Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just, You Know, Stuff.

I haven't taken many pictures lately.  I haven't done much of anything it seems.  I want to, but work and life seem to get in the way.  We did decorate for Christmas, but I still need to get the Christmas boxes back out to the shed.  I guess it's just the time of year that it seems like there's so much to do but so little sunlight.  I automatically start to power down once the sun slips below the horizon and I want to go hibernate with a book and a blanket and a hot beverage.
Chloe does not get that same feeling from the sun going down, instead she just keeps going.  She was up for who knows how long last night.  I know Cora did not get much rest.  Cora took the brunt of Chloe's Chloe-ness and let me sleep, but I don't feel very rested at all.  I hope that Chloe decides to sleep tonight.

On the bright side, she went to her one month check up after the ear tube and passed with flying colors!  The doctor was very pleased with how it looks.  She, of course, caused every person in the waiting room to fall instantly in love with her.  We are constantly followed by comments, sometimes said in hushed voices and sometimes not so hushed, of how cute she is.  Sometimes I reply, "I know.  We live with toxic levels of cute, one can only wonder what long term exposure will do to far I feel normal, but I may grow a third arm...who knows."

I have to go deal with my vaguely human students today again.  My last class yesterday simply trampled all over my patience and I finally assigned them an essay due at the beginning of class today.  That was assigned about 4 minutes before the bell rang because they just would not shut up!  I hadn't planned to make it due at the beginning of class, but one of the idiots asked if that were the case and it sounded like a slightly mean thing to do, so I said, "YES!"

Today I get to take the little fiends out in the halls and see what five billion years looks like in an attempt to model it in the physical they can visualize it...yeah, we'll just see how that works...wish they'd issue a tazer...I bet I'd get more cooperation from them.

And that is it for now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Make Shift Studio and a Holiday Weekend I Don't Want to End

 Cora and I set up what can best be described as a poor man's studio.  It was an old projector screen with every movable light in the house in the area, plus an old white sheet.  It left much to be desired.  Still, we got a couple of impromptu photos that turned out.  Chloe has had a few bad experiences with that darned screen, so she was reluctant to go near it...apparently she doesn't trust her dad when it comes to certain issues of safety.  Still, it worked ok for being last minute.
We've done a little holiday shopping and during that time we have been trying to introduce Chloe to Santa.  In Lowes ( a home improvement store) there was what can best be described as a 20 foot santa, blown up with fans and lit from within.  Chloe was instantly enamored.  

We happened to be in Walmart today and there was a Santa and they were giving out free pictures.  Well, we dove right in...err, Chloe did.  She was a little careful, but in the end decided that Santa was definitely OKAY!  Especially after the man gave her a candy cane...She likes candy.  I bet you're surprised about that!

So, we came home and decorated the house (outside).  Cora and I strung up lights while Chloe took a nap.  Cora'd promised her to go for a walk when she awoke, so she went quietly.  After that I went back to Walmart for the free photo.

As you can see Chloe approved!
 Her First Santa!
 And, as promised, we all went for a walk.   Chloe, at times riding, at others pushing.
 I gave her a flashlight and made her night.
 She got back in the stroller and then we went around a corner and she wanted out again...perhaps you can see why.
 Look closer...yeah, it's SANTA!  SANTA!  SANTA!
We've created a monster!  Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I am a father.  Sometimes, I just have to repeat it to myself, because on occasions I just don't believe it.  I also can't believe that someone decided that I could be trusted to help manage and care for such an obviously wonderful kid.  We are so incredibly lucky to have Chloe.

This morning my alarm went off and I stirred, setting the snooze for just a few more minutes of sleep.  My brain began to function, slowly revving up to speed.  It was as I lay there with my eyes shut, slowly preparing for the day, that I sensed movement.  Not Cora on the other side of the bed, but nearer, right at my shoulder.  I knew and remembered clearly bringing Chloe to bed with us last night, so it wasn't a surprise.  But, what really just melted my heart, was that she re-positioned herself off of the pillow beside me so she that lay her head on my shoulder, molding herself next to me.  Then I didn't want to get up at all.  That little bit of pre-morning cuddle was enough to make my day!  I carefully re-positioned her so she could cuddle next to her mom and I could get up and begin my morning routine, but I did not want to.

