Hey everyone! This past weekend, I had the challenge of taking pictures of dogs in motion! Cobalt and I went on a hike with some friends and their three dogs. I brought my camera along because I wanted to try to capture the pups doing dog-like activities as we went along the trail.
It was a beautiful day for a hike — not too windy or cold — and we took off up the trail. Everyone was chatting and having a good time while the dogs zoomed all over the place. Josie particularly looooved frolicking through the tall grass on either side of the trail.
Bear thought it was pretty good too.
Every once in a while, the dogs would have a pow-wow over some particularly interesting smell.
And then they were off again.
I loved seeing the dogs’ personalities on display through my viewfinder. For example, here Josie is SO EXCITED about everything, and she needs to share the news with her good friend Bear.
And here’s Sandor showing off how well he can sit so that I will maybe give him a treat? Maybe?
As I write this post, Tarantula is winding her way through my legs. She wants you to know that she’s cute too. But if you normally read my blog, you probably already knew that.
Today I thought I would share my newest revelation about my current job/life situation. But first we have to talk about cameras. Why? Because I like cameras. And also because this is my blog and I say so.
So let’s start at the top.
My camera has two settings for focusing: auto and manual.
For autofocus, I tell the camera what to focus on and then it controls the lens and brings my subject into view. I use it almost all the time because it’s fast and usually the camera and I agree about what I want it to look at.
Sometimes I can’t use autofocus though. Sometimes the camera and I disagree about what should be drawing the viewer’s eyes. Sometimes, like when it’s dark outside, the camera has a really hard time “seeing” what I see, and it’s easier for me to just switch the camera to manual mode and focus for myself.
It can be a challenge. When I use manual focus, I often second guess myself about what “perfect” focus looks like. I bring my subject in and out of focus as I test the possibilities. It’s even harder when it’s dark and I can’t really see much better than the camera can.
Here are some examples:
Last summer, I noticed a bunch of birds sleeping in a tree by my house. It was so cute to see their little bird butts sticking out of the leaves, and I grabbed my camera to capture the moment. It was 10 pm. The camera said “I see a vague tree-like shape here… ummm… not really sure what you’re going for…” so I switched to manual, which was hard because I could barely see the birds myself! After some trial and error, I finally captured the birds the way I wanted them, and I left them alone to dream.
This past weekend, Cobalt’s best friend T was hanging out in Seattle. So we headed “over the hill” and into the city. It was lovely! We talked books with T and his family, we ate an epic brunch with my sister, and then we hung out with my friends from grad school, Titanium and her boyfriend whom we will call “Iron.” Titanium and Iron took us on a ferry so we could go have dinner on Bainbridge Island. On the way back, we spent the majority of the ferry ride in the crazy cold wind outside because we wanted to witness the Seattle skyline draw closer and closer. I brought out my camera to photograph the skyline. That was pretty easy for autofocus: point camera at space needle. Camera sees the lit-up space needle against a dark sky. Camera brings space needle into focus. BAM. Picture.
But then I thought, hrm. How would I capture the fun we are having right now on this ferry? And I decided to take some pictures of Titanium and Iron. The lighting was not ideal for humans. It was 10 pm (again). Titanium and Iron were either backlit from the light inside the ferry or the Seattle skyline and my camera was not finding their faces. So I switched to manual focus. But again, the same problem with the birds popped up – it was hard for me to see when their features were that crisp though the eyepiece either.
This is where the story gets a little different. For the birds, I just used my on-camera flash to illuminate the birds once I got them in focus. This past weekend, however, I decided that since I was manually focusing in the dark, maybe I should play around with some of my camera settings. What would happen if I didn’t use my flash and instead turned the shutter speed waaaaay down (longer exposure=more time for light to illuminate Titanium and Iron)? Well Titanium and Iron would be blurry because we were on a moving boat. But maybe that would be a fun effect. Let’s try it. And so I did. And here are my pictures.
I was thinking about these pictures yesterday, and how much I enjoyed the fact that they were not “perfect” and crisp. I loved the blurriness and the crazy Seattle-skyline bokeh around Titanium. And that’s when I realized that this is how I feel about my life right now. I have a lot of education now (PhD, Scicomm certificate, lots of multimedia experience), and I’m not quite sure how I want to use it to make the world better. I have some idea what I want to do and where I want to end up. But it’s all pretty hazy. No real way for a camera to autofocus on it. So instead I’m using manual focus. And then the pictures come out like this – I can just make out my subject there smiling in the future. It’s there! And I’m coming for it.
