Outdoor exercise on a cold November weekend

Sitting around the house one cold weekend after Thanksgiving we exhausted all indoor activities and  decided we needed to get outside for some exercise and fresh air.  Our company had left, the house was back in order, the kids were building Legos for hours so my husband suggested a trip to the school field for some football.  

Perfect, I thought, get the kids and dog a little exercise, experience quality family time and have a great opportunity to practice my photography skills.  My 50mm 1.4 Nikon lens was not working properly with my Nikon D5000 DSLR and when I received my new Nikon D7000 the lens works!  Don't ask me why.  This was my first trip out with the D7000 and my 50mm lens.  I was pleased with the photos.  

Before I dropped and broke my Nikon D5000, I purchased a few lenses off the Internet to save some money and didn't call the customer support line for advise.  Next time I'll call because that was a costly mistake.  What a relief that my 50mm 1.4 finally works properly.  

My daughter drawing in the gravel.
ISO 200 50mm f/1/6 1/8000

You can see the cold in the air.
I wanted to capture the sun hitting them in the field playing football in the late afternoon.
ISO 200 50mm f/1.6 1/8000

Before this day I did not realize that I could take an action shot with
the aperture at 1.6 and have it in focus, etc.
This is where practice comes in handy.
ISO 200 50mm f/1.6 1/5000

I love his concentration and expression as he eyes the football in the air.  

She finally got in the spirit and joined us.

She wants to learn how to kick the ball farther than her brother.
Headed home.
The perfect amount of exhaustion.
A fun afternoon in the park.
ISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/320
As we were leaving and I was reviewing my images she said in her
best whine..."Mom, please let me take a picture with your new camera."
No, way, not anymore.
Photos like this one make me laugh.  This face is such a part of childhood
and being a parent you see it often, usually during the late afternoon, early evening,
known as the "witching hour."
A bit overexposed but I like how his eyes look so blue.
He is old enough that I don't get those meltdown faces any longer.
A blessing, yet sad at the same time.
ISO 200 50mm f/2.8 1/250.


Cross County Trail ~ Biking fun

The Cross County Trail in Fairfax County, Virginia is an awesome perk when you live in Northern Virginia.  In the midst of one very busy urban suburban neighborhood outside of Washington, D.C. you can have a beautiful day with nature.   As a family, we ride our bikes almost every weekend for an 8-12 mile ride and this is our favorite ride because we can depart from our house and avoid loading the bikes.  Once you get on the trail, it is paved, well marked, not crowded and you can ride as far as you want through Northern Virginia.

This section of the CCT can be accessed at the intersection of Hunter Village Drive and Old Keene Mill Road.  Ride your bike, walk your dog, or jog to Accotink Park and all the way to Reston if you have the energy.  My husband went to Reston one day on a 50+ mile ride and he had a blast.  Glad I was out of town.

We recently packed up our bikes and went out of our neighborhood and rode part of the CCT near Reston.  It would have been a better ride for us without the kids because of the number of people using the trail and the packs of mis-mannered bikers in their fancy outfits.  One group of ladies almost ran my son off the road as they passed in double with oncoming riders.  He was startled.   A simple, courteous "on your left" goes a long way.   The first 5 riders squeezed by him.  I watched him get unsteady on his bike and scoot over to the side.  The riders a the back of the pack were riding, talking, not paying attention to oncoming traffic as they blindly passed my son.  They had to jump into his space when they realized they did not have enough room to pass.  I watched in horror and prayed that he could hang on and keep riding straight and not go off the trail.  I yelled "you can do it buddy, keep going!"  What I wanted to yell is something quite different. 

I did not take any photos in Reston, because I was too concerned about safety and I broke my camera during the ride.  I had my Nikon D5000 in my backpack with snacks for the kids.  We stopped and I was occupied adjusting the bike chain on my husband's bike (I'm the mechanical one) my kids raided the snacks.  I picked up my backpack to leave and my camera rolled out right in front of my husband.   He looked at me wide eyed when he heard that awful sound of electronics hitting pavement.  I said "I'm sure it will be fine" as I quickly shoved it in my bag.  It survived a full over the handlebars bike crash on asphalt, so it should be fine with a little drop on the bike trail.  Not so lucky.   My 11-month photography journey came to an abrupt end.  

Not so fast, pity party over!  I have an early Christmas present from my husband!  A Nikon D7000.  I told him that I still want to take it to the beach and on bike rides, so I also have a two-year warranty protection plan for any damage beside fire or loss.  He knows me too well.  He insisted I also buy a lens protector.  Yippee!  He asked me to please keep this camera in once piece for a least two years. 

Instead of shooting from the hip like my ride in Yorktown,
 I put the camera up to my face and used the viewfinder for some better and in focus shots.
Nikon D5000, sports mode. 
My little guy trying to pass Dad and sister.
She was egging him on with some friendly banter.
The CCT has several of these steel bridges.
Kids love bridges.
My rock picker.
I make her bring her own backpack now
 to carry her favorite rocks home.
She is adding to my heart collection.

Yes, they got their shoes wet.
We decided our 8 lb. dog would like this beach.
 I've been putting him in a doggy backpack and riding with him.
He goes nuts when he sees a squirrel and he makes me shake all around.
Yes, I get a few strange looks and people ask "Is there a dog in there?"

Arg, Blackberry alert!


