tv and tacos make wesley a happy girl

A little bit of photography and a little bit of what I ate/drank/did last night.

I grabbed a little cheese sample from the Turnip Truck last night, so of course I had to grab a bottle of wine as well, particularly due to the show that I was watching. I decided I’d practice my mad photog skills on the cheese and wine. I messed with aperture again, and the results weren’t quite as pretty as the rose. But they were visible nonetheless.

makes me sad.

Welp, that was too dark. Let’s try that again.

i feel so lonely.

Meh, not much progress there. Looks like I put gray cellophane over my lens.

you can do it!

I don’t mind this one, frankly. I think what we are working with may be a bit flat (but really what do I know…), but I like the darkness in this picture. Dramatics.

let there be light!

Well, now that I look at this, I think it’s the best one yet. I think the cheese stands out more, the wine looks better, and the pop of blue in the back is cute.

look away!

I think I’ve gone too far here. A bit overexposed, if that’s what you call it. Too much light. What do you think? Everyone has a preference, it’s all subjective anyway.

I barely had time to eat these pictures (yes, the actual pictures), because my tacos cooked so quickly, but I wasn’t complaining.

when our powers combine…

Ground beef, bell pepper, onion, taco seasoning. Easy as pie.

we are…captain planet!

Corn tacos topped with cheddar cheese and black beans, and NUKED!

captain planet

Can you tell what show I’m watching? Let’s try that again.

chris watching over my tacos

There yet? What about…now?

there she is. she took my wine glass.

Well if you don’t know by now, you don’t deserve to know. Just kidding, it’s The Bachelorette. And yes, I watch it. Emily is just so cute and deserves the best man ever! And it’s also sort of like watching a train wreck. One day I will wean myself off of it, when my heart catches up with my brain about how horrible it is.

How did I do on my photography? Like my friend Doug said, it’s a lot of trial and error. And a lot of error. And a lot of unused pictures. And a lot of different angles. And a lot of repetition. You know what i’m talkin’ about. Okay I’m starting to not make sense, I better go. See you tomorrow for some pictures of my neighborhood! And lots of shadows. And a few cats.

love,

me

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take a picture it’ll last longer

Alright so I got some helpful tips from a coworker on where to start learning about photography. Some of you mentioned these things last time we spoke about photography, as well as a few other things, and I’m trying to take your advice!

Let me just show you a few of my recent photography escapades.

i don’t know why i think this is so cool

Okay so I didn’t actually take this, my co-worker Meghann did, and it’s literally just a piece of paper on her desk. I just think it’s cool that with her photographer’s eye, she can take awesome pictures even while she’s just trying to teach me something. She was trying to make a function work on my camera that didn’t really work, but I still thought the picture was cool.

Moving on, she told me to research shutter speed, which is what makes those awesome pictures with the sparklers on Stylemepretty.

(image courtesy of Stylemepretty, taken by Taylor Lord. click to enter a world of wedding bliss)

So I don’t think my camera has the capability to do something like this, but it does have a function that changes shutter speed (I think), so I’m going to look into that. I want to make pretty sparkler pictures too!! Although I did light my hair on fire with one when I was little so I am a tiny bit gun shy.

Another thing she mentioned was ISO, or film speed, which is a measure of the film’s sensitivity to light. I can change that on my camera, but I’m still not exactly sure what it does…we can get to that later. I do know that the higher the ISO, the lower the image quality, so things get grainy. Still not sure what the positive aspect is. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Oh ps, this is my camera:

sexxxxxy

It’s a Canon Powershot G12, and my coworkers who are photographers say it’s a pretty legit camera for its size. I’m proud of it. Thanks Callie and Logan!

But anyway, on to exposure. Here’s what I did with one of the most easily photographed objects, a gorgeous rose:

numero uno. took beth’s advice and centered the rose in the upper left corner! i like how the shadows look like more leaves.

No special changes here. Just used my automatic settings, which apparently are pretty good.

same rose, new corner.

