Thursday Thoughts

I once read somewhere that you should never begin a post by apologizing for not blogging regularly, so I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to tell you about a few of the random things that are on my mind this lovely Thursday afternoon…

1. Instagram

Way back in December when I had maybe …50 (?) followers I shared this image of Piper checking out her reflection in Ridley Creek. That photo was the first of many Piper (and Bailey) shots that have since been featured and shared on Instagram and I now have about 40 times the followers that I had last year. I think people are going to be shocked when someday I post a sweaty race photo instead of a cute Piper pic, but for now I’m having fun sharing my adorable little GSP with the IG world.

Log Shower jump Carry

Want to see more of Piper?  Follow me @The_Little_GSP 😄

2. Run Run Run!

The Broad Street 10 miler is 3 ½ weeks away and I am getting excited!! I restarted speedwork on the track last week and I had a fantastic 8 mile training run experience at Ridley Creek State Park on Saturday. During the run I never looked at my watch and just focused on staying relaxed and listening to Serial (the podcast) and the miles flew by.

RCSP 8 miler

Before I get to Broad Street, I still need to tackle the Tyler Arboretum 10K Trail Run this Saturday. I’m feeling less confident about that race after a tough time on the trails at Granogue, but I’m interested to see how I will do without snow on the ground. There might be some mud though… this is the current forecast for tomorrow. Eek!

At least Saturday's weather is looking perfect!!

At least Saturday’s weather is looking perfect!

3. Family

Last weekend Matt and I got to see everyone from both of our families on Easter. “Everyone” now includes 2 newborn babies! Plus 3 siblings, 3 step-siblings, 6 sibling spouses/fiancés, 1 toddler, 4 parents (/in-laws), and 9 (9!!) dogs. Luckily all 9 dogs did not participate in the Easter festivities because that would have been crazy.

I was designated the official family photographer but in the interest of everyone’s privacy (I’m looking at you, Suzanne! 😉) I won’t post the group shot. Instead here’s one of me and Matt.

Annie and Matt

This is what we look like when we aren’t hiking or running. 

4. Food

The weather was beautiful over Easter weekend so Matt and I pulled out the grill for the first time this year.  Yippee! Saturday we had patty melts (burgers with melted Swiss and grilled onions on buttered toast) and Monday we made what is possibly our fanciest grilled dinner yet: Paella!

Paella

Don’t worry, the recipe for this grilled masterpiece will be coming soon. And it’s surprisingly not that hard, considering how crazy it looks.

5. Piper

No post would be complete without a shout out to my little pup. (Oh, I already did that in #1, didn’t I? Well here’s more.) Piper is 7 months old now and has recently had some major breakthroughs. First off, she hasn’t had an accident in her crate since March 31st (not that I’m counting) and secondly, Piper has now graduated to sleeping in our bedroom in a big crate rather than all alone in her little crate downstairs. She has been very quiet so far and I think she likes the extra sleeping space.

Hopefully Piper’s next breakthrough will be summoning the courage to walk up our front staircase. These stairs are “floating” with open space between them that goes all the way down to the basement stairs below. Piper is, somewhat understandably, completely and utterly freaked out by these stairs. She won’t even come up for cheese! We’re taking it slow, one step at a time (literally).

Yes, the stairs are scary, but this is the puppy who climbs all over the place on hikes. Look what she did on Monday… what an agile little pup!

 

That’s it for today. I’m off to The Running Place to pick up my Tyler 10K bib. Wish me luck on Saturday! (I think I’m going to need it!)

(i)Phoneography: Using the camera you never leave home without

I love my Nikon D90 camera. Since getting it in 2009 I’ve taken more than 39,000 photos and it’s the camera behind 99.9% of the flying dogs, colorful flowers, and tasty foods you’ll see on this blog. That being said, my Nikon is HUGE and screams “photographer” (or, worse yet, “steal me!”) so it just isn’t practical to bring it with me everywhere I go.

Enter the iPhone camera: tiny, lightweight, unobtrusive, and – most importantly – already with me at all times! The iPhone obviously won’t yield the same results as the Nikon D90 but it is a fantastic substitute when the perfect photo opp presents itself and I don’t happen to have the big camera with me. Here are some photos that I took with my iPhone:

Sunset - edited with Instagram

Bailey keeps her eyes on the road in the car

Go Phillies! edited with Instagram

Paperwhites in my kitchen

The Venetian, Las Vegas - edited with Instagram

These are some tips that I try to keep in mind while taking photos with my phone:

  • It’s all about the light. Avoid grainy, blurry phone photos by choosing shots where your camera will excel. Look for people or objects facing into the sun (or a sunny window) or choose a well lit indoor location.
  • Use another phone as an “off camera flash.” If you do need to take a photo in a dark room, borrow a friend’s phone set to “flashlight” mode to light up your subject. This will give you much better results than your own phone’s on board flash.
  • Make your point with a clear subject. Minimize clutter by removing unnecessary items from the frame or getting closer to your subject so it’s clear what the focus of the photo is. This will help later if your photo is going to be viewed on a tiny phone screen or shared in thumbnail size on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Post-processing is OK! My iPhone photos are often fairly flat and uninspiring but I have had a lot of fun using Apps like Instagram and BeFunky to jazz them up a bit. Don’t be afraid to play around… they’re just photos, after all! 🙂

I’d love to see YOUR favorite camera phone shots! Please feel free to post links to them and/or leave your own ‘phoneography’ tips in the comments.