Eight years!

I’ve been out of town for nearly two weeks.   I’ll post a summary of my trip once I get through the over 1,000 photos I took.  But when I logged on yesterday, WordPress greeted me with a reminder of my blogoversary.  Eight years ago I started posting moments from my days on sheila365.com.   Thanks for sharing them with me!

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 10.38.32 AM

Catching up.

Yikes, my last post was on March 3rd!   I’ve been a tad busy.  Since then, life has happened.  I have been taking pictures along the way.  Let me bring you up to speed:

– My 6th blogoversary!  Six years ago I started sheila365.com.   I’m not as diligent as I used to be about posting, and my posts have gotten less photo-worthy, but I do enjoy it.  How time flies!

– Celebrated a friend’s birthday – this shot is from the lobby of the Hotel Van Zandt downtown.   I accidentally left my Harvard Business School umbrella in the restaurant there.   Oh well.  😦IMG_9996

– Lots of little birdies out back.  I think I have 9 feeders out, altogether.   I love watching them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

– We have been dealing with battery problems on Nirvana for the last couple of months.  Ok, I’m using the “Royal We” there.   Short story:  our batteries crapped out on the boat.   The charger was apparantly kaput as well.  Monte has been researching chargers and new deep-cycle house batteries to keep our floating second home powered while we’re not hooked up to shore power.  We have since ordered, and Monte has installed, all the various bits and pieces, and this is a snapshot of the voltmeter on the control panel down below after the installation.   All is well!   I think we will be anchoring out before too long!IMG_9999

– Work took me to Raleigh all last week.   I have been taking advantage of the Austin Library’s on-line e-book and audio-book collection that can be easily checked out via the accompanying Overdrive app.   On this trip, I checked out the audio book for Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley – a story about a roadtrip he took across the country with his poodle in the early 60’s.   The jury is still out on how much I enjoyed it.IMG_0002

– It rained in Raleigh.  Monte’s birthday also happened while I was there – the first that I haven’t been home to celebrate with him.IMG_0004

– I flew home home on Saint Patrick’s Day.   Slainte!

IMG_0384

– And then it rained some more in Austin.  After MANY years of drought, and a little help from last year’s El Niñ0, Lake Travis is officially full now at 681′ above mean sea level.  Hallelujah!

IMG_0013

– Once I was back in Austin, we celebrated Monte’s birthday at a favorite restaurant.  Baked Alaska for dessert!

IMG_0009

– And, this weekend we worked in the yard and welcomed in the first day of spring!

Now you are up to date.   🙂

 

A big-girl camera!

IMG_9586

Monte has nurtured my love of photography over the years; starting with the gift of my first 35mm film SLR camera – a Nikon FM10.   On it, I learned the basics:  how to manually adjust aperture, shutter speed, film speed, focus, depth of field, flash… everything.  It was the only camera we brought on our honeymoon, to capture all those once-in-a-lifetime moments – a bit risky since we wouldn’t be able to see how they turned out until we got home.   I was thrilled to see that they all turned out to be beautifully captured images after getting the film developed.

Then he got me my first digital camera – a Nikon Coolpix 7600 point and shoot.  It was his first experience w/ digital photography as well.

Once we started making regular sailing trips in the Caribbean, I bought a Canon PowerShot D10 for underwater photography.  It turned out to be such a great camera that it has been my main, go-to camera on land or sea, and it sparked my desire to start this photoblog almost 6 years ago.

In the last year or two, pure laziness has led me to use my iPhone camera for many of the shots I post here, though I still drag the Canon along everywhere I go.

But my wish all along has been to get a “real” and quality digital camera – a big-girl camera – one that might allow me to take my photography to the next level.

Last week, since I had a whole week off of work, Monte took me camera shopping.  He helped me pick out The One – an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II.   Along with two lenses, this is the latest (and best!) gift of photography equipment from him to indulge my hobby; for which I cannot thank him enough.

All of a sudden I feel like a real photographer!

The camera is amazing.   I am taking the time to study the 170 page manual to learn about each of its features in the range of all-automatic to all-manual operational modes.   I’m only taking practice shots for now, but with the rain and lack of sunny days lately, I haven’t yet taken it for a real spin outside.

I can’t wait to see what develops.  🙂

 

 

And *poof* … 5 years gone by.

Sunday was the 5 year blogoversary for sheila365!  I meant to draft a post ahead of time, and post it bright and early on March 8th.   But I just looked at the calendar and time has snuck by on me once again.

That’s ok.  In these 5 years sheila365 has evolved, and I think I have a bit, too.  My blog started as a post-a-day 365 project during the first year or two, which had me snapping photos during the day to make sure I had something that I judged “share-worthy;”  and now it has become more of a leisurely, post-every-week-or-so project, which I have to say has been much easier, though less artistic in terms of trying to capture beautiful photos, but rather just moments from my day that struck me as special or interesting in one way or another.

So happy blogoversary to me!  🙂    I thought I’d go back through my posts from year 5 and pick a photo from one post from each month that especially makes me smile.  I have to say it was very hard to pick just one picutre from each month. 

 March 2014:  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.   A visit to the walled El Morro.  Beautiful Caribbean views.

20140330-124351.jpg

April 2014:  British Virgin Islands sailing trip – this was taken while snorkeling off Cooper Island.

Turtle dude surfacing - 2
Turtle dude surfacing – 2

May 2014 – A trip home to Seattle.  One of several last year.   It is a beautiful, special place for me.IMG_4009

June 2014 – Back in Austin for fun on the lake with some of my crazy sailor friends.IMG_4863

July 2014 – An amazing trip to Panama City Beach to celebrate a very special anniversary with a very special family.

IMG_5225

August 2014 – A roadtrip to the Texas Gulf Coast.  One of my favorite places to relax.IMG_5697

September 2014 – A lovely anniversary trip through the Texas Wine Country.IMG_5876

October 2014 – A fun girls’ trip to Washington, D.C.  Lots of laughs, lots of wine, and lots of walking.  🙂

The residential streets are lined with historic townhouses.
The residential streets are lined with historic townhouses.

November 2014 – An oh so special birthday.IMG_6994

December 2014 – Family visiting means showing off Austin and the Hill Country.  Never gets old.IMG_7297

January 2015 – Hiking as many trails as I can before I had to go back to work after taking a few months off.IMG_7688

February 2015 – Yep, more tulips.IMG_7780

What an amazing lap around the sun!

Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂

Speed bump.

Today we had our broadband upgraded. We used to have download speeds around 2 Mbps and upload speeds of about 1/4 of that. Which we perceived to be getting progressively slower. Today my phone logged these speeds:

IMG_7761
Not too shabby. I used ookla’s free speedtest app on my iphone to measure.
To see how much faster I can now upload a photo to my blog, I picked this one from my Paris trip.

IMG_6736
Wow. That upload was very zippy! This is a shot along the Seine.  The Left Bank is, well, on the left.  Île de la Cité is to the right. The bridge in the foreground is Petit Pont, and Pont San Michel beyond it.  It was such a lovely fall day.  See, I’ve almost forgotten about yesterday’s Super Bowl loss……

Werking (from home).

Now that I’ve found panorama mode on the iPhone, I’m going to play around with it. I am not yet sure of the optimal settings to display panoramas on wordpress.com wrt image size and resolution, but I’ll have to experiment to see what my options are. Here is my view this Monday morning. Well, my everyday view, really. Here goes:

20140428-104604.jpg

21st century, here I come.

130213

I made it to the AT&T store last night before closing, and came out with a shiny new phone.  And this one doesn’t flip open!   I’d been avoiding getting a smartphone, for fear of losing myself completely into the world of hyper-connectivity.  I mean, i’m sitting in front of a computer for 3/4 of every day for work.  Then I switch to my personal laptop for blogging, browsing, and other online mischief.   Even when traveling, i can get online on a plane, or the nearest wifi hotspot.   The only time I’m offline is when I’m out in the middle of the lake.

However, dropping my old phone in the toilet was a sign.  From somewhere.  To just get on with it.  And so I have.

I’m getting used to my new device.   I must say, having Julie here comes in handy — live-in iphone tech support.

I quickly loaded it up with all those essential apps.  Including the wordpress app.  I eventually got on to viewing this blog on my new phone.   I do not like how the twenty eleven theme looks on a smartphone sized display.  Boring!  And, why is the background white?  I am going to have to find time to change sheila365.com over to another, more versatile theme.   I’ll put that on my todo list.  Any suggestions for a good theme for photoblogging on wordpress.com that looks nice on different sized devices?

Bleh.
Bleh.

By the way, I found this page with instructions on how to take a screen shot of your iphone’s display.  Then you can just mail it to yourself.  Very handy!

Un Pinot Gris pour un jour gris.

A glass of white at the end of the day.

It rained yesterday and last night and has been drizzly today – a gray day, indeed.   But I am not complaining…not til the lake is full.

I downloaded the Color Splash Studio app for my Mac a couple months ago, but have never taken the time to figure out how to use it.   This is my first attempt.   It allows you to manually remove colors from a color photo.   I know I should just get Photoshop, but I’m playing around a bit with other tools first.

For some reason this song popped into my head as I was writing up this post…just try keeping it out of your head for the next day or two.  🙂

SizzlyGIF.

Hot water.

I made crepes for breakfast.  Always delicious!  As I was getting the pan ready, I flicked water into it to see if it was at the right temperature.  As the water danced and sizzled, I thought I would try to capture some of that later in a picture.

So after breakfast I set up my camera on a tripod next to the stovetop and gave it a try.  The water was moving too fast for my little camera to get a good shot.  I tried several different things.   I have an ISO 3200 setting, so I tried that and was able to capture a few clearer images.  I had quite a bit of water in the pan by this time, but it still looked cool.

A single image didn’t show much, so I looked on the web for a tool to create animated GIFs quickly and found Picasion.com.  It is a web-based tool that will upload up to 10 images, convert them to a GIF, and then give you the URL to the resulting file.   The animation above is the result.

So.  There ya go.  A creative way to waste a half hour or so.  🙂

Well, it wasn’t completely wasted.  Now I know how to display animated gifs on my wordpress.com-hosted blog.  The trick was to upload and insert it into my post without scaling it down, not display it at less than full size.   So, before I created the gif, I reduced the size of the images to make each one smaller.  Then I made the gif.  Then uploaded and attached it.  Voila.