WFMW – Photography Lessons

Doesn't work for meLest the title of this blog mislead readers, I should inform you that this week at Rocks in My Dryer, Shannon is hosting What DOESN’T Work for Me. Hearing the week’s theme, I hemmed and hawed, trying to think of something to post. Obviously my life is too full of glorious success stories to come up with something that doesn’t work. I was completely stumped.

Or maybe the list of possibilities was just too long.
And pathetic.

Dying houseplants, lawn full of weeds, eternally messy home (bless it’s heart and hearth), arguing children, jeans fitting a little too snugly, cereal for dinner (again).

It was all a bit depressing. Plus, who wants to read about those dreadful topics? I decided to forget the Works for Me Wednesday post and instead download the day’s pictures. As I scrolled through my shots, I immediately recognized the subject for the day’s post.

what's going on here?

That fancy aperture setting didn’t quite capture the “look” I was going for.


More specifically, self-taught photography. Tim bought me a wonderful camera for Christmas, the Nikon D40X. It’s a digital SLR, comes with two lenses and takes incredible pictures.

a little dark, isn't it?

Great pictures unless you try to mess with the manual settings and end up in the dark.

If only I could figure out how to use it. Beyond my two favorite settings, that is – auto and flash off. Yep, I end up taking most of my pictures either in auto mode (which tends to mean “flash”) and flash off (for my outside, brighter lit pictures).

Today I pulled out my Nikon D40/D40x Digital Field Guide by David D. Busch. It’s a beautiful book with full-color illustrations, detailed instructions and chapters full of information.

this is a cool book

I still don’t get it. I get lost in ISO settings, aperture and f/stops. Oh, I understand the concepts, it’s the application that trip me. Undeterred by past failures (I’m nothing if not an optimist – it usually Works For Me. Har, har.)

I went outside, book in one hand, tripod in the other and my camera around my neck. I tried, really I did, to change my settings and experiment with the manual features.

david gives me

Even this picture taken on the Children setting looks a bit ‘off’ to me.

It wasn’t pretty. I guess, until I can get some professional help (HEY, I heard that snort!), I’ll stick to my basic settings and continue my study of Photoshop. A little photo-editing goes a LONG way.

If this exercise in voyeuristic failure viewing appealed to your dark sense of humor, please by all means, visit Rocks in My Dryer and check out what else doesn’t work for people.

Project 366 – Day 127

Share or follow

Related posts:

Heading for Norway!

My babies are leaving for Norway. Gasp! I’m not ready. I’m not prepared. I’m not packed. I’m not going. Hey, there’s something wrong with this picture!

get him, Sarah!

Sarah is going to miss her big brother!

I probably shouldn’t call them babies. At ages 12 and 14, they might not exactly appreciate it. Or truly resemble the epithet. Still, to a mother it doesn’t seem to matter the age (or height and shoe size, which in Joshua’s case are considerable) of the child, in a flicker of an eye lash they are in diapers again.

my oldest darling daughter

And much too young to be flying to Norway!

Tim’s parents promise me they will take good care of my precious children during their weeks abroad. They say reassuring things like, “We’ll be all together. We won’t let anything happen to them. It will be an adventure.”

It’s that last part that scares me. How do parents let their children grow up? How do they let them try out new things and brave new frontiers? What about the ones who want to be missionaries in foreign lands or even go to college in another state?

These are big steps for some of us parents.

who needs nature when you've got a good book

The best way to spend a nature walk is with a good book in hand.

So, if you happen to think of me tomorrow (or over the next few weeks) say a prayer for my babies and give your own a little hug and kiss.

Project 366 – Day 126

Share or follow

Related posts:

Captain America, Held for Ransom

We had dinner tonight at our pastor’s home, farewelling one of our elders (and his family) who is moving away. We talked of many things, enjoyed a delicious meal, and prayed over the family. It was a lovely evening, albeit bittersweet.

I had occasion to speak with one of my friends about many silly things, including this icebreaker personality question:

“If you had to smell like a vegetable, which would you choose?”

Loyal to my recent horticultural efforts, I chose the tomato (yes, I know that some misguided folk think the tomato is a fruit, in defiance of the Supreme Court*), while Kathy chose pumpkin. Other interesting choices were rhubarb and celery — I’m not sure what that reveals about the personalities who chose those vegetables, but it can’t be good.

