As much as I have always thought Chris and I were polar opposites, we do have a few similar characteristics. When the girls are competing, I like to get away from people which is why I shoot. It gives me something to do. Chris doesn't have that so she just goes off into a corner and assumes this position.
I totally get it.
Blake has been wrestling since he was about 4 years old. He's now 17 and has gotten pretty good. I was going to go see him wrestle in the State meet last year but a few weeks before the tournament, he broke his hand in a fluke fall. :(
So this year I promised him if he made it to States, I'd be there. I had faith in him even though when Chris heard I had bought plane tickets 2 weeks before the State Qualifiers, she was terrified I'd jinxed him and would have wasted my money. In my opinion, it's never a waste of money to see family though so even if he hadn't won State Quals, I'd have gone up and happily spent a second weekend in a row with my family. If I'd have waited until he'd qualified, the cost of the tickets would have practically doubled. Besides, I knew he'd make it.
States is big time and the competition is tough. Blake won his first match, lost his 2nd, went to wrestle-backs; won his first wrestle-back and lost his second. However there was a strange parochial school rule that made it so he had one more shot to make it to the podium. Sadly, Blake was unable to pull it out. The kid got ahead and just hung on until the buzzer. No matter though, I am still hopelessly proud of my nephew.
In the above picture he is taking down his first opponent. It ended with Blake pinning him 1/2 way through the 2nd period. Chris doesn't like this pic since you cant see Blake's face but I thought it was a pretty cool action shot.
This was Chris's favorite picture:
My favorite one from this match was just a few seconds later, when he pinned the kid:
Again, you can't see Blake's face but it's the pin so I'm so glad I got it.
I did get the first pin too but it was at an odd angle for me and I ended up getting a bit of a rude shot of the other kid. Plus you could barely see Blake so it didn't make it to me favorite list.
On the photography side, I started shooting like I did for gymnastics but I found that a 1/500 second shutter speed wasn't necessary. The action happens fast but since there's less big movement, there isn't as much speed in the extremities like when the girls are on bars or doing a back-handspring. It's a much more close in sport. I dropped it down to 1/200 sec so I could lower the ISO. As you can see from these pictures, the noise is practically non-existent Although I did de-noise it a smidge in LR4, it was no where near what I have to do when the ISO is 6400. If I were to do it again, I'd have gone a step or 2 faster. There was a bit of a blur in the extreme hands and feet in all of these pics and a shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/320 would have resolved that.
Next year, Blake, we'll both do better.
My parents' dog Patton is a fantastic black lab. He's so gentle and good with everyone. This is how he lies all the time. It was so sweet, I had to get a shot of it.
The lighting was pretty bad: a back lit black dog.... Had to bump up the ISO pretty significantly to accomodate that. I also remembered to shut down the aperture! See! I DID learn something last year! Got enough DOF for his whole face and paws but that meant I had to tripod myself, which wasn't that big a deal since I had to lay on the floor to get this shot anyway.
My father was born on February 13, 1943. If you do the math, you'll realize that was 70 years ago. Taking the next logical step leads you to the fact that he turned 70 a few days ago. Happy Birthday Daddy!
Anyone who knows my parents could tell you that my father loves his friends and family and my mother loves surprises. Add all that up and you have a Surprise 70th Birthday Extravaganza, which is exactly what both of them wanted.
My mother spent months planning for friends and family to surprise my father. She rented the dining room at Van Schaik Country Club in Cohoes. (Coincedentally, it's where my sister had her wedding reception. I also worked there for a summer as a waitress. Not a good waitress, mind you, but I put in my time enough to know that I NEVER want to do that again. But I digress...) As expected, everything went off flawlessly. Well, everything except a part that I was in charge of. There's a little story so bear with me.
