June 12 - 163/365


28-135mm lens @ 135mm, f/6.3, 1/160, ISO 400

Today was a busy day with a photography event in the morning and a bridal shower in the afternoon. The photography outing was with my photography group to a butterfly garden in the area. What a next experience! Since the garden was indoors in a greenhouse-like building, the butterflies weren't wandering away, plus we were there early in the morning before they were super active, so they were very good subjects. :-) It was really hard to choose from all the photos which was my favorite, but I liked this one because of the colors and the fact that you could see some of the details of the head so well.


June 11 - 162/365

50mm lens, f/3.2, 1/20, ISO 800

Headed to a bridal shower tomorrow for a good friend and I thought the outside of the gift bag was cute.


June 10 - 161/365

50mm lens, f/3.2, 1/6, ISO 800

Summer time = sandals = painted toe nails. :-) Yes, it was a night seriously lacking of inspiration...


June 9 - 160/365


50mm lens, f/3.2, 1/50, ISO 200

You remember that crazy snow storm we had in February? Well all the snow had weighed down one of our holly trees in the back yard and this rope and wood post are trying to help it stand up straight until it is all fixed. But what I really liked was the texture in this photo, and I added a bit of layering to enhance the brown/reddish tones in the rope and wood.


June 8 - 159/365

50mm lens, f/3.2, 1/8, ISO 400

I don't remember where I got the idea for this photo, but I had seen another photo that had a vintage-like feel to a pair of jeans, and somehow I came up with this idea. It took a lot of tweaking with the tripod to get it right, and then I still had to crop the image to get it the way I wanted, but it is pretty close to what I had envisioned.


June 7 - 158/365

50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/160, ISO 200

This image seemed a lot more interesting in my head. Not that it turned out bad, just not as much fun as I expected. But then again, how much fun should one expect from their cereal?


June 6 - 157/365

28-135mm lens @ 135mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 800

Not feeling a whole lot of inspiration today, and I ended up snapping this image of an embroidered lamp shade at the end of the night.


June 5 - 156/365

28-135mm lens @ 85mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 400

Party like a Rockstar! Tonight we hosted an annual party that is one of our favorite events - the rockstar party. The party actually started back from when I was a graduate student at Penn State. The event was to celebrate the good health of a grad student who had found out her cancer had gone into remission, and the students loved the party so much they continued doing it every year. By the time I had become a grad student, it had already been going on for years, and my husband and I liked it so much we started throwing our own back home in Maryland. The idea is that you dress up like your favorite rockstar and people can perform a song karaoke style. It is a ton of fun, and people really get into the performances as you can see here.


June 4 - 155/365

28-135mm lens @ 127mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 800

Finally starting to get caught up with my backlog of photos.... Since we have finally recovered from being away on vacation, we were able to get some things done around the house. With the change in seasons, I planted some new flowers on our back porch. This was definitely one of my favorites.


June 3 - 154/365

28-135mm lens @ 80mm, f/5.0, 1/50, ISO 800

I took a walk around my neighborhood after dinner to find some inspiration for today's shot. I am pretty sure I've shot this rock area before [but not as one of my 365 images] but liked how the image turned out today better.


June 2 - 153/365

28-135mm lens @ 135mm, f/5.6, 1/40, ISO 800

Aww.... cute little guy - WRONG! Ants have invaded our house! They have either crawled into a pipe or a wall or something and are coming up out of the faucet area of our sink. Super annoying, and I can't figure out how to stop them at the source. The traps don't appear to be working... I'm thinking I need to reseal the edge around the sink. But all I know is as little as these guys are, they are certainly causing quite a bit problem!


June 1 - 152/365

50mm lens, f/1.8, 1/50, ISO 200

Today was the first day at my new job. I went from being a lab rat... ok well not a lab rat, but a bench scientist... who dressed in blue jeans and t-shirts every day to a grants/program manager where I have to look semi-professional every day. Quite a change! While the black dress and suit coat I wore today was apparently a tad bit dressier than what I need to show up in normally, it still felt kind of nice to dress up a little. I even have my own office! With a door! I kind of feel like a grown up.... :-) But in actuality the first day was great and I can't wait to see how the whole transition process plays out.