Wow! It’s been forever since I posted again… Sorry you guys… this semester has been really busy what with trying to graduate and the hurt ankles and all… It’s been a rough month for this Potassium, that’s for sure.
Anyway, there have been some good things that I’ve been photographing and not posting so let’s talk about that! Last weekend, Cobalt and I went camping with our friends The Chocolate Pudding and her husband the Millionaire Space Accountant and J and her husband K for K’s birthday. Before you freak out about what kind of people would go camping in Colorado in March, let me tell you that by camping I mean sleeping in a warm cabin while it snows outside. Yay! So yeah, we drove up to the cabin on Friday evening and settled in for the night. The cabin had a firepit and a picnic table in front of it so we set about making delicious hobo packs for dinner. Yum!
Now the thing about TCP, MSA, J, K, and Cobalt and me is that we are pretty much the best of friends. We can talk forever! So we brought games and other activities but did we do any of them? Nope. Suddenly it was really late and J and I were falling asleep sitting up. So we went off to sleep in the comfy beds in our cabin! In the morning we were going to do some hiking/walking around for Potassium and her messed-up ankles but it started snowing like crazy right as we were packing up the cars (see that top picture!) so we ended up just leaving. Still it was a fun weekend and I can’t wait for more cabin/camping adventures as this year finally warms up a little.
Below are some of the pictures I took while everyone else was toasting marshmallows!
First up, we have K and J looking awesome with their headlights!
Now we have MSA roasting a marshmallow while TCP supervises. I like the way the fire illuminates their faces.
For this picture and the following two pictures we were playing with “light painting.” I put my camera on a tripod and then put the shutter on the “bulb” setting. With this setting, I tell the camera when to open and close the shutter so it’s really good for night time photography (especially star pictures… too bad it was cloudy for us…). Anyway, then we took K’s headlight and “painted” J and K with it while I had the camera shutter open. I think it has a really neat lighting effect. Also it’s a bit like taking pictures a long time ago because you can’t move while you are getting painted or you will be blurry…
After J and K’s picture turned out so well, we all wanted to try it!
MSA and TCP. :D
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about an adventure with your friends. Doesn’t have to be camping related though. I’m excited to hear your stories! Also, tell me what you want to hear me talk about! It’s been hard coming up with ideas lately when I am so busy/stressed out. Maybe we should have a “blast from the past” and I can talk more about my trips out of the country (France, Germany) last year? Let me know! :D
Hey everyone! Looks like I’m sticking to this once a week on Wednesdays post schedule for a little bit. Life is crazy with trying to graduate and all…
A lot of stuff has been happening though so I’ll give you a mini update!
So first of all, two weeks ago, Cobalt and I made a plant home in our office! Look at those happy plantys!
Second of all, it’s been snowing a lot…. Not a fan. But at least this picture is pretty.
Finally, last weekend, we made dumplings with some of our friends for the Chinese New Year! :D This year I got to learn how to make the wrappers too. It was fun rolling them out into perfect circles. I also love folding the dumplings into these cool shapes. This year we put almonds into a few for good luck. Because four of us making/eating the dumplings are hoping to graduate from grad school this year, we decided that eating a dumpling with an almond in it meant that we would definitely graduate this year. We all got almond-filled dumplings so hopefully we will all graduate! :D
Anyway, in science news, yesterday I finished the last of my repeats for the first part of my project! So minus a few tweaks or running the assays I designed for other people’s experiments, that means I am done with the first part. Now I finally get to focus on the more nebulous and less thought out second part of my project! Things are coming along (even though they are slow)!