The story fed to my father was that Jeff and Kehmally, who live on Van Schaik Island about 1/2 mile from the country club, were thinking about joining the club to start rubbing elbows with the Cohoes "elite." I'm laughing as I type that! Why? 1) Cohoes and elite don't exactly go together. 2) My brother and rubbing elbows don't exactly go together either. But again, I must get back on track. Jeff's dream is to open his own microbrewery. He's a master of home brewing. I don't drink beer but everyone who does tells me his stuff is good. He has put in an offer on a building in Cohoes in which he could live upstairs and have the brewery downstairs. There's even a small building in the back for Kehmally to have her ice cream business. The building needs a LOT of work so his offer was ridiculously low. Initially, I thought, "No way" and the sellers didn't even respond but then a few weeks later, Jeff has heard that they were entertaining it. I'll keep you posted on how that pans out.
So that's the reasoning and my father bought it. My parents were meeting at Jeff's house at 5:15 while everyone was congregating at the club. Once everyone was there (well almost everyone) I sent Jeff a text to come over. I alerted everyone that I'd be watching for him and when I gave the signal, everyone was to start playing "Happy Birthday" on the kazoos my mother supplied. (Yeah, I'm still reeling from that myself.) Everything appeared to be going well except for silly me, I was waiting for them at the front door. Jeff brought them through the back door so it was a little off. Oh well. He was still surprised and eventually everyone did belt out a head splitting rendition of "Happy Birthday."
Macy has been asking to do fondue for dinner for weeks so tonight we planned ahead and finally had a chance to do it.
When we do fondue, we do the whole shebang!
We started out with a beer and cheese sauce in which we dipped apples, crusty bread and some broccoli.
Next up was the main course: Chicken, steak and shrimp with broccoli, cauliflower and lots of dipping sauces. We use a chicken broth base rather than oil to keep it slightly healthy but this is where the planning needed to come in. That needs to be boiled for an hour in a pot and then transferred to the fondue pot. But man is it yummy!
The coup d'grass is, of course, the chocolate. We had marshmallows, strawberries, pound cake and bananas to dip. Mmmmmmm.
The way the forks were all sticking out of the pot called to me so I had to shoot it. It's probably the first self portrait you've seen on here!
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, today I joined a group of fellow 'togs on an outing to the State Capitol Building. I dusted off my rickety old tripod and brought it along. I knew I was going to have to have some pretty long exposures so hand holding was out of the question.
We all met in the rotunda and split into groups but quickly just kind of wandered off on our own. Most people were using their wide angle lenses to capture the grandeur of the great rooms. They are very impressive and some of my cohorts got some really nice shots. I, however, was more transfixed by the little things I saw. The architectural details that make it so spectacular to look at are what caught my eye.
This was one of the first set ups I did. The light was coming in the window and highlighting the wrought iron so nicely I had to capture it. In LR I cropped it, adjusted the curve and played with some of the color saturation a tad. I posted it on the ROP meet-up site and this is the one of mine that got the most comments. It was also my favorite of the day.
Here are the others that I liked:
In stark contrast to the 100s of pictures I take when shooting a sporting event or even a portrait shoot, I only took about 70 pictures total. There was something very nice about the slow calm pace of finding the right subject, the right angle, the right light and the right settings. It was very different from the frenetic pace of catching the moment when shooting people. I think I could get used to this but still think my sweet spot is sports.
The biggest lessong I learned today was my tripod is terrible. Adjusting it is a royal PITA and a ball head would have made my life so much easier. Yet something else to add to my wish list...
OK, so maybe I'm nuts because when I showed these to my mother, she saw the exact opposite of what I am seeing but I will continue with my post anyway.
Tomorrow, I am going on an outing with ROP (Raleigh Outdoor Photography) It's a Meet-up I've been going to for a few months. Although we all like to shoot outside, this time of year there isn't a lot to choose from so one of the members, Zach, suggested we go to the Capitol Building. He contacted them and got permission for a bunch of us to bring our cameras and tripods and shoot all morning. Traditionally for architectural shoots, the conventional wisdom is to use wide angle lenses. Given that I have already packed up my 24-70mm and my 70-300mm and sent them off to Adorama for an exchange, I'm down to my 50mm or 70-200mm. Zach mentioned to me that Peace Camera had a used 28mm for $150 so I thought I'd go up to Raleigh to check it out.