Again, shadows are cool here. This one seems a bit more “artsy” with the rose in the bottom corner. Can you tell I’m an amateur? Didn’t think so.

the underbelly

I must say I don’t know what I did differently for these two pictures (the ones making a sandwich out of this sentence), I think my camera was just out of focus for the one below, but I really like it:

if you put on 3D glasses it comes into focus.

Okay enough of me just messing around with angles. Here’s what I did with exposure:

stay away from shady roses

So this was…hang on let me check…less exposure!

here comes tha sun, dootndoodoo

Crazy huh? Same pic, diff exposure.

So that’s what I’ve been learning over the past few days! Hopefully I’ll learn some more sweet tricks soon and show them to you.

All pictures copyright Wesley Gallagher Photography, 2012. Just kidding, I’m not that delusional.

love,

me

bird alert 2012

Alright guys, you’ve met my mother.

Now I want you to REALLY meet my mother.

There is a bird’s nest on top of a column on my parents’ side porch. It was there last year, and I don’t know if it is the same bird this year, but the nest is back in full force. I think my mom needs a twitter account, because right now she uses us, her family, as her sounding board and audience for all things Bitsy.

The first we heard of the nest was when we went over for dinner one night, she told us all about it, and of course we saw the nest. We left knowing all of the intimate details of the mama bird and her comings and goings, obviously thirsty for more information.

Marshall and I got married only a few months ago, so this is really his first taste of what it is like to be Bitsy Hughes’ child. His reactions are often the best, as her biological children have become a bit numbed to the hilarity of many of her conquests.

With that introduction, I give you Bird Alert 2012, starring none other than my mother, Bitsy Hughes.

Email #1: The baby birds are now chirping, and last night we watched one of them stretching his wings and moving around a lot. He looked like he was going to fall out of the nest so we put down a comforter with newspaper on top in case they fall out.  Looks pretty tacky.  Now have to watch Queenie.  They are kind of big for that tiny nest! Still not sure how many…thinking two since one egg crashed to the ground early on.  No way more than three birds could fit in a nest!

Queenie is our cat.

and that’s Zeus behind her. best. cat. ever. RIP.

My husband’s response to this email: Alright I forwarded this to Fox News, and they are in…O’Reilly said he personally wanted to cover it so he is flying down as we speak!

he created this at work. tough job, eh.

Two days later from Mom: Progress…birds are getting too big for the nest…leaving any day now.

Now, I know what you must be thinking. This woman has too much time on her hands. Well, I’m obligated to say that is DEFINITELY not the case. No further comments.

Two days later (in the subject of the email, nothing in the body. Only to my sister and me. I think everyone else had unsubscribed): Now it’s chirping. And his brother/ sister may be dead. Haven’t seen it in days.

Same day, second email, still to just my sister and me (subject: Scary): Can you imagine how scary it must be to learn to fly!  This bird is standing on the edge of the nest and it’s been standing there all day yesterday and today. Right now it’s as high up as it’s ever been. He must be trying to get up his nerve. Fascinating.

How long each day, you ask, does she watch these birds? It is a question I have asked myself many times. Some things are just better left unanswered.

I must say this next chain may be my favorite. This email was sent the same day as the last two, only it was sent to everyone, my brother, my dad, my sister, Marshall, and me. Must have been important.

Subject: Bird Report.

The baby has flown!  It was standing in the nest this morning and when I came home around 1:30 it was even higher on the ledge of the nest, chirping…obviously scared to jump!! Duh!!  I kept watching and all of a sudden IT FLEW!!! to the plant on the wall.  It fluttered and couldn’t fly. Then someone came to the house and I had to take her in the back because the bird had fallen to the floor and was right in front of the door. I tried to catch Queenie, but she wouldn’t come in.  Now it’s gone!  Didn’t get to see if it could fly, but the mom was hanging around.  Am thinking the other baby is DEAD. The mama keeps coming to the nest…probably eating dead baby…oh well. The end.

Oh but don’t worry, that’s not the end. She must have thought it was. No no, it wasn’t. My response to her email was probably the same thing that you were thinking, which is, “what a horrible way to end a kind of cute story.” Her response: “well I’m not a writer and I tell it like it is.” I think that was a dig at me.
Marshall’s response: That’s life…you get your shot, and if you don’t make it, your mom eats you.
My mom: Or cleans up your mess!
Obviously my mom thinks that even eating your children is helping them, cleaning up their “mess.” She’s been a mom for too long.
Three days later: The mama bird is back!! Sitting on her nest!!  I don’t know what’s going on!
I think perhaps my “get a job” response to that email kept her quiet for a while, or it may have been that the eggs weren’t doing much and there wasn’t much to tell. But don’t worry, she kept us up to date every single time she saw us, or spoke with us.
So a few days ago, my mom called me while I was at work and said “I can’t put this in a report (a bird report, she means. Probably because I told her I didn’t want anymore depressing reports.), but the mama bird is gone. She is usually so faithful, particularly at night, and I haven’t seen her at all since last night. And the worst thing is, there were two feathers on the ground on the porch this morning. I don’t know what to do, I can’t take them to the wild animal center — (me: wait, why not? are you too…busy?…), I guess Wearen (my dad) could do it, but that wouldn’t be until Saturday, and they’ll be dead by then!” I told her to start finding some worms to feed them. She said there was no way she would chew up worms. I told her she didn’t have to chew them, and she said “that’s what birds do! They chew up the worms for their babies!” I decided not to get into other possible ways to mash up worms, as she seemed pretty adamant that they needed to be chewed to be sufficient baby bird food.
When we got off the phone, I looked up what to do with baby birds you’ve found, and I ran across the fact that they must be fed every 15 to 20 minutes. Well, that for some reason sent me over the edge, and I just started cracking up thinking of my mother getting up on a little step ladder with her chewed up worms to feed the birds every 15 minutes.
Next email from mom, same day as the call: I have figured out why the mother isn’t coming around…..the birds are huge.  Didn’t realize.  They can really squnch (?) down in that nest.  One was on the edge a minute ago.
Phone call later that day: “They came in the house! The baby birds came in the house! One of them was sitting on top of the nest all morning and I could tell he was going to fly anytime, so I went and got a sandwich and came back and he was still up there. So David came over to give me my frames, and when I opened the door one bird fell to the ground on the porch and the other one flew right past David’s head INTO THE HOUSE! Fanny immediately went outside and got one of the birds in her mouth, so we had to go outside and save that one” (pause for visuals)

from mom: that was in fanny’s mouth

“…and then we had to go inside and get the other two dogs away from the bird that was in the house! So we had to  find that bird, who was in the front hall, and then we had to shoo him out the front door while we were keeping the dogs away from it! This is too much!”

the second culprit. and the arm of my mom’s frame guy. email subject: that was in the HOUSE

the dogs. i imagine they were looking just as longingly at the baby birds.

So the phone call was followed up by the two emails to our entire family with the two bird pictures above, as well as one final email.

Subject: The nest

Rest of email: Has got to go. I’m done. Too much drama.

Well, I went by their house the other day, and sure enough, the nest was gone. In a way I hate to see it go. It sure does make for a good blog post. And my mom knows it’s entertaining for us, she acts like she is mad when we make fun of her, but I know she loves it. And I’m sure she’ll get mad at me about this blog post, but I bet she’ll also laugh about it, because she knows she’s funny.

But for now, the nest is gone, and I believe that will be the end of Bird Alert 2012. I’m hoping they’ll be back next year.

love,

me

take a look at blood:water mission

Okay guys. I’m gonna get serious with you here for a sec.

Yesterday at church they highlighted one of the organizations we support called Blood:Water Mission, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it since then. So I thought I’d tell you guys a bit about who they are and what you do.

