Monday, June 20, 2011

New equipment, and a portrait of a stranger! :O

Something serious happened yesterday. Something with some very real long term implications. Andrew and I went to the camera store and I bought some equipment for his Canon. That's right. I guess it's official now! I'm looking into selling my Nikon equipment as well. We took all of my stuff to the store (they also buy lenses and that sort of thing) to get a quote, but it was an extreme low ball. To be expected I suppose, it was still surprising though. I'll be having a fun time on craigslist now. If my mom managed to sell a car, I hope I can sell a camera!

We're both interested in making good HDR photos. I had a few HDR 
assignments at Evergreen and I could never get the hang of it, so this
will be a fun venture for both of us! Here's one from yesterday.

We've been on the road toward rebuilding my equipment for his camera since I arrived, pretty much. Since I had some lenses that broke, both of my zooms, I've been feeling a bit restricted. He has a nice 17-135mm that I enjoy using, and a few weeks ago he bought that 50mm f/1.4 that is a dream to use! Such a shallow depth of field makes it difficult to get things in focus without a tripod. It's creating a fun new challenge for me though!

 The guitarist at Disneyland.

Yesterday my purchases included a 35mm f/2.0 and a 430EX II, one of Canon's external flashes. Last year I found myself in a place where I was truly comfortable with my sb-800, and I can't imagine continuing down the dSLR road without an external flash. My biggest concern is how long it will take me to be comfortable with the 430EX II. I read the sb-800 manual twice and also went through tutorials online and messed around with it myself before finally figuring out how to use it for whichever purpose I had. I don't want to take three years to learn the ins and outs of 430EX II.

Seeing as I already have the knowledge of what the flash can do, I don't think it will take me that long, but it's still a worry! I played around with it a little bit last night, and after I'm finished with this blog I'll be spending time with the manual. Hopefully next week's blog will include some nicely lit photos of Andrew from this evening!

I finally managed to get the pictures of the finished birthday cake edited, so here are a few of those!

 First layer with frosting, and the completed cakes!

 Not enough room to write Andrew, so he suggested a lone "A".

This weekend we spent a good portion of Saturday at Disneyland. Since Andrew's birthday was on Tuesday, I told him I wanted to take him to the Blue Bayou for a fancy meal. I had never been there before, but he had and he said it was a fun place. Generally he only goes to the park in the evenings for a few hours, but we wanted to have a fancy lunch so we got there around 1:30. Our reservation was for 1:30 and we got to the restaurant at 2 (oops) but they were still able to seat us! Yay!

 Appropriate for him to be wearing his Happy Birthday button! The name
got rubbed off though D: And we were actually there on our five month
anniversary, so that was a fun coincidence too! :D

It's by and far the nicest and most expensive place that I have ever eaten. It was so much fun though, and my treat for his birthday :3 I've never had the chance to take someone somewhere nice either. It was special! We had an easy going, romantic and delicious lunch. Afterward we took a few photos of the pirate ship and then we rode the train around the park to relax and digest. So much fun. Such a good day!

While we were in the Blue Bayou Andrew mentioned that there is occasionally a single guitar player in the restaurant filling the space with soft music. I thought it was a shame that he wasn't there, and instead we got to hear the entertaining banjo loop that plays at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean. Hehe.

Treasure chest on Tom Sawyer's island.

Upon exiting the Blue Bayou, Andrew was delighted to notice the guitar player just down the way! We stopped in the shade to enjoy the music for a while and I took out my camera. I deliberated briefly before he asked me if I was going to take any photos of the man. I get so nervous taking pictures of people that I don't know very well, so taking photos of total strangers is that much more difficult. I explained to Andrew that I have to work up the courage and slowly get closer and to feel comfortable myself. Then he says, 'Are you going to ask him?' and I froze because I hadn't considered asking permission. It occurred to me in that moment that it was definitely the right thing to do, and it made me more nervous still.

Finally I found the courage, I have no idea where it came from (but I think it had something to do with Andrew ;), and I walked up and asked if I could take some photos of him. He looked at me, smiled, and nodded very slowly. It was amazing the wave of relief and ease that I felt after that. I stood back and took as many photos as I liked, feeling free to focus without that sense of nervousness and self-consciousness.

The top of the steam boat!

It's an uphill battle for me to find the confidence and comfort to take the photos that I want to take. Andrew really helps me though (that's an understatement).

In other exciting news, there's starting to be a lot of great activity in my garden! It's difficult to tell the random sprouts from MY sprouts because that plot of dirt was filled with a whole mess of things when I started, but it's still neat! I really enjoy stepping out onto the patio in the mornings and smoothing the dirt around. The neighborhood cats like to crap in there (grr) and they push the dirt around a lot, thus covering up a lot of my little sproutlings! I guess the free fertilizer is nice, but I'm tired of them burying my plants.

 I nabbed a lot of great photos of the pirate ship, which was awesome. We also
had a chance to go to the Winnie the Pooh section! I hadn't been before.

I have to make sure Andrew keeps an eye on them while I'm gone. I'll be very upset if when we get back at the end of July they're all dried up and covered in cat poo!

Next week's blog should include a lot of photos of my family while I practice with the new camera, lenses and flash, and probably a lot of pictures of Unjuy because I miss that cat like crazy!

One more thing! My etsy shop is back up and running! I have a lot of photos to add and I'll be doing that over the next few weeks and I plan on adding photos on a regular basis once I'm all caught up on a back log, so keep checking back!


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