May 31 - 151/365

Canon Powershot SD600

After an insanely busy weekend, we finally got a chance to do a little relaxing on the Memorial Day holiday. And what else spells the beginning of summer better than a dip in the pool and a good book to read!


May 30 - 150/365

28-135mm lens @ 30mm, f/3.5, 1/640sec, ISO 200

The bright red veins on the leaves of this tree caught my eye and I was doing my best to capture the contrasting colors of the red with the blue sky. Getting the color to pop was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, but a little bit of digital editing afterwards helped a bit. I upped the saturation, adjusted the cyan/blue levels a bit, and added a color overlay layer. Still not quite what I had envisioned in my head, but I like that it is something a bit different than what I usually take. 


May 29 - 149/365

28-135mm lens @ 120mm, f/5.6, 1/10, ISO 800

Now that I have finally had a chance to get to the grocery store and re-stock our fridge with fresh foods, we have lots of yummy summer goodies. Of course I couldn't pass up these strawberries at the store... and they do taste as good as they look. 


May 28 - 148/365

28-135mm lens @ 28mm, f/5.6, 1.6sec, ISO 200

The digital SLR is finally unpacked! As is most of the rest of my suitcase... the jet lag is still hanging around, but we are slowly getting back to "normal". I had actually intended on taking a completely different photo for today. There is a temporary carnival set up down the road from us and I had intended on taking some shots of the ferris wheel and other rides all lit up at night. But I had forgotten my tripod and the images just weren't working for me. So as my husband and I drove to go out and celebrate my last day at my old job (yea!) I thought it would be fun to snap a photo of the street/car lights while he was driving. Yes, no danger here - I was safe and in the passenger seat. I love the streaks of light in this photo.


May 27 - 147/365

Canon Powershot SD600

Yup.... SLR still packed. Still haven't gotten around to unpacking. So the point & shoot came with me to work. Today is my next to last day at my lab job. Next week I start a new job! More about that when the time comes... But I took this picture of what I have been staring at these few days at work - my computer and my desk, trying to wrap up my work before moving on to the new job.


May 26 - 146/365

Canon PowerShot SD600

Being that it was our first day back home after our trip to Germany, I was tired. I had gone to work a full day, making me a little bit cranky by the end of the day, and everything was pretty much still packed into suitcases, including my camera. So to grab a photo for the day, I grabbed the easiest thing to get my hands on - the point & shoot. There was a cool moon out that night that I was trying to capture, but the point & shoot won't capture a low light situation like the SLR will, so this was as good as it got. I went ahead and did some more digital editing to enhance the fuzzy, watercolor-like feeling of the image and ended up with this.


May 25 - 145/365


Canon PowerShot SD600

Another day of nothing but travel as we made our way from Frankfurt, Germany back to Baltimore, Maryland via Philadelphia. Pictured here is my passport and our ticket stubs for the trip from Germany to Philadelphia. We had a great time in Germany and Austria, but there is still nothing like home sweet home!


May 24 - 144/365

18-55mm lens @ 20mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO 200

Berlin - the capital of Germany and infamous for its struggle in the Cold War. The modern city was actually very nice - a pleasant surprise after all the stories we remembered hearing about Berlin when the wall was in existence. We stopped to tour the requisite sights, including the Brandenburg gate, the Parliament building, and even a great museum of German history. This museum was the best possible ending to our travels since it covered all of Germany's history which we had been learning in bits and pieces along the way. It helped put all of the historical events and stories we had learned into one big picture. Of course no visit to Germany would be complete without visiting one of the remnant pieces of the Berlin wall. At this particular part of the wall, which you can see decorated with Graffiti in the background, there was a guy dressed up as a military guard stamping cards with all of the stamps that you would have had to get to be able to cross the wall during the Cold War. It was touristy, but we thought it was a pretty cool souvenir from such a dramatic part of German history.