The organization was started by the guys from the band Jars Of Clay, and it is based out of Nashville. Basically what they do is help villagers in Africa build wells in order for them to have clean water, and they partner with other organizations in Africa to educate people about AIDS.

According to their website: Blood:Water Mission first stepped into funding a late stage AIDS hospice and discovered the vital link between living with HIV/AIDS and the need for clean water. As a result, Blood:Water Mission launched the 1000 Wells Project in 2005 as a nation-wide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa based on the equation that $1 provides one African with clean water for an entire year.

I don’t know why this is, but I have had a pull in my heart toward Africa for a long time. I am constantly amazed and appalled at what happens on that continent, and I want so badly to go over there sometime to help. Hopefully one day that will happen, even if it’s only for a short time.

But the other thing that really grabs me is the idea that despite the fact that the world is around 70% water, and in America we have and use endless amounts of water, hundreds of millions of people lack access to clean water. It makes me sick to think of the discrepancy between they way I live and the way those people live, how something I drench myself in every morning and that sits in a glass by my bed every evening just in case I’m thirsty in the middle of the night can mean life and death for a villager in Africa. I don’t like to think about it, so most of the time I don’t.

But when I see organizations like Blood:Water Mission doing what they are doing, it gives me hope. Obviously there will always be more work to do, but at least they are doing it.

Here’s one thing they are doing that makes me wish A. I had kids or B. I were still a kid: Lemon:aid.

Did you ever have lemonade stands when you were little? Well we did, and due to our strategic marketing strategies (we posted up at a four-way stop on Sundays after church…unstoppable), we made quite a bit of money. Also sold frogs (you heard me), and charged $1.50 for lemonade in the big plastic Vandy cups my brother collected after every football game. I should have gone into sales.

But the cool thing about Lemon:aid is that they are asking people to have lemonade stands and give all of the proceeds to Blood:Water Mission so that they can build wells in Africa for people to have clean water that they can drink. What a simple idea, what a poignant connection between quenching thirst here and quenching thirst there, and what a great way to get your children to care about things and people outside of themselves while they are young. It’s never too early to start.

I’ve seriously considered having a stand anyway, but twenty-somethings just aren’t as cute as kids, and I’m not sure how many people would stop. Oh well. I’ll wait a few years.

I know I’m not very good at it, but I do try to conserve water and energy as much as I can. I know that unfortunately my conservation of resources won’t directly affect people in other countries, but I still feel like it’s the right thing to do, and I just hate wasting resources that I know other people don’t even have.

Here are some things you might consider adopting as habits:

  1. try not to take more than one shower a day. If you can work it out to only take one reasonably short shower a day, it will save tons of water. If you can get away with every other day, do it! I only shower once a week. Kidding.
  2. drink the water that you pour into glasses. If you don’t drink it, use it for watering, cleaning, for your pets, or for a practical joke on your husband.
  3. turn off lights when you are not home, or when you are not using a specific room. I keep outside lights and one inside light on when we are gone at night for safety reasons, but during the day I turn all lights off.
  4. turn the AC/heat up/down when you leave the house. No need for it to be running like mad all day for the pets.
  5. use reusable towels instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, when possible. And remember those reusable grocery bags, quit leaving them in your car Wesley!
  6. recycle! Just do it.
  7. get rid of your huge truck unless you really need it and get a car that doesn’t guzzle gas. I bet there are even trucks with good gas mileage now, so there really shouldn’t be an excuse to drive a car that gets 10 miles to the gallon.
  8. try to be more aware overall of your effect on your surroundings and on the environment. I bet you can find more than a few ways to change the way you live to make the world around you a tiny bit better.
  9. consider giving to organizations that do things that you believe in. No amount of help is too small.

These are all things that I need to continually remind myself of, but once they are habits it’s pretty easy to keep up with them.

Well that’s that, I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Blood:Water Mission and the amazing things they are doing. Do you have any other awesome energy saving tips for me, or organizations you champion? Send them my way, I’d love to hear about them.

love,

me