Wednesday, July 29, 2009

129/365 An easy dinner at the IMA

The grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art are some of the most beautiful in the city. I've always enjoyed going and just enjoying the space, even if I'm not there for the museum itself or a Summer Nights movie.

Last night, I picked up Subway sandwiches and met a girlfriend for an easy dinner, just sitting on a bench on the grounds, catching up while we enjoyed our inexpensive dinner. We've both been pinching our pennies lately, so I thought this would be a good way for us to get together without making a big production out of it.

And it was wonderful!

Afterward, I drove through the grounds, scoping out photo opportunities (there are hundreds) while forcing myself to stay out of the greenhouse area. This called for some variety! This photo is of the recently redone (within the last five years) entrance to the museum itself. It's an especially beautiful sight at night, when the glass facade is truly luminous.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

128/365 U.S. Senior Open

I think of my friend Aaron as I write this post. Why? Because he's the biggest golf fan I know, and he probably would have given his left pinkie to take my place yesterday.

The U.S. Senior Open is being held this week on the north side of Indianapolis, at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel. One of my clients at work was involved in putting on the event, so I went to the course during one of the practice rounds yesterday.

What would really make Aaron laugh is the fact that I, being completely uneducated about any players not regularly mentioned in the media, could only discern players from caddies by watching to see who carried the bags.


I did make sure to get a photo of each of the relevant boards displaying the players' names, though, so I could later Google them and try to match faces and names. So here it goes.

In the top photo, the guy in the black hat might be Larry Mize. And the guy in the green shirt is either Mark Wiebe or Scott Simpson.

The guy walking below? I think it's Javier Sanchez.

The final photo here isn't of anyone famous (well, at least I don't think so), it just makes me chuckle.

Check out the kid, intent on his putting game, bent over assessing the situation. Now check out his dad, not quite as enthralled, checking his watch.

Looks about right, doesn't it? Maybe I'm wrong and this kid is the next Tiger-in-training, the guy checking his watch is his trainer, and they're working on making his putting the fastest, most accurate putt possible.

Doubt it. But who knows?

Oh, and for the weeping Aaron, wishing he could be out watching practice himself -- if it makes you feel any better, my uneducated self wore the wrong shoes and now has a blister. I guess it's just karma.

Camera: a borrowed Nikon D300 (talk about a mental challenge -- everything spins or is located in the opposite way as a Canon), 1/250s and 1/500s, f/8 at ISO 200 between 3:15 and 4:00 p.m.

Monday, July 27, 2009

127/365 Baubles and bangles

I already knew I needed more accessories. But becoming addicted to TLC's "What Not To Wear" just drove the point home.

Are you familiar with this completely and utterly fabulous show? Prior to mid-June, I knew of it, and I knew who Stacy London was, from seeing her on "Oprah" and the "Today Show," but I'd never seen an episode, due to my lack of access to cable TV.

But then things changed. Mom and Dad stepped into the digital television world and signed up for satellite TV service. And I became acquainted with What Not To Wear.

Really, I should blame Mom. She got hooked first, then introduced me with a persuasive, "You've got to try this. All the cool kids are watching." And how could I resist? She is my mother, after all, and aren't you supposed to obey your parents?

It worked, I'm addicted, and I have a full six years' worth of episodes to catch up on. Be still, my heart.

And let's go shopping!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 400.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

126/365 A simple weather vane

As a person who's always been fascinated with all things meteorology, I think weather vanes are very cool. They're just one of those simple tools that have been around for eons and still serve a purpose. And they make nice roof ornaments, too.

When I say eons, that's seriously true -- according to the almighty Wikipedia, the first known weather vane dates back to at least 50 BC.

BC. Thinking of an invention being in existence -- and the people who must have used it -- more than 2000 years ago just puts me in a state of awe. Think about how different life was at that time, and how things have changed since then.

A simple weather vane would have served more purpose than just a roof ornament -- weather played a huge part in their daily lives, especially if you needed to rely on the wind to travel from one place to another.

See how amazing that is? It adds some heft to this small iron ornament, doesn't it?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/8 at ISO 100 at about 5:30 p.m.

125/365 Pinneaple Zucchini Cake

I'm one of the thousands of followers of the Pioneer Woman, and one day last week she featured a cake on her cooking page that happily put to use one of the abundant vegetables currently growing: zucchini!

Mom and I were both salivating while reading through the list of ingredients, so we took the time on Saturday afternoon to make this.

It's a Pineapple Zucchini Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and I'm definitely addicted.

I love pineapple. I growing to really enjoy zucchini. And I'm a sucker for just about anything with "cream cheese" in its name.

Thankfully, this cake didn't let us down. It was easy to make, full of flavor, moist, and a definite repeater.

And really, it's a cake with both fruit and vegetables in it. I think that alone means it can't be considered a dessert, but a healthy side dish instead! Pass me another piece!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 640 in natural light at about 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

124/365 Sundaes with sprinkles

I may have said this before, but I'll say it again: I love nothing more than spending quality time with my friends and family.

It doesn't take anything fancy, or a special event, to make it fun. I just enjoy relaxing together, chatting, and just being together. Two of my girlfriends came over on Friday night, and that's exactly what we did. Pizza + hot fudge sundaes with sprinkles + a goofy rom com + time together = the perfect Friday night!

In processing this photo for posting, I played a little with the Vibrance slider in my new Photoshop CS4. I decreased the vibrance to give it a slightly softer, pastel feel. I don't usually care for photos that have been super-processed, but this technique appeals to me, as an every-once-in-a-while treat.

Just like a hot fudge sundae. Indulge every once in a while. It makes life more fun.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 1000, with vibrance reduced in Photoshop CS4.

Friday, July 24, 2009

123/365 One lonely tomato

This doesn't exactly look appetizing yet, but I'm hopeful that it will continue to grow.

It's the first tomato to sprout on my four tomato plants, which are apparently planted in too shady an area to thrive. The location was an experiment in the first place, so I'm just happy to see some life on the spindly plant.

This little youngster is only about the size of a blueberry. Keep your fingers crossed that he grows into a healthy, adult, red tomato!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 640 in shade at about 7:30 p.m.

122/365 Perfect cherry tomatoes

I'm trying to wait patiently for tomatoes plucked fresh from the garden.

The time is getting closer (or for you, if you planted early, you may already be reaping the benefits), so in the meantime I'm making do with store-bought produce.

These perfect little cherry tomatoes have been available at the grocery store for a few weeks, and they're quite fun to add to a salad. Yes, they're small enough to pop right in your mouth, but I've been slicing them into halves or quarters to make them last a little longer -- meaning I get more bites with bits of tomato.

And when I'm having a salad with lots of fresh toppings, I try to get a little of everything in each forkful. Life is all about balance, right?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 1000 in mixed indoor lighting.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

121/365 Plugs and power outlets

Isn't it true that you never realize how much stuff you have until it's time to move it?

The same goes for a smaller category of stuff: electronics. In the process of reorganizing, I'm faced with the quandary of finding enough power outlets for all my electronics.

It's mind boggling, and it draws my attention to just how much energy I/we use on a daily basis, especially when we're not even thinking about it.

One of my favorite podcasts, Make-it-Green Girl, featured an episode about the electronic vampires that suck electricity without your knowledge. The somewhat surprising truth is that just about anything left plugged in, even when you've turned it off, is lapping up some electricity. Especially anything that has a little red/green "ready" light.

Phone chargers, coffee makers, TVs... you name it. And in the process of plugging all my electronics into surge-protector power strips, I'm amazed at just how many power outlets I regularly use.

I have a handful of power strips that have an on/off switch that severs the flow of electricity when turned off, and I'll definitely be getting more in my quest to be ever-more conscious of my energy and resource consumption.

Look out, little vampires. I'm watching you.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 400.

120/365 Morning fog

I love foggy mornings when the sun is shining through the fog. It gives the landscape a heavenly look, without causing a problem with driving.

This stretch of road is near Zionsville. I wish it weren't such a busy road, because I would really like to stop my car, get out, and walk around getting loads of photos from different angles.

But morning rush-hour traffic on a busy highway isn't the best shooting location. And I value my life more than I value standing in the middle of the road for a photo. At least this photo, anyways.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

119/365 Stunning zinnias

Is this a gorgeous flower, or what?

It's a zinnia, found at one end of my aunt's garden. She has multiple varieties and colors planted there, so it was difficult to choose one favorite. I love that the center almost looks like a ring of flowers in the middle of the main blossom.

As I did a little research about zinnias, in the link above, I found it interesting to learn that they're a great flower to have in or near a garden. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that they attract bees and butterflies, which help to pollinate the garden.

Plus, they're one of those few plants that loves loads of sunshine, actually requiring at least six hours of full sun per day. All these are wonderful, but I'm just appreciative of how beautiful they are! And you know I love a photogenic flower.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/3.5 at ISO 100 at about 5:30 p.m.

118/365 Unusual skies in July

Saturday's high temperature in central Indiana set a record. Usually in July, that would mean that we'd hit a new boiling point, but not this time. The temperature barely hit 70 degrees.

Huh? In July?

It was very unusual, but I heard very few people complaining. Being able to spend time outside without breaking a sweat was a nice treat.

And it also brought dramatic skies that caught my eye all afternoon and evening. I loved checking out the various layers of clouds, from light, wispy tendrils at upper altitudes, to rain-heavy masses closer to earth. Wonderful!

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

117/365 Sneak Peek Part 2 -- Kelly & Matt's Engagement

Kelly, Matt and I met for Part 2 of their engagement shoot on Friday evening. And boy, did we luck out with the weather! The high topped out in the 70s, very unusual for July, and the overcast skies acted as a big, wonderful diffuser. I couldn't have asked for better conditions.

We had lots of fun walking around campus, shooting in various settings that are recognizable to any Butler alumni or student. It brought back a lot of memories.

This shot of their clasped hands came by special request on their part. They're very active in their support of cancer research, and it's a passion that they share as a couple.

Kelly and Matt are glowing in their happiness together, and I was completely honored to have the chance to try to capture just a bit of that in a photo.

As I work on their proofs, I'll give you a bigger look at their shoot(s) in the coming weeks!

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/250s, f/2.8 at ISO 200 and 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 500 at about 6:00 p.m. under cloudy skies.

Friday, July 17, 2009

116/365 An empty fridge

I guess this photo shows what essentials I need in my fridge, if they're the first ones to make it inside: milk, diet soda, and leftovers from Chipotle.

Don't worry, I'll be going grocery shopping soon, and I plan to stock this fridge with fresh fruits and veggies.

But until then, this is what it looks like. Milk for breakfast cereal, leftovers from dinner, and a little caffeine for an afternoon pick-me-up. Sounds good to me!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000

Thursday, July 16, 2009

115/365 The joy of an ice cube

Every evening, and whenever he asks, Buster gets a bowl of ice cubes and one set out for him to crunch on.

He loves it, and I don't blame him. I love watching his ingenuity as he wrangles the slippery ice cube without the aid of opposable thumbs.

He manages to crunch it into smaller, bite-sized pieces, then he gets a piece in his mouth, tips his head back, and rolls it around on his teeth as he eats it. I'm a fan of crunching on ice cubes, too, so I completely understand why he likes it.

Don't even get me started on how cute it is to listen to him eat pieces of an apple. That just may put me over the edge.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

114/365 Tasseling corn

It must be summer, because the corn is beginning to tassel.

Is it just me, or does this year seem to be flying faster than ever before? Can it really be mid-July already? Are we really halfway through 2009?

Part of it, I'm sure, is the amount of activities that have been keeping me busy this year. But it almost feels like I missed spring entirely.

But sure enough, the corn was more than knee-high by the fourth of July, and it's now tasseling. I've even heard some cicadas already, which are definitely an auditory clue that summer is here.

Oh well, there's nothing we can do but enjoy it while it's here!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/250s, f/4 at ISO 100 at about 7:00 p.m.

113/365 Lunchtime staple

Homemade hummus has become a staple in my everyday lunch routine.

That punch of protein really helps me get through an afternoon at work, and all I need is a small snack in the late afternoon to give me enough energy for a workout.

And there's just something about making my own hummus that makes it extra satisfying. Not only is it an easy, fun recipe, but it's nice knowing exactly what's going into my food.

Speaking of recipes, how about I share mine with you? It's been a while, but I believe I got this from the Cooking Light website.

Homemade hummus

2 cans (15 oz) garbanzo beans
1 T sesame seeds (toasted sesame seeds work great, too)
1 T roasted garlic
1 T lemon juice (I always add more, but not a specific amount)
2 T olive oil (You'll most likely need to add more to get it to the desired creaminess)
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. salt
1 t. parsley

Throw all ingredients, in no fancy order, into a food processor and let 'er rip! Add lemon juice to taste, and olive oil for creaminess. One aspect of this recipe that makes it different than many others is the use of whole sesame seeds instead of tahini.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 400

Sunday, July 12, 2009

112/365 Flowers and personal space

I made a quick photo of this flower at my grandparents' house on Sunday. I love the light pink against the background of greens. I was without my trusty macro lens, so I made do with my (also trusty) point-and-shoot.

