Friday, January 30, 2009

It's a Dog's World

I belong to a Yahoo/Flickr group that has "Daily Photo Challenges" and today's was 'Houses' so I took out my favorite version of Monopoly to snap some house pictures. This is the Pedigree (Dog Food) version. Here is the one I posted in the challenge, a tight shot to include the houses.

Here is a different one that I pulled back to include more of the playing pieces. The little Scottie dog has been my favorite all of my life, so I figured why change now, stick with the Scottie Dog.

Want to play a game?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pop, I Love You, I Miss You

Today's post is a tribute to my Dad who I always called "Pop". He would have been 82 today, but he lost his five and a half year long battle with cancer on July 4th of 1992. As I have posted before, he is the person responsible for my love of photography as well as my love of construction and woodworking. Today I thought I would dig out some old pictures and make a collage. Most of the pictures include family members (see the diagram and notes below).

For several years I did not "celebrate" the 4th of July but now we look at it as a celebration of his life. He taught me to be a self-reliant person and I am. This is why I always say I love depending on my husband but I am not dependant upon him. Dad taught me so much and is the one person who influenced who I am today more than anyone. It's really hard to list or even put into words the effect this fabulous human being had on everyone around him. He made new friends everywhere he went and would give you the shirt off his back or the last dollar in his pocket if you needed it. He's my Guardian Angel, I know this because he "talks" to me. Now before you mark me off as insane, let me explain. You know the "voice in the your head" that tells you what to do or not do sometimes? In my case, that's my Dad. An example of what I mean, the night before my mastectomy, there he was telling me "Don't worry, everything's going to be OK". And it was, here I am 14 years later.

Compare the numbers below to the location above for the story on some of the pictures.

1. One of my favorite pictures. Dad was a die-hard Redskins fan so my oldest brother who lives in Maryland fixed him up with the shirt, hat and suspenders.
2. The shirt says it all "Best Dad on Earth"
3. Hard to see but this is me balancing on my Dad's head and shoulders when I was 7 years old.
4. My brother, me and Dad at my brother's wedding.
5. Dad and the 4 of us kids taken at the hospital after his cancer surgery. I believe this is the last time us "kids" were all together. We lost Mom in 1978 and later lost my sister in 2004.
6. Dad with 3 out of 4 of his kids (that's me behind the red shirt).
7. This is a 4 generation picture, Grandpa, Dad, my oldest brother and his son.
8. Dad and my daughter on his motorcycle about 30 years ago.
9. Dad and my son about 33 years ago.
10. Snoozing on the couch.
11. Dad with 3 out of 4 of his kids (I'm standing beside Dad).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Here is how my morning started -

Here is a good look at the 5-6 inches of snow I faced this morning when I got up. The worse part is I HAD to go out in it. The best part is I have my Jeep with 4-wheel drive. I was actually making pretty good time this morning until I got behind some traffic wanting to go 20-25 mph and no way to get around them. Once I turned for the last leg of my 18 mile drive to work, I was by myself on unplowed roads and was able to go 40-45 mph and clocked in at 8:00 on the nose. I made it on time! I am so glad that I don't live in Kentucky with the 1+ inches of ICE. I spoke to several of my contacts down there and found out that a large part of the state was out of power and a state of emergency had been declared. Stay warm and safe everyone involved in this latest hand that Mother Nature is dealing us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ask and you shall receive . . . .

After posting the hair color picture, a couple of you asked to see the "after". Here it is, same color I have been using, I just lost the gray roots.

You really didn't think I was going to show my face did you? I have had self-esteem issues most of my life and hate (or really, really dislike) having my picture taken. I think this is one of the reasons that I love being BEHIND the camera not in front of it. Maybe one of these days I'll post one of me but not now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Missed My First Day of Posting a Photo

But I had a good reason. My daughter does me the great favor of touching up my roots when the gray gets too hard to hide. It sure beats the cost of having it done at a salon. She stopped by last night to color my hair and used up my blogging time. I guess my picture today will dispel the rumor that "Only my hairdresser knows for sure". Now, the whole world (or at least those following my blog) know what color I use.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Went to Town Today

I am a country girl down to the bone and after living in the center of town for 18 years before moving back to the country, I rarely go to town. I'm perfectly content to stay home on weekends and plant shutdowns, but today I went to town. One of our planned stops was to go to Menards to use what my husband calls my "Playstation". It's the computer module they have for customers to use to plan buildings, decks, etc. We went to get a preliminary cost on the building that my studio will be in. So here is a picture of my favorite store.

