When I was growing up, my great aunt, Ellie was really more of a grandmother to me than either of my actual grandmothers were. She lived closer than Nana and was more engaged than Mimi. I have lots of memories of spending Friday nights at her house. When it was cold outside, she would put on a Beatles album, Penny Lane I believe and Chris and I would scuff around on her carpet in the living room in our socks to build up a good static charge and as we passed her, we'd touch her hand. She would sit there and let us do that over and over again. When we were done, she'd bring us in to the kitchen and make milkshakes for us. They were always served in plastic soda cups with handles. We'd go to bed in the back bedroom and wake up in the morning to watch cartoons on her color TV! While we watched we had those little boxes of cereal that my parents would NEVER buy for us.
Today, at about 11:30 am, Ellie passed away. She was 101 years old. In her honor, I made the girls milkshakes this evening. We all drank a frosty toast to her long life. We will certainly miss you Ellie but know you are resting in peace now.
You may remember that Nana died about a year ago and I posted a picture of her with the kids I took when we were up there over Christmas. I had the foresight to also take a picture of the kids with Ellie the same day. It's not a great picture of her but it's the most recent one I have and she is surrounded by the children. She loved being around children so this was probably a very happy time for her. Cheers Elie!
Some of you may remember a similar picture from last year. You can see it HERE. This year's picture came out quite a bit better IMO. I think I have definitely grown as a photographer when I look at the difference in these 2 pics. True some of the difference is due to improved equipment but I would like to think I've gotten better too.
I did crop some, increase contrast, played with the tone curve, used some noise reduction and boosted the vibrance just a smidge in LR post but it's still a better picture than I would have taken last year.
For the uninitiated, Boosterthon is a fundraiser we've had at LPES for three years. They come in to the school for about 2 weeks and every year have a different character building theme. This year it's Highway USA and it's all about making good choices. These guys, and this year we also have a female, are popping with enthusiasm and get the kids really motivated to participate in the events. Today was the kickoff and since I am the co-chair for this event I was there taking pictures. Mostly I took pics of the kids and the staff but I took a moment to get this just for you!
Thank goodness we are already tracked out because the weather for the past few days has been wacky! The schools are opening late and closing early due to ice storms. What an ugly mess!
The girls wanted to go out and explore our crystal world before it all melted so we headed over to the park. As you can see, there was a nice thin layer of ice on everything. Do not fret however, this being NC, by noon the temperature was well above freezing and everything was cleared away.
This is a picture I got standing under the swingset.I played with it a little to increase the contrast and I cropped out a bunch of the sky on the sides but I kind of liked it.
Here is a more typical ice storm picture for you traditionalists out there.
I probably should have brought my tripod but I was nervous enough carrying around my camera in this mess without the added weight on cumbersomness of a tripod. This shot definitely would have benefited from a tripod. I closed the aperture to f9.0 and had to shoot at 1/60 and I'm not quite steady enough for it to be tack sharp at that speed. I used LR to sharpen it some but there's no substitue for getting it right in camera.
One last picture for the day. Who can resist a smile from a kid who is so obviously have a great time.
If you have ever met my mother you have probably observed her knitting. She is a prolific knitter. We have all witnessed her sitting in her chair around 9:00 pm watching some inane show while knitting a pair of mittens only to see her a few minutes later nodding off - but those needles were still moving!
My mother has been known to make dozens of mittens for her church mitten tree for needy children. She says she's just using up all the left over yarn from her other projects throughout the year, and that may be true, but really she is just a very kind person who uses this talent to benefit those less fortunate than she. Really I'm not certain the church had a mitten tree until my mother created it. I'm not certain anyone but my mother puts mittens on the tree. It may just be my mother's outlet to get her mittens onto the little hands that need them.
Back to the picture:
My girls have benefitted from my mother's knitting over the years as well with many adorable sweaters, hats, scarves and yes, even mittens. Macy wore these in the meager snow we had the other day and they became wet so she hung them up to dry on the back door doorknob. They have long since dried but have remained there since the weather hasn't been cold enough to warrant mittens. As I passed by them this morning, They struck me so I decided to take a picture. I had to play with the settings and after a few shots realized I had the white balance set to shady which was giving it an odd yellowish tint so I had to start my segment all over again. The backlighting is always hard to compensate.
A little cropping and some adjustments later we have "Mittens."
The girls have reached the age of bickering. I'm completely sick of it. They have arguments over EVERYTHING and it always ends up with one or both of them whinging to me about it. I saw this on facebook a few weeks ago. Last night, I reached my tipping point. On the way home from picking the girls up from camp, I swung by the Target and bought the biggest white t-shirt i could find. Brought it home and wrote on it. This will either cure them or kill them. Stay tuned to find out.
Even though, technically the holidays have been over for a few weeks, the sleep deprivation lingers on. Today, while KC took Macy to Jellybeans for a Y Princess outing, Delaney proclaimed she was going to spend the entire day in her jammies. Meghann and Sarah are out of town so there was no one to play with and I thought that spending the day in jammies sounded wonderful. While her sister and father were gone, she grabbed her iPhone and went into our room to snuggle in our bed since we have a bed warmer. I was doing some work on a photobook for a friend. After a while, I went to go check on her and found her sound asleep. She didn't even wake up when I snapped the picture. Anyone who's heard a Nikon shutter knows that in a quiet room, that is a LOUD noise. An hour later, she came out, cheeks rosy and eye still blinking away the last of the sleep. A nap is a good thing.
