Tuesday, June 30, 2009

100/365 First 100 days

Believe it or not, the first 100 days of my second trip through Project 365 have passed! You can tell Buster is excited, right? Don't let him fool you with his "I'm oh-so cool" face.

As has become my tradition, at the conclusion of each 100 days, I share some links and thoughts on my favorite photos of the period. Shall we get right to it?

12/365 A willing model: One of the subjects I can't avoid is my darling Buster. And this photo of his perch at the top of the stairs has become a favorite.

32/365 Cherry blossoms: I love the crisp white and vibrant spring green in this photo. Those colors alone bring back that early spring-is-coming excitement.

36/365 Flowering redbuds: I often get close, within macro distance, for flora photos, but I backed up for this photo. It has a soft, pretty feel from being intentionally overexposed, and I like it.

58/365 Along the iris spectrum: Can you tell it's spring time by the quantity of blooming plants in these photos? The opposing moods in these photos -- one dark and dramatic, the other soft and ethereal -- bring me back to them as a favorite.

64/365 Perfect peonies: This photo is completely monochromatic and completely one of my favorites. I intend to have a print made of this and frame it, I like it so much. Hmm, where to hang it...?

87/365 Recovery in New Orleans: Now for some completely different subject matter, and one which can only be achieved through travel. My day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans was eye-opening, from the day spent in a recovering neighborhood to the stroll along the beautiful riverside that evening. The dichotomy of the city is striking, even after nearly four years since Hurricane Katrina.

89/365 Final morning in New Orleans: I spent several minutes getting photographs at the Gulf of Mexico tank in the New Orleans aquarium, and the bottom photo in this post is my favorite of the day.

Whew! Now what's ahead in the next 100 days? The Fourth of July this weekend, the hottest days of summer and the activities that come with it, a garden overflowing with produce, and Labor Day, to name a handful.

And on we go.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 1600 at about 8:00 p.m.

Monday, June 29, 2009

99/365 A cool summer evening

Monday's temperature and humidity eased to a very comfortable level, so I didn't mind a walk to the far side of the pond for another lily photo.

I love how the background makes this yellow beauty stand out. That smooth gray background? Just the surface of the pond, reflecting the cloudy sky overhead. It gives the photo an edgy feel, with the cool gray and beaming yellow, as opposed to a photo like this with warm pink and open green shades.

I do enjoy variety.

On my way back to the house, I passed this pine tree beckoning to be photographed. I like that this is like a "before" and "after" progression in one image. The pine cone in front will eventually open up, dry out, and harden into the more recognizable brown pine cones in the background.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/3.2 at ISO 100 and 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 250 at about 7:15 p.m.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

98/365 Taking her sweet time

Shep has an interesting personality.

She's a Quarter Horse, while both Oprah and Xena are Paint Horses. Quarter Horses were and are bred for sprinting. They're the fastest horses when it comes to short distances, and when Shep chooses to show it, there's no question of her breeding.

It may not be a race track, but the pasture regularly becomes a makeshift sprint track. When all three of the horses are out, usually at the far end away from the barn, one of the three will spur the others and say, "Go!" They take off running, full-out, up to the barn, cued at the same moment.

If Shep wants to win, she will. Hands-down, no contest, that girl can run.

And she likes to win. As the dominant horse of the little group, she enjoys leaving Xena and Oprah in her dust.

But there's another side to her. When it's time to come in for the night, Shep is routinely the last to come in. She enjoys taking her sweet time, ambling up to the barn at her own speed, not caring that someone may be waiting for her.

And no one walks slower than she. To walk beside her, I have to consciously slow my steps to match her pace.

I guess she's just a woman who likes to do things her own way. I can't fault her for that.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 8:00 p.m.

97/365 A pond in the summer time

The week of lilies continues with a serene reflection.

This pond has hosted a lot of great memories for me. While I no longer swim in it (ick), it used to be a great site for playing.