Your turn. Tell me about life. It’s February! Is the weather looking any better there because it’s cold and snowy here… Did you watch the Superbowl last weekend? Got any Valentine’s Day plans for next week? Let’s discuss! :D
A few months ago, my friend K was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was really upsetting because 1) he is very young and 2) he and my friend J were planning on getting married 2 months after the diagnosis! Luckily he caught the cancer early so it’s fairly treatable at that stage. K underwent surgery and then had a crazy round of chemo involving 3 cycles of three week intervals – the first week was always the worst followed by two less intense weeks (luckily for J and K, their wedding fell on one of the less intense weeks so K still felt okay for that!). After the first cycle, K’s tumor marker dropped ridiculously low (to the baseline level!) and then it has continued to stay below the baseline level throughout his treatment! I am writing this post today, on K’s last day of the entire chemo treatment, to say congratulations to K for getting through all of this! You rule, K! And I hope that this is the end! No more cancer! Stay away!
Plus I am super excited that J and K finally get to experience being happy newlyweds without pesky chemo treatments getting in the way and making K feel sick! Time to plan that honeymoon, guys! :)
In other news I slipped on ice when I was biking to work this morning. My knees took the majority of the fall but I also bumped my head. Luckily I was wearing a helmet! So now this post is double a reminder to take care of yourself (both staying healthy and checking for various cancers you might be susceptible to as well as wearing a helmet when you are biking/riding your motorcycle/doing other helmety activities)!
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of doing engagement pictures with Melanie and Joel! Melanie and I met at our friend’s superbowl party a few years ago and we bonded over being able to make weird noises (haha… seriously…). I am sure L was super happy that she introduced us after that part. Anyway, now Melanie is engaged to Joel and they asked me to do their engagement pictures! This was my first time meeting Joel and I have to say, he is awesome. And he and Melanie and super adorable and perfect together. We had a ton of fun with these pictures and I am very honored that they asked me to take their pictures. I hope they enjoy them (I should be getting them in the mail by the end of the week)!
Some things I learned doing these pictures:
It’s fun! I love getting to know couples and figuring out how to take pictures that show off how awesome, adorable, happy, etc they are.
Taking engagement pictures is inherently a bit of an awkward situation so the faster I can get everyone laughing, the more comfortable we all feel and then the pictures turn out more awesome!
My two lenses are not equal in awesomeness.
I need to take a lot of pictures because sometimes people blink!
What have you guys been up to lately? I took engagement pictures for my friends J and K this weekend so be prepared for more adorableness in the near future! In lab related news, there is a lot to get done if I really want to do graduate within the year so this is going to be an interesting school year…
Helllloooo everyone! I finished my committee meeting yesterday so I am back! I think it went pretty well. I analyzed a lot of data and didn’t sleep pretty much for the past two weeks so that I could put all of what I know about my protein in my presentation for my committee members. They were helpful in telling me what they think I should focus on that will tell the best story (i.e. so that I can write a paper/my thesis) so that I can graduate within the year. Yeesh… It’s going to be an epic year. That’s all I can say about that…
Anyway, for now I am happy to be back in a world where I don’t have to analyze data and think about my project every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment. I have a lot of stuff to catch you up on but first, I want to talk about my two friends E and L who are both defending their PhD theses today! Congratulations you guys! You worked so hard and by the end of today you will be doctors!
And now a little back story. First, L is my first friend here in the state of CO. I met a lot of the people in my class all at the same time (recruitment weekend) but I actually met L at the University of Washington’s recruitment weekend two weeks earlier. The next weekend, she went to go check out a school in Canada while I checked out UC Davis and then we reconvened after that here at CU chemistry program’s recruitment weekend. I am so glad we both decided to come here. It has been an honor getting to know you L and I hope we keep in touch about what’s next for you!
Now E! E is an organic chemist in my year but we decided early on that she is an honorary biochemist because we pretty much were inseparable our first year. E, I will never forget our horrible decision to go to Wendy’s and get milkshakes right before an indoor soccer game. It was worth it because we had to get caught up on everything but man… that was an interesting soccer game. Also E was my first photo buddy here in town because we got our DSLRs right about the same time. It was so much fun running around Boulder county learning how to take pictures with you. Also, I think we all had a blast at your wedding! I know you are about to head to Portland soon to join your hubby and I wish you the best of luck! Keep in touch friend, I will really miss being neighbors! :)
That’s all for today everyone but stay tuned because I have engagement pictures for you (hopefully) next week! :D So what has been going on in your worlds lately?
