Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Faithful Friend and Digital Camera

I've had questions about my camera, and in the past have had compliments from you on the photos I've posted on my blog and I want to introduce you to a faithful friend of mine that I've had for at least four years: my Kodak Digital Camera. Her real name is:
Kodak Easyshare Z740 5.0 Megapixel with 10X Zoom.

(But you can just call her Easy.)

Because that's what she is. She had to be. I wanted Easy. I wanted Good. She's Easy and she's soooo Good. (Most of the images on my blog and sidebar and header were taken with her, now do you see what I mean?)

Copper church spires in downtown Indianapolis...

You see, I was an SLR holdout...I was a faithful 35mm film shooter, buying the film, loading the camera, shooting, then going and getting the photos developed. But, over time I noticed all of the conveniences of digital shooting my friends were doing, but the reason I held out is because so many of the images of digital photography I had seen were not good, that is to say that they looked digital. They were not what I wanted to look at in ten, fifteen or thirty years. (Now, though, even the smallest digital can turn out some pretty decent pictures due to the advanced technology, but I'm talking about the early digital pictures and my impressions weren't good!)

I wanted her mainly for eBay photos (I like that I can shoot in natural light with her, I can turn off the flash, which is not an option on most digitals.) and for taking her to the NASCAR races. Keep in mind, the track we go to is a 2.5 mile "expressway" track and that the track itself takes up thousands of acres. But, I wanted to focus in on the pits and shoot my favorite driver and his pit crew...close up and personal. She satisfies, and shoots some awesome zoom shots that continue to amaze. I'm sure there's a newer version of her available, and if she ever conks out on me, I'll be sure to buy her equal because this gal can take a lickin' and keep on kickin'!

She was priced, at the time, around $200. She was worth that and more. (Her only flaw is that her software made by KODAK IS HORRID. But I don't fault HER for that, only Kodak. If you buy a Kodak Easyshare, I would NOT download their software, it will give you and your computer nightmares! Download the free PICASA software from the Internet instead, to use to store and edit your photos.)

Examples of a low light setting...

I have dropped her, (more than once!) on her lens, with the lens in the zoom position. She's forgiven me for my clumsiness; and did not stop working. I have used her in the misty rain and in the snow and sub-zero freezing temps. She's such a faithful friend and consistently turns in excellent work. Her work speaks for her and you can scroll back and look through my archives for her job performance and references.

The sports setting allows for things like splashing water as well.
All in all, she's easy to use, and makes me look like I'm a halfway decent photographer!

View of the Presque Isle peninsula from atop a lighthouse....

Lake Huron's shore...

Ahhh...Michigan, how beautiful you can be!

But how cold can you get? VERY!

No flash...

Point and shoot...

And zooooooommm!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

One Misty Morning....

The chives bloom in gorgeous lavender hues.

During most of the week, we had rainy, dreary weather. Of course, the rain did wonders for the gardens, and seeds have softened and reached for the sky....I took a walk around the yard with the camera one dreary morning after the rain had stopped, and I must say that the lighting is absolutely wonderful when the daylight is here but the sun is hiding up above the low, thick clouds; not hindering the show of true colors from the plants and flowers. If you're able on your camera, turn off the flash to keep the colors true.

promise of a peony

A seed emerges from the rich soil.

Duke begs to get into the garden, he knows little bunnies live in the strawberry patch!

The raspberries burst through the garden fence.

A large pile of weathered barn wood soaked in the rain, and the moisture accents the handhewn beams and shows even more clearly the old handmade pegs. Wet barnwood has its own special smell, and it reminds me of walking into the old barn after the rain while it was still standing. It's been hard to let go of the old outbuildings, so we kept a pile of the timbers in case we get inspired to build something new out of wood that's more than 100 years old!

Old picket fence, weathered to a perfect patina....

Thanks for taking a walk with me on a misty and moist morning, my friend! How does a hot cup of tea sound?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rockin' Memories....

I found this vintage beauty today at a garage sale, I had the chance to go out for an hour or two and I did pretty well. This toy brought back many fine memories and will find a place in the next room I will re-do, and that is going to be the "toy room". I plan to furnish the room as a guest room, but decorate shelves with all the bright vintage toys (mostly Fisher-Price) and books that I've saved over the years from my kids, and with the few I had from my childhood (also Fisher-Price). I have plans for it to be bright, colorful, and a happy grandchild magnet (someday)! I love the colors of vintage toys, and the bright and happy memories associated with them even more.

