Wednesday, July 30, 2008

we made it back

Yeah I know I should probably be posting photos and all that... But to be honest there seems to be a lot of photos to sort through and after a pretty long flight I think it may take a bit to go through them.
However Jacki started posting a bit and will be back with more photos on Monday on her blog right here:

It was a good trip and great to be back home in good ole DK for a bit :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Første dag efter ankomst - First day after arrival

Just arrived in Denmark in the morning after a long trip with a full day ahead of us we were heading off to my parents home. In Denmark we use flags slightly different and use it when ever there is something to celebrate.

So getting in the drive way there was flags here and there and every where. Sooo good to be back home in good ole DK :-)

Being lunch time we got the table set in the usual quick lunch time way. It's with rugbrød and toppings looking something like this.

As you can see the kitchen can become quite a busy place when the "kids" come home. My sister and family joined us for dinner so here we all are getting things ready. Of course the little ones got placed at the table first with a plate so they could get started.

Every day has been nice and comfortable. Not too hot and not too cold. No rain either so everything is perfect for getting around to see things. Be that a trip around the country or just taking a walk.

Imagine you can actually get a rainbow without rain...

As some will know. Danes drink coffee so here we are at the evening coffee. Some at the table and others playing on the floor.

First night at 11 pm I got this photo outside the house. Notice how much of a difference it makes that Denmark is somewhat further to the north on the globe. It didn't really get that dark or daylight last way longer than it does in the VA area.

It's weird I know... But for some reason I got up at 5.30am the next morning. Usually traveling east being jet lagged it should be hard getting up not hard sleeping... Anyway. Not being able to sleep and with the rest of the house out for a couple of hours to go I wen for a drive and took some photos from the viking grave yard.
In the year 1000 vikings were raising stones here for their dead... it's a loooong time ago...

Sounds like I was just full of energy but by the afternoon it caught up with me and I had a little nap on the back deck with a view of a sunny garden. The sun were nice and warm without being too hot and I didn't much of cars and traffic :-)

As you may have read on Jackis blog we finished off the first day going to the summer house in Amtoft and taking a stroll by the beach.
The national bird in Denmark is the swan and luckily we have quite a few of them. Here are a few photos from the beach and the view over the waters.

I am starting to experiment with panoramic photos and even though this one isn't as wide as most of the ones I come up with here is a pano seen from the harbor. If you check out Jackis blog and the map you can see more on the location ;-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

We are going on a trip... In our favorite rocket ship... (think little einsteins)

Starting out the trip getting on the plane in Dulles, VA USA....

Here we are getting settled in the plane. And Emma is reading the safty instructions and familiarizing herself with the emergency exits... hmm yeah well she did ;-)

Since the sun didn't *really* go down at "night" time all shutters got closed so we could catch some sleep. Here Emma is getting her in flight meal. Well it was slightly modified by using the gluten free cereal we brought and a special delivery of milk.

By the time we got to the probably longest part of the flight. Passing south of Iceland the sun was rising. It is a special view when sitting on a plane as you can see :-)

After 8 hours on the plane and getting through security, passport control and all that fun stuff we were walking through the airport in Copenhagen from international to domestic. It's kind of funny. This is all new and as you can see it's kind of empty. I know it's early and all but still nobody there...

Going out of Copenhagen on a short flight to Aalborg we finally arrived at our destination.

Guess who was waiting at the airport??? Emma has been talking about her sister for a loooong time and finally we got to see her. The funny thing is that last time we visited it was the exact same photo we got. The two girls sitting on the same bench giving each other a hug.

It was a long flight but we finally made it and now it's time to get the rental car and head back for some relaxation :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cleaning up after dinner....

I know it's not fun and we all do it... Cleaning up after dinner that is.

But what if you where not so big, had hairy legs and not just that but eight of them....

Here our little friendly pet is cleaning up after dinner. Just wanted to share this little one with you :-)

ohhh and btw. don't tell Jacki... She might not like him too much.

And just in case you forgot you can click the photo to get a larger version... yep you are welcome.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Images look weird on other computers...

It's kind of a weird thing until you finally figure out what's going on. Kind of like going down the highway wondering why everybody is going in the wrong direction...

When first starting out using photoshop and well other photo editors for that matter I thought I was pretty good. I could adjust just about everything and images turn tack sharp, colors and brightness/contrast was just spot on.

First weird incident was when printing they would usually come out too dark. Of course this would have to be because it wasn't the right paper or you know it's a great printer and all but after all it's not an Epson which is know to be the preferred photographer printer.

That thing I solved by increasing the brightness before printing so it looked too bright but the prints came out in a decent way. Another thing to "solve" it is to let the printer handle colors and brightness/contrast and tada problem solved even though you loose control of the output (well somewhat anyway).

