Hello Monday | In the Groove

Chillin' on This Perfect Evening #horse #stable
At the Stable - I'll Come Out And Visit You Soon

Hello New found free time | Yes, she passed and received her driver's license. Because of this, she is able to drive herself to and from the horse stable which frees up two hours of my day! I don't know what I'll do, but I'm sure I'll find some activity to fill that time.

Hello Zillow | I keep stalking the internet in hopes something decent will come up for us to buy. We are now 0-3 in the attempt to buy a condo in the Andover / North Andover area.

Hello School routines | the kids and I are getting into a better groove - bags (backpacks, baseball gear bag, etc) all packed the night before really helps.

Hello College Football | The first game of the season kicks off Saturday and both hubby and I will be in the horseshoe cheering on the home team. I just hope it's not too hot.

Hello Blast of Summer | It's going to be hot and humid this week - the hottest weather we seen since mid July. I've been watering the lawn since we've had no rain for several weeks. I guess summer decided to show up late this year!

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.


Seeing Spots on My D600

I posted yesterday about not updating the blog, citing some reasons why - but I didn't mention that I am presently without my "big camera" (the one that Hubby refers to as my third child - does anyone else get comments like that about their cameras or is it just me?).

I am without my D600 because I sent it into Nikon for what I thought would be a quick easy sensor cleaning, but unfortunately, it's more than that and I've been without it for over two weeks. So what's wrong with my "third child"?

Spots on my sensor.

For those of you who follow mainstream photo sites like dpreview or petapixel or any of the rumor sites, it is widely documented that many D600 models suffer from "dust" or oil spots on the sensor. (I'm pretty sure the spots are oil and not dust, but I've seen it posted both ways) I knew this potential issue existed when I bought my camera last November, but hey, there's risk in anything, so I took the chance that mine wouldn't be impacted.

I had over 3000 actuations on the shutter and figured my camera was in the clear until I tried to execute a star burst with a peek of setting sun, much like what I had on this photo:

Setting Sun
Taken in 2012 with the D300

This effect is achieved by setting the aperture of the lens as small as it can be, which is denoted by the f-stop setting of f/22. I normally shoot no higher than f/8 and most of my shots are between f/2.8 and f/5.6. So imagine my surprise when I saw this photo, shot with my D600 at f/22:

Oh yeah, the photo really sucks and it was a total fail on the star burst thing. Actually it's a total fail in many regards! The left edge of the photo is covered with spots - you can see them if you click on the photo and get the enlarged view. I took two other photos (they are just as bad as this one - spots notwithstanding) with similar spots.

The thing is, you cannot see them at.all at lower apertures.

I decided to contact Nikon Service (and they have been very accommodating) - per their instructions, I uploaded the photo above to their system and was instructed to send my camera in for service. I received a prepaid UPS shipping label, packed it up and sent it out. Since then, I've heard back that my camera is "awaiting spare parts", so apparently, the issue was more that just a simple sensor cleaning. The camera is still under warranty since I've owned it less than one year. I'm hoping the fix is effective and the spots don't come back. And I hope I get my camera back soon!

So.... if YOU happen to shoot with a Nikon D600, please, please, please - take some test shots at f/22. As I stated above, I could not see any spots at my normal settings, but there are plenty at f/22. For those considering buying a D600 - yes, I would buy this camera again in a heartbeat - it is a great camera. Yes, it is a pain not having my big camera around, but I'm making due.


Hello Monday | New Beginnings

The Early Bird Gets The Reward #chambana #sunrise #clouds #prairie
Beginning of A New Day - August, 2013

hello blog | sorry for the recent inactivity - between traveling, preparations for school, my daughter "borrowing" my laptop, new responsibilities and overall craziness, I just haven't had the time.

hello school | summer is officially over for the kiddos as they head back to school this week

hello DMV | hopefully, my daughter will get her license this week. I never thought I'd say this, I can't wait until she gets it! I am looking forward to not having to chauffeur her around and gaining back two additional hours of my time.

hello baseball | the first games of the season kick off this week.

hello saddle number three | I hope you are the "one".

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun


Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest - Review

I am a huge Sara Bareilles fan, ever since Little Voice came out. I own all of her recordings and have had the fortune of seeing her in concert three times (completely worth it - she is better live than in the recording studio!). While I've blogged about the concerts, I've never written any album reviews - until now. I like this album so much that after I downloaded the music from iTunes, I went out and bought a physical copy. [For certain artists, I prefer having a physical CD - I can't explain why - perhaps it's my way of supporting music as something physical, not the commodity it has become].

