Sunday, March 31, 2013

P52 Week 13 : Excitement!

How exciting! This week's Photo Challenge was from my daughter, Taylor and Son-in-law Jeremy.
And since I finally figured out how to do a screen print from my iPhone, here's the assignment:

Incidentally, if you want to know how to do a screen print on your iPhone:
Hold down the Sleep button, and hit the home button. You'll hear a click. Voila! Screen print is saved in your camera roll.

Hmm. Feeling of excitement... I was struggling with this for a few days...On Thursday, I went for a haircut, and my stylist Brooke (She's the best! From Lisasha's in Gilford...There's a plug...) gave me a good idea. Head over to the competition and get a pic of their sign...BAM! Great idea:

There, broke the ice. Now what? It was a regular week. Nothing exciting happened. I've been too busy staying up late studying some new Datawarehousing stuff for work. WAIT! That's exciting for me! I should have taken a pic of my books...Ok...I did... Here's a self pic I took this morning of 2 of my favorite subjects. Photography and Technology:

What else? Sold a couple of pictures! One of them being:

Checkin' Ewe Out
That was personally exciting! Just in time for Easter.
But the most exciting time I had this week was helping my daughter Ashley at her work. She is the activities director at Forestview Nursing Home. And what a job she does. The care she gives is  amazing! Anyway, Ashley had an Easter party for the residents and their families, and I took pictures for their website. If you know me, portraits aren't my forte, but I love to be able to help out. And it was Ashley's birthday, so it gave me an opportunity to spend the morning with her. The exciting part of the day, was watching the joy in the eyes of the residents, and the children there, when the Easter bunny came in  (who happened to bear a striking resemblance to Ashley). Here are some pics from the day:

Well, there is my response to the challenge of the "Feeling of excitement". Hope you enjoyed it...And now, Gotta run...I've got a call to take. And that makes me excited!

See you next week. Have a great one!

Monday, March 25, 2013

P52 Week 12 - More Spring

Wow, it was a busy week! I didn't have a blog assignment this week, so I'm on my own. And you'll probably be able to figure that out from the disjointed post this week. I think it will be all over the map.
Wasn't sure what to shoot this week. I've been up late every night, and spending my lunch hours learning some new skills for work. Studying Sql Server 2012 (SQL2012), Sql Server Analysis Services (SSAS), and Sql Server Reporting  Services. (SSRS). That's a lot of  'S's right there. Needed to get some Data warehousing skills onto my resume. You know me: Computer geek. And I love to learn!
Anyway, didn't have any free time, so I tool advantage of the lovely 1-hour commute, and the beautiful blue skies this week. Opened the sunroof on the car and stuck my camera out, and got some beauties!

That's ok, right? I wasn't txting. (And I was stopped at a light).

What else happened?
Got a new iPhone 5.. I had the 4 and the Start button has been failing for the last month. You'd press it and nothing would happen, and it would get me all irritated. Wasn't sure what to get. Another iPhone or the Samsung...Decided to stick with Apple. My contract was up on the 20th, and I was there at Verizon, enlisting for another 2 years. I do love the phone, but I don't love the $400 I had to shell out for the phone and the insurance.  I did need something dependable to stay in touch with the world. Anyway, with a new phone, there are new apps to get. Found one called Double Cam. Shoots towards your and then away from you automatically.

That is almost worth the price of admission right there!

What else did I do this week....Hmm. Oh! I got my taxes done and filed. Grumble...Nuff said about that...

Oh! I had to put together a portfolio for a client who is looking for shots of the Lakes Region in spring...We had snow and there's lots of mud around here this week. Nothing worth shooting in that regard. So I had to dig into the archives and pull out some shots.

    Laconia Bandstand at Rotary Park 

Tannery Hill Bridge, Gilford

Here's Looking at Ewe
Ramblin' Vewe Farm, Gilford

Sap's a-Runnin'
Bolduc Farm, Gilford

And yes the Sap was a' Runnin as the Fahmas like to say. Headed over to my father-in-law's on sap house yesterday, and did get a ton of shots in. Sorry to say I didn't have many ready to post. Some other time perhaps. 
Well, here's one shot, that I just threw together to give ya'll a lesson. One thing that is really hard is to get a shot without phone lines or signs in the way...For instance, some of my earlier covered bridge pics have telephone wires in the way. Really messes up a shot. Photoshop has a great tool called Content Aware. Simply draw around the offending obstruction, such as the electric wires and guide wires in the sap house here...

