Monday, December 22, 2008

Three New Stories

There are three more stories that Hayley worked on posted on the 8-18 Media website. Here are the direct mp3 links:
Sister City Youth Visit (Japanese students visiting Marquette)
Sister City School Differences (Japan vs. U.S.)
Ugly Phrases (Using phrases containing words like "gay" and "retarded".)

Ta-da! Da Tadpoles!


Finally got a little bit better shots of the tadpoles today. While cleaning out their tank, I put them into a CoolWhip container, which made it a little easier to photograph them. Still not great shots, but I'm workin' on it!
Hayley has finally decided on their names (all Japanese names):
The small one is Ren (meaning lotus or romance, love - just 'cause it's so darn cute)
The medium-sized one is Yasu (meaning peaceful, peace or level - this tadpole is the most docile)
And the biggest one is Michi (meaning path - appropriately named, since that one is developing faster than the other two)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Otherwise Occupied

Haven't been posting or taking photos much lately. Besides the weather being too crappy for taking pictures, I've also been busy trying to find supplies for a more permanent home for our amphibian houseguests.
We are pretty sure Hayley's tadpoles are going to be Northern Leopard Frogs. Of course, that's assuming they even survive the tadpole stage. Apparently, there's not a lot of success in this area - nor is there much information about these particular creatures as pets. But I did find an absolutely wonderful site, called Vivarium Forums, which has all sorts of information on creating habitats and animal care (for reptiles, amphibians, etc.) If the tadpoles don't survive even after we get an appropriate habitat set up for them, we will probably find some other creature to put into it. I really like the whole natural land/water vivarium idea! Even if we end up not having any critters to put into it, it'd be neat just for having plants and stuff.
So that's what is keeping me occupied lately. I'm still trying to get some decent shots of the tadpoles, but doubt I'll have anything before we get them into a better tank. The little plastic one they're in now just doesn't make for good photos.
If anyone has any ideas as to where to pick up some fairly inexpensive frog supplies, please let me know! Right now, my biggest problem is finding a tank large enough for when (IF) they become adults. I was told I'd probably need at least a 4-foot long aquarium (they're "excellent climbers, jumpers and swimmers"), and those are definitely not cheap and are difficult to find!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frogs-to-Be




In Hayley's Biology class, they had to break into groups and raise any type of living organism. Hayley and her partners decided to raise frogs -- first from embryos, then from tadpoles when the first set died after someone accientally used undistilled water to fill their tank. (At least that's the story Hayley's sticking with.) Apparently, nobody else in her group wanted to bring them home. So...we are now the owners of three (rather ugly, but interesting) large tadpoles. I have no idea what kind of frogs they will be -- assuming they live long enough to reach adulthood. But this now means I need to figure out not only what these li'l creatures need (now and later), but also how to pay for the stuff. *sigh*
Of course, we don't HAVE to keep them. But as my friends and family know, I like almost any creature or critter. (Except maybe humans, heh heh.) So I will do what I can to provide the froggies-to-be a suitable home...'til death do us part, and hopefully that doesn't happen before they grow up.

As a side note...Hayley's Biology teacher is also a photographer. She takes beautiful portraits! I hope she got better shots of these tadpoles. It was difficult shooting them through their plastic tank, and with poor lighting too.
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas (Naturally)

On the 1st day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:


...a portable snowman in a tree.


On the 2nd day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:


two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.


On the 3rd day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 4th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 5th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 6th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 7th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

seven maple leaves, six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 8th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

eight minutes waiting, seven maple leaves, six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 9th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

nine 'pecker holes, eight minutes waiting, seven maple leaves, six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 10th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

ten freezing fingers, nine 'pecker holes, eight minutes waiting, seven maple leaves, six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

On the 11th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

eleven tiny pinecones, ten freezing fingers, nine 'pecker holes, eight minutes waiting, seven maple leaves, six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.


On the 12th day of Christmas, Mother Nature gave to me:

twelve squirrel footprints, eleven tiny pinecones, ten freezing fingers, nine 'pecker holes, eight minutes waiting, seven maple leaves, six snowy headstones
...five inches of snow...
four balls a-hanging, three birches bare, two stumps with humps
...and a portable snowman in a tree.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Introducing Seth








Another teen couple update. As previously mentioned, Crystalyn and Carl are now parents of a beautiful baby boy. Today, Hayley and I finally got to see him. We didn't get to spend much time with them though. Crystalyn's mom, Cyndy, picked us up (thankfully, she now has a car) to run to Walmart and the grocery store. These are shots were taken at Walmart. As you can see, Mom and Dad are still very much teenagers -- they immediately went straight to the video game section.
Argh! Not sure why Blogger is chopping off my images all of a sudden. No matter which options I choose, nor which size photo from Flickr. Oh well. I don't post on here all that much for it to matter, I guess.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I've Been Shot!