We have so much for which to be thankful.  Sometimes, I just forget to wonder at it all.  Chloe makes me remember, though.  I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

 These were taken yesterday morning, but could be this morning, too.  When no one is in the bed, she sleeps sideways.  We are not sure why she sometimes wakes in the middle of the night crying, but sleeping between Mom and Dad helps, so we are not complaining.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Good Night Barn

 I gotta say I like the Good Night books.  There is Good Night Gorilla and Good Night Moon, and I even read a Halloween one called Good Night Goon.  I'm sure there are others since the ones I've seen seem pretty popular with the younger crowd.  I figure there ought to be one call Good Night Barn.

Here are my submissions for Barn Charm.  I wish this Monday thing would work out better more often than it does.

Today I discovered that a couple pieces of electronics in my room were stolen.  That makes me unhappy, more so since I think they were probably gone on Friday, too.  A student called my attention to it and then hinted that they had seen it on their bus.  That would have been the day I left early to be with my Mom at the hospital.  Apparently you cannot trust people to sub for you.  I never thought I'd say that.  But, I left the door locked, so all they had to do was shut it.  I suspect, partly due to the statement of my student, that it was taken DURING class...HOW?!?!  I hate that I cannot trust the students I teach.

I called the security officer and set him on the trail...Jeez!  I hate this.

But, barns make me smile.
Oh, AAAAAANNNND I got to see the dentist.  Well, I went to get my teeth cleaned.  I like the people there, they're nice.  However, why does every dental hygienist think that they have to talk so much when you cannot answer them?  What kind of cruel person does that?  Especially when I was trying to get back home in time for Gym Kids tonight...ARGH!  OK, and you think that's bad enough?  Try this:  She knocked a piece of my filling came out.  So, it took another few minutes to get another filling put in, after he put a metal thing into my my tooth-YEEEOUCH!!...on the bright side, it was free.

Chloe made me smile with her antics at Gym Class!  I'm relaxing now with a bottle glass of wine and my beautiful wife.  All hail Tuesday!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Little Bit Of Fun!

 I got a screen set up and decided that what I have is not a studio rig, but that can be fixed with a little investment.

Photography, and Experimentation

Years ago, I used to do some photography.  I got a Pentax P3N for graduation.  It was an SLR(you could see through the lens). I used that camera to great advantage.  It used film, which was really the only option at the time.  Even by 1995, when the first digital cameras began to show on the market, film was by far a better option.  The problem with film, of course, is it's expensive.

**Note: If you don't feel like reading a boring post, I understand if you just skip to the photos.**

Photography, like anything else is only mastered with practice, trial and error, and patience.  The nice thing about film is you had a lot of detail that digital cameras could not match.  That is, until the past few years.  Once cameras began getting to 8 or so megapixels they began really catching up on film.  Now there are cameras with more than 40 megapixels(those are medium format cameras, whereas professional 35mm type digital SLRs are getting 24 megapixels)...that's a lot of pixels.  Now digital is as good or better than film.  My own camera is fairly moderate in the megapixel department, only 12.3.  That is 12.3 million pixels, or dots of color.  That is plenty for a 16X20 inch enlargement.

With film, you could shoot black and white and develop it at home if you had the right chemicals and equipment. I still have most things necessary for a darkroom.  On the other hand, you had to work a lot harder to do color photography or just use commercial printers.  You had very little control over color film and printing, unless you were willing to spend lots of money...I've never been burdened with excess cash, so that was not an option.  In fact, in the dark days of my college career and my "in-between college time" I found it easy to buy film, but harder to develop.  So, since developing film cost so much, photography slowly inched its way out of my life, though I still longed to do it.  

Enter the digital camera.  I can take lots of pictures.  I can screw up repeatedly and not have to pay one little bit for my mistakes, printing only the pictures I like.  Also, now I have a darkroom in my living room, or any other room of the house I choose to sit in.  I can choose black and white or color or tweak the colors to unimaginable heights and hues.  I love digital, even though my old photography professor continues to swear by film.

I used to experiment quite a lot with my old P3N.  I did light painting and photographed lightning and in general did a lot of fun things.  I even bought a slave.  NO, not a slave person, but an optical slave for a flash.  This allowed me two flashes.  One on the camera and one placed elsewhere with the slave.  It would flash as soon as it sensed the flash from the one on my camera.  It added some options for me.

