Once in a Blue Moon
Wow, how can it be the eve of yet another new year? What’s in store for 2010 (I’m going to call it “twenty-ten” instead of “two thousand and ten” – less syllables – simpler)? I’m hoping for more fun and adventures, with a heavy dose of family angst as the kiddos transition more into their adolescence years. I finished up Project 365, and plan to dive straight into Project 365 – Volume 2. This year, I’ll allow myself some latitude and I may miss a day here and there, but my general goal will be to continue growing in the photographic documentation of our little lives out here on the prairie.
I also plan to participate in Weekly Gratitude and add in a monthly (maybe even weekly) photo mosaic. I may scale back on my monthly 12 on 12 (maybe move it to a 8 on 8). We’ll just play it by ear.
And what about my One Word for 2010? My One Word in 2009 was “Balance” and I still contend it is a very appropriate word in our busy, hectic lives. For 2010, I seriously considered “Focus”, after all, Focus allows one to see clearly, adds discipline and order. But I realize I already have “Balance” and “Focus”, and I what I really need to do is “Relax” more. There, I said it. Relax. Chill. Stop Stressing over stuff. I think I’ll be happier for it, and the entire family, too.
So look for some additional ramblings and more pictures. If I miss a day here or there, it's because I'll trying to "Relax". Best wishes for a prosperous New Year!
Once in a Blue Moon
This time last year, I created this blog as a vehicle for my 2009 Project 365 photographic journey. I set out at the beginning of 2009 to document each day with a photo, posted to this blog. After two short months, I realized these Project 365 images were better suited for my personal blog (whose content had become rather sparse during these months) and Behind The Lens became a repository for what I considered to be more creative, focused on technique and post processing. I may not have posted every day, but came pretty close, and as a result, just about doubled the images I originally sought to capture in 2009.
As 2009 comes to a close and as I complete my Project 365 collection, I’ve decided to continue taking daily images, in essence, starting a new Volume of Project 365 (Volume 2, the Year 2010). The every day captures will continue to be posted at my personal blog. For Behind The Lens, I will continue to take pictures, using a more themed approach:
- Best Shot Monday
- Morning Captures
- SOOC Saturday
- Table Views
- Weekly Photography Theme from 2Peas
- HDR Processing
- Use Mirror Lock Up
- Use the BULB shutter release mode
- Read through The Complete Guide to the D300 by Thom Hogan
- Continue to learn and apply new Post Processing techniques
But 2009 has been a tremendous year. I took over 6000 pictures and posted 1275 to my flickr account. I upgraded my camera body. I learned how to use textures, layer masks, blended exposures, adjustment layers, and a host of other techniques I can’t remember. I doubt I would have learned and grown so much if I hadn’t embarked on this Project 365 – thing, and I recommend it to anyone wishing to improve their photographic skills. Really. Just get out there and take pictures!
I wish everyone a wonderful, prosperous 2010!
The kids built a big snowman this evening and banned me from taking pictures. So I took pictures of the cat instead.
She didn't stay outside very long. Unlike Hannah, Rascal ventures out into the cold every now and then.
Woke up this morning to single digit temperatures! But, as a result of the sudden cold temperatures, a beautiful, glistening frost covered everything left outside. Driving to work was like driving through a crystalline world.
I tried to capture some of that on the road - can you see the mist rising from the water in the retention ditches?
I should have stopped by the large pond off my normal exit to work. But I took another exit today due to road conditions. Next time, I will stop!
Wow, and today marks the 365th day of my daily photos. I don't think I'll stop just yet - I need to finish out the year at least!
One of the nice things about going away for the holidays - you come home to a big collection of greeting cards from faraway friends. What fun we had opening all of them and seeing how much our friends have changed since last year.
[And you'll have to pardon that family all decked out in Michigan State Green - sometimes our friends are too crazy!]
[Yeah, we love you Dave and Dawn!!]
We traveled back to Illinois this morning, transitioning from the warm, sunny, green Florida landscape to falling snow. All in three hours.
We welcomed the snow, as we had a second wave of Christmas gifts waiting for us at home.
A white Christmas after all!
I spotted this guy on the lamp post towards the end of my morning run. The light overlooks a swampy stream (maybe they even call it a slough here, too) that runs under the road bridge, a block away from my parents' house.
About 5 minutes later, another one flew to the opposite side of the street. Scouting the waters below for a little bit of breakfast, I bet!
