Monday, July 28, 2008

A Girl and Two Cameras

This weekend I went to the Porsches to Oxford (P2O) event. With over three hundred Porsches parked for viewing (area closed to traffic), I had a lot of subject material for photography. In fact, I took over 200 photographs of various Porsches and still ran out of time. Oh well.

The odd thing was, since I now have two D-SLR cameras (will eventually sell the D-50), I decided it would be most productive to use both. So, I set up the Nikon D-50 with the macro lens and the Nikon D-200 with a borrowed (Thank you, Thomas) 10-20mm wide angle lens and gleefully shot away. I have to say, I was a bit of an unusual sight with all my photography gear and two cameras hanging off my neck in the midst of all these Porsches. I seemed to have drawn a lot of attention. Although it was not my intention, I think I upstaged the Porsches with some people. Somehow, this also caused a certain amount of flirtation from the Porsche owners--not bad for my ego. The comment of, "A girl with a camera in each hand is my kind of girl" cause a bit of blushing on my part. But the best part was that I happened to take with me my photographs from the Mid-Ohio Le Mans series. My photographs were shown to the President of the Northeast Ohio Porsche Club. My photographs impressed him to the degree that he does not want to use the photographs he was given from the event, but wants to use mine for their newsletter. My first "publication" of my photographs. So cool. Another Porsche owner gave me his Porsche business card and told me that he saw me taking photographs of his car and would be interested in my photographs.

Anyhow, one of my favorite Porsches at this event was the Porsche Diesel Tractor. Not something you see very often. Very cool. I would also venture to bet that it is probably the only Porsche that has never gotten a speeding ticket! Hee hee.

Although I do have to confess, my all time favorite is always the popular Porsche 911.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging

more cat pictures

Cats just always seem to make a day better.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The girl behind the lens

Earlier this week I was looking over my photographs from the Mid-Ohio American Le Mans Series with Thomas who is my photography mentor. We picked out four of the best photographs and they are now at DODD camera being printed. Thomas and I also discussed things that could have made the photographs better. I already figured out those things on my own, but because of one limitation or another, was not feasible to incorporate under the circumstances (such as using a polarizing filter which I have for my macro lenses but not for my larger telephoto lens).

As we were going over the photographs, Thomas said to me, “You know, you should start selling your photographs.”


“No, really, you need to start selling your photographs. You can make some money.”

*Blink Blink*

These statements are from the same person who two years ago when viewing some of my photographs would periodically say, “What the hell were you thinking about when you took this picture? You obviously were not thinking about the subject.” Or my favorite comment/feedback being, “Did you suffer brain damage from heat stroke when you took this picture?”

But now, I have grown to the point where I can take pictures worthy enough to sell. Pictures that people would actually want to display. And even some pictures that make people look twice. Although I still feel like I have great deal yet to learn, I have finally gotten past being the little fledgling photographer.

When I first held a Digital SLR in my hands, a dream formed in my mind. The dream was to someday sell my photography/artwork. Someday to create my own website with my photographs and offer them for sale. That dream is now finally beginning to actually take shape.

As of yesterday, I am now armed with a Nikon D-200 (considered semi-professional). Thus, I now have serious shooting power. I have finally earned the right to use such a tool. No longer the inexperienced shooter fumbling with the settings.

I am in the league playing with the big boys now.

(The above picture is my favorite that I took form the Mid-Ohio American Le Mans Series in a larger jpeg for effect. Click on for a close-up as an imagage is even evident in the car's mirror capture by the camera with the car going at high speed)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weird Wednesday

I would like to follow in Miz Minka's tradition and post something weird for today's Wednesday post.

Anyhow, this is probably more cute than weird. At any rate, it certainly puts a smile on my face. So there you go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Photographic Adventure

Early Saturday morning I sleepily dragged myself out of bed. Dr. D. told me to meet him at 7:30 am to begin a day of a different photographic adventure. I would be photographing not my regular stationary floral objects, but subjects that moved at about 200 mph.

As I got to the designated home, I was shown a taste of what was soon to come. I was shown the three Porsches that sat quietly in the garage as I tried to imagine the incredible power that was sleeping like a beast about to awaken. Dr D. gave me my tickets and carefully put the special VIP Porscheplatz tag around my neck and sternly told me not to lose it--these exclusive tickets would cost about half my monthly graduate student stipend to replace. He opened the doors and trunk to the red Porsche 944 and I loaded my photography equipment into it as I visually took in the interior. When all was finally loaded into the car, I slowly sat in the cool black leather seat and was a little startled at how the car’s interior practically hugged my body. The car was started and we were on our way to the Mid-Ohio American Le Mans races.

