Monday, December 29, 2008

Zion Followed by a New Toy

Today we spent the day hiking, sightseeing, and exploring in Zion National Park.  I continue to learn more about my camera with each use, and today I had fun with a bit of messing with depth of field, intentional underexposure to capture a maximum number of color tones, and manual focusing.

I'm not sure what was interesting, but the photo sure is.

An understatement.

Good hang time.

Look for the really sloppy 30 second photo editing.  You can even see it at 25% resolution.

After arriving back home, my main Christmas present that shipped 2nd day air finally decided to show up after  7 days.  Thanks Mom and Dad (and Aunt Mary)!

70mm from 8 feet away

Some zoom between 70 and 300, didn't think to look.


Much more fun with this new lens is sure to follow.  I'm looking forward to being able to mess with depth of field to a much greater degree.  This captivating photo of a chair is looking very artsy, for example.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snow Canyon Mayhem

Today we spent a good chunk of the afternoon hiking in Snow Canyon.  We explored three different trails, and spent time messing around in sand, sliding on and breaking ice, and climbing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1 week

It's official.  I've been in the same location for more than a week for the first time since June.  No stir craziness yet.  I've been keeping busy though.

In the last few days I - 

absolutely dominated at hearts:

Learned that people can be conned into believing anything, including that Diet Coke is actually hydrating.  Then again, if you're already a Diet Coke drinker you've probably had the wool pulled over your eyes for a while now.  Aspartame.  Nasty stuff.  Still, this is a lousy excuse for marketing.

Helped get the puzzle closer to completion.  We finished the fairly hard section, the frustratingly hard section, and now all that's left is the part that makes you want to pull your hair out.  We're working with a deadline now as well, since I think we're using the big table for Christmas dinner.

Learned that a new genre now exists for books:  the sniper novel.  Right up there with romance, mystery, and self-help, you have a major category that until now has been overlooked.  There have to be at least a dozen novels out there that would qualify.

Created a sweet new instrument out of a wrapping paper cardboard roll.  It sounded worse than a dijireedoo and made my lips hurt.  And all those finger holes that were supposed to create different notes?  Mostly for show, it turns out.

Promptly destroyed it.

Had our traditional oyster stew and croissant Christmas eve dinner

Learned that brothers make good footrests

Until they attack you with their super-bright camera phone flashes.

We opened gifts on Christmas Eve this year.  The haul includes fig newton bars, chewy granola bars, oyster crackers, and generic brand corn flakes.  Missing this year are the Christmas gift staple Nature Valley bars, Cheerios, and Cheez-its.

Quote of the evening:

Mom: "I'm probably the only person in the world who gets a lava flow for Christmas."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dusting off the Camera

It's been less than a week since I brought out the camera, but it feels like a month.  I figured it was time I took a few more pictures.  The first few are for the people who would like a better picture (literally) of what the xeriscaping project is looking like so far.  Still to go is finishing off the watering system and adding rocks and a lava flow.  The rest are from a hike we took this afternoon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Uh, rocks?

After some Swedish pancakes for breakfast, we went and made off with a massive rock that my parents had been after for months.  With permission, we slid it off the property of the nearby aquatic center under a fence and loaded it in the back of the truck.  Then we booked it back home like bandits after a stop at the library.  I was anxiously awaiting a certain package, which thankfully showed up in the early afternoon...

So now I have my new toy and my transition from PC gamer geek to Apple fanboy is nearly complete.  I already appreciate the simplicity of the file structure of the Unix based operating system.  Everything is rather straight-forward, and it makes transferring everything between laptops fairly pain-free.  it's nice to transfer everything off the old laptop and still have 200GB free.  Now I can really go crazy with the camera.

My time with the Macbook was brief in the afternoon, as we had other work to be doing.  We're pitching in with the whole xeriscaping project going on in front of the house (and eventually the back).  Today, we took rock mixed with dirt, leaves, twigs, and more dirt...

and turned it into just rocks!

This involved a screen and water, several hours, and lots of mud.  Yesterday was playing in the snow, today was very much getting dirty in the mud.

I know, it's really captivating stuff, huh?  Going from writing about exotic locales to writing about dirt and rocks...  I'll post some pictures of the partially-landscaped area to at least give some perspective for the seemingly mundane work.