Friday, September 28, 2012

Spinning Wheels Got To Go 'Round: First Attempt at Time Lapse Photography

The other night on my way home from a crab feast I passed a carnival being held in an old department store parking lot.  I had my camera with me so I made a quick U-Turn and hopped out to take a few pictures.  It must have been the combination of it being the first night the carnival was open and the chilly air because no one was there.  I was able to get right up to the ferris wheel and take the picture above. 

I tried to take a few more photos with longer exposures and even propped myself up on a cement wall, but sure enough they all came out too blurry.  On my little LCD screen they looked good, but as soon as I got home and opened them up I saw how bad they were indeed. And I was only keeping my shutter open for a second! 

I dug through my house trying to find an old tripod since my own has failed me before and thank heavens I found one! So I kissed the hubs and told him I'd be back in a bit, hopped in the car, and drove back over to the carnival.

What do you know - it was PACKED!!!  Way too may people running around to take my tripod and camera right back up to the ferris wheel.  Instead I snapped away from a few spots in the parking lot.

Here's a few of the better pictures.

I definitely need to upgrade in a better tripod setup because I noticed when I flipped my camera setup around to take portrait pictures I had to actually hold my camera lens because it started to slipped as the shutter was open.  It was weird, but it's something I need to look into more if I'm going to do this in the future.

I kept my shutter open for all of eight seconds on the one above. It's probably my favorite from the night.  I set my shutter speed and then engaged the self-timer on my camera to go off with a four second delay.  That gave me time to focus, hit the shutter button, take my hands off the camera, and then let the camera recover from any potential shaking prior to taking the picture.  

I love how the ferris wheel looks completely different depending on how long the shutter was open.

I wish I was decent at photoshop and could figure out how to get rid of those cars! I think this would look amazing with an empty parking lot in the foreground.  The grey car in the front right nearly ran me over soon after this picture was taken and that was when I took it as my cue to go home.

Any time lapse photography tips?  Tripod recommendations?

This is my first time trying it and I'm fairly pleased with the results, but I know I have a long way to go before I consider printing anything.  Although, I might actually print one of these pictures just to have a reference in the coming years on what my first attempt at time lapse photography looked like.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's finally fall weather!

It's finally fall weather!  That means longer walks with the pups, running in the dark, lots of layers, firing up the wood stove, watching the fall foliage, drinking apple cider, enjoy football tailgating, and everything pumpkin related.  

It also means taking Jewels for more car rides to get her outside since her royal highness gets cold when the temperature dips lower than 80 degrees.  She refuses to come off our back deck if it's too cold outside for her, but if we take her in the car and then bring her to a park she'll walk around for a few minutes.  Jax hates motor vehicles so he's much happier hanging out at home then going for a quick car ride around the neighborhood. 

Of course the hubs and I have to be on lookout for other dogs when we're out and about with Jewels. Don't be fooled by her 13.5lbs, she's the fiercest dog of all time. 

Jewels equates in her mind, "laying down in the grass and eating grass as a bad thing, but eating grass while standing up is a good thing."  She's a feisty dog. 

Yes, my dog ignores me 99.9% of the time.  The only time she pays me any mind is if I have food.  Every once in while I'll think she's trying to be affectionate with me, but really she's just trying to get under the warmth of my blanket.  The hubs is her person and I'm just a warm body that takes up space on the couch in her mind! 

Although I shouldn't complain about my diva dog too much because it is nice that I can take her for walk in a dress and heels.  That is not an option with Jax!  It's hilarious how different those two dogs are even though we've raised them together since they were pups.

What is everyone else looking forward to doing this fall? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Crab Feast: A Maryland Tradition

Only in Maryland is it socially acceptable to throw some rolled brown paper or newspaper on a table, tape a plastic bag to the side of the table, and throw down a whole mess of shellfish and call it a party.  At least that's how the crab feasts I've been to have played out.  Monday night was another Maryland tradition: get a bunch of people together, line up some tables, throw down crabs, have a few beers, and have a fire pit going.  Okay, the fire pit part is the cooler weather fall add on.  Substitute sunblock and/or bug spray for summer crab feasts. 

I am usually able to convince people that I'm "from the area" because I don't have a strong NY accent, but every summer and fall I fear deportation at any moment. 

Why, you may ask? 

I don't do crab feasts.  I really hate eating anything off the bone and picking crab meat has got to be one of my least favorite food activities.  There are too many rules: don't eat the green goo, stay away from the yellow mustard, don't waste any time, etc. 

Honestly, the first time I went to a crab feast with the hubs I was scared out of my mind.  I'd never picked a crab before and had no idea what I was doing.  The hubs eats like a military person and I was slowing him down because he kept having to show me how to pick the crab.  Finally, we came to a plan where he picked the crab and I stuck to the legs.  

It also didn't help matters that I had a massive paper cut at the time and holy crap did that burn when I got Old Bay in the cut.  I think my hands smelled like Old Bay for days afterwards even though I went all doctor mode and washed my hands every thirty seconds to get the smell off of them.  

Come on! Who in their right mind sees that thing above and says, "let's eat it?!?!?"

Now, if someone picks the crab meat and puts it into a crab cake format then I'm totally game.  I love me some crab cakes. 

Anyone else intimidated by crab picking? Anyone have any tips for me?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall weekends: fried chicken, beer, and football

I think the hubs gets a bad rap from time to time.  I'm beginning to realize that most folks think I do most of the cooking at the house, which couldn't be further from the truth.  I consider myself a decent baker, but when it comes to cooking meat I let the hubs do his thing.  Smoke an 8lb brisket - done.  Make shrimp kabobs - so tasty and done. Sear tuna - done, done, and done.

I think the only meat dish that's 100% mine is my meatloaf.  I make chicken breasts, tacos, shrimp scampi, and poached salmon, but most of the time if there's meat in the house the hubs is the one who cooked it.

And now it's fall football season, which only means it's time for fried chicken on the weekends.  I asked the hubs for his recipe and he looked at me and went, "ummmm, I don't measure so I have no idea what I use."

It's like the man is scared I'm going to steal his fried chicken recipe even though I don't eat chicken off the bone! I swear I'm really a vegetarian who's trapped with the world's biggest carnivore and eats meat in order to keep the peace.

Without further ado, here is the hubs' fried chicken recipe (if you can call this a recipe!).


- 6 pieces thawed chicken (plus one half-way defrosted chicken breast if you want to make chicken strips)
- Salt
- Texas Pete Wing Sauce
- Paprika
- Ground Back Pepper
- Flour
- 3 eggs (that's the one thing he measured!)
- Lots of oil for cooking the chicken (The hubs uses vegetable oil because we bought a huge tub of it on sale. He's used peanut oil in the past and really liked the peanut oil.)

Step 1:  Season chicken with salt, paprika, and pepper.  To quote the hubs, "a bit of salt, but more paprika and pepper than salt." 

Step 2: In one large bowl combine 3 eggs and hot sauce (enough hot sauce until the mixture is "bright orange").  In a separate medium bowl pour in flour ("enough flour to cover the chicken").  My guess is start with a cup of flour, if you need more later, add it! 

Step 3: Dredge the chicken by first coating it in the egg/hot sauce mixture and then rolling the chicken in the bowl of flour.

Step 4:  Place chicken in a pan/Dutch Oven of warm oil on medium heat.  Cook roughly 10 minutes for chicken wings.  Breasts and thighs will take a few minutes longer.  If fully submerged in oil you don't have to flip the chicken pieces. 

Step 5: Eat chicken! Look I've burnt myself enough on fried chicken to feel comfortable saying, "let it cool down a minute or two first!" 

Optional Step for Extra Crispy Chicken:  Dredge the chicken twice. Super crispy and yummy. 

What's your favorite fall football food?  When the weather really starts to cool down we'll start making chili on the weekends and as much as I love fried chicken strips I can't wait for chili season! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recharging the batteries

(Outtake from a one year old's photo session I did this weekend)

Officially my marathon training plan stated I was supposed to run four miles Sunday morning as a recovery run.  Then again I think most people take the day off and nap most of the day after running 20 miles.  

I don't have time for that! I've got friends with kids and stuff to do.  Cribs need to be disassembled and then reassembled.  People have to move.  Okay, to be honest the hubs did far more of the heavy lifting than I did, but I count helping people move just a few hours after running 20 miles as a decent recovery. Most people think I'm crazy, but I swear slowly moving around and never stopping kept me from stiffening up and getting sore.  

Then, meeting a friend at the park on Sunday morning to take pictures of a 51 week old also made sense.  I walked 2 miles around a lake and and got to play with a cutie pie at the park.  By play I mean laugh my butt off and occasionally lay on the ground in order to get on her level to snap more pictures.

My recovery plan worked so much better than any other plan I've followed.  I'm not sore at all. The hubs's home made fried chicken might have also helped.  It was a recovery weekend for the soul.  

Two 20 milers down and only 1 to go.  Then it's a few weeks of recovery, tapering, and on to marathon #4. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

31 Beer Release at DuClaw

I love Thursday night date night!  This week the hubs and I headed over to DuClaw for the release party for their latest beer Spiced  Munich Dunkel called "31."  I'll be honest, I had no idea that a dunkel was a type of German beer until after we arrived, but if it deals with autumn and my German heritage, well then I'm in! 

I'm head over heels in love with these shoes (pun intended).  They were FREE at Target! Well, technically they were on sale for $14.99 and then I had a $5 off coupon and a $10 gift card. It's like Target paid me to take them home.  At least that's what I told the hubs.

Top: Old Navy // Jeans: Gap // Belt: Calvin Klein // Shoes: Target // Purse: Rebecca Minkoff // Sunnies: Cole Haan // Necklace: BaubleBar // Watch: Citzen's Eco Drive // Bracelets: BaubleBar, DERNG (won from Dooley Noted Style

Now onto the beer! 31 description's reads, "A crisp, medium bodied Spiced Munich Dunkel.  This German-style, copper-colored lager tricks you with its smooth, malty taste and moderate 5.7% abv, then treats your palate with a spicy finish of cinnamon and nutmeg for a brew that on a scale of 1 to 10 is easily a 31."

The hubs looked a bit disappointed when I didn't join him on the beer sampler.  I know part of the reason we went was because it's #31 aka the hubs' jersey number and a prime number. I'm not kidding  you... I was told it was a prime number during dinner (welcome to our nerd life). 

He doesn't look so bad for a guy who got called into work at 9:30pm Wednesday night and operated on Thursday with only 4 hours of sleep.  Hey, I said we could stay in, but the guy wasn't about to miss date night! 

 Why yes, my favorite local beer just happens to be called, "Misfit Red."  I swear I wasn't swayed by the name at all.  Okay fine, I tried it for the first time solely on the name, but it was the smooth amber ale taste with malt that won me over in the end.  31 was nice as well.  It was really smooth, yet filling.  You could definitely taste the nutmeg and cinnamon so it's a perfect autumn seasonal drink.  Yay beer!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Parks Half Marathon: 2012 Edition

After a muddy fall during last year's Parks Half Marathon I was hoping the weather would be better for this year's race.  The majority of the race course is on paved trails and there are a few low spots that are prime for standing water.  When I drove to my bestie's house on Saturday I got stuck in my car due to a torrential downpour! Awesome. 

However, the weather was absolutely perfect come race morning.  I actually flirted with wearing capris pants it was so cool, but in the end I decided to stick with shorts.  There quite a few small branches, wet leaves, and a few large puddles on the trail, but overall it was in good shape. I'm not going to lie I slowed up when I came to the place where I got pushed last year and made sure there was no one around me when I bounced around the standing water. 

(Okay, I'm definitely overdue for a haircut!)

I started the race off strong, but unfortunately I fell victim to my tummy again.  It's completely my fault.  I ate like crap the day before the race and I should know better.  On a plus note, I was reminded once again why you are what you eat and eating poorly in the days leading up to a race is just going to result in lost time on the course.  I could never make up the four minutes I lost having to stop due to my issues.  

Bee, on the other hand, killed it once again. New half marathon PR in the books for her.  

Looks like Bee's boyfriend is going to give the "Ridiculously Photogenic Guy" a run for his money (pun intended).  This guy ran a 12 mile Tough Mudder on Saturday and decided to break in his new tri-suit for an upcoming half ironman during Sunday's half marathon.  On top of that he has the nerve to look quasi-happy and even smiles for the camera.  All while running 7 minute miles.  Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!  The nerve of that guy. 

All was not lost though.  I got to hang out with Bee's running group at not one, but two bars, post race and it was an amazing time.  I think my face hurt more than my legs on Sunday night... from laughing so much!

Before I go and get down on myself for having a slow race time and get frustrated I'm going to think positively.  I'm never going to be the fastest runner.  I know it and I'm okay with it.  I run for fun and I needed to laugh my ass off on Sunday to get back to that fun place.