I quietly observed the Porsche 944 being driven in what I can only describe as a dreamy state. Perhaps this was obvious to Dr. D. as he asked me if this was my first time in a Porsche? I blushed and nervously replied that yes, it was. How does a girl tell a man that it is her first time? A car that I only had pictures of on my bedroom wall in college was now actually holding my delicate body.

When we got to the gates of the Mid-Ohio racetrack, two wrist bands were secured onto my wrist. My VIP status by now could not have been more apparent.

Once we got to the Porscheplatz, I felt almost dizzy with excitement seeing all the different Porsches next to each other. There were so many of them. More than what I have seen in my entire lifetime. The most expensive one being worth around 250K—a 1956 model that seemed more suited to sit in a museum rather than a parking area.

We went into the tent of our Porscheplatz to listen to the talks. I was surprised that it takes 8 million dollars to put together a racing team of two for the race. Engines need to be replaced around every 30 hours. Turnaround time for a busted radiator is about a week. I listened intently and absorbed the facts as cold drinks were served to me—a necessity as the day would bring temperatures in the 90’s compounded by the heat radiating off the racetrack. Add to that the high humidity and it is not an understatement to say that conditions were brutal.

I could not spend my entire time luxuriating in the tent of the Porscheplatz as the qualifying races were about to begin. Armed with my heavy photography equipment and earplugs, I embarked on the banks of the track to get the best views of the cars. As the Porsche RS Spyders, Aston Martins, and Ferraris drove by, my hands just could not hold my telephoto lens steady—to be so close to such power my normally steady hands were put the limit. But eventually I brought my emotions under control and my hands managed to find their equilibrium. My photography equipment was certainly put to the test as the camera and its accessories were not purchased with high speed photography in mind. But I quickly learned what I needed to do to get pictures of objects moving at 200 mph with what I had.

After the qualifiers, it was time to get some lunch before the actual races. By then, I had worked up quite an appetite and a double cheeseburger nicely suited the bill. I also made a mental note to find a nice t-shirt to buy later in the day. The hard part was deciding on what car I wanted to display on my chest. A Porsche? An Aston Martin? An Alfa Romeo? A Ferrari? Yes, a red, low cut shirt with the Ferrari emblem was what I finally decided on. I also tried to take in as much fluids as I could so as not to lose the battle against dehydration and heat stroke.

The races began and I took my time getting different viewpoints of the race. The Corvette team no doubt was being naughty by competing against each other and periodically colliding into each other. But the cars that collide together spend time together in the penalty area cited with poor sportsmanship. Even after that incident, the Corvette team seemed determined to try the patience of the officials with their behavior of getting a little jab in every so often. Sadly, there also was a car fire as one car pulled out of the pit while the fuel hose was still attached. The fuel spilled on the ground and ignited into an explosion sending those around it to the burn unit—a reminder that although the races appeal to the little child in us, it is certainly not child’s play. Another car lost a right rear wheel, but with only about five minutes left, decided to keep going and finish the race on three wheels—an example of just how well these cars are engineered to deal with the difficult racing conditions. The race concluded with the Audi team driven by Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner taking a 1-2 finish. Complete race results are here.

After the Le Mans race, I decided to watch a bit of the Indy cars race around the track. But truthfully, by then I was in a state of sheer physical exhaustion and quite possibly on the verge of heat exhaustion. Carrying around heavy equipment all day and baking in the humid heat had sadly taken its toll on me. It was time to head home.

On the drive home, the storm clouds started to roll in. It was as though nature herself was not to be outdone by the thunderous man made beasts. I finally nestled myself into the quiet solitude of my bed with the visions of powerful Ferraris still racing through my head.

I do so love hard metal on smooth curves.

(All pictures were taken with my fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 sec with my 300mm telephoto coupled with my 1.4X teleconverter. They are at small low res jpeg posted here as I am contemplating selling them and don't want them used without my permission)

Friday, July 11, 2008


July 9, 2008

Rest in Peace with Mom, little one. You never did stop missing her.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Venturing into the darkness

Strangely enough, I have been exploring the music of Nightwish. Nightwish is a Finnish metal goth band. Somehow, I enjoy the transitions in the compositions. To me, some of the pieces sound like a marriage of opera arias and heavy metal--and I am not a fan of heavy metal.

