Monday, January 30, 2012

A digital doodle

Conceptual castle for the good-natured but slightly gravity corrupted countryside of Billyhock


Sunday, January 29, 2012

I feel old

…and loved

I feel so blessed to have a family as awesome as mine.

I have the best Mom and Dad in the whole world.

I remember you guys spending so much time with us teaching and playing and never realized what a privilege it was.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Juneau is in heat again, her second time around and it’s making everyone miserable. She is so much more restless than she was last time. It’s three AM. She’s been howling all night. It’s a sad pitiful long wolf howl that’s almost kind of pretty. …but we have neighbors….cranky neighbors, and lots of them. I take her inside: she howls, I take her outside she howls. She has tons  of energy because I can’t run or take her to the dog park but she won’t play because she’s mopey. I’ve tried putting her on a leash and jogging with her in circles around the couch and she just sits down. If she’s inside she’s pacing with her little nails click click clicking across the floor. She’ll scratch at the door, scratch at the window but she doesn’t actually want to go out. Mostly she sits and gives us this face while whimpering:

IMG_2192IMG_2195IMG_2196 copy 

It’s so sad…I just look at her and I want to cry because I’ve never seen a creature so pitiful. We called our mother-in-law since she breeds corgis and has lots of experience with female dogs. She suggested this herb stuff called rescue remedy that helps them calm down. Humans can use it too for anxiety. It helps her for a little while but doesn’t solve the problem. She also said that the second time around is the worst for them, so this will get better we hope. Until then, it’s not making apartment life very easy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Switching out faces in Photoshop

This is so much fun to me because it takes 2 seconds and it feels like cheating. I’m sure you could do it a slower way with a layer mask, but I usually cut, paste and blend from two pictures. It happens a lot during family pictures. I take a bunch so I can get rid of the perpetual blinkers.


Juneau in her Cave

which is my desk.

by my feet.

Cave offers free scritch-scratch service

and complimentary food samples.

IMG_2085 copy 3

Short VS Wide: Portrait 101

I did a little project to help illustrate the difference in lens size since this concept is hard to grasp without visual reference.  I found myself trying to explain this using arm movements the other day and decided I’d do a blog post. People always ask me this sort of question when they are shopping for lens. They want to know what size to get. Photographers throw around the lingo all the time: Short and Wide. To a noob I imagine this sounds like “howerodfh” and “SLKJFdi”….because it did for me at first.

So here are two pictures (both slightly out of focus because I rushed, whoops!)

Both portraits but with two different effects and compositions because of their difference in focal lengths

Both taken approximately two meters from the subject (the first one is actually slightly farther away if you read the specs. This is because my 85mm needs a little more room to focus correctly)

same light scenario

picture A, 85 mm:


Picture B, 24mm:


Drastically different results right!?

It’s your job as the photographer to use focal lenths to your advantage, because as you can see they have an entirely different feel. Your focal length is a crucial decision in your composition.

The 85mm with an open aperture is a flattering distance for portraits. It’s often called a “short” or a “portrait lens”.

The 24mm is my “wide” because as you can see, it’s a wide view. I like to use a wide to allow more background information. What do my surroundings tell me about the subject? It’s not as frequently used for portraiture because there is some lens distortion. Since the lens itself has a greater curve, the subjects face will warp. This 24 lens is so wide that extreme warping happens around the perimeter (much like the artsy fish-eye). I try to keep the subject away from the edges. A wide lens is going to have a tendency for a dark vignette.

Here’s our specs (picture A on the left, B on the right)


You’ll notice a few differences. in exposure and ISO time since the sun was setting ( I took picture B first). I kept the Aperture the same so you could see the differences in depth of field. When you use a short lens, you can see the field of focus more prominently, meaning better bokeh and better isolation of the subject.

***Also I should take a moment to note that I’m working with a full frame sensor. On a cropped sensor camera a 50mm will be the standard “portrait” lens. (Although many prefer the 35mm)

If you’re still a  little lost This little gadget will help you get a feel for how all of the focal lengths compare. The page also has a more in depth explanation as to why the lens  magnifies the way it does. Go read it!


and unrelated: I laugh because every-cotton-pickin-time I take a picture on the self timer, the first picture is me fixing me hair. I’m terrible with timing things apparently and I guess I have  tick about wanting to my hair to look nice…I am a girl after all ….

I wonder if other people  have this problem and I realized that normal people don’t sit on street curbs and take pictures of themselves….


