Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cameras and their operators

I saw this on Facebook this morning and had to share it.
It's so true. I think a lot of photographers get annoyed when people say things like, "Your camera takes such good pictures". While it is true that expensive cameras and lenses have their place, it's the one who's operating that expensive equipment that makes a picture good or bad. Yes, expensive cameras can take bad pictures.
In fact, you don't even need expensive top of the line cameras and lenses to take incredible photos. Some of my most favorite captures (still) are those I had taken on a fairly inexpensive point and shoot Canon.
Composition matters. If you don't have an artful eye, it doesn't matter how many thousands of dollars you spend on photographic equipment, you won't take great pictures.
"The single most important component
of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." - Ansel Adams
"Buying new gear will NOT improve your photography. For decades I thought "if I only had that new lens" that all my photo wants would be satisfied. Nope. I still want that "one more lens," and I've been shooting for over 30 years. There is always one more lens. Get over it." - Ken Rockwell
In fact, here's the link to page on Ken's site on which I found this quote. He's awesome.
Please remember this, when complimenting a photo, make sure it's directed at the one who truly deserves it - the person behind the camera ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cow lick

This was in the petting zoo at Bonanzaville's Pioneer Days
It was a fun day. Perfect beautiful weather, not too hot. My favorite part was petting this cute little calf. It was munching on our fingers and had a rough scratchy tongue. I could have stayed there all day petting him. He was so cute.
I have taken SO many pictures over the past month or two and I haven't gotten a chance to edit any. Who wants to sit inside and edit photos when you can be outside in the summer sun??
I did edit this one though.
I really love this picture of Eden. It was one of those unexpected favorites. They were making tents on the deck out of blankets and sheets and there just happened to be a piece of sparkly fabric draped over a chair in the background making this really lovely bokeh. This was a very crisp photo, her eyes were so clear. But I chose to make it hazy and soft anyway. Sharp eyes are something I really love about a good photo, but I also love these softer looking pictures. So pretty.
I have tried, honestly I have, to sit down a little each day and do some work with my images but it's almost impossible to get anything done with kids around. The second I sit on the computer chair, they are in the room. Like a magnet, they cling to me. Talking, talking, talking, always talking. Asking me questions, showing me this or that. Inside, I'm just screaming but I have to try and be patient with them. I know they love being with me. But how can anyone with kids at home actually do work that requires brain power?? It's like trying to read a book with kids around. Pointless. You are constantly interrupted. And you realize you've read the same sentence 4 times and still don't have a clue what you've just read. At that point, it's time to give up.
So here's to the last day of endless talking and interruption. I'm going to spend it outside, enjoying the company of my fabulous, sweet, adorable girls. Just being with them, no schedule, no cares, no worries. Just us. Soon enough, I'll wish I had these carefree days back. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Unleashing the beast

When it rains, it pours. That's what my mom's words of wisdom were for me this morning as I whined to her about my growing problems at home. Not marital problems, no worries there. House problems.

I love our house. I remember the excitement I felt the first time we looked at it. As we walked through the front door, I instantly felt home. I imagined my girls running down the beautiful open staircase in their jammies and slippers on Christmas morning, big family Thanksgiving dinners, and birthday parties. I loved it. And I still do, but.....

It's been quite the money pit. I won't go into detail (as I'm sure my husband wouldn't appreciate it), but let's just say, we've put way more money into repairs than we would have liked in the short 3 years we've been here. We expect a certain amount of repairs to be done on an older house, but when we have to repair the same thing more than once, twice, even THREE times, it's more than a tad frustrating.

Case and point - our central air. It stopped running on a Sunday. On Monday, I called a local heating and cooling business (I won't mention any names) and got prompt same day service. The technician changed our embarrassingly dirty filter, changed some batteries, trimmed the bush that was overtaking the outdoor portion of the cooling unit and it appeared to be working. Yay! Two days later, it stopped working. So I called again. And again I got prompt same day service. They sent the same technician out. Turns out we needed a new control board. So, we got charged a second hefty service call fee and another big chunk for the new control board. We were frustrated to say the least. We felt it was unfair to be charged for a second call for the same problem that should have been taken care of on the first visit. In fact, I was just about to write a letter to the company about it when.......our air stopped working. AGAIN!

Well, you can imagine how extremely unimpressed we were with the situation at this point. And of course since I'm the one that's home during the day, I get to deal with all the phone calls. I was not looking forward to calling this place a THIRD time for the same problem. I was literally shaking as I was dialing the number. I was so mad and so scared at the same time. I knew that I wouldn't be able to hide my frustration with the situation and the tech that seemed to not be able to deliver anything except more bills. Cha-ching!

So I was straight forward with them and told them that I wasn't trying to be a jerk but I want this fixed NOW and I'm not paying another stinking service call fee at $95 a crack! "...and if you can't do it, I'll take my business to someone who CAN!..." Luckily they were very understanding and wanted to make the situation right. They sent out a tech with more experience ('bout time) and got the problem fixed. Well, so far it's still fixed, knock on wood. Turns out, there was some sort of clogged tube (which explained all the water we now had all over our basement floor - making a musty stench that I'm not sure we'll ever get rid of) and the water was dripping all over the new control board AND the fan wasn't working. So we got a new control board (again) but under warranty (thank the Lord) and new fan and we didn't get charged another fee. In fact, they were going to see about refunding one of the service call fees and any other charges that seemed unnecessary because of a misdiagnosis by the first tech. Also, we might even get a discount on the expensive new fan we had to have installed on the third visit because of all of the troubles we'd been having.

It's been a frustrating few weeks.

To top it all off, yesterday, as I was working on the website for Prints Charming, the computer made a loud ZAP noise and wouldn't turn on. The stench of some electrical fry job was in the air. Of course I'm freaking out because my LIFE is on that computer. And as you may or may not know, our internet has been in and out (mostly out) over the course of many weeks, and when my husband finally ordered a new router, it turned out that we needed a new modem as well. DOH! So he ordered a new modem and it wasn't on the "approved" list as per our internet provider. So we had to send it back and get a different one, which hasn't arrived yet. Honestly....I'm thinking that the universe is trying to tell me something. Anyway, ever since the computer got fried, the internet won't go on even for a second and I'm wondering if it has something to do with the fact that while our air was spazing out and dumping water all over our basement floor (exactly where our router, modem and whatever else is down there buried under 50lbs of cables) it shorted something or ruined something down there. Let's hope it's not the brand new router.


So, you see, when my mom said "when it rains, it pours" she was speaking some wise words. I'm typing this from my mom's computer. I am literally just wandering the house, not knowing what to do with myself now that I have no computer or internet access (other than my cell phone). I can't work on my photos, or my website, or my blog....and I'm going insane! What did I do before there was internet???!!!

I apologize for the pity party, but I wanted to explain why I'm not posting very much lately. Hopefully we will be back online with a working computer and reliable internet connection once again very soon. And also, that our air will continue to work for more than two days (fingers crossed).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hanna's room

It's been awhile, but I wanted to post pictures of Hanna's finished room.
Since we painted it pink (it used to be blue), it looks a lot better. More bright and cheery.
We also rearrange her furniture and built her a desk similar to what
we did in Eden's room. The only difference being we only did one
overhead shelf instead of two and we painted the wood black.

She picked out the handkerchiefs to use over the cork board (surprise, black and white animal print). And we bought new zebra print bedding to pull it all together. I think it turned out really
cute. I wish I would move in!

We found these super cute little locker chandeliers at Walmart. I got each girl one for their locker at school. They have a magnet on top and they have a motion detector so they will go on when the locker door opens. Or, you can switch it off and only turn it on when you want. Really cool.
We used double sided tape on Hanna's to stick on her desk at home.

The wall clock she picked out matched the paint perfectly.

So there you have it. Now Emma is nagging me to get her room painted.
I'm not looking forward to it because her room has wallpaper. Ugh.

Oh, and one more bit of super exciting news:

I finally got the document regarding the registration of my trade name.
I am officially the owner of Prints Charming!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

cooking fun

Want to try some super food? I made these granola bars this morning (and took of picture of them, of course) and I was very impressed with this recipe. Some I've tried in the past didn't turn out so well. Too mushy or too hard, but these were just right. Great flavor and texture.
If you would like to see the recipe, go here.

Eden was also baking today. She took out one of the children's cookbooks we have and made these:

A super fun bread recipe. She made all kinds of shapes; bears, spiders, dogs, etc.
I'm so happy she loves to cook so much.
Read about it on her blog here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

50 shades

So I finished the 50 Shades trilogy last night. And in all honesty....I'm not sure what the buzz is all about. The first book was pretty interesting. And the ending just left you hanging and so I had to get the second book to find out what happened. But the second book was a lot of the same, over and over. And I had to get the third book because of course I wanted to find out how it ended and see if there was anything different or more interesting happening. To my disappointment, it was, again, much of the same. The small amount of thrilling scenes in the book are short lived. Most of the story is just same shit, different day.

I knew there was going to be a lot of, eh hem, naughtiness in the book. But that is not why I wanted to read it. In fact, there was so much fornicating throughout all three books, that I found it incredibly sickening. So much so that I was to the point in the third book where I would just completely skip over those parts. I would think, "oh here we go again...." and just skim over. And for a book that is supposedly so 'kinky', it really didn't live up to expectations. All I could think was "Is that it??"

I see posts on Facebook where women are just lost after finishing the 3rd book. They don't know what to do now that they've finished the trilogy. Seriously? All the - I'm mad, I'm not mad, I'm mad, I'm not mad, I'm scared, I'm happy, I want this, I don't want this....back and forth, up and down. After all the hype, it was really just a big let down.

I guess I'm always one to go against the grain. It seems like whenever a movie comes out that everyone says is bad, I'll be the one to like it. And vice versa. Honestly, I would much rather read the Twilight series again than 50 Shades. However, I will have to see the movie just to see how they manage it. Hopefully it will be more interesting than the books.