I really don't like it when Easter is this early. This year especially, it's been so cold, that it really didn't feel like the beginning of spring that the occasion usually signifies for me. But, it is what it is and we celebrated by hiding eggs etc. I'm not really wild about that either but the girls enjoy it so we do it for them. I was exceptionally irritable this year since Meghann was playing in the guest room a few weeks ago, a place the girls have been repeatedly told NOT to play, and found the candy I had bought. So I had to pitch it and go buy new candy to cover for the Easter Bunny! Grrrrr....
Anyway, it makes for photo ops so I got the camera out and shot them finding the silly plastic things.
These were the ones Mandy had hidden at her house. I cropped it & played with the saturation and color some to get this. It's OK for an on-camera flash snapshot I suppose. If I'd had a real lighting set up I could have gotten rid of the flash spots. More even lighting would have made this a much better shot.
Here are the shots from the morning hunt at our house:
One of my favorite pics of the day. The kids were in the backyard playing before dinner and the second egg hunt. Delaney, in an ever more rare moment of spontaneity and childish glee, gave me this great shot on the zip line.
Macy was having a good time on the rope swing but was being "shy" so getting a decent picture of her was proving to be difficult. This was as good as it got.
In true tweener fashion, Delaney and Meghann have started making little productions. Today we were called outside to watch their dance, literal interpretation and all, of some pop song. They were hamming it up and having a great time.
I had to do some straightening and tilting again since I was sitting below them and at a strange angle and warm it up since the camera must have taken an odd measurement. Perhaps the yellow house took over. All's good though. I like the expressiveness in this shot.
This has been a momentous week in Nocturnal's development. KC and Terry have accepted an offer from a colleague to share office space. Nocturnal moved some equipment in and have occupied a few cubicles. They have their name on the door and everything! How very exciting for them.
KC brought us by today to check out the new space. It's not big but its a good space for the group to meet and collaborate. This means no more conference calls in KC's car!!! How professional!
On the way out I took this picture but I had to be quick about it since they were looking directly into the sun. Therefore, it wasn't exactly straight. Bring on LR4 and the correction ability. I was able to not only rotate but tilt it horizontally and vertically. Straightened that sucker right out!
KC and Eyal have big plans for the next production. While rigging his big RC helicopter for last year's movie worked alright, KC was always working hard to keep the camera pointed in the correct direction while trying to follow the action and Eyal wanted more control over the camera angle. They saw this little miracle machine and they had to have it.
KC spent his free time over the past week or so putting it together and it was ready for flight. It's much more stable than the "flying lawn mower" and considerably safer to get closer to the group. That's not to say it's not dangerous; it'll still take off a finger but the big one will take off a head!
See how close it is to KC without any real danger. Such a huge difference. He never would have flown the big 'un in the front yard.
As I was making dinner tonight I looked out the window and saw the sunlight shining through the maple trees as they were blooming. They were glowing red. I grabbed my camera and went out to see if I could capture it. To get a decent angle, I climbed up into the girls' swing set. Focusing on a tree is difficult with AF and I almost switched to MF but managed to catch this. I didn't have a lot of time since dinner was left on the counter and the kids needed to eat so I shot a few quick shots then climbed back down. If I were to do it again and had time, I'd have gotten my bigger lens but time was of the essence so I shot with what was already on the body.
In post I cropped it some, adjusted the curve a smidge, increased the vibrance a bit, boosted the red and orange luminance to pop the "helicopters" while decreasing the blue to deepen the sky
When I went back through the pictures I had to zoom in for my own edification. What I found made me appreciate my Nikon lens. This is a close up of the middle of the picture above. It is just as sharp as the original. I would not have gotten such crisp results with my old Sigma. I am a happy tog.
KC picked up all his balloons today with Macy's help. She held them all and we 1/2 expected her to lift off like in the movie "Up." Thankfully she remained grounded and I was able to get a quick shot of her.
I had to do a little work on her face since it was so heavily shadowed but not a heck of a lot.
Did I mention how much I love my new lens? It's so much sharper than the Sigma. Very happy with my decision.
And back to my sweet spot with a little (and I do mean little) sports photography. Mandy called us to let us know Ben had his championship game this afternoon. We hadn't caught a game all season so we all jumped in the car to catch our last chance. Naturally, I brought my gear and sat court-side to catch the best action. Ben is a tenacious defender and quite the ball handler. Look at him cutting mid dribble!
His team ended up winning their first game to make to the finals but then lost in a shoot out after a double over-time left them in a tie. Well played boys!
