Friday, January 28, 2011
Two weeks ago we met up with our church newly married group for a night of Tubing at Elm Creek Park Reserve (a park in Maple Grove). Kyle and I had both never been tubing so we were pretty curious as to what exactly it was. We met up with our friends about 7:00pm in the Chalet. It was a cold evening... a whopping 5 degrees!!! Once we got our 'hill' tickets (since we didn't really need lift tickets) we were off to the hill!
Here is a blurry view of the whole hill.
We grabbed our tube and walked to the entrance of the lanes.
It was almost like those family water tube rides you see at White Water (or for those wondering what White Water is, it's a water park in Branson, I'm sure they are all over - just called something different). We would hook our tubes together so we could go down as a group. Then once at the bottom we would walk over to the conveyor belt and right it up to the top!
They had two big lanes off to the sides. The lane you can see in the above picture to the left of the conveyor-belt was the biggest one. I actually just found out that was the first night it was open, they had just finished making it that day. Then the other big hill was on the other end of the line of lanes.
They were pretty fun. Here I am waiting in line for the biggest hill
The biggest hill was fun! I only went down it once because at the end they had these mats, like the ones you see in cafeterias to prevent falls, but also offer a padding to the soles of your feet. Well they were 'experimenting' with how to get people to slow down at the end and it was actually kinda painful hitting those rubber mats at the end. So I opted out of taking that hill the remainder of the night.
Here is a blurry view of the whole hill.
Instead I stuck with the middle lanes and the 'medium' hill. As a group we trained together 8 of us. We didn't link our tubes together with the straps like other times, this time we sat in the tube and linked our legs under the person in front of us arm pits, and like wise with the person behind us, that was pretty fun! Like a roller coaster ride. Except when I was in the middle and the landing part at the top wasn't very big so the front few tubes started sliding down the hill while the back few tubes started sliding backwards. Those of us in the middle felt like we were in a torture rack, lol.
One of my favorite parts of the tubing experience was seeing a YURT! I couldn't' believe my eyes! I had lived in a yurt for a few months while working at Camp Barnabas during my summer college years. Ahhh it brought back memories. Once we were almost frozen, we headed into the yurt to warm up and I had to re-situate my scarf.
It was a fun night! We were out there for about an hour and a half. Our tickets said we had til 9:20 (which would have been 2 hrs of tubing) But they closed at 9:00pm on the DOT! I had icicles on my eyelashes, it was so funny! I tried to get a picture of it in the visor mirror in the car... but that didn't work out.
After tubing we went over to one of the guy's house and had hot chocolate and played games :-) Yipee for fun times!
Monday, January 24, 2011
For my second week of project 52 I have chosen this photo:
It was hard to pick from all the swan photos, but I landed on this one (haha like the pun?) because of the steam, the swan's wings, and that you can see that there are other swans in the picture. Although the photos with just one or two swans is more "photographic" I can't ignore the fact of HOW many swans were there that day.
I'm only a few weeks behind... but a few Saturdays ago I woke up bright and early and traveled about 45 minutes northwest, to meet with some acquaintances of the Twins City Photography Group. We met to get pictures of the Monticello Trumpeter Swans. Every winter the swans gather in this area on the Mississippi River, where there is open water. The residents around this area feed the swans. We were there early enough to see the swans before the mass feeding began. As I got out of my car in this residential neighborhood, all I could hear were honking geese!
It was crazy how loud they were. I think I would get a little annoyed having to hear that every morning, or maybe the residents just wear ear plugs.
It was a chilly morning, a whopping 5 degrees! You can even see the ice on the feeding buckets and the steam coming off the river.
This guy was so cold he didn't want to stand on both feet!
After about a good 45 minutes, the homeowner came out to begin their feeding time. He started with feeding the swarm of geese (and ducks) up by the house.
Then went down by the water to feed the swans. There was a tube type thing, which we realized was a mechanism for getting the food down by the water.
Once feeding time began it was a massive swarm of swans, geese, and ducks. It was amazing to watch.
I didn't post all my photos on here, you are more than welcome to click on any of the above pictures and that will take you to my flickr pool where you can sift through the other photos :-) I think there is a total of 21 photos posted on there.
Friday, January 21, 2011
So a few weeks ago I had posted on facebook about whether or not I should do another project 365 (taking a photo a day for a year) I really liked doing it the first time, and felt very connected with my camera and with photography. Well since that ended last August I have felt like I don't get out and get pictures like I used to, and I miss that.
Never mind that, as I just tried to catch up posts since I'm a little behind... and although my photos were taken in the right week, they (MCP staff) wouldn't let me post it. So I am no longer participating in their project and I'll just do my own :-)
So in debating to do another 365 or not... I obviously took photos Jan 1st, as we were still in New York. Then coming home I got one on Jan 2nd because I still hadn't decided... then I decided I didn't want to do another 365 project without a theme or focus. Because one of the non-fun parts about my first daily project were those days when I didn't really do anything exciting or go anywhere neat to get pictures of. Granted I got some fun ones around the house, I didn't want to put myself through the stress of gathering a photo EVERY day....
