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Entries in gear (17)


Ten on Ten: Gear Day

I missed fall in the mountains this year because I've been traveling for most of the past six weeks.  I was lucky that one of those trips was both fun and soul food (more on that soon).  The group of lovely ladies I gathered with by the sea suggested we start a new Ten on Ten project, a perfect way to bring me back into this space that I've missed so much.

Winter has made its first overtures in the high country since I was last here. 

Winterizing our family apparently involves a frenzy of gear acquisition, starting with post-season mountain bike shopping to replace Will's bike that was stolen earlier this year.  (The gambit here is that if you're willing to buy a new bike and let it collect dust for six months before you can use it, you deserve 30 percent off.)

We're all itching to hit the slopes, and the snow has already started falling.  With Ezra growing like a weed, season ski rentals are the only rational approach to gear.  The minute we walked into the ski shop Ezra and I headed for the rental racks.

Ezra was so happy he refused to take his ski boots off for the rest of the day.

On the way home Will couldn't resist riding his new bike for the last five miles, even though it's straight uphill.

And ever his father's son, Ezra insisted on a short hike in his ski boots.

Welcome winter.  We're ready to play.

For more 10 on 10 goodness, head to see what Tara Romasanta has in store.


The Great Gear Chase

The lovely and talented Tara Romasanta at The Parker, Palm Springs, CAIt is so easy, as a photographer, to fall into the trap of the Great Gear Chase.  There is always a better body, or a faster lens, or a smoother ball head or a new iPhone that will certainly be just the thing to elevate our work or change the way we see.  Except that it almost never does.

I know all this down to my bones but that doesn't stop me from wanting, and occasionally getting, a new toy anyway.  Today I'm guest blogging over at Mortal Muses about my latest acquisition (hint:  the above picture of Tara was one of the first I made with it) and the way it is actually changing my work - or at least the way I think about it.  I would love it if you'd join me there.


Welcome the New Baby

SOOC test shots from my first spin with the D800

*Alert! Alert! Full camera geekiness ahead! You have been warned!*

I have been lusting for Nikon's new D800 since they announced it several months ago.  Up until now Nikon has not had a full frame camera or one with broadcast-quality video. Canon, with their 5D Mark II, has been the standard bearer for the category and I was seriously considering switching, even with the significant investment it would take to buy not only the body, but to replace my collection of Nikon lenses.

I held fast though, and was surprised and delighted when my local camera store called yesterday morning to say the camera had arrived, faster than I expected.  I was completely impatient for the work day to end so I could go claim my new baby.

Ezra, naturally, was much more interested in digging in the 15 cubic yards of mulch we had delivered Tuesday than letting me focus on the camera long enough to figure out how switch it out of automatic mode.  So the camera sat patiently on the dining room table while I impatiently dug mulch with my short (but demanding) overlord.

As soon as Will got home from work I begged him to take over Ezra and dinner duty so I could show the camera the block where we live.  It was an overcast evening and getting late, but the photos in the above collection are all straight out of the camera, edited only to crop them into the collage, but not at all to manipulate their exposure or color.

Off the bat I will say that I am completely impressed with the camera's low-light capabilities, the richness of the color it produces and the detail it (and the 50mm f1.4 lens I shot with) captures.  Rumor has it the video is pretty damn nice too, and I hope to begin to experiment with that this weekend.  Being a person who hates to read manuals of any sort, I am a bit intimidated by the complexity of the controls on this instrument but I'm determined to learn to harness its capabilities and so excited to discover where my vision will lead as I play.

Here we go!


Big Sky

357.365 14mm f5.6 1/100 ISO 200I swear, the prairie east of Denver?  It's the reason wide angle lenses were invented.


A Day in the Life

morning, in four stepsThe day started in pitch black, with the yelping of the dog outside and the acrid, burning sulfer smell of a skunk attack wafting through my bedroom window.  Will climbed back into bed, announcing that our dog had an altercation and Will had put him in the backyard.  I looked at the clock.  It said 1:00am.  I rolled back over, groggily, and finished the night with the uneasy sleep of someone marinating in skunk fumes.

By sunrise I realized that this whole affair was probably my fault because I drank too much wine with our houseguest the night before and left the dog outside.  Obviously my penance would be to spearhead the disaster recovery efforts.  Google revealed the recipe for deskunkification and I hit up three stores before I found one open.

In case you ever need this semi-effective skunk remedy: 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 quart peroxide, 2 teaspoons dish soap.  And old clothes that you can throw away and rubber gloves.

This was a form of torture for me, and obviously also for Milo.

351.365 50mm f2 1/200 ISO 200So yeah.  All this excitement before 8:00.

I vow to lay off the sauce and head for work.

Work, work, work.  Something about Miss USA, drag queens, and Rosie O'Donnell.

Race home to pick up the child and see our houseguest who has a pot of green chile stew simmering on the stovetop and who, conveniently, was there to sign for the UPS package delivering my new lens.  I deserve this splurge, dog-skunk incident notwithstanding, because it's almost my birthday and I am almost finishing this 365 project.

Then, because she is awesome, and also because most of my friends have to agree to be photo subjects, and because I can not wait (obviously) to test drive the new lens, Amber agrees to put on mascara and be my guinea pig.

Amber is a chef, yogini, traveler, and all-around bright light who is busy dreaming up many cool things.  I am sure you'll hear more from her, here and elsewhere.  She is also eminently patient with me and my addled photographic fumblings.

I noticed during this brief shoot how much energy it takes to be creative and also how tired I was.  So we went home, ate green chile, limited our wine intake, and I collapsed into bed with my dog on the floor next to me, smelling faintly of skunk.