Sunday, January 23, 2011

Say Hello To My Little Friend

As promised, I will be doing a little review of my new camera and lens today.
First let me say, I am very happy with this camera and lens setup, but it takes more than a notion to learn how to use it to it's full capacity. I am finding there is a learning curve going from a point and shoot back to an SLR after so long.
I used to really be into photography years ago before the point and shoot revolution.  I would never shoot with film over a 100 speed, usually opting for slide film either 64 or even sometimes 25 and then converting to prints or image transfers. I especially loved to shoot with black and white and infrared and would develop them myself.
All of the pictures that follow were shot in auto mode, that will be changing I can tell you, and they were various scenes from around the lake we just bought on.  I am amazed how differently the camera would configure one shot from the next with the triangle of F stop, ISO speed and shutter speed.  Some of which I would never have chosen in manual mode.  I also need to learn the little idiosyncrysies of this camera itself. Like see that little switch on the side of the lens, the VR one? Yeah, well it seems that is for Vibration Reduction, helps you steady the image with the large lens, however, like on a computer, I found out ( after i shot all the pix) that you need to switch that ON after the camera is on and it has to be switched OFF before the camera gets turned off or it says the lens may rattle. No worries, just unmount the lens and remount it to correct. Problem is, I didn't read that until I got home and uploaded the pix!  Lesson One learned. 
Don't you just love that Cheshire Cat smile of a moon? This was taken hand held, no tripod with me.
F 5.6   1/60  Iso 800.   Love the way the 300mm lens can capture such an elusive shot though.

F5.6  1/160  ISO 800. This was taken from the bench on the dock and I was facing east. Sitting on the bench and turning to face west i shot the sunset below.

F 5  1/250  ISO 100 Isn't it incredible the difference in film speed from one direction to the other? I think it has mostly to do with the lens length, the sunset was wide , the moon telephoto, less light into the lens.

These cattle live on the opposite side of our lake, you can see the water tower in the distance, we are located to the right of it.  F 5   1/100  ISO 400

F 5.3  1/60  ISO 450   And that's no bull

Isn't this cashmere cow beautiful? As cows go that is.  F 5.3   1/60   ISO 450

As we were leaving the dock, this Lesser Blue Heron was making his way through the marshy edges looking for a little snack.  F 5.6   1/125  ISO 800

F 5.6    1/125  ISO 900

These are the trees right outside our bedroom windows.  F 7.1   1/200 ISO 200

With a lens this long it may be impossible to go really low in ISO without compromising too much in image quality from the speed and depth of field. But that's where this comes in. I have signed up to take an online class in going manual at Big Picture Classes as a refresher course and to learn the nuances of a DSLR. It's called Mastering Manual Mode with Elisha Snow. It begins Feb 3rd and runs for 8 weeks. Signups close on Feb 9th.  Hope to see you in class with me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Chapter

It's funny how a new chapter in your life dawns sometimes without any warning whatsoever.

The scene is new year's Eve, parents had just left 2 days prior from an extended visit for the holidays, Ray and I were planning on leaving Tuesday Jan 4th for a getaway visit to Florida before reopening the restaurant for the year.  We had even contemplated not going as it seemed we had so many other things to take care of.
The phone rings, it's our daughter. She asks " So, are you and Dad going to look for a house again while you're down there this year?" To which I reply, " No, I don't think so, not this year".  You see for a number of years now, ever since my parents retired to Florida, we secretly dreamt that one day we could get a house there too, where the kids and grandkids could visit and we could spend winters away from work and the cold and snow.  Several times we came really close only to have the houses sell the week before we arrived to see them. It just never seemed the right time. Last year we toured a number of houses but nothing clicked.
So after hanging up the phone I thought , well, I could go online and take a look and see if anything new is listed.......

The morning we left, Jan 4th, this was the sunrise as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. You can see the Cape Henry Lighthouse in the first shot as it beamed into the morning sky. The air was very cold indeed as we stopped at the lookout to take a few shots, these are taken with the new nikon, my first pictures. We were an hour and a half into the 13 1/2 hour drive.

We arrived late tuesday evening, went to see the house weds. at 10:30 am, put in our offer which was accepted and papers were signed right after lunch. Are we there yet? Talk about a whirlwind! But when looking back over our lives, most big decisions seem to have happened that way. I guess when the time was right we knew it and just jumped.  The family of the owners arrived on Saturday to empty the rest of the personal contents and sign their part of the closing and we had our closing on tuesday 1-11-11.  The pictures of the inside of the house can be seen here. Those pictures were all taken right after we signed on the first weds so have the personal contents still there.  The house is a manufactured home, 1456 sq. ft with a 10 x 26 enclosed front porch, a 9x12 shed and a nice long driveway with carport. This pix shows the newly planted gardenia on the west side of the porch along with the lemon tree and palm tree already on site.
The community is a lakefront community on Lake Juliana in Auburndale, Florida.  We are located halfway between Orlando and Tampa.  20 minutes from Disney. We had long contemplated both coasts but decided on being here as it was centrally located. An easy ride to most attractions which is key with young grandchildren, yet close enough to the coasts to visit for fishing and beaches. 
There are 2 clubhouses, upper and lower , 2 heated pools, shuffleboard courts, a dock, and many activities.  We are in the upper section, known as phase 2, number 242, and we are next to a retention pond which my dad says hasn't had a drop of water in it since they have been there in 18 years. The front of the house faces south, the west side is the retention pond so we don't have neighbors there, and the house backs up to an orange grove, orange filled trees are right outside our bedroom windows. The entire community was once all orange grove clean down to the lake.
This board shows phase 1 with the main clubhouse, pool, shuffleboards and dock down by the lake.

We drank champagne with strawberries out of plastic cups and spent one night there before all the work began! In the week before we left, we had the entire house painted inside, ceilings and walls, Ray replaced all the ceiling light panels and fluorescent tubes, the kitchen faucet and guest bath faucet, we cleaned the baths and kitchen and washed curtains replaced irrigation sprinklers and weeded and planted a gardenia which was an offshoot from my Dad's beautiful bush. We had someone come and give us an estimate on wood flooring for the kitchen, dining, living and hall areas which will have to be done while we're away.  We couldn't have gotten it all done without the help of my parents, who patiently drove us everyday to Lowes and all the other stores for everything we needed. I hope they're getting some rest now that we're gone!
With the forecast of snow and ice possible with ridiculously cold temps coming our way, I wish we could have stayed just a little while longer! All in due time I suppose.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I have a story to tell, but that will have to wait until another time right now.
We just arrived back home last night from a 2 week Florida visit and are in the middle of sorting mail, checking emails, unpacking, catching up with the kids and grandkids, restocking the fridge and all the things that happen when you arrive back home.  For now I will leave you with this-
I have been collecting interesting old postcards for years now from flea markets and antique shops. This was found at a local antique shop here on the shore. As you can see the postmark is 1938 ,way before our time. Our last name is Twiford, descended originally from 3 brothers who arrived from Twiford England. My husband's name is Ray and he has a younger brother Jack.  Here on the Eastern Shore is a family of Twyford's, obviously whose postcards these one time were. Onley is a town about 25 minutes from me. I couldn't believe the coincidences when I found this postcard and I especially love the printed description on the top back of the card-
Florida, land of sunshine, is the winter playground of the Nation. Every known form of outdoor pleasuring is pursued without the necessity of considering weather conditions -- for winter skies are always smiling and December breezes are as balmy as May.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

Happy New Year!
I stopped making resolutions a number of years ago and instead have just tried to look at each new year as a fresh beginning to just do better all around.
This year I would especially like to follow the theme of "waste not".
It always bothers me to throw food away or to buy so much fresh produce because it's so healthy and looks so luscious in all it's colorful healthy splendor, only to pick up the dripping carcass muttering something like "what on earth???" as I throw it into the trashcan.
Impulse buying tends to lead to a lot of waste so I will try to cut back on that as well.
Wish me luck.
Time. I don't want to waste or fritter away precious time. I want to glean as much out of every minute as I possibly can.
Effort. I want to be more directed in my efforts.
Opportunity. I want to seize more opportunities this year and not be complacent.
Finally the other "waist" I want not! I hope to get back in better shape.

 I would like to thank everyone who has visited my little blog and maybe commented or written to me privately, for welcoming me here in blogland! The new friendships that have been forged this year are especially dear to my heart! Thank you for being here!
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