Word of the Year 2020

I have selected a word for the year for the past ten plus years. That word would be my watchword to employ, to offer others, to fill my own heart, often to grow me in an area of need. Last year, in particular, the word that labeled the year was particularly meaningful and fitting. I chose the word “embrace” and I cannot tell you yet how many areas that it has affected my life as it became the theme for my 2019 days.

For some days, the word embrace was an encouragement to tackle a situation or reality. For others, it was a loving reminder to embrace a “porcupine” person.  I would still think to myself it sure is hard to hug a porcupine but would know that that particular porcupine needed a hug more than my judgment. Other days, embrace became the theme as I tackled my rough edges of hypersensitivity and anxiety. Embracing the reality that something in me had to change, not others if I wanted a different story. Embrace helped me love through the challenges of having elderly parents come to live with us for the better part of the year. Embrace offered my own spirit a loving hug when things seemed so overwhelming I wanted to run away. Embrace allowed me to hold a precious new grandson, Grey Michael Barnes born in September. Indeed, the theme embrace lent God’s gracious and merciful perspective to each day of this 2019 year that we fondly closed the book on this past week.

Now for the coming year, I am looking forward to living life under a new banner. I hope to continue in the lessons learned from the previous year, but it is time to grow again. How that theme plays out is yet to be seen, but the word I offer to grow in His likeness this 2020 year is serve. I believe my heart was focused inward much of the last two years, and I want to be more about others, taking new opportunities where they present themselves, as they always do in a busy life that bumps into people. Wherever I am, I hope not to be too busy to stop and lend a hand where needed, or offer a listening ear, a compassionate hug. I offer myself to be Christ’s hands and feet where I can in His service. Now, my prayer is for a willing heart to see others’ needs and for Him to equip me to serve. I ask that God grant us all a broader vision of Who He is that we may know Him as He is fully, now dimly but one day face to glorious Face. Amen.

 

a favorite recipe from Christmas 2019

We had a busy and family-filled Christmas celebration this year. I suppose I should mention that the one who always smiles for the camera wasn’t having any of it for this photo. Sweet Emily couldn’t offer us her pearly whites through any of the attempts to get one decent shot. So, her sweet face is under those folded arms in this rendition of the Gefferts 2019 family photo. The gang was all here, and even Mike’s mother managed to be here with us, literally coming from the hospital to our table. It has been a year of ups and downs with aging parents’ health, and a scare for Lauren with an unexpected seizure in November, but in this moment, all is well and we are thankful. We come together well as a family and there is nothing that makes this mama’s heart any gladder than having all the kids home with their families. We enjoyed many meals together and had way too much goodies and eggnog, as we ate our way right through the season. For Christmas, we had a beef tenderloin with Bearnaise sauce, and horseradish cream, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, and our favorite savory rendition of monkey bread. To finish it off, we had Creme Brulee, a family favorite. I thought we might torch the house with the flame thrower we used to caramelize the sugar, but no animals were harmed in the making.

Sometimes, simple is best and for Creme Brulee, it doesn’t get any simpler ingredients. Sugar, eggs, and cream. Pretty much it. But how they come together is nothing short of perfection. Enjoy!

Creme Brulee

1 quart heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 cup vanilla sugar, divided

6 large egg yolks

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

AYWMC- Feb. 2, 2019

What a difference a week makes! We are now shooting in manual mode and I must say this class has explained the exposure triangle better than any I have seen in the past. It helps that Emma Davies was a schoolteacher. She has a way of explaining and simplifying to help us grasp the basics of what we need to know to get by and actually use the info provided. Now for the assignment. We are starting in aperture priority mode at f8 and will open up the camera one f-stop to f 5.6 for more light, so we will move the shutter speed or the ISO faster or higher to get less light to compensate and get the same exposure. It makes sense now, but I will pick up my camera and be back here. One thing to note is that my camera has three stops in between each of these settings…

This chart is the best! Simple, and useful!

quick guide exposure triangle

So, here is the assignment.

