Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Las Vegas: Joe & Grace's Birthday Party

We left Vegas just in time on Monday to get to my dad's place in time for Joe and Grace's combined birthday party. One of them was turning 1 and the other, i don't know. But i am fairly certain it was Grace who turned 1, but you can never be sure. And actually we weren't really "on time," everyone else was just late so it seemed like we were on time. But i'm glad we made it.
Grace was being hilarious, she was making the funniest faces. Of course, as soon as i got the camera out she stopped making those faces or at least she waited until after the shutter had closed to make the silly face, but she was cute anyway. I think this first one is the cutest one.

This is probably as close as i got to capturing the funny face in its latter stages.

I'm sure Joe will be flattered that this is the best picture i got of him. But i say, hey, it's his own fault.

And here's Grace enjoying one of her new birthday presents.

Happy Belated Birthday Joe and Grace!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Las Vegas: Macro Fun

I mentioned i got a new lens before leaving for Vegas, it's a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro and is generally regarded as the best Canon lens under $600. It's a prime lens (that means it uses "sneaker zoom" - which means your sneakers do the zooming). But prime lenses also produce much sharper images. Anyway, i'm not much of a macro shooter, i prefer lanscapes and portraits - but once you get a macro lens you'll find yourself wanting to take a picture of everything (especially small things) simply because you can! It's fun. Anyway, i do hope to incorporate it into my portrait shooting but until then i'll have a little fun too. Maybe i'll make it a regular feature, "guess what i took a picture of"? The last two are obvious, but can you guess the first two? They're the same thing, but from different perspectives, the photos were taken in Vegas in Emily's backyard...
At f/2.8 it's not super fast, but as you can see, the depth of field (the part of the picture that's in focus) is razor thin sometimes. In this particular image, the sharp part of image is only about a quarter of an inch wide! Obviously you have to be careful or you'll only get a very small part of your image in focus.

In this image you can see how the depth of field brings only certain parts of the flower into sharp focus, but i still think it looks cool. To decrease your depth of field use a larger aperture (the smaller f-stop numbers), to increase the depth of field (you want everything in focus), use smaller apertures (the bigger f-stop numbers). Keep in mind that using a smaller aperture lets less light in and requires more time and thus usually a tripod.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Las Vegas: Sunday Dinner

One of my favorite parts of going to Vegas is having a delicious meal organized by Emily. Don't get me wrong, Jen is a great cook too. But whenever we all get together Emily will typically prepare at least one big meal and it never disappoints. Sunday night was no different.
Before church we started by washing and baking potatoes (this is where i got to help, apparently nobody thinks i can mess this part up - how little do they know...). I also then helped scoop the baked insides of the potatoes out so Emily could mix them up for twice baked potatoes... mmmm... just thinking about them makes me hungry again. I LOVE twice baked potatoes!

Of course we have to throw something healthy in there for appearances... (They were actually pretty good too!

Maybe these were jalepeno poppers or something, i don't remember. But they were go-od! They weren't spicey at all either, which is good because generally i prefer gringo salsa (ketchup).

Don't they look so super delicious?

And of course Jared, the master griller, grilled up some delicious chicken for dinner. It was perfect! I like to think it's because he has a cool little remote temperate gizmo, that's what i need, then i can be an awesome griller too (in my dreams, i know).

You gotta have A1, i mean, c'mon, that's just obvious...

Notice the A1 is before the utensils. if it came to choosing between A1 and utensils, well, that's not even a difficult choice - of course the A1.

And here's the master chef herself. If she looks a little mad it's because she probably is - she knows i'm going to eat all the non-edge brownies the next day (not that day, because i was too full by the time it came to brownie-time).

These brownies were SO good! I need to get the recipe or something. Although apparently you're not supposed to eat all the non-edge brownies whilst leaving the edges - who knew?

And after dinner we got to play Settlers of Catan with the Cities and Nights and Seafarers expansions. It was pretty fun (even if i didn't win). Jared was the champion for the evening. And it doesn't seem like that game took forever - although i think we still played until close to midnight.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Las Vegas: Random Portraits

Before leaving for Vegas i got a new camera and of course had to bring it with to try it out on unsuspecting family members (or are they suspecting by now? They probably should be). Anyway, here are some random portraits from Vegas, enjoy.
Yeah, i know, this isn't really a portrait. But i didn't know where else to put it. Emily decided it would be fun to go out to Red Rock and hike to what a week or so previously had been a really cool waterfall. Go figure by the time we got there the waterfall was more a watertrickle. No, not because it took us so long to hike there, just because it's Vegas and the temperatures had already been in the 80ies for long enough to dry it out. But it was a fun hike anyway.

Ah, my son. How i love that he won't hold still or make a real, non-squinting smile when i try to take a picture... Yeah, i'm just kidding. i don't love that all. i frequently ask myself, "self, why couldn't i have kids who actually like to be photographed enough to hold still for longer than two seconds and make a non-silly face?" Probably has something to do with the faces i made as a youth in similar pictures. Don't ask my mom. But he's cute anyway.

Here's Caden, he's super cute too. And look, that's a good smile with no squinty eyes. Caden was super cute the whole time we were down there. Always ready to cuddle or play, or just have fun. i miss him already.

i don't remember why he was crying, but i wanted to catch the little tear running down his cheek. (No, he was not crying because of me. Well actually, i don't remember, maybe he was).

These are some birthday portraits i took of Gavin. What a handsome little boy! And can you believe he actually held still for a few pictures?

Hey look, it's Jaxon! i thought these pictures were kind of funny. In the last one i can't tell if he looks mad. He wasn't, but the squintly little eye and squished cheek...

I know i should know her from somewhere... She's cute too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Las Vegas: Gavin's Birthday

Last weekend i met Jen and the kids down in Vegas at Emily's place. (i know, isn't crazy, only a few days ago and i'm already posting some pictures)! Anyway, we were lucky enough to be there for Gavin's birthday and got to celebrate with him and the family. Gavin really wanted a light saber birthday cake, impossible right?

Not with Emily it wasn't impossible. The chef worked late into the night crafting this super tastey light saber birthday cake. And i think the birthday boy (and everyone else) was pretty impressed.

Here's the birthday boy with his cake and presents. He was pretty excited (and surprisingly well-behaved).

It was a really fun birthday party and i'm glad we got to be there to celebrate with Gavin and the family. Thanks for inviting us Gavin!