Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blog giveaway! Enter to win a $45 gift from allmodern.com

Blog giveaways. We all love 'em. And here's one now!

Details:
The online store allmodern.com is sponsoring this giveaway. One of you lucky readers (chosen randomly) will receive a gift, of your choice, up to $45.

What is it? Allmodern.com (a CSN store) specializes in home decor and modern furnishings. CSN has several other stores for a variety of needs, like living room furniture or allmodernpet.com for the pet lovers out there.

Here's how to enter: You simply need to leave a comment below (for this blog post). We'll use a computer program to randomly select one person who will take home the prize. It's as easy as pie (and pie would make a good giveaway too, incidentally). If you'd like, you can also tell us what item you'd like to take home. Remember you can select anything from allmodern.com as long as it's $45 or less.

Dining room design

I finally put together a design board for the dining room. I do these things to procrastinate the homework I (really) should be doing.



Source list:
Table set, buffet - Ikea
Chandelier, side table, frames - Pottery Barn
Curtains - JC Penney
Accent chair - Target
Area rug - Menards
Mirror - unknown (Google image search)

I was going for warm colors and rustic accents. We already have the table, chairs, and area rug. I would like to paint the walls Glidden Natural Wicker and pick up some assorted frames in brown wood tones for a gallery wall. Add some curtains, a light fixture, and the buffet that matches our table set... and we're golden.

What do you think?

You can view current photos of this room here.
More design boards here.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

(Indoor) winter survival kit

It's cold outside.



It's also cold inside.



It's true. We live in Minnesota and we haven't moved our thermostat above 59 degrees yet. Why, you ask? Well, the main reason --- we are cheap. Heat is not cheap. You see the conflict here.

And apparently they didn't know how to insulate houses in the 1950s. Walk by any of our windows or any part of the attic bedroom, and you'll understand. So when you are first time home owners on a budget who happen to live in a '50s house like ours, you can't be paying an arm and a leg to feebly attempt to heat a leaky box of a house. We're talking gas bills of $300+ here... for a 1700-sq feet house. Now you get it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scenes from our winter road trip

I was finally able to pull the photos off my camera's SD card. Here's some visual evidence of our holiday follies. For the complete story of our winter road trip, check out this post. It's a doozy.

Heading out on the road on Tuesday. Seven hours from Minneapolis to my parents' house.



Surviving Christmas vacation

Christmas in the Midwest is kind of a doozy.

Let me tell you about our travels. Last Tuesday, we left Minneapolis a day early to beat the infamous winter storm that you probably heard about. We did beat it, but it caught up to us after we reached my parents' house. They live in rural North Dakota. The county road to their house filled with large drifts and remained unplowed for several days. We lost power for a while. Oh yeah, and the only Internet access was dial-up. I suffered a life-threatening case of cabin fever. I think I'm ok now.

We had intended to head home on Saturday morning, but the cross-state freeways were closed for much of the day. The whole state was hit pretty hard with a reported 23 inches in Grand Forks. If you don't live in North Dakota, you might not understand the extent of the snow's affect. The strong winds (that didn't let up for days) were actually just as bad since they caused continual drifting. There aren't a lot of trees in this state, so it's not uncommon to see 3 or 4-foot drifts on roads. And since the wind wasn't letting up, the city wasn't sending the plows out. We were totally stuck.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Whitmans.

Here's a bad Photoshop of Murphy with a Santa hat on.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Design help from blogger Lauren/With Two Cats

Remember this post about how our spare bedroom has gone through a lot of changes in the past year? I don't know what it is about this room, but I've really struggled with a design for it. It's times like these that I'm really grateful for the Internet. I recently discovered the super fun blog With Two Cats and was really impressed by the author's idea boards. This girl is very talented. Best of all? Lauren offers her services for free. Free! I filled out a form to get some design help for my troublesome spare bedroom. Imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox the very next day and had some ideas waiting for me. Lauren did a great job, and she even made me two design boards since we aren't sure which bed frame we will be using in this room. Check them out.

