It's 6am

Where my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays begin. (Posting from my iPhone)

It's March Already!

Terrible job of posting anything in February....I'd even given some thought to posts/projects but didn't get around to them. A busy work January spilled in to February and then I my free time was tied up in putting together a Winter Sports Video for the SHS Sports Banquet. Fun, but just slid in under the deadline this time. One more to go!

But thought I'd post today....since it's the six month countdown until we leave for our trip to California (Yosemite, Carmel, Big Sur). We've booked the direct flight from RDU to San Francisco so we'll leave NC at 7am and hopefully find ourselves in Yosemite Valley by dinner time (CA time). Lots of stuff to happen between then and now so I imagine the time will fly by.

My First 5K!

I started a Couch to 5K program in August and found it pretty easy to follow and very rewarding. I kind of stalled in Oct/Nov without increasing my running time just because I was having trouble fitting my runs in between daylight and work time (I'm not interested in running with a headlamp at this point), but I still ran jogged 3 times a week.

In December I ran a 5k distance at Lake Lynn as my final C25K training run and was pretty proud of myself (I actually ran 3.4 miles), but decided I wanted to enter a 5k "race" to make it official. So kind of last minute, I decided to do a 5k Race that was January 12th and held at Brier Creek Country Club. Running on cart paths seemed like a pretty neat first race.

Here's the photo evidence!

Eileen_5K_005 Eileen_5K_006
And the Race Shirt to prove it!

Next stop....Crossfit Bootcamp! (Started on January 14th!)

Christmas Tree Depth of Field

Having a Christmas tree in my living room is a great opportunity to play with my camera and its settings. Here's a really quick way to demonstrate how different aperture (f/stop) settings can affect your image. (If my sister Nanc is reading, you can use your camera to replicate this exercise!)

First...large DOF (Depth of Field). Using a tripod is necessary due to the long exposure time required when using an aperture of f/22 in such a low light situation.

Canon 7D, 50mm 1.4 lens
ISO 100
Manual Mode
Aperture: f/22
Shutter Speed: 6 seconds
No Flash

You can see that everything is in focus and the f/22 aperture makes the lights on the tree appear as little starbursts.

Next, to contrast the first photo, this one uses an extremely shallow DOF.
Canon 7D, 50mm 1.4 lens
ISO 100
Manual Mode
Aperture: f/2.0
Shutter Speed: 1/100 seconds
Flash bounced off ceiling to illuminate the Santa

From the same location as the first photo, this one focuses on the LSU Santa with a very shallow DOF of f/2.0. This blurs all of the background (known as bokeh) and makes the small lights on the tree appear as big orbs.

This Weekend: Stone Mountain State Park

And here's two photos from our afternoon hike at Stone Mountain State Park. We knew we probably weren't up for (or had time for) the full Stone Mountain Loop trail. So we opted for a loop combining the Wolf Rock and Cedar Rock trails, which gave us a nice view to the West from Wolf Rock, and a nice view of Stone Mountain from Cedar Rock. Again we got lucky avoiding the crowds (despite the parking lot being overflowing) -- only saw a handful of people.

Amazing how green the trees were after seeing peak fall colors in SW Virginia a few hours earlier.

Can you spot the rock climbers making their way up?

This Weekend: Grayson Highlands/Rhododendron Gap

The better photos from our Grayson Highlands/Rhododendron Gap hike. It was impressed at how many people were out on the trails this weekend -- SO many hikers and most of them seemed to be backpacking. We managed to stay 'ahead' of most of them getting a semi-early start and we only passed two hikers on the descent until we hooked back up with the Wilburn Ridge and AT.

Fall colors from the pullout overlook on the drive up to Massie Gap.

Me on a ridge along the AT before dropping down into Rhododendron Gap. I SO want to camp here one day -- G is not so convinced.

G along the AT in the Rhododendron Gap section. He's about to walk thru a tunnel of rhododendron -- would love to see it when they are blooming.

This Weekend: iPhone Photos

Perfect day to hike. 40 degrees to start, but we quickly shed layers. Amazing how much easier hiking was from the last time we were in Grayson Highlands. I guess jogging three times a week does have its benefits! We hiked to Rhododendron Gap and improvised a "loop" using the Rhododendron, the Virginia Highlands, AT, Crest, and Rhododendron Gap trails. Then we headed to Stone Mountain State Park and hiked a smaller loop of the Wolf Rock, Cedar Rock, and Stone Mountain Loop trails. About 10 miles total for the day!

Better pics later, but I don't have my card reader or cord, so these are iPhone photos. Oh, and here's the route.

View Massie Gap to Rhododendron Gap in a larger map