Anyhow, it would seem that I never cease to surprise myself. I thought that I would always just be a Baroque girl. I amaze my own self. What next? Tomorrow, will I don a black dress, black corset, my long black wig, and dark makeup?

Anyhow, I happen to like this piece. It strikes a chord with me:

Sleeping Sun

The sun is sleeping quietly
Once upon a century
Wistful oceans calm and red
Ardent caresses laid to rest

For my dreams I hold my life
For wishes I behold my night
The truth at the end of time
Losing faith makes a crime

I wish for this night-time
to last for a lifetime
The darkness around me
Shores of a solar sea
Oh how I wish to go down with the sun
With you

Sorrow has a human heart
From my god it will depart
I'd sail before a thousand moons
Never finding where to go

Two hundred twenty-two days of light
Will be desired by a night
A moment for the poet's play
Until there's nothing left to say

I wish for this night-time...

I wish for this night-time...

Unyielding Orchid Guide

So, I get a phone call last night requesting another orchid expedition. I am feeling a bit hesitant as the last expedition seems to have had some problems. If I agree, it will be according to my rules:

1. We all meet/leave at 5 am. If I can drag my behind out of bed, strap 40-50 pounds of heavy photography equipment on my petite body and hike all day in high heat and humidity with all my injuries, then I don't want to hear any whining--especially about getting up so early.

2. We don't need a twin turbo Porsche or Audi for a drive out to the wetlands. Yes, I do love the lovely feel of a high end sports car--but I don't want to feel like I am on the Indy 500 when trying to nap. I also prefer not to feel like I am going to fly out the window every time the car takes a curve.

3. If I see a friendly cat, I will pet it. No need to freak out because it might have germs. As long as I wash my hands, who cares what I pet?

4. Going out to the swamps will get dirt in a car. It is unavoidable. You should see my car after the salamander migration or after I have fallen into a mud pool. If this is a problem, perhaps it is not wise to offer to drive and bring the high end luxury sports car.

If my rules are not followed, I will leave y'all in the particular swamp with the hungry leaches and vicious mosquitoes.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Driven to distraction

I have spent the past two days in bed debilitated with what I presume to have been a migraine. On top of that, my basement flooded due to a storm, I need a bit of distraction from my woes. This suits the bill:

A friend of mine, Daniel, introduced me to Nightwish. As I had no choice but to listen to Daniel's choice of music for four hours during the drive on our orchid expedition, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the complexity of Nightwish. His choice of music is certainly on the "heavy" side, but I can appreciate the theory behind the compositions. Nightwish, I have to say did an interesting interpretation of Phantom of the Opera.

I also managed to sleep through heavy metal music in the car at the end of the day--which tells you how incredibly tired I was at the day's conclusion.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Writer's Block

Wishing for a more productive day tomorrow.


In The Morning Light

I wake up to see you Standing in the morning light.
I reach out to touch you,
But all that I get Is a memory, and yet, I feel you are near
But my vision's not clear.

Yet I have your image always in view,
I'm forever thinking of you.
I feel you watching me Quietly in the morning light.
I try to find some peace of mind
In knowing you're where You don't have a care.
I take comfort that You no longer have

To keep living in a world full of pain,
But I ache to see you again.
On rainy days I sit and think of our lost years,
The times we spent apart just fill my eyes with tears,
But fields of wild flowers and yellow butterflies
Remind me of you and make me smile.

I walk in to your room
And stand there in the morning light.
I cherish the memories:
Your robe on a hook,
The pictures you took.
I can smell your perfume
On the clothes in your room.

Everything I see makes your loss hard to bear,
I see you everywhere.
I live now in a still world Listening in the morning light.
I strain to hear a familiar voice
But all that I hear Is the sound of my tears.
Then from a far place
Comes the slightest trace
Of your voice saying, "I'm all right, you see,
and I always will be."

born Yiannis Chrysomallis,

Picture taken 9/06 at Triangle Bog with Nikon 105mm--click on for a closeup

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hungarian Sundays

Here is a lovely Hungarian dance. Please take note of the shoes the women are wearing. I have a pair of them. My relatives from Hungary sent them to me. I also would like to point out, that they are not shoes, they are slippers. A lovely embroidered cloth slipper with a small heel. Also no strap at the heal. Just like a slipper. How the dancers dance in them is beyond me. Reading from the comments below the video, it sounds like women who dance in these slipper/shoes have their fair share of injuries from them.