I found the slave a few weeks ago.  I had two flashes, but I thought both were dead...turns out only one was dead.  I tossed the old Ansco and kept the one that had originally been on my P3N.  Last night I put it all together and played.  While Cora made some hair bows, I was doing some photography.  I was attempting to synchronize the two flashes.  The only way I could do it was by setting the flash to sync with the rear shutter.  Oh, well.  I DID use the flash for some fun shots with an extended shutter speed.  Here are a few of the experimental shots, which are only for the technical aspects of the photo (syncing and making sure the other flash was indeed flashing at a time that it could be seen on the sensor).  They aren't pretty, but they show what I was trying for.

 A little fun with a flash.  Below you see the extended shutter speeds I was dealing with.  Cora was an unwilling model.
 Below you see the old flash, and below that, attached to the tripod (the little square thing) is the optical slave.
 Here it is so you an see the full flash effect.  unfortunately, it does not work the way I had hoped, so it won't be used for much in the way of portraiture.
 The flash color was a bit blue, so I changed the color in the computer.
Here is the final, retouched, and textured photo, and the only one that I would normally show, but I thought maybe those of you who think I am a good photographer might like to see some of the trial and error that I go through from time to time to get what DOES come out.
I hope you all have a great Sunday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snow Angel Part II

 This is Chloe checking out the snow.  This morning it snowed.  The weather predictors said it would be an "insignificant accumulation."  I suspect they are from Alaska or something.  This is significant, if only because i had to shovel it.
 The weather was sufficient to shut down our plans of some outdoor family pictures.  Still, I snapped a few of Chloe before we went to town.  Cora is awesome and usually out of the photo, but she made sure the kid got dressed and prettified.  I have an awesome wife!

Another Autumn Day

Chloe loves Elmo.  Here she is showing me she has Elmo on her shirt.  She also likes her new boots, which her Mom bought last weekend, and which I think are probably the cutest boots I've seen in a long while.

 Thursday, My mother was having heart problems.  I decided I'd like to spend some time with the both of them should she spend time in the hospital.  So at lunch I asked the ladies in the office if I could have sixth period to go see my mother.  The two secretaries said they'd take care of it.  The phone was ringing in my room before I got it unlocked.  I answered and it was one of the secretaries.  She said they had subs lined up for me for the rest of the day, I could leave at noon.   I made it to the emergency room within minutes of my parents and was able to spend time with them for the rest of the afternoon.  Those secretaries made it easier on my parents, whether they knew it or not.

My mother had a stint put in her heart a little over two weeks before.  Yet, she thought she could do stuff like work around the house and stack wood after the first week.  Her heart had objections, and we all had to discuss exactly what one does after a heart surgery.  Her doctor, to my mom's credit, did not specify what constituted acceptable activity, so it wasn't all her fault.  Still, she NOW knows she needs to take it easy!  She is fine now and taking things slow.

Yesterday, on the way home from a long day at school, I took these shots of the weather.
 I thought the clouds were beautiful.

 The pictures below are a couple shots I took yesterday morning, also trying to showcase the clouds and light.
 Both are HDR to make the most of the highlights and lowlights.
 We have lots to do this weekend.  We are finally feeling better!  We may even get out of the house!!

Chloe seems to think 7am is as late as people should sleep on the weekend, so we are both up early.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Girl In The Snow

It snowed today.  Chloe experienced it for the first time in her young memory.  She got to see snow in China, but she did not get the opportunity to walk in it...especially since she wasn't walking at the time.  Today she wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but she took the tentative steps anyway.  She held some in her hand, dropping it when I showed her she could.  It was actually fun to see her eyes recording everything around her.

It was a pretty good day.  I'd like to have slept in, but what are you gonna do?


I like love editing my photos.  I find that I prefer new photos to old, but since I haven't had much in the way of opportunities to take new ones recently, I have had to make do with what I have.  Which explains the following.

I liked this balloon photo, but I thought, what could I add that might make it just a little more interesting?  I thought to add a texture.  Then I decided it needed a "photo look," so I used the one photo look that I created and voila!

Nothing much to add today, but I am finally getting over this damned flu/cold thing!  I feel invigorated compared to last week!  I hope you are all having a good week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Charmed, I'm Sure!

