Wrapping up 2009, Moving into 2010

Once in a Blue Moon
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!

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367/365 - New Year's Snowman

Here's the man of the year - the snowman Erica and Brian built yesterday. He'll be sticking around to see the start of the New Year.

Snow Friend

Good Afternoon

To all who read my ramblings - I wish you a wonderful New Year!

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2009 Wrap

Once in a Blue Moon
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
I’ve also set some technical goals I want to achieve this year:
  • 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
Maybe I'll purchase some new gear - I've had my eye on a Lensbaby Composer and a compact Canon S90. Unfortunately, these purchases may have to follow a lens repair, as I'm fairly certain my 70-300 VR lens has some focusing issues. I probably need to buy a bigger camera bag too, I think I may have knocked my lenses around too much in my smallish bag. Oh, well....

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!

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POTD - Rainbow on the Ground

Courtesy of an oil slick in the parking lot.

Rainbow Oil Slick

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366/365 - Rascal in the Snow

The kids built a big snowman this evening and banned me from taking pictures. So I took pictures of the cat instead.

Rascal in The Snow
She didn't stay outside very long. Unlike Hannah, Rascal ventures out into the cold every now and then.

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365/365 - Sudden Chill

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?
Sudden Chill

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!

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364/365 - Card Collection

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.

Card Collection

[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!!]

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POTD - Transition

From the warm, green South:

Green in the Morning

To the snowy Midwest:
Snow in the Afternoon

Over the course of 3 hours, thanks to air travel.
The cold was a bit of a shock to the system, but we'll adjust.

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363/365 - Second Christmas

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.
Show Me the Presents

Open Gifts

A white Christmas after all!

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POTD - Hawk

Thankful for a long lens with VR this morning. Shot at 300mm.

Pretty much SOOC except for the cropping and a slight lighten. It would be nice if he wasn't sitting with his back to the sun.

Regal

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362/365 - Wildlife in the 'Hood

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.

Likes the Lamp Post Perch

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!
Scouting for Breakfast

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.

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361/365 - Green Christmas

We enjoyed our non-traditional Christmas celebration. No traditional tree, but a ficus tree, with presents underneath:

Presents Under the Tree

No snow, and we even spent some time in the pool:
Christmas Swim Opportunity

But it's the people who make Christmas special - especially family.
LaoLao and LaoYeh

Hey, you even get a picture of me and my mom (taken by Erica).
Mother and Daughter

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

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360/365 - Christmas Eve

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!).

Mom's Signature Dishes

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.
Truth or Dare Silliness
Hence the jewelry, glasses and other items. Sometimes going with "Truth" is just easier.

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359/365 - Day at Sea

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:

Towel Animals

We even bought the instruction book, and Brian has been making all sorts of creatures ever since.
Our Towel Creation

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!)
Water Works Slide
Water Works fun

And a game of Bingo (didn't win, but it was fun)
Bingo

Overall, a nice way to end the cruise.

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POTD - Fiber and Neon

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.

Showers of Light

The neon looking lights adorn the Atrium area. Glitzy.
Curves of Light

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358/365 - Nassau Beaches

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.

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.

Against the Rip Tide

Back in the Downtown section of Nassau, Erica had her hair braided while Scott and Fay shopped in the straw market.
Braiding

The rains came in late afternoon, but we didn't mind. Something about being in the Bahamas makes you relax!

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POTD - City Scenes in Nassau

In the spirit of Christmas, a pair of red and green scooters.
Christmassy 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.
Weathered

Pretty shells for sale
For Sale

The street artist hangs out, even in the rain
Starving Artist

Expecting beach pictures? If you want to see beach pictures, head over to my personal blog.

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357/365 - Clear Water

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.

Sea of Blue

Water's Edge

Running Along

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POTD - Freeport, Grand Bahamas

Approaching the port as the sun rises:
Approaching Sunrise

The "official" beer of Freeport, spotted at lunch [not ours]. It looked refreshing, but it was too cold to be drinking beer.
Official Beer of Freeport

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356/365 - Board and Set Sail

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:
Chip It In

Grandma was hoping for a hole in one:
Hole in One?

We set sail as the sun set:
Set Sail

After dinner, we found our cabin with the beds let down and the kids declared - "This is so cozy - we love our room!".
Spacious Cabin

Tomorrow - Freeport, Bahamas!

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POTD - Curves to Clouds

Taken on our cruise adventure to the Bahamas.
Curves

Florida Sunset

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SOOC Saturday - Snowflakes in Florida

While the snow is falling in the Northeast and Midwest, the closest thing I could find here in Florida were these pretty white flowers.

Florida Snowflakes?

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355/365 - Southerly Travels

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.
Waiting

Wait and Make New Friends

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.
Midnight Swim

Like Miami Vice?

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!
Bubble Boy

Tomorrow, we'll be transported to Port Canaveral where we'll board our cruise ship headed for the Bahamas!

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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2014). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

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