Wednesday, October 29, 2008

228/365 Bromeliads

I support the designers who put fountains inside office buildings, though I think if I sat near one all day it would be like a sound machine and make me sleepy.

I had my Lasik consultation yesterday morning, and this bromeliad was one of several that surrounded a fountain outside the door to the suite.

And, after a positive round of tests and measurements, the doctors determined that I'm a great candidate for the surgery! I'm scheduled to have it on November 20 -- just over three weeks from now.

They mapped my corneas, scanned the cells in my eyes, tested my prescription, determined the thickness of my corneas... and all is good news. I can't believe it's finally happening.

I have to wear my glasses all the way up to the surgery, so Chase will be inheriting some brand-new boxes of solution and saline.

I'll be looking forward to seeing these bromeliads again -- without glasses or contacts.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 indoors at about 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

227/365 Get those knees up

It's Junior Miss week, so eight high school girls are jumping, gliding, stressing, preparing, coping, and getting ready for the program on Sunday.

Monday night is always the night they learn the physical fitness routine. It's 8-9 minutes of constant movement. Beth Ann, the choreographer, throws in jumping jacks, squats, kicks, tae bo, spins, you name it. At state, the girls have had to do push-ups and sit-ups on stage as well, but our local program just keeps them on their feet the whole time.
Their normal schedules don't stop for this week. They have swim practice, volleyball, band, cheerleading, homework... all in the name of earning scholarships. The two girls in band have it especially tough this year because the marching band qualified for the state finals, which happens to be this coming Saturday -- one day before the Junior Miss program.

Good luck convincing the band director to let them out of practice.

Tuesday night I'll teach them the self-expression portion of the program. It may seem like a cake walk compared to fitness, but stepping up to the microphone and thoughtfully answering a question can easily topple the faint of heart.

I love it.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/4.5 and f/4 at ISO 1600 in mixed lighting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

226/365 The socializing of Buster

Chase came home on Sunday with his roommate, Matt, and they brought Matt's dog, Charlie. Charlie is a bouncy, well-behaved female lab who still has a lot of puppy in her.

She's the closest thing to a canine friend that Buster has ever had. He's never been around many dogs, especially at home in his own territory.

Charlie makes him a little nervous, but she's not a dominating dog, and she is very good about ignoring him, so he gets along with her pretty well.

The last time Matt brought Charlie, Buster hardly dared to step a foot off of the deck into the back yard with her. This time, he adjusted for about a minute, then jumped right in. Charlie tore off and ran circles around the trees like a pro barrel racer, and he trotted back and forth, watching her with his ears and tail perked.

With all the excitement, I'm sure he slept like a rock.

Camera: Canon 40D with on-camera flash, 1/60s, f/4.5 at ISO 400 at about 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

225/365 Getting back to sewing

After an incredibly busy summer, Mom is excited to get back to her sewing machine (and I have to say I'm excited for her to get back to it, too).

We spent the afternoon yesterday in her quilt shop. I traced new patterns out of our Burda WOF magazines, and she quilted and sewed.

After she's done with this dress, the next project will be a sheath dress (my favorite style), a knit wrap top and a knee-length jacket.

She constantly urges me to become a sewer, but I just haven't been bitten by that bug yet. I've made small projects, one quilt, and other odds and ends, but the desire to really learn hasn't quite snagged me.

It wouldn't surprise me if it does eventually -- Mom insists it will happen when I have kids.

Until then, I really enjoy being with her while she sews, and I like getting patterns ready and collaborating on design details. Is that so wrong?

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 1000 in mixed lighting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

224/365 A little symmetry

What first caught my eye about this was the shadow on the wall.

Crisp and clear, with varied opacity through the bottle, I couldn't resist making it my photo of the day.

Then, as I was trying different angles, I noticed that it was somewhat symmetrical if I placed the shadow from the door frame in the middle of my viewfinder.

Unexpected, but interesting!

Camera: Canon 40D 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 400 in sunlight at about 6:15 p.m.

223/365 Happy couple

I stopped by the pond at the park before class on Thursday night and photographed the ducks again. They were much more active than two weeks ago -- chasing each other around, swimming in circles, cursing at every turn (well, that's what it sounded like to me).

This pair looks like a happy couple, but after looking up Mallards on Wikipedia, it seems the males are quite promiscuous and a little despicable.

Whereas geese mate for life, the male Mallards remain with the female up until the point she lays her eggs, then he flies off to find a new mate.

"Sweetie, you're beautiful when you're pregnant (but really, as soon as the time for responsibility gets here, I'm getting out of here to find a fairer feather)."

Poor girl.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 5:45 p.m. under cloudy skies

Thursday, October 23, 2008

222/365 Yearning for perfect vision

I used to desperately want to wear glasses.

I confess -- in second grade, when they tested our vision at school, I crossed my eyes a bit to make the image fuzzy. So, of course, when my answers were off, the nurse wrote a note to my parents advising them to make an appointment with an optometrist.

Don't worry, I was a good girl THAT time and didn't cross my eyes. And luckily for my parents, I really did need glasses, so I wasn't a total liar.

My first glasses were bright red, wire-rimmed and spanned my face from nearly my cheekbones to my eyebrows. (It was the early 1990s, so I wasn't a total nerd. Those babies were in style!)

Now I just wish I had perfect vision. And finally, after years of waiting for my vision to stop worsening, I have the green light from my optometrist (the same one) for Lasik surgery.

I have my first consultation at the surgeon's next week, then I come back to my optometrist for another evaluation with him, and I keep my fingers crossed extra tightly for a final 100% a-okay on the surgery.

To not have to mess with dry eyes... contacts... glasses... I can't even imagine how great it will be!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 1000 in incandescent lighting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

221/365 Still standing

Indiana has tons of old barns that have fallen into disrepair. I guess you'd call this "rural decay" (as opposed to "urban decay").

Depending on how you think about it, it's either sad or beautiful.

On the sad side:

These barns are a symptom of the declining farmer's culture in rural Indiana. They signify the end of the small-business farmer, those who made their living and supported their families farming dozens of acres, not thousands.

They exemplify the modern disregard for history. Is it old? Does it need some work? Tear it down and replace it. Don't put the effort into maintaining and restoring a piece of historic architecture.

On the beautiful side:

These barns are a monument to Indiana's roots in agriculture. It's refreshing that we can still drive just a handful of miles from Indianapolis and find farmland that isn't soiled by housing divisions or "progress."

They stand in testament to hard work and determination. Yes, they're old, but still perfectly functional. Sure, you could replace it with a run-of-the-mill pole barn, but then I wouldn't have it as a photographic subject anymore.

Can you tell which side I'm on?

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 5:45 p.m.

220/365 Workout companion

I'm hooked on "This American Life."

I've been going to work out at a gym in order to use the ellipticals, as a departure from my usual treadmill work at home, and TAL is the perfect companion.

Episodes are just about an hour long, the stories are compelling and they keep my boredom at bay much better than music.

They did an episode in the spring called "The Giant Pool of Money" that was absolutely fantastic in its explanation of the housing crisis. In fact, they got such a positive response that they created a new podcast along those same lines, Planet Money, and they did another episode just a couple weeks ago to explain more of the credit crisis.

Check it out!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fantastic photos -- The Big Picture

The Big Picture, which is the Boston Globe's photo blog, is continually rising in my ranking of favorite photo blogs, but two posts in particular in the past week have really blown me over.

You have to check them out!

Days of Autumn -- photos of Autumn from around the world.

World Animal Day -- celebrated October 4th, a day to honor all of the animals we share our world with.


Monday, October 20, 2008

219/365 It's Junior Miss time

When the end of October draws near, it means it's Junior Miss time for me.

I love this program. I participated at the local and state levels in 2002, and I've volunteered with my local program ever since.

And darn it, it's NOT a pageant!

Ahem, pardon my outburst.

I've always been pretty anti-pageant. (And my definition of a pageant = walking onstage in a swimsuit and heels.) Yes, Miss America is a respected program and does a lot of good, but the thought of parading on stage in a bikini and 4-inch heels gets my feminist hackles up.

Now, on the other hand, nowhere in the Junior Miss program is anyone required to display themselves before a panel of judges in swimwear. It's all about scholastic achievement, poise, intellect, talent and physical fitness. And that's a platform I can get behind.

This year, my local program has eight participants. We met for the first time on Sunday afternoon, I shot their photos for the program booklet and county newspaper, and they got their first real idea of what their week will be like.

I'm looking forward to it!

Camera: Canon 40D with external E-TTL flash, 1/250s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 outdoors in shade at about 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

218/365 What has happened since 1920?

Think about everything that has happened in history in the last 88 years. The Great Depression. World War II. Women earned the right to vote. 16 men have been President. We launched the space program and landed on the moon. Computers were invented and now serve as a major medium of communication.


My grandpa turned 88 on Thursday, so our family gathered on Saturday night to celebrate. We got him a few scratch-off tickets. It seemed as though he had a little bit of birthday luck left, because he won $5.00.
We had a cookout and finished the night with a rousing game of euchre. He seemed to really enjoy himself.

Happy birthday, Grandpa!

Camera: Canon 40D 1/60s, f/5.6 at ISO 1600 indoors in mixed and incandescent lighting.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

217/365 Apple season

The fall festival at the orchard concluded, and we finally have a replenished apple supply.

These are Ida Reds, Mom's favorite, and they're huge! Each one is about the size of a large softball. They're excellent apples for cooking, so she made apple crisp for dessert last night... heavenly.

My favorites are Galas. They're smaller, and their color is more red and yellow than red and green, like the Ida Reds.

I take some kind of fruit with me to work every day as a mid-morning snack, so an apple has been my latest fruit of choice. The only problem is when they're good and juicy, I can't really sit it down anywhere while I'm working, so I have to pause what I'm doing.

Well, maybe that's actually not such a bad thing.

Camera: Canon 40D, lit by a single fluorescent bulb, 1/60s, f/4.5 at ISO 1250.

216/365 Lone fisherman

Before Darkroom class on Thursday evening, I again went to a park on the west side of Indy to eat my dinner.

I stayed in my car, facing the pond, and people-watched. One group that arrived was a father and three kids toting fishing poles and a pogo-stick.

After five minutes or so, the dad took the two girls into the building, and the boy kept fishing. That's when I got this photo.

He either looks cold and lonely or quiet and intent on his task. Maybe both?

The rest of his family was back within five minutes, and they only fished for another ten or so.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 5:45 p.m.

Friday, October 17, 2008

215/365 Classic cars and rain clouds

I got both of these photos on my drive to and from an optometrist appointment on Wednesday.

The first one makes me think of a scene you'd see in Cars:
It looks like the car is in trouble behind bars and needs rescued.

Has anyone ever asked you, "If you could travel back in time, to what era would you go?" (I'm using era in the general terms, not scientifically.)

I always say that I'd go to the 1950s when they drove cars like this. I'd want to go to sock hops, wear poodle skirts and dresses, spend Friday night at the drive-in... wait a minute, do I just want to step into Grease?

I captured this second photo about an hour and a half later. Rain was rolling in, but the sun still fought to stream through one break in the clouds.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000
Car: about 4:00 p.m.
Barn: about 5:30 p.m.

214/365 Framing and matting

One of my three recent classes concluded on Tuesday night. The subject was Framing and Matting. I pulled out my camera at one point so I could translate my notes later on this particular demonstration. And it happened to be the best photo of the day.

In this shot, the teacher (in black) was showing us one way to finish off the back of a frame. He had secured the photo in the frame with framer's points, then he used paper packing tape to seal the area between the foam core backing and frame, in order to protect it from humidity, bugs, dust, etc. Makes sense!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

213/365 Fallen leaves with magnetic edges

Driving home last night, my eyes kept straying to the sky. Not only was the sun starting to set, but the clouds reminded me of a down comforter, spread evenly across the sky at one altitude, just letting light through the seams.

Then, when I got home and walked to the pond, what caught my eye was the reflection of those clouds in the water, broken only by the fallen leaves stuck together at their magnetic edges.

So, for that reason, I like the multiple layers of this photo.

Camera: Canon 40D 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 200 at about 6:00 p.m.

Monday, October 13, 2008

212/365 A new leaf

Pretend with me for a moment.

You're a settler, moving west in the 1800s, and you've chosen to stop in the new state of Indiana.

While working outside on a clear autumn day, surrounded by tall oak, maple and tulip trees in various shades of color, a man approaches you with a message from the future.

He says, "Nearly two hundred years from now, in a magical universe called the Internet, people will visit a website dedicated to projecting the status of these trees' leaves changing color in the fall. Cameras will be placed throughout this state to help visitors from afar plan their road trips."

Men in white coats would probably come collect you if you told anyone.

Crazy, huh? But true!

Hey, don't get me wrong, I think the fall colors in Indiana are gorgeous. I'm just as much of a sucker as the next guy. I just find it funny that these very colors are such a draw for tourism that the Indiana Office of Tourism Development has an entire microsite devoted to cameras of this type.

Amazing, the things you can find on the Internet.

Camera: Canon 40D 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 5:45 p.m.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

211/365 Fall festivities

Driving to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon, I was stopped by something so frightening, I was glad I had my camera.

Well, okay, it wasn't exactly scary, but in the Halloween spirit, it WAS a scarecrow contest.

I had grabbed my camera on the way out the door with the intention of going to my favorite apple orchard. But, as luck would have it, this weekend was their annual festival, and not only was parking ridiculous, the line to get in the driveway was holding up traffic on the road.