This is my favorite. I love the muted neutrals and the overall calm feeling with this design.



You can click the image for a larger view.

I also really like the design that incorporates our current Ikea Malm bed. The pops of green really make the room!



These idea boards have inspired me to DIY some art for this room. I will hopefully be buying some new accessories and bedding sometime after Christmas. So stay tuned if you want to see this room's eventual transformation.

A big thank you again to Lauren and please check out her blog With Two Cats.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Food blogs... the final Internet frontier?

I've read my share of home design blogs. I've also visited sites about dog training, photography, fitness/exercise, and web design. But there's another category of fun and crazy blogs that I hadn't discovered until recently. Food blogs! Remember my mid year's resolution to learn how to cook better? I'm unstoppable, thanks to food blogs.

Here's a few for you to check out. Prepare to be sucked in. Don't blame me for your lack of productivity for the next few weeks. I'm just the messenger.

The following blogs have recipes, restaurant reviews, pretty photos, and giveaways. Some of them are like illustrated online cookbooks. What's not to love?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Whoa! New(er) car

Goodbye, Chevy Cavalier. You served us well.

Hello, Nissan Versa. (Photos from New Hope Motors)







Yep, we bought a new(er) car. I was previously driving a base model 2002 Cavalier that I bought from my mother. Rob has a 1999 Dodge Ram. The new kid is a 2007 Nissan Versa. This is by far the nicest car I've ever owned. Power windows?? Whoa. I've never had that before. Keyless entry?? Whoa. Ditto. Technology is wonderful. This is, of course, a compact economy car yet I somehow feel so spoiled. These now-common features are not lost on me. Best of all, we got a great deal (GREAT deal) on the car, and Rob got to engage in his favorite activitity - hustling.

A new(er) car for Christmas. All is well in Whitman-ville.

Related links:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Basement floorplan

I've been playing around on floorplanner.com. If you don't already use it, you should really check it out. It's a lot of fun. And it's free! Anyway now that it's winter, Rob plans to get back into the basement project. You see, we kind of unofficially decided to take the summer off and just enjoy our first year of marriage. I'm glad we did. We ended up being pretty busy with other stuff anyway. Basement remodels can always wait, right? In fact, basements are very patient. This is a known fact.

Our original basement floorplan included:

  • Living room/den area
  • Music recording desk area
  • Tool storage/work bench area
  • Laundry room
  • Storage room
However since we decided to put the music recording area upstairs, we now had some more flexibility with the planning. We have also decided to move our microfiber sectional downstairs (opening the window of opportunity to get a nicer couch for our main level living room), as well as the treadmill and exercise equipment.

Notes:
  • The storage room is accessed through a door that you can't see clearly on the diagrams due to the stair placement. The cluttery-looking things in the storage area are supposed to be shelves and storage bins.
  • The odd looking wall with the TV is supposed to be a wall with built-in bookshelves on the sides and a hanging TV in the middle.
  • The black squares are support beams that we can't move (for obvious reasons).
  • The big blue cushion is a Murphy-dog bed. Gotta have a Murphy-dog bed.
  • The corner closet looking things are utility closets and can't be moved.
Now that that's all cleared up...

Here's a few possible layouts. What do you think? You can click each picture for a larger view.

Layout 1:



This is my favorite. I like that I can see the TV from my treadmill. I also like that the tools and work bench area are tucked away. That's going to be a messy area, trust me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Official post for Embree-Cat forcing herself into photos

You might think that I take a lot of photos of our cat Embree. But the reality is that she finds joy in forcing her way into photos. Every time I raise my camera to take a shot of something in my house, she is miraculously there. And she's so nonchalant about it, as though she feels she's entitled to be a part of (or ruin) every photo I take. I started putting the Embree photos into a folder on my computer, and I'm surprised at how many have already accumulated. Rob says there are many more that I forgot. But you get the idea. Let's take a look at that ham-bone cat.