The Blessed Unrest #music @sarabareilles
Plus, it means I get to take a photo of the CD and all the inserts!

The music and production is different from her last two full length albums - there's less outright piano, more electronic touches and a "produced" sound, but as an artist, you have to grow and change, so I respect that. Her lyrics are still as complex /layered as always and the melodies don’t sound like a regurgitation of the same songs / chords you hear on the radio these days.

Even though the album was released in mid July, I started listening to it a week early, thanks to per-release streaming off the iTunes site. With all music, I'm initially drawn to the music and the main chorus "messages". But the beauty of this album lies after the initial listens - with the complex lyrics. Sara's songs paint a complex story - beautiful, yet heart wrenching poems woven through music.

If you don't want to read through my song-by-song analysis of the album, I understand - there are a lot of words here! The Bottom Line - if you like any of Sara's previous music, go buy this record. If you like artists like Ingrid Michaelson or Colbie Caillat, go buy this record.

Song by Song:
Brave - the most "radio friendly" of the album. It does the job with its perky sound, upbeat tempo. The lyrics send a good message. It's not my favorite song on the album, but it will be popular with folks who want to hear top 40 pop. 4/5
Chasing the Sun - I love this song - great lyrics and message (life is too short not to be living it), almost an anthem but a melancholy premise of being in a graveyard 5/5
Hercules - Probably the darkest, moodiest song on the album - Fiona Apple-ish. I like this song more as I listen to it, but my initial ranking was a 3.5/5
Manhattan - The slow ballad, piano driven song about heartbreak with jazzy undertones. Simple and beautiful. 5/5
Satellite Call - Electronica, outer space feel, about sending out a message of love to those lost. The vocals and production are ethereal. Very different from her previous work. 4/5
Little Black Dress - A very catchy tune, with do-whop sounds, like Gonna Get Over You. Very fun song that you can bop to on a Friday night, with your PJs and hairbrush mic. Empowering lyrics like "I am more than just somebody’s puppet, I can find the cord and then I’ll cut it, I stand a pretty good chance to dust myself off and dance" 5/5
Cassiopeia - Another electronic, outer spacy song, with a great chorus full of harmonies. 4.5/5
1000 Times - A song about unrequited love that has a country twang to it! Could be played on country radio for sure - one of those "see you from the other side of the room at the country bar and I want to walk over and meet you" ballads. It has a great melody and the lyrics are heart wrenching "Cause I would die to make you mine, Bleed me dry each and every time, I don't mind, no I don't mind it, I would come back 1000 times." Sigh, don't you remember a time when you could relate? 5/5
I Choose You - Cutesy and sweet. Almost too sweet because most of Sara's songs are about breaking up and leaving. Sounds like something one would play at one's wedding, so at first I didn't really like it, until I really listened to the lyrics - "My whole heart, Will be yours forever, This is a beautiful start, To a lifelong love letter". Such a counterpoint to the previous song. 4/5
Eden - Alt pop sound, a little weird for me. Probably my least favorite song, about becoming disillusioned by your "Eden". 3.5/5
Islands - This is a haunting song, about drifting apart and losing someone, then finally letting go. I can just feel the emotion in it. It is a little produced, but I love the way it sounds. 5/5
December - I always get depressed in December (must be the stress of the Holidays, reflecting upon the past year, getting ready for the new year) and this song really sums up a lot of how I tend to feel. It is also about taking the plunge with change in your life, and how once a decision is made, you can't turn back. It really resonates with me right now. 5/5

Bonus tracks -
I Wanna Be Like Me - (iTunes) I wish I could have previewed this song, because if I had, I wouldn't have purchased my music from iTunes. Over produced pop with synth touches that make her sound like a teen Disney Channel artist. The only redeeming aspect is the song's message that you should be yourself and not someone else. 1/5
Beautiful Girl - (Target) I already own this song and some may be disappointed because it was released last year along with her EP, Once Upon Another Time. It's a lovely song, though, with a positive message for females of all ages. 5/5
Parking Lot - (Target) This should have been on the original record (although I know why it isn't - there's an f-bomb in one of the verses) with it's upbeat tempo. The song is a call to action - to get out of the parking lot that feeds your fears and insecurities.

If you are going to purchase the album, I suggest the Target version with the two bonus tracks. And all of the songs may be sampled at iTunes and Amazon.


The Golden Hour

August's golden light swept through the prairie
Summer's sweet breeze, fading

Just Golden

Golden Hour


130801 Yellow Power.jpg

Shared with Mosaic Monday. Is summer fading fast where you are?



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