I’m thankful…

I hope that anyone reading this post believes that they have something to be thankful for. I know that this time of year can be hard for many because they feel sadness while others are happy. I hope that you find the happiness that you seek.

Today, I am thankful. I love and I am loved. I am grateful that I can love despite the disappointments and challenges that I have had in life. I’m not picky- love of all types is important not just romantic, not just family, not just faith there is no “just”- it’s all good.

Happy Thanksgiving….


Good times, good food, oh my goodness!


Hello friends and visitors! Last Saturday, November 5th, my daughter Kimba http://kimbas2cents.blogspot.com/2011/11/naturals-night.html#comments hosted a night of fun. She called the gathering ” Naturals Night.”

Those of us who attended talked about the ways in which we care for our hair. When we weren’t doing that, we ate tons of yummy food and had delicious drinks as well. The best  part of the evening was a visit by a manicurist who did all of our nails. Kimba topped the evening off with adorable gift cartons filled with homemade lip gloss, chocolate lollipops, and a “Be Natural” candle.


Now I don’t want to brag, but I’m going to- that was my daughter who gave that great party!  I did make a contribution to the awesomeness though, I made baked Mac & Cheese. Here’s the recipe:  

For a 9×11 pan of mac & cheese you will need:

1 box of elbow or little shells pasta
4 oz yellow sharp cheddar cheese- shredded
4 0z mild cheddar or colby  cheese- shredded
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
4oz canned skim milk& 4oz water for 8 oz total of milk

For seasoning use black pepper, garlic salt and any salt free herb mixture amounting to about 1 tbsp combined.

Cook the pasta and drain it. You can make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium-low heat, add the flour and about a tsp of the spices. Stir and add about 1/4 of the milk, keep stirring to prevent lumps, add another 1/4 of the milk and about  1/2 of the cheese till the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened. Add the rest of the milk till smooth. Continuous stirring is important to prevent the sauce from burning. You can always add more milk if you think the sauce is too thick. Add in the rest of the spices and give it a good stir. Turn off the heat.

Pour the sauce into the pasta and stir it up covering all of the pasta then transfer to a baking dish. Pour the remaining cheese over the top of the dish and cook in a 350 degree oven until the cheese on top is melted and the dish is bubbly. This usually takes about 30 minutes. Enjoy!



Photography: when to use film or digital

In my last post I promised to write about when I prefer to use digital and film photography, since I see both recording media as equivalent. I want to start this discussion by re-iterating that I use both recording media to about the same extent and like results from both.

I also need to clarify that when I refer to digital photography, I mean digital SLR (or some mirrorless cameras which come close in performance to a digital SLR). A comparison of digital compact camera vs. film SLR does not make sense because the high ISO and autofocus performance of the digital compact camera is not at the same level as digital SLR due to the smaller sensor and different autofocus module.

To begin, I want to highlight the strength and weaknesses of each recording medium and then mention examples where I use them.

Digital SLR

Strength Weaknesses
High ISO performance outstanding (now we can take photos in the dark)
Virtually unlimited shooting possible (no film changing after 36 exposures)
Adjustment of exposure and White Balance etc. afterwards possible with raw files
Immediate availability of data
Immediate feedback
Oftentimes heavier than film gear
Equipment relatively expensive
Requires shooting infrastructure: battery chargers, memory cards, field storage, field data backup
Dynamic range not as high as film (this gap is getting narrower)
Some colors not rendered as natural as film
With high burst rates it is easy to shoot hundreds of images, requires time to edit

…and for Film Photography

Strength Weaknesses
Equipment inexpensive
Cameras run forever on batteries
No need for field backup infrastructure
Lack of immediate feedback and availability of recorded images leads to more contemplative approach to photography
With a delay of at least one day until photos are available, allows photographer to envision an image and be surprised how different the actual photo looks in the end
Great inexpensive lenses available
High ISO photography pretty much irrelevant (highest ISO for color film was 800-1600, now difficult to get; ISO 3200 for b/w)
Not well suited for high burst events (requires frequent film changes)
Because of low ISO film, may require tripod
Delay of at least one day until photographs become available after development
No immediate feedback (this may be a strength)
Requires more steps in a digital workflow (processing – scanning – editing)

Here is my list of typical motifs for each recording medium:

Digital Photography Film Photography
low light
macro overcast day
handheld telephoto shots
scientific photography
studio flash setups
all commercial wedding
event, etc. photography
zoo animals
night skiing
fall foliage
photography during action/sports (using inexpensive equipment)
day skiing
high contrast scenes
landscape details

 * For travel photography, I don’t have any clear preference and usually take “one of each”, I try not to shoot the same motif twice.


Thanks for stopping by!

The busiest time of year…


I was thinking about the activities that I take part in at this time of year and for a moment I was overwhelmed. The idea of being busy is nothing new we are all busy. Like many of you I am a worker/small business owner, spouse, parent, social justice activist and church goer. In between all of that I also try to take care of my health, maintain friendships, take care of animals and participate in volunteer activities. All of these actions are year round but with the sun setting earlier and earlier every day…

 Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. I have great and fun activities ahead. There will be meals to cook, there are always crafts to make or products to design. My creativity and energy level are being challenged yet I am thankful for the opportunities.

O.k. I’m over it now. I feel happy to have a very full life. I don’t take it for granted, in fact, I marvel at it. Thanksgiving and Christmas are looming- no last minute stuff here! I like to plan and then act on those plans.

The question now is, what do I do next?