Next up. Posting photos on webpages, forums, blog etc. It still looked great on my computer but when I went to work it just didn't look like I saw it at home. Hmmmm must be those cheap monitors at work that just cost twice of the one I am using at home...

Of course it turns out that my monitor at home isn't calibrated correct or well no where near where it should be and because of that I could manipulate the photo to look great on my screen while it would in reality (judging the bits) look off in colors, brightness and contrast.

Starting to read up on it (a while ago) I was thinking that buying a monitor calibration device would be the easy way and it sure is. And while we are at it "just" add a print calibration tool as well...

As you probably guessed this doesn't come cheap and have a price tag that well... yeah if it's your living go for it. If it's "just" a hobby maybe there are other items that would be first in line.

A very simple step to get close to the correct calibration is adjusting the brightness and contrast of your monitor using this gray scale strip.

(note: if you are using a crt monitor it should be warmed up before adjusting. To put it simply have it on for 30 min before tuning the display.)

This test strip shows a range of grays from pure black to pure white. You should be able to see a difference between each shade of gray with pure black on the left and pure white on the right.

This may not be a perfect adjustment but as mention. It's kind of close and should be enough to avoid ooops moments when posting online.

Along the top of the strip are alternate patches of black and dark gray. If it looks solid black to you your screens brightness setting is too low. Increase the brightness until you can (just as in barely) perceive the difference between the gray and black squares.

When setting the brightness/contrast you will have to ensure that you can see each shade of gray in the range without any of the merging or looking to be the same shade. It can be a little tricky but doable.

If the adjustment makes the strip look like either of these two strips below it is set too bright or too dark...

Too bright

Too dark

ohh and when adjusting the screen you may want to
1) Set the contrast of your monitor to its maximum (usually or at least set it high).
2) Reduce the room lighting and try to avoid reflections in the monitor.
3) Set the monitor to display "millions of colors" and have it switched on for at least 30 minutes.

As I mentioned this is far from the best method out there. But just a quick little write on one way of getting close to a calibrated monitor.

You may also want to check out this blog post that goes more in depth with calibration and shows different approaches including Adobe Gamma Tool (found in the control panel if you have photoshop) and touches on hardware calibration.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Emma and Dad

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Sooo what do we do when we just jump out for a bit and see what we can find?

Yeah. Emma and dad likes to go out and just look to see what we can find. The trip often takes us to Petco since it's just about the cheapest zoo you can go to, there is always one nearby and Emma loves it.

In the dogs section we look at all the toys that you can get for the little ones and big ones. Emma likes pointing out the different toys and then I have to guess what kind of a dog it's for.

At the back of the store they have the really interesting animals. These are the ones Emma really likes (well other than the birds, fish, dogs, guniea pigs and so on).

And this little guy... yep we have been looking at it every single time we go up there. It's such a cute little snake and it's pink too :-)

Just for convenience there are step stools around the store and well that's a help since we have to look at every single pet in the store. Even though it's sounds like a lot of running around in "just" that one store it's fun :-)

When we don't go to Petco and we are out driving sometimes we tend to wander off. Not moms favorite thing but when we see a vehicle like this... well gotta take a look.

Look dad look dad... shadow is here... Now this probably makes most sense to the ones that have seen "Bear in the big blue house". But hey if you get it you get ;-)

Driving home through the battlefield... I guess this is the point where the camera goes just about anywhere and it's perfectly normal to snap pictures while driving...

Sometimes when we are "just" home and sitting outside we like to watch the sky and the clouds and come up with different things they look like. On good days we will even see a couple of airplanes which in Emmas book is coming from the airshow or going to it.

Hope you enjoyed the little trip around with Emma and dad :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July - an eventful weekend

Happy 4th of July

You know this weekend surprised me in several ways. And the thing is... I never saw it coming. In this case that is a good thing though :-)

Jacki surprised by initiating the purchase of my new camera house. I know it's not the latest and greatest which cost tons of $$. But for me it's more a question of having the tool that will cover my need.
Sure my good trusty Nikon D70s has been along for the ride quite a few times and performs great. But in the odd cases I have been running into barriers of things you just can't do with it.
Just to mention: high speed capture, time-lapse, better focusing, resolution, histogram for each channel and so on.
The new camera body I got is the Nikon D200 with the optional vertical grip (mb-D200) which allows for vertical shooting and well holds an extra battery :-) I got a well cared for used package which I can only say I am happy for.

