Kathy & I gave up covering our house with lights years ago, but still enjoy driving around nearby neighborhoods to check out other peoples’ efforts. Some people really get carried away!
Most neighborhoods we go through have few places to park or walk safely, but this particular spot in Huntersville has two houses next to each other, spectacularly decorated and with reasonable parking, at least when we visited. We were able to get out and walk on the sidewalks without worrying too much about distracted light peepers.
The forecast is calling for some interesting weather here for tonight and Christmas Day, but I don’t think we’ll see any snow. It sounds like a good day to stay snuggled up with coffee and a warm fire. Later in the day we’ll open the bourbon and wine!
We hope everyone has a good holiday this year despite all the mayhem. We are looking forward to lots of positive direction in 2021.
Kathy & I made another trip to Latta Nature Preserve this past weekend, and met our son Scott and grandson Edison there. Edison enjoys taking “nature walks” and we knew this would be a good place to take him.
Interestingly, the water levels were much higher this time, even though we really hadn’t had that much rain. I know that Duke Energy manages the lake levels along the Catawba River, so it likely had something to do with that.
It was a little chilly but the sun was shining and we had a nice visit. We then returned to the house for pizza and chips, so it was a good day all around!
It was almost like I had heard Jeff Curto’s words in my head, although I didn’t actually hear them until we got home. Jeff’s most recent podcast talks about it isn’t necessary to travel long distances or to exotic locations to make interesting photographs. Give it a listen if you don’t already subscribe. And you know you should. 😉
Kathy and I decided to spend a nice late-fall Sunday afternoon at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, a county park near Huntersville, North Carolina and about 8 miles from our house. We packed a picnic lunch, laced up our hiking shoes and spent a couple of hours wandering the trails along Mountain Island Lake, the lake that we live close to, but not at. It’s not Lake Superior, but it’s what we’ve got. 🙂
We’ve been to Latta a number of times over the years, and I’ve made lots of photographs there. But it had been a while. There are things to see and photograph at all times of the year, but I have often sold it short since it is – as Jeff alluded to – in our “back yard.”
Kathy & I had already decided that we’re going to stick close to home for the next few months, and are planning to get out and explore our own area. I’ve said for years that I like to be a “tourist in my own town” but have never sat still long enough to give it a chance. Sounds like now is as good a time as any!
We took our first foray into the restaurant world last evening to celebrate Kathy’s birthday. It was a nice experience, not a lot different from what we’ve come to expect from our favorite restaurants, except the tables were farther apart, no one hugged and all the servers wore masks. It was our first restaurant meal since March 16, and between our travels and the Coronacrisis, it was our first time at this restaurant since Christmas Eve. We’re still not in a hurry to resume our normal visitation, but it was nice to see our friends.
This photo is one I took on our morning walk yesterday and it says several things to me. The new X-T4 handles dynamic range really well, and it has very little noise despite a lot of shadow and highlight adjustment. This was taken with the 23mm f1.4 prime lens. The in-body image stabilization seems to work really well with non-stabilized lenses – as advertised. In this photo, the lens exhibits very little flare and barely any chromatic aberration. The 23 has been my favorite prime, it works really well on the X-T4 and makes a nice walk-around lens.
One of my weekly routines is to go through the sale ad for our regular grocery store. It amuses me to look at some of the foods that are advertised and wonder who eats them. Today’s chuckle came from something called “Daily Crave Bourbon BBQ Quinoa Chips.” I mean, that doesn’t even sound good. I like bourbon, I like BBQ and I even like quinoa. But I don’t know about mixing them. ‘Quinoa chips’ must be another one of the ways that food companies destroy otherwise healthy food by adding stuff to make it taste good to people who don’t know what healthy food tastes like. I suppose you would wash those down with a Snapple. 😉
I’m still working with the settings on this new camera and processing of the files. Our grandson visited yesterday so I got some photos of him. Shooting pictures of a moving 4 year old was a good test of focus tracking, and also of the user’s ability to use the camera!
No, these are not his toys. 😉 I may have a photo or two to share soon.
Yeah, it’s more transmission towers, but this time from a slightly different perspective.
We have about a 100 degree view from our patio, but most of the view is taken up with houses and other foreground clutter. These towers make for an interesting foreground silhouette, since I don’t have any palm trees. 😉
The night before last, we were sitting on the porch watching the sunset, and I said, “I should get my camera.” But I didn’t and the color got nice. Last night, I said, “I should get my camera.” And I did. The color was actually a bit better than the night before, so I chose correctly. 🙂 This shows the advantage of having a long lens – 128mm with my 55-200. I thought about giving the new IBIS a test, but opted for the stability of my tripod.
Are you tired of looking at abandoned shopping carts yet? There is an ample supply, and my other choice was more photos of transmission towers, so there you go. Tomorrow may be transmission towers again! I need to get out of the neighborhood. Soon, I suspect.
I spent yesterday afternoon fiddling with menus and settings and taking photos of the ceiling fan on our porch. It’s interesting what things can be controlled on these cameras, although I’m not sure what they all do or why I would need them. I’m trying to figure out some of the custom settings but am discovering why I seldom bother – they are fussy and frustrating to figure out and it is getting in the way of taking pictures. I’m going to keep trying, though. Because I suspect that there is value in using them that I won’t recognize until I’ve used them. Duh.
Today I’m working with the camera profiles in Lightroom to see what they will do. Fuji added a bunch of new profiles to their cameras over the last 5 years or so, and I need to catch up! There are 4 new black & white settings and a number of color/film emulations to figure out. I try not to use the same settings all the time, but I do like to have a common starting point. In order to know what to use I need to know (1) what I like, and (2) what they all do. So, the homework continues!
The summertime heat and humidity have finally arrived. It’s typical here in the south, but we do the “thermometer dance” in the spring between heat and A/C, then BAM! it’s summer. We’ve been taking our walks early. Well, early for Kathy. 😉 That gives us a chance to get home before our shoes start melting into the pavement!
The Big Brown Truck is bringing me a special package today. I’ll write about it tomorrow. 🙂
It was nice to get out yesterday and do something besides buy groceries. I’m still getting used to the breeze on my neck and around my ears from my haircut, but it feels good!
We drove through uptown Charlotte on our way home yesterday, and it was interesting to see the number of cars parked along the street, even though there weren’t many people around. There was a lot of construction going on, as there always is there. It’s probably good to get it done at a time when they won’t muck up traffic, although they will still manage to muck up traffic even when people start returning to the office. Assuming they ever do!
Word is that Trumpty Dumpty has decided that he’s going to take his toys and go to someone else’s sandbox to have his lovefest. I don’t care one way or the other, but I know that a lot of businesses are/were hoping to gain back some of their lost revenue from all the convention goers.
One good thing about having the convention wherever they have it is that locking all those goofballs up in one place for a week may insure that a lot of them aren’t around to vote in November. That’s cruel I know, but when ego replaces good sense you get what you get.