Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
~~Robert Frost

I know so many people that make New Year's Resolutions. 
I don't anymore because to me New Year's Eve is a day merely to remind you that like your birthday, time marches on.

Tomorrow will be no different.  
Except that you will have to change the 3 to a 4.


So I say goodbye to 2013 and hello tomorrow with a new month and a new number 4.

Tonight we'll watch the snow fall, watch a Western, and eat popcorn.

No whistles, no promises we can't keep.

Do I sound like a grump?
Sorry don't mean to.

I do have goals, they just don't start on one night.  I have goals each day I awaken.
I hope for good health for family and friends.

I look forward to each new day.

So tonight is no different.
Tomorrow will be lovely and cold.

Goodbye 2013 and hello number 4.


I'm am attempting to learn the fine art of...

Black and White Digital Photography.

Some black and white samples

[Whoops, I see one is color... embarrassed!]

I hope to really excel especially this winter as the winter landscape begs to be shot in stark black and white.

Of course I will be continuing with all of my regular fun shooting and hiking with Morris.

Hopefully we will get a break in the weather and I can get out on another much needed mule ride with Siera.

This below zero weather is hard on everything.


Stay safe and warm this New Year's Eve.  
Don't drink and don't drive PLEASE!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Let's run and play by Morris

I like to run.
Run, run, run.
Sniff, sniff.

I like to eat deer and rabbit pellets.  That is what SHE calls them, she also hollers ICKY!

I love to hear that.
They are really 'smart' pills you see.  SHE does not understand that at all.
People, what do you do with them?

I mean they don't have the incredible taste buds that we do.  Um, dogs of course.  We can smell things that are absolutely divine to us, but horrid to them.

Never mind.
In the winter there isn't much really good ICK to find.  I mean most things are frozen.
Like the dead deer that was partly eaten by coyotes.  It wasn't smelly but it was very interesting.

SHE told me to leave it alone.
Sour puss.

Instead we hiked through the creek bottom and I watched her take some pictures.  She even tried one of both of us that turned out all fuzzy.

When we got back up into the meadow I did some major 'snow plowing'.  It was great.

I loved it.
Dogs should take their people walking as much as possible.

Maybe one day I can convince her to actually try some of those 'smart' pellets.

After all.
SHE could get smart like me!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in a small town.

This is the first thing you think of when you think of Christmas.
Good Will.
Good Will towards others.

Peace on Earth.
All that.

So I decided to go for a nice snowy walk and enjoy the snowfall and my new camera by exploring the huge 'town' of Readstown.

I went by the swings, which looked so lonely in the heavy snowfall.  The playground looked so empty.

There was the gazebo all decorated.  And I found a creepy looking snow man next to it.
He/she didn't mean to be creepy looking, but that is how it appeared to me.

Stephen King move over ... I found the new IT.

Now creepy looking snow men/women with frozen 'snot' give me the heeby jeebies.

No matter, the town was quiet.  I mean quiet as in no movement anywhere. 

I literally walked down the highway and did not encounter traffic.

This is really a pretty little town.
It isn't large...I think the stats are something like 410 people with an address here.
Probably less than 200 in the actual village though.

 Yet I enjoyed my snowy Christmas Day walk through the village square.

With the snow fall, it was quite peaceful and beautiful.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Trip to a Dairy Farm

Some things happen in odd ways.
On FB, I admired an old acquaintence's dairy cows.

She said I ought to come out and take some photos for her.
I decided to go ahead and plan it as best as one can plan for the weather and working with animals.

I headed out early because her 'girls' are out in the cow yard for an hour or so each cold winter morning.

I wanted to catch them outside naturally.
The drive was beautiful.  We'd had an ice-fog which turned the winter landscape into a fantasy-scape.

Her cattle were out when I arrived and I got to work.
Photographing cattle or other animals is not an easy job.  There are a lot of 'wait' and see moments, and sometimes you get very lucky ...or not at all.

I felt I had some good luck.
First is the calf pen, then a young calf, and two of her Aryshire milkers who thought they'd give me the 'eye'.

However I had two favorites from the time I spent there.  Tag #71 and the cow peeking around the silo where you can see her expression and the mist of her breath.

My subjects were difficult at best but that made it all the more fun I think.

I posted these to FB in an album and shared it with the Wehling Farms.  She shared it [with my persmission] and the folks on the Vernon County Board of Tourism ~~ of which she is a part of have contacted me for next year's Tour Guide.