So I have decided I am doing a Project 52! Yup that's just a photo every week. And my goal isn't really to get ONE photo ONCE a week... but more so to DO something 'photography' related once a week in an effort to get good quality photos and to further my ability. I haven't decided if I'm going to count my portrait session into my project 52 as that week... maybe if it's the only thing I do that week it can count. As another one of my goals is to only take a limited number of clients for my business. I need to keep a level ground this year.
So with that being said I have completed my first, second, and third weeks of my project. A week goes from Saturday to Friday and I am allowing myself to capture that image ANYTIME within that time period. It just so happens my first three weeks were all captured on Saturdays, lol.
So the photo I have chosen as my first entry is this one:
Also, I wanted to add, I'm submitting my images on flickr to the MCP pool. MCP Actions is owned by Jodi Friedman. I first learned about her through posts she contributed on The Pioneer Woman's blog. Since then I have read her own blog entries, purchased some of her photoshop actions, and follow her on facebook. She provides a great resource to photographers. I saw that she announced she's 'hosting' a Project 52 and will be sharing themes throughout the year. I haven't followed any themes yet, but imagine I will as ideas become sparse through the year. I will try and remember to post her banner on each of my Project 52 entries. If you want to check out the flickr group to see what other people are submitting feel free. And if you want to participate, the more the merrier!
Ahh I've made it to the final blog of our NYC trip. I'm kinda sad, because going through the photos and blogging about it has allowed me to hold on to the trip. But it's time to get caught up, I have some more blogs to post that have happened in the past 3 weeks we've been home, lol.
New Years Day, we woke up in our hotel and of course had to go look out the window to see what was going on.
It was like any other day, besides the street cleaners being out, there really wasn't any other sign that a major partied just happened on the streets.
We wanted to get up and at'em early, because Patty had to work at noon and we wanted to get a little visit in with her before then. So we headed out to the train. The streets were SO quiet, it was kinda nice. We were walking down one street when we saw this sculpture!
It looked oddly familiar! This same sculpture is in our Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. We took a picture of the sign, once the snow melts, we'll go to the garden and compare, maybe they are a two part series...?
It was nice just enjoying the streets without a crowd.
We made it back to the apartment. Visited with Patty and the kids for a bit, dropped off our little suitcase, and walked back into the city (via tram) with Patty on her way to work. We still had one place we hadn't seen yet, and that was Grand Central Terminal. Well one place on our priority list. There was SOOO much we also didn't see, but that will be another visit. It was sad saying goodbye to Patty - she was a wonderful host and so gracious to let us stay there. I always have so much fun hanging out with her and her family.
Patty works a couple of blocks from the tram. After we left her, we headed over to Park Ave to walk down towards Grand Central. You can see the Met Life building behind the Helmsley Building when you look down Park.
We crossed by the Waldorf=Astoria again
We had a little bit of a hard time getting IN TO Grand Central, since it was a holiday, some of the entrances were closed. Right about the time I called the apartment and had Katie on the line we looked over and saw an entrance in use.
We walked it and it was amazing, so big! This was my first time of being at Grand Central Station. (well I later learned that I had been down below before, I had just never been in this open 'famous' part)
We went to the other side to just watch as the people went from here to there. We spent a good 30 minutes just getting some pictures
We then went down a ramp to find the 'whispering room' Anthony and the kids had told us about this room where you can whisper in one corner and then if the other person is standing in the other corner you could hear them. Well we tried it out and it worked! A few people standing in the middle asked "does it really work?" so we showed them how to do it.
We were beginning to cut it close to when we needed to head to the airport. But I still wanted to see my favorite building. So we walked over and down a bit to 3rd and 43rd where I could get a good look at her
After this we headed toward the tram, stopping to grab a quick bite to eat in a small little deli-ish place. Oh and we passed a cute little place we want to try in the future:
We hopped the tram, rushed to the apartment, grabbed our bags, headed to the car with YaYa who was so wonderful to drive us to the airport and off to La Guardia we went. I actually didn't get any other pictures.
We were afraid we were running late, but once we got to the airport we found out our plane was bout 20 minutes late, it gave us some time to wind down. Since we checked in a little late, my choose window seats were no longer available and we now had an isle seat and a middle seat. Which is probably another reason I didn't really take any pictures.
Once we made it to Milwaukee we had dinner at none-other than Chili's We had now completed a day of meals at the Milwaukee Chili's: breakfast, lunch, and dinner! lol Once we made it to Minneapolis, we stopped in at our friend Jill's house and picked up Harpo. Boy was he glad to see us! And we were glad to see him :-)
We came home and went straight to bed.