Oh an in case you are wondering, Embree is named after Matt Embree, the singer and guitar player for the Rx Bandits (a fun band worth checking out).

Here's a progress photo of our basement project. We had just painted the walls with some waterproofing sealant. Since we ended up with two different colors of paint, I was just messing around since the walls will be covered up by drywall anyway. p.s. Don't worry, animal lovers - we chased her out of the construction zone before she could get hurt or in trouble.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Virtual house tour

You know, I thought my mountain of homework would prevent me from blogging. But instead, it's provided a nice avenue of procrastination. Just kidding, I'm still getting my school work done. This is typical for me. When I'm focused and in work mode, I get a lot done. Hence I am making progress with homework AND finding time to update the blog. Glory be.

Sooooo I finally updated the page about our modest house. It's basically a virtual tour now. This is especially nice for my side of the family, who live out of state. Most of them haven't been able to visit yet, so this way they get a chance to see where we live.

You can check out the house pics here or by clicking on the "our house" link at the top of this page. Enjoy, good luck, and don't trip over any remodeling projects. There's a lot of them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comments now working

Sorry, everyone. I accidentally messed up the commenting feature when I started messing around with the new template. I think it's working now. In fact (if you don't mind), could someone please make a comment below to verify that it's still working?

Technology is hard.

Here's a cute Clyde picture to make you forget it ever happened.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update on the master bedroom

About a month ago, Rob and I decided that we didn't like staying in the attic bedroom any longer. We decided to move into the spare bedroom and planned to add some more closet space. I haven't had time to take pictures of the new room until now.

First, here's what it looked like when it was our spare bedroom:



Pretty boring, but it got the job done. The spare bedroom has since moved to the neighboring room (the former art studio/office). You can read that that here.

But back to our master bedroom. In order to add more closet space, we went with a different floorplan. It's harder to take photos of, but I did my best anyway. Here's our room now with the new arrangement and new closets:



Note the fur throws on the bed. Rob is really into "rustic" decorating right now, and he talked me into these (plus a few matching pillows that are ordered and on their way).



The art work is a photo I took on our honeymoon. We printed it on canvas for a more artistic look.

The closets are Ikea Pax series. I love them so much. I've never had so much storage space in my bedroom!





We had an unusual space to fill on the other side of the window. Luckily Rob had a plan.



He picked up a discounted (really discounted) Pax closet from the "as is" section at Ikea. It had some scratches, but none that would show up for our purposes. He used the regular side boards and then cut the shelves, top, and bottom to fit into our space.



Bam! Tons more clothes storage. Since Ikea only sells standard sized doors, we had to settle for open shelving (which I like anyway). We picked up some baskets to make things look a little tidier.



And the overall look is a little more built-in and custom.

I originally had plans to add a window bench under the window and between the two closet units. But then we realized it would be a perfect little sleeping nook for Murphy. We even bought a new dog bed cover from Molly Mutt for his new space.



His bed is kinda lumpy and dirty, but that's the way our monster likes it.

I'm really happy with how this room is shaping up. I love all white bed linens and muted, soothing neutral colors. All we have left to do:

  • Raise the curtains to ceiling level on both walls (it's currently only done on one).
  • Replace the floor trim.
  • Buy a night stand or two.
  • Maybe a few accessories to add some color.
When it comes to home remodeling and decorating, I've realized that it's never actually done. There's always something more to do. But I guess that's part of the fun, right? :)

Until next time...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Super easy, super delicious meal - curphy stout beef

Raise your hand if you love your slow cooker/crockpot. I know I do. It's an older model that Rob's mom gave us. I didn't use it for a long time, for some reason. Now I can't figure out how I lived without it.

My first crockpot adventure involved some fancy schmancy recipe that I found online. There were a bunch of ingredients that we don't normally use, but I picked them up anyway. The end result was good, but nothing special. Now I have entered a more experimental period of crockpottery in which I throw in random stuff we already have around the house. This week I came up with perhaps the most simple recipe we've tried and yet it was our favorite one so far.

Here's the VERY simple ingredients:



It's fun to take photos of food things.



Since I'm using a Murphy's stout and curry powder, I have named this recipe "curphy stout beef." I'm so clever. This is much better than my last concoction, fruitmaldehyde. That's when I tried to make my own wine but somehow ended up with something closer to formaldehyde. Can't win 'em all.



Anyway this is all you do:
1. Get a chuck roast and put it in the slow cooker.
2. Pour an entire Murphy stout in.
3. Add a little beef broth (I like to have the meat entirely covered so it's extra juicy)
4. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder
5. Cook on low for around 9 hours

You can really throw any stout or porter in the crockpot, but I like to use Murphy's stout because it has a unique smokiness to it. Plus it's relatively inexpensive, and you get big cans (16 ounces).

The curry smells strong while cooking, but the end result is actually quite subtle.

We completed this dish with some rice and edamame. It was so delicious that we made it again a few days later. Yes, it really is that good.

I'm still figuring out the most effective ways to photograph food. I usually try to shoot in natural light. Alas, there's no natural light to be found on a Minnesota winter evening. Again, can't win 'em all.





Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe? Post it below. I'll give it a try. I promise. You have my word. But try not to throw too many fancy-schmancy things in there. I'm kind of lazy when it comes to grocery shopping.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How do you clean grout?

Hey readers and blog community! I need help. How do you clean grout?

I have a huge monster dog that loves to sleep and roll in the dirt underneath our house addition.

I have light colored tile and grout.

I also like to trick our guests into thinking we have a clean house (usually by cleaning madly 20 minutes* before they show up at the door). But how can I do that if the grout is always dirty? I've tried mopping, tried Swiffering, tried scrubbing it with my beloved Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Nothing works.

Am I not trying hard enough? Please help me overcome this housekeeping torture.

* Just kidding about the 20-minute thing. But only kinda.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If you blog...

I've noticed a trend. People who blog tend to read other blogs as well. And this ends up being a fun thing. When I read another person's blog, I often comment on a post that I find interesting. I do this because it's encouraging and since I enjoy the blog, I want the author to continue writing.

Sometimes after leaving a comment, another reader will click on my name and find this blog. Then they will comment on something I've written, and I in turn click on their name and find their blog. I've found some neat blogs this way. And it's nice to be a part of an encouraging and supportive online writing community.

So if you are a random blogger reading, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love a chance to check out your blog. I like to add new sites to my Google Reader.

That said, here's a few shout outs to blogs I've been enjoying lately:

One Grand Home
Personal Reflections on Sophisticated, Affordable Home Design for $1000 and (Much, Much) Less
This blog's author (the lovely Alexis L) covers some sweet topics, including my favorite - affordable yet stylish design. There's good reading here, so check it out.

The Southern Nest
Turning an Old House into a Young Home in the BBQ Belt
Here's another blog about a young couple renovating a house. Megan reminds me a lot of myself. Similar decorating style, we both love Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products, and we even have the same couch! Check out this post where she turned a door into a desk.

Thrifty Little Blog
A Little of Everything.. Always Thrifty
I discovered this blog when Kasey commented on a Chateau Whitman post. When I clicked on her blog title, I was instantly excited. I LOVE to read about thriftiness and saving money. Great blog!

Russet Street Reno
DIY or Die Tying
Another midwest blogger, Sara from Wisconsin is practically my neighbor! Ok not really, but the states we live in are neighbors, so that counts. She blogs about awesome and fun DIY house and yard projects. Also I'm super jealous of her new Tempur-pedic mattress.

Tearing Up Houses
One Girl's Adventures as a Sort-of Architect, Unlikely Landlord, and Real Estate Junkie
I think I found Kelly's blog through another blog... I'm not really sure. But at any rate, she buys and renovates houses. She also rents houses, which is of great interest to me since Rob has dreams of being a landlord some day (not kidding). Great topics and I love her knowledgeable perspective.

The Dogs are Really in Charge
The Life and Training of a 2-year Corgi, a Toller Puppy, 5 Ferrets, and a Cat
Shortly after we brought our dog Murphy home last February, we signed up for beginner obedience at Petsmart in Minneapolis. Laura was our trainer. We learned so much from those classes, and I like to read about the work Laura's doing with her own dogs on her blog. By the way, Laura, you might be seeing us again soon. I think we're going to need to sign up for the intermediate class soon because Murphy is still a handful at times... I just have to figure out how to fit it in with my school schedule.

By the way, here's Laura's adorable corgi Lance. I took this on the last day of training. Isn't he cute? If that's not enough reason for you to check out her site, I don't know what is.




There. That should keep you blog readers busy for a while. And I can't forget to mention that the above blogs all have something in common. They've all visited this blog. Thanks for the support, ladies! I appreciate it so much.

Related:
Some of my favorite home design blogs

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seven hours at the computer

(Originally written on Dec. 5)

I've been working on homework for the past seven hours. It's time for a break! Ok, so it's not the first break. But I'm being quite productive, so it's ok. Here's the breakdown of how my time was spent:

7:30- Alarm goes off. Get up and wonder, "Why am I up so early on a Saturday?" Confusion ensues. Spend the next 20 minutes or so gathering my materials and setting up shop in the rarely-used dining room. I call it Homework Central.



8:00- Read through materials and highlight important parts.

9:00- Email and Facebook break. Oops. Back to work.

9:30- The dog tells me he needs to go out.





When I return, Embree has stolen my chair.



Darn, she's cute.



9:45- Make something to eat.

10:00- Start writing.



11:00- Take photos of the cats for a while.



I pretend the cats are helping me with my homework. Too bad Clyde is daydreaming instead of reading...



And now he's sleeping!



12:30- Get temporarily side tracked by a call from a friend with a design question. Spend a few minutes sending her links.

1:00- Pause to get the mail. We got some junk mail, a bank statement, and a Victoria Secret catalog.

1:05- Email and Facebook break. Oops.

2:00- Finish writing my term paper and start on the bibliography

2:05- Snack break.





2:30- Wrap up paper. Blogger break.



And that brings me here. I finished up all the homework for my current class. Ahh, accomplishment. Unfortunately I now have to start on the aforementioned 40-page literature review. Crap. Man, why did I agree to this?

Ok, back to work. See you next break.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

School update

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned school before on this blog... At any rate, most of you somehow know that I've been attending grad school in addition to working full time for the last couple years. I'm very excited right now because I met with my advisor yesterday to figure out the last steps for my degree completion. I'm excited to share that the spring '10 semester will be my last semester of coursework. The only downside is that I am taking the coursework of a full time student, whereas before I was only 50 or 75%. But I have an opportunity to immediately start a directed study with my advisor, and I do mean immediately. I have to complete a 40-page literature review by Jan. 15, and I just got the assignment yesterday. This holiday season, our home will be transformed into Homework Central for me. The next month will be filled with aggressive research and then followed by a couple months of writing, but the nice part is that at the end of spring semester, I will have a nearly complete draft of my thesis. I'll tweak the paper and present it to the board sometime in the summer 2010. And then I will finally be done!

It seems like I've been in school forever. Most people go to graduate school for 2 years, but it's taken me 3. I admittedly had some other events that slowed me down a little (planning a wedding and getting married, moving/buying a house, freelance jobs, sidetracking to get a Business Analysis professional certificate). I don't have any regrets. I mean, these were some life-changing events that required my attention. Also I think the BA certificate was worth pursuing and completing (and it was a program offered through work, so it was free if I did it when it was offered).