When we were younger, Chase and I each had a small, two-person inflatable rubber raft. It had two plastic paddles attached to the side for rowing. Put those elements together, and you have prime racing opportunity.

We raced up and down the length of the pond countless times. And we wore those rafts ragged, until they weakened with a tear in the side or the paddles gave out. I knew I was getting a little too big for racing when the force of my pull caused one of my paddles to split in half and sink to the bottom.

And let me tell you, it's hard to get back to shore with one good paddle in a little rubber raft. It's much easier to spin in circles.

But I'd take another raft (with stronger paddles) any day.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/500s, f/4.5 at ISO 100 at about 7:00 p.m.

96/365 Battling an odd fire

I stopped to get gas at Kroger (love that $0.10 discount!) on my way home from work Friday, and while I pumped, I watched these two firefighters battle a small fire in a recycling bin.

Wait a second. A recycling bin? How the heck did a fire start in there?

A regular dumpster full of trash is more believable. Someone tosses in a cigarette butt or other recently extinguished item, and it ignites.

But a recycling bin? Perhaps the 90°F+ temperature was a contributing factor. Who knows? Smells suspicious to me.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 5:00 p.m.

95/365 Day lily

Ah, it's that time of year: lily season.

L'amour. My loves. Big, bold and beautiful.

I found this one in a group of day lilies, similar (or the same?) to the ones often seen growing along the roadside in central Indiana.

This may be the Week of Lilies, so I'll give you a heads up now!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/250s, f/3.2 at ISO 100 at about 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

94/365 Heat wave

I returned home from New Orleans last Friday, after spending days in the scorching heat and oppressive humidity, glad to finally be home and get some relief from the weather.

Nope. Wrong. Too bad. Better luck next time.

We, along with a large portion of the country, are in the middle of a 10-day heat wave.

The crazy thing about me? I'd rather have this than all the cold days in the first three months of the year. Even though just walking to and from the car leaves you glistening with sweat, I'd rather have that, with shorts, tank tops, and sandals, than piles of coats, scarves, gloves, hats, sweaters, long underwear... You get the idea.

I love central Indiana, but I could live somewhere warmer. Moving somewhere with a longer winter would take a really strong motivating force on my part.

So I'm not complaining too much. (Yet. It is, after all, not even July yet.)

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 1000 at about 8:00 p.m.

93/365 Fit for a crown

The Princess Atta flower.

No, that's not the real name, but it's the moniker given to it by Mom years ago. It reminds her, and I agree, of the queen's crown passed down to Princess Atta in A Bug's Life. You can see the crown in this clip, starting at about 3:25.

This flower is like that crown, in the way its petals sprout upward, and then gracefully fall over around the outside.

My favorite part of A Bug's Life is, hands-down, the "outtakes" the creators included in the ending credits of the movie. I always check the bonus features on a DVD, and if any outtakes are included, I can't resist. So the creativity that went into creating these from scratch gets praise from me.

The one that always makes me laugh? The belching contest near the end. You don't want to know why.

Yep, even after all these years, I still love it.

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

Monday, June 22, 2009

92/365 Digital pigs are flying

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd see one of these mounted to the side of my parents' house.

Wait a minute, is that a pig I see flying in the background?

Seriously, in all my years, the only time I've had cable/satellite TV was while living on campus in college or while staying in a hotel. My family has always resisted the idea of paying for television service, content to stick with local network broadcasting.

But the recent mandatory conversion to digital signals changed the game. They tried a couple brands of converter boxes, with little success. Weak signals meant missed shows, the boxes turned off on their own in the middle of a recording, etcetera etcetera.

So they finally gave in and signed up for Dish. Which came with a DVR.

And now Dad loves "Ice Road Truckers" and Mom is hooked on "What Not To Wear."

Life will never be the same.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/250s, f/4 at ISO 100 at about 8:00 p.m.

91/365 Live long and prosper

I enjoy a good action flick.

Many of my favorite movies fall in the action/adventure category, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Mask of Zorro.

Dad and I started a bit of a tradition many years ago. He's also a big fan of action/adventure movies, so oftentimes, if I have a day off from work, we go see a movie together at the theater.

On Sunday, for Father's Day, I took him to see Star Trek. The theater was surprisingly almost full, even though the movie has been out for more than a month and a half. Dad's always enjoyed the various Star Trek TV series, so he's been dying to see this, and I was more than a little interested myself.

My quick review of the movie? Two thumbs up. The exciting trailers didn't give away all the best parts, and it's one I'll be happy to add to my permanent collection when it comes out on DVD (but probably not until it makes it down to at least $10). I enjoyed it without knowing many of the original characters, and Dad enjoyed it as a person familiar with nearly all of them.

J.J. Abrams, the fantastic creator of Alias, didn't let me down. I recommend it!

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

90/365 Family memories

To celebrate Father's Day a day early, and visit with some relatives from out of town, my extended family gathered at my grandparents' house on Saturday evening.

As a surprise gift for Grandpa, Mom and I put together a slide show of family photographs. We've been talking about doing it for at least a year, but we didn't have the right software on hand until recently.

We started with baby photos of my mom and her brothers, then moved chronologically through the years, introducing grandkids about halfway through the presentation.

We had a lot of fun choosing music and putting the slide show together. It was a big hit, and Grandpa even watched it three times through while we were there.

A beautiful sunset ended a great first full day back in Indiana.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/400, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

89/365 Final morning in New Orleans

I had a couple hours of free time to myself on Friday morning in New Orleans, so after a breakfast of beignets at the famous Cafe du Monde, I walked from the hotel to the nearby Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

I've always enjoyed visiting aquariums, and apparently I've started a personal trend of visiting one as a final stop before flying home from a trip. Last year on the final day of our visit to Colorado, Mom and I spent time at the Denver Downtown Aquarium before heading to the airport.

The aquarium in New Orleans is a little bigger than the one in Denver, but my enjoyment of this tour was unfortunately dampened by the hundreds of kids running rampant on a communal field trip day.

Holy cow, my patience runs a little thin when it comes to unchecked, pushy kids.

Nevertheless, my favorite creature featured was the pair of otters, who were lazily enjoying bath time. I spent the largest amount of time sitting in front of the Gulf of Mexico exhibit (below), because of both the wide variety of species contained in the large tank and the wide variety of onlookers outside the tank.

By this time I was ready to hop on my flight and head home! New Orleans was an interesting city, full of character, but nothing makes you appreciate home quite like traveling.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 400 and 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 1600

88/365 The Clean Show and French Quarter

Thursday was a busy work day for me in New Orleans. The day began with a beautiful sunrise over the river, of which I had a fantastic view from my hotel room.

I spent the day at the Clean Show, which was the trade show we were actually in town for. The show is an international event for commercial laundry, held in the US every two years.

The Maytag Repairman made an appearance and spent plenty of time greeting visitors and posing for photos.

In the evening, after retiring my feet into tennis shoes, we again set out for dinner in the French Quarter. We spent time after dinner strolling through the streets, peering in gallery windows (closed for summer hours) and marveling at the historic aspects of the city. This sign for the Spanish Commanderia, dated 1769, calls out the authentic Spanish architectural influences on Royal Street. (I think the graffiti is probably a little newer than that.)

Royal Street was definitely one of my favorite areas of the French Quarter. The buildings were each unique, galleries and nice shops abounded, and life seemed laid-back.

I love the full-length shutters found on many doors and windows. Not only are they interesting design elements, but they play a functional role in the storm season.

We finished the evening sipping Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's. The drink was so strong I was barely able to put a dent in mine. If I'd finished the entire drink, my colleagues would have had to carry me not just back to the hotel, but to the airport the next day. No thanks!

