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Monthly Archives: January 2011

The resident birds take our crazy Nor’easters in stride…I wish I could be this nonchalant about a storm that dumped 2 feet of heavy snow,¬†downing branches and snapping my Coral Bark Maple in half . ūüė¶

"Snow Sparrow" (White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/125s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Silver Efex Pro Vignette

I shot this¬†from the shelter of my sunroom before I had to bundle up and head out to shovel. This is going to be a long winter… ūüė¶


Update…I lied in my response to Karma’s comment! Well, not really, I simply forgot that shooting in RAW means all the¬†color data for the image is available even when¬†the camera is set to ‘monochromatic.’ I just need to process the image through¬†Capture NX to retrieve the color version.

So, per Karma’s request, here is the color version of the image, sans vignette:

"Snow Sparrow" (White-Throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/125s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

Personally, I prefer the b&w version as it mutes the background and focusses attention on the bird. Also, for me¬†there is not enough ‘color’ going on here to make any sort of¬†statement. ūüôā

Thought I’d FINALLY get around to showing you¬†what ate up¬†all my time¬†from the end of October right up until¬†the Christmas holiday. It¬†began with a simple thought: We need a¬†new refrigerator.

Refrigerator Wall - Before Renovation

You see,¬†our current¬†12-year old, side-by-side refrigerator never really worked in the space (a kludgy layout¬†we inherited with the house) for several reasons: (1)¬†The right hand door couldn’t be opened all the way since it hit the nearby counter, (2)¬†the fridge itself stuck out just enough that the drawer in the corner could not be opened more than 3 inches, and (3) items in the fridge would FREEZE if placed too close to the freezer side. Efficient, no? ūüėČ

Both hubby and I are avid cooks despite our kitchen being on the small side (old home circa 1929). Over the years we’ve done our best with minor renovations¬†to improve overall functionality and efficiency. However,¬†one area remained a major¬†item of frustration and with nothing left to change, it clearly was time¬†to take it on.

So off we¬†went looking for a new refrigerator and when we realized a better-designed model, in the size and depth¬†required to fit the space DID NOT exist,¬†my husband says the words every wife longs to hear: ‘Why don’t we knock out the cabinets¬†so you can get the fridge you want? And, while we’re at it, why not reconfigure the pantry as well?’ Damn, I¬†LOVE that man! ūüôā

Pantry Area - Before Kitchen Renovation

He’s known for years¬†I’ve been coveting¬†refrigerators made by¬†Liebherr (a German company), ever since I learned of their green technology and amazing efficiency. The thought that I could actually have one in my¬†kitchen, well, that was almost too much to comprehend! Little did I know, the PERFECT Liebherr model was patiently waiting for us to discover it on the floor of our local appliance showroom. To be fair, Jim spotted her first and came up to me¬†with his ‘Stop looking, I found the fridge’ devilish grin.

I thought,‘Yeah, surrre ya did, honey,’ as I¬†followed him through the aisles. Gotta hand it to that boy, when he’s right, he’s RIGHT! There she stood…a 48″ wide beauty in stainless steel, complete with wine refrigerator, freezer and more fridge space than you can imagine. Drool…the salesman chuckled as I hugged the fridge. I’m not kidding. Right there, in that showroom, for all to see, I hugged¬†the fridge. I’m a fridge hugger!

However, before we¬†could take¬†the plunge,¬†we needed to consult¬†with a contractor to make sure it would (a) fit in the space and (b) work with what we ultimately wanted to do. So, we met¬†with the contractor, explained the design of the space, held our breath, crossed our fingers and expected to hear ‘Nope. Can’t do it’ but, instead got, ‘Go buy yourselves a fridge’. Seriously?! Woo hoo! ūüôā

Wait, it gets better. We were able to purchase the¬†floor model, on tax free weekend, for a song! Things were lookin’ good! Signed the contract at the beginning of September but with vacations and schedules, work would not begin until the end of October.

The following slideshow of images (31 in all) is just a taste of the project from start to finish.

Please Note: Unfortunately, I cannot control how quickly the images advance. HOWEVER, if you hover your mouse over the slideshow area, a set of controls will display allowing you to STOP the auto advancement of the images. Then, you can use the forward and back arrows to scroll through the images at your leisure.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Long story short, a whole lotta work spanning 8 weeks with various contractors (seven subs total) and city inspectors (3 in all), plus long days, design changes, on-the-fly planning, dirty fingernails, many trips to Home Depot, Lowes as well as the local hardware store, lumberyard, and¬†TWO paint stores, endless material searches,¬†hours of demolition, sanding, measuring, cutting, nailing, priming, painting, tiling, grouting, caulking, cleaning and organizing!¬†Whew! