Friday, February 26, 2010

I love RAW, I love RAW not…

I can’t decide. While taking a few test shots in RAW, I thought absolutely not. This isn’t for me. I think it was my gut reaction to seeing my 8GB card that could hold over 1000 large jpg images get knocked down to 250 or so RAW images (well, RAW + JPG, since I wasn’t willing to leave the safety net of jpg completely behind).  I uploaded the files to my computer. Still not sold. A few hours later, I got around to editing one. I chose the worst off of the bunch (exposure wise) to start with. This is the straight out of camera JPG:


Underexposed, a little blue-ish (probably forgot to set my white balance at all – that’s one thing I don’t like so far about my Canon. It’s sort of a pain to custom white balance).

I opened it in Photoshop Elements Camera Raw. This is the adjusted RAW file:


It’s not perfect, but it is so much better than the SOOC. I just don’t think I would have been able to get from there to here with Elements alone, as I would have to have done if I’d only shot jpg.

And a little black and white play with the B&W Splendor Action from Coffeeshop Actions (my favorite b&w conversion):


Despited the totally pouty and/or stuffed with fruit snack bribe mouth, I think I might print this one.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Laundry, meet Camera…

My wayward camera finally arrived yesterday after a snowy detour at our local UPS hub for FIVE days. I was in agony, knowing my camera was sitting 15 miles away, but I couldn’t get to it. The lens, memory card and memory card reader arrived on Friday, but the camera itself was sitting in a box on the back of a UPS trailer. This was serious torture.

And in seemingly unrelated news, we got a new washing machine today. For anyone keeping count, this is our third appliance to go up in as many months. We are keeping a cautious watch on our stove, refrigerator and chest freezer – just in case these things don’t come in threes. We made the switch to a front loader. I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted, but I couldn’t find a top-loader that had the capacity and features I wanted. Plus, it matches the new dryer. Tom is very big into our appliances matching. Me? I’m more about the features (you know, important stuff – like will my pizza pan fit in the new dishwasher and can I stuff the washer completely full of towels and not destroy it?).

Here it is – the horrible first picture I took with my Canon 50D:


Mount Laundry. AKA – please, Mr. Lowe’s Delivery Man, arrive at the earlier part of your 9-1 window tomorrow so I can begin to conquer this mountain (actually, this is more like the highest peak in a chain of mountains – there are more in the laundry room). And I would like to thank the lovely Lowe’s delivery men who did, in fact, arrive at the earliest part of their 9-1 window.

I have a load of laundry in right now. We’re all fascinated by the window in the front of our washing machine. In fact, the next series of pictures I took with my new camera are of the washing machine doing its thing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Christy’s Kit of the Week…

I only bought one kit this week. Delovely by Paislee Press.


I really find her style appealing – simple, elegant. Everything I want to be. I even love the presentation of this preview.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow fun…

The East Coast was hit with more snow than any of us has ever seen in our lifetimes and possibly more than we’ll ever see again. We were in the blizzard zone for both storms. It blew so much I don’t actually know how much snow we got. We estimate about 26 inches for the first storm and 20 inches for the second. snow_21210

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Couch to 5K dropout...

Well, I'm not a total dropout. I'm still running. Just not using the podcasts like I had been at first. Although I used one last week and it helped a lot. But they bore the crap out of me. Now I need to convince DH that I need an iPod Touch so I can download the app that lets you use your own music.

The thing is that I need to find exercise that works for me and not worry about what my brother is doing (he's running 5 miles a day) or what people on the internet are doing. I need to worry about me, my health, my weight (which isn't budging and I'm pissed and frustrated). So I'm okay with not running 5Ks or running at all if that's what works for me. Some days I like to run. Today I power-walked. I'm moving and burning calories. Sometimes eating sensibly - most of the time, honestly, but being snowed in hasn't been good for me. I've been hit with the urge to bake. And if I'm going to bake, may as well bake stuff I like, right? So I made a pound cake Friday night. It was gone on Sunday. And sadly, I ate most of it. I know better than to make pound cakes. I can't resist them.