National Botanical Garden

On Election Day the kids were out of school so we invited some special friends for an outing to the National Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C.  The gardens are beautiful anytime of year.  Winter is my favorite time to visit.  We went on a brisk but sunny day which made the climate controlled gardens feel so warm and tropical on our skin. 

The kids spent most of their time in the outside Children's Garden playing in the playhouse, watering plants, hiding in the bamboo and playing in the fountains.  My friend and I enjoyed some time to sit in the sun and visit.  The National Botanical Gardens are worth the trip.  It's free!  If you like photography, like I do, the filtered light and beautiful plants provides a perfect studio to take pictures.  

The bearded pair.
Peaking over the log bridge.
Playing with the fountain in the Children's Garden.
The girls in the background are playing in the little house.
A beauty in the bamboo garden.
French vanilla smelling pot at a special exhibit on herbs.
A favorite scent.
Can she press her face any closer?
An oversize metal flower with a changing video screen in the middle.
Very nice display.
 Simple but interesting.
National Garden adjacent to the
U.S. Capitol and Botanical Garden.
Plants, walkways, fountains, tables, and benches.
Fall flowers
I've never seen the U.S. Capitol from this perspective.
Election Day 2010
The workers setting up the train display for the holidays!!!
A must see if you are in the city over the holidays.
I will post again when we attend.


Trampoline Fun

Sports mode with continuous shots on my D5000 Nikon is a fun feature that I've been experimenting with lately.   We have a trampoline in our backyard since the summer and the kids love it.  They often wake up and go out in their pajamas, right after school, and anytime I say okay.  You cannot help it but get on yourself.   I can still do a flip.  Lots of giggles and a great workout for me.   They play kickball, tag, family and spy games.  The trampoline is wonderful for me because it's a like a playpen for older children.   I can see them from my kitchen window and know where they are without worry.

Rock on!
Dance like an Egyptian
Trying out cheer moves
"Mom, let's do airplane!"
Remind you of Phyllis Diller?
He's just too big to play airplane


Unique Boutique 2010...

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support a good cause at 2010 Unique Boutique in Norfolk for LEE'S FRIENDS: helping people live with cancer.

I will be there in person and look forward to seeing all of my old friends and customers.  It's been too long! This shopping experience is fabulous!  Jewelry, purses, silver, bows, photography, dips, artwork and more all in one awesome event to help raise money for LEE'S FRIENDS.  The ladies who put on and organize the show do an excellent job to provide you with a wonderful variety of vendors and a venue that's top notch.   

See you there!

Monday, Oct 25th 
3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct 26th
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

7400 Hampton Blvd.  (across from the Yacht Club)

Spider Necklace
 Precious Metal Clay Necklace
Black Onyx
(my only one! I may keep this for myself)

Precious metal clay earrings
handcrafted and fired from antique button mold
Sterling silver earrings
Love this cool green cut stone
Precious metal clay
Lotus flower and princess crowns
Picasso glass beads
Celebrate your inner calm and princess at the same time

Sterling silver earrings
Red coral inspired bamboo beads


Necklaces...organic vibe

These new necklace designs are finally brought to life after rattling around in my brain for a few years.  They are organic and interesting.  Each design is one of a kind like the spots on a giraffe or bubbles drawn together. 

sterling silver
oxidized Italian chain
giraffe spots

In editing these photos I hit a random button that made my background this vibrant blue.  The silver popped!

sterling silver

A funny story yesterday as I was making dinner.  In a serious and pleasant voice, my son (7) asked which I thought was harder being a kid and going to school all day and then coming home to do homework or being a parent?  I asked what he thought.  He said he has it harder because it does not look too hard when I fold laundry and watch TV.  Oh, he got me.  My secret is out.  I told him my job is pretty easy because he and his sister are good kids.


York River State Park ~ Mountain Biking

York River State Park.
It's easy going down on the River View Trail.
Hard going up.
Sweet cheeks.
He knows it make me happy when he lets me take his photo.
What a good son.
At the cross trail, I stopped to take a photo.
I was stalling
because as family navigator
I was lost.
The sun sets in the West.
Glad this was not a ride at high noon.
My DSLR is no fun in the backpack, so while I rode my mountain bike
I slung it over my shoulders and took some shots in motion from the hip.
My husband warned me it was dangerous.
We both remember when I flipped over my handle bars July 4th.
Ha, I laugh at danger to get the shot...
I never really got a good shot but I'm hooked on the possibility.
York River in the evening.
North of the Coleman Bridge and Yorktown, VA.
Great views and trails.
The blur tells a story.
The story is, I'm not very good, yet.
Does that Blackberry have to go EVERYWHERE with us?
Chuck it into the river with the Revolutionary War cannons for the archeologists to find.  





What's your Be...?


Why I love My Digital SLR ~ Lollipop Race

This summer we had a blast at our neighborhood pool and swim team.  After a few small swim meets across the diving area, my tadpole finally got to swim in a "real" swim meet.  This meet was different.  You won large colorful lollipop if you won your heat.  My little tadpole is very food motivated (it runs in the family.)  As she sat in her pink sunburst chair waiting for her race she showed all the signs of a fierce competitor. You cannot help but notice the smirk of confidence.  Nobody was going to get that large lollipop but her.  She knew it.

I'm so glad I had my DSLR to capture this story and some great memories of our summer.
The smirk
She got it!
And another!
This is what she rather be doing.
When swim team season started she asked me to tell
her coach that she does all of her swimming
under water.