So much change!

Not even sure where to begin on the change that’s happened since last thanksgiving but here are a couple of highlights…

1) Kids have aged… seriously, they’re like old now!!!

2) Egg took a new job at SmugMug! Wat? I know right – he’s working for the man these days… check out his company photo here:

Erik Giberti, Smug Sorcerer, as Gollum

… my … precious …

There’s been more, but egg realized it had been a year and felt an update was needed!

Feeling out of the loop? Keep up to speed with us here:

Egg, and
Oskar on FB…

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Happy Thanksgiving

Experimenting with on Camera Flash and exposure compensation.

We’ve wrapped up Thanksgiving here and are looking forward to Christmas. After an absolutely wonderful mild November (we’re talking t-shirt weather) we now have daytime highs right around (or just below) freezing; it seems Winter has finally come to Minnesota!

I’m starting to post photos on SmugMug now. I’ll soon be phasing out the Flickr stuff on the right but I don’t yet have a good replacement to feed the photos into the sidebar from SmugMug, so for now, you’ll just need to check over there. You can also order prints so you can have your own hard copy if you’d like!

Xavier with an herb

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Walking in High Heels

Ever wonder what Egg would look like in High Heels? You will find out soon enough! I’m trying to raise $1,500 in donations.


Each year there are 207,754 victims of sexual assult. I’m doing my part to help reduce that number locally by walking a mile in her shoes!

If you donate $50 or more, I’ll add your name, photo or message (if desired) to a custom shirt I’m making to wear during the walk. To be on the shirt, I’ll need your donation & message by June 10th. Keep in mind this is a family event when choosing your messaging…

All funds will be donated to Women’s Shelter – the fees for the fundraising platform FundRazr, t-shirt and suplemental podiatrist care will be covered by me.

If you’d rather give me money directly, you can send checks, savings bonds, stock certificates (preferably 10 year old shares in APPL) to the house and we’ll get them donated for you.

Learn more about the shelter here:

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Early Morning in Rochester

Rochester Skyline at Dawn

I headed out to take some photos of Rochester’s Skyline at sunrise yesterday. It turned out to be overcast, but in the end it didn’t matter all that much. While this wasn’t the photo I was envisioning I did capture the skyline fairly well using two long exposures with a 50mm lens and a really tight aperture. The tight aperture required a long exposure but gives the star effect on the lights. The small aperture also gives a really deep in-focus range. The resulting image actually has a lot of details which are hard to see at this resolution but are in the full size one. There are antennae on the tops of buildings, stones on the shore, branches on the trees, details in the arches of the Plummer building and more! This was definitely an improvement over my first skyline shot of Rochester but I still want to improve it.

I also grabbed a few images of the local goose population at Sliver Lake Park. The camera had hard time metering the exposure correctly and the resulting shots needed much more manipulation. It was really fun to be so close to the geese while they paddled around in the stream. They didn’t like me around but generally ignored me. Hoping next time to be better prepared to get some action shots of them – it was simply too dark to be able to capture motion.

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Trip to the Zoo

This weekend we trudged off in the snow and cold to the local zoo so I could try some techniques for capturing animals in captivity. I was trying to get shots of the animals by focusing past the screen in front of them. In some cases I was able to pull it off and in others you can see the screen if you look at the weird shadows and points of light cast on them. Either way I was really lucky to get the animals doing something other than sleeping or pacing wildly, which has always been the norm when I head over to Zollman Zoo.

There are a couple more photos on Flickr, but these give you a good idea of what I accomplished. Noticeably missing – pictures of Gretchen and the kids! I did get one of Oskar… Doh! Next time…


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Vote for Xavier!

While we were away last week, Kathy posted this picture of Xavier to the Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) photo contest. Help him get into the published book by voting for the photo! You don’t need to be a resident of Minnesota to vote – you can even LOVE the photo!!!

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Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful Winter Break (assuming that applies to you!) Everyone has left the Alyn Family residence and we’re back to school today – just in time for the temperature to get really cold! Over break we visited, ate, laughed, Xavier made some funny faces and we all made some art. We had a really great time!


For those who aren’t aware, the images on Flickr are marked as “Copyright” so people don’t use them in magazines etc, but you can still get the high resolution photos. Click on the photo page on Flickr and then in the top right it says “View all sizes.” For the photo above, it will open the photo in a window with a listing of different available sizes, including “original.” You can open that version and save as you normally would. That’s the highest resolution available. The first photo of the boys above is one we took a few weeks ago using a fancy schmancy 50mm f/1.4 lens I rented.

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Xavier’s First Piano Recital

For those who couldn’t be at the Recital yesterday… Xavier did great!

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Thank You!

So it seems there’s a minor issue with the Amazon gift list thingy… I have no idea who sent me this book!

If anyone is thinking of getting me something from that list, please let me know who I have to thank! I really have been enjoying it. I’m working through the composition chapters and advanced techniques. These are a few of the photos I’ve captured – more to come!

Thank you again!


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Egg Exploring Photography

So you’ve probably seen by now the photos in the right hand column are getting better. As an early birthday present for me, Gretchen bought me a DSLR. I’ve been experimenting with different techniques and styles and otherwise generally improving my composition and exposure skills. I thought since I hadn’t blogged in a while I’d share some of my favorites so far. You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.

This is one of the first photographs I took with the new camera. I set everything to full automatic mode and so it fired the flash etc. It was after I saw how nice these pictures came out that I realized what a difference the camera itself can make in capturing nice photos.

Gretchen was making dinner one night and I wanted to see how the camera did with Macro photography with the lens that came with the camera. I had also been reading and learning about the interplay between f/stop, iso and shutter speed and so was specifically trying to capture lower light situations without the flash.

I folded this bird probably over a year ago. I wanted to see if I could set the camera to give a grainy black and white image. What I didn’t realize was how much light was reflected off the back of the bird onto the window frame which gave it the backlit effect.

This is one of the older buildings in downtown Rochester. One of the things I am really excited about with the new camera is it’s ability to take nice photographs in low light situations. While this particular photo isn’t perfect (my tripod drifts) it was pretty good and gave me lots of things to think about for future night shots.

I had been trying to take a picture of Symbiot when I turned around to shush Dart who was very upset I was beyond the invisible fence. I snapped three consecutive shots and found this one funny. I converted it to black and white and Dart really popped out from the leaves making a nice photo.

Oskar was walking Dart in a nearby park and so I was playing with composition. I was really pleased that the background was out of focus and Oskar wasn’t paying attention when this photo was snapped as it really captured both of them in a natural moment.

I was curious to see if I could capture the moon and spent several nights perfecting the shot. While this is cropped in significantly from the original, I was please by how much detail was retained. I must have taken 50 bad shots that turned into washed out white balls before I got this one.

This drink was sitting on the counter at the Old Sugar Distillery in Madison, WI, which is a poorly lit space for taking photographs. However with the backlighting and shallow depth of field I think it captured the feeling of the place. The drink wasn’t bad either.

This is the dome of the Madison, WI capitol building. We were walking up the hill and thought I’d try and capture this. I didn’t have a tripod so was wondering if I would be able to capture any of the detail. It came out nice although you can see the camera struggled with the white balance with all the different types of illumination they use – pinks down low and greens up high.

I was really excited with how nicely the colors were captured in this photo – although it’s really like a caricature of what the sky looked like!

If you want to support my continued learning, this is a list of gear I’m interested in buying.

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