 I wasn't sure if I'd be able to participate today.  I had a coughing attack shortly after I got home.  Then with sore rib muscles, I took some cough meds, which, after dinner, saw to it that I was tired after dinner.  So tired that Chloe and Cora went off to have a bath and I woke up in the middle somewhat confused about where everyone had gone, until I heard Chloe giggling.  Now, darling Chloe is in bed, and I am feeling more awake. So, here it is!  And skip on over to see Barn Charms!  Tricia is awesome!

This might be a bit of a boring post, so you may just want to skip everything after the photos.  It's OKAY, I understand!
I had a pretty good day!  I got to work, figured out what I was doing for the day, and then got to doing it.  The kids haven't had a lecture/discussion from me until today.  The book we are using is very hands on and requires the kids be active learners, taking a part in their learning.  Some of them are Active Non-Learners, which means giving them their own head, lets them wander on their own.  The lecture/discussion I gave today, interrupted only a couple times by some readings, made them pay attention, because, for once, I demanded their attention and asked them questions and made them talk.  I feel it was a neat change.

What were we talking about?  Well, a number of things, but mostly, we were discussing evolution.  I managed to bring into the discussion a little about the Missoula Floods.  I taught them something that I knew at their age.  I knew that the granite rocks in the valley are actually erratics brought in on ice bergs during the floods.  If you're interested in learning about the flood, and you should be, all you have to do is Google it and you'll be an expert in no time.  Suffice it to say, however, that these floods were a big thing around here.  They were what was happening during the ice age.  

I stuck around while several students came in after school to work.  While they were doing that I wrote a few e-mails and then went to investigate the rest of my lesson.  Learning, as I did, that it promises to be annoying and a great opportunity for my Active Non-Learners to avoid more work.  Ah, well, it can't ALL be lecture.

I really want to get a new lens, but I can't figure out a way to make it seem right.  You know?  We have bills and a daughter, and what I want is a lens?  That's not cool.  BUT DAMN!!  It's a macro!  I REALLY want a macro lens!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Not Much

 So, I felt better today and we all needed to get out.  So we stopped at a park with some swings.  I took a few pictures.  These are them.  I applied a "photolook" to each and I am fairly happy with the results.  They make me happy.  I usually take every photo and apply separate things to each, some need more contrast, while others need more saturation.  These I did not do as much with, but simply added the "photolook."  I look at it as cheating in a way, since I like the personal touch, but I am learning that I don't have to do everything, but I know what to add and what to take away, so I guess that is something.  And, on the brightside, sometimes my pictures look ok!  
 Let me say, once again, that my daughter is probably the cutest little girl in existence.  She sings along with her CD in the car.  She loves Elmo.  She repeats many things we say.  She has particular likes and dislikes.  She got up at four in the morning and expected to go play in her kitchen.  "Chichen, chichen..."  It took awhile for me to understand what she was saying, at least until she walked strait to her kitchen and began picking up cups and plates.  I also understood that 4AM is way too early for a little girl to get up on the weekend, so I whisked her off to bed.

Speaking of which, I slept in her room for awhile last night because we moved the vaporizer into her room and I wished to sleep a bit without coughing.  She seems to be starting to cough, so we are moving to keep her from getting as sick as we did.

So, at 4AM I brought her to lie next to me in her room.  She slept pretty well, too...on my arm.  I didn't mind.  There is just something about your daughter snoring at your shoulder that makes all the discomforts slide away.  She is a pile of awesome.  It was a good night, until she awoke at 6:30AM.  Oh, well, sleep is overrated.
 Daughters, however, are awesome, no matter what time of the day it is.

Climbing Out of a Hole

I am feeling better.  It is still a long road out of that hell that was a cold for a week.  I haven't taken any new photos for a week and I haven't blogged much at all.  To top it off, all last week I had red eyes because of the cold.  All week long I had students coming in and asking me if I was High...WTH?  "NO, I'M SICK!" was usually my response.  My inner response was more vociferous and would have been wounding to their egos and self respect.  If I had been armed with a pair of gauntlets, I would like to have soundly slapped each offending student with them, but sadly there were no gauntlets available.

I am now feeling fine during daylight hours, but much the opposite of a vampire, the moment the sun goes down I start feeling crappy.  I start coughing and hacking and heaving.  I don't like it.

All I have for you is this photo.  Sorry.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Barn Business

 I've been sick.  I'm finally beginning to feel like there is an end to it.  I feel vaguely human this afternoon, but I'm still sick.  I pulled these two barns out of the bin for you.  I hope you approve.