Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Moon

What a birthday present!  Just before midnight last night, I went outside and was very disappointed to find the sky completely clouded over.  I started to go to bed but then decided to wait until 1:30am when the eclipse was supposed to begin.  Lo and behold, when I went out, now on my birthday, I found a beautiful clear sky filled with stars.  I lugged my big lens outside and got ready to shoot the moon.  (If you click on the photos, you can see larger ones.)

The eclipse creeping across the moon.

Just about to go into total eclipse.


It was beautiful with the stars of the Milky Way in the background.

Just starting to emerge from the shadow. 

By now it was after 4am.  My fingers were numb from cold, so I went to bed. What a great birthday gift the heavens gave me.

Getting the photos wasn't easy.  I used my Canon 5D and my big mother of a 500mm lens with a 1.4X extender giving me the equivalent of a 700mm lens.  The lens and camera were on a sturdy Gitzo tripod with a Wimberly Sidekick mount on a Really Right Stuff ballhead.  The moon was crossing the sky quite quickly (OK, I know it's the earth revolving) and every few minutes I had to adjust the whole rig to keep the moon in frame.  My fingers were so cold and numb, I could barely feel the little buttons on the camera.  Then, the camera suddenly went dead even though I had put a fully charged battery in it.  I had a couple of freshly charged batteries in my coat pocket, but neither of them worked either.  It was the cold!  These lithium batteries don't like cold weather.  Lucky for me, I had another battery in the house, so I ran and got it and resumed shooting.  I put the other two batteries into my pants, right next to my skin.  When the camera went dead again, I was able to use one of those warmed-up batteries.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My new Studio blog

Today I split this blog into two parts and created a new blog called Cynthia Blanton Studio.  The new blog will have all my posts related to polymer clay, jewelry, and wearable art while the posts about travel, photography and my doggies :-) will remain here.  If you have subscribed to or follow this blog because of your interest in polymer clay, please visit my new blog and subscribe there.  

I made this change because I am hoping to begin selling my work soon, and I want my Studio blog to be more professional and clay oriented than this blog has been.  But please feel free to stay subscribed here.  I enjoy sharing my photography and travel stories.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miniature Dollhouse Furniture

My mom has a dollhouse, and years ago she bought a bunch of furniture kits from The House of Miniatures, part of the X-ACTO company.  Sadly, these kits are no longer produced.  Mom made a few of them, but after her strokes, she could no longer do such small, precise work.  The kits have been stored away for years, but when Mom came to stay with me for a month, I brought them along and got to work sanding, gluing. and staining.

As you can see, they are finally detailed, and the doors and drawers all open and close.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Very Gatsby Party

We  went to a wonderful house-warming party a couple of weeks ago at a recently renovated estate right on the shore of Lake Ontario.  Since the original house was from the twenties, the theme of the party was Gatsby.  Erich, my DH,  and I did our best to evoke the era.

Yours truly and hubby posing next to the lake

As you can see, the setting was absolutely spectacular...

 And the costumes were fabulous as well...

Folks on the balcony

There was delicious food, lots of entertainment, and the evening ended with fireworks over the lake.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that this is not our usual social milieu.  You see, we live on the wrong side of the tracks, the tracks in this case being the QEW (for non-Canadians that is a big highway running parallel with the lake shore.)

A couple of vintage models.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making Changes

I apologize if things look weird here.  Because of my frustrations with getting photos and text to display in the manner I want, I was just about to switch to another blogging platform.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear but Blogger in Draft, an advanced form of Blogger that is not yet in general release.  It seems to provide some of the things I want - like captions for photos and the ability to change the width of the columns- so I'm giving it a try.  The blog may be a bit unstable as I adjust my header photo and experiment with other changes.

More on Kauai

During our days om Kauai, DH and I found a great place for breakfast on the south shore called Joe's on the Green. This cheerful character, a red crested cardinal, waited not-too-patiently for us to finish our banana pancakes (with coconut syrup). Yum.

About one quarter of the Kauai coastline is inaccessible except by long and strenuous hikes or by boat, although the boats are not supposed to land. Not being in tip-top shape, we opted for a boat ride along the Napali Coast. The scenery is spectacular with mountains coming right down to the water, isolated beaches, and many caves. In a couple of places, the boat went right into the caves and right under a waterfall. (No pics of that particular waterfall because my camera was under my rain poncho.) Some friendly dolphins had a great time playing in the bow wake of our boat.

Back on land again, we explored a blow hole on the south shore

Secret Beach (which is listed in all the guide books) is on the north shore.

We had a rainbow right outside our condo. I ran as fast as I could, but the pot of gold was gone by the time I got there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Trip to Kauai

Quite awhile ago, DH and I purchased a one-time, week-long stay with a time-share outfit. It was a very low price for a place that rents for $400 per night, and the only hitch was that we had to listen to a 120-minute sales pitch aimed at getting us to buy time-share points. It's amazing how l-o-n-g 120 minutes can be! But it was worth it because we had a great time. And thank goodness for frequent flier points which got us there for free.
We were on Kauai, the garden island, which is the wettest of the islands. Even in the dry season, there are lots of waterfalls and the rivers are full.

We drove up Waimea Canyon, the "grand canyon" of Hawaii, and stopped to enjoy the views.

The road ends and to get any further, you have to hike. The ocean side of the mountain was shrouded in thick fog and the trail was muddy and very slick in spots, but we hiked a mile to the "viewpoint" in hopes that the fog would go away. In the photo below, you can see the ridge we were aiming at in the upper right corner. You can also see the famous red dirt of Kauai in the foreground. The big hiker with the hat is my hubby.

The ocean side was still socked in, but I got one nice shot into the canyon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photos of the Pyramids

To see my photos of the Pyramids, click on the image below. When you get to the new window, click on "Slideshow" at the upper left. When the slideshow starts, a control panel under the photo will let you adjust the length of time each slide appears. About 8 or 9 seconds gives you enough time to read the captions. Or you can go through each photo one by one.


Monday, February 8, 2010

My photos from Cairo

To see some of my photos from Cairo, Egypt, click on the image below. When you get to the new window, click on "Slideshow" at the upper left. When the slideshow starts, a control panel under the photo will let you adjust the length of time each slide appears. About 10 seconds gives you enough time to read the captions. Or you can go through each photo one by one.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back from travels

I had a marvelous time traveling in Egypt and Jordan over the holidays and now I'm working on the 2000+ photos I took! Eventually I will post photos somewhere on-line but for now, I'll show just a couple. I've always wanted to see the pyramids, and this photo proves I was there.

In Jordan, we visited the Dead Sea and decided to try the miraculous mud. It's supposed to make you look young and beautiful. I think our before and after photos prove it!