Sure enough they had it. It was a 2.8 which is what my 70-200mm is and I'm happy with that. As I stood there talking to the gentleman, he mentioned he had a used 1.8 for sale as well. I asked what the difference was and he said, "Besides the price? Here lets do a comparison."
He had me set my camera to ISO 400, F2.8 and 1/50 and take a picture with the 1.8, then take the same picture with the same settings with the 2.8. He had me do it outside too but those results weren't as dramatic as this was to me.
At first glance I thought, hmmm the 2.8 is actually better and I was really excited. Then I looked a little closer. There appears to be better contrast in the 2.8 but when you really look at it, what you'll notice is that in those higher highs and lower lows, you are actually missing some of the detail ie. sharpness. It was confirmed when I zoomed in and saw that, indeed, there is a lot more detail in the 1.8.
Then I looked at why there was such a vast difference; the price. The 1.8 used was $550! Needless to say, I walked out of there with nothing more that I went in with other than the knowledge that with my camera, I will only ever buy N lenses from now on.
I will make do with my 50mm tomorrow. But now I'm curious: How much better would the 1.4 50mm be? When I got the 1.8, everyone said it was just as sharp as the 1.4 and the only real difference was the plastic vs metal. I'm guessing that most of those reviews were NOT done on a D800. For now, I'll keep my 50mm. Upgrading that will come after I get a better 24-70mm and a 105mm and probably even an 85mm or a 14-24mm. So it's obviously not at the top of my priority list and neither was a sub-par 28mm.
ISO 800, 44mm, f5.0, 1/4000, A priority
We learned our lesson. Last year it rained the day before the fun run and our field was a muddy mess and we had to do it inside. So this year, we planned ahead and watched the weather carefully. We had planned to have the run on the 8th but there was a good chance of rain tonight so we went to plan B and held it today. It was cold but dry and that's better than inside or muddy.
This is such a typical thing to see as the kids all come out of the tunnel. I love the joy and excitement this company pumps into the students. They all have so much fun.ISO
Today was Track 2's fun run. They are set to track out on Wed when we go back in. Being the chairperson, I was there. Delaney was with KC at her doctor's appt so I had Macy with me. She was great. She cheered Olivia on and ran around with the Boosterthon guys. (I know one of them is a girl but I'm simplifying here.) At one point Mark asked if anyone knew the words to one of the songs. Of course Macy did so Mark allowed her to sing on the mic. She was so happy!
A few minutes later, they had a dance along. Again, Macy joined in doing the running man. So very cute!
You may remember back in June how Delaney had a pallet expander put in and how we had to turn it twice a day for 12 days. The first few days were awful. Delaney screamed so loudly every time, I was VERY close to taking her back over to Dr. Bo to tell him to take it out. She'd been eyeing an iPad for several months so in desperation, KC and I told her that if she was able to NOT scream again, when her pallet expander came out, we'd get her an iPad. Well, as expected, she miraculously was able to tolerate the expansion with nary a whimper for the rest of the duration.
Tomorrow, Delaney is set to get it out but KC and I both have to work all day and she's going to be with her grandmother. Then she has gymnastics from 4:30-7:30 which wouldn't leave any time for us to get her to the Apple store. So, on the way home from Dr. Wray, the swung by Crabtree and picked up a mini. She's not allowed to use it until tomorrow when she gets her braces off and pallet expander out but this counts as a good day in her book!
All Floyd asks for is a little quiet and a sunny spot in which to bask. Apparently, that's too much for the girls. They just can't keep their hands off him when he looks so adorable. Poor thing!
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