May 23 - 143/365

18-55mm lens @ 20mm, f/11, 1/320, ISO 200

What an unusual sight, huh? I honestly have no idea where these ladies were going or why they were dressed the way they were, but we spotted them on our long walk through the gardens of Potsdam. Postdam is a small town just outside of Berlin and is most famous for its majestic palaces and lush gardens. We spent part of our afternoon wandering the gardens and stopping to visit the palaces, although unfortunately we were not able to tour either of the palaces because the wait was far too long to get into each of them. But the palaces and gardens were beautiful and these ladies added to the historic feel of the park. From here, it was on to our last destination in Germany - the city of Berlin.


May 22 - 142/365

18-55mm lens @ 18mm, f/3.5, 1/15, ISO 800

Our second to last stop in the country of Germany was the city of Dresden. Close to the Czech Republic border, it was the most damaged city in all of Germany after World War II. As a result, most of the city has been completely rebuilt. We thought it was going to be pretty modern, and it was, but many of the buildings were rebuilt in with old-world style, still giving the city a historic feeling. This city was also the location of one of the best-known Lutheran churches in Germany, the Frauenkirche.


May 21 - 141/365

18-55mm lens @ 40mm, f/10, 1/160, ISO 200

Another image of Rothenburg. This image better captures the old world feeling of the town. Like I said, one of my favorite towns in all of Germany. :-)


May 20 - 140/365

18-55mm lens @ 39mm, f/5, 1/20, ISO 800

So I decided not to post any pictures from our one night/day in Nuremburg because our first night in the town of Rothenburg was much more memorable. Rothenburg was one of my favorite cities in all of Germany. It immediately transported you back to the middle ages with nothing but cobblestone streets, an old stone wall, and old buildings. But one of the most fun experiences we had was joining the midnight watchman's tour. The midnight watchman, pictured here, told funny stories about life in the middle ages and about the town of Rothenburg, with bits of humor mixed in. It was a very touristy experience, but so much fun that I didn't care. Highly recommended!


May 19 - 139/365

18-55mm lens @ 18mm, f/9, 1/200, ISO 200

The city in this photo was just a stopping point on our long drive from Vienna to Nuremberg. The town, called Regensburg, was apparently one of the best preserved medieval towns in a country that was quite destroyed by World War II bombs. This town was largely untouched and a charming spot for us to enjoy a picnic lunch.


May 18 - 138/365


18-55mm lens @ 33mm, f/10, 1/200, ISO 200

Our second day in Vienna was spent touring three of its amazing palaces - the Hofbug, Schönbrunn, and Belvedere. The Hofburg was the regular home of the Hapsburg royalty, and the Schönbrunn just outside of the downtown area was their summer home (away from the stench of the city in the summer heat). This photo was taken at the last palace we visited, the Belvedere, which was the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Eugene was initially rejected from the French court of Louis XIV because he was "short and ugly", so he instead offered his military service to the Austrian Hapsburgs where he went on to become one of the most successful military commanders in modern European history. This photo is of the view Prince Eugene enjoyed of the city of Vienna from the Belvedere... not bad, huh? :-)


May 17 - 137/365

18-55mm lens @ 18mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO 800

After one night in "Sound of Music" country, we made the long drive from Obertraun to Austria's most famous location, Vienna. We had been anticipating the beauty of Vienna and were surprised at the enormous size of the city and the surprising modernity of it. There were indeed many elaborate baroque style buildings, and of course the famous Hofburg palace which we toured the following day, but still it was not the jolt back in history that we had suspected. Still, we enjoyed touring the elaborately decorated palaces of Emperor Franz Josef and his troubled wife, Sisi, and sipping coffee in Vienna's high ceiling plus cafes. Today's image is of one of the churches that we stopped in to see in Vienna, Augustiner Kirche, a great example of the amazing Gothic architecture that was so prevalent in both Germany and Austria. It was also the site for many royal weddings, including the wedding of Franz Josef and Sisi, and the French Emperor Napolean to the Austrian Princess Marie Lousie. I especially loved this church because of the beautiful golden chandeliers.


May 16 - 136/365

18-55mm lens @ 32mm, f/5, 1/40, ISO 200

"The hills are alive....." Welcome to Salzkammergut, the Lake Region of Austria, also fondly called "Sound of Music" country since it is the region that best represents the beautiful countryside featured in the movie. Since my husband is NOT a big fan of musicals (in fact, he almost abhors them), we did not spend time touring the "Sound of Music" sights, but we did stay one night in the lake region. This image is of a town called Hallstatt, and the town we stayed the night in, Obertraun, was just 5 minutes away across the lake. Despite the gloomy weather that was continuing to plague us, we enjoyed the beautiful views of the alpine villages set on the lake with the majestic mountains jutting up in the background. These towns were also well known for serving fish freshly caught in the lake, so we welcomed the opportunity to take a break from our pork-focused diet. Hallstatt is also known for its large salt mines which has been a huge source of income for the town for thousands of years, but unfortunately we arrived in town too late to take a tour of the mines. Still, we enjoyed the serenity and beauty of the Salzkammergut.


May 15 - 135/365

18-55mm lens @ 42mm, f/5, 0.6sec, ISO 800

Today we went from Germany back into Austria, where we remain for another 4 days. Our first stop was Salzburg, best known for being the birthplace and family home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The town itself was beautiful and the streets were lined with wrought-iron signs and elaborately decorated buildings. We had a number of amazing experiences in Salzburg, making it difficult to choose just one photo to represent our day there. In the end, I chose a photo from an evening dinner concert that we attended. Since both my husband and I enjoy classical music, we wanted to enjoy a concert in the hometown of Mozart. While it was probably a tourist trap type of place, the Mozart Dinner Concert evening was still full of talent, candelight, good food, and lots of fun. The dinner was broken into 3 musical acts, each followed by a food course serving dishes that would have been served in Mozart's time. Musical pieces from "The Marriage of Figaro", "Don Giovanni", and "The Magic Flute" were performed, and in our opinion one of the most talented individuals performing was the lead violinist shown in this photo. Definitely one of the most memorable evenings during our trip and a great way to fully experience Mozart in Salzburg.


May 14 - 134/365

18-55mm lens @ 43mm, f/7.1, 1/80, ISO 200

Day 2 in Munich! What a fun city. We had some great experiences in our brief 2-days in this Bavarian city, famous for its massive beer halls and men wandering the streets in lederhosen [yes - we saw lots of them dressed this way!]. It is hard to find one picture to capture all the fun experiences we had here and the sights we saw, so instead I chose an image taken from the top of a tower looking out toward city hall in the Marienplatz.


May 13 - 133/365


18-55mm lens @ 29mm, f/7.1, 1/80, ISO 200

Germany has so many amazing things to see and great experiences to be had. Castles. Beer. Sausages. Mountains. Wine. The list goes on and on. But it is hard for me to imagine stepping foot into Germany without spending some time visiting its dark side.... the era of Nazi control and World War II. On our way from Innsbruck, Austria to Munich, Germany, we stopped to visit the Dachau concentration camp just outside the city of Munich. While Dachau is not as infamous as the camps that participated in the mass extermination of Jews, such as Auschwitz in Poland, Dachau was the very first concentration camp and the only camp to be operational for the entire duration of WWII. My husband and I have both visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., but as moving as that experience was, it was nothing compared to the feeling of touring the isolation cells, walking through reconstructed barracks where the laborers wasted away, and seeing the crematoriums where the masses of people which were worked and starved to death were cremated. The museum was packed with history from the rise of the Nazi political regime to the liberation of the camp by the Allies, and it will definitely be an experience we will never forget.


