Sunday, June 30, 2013


I love cameras. I have loved them since I first started using a Kodak Instamatic to take photos of my stuffed animals on the couch. The camera on the left is my Nanu's Kodak Jiffy (twindar) camera, circa 1933-1937 and the camera on the right is my current camera, the Nikon D5000. (This photo was taken with my iphone camera). It's amazing how far cameras have come. In fact, my nikon is about 4+ years old, so it doesn't have a lot of the bells and whistles that cameras nowadays come with. What isn't shown are all the cameras in between. Some of the fun ones I've had are the Kodak disc camera (boy, that was so cool and so much fun!), the Kodak Advantix Camera that let you pop your film cartridge in and then you could choose 3 x4, 4 x6 and/or panoramic, or my very first digital camera: the Sony Mavica, which used a floppy disk. What? I know! It was amazing when I first got that camera and to think, my phone takes better quality photos now then that one did. The history of cameras is fascinating and I can't wait to see what the future holds! -Dina 

For the first time ever, I have captured a lightning bolt with a camera! It's not really an outstanding photograph, but it's still not easy, and it's even more difficult during the day, since you can't leave your shutter open and wait for a bolt to happen. You really need three things to get a shot like this:

1) Luck. Be at the right place at the right time. I was on a rooftop terrace looking west as a storm rolled in. And also, press the shutter at just the right time.

2) A camera. I almost always have a camera with me, even if it's a pocket point-and-shoot. Moments like this can arise unexpectedly, and I want to be ready to capture it.

3) Knowing the camera backwards and forwards. During fast-changing situations like this, you can't be fumbling around with the camera trying to figure out how to change the shutter speed or turn the flash off. Before you know it, the moment is gone.  -Cort

Next Week's Theme:  Independence

Sunday, June 23, 2013

HIdden Agenda

When I think of who or what in my life might have a hidden agenda, I think of my dog Ringo. For a few weeks, I noticed he was more anxious than usual to go out after I got home from work, and much more reluctant to come back in. Also, he would just sit at the edge of my yard, and stare through the fence at the neighbor's back porch, which is what you see in this photo. I knew there wasn't an innocent explanation for this.

After close surveillance, I determined that it was because my neighbor was sneaking him some leftovers from the grill. For some reason, Ringo prefers this to his normal meal of dog food. Mystery solved, hidden agenda exposed!  -Cort

Wild Strawberries. I'm sure that most think these teeny, tiny berries exist to feed animals and birds, look cute and even smell good. But they have a hidden agenda: World Dominance. If you get wild strawberries in your yard, your grass, or your garden, you will never, ever get rid of them. Ever. And they spread. Like wildfire. Or wild strawberries. They are slowly taking over the world. -Dina

Next Week's Theme: Camera

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I was so happy to see the sun this week! I had a lot of great chances to get some fun sunshine pictures; and while there were lots of great sunny shots, none of them were jumping out at me for this week's theme. Instead, I decided to think outside the box and snap a few photos of the moon last night. After all, we wouldn't see the moon if it wasn't for the sun shining it's light onto it. So here is my take on sunshine for this week! -Dina 

I was concerned about getting this photo in on time! I knew I wanted to try this shot, but every day at around 8 p.m., it was rainy or cloudy, or I was busy. It was still overcast until about 6 p.m. Sunday night, when the sun finally broke through, just in time for this post. Although I'll take credit for the photo, my next door neighbor gets credit for the flower. There are some beautiful blooms just on the other side of the fence. I tried to shoot through the fence, but couldn't quite get the angle I wanted, so I sneaked into his backyard.  -Cort

Next Week's Theme: Once again I am relying on my friend Rachel Mindrup for some challenging theme ideas. She gave me three to choose from, and I'm going with something much less literal, and more open to interpretation than what we've typically done so far. It should be fun shooting A Hidden Agenda.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I chose a theme that would be relatively easy for me this week, since I knew at the time that I would be visiting Fallingwater (the house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), as well as several nearby waterfalls in Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania, and I really wanted to post a photo from there.

I loved Fallingwater, but it's hard to get a unique photo of that place that hasn't been taken hundreds of times before. So instead, I went with one from Cucumber Falls. It's a beautiful setting, as the waterfall cascades into a horseshoe-shaped cave. I spent at least an hour taking photos and just admiring the scenery.  -Cort

This weekend was the 89th annual Santa Lucia Festival. It is the city's largest ethnic festival and the Turco family has been going to it since it's beginning. It's also always perfect weather. Except for this weekend. They even postponed the main part of the festival: the bringing the Saint out of St. Francis Cabrini Church and processing down to the carnival (located for several years now at Lewis & Clark Landing). Due to the predicted stormy weather on Saturday night, they moved the procession to Sunday morning. 

As the Saint is brought out, someone sings over a loud speaker "Santa Lucia", and at the end of the song, they fire off a cannon full of confetti. It sounds corny but gives you goose bumps every time. At any rate, I had big plans to photograph the red, green and white confetti FALLING to the ground. The constant downpour cancelled the confetti (imagine a huge blob of wet confetti smacking someone in the head) so instead I'm settling for the rain falling down on St. Lucy. In the picture, it almost looks like snow. Despite the chilly, wet, rainy February like weather, we still had a wonderful time at our beloved Santa Lucia festival. -Dina

Next Week's Theme: Sunshine (I'm so sick of the rain and gray cloudy days!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


When I chose this theme, I had this photo idea in mind and it turned out just as I had hoped. My friends Mike and Patti bought a tandem bicycle last year and went nuts. In a good way! :) They pedal all over town, ride all the bike trails and get out and about as often as they can on their bike. I thought it would make a perfect Double photo! And we had a lot of fun getting this shot. I made them ride back and forth and back and forth several times while an approaching storm made for a nice backdrop. And if you think turning a tandem bike around on a bike path is easy; well, it's not. :) So thanks to Mike and Patti for being such good sports!!!! And have fun on your double bike! -Dina 

I just got back from a trip to Pittsburgh, southwest Pennsylvania, and West Virginia (that's why I'm late with this post), and I absolutely love visiting new places and photographing new things. As we were traveling on the interstate through Pittsburgh, my traveling companion noted the beautiful blue spires poking above the other buildings. I glanced over and immediately thought of this theme. I rapidly moved over two lanes to the off ramp so I could find and photograph these landmarks. It was a fortunate coincidence that the half moon was positioned perfectly behind them. By the way, these spires belong to an Orthodox Ukrainian church.  -Cort

Next Week's Theme: Falling