Sunday, November 30, 2008

Buffalo Portrait

I went out to visit these bad boys today, and they're just as wary of me this winter as they were last winter. I think it's really funny the way they seem to post a few sentries, while the rest all "subtly" make haste away from me. The "softness" in front of the sentries are their steamy breathe in the cold.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 336: Looking at the Loved One

Used the flash, but didn't want to miss this expression. I think I really, really need (want) an external flash!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 335: Moving the Lamp because he Loves Me

Just relaxing after the Turkey dinner.

But wait! Isn't that the dreaded "insertion?" A lamp growing out of my beloved's head?

Sweet husband, moving the lamp. He's probably just glad that this time the photo didn't involve sitting on a cold cement sidewalk, or coaxing the dog to eat.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 334: Poor Tom

Just a little pause in the chaos to take a photo of the bird. I have a cookbook, Thanksgiving 101, that makes this whole, huge, production, much simpler, because it spells out, step-by-step how to do things, like make mash potatoes and gravy.

The platter under the turkey is Franciscan Ware, Desert Rose. This was my mother's platter, and we always used these dishes on holidays. I'm thankful for the memories I have of my mom, and all the things she did for us seven kids.

Thanksgiving is wonderful, but. . . . I sure am tired right now!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 333: Happy Thanksgiving!

MMMMmmmm, pie. . . . . . I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. And I'm thankful for even this, for the chance to be a place on earth where I can use a computer, learn things like photography, and do things like create a blog. Just a few of the many, many, many things there are in my life for which I'm thankful. And certainly not the most important things; the most important would be my faith, my family,getting to live in a democratic country. . . . . and then there's pie. . . . MMmmmmm. . . . pie!. . . . . . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 331: Gratitude for Those who Brave the Cold!

. . . for us. Our city has added new lights to its Christmas decorations this year! Strangely, I'm really, really excited about this! It's dark when I go to work, dark when I come home. But Light in the world is such a sign of hope. . . and cheer! True, I worry about global warming, and I'll annoy even more people by turning out lights when I leave rooms these days to try and compensate for this luxury of city lights.

I get the pleasure of the lights, but I'm also very grateful that I don't have to be the one to sit in that little cherry-picker vehicle (or whatever it's called), with extra exposure to the wind-chill. When he was done with this lamp-post, the worker turned and waved at me, and sometimes, I think regular, hard-working people just kind of like the attention of getting their photo taken.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 329: Starbucks was Closed; This will Do; Life is Good

Wind Chill 24 degrees. Sitting on the cement. Reading the paper, hot cup of coffee. . . Life is Good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 328: Tag and a View out My Window

This is a photo taken outside my office window, a little after 5pm, yesterday. I love the line of trees leading to the county building, and am so happy that there are Christmas lights on the evergreens this year. (Would you consider this photo to be using "leading lines" in terms of composition? I'm thinking about using it for my photography class.) Last year, the city didn't put up the lights, and I so missed them!

Raw, Manual, ISO 200
Nikon 105mm 2.8

I was tagged by Pat and Amy M to play along with the 4th month of my blog, the 4th photo. Ironically, I had been looking at this set of photos just the other day, thinking I'd like to drive down to Fargo again and take another photo of the Viking Ships at the Hjemkost Center, now that I now a little more about photography. I'm not very good at figuring out who has not been tagged. It's strains my organizational/attentional abilities, right up there with trying to collate pages in a copy machine! (I always botch this!) Today, I'm tagging Heather, Becky, Nessa, and Liz. You know, the talent on this POTD thread is pretty phenomenal!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 327: Some Book Club, Huh?

This was the dessert that my friend made for our book club. Pretty fantastic looking, isn't it? It was delicious! Especially with the pumpkin ice cream, and little red candy balls from Harry & David. We read these nice, socially conscious books (sometimes), and then totally indulge ourselves.

Sadly, my desserts and house are not nearly as pretty. Not even close.

Next, we're reading The Autobiography of Santa Claus, by Jeff Guinn. I'll let you know what I think of it. . .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 326: Give Me Hand

Another rerun from January. Last January, though, there was snow on the ground. And this time, I used a tripod. Amazing how much more sharpness you can get when you use a tripod! I noticed that behind this hand are some Christmas lights. . . I may have to head back to this area when the lights are on, although it may creep me out a bit to be in this alley in the dark. Just to the right of the photo is a sign which proclaims this to be the "alley of love."

Tonight in my book club, we're discussing one of the most disturbing books I've ever read: A Long Way Gone:Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah. This is the true story of Ishmael, a boy caught in the civil war of Sierra Leone at the age of 12. He becomes an involuntary soldier in the army and recounts details of his desperation, hunger, and violence in the war.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 325: Fishing--Boring or Disgusting?

