Tag Archives: Nikon 50mm lens

Stealth Photography Nears End

The kid looked so cute during yesterday’s nap.

The kid looked so cute during yesterday’s nap. Why the hat? Why not!

One thing I’ll especially miss when my younger son starts college at the end of next month is snapping photos of him while he sleeps. He’s the type of person who naps at the drop of a (preferably Cookie Monster) hat, usually on the couch in open view of my Nikon D700 and nifty Nikon 50mm lens.

Ten years ago, his hair was more reddish, and he wore mittens to stop him from scratching his eczema.

Ten years ago, he wore mittens to stop him from scratching his eczema.

I’ve loved taking pics of my now not-so-little guy cranking out zzzzz’s his entire life.

Sawing logs in 2007

Sawing logs in 2007

The kid always has looked so sweet and innocent while asleep . . . often in direct contrast with the mayhem he’s wreaked on the house in his quest for the title of messiest boy ever.

A book made a less-than-comfy pillow in 2009.

A book made a less-than-comfy pillow in 2009.

I usually can count on him falling asleep while reading, which he dislikes.

Another book, another nap in 2011

Another book, another nap in 2011

Words on a page almost immediately induce drowsiness. He’ll never need to take a sleeping pill, as long as he has assigned reading.

Sleeping in on Thanksgiving 2012

Sleeping in on Thanksgiving 2012

The kid is an all-star sleeper, book or not. His idea of the perfect day is hours and hours of slumber, whether in his bed or on the couch.

I don’t expect that to stop once he’s at Sam Houston State. But I won’t be around to document it anymore, except when he’s home on breaks. It’s sad to think that my days of sneaking pics of him are dwindling. Guess I’ll just have to find a new subject for my stealth photography.

Does anyone feel sorry for the Mister?

Blowing Smoke

A bird’s-eye view

A bird’s-eye view of Puffington

When I decided to buy a Crane Adorable humidifier for my younger son’s bedroom, the choice was easy:

This IS a smoking area!

This IS a smoking area!

It had to be a penguin! The kid loves them. It’s nice knowing that his favorite critter helps him to feel better, especially this week when he’s suffering from a bad cold.

As for me, of course, I enjoy the photo ops all that steam affords.

Nap time among the misting vapors

Nap time among the misting vapors

Almost as much as the machine’s usefulness.

Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

Photo notes: My Nikon D700’s onboard flash did a better job capturing the steam than the natural light. I also used my Nikon 50mm lens.

A Different Camera Documents My Trip

The view from above on the way to Chicago.

The view from above on the way to Chicago.

When I plan one of my infrequent trips, I usually spend a lot of time assessing what’s most important to me: My photographic needs. I’m rarely without a camera in addition to the one on my iPhone.

On previous journeys to Chicago I’ve lugged either my Nikon D300 or D700 along with my Nikon 50mm lens (occasionally I’ll tote the Nikon 105mm macro, too).

A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window

A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window

But this time I wanted to go with a lightweight kit, because Chicago in winter can be . . . dare I say it? . . . ugly. Remember yesterday’s photo of the dirty snow? There’s no need to snap multiple pics of that with your best equipment.

So I opted for my newest camera, the Nikon 1 V1, which is mirrorless (virtually noiseless). Plus you can change lenses, and it’s small and light. The best part?

It was free! I “bought” it from Amazon with my Discover Card points. As you know, free is my favorite price!

The crazy lights in O'Hare

The crazy lights at O’Hare

As it turned out, I was glad I chose the V1 as my photo-traveling companion. Not only did it do a decent job with the subject matter (I only snapped about 45 pics), but I spent most of my four days moaning and groaning (when I wasn’t living on Advil), because I tripped over a curb (yes, once again!) outside of Bush Intercontinental Airport and fell, bruising my ribs.

Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.

Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.

I’m not sure what worried me more: The thought of carrying my heavier photo equipment while I was in pain or the possibility that I might have broken one of my beloved digital SLRs and/or lenses when I went splat on the hard concrete.

Now that really would have been cause for moaning and groaning!

Beauty and the 105mm

Beautiful colors meld together at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

When I travel, I put just as much time into figuring out my photographic needs as I do what to wear. Probably more (as anyone who has seen my wardrobe can attest).

Columns of water barely hide some flowers.

I hate lamenting missed photo ops due to the lack of proper equipment. Those what-ifs can drive me crazy!

Blue delphinium mix with pinkish coneflowers.

I knew for last weekend’s Chicago trip that I’d take my Nikon 50mm lens to capture pics at my great-niece Maddie’s party. But what other lens (if any) needed to come along for the ride?

Love these strawflowers!

Why, my beloved Nikon 105mm macro lens, of course! My mom had mentioned the possibility of a trip to the lovely Chicago Botanic Garden, close to where she lives.

A bee enjoys a mystic spire.

Even though the 105 is heavy, it’s far superior to the nifty 50 for snapping close-ups of flowers and bees. I gently nestled it in my bag next to my Nikon D300 and hoped I would get the chance to use it.

A brilliant purple flower stands out among the lily pads.

As it turned out, I didn’t regret hauling the big guy along at all! Its heft is more than offset by its performance (kinda like the Babe Ruth of lenses).

An evening lady dahlia

I’ve been to the Chicago Botanic Garden several times, and it never fails to amaze me with its beauty and sense of peacefulness. Each time I visit, certain flowers really stand out.

A Zach Roberts dahlia

This time it was the delightful dahlias that intrigued me most. CBG featured several different varieties.

The heartthrob dahlia

My favorite was the heartthrob dahlia. I really like the contrast of colors . . . as well as the name.

Reminded me of my three heartthrobs waiting back home for me!

The College Journey Redux

So welcoming!

Didn’t we just do this dance a few years ago? Same time of year but different places?

We sure did: The University of Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Stephen F. Austin State University. Those were the colleges we looked at when our older son, who eventually chose UTSA, was a high school junior. Now it’s his younger brother’s turn to send my maternal emotions on a roller coaster ride.

Must I climb aboard?

The Mister studies a far-different campus map than when he walked the sidewalks.

Last Saturday we took those first tentative steps towards a collegiate destination for my #2 son by attending the University of Houston’s Preview Day. UH is less than an hour away, depending, of course, on traffic. My younger boy always has wanted to be a Cougar for one reason: It’s the Mister’s alma mater. But he hasn’t spent much time on the campus. The day finally had arrived to see if reality jibed with his long-lived fantasy.

Michael and my son check out the grounds.

It was nice for us to see other students from my son’s high school also attending the Preview Day, which attracted a big crowd. We toured the campus with his friend Michael (who he’s known since elementary school) and his dad, who coached both boys in flag football one season. Seems like it was only yesterday.

After spending time listening to the recruiting pitch (which included the spirited pep band playing an overkill three times), we attended an academic session. My boy chose the College of Technology; the digital media technology degree is right up my alley! We ate lunch at the impressive dorm cafeteria with my older son’s good friend Josh and his girlfriend Leslie, who had plenty of words of wisdom for us. I really came away very impressed with UH and definitely could see my baby boy matriculating there.

In fact, all three of us enjoyed our visit on campus.

Sheer beauty!

For me, it helped that there were azaleas posing for my Nikon 50mm lens.

Dad and son are glad the fierce cougar is just a statue.

The Mister, who is proud of his hometown school, would love for his son to walk in his footsteps.

As for the kid?

It’s bowling time!

He found the game place in the University Center and immediately wanted to bowl. After a couple cheap games, he had made up his mind.

“I don’t need to visit any more colleges,” he declared as we drove back home.

But we will see a couple more, so he can compare them to UH. After all, Texas State boasts a club disc golf team!

Happy New Year, Texas Style

My younger son blows on a punk.

Here in Texas, people set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve. I don’t remember that being the tradition in Chicago when I was growing up—all that noise and beauty was reserved for the 4th of July.

Looks like fireworks on Mars.

But we look forward to seeing bursts of color in the air and on the ground twice a year, not that we buy and set them off, of course. We’d much rather sponge off someone who isn’t worried about setting half the neighborhood on fire.

Fireworks light up the ground and surrounding air.

Last Saturday night that “someone” was my friend Karen E. (aka, Cody’s mom). They live within walking distance in the next subdivision in our master-planned community.

The fireworks brighten the night.

It was 70 degrees at 10:30 p.m. as my younger son, the Mister, and I watched the kids light up the night. Love when our winters are so mild!

An eerie red glow

To document the fireworks show, I used my Nikon D700 and Nikon f/1.4 50mm lens. I upped the ISO from 1600 to 4000 in order to get a fast-enough shutter speed to stop the action.

A fast shutter speed (1/500th) gives the ground fireworks an interesting look.

And then I snapped, snapped, snapped! I was pleasantly surprised at the great bokeh (blurred lights) and clean results that I got without any planning (as in totally dumb luck).

What goes up . . . .

My favorite shots? The rockets! I was able to capture the action as they left the ground . . .

Makes us oooh and aaaah!

And burst high above us! Happy 2012!!

The 2011 Retrospective: The Chanukah Lights

An end view of the boys’ menorahs on the first night of Chanukah.

My favorite childhood memory of Chanukah was lighting our family’s menorah. All four of us kids had to share those lighting duties, which meant we cherished our chance to kindle those candles twice.

My older son computes on his MacBook Pro illuminated by the second night’s candles.

My sons are lucky, because they have their own menorahs to light. And I’m fortunate, because that makes twice as many candles for me to photograph each Chanukah (well, except for last year when my older son was at college for the entire holiday). A recap of our 2009 Chanukah is here, hereherehere, and here. Last year’s illuminating experience is here, here, and here.

The long view of the third night’s candles.

As always, I tried to document this year’s holiday with unique photos every night. Which can be hard to do when you consider there are only a few variables to manipulate: My two sons, menorahs, and candles.

Interesting how the candles shrink at different paces on night four.

Fortunately for me, the candles burn for a long time and at different rates on both menorahs. That gave me more opportunities to change things up.

I snapped away looking up at the menorah on night five.

Having the menorahs on the dining room table where my older son set up his MacBook Pro made for some interesting photos, too (although I think he got tired of me turning off the overhead light so often).

More candles make the sideshow more interesting on the sixth night.

It also helped that he was home for the entire holiday. The more candles, the better photo ops!

The candles brightly burn very low on the seventh night.

The last two nights of the holiday were the easiest to capture via my Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens.

My #1 son puts the shamash (helper candle) back on night seven.

More candles mean better lighting, although I still often used a +.03 or +.07 exposure compensation.

Both boys light their candles on the eighth night.

The action usually was fast and furious as I snapped away while the boys lit their menorahs.

My younger son makes sure his candles are snug on night eight.

Once you reach the eighth night, there aren’t an opportunities for retakes. You’ve just got to hope you’ve done your best in photographing eight wonderfully illuminating evenings.

Smoke trails off after a wick meets its maker on the last night.

And now it’s over!

Communing With San Antonio Nature

Little purple flowers at McClain Park

When we decided to visit my older son at college in San Antonio last weekend, I pondered what lenses I would bring to complement my Nikon D700. The Nikon 50mm lens is a no-brainer, because it’s easy to carry and great for low-light photo ops.

Then the Mister and our #2 son mentioned that they’d like to play disc golf in a couple parks, which made the Nikon 105mm, a great action and macro lens, another easy decision.

At the cactus edge

At McClain Park, where all three of my guys threw discs, there were a lot of trees. That made the lighting conditions tricky.

Old blue eyes is back! A damselfly poses.

Still, I was pleased at how I was able to capture a good photo with the 105 of one of the many damselflies close to the creek winding through the park.

A blue-black butterfly inspects the flowers.

As we were exiting the disc golf course, a large blue-black butterfly darted among the flowers. Snapping decent pix of butterflies can be so frustrating, because they tend to flit instead of pose. But today was my lucky day!

An orange butterfly hangs from a society garlic plant.

Times two! When I saw this pretty orange butterfly moving among the flowers (including the same society garlic that attracts dragonflies to my front yard) at a restaurant, I whipped out my camera and got up close and personal.

The #2 son tees off at Live Oak Park.

Still, my favorite animals to shoot while communing with nature are the human kind like this character. He’s cute, mostly tame, and occasionally he’ll even pose for me . . . albeit often unintentionally.

Baby Face


You’ve got the cutest little baby face!

Scrunchy face

Or should that be baby faces?!?

Stretchy Dillon

Meet the newest addition to the Mister’s extended family—darling Dillon is the son of the Mister’s niece, Melissa.

Mama Melissa pops the paci back in Dillon’s mouth.

We finally saw Dillon for the first time last Saturday. He’s a month old and very animated. He’s a kid of a thousand faces! Or at least a dozen.

My #2 son’s big hand holds Dillon’s little foot.

The Mister and I brought along our very own baby boy to meet his little cousin (our #1 son was working).

Here’s looking at you, kid!

At first the big cousin was hesitant to interact with the small fry. But Dillon really warmed up to #2.

Wonder what Dillon is thinking.

I guess it helps to wear a colorful, Cookie Monster hat when you’re around a baby!

Of course, I really enjoyed watching the two lads, as I snapped photo after photo after photo with my Nikon 50mm lens. At first, Dillon didn’t seem bothered by my in-your-face approach.

But then the inevitable happened.

Dillon waves me off.

Hmmm . . . looks like my #2 son, aka the momarazzo tormentor, unduly influenced the little guy!

My Very Own Sorcerer’s Apprentices

My #2 son thinks discs are handy for everything—even bailing water from our patio!

My #2 son should’ve seen “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with us Sunday.

#2 tries to sweep the water away. (1/320 at f/1.6)

If he had, he might have been tempted to work some magic when the Mister asked him to help get the water off our flooded patio after a heavy downpour later that afternoon.

The broom and water make for fascinating photography. (1/400 at f/1.6)

Unfortunately, #2 had to use his own muscle power to push the accumulated water away.

The broom flies through the water like magic! (1/50 at f/4.5)

While #2 reluctantly worked his own magic, I felt like a sorcerer in my own right.

The broom moves so fast! (1/20 at f/7.1)

Thanks to my own photographic apprentices, better known as the Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens, I was able to speed up the action using a slow shutter and make it seem like #2 was making fast work of his chore.

#2 continues to wield the broom. (1/100 at f/2.8)

All the time I was snapping merrily away, that well-known “dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-dum dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-dum” music from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” part of “Fantasia” pounded in my head. In fact, I was shooting to the rhythm of that melody!

Working with my apprentices, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. My #2 son who had to do all the labor by himself? Not so much!