Cameras: Maytag Repairman photo Canon PowerShot SD1000. Other photos Canon 40D.
Sunrise: 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 6:30 a.m.
Other photos: 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 640, 400, 250, and 320 between about 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

87/365 Recovery in New Orleans

Early in the morning on Wednesday, we met in the lobby of our hotel, dressed in crummy clothes, closed-toe shoes, and gobs of sunblock, and headed out for a day working with the New Orleans affiliate of Habitat for Humanity.

In the main urban portion of the city, which includes the French Quarter, if you didn't know Hurricane Katrina had happened, you wouldn't know.

But as soon as you cross the interstate into the neighborhoods of the city, the story changes. It's been nearly four years since the storm wreaked havoc on New Orleans and the gulf coast, but even now there are bare foundations and deserted houses that are barely standing.

Habitat is working to increase the standard of living by eradicating sub-standard housing in the area. The homes they're building now are up to Florida's hurricane building codes, and the house we worked on was elevated several feet on cinder-block pillars.

We mainly worked on the outside of the house, putting siding on and starting to paint it.

Oh, and the chosen paint color? Purple.

The homeowner gets to choose the paint color, carpet color, and countertop color inside. Habitat builds a small home valued at approximately $75,000. This one had three small bedrooms and one bath.
The siding is a wood composite siding. They can't use vinyl siding in the area, like we can in Indiana, because it can't withstand the heat and wind.

The high temperature on the day we worked surpassed 95 degrees, with heat indexes in the 110-120 degree range. Wow.

Recovery is a slow process in a low-income area where many residents haven't returned. The two houses next to the one we worked on were destroyed and abandoned, and the blue spray-painted X signals used by search and rescue still remain on the front doors and windows.

We finished working around 3:00 p.m. and headed back to the hotel for a much-needed shower. The team went for dinner at Deanie's Restaurant in the French Quarter, near Bourbon Street.

After dinner we took a stroll through town, venturing briefly onto Bourbon Street itself. And therein lies all the seedy, risque, Mardi Gras-esque party attitude most people attribute to New Orleans. Every other doorway led to a topless bar, with women in lingerie standing as live advertisements on the sidewalk, and people wandered up and down the street from one pulsing music joint to the next.

And I thought Broad Ripple was noisy.

We walked through the street for a couple blocks then decided we'd seen enough. Instead of taking a walk back through the streets of the French Quarter to the hotel, we ventured to the river and enjoyed the riverwalk.

I fell into bed afterward and was asleep so fast I don't even remember my head hitting the pillow.

Camera: First four photos Canon PowerShot SD1000, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.. Last photo Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 1000 at about 9:00 p.m.

86/365 New Orleans, Louisiana

I'm back from New Orleans, with four days' worth of new photos ready to post. The trip went very smoothly and I enjoyed seeing the city.

We arrived in New Orleans around 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night, which gave us enough time to check in to our hotel and ask the concierge for some restaurant recommendations. He recommended a few places within walking distance in the French Quarter, so we set out and got our first taste of the city.

My first impression? New Orleans isn't nearly as wild and crazy as many people had led me to believe.
Sure, I believe that Mardi Gras season transforms the city into a different animal, and even now there are dozens of street performers and people looking to foretell your fortune. Maybe the hot summer weather imposed a relaxed demeanor on it while I was there.

Regardless, I loved the beautiful architecture and intricate balconies found throughout the French Quarter. Check the upcoming posts for more views of the city!

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 1600 and 640 between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A pause in our regular programming

Summer to me means it's time to travel, and that's what I'll be doing over the next few days.

I'm heading to New Orleans for a business trip. And of course I'm taking my camera!

I don't know how much free time I'll have for sight-seeing, but I'll continue my daily photographic journey. This will be my first visit to New Orleans, and I think it will be very interesting!

Hot. (Record-high temperatures.) And humid. But interesting.

