Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pic 177 Oh what a tangled web we weave...

I think this shot is pretty awesome!  Not just ONE spider web that you can actually see, but TWO! 
exif :  1/125 sec, f6.3, ISO 800, 200mm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pic 176 Clouds

Is it weird that I spent a whole week in a foreign country and this is my fave picture from the trip???
I don't feel like I had a ton of time for picture taking, or that there was a whole lot to our trip besides hotels and busses, but this picture from the trip home is really gorgeous.
I've got all of my memory cards edited now.  I think I have a few ok shots, but I'm mostly dissapointed.  I did fill out the evaluation of the tour yesterday and let them have it pretty hard.  I don't think I've ever used the words RIDICULOUS, WASTE OF TIME,  and RUSHED so often in a student tour evaluation.  I'm sure it won't mean anything to them.  After looking up their facebook page, it seems like every single teacher in the last few years rates them with a one star out of five. Ugh.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pics 170-175 Long overdue

This post is a little overdue...I feel like I've been asleep this entire week, because I have! 
It started on Tuesday with a very stressful day at the airport, almost missing the flight home and then being so wiped out that I couldn't stay awake the whole way home.  At the airport, I was getting the beginning of the illness that would wipe out the rest of my week, Wednesday I couldn't barely get out of bed at all {except to make bathroom trips}, Thursday I DIDN'T get out of bed at all except bathroom trips and a trip with my friend PB to the Muny {where I began to get very nauseated during the show and fell asleep in the car on the way home...sorry P!}, Friday found me a little better and although the stomach issues were a little better, I still took a 4 hour nap so that I could muster up enough energy to go to P's house and then I came home and slept again.  Saturday found me ok enough to try to eat a grilled cheese sandwich and make it to my nephew's party.  So, between Wednesday and today, Sunday, I've eaten a bowl of ramen noodles and a grilled cheese sandwich. 
I woke up this morning and felt a little hungry, so I've just tried some toast.  As of last night, the grilled cheese sandwich came out, um, let's say "quickly", so hopefully the toast won't be giving me troubles in a little while.
OK, enough about my woes.   I owe some pictures.  Here are numbers 170-175.  I'm still not finished editing 3 more cards, so I have a lot more work to do. 

Toucan Sam sitting above the canals in Tortuguero:

A little cutie pie walking along in village of Tortuguero:

One of the gigantoid grasshoppers we saw at Hotel Ilan Ilan:
IMG_0856 - Copy

Rainwater collecting to give the hotel water for showers {I'm pretty sure that's what we showered in...these were all over the hotel and the hot water wasn't too easy to find}

I love these cows' ears! Aren't they awesome?

Banana trees. The bags are on the bunches of bananas because anything that hits them will make them bruise- a leaf, a bug, etc and they aren't supposed to get "too wet" either.

Monday, June 20, 2011

168 & 169 Some more pics


Arenal Volcano

landscape 2

Beautiful view of the landscape

rana 10

Frogs that mate for 2 weeks straight- she hops around with him on her...

rana 9

I love little frogs!

rana 8

You can see his little heart beating and his insides!

rana 4

I like this angle!


These little guys are my fave!

leaf cutters

Leaf cutter ants- they must be strong!!!

Finally a good day!  The kids got to do the ziplining and horseback riding and had a decent hotel last night!  It was sweet that they made me a card and bought me a jewelry set from them.  One girl bought me a pina colada...that kind of freaks me out a little, but I just left it sit on the table because of course, we're responsible for them.  At least they wouldn't serve her alcohol- they let her order it for me and then they brought it directly to me and said they wouldn't charge for it since it was my birthday. 

My body aches- it is screaming in pain from all of this activity.  I can definitely tell I'm 39.  I think I'll let some of the other teachers plan the next trip!  I think my ideal vacations now must not be going on hikes and being active, I just want to sit on a beach with a drink and watch the world go by. 

One more year until the big 4-0.  That is scaring me to death.  I feel like I've reached some weird point in life where I'm on the downside of the mountain.  I probably am more than halfway, but somehow this year seems like I'm going down the mountain instead of standing on top of it.  I guess it's because right now I feel so exhausted.  Oh well, here's to another 40.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pics 165, 166, 167 Next round

Well, I will never use Explorica again. I'm not happy with our tour guide, he keeps on changing things and things that were listed in the itinerary are "out of season" or "not really like that". I'm not a happy camper where that's concerned.

I have seen some beautiful things, I caught a picture of my beloved poison dart frog (this one is the strawberry one, I hope I see a blue jean one). My Spanish hasn't deteriorated as much as I had feared and I had a wonderful chat on a couple of occasions with Lily, one of the local guides.

This has been the most frustrating experience I've ever had on a trip. Hopefully the next couple of days will get better and we'll end with some great fun.

I miss you all at home and wish I could have bundled you up with me to take along.
I'm grieving for P and wish that I could change things for her.
I miss my kiddos. I am having a lot of fun with Jeannie and Don- they're cracking me up just nonstop.

Off to kayaking today {wish me luck- I'm a little freaked out about that}
And then another 4 hour bus ride. Ugh. I'm ready for home.



la fortuna

purple grasshopper



Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 160/365 Lightning strikes!

I'm soooooo excited that I finally got a lightning shot!
Tonight is perfect for these kinds of shots- lots of lightning shooting around the sky, but fortunately, still dry.
To get this shot, I used a tripod and the shutter release cable.  I placed the shutter speed on "bulb" and just kept clicking and holding down the cable for approximately 10-35 seconds hoping to catch a good shot.  I did catch several nice lightning streaks- these two were the best.

EXIF: 32 seconds, f5, 18mm, ISO 400

EXIF: 12 seconds,f5, 18mm, ISO 400
lightning 2

Day 159/365 Forgotten photos

So after trying to clear off some memory cards to get ready for my trip, it seems that I forgot some pictures that were on a secondary file...how could I???
These are some more pics of Chicago- eating hot dogs and some buildings with the Chicago flags in front of them.

paige and the hot dog

joi and the hot dog

chicago towers

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 158 The baby bird

This afternoon Stephen walked out the door to go to his friend's house and I heard a big commotion with a ton of squawking birds.  They didn't sound happy.
He ran back inside and said there were a bunch of birds trying to attack him outside.  I went and got my camera...what did you think I would do?
A baby bird had fallen out of a nest and evidently wasn't quite ready to fly yet and the mama bird was trying to protect it.  I got one shot and yes, the birds were trying to attack us.  It was pretty comical and sad at the same time. 
I showed Rich and he went out to try to help the baby back up in the tree.

baby bird

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 157 Using texture

IMG_0344 bwtexture
I like the pic, but I'm not sure about my processing.  Is it missing something?  Is it too much?  Not sure, but I don't think it's quite right.
EXIF: 1/200 sec, 50mm, ISO 200, f1.8, flash fired.
In Photoshop, I first fixed blemishes with the healing tool.  Then I played with the levels until I got it where I wanted it.  Levels has become my new favorite tool on Photoshop.  It helps so much!
After that, I desaturated the picture and then adjusted the shadows and highlights.  I was satisfied with the picture after adjusting the contrast a little to make it pop.  I thought it was time I should try out a texture because I wanted to make the bricks a little "dirtier".
I downloaded a bunch of free textures {Baking With Mom Ethereal Textures} from the Coffee Shop Blog {one of my favorite sites ever!} and decided to try out "foamy chocolate". 
First I made a duplicate layer from my original layer so I could put the texture on the whole layer.  Added the layer by copying and pasting it, and then erased the texture from the people in the picture.  It was kind of like those trick photography shots I've tried, but I was using it for a portrait instead of making an orange fly...
Anyway, I am going to have to let this one rest for tonight and maybe after a fresh view in the morning I'll know what I should do.  Sometimes when I've stared at a picture for too long my brain goes numb.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 157 senior shots

EXIF info: 1/160 sec, ISO 800, 50mm, f 7.1

I had a senior picture shoot today with Zoe and Keylon.  Zoe was a Student Council member of mine.  She never did senior pics and neither did her boyfriend Keylon, so today they asked me to take them out to do a senior shoot. They're getting ready to go to college in Florida together and are having a going away party later this summer.  They needed some pics of them together for the party announcement.
This is just the first picture that I've edited from their set.  I think it may be one of my favorites from today.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 156 New phone!

I'm pretty excited to finally join 2011 and have a smartphone.  This little android baby is my early birthday present.  My upgrade was due and I've long hated the LG Tritan that I got the last time. 
Yes, I could get on the internet with it, yes I could check email, facebook, text my heart out, etc.  But it was SLOW....SLOWWWWWWW. 
This is an Android phone and I have the Android market on this, so I'm adding apps all over the place. Fun!
I check email and facebook and I can watch youtube videos and I can see pictures and the camcorder takes HD video and 5mp pictures!  Yahoo!  It's pretty fast compared to my last phone.  Cool.
Happy early birthday to me! I gotta get my tech fix every once in a while.
Please read 2 more new posts after this one.  I'm in catch-up mode.

Day 155 Necessities for the trip

Alright.  We all know I'm not such a "girly girl".  I've started to get ready to pack for the trip to Costa Rica.  What is one thing that I always go get before my trips to hot foreign countries???  Men's v-neck tshirts.
Yessirreee Bob, men's tshirts.  Now, you may not think about this as being an essential item if you are a female, but in my world, these babies are a huge save.  First, they come tightly packed  as you can see above.  Then, after they are dirty {and in Costa Rica they WILL get dirty} I will use them to wrap up my souvenirs for the return trip home or throw them away to make room for more souvenirs. 
Everybody thinks I'm nuts for doing this, but I find it a useful tool for travel.
I also pack these little bottles of toiletries that I do not care about.  My hair might not look the finest on the trip, but in a rainforest where I'm hot as hell and sweating all over the place, that is not going to be important to me at all.  I can also pitch these if they last through the whole trip.
The band-aids are self explanatory. I or someone else will need these on the trip.
Jeez.  7 more days. 

Day 154 Ines of My Soul

I've just finished my first book of the summer, Ines of my Soul by Isabel Allende.  I really love Allende's work and this book is no exception.  It tells the story of Ines Suarez, a woman who was Pedro Valdivia's mistress and they both founded Santiago, Chile.  Evidently, the story is based on fact and I learned a lot from this book.
I didn't really know a lot about Chile before except for I've seen breathtaking pictures and knew that I want to visit one day.  Now, thanks to this book, it seems really interesting and something that I have to add to the bucket list.  I really suggest you check it out- along with any of Allende's other work too.


I am behind again on this blog.  It's not because of boredom or the fact that I don't have time to take pictures right now.  I have been sick.  This cold or flu is really kicking me in the butt.  I have days where I'm OK, but then yesterday, I went to one store and had to go back home and took a 3 hour nap because it exhausted me so much!  I hope that next week at this time I'm over this or Costa Rica is going to be really hard for me to get through. ugh.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Mosaic- see post under for june 2

may 2011

Day 153 Finishing up the walk

So here are the pictures that I took on the second half of the excursion that Mendy and I went on yesterday. I don't think I was up to full "photographic par" yesterday from feeling bad and being sunburned, so try to excuse the lack of interesting pics.

A hinge- Oh how I wish I had my macro lens on for this baby!

A view of the walkway in "The Gardens" at SIUE.  Some French guy has already left a comment on this about how marvelous this pic is.   I'm not seeing it, but "C'est la vie!"

A very colorful old barn.  Cool.

I loved this chain hanging down .  Once again, the macro lens would have come in handy!

Some very tall trees.  I love looking up at trees.

Can you see the spider?
rock with spider

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 152 See below for another post

So this is the second post today trying to get caught up from yesterday. I was sick yesterday and barely got up out of the bed. I felt better today and managed to get the lamp from IKEA finished and went out into the pool for a while and now I'm burned. I can tell I'm still not totally well because I'm completely wiped out.
Since I was up and about, Mendy and I went to take some pictures tonight. First, she took me to "The Barns", a place she knew of in {ummm...where were we again???}. These were some cool old barns with a lot of history. Pics for Day 152 are some pics from the Barns. I'll have more to show tomorrow from the second half of shooting pictures. I'm just too tired to edit them right now.