Monday, January 17, 2011
We got our bag for the night at the hotel and headed into the city. We walked along the water to the Tram.
Again I was soaking up the opportunity to snap pictures as we went over on the tram.
We made our way through midtown. We were worried that it would take a while to get through security, since they shut Times Square down at 3:00. We actually got through with no problem. Our hotel was 10 blocks north of Times Square and we came at it from the north, heading a little south and over west. We passed a few barriers, but no one was there to check us, our bag, or our bag of wine/champagne. We were lucky. We were early enough that the crowd hadn't backed up to 10 blocks away, which is why they didn't care to stop us. My cousin, who did get a hotel for her and her 2 friends came through about an hour after us. She had a heck of time getting through the guards saying "we're just going a few blocks over to our hotel" Since they had booked online they didn't have a paper confirmation and had to call the hotel, have them email them proof, which they then showed to the guards via blackberry.
Once we made it to our hotel, we went up to the 7th floor (which is where the lobby was - and balcony) and checked in. We had to wait a little bit because they hadn't finished cleaning the room. I guess they were some pilots that checked out late - which is lucky for us because a room became available. So we waited about 5 minutes, got our keys, our wrist bands (very important to have if you want to leave the hotel and walk around down on the streets), and headed up to our room on the 21st floor. Oh I almost forgot, before we headed up to the room we took a wander out onto the balcony to check out the view from out there
Patty had said most times their rooms aren't facing Broadway, which is no big deal since there's a large balcony to watch the ball drop. But as we made it to our room there was a little ad in the key card slot saying "enjoy your views of times square" I thought to myself "no way!". And sure enough we opened the door ran to the window and THERE was Times Square!
We got settled in, made family calls and enjoyed our hotel room view
We watched the street as the people started to trickle in. The streets were blocked off, and every so often the police officers would open up the gates and move groups forward. Not sure what their strategy was, but it was fun watching from above.
And watched on TV as well. There was a count down every hour. We got their six hours before midnight and saw the '6 hrs to go' countdown, not sure how long before that it started.
Then about 5:00 they bring out the BALL! It stays up year round, but they take it down right before New Years Eve (not sure when - but I did find this cool website with info all about the Times Square Ball). Anyway so we hear all this screamin' going on outside (we have the window open cuz we can hear all the commotion outside - even though it's cold) and we look out to see a big celebration going on as the ball is getting raised to it's place.
As this is going on, Celine calls and they are almost to the hotel. Once they get there, they find out their room isn't ready either. So instead of just waiting in the lobby, they come up to our room to hang out. We hang out for a bit, they finally get into their room about 45 minutes or so later. And Kyle and I decide to head out onto the street to get something to eat. There was one deli, cattie-corner from our hotel, and of course it was really the only place to eat. We didn't want to west because we'd have to pass through security at 8th & 52nd and there was a forever long line to get back through. So we just went to this deli, which was HOPPIN! Everyone was getting stuff to eat, and the guy behind the counter was checking people out at record speeds! We passed all the people stuck being the gates.
Which if you look to the left of that picture above you can see a truck, on top of this truck was a HUGE tv screen (maybe about 12 or 15 feet)! If I were them I'd just wait there and not want to move up any further, since they have a wonderful view of the screen. But instead they were all chanting "move us up! move us up!"
Once we got back up to our room, ate our food, and took a little nap, we went down to Celine's room to join them for a bit. They lucked out with a Times Square view room as well, on the 18th floor, just a few rooms over from us. Once there we got to see the final 'practice' 30 second countdown. We watched some of the Rockin' Eve show on TV, watched Ke$ha smash the bunny piñata (???) and I think that Bieber kid sing. I can't remember all the groups we watched, but it was quite entertaining making fun of them :-P
The streets were getting pretty packed in as they slowly opened up the gates one by one to get people closer to the ball.
We headed down to the lobby/balcony at about 11:30. As we walked through the lobby we saw everyone was VERY dressed up. Suits, evening gowns... much more dressy than Kyle and I in our jeans and sweaters. We're glad we went out to the balcony when we did because it began to fill up.
Kyle was so funny saying how it was hard having to wait 30 minutes and that the people down right at Times Square have been waiting for over 12 hours.
Then the countdown began!
Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once the balcony cleared out I went up to the edge to get a few more pictures.
The streets sure clear out FAST!
Kyle and I decided to go get a few more snacks at the deli and to go experience the 'after party street atmosphere'. Really by the time we got down there it was pretty cleared out. There was a strew of 5 or so cops on horses right outside our hotel. Just standing there getting their pictures taken with people.
And here is the ginormous TV screen I mentioned.
After we got some snacks, we went back up to our hotel room, vegged out and called it a night.