Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Confections

We've started making the goodies for Christmas weekend.  My mother in law made several cakes and a peanut butter pie (mmmmm, one of my favorites!)  Since I like to take some as a hostess gift when we make our Christmas rounds, I made a lot of candy.

3 dozen Oreo Truffles

4 pans of Pretzel Turtles

1 pan of Peppermint Bark

I've also made a Caramel Pie, but it still needs to chill in the fridge a bit.  I'll probably dip some pretzels and Ritz with peanut butter tomorrow since I have some almond bark leftover.  So far the turtles seem to be the biggest hit this year, thank goodness they are the easiest to make.  Now I'm going to sink into a sugar crash coma and rest for a while. 

Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Home Invasion

Last night the dog was making a fuss.  I assumed he just needed to go out to take care of business.  A few minutes later, he started barking; I thought he was ready to come back in.  I yelled for Babe Jr to let him back in, and she exclaimed "There's a cat on the porch!".

Now if you know me personally or are friends with me on Facebook, you'll know there was an unfortunate encounter this past summer in the back yard with an unknown animal, most likely cat, that resulted in a trip to the vet, a pitiful little doggy, and very worried pet parents for quite a while.  So I immediately panicked and ran out in the cold in my pajamas.  There was a gray cat hanging off the side of the porch.  I yelled for it to scat and stomped a few times hoping it would go away.

A few minutes later I heard something on the porch again.  I looked outside, thinking it was my father in law, but the cat was clinging to the screen of the front windows.  My mother in law opened the door to look.

Here is a dramatic photo reenactment of what followed:

You can see how frantic the cat was because he is quite blurry while the dog remains clear.  We had to lock the dog in the bedroom for a little while, but eventually, once my father in law got home, he chased the cat away.

The dog remained unconvinced.  This was over 30 minutes later.

P.S.  I feel like I should add that we are not totally cold-hearted and uncaring about the poor kitty's plight.  Since we live in the country, all the neighboring cats just run loose.  This one was obviously well fed, so we knew it had to belong to someone nearby.  As you can see from the photos, he wouldn't have got much respite here in our home on account of the terrible terrier.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dealing with a Diva

Today I wrangled my niece, AKA the Wild Child, into a dress and tried to slow her down long enough to take some photos.  Here are some outtakes that were more than just a blurred tuft of blond hair.

And a few I've had time to edit that we've deemed print worthy.

The "I'm up to something" smile.

The real thing :)
 Thanks for looking.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


My niece was uncooperative today for a proper photo shoot, but I still wanted to try and put up a post with something tonight.  I recently figured out how to download actions in Photoshop and have been playing around with free ones.  All of the ones I used tonight are from Pioneer Woman.  Here are some shots I took on auto the first day I played with my camera.

Boost and Sharpen


PW Black & White

Old West

 Straight out of Camera

I think the different effects are pretty cool.  I may have them printed and frame a group of them together.  Kind of a neat thing since I took them the first day out, even if it was in auto ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A more serious attempt

It warmed up to a whopping 25 degrees today, so I went back out to to attempt a few more pics of the snow.  Today it was not actually snowing and it was very clear.  And just to point out, I have an official watermark to label my photos.  I'm big time now, be jealous.

 Some nifty sun-flare.

I blew the tree a bit on this one.  I wish you could see more detail on the trunk, its a really cool old birch.  But, I had been overexposing a tad to compensate for all the snow and didn't readjust for this shot.

The weather man is calling for an ice-storm.  As much as I hate the havoc they wreak and dread the possibility of the electricity going out, I really am eagerly anticipating some cool photo ops.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I♥faces photo entry: Pet Faces

I decided to enter a photo contest for the first time.  I love taking pics of my dog, so I thought this contest was the perfect opportunity.  This photo is my puppy looking at me questioningly because he just got in from the cold and wants in my lap, but I'm holding a camera instead.

I had to clone part of my leg out of the bottom of the photo.  I used an action to burn the edges, then ran Coffee Shop's Vanilla B&W action and tweaked a bit.  Hope you like :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snowy Session

I've started another online photography course (I know, I never finished the first one on 2peas, leave me alone, this one covers the same material and is a bit more expansive).  I've been wanting to work on the first assignment because it is very similar to the first few I did for 2peas.   I have to get the familiar stuff done before I can move on to the more exciting new lessons.  The holdup has been that it is required to be shot in natural light and its been ridiculously cold, or on days when its been bearable, I've not been able to get anywhere pretty to take them.  Some of our neighbors here have really junky yards and the house is right between 2 mountain sides, so everything immediately around us is not what one might consider a desirable backdrop once the leaves have fallen.

Today, we are in the middle of a blizzard.  So I figured I would venture out with the dog and try to take some pics while all the ugly stuff is covered in a white blanket.  I didn't get very far with my assignment, and I think I did some of it wrong.  But what can I say, it was freezing, the snow was pouring, and I didn't bother with an instructional printout to refer to as I was shivering and fumbling with dials.  

Here's one that I that I found amusing.  A few forgotten fall decorations, don't they look sad?

And here's a few that have nothing to do with the course.  The dog, running around frantically in the parts that had been packed down.  

And now he's had enough.  This is his flee for the safety of the porch.
Now, back inside the warm house after a considerable amount of snow removal.  The poor thing gets big clumps of it in any hair not covered by a sweater.

And my play at a B&W action in photoshop.  The exposure is a mess, the snow out the window was so bright compared to the dogs dark hair, but I think its cute anyway.

I may try to get back out in another day or so and try again, its rumored that we'll be snowed in all week.  But I'm not making any promises, I'm a wimp in the cold.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Photo of the day

This is actually a pic I took a few weeks ago, but its so weird that even though I posted it on Facebook I still wanted to document it here on my blog, too.  Its not a technically good pic by any means, it was taken with an iPhone.  I was driving home from a friend's house that I hadn't seen in a long time.  When I got to the stop light at the entrance to her neighborhood, I looked down and this is what I saw.

Yes, I know, the speedometer shows I was driving when I took it.  In my defense, I tried to take it while waiting for the light to change but the camera app froze up on me and took a minute to open.  I hurried and shot it right after I went through the stoplight because I was afraid the temp would change or the odometer would roll over.  It was late at night and there was no other traffic, so the roads were empty. 

But how weird are all those 5's?  What kind of sign is that?  All I could think about was that movie about the girl that had the baby in Walmart and how 5's meant bad luck for her.  I drove very carefully the rest of the way home

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas lights!

I've been really swamped with school lately; the semester is almost over and I'm trying to catch up with my online work.  But, I've seen a lot of tutorials on taking photos of Christmas lights recently and wanted to take a little time to play.  These were taken with my camera as it came in the box, no special lenses or filters.

Here's a sort of abstract photo taken with a wide aperture.  I really like how the lights are big dots.  This looks really cool with colored lights on a tree, especially when the top is lit as well.

This was taken with a really tight aperture and a looong shutter speed, I had to use a tripod.  Look at how all the lights are little twinkle stars.  This would be really pretty for family portraits, but no kids would ever sit still long enough with that shutter speed.  I think I'll buy a star filter for next year so I can do this with a normal speed.

Its really amazing the differences you can get by just using different settings!