New Lens

So I got an early Christmas present. Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. I had been lusting after this lens for awhile. I will admit, however, that I wasn’t sure what difference the lens would really make. Of course, this is because I’m still an infant when it comes to photography. Of course the person behind the camera matters, but equipment matters too. And I should know that.

Anyway, I got the lens. And I’ve been wanting to try it out. But it’s very hot outside. And there’s not much to take pictures of in my house. Except, of course, for my cats. So…

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Shamatha was on the back the chair in the living room. The setting sun blasting light through the blinds illuminated his pink nose. I was taken by the clarity of the shot. The f/1.4 let me take a pretty clear picture in low light without a tripod. I was happy.

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There’s not much special about this photo, but I always feel guilty when I post pictures of my cats and leave someone out. So here’s Bishop, my old girl, sleeping on the chair.

Sidd in the basement

This is the shot that blew me away. I’m not saying it belongs in a museum. I’m just saying… “Holy cow! That came out looking great!” I can’t remember ever getting that sort of picture before. Maybe I’m doing stuff differently after all my practice, but I have to think the lens helped.

So I’m pretty happy with my new lens. Now I just have to wait for a cool down to go outside and try my hand at some nature shots.

The Deal

Something startled the king awake. Nothing appeared unusual or out of place in his bed chamber. He heard the guards quietly conversing in the hallway, but that would not have woken him. Indeed, it gave him some measure of reassurance that all was well.

A breeze through the open window billowed the curtain, but it was too high for an assassin to come in that way. Wasn’t it? He looked around the room again, more carefully this time, ready to yell for the guards.

“They will not hear you.” The voice was dry and cracking. At first he could not find the source; then he saw a dark figure in the shadows by the window.

“Guards! Guards!” He was not about to take an assassin’s word for it.

But no one came rushing into the room.

“I did tell you.”

“Some sort of magic? Who sent you? Who wants me dead?”

The figure shrugged, sounding like twigs snapping. “I know not. But I have not been sent to kill you.”

“Then why…?”

“You know why.”

A riddle? Who was this person that entered like an assassin, but not to kill? An inkling began to grow and with it came deepening dread.

“You know who I am.”

“But… How? If there is no assassin, why come for me?”

“It is your time. An assassin is not required to reach the end of your days.”

Terror gripped him in earnest. “Surely there is something I can do? Some way to postpone this? My kingdom needs me!”

“Everyone thinks themselves essential.”

“There must be a way!”

“What do you propose?”

He thought, panic pressing down. What could one trade to stave off death? An idea occurred to him. “My son! Take him. He is but a child. Take him in my stead so that I may continue to lead my kingdom.”

“You would have me take your child to spare yourself?”

“Yes!”

“Very well. I will take your son.”

The figure vanished into the shadows. The king was drenched in a cold sweat. He just needed more time. He could have another child. There was too much for him to do to leave now.

Sleep began to settle in once more when the sound of snapping twigs again startled him. Sweat once more beaded up on his brow.

“It is done.”

“Fine. Fine. Why come back to tell me?”

“Your son is dead, and that is all you have to say?”

“What matters is that I am still alive.”

“Ah. Still, there is something you should know.”

“What is that?”

“Your son’s time was tonight. It seems his father cared little enough for him and sacrificed him. His time expired on schedule. And thus you have run out of the time for which you traded.”

“But…”

The figure held up one bony figure. “Before you try again, I will not make any more deals with you. Now come along.”

The king stood, the sweat turning to ice on his skin in the cold breeze. He followed the figure into the shadows, never once looking at the spirit of the small boy walking beside him.

The Muddy Maumee

I’m visiting family in Ohio. I grew up in Toledo and Maumee, so the Maumee River was a daily presence in my life for years. The past couple of days, I had occasion to drive across to Perrysburg, and I kept driving by this small little park right along the river (cleverly named Riverside Park). The scene from the road kept catching my eye, so I decided to try to capture it.

Here’s the best of the bunch, I think.

From Perrysburg

While there, I remembered a spot on the Maumee side of the river that I used to bike to. It’s at the end of part of the towpath that was part of the Erie Canal system. I went down to this spot to watch the sun rise on my 18th birthday, many moons ago. From that spot, you can see the park I was standing in for that previous shot. It’s right at the top of the bare slope in the middle of the shore.

Scene from 13 Years Ago

Finally, I took a picture of the rocks I sat on, both for that last photo as well as on my 18th birthday.

The End of the Towpath

Fireworks

Spent some time with fireworks. I know there’s nothing new about taking pictures of fireworks, but it was my first time trying. We started with some fountains in the backyard of my brother Ben’s house.

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Several of Ben’s neighbors were shooting fireworks into the air.

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After some time, the big display in town started. We watched from Ben’s driveway.

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I took a lot of pictues. A lot. There are even more on the Flickr page. After the main event, we went back to our fountains. (It was pretty dry, so we tried to stick to explosives closer to the ground and easier to control.)

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I want to try again. But I like the results from tonight.