31. December 2014 · Comments Off on Grand Canyon: Stunning Sunset · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Nothing like it in the world...everybody needs to see the beauty of a Grand Canyon sunset.

Nothing like it in the world…everybody needs to see the beauty of a Grand Canyon sunset.

I am resuming my summer travels writing…although we’re now nearly 6 months departed from this trip. I need need need to get these memories written down so I don’t forget everything.

I have a couple weeks until my next block of work begins at the Air Force Academy, so I figured I’d use this time to continue catching up. I had arranged my photo albums based on my blog posts, so it’s a little less chaotic than it might have been with a huge clump of photos.

This post is about the stunning Grand Canyon sunset. There are two things every visitor needs to do: hike down below the rim and see a sunset. The amazing colors in the geology and sky are worth the effort. Take a good camera, you’ll want to have fun with the settings to try to capture the colors. More »

I’m going to play catch up on some day-to-day life blog posts this week. ¬†I’ve made two trips to Omaha in the past 2 months and that gets pretty exhausting, I put a lot aside just to keep the family caught up with groceries, Cub Scouts, piano lessons and household tasks.

So let me post a few pictures of the family and briefly catch us up on what’s been going on.

The boys had school portraits done in September. The prints were delivered in late October and just this week I was able to file them with other pictures and share them with you.

I don’t know about you, but I like these classic head shots best for school pictures. The boys are wearing polo shirts that their Grammy and Grampy brought back from a trip to Bermuda last August. Relatives, aunts and uncles, you will be getting hard copies of these prints between now and Christmas.


I think Timmy looks very pleasant here.

These days Jacob has to work very hard to not blink for pictures…it’s clear he was thinking really hard about that here ūüôā

21. August 2012 · Comments Off on First Day of School 2012 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Enjoy a nice picture of the boys just before they headed out for the school bus yesterday.  The boys both have great teachers this year and both have been reporting good days so far.

Jacob’s happy to have many of his friends from last year’s class in his 4th grade class again this year.

Timmy reports that his favorite thing about 2nd grade is being allowed to sit at the back of the bus.

The best I could do in 21 takes....

The best I could do in 21 takes….

I used to have a nifty collage capability in iPhoto, but with an upgrade earlier this year I can’t do the nice gridded pictures the way it used to be. But here’s an alternative showing some of our takes, ha ha!

15. August 2012 · Comments Off on More Camera Fun…in Humid Florida · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

This is my favorite of the batch, really capturing the rainbow colors as the sunlight refracted through the ice clouds. The blueness of the sky really comes through also.

On Tuesday morning at about 8:30am when I let the dog out in the backyard, I saw a thunderstorm building towards the east near Hurlburt Field and Fort Walton Beach.  The rising sun was behind the storm clouds and shining through some ice clouds, causing some pretty diffractions.  This gave me some good opportunity to play with our new camera.

I ran inside, grabbed the camera, ran back outside, uncapped the lens…and everything fogged up.


This is an issue here. ¬†Bring a 75F camera outside into warmer 100% humidity and you will get condensation on the lenses. ¬†After last week’s adventures at the butterfly house with the fogging lenses, I had ordered some anti-fog lens cloths from Amazon (along with a spare battery and some other¬†maintenance¬†supplies). ¬†I hadn’t received that order by Tuesday morning (it arrived 6 hours later), so all I could do was stand outside and wait for the lens to clear up.

I was getting impatient, hoping the clouds would continue to cooperate for me…it took about 3-4 minutes before I could get clear pictures.

What I was attempting to photograph were “iridescent clouds“, which occur when ice crystal clouds are between your eyes and the sun. ¬†Learn more about atmospheric optic phenomena here. ¬†There’s all kinds of great stuff to see!

This storm moved east of us, but later that morning we had our own thunderstorm come in from the Pensacola area.  Right after I took these pictures I had gone out for a run (with the kids on their bikes) and we had come home right when it started raining.

Enjoy some of the color variations I could get from my viewing spot in my backyard. ¬†No post-processing was done with these pictures, they’re coming to you straight off the SD card. ¬†The first picture is my favorite of the batch, zoomed in…

The full storm, this is facing east in my backyard. You can see the ice clouds on the right.