So why am I only mentioning school now, when I'm almost done? Well because I'm excited (as I mentioned), but also because I might not have much time for blogging for the next few months. And I wanted to warn my friends and family that I might become anti-social for a while. Sure I've been busy this whole time, but things are going to hit a new level of crazy pretty quick here. If things get quiet around here, don't worry. I will be back in full force after spring semester (or earlier if I complete my directed study ahead of schedule).

In the meantime, here's my goofy dog. I blended a layer overlay on parts of the weeds to make the colors super dramatic. If I have time, I'll add a how-to tutorial on that soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh new camera, how do I love thee?

Updated Jun 2010 - Scroll to the bottom to read my thoughts after 6 months with this camera.



This is my new camera. Some specs:

Sony Alpha a500
12.3 megapixels
9-point auto focus
5 frames per second continuous drive
3" lcd with two-mode live view and tilt

I couldn't be happier with my new d-slr. This thing is the cat's meow. It rocks my world and knocks my socks off, and every other cliche that means it's awesome. It's awesome.

Why Sony? Why not Canon or Nikon?
If you aren't interested in purchasing a digital SLR in the near future, you might want to skip this part. But if you're in the market for a new camera, I thought it might be useful to describe the process I went through, as it really was a tough decision.

Originally I dismissed Sony (along with Pentax, Olympus, Sigma) in favor of the more popular Canon and Nikon. I think of these two brands as the Hondas and Toyotas of the camera world, respectively. They are reputable and the public perception is that they hold a lot of value. It seems like every "serious" photographer shoots with Canon or Nikon. And looking at the entry to mid level d-slrs for each of these brands, I thought the value and features were comparable. Both lines have great cameras. And to be honest, it's such a competitive market right now that you can't really go wrong with any the entry to mid level d-slrs I mentioned. It came down to basic interface, features, menus, and grip for me. I decided I slightly prefer Nikon for d-slr. For what it's worth, I still think Canon has the best pocket point-and-shoots, hands down, on the market.

One thing I should note about the more inexpensive Nikon d-slrs (d40, d60, d3000, d5000) is that the camera body does not have an AF (auto focus) motor inside. This isn't a huge deal as long as you know that you can only use auto focus with lenses that have their own AF motor. That means a lot of older lenses won't work, unless you are only using manual focus. Don't quote me on this, but I believe it's the same deal for the entry level Canons.

Anyway after much reading and watching of youtube video reviews, I had my heart set on the Nikon d5000. On paper, it's an impressive 12.3 megapixel camera that falls somewhere between the tried and true d60 and the slightly more professional d90 (which I still wouldn't mind owning, but it was out of my first-camera price range). The d5000 is packed with features, some obvious ones being a tilting lcd with live view and an HD video mode. Amazon had the d5000 on sale this week for $650 with kit lens, which is a great price. I was positive this was the camera I wanted... until I tried it.

At our local photo supply store, I tested their demo Nikon d5000. The live view was annoyingly slow, taking what I consider to be unacceptably long periods of time to focus. I took a few shots and played with the settings, but all my shots were unremarkable. I do acknowledge that you usually need to play with a camera in different environments and test out different settings before making a decision, and I also know that the kit lens on many models are considered worthless and not a great indication of the camera's performance. But even so... I knew within two minutes that I didn't like the d5000. It was a big bummer.

The helpful store clerk told me that I should really take a look at the Sony Alpha models. Sony? Really? I don't know anyone who has a Sony d-slr. But even so, the clerk was nice and seemed to know her stuff, and so I played along. They had the a330 on sale for around $550 with kit lens, so the price was right.

I was immediately impressed by the lcd quality and fast live view. The "grip" of the camera is nice too, and general handling felt good. I snapped a couple shots and took a look. Wow! Really nice image quality. Even the built-in flash was pretty nice. Understated. And I HATE built-in flash. I was kind of liking this Sony.