I've also mentioned lately that I work in the slow moving automotive industry. While we were running around, we drove by the SIA plant in Lafayette. This is the assembly plant that we ship our seats to. If you take a look at the lot, you will see probably 10,000+ vehicles (Subaru and Toyota) waiting to be shipped and sold. To see a larger view, click here .

And speaking of vehicles, I spotted this SWEET ride in the Walmart parking lot and since I had my camera on me, I had to get a picture. The owner came back as I was taking pictures but I'm not sure he spotted me stooped down in front of his car. I didn't say anything, just walked away smiling like I had just gotten away with something.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Back in Time

I got too busy tonight planning my studio :o) and did not get a new picture taken but looked at some of my old pictures to find one to post. This picture was taken with my Kodak Brownie camera back in I think 1963 on a family trip out west. It was taken not too far from Mount Rushmore. My interest in photography started a very long time ago thanks to my Dad who seemed to always have a camera in his hand. I was 12 when I took this one which was part of my 4H exhibit that took Grand Champion at the county fair the following summer. Even though the print has faded over the last 45 years (I was able to enhance it a little when I scanned it) I still think it is a pretty good picture. Hope you like it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dreams Do Come True

I think I may have posted somewhere that with any luck, this spring we would be able to build a post frame building to house a 3 car garage plus my studio. Well, today my dreams came a lot closer to coming true. We got the settlement for my husband's disability claim. He has 35+ year history of debilitating headaches and we have been trying to get him on disability since his job of 31 years moved south to Mexico and left him unemployed. We went through the apply (denied), appeal (denied), requested a hearing (wait 28 months), then the judge approved him. Now with the meager sum that he will be getting each month, at least I wouldn't be the sole bread-winner any more. This comes at a very good time since I work in the automotive industry and I think everyone knows what is going on there.

As for the picture, this will be the view from the window in the office/reception area of my studio. I plan on "stealing" about 15 feet on the east end of the building for a studio, changing room, and office/reception area. The studio area will be approximately 20' deep x 12' wide with 12' high ceilings. Once we start construction, it will be easy to find a picture to post and you will see the day to day progress. Oh, when I said we would be building it, I really meant it, my husband and I do virtually 100% of the actual construction on anything we build, but I'm done floating concrete. I'm getting way too old to do a 48 x 32 foot slab of concrete.

The picture is 3 shots stitched together. They were shot hand-held at ISO 100, f22, and 1/8 second. I used a program that came with my Canon P&S called Photo Stitch to join them. Click this link for a larger view if you like.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One of My Weaknesses - CHOCOLATE

After running short of time this evening, I sat down at the computer still trying to think of something different for my daily photo. I looked to my left and noticed the container of Hershey Kisses, one of my weaknesses, especially the "after Christmas 75% off kind". I sat up my lightbox and decided to do a little Kiss Art. Now that I have your mouth watering, go find some CHOCOLATE.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Toy to Play With

Not much time or imagination for today's picture but it is photo related. We upgraded our phones (yes, it has a camera) yesterday so tonight we are still learning the features. My biggest challenge will be keeping off it while I am supposed to be working. Shouldn't be too hard though, I am so far behind, I will NEVER have everything caught up. In a way, it's job security since a lot of it is things that only I do. But I am not stupid enough to think that I am irreplaceable, nobody is. Now since my blog title is "ramblings" and photo's, I'll throw in some of the ramblings that many of you ladies may relate to, that is the glass ceiling in business. The company I work for treats me pretty good but I feel I have earned it. When I started there 15 and a half years ago, I was one of a handful of women in management (you could count us on one hand). The company itself was made up of 95% men, both in production and in management. In a lot of ways I feel I have to work twice as hard as the men, just to prove myself. But in the back of my mind, especially with the economy the way it is, I still feel that the hard work will pay off and I will have a job if and when the cutbacks start. Not quite sure how a new phone sent me off on that tangent but anyway here's my new tech toy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snowflakes Up Close

I didn't have to work today and while sitting at the computer, I looked out to see some larger snowflakes again today. Still having my close-up lens ready, I headed outside and was able to find some isolated flakes. I'm still trying to dial in the focus, maybe by the end of winter I will be a lot closer. These were shot at f5.6, 1/20 sec, ISO 100 with numerous close-up filters (two +4 and three +2) attached to my 18-55 mm lens zoomed as close as possible.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Walk Around the Yard

This morning I looked out my window and noticed that it was snowing, but the tiny, hard to photograph kind so I went back to reading blogs. Later I saw the flakes getting pretty large so I started getting my lens ready by adding on the close-up filters. By the time I finished, the snow had stopped and the sun was coming out. I'm really not that slow, this was all in 5 minutes time. Today's photo would not be more snowflakes.