Playing with the settings some. I think this was the silhouette setting.


Low saturation.

The refractive effects have nearly dissipated…as the thicker clouds began to dominate.

13. August 2012 · Comments Off on Lacewing and Slime Mold · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,


Yeah…um…I had a good old time today photographing assorted stuff with the new camera while I was doing lawn work. ¬†First of all, this lacewing has been sitting all day on our door from the garage into the house.

I’m starting to dabble a little with the post-processing that iPhoto offers. ¬†Dave has numerous other options in his Paintshop Elements but I haven’t used that at all. ¬†The lacewing pictured here is simply my hitting the “Enhance” button.

The next picture is of some “slime mold” that’s been in spots all over my front lawn, due to the volumes of rain we’ve been getting. ¬†Sunday was a really nice day, the family got to visit the beach. ¬†It was the first day in over a week that thunderstorms didn’t chase us indoors. ¬†As a consequence, though, my lawn is covered in mushrooms, dead spots due to grass root rot and this spotted moldiness. ¬†Click in the link in the caption below to learn more about this stuff. ¬†There’s nothing I can do about it but let it run its course.

I fiddled with the more fine tuning features in iPhoto to make this picture greener than the original picture.

Learn more about grass slime mold through this Ohio State Extension service flyer.

12. August 2012 · Comments Off on Our New Toy… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This was with the 200mm telephoto lens from about 15′ away. Love it!

This past week was Dave’s and my 17th anniversary. Because Dave’s birthday is the same week as our anniversary, he took the day off between the two special events and we had a nice day together. We took the kids on one more trip to the Pensacola MESS Hall, and then after lunch at Cajun Specialty Meats, we visited the NAS Pensacola Naval Exchange (NEX)¬†to browse the DSLR cameras.

We had been wanting a new camera for a very long time.¬†We’d been accustomed to much-smaller point-and-shoot cameras, such as the Canon SD1200 Digital ELPH and the Nikon Coolpix S210. Between the higher-quality photography I require for my GeekMom blog posts, and Dave’s invitation to be part of Kalmbach Publishing’s Great Model Railroads special issue of Model Railroader magazine, we need something better.

We did our research — Dave asked advice of his fellow model railroad hobby friends, I asked my fellow GeekMom writers and consulted with my favorite photographer hobbyist: Maryann of the FotoMom blog. We weighed cost, weight, warranty, and¬†capabilities¬†for super-up-close photography and sports/action photography in our decision. We reviewed well-regarded DSLR review columns such as at Digital Photography Review.

We played for over an hour with two cameras at the NAS Pensacola NEX: the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Nikon D5100. ¬†Kissing cousins in capability, we decided on the Nikon in part due to a discounted extra lens promotion they were having. ¬†We got the camera body with the “kit” lens – 18-55mm – as well as an additional 55-200mm telephoto lens. ¬†We also bought a nice carrying bag that came with a free DSLR photography DVD. ¬†Dave and I would need it!

The following day I took the kids to the splash park at Navarre Park to play, and I had a chance to take some great photos.  Enjoy!

I love photographing water features. And kids playing in the water.

This is a single color selection feature. You use an eyedropper type of thing to pick up a single color to turn on…and all other colors on the palette are turned into greytones.

This is with only the green turned on.

The rest of the photos are of the same thing, but with the assorted settings on the camera. It was fun playing with the settings.

This is “Landscape” setting. Not noticeably different.

Black and White.

Silhouette, pulling out the colors in the background more.



Color sketch. So it looks like a drawing, I guess.

I don’t remember the settings of these last two…I *think* this is the “Miniature” setting, but I do notice the blurriness on the edges…sharpness in the center.

Definitely don’t remember this setting…


20. May 2012 · Comments Off on Nebraska Discoveries 21*: The Keystone Trail in Bellevue · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,

* I plan to renumber/redesignate my Nebraska-sightseeing-related blog posts into something more mangeable for search engines. Stay tuned, if you subscribe via RSS you might get inundated with updates. I’m not changing the text of the posts, just the titles and tagging.

