Night Sky

One of the things I was really looking forward to when we went camping was trying my hand at night sky photography.  Since I'm trying to branch out and improve skills I thought this would be a great little challenge for me!  Plus, I had a beautiful tripod that I dear friend had given me that was just collecting dust in our guest bedroom....what better way to christen it!  I was lucky that the first night we were camping the sky was pretty clear (second night, not so much).  I still need some practice, but I'm pretty happy with my first attempt and I had a ton of fun shooting these (and isn't that what matters the most?)....
 For all of these, I set my f-stop at f/4.0, shutter speed at 20 to 25 seconds, an ISO of 3200 or 5000, and my white balance temperature varied from photo to photo depending on the temperature I wanted.

I'm really looking forward to the next time I can take another stab at night sky photography...though I'm not too sure when that will be.  Until then, I hope you've enjoyed these photos.  Anyway, happy Thursday!  We're off to Midpoint Music Festival tonight and then we have the day off tomorrow to recuperate and have a little Friday fun before night two of the festival!  Have a great weekend!


Camping Weekend in Instagram

What a great weekend, but man, I'm tired!  And, is it just me, or did the weekend just fly by?!  Camping was a big success, but I think I need a couple days just to recuperate.  I took a bunch of photos this weekend, including some night-sky photos that I'm hoping turned out well, but until I have a chance to edit them here's some photos from Instagram...
 Antoine and I were in charge of all the food/cooking.  I was in charge of the coffee, something I've never made when camping before because Antoine doesn't drink coffee.  But since we had some serious coffee drinkers in the group this time I got this and this (which also came in handy for making some warm spiced cider Saturday night!) and some tasty coffee from Stauf's...and it turned out really well!  Plus my sister gave me this sweet set of metal mugs, bowls and plates (thanks sis!).

 These photos are from Saturday morning.  Antoine and I made an egg bake (somewhat similar to this one) with potatoes, onions, and peppers from Amanda's garden.  We topped it with Parmesan and aged white cheddar and it was very tasty!  Cheese, of course, wanted to help with the cooking process and kept getting way too close to the fire...but he managed not to burn himself, somehow.

 On Saturday we went to Apple Hill Orchards in Mansfield, OH, which was about a 30-40 minute drive from where we were staying near Mohican State Park.  I had never been to Apple Hill and just found them online earlier that week.  It's a great little place that I'd highly recommend (and they are dog-friendly which is awesome!).  We went apple picking, feasted on apple donuts, and sampled some delicious cider.  Good times!

 After Apple Hill, my sister and brother-in-law spotted a sign for the Ohio Bird Sanctuary just down the road.  It turned out to be a really great impromptu stop!  Cheese was allowed in most of the areas, they had a cool selection of owls, hawks and falcons, and they even had an enclosure that you could walk into (but no dogs!) that had all kinds of birds in it, quails, blue jays, chickens, killdeer, etc.  And then as we were getting ready to leave we spotted one of the very friendly staff exercising one of the hawks.  And then another one of the staff members brought out this little screech owl, Lazarus, to talk about!  I have better photos that I'll definitely share later!

 As you can see Saturday night got a little silly!  We were all drinking and playing cards against humanity and then this happened...don't worry, that's not cocaine it's powdered sugar for campfire pies!

It was a fun, but exhausting weekend...especially for the Cheese-man!  All the smells, all the random people petting him and rubbing his's so rough!

Stay tuned for more camping photos, though it might take me a while to get to them since this weeks is Midpoint!  Happy Monday everyone!



Lately I've been thinking that poor Guillermo tends to get a little forgotten here on the blog.  Cheese gets a fair amount of attention/pictures taken of him because he almost always goes with us to the park and whatnot.  Plus he's very photogenic!  Guillermo stays in the house and tends to hide from the camera.  So when I recently took a series of photos of him and created this gif, I thought it was the perfect time to dedicate a whole post to this furry guy.

Name: Guillermo (pronounced: gee-YAIR-mo)
Story behind the name: It means William in Spanish.  He was actually named after Guillermo Del Toro, I loved Pan's Labyrinth when it came out and thought Guillermo would be a super name for a big, fluffy cat!
Nicknames: Gui, Gui-baby, Furrball
Age:  5 years
Breed:  I'm pretty convinced he's got some Maine Coon in him.  He's 15 lbs, not because he's overweight, he just has a big frame.  He has the light-density coat that Maine Coon's are known for, which means he doesn't shed in the same way normal long-haired cats do because his fur is so fine.  He's got enormous paws with big tufts of fur between his toes (purpose: to keep their feet warm in the snow).