If you're fairly new to SightSalad, welcome, as always, and you might take this opportunity to look back through the archives! You have hundreds of photos to catch up on.

Check back this weekend for new photos. Au revoir!

85/365 Surprise flowers

I love surprises. It's the best part of Christmas and birthday gift giving and receiving.

Even when I was a kid, I never snooped for hidden Christmas gifts, because in my book, discovering them early took all the fun out of Christmas Eve and morning.

And yet, I have still managed to accidentally stumble upon hidden gifts on a regular basis. It's so disappointing.

But these flowers are a true surprise. I don't know what they are, and even Dad doesn't remember what they are, and he's the person who planted them years ago. They've never bloomed before now. And they're interesting and different!

Looking down at them from above, as in the top photo, reminds me a little of a snowflake scene, but instead of cool whites and blues, the colors are fresh pinks and greens.

The blossoms are even shaped like pink Christmas trees. How fun!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 320 and 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 200, both at about 7:30 p.m. under cloudy skies

Sunday, June 14, 2009

84/365 Feeling Wicked

I adore Broadway musicals. And I've been waiting for Wicked to come to Indianapolis for years.

Honestly. That's not an exaggeration. I've been waiting that long.

The tour finally made a stop in Indy, so Mom and I went to Sunday's matinee. We bought our tickets late on the day that they went on sale, and the show was so popular that we couldn't get our favorite seats in the balcony.

Nevertheless, our view was fine, and the show was very good. The woman who played Glinda hilariously stole the show, though the actress playing Elphaba (the green wicked witch) was no slacker in the talent department.

If I could gain one talent, I would wish to have a singing voice like a Broadway lead. I can't imagine what it's like to be able to belt out a song with such power and finesse in one breath. It always blows me away.

I think if I lived in New York, I'd end up spending all my money on tickets to Broadway shows. I can't get enough!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000

Saturday, June 13, 2009

83/365 Perched on the lily

I set out to photograph the tiger lilies, but this little guy was perched front and center, so I couldn't resist.

If you look at the size of his body in relation to the diameter of his legs, it's amazing he's so well balanced and agile. Yet another amazing feat of nature.

I suppose when you have six legs to handle your weight instead of just two, your legs become especially svelte.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 500

82/365 Summer Nights

I love nothing more than spending quality time with friends and family. The Summer Nights series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in my opinion, is one of the best summer activities in the city.

On Friday nights in the summer, the IMA shows a movie in its outdoor amphitheater. The selection of movies is completely eclectic -- you'll find everything from The Goonies to Field of Dreams, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Roman Holiday.

Tickets go on sale at 6:00 p.m., and each time I've been, the 600 available tickets have sold out within two hours.

I went with two different groups of friends on Friday night. My favorite part is the picnicking and visiting before the film starts. You bring food to share, games to play, and just enjoy being together for a few hours outside.

We played a few rousing games of Uno this time, so your photo selection for the day is a series of action shots.

Shuffling the deck:

Reversing the direction of play:

Taking a turn:
The movie was Roman Holiday, an old black and white Audrey Hepburn film. I had never seen one of her films, so that alone was a treat. I liked it!

I can't wait to go back again.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 200 at about 8:00 p.m.

81/365 Blue skies return

I drove home through spotty showers on Thursday night, and this view of the sky caught my eye.

One aspect of this photo that I like is the way it almost seems like a black and white monochrome image, except for that swatch of blue sky.

The rest of the evening's weather passed fairly calmly.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

80/365 Birch bark

I like looking out in the late afternoon and evening and seeing the sunlight striking this tree.

It's a young birch tree, and its light-colored bark, in comparison to most of the other nearby trees, really stands out in the sun.

I've been meaning to photograph the bark for ages and just haven't gotten around to it. Until now!

It reminds me a little of the aspen trees I saw last year in Colorado. The bark of both trees is lighter than most, making them stand out against a green and brown scene. My photographer's eye likes the contrast it creates.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

79/365 An earlier season

This blog has proven to be useful in more ways than one, and in this case, it's serving as seasonal documentation.

In what way specifically? I've found that the cherries have ripened several weeks earlier this year than last.

Last year, I posted my photo of ripening cherries on June 15. And we picked them and made crisp on June 22.

This year? We picked and enjoyed our cherry crisp on June 8. The cherries on the tree in this photo are post-picking.

I wonder, what aspect of our difference in seasons made the cherries ripen early? Is that a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 250 at about 7:30 p.m.

Monday, June 8, 2009

78/365 Sprouting zucchini

This isn't exactly an attractive flower, like a peony or an iris. In fact, it kind of looks like the inside view of one of your internal organs, like the squeaky-clean video of a colonoscopy (sorry, that's just what popped into my head), but it's a pleasant sight nonetheless.

It's zucchini!

That means the garden is growing. And that means it won't be long and we'll have an abundance of fresh vegetables.

I have four tomato plants and a cucumber plant of my own, and they're getting along swimmingly. This lovely zucchini flower is blooming in my parents' garden.

My favorite zucchini dish is Mom's homemade zucchini bread, which she makes in large batches and freezes for a big winter stash. I'm ready!

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

Sunday, June 7, 2009

77/365 Car trouble

Mom and I were driving home on the interstate yesterday afternoon, chatting away, enjoying the pretty weather, when all of a sudden, an angry beeping started yelling at us from the dashboard.

We looked down and saw that the engine temperature gauge was fully maxed out. The car was overheating, after going only a handful of miles on a not-unbearably-hot day.

A truck stop was nearby, so we pulled off and popped the hood to let it cool down. After ten minutes or so, we decided to give it a go and take back roads home.

We hadn't made it a mile before the gauge started climbing again and yelling at us to stop.

Now we knew we were in trouble. When we stopped this time to let it cool down again, Mom and I both searched our purses and planned how we would ration the five sticks of gum and two water bottles we found.

Humans can survive something like seven days without food, so long as they have water, right?

Knowing now that we had a long drive before we'd make it home, we considered pushing our next pit stop to the local ice cream shop. But we decided to test our stamina and just maintain the trek home instead.

And that's the way we continued all the way home. Drive a few miles, stop for 10-15 minutes to let the engine cool. And again. And again.

A drive that should have taken under 20 minutes took nearly an hour and a half.

But we made it. And we only had to chew two of our five sticks of gum.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 4:00 p.m.

76/365 A face only a mother could love

I caught a glimpse of four-legged baby wildlife on Wednesday, so it's appropriate that I represent a winged species next.

Ugly, featherless, nothing-but-open-mouths robins.

As Mom appropriately put it, "A face only a mother could love."

Mama robin picked a great place for her nest. It's situated on the top of a tall wooden privacy fence, tucked up under the eave of a garage, protected from the elements. And that fact alone was excellent this week when some areas of town were pounded by the season's first real hail storm.

I hope they make it and grow into attractive, fully feathered robins.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 3:30 p.m. in shade

75/365 Out for dinner

My chosen birthday celebration dinner locale on Friday night was the one and only [location in Avon] Olive Garden.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Yes, it's a franchise restaurant, but it's my favorite, so please don't scoff. I know there are oodles of Italian restaurants in the greater Indianapolis area, but Olive Garden is close and consistently good.

Surprisingly, the wait was only about 20 minutes on Friday night, even though people were spilling out onto the sidewalk.

While we waited, I kept my camera busy shooting photographs of these beautiful yellow lilies growing as part of OG's landscaping.

Dinner was wonderful, in company, service, and food, and I brought half of my dinner home to enjoy Saturday evening.

Great way to end the work week!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 at about 6:15 p.m. in direct sunlight

Thursday, June 4, 2009

74/365 Roses and rocky weather

Having a birthday at the beginning of June more than once has meant rocky weather and canceled outdoor plans.

But not this year! The day itself, June 4, 2009 was a beautiful, breezy 70-degree day. I clipped a rose from a bush at home and photographed it in the warm evening sunshine.

In past years, some of the state's most turbulent weather has occurred within a week on either side of my birthday.

June 2, 1990 -- One of the largest and most widespread tornado outbreaks ravaged Indiana and the surrounding states. 37 of 65 tornadoes hit Indiana.

I remember this day clearly. We lived in my family's previous house, which did not have a basement. My grandparents were in town from Michigan, celebrating my birthday a couple days earlier, when the sirens started sounding the alarm. We gathered various birthday items and ran to the neighbor's basement under green skies.

I think that day may have ingrained in me both my fascination with meteorology and fear of tornadoes.

May 30 - June 9, 2008 -- Nine tornadoes hit central Indiana during this time span, and serious flooding followed. SightSalad was up and running during those 10 days, so I was able to document some of the activity. First, I was at the opening of Sex and the City when we lost power and had to be evacuated from the theater. Then, on my birthday, vibrant lightning lit the skies. Finally, some areas of Indiana received nearly 11 inches of rain, causing unprecedented flooding.

And this year? June 2, 2009 -- Baseball-sized hail hit northeast Indianapolis.

Nevertheless, I enjoy having a birthday that falls in warm-weather months, six months from Christmas. I'd rather battle thunderstorms than snow.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 100 in direct sunlight at about 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

73/365 Hiding in the grass

This little guy was hiding in the grass when I got home from book club last night.

He's a baby rabbit, not even as big as my hand. He was huddled down just in the middle of a clover patch in the (not very long) grass, sure of the fact that if he didn't move, I couldn't see him.

Sorry, buddy, you've got to do better than that.

Luckily for him, all I wanted to do was get a photo of him. So after a minute of that, I left him alone, hoping his mom would come back soon and scoot him back to the nest.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 640 at about 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

72/365 Tomato and Brie Sandwiches

I'm definitely into finding new recipes lately, and if it involves fresh fruit or vegetables, it gets an immediately higher rating.

Mom and I tried the Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches recipe from the June issue of Cooking Light for dinner last night, and it was great! We'll definitely repeat it.

Recommendations for you if you try it: Don't skimp on the mustard and garlic, because the sandwich can be pretty bland without it. And load up with a thick slice of tomato and lots of spinach.

We also did ours in a cast-iron skillet on the stove because it was pouring down rain and wasn't the best time to grill. Next time we'll give it a go on the grill.

It makes me hungry just talking about it now.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 1000 in mixed lighting

Monday, June 1, 2009

71/365 Unidentified imagination

I try to be knowledgeable, or at least learn something new, but I have no idea what this flower is called. So I can't even look it up.

I can tell you what it looks like to me -- a sea anemone when it's up close in macro territory.

These aren't the first flora that have reminded me of underwater fauna. Most recently, the buds on a particular maple tree sparked a similar imagination track.

The individual blossoms on this flower are only about the size of a pencil eraser. They act as a small filler flower in the front of a large pot that contains several varieties, heights and colors. They almost look like purple moss until you get up close.

And then, check them out with a macro lens, and they transform into an underwater creature.

But I have no idea what it's called. Do you?

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

Moving up in the world

Over the last week, you may have noticed a change on my photos.

No? Look again. See that, down in the lower right corner?

I have a logo.

A formal, professional, look-out-world logo. And the portion replacing the old copyright mark is just part of it. To see the rest you'll have to a) become a client of a.e.miller photography or b) stay tuned for more blog upgrades. Or by all means, go for two scoops and do both!

I can't take credit for the beautiful design of this brand-new logo. That credit deservedly goes to my friend, Aaron Alvis, a freelance graphic designer I know from my old job. Want to see more of the fantastic work he's done? Check out his online portfolio.

I'm moving up in the world, loving my new logo, and am full of ideas!