This afternoon with the sun shining very bright, I decided to take the neighbor's horses a couple of apples to see if they would pose for me - NOT. I snapped a few pix of them, threw the apples (hopefully they will find them) and started looking around. This horse is a pretty paint but those very blue eyes kind of creep me out.

The next picture in where I noticed that the trees did not have snow on the branches, they had a layer of ice up the west side of the whole tree.

OK, I'm freezing by now so I headed for the house, finding "my boys" sitting in the sun by the back door. Prince decided he would pose for me briefly while his brother was being uncooperative.

Now, I'm in and warm again and wanted to get my blog updated so I can get supper started (Fried Chicken) for the crew. Our son is staying with us for now and he has his 3 kids this weekend. And as the sign in my kitchen says -

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Senior Pictures

Since I am still very new to the portrait side of photography and not nearly ready to charge for my services, I practice on family. Actually Krystan is the daughter of my son's ex-wife. They are still considered family since Becky and my son, Chris, always made better friends than spouses. Of course, the girls, Krystan (pictured) and Samantha will always be "granddaughters" in my eyes. So here are a couple of proofs for Krystan's Senior pictures. These were shot with the chromakey green background at f6.7, ISO 100 and 1/3 sec. shutter speed. C & C would be greatly appreciated as I would like to get heavy into portraits when I get my studio built. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Road Trip Day 5 - Heading Home

Pretty uneventful day. I had wanted to try the tunnels again but my GPS routed us a different way out of Detroit so we did not go through the area with the tunnels. Instead it was pretty much a boring drive for about 6 hours. The good thing about the drive was that at least the roads were in good condition, cold as h*ll (-5°), but not snow covered. Today's picture will be my favorite thing to see besides my family when ending a roadtrip - my driveway! I'm home again in one piece. Thanks for taking the trip with me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Road Trip Day 4

Today was the last day in the welding shop, at least for this trip. I really expect to be back up here in a couple of weeks. I thought for today's first picture, I will show you a shot at the shop. This picture is nothing special but since I have been documenting my road trip, I wanted it include it.
Now, since I strive to take photos with good composition and lighting, I cannot leave everyone with the shop picture being a representative to keep in your mind today. So, on the way back to the hotel, we stopped by "The Harbor" apartment complex to get a photo of their lighthouse. From what I could tell, the lighthouse is surrounded by a lake but since everything is frozen and covered with snow, I cannot be positive. I was going to take this yesterday but didn't think the white lighthouse against a totally overcast sky would be very appealing. Hope this one is.

The end of our trip is near (we are heading home in the morning with about a 6 hour drive) so we hit "The Boneyard" for dinner. I have had better ribs before, they were pretty good, but I think I like the Blues Brothers decor more. Night all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Road Trip Day 3

Cold (soon to be frigid), windy, and snowing AGAIN here in Detroit. But for those of you following my road trip, I finally got my snow covered pine trees. We were heading back to the hotel while it was still light enough to see our surroundings and found these trees.

After snapping these photos, we went back to the hotel and I decided to take a quick walk looking for anything interesting. I didn't find much - snow piles, snow drifts, snow on the streets, snow on the sidewalks, snow, snow, snow everywhere. Snapped another pine tree, thank heavens I have that out of my system now. I guess the good thing about all of this snow, it covers all of the dead grass and plants that we normally see this time of the year.

Ok, now time to head to my room, get into my Kasey Kahne jammies and play on the computer. But first I had to take a quick shot of the glass tiles between the lobby and the dining room. I thought they ooked pretty cool with the lights coming through them.

That's it for tonight, take care Ladies and I'll follow your blogs and comment as I find time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Road Trip Day 2

Well day 2 started off with about 3 inches of fresh snow. So before I left my hotel room I decided to try a 30 second exposure out the window at the rush hour headlights and taillights. Since I did not bring a tripod, I used a washcloth to support the lens in the window sill. Being on the 4th floor helped with this shot.

For the most part, the bulk of the day was pretty busy, resolving prototype issues and reviewing some Quality concerns. When we went to lunch, I didn't even take my P&S so I couldn't take a picture of the bear, buck, elk or pheasants that were part of the decor at the restaurant (shucks). By the time we headed back to the hotel it was too dark to get much , leaving me with not many choices for photos. Instead I opted for choices for dinner.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Road Trip Day 1

We started our drive this morning about 7:00 and headed north. The farther north we went, the more snow we found, thankfully, the snow was NOT on the road. The pines and spruces along the interstate were beautiful with the snow on the branches but getting pictures at 70 mph is pretty much impossible. So we stopped at a Rest Area in hopes of finding some of these beautiful trees but when we pulled in - Not an evergreen within 1000 yards. So I took the picture of the bench with the snow piled high and we were back on the road.

