Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Years

March 2009.

March 2012.

There aren't words to describe how happy I am to be stuck with this guy 'til death do us part.

Happy Anniversary, Michael!

Friday, March 23, 2012

In Which a Nice Camera and a Bit of Patience Make a Patch of Weeds Look Dandy

I am constantly shocked at how the worn out adage "If at first you don't succeed, try try again" (I cringe inside just typing it) applies so well to photography.

The other day, I saw some dandelions in a field and shot a picture. Here it is in all of its poor composition, bad color, and plain old blah mediocre-ness.

Here's the same patch of weeds almost 100 pictures later.

All these pics are straight out of the camera.

In the dozens of photos before the pretty one, I fixed the composition, changed the white balance, tried both manual and auto focus, upped the ISO, and willed my self to get down on my knees in the muddy lawn to capture the soft backlight.

And about 20 more pictures later. Glorious!

Ok, well, "glorious" may be a bit of an overstatement. But, you've got to admit that it's a much better picture than photo #1.

So, if you take a picture, look at the teeny on camera screen, and give a sigh of exasperation, don't stop! Ask yourself what you don't like about the picture and fix it. Keep doing this every few shots and 100 shots later, you may have something you're proud of.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Swap Meet Haul

I'm a sucker for good deals.

In fact, just this weekend, my husband and I bought three pairs of jeans at Kohl's for a total of $33. They were originally priced at about $40 each. The cashier threw in a $10 off any purchase coupon. I feel so accomplished!

But Kohl's can't hold a candle to my newest discovery... the Mission Tiki swap meet in Montclair. I visited the swap meet for the first time over spring break with Michael and my parents who were visiting from Colorado. It was located in a huge parking lot that is a swap meet by day and a drive-in movie theater by night. Out of the hundreds of people there, not including us, I saw about two Asians, three black people, and three white people. Everyone else was Hispanic/Latino. Various sellers staked their claim selling so much stuff - used shoes, new jeans, a classic Radio Flyer wagon, plugs and cords of all types, cleaning supplies, instruments, washers and dryers, Mac makeup, fresh produce and spices, etc. I've always loved outdoor markets. This one is just fabulous and not far, far away in another country!

Check out the deals we got on these items.

Tortillas: $3
Dried peppers: $3
Papaya: $1.50
Plants: $1 each
Silver colored hoop earrings: 50 cents!
Four steel wool sponges: $1
80+ bike tire patches: $4
Two bottles of nail polish: $1.50
Cute top: $12 + a free ring

Perhaps Los Angeles swap meets will become my go-to place for all my basic necessities.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Last of the 30 Day Photography Challenge

The penultimate photo challenge was to take a black and white picture. Before jumping in, I read a bit online about how to take a really sweet b&w photo. All sources said to shoot in RAW. So I did. And regretted it. I could view the pictures on the camera, but that was it. I couldn't open them on my computer or upload them to this blog. ugh.

I finally found some software that came with my camera that could open and edit RAW file formats and convert them into sweet, manageable JPGs.

Here are the last photos of the challenge very, very late!

Day 29: Black & white photo. Can't get enough of these mushrooms. This is a photo of our rather small second batch.

Day 30: Self-portrait. If you click on the picture, it'll blow it up, and in my eyes you will be able to see my arms stretching out to take this self-portrait. Classy!

I'm all done! I successfully took a photo everyday (almost) for 30 days. And I think I got a little bit better for it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Soul Cud

I have been ruminating on two small portions of Scripture. Like a cow, I chew on them and swallow, and within a few days or weeks, I chew on the same words again to digest them yet another time. Disgusting, but that's where the word ruminate comes from, and that is what my soul has been doing.

Blessed is the woman* who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. She will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:5-8

This passage too:

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for me, my days are like grass, I flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who revere him. Psalm 103:13-17

If only I could truly learn to trust God's goodness and understand his deep compassion and love for me. I know that ruminating on these passages is bringing me closer to realizing those desires.

* I like to change the generic man/he/etc. in the Bible to woman/she/etc. or simply to Christie/I. I am not an uber feminist, but this little tweak instantly connects the Scripture to me in a deeper way. If you are a woman, try it out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

30 Day Photography Challenge - Days 27-28

Day 27: From a distance. Is this "from a distance" enough? I hope so. I took a picture of this yellow door in an abandoned parking lot at night from the driver's side of my car. Anything to squeeze in my photo before the clock ticks over to the next day!

Day 28: Flowers. There are at least a dozen or so of these lilies growing about twenty feet from my apartment door. Last spring, when I was walking to the mail and first saw them blooming out of rather unremarkable green plants, I stopped in my tracks. I had only seen lilies in the grocery store around Easter, and never blooming so beautifully out in nature. I love these lilies, and I love this picture of them.

Day 29 & 30: I shot days 29 and 30 in RAW file format rather than JPEG. Therefore, I have no idea how to open them on my computer. Oops! Note to self: research file types before just assuming that your netbook and free photo editor can handle them. I am hoping my tech savvy husband can solve this little conundrum.

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