The reason for my "quick" photo-making was due to the number of bumble bees hovering nearby. I try to be calm and abide by the "if you don't bother them, they won't bother you" philosophy, but when there are half a dozen of those suckers in my personal space, I can't help but be a little wary.

And those bees were loving these flowers. So after a minute of photographing, I headed back to the safely enclosed car.

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

111/365 Feeling marooned

There's something about this sight that makes me laugh.

We got nearly three inches of rain on Saturday, and on my drive home, I passed this cow just standing by herself (I think it's a "she") in the middle of a big puddle.

She must have been enjoying it, perhaps soaking her tired hooves in the cool mud, because her comrades were nearby on dry ground.

I drove by her once, chuckled, then decided to turn around and go back for a photo. By the time I got back to her, she had turned her back to me, as she is here. I got my photo, drove by to turn around again, and on my third pass she was still in the puddle.

I'm not one to judge her reasoning. I'm sure a cool foot bath on a hot day was welcomed!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

110/365 Red geraniums

I always think of Dad when I see geraniums, especially deep red ones.

For as long as I can remember, Dad has included red geraniums in his annual flower planting. They're lovely, and they bloom all summer long. And for the rest of my life, I'll always associate them with him.

One thing I find a little surprising, or interesting, about geraniums, is that for such a pretty flower, they don't have the prettiest smell.

I suppose the same could be said for lilies. Perhaps it's a defense mechanism?

Ooh, boy, we could get into some lengthy metaphors with that line, couldn't we? I'll leave that alone for now.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 320 at about 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

109/365 Sneak Peek - Kelly & Matt's Engagement

Kelly and I know each other from our days on the ballroom dance team at Butler University. I haven't seen her in several years, so I was surprised -- and completely honored -- when she emailed me, asking if I'd shoot her engagement photos.

It didn't take me long to respond, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

She said she and her fiancé, Matt, have been following along with SightSalad and wanted to support a fellow BU alumna. How in the world could anyone turn that down?

I asked them a series of questions to find out more about how they relate to one another and what they had in mind for their photos, and Matt said his dream would be to have a photo of them sitting at center court in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Well, let's see what we can do about that!

We met for Part 1 of our session at Hinkle last night, and we're planning to head back to campus on Saturday for more outdoor photos. (Cross your fingers that the weather holds out.)

You get a sneak peek today, with one of my favorites from the Hinkle series. And yes, they are indeed at center court. Stay tuned for more shots in the days to come!

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 640 in halogen gymnasium lighting.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

108/365 Fancy features

Shiny, fancy, brand-new appliances.

Even if you're not currently in the market for a new _____ (insert appliance here), it's still fun to go look at the fancy colors, dials, and options, don't you think?

Or maybe it's just me.

I was in Sears with my parents last night, and I couldn't help getting a photo of the neatly stacked fancy front-load washers and dryers.

Can you imagine living 100+ years ago when you had to take your laundry out to the river to wash by hand? Well, maybe you do actually remember that time, but I haven't had the pleasure of living through that experience.

The features on the latest machines are mind-boggling. They'll practically load themselves then help you get dressed when your clothes are warm and dry. And then you consider the décor aspect, and you get into a whole different realm of decision-making. When did a washing machine become artsy?

It makes me wonder what the features will be like in 10 years. Or 20. Maybe they really will load themselves.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

107/365 Fresh salads

A good, fresh salad is one of those foods that feels like you're burning calories just by eating it, because it takes so much work.

It takes a lot of hunting around in the bowl to get a forkful of a good mix of ingredients. Then it takes work just to chew it, because it has volume and lots of crunch.

Now, if it gets drenched or buried under creamy dressing, not only is the healthy aspect minimized, but those wonderfully crunchy ingredients go soft.

But I like just a little dressing, so my salads take work. Right now I'm on an Italian dressing kick, preferably made at home with vinegar, oil, water and a packet of seasoning. And with the abundance of fresh veggies becoming available, I'm having lots of salads.

So does that mean I deserve extra dessert?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 800 in window light at about 7:30 p.m.

Monday, July 6, 2009

106/365 Zucchini arrival

Look out. The zucchini are arriving.

