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Merry And Bright

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yesterday was my idea of a perfect Christmas Eve: John and I stayed home all day and played with our cameras. Since I usually only take pictures at night, it was fun to get some shots with actual daylight - and to try out a few new Photoshop filters.

So before they're out of season, a few pretties from our house to yours:

This angel and that owl stay in my office year-round. They're just too pretty to pack away!

This, too.


I played lots of Crosby, Sinatra, and Glenn Miller/big band jazz on our rebuilt vintage radio all day - stuff we usually never listen to, but that just sounds so *right* coming out of that cabinet.



I know very little about photography, but I love it so much I'm trying to learn. The technical aspects make my head spin, but fortunately that's John's strong point. (He gave me a ten minute lesson on F stops the other day. Ask me how much I remember.)

I took all of these photos on a Canon Rebel XT, in case you're curious, and I highly recommend it. John has now purchased two newer and higher grade cameras for me, but I keep coming back to my old XT for its ease of use and picture quality. We also buy all of our cameras and equipment used on Craig's List, and have had nothing but good luck with it.


Today we're spending another quiet day at home with John's mom (dinner at Golden Corral - awww yeeeeahh), and then it's off to Williamsburg to visit my family. That drive used to fill me with dread, but after six weeks in a car for the book tour somehow 13 hours doesn't sound quite so bad.

Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Posted by Jen at 9:30 AM Labels:

30 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas to you too, Jen (& John)! Have a safe trip!

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  2. OMIGOODNESS!!!!!!! You OWN these!?!?!? I feel the same way about that owl....if it was possible to marry a colorful Christmas ornament, THAT would be the one!

    Merry Christmas, Jen and John!!!!

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  3. Dear Jen and John, thank you for all the laughter and joy you're bringing into our days, and may you be repaid a thousand-fold for your efforts.

    Brightest blessings from the far left coast!
    Lori

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  4. Merry Christmas! Santa brought ME a camera - Canon Rebel T3i and a huge lens. I am floored. Let's explore photography together - though I dare say you are already SO good, you'll be a pro in short order!
    Safe travels!
    Oh I meant to tell you, I had already bought those Martha owls at Home Depot. I am seriously going to glaze those babies up! Yours look fantastic. Your tree is amazing!

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  5. Merry Christmas, Jen and John! Hope you have a fantastic dinner and safe drive.

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  6. Merry Christmas Jen and John!! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    (Guess who got the new Cake Wrecks book for Christmas? ;) I'm trying to force myself not to read it all in one sitting...)

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  7. Your photos are spectacular! And I love your decorations too. Merry Christmas to you!

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  8. It sounds like a perfect Christmas Eve to me. =) I hope Christmas day is equally enjoyable. Merry Christmas, y'all!

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  9. And a Merry Christmas to you! Thanks for all the pretty Christmas picts - so beautiful!

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  10. Merry Christmas and thank you for the beautiful photos of your pretties.

    I grew up in Williamsburg! I sort of miss it. Have a wonderful trip!

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  11. Merry Christmas you two!

    My mother was very happy to find your first book under the tree this morning. Thank you for filling our Christmas morning with laughs. C:

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  12. Happy Holidays!

    I still use my Canon Rebel XT too! We've had it for years and it still works like a champ!

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  13. Jen and John,
    A very Merry Christmas to you and much happiness in the New Year! Thank you for all inspiration, laughs, and overall fun you give us all!

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  14. Yay! I have that owl ornament too! (Got it last year on clearance from Pier 1). He has a bit of a broken foot but was way too cute to pass up. I love the colors. And owls. It's the perfect ornament. :)
    Merry Christmas!

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  15. have you seen this yet Jen?
    http://jezebel.com/5871009/video-of-little-girl-getting-pissed-off-at-gender+specific-toy-colors-will-make-your-heart-swell
    totally off the Christmas topic- but still up your alley~

    but it sounds like you are having a nice holiday anyways- so good on ya.

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  16. Williamsburg? Why, I live just south of there! I don't suppose you would like an outlet-shopping buddy? Or any other kind of outing in the area?

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  17. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I love your decorations! Especially your angels. Since my daughter passed away in August I've been buying up all the cute and/or pretty angels I can find this Christmas.

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  18. Gorgeous cabinet. We have a huge vintage vinyl collection and listen to those all the time.

    Merry Christmas!

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  19. Is that a second tree I see behind your radio cabinet? Or just a different topper?

    Or is it time for new glasses again? (Or less eggnog, perhaps.)

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  20. You've certainly already have an eye for composition and color, which is what most photographers struggle with. The tech stuff will come with practice. I'm actually in the photo program at the local comm. college here for the same reason--to master the tech side. I firmly believe you can take fantastic pictures with any camera if you take the time to learn your camera's 'personality', with even only a basic understanding of the math. I shoot with a Rebel XSi. I call it my 'toy' camera, as all of my classmates have moved on to bigger and supposedly better cameras, but I regularly get prints into the semester-end Print Show, and even took a best of class award this last semester with a shot taken with a kit (read cheap plastic) lens and my 'toy' camera!

    For the type of photography you present on your blog, all you need to know about f-stops is that the smaller the number, the more is in focus front to back in your frame. Larger numbers mean whatever you specifically focus on will be sharp, but things in front or behind will be blurred. You also need to know that the larger the number, the smaller the lens opening, so you'll need more light to take a pic at f/22 than at f/3.5, all other things being equal. Luckily, not all other things need to be equal! You can put your camera on a tripod and leave the shutter open longer, to let in more light, you can use a flash to provide more light, or you can switch to a higher ISO number to change how sensitive your camera's sensor is to light.

    (Now, before the photographers jump on me, technically, f/22 is a smaller number than f/3.5, because these are actually fractions--the fraction of the lens opening that is actually open--but I know that most people that don't 'get' the tech stuff find it much easier to just memorize "bigger number = more in focus." For those that care, f/22, for example, means that 1/22 of the lens diameter is open, or in other words, that you could put 22 openings of the same size across the diameter of the lens. Because of the way that the diaphragms work, plus the location/shape of the glass inside the lens, most lenses can't actually open to f/1, or fully open. My best lens will only open to f/1.8.)

    So, clear as mud? I love the pictures you take, by the way, such pretty colors and lighting, often with a vintage feel...I always look forward to your 'beauty shots'!

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  21. Keep those pictures in mind for next year if you still send x-mas cards (although I'm kinda ok with that fazing out of our generation)

    I to keep some ornaments out year round, my son came to my office Christmas party and made me take home my simpsons ornaments to hang on the tree this year.

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  22. Random fact: F-stops are also called a relative aperture. Like in Portal

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  23. Merry (slightly belated) Christmas! I just found this whole blog thingymawhosit (technical terms escape me-sorry!) and I'm already pretty much in thrall. I love all your stuff (LOVELOVELOVE the hot air balloons!), and I'm a bit of a steampunk fanatic as well. I spend much of the time that I probably should be doing homework trawling through beautiful websites like this one and dreaming of all the stuff I would buy/make if I had the budget, and the time, and if I didn't live in Narnia, where you can't find ANYTHING. But I'll see if I can't find some cool plastic ornaments to make into hot air balloons....because those are REALLY AMAZING!!!! Can't wait to see what else you put up here!! Again, hope you had a happy Christmas, and have a great (and steampunky) New Year!

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  24. Just now reading and catching up since I was gone (and unplugged, for the most part) for Christmas vacation. Let me just say SOOOOOOOO jealous about Golden Corral. I wish I was kidding. We used to go all the time when we lived in Texas, but there aren't any here in Minnesota. I guess my waistline should be happy, but still....

    Belated happy holidays, and hope you have a great new year's eve!

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  25. Hope your holidays were wonderful, the driving uneventful, and the photos abounding. Best wishes for 2012. If you guys were here, I'd hug you, so virtual hugs for all the joy you've brought me (and many others) this year!

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  26. Can I tell you how much I love that owl?! Just looking at it makes me feel all happy inside! Some fantastic, ancient author once said something about ownership of something belonging to those who truly appreciate the thing; so although the owl is yours, Jen, I feel that it is a little, tiny bit mine out of pure love.

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  27. Dear Jen and John,

    I want to wish you two the best year ever in 2012.

    Maureen

    P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

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  28. I knew I liked you! I have that owl too! He is FAHBULOUS!

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