Today I'm going to make a red velvet cake. I've been dying for a red velvet cake ever since Tom's aunt had one at her Christmas party. Damn, it was good.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some photography ramblings...

After much agonizing, I made a semi-snap decision (because, really, can it be a snap decision if I've agonized over it for months?) and ordered a new camera. For almost a year, I've been planning to buy the latest Pentax model. I currently have a 4 year old Pentax DSLR that in addition to having completely outgrown, is sorta broken (between leaving it out in the rain and totally dropping it from time to time, I actually don't blame it and it works much better than it ought).

But as I thought about where I want to go in the future, which is most likely toward professional photography, I realized that I don't want to put more money into lenses for Pentax if it won't grow with me. So I began looking at other systems, almost sure that I would switch to Nikon, because several of my photography hobbyist family members use Nikon. I barely considered Canon in most of my agonizing. Until I did. And stopped agonizing.

Despite it's Mac-like following (part of the reason I won't use a Mac is the cult-like attitude most Macs have), Canon just seemed to make more sense for me, although I don't have a great reason. I like where I can go with it. I like the selection of lenses (which is probably the most rational argument I have).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Christy's Kit of the Week: Feb. 6

I'm in the middle of one of the biggest snowstorms this area has ever seen. Like EVER. I'm actually in the blizzard zone - a true blizzard, not just a lot of snow like most of us who don't see a whole lot of the white stuff would call a blizzard.

In honor of this, my kit of the week (which I'll be using later, but so far none of us has braved the weather for new snow pics):
Still Winter by Ange from

It's from another French site. I've found I quite like the style of a lot of French/European designers - very simple, like my style.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Recipe Review: Smitten Kitchen's Best Cocoa Brownies

My husband asked me last night why I even wanted to bake brownies from scratch. have to ask? Okay, first boxed mix brownies are unreliable - some brands are cakey, some are fudgy, some are in between. I've finally found my go-to boxed mix brownies - Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate. The only place in my rural area that carries them is Target, so I have to both remember that I want brownies and feel like driving all the way across a complicated one-way street town to get to it.

The last time I wanted brownies, I had no Ghirardelli mixes. The horror! So I tried the recipe on the back of the Baker's chocolate box, which several people had recommended I try. They were...okay. But I way undercooked them and by the time I realized it, they were cool and really couldn't go back in the oven. And the taste was so-so.

My mother-in-law made brownies on one of our Scout nights and although I wasn't feeling well, I loved the way they looked. I braved the rough seas of my stomach and tried one. It was lovely in texture - all fudgy, but completely lacking in chocolate flavor.

Then these came across my Google reader. I had to try them. Despite my weight-watching ways of late, these brownies were calling my name. I tried them last night.




These a word, divine.

Snow...Or how I'm one of THOSE people...

I'm seriously annoyed that my kids had school today. I know Northerners and those from other snowy locations wouldn't have flinched at the snow on our roads, but I'm in the Mid-Atlantic, in a coastal area at that. We don't get snow. People don't know how to drive in snow. We are not equipped to remove snow from our roads. The road in front of my house was covered with ice and snow. I suppose I have the option of keeping my kids home if I so choose, but it's pretty ridiculous to build snow days into the school calendar and then send kids to school in snowy conditions.

I would like to complain to the school board, but I know they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. So I'm refraining for the moment. But I do have pictures of the condition of my road this morning. And I'll use them if I have to.

Also, there is more snow in our forecast. For guess when? The day I have to pick up over 100 cases of Girl Scout cookies. I'm the cookie mom for Miss G's Daisy troop and Sunday is pick up day. A Southern storm is supposed to come in on Saturday. I'm figuring we'll get record-breaking snowfall again. Every time I've had a plan or party, it's snowed. I think I'm going to stop making plans until June.