Thumbs Up for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
Captain America tries to put a good face on it, but you can see he’s one cigarette from a firing squad.

As our discourse wandered, my friend admitted that his obsessive-compulsive nature extends its tentacles deeply into his life. Observing a Super Heroes game that his son brought to the party, he confided that, in the unhappy event that one of the game pieces were lost, he would have to throw away the whole game, since any replacement pieces would not fully match.

Naturally, I spent the rest of the evening stealing pieces and hiding them about my person. I managed to leave the party with Captain America still in my possession.

Captain America meets an accident
Don’t make us get rough …

So, Mr. L, if you ever want to see the good Captain back in his box, both halves attached properly, please leave a jar of Nutella in the Church Library, behind the Veggie Tales videos.

Project 365, Day 124

*The U.S. Supreme Court settled the controversy in 1893 by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)).

Share or follow

Related posts:

Urgent Care

After living in ‘the city’ for more than three years, we have finally arrived at an important milestone: we made our first visit to the local Urgent Care. You’d think with five children (some of whom view gravity as more of a guideline than a law), we’d be racking up “frequent-wounder” miles.

Don’t get me wrong — we have not neglected our responsibility to patronize the local health-care establishments and home care systems like the Home Care Assistance in West Chester. Both Joshua and Daniel have spent time in the hospital for appendicitis; indeed, Daniel spent 7 full days in the hospital, racking up huge medical bills (hooray for medical insurance!). Even little Sarah started us off in this community with a scary emergency and hospital stay. For some reason, though, we’ve never brought our custom to the local Urgent Care branch.

Wounded Daniel
Daniel was very brave, and hardly said more than ‘ouch’ during the whole process.

“We’ve had a bit of an injury,” Kathy told me. Her voice was guarded as she called me from the van, sounding as though she was pretty worried but didn’t want to scare me.

“Really? How bad? Who was hurt?” For some reason I’m a little scared of dental injuries — I imagined some child with a half-broken teeth who would now require porcelain crowns austin to get a good smile again. Thankfully it wasn’t that.

“It is Daniel. He was crawling through the bushes and poked himself with some kind of stick; there’s something weird sticking out of the wound.”

All Bandaged Up
It is nice to have our boy all patched up.

We agreed that she should finish driving home from the play date, and that I would take Daniel to Urgent Care if the wound merited such attention. Looking at it in the driveway, my heart sank — although not a large wound, it seemed to stretch open rather stubbornly. I didn’t think I could get it to close with a butterfly bandaid (assuming we could find one). Besides, what was that yellowish stuff poking out of the wound? Our insurance copay is $100 for an emergency room visit, but only $30 for an Urgent Care visit. Now that we’re on the budget, there’s no point in being all snooty — off to Urgent Care we went.

David came along for the fun, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Two hours later, they finally looked at Daniel’s leg.

“It’ll need stitches,” opined the nurse. She got out some supplies and we waited for the doctor to make his appearance. I must admit, I was worried. What kind of doctor works at this kind of clinic?

Puncture Wound
The problem with puncture wounds is that you’re never really sure how deep they are.

I guess I needn’t have worried. The doctor who finally stitched Daniel up was a kindly old gentleman with an excellent bedside manner. “That’s just subcutaneous fat,” he assured me, pointing at the extrusion in Daniel’s wound. He stuffed it all back in and applied 8 or 10 stitches with expert precision. We hobbled out to the car with a roll of surgical tape and some extra dressings, good value for our $30.

Project 366, Day 123

Share or follow

Related posts:

The Budget Continues

It’s May first!! I can breathe a sigh of relief and close out April’s obsessive detailed budget spreadsheet. Thank goodness that month is over. I was counting down the days there at the end.

“Must make it to the 30th. Don’t go to the store. Don’t buy anything. The new month is coming.”

It was rather intense there at the end. Ah, on to May.

daniel's outfit

Proving that I don’t learn from my mistakes, I managed to spend the kids’ entire clothing budget on two items.

On the first day of the month. And went over by $5.

daniel and jj

Of course, checking out Daniel’s outfit, perhaps I should have spent a little more. Well, only 30 days left to go in May.


Project 366 – Day 122

Share or follow

Related posts: