Summer Happenings

Hello all!

Lots of things have been happening since my last post. School is now out for the Summer, but I’m taking a Summer class so (hopefully,) I won’t have to take anymore Gen Eds as a senior.

I took a trip the 2nd week in May back to Iowa to see my best friend, who had just gotten back from her study-abroad in Asia. I brought Stoli with me, and of course he had a good time. His favorite part of the trip was chasing a giant kickball around the yard. He attempts to look vicious, but he’s still a marshmallow.

Attack Stoli © Holly Hildreth 2011Stoli celebrated his first birthday on May 31st. For his big day, we got him 2 new toys, played with him in the yard, and took him to the park with our friends’ miniature schnauzer puppy. He was a happy pup. Here’s a look back to him as a puppy. The photo is what the breeder sent us, so it’s not exactly high-quality, but you get the idea of how small he used to be!

 

At the end of May, I finally moved out of my apartment on the corner of Overpriced and Bad Landlord. I have now got a small one-bedroom apartment owned by the University. It’s about a mile from campus, but it’s not too bad (if you don’t mind being stampeded by kidlets every time you open your door).

The Kitchen and door to the back patio

The Kitchen and door to the back patio

 

living room

living room

 

Stoli looking like the King of the Castle

Stoli looking like the King of the Castle

 

Stoli spends a ridiculous amount of time barking at his reflection in the window at night. For being the 10th smartest dog breed, Stoli has his moments of doubt.

Stoli spends a ridiculous amount of time barking at his reflection in the window at night. For being the 10th smartest dog breed, Stoli has his moments of doubt.

 

Door to the front patio

Door to the front patio

 

Front Patio

Front Patio

 

Bathroom

Bathroom

 

Bathroom

Bathroom

 

My small bedroom (and a look at my new prints!)

My small bedroom (and a look at my new prints!)

Panoramic of my small bedroom

Panoramic of my small bedroom

Living room and breakfast bar

Living room and breakfast bar

 

Kitchen, breakfast bar, and livingroom

Kitchen, breakfast bar, and livingroom

 

I'm like a troll living under the stairs...

I'm like a troll living under the stairs...

 

I have neighbors above me and to the side of me. They have hoards of children and the walls are paper-thin. There's nothing like waking up to the sound of your neighbors screaming at their kids, threatening to beat them with a belt.

I have neighbors above me and to the side of me. They have hoards of children and the walls are paper-thin. There's nothing like waking up to the sound of your neighbors screaming at their kids, threatening to beat them with a belt.

 

Last Friday, a group of Curry’s work friends and I went to Kansas City for a Royals game. We were headed into the City during rush-hour, and unfortunately, stupid Missouri drivers were out and about. There was a 5-car pile up, and we were the last car. We were really lucky, and things could have been much worse. We’re still waiting on Geico to give us estimates on Curry’s car. In the meantime, he’s been driving my car to work, and I think it’s totally killing him to drive American. 😉

Front bumper damage

Front bumper damage

 

Broken Mirror. It's a good thing his mirrors fold back, otherwise it would have been toast.

Broken Mirror. It's a good thing his mirrors fold back, otherwise it would have been toast.

 

Scratch and dent on the driver's door. The door doesn't open properly, which makes it difficult to get in, unless you do it NASCAR style.

Scratch and dent on the driver's door. The door doesn't open properly, which makes it difficult to get in, unless you do it NASCAR style.

 

Dented front panel, scratched bumper, and minor hood denting.

Dented front panel, scratched bumper, and minor hood denting.

 

Well, I think that about covers life from the last month. I haven’t really done anything too earth shattering as I have been a slave to PictureME! Portrait Studios. We’re taking a trip to Wisconsin at the end of this week and then my family is heading to Atlanta for a vacation at the end of June. More photos to come.

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break 2011

Most people don’t think of Waverly, IA as a Spring Break destination. In fact, as most of my classmates talked about their exotic vacation plans, I kept my trek to the homeland under wraps, because everyone knows that only cool kids go to Iowa for Spring Break. So I left Missouri’s 75+ degree weather and traded it in for a 6 1/2 hour drive north to snow piles and highs in the low 30’s. I brought Stoli with me. Normally he cries and paces on long drives, but a quick stop to the vet for anti-motion sickness medicine relaxed him and he was great. (A little out of it too..He brought me a mouth full of rocks and then flopped on his side just staring at me.) Stoli loved the family and I have a feeling they liked him more than they will admit. Stoli’s favorite part of the trip, however, was chasing my sister’s cat, cooper. (Cooper was not pleased.)

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

After the trip home, I returned to Missouri a few days early to take a sever storm spotter training class. We’re required to attend a safety class outside of the normal university meeting time for one of my gen ed classes. Storm Spotter Training in Missouri is…well…intersting. These hillbillies lose it. It’s like Christmas for them, so not only was it educational, but a great time to people watch. (But that’s a whole different story.)

My boyfriend, Andrew and I have been trying to celebrate our one-year anniversary for quite a while. The plan was to go to St. Louis as a mini-vacation. I have only been to St. Louis once, but it was night time and I was young enough to not remember. Our Anniversary was January 23rd, and we just got there this weekend, over 2 months later. It wasn’t for a lack of trying on our part. The first time Andrew scheduled his leave and the trip as a surprise, but it was right in the middle of my finals week, so we had to cancel. The next time we made reservations, the Air Force screwed us over and put travel restrictions on us due to “impending blizzards,” so we had to cancel yet again. (It never snowed a single flake, by the way.) The last time we scheduled our trip, Stoli got sick with an advanced bladder infection and upper respiratory infection, which set us back $225 in vet bills. Fourth Time’s a charm, I guess.

The trip was not all a walk in the park. I think someone was trying to keep us from getting to St. Louis (we apparently didn’t catch on after getting turned away 3 times!) When we left Warrensburg the forecast called for light snow with little to no accumulation. Things were fine until we switched drivers about 2/3 of the way there. I started driving the last part of the journey as as soon as I did, all Hell broke loose. It got mega snowy and icy in a heartbeat. There we lots of cars and semis in the ditch. I was driving 40 in a 70 mph zone and passing cars like they were standing still.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

View from our balcony of the snow

We made it to our hotel safely, but they didn’t get our room right. Although the room wasn’t what we had reserved, it was still really very nice. The hotel was full–there was a plastic surgeon convention staying there and they must have gotten everything mixed up room-wise.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

We didn’t bring swimming suits or anything to do in the hotel as we didn’t figure we’d be there a whole lot other than to sleep, but with the blizzard-o-death outside, we were sort of stuck on ideas of what to do. We explored the hotel from the pool to the cigar lounge. I wanted to take pictures, but andrew wouldn’t let me. Something about already being totally out of place…( I would have liked to have seen all the old rich American Royalty getting their mustaches in a bunch over it.)

The snow calmed down a bit once the sun went down and we decided to hit the city. Andrew’s dad had suggested a nice restaurant downtown by the arch called Mike Shannon’s. We dressed up and decided to give it a try

(I didn't take this photo, but I wanted to show what the restaurant looked like.)

I had filet mignon and Andrew had the prime rib. It was amazing! After supper we explored the city a bit, but it was still nasty out, so we headed back to the hotel and watched some TV. We called it in early as we were both really tired.

The next morning we got up and headed out for lunch. We originally stopped at a BBQ place, but the line was ridiculous as it had been featured on the travel channel and voted best BBQ in St. Louis. We settled for a T.G.I. Friday’s near where we had eaten supper the previous night. After that we headed over to the arch.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011We got to the arch at around 12:30. They were ALREADY SOLD OUT OF TICKETS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY! We weren’t able to do anything other than look around on the main level. Andrew and I milled around the museum and walked the campus outside the arch and then headed out. The original plan was to go to the zoo, but it was only in the low 40’s and was very windy, so we decide against that. Instead, we went to the St. Louis Art Museum. I had been to the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City a fair few times and decided that I’d like to see what St. Louis had to offer. I was surprised that Andrew wanted to go too. Normally getting him to go to anything cultural is like pulling teeth (for lack of a better idiom.) When we got their, we found out to my dismay, they had gotten rid of ALL their photography! I like looking at paintings and sculptures, but photography is pretty much the whole reason I go to art museums. We spent about an hour looking around. I love taking andrew to the modern abstract art. Rothko and Jackson Pollak make him want to beat up hippies.

We decided to head home after the art museum. It was nice to be back in Warrensburg and to see Stoli again. All in all we had a really good trip, despite all the hiccups. I’d like to go back and visit St. Louis again as there were many things we didn’t get to see and do. We both really enjoyed our very belated anniversary. It was great to get out of warrensburg and see the world (even if it is still in Missouri!)

Snow and Frost Panos

I normally upload my photos to facebook to share with friends, but with facebook changing their photo uploading application, it no longer accepts any photos that are over 8000 pixels on any side, which means the death of the panoramic. So, I thought I would upload a few of my panos that I have done over the last week here to share with everyone. Please click on the Pano to see them full size. You may need to be patient, they are larger files as each pano is at least 8 photos stitched together.

Wedding/Location Assignment #5-Location Q-Flash shoot


For Assignment #5, I was still in Iowa, so I decided to have my sister, Kristin Kapusinski model for me. It’s quite cold up here still, so it was tough to get a good shoot in without the batteries dying immediately, and it’s also hard to shoot when you can’t feel your fingers. We mostly shot on Cedar Lane and at the Waverly Ski Club. Here are a few shots from the session. You can see all the proofs by visiting my Flickr slideshow.

Flickr Slideshow

 

Wedding/Location Assignment #4 – Location shoot with Q-Flash

For assignment #4 for our Wedding/Location class, I took the Q-Flash Kit home for Thanksgiving Break. One of my high school friends, Jordan Elenz, volunteered to model for me for the shoot. It was a balmy 23 degrees the day of the shoot, and once the sun set, the temperature dropped rapidly. I wasn’t exactly ready for such cold weather, seeing as it was mid-60’s when I left Missouri. Sometimes I can’t believe how much of a temperature difference there is between Central Missouri and Northeaster Iowa. Anyway, we mostly shot around the Waverly Civic Center and behind the “Big-Six” complex on Main Street along the Cedar River. I haven’t had much experience with the Q-Flash, but I knew that I wanted to do some twilight shooting to get dramatic colors. Here are some of the results. You can see more of the photos by visiting my Flickr Slideshow.

Flickr Slideshow

Night Shooting

I’m currently back in my hometown in Iowa, for my Thanksgiving break. Over the break, we were assigned to do “night shooting” for my Materials and Processes class. I checked the forecast for the week and it sounds like rain for the first few days and then snow and highs in the low 20’s (a HUGE change for the 70’s back in Missouri!) So, I figured I better get out and try some shooting before I had to battle the weather for a good shot. I might do more experimenting with the concept later in the week, but I thought I would do a quick post for now. Also with these images I tried doing HDR processing. For those of you who may not be as photographically savvy, HDR (High DynamicRange,) photography is when you bracket exposures (start by taking a fast exposure and then change the shutter speed gradually). You can take anywhere from as few as 3 or 4 shots to 12-15 and then you combine them in a software program to make one image with the tonal rage of all the shots that you created at different speeds. I have never really done any HDR before and I’m not really sure what to think of it. I think if done tastefully, youcan get neat results, but I see a lot of fake, comic book-looking images out there that really turns me off from HDR imaging. I don’t have a good HDR program, so I downloaded a demo program, Photomatix light. This program did an OK job–I wasn’t too terribly impressed, and to top it all, the program pastes its logo all over your image when it combines the exposures, so you have to work on editing out all the watermarks. Anyway, here are a couple of the experimental shots. The reason I like this is that is you weren’t from around here you might think, maybe, just maybe, Waverly, Iowa isn’t horribly boring.