I have no intention of ever wearing mine for dancing. I have provided my orthopedist a nice income from all my various injuries as it is.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Voi che sapete

I am working on this piece--reclaiming my vocal range. It was and is my favorite aria.

My voice teacher was always pleased with my performance of this piece and always asked me to include it in recitals.

One year, I went to her informal recital as a member of the audience (a friend of mine was taking lessons from her and I came to support her in her piano performance). After all her students finished their performances, my voice teacher then asked me to take center stage and perform some the pieces from my repertoire that were my favorites. I was stunned as I did not come to the recital to perform. But I did. I went though about three pieces. Voi che sapeta was my encore for the evening.

The members of the audience assumed I was a professional opera singer. It was the highest compliment I ever got.

I have a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I used to be, and the cats are hoping for sooner rather than later for this to happen.

Cats and Bells

I have always been fascinated by some of the dances of the East. So much so, that I plan on taking lessons in the future (near future I hope). In preparation for this, last year I bought some sterling silver ankle bracelets with bells on them. They do make a lovely chiming sound when I move. Up until now, I have not worn them. Up until now.

Well, yesterday I went out to spend some quality time with some of my friends. I decided to wear them--they went with the outfit I was wearing. Besides, these are my friends, they know to expect the unexpected with me. So, I knew that wearing these ankle bracelets with little bells on them was not going to phase them.

So, I put them on. I then rather quickly noticed it had an unusual effect on the cats. They started following me around the house as I was getting ready (putting on clothes, doing my hair, makeup, etc.). They were very attentive to the sound the bracelets were making. I am not sure if they viewed me as some giant cat toy walking around (some of their cat toys have little bells they come running to the sound when initiate play time with them).

They kept following me around the house until I finally left. Suffice it to say, I felt like the Pied Piper of Cats.

Keep Breathing

Sometimes, all you can do is keep breathing...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Kitteh Antics

The antics of cats never end. Never. Sometimes I feel like a have a household of children rather than cats. With three cats of my own, three foster cats, and one stray outside I am trying to befriend (to put up for adoption), I feel like they have a plot of domination over me.

So, now, new kitteh antics have emerged. They have started hauling their toys everywhere. I mean everywhere. On the tables, on the bed, under the bed, in the bathtub (which I have to remove when I go to take a shower or bath), in the sink, and--get this--in their water bowls.

What is up with putting their toys into the water bowls? Every morning and evening I am removing drowned toys. It is kinda gross with the fur covered toys as it looks like a dead mouse. If the cats are trying to give me a hint to buy them a kitteh pool for the summer, they are sadly mistaken that I will comply.

So, last night, one of the cats decides to pee into the water bowl. Yeah, just like a typical kid in a pool.

But I am still not buying them a kitteh pool.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

So, I open one of my email accounts to find that there is an application for me to join AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). In fact, for TWO days now they have been sending emails for me to join. Okay, I would not mind the free travel kit backpack, but I think I will hold off a bit before joining.

What the heck? I am a woman who will freely admit her age (I am 40). Most of the time, and I do mean most of the time, people tell me I look much younger. I have even had some men tell me that they thought I was in my 20’s. They might have been flirting with me. Okay, most likely flirting with me—but still.

I realize that an email cannot view me and see that I do not look like I am reaching retirement age (although there are some days I feel like it). However, they must have gotten my email address from some source and it makes me wonder what source would think I am near retirement age.

Is it the photography sources? Photography seems to have booth young and old for its enthusiasts. Would it be science? Well, sometimes I joke that I am well preserved from all the chemicals in the lab, but I think somehow it is not geared toward the geriatric generation. Science fiction? More likely the younger generation in my opinion. Don’t see too many Klingons walking around with canes at the sci-fi conventions--okay, maybe the Klingon pain sticks. But certainly not too many Klingons with devices aimed towards assisting mobility. Perhaps it is the health and wellness sources?

If it is the health and wellness sources, it seems to me that health and wellness is something you should care about all your life. Or at least when you hit your twenties and thirties.

At any rate, perhaps I will never know why they are sending me AARP memberships. At least I should be grateful I am not getting emails for funeral pre-planning.
my pet! Locations of visitors to this page