So I postponed my orchard trip for another day and instead stopped to see the result of a scarecrow contest in Danville.

From what I could tell, this was a benefit for the American Cancer Society. On all four sides of the square, people and businesses had designed scarecrows and lined them up about every 10 feet or so.

Some were really clever, a couple a little disturbing... but to each his own.

I have to say, my favorite (pictured above) was probably the most traditional. Call me simple, call me easy to please, whatever.

A couple other funny ones included an Elvis scarecrow for the Danville Rehab:
And a church choir, complete with pianist:
I don't know how much actual scaring these 'crows will do, but I sure like the idea.

Camera: Canon 40D with fill flash, 1/250 and 1/125, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

210/365 Sun dogs and haloes

On my way home from work last night, I looked up at the setting sun and saw one of my favorite optical phenomena, sun dogs (though I couldn't remember what they were called), or what appeared to be small rainbows on horizontal opposites of the sun.

I captured some photos while I was still driving, in case they disappeared, but they remained for more than half an hour and were still visible when I stopped to pick up a couple pizzas.

I came home and looked it up in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather (yep, I told you I was a nerd for meteorology!), and this is a combination of two phenomena -- sun dogs, or parhelia, and a 22-degree halo.

In this photo, you can see the sun dogs best on the left side, straight to the left of the sun. Then, if you trace it upward in a perfect halo around the sun, you can see the faint halo all the way around to the right side. When I first noticed this, the sun dogs were visible more on the right side.

According to my Field Guide, both haloes and sun dogs are caused by "refracted light passing through ice crystals in cirriform clouds that lie between the observer and the light source (in theory, haloes can be seen around any light source)." They're most often seen in the Southwest, where the climate is dry, but they can be seen anywhere and at any time of the year.

Isn't it cool?

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 6:00 p.m.

209/365 Please don't litter

On my way to Darkroom class on Thursday evening, I stopped at a park on Indy's west side to eat a quick ham sandwich dinner. As I was eating in my car, I noticed a bunch of ducks and geese near or on the shore of the pond, so I paused my dinner and grabbed my camera.

This was one of the first photos I got, and I love it. It feels calm, serene, peaceful...

The aggravating thing is that I had to crop out a pop bottle that was floating to the right of the duck. Seriously, people, there are trash cans everywhere -- hold on to the bottle just a little longer instead of tossing it in the pond.

Seeing things like that drives me nuts. I hate driving behind a smoker who tosses their still-burning cigarette butt out the window, or the kid who balls up his hamburger wrapper and gives it a sharp fling.

Is it just laziness? Arrogance? Contempt for the system? Thumbing your nose at the world? You'd think by now, after decades of environmental awareness and preservation that people would stop littering like that.


Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 5:45 p.m.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

208/365 Stop in the name of...?

This photo reminds me of a kids puzzle, one where you're shown a snippet of an object, and you have to guess what the object is.

This one's kind of a giveaway, but it brings back all kinds of memories nonetheless.

I've never been a huge crossword puzzle fan, though I do them from time to time, but I had tons of puzzle books as a kid. It was always a staple item on our family road trips.

What's that you say? We didn't have a DVD player in the car? You mean we, as kids, had to learn to occupy ourselves with a game, book, conversation, or puzzle? Or even learn how to follow along on a map as we passed road signs and landmarks?

What a shocking idea.

Camera: Canon 40D 1/250s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 in direct sunlight at about 6:00 p.m.

207/365 Abstract sunrise

I'll admit it. I didn't intend for this shot to have as much motion blur as it does, but I have to say, I kind of like it that way.

The colors of this sunrise were absolutely fantastic, and they only lasted for about 10 minutes, so I couldn't pass it by.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 7:45 a.m.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

206/365 Hanging out

Oftentimes, my thoughts on my drive home from work are in the realm of, "Hmm, what do I want to make my photo of the day?"

This was the case last night. And as luck would have it, this katydid was hanging out on the fence right in front of my parking spot at home, like he was waiting for me to arrive.

I ran inside, grabbed my gear and ran back outside to capture him before he decided to move. Luckily, he was either a) comfortable, b) too lazy to move, or c) scared to death and frozen in place.

I struggled with holding still enough to focus properly with my macro lens, but it turned out okay. Maybe he'll give me ample warning when he visits again so I can grab a steady stool to sit on.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and external E-TTL flash, 1/60s, f/8 at ISO 100 at about 7:15 p.m.

Monday, October 6, 2008

205/365 Oh, to be a dog

He looks stressed, doesn't he? Anxious. Unable to relax. Worried. On edge.

Ah, at times like this, wouldn't it be nice to be a dog?

To spend your afternoon following the sunlight as it streams in through the south windows, bathing in its warm glow.

Dreaming of... peanut butter? Frozen broccoli? Laying near Mom's feet as she works? Chasing after a bold squirrel in the backyard?

Regardless of what was on his mind, I think Buster has the right idea for how we should all spend our Sunday afternoons.

I couldn't resist trying to capture him in his state of utter relaxation. I love how the sunlight is like a spotlight, framing him against the sharp contrast of shadow.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/11 at ISO 100 in sunlight at about 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

204/365 Deck railing

I wandered around the yard last night looking for my shot of the day, and I liked how the fading light was striking the deck railing.

What I didn't realize until I actually started to photograph it was how quickly the light was actually fading. Nearly once every 20 seconds, I needed to move farther down the deck, to the east, in order to capture some of the boards that were still in the sunlight.

Dusk had set in by the time I was done.

Camera: Canon 40D 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 100 at about 6:30 p.m.

203/365 High school Homecoming

In high school, few things are more exciting than Homecoming.

My particular high school lived, ate and breathed football. I didn't. But I always went to Homecoming.

Each class decorated t-shirts for the event with puff paint and lots of blue and gold glitter. We decorated floats for the parade, had themed dress-up days during the week, and some went so far as to paint their faces for the game.

Some schools have formal dances to celebrate the event. Ours? Head inside to the cafeteria after the game, shed your sweatshirts, and just dance.

As I was passing the school on my way home from the gym on Friday, I took a detour through the packed parking lot to view the festivities. The game had just started, so people were still pouring in through the gates, and when I rolled my windows down, I could just hear the cheerleaders.

Next year I should plan ahead, go to the game, and get some shots from inside the fence... instead of just from inside my car.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 7:15 p.m.

202/365 Changing light

I can really tell that the light is changing with the new season. In one specific instance, when I get to work and walk from the parking lot to the front door, I can hardly keep my eyes facing forward because of the shining sun.

I notice it at mid-day, too, during lunch. Whenever the weather is nice, I eat lunch outside. It gives me a little fresh air (well, as fresh as it can be in Indianapolis next to the interstate) and a break from the building. If I'm by myself for lunch, I'll often sit in my car -- and I can judge the changing light by where it strikes my cup holders in the center console.

The flower pots in this photo hang outside the front door at work. On Thursday morning, as I was striving to finish my roll of film for Darkroom class that evening, I noticed that these flower pots actually allowed me to raise my eyes as I walked to the door.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

201/365 Binding by hand

As part of her quilting business, Mom offers hand binding of her customers' quilts as an extra option.

She sits and watches TV while she meticulously adheres the binding to the rough edge of the quilt.

Not too many people elect to have her bind their quilts for them, but last night she had one to complete. I knelt and stood on the couch next to her to capture her hands as she worked.

I feel calm when I watch her work like this. I suppose it's because it's an old art, it's a repetitive motion, and the thought behind it is very homey.

Camera: Canon 40D with external E-TTL flash, 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 200

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

200/365 Another milestone

SightSalad is officially 200 days old!(Buster is excited, too, can't you tell?)

As I did on the 100th day, here are links to my favorite photos/posts of the past 100 days.

198/365 Fall bouquet

177/365 Jim and Joe

170/365 Old Fashioned Days

169/365 Light up the skies over Indianapolis

165/365 Fanatic about tomatoes

139/365 Petunia

130/365 Peeking at Lilies

127/365 Rocky Mountain National Park

126/365 Seeing Steamboat

113/365 Fields of gold

In the next 100 days I'll have photos of the leaves turning, the first snowfall, and the holiday season (can it really be that close?). I'm looking forward to it!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and external E-TTL flash bounced off the ceiling, 1/125s, f/8 at ISO 400.

199/365 Speed reading

I'm participating in a book club for the first time, and for the first meeting, I fell into one of my old bad habits: I let time get away from me.

I took a lot of English/literature courses in college, and it always seemed like I was having to speed-read at the end to try to finish the book in time. Apparently being out of college for more than two years hasn't healed the problem, because it happened again. When you have two weeks to read the book, it's easy to say, "Eh, it won't take me that long, I have plenty of time." But then the weekend before it's due, you realize, "Hang on a minute. I have class Saturday morning, then a tickets to a play on Sunday, I won't get home until after 7:00 on Monday, and I have an appointment after work on Tuesday... How am I going to get this done?"

So I've been cramming for the last two days. 48 hours before our first meeting, as you can see, I was only halfway through the book.

I promise to do better next time. Seriously.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and external E-TTL flash bounced off the ceiling, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 400.