I remember when I bought one of these for my first little one, taking off the packaging and handing it to her. It was something I remembered having around when I was young and I knew she would like it, too. I remember the widening of her eyes, as she innocently showed the enchantment with the bright colors. And she must have been a genius (I thought!) when she figured out which one to put on the pole in the correct order.

Time spent with your little one and a few toys on a blanket on the floor or on the lawn is great for both mom and baby, and they will someday become the most precious memories we take with us into later years. Why can't I think of those days without misty eyes?

I see a little chubby girl with pretty light brown hair that smelled like Johnson's baby shampoo and a pair of pink corduroys and a pastel striped turtleneck tucked into the pants. A little rounded belly, and white Stride-Rite walking shoes peeking out from the pant legs. An emerging tooth was causing drool to fall as she concentrated on her toy.

I remember admiring the perfect way her long eyelashes lay on the chubby cheeks, the beauty of the complexion she was given, and was in awe at the miniature little pink fingernails on her perfect petite fingers as they busily performed complex tasks, listening to her breathe just a little bit heavier when in intense concentration or bending over to reach for the next ring. I loved to listen to her "talk" and look into the blue, blue eyes and rub the top of the soft little head with the fine hair that I loved to smell, to comb, to curl around my finger.

I remember the "falling in love" part of being a parent, getting to know that child, what would make her laugh, where on her little belly to tickle to elicit the best throaty giggle, learning that she most decidedly did NOT like the feel of the grass on her little bare feet. I will never be sorry for taking time as a new parent, to sit still in our plain newlywed-style living room and get to know our little ones intimately, just with a blanket and a few toys. We would talk, laugh softly, get a book and settle down and just read and look at pictures and point to the objects in them and play back and forth with toys, fingers, or toes.

The joys in life are the simple things, like this toy, so simple and bright!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ve Vill Make Da Rhubarb Cake!

Hello, beautiful! Here we go, ready to get muddy?

First, I need to cut the rhubarb! Out we go to the misty landscape. Sometimes, after a good soaking rain, the earth almost feels HAPPY. The seeds are in the ground, some sprouted already, some are softening and ready to show themselves. The earth is full of promise. Since it's been raining all night and part of the morning, I get the wellies out so I won't sink in the mud! They've never seen the mud before-- or --the garden, so they're pretty happy that they are finally useful to me.

Out to the garden, our hound, Duke races ahead, to look for bunnies in the peony bushes...while I'm hoping there's no garter snakes hiding in the rhubarb....that would mean an automatic heart attack, harmless or not I hate, hate, hate snakes!

There you are, you tart, sweet .... vegetable? Fruit? Neither? I don't know what you are but you're going into my cake!

A sharp knife is the key, rhubarb is tough and stubborn....

Back to the which apron shall I wear? Whose turn is it today?

Yes, I chose the one right in front and center; with the fruit and apple blossoms...and I'll use the bowl my sister gave me, for no reason, other than she knows I'd love it!

Apron strings are tied, ready to BAKE! Here's the recipe for all you who'd like it!

Rhubarb Dump Cake
1 pound (or 3-4 cups) rhubarb cut into 1/4" slices (I would use more rhubarb...perhaps a bit more sugar, too.)
1 c. white sugar
1-3 oz. package strawberry flavored Jello mix (powder only)
1 c. water
1-18.25 oz. package yellow cake mix
1/4 c. margarine, melted
(chopped pecans, optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread the rhubarb that has been tossed with the jello and the sugar into the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the cake mix over the top of the rhubarb mixture, the pour the margarine and the water over top of the cake mix. DO NOT stir.
Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven, or until the rhubarb is bubbling and tender.

NOW, my alter ego, the crazy baking lady is taking goes...don't mind the accent!

Come, let's make a velly delicious cake. Da rhubarb is vashed....and chopped. Ve can get to vork. It veely is much ado about nutting....because zee cake is velly, velly EASY! Embawassingly easy!

It's done! It smells velly goot. I should have put da chopped pecans on top...oh vell. VAT? No vipped cream in da house! Vat vill ve do about dat?

Ve vill eat it anyvay!!

I must get a big, cold, glass of zee girls like zee MILK! YUM! Vant coffee? Velly good. You like? Eh? Vat's dat? You vant more? Come, ve vill go out to da porch...and ve vill visit vile ve eat!

It's me, Joni. I can't believe it, but I FORGOT AN INGREDIENT in this simple cake recipe. I completely left out the water!! (And, my alter ego is "velly, velly disappointed in my poor cooking skills")! Your rhubarb cake will turn out much, much, better!