The Hermione Complex

It’s a strange time in a girls life when she suddenly finds herself living with two males instead of one (the one I picked out and married). I’ve come to terms that on most days our apartment looks like this:


It ain’t pretty. There’s usually clothes to be folded, dishes in the sink, and cabinet doors that never got closed. A strange guy with a milk carton…yes.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we have a roommate. His name is Zack. Everyone together now “Hello Zack.” How’d we find Zack? He is a close friend of ours that Charley and I went to high school with. We’ve traveled to Europe together. he was a Groomsman at our wedding. Story made short, he’s a great guy that we get along well with. Make that the most chill person I’ve ever met. We used to always visit Charleston and stay with him.

When we first looked at moving to the city, we realized it was expensive and we would need a solution. Communal living in the city is the norm. There are families and couples well past their thirties that bunk together. Zack was looking to move out of his lonely apartment in west Ashley and get back to downtown.

From some couples (especially newlyweds) I get a slight nose crinkle when I mention “roomate”. Something about the idea weirds them out or they find they are unwilling to share their newly acquired space.  I valued my time alone with my spouse when we were newly married (and don’t get me wrong, it’s important and needed) but I also found that my time with the hubby had to be intentional anyways. We both worked opposite hours, so just as we’d plan dates then, we’ve learned to make alone time for each other now. Since being married two years ago, we’ve lived with three different people (two were very short term) so it just goes to show that God’s plan can be very different from what you imagine.

Communal living has been cool since we share the financial burden, but more importantly  it fosters growth in a needed area of my heart. By this I mean that I’m picky and particular and human. When you live with multiple humans there is more opportunity for irritation and conflict. That’s life. We have one room (Gryffindor common room !) so we daily have to learn how to make use of that space together. We are two boys, a girl, a dog, a hedgehog and a feral cat in a tiny box. Shake that up!


My mother, with her plethora of useful phrases always says “don’t sweat the small stuff”. AKA there's no use crying over spilled milk. Don’t get worked up about the details, don’t worry, step back and look at the big picture. It sounds really easy to do, but it’s not when it’s only my flesh. In order to “let stuff go” we have to take it to God. Ask him for peace. Ask Him to change our hearts.

Sometimes I  get really worked up about the house not being clean. I stress out, I have trouble working. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s my mess too not just the boys). So while I want to practice cleanliness as a personal discipline, it’s not what makes the world go around. Coexistence in peace is more important. I have to ask God to correct my bad attitudes and grumpiness and even my introvertness. 

So here were a few things I like about living with people in general ( spouse, spouse + roommate, college dorm, whatever).

            • when I do get that quiet moment, it’s valuable. I get to treat my time like it’s a blessing, not something I deserve.
            • I am forced to seek God
            • I learn to adapt (mainly my heart, goals and actions)
            • it’s shows me who I am and makes me more aware of my surroundings.
            • It forces me to accept humility in my faults. It’s not a huge secret that I’m a little annoying and when I’m on sugar it suddenly becomes my goal in life to pester  people (just ask my college roommates). I have to curb this and think about other people’s feelings.
            • It realigns my thinking to the proper perspective (people matter, your selfish desires do not)
            • It helps me be more willing in sacrifice ( you have the bathroom first, I’ll do the dishes since you’re out of time ect)
            • it forces me to be a better communicator ( “I need to be alone, go away” ;  “I’d rather you didn’t pour milk on the dog”).
            • my surroundings are not the source of my peace
            • it gives me a chance to forgive and forget (and not sweat the small stuff
            • It reminds me that stuff is just stuff. Instead of hoarding things, I’m letting things go (even if that means leaving awesome finds in trash piles). Our apartment is tiny, and it’s my job to be  a good roommate/ wife and not cram it with stuff to “claim my space”
            • it’s a test for me in timing and in patience, as I wait for a day when I can design with no limits. I’m waiting for that house I can DIY to death. For now, I’ll pack away the fancy dishcloths and let the boys live relaxed.
            • It’s more fun! Fellowship happens and more funny situations happen.

To conclude, I know it’s not for everyone, but it really works for us. I’ve loved it. In fact I’d be open to living with more people. When we move we’re hoping Zack will tag along….but possibly not his cat…. cat needs to work on friendliness.

IMG_2184 copy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mellow Marina

Charley joined me for a walk since for once we were both not working during daylight hours. This peaceful view is just a short ways from our house. We’re so spoiled, I know. Ever since reading bumfuzzle I’ve wanted to live on a boat and travel the world…except for two small things. I hate swimming, and Juneau would go crazy on a boat. We both picked out our favorite boats (mine was green, his was navy) and talked about what we’d name em. He vetoed The Scruggermobile ( can’t you just see it in some sort of underground superstation..Juneau in spandex…)

Immediately after our walk, charley looked up how much they cost…uh yeah. I was mildly entertaining the idea, charley was planning it. He was looking at those boats like they were made of gold. Completely understandable with his great love for the sea: sailing, swimming, scuba diving, fish and seafood. He’s such an island kid. I on the other hand am imagining cold weather and storms while being on a boat..that and trying to park and steer the sucker. Unfortunately for charley they cost about as much as a small house and you can’t rent them or we’d be on our way by next Tuesday. We’re just glad we can enjoy the beautiful blue sea with a little exercise.


Charley promised me that he’d take a picture on the self timer. I was startled that he agreed…only to have him photobomb me instead. Little sneak. He refused a second normal picture but this one is more “us” anyways.

IMG_2025mIMG_2015IMG_2042jygIMG_1991IMG_2066IMG_2054mIMG_2060nmIMG_2017hkjIMG_1949kshellIMG_1970klklIMG_2005IMG_1996 copy

Oh and who is the kyaking lady? I don’t know either, never got her name. I unfortunately have a tendency to start conversations with strangers  (charley usually walks on ahead and pretends not to know me). Today I got to talk with a retired couple reading on their deck, a man fixing his motor, a lady in a kayak and two old men with their sheltie (the dog 3 pictures up). Everyone who lives on a boat seems to have something in common : they’re chill, relaxed and loving life.

Monday, January 23, 2012

do the foggy dew

I have this awkward time gap on Mondays where I work first thing in the morning, have a two hour break and then go back to work. I usually go back and run Juneau, but unfortunately she’s in heat again. She has to stay cooped up so we don’t have a pack of dogs flocking at our house. I went for  a breif walk so I could take a picture or two in the fog and then tried to cram in some editing. On the cooper bridge this morning, you couldn’t even see those towering triangular spires the fog was so’s a little more than eerie. Driving wise= scary. Walking wise= absolutely serene. It’s like a morning when it snows without all that icky icy stuff. How appropriate is that pirate flag on a morning like this?


Blogging, in review.

Usually I just write and forget. Out with the old! Looking over and reading my blog’s old posts was a little more than a  cringe. It’s a bit embarrassing. I realized: 

  1. I sound hyper in most of my posts. I’m not sure if that defines my literary voice.
  2. I never thought I’d blog stuff
  3. my first posts are wildly uncertain and not interesting
  4. I really need to work on editing
  5. I really need to work on non run on sentences
  6. somewhere there is a happy medium between “too lazy posts” and to “enthusiastic posts”. You know, the short ones with no pictures versus the looong-my-eyes-hurt-to-read-all-this-get-to-the-point-already.
  7. dangit, I ruined number 5 already.
  8. I’m not really sure what the particular goal or purpose is of this blog. It’s theme is, well, everything.
  9. I have no cute slogan, title or summary for my life (but I’m kinda okay with that).
  10. I can’t come to terms with ending the blog…but maybe start it over?
  11. I’ve had the blog for 2 years now and I only have 11 followers. I’ve had a bunch of page views, but not people who want continual feed.

SO my blogger’s resolutions

  1. Be concise. Tell people where I’m headed with a certain subject instead of hoping they’ll read the whole thing.
  2. Wait a bit before I post so I can edit and add content that’s valuable
  3. Do more to give back. More tutorials, more guides, more content.
  4. Use complete sentences and proper grammar…haha…who am I kidding?….
  5. Read more. I read quite a few blogs already but I want to read and write comments.

and to kick of the new era I am breaking all of the new bloggers resolutions by clicking the publish button right now.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Politics for a 6 year old

me: did your parents vote today?

butterfly princess: yes I went with them. I saw on Tv and there was this guy and he wants to change America

me: do you want to change America?

butterfly princess (in a super worked up voice): that should not be allowed! How can they allow that? that just can’t be allowed

me: well what if he were going to change a good thing?

butterfly princess:  America is perfect, no one should be able to do that!

me: well what if he was going to try to help us get out of debt?

butterfly princess: we don’t owe money! that’s silly

me: We are, our government has to pay for things like our armies.

butterfly princess: well that’s stupid, that should not be allowed. why don’t they just make them free?

me: well people who are in the army need to earn money so they can pay for food and housing and their families

butterfly princess: but they should just do it for free.

me: you want them to work for free? I don’t think that’s going to go over too well.

butterfly princess: well if they can work for free, and then we’ll get money from the banks because they make the money.


….and there you have it, huge problem answered. We’ll just make our troops work for free and have banks make money…. Winking smile

Friday, January 20, 2012