Hit Edit, Fill, Content Aware.. and Voila! No more wires! (Well I did it really fast, so if you look close, you may see some).

 And next, throw it into Topaz Adjust (Love this tool), Add a Bold Effect, and it comes out rather nice, if I do say so myself. A little bit of Currier and Ives in New Hampshuh...

Bolduc Farm Sap House

Anyway, I did get a new assignment for next week all the way from Austin, Tx, courtesy of  my daughter Taylor and son-in-law, Jeremy. "The Feeling of Excitement!
That's a good one. Excitement in Muddy and Cold New Hampshire. Hmm.  I'd better put my thinking cap on early! 
Check out their adventures at America Y'all. Its's a great blog!

Speaking of Taylor, one last story before I sign off for the day. So, the other day, after I got my iPhone, I was heading to the store. And my phone rang. My very first call! Didn't recognize the number, because, who remembers phone numbers anymore? And I hadn't loaded my contacts in the new phone yet. Anyway, I said hello and could barely hear anyone talking. I was like "Hello? HELLO? Who is this?? Very faintly I heard "IT's Taylor!" Boy did I feel dumb not recognizing my daughter's voice. Then I realized that the plastic sheet was still on the phone covering the ear piece. DUH! Peeled it off and I could "hear her now". What a dope I am....:-)

Hey! Y'all have an exciting week, ok?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

P52 Week 11 - Signs Of Spring!

This weeks challenge was by my good friend Brooke Swanson. (no relation)...And hey Brooke - Love your name! lol. Brooke's challenge to me was 'Signs of Spring!"  She gave me this on Friday morning. Thought it was a great idea! And then it snowed...again... Any thoughts I had of finding buds starting to emerge from the ground were dashed. I'm sure they are there...Buried.
Signs of Spring...Hmmm. Gonna have to put on my thinking cap..
With camera in hand...I went out Saturday morning..

First stop, Spring Street! Uh-huh! A clever lad, aren't I? Not going to let a little snow get me down. While I was there, a gentleman, walking his dog came over to see what I was doing. I was next to a snowbank, and he thought I was trying to make it look like a mountain shot. I wasn't, but it was a funny idea! So here is my mountain view...

Next up, I thought I'd go down to the little Winnisquam and get some shots of the bob houses before they sink into the lake. It was cold, but the sun was shining...Spring is on the way! As this fisherman can attest. Just fishing and soaking up the sun.

Further down Winnisquam, Sponge Bob Square House, was also soaking up the sun. waiting for his owner to come rescue him. Bobhouses have to be off the lake by April 1st, but we have had some warm days. It would be a good idea to get this guy off sooner rather than later.

I drove around, looking for more signs of Spring. Headed over to my father-in-law's sap house to see if they were boiling. That's always a good sign of spring. Nope. Was too cold and the sap was not running.
Next, I headed over to the Ramblin' Vewe Sheep farm to see if the lambs have been born yet..But didn't see anyone around, and didn't want to just barge in. Will try another time. So those two springy ideas were out.
Next, while I was out and about, I stopped by Lowe's to pick up some things. First thing I saw was the Line up of shiny new grills in the snow, ready to go. If that doesn't mean Spring, I don't know what does.

Inside, there were plenty of signs of spring. Seeds, garden tools, lawn furniture, and grass seed.
Spring is almost here! (And so is yardwork).

After running my errands,  I went home and worked on my taxes. Another Sign of Spring. Albeit, one of the worst signs.

After spending hours getting receipts together and plugging things into turbotax, I needed a creative break and went down to my studio.(aka workshop) and pulled out my lightbox. And in honor of St. Patrick's day...

I find that I do enjoy product photography, so whenever I have a chance, I'm all over it.

As a last play on 'Spring', I took apart a ballpoint pen and used my macro lens.