Hooray! Wedding anniversary pictures finally!* :D So before you scroll down to see the rest, let me tell you a little bit about the party. It started out a little sketch because Cobalt and I were running around like crazy building things from IKEA and we lost track of time. When the first guests arrived, they got to go with Cobalt to the store to get party supplies and snacks while I made sure the house was in order. Then when more people showed up we headed to the park by our house with a bag full of props for the photo shoot! It turned out to be really fun as you can see below (in no apparent order)!
After the photos, we had a BBQ, played Cards Against Humanity, and giggled over all the awkward but hilarious things in that deck. I think it turned out to be a really fun time and thank you to all of you who came out and celebrated with us! We really enjoyed it! Cobalt and I are already coming up with new photoshoot ideas…
What do you think of the photos? Do you have a favorite? Also, what have you guys been up to lately? We’ve been getting a lot of rain (almost a proper monsoon season if you ask me!) lately. What has your weather been like? Are you ready for fall yet? I think that I was so annoyed with all that May and April snow that we got that I am still dreading fall and then the inevitable winter…
In other photo news, I took some engagement pictures for my friends M and J yesterday. Can’t wait to show you my favorites! :D
*Unfortunately my posting schedule is probably going to get a little weird for a while. My committee meeting is coming up soon. For those of you who don’t know, that’s where I meet with 5 faculty members and tell them everything I did this past year and how I plan to graduate in a year or less (freaking outexcited not sure how I feel about any of that). Anyway, I have a lot of work to do to prepare for it. Also Cobalt and I are just plain BUSY right now. Craziness…
Teaching high school students about DNA/heredity/genetics research. I got them excited about the concept by first having them extract DNA from strawberries using household supplies (dish soap, water, salt, and rubbing alcohol). The boys thought it was COOL and the girls thought it was GROSS but it got them asking questions.
Making delicious egg and bacon sandwiches in home made biscuits and pondering how to make Cobalt’s and my meals more healthy but also delicious while on a budget… Ideas?
Running another glow in the dark 5K and actually running it this time (last time I was out of shape and it was so disorganized there was no way we could actually run anyway…)
Finally getting around to hanging the beautiful wall hanging Cobalt and I got as a (late) wedding present from a family friend
Getting excited about art and painting and the idea of art journals?
Finishing my challenge of reading 50 books this year (up to 53 now… guess I should go back to trying to tackle Crime and Punishment…)
Feeling super excited for all my friends who just got engaged or married recently!!!!!!!! So much love! Also, if any of my said engaged friends want some sweet engagement pictures, I happen to know someone who’s pretty good at that kind of stuff… her name’s Potassium… Seriously. Let me know! I would love to take some pictures for you!
My apologies for the short post but this week is crazy for me. I’ve got to squish 5 days worth of labwork into 3 because then Cobalt and I are heading to see his family for his mom’s 60th bday! Yay! Happy birthday to my MIL!
In other news, this weekend was nice. Cobalt and I made ricotta pancakes on Saturday. They were fluffy and delicious. See the pic below for tastiness (yeah yeah… they look like “normal” pancakes but they are way fluffier and tastier than them). We also tended to our little garden (the plantys are getting so big!!!), invented our own version of lavender lemonade (yummmmm), and went out for some tasty Italian food on Saturday night with some friends.
On Sunday, Cobalt and I, along with some other graduate students, took some of the students in the summer program I work for on a hike near Boulder. It is really fun to take people who don’t know the area at all on a hike because they are so excited to see everything – reminds what a cool place we live in. After the hike, we took our exhausted students out to lunch at The Buff, another staple of Boulder (hint: it was on Man Vs. Food). In the evening I went swimming with two of my friends from my grad program (we all started grad school together many many years ago… craziness) and we practiced some French. It was quite a lovely way to end the weekend.
Speaking of French, look forward to more France posts coming your way next week! Something you will definitely see next week: why Cobalt and I now have a fondness for Starbucks (hint: it’s not because of their coffee or any of their products)!
Did you guys have great weekends?! Tell me about them. I know some of my friends celebrated their 1 year wedding anniversaries.. Hooray! Congrats! Also, let me know if you’ve thought of anything you’re dying to know about France, or my current life in Boulder, whatever. Finally, don’t forget to wish my MIL a happy bday! :)