Thursday, January 29, 2009

Love Thursday

Hey, 2 Love Thursdays in a row. I'm rolling here!

I took this yesterday on our way back from sledding. All that up-and-down-the-hill really got the body temperatures up, and the truck windows fogged up like that steamy scene in Titanic. Not quite as romantic, but we had a great time acting like kids instead of working drones.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Winter Wonderland (and now I'm done with it!) and #11 (Jan)

When Mother Nature gives you snow, go sledding! This evening we hit the slopes of Forest Park, I use slopes loosely, but seriously, for Indiana, not too bad.

Wipe out by Scott: click on the pic to see it bigger
Wipe out by Steph (and the tailgating tuber): 
Other shots from the outing:

Including a quick portrait (#11) for the 28 for 28 list!

Okay, snow, nice to see you, now go away, and we'll see you next winter!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Late Lunch @ Zing - #19 for JAN

With the end of the month rapidly approaching, time was running out for me to visit a new place in Indy for the month, #19 on the 28 for 28 list.  So today, I finally pulled myself out of my winter hibernation and went out for a late lunch at Zing, and double-bonus, Scott was in Indy today for work!

Contrary to the historic exterior, the interior at Zing is floor to ceiling contemporary. Check out the sweet ball-chain bead curtain!

Zing describes itself as "a small plate dining experience.  Rather than offering individual starters and main courses, ZING serves dishes that are designed for sharing among friends and are brought to the table steadily and continuously throughout the meal."

The lunch menu is a little more typical: sandwiches, pizzas, and the like. (but all with a slight twist.) 

Out of shear curiosity, we tried the Stuffed Medjool Dates with Chorizo Sausage and Bacon, an interesting twist of sweet and savory... and bedded on a spicy tomato sauce. A lot going on there.

Scott had the Prime Rib Burger with Blue Cheese. Anything red meat and he's happy!

I had the Eggplant Parmigiana. Could have used more eggplant and less deep fried goodness...

The bottom line: 

A menu full of interesting flavor combinations, which are fun to try and a small commitment, since the non-lunch items come in small portions meant to share. (It's kind of like having a bunch of appetizers for dinner.)

The lunch items are pretty average, but the fries are amazing!

I'd visit again with some friends to explore the dinner menu and some cocktails.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Love Thursday

Karen, over at, has been inspiring me daily since I came across her blog. She is an amazing photographer, I especially love her portraits!

Here is my contribution to Love Thursday: 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cinnamon Biscuits with Cream Cheese Icing

Within our home lives a weakness for cinnamon rolls. One fateful morning, when no refrigerated rolls could be found, I came across this Cinnamon-Sugar Fan Biscuit recipe on and topped them with some left over homemade cream cheese icing. They turned out great! Add raisins and you have a cinnamon raisin biscuit that rivals that of a certain fast food chain which will remain nameless...

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup butter
1/2 package of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 lb. confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven at 425.

Mix together all the biscuits ingredients except the shortening and milk. Cut the shortening into the mix till it looks like bread crumbs.

Stir the milk into the mix and then roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Spread butter across dough and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cut into 2" strips.
Stack the strips one on top of another. (The smaller edge pieces may make up one layer to even out the thickness at the ends.) Cut into six even stacks.

Stuff stacks into greased cup cake pan and bake for 11-14 minutes. While biscuits are baking, mix together all the icing ingredients with a hand mixer. Remove biscuits from pan and let cool.

Icing the tops and enjoy! 

Monday, January 12, 2009

The beauty of a 50 mm, 1.8 lens

The best 85 bucks I've spent in awhile was on my new 50mm, 1.8 lens and here is why:

The 50mm is perfect lens! 
-Great for portraits since it can reach the lower f-stops meaning higher apertures resulting in shallower depths of field.
-Great for everyday since it doesn't need as much light, meaning faster shutter speeds and less blur.
-Great for travel since it is so light and not nearly as big as most zoom lenses.
-Great for the pocket book since you can get one for uner $100.

So here it is!

The following is an example of the difference between the lens I was primarly using, a 18-55 mm (zoom), 3.5 to5.6, to the new 50 mm (prime), 1.8. 

The two pictures below were both taken with a shutter speed of 1/30 sec and the lowest f-stop the lens would allow, 5.6 for the zoom lens at 50 mm and 1.8 for the prime lens. 

This picture was taken with the zoom lens at approximately 50 mm, 5.6 f-stop, 1/30 sec.