Then the store clerk said that Sony d-slrs have the image stabilizer and AF motor built into the camera, so even old lenses will work. And since Sony bought out Minolta, that means Minolta lenses would work on this camera. That changes everything! Rob has had an old film slr sitting in our closet for years now. It's a Minolta with 3 lenses and nice external flash. It sure would be nice to use those lenses on a new camera...

So we left the store, and both Rob and I spent the rest of the evening reading everything we could find about Sony d-slrs. We liked what we read. It seems that Sony is an oft-overlooked and underrated presence in the d-slr world. I think of them as the Nissans of cameras. In many ways, they are just as nice as Honda and Toyota, and everyone I know who has one loves it. Yet they aren't the first car (or camera) that people think of when discussing this type of product.

Here's the clincher. When I looked at the lenses I already had, and then looked up prices on equivalent lenses by Nikon or Canon, I realized I could instantly save thousands (yes, thousands) by going with Sony. So the next day we packed up our bag o' lenses, headed back to the store, found our same helpful store clerk, and asked her if we could try them out with the a500 (the one I'd decided on). She obliged, and we were more than impressed. I decided that I didn't even need the kit lens and so we left with the a500 camera body.

I've only owned it for a few day, but so far I am totally thrilled with my Sony Alpha. Highly recommended. Right out of the box, it was shooting beautifully sharp pics. It's also excellent in low light settings. Our house has terrible lighting, and it was dark by the time I was able to start shooting. That said, these are the very first couple of shots I snapped. I think they turned out alright considering I had no idea what I was doing (and did not understand aperture, shutter speed, etc., at the time).











Then the next day, I took these:









I love this camera. I don't know how I survived without this camera. Did I mention I love this camera?

Five stars.
It's a ten.
All those cliches that mean it's the best.
I could go on and on, but I need to go play with my new camera now...
Anyone want to buy a Panasonic?
-----------------------------------------

UPDATE - June, 2010

After using this camera for the past 6 months, I can honestly say that Sony has won another D-SLR fan. This camera is fantastic, especially for the price.

Things I love most about this camera:

  • AF motor is inside the camera. That means I can use old lenses and therefore choose from the awesome family of Minolta film lenses. These lenses have great glass and are available for great prices on ebay, craigslist, or in used camera stores. To replace my current lens set-up with comparable Nikons or Canons for a d5000 or Rebel would cost hundreds (actually more than a thousand) more. I actually think my old glass is sharper than a lot of new lenses too, so don't count them out just because they are old.
  • The built-in flash can work as a trigger/master for other flash units. For the Canon Rebel or Nikon d5000, I would have had to purchase a trigger unit. Also the built-in flash works wirelessly with the Sony flashes available right now.
  • Very fast continuous shooting (5 fps ovf drive speed).
  • Built in image stabilization. Makes a big difference for me.
  • Awesome battery life. It lasts forever!
  • Works well in low light, considering the price.
  • The grip is nice. It fits comfortably in my hand, more so than the d5000 I tried out.
Those are the main things I love about this camera. The only knock that I have is that it doesn't have video, but that's really not a big deal to me at all. Remember, you can only take a few minutes of video on an SD card anyway. If you have a lot of things to film, you probably want to look into an actual camcorder anyway.

So that's my update. Sony is highly underrated in the D-SLR world, in my opinion. I'm already saving up to buy a full frame Sony a900 for my next camera body.

Here's another article helpful article comparing the a500 to the Nikon d5000 to the Canon Rebel T1i.

And here's a link to a flickr group of Sony Alpha users so you can see what kind of images these cameras are capable of.

Questions? I'm happy to help. Just shoot me an email.

someone else's words

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." - Buddha



  © Thanks to Ourblogtemplates.com for providing a great Blogger framework to remix. Hope you don't mind the changes I made.

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