"Fishing is boring, unless you catch an actual fish, and then it is disgusting."~Dave Barry

Hey! You talking about my photos??????

I'm posting retreads here. Way back in January, when I first started POTD, I'd posted this fish. Today, I headed off to the same spot, with a tripod this time, to get a different angle. But WHY oh WHY am I doing this in cold weather? I could have been out there in June! And I suspect I'll head back there again this winter, as I search for spots to photograph. . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 324: Eternal Flame

Thanks for putting up with my Ms. Potluck-CrankyPants snit yesterday. I tried to remain in my "happy place" today.

These are photos of a sculpture on the University of ND campus, symbolizing life-long learning. It's so true! Who stops learning just because formal school days are over?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 323: Seattle Scenes and Unseemly Potluck Sacrilege

This weeks theme is "on the road," but the closest I'll be to being on the road this week, is in my memories and fantasies. So here are a few photos, one literally of the road, remembering my visit to Seattle two months ago.

Have you ever noticed how there are two types of people in the world: potluck people, and Not potluck people? I would like to say that I'm a potluck kind of person, and it almost seems like there's a kind of nobility or saintliness that would come with being a potluck person.

But I can't quite make myself like potlucks, and I've tried! I'd like them better if I was participating in a potluck because I really wanted to hang out with the people I was having the potluck with, and trusted their food. (Trusted, as in, no one licked their fingers or spoons while preparing it; the cats weren't on the counter and the only pet hair in it is from my own dog(ick!); and it's not 90% cornstarch and sugar and salt.)

The bigger issue for me, other than the virus/bacteria/cesspool issue, is the coerced, having-to-hang-out-with-people that I don't really want to hang out with issue. In my heart, I know I should love it, and the people, and the small talk, but having time to even get to think my own thoughts is often scarce, and having eyes-glazed-over conversations where I have to bite my tongue and nod politely makes me want to pull my fingers nails out. And then I just feel guilty. And then I get to go home and clean up the mess in my kitchen from whatever I made for the potluck in the first place. Anyone know a sure-fire cure for a bad attitude?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 322: Cue the Scary Movie Music . . .

. . . or SCREAM!!! Because doesn't this image just shout "Winter's Coming!" At least that's the first thought that came to my mind, seeing all these picnic tables being readied for storage. (Cold storage.) I see signs of Winter Coming everywhere; snow, warnings about winter survival kits for our cars. I've even used my Beloved auto start a few times this week. And then there's the fact that I almost froze my fingers off taking this photo! I'm going to have to get much quicker, and more dexterous in operating a camera shutter with gloves on!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 321: A Vestige of Color in November

. . . at the Garden Center. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see such things all year round?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 320: Cinnamon Bridge

Just for fun, I ran Jess's Cinnamon action on this bridge photo. Thanks, Jess!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 319: The November Geranium

In November, geraniums, no matter how bold, have no choice but to yield to the winter frost.

105 mm 2.8 lens
ISO 200
cloudy wb

105 mm 2.8 lens
ISO 200
cloudy wb

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 318: All Seasons Cycle

The garden center, All Seasons, in Grand Forks is just the most wonderful place to be in the winter. Look at these cute little trikes, and yes, you have to dodge little ones nearly running you over. (Especially if you're lying on the ground trying to photograph poinsettias or cockatiels.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 317: I think I need a New Cookbook

Doug was trying to coax Bonnie to eat today. She was amused by him. I thought it best that I refrain from any other captions under these photos!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 316: Sheila

A photo of my friend, Sheila.

I took this photo a while ago, and as part of the processing, did some skin smoothing, using this tutorial. I really like the technique and use it often now on people photos.

Skin smoothing tutorial at Phaunt Actions.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 315: More Poinsetta Bliss!

Look at these beauties! And in another week or so, it's going to be even MORE beautiful in here!

I posted this photo on the forum at, where I'm taking a class, and what bit of feedback I got, which I agree with, is how nice it would have been if I had taken the shot when the woman working in the background, on the left, had been at the end of the leading lines. The suggestion was also that an F/13 might have provided the focus I was looking for.

Some day, the setting selections will be more sencond nature for me, but I'm still at the point where I think I ALMOST have it down. . . and then realize I don't!

My settings: F/6, 1/30, Tamron 28-75mm @ 31 mm; custom white balance, shot RAW, ISO 200, tripod.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 314: Poinsettas! The Most Joyous Plant of the Season!

Sometimes it seems almost necessary for us to say, "But Christmas is starting too early!!!" But NOT when poinsettas are involved! I love these plants! There's just something about them that fill my heart with hope and excitement!

And these were taken at my all-time favorite store in the world, All Seasons, in Grand Forks. I try to save photographing there for "special times" so as to not wear out my welcome. But people in the store are always very welcoming and gracious, and even put up with my setting up a tripod and lying on the floor. They are my true oasis when winter comes.

This first photo is at an F/2.8 1/100, ISO 200, 28mm on my 28-75mm lens.

And this second photo is at an F/32 1/2, ISO 200, 28mm on my 28-75mm lens.

Friday, November 7, 2008

313: Aperture and Murano Glass

I'm on the lookout for a good set of aperture photos to submit for my class. True, I've taken beginning classes before, including the 12 weeks to better photography at but I'm liking where this class will go in the 13 lessons beyond this initial ones. And having an individual tutor is really nice!

Anyway, this photo just isn't going to do it for me. I've decided it needs to look good at both the narrow depth of field (F/3)

and at the deep depth of field (F/36) for me to like it enough to submit it. The couch, and mirror reflection add nothing, although I do like the F/3 photo. And murano glass? I'd love to have lots of it!

And Amy totally busted me yesterday!!!! Yeah, that wasn't really a red light, which also happened to be the opinion of the driver behind me. DARN that photographic evidence!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 312: Going for a Ride!

I took this photo a few days ago. . . and these days are so days of the past already. Tonight, you'd not find anyone driving around in a convertible with the top down, not with the roads just west of us being closed because of snow, 70 mph wind, and blizzard warnings. Sigh. But I knew I had to seize the moment and snap this shot when I saw this vehicle in front of me. And you'll be happy to know that at least we were at a stoplight!

Becky tagged me, and here's my page 56:

"What kind of god is that? What is there to inspire in this Son?

Love, said Father Martin.

And this Son appears only once, long ago, far away? Among an obscure tribe in a backwater of West Asia on the confines of a long-vanished empire? Is done away with before He has a single grey hair in His head? Leaves not a single descendant, only scattered, partial testimony, His complete works doodles in the dirt? Wait a minute. This is more than Brahman with a serious case of stage fright. This is Brahman selfish. This is Brahman ungenerous and unfair. This is Brahman practically unmanifest. If Brahman is to have only one son, He must be as abundant as Krishna with the milkmaids, no? Wat could justify such divine stinginess?

Love, repeated Father Martin."

From Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. This is an incredible, phenomenal book about a boy stranded in a boat on the Pacific ocean with a Bengal tiger.

Here’s the rules of the tag:
1. Get the book on your nightstand (or whatever book you are currently reading).
2. Open it to page 56 and find the 5th sentence.
3. Post the next couple of sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
4. Do not go and find your favorite book, it has to be the one you are reading now!
5. Tag 5 other people to do the same.

So I tag my SIL Barb, Jeanne, Carol, Nessa, and Nicole.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 311: Democracy Works!

Record turnouts, strong, passionate, valuable disagreements, with deep theoretical differences. But we had our election; we voted in our Republic, and although President Elect Barack Obama won with 52% of the electorate, 46% of the electorate did not agree with this choice. But in our country, there's no blood in the streets, no storming the capitol. . . at worse, there's frustration but still a working within the system. I'm so impressed and hopeful for our country!

Let's all hope for an administration and ask of ourselves that we will now not be distracted by theoretical differences but devote energies in a very pragmatic way to solving some of the immense problems facing us.

Last night, I discovered that on channel 352, I could watch 8 stations at once!!!!! Last night, the Weather Channel (bottom right) was often BBC or comedy central. It was great! I sat with my laptop showing and switched to which ever channel looked the most promising at any moment. What a night!

I hope that now that the election is over, I can go back to watching things like Netflix movies!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 310: My Voting Buddy

Oops! I just heard on TV that cameras aren't allowed in the voting area. . .

I'm such a failure at being law-abiding!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 309: Fall Photos

Just a few more fall photos. I took these a few weeks ago. The leaves are gone now, but today, it was actually warmer than the day I took these photos!

Have fun voting tomorrow, those of you in the U.S., who have not already cast your vote early!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 308: 3 Photos for lesson 3

I'm taking a Photography course through For lesson 3, we have to take 3 photos, one blurring something in movement, one panning on a moving object and blurring the background, and one in which you practically turn a moving object into a "ghost" by using a really slow shutter speed.

Here's the blurred moving vehicle:

And this one is my favorite! Apparently, I've found another way to embarrass myself in my small town! There's no way to stand on a busy corner with a camera and tripod, and not be noticed. I don't know this person, but now I've got people waving at me!

I discovered today how hard it is to pan a moving vehicle or object. . . .or dog!

And in this one, I used my tripod and a shutter speed of 1/30, making this motorcycle almost a ghost.

AND, I think this last photo is even on the theme of angles for the week!