Before finishing up my assignment, I wanted to take one last look around the yard looking for signs of spring. Sue told me to look right outside our front door at the Climbing Hydrangea..Wished I thought of that sooner..Would have saved me some gas! 

Happy St. Patrick's day folks. Top 'O the Morning to ya, and the rest o' the day to myself..
Till next week!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

P52 Week 10 - For the Dogs

Dog-Tired, that's what I am. Soo glad I didn't set myself up for P365 like I did a couple of years ago. The Project 52 is quite enough.

My Dog, Bella. Also tired.

I started off the week by shooting at the World Championship Dog Sled races in Laconia last Sunday. It was a snowy day but not too cold. I walked quite a way and found a decent spot away from the crowds, and made myself a comfortable spot on the ground near the track. I laid down in the snow in order to get down at the dog's level and get some decent shots.

Home stretch

I was close all right. It was a 2 way track, and at one point, two teams nearly collided. One of them almost left the track and headed towards me. Close call, and it got my heart pounding. As well as the mushers I'm sure. I could practically feel the lead dogs breath. Whew!

The Lead Dog

It was a neat event. I hadn't been for about 10 years. And at the time, I wasn't shooting. This time, I got into it and felt like a part of the action. I won't claim to understand the sport at all. As a matter of fact, I felt really bad for the dogs working so hard, and running so hard in the cold. But I'm sure they are well taken care of. Hope so. From what I saw and heard, the mushers loved their pets, so I was glad to see that.
Here's a smattering of other shots.

Go Team!


Lemme help

Rounding the bend

This one is a collection of 10 shots, 
stitched together into a Gif file at Picasion.
Check them out!

Anyway, I was rewarded for my morning of shooting and laying in the snow, by getting a cold and having a fever for a couple of days. That didn't help my energy level this week.
And it was a busy one:
I had an all-nighter of billing on Tuesday.
A meeting of NHPPA  (New Hampshire Professional Photographers Association) on Wednesday.
Late nights studying SSRS and SSAS for work (Sql Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services), and Tableau Reporting.
Sold some pictures on Friday!
And also lost another hour of sleep thanks to daylight savings.
So as I mentioned, I'm dog-tired...But not complaining! There will be plenty of time to sleep when I'm old.

Bella, in a contemplative moment

 So that's it for another week. Now to get back and hit the books.

Who has next week's assignment for me?

Have an awesome week gang!

By the way, I was originally going to name this post "Going To the Dogs". Thought it was clever since I was going to the Sled dog races. But then I googled it and found this for a meaning:
"if a country or an organization is going to the dogs, it is becoming less successful than it was in the past (usually in continuous tenses)"
And that is definitely not the case, so I renamed it "For the Dogs"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

P52 - Week 9 - Clover

This week's challenge comes from my son's girlfriend Shelbie...I didn't have an assignment for the week, and  went and opened my big mouth and announced that. Shelbie said, "How about Clover?" "Clover?", I answered, "the middle of winter is a lousy time for finding clover?" "Well, you wanted a challenge, didn't you?, she replied.  "Ya got me there, Shelbie". So Clover it is.
Now, where was I going to find clover? "A-Ha!" I said Thursday. There's an Irish Pub in Manchester near work called Murphy's taproom. Great place. They have to have clover on the sign. Nope...Just a gaelic design..Ok, what to do next?
Patrick's Pub right near us in Gilford! One of our favorite places. They've got clover (or shamrock) on the sign. Should have thought of that sooner.

That's how a pub sign should look. This is a great place to eat! And the owners are awesome.

Nabbed these shots off of the Patrick's Van.

My next stop was the grocery store. Lucky Charms! Pink hearts, yellow stars, blue moons, and green clover...That's how the slogan used to be. Not the case now...Mostly moons. I had to really dig in the box, and the clover are now replaced with leprechaun hats with clover on them. Oh well, still counts as clover. And it's still good cereal!

Went a little crazy after going to the grocery store (you know how I am)  and then went to the dollar store...Picked up a few things there. And back home, got out my Patrick's mug (from 2000), and Celtics beanie baby to complete the ensemble.

 There you go Shelbie...Your clover..

Next week, I'm going to the dogs... C'mon back now..

Have a great week