I run for fun and I run for me.  But every once in a while I get inspired by people who have probably been told more than once that they can't run.  And when I hear that I promptly say, "screw that."  Oscar Pistorius qualified for the Olympics and he's had double leg amputations.

And this guy above. Well he inspires me.  If he can do it, then I can do it.  There isn't an excuse I can make up that's bigger than anything he could throw at me.  

All race photos are from the lovely Montgomery County Road Runners Photos .  Thanks for having a site where runners can download their pictures for free!  Best.race.idea.ever. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cal Ripken Jr. Statue Unveiled at the Yard

The hubs was the happiest guy in the world last Thursday night.  A beautiful day at Camden Yards on a Thursday night, plus a win against the Yankees always brings a smile to his face. 

This post is a few days late, but it still warrants a post (in my opinion).  Last Thursday night the hubs and I joined over 46k people at Camden Yards to watch the fifth of six Orioles Legends have their statue unveiled.  You could say the night belonged to Cal Ripken Jr., but Cal's a gracious host and he said over and over again that he was so thankful to the fans and excited about the current Orioles team.  You know, the team that is currently tied with my beloved Yankees in first place. 

I've been to a lot of games at Camden Yards and I've never seen so many people there.  Clarification, I've been to multiple opening days and I've never seen so many O's fans at Camden Yards.  The hubs and I weren't sure what to expect from the crowd because it was a game against the Yankees and Yankees fans travel extremely well.  Heck, Camden Yards even has the nickname, "the Yankee Stadium of the South" because when the Yanks are in town so are their fans.  However, on last Thursday night the O's fans were in the clear majority.

I'm pretty sure the hubs wore the #31 in college because of 2131, which is the number of games Cal Ripken Jr. started consecutively 17 years ago and broke Lou Gehrig's streak to become "The Ironman." I'm also certain that the hubs thought that I wore #8 in college for Cal and it was a pretty sad day when I had to explain to him that I didn't wear it for Cal.  No offense Cal.

I don't know if there's a prettier sight in Baltimore than a packed Camden Yards and the Warehouse at sunset.  The stadium is just magical when it's full of people.  It's loud, energetic, and such a fun place to be. Yes, even a Yankees fan has fun at the Yard.

Seriously, I've never seen so much Orange in my life! 

Random sidebar: but is it just me or are the beer cans getting bigger at stadiums these days?  I asked the hubs to get me a beer and he came back with that behemoth. 

Later in the game the hubs and I ducked out for half an inning to visit the statutes.  I need to go back because my pictures of Eddie Murray didn't come out as sharp as I would have liked them to.  The great O's manager Earl Weaver is above. 

It wouldn't be a statue of Jim Palmer if it didn't incorporate his leg kick!  The detail in these bronze sculptures was absolutely amazing.  I know I don't have a picture to share, but Eddie Murray played when the players shared batting helmets and therefore they wore their caps underneath their helmets.  That level of detail was included in the statue.  Eddie even had to approve the amount of facial hair that was included on his statue.  

Of course, snagging a few pictures of the newest statue was a bit difficult.  Everyone wanted a picture with Cal's statue.  I was able to snag pictures as the statue was temporarily empty in between groups assembling in their positions with the statue. 

It was only fitting that Cal's statue showed him going back in the hole to field a ball.  The man was an exceptional shortstop and third basemen over his career.  Both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have credited Cal with revolutionizing the shortstop position and ushering in a new era of shortstops.  Neither Jeter nor Rodriguez would have been considered shortstops based on their body types if it wasn't for Cal.  

The current O's team made sure to attract their own share of attention in the game.  After jumping out to a 6-1 lead and then letting the game get all tied up in the 8th inning the O's came crashing back on a home run charge led by Adam Jones.  Matt Reynolds hit two home runs during the game and there is his above rounding the bases on his second home run.  The O's won the game 10-6. 

But, let's not forget the real reason everyone was there.  It was actually perfect that the Yankees were in town for this game.  Cal's consecutive streak ended at 2,632 games when he voluntarily sat for a game against the Yankees.  I know that because I'm a Yankees fan and I was watching the game on tv.  It all made sense for the statue to be unveiled 17 years to the day of 2131 and having the Yankees in town was just poetic justice.

Well done Baltimore, well done.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: We will never forget

Source: Thomas Franklin of The Bergen Record 

We can never forget the horrific events of that day because it would be a disgrace to all those who lost their lives and loved ones.  We will never forget you.