The Keystone Trail parallels Papio Creek in Bellevue.

On Friday I took a short run on one of eastern Nebraska’s awesome running trails: The Keystone Trail. ¬†I used to run on this trail a LOT when we were living in Nebraska, and I’ve written previously about the great views it gave us of the Offutt Air Show in 2008. ¬†This is how I did my 10K and 1/2 marathon training when I lived in the area.

From where I’m staying in Bellevue for my reserve work right now, it was about a 1/2 mile run to a trailhead off Capehart Rd. ¬†It was so easy. ¬†So I set my Nike+ for a 5K run and ran out 1.5 miles or so on the trail. ¬†On the return trip, once my Nike+ told me I had run 5K, I stopped to enjoy the views. ¬†I could take some pictures too.

The markers are approximately every tenth of a mile. They are a bit misleading on this marker: the "K" is for "Keystone" and not "kilometer". The numbers posted are miles.

More »

06. May 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 22: NYSA Baseball · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday was one of the baseball-iest days I’d ever experienced. ¬†Each of the boys had their own baseball games during the day, then we headed out to Pensacola and enjoyed seeing our new local AA minor league baseball team, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, in their brand new stadium right on Pensacola Bay! ¬†More on the Blue Wahoos later.

Our boys here play for Navarre Youth Sports Association’s baseball league. ¬†As is typical in Florida, they’re serious about sports here. ¬†And they start those boys EARLY! ¬†Our own sons had never played baseball until we moved here, and it turns out there are several hundred boys playing baseball here, and several hundred more playing soccer in the same club. ¬†And come this fall, ALL those boys (except my two) are playing football.

In this particular club (and I’m not sure who the national level organization is that this club now follows — last year it was Dizzy Dean, but this year it isn’t) the boys’ teams are simply named after the coach’s favorite major league team. ¬†Last year Jacob was on the White Sox, this year he’s on the Tigers. ¬†His current coach is indeed from eastern Michigan. ¬†Timmy is on the Braves and he couldn’t be more excited about that.

I captured some pretty good pictures of the boys at their games yesterday. ¬†They’re both respectfully among the youngest on their teams, and this is Timmy’s first year playing baseball. ¬†It’s remarkable seeing their skills develop over the course of the season!

When my boys' teams are the "visitors" here, I'm sitting on the side that gives me a good view of the batter. Here's Timmy hitting a foul ball. He's become a VERY good hitter this season...

Two hours later, we were at Jacob's game. I haven't taken many pictures this season because I always fear I'm going to miss something while looking at the screen on the back of the camera. And in this case, I took this picture right before he hit this ball for a single! Do you see the ball in motion? It's hovering between the third baseman and the shortstop.

More »

**This doesn’t mean I want another baby. ¬†It’s just nice to look back on my boys’ super-dooper cute baby pictures!

Today a fellow Air Force spouse friend posted pictures of her daughter on Facebook — portraits taken at the beach just after her first birthday. ¬†There were some family portraits also. ¬†In one of the pictures, the photographer did some really nice post-processing that really brought out the blue in her eyes.

Since the family will be moving away from the beach this summer, they were glad to get a nice portrait session before leaving.

Seeing the baby with her big blue eyes brought back memories of when Timmy had blue eyes. ¬†Which was up through his first birthday — then they turned hazel.

Timmy was about 10 months old here, we were visiting Dave's parents on Long Island for Thanksgiving in 2005. The sun was shining brightly so his irises were HUGE!

And because I can’t put up a cute picture of one of my babies without giving props to the other, here’s one of my favorites of Jacob.

April 2003. Jacob was about 7 months old and this was his first trip to the local pool.

Enjoy the boys’ Spring school portraits. ¬†I opted for the CD with a large digital copy this year. ¬†Grandparents, I’ll be printing some up for you, I promise!

The boys go to different schools so their sessions were on different days, but I tried hard to put them in complimentary outfits and chose the same background.  It turned out really well.

Relatives: click each image and a new website should appear with the full picture, suitable for download and printing.

My handsome Timmy! There's dirt on his nose. Typical.

My handsome Jacob!