Taken by my buddy, Henk, during our trip to Washington, D.C.
And, no, my hair isn't red. It just looks like it is 'cause of the processing, I think.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We're Baaack












A few highlights from our trip to D.C. and Maryland.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I know I haven't been posting much lately. Haven't really been out taking pictures much either. We've been busy preparing for a trip.
Not sure I'll be posting while I'm gone. We leave for the airport at 4:00am Wednesday morning, and flying to Maryland for Thanksgiving. Hayley's excited because we'll be landing at Washington National, and will be seeing the sights as we drive through D.C. With at least a 2-hour layover in Detroit (in each direction -- to Maryland and back), I'm wishing I had a laptop!
Won't be home until Sunday, but I'm sure I'll have plenty of photos to post then. So Happy Turkey Day (even though we are having chicken)!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

80 Reasons to Have a Portable Snowman

80) It's cool.
79) It won't hurt you.
78) It's yours...'til it melts.
77) Just 'cause.
76) It would jump off of a building for you.
75) It's hopelessly hopeful.
74) It's innocent.
73) It's guilty.
72) It's innocent UNTIL proven guilty.
71) It's vegetarian.
70) It's vegan.
69) It likes dairy products.
68) You can make it look pretty.
67) You can make it look ugly.
66) You can make it look pretty ugly.
65) You can make it fly.
64) You can think about it.
63) You can jump with it.
62) You can fix it when it's broken.
61) It's insane.
60) It's there to have and to hold.
59) You can dance with it.
58) You can sing to it.
57) It'll be your homie.
56) You can gaze at the stars with it.
55) It likes animals.
54) You can bring it to work. If you work outdoors in the winter...or in an icebox.
53) You can put it inside a tire.
52) It can hide pretty well.
51) You can play tetherball with it.
50) It's pure random FUN!
49) It's creative and artistic.
48) It does dangerous stunts.
47) It's small. (And did we mention portable?)
46) You can eat chips with it.
45) It's magical.
44) It's kid-friendly and mother-approved.
43) It's safe.
42) You can share it.
41) It's easier to draw than your cat.
40) It's respectful.
39) You can take it on the bus. * Not recommended for long bus trips.
38) You can take it to school. But probably not a good idea. And definitely don't leave it in your locker.
37) You can write about it.
36) You can READ ALL ABOUT IT.
35) It's multicultural.
34) It's saintly.
33) It's your personal treasure.
32) It fits in the palm of your hand. (Remember, it's portable.)
31) It can talk to trees and plants.
30) It's family-friendly.
29) It's eco-friendly.
28) It won't hold a grudge.
27) It'll be a willing model for your portraits.
26) It's better than a video game or action figure.
25) It likes you and you like it.
24) You can cry with it.
23) It'll be your BFF.
22) It can sit on your head.
21) You can talk to it.
20) You can laugh at it.
19) You can laugh with it.
18) You can be as random as you'd like with it, and it won't judge you.
17) You can play with it.
16) It makes you giggle with delight.
15) It cheers you up when you're down.
14) It's a weapon of mass destruction. Sort of. Well, it COULD be!
13) You can throw it at your most obnoxious neighbor.
12) It's so loveable and hug-able.
11) It'll play four-square with you.
10) It's always up for a game of tennis.
9) It's a fun gift for all.
8) You can put it in a tree.
7) It doesn't make sense.
6) It brings people together.
5) It's unisex -- and one size fits all.
4) It's random.
3) We'll have fun, fun, fun...'til the snowman melts away.
2) It's cute and portable. Just like those little dogs you can put in your purse. Except maybe you don't want to put it in your purse 'cause it'll melt and make a huge mess. Okay, maybe you don't want to put it in your purse. But it's still cute and portable!

And last but not least, the number one reason to have a portable snowman:
IT'S A PORTABLE SNOWMAN. WHAT BETTER REASON IS THERE?!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Army of Women

I received an email today from my friend, Nancy, who is a breast cancer survivor. She sent me -- and others -- a link to the Army of Women website, a collaboration between Dr. Susan Love and the Avon Foundation, asking us to sign up to be a part of the breast cancer research efforts.
As most of my friends and family know, I don't usually get involved in this sort of thing. Not because I don't care, but because I prefer to remain in my own little world of solitude. Just posting this on my blog is a huge step for me. I just don't like putting myself "out there" for the world to see. But because Nancy has been my dearest friend -- and the one person I truly admire -- for close to 25 years, I decided to join the Army of Women...simply because she rarely asks anything of me, and IS a very dear friend.
I'm not going to tell you that you should join. I don't like it when anyone tells me what I should or should not do, and believe it is definitely a personal choice. But if you would like to participate, please visit the Army of Women website for more information.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Welcome, Seth - Teen Couple (Update)

For those following my (infrequent) updates on Crystalyn and Carl, the teen couple I tried photographing during pregnancy, they are now officially teen parents of a beautiful baby boy. Unfortunately, because Hayley and I have both recently been ill, we were not able to witness Seth's birth. Both mom and son are home and doing well, as are dad and grandma. As soon as I feel it's safe enough to visit them without making any of them sick as well, I will take LOTS of pictures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Toy for My New Toy

Received my Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 DG Macro lens today. Of course, I had to go out and play with it. So, again before torekimi asks (I'm one step ahead of ya, T. heh heh), here is what it can do:





Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Newest (and NEW) Toy

In response to Sarala's question regarding why I've not been posting:
Ummm....'cause I just didn't feel like it.....(Is that good enough reason? No? Damn. I thought not.) Actually, that WAS the reason for a while. Until I got my newest toy (which, by the way, IS actually NEW, not used) -- a Nikon D40 w/ the AF-S DX Zoom - Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G EDII lens (THANKS, HENK!). (Why can't they just call it a "General Purpose Lens 18-55mm One-Billionth-and-Something"? C'mon peoples - make it easier on us beginners, will ya?) Then, of course, I just got plain ol' busy with my playin' around with it. (The camera. Not Henk. Sheesh! Git yer minds outta da gutters.)

And, before torekimi settles herself in long enough to poke her nose into other peoples' blogs and start making demands, here's what it can do:

(Oops. Clicked on the "upload photos" link twice, erasing the 3 links I pasted in, so all you get is this one photo. Check out my Flickr and Aminus3 links for more.)

Just don't you go thinkin' I'll have more to say though. But I'll try to AT LEAST give a little update on what my next newest new toy can do. I'd tell ya what it is, but then I'd have to look it up online and do the copy/paste thing, and THEN shoot you. But I will tell you that it's some sort of Sigma 70-300mm telephoto lens with macro capabilities (Ooo....Aaaah...Ooooh). Of course, that's assuming I ever return to the computer once I've received it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What it can do


As requested by torekimi...

Without the TC-E2 conversion lens.


With the TC-E2 conversion lens.

I had the camera set up on my tripod. I first set up then took a shot without the new lens. Then I added the lens, without turning off or moving the camera or changing any settings. I didn't even notice how much of a difference there was until I transferred the photos to my computer. (The LCD on the Nikon is really tiny.)

My New Toy



A few months ago, I picked up an old Nikon Coolpix 885 from the local Flea Market (actually a pawn shop) for $20. It only came with a dead battery and a user manual. I managed to obtain another battery and a charger, a USB cable and some CF cards for it. I originally bought it as a backup, and for Hayley to take on her trip to the RNC. I haven't played around with it much as of yet (the CF cards all hold a very small amount of photos -- most only 8mb), but am hopefully going to get more use out of it now.

I've been wanting to get some lenses and stuff for the Nikon, but couldn't afford the prices for even a used lens or anything. But a few days ago I found a TC-E2 Tele Converter lens (2x) with a UR-E4 step down adapter on eBay for $18 (including shipping). I don't normally get into the eBay bidding, because I always lost the bids at the very last second. Either that, or the bids go way above my price range. But I gave it one more shot for the lens and adapter....and I WON! Of course, I was the ONLY bidder, so that helped.

Just the adapter alone (which I'd need pretty much for any lens for the Nikon) was hard to find for less than $20. So this was a great bargain. It's nothing fancy, I guess. But at least now I can take even slighty different shots of the same ol' stuff, instead of photographing the same ol' stuff in the same ol' way. Can't wait to try it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Watching the Sun Set Over Lake Superior


(best viewed enlarged)
Shutterday: Golden Hour