Posts

Why Do Little Kids Love Bandaids?

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The girls fall down pretty much every day walking home. Today was no different. They like like to pick flowers, pick up rocks, and chase butterflies as we walk across the big field near the school. Of course this means they're not always looking where they're going. Jaiden was the first to fall, but it was a minor spill, and she popped right up with barely a whimper. Until we reached the other side of the field and crossed the road ... Joey tripped on the curb and skinned her knee enough that there was a little drop of blood. Before she could start getting too upset, I offered that the cut looked bad enough to need a bandaid when we get home. The stopped the boo boo in it's tracks, she was happily down the sidewalk in search of more flowers. Meanwhile ... Jaiden now has a really hurt look on her face, and is closely examining her wrist to see if there's any blood ... and obviously disappointed that it appears to be a totally blood free scrape. Just before I'm

Zucchini Pasta with Tomato and Onions

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So last night I was really tempted to make myself a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Not totally bad for me, but I knew that I had some better stuff in the fridge, and since I knew I'd probably write about what I ate, the veggies might be a better choice ... lol, this accountability thing might just work after all.   :-) This was just a simple "pasta" dish using zucchini squash in place of the pasta, and tomato, onion, spices and olive oil instead of sauce from a jar.  I've cooked this dish before, both for myself and with a friend.  It's been delicious every time.  I suppose I could have just sliced up the zucchini, but a couple of months back I got on Amazon and ordered one of those Veggetti slicers  that you may have seen on TV.  It works pretty much as advertised.  It took me just over a minute to turn a medium sized zucchini into a pile of "pasta" strands. Here is the entire ingredient list: 1 zucchini squash ... spiral sliced  1/4

How To Take Fireworks Pictures

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With the 4th of July Holiday coming up on Monday, I bet quite a few people are planning to go out and try to get some cool fireworks pictures ... While I am by no means an "expert" on fireworks photography, I have captured a few nice images over the years (including the one above). As such, I feel I'm qualified to offer up a few ... Tips for better fireworks photography this 4th of July Use a tripod . Keeping your camera steady is especially important when shooting at night, or with a longer exposure. (If you have a dSLR, you might also consider locking the mirror up, and using a remote shutter release device) Set your camera for a 1 to 5 second exposure . If your camera has the capability, you can use either "shutter priority", or manual mode. If you have a point and shoot camera, set it to the "night-time scenery mode". By using a longer exposure, not only will you avoid having to "guess" when the firework is going to e

Taking Pictures of Lightning is Not That Hard

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So you'd really like to take cool pictures of lightning, but think it's probably beyond your capabilities ... Well guess what? It's really not that hard. See that picture up above? I took it last night, and most of my Facebook friends really seem to like it. They are seriously impressed with my mad photography skills. Funny thing ... That picture was not planned. I'd hoped to get some thunderstorm pictures earlier in the evening, but after the sun went down I pretty much gave up and put the camera away ... until I heard the thunder. I quickly grabbed my camera, and turned the dial to manual. I set it at F11 and a 15 second exposure. Changed the focus to manual, and attempted (in the dark) to focus on the distant horizon. I then looked around the yard for a place to put the camera down. I settled on the edge of the trampoline, with a hula hoop under the front of my lens to prop up the angle a bit. I then sat down behind the camera and pressed th

How To Take A Picture Of The Moon

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We have a nice almost full moon out tonight, and just after sunset it was inviting me to take a picture of it from my front porch. I have to admit upfront, that I did almost no preparation. Simply grabbed my camera, which happend to have a 70-200 F4L lens attached, leaned against the pillar to steady myself, and snapped off a few frames. When I ran inside and loaded them onto the computer, it was almost immediately obvious that I wouldn't be sharing any of those shots. ... they were all way overexposed , with no detail at all. Crap, I forgot how to take a picture of the moon. So if my problem is over exposure, I need a faster shutter speed, a smaller aperture, or both. Ok, let's try this again ... I manually set my camera to ISO 100, F11, and 1/400 sec exposure, and when back out to lean against the pillar. The picture at the top of the page is what I got. It's not the greatest moon shot in the world, but for a spur of the moment, run outside and snap a

The Best Camera Is The One You Have With You

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I almost didn't have time for a "picture of the day" yesterday. Fortunately, as I was driving Johnathan home from school, we got stopped at train crossing. Since I had my Nexus S smart phone in my pocket, I decided this was a good opportunity to get my daily picture. This is the result ... I kind of like it. Possibly could have been better if I'd had my Canon in the car. But then, would I have had the right lens on it? If I have the opportunity to plan my picture taking, obviously I'm going to bring my "real" camera. But let's be honest, for the majority of good picture opportunities that I may randomly come across, my best chance of capturing them will be with my smart phone. So, I'm glad it's at least "capable". [todd-sig] What camera do you take most of your pictures with?

Tissue Over The Flash For Soft Light

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I don't know about you, but I hate to use the pop-up flash on my camera. But sometimes you just have no choice, even shooting with wide open aperture and high ISO, it's just not light enough. I saw something on a youtube video a few weeks ago (and I wish I could remember when/where so I could give credit), about how in a pinch you could put a piece of this tissue in front of your flash to soften the light, and cut down on the harsh shadows. Of course I had to try it ... Jaiden has a tummy ache The subject was my sick daughter Jaiden, laying on the couch in our living room with the only light coming from the TV to my left, and the hallway behind me. I was probably about 10 feet away from her, using the pop-up flash, with a piece of tissue held out about an inch or two in front of the flash. I think I need a little more practice with this technique. But for a first attempt, I was happy with the way it turned out. The shadows behind the bowl and the couch are from

The goal of giving Thanks

I was going to try to write something wise for Thanksgiving, then I realized that I really tend to benefit from just going back and reading stuff I've already written in the past. Here's an oldy but goody originally from Thanksgiving 2007. Ok, so now that we're all done stuffing ourselves with turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie it's time for a little reflection. Did you take a few minutes today to think about the some of things you're truly thankful for? If you're doing it right, today should not have been an abnormal day in the giving thanks department. Giving thanks for all the good things you already have in your life is an integral part of successful goal setting. Every entry on my dreamboard starts with a list of the things I'm thankful for today. Not surprisingly, many of the same things tend to show up on a daily basis ... family, friends, health, etc.. We tend to get more of what we think about most So the next time you sit down to map out

The Real Value of Experience

Everything I've done up until this point, has prepared me for what I'm about to do. I'm paraphrasing a little bit, but I heard this on an interview I listened to yesterday. It really resonated with me. The interview was about business; and since I'm considering making a pretty significant shift in my business strategy here in the near future, I found the quote encouraging. It's not just about business though ... Pretty much applies to life in general. Everything we've done, every experience we've had, and especially every mistake we've made, has gotten us ready for whatever it is we're about to do next. In a way, if you've lived a charmed life, and haven't had to deal with adversities or failures, you may actually be at a disadvantage when compared to the rest of us poor slobs. :-) Fail forward. Keep havin FuN! Todd

Any Excuse Will Do

When it comes to exercise, and really life in general, your excuses don't have to be "good", or even rational. They just have to sound better at that time than whatever it is you don't want to do . As I currently work my butt off trying to get in half-decent shape, I can't help but reflect on some of the really good excuses I came up with during my recent deployment, which "helped" me get this way in the first place. The mother of all excuses was my hurt back. On the surface, it seems perfectly logical to take a "rest" from exercise in hopes that it would help make things better. But the reality was that I was just as sore after taking months of "rest" as I had been when I was at least attempting to workout from time to time. Another really good one was my eating schedule. If it turned out that I was really hungry after I got off work, and had to stop by the DFAC on the way home, well that pretty much ruled out the gym. I mean rea

How To Pack For A Military Deployment

I spent a little bit of time today, getting my uniforms together, and building my "72 hour" bag for my upcoming deployment. I'll most likely finish packing the night before I leave ... that's just how I roll. But at least I was able to start getting things ready while I was home today. And even better, my 3 year old daughter Jaiden spent about 25 minutes helping me .. and that's not even "help" in quotations ... she actually did help me. One of the 1st lessons I learned about Army support 6 or 7 years ago, is that when you go to the field, you should pack your clothes in gallon sized ziplock bags before putting it into your rucksack. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way, back in 2007, that this rule also applies when preparing for a regular deployment to a fixed base. When I went to Iraq the first time, for some reason I just stuffed all my clothes into my rucksack, and big "body bag". When we got to Al Udeid, Qatar, I took my little back

Not Driving Drunk

It was a night of good decisions in the Morris household. My 18 year old son Justin and a couple of his friends decided at the last minute that they really were gonna go to prom. So they got dressed up in their fancy duds, figured out how they were getting there, posed for the obligatory picture, and off they went. Earlier in the day, Justin had gotten my standard "dad speech" that he's been hearing with an increasing degree of frequency lately ... Don't get in any of your friend's cars if they've been drinking. Call me, I'll come get you, blah, blah, blah, more useless dad advice, etc,.. So at about 2:45am, I get a phone call from Justin telling me that his friend who drove might have had a few beers, and wouldn't listen to them when they said he shouldn't drive. So Justin and one of his other friends, were at McDonalds by the school, and could I please come pick them up? Holy Crap! .. the boy actually does listen to me from time to time ;-)