10 random facts about Guillermo:

  1. He was the first pet that Antoine and I got as a couple.  After we bought our house we adopted him only a week or two after we moved in!  There were boxes all over the house and it was a mess, but we were so excited to bring this little fluff-ball home.  We loved him immediately!
  2. Gui really isn't that interested in food (at least not like Cheese is).  I mean, he LOVES his spoonful of wet food he gets everyday, don't get me wrong, but he's really not into treats and I think his favorite part about feeding time is the attention from Antoine or me.  He's a total lover!
  3. He's a talker!  Even though he didn't really meow until he was over a year old, he loves to talk to you now.  All you have to do is say his name and he starts talking.  And he almost always comes when you call him, actually he's better at that than Cheese.
  4. Favorite place to get pet - under the chin, along his jaw!  That's his sweet spot.  But if you touch his stomach or his rear-end you are in trouble!
  5. He has his own bed...does he lay in it?  Of course not!  His go to spots are either our bed, the guest bed (which we call "Gui's bed"), Cheese's bed, or Cheese's crate.  He's weirdo!
  6. He's a horrible hunter when it comes to things I actually want him to hunt like insects and spiders.  But he's an excellent hunter of fake mice and my hair ties.  Seriously, he has hunted and destroyed about 90% of my hair ties and I have to hide them from him now, which doesn't always work.  [Speaking of hair tie murders...we recently got a new rug for our living room.  When we rolled up the old rug we found eight massacred hair ties under it!  Eight!!!]  
  7. He's a total scaredy-cat!  He freaks out at the slightest unusual noise and has a sense for when other people enter the house...he runs and hides, usually behind the washer in the basement.
  8. He's a total mama's boy.  If Antoine and I are one the couch watching tv Gui will almost always go for my lap...unless the dog is already there! 
  9. Gui is horribly clumsy.  His jumping skills are pretty atrocious and he seems to not really like high places too much (probably because he's fallen so much).  He's kind of the anti-cat in that respect!
  10. He loves to trip people, especially people he loves.  If you are walking anywhere in the house there's a good chance that he'll be under your feet, usually meowing!  If you're walking down the steps, forget about better hold onto the railing and try to maneuver around him very carefully!  It's really surprising that in all the times I've fallen down the steps it's never been his least not yet!

I hope you've enjoyed this little peek into the oddity that is our fluffy cat, Guillermo.  And happy Friday!  I don't know about you but I am so ready for the weekend!  We're actually skipping out of work early and driving a couple hours north to go camping.  It's been a couple years since we've been camping and really I miss it!  And this time there's a group of us going (and Cheese) so that should be fun!  Have a great weekend everyone!


Reformatory Outtakes

Now for some outtakes, which I really should have titled "Aaron, the Creepy Ghost"!  It all started when we got near the end of first half of the building...there was a room will all the lights turned out and a creepy chair sitting in the middle of it.  Amanda and I were too scared to venture into the room, and rightly so, but Aaron, her boyfriend, just walked right in!  We made him turn on the light on his phone so we could see in the room and this happened...
 "Aaron, the Creepy Ghost" with two shadows!!  Sorry it's so blurry and out of focus, it was so dark and I might have been laughing pretty yeah.

That began a pattern of Aaron wandering in to dark rooms and making weird/silly/creepy faces!  Like this one...

Oh, and then there was the time Aaron the creepy ghost decided to go to the bathroom...

...and make a strange, sinister face in a very tiny room with a very tiny door...

Oh, but there was another ghost sighting!  We'll call her, "Amanda, the Blurry Ghost"...

I miraculously have one more post for you this week before A and I head off to go camping with some of our favorite people.  But until then, happy Wednesday everyone!


Mansfield Reformatory: Part 2

Hi!  Remember me?  The person who's supposed to run this little blog thingamabob.  Where have I been?  No clue.  All I can say is I'm a slacker and I'm sorry!  But, a miracle has occurred...I somehow managed to finish editing my photos from the Ohio State Reformatory!  ["Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles!" - let's play name that you know it?]

Anyway, if you need a little refresher from August, here's part one of the Mansfield Reformatory, which if you'll recall focused mostly on the administration office/quarters of the old prison.  Part 2's photos are all from the areas where the inmates lived, worked, and spent their free time (you can tell this when you're in the reformatory because you pass through a doorway with a very large steel door).  The first part of the prison you encounter is the chapel...
 Ceiling of the chapel.
 A standard cell. 

Next up...the library:
  The library was definitely one of my favorite areas in the reformatory, though surprisingly not my absolute favorite!

 I think my favorite area was probably the gym.  I'm not sure why, but as soon as I walked into that room/area, I immediately liked it...definitely not the normal reaction I have towards gyms!
 And this is probably one of my favorite photos of the bunch...but, again, I'm not sure why. 
 The shower was super creepy!  Amanda basically walked in and then walked right back out.  I pushed myself to take a couple pictures and then I was out of there. 

So there you have it.  There were two more sections that I didn't take photos because it was too dark and the other because we ran out of time.  Just another reason to go back, I guess.  Also, this isn't actually the last of the reformatory photos, I have a bunch of outtakes and "haunted" photos to share, so stay tuned!