May 12 - 132/365

18-55mm lens @ 34mm, f/4.5, 1/30, ISO 500

Ooh la la.... oh wait, that's French, and now we are in Austria. But regardless, this image is of one of the most historic chocolate cakes. The Sacher torte was created by 16-year-old Franz Sacher in 1832 on a short-notice demand from Prince Clemens Lothar Wenzel Metternich of Austria. The young chef quickly whipped up the now infamous Sacher torte which quickly became a dessert commanded by Austrian  royalty, including the Empress Maria Theresia of Austria. Needless to say, being the chocoholic that I am, I had to have my very own piece of this historic chocolate cake. While I can't say that it was the best piece of chocolate cake I have ever had, it was still fun to eat a little piece of Austrian history in the town of Innsbruck, Austria. :-)


May 11 - 131/365

18-55mm lens @ 30mm, f/10, 1/160, ISO 200

This was definitely one of my most favorite days in Germany. 1) It was the first completely nice day we had. The sun was shining and it actually felt a little warm outside after days of overcast skies and rain. 2) We got our first glimpse of the Alps, the most magnificent mountain range I have ever seen and with crystal clear water below the most beautiful shade of turquoise blue - you don't expect to see that in a lake. 3) Today was "Mad" King Ludwig castle day. Well, not officially, but for us it was. We were able to tour three of King Ludwig of Bavaria's castles, one of which is the most famous castle in all of Germany, Neuschwanstein. Ludwig was King of Bavaria and LOOOOVED to spend money and build castles. In fact, he spent so much money (which he borrowed and didn't actually have) that his family was forced to declare him legally insane so that they could regain control of his accounts and keep him from spending any more money. His sudden death days after he called off his engagement was shrouded in mystery as he was found dead in a lake with his physician, and no one to this day knows if it was murder or suicide. Craaaaazy! His death left all but one of his castles unfinished inside, but you can still tour the finished parts. The castle pictured above, called Hoenschwangau, was the castle that King Ludwig spent his childhood in with his family. While it wasn't the most magnificent castle we saw that day, I loved the surrounding scenery with the lake and the mountains in this photo the best.


May 10 - 130/365


18-55mm lens @ 24mm, f/4, 1/13, ISO 100

We move from beer to cuckoo clocks, a product that is best known in the Black Forest region of Germany. We had finished up a 2-night stay in Baden-Baden and spent the next rainy, foggy day driving through the actual "Black Forest", called the Schwarzwalder in German, to our final destination for the day of Fussen. On our way from Baden-Baden to Fussen, we decided to stop in a small town called Triberg for a picnic lunch where we spotted a store that boasted it contained "100,000 clocks"! It was a total tourist trap, and we knew it, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see that many clocks at once.... and it did not disappoint. :-) Of course I had to take a shot of the plethora of cuckoo clocks we saw there.  Good thing the store didn't have them all set to go off at the same time!


May 9 - 129/365

18-55mm lens @ 18mm, f/3.5, 1/6, ISO 800

The word "Germany" brings certain items/images to mind.... sausage, sauerkraut, castles, cuckoo clocks.... and of course, beer. LOTS of beer. At this point in our trip, we hadn't tried much beer. We had been sampling more wine than beer since we were in a region known for their wine. Not to mention that we hadn't been able to enjoy any biergartens since the weather was cold and wet and not good for sitting outside. So for our second dinner in the town of Baden-Baden in the Black Forest region of Germany, we asked our waiter which beer to try, unsure of which kind to try first. The next thing we knew, our young German waiter [who spoke good English] brought us a tray of beer "samples", which he ultimately did not charge us for. We tried Pilsners, Marzens, Dunkels, Hefewizens, IPAs..... probably one or two others that I can't remember. We loved them all. Of course we had our favorites, with the unfiltered Hefewizens being our #1 favorite throughout our trip. But the best part was the experience of talking to the waiter, being treated to a sampling of every local beer they had to offer, and enjoying a great meal of pretzels, sausages, sauerkraut, and other traditional German foods after a great day in the baths of Baden-Baden.