I don't know why this caught my eye but it did. One lesson I learned with last year's experiment was to take pictures of things that catch your eye. Sometimes they make the best pictures. I'm not saying this is my best picture but I wanted to give an example of who last year's project changed my life. Sure it's not an earth shattering change but before last year I never would have thought to take a picture of this. Today I found myself looking at the paper towel roll pondering the swervy shape and after a few moments thought, "I should take a picture of it!" Voila! My 365 project was a success. I take pictures of the strange things I see in my life now. I did take several pictures of this from several different angles but this was my favorite. I played with it a little in LR to enhance the texture in the paper towel and a minor crop.
Delaney was given a friendship bracelet making kit for Xmas and she busted it out today. Macy he one from a birthday party a while ago so the 2 of them sat down to make bracelets. While it's not terribly complex, there are a lot of strings to keep straight and both had to concentrate pretty hard to make progress. I love the looks on their faces: similar yet so different.
Last night was a big to-do in the Triangle: SNOW! All day yesterday it was raining. By about 8:00pm it was pretty heavy, the wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping. The forecast was for 1-3 inches of snow so school was delayed 2 hours by 6:00pm. Then by 9:00 the forecast had changed to less than an inch but by then, it was too late to change the delay. The girls could use the extra hour or 2 of sleep anyway even though we are about to track out. Extra sleep is always a good thing at that age.
When we woke up this morning, this is what greeted us: NC's version of snow. Pathetic, I know but we have to take what we get down here. We haven't had any real snow in about 2 years. I'm not really complaining though because any real accumulation leads to school closures. Unless we are tracked out, we have to make those days up and since we are year round, the only way to make them up is on Saturdays when the same 3 tracks are in which usually means we have to make them up in April. It's terrible to have to spend a beautiful spring day in the classroom so I'd rather not have to do a make up.
The picture above was taken while out walking Floyd. The light was pretty cool and was reflecting off the snow to light up both sides of the grass and make it glow. This was a little tricky to shoot. The light meter on my camera was reading way too much light as always is the case when shooting snow. I knew I needed a to close down the aperture for a longer DOF. I used my DOF button to make sure I had enough. Then I incrementally played with the shutter speed. As it turned out the first one I tried was the one I liked best.
In LR I made some minor adjustments to contrast and saturation as well as the curve and a slight crop.
ISO 100, 50mm, f6.3, 1/640
Our wall out front was also still covered in a slight dusting of snow and the sun was low enough to cause a nice sparkly scene. I again played with my settings to get it right. The snow was much brighter here than in the previous pic so my shutter speed had to go way up to capture it correctly. I used a LR B&W preset to get this look. Delaney helped me choose between 2 presets about which I was undecided. I'm pleased with the way it came out.
Despite the meager amount of snow, my little Southern Belles were beside themselves with glee. I told you we haven't had real snow in 2 years. Macy barely remembers it! They went out in the back yard and had a snowball fight, or at least as close as they could get to a snowball fight with the little snow they could scape off the grass.
Today I had a "cuppa" with my bestie. Great to catch up with her since we haven't had a chance since before the holidays. Jack was out of school so he accompanied us to the 'Bou. When it was time to leave (Jack is very good at letting us know when it's time to leave.) I told him I had something for him at my house. A few weeks ago, Dana and Eyal were cleaning out their playroom and came across this adorable dragon costume. I remember Guy and Shiri wearing it all the time but they have outgrown it so they asked me if Jack might like it. I thought it was worth a shot. I mentioned it to Kirsten who said he doesn't dress up as much as Macy and Olivia used to but he only had the one pirate outfit so he might like something new.
Now, saying that Jack doesn't dress up as much as Macy and Olivia is like saying I don't swim as much as a fish. Those 2 girls would barely be in the door before they would strip down to don a princess dress, tiara and shoes and they would wear them until it was time to leave. Now that they are 7 it's not so much any more but in pre-school....
Anyway, we get to the house and I show it to Jack. He immediately requests I take his shoes off so he can get into the costume. He LOVED it! Here he is making scary dragon noises at me. Now, will he continue to wear it once he gets home? Who knows but he does love me and anything that I give him is precious to him so it should last a little while. He sleeps with any truck I give him for days so this should last at least that long. Once it gets hot outside, I imagine it will be less desirable. That thing is heavy!
One last thing: the title has some significance and I was going to put a sound clip on this post but I only pay for the basic level of blogging and to do that, I'd need to upgrade. Not worth it for the 4 followers I have. Sorry! Anyway, the title is in reference to a Laurie Bernker song. She remains our favorite children's singer/song write even though the girls have moved on with their tastes. To this day, I can still get them singing a few of the songs in the car. Unfortunately, I cannot find a decent clip of the song on-line so
KC got on a kick the other day to clean out the pantry and I was reluctantly recruited to help. These canisters were given to us when we were married and I've stored things in them off and on. While we were in the re-org spirit, I filled them with the opened and half used things I found in the pantry. I had them on the counter with the back lighting just willy nilly and I got an idea. I cleaned off the rest of the counter and arranged them and took a few shots. Due to the backlighting, I had to overexpose a bit to get the grains and blow out the light coming through the door. I tried a few exposures and the middle one was the best. I stabilized on the counter since the shutter speed was slower than even I can hand hold. In LR I cropped and made some adjustments, nothing radical. I kind of like it.
I know you have already seen these but I'm re-posting them for a best of 2012 contest at BorrowLenses.com. "Saratoga Lake Crew" is my favorite but KC liked my "Blue Heron in the Fog" better so I'm putting them both up.
Most of you probably won't notice but they are slightly different from the original posts. I've become more comfortable with LR4 since August and I went back and started over. I prefer my second result better.
Fingers crossed for my first photo contest entry!
I'm a mother of 2 girls living in NC. I've dabbled in photography on and off but really this is just for fun