December 2011

My birthday is like that last pushup that you’re determined to finish after you’ve run 4 miles (Christmas shopping), done some yoga headstands (laboriously poring over Hotwire to find flights that won’t put you in the poor house), done some abs (making Christmas cards), lifted some weights (making Christmas dinner), and done some sprints (making it through Christmas with the fam without too many divisive political discussions…hehe). By the time my birthday comes along, everyone, including me, is spent.

Although I’m saying all this partially because I love whining and so you’ll all feel sorry for me, I’m also saying it for my wonderful family and friends. They’re the ones who make the extra special effort to make sure that my birthday doesn’t get forgotten, and I truly appreciate it. (As a kid, my mom even made sure to wrap my presents in non-Christmas paper!) I just love you guys. It’s also my “special birthday” or whatever you call it- I’m 27 on the 27th!

Any other December birthdays out there?

Gonna break the “wordless” rule to say I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays and a happy whatever you may or may not celebrate this winter (in the northern hemisphere) season!

Yesterday was our six-month wedding anniversary. Sweet huh? Also, where does the time go??

I never did share these little cuties that we got on our honeymoon in Mexico- one of our only souvenirs. These were the perfect blend of sentimental and functional, since we needed S&P shakers anyway.

It seems obvious to me that red is for pepper (spicy) and blue is for salt (like the sea) but no one else seems to get that! Ah well.

Our souvenirs tend to be somewhat functional/something we needed anyway, like our Canadian pillows. But I want to hear about your honeymoon/special trip souvenirs!

Ahh, the hated flash. Photographers seem to hate this and regard it as you would other f-words. I mostly hate it too and try to avoid it whenever possible. But the lesson gave a few helpful tips on how to use it if you must use it, as well as a few scenarios where you might not think to use it but it can enhance your photo.

The first challenge I did was to use the flash to eliminate dark shadows on a human face on a bright day. My subject (hmm… I could get used to calling him that… badum chh) helped me out here, and stood at an angle which cast shadows over half of his body.

Without flash:

Shutter 1/100; Aperture f/8.0; ISO 200; Flash Off

Although we’re in bright sunlight, here is the photo with the flash filling in the shadows:

Shutter 1/200; Aperture f/5.6; ISO 200; Flash On

This might be useful if you don’t have control over what angle of the sun you want your subject (for instance, if there’s a really cool waterfall behind your subject that you can’t conveniently move to a more flattering light).

I’m still not totally sold on the flash (it just has a weird look to it) but I can see how if you were taking a photo where you really needed everyone’s faces to be well-lit, it would be useful.

The other exercise I did was to use the fill flash to combat backlighting on a shadowed subject. I put my subject (Blanche) in the shade with a bright sunny backdrop behind her. (I think I probably could have found a better situation to illustrate this, but I’ll show you the pictures anyway.)

Without flash:

Shutter 1/250; Aperture 5.0; ISO 200 Flash Off

With flash:

Shutter 1/200; Aperture 5.0; ISO 200; Flash On

I encourage you to download the lesson, because they give a lot of helpful tips on how to use flash and the situations in which flash really can improve (gasp!) your photos.

  1. Christmas!
  2. Ugly sweater parties
  3. Our four-year ugly sweater party anniversary (the event that kicked it all off).
  4. Raking leaves, and then raking them again
  5. This dude defending his thesis today
  6. My family’s gift-giving tradition: Instead of gifts, we each put together a few scrapbook pages (fun shapes and cutesy sayings optional) of what happened in our lives that year. Each person makes enough copies of their own for everyone, so we all end up with a scrapbook of each others’ goings-on. (True, we’ve been slacking the past couple of years, but it’s back on!)
  7. Bossypants. And anything Tina Fey. I’m a Tina-phile.
  8. Blanche the Christmas Dog
  9. Minimalist lights
  11. Pepto-Bismol Christmas cookies
  12. Cool paint jobs
  13. On various things
  14. My high school friend (and prom date) Colte being on The Rosie Show! (He’s the piano player.)
  15. Seventeen of my loved-ones jam-packed in my sister’s house for Christmas
  16. My slippers
  17. Brown hair dye color
  18. Friends who bug me to update my blog (makes me feel loved)
  19. Awkward family photos
  20. The Kindle (especially getting library books!)
  21. My 27th birthday on the 27th (yeah, I’m okay with it)
  22. A bunch of my friends having babies
  23. Indian food
  24. Low heat bills (FYI- setting the heat between 52 and 62 promotes lots of snuggling. And whining.)
  25. Stan finishing school and officially being a Hydrogeologist/Hydrologist/Geoscientist among other cool titles!

I know I’ve been neglecting the blog, and I do apologize to all of my wonderful fans. YOU guys are the real stars. Ha. Really though, thanks. Sometimes your life is just too crazy to blog, ya know? Or, you know, you just find yourself doing other things. We’ve been a little distracted lately because Stan is finishing school and we’re waiting to hear about his future employment, which could mean big changes for us. Oooh, I love being cryptic on the blog. Not that it’s that cryptic.

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!