All from a visit to the farm.
Who would have guessed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Review of my first experiences with Nikon D5200

A year ago I purchased the Nikon D3100 to upgrade from the D40.  Nikon really nailed some great things with the D3100.  
I also felt that they failed me in one area, but I was able to work around that aspect.  I didn't like the remote set up they had for the D3100.

I work around it by using the self timer which is set to 10 seconds.  My Olympus camera has some better choices at self timing.  12, 10, and 2 seconds.

I kept eyeing the new D5200 with the tilt swivel screen. 

I think Canon was the first to come out with this.
After spending many years of twisting myself into a pretzel to get some ground shots, or low level shots, I decided that I would like to add the tilt screen plus the new features that where offered by Nikon's D5200.

dpreview did a nice in depth review of this camera.  So why did I stay with the dark side?  Simple.  I have the kit lenses, I have a 50mm prime lens, and now the 40mm Nikkor lens.
I've become loyal to Nikon.

Out of the box, this Nikon did well.  The first shot I tried was on Auto.  One of the things I like to do is work my way through all the menus on the camera one at a time.

Today I put the camera on the 'child' symbol and basically pointed it at the dog.  The flash popped up and the AF found the dogs eyes and nose.  Did I say that I had the Micro 40mm lens on also?  Not the right choice for the shot, but hey ... I like doing things my way.

I've used it on Manual also for some low light shots of Christmas presents.  I haven't used 'Vivid' for color~~the colors do not seem to need enhancement with this camera.

Example from the previous post:

I love the choices in the ISO menus!  I like that I can now auto bracket shots too.  There is an HDR choice but I haven't used that yet.
There is a scene menu which I'd have to try out.  The only one I see that is really could be quite useful would be the sunset and dusk/dawn menu for quickly getting sunrise shots instead of fumbling around as I sometimes do to get a proper exposure.

I'm used to the Nikon D40 menu buttons and the D3100 buttons.  With those I was fairly fast at being able to change items like the ISO, Aperature, and Shutter speeds.  
The design on the back of the D5200 will take some real getting used to.

Just more hands on in different situations.  I probably won't do much with the video portion of the camera.  Video is not that important to me.

However there is an option to do interval time lapse photography.  
In fact every time I look in the basic 'start up' book it seems I find something else that this camera does.

The potential for this camera is fantastic.  
I can't wait to get out and put it through some real tests.

I will probably make use of the Live View when doing those shots that require me to lay on the ground upside down.

Like I had to for this shot...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Conversation with Lily

I went out of town last week to visit my youngest son and his little family.

Lily is 9 years old today.
If you where ever lucky enough to get to meet her, you simply would not forget her.

She is a very serious but funny and clever young lady who adores her little sister very much.

Change Elena's diaper and feed her?  She tries to get to it before anyone else can.

While we were working on decorating a Ginger bread man, I asked her what grade she was in.

"3rd," she replied quietly.
"I heard you got a good report card."
"Yes.  I guess I did."  Lily goes back to working on her Gingerbread man.
As any grandma does,...I asked.
"How do you like school?"
Shrug of the shoulders. 
"It is okay," she replies.  "The kids sort of picked on me because I go to some special classes."
"Oh yeah?"
She grins.  "Yeah.  They said I was dumb and then I asked them what was so dumb about having to go to 4th grade and 5th grade classes for reading, science, and math?  I like math."

Dumfounded I sit back and watch her continue to work on her Gingerbread man.
Indeed, what is so dumb about that?


Friday, December 20, 2013

Naughty or Nice?

Christmas is right around the corner.
It is an interesting time of year.
Have you been Naughty or Nice?  

The weather can make it very delightful to stay home and not battle the iced or snowy and hazardous roads.

What are you doing for Christmas?  Traveling?  Staying at home?  Do you have family arriving?

Christmas Day at our place is generally for quiet celebration.  One of the things I love to do is take a Christmas Day Ride on my favorite mule.

This was taken many years ago.  Badger's first Christmas with us.  The weather was so cold that my husband snapped this through the window.

I am certainly not qualified to discuss the religious aspects of Christmas so I'm not even going there in any post.

However I do like getting together with my family near Christmas.  I've seen my oldest son and his wife, my mom, and then my youngest son, his wife, and the girls just last week when I traveled to Wausau.

This week we are traveling to another daughter's house if the weather holds on Christmas Eve.

I love the Holidays also for all the beautiful decorations.
By the way the first photo is of packages under my Christmas Chair.  The mittens were made years ago by my Grandmother.  I love to use them as decorations or hang them on my tree.

Packages make for great photographic opportunities.  This is my first shot with the Nikkor 40mm prime lens.  

So, where ever you are and what ever you do for the upcoming Holiday, stay safe and enjoy.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shoot. I mean photos.

Today was my first ever paid photo shoot.

Oh no...no, I didn't model, but I am sure that is what you were all thinking.


I had some incredible models to work with.
Aged 3, 7, and 9 years old.

I found out that I couldn't 'organize' the children to do any fancy stuff.  The lighting was not really very good, but I was able to get the job done and the photos processed and handed off to mom in 2 hours.
Mom was very happy because she can take all the photos and hand them out at their huge family gathering this weekend.

Isn't that something?
I got to play with kids, take their photos, eat cake, have tea
got paid for it!

Be still my beating little heart.

Or as my husband would say...'Your boney little heart'.

I got quite the compliment, I think when I went to pick up both Morris's Christmas card and the photos from this 'quickie' shoot.

The new guy in the photo department in the 1 hour photo lab wanted to have a release signed by the Photographer.


The lady who always waits on me told the fella that 'she is the photographer' and 'we love her work'.

Ice storm coming in tonight.  Could be some interesting shots if we get the 1/10th of an inch coating.
Snow storm headed in after that.
Oh goody.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What we did today...Siera and I!

I've been gone and out of touch for a several days.
So this is what I do to relax when I get back home!
Enjoy if you watch the whole thing.

Hand held camera while riding...half speed..so you can imagine how fast this Puruvian Paso Mule walks!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Morris on Posing ~~ Will work for Cookies.

Quit sticking that camera in my face.

I don't care what kind of camera it is or what you want to do with it.

I could tell you where to stick it.

But I won't.

I'm a very poor model.  I don't like to sit still and I am usually curious.
I don't do 'STAY!' very well either.

So SHE has to work very hard at getting a decent photo.
SHE has also figured out that I will 'track' a cookie visually.

Like when she holds one way up high!


When I just say nuts and decide to not cooperate any more.

In the end, SHE always seems to get the job done somehow.

Last year I even liked the Christmas Photo she did of me!

Eventually she got it right...

I like this year's shot also.  But I am not allowed to show it until after those certain kids get my card...SHE says it would spoil it for them if they saw it now!


PS~ You'll note in the first and last shot, my eyes aren't all washed out.
That is because SHE has to fix them.  
People get red eyes in a flash, dogs get blue or some sort of green eye.  

Oh yeah.
The cookies were most excellent.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cold Weather and All That.

Well yesterday the thermometer read -4 F or -20 C.  That was without any 'wind chill' factor.  If I'd looked that up I may not have gone out for a walk with Morris.

Morris enjoyed getting out in the woods after being cooped up for several days while I was out of town visiting.

He probably put on twice the mileage that I did.  Of course it is his duty to sniff and 'mark' anything of interest that he can find.
Twice he buried his face in the snow trying to sniff out mice.

We hiked down into the creek bottom again.  It wasn't bad there.  We were out of the wind, but in the shadows of the hillside.

Ice and snow formations are making the creek a bit more interesting than the last few visits.

Here is a shot of the same spot in the beginning of November:

And another spot further down the creek.

Unfortunately, Morris got pretty cold waiting for me to set up the tripod and  making some attempts as some longer exposures of the little falls.
He started to quake and shiver.
Of course it could have been the fresh coyote tracks that were in the snow, or the fact that he'd been walking in the creek... and then the snow.

He climbed onto my lap where I was sitting, waiting for the 15 second exposure finish.
I realized that the poor ol' guy was just plain cold.

So after a few quick shots, I picked him up and carried him back to our ridge road.

Then it was time to run water into the stock tank and drain the hoses.  Everyone was sunbathing and snoozing except the elder mules in the pen nearest the house.

Last thing before going in was to take down the laundry I'd hung out before talking my walk.  The clothes had mostly 'freeze dried'.  
They smelled wonderful.

I opened the door and the scents of the roast I was cooking greeted me.
Nice to come indoors and have delicious smells!

Morris immediately took a nap on the couch.  I hung up some items that were not yet dry.

Cold weather is hard on machinery and it makes most of the chores seem to take forever.  But I don't mind the cold as much as I dislike extreme heat.

According to the National Weather Service, it is going to get colder today, not warmer.
I'm glad I walked with my neighbor this morning.
We had a lovely pre dawn walk.