Step 1 Select aperture priority mode, choose an aperture that is a full stop (i..e. f8) and take a photo.

Step 2 Write down what settings the camera picks.

Step 3  Go onto manual mode and dial in the settings that the camera picked, except change the aperture by 1 stop (bigger) to have a wider aperture, and a shallower depth of field.

Step 4 
If you leave the rest of the settings as they were in step 2, your photo will be slightly over exposed, because you have a bigger aperture. So you need to change the shutter speed or ISO by a corresponding 1 stop in the opposite direction (less light). In this case use shutter speed, and change it to 1 stop less light (faster). Take the photo again. Keep everything the same between photos – where you stand, what you’re photographing, how much light there is.

Both the photos should have the same exposure, if the light hasn’t changed and you focused on the same spot. The only difference should be a slightly shallower depth of field in the second photo.

Have another go, this time on shutter priority. Try changing the settings by 2 stops, and by using a combination of both aperture and ISO to compensate

Started with f2.8  then went to f4  and shifted the triangle up ISO one fstop accordingly to achieve the same exposure.

More open aperture needs lower sensitive ISO or a faster shutter speed to have the same exposure. I had some trouble with the aperture locked and figured out my camera had a button that locked on it. Shooting in manual isn’t comfortable for me yet–just need more practice. Have a great week, and catch some light along the way!

 

AYWMC – January 27

ISO – International Standard Organization

ISO refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to light–the higher the ISO, the more noise–so you want to use as low an ISO as possible to still capture the light.  Our assignment this week was to go back to a previous week’s photos and retake them using your camera’s highest ISO and lowest ISO. I tried to recapture the scene as closely as possible but the light is different today (very overcast) so the settings are not identical.

I am spending more time with my camera and continue to read a lot about camera stuff on sites like Light Stalking and Digital Photography School and my Udemy class and my Creative Live class I bought years ago. I love gadgets also, so I ordered a timer remote that would be cool for a stationary time lapse shoot. I continue to investigate tripod heads that will support the weight of my 70-200 mm lens. Any suggestions are welcome here!

Here are the results of my shoot this week: (I’m not seeing a lot of graininess. I increased the ISO 100x. But as you can see the shutter speed had to compensate by being almost 100 x faster as well. And the aperture closed 4 -f stops down.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week. Catch some light along the way!

img_8524
Canon EOS 6D
ƒ/2.8   1/160   70mm   ISO 100
img_8530
Canon EOS 6D
ƒ/11   1/1250   57mm   ISO 10000

camera notes

IMG_8515
Canon EOS 6D
ƒ /11   1/100   100mm   ISO 100

Lunar Eclipse January 20, 2019

Google photo album link

I didn’t plan on the moon being so high in the sky…my tripod setup was a failure. Plan  location the night before to shoot better next time! Need to learn how to steady my tripod. Ended up taking the camera off the tripod and I got nothin’. Too much shake to steady the camera looking up at almost the zenith in the sky. Used the Looney 11 rule and the moon was  pin size. I’ll try to load some into Photoshop and see if I can salvage anything. I think I need a gimbel head for my tripod. Didn’t plan on batteries going out so quickly.  The cold and the exposure really drain them fast.

What did go well: I was dressed for a blizzard and am warm and happy to have the opportunity tonight. I stayed up and braved the weather. I had a camera in my hand. I learned a few things not to do. Little by little…

Conrad Earnest’s notes from his spectacular shot on Facebook:

Conrad Earnest Rent a 600 mm telephoto or longer. 😂 I used a 200 mm lens with a doubling attachment (400 mm) and set my full frame lens to crop at 1.5 = 600 mm. 8000 ISO. I would have liked f2.8 and a lower ISO but the doubling attachment sort of killed that (f5.6). I focused manually on a nearby star in an attempt for better focus and them moved over to the moon. Under exposed by ⅓ – ⅔ of a stop so the rest of the night sky wasn’t so prominent. Basic LR panel adjustments. Little bit of curves and noise adjustment. Little bit of cropping. That’s about it. 🌕