That sounds a bit like a "heads up, the aliens are landing," or "be prepared, the in-laws are here," doesn't it? I'm sure some people would argue that those statements are actually synonymous, but that's a topic for another day.

The arrival of zucchini, I believe, is much more enjoyable, though requires nearly as much preparation or work.

If you aren't a gardener, then you probably aren't blessed with the knowledge of the amazing production of one zucchini plant.

I've heard many people remark that they'd be willing to bet you could hear the squeak of a zucchini growing overnight if you sat there long enough. They've been known to double in size in 24 hours, meaning they'll take over your yard (or counter top) if you turn your head for an entire weekend.

And my dad planted three plants. Holy mackerel. And they're starting to arrive.

But oh, they're tasty. I look forward to dozens of loaves of Mom's zucchini bread, and many more nights of zucchini sautéd with Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb.

Bring on the fresh vegetables!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 125 at about 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

105/365 Working as a team

Unless you live beyond the borders of urban, and even suburban, areas, this isn't something you get to see every day.

The gentleman driving this big rig is a neighbor whose house I pass every day on my way to and from work. He has several beautiful draft horses, and I've seen him out a lot recently training these two to pull a wagon together.

He started by training each one individually, then moved them up to pull a smaller cart together, so they can get used to working as a team. Judging by how well they're doing here, I'd say the training is going quite well.

In the winter he has a sleigh and bells that he attaches to the horses, which has to be one of the coolest, most postcard-perfect scenes I've seen.

But I don't want to think about winter right now. I just want to stand in awe of these magnificent horses.

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

104/365 It's Independence Day

Independence Day for me this year was going to largely be spent like any other weekend. And really, the day itself dawned gray, rainy, and the temperature barely reached 70°F. That weather alone is enough to make you forget what day it is.

And sure enough, Mom and I headed to Brownsburg for some errands, not realizing until we saw flashing lights ahead that we'd run straight into the town's parade.


Well now that we're here, we might as well catch some of the parade, right? Looks like a photo opportunity to me!

I told Mom that in about 20 years she should join this group of ladies. They call themselves "Red Hats and Purple Chaps." It made me laugh, but honestly looked like a great idea.

I worried for the band's instruments when the sprinkling rain started to intensify. They didn't seem phased, though, and they had a captive audience of little kids.

This spectator and her pup made me smile. The poodle was really cute, one of the cutest poodles I've seen, and teeny tiny. And of course she was sporting a red, white and blue scarf around her neck!

We watched the parade for a while then left before it was finished in order to beat the traffic. That may not be patriotic, but it sure saves some time.

Happy Fourth of July!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 10:30 a.m. under overcast, rainy skies.

103/365 Blooming hosta

The lovely (and pun-worthy) hosta, along with all of its brethren, is blooming. I had forgotten that hostas bloomed at all, until I noticed the thin shoots sprouting.

I think it actually seems like a flower meant for another plant. The leaves of the hosta are broad and decorative on their own and remain pretty close to the earth. Then this flower extends a foot or two above the plant, a delicate lavender flower on a thin stem.

Is the hosta trying to compete with its neighbors? Feeling left out of the seasonal color?

What led me to choose this photo from the group that I shot was the mottled background. You can see the ivory and green leaves below the bloom, out of focus.

Well, at least the lavender nicely compliments that ivory and green. The hosta got something right.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 200 at about 8:00 p.m.

Friday, July 3, 2009

102/365 Festive lilies

As though in celebration of the upcoming red, white and blue holiday, this red lily bloomed this week.

One thought I have as I look at this photo is, "Wow, this looks like an allergy nightmare." The pollen on this patch of lilies was very thick, and the yellow dust had fallen down into the flower and out onto the petals.

Luckily my seasonal allergy affliction isn't very severe, so I don't think it bothered me. But I sure feel for the people it does.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 250 at about 6:00 p.m. under overcast skies.

101/365 A century-old practice

This view reminds me of an old photograph from several decades ago.

I think of round bales as a fairly new concept, but a little research on Wikipedia has proven me wrong. Round baling machines were introduced as early as 1910, and the first to be sold to the masses were produced by Allis Chalmers.

That's amazing, that this machinery has been around for 100 years.

I think of some of the vast changes that have been made in other areas, such as the difference between automobiles now and a century ago or the idea that calculators hadn't even been invented yet. But then to read that farmers 100 years ago were baling their hay and straw in round bales, a system still in practice today, and the dichotomy is very interesting.

I guess if it's not broke, don't fix it, right?

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