Saturday, March 3, 2012

Photo update

What's going on at the Chateau? Oh, you know. Some things. Let's look at some photos.

I sold some of my gear (including one of my DSLRs), saved up my fun money for a few months, and bought a new camera. Say hello to my new friend:

It's a Sony a65.

I managed to snag one before it sold out on Sony's website. It was impossible to find for many months, after catastrophic flooding in Thailand delayed production of this camera at the Sony manufacturing plant. (Article here.) I'm really happy with it so far. This is my first DSLR with video capability, and I'm having a lot of fun learning how to use this new feature. Also this is my first camera with a translucent mirror. A translucent mirror is pretty cool technology. Instead of a traditional SLR moving mirror, it's instead semi-transparent and simply allows the light from the lens through to the sensor while also redirecting some to the camera's autofocus sensor. It means quicker auto focusing, tracking, and also a smaller camera body. I dig.

Some of my first photos with the new camera:

I am digging back lighting right now. Here's a quick tutorial. Position yourself so that your light source is behind your subject. Then move until something slightly blocks the light source. In the case below, a tree is blocking the sun.

Back lighting gives you that cool hazy washed out effect. No Photoshop required! The thing is, you really have to nail the focus if you want your photo to turn out. I set the camera settings and handed the camera to Rob to take the same shot but with me as the subject. Close, but not quite.

But it's good for a laugh anyway.

Here's one where he landed the focus. My dog is almost as big as me.

And bonus, another shot with Murphy for the dog lovers out there:

That one is not back-lit, obviously.

By the way, I will have an updated camera gear post coming soon.

In December, Rob and I went to a winter/ski resort up north called Lutsen. We didn't have enough snow for skiing, but we did have some great outdoor adventures. I was testing out a new point and shoot camera (I ended up returning it but it was the Panasonic FZ47), so these pics aren't as high quality as I usually like. But, as Chase Jarvis says, the best camera is the one that's with you. I'm glad I have these memories.

Before we left:

Pit stop on the way there:

And we finally reached the frozen tundra of the north shore. It started to snow, and I thought it was really cool that Lake Superior suddenly looked like Alaska.

Bundled Kristi pic. Lots of thin layers = the way to stay warm. I even have a base layer under my pants.

One day, we hiked up a mountain and saw this view. Photos don't do it justice.

View out the window of our room:

I want to live there.

We decided, last minute, to go to North Dakota for Christmas this year. We have an ill family member, and it was important that we spent time with her. I didn't take a DSLR on this trip, and I also didn't take too many photos. Anyway. Typically that drive into Bismarck is very icy and snowy. But this year, we got lucky. (To read about a not-so-lucky winter road trip, read this blog post.)

File under random: My mom works at a pet shop, and they had this cute little mini toucan.

We returned home to Minnesota, and Rob spent many weekends in January wiring our basement. He basically replaced everything (he discovered some nasty fire hazards in the process). Of course this means more demo mess since he had to take down additional parts of the ceiling. But it's nice to be done with this time-consuming task. We now have 18 dimmable can lights providing some beautiful illumination in our basement. No pics yet. It's still too messy down there.

File under random, part 2: One of our cats Embree likes to participate in Internet memes. She's so weird.

Speaking of Embree being weird, she does this thing where she insists on coming in the bathroom with me every morning when I'm getting ready for work. Then she hops in the bath tub and does one somersault. She does this every single day. I assumed she did this for Rob as well, but he said it's never happened. So I had to catch it on video. Here's two days of Embree flips.

I just realized how bizarre it is that I made a video of my cat doing a flip in the bath tub and then posted it on the Internet. Ok, so maybe Embree isn't the weird one here.

Finally, we have some very exciting news. Rob's birthday is in a few days, but we already bought his gift, and it's a good one. He found a great deal on an ultra-light canoe on Craiglist. How great was the deal? Well, the canoe currently retails for $2800. The seller wanted $500, but we got it for $360. I'd say that's not too bad. Here's Rob with his birthday gift:

The canoe weighs only 45 pounds, which is kind of astounding. We plan to take advantage of the lighter weight with some future trips to the Boundary Waters. If you're not familiar, the Boundary Waters are a wilderness area in northern Minnesota that's basically made up of a ton of small lakes that are only connected by hiking trails. There are no roads for cars, so you travel by canoe and portage between waterways.

These are not my photos, but here's an idea of what the area looks like:




We feel really fortunate that we have an area like this in our home state. Are we excited to try out the new canoe? That would be a yes.

That's everything for now. I hope you enjoyed the photo update. Talk to you soon.

someone else's words

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

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