14 April 2013

tulip lessons

I liked the way the setting sun was lighting the tulips on the table at dinner. After we finished eating and cleared the table, I took a few shots. The light was fading quickly, and I didn't like how high I had to push my ISO, so I lugged out the tripod. I set my ISO back low (320) and lowered my shutter speed to 1/4 of a second. 

I learned two things:

1) My macro shots are so much sharper when I use the tripod! I really need to use it every time I macro.

2) My tripod is magic. It turned near darkness into daylight. The following photo was taken with a slow shutter speed, thanks to the tripod. Immediately after, I raised my shutter speed and took the last photo to show how dark it actually was. See? Magic tripod.

Blue Star Donuts

I have a soft spot for doughnuts. I have several soft spots from doughnuts. Since I started making my own doughnuts (here and here; the recipes are good even if the photos are awful), I've sworn off chain doughnut shops because the products are too sweet. But when I opened my Sunset magazine a few months ago to see this beautiful Blueberry Bourbon Basil doughnut, and read that the shop it came from was in Portland, I knew I had to get my hands on one.

Maybe two. It was hard to choose! Hubs and I walked into the packed Blue Star Donuts this morning to a gorgeous display of doughnuts. Valrhona Chocolate Crunch. Creme Brulee (with actual caramelized sugar crust). Lemon Poppyseed. Vanilla Bean Sugar. Meyer Lemon with Key Lime filling. Passion Fruit with Cocoa Nibs. The best Apple Fritter I've ever had, and it was made with hard cider.

Need to clean the drool from your keyboard yet?

I wish I had photos of the shop for you. It was perfectly clean and lovely. Maybe if I go back on a weekday it won't be quite as crowded and I'll have room to take a picture. For now you get all that I have left—the empty box.

05 April 2013

twin tunnel trail

We hiked the Mark O. Hatfield trail today, also known as the Twin Tunnel trail, between Hood River and Mosier, Oregon. We stuck to the Mosier side today. This trail runs along a portion of the historic Columbia River Highway—the only dry way to get up river before Interstate 84 was constructed. These tunnels were blasted to make room for automobiles in the early 1900s, covered up during interstate construction, and restored in the 1990s.

And these tunnels have amazing light. I'm so glad I brought my camera.

04 April 2013

eagle creek trail

 Metlako Falls

We took a hike along Eagle Creek trail today. It's one of the most popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, with good reason. So beautiful! Perfect for a rainy weekday—we were almost the only ones there. Try to go on a sunny Saturday and you'll be lucky to find a parking spot within a mile of the trailhead. Plus you'll have to navigate some narrow, treacherous trail sections with oncoming traffic. Not for me, thank you.

 Punchbowl Falls, from above

Since we're still in early spring, there was too much water for us to get to the Punchbowl vantage point I had hoped for. Next time I'll bring waterproof shoes. (And my tripod. I was nervous enough about the narrow cliff trails, I decided having a tripod hanging off my backpack was too much. I made the right decision, but I really missed my tripod. I wanted a much slower shutter for those waterfalls!)

The kids had fun making rock stacks during our snack breaks. 

We're planning on hiking a lot between now and fall, so hopefully I'll have more of these to come.
With a tripod!

03 April 2013


All this spring sun is making things grow in my yard. I'm really starting to be ok with that. Excited, even. 

And this gorgeous thing, as far as I can tell, is a tomatillo husk from the neighbor's yard. Pretty dang cool.

01 April 2013

april fool's day

This morning I held a foil-covered baking dish and asked my kids if they wanted some “brown Es” with breakfast. They cheered and jumped up and said that, of course, they would love some brown Es with breakfast. I don't know why they were getting so excited. They must have thought I said “brownies”. Silly kids. Don't they know it's April Fool's Day?

Ha! They do, actually. Ever since I pulled the jello juice prank (like this), Sweetpea asks me to do something good for April Fool's Day. Oh, the pressure of topping the jello juice. That was a really good trick.

I came close this year. The brown Es were ok, but the disappointment of not having brownies to eat took it down a few notches. No, my real prank was sneaking into the kids' rooms after they were asleep and painting their toe nails green. (Green was the only quick-drying color we had.) They were awake for almost an hour before they noticed. It was awesome.

I also changed the language on Hub's phone to German. I'm confident he would have appreciated it more if he hadn't been late for work. I appreciated the hell out of it. It was hilarious! That is, of course, until he came home and made me change it back. Finding the appropriate language menus in German was not as easy as finding them in English.

The apple cinnamon pancakes I made for breakfast (partially to make up for the brownie trick) were no joke, though. They were delicious!

Are you pulling any pranks today? What's your favorite?