Here is the prime lens at 50mm, 1.8 f-stop, 1/30 sec.

As you can see the ability to reach lower f-stops, which means larger aperatures, with the prime lens allows much more light in at the same shutter speed. 

*In case you were wondering the relationship between f-stops and apertures here it is straight from Complete Digital Photography by Ben Long. "F-stop values are simply the ratio of the focal length of the lens to the diameter of the opening in the aperture." 

Now that's covered, here are a few samples of the 5o mm in action. 

A portrait of Coach.
Notice the shallow depth of field, only his face is in focus.

A bokeh shot.
Notice the blurred light circles in the background.  

Musical bokeh. 
This was created using a tutorial from
Finally, I feel obligated to mention one more thing about the 50 mm. The auto-focus is much slower than with the 15-55 mm. If you are trying to caputure children and pets this may take some getting use to and some planning ahead on action shots. 

Okay, so that's the tale of my love affair with the 50 mm, 1.8 lens. I must get back to playing with my new toy! 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A foggy tour of northeastern Indiana

Last Sunday we took a trip up to Huntington to pick up Scott's work materials. Here are some quick photos of what we saw during our trip. Good bye, Huntington!

Sam's, the abandoned restaurant, near Elwood
Another shot of urban decay in Marion

The boat ramp at Salamonie Reservoir

The Salamonie dam with the drained lake in the background

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Earrings from the Light Box

These are some earrings I made over the weekend and then photographed in the new light box. I might list these on Etsy, but I'd like to hear some feed back on them and on the photography. Give me the good and more importantly the bad! 

This first ones were my personal favorite, but the picture is probably my least favorite. The little turquoise bead at the bottom looks odd from this angle. Maybe I'll reshoot these from a little lower vantage point. 

These last ones I also snapped in front of a colored background. Thought the pearls might be lost with the white background...but I think the white background turned out better... maybe it's because this color looks like it needs a weather map projected over it...kinda green screen effect...not good.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my stuff!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Light Box on the Cheap

One of the most aggravating aspects of winter, besides the bone chilling temperatures, is the lack of sunlight.  Bad for people, worse for photography. In lieu of moving hundreds of miles south to Key West, I decided to construct a light box on the cheap. I'm also hoping this will help me with my #12, get an Etsy shop up and going, on the 28 for 28 list.

I used this tutorial from the Digital Photography School. The whole set up cost me $2 for 2 pieces of poster board. 

The light box under construction, before the fabric panels

In action. Yes, the lighting is totally jimmied, but it works for on the cheap!

The results:

An anniversary gift from Scott

Dog Treats from Christmas

A little penguin friend

I'm pretty happy with the results! I also took pictures of a few pairs of earrings, I will be posting soon hopefully for some feedback, and eventual posting in my shop. 

Also, here's a link to a fold up version my shutter buddy Amy made over at Drawings in Montion. Much easier to store. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

28 while 28

In a mere 28 days, I will be 28 years old. Inspired by those who've created birthday lists before me and for the fun of making lists, below is 28 to-do's while being 28. Some of these are simple, some are much larger commitments, but all I've wanted to do and haven't got to, YET!  

Without further ado and in no particular order:

1. Find ways to reduce the number of paper towels we use in our home

2. Adopt a signature cocktail, by trial and error method   

3. Find the perfect frame for my PE license   

4. Paint a diptych style work 

5. Take a European vacation with good friends  

6. Attend a new local festival   

7. Begin an on-going album of my favorite photos  

8. Teach Lex to not jump on guests   

9. Create a mobile    

10. Perfect a coffee cake recipe  

11. Take (at least) one portrait a month   

12. Get an Etsy shop up and running 

13. Improve my mini-triathlon time by 8 minutes   

14. Successfully get up on the wake board   

15. Create a series of miniatures pictures  

16. Sew a quilt   

17. Attempt to make pepper jelly   

18. Read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

19. Visit at least one new place, shop, restaurant, event in Indy each month   

20. Plant (and maintain) an herb garden for the summer 

21. Find a way to volunteer my time and do it! 

22. Complete the mini-marathon 

23. Finish my sewing bag   

24. Adopt another family for Christmas through the United Way  

25. Take a vacation with just Scott 

26. Clean out my closet, donate what I don't wear, and organize it in a maintainable way   

27. Visit the IMA and picnic in the gardens

28. Send out greeting cards for a random holiday  

And now I'm off to get started.  Update posts coming soon!

Wanna check out those inspiring birthday lists?! Here ya go: