Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Consider your wish...


Vin was asking about my tree this year. Well, here it is. Naturally, posting a mere picture would be a tad too ordinary for me. I've elected instead to give you a taste of the possibilities your digital camera may offer.*

I usually tell my friends to slap it into 'auto', make sure your flash is ready and then shoot. It is a pretty solid methodology which usually yields fine results for someone who can't be bothered to figure out all the buttons and menus on their camera. It will give you the most good shots the most often. But sometimes, as you will see, 'auto' needs to be put in its place.

*digital camera mileage may vary by brand/model

As you can see, this picture is full auto - with flash. And if that were a jumping 4-year old opening a present in a dimly lit room on x-mas morning, that would be the correct settings for your camera. We can barely see that the lights are on. No wonder or beauty. A great way to count your decorations though.

Realizing our mistake, we simply turn off the flash for the picture on the right. The camera tries to compensate, and if you were holding the camera in your hands and nothing to steady yourself this might be the best you could do to avoid blur. Now the only thing we can see are the lights. Plenty of mystery, but maybe just a bit too much.

"But, I don't have a tripod," you might be tempted to whine. Use a table, the TV or a stack of books. The minute to set up the shot is so worth it.

I moved away from the 'auto' setting and manually changed my exposure to 8 seconds and the f-stop to 5. My preview told me that that should be plenty of light. Even with a tripod or other support, when you do a long exposure it is best not to just 'click' the shot -- Even a tiny shudder will make your final image blurry. Just set timer (I know your digital camera has one, so don't open your mouth) for the shortest time you have (mine was set for 2 sec delay).
Now we have captured the essence which, hopefully, Christmas trees held for us as children. Glowing light, mysterious shadows and magical possibility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Yawn! Things have been busy lately. That seems all to usual around here, but I really have an excuse this time. I've started working my hours as a 'casual' in the public library system and am still driving my bus route before and after school. The library hours are all call-in-as-needed, and the bus provides charters during non-school hours. The result is the ability to be as busy as I really want right now while still being able to take care of house and home.

Many of you knew that I was 'paging' at the Cliff Wright branch library during the summer. Casual is something else entirely. I try to sum it up thusly; Casuals get paid more to work less. At least, that's how it seems right now. Paging was a lot of lifting, bending, carrying, etc... Casual work is much more with the standing, talking and typing. I'm not complaining, and as you can guess, the amount of learning required is higher, but all the same, I feel somewhat smug in my new position. Besides, it is just plain fun. As a page I was discouraged from interacting with patrons unless approached and even then I was to defer to other staff whenever possible. Now talking to people is a major part of my job description.

Anyway the above is just by way of keeping you up to date with the business tycoon part of my life. What I really wanted to talk about was this Sunday's breakfast. Specifically, breakfast in bed!

Those of you who are acquainted with my Jr. Questers (tm) know that breakfast in bed is not a new thing. It has already happened a handful of times and each time it gets just a little more palatable. On this occasion, the were trying to impress Wendy. As such, they made the pancakes in her favorite colour, green. It wasn't really her preferred shade, but we won't quibble.

You might have trouble guessing some of this, so I'll fill in the details. They were topped with Whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips, mandarin orange segments and, of course, syrup. To be fair, all but the syrup was to be served as a dessert 'parfait', but we thought this would be easier on the taste buds.

The most exciting thing about breakfast was their claim to have cleaned the kitchen "except for a couple of things in the sink."