some of the makeup. I'm so beyond the crappy "sexy" costumes.

Down to the Wire

I just applied the first of three coats of sealant to this guy. Just now. His partner will need to be finished for next year. I'll paint him tomorrow and set him up to dry under the awning over the front porch. I have yet to re-wire my project enclosure for the light show. Tonight we get all the props and lights down out of the garage rafters so I can get to work after work. 

One of the reasons I'm so far behind was that we went on our haunted vacation to So Cal. Flash photography wasn't allowed in the mazes and some of the rides were water rides, so photography was out in most cases. I did get a few shots of props that were set up at the parks though.
Dinner at Universal
At the gate
The night was sold out in advance, we got in early
It got dark by the time we hit the lower lot where Pyramid Head was waiting
He and his faceless knife wielding nurse friends had fun with the crowd
Yes it's dark and grainy, but I let people go ahead of us at The Walking Dead maze to get this awesome photo. I tried to use the fence as a tripod.
Some decorations

Parting shot when we left Universal after screaming my head off and giggling hysterically for several hours. We had an amazing time.

Happy Haunting! 

I'll try to get some photos before the big night. I really want to try to get decent video.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Latest WIP


I've been wanting to do a version of Pumpkinrot's sentinels. Gosh, I remember being copied as a kid in art class in middle school and High School. Nobody gave me credit. Apparently I can't think of a better way to make these guys, so I hope he finds my final result to be O.K. I've had nothing but trouble mounting the "head" to the "body". Kyle helped me a bunch with this one. The other one is still drying on the porch with no arms. Dang, I have a ton of work to do. Here's the inspiration:
Again, check out Mr. Rot.