May 8 - 128/365

18-55mm lens @ 55mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO 200

Nurburgring.... the king of all race tracks. So my husband tells me, because he is the car fanatic and I am the chocolate/shopping fanatic. :-) This is the most dangerous race track in the world, earning it the nickname "The Green Hell" and serving as the major benchmark for testing the performance of newly manufactured cars. Nurburgring was also one of the most anticipated attractions in Germany for my husband, who would have done anything to take a fast car around this track for a few laps. Unfortunately, that experience was not meant to happen for us that day for a number of logistical reasons that I won't bother explaining here. But he did get to drive a Lotus to tour the track that afternoon, where we got a personalized tour of the track up and close, watching lots of cars that were practicing for an upcoming "24 hours" race. It was amazing to see these cars whip around some of the turns on this track, trying to go as fast as possible but also follow certain "rules" that earned them points for staying within lines, hugging curves a certain way, etc [don't ask me.... I don't entirely get it :-P]. It was quite an experience to see, but I made sure to remind my husband of the entire afternoon I spent with him at the racetrack when I was ready to do some shopping in the next town. :-)


May 7 - 127/365

18-55mm lens @ 55mm, f/7.1, 1/100, ISO 200

We had spent the past 2 days touring the Rhine Valley in western Germany. After leaving the town of Bacharach, we drove ~1hr north west to another river valley area known as the Mosel Valley. The Mosel had been described as a "sleepier version" of the Rhine. But we went to the region for just one night with 2 attractions in mind - Burg Eltz [another wonderfully preserved medieval castle] and the Nurburgring race track [see tomorrows photo for more on that sight]. I had a tough time choosing one photo for the day, but I ultimately chose this one for a few reasons. First, it gives you a great birds-eye view of the town we stayed the night in, Cochem, and the castle that overlooked the town and the Mosel River below. Beautiful countryside, dotted with vineyard plots growing grapes for the famous German Riesling wine. Second, this image also gives you an idea of the weather we were encountering during almost our entire trip. We had expected to tour Germany and Austria in sunshine with temperatures close to 70F. Well, some kind of freak system had settled over almost all of Europe for a few weeks, and we had almost 3 full weeks of fog, drizzle, rain, and temps around 45F-50F. Not what we had expected.... or prepared for! So this also made taking outdoor photos quite a challenge, and there is a lot of post processing done on many of the outdoor photos to reduce the glare from the fog. But the castle, the Mosel, and the wine were still amazing and quite enjoyable!


May 6 - 126/365

18-55mm lens @ 18mm, f/3.5, 1/15, ISO 800

Since I will be probably showing you lots of photos of the outside of castles we saw in Germany, I thought it might be fun to show you the inside of one for once. Usually I don't get to take too many photos of castle and palace interiors because they just won't let you, but today we were allowed to take photos in one of the castles we visited, Burg Rheinfels. This particular image is of the bedroom of the Duchess of the castle, decorated in 19th century decor.

I also just want to quickly mention one point about my shooting process for the photos I'm going to be posting from our vacation. I have been doing most of my shooting in Manual or Aperture priority mode over the past few months, during which I have been teaching myself about my camera and how to optimize each photo I take. And as much as I wish I could have continued shooting in that carefully planned manner during my trip, the truth is it just isn't possible. Or at least, not very efficient when we are touring multiple castles/museums and walking miles each day, plus taking tons of photos.... it would unfortunately take me way too long to take each photo and my husband would probably keep going without me. :-P So for almost every shot taken on my vacation, I was shooting in "Program" mode, adjusting minor settings like aperture or ISO when absolutely necessary and doing the remaining editing in the RAW files here at home. I'm still recording the shot details under each photo in case you want to know the nitty gritty, but just be aware that I didn't specifically choose each of those settings like I usually do.


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