KC turned 40 today. Mandy and Kathy planned this surprise for him. My job was to get him out of the house. It wasn't really that hard to convince him to go to lunch with me at La Farm.
Here he is with his tower of presents. My inspiration for this year's round of presents came from my mother. She mentioned that she got a coffee grinder for Christmas which got me thinking that might be a good idea for KC. I did a bit of research and got him a Capresso Infinity 560 conical burr grinder that everyone loved. Of course, the only coffee maker we owned was a teeny 4 cup Mr. Coffee. I figured if we are going to start grinding our own beans, perhaps we should have the capability to make more than one and a half cups so I started reading about coffee makers. KC had mentioned something in the past about a spray vs drip style. I couldn't find the spray thing he was talking about. I didn't go into the super high end of the price range though, maybe that's where they. I ended up getting him a 12 cup Mr. Coffee percolator. Then I realized that I needed to get him something in which to store the coffee so I had to get him a coffee vault. I chose one that has a CO2 filter. We'll see if it actually keeps. One last thing he needed was some coffee of course. I meant to get over to Crema to ask Kevin for recommendations but yesterday was a bit hectic and by the time I realized I still needed coffee, Crema was closed. I was at Caribou anyway so Cowboy blend it is.
The girls didn't want to partake of the whole coffee thing so I had to come up with something else for them to giv to him. KC had mentioned he wanted a thermometer so I found one with a remote sensor. The girls thought that was just dandy.
All these stacked up to be a pretty impressive stack of gifts.
I have to give a shout out to Kathy and Gary who ordered all this for me since KC gets all of the notifications every time I use our Prime acct. Makes ordering presents for him rather tricky!
Happy Early Birthday to Macy too
Macy's birthday is coming up in a few weeks as well. She's been asking for guitar lessons for several weeks now. I started looking around and found a Living Social deal for 50% off the first month of lessons at The Burton School of Arts. He has a studio about 1/2 mile from the gym and I figured we don't need the best of the best to teach our 8 year old the basics of guitar. If she excels and needs further instruction as she gets older, we'll address that at that time.
On Monday, we met with Ian Burton who seemed nice enough. He suggested a 1/2 sized guitar with nylon strings for her to start with. Since I'm not one to invest a lot of money in kids activities until they prove they are going to stick with it, I went to Craig's List and found 3. One brand got terrible reviews for durability, one seller's response was too kurt and the third was just like Goldilocks. We drove down to Holly Springs yesterday to see if it was appropriately sized and in good condition. According to the seller, her son had only used it for a few weeks and lost interest. It was a perfect match so for $100 Macy got a practically brand new Strunal 1/2 sized guitar. Now Macy is carting it around playing lullabies to her stuffed animals. She is determined to have a song down by the time she starts lessons on April 8th.
Macy - Responsible Student of the Quarter
Delaney - Media Student of the Quarter
4 times a year, Laurel Park recognizes several students in each class for their efforts in each of several categories. Honestly, it's getting to be a bit much but we dutifully show up and snap a few pictures to commemorate their accomplishments.
Delaney is convinced she received the Media award because she checks out and returns so many books. On the flip side, Macy is completely confounded as to why she was named the Responsible student. She told me she can't remember anything she did that was responsible. I told her it probably wasn't just one thing but the fact that she has been demonstrating responsibility consistently over the past several weeks. I think these things would be a lot more meaningful if the kids were told why he or she is being recognized.
As a wedding present, KC and I received a very nice bottle of champagne. We have held on to it for 15+ years waiting for a good reason to open it. This week, KC finally landed a very lucrative contract for his business. It was what we were waiting for before we started building the screened porch. So, tonight we decided it was time to pop open that bottle and celebrate.
Delaney took this picture which is why a) I'm in it and b) it's a little fuzzy. But it's the picture of the day so there you have it.
This evening the TAG compulsory team had a dance exposition after the NC State gymnastics team meet. It was very cute. Here is Delaney and a few of her teammates doing a handstand lowering themselves to the ground. I don't know what that move is called but it looked pretty cool.
It was also alumni night for the gymnastics team which meant that Megan, Delaney's former coach from Superior was there! Delaney still talks about missing her so when she had a chance to go say hi to her, she was off and running. Lo and behold, Megan was there with Delaney's other former coach, Lauren, who Delaney LOVED!!!! I got this shot of them hugging. They are such sweet young ladies and great coaches.
Here are a few other pictures of the dance:
One of the girls' favorite meals is salmon. I love the fact that they will eat salmon, couscous and spinach salad and be happy about it. This is one of the easiest recipes ever. I have stopped buying the bourbon salmon at the grocery store since this is just as tasty, easy and way less expensive.
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