Well I know it may sound weird but we did the trade in a microcenter parking lot. not that there was anything shady about it. But you know exchanging items from one trunk to the other... but it was very nice of Spenny to meet us halfway since the drive to pick it up would be kind of long. Thank you :-)

Being in the area we went to a wegmans grocery store to pick up a few items for the weekend and some gluten free stuff for Emma of which they have a selection :-)
Maybe it's guy thing, geek thing or well just a mee thing but just getting a "new" camera there was no way I would let it sit idle for that loooong... So I grab the camera with me in the store since I can get some test photos with Emma while Jacki is looking for groceries. Or well I thought that would be a no issue (more about that later).

Here goes the first ones:

Not having been to that particular store previously I can only say that it was a mess and people everywhere. Hard to find stuff and of course Emma had to use the potty half way through. So we located the facilities and what do you know... Just so happened that they had a pear tree growing in there...

On with the grocery shopping. Mom is picking out sensible good healthy food :-)

Emma found all the gluten free items that we just can't find in our "normal" grocery store. Well this particular wegmans only have half an aisle with the gluten free goodies but hey. They did have the gluten free ice cream cones soo some good did come out of it.

I like when stores does something special (well in particular for kids) which they don't *really* have to. Like putting up a model train in the ceiling. Emma got very excited as you can see.

And here it is:

And that's the end of the photos from wegmans...
why you ask? well certainly not because I got tired of taking photos... I don't know if that actually could happen...

Nope... We were approach by a "floor manager" you know one of those in charge of the ones stacking shelves and they are as such... hmm well you know.
She started out "I know you are taking photos of your daughter and all but you can't do that here...". At which point I am just totally baffled... ok.. so I can't take photos of my daughter... So I am getting back (probably with a snotty) "Excuse me.. I can't take photos of my daughter... you got to be kidding???". And she goes on about "It's our corporate policy that you can't take any photos and you have to attain a permission to bring a camera"... at this point I am kind of like a tree in a hurricane and just fuzzing out a million words in a split second about how ridicules that really is and she better make sure to take a note and inform her "people" about how stupid that really is. And come to think of it... If it's a corporate policy. Where exactly is the "no photography" sign or indication of that corporate policy.
How can a store have a policy and just "forget" to tell any of their customers about it. I mean what other policies do they have hidden up their sleeve??? You never really can know for sure now can you... May someday you will be told you can't wear pink because it's against their corporate policy...
but well I am not going back to that particular store anytime soon...

Maybe it's just that area (which I really don't care too much for either with the traffic and amount of people).
Take this as an example. A new apartment complex was put up on the corner with busy streets on all sides. ohh I mean luxury condos with a convenient location ;-)
They put up some art to spiff it up a bit

Yep... it's a horse head. Emma had the best explanation for it I ever heard.
As she put it they just forgot to paint it. You know like the little figures you can buy at craft stores and paint. Looks just like it now that she mentioned it ;-)

Getting back to mam's house we are preparing for a good dinner. As we are sitting there baby Jimmy wakes up and guess who's there with a new camera ;-) yep you guessed it :-)

Look at this... Mam is in the kitchen and Emma is going nuts... ehhh I mean Emma is excited ;-)

Being the weekend of the 4th Aunt Linda and Uncle Dave came down. Now that is always exciting since it doesn't happen too often (it's a very long drive) and these guys are awesome. You just can't help liking them.

ohh Dave
I'm not kidding. This big
ohhh my gosh

Like last year we didn't completely avoid the rain. Actually it came down pretty good in the afternoon.

But once we made it to Leesburg for the fireworks it was a little wet there but the rain had stopped. This year they didn't have any funnel cakes though which was much displeasure. Now who would think to stop selling something that always sells great on a day like that...

We set up camp on the grass by the cars and got out all the chairs to sit and watch the fireworks. This is where things was different because last year I had made a promise to Jacki about actually sitting down on a chair and just watch the fireworks as I am holding her hand (you know all romantic and stuff). That was made a little tricky since well just got a new camera...
I did sit in the chair and I did hold her hand as we were watching the fireworks. and yet I still got a few photos of the fireworks :-) the new one has interval shooting so I mounted the camera on the tripod. Took a guess at the exposure and setup the interval shooting to just keep firring the camera. It somewhat worked but I think it's because it had a slow memory card and halted due to a full buffer.
But I got 256 photos on auto pilot while keeping my promise and sitting with Jacki just watching the fireworks :-)

The wind wasn't moving at all that night so the smoke from the fireworks just kind of sat there. So a lot of the fireworks turned out to be more of a colored smoke experience than actual fireworks... But it was pretty cool and we had a good time. Romantic and all that ;-)

Ohh yeah and all of this was on the 4th of July... All in one day.
Next up BBQ on the 5th. Check out the gallery with the photos