Other things we did today - My mother and I took Brian to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks - The Squeakquel". Cute and not too annoying. Then dinner out at the Bonefish Grill. We head back to the snowy midwest tomorrow.
We enjoyed our non-traditional Christmas celebration. No traditional tree, but a ficus tree, with presents underneath:
No snow, and we even spent some time in the pool:
But it's the people who make Christmas special - especially family.
Hey, you even get a picture of me and my mom (taken by Erica).
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!
We departed the cruise ship this morning, rented a car and drove 4 hours to my parent's winter home near Fort Myers. The kids went swimming right away (even in the unheated pool).
My mother cooked up her usual feast of shrimp, noodles, beef and broccoli (as if we really needed any more food!).
After dinner, we played a game of "Truth or Dare". The kids downloaded this game to the iTouch / iPhone, and it is relatively tame, and some of the dares are downright silly. Case in point - Scott's dare was to wear an item given by each player.
Hence the jewelry, glasses and other items. Sometimes going with "Truth" is just easier.
Our final full day on the cruise - a beautiful, warm and sunny [yes!] day.
We started our day learning how to make the towel creations our room steward has been leaving in our room in the evenings:
We even bought the instruction book, and Brian has been making all sorts of creatures ever since.
But we all took a break from the towel rolling to spend some time in the sun and ride the water slides (and that water was cold!)
And a game of Bingo (didn't win, but it was fun)
Overall, a nice way to end the cruise.
I remember when fiber optic lights were popular in the late 80's / early 90's. Our ship, originally built in 1993, still has a section of these lights, strung to look like cascading flowers.
The neon looking lights adorn the Atrium area. Glitzy.
Our time in Nassau included a Dolphin encounter at the Altantis resort and some time exploring the beach. I'll have the pictures from our Dolphin encounter posted in a separate post.
Again, the sun and super warm temperatures alluded us again, but we still enjoyed the beautiful Cove beach.
The high wind and surf meant no swimming at Cove Beach, but the surf was lower on Paradise beach which allowed us to run in the water.
Back in the Downtown section of Nassau, Erica had her hair braided while Scott and Fay shopped in the straw market.
The rains came in late afternoon, but we didn't mind. Something about being in the Bahamas makes you relax!
In the spirit of Christmas, a pair of red and green scooters.
And I won't be riding any of these two wheeled contraptions - I crashed one when we visited St. Barts back in 1990.
We took a ferry from Atlantis back to Downtown. The ferry was as weathered as the sign.
Pretty shells for sale
The street artist hangs out, even in the rain
Expecting beach pictures? If you want to see beach pictures, head over to my personal blog.
In Freeport, we went horse riding through the pine forest, the lush botanical forest and then on to the beach and even in the ocean. I didn't take my camera due to the potential exposure to salt water, subsequently, no pictures. I just enjoyed the ride and scenery.
After horse riding and lunch, we had just a short amount of time to explore Lucaya beach. The cool temperatures meant the beaches were sparsely occupied, but we enjoyed the clear azure water and white sand beach.
A sunny yet crisp (only 50degF!) day, we boarded the Carnival Sensation in the afternoon, marveled at the huge atrium in the middle of the ship and went in search of our cabin. Our first thoughts - where are we all going to sleep in this tiny cabin?? I was skeptical. But Scott assured us it would be OK, so we left to explore the rest of the ship. [after all, you don't spend any time in your cabin on a cruise]
Mini Golf on the top deck:
Grandma was hoping for a hole in one:
We set sail as the sun set:
After dinner, we found our cabin with the beds let down and the kids declared - "This is so cozy - we love our room!".
Tomorrow - Freeport, Bahamas!
We were fortunate not to be flying towards the big snowy mess in the Northeast. Instead, we headed South to Florida, the start of our warm Christmas vacation.
Our first stop - the Indianapolis airport, where Erica texted her friends and Brian made new friends waiting for our [slightly] delayed flight to Orlando.
We arrived in Cape Canaveral in time for dinner and a dip in the outdoor pool. Hey, it's heated so the kids didn't mind.
Our suite included a whirlpool tub, so the kids enjoyed a huge bubble bath after tiring of the pool. I don't think they understand that a little bath gel goes a long way!
Tomorrow, we'll be transported to Port Canaveral where we'll board our cruise ship headed for the Bahamas!