More Purty Pitchers

Have I mentioned that I’m just sucking this photography stuff up?  I am.  I promise not to bore you.

Much.

So, I bought a new lens for my new camera the other day – a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens.

The lens that came with the camera is a 18 – 105mm zoom lens, and all the pictures that I’ve posted heretofore have been taken with that lens.  The ones below were taken with the new lens, which is a fixed focal length lens – it does not zoom.  It’s also a very high-speed lens, so you can shoot at high shutter speeds even in low light.

Impatiens

These are the impatiens hanging in a basket in front of our house.  They are in a shady area, and it was cloudy outside when I took this pic, but that shouldn’t account for the pitch black background.  I’m not entirely sure how I achieved this effect (although I have a good idea) but I think it looks pretty cool.

I took this picture of the flowers in the basket right next to the impatiens, and it came out completely different:

Red Flowers

Did I mention this lens takes great closeups?  Neither of these flowers is large at all.

Wind Chimes

This is one of the sets of wind chimes on our back porch.  Beloved groused, “You should have let me clean them before you plaster this picture all over the internet.”

Silly man – he has no appreciation for that grungy, “weathered” look.  I, personally, love this photo.

The optical quality of the new lens is great, too, allowing for some marvelous, sharp detail.

Angel Fish

This is certainly not the best picture I’ve ever taken, but I’ve tried several times to take a picture of this guy swimming around our tank with the zoom lens, and the pictures just weren’t very good.  This time, though, I got this – not perfect, but the detail is great and it shows his lovely color (he’s a Gold Angel Fish) and the shimmery hue that is apparently the result of some sort of scale deformity.

Oh, and one of the best things about this lens?

Beloved

It takes great portraits.

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

This Place is a Zoo

And Washington D.C. has a very good zoo, indeed.

Parrot

I’m not sure what kind of parrot this is, but he’s very pretty.

Fuzzy Blue Bird

I don’t know the name of this guy, either, so I call him “Fuzzy Blue Bird.”

Meerkat

The Young One was so taken with the meerkats that he bought a stuffed one in the souvenir shop.

Seal

I am a fan of seals, myself.

Orangutang

The big cats were scarce during our visit, but the orangutangs were all out and about.

Gorillas

The gorillas were very obliging, as well.

Gorilla

One of my favorite photographs from the visit.

This guy, though, stole the show.

Giant Panda

Meet Mr. Giant Panda.

Giant Panda

Okay, y’all can wake up now.

Hello?  Helloooooo…

I’m Loving The Camera and Hating The Menopause

Both reasons there was no post yesterday – too busy futzing with photos and feeling like hormonal garbage.

This menopause…it is not for the faint of heart.

Anyhoo, I have aproximately 4,037 pictures from D.C. and I’ve only gone through a fraction of them.   Don’t worry, I only plan to bore you with some from our first night, when we walked the mall and visited some of the monuments and memorials.  You get the zoo sometime next week.  Bwaaaahahahahahaaaaaa…!

Really, though, I’m not very good yet, and most of these are pictures that I just went “Ooooh!” when I saw them, but a couple are pretty neat – I’m especially fond of the last two.

Fountains

These are the fountains in the middle of the World War II Memorial.  I was futzing around with the aperture and shutter speed on the camera, and the fountains are fuzzy and a bit out of focus, while the far end of the memorial and the trees were more sharp and crisp.  I kind of like it; since it was a bit of an accident, I hope I can recreate it (and make it better).

Washington Monument

Another one where I was futzing with the aperture and shutter speed; I like the reflections on the water and the way the Washington Monument and Capitol building seem to glow in the background.

Lincoln Memorial Seen Through WWII Memorial Fountains

I like the perspective on this one.  It was also shot with a very fast shutter speed and was very underexposed.  I played around with it in Photoshop (which I just love) and came up with this.  See that bright dot in the middle of the memorial?  That’s Lincoln.  Just too cool.

Lincoln Memorial Glows

When I opened this picture in Photoshop, I went “WOW!”  I don’t know how I accomplished this, but I sure hope I can learn to duplicate it.  I did no retouching on this one; I just cropped it.  I’m taking an online photography course and they said I’d take some really interesting pictures by accident, and they weren’t kidding.

Vietnam Memorial

My absolute favorite so far; I love everything about it – the angle, the perspective, the light, the reflections, everything – it just seems very, I don’t know…profound to me.  Again, I didn’t do anything to this one beyond cropping it and making it grayscale.

And there you go, fiends and neighbors.  You know, Tricia wrote recently that she is finally, albeit slowly, coming to realize what her purpose is, what she wants to do, what direction she’s taking.  When I look at these last two photographs, I wonder if I haven’t, too.

New Shelves and a New Obsession, Er, Hobby

So, we’ve got the new bookshelves up, locked and loaded.  For some people, new bookshelves might just mean putting books on them, but not us.  Nope – we must make a full-blown production out of it.  Fortunately, the men who delivered them set them up where I directed and bolted them together, so all we had to do was position the removable shelves and fill it with books.

Easier said than done.

I left most of the job to Beloved, because he’s positively anal about his books far more organized than I am; I helped out when he yelled at me to come into the living room needed, because I am a clumsy twit who can hurt myself as well as the house in situations like this was busy doing something else that I’ll go into in just a minute.

This is what they looked like right after we started – Beloved had only gotten the history section up:

Shelves 1

Shelves 2

This second picture is for perspective – you can’t tell they’re 15 feet long from end to end in the first.

It quickly became apparent, for Beloved anyway (I am a complete moron when it comes to anything spacial), that we were going to have a lot of extra space after we got all of the books on them.  I was astounded – I had visions of us agonizing over which books we were going to have to cull and take down to the basement to reside on the old shelves.  It also left us with a dilemma – how do we fill the empty spaces?

We stood back and scrutinized Beloved’s our handiwork, and after a few moments consideration, Beloved said the wonderful words:

“We’re going to have to go to the craft store, aren’t we?”

Well, twist my arm; I may be a clumsy twit with no sense of direction or size/space, but I am a great decorator.  And I love the craft store, which just so happens to have a new home furnishings addition and garden center.  Woo-hoo!  So off we trot to the craft store, and we return with vases, baskets and enough fake greenery to decorate a Rain Forest Café.

And this is what we ended up with:

Shelves 3

Shelves 4

You can see the greenery garland Beloved put across the top, as well as the arrangement in the basket on the shelves (Beloved’s handiwork) and the arrangement in the  vase on the table at the end (mine).   We also had another empty shelf, so I took some of my Jim Shores out of the curio and put them out as well.

Which brings me to the lovely pictures.  If you care remember from last Monday, I was reduced to taking photos with my phone, for I could not find the power cord to my little Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera.  By Saturday, I still couldn’t find it and was getting horribly frustrated – I didn’t want to be reduced to taking pictures of the furniture (to say nothing of our trip to Washington D.C. with Miss Jacki and The Young One next week) with my damn cell phone.  So Saturday morning we walked into Best Buy to purchase a power strip (the shelves cover the outlet we use on that side of the room) and a couple of other minor necessities, when I wandered over to the camera section.

I’ve been wanting a “real” camera for quite some time; I enjoy taking pictures and editing them in Photoshop.  And while I’ve had reasonable success printing some of the pictures taken with my little Sony, I’ve been wanting to make it a more serious hobby – especially with Jolly’s Little Bundle Of Joy on the way (yes, I can already tell you I’m going to be one of THOSE grandparents).  So after a brief consultation with one of the sales people, I found Beloved perusing the jump drives and dragged him over to the cameras waited patiently for him to finish his shopping before I asked him to look at cameras with me.

After a further, more in-depth, consultation with yet another sales person (Jared at the North Podunk Best Buy, you are a GEM and they don’t pay you nearly enough) I walked out with a brand-new Nikon D90 digital SLRS (Me, practically sobbing:  “Thank you!  Thank you for letting me get my new camera!”  Beloved, cheerfully: “No problem dear – now you’ll NEVER HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER ONE.”).

So, faithful readers, now you get to be bored shitless join me on my journey as I learn about things like exposure and aperture and shutter speed and ISO and depth of field and perspective.  Aren’t you thrilled???

Okay, maybe not so much.  But I am, and I promise not to bore you.

Too much.

But I took a picture of a bowl of Reese’s Pieces last night.

Don’t believe me?

Reese's Pieces