An hour or so later we were into the Detroit area and going through the tunnels so I decided to see if I could get the tunnel light to streak by taking a picture out the windshield still doing about 70 mph. I'm pretty pleased with the result.

I still wanted to get some pictures showing the big icicles that I was seeing everywhere and once I got to my room I didn't have to look very far. These were right outside my window.

Who knows what I will find to photograph before the week is over, but you'll see it here not too long after I shoot it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Heading Out of Town in the Morning

Tomorrow morning I'm headed for Detroit for a week long business trip with a co-worker. So tonight's picture will show my effort to make sure I keep posting pictures over the next week. Here is my suitcase, computer and camera almost ready to go. The worst part about the trip is that according to the forecast, Detroit is predicting snow everyday next week. Oh well, I'll deal with it the best I can, and if I get stuck, my boss will see me in the Spring thaw. But then again, he's going to sunny warm Mexico this week (also on business). Why couldn't I get that trip?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Can't Call These Snowflakes but . . .

The good news is, we didn't get the snow storm that was being predicted last night and today. In fact an hour or so ago, we finally just got a dusting of snow on top of a thin layer of ice. The interesting thing about the snow is that I can't call them "flakes", I was calling them snow "sticks". After seeing this, I got out my zoom and some close-up filters and headed outside and here is what I managed to get. Not as clear as I had hoped but you can see what I mean. I'm just glad they were not accompanied by a few gazillion of their little friends.

I Stayed Inside Tonight

After getting home from work late and a snow storm coming, I stayed in tonight and played with my light box. I was working on, I guess you would call it, product shots or stock photography shots. I posted one in the Daily Challenge for one of my Flickr photography groups ( and I another one here just so I can get my daily photo posted. Not very exciting but overall not a bad photo I would say.

Kendra asked about the lighting so I'll add a picture of the set-up using 4 compact flourescent 30 watt bulbs on light stands (2 low on the outside, 2 high inside the box) and one in a hair boom above the lightbox.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Still Cold and Windy in Purdue Country

I caught a glimpse of sunshine on the way home from work, it only lasted a couple of seconds, but it was enough to make me want to go outside for today's picture. That too also only lasted a few seconds, the temp was in the mid teens and the wind was blowing as usual. If we had a windmill and a generator with batteries to store the electricity we wouldn't need the electric company. It's seems like it's always windy here in Purdue country. So to illustrate that point, here is my windmill in the backyard.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Since we have been discussing chromakey backgrounds I thought I would post a couple that I put together tonight using the Photokey2 software that Jane turned me on to. (Thanks Jane) The two guys in the picture are the nephew of my ex-daughter-in-law and his son. I took their picture against a blue background a few weeks ago and then used it with a couple of the digital backgrounds in my arsenal. Several months ago I searched ebay for digital backgrounds and found I could get a disk of over 1000 for less than $25.00. I am finding that the blue background doesn't work that well if the subject is wearing dark colors. When they are extracted from the blue, the dark colors become somewhat translucent. I'll just keep practicing to find out what works and what doesn't.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bunnies and babies

In one of my Yahoo groups we are having a study group reading the book "Understanding Exposure" so I have been playing with my studio lighting and camera settings. When I set the camera for the "perfect exposure" according to the light meter the photo was too dark. The shutter speed was 1/8 sec but when I changed it to 1/2 sec the photo was bright like I wanted it. The final settings were ISO 100, f 9.5 and 1/2 sec shutter speed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Baby Blocks

As I have said in the "About me" section, I will soon be the grandmother of # 6 with Allyssa being due the middle of March. We have been in baby mode recently and I have already taken a few "pregnant pix" which can be found on my Flickr Photostream in a set by the same name. I wanted to get some baby blocks for Angie to hold in front of or beside her belly when we take more pictures. Would you believe it took me 3 stores to finally find them and as it was, I got the last package? Knowing what I wanted to do with them I started forming words in the Scrabble format and wanted to share them with all of the other Moms in the group.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goblets Take 2

While I still had the goblets out, I wanted to try them again with the white background. I haven't decided which I like more. Obviously the white background shows the goblets better but the black is more dramatic. I guess my preference would ultimately depend on the mood I was looking for.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Today's Photo

Yesterday I hit the Christmas clearance at Hobby Lobby and found these goblets, so for today's picture I was playing around with the shiny colored glass against a black background. I lit them with some studio lighting and even some LED flashlights for accents.

This is the cutest breast cancer email I have ever received.

I didn't take the picture but being a 14 year surviver (as of Jan 11th) I wanted to pass it on. Besides that, I love the look on her face.