Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where in the world?

On Friday's post someone asked where I took those pictures. You know that's going to lead to--Where in the world was Lotusgirl?
So... See if you can figure it out with these picture clues.
Be as specific as you can.

Good luck!

Hint: There are lots of greens there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday's Photolife--Fogging up

Wednesday's update and answer: Anette was the first to guess the Louvre on Wednesday's post, and Jenna was the first to reference the "big glass triangle." No one actually gave me the name though. It's part of Les Pyramides or The Pyramids. The glass pyramids at the Louvre that some think are an abomination and others love. I wonder if they ever have problems with the pyramids fogging up. How's that for a segue?

This summer a friend was annoyed that she couldn't get pictures at the beach because her camera always fogged up, so I thought I'd address this issue. It has a simple solution: plan ahead. Yeah, yeah, and patience doesn't hurt either.
For this picture, I walked directly out of the air conditioning into the steamy, humid air, pointed and shot. The temperature difference will fog the camera up every time. It'll happen going from hot to cold as well.
The trick is to leave your camera out in the atmosphere where you plan on taking pictures for a while before you start. For the 2nd shot I left the camera out on the balcony for about 10 minutes and everything defogged. The length of time needed is directly proportional to the difference in the temperatures. Sometimes it could take as long as 30 minutes but not usually.

Application to writing? When you sit down to write, plan ahead. Do whatever research you need before you write. It may help lift the fog of how a scene should go. It may even give you some ideas you hadn't thought of. In writing a scene about a catatonic person, it was nice for me to know that they can do more than just lie still in a bed. There was a lot more scope for the imagination.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What in the world?

Here you go.
What in the world is it? If you know where in the world it is, extra kudos to you. Hint: If you know the where, you're more likely to know the what. Is that vague enough for you? Have fun figuring it out!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday=Book Review Time--A little Thievery

Back by popular demand--Book Reviews. I was surprised to find that it's been almost a year since I did a book review. I'm going to be reviewing those y'all asked for before I move on to other things. The first request was for something by Elizabeth Scott from Terra of Terra Garden. So...

Up for today: STEALING HEAVEN by Elizabeth Scott

Why I bought it? At first, I read an Elizabeth Scott book because I was checking out what kind of things her agent represents. By the time I got to this book I was choosing them because I enjoyed reading what she writes. Her style reminds me of Sarah Dessen's (which I love). I downloaded this on my Kindle because it had a high rating, and I thought the premise sounded interesting.

Synopsis: Danielle, AKA Sydney (or whatever her mother chooses), and her mother are thieves who target the wealthy. They move from town to town stealing silver and keeping a low profile. That means no friends, no one who can turn them in. When they end up in the beach town of Heaven, Dani feels at home. She makes friends and even meets a guy (a cop). Complications ensue. Dani ends up having to chose between the life she's always known with her mother and the new one she's building.

What I thought? So far, this is my favorite Elizabeth Scott novel. I really enjoyed it. It's charming and Dani's plight is irresistible. The characters are fully developed--vulnerable and yet strong. The romance is very well done. Greg (the cute cop) is wonderful.

Star Rating: ****1/2 out of 5
A recap of how I rate books for anyone new:
* = Complete drivel. Not worth the paper it's printed on.
** = So, so. Has some redeeming qualities but is, essentially, a disappointment.
*** = An enjoyable read but nothing too terribly earth shattering
**** = Very enjoyable. This is where I'd recommend for others to read. I'd consider buying it.
***** = So much fun reading that I can't put it down or so compelling that I can't stop thinking about it. I HAVE to own this book.
*****+ = One of my all time favorite books. I know some people would think this is over the top, but then again sometimes I am that kind of person. I won't give many books this rating though.

Cleanness Score: 5 out of 10, There is a little language and a reference to a sexual encounter. (This is to the best of my memory. It's been a while since I read it.)
The cleanness score (CS) is because I have young family members that will read these reviews, and so I want them and their moms to know what they will get with the books I review, and I think that others of you out there picking books for your kids might like to know. (Is that enough ands?) That said--my scale is going to be from 0 to 10. 0 has absolutely nothing the least bit offensive in it and 10 is for those books that have very offensive material. (I think I can guarantee that there will be no 10s in any of my book reviews, but it will still be on the scale for gauging purposes.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday's Photolife--Patience

In taking a picture, light is key. In a studio you can manufacture exactly the light you need when you want it, but outside it's not that easy. Nature has a way of doing whatever it wants, but it is often fickle. Most of the time all you have to do to get different lighting is wait. Patience. Ugh. Yep, that.

In this picture, the clouds had my subject completely in shadow,
partially in shadow,

and then the sun finally got through. Different times of day will give a whole array of color changes on a subject as well. Think of Monet's studies of the Rouen Cathedral. For this photo shoot, I didn't subject those with me to that kind of patience.

Application to writing? When describing something outside, remember how the lighting will change the colors or create patterns. e.g. The clouds wove lace shadows over the grass...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Winner and the new line up

The winner of the 200 post contest is Yat-Yee. Congrats! Just send me your info at lacmoss (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know how you want your prize, and I'll get that out to you.

Since so many of you like the book reviews, I'm going to bring those back. If you see anything in my books that I've read this year (in the right margin) that you would like reviewed, let me know, and I will do those first.

There were quite a few of you who liked the "Where in the world?" segment, so I'm going to try a Mini-Where in the world? or What in the world? as a regular feature on Wednesdays. For this one I won't be offering prizes other than announcing you and linking to your blog (if you have one). I will occasionally do the full week one with prizes.

The new schedule is:
Monday=Book Review Time
Wednesday's What/Where in the world?
Friday's Photolife

Does this work for, y'all?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's Montage: Oh, Tony!

*Don't forget to enter the contest from last Monday if you haven't already. The deadline is tonight at midnight.*

Those of you who know me understand that I'm a fan of music in a big way. Most all kinds. I have a special place in my heart for the old stuff. I'm loving the resurgence of it with singers like Michael Bublé. Over the weekend my husband and I went to a Tony Bennett concert. Can I tell you how wonderful it was? He was something else. At 84--he still had it. He can totally still wail. There is nothing wrong with his pipes. What a charismatic performer! I know that he had to have performed that same show thousands of times, but still it felt like he was doing it especially for us.

Here's just a small sample. What you'll find, if you watch videos of Tony Bennett is that he is so much better performing in front of an audience than in a studio setting (but the quality of the video is not usually very good). I love his phrasing and rhythm.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday's Photolife--Taking it Wide

Don't forget to enter the contest on Monday's 200 post, if you haven't already. The deadline is Monday, Sept. 13 at Midnight Eastern time.

Who's up for a little photography? Raise those hands high! You know you've missed it.
Using a wide angle setting on a camera is great fun. Even simple pictures like this one can be more dramatic.
Get super close with a wide angle view. The perspective can be wonderfully skewed.

Or show way more than you can get in a regular shot. I always feel there's more action in wide angle shots even when it's just a couple of cacti standing around.

Application to writing? Before describing a scene, think of the whole as if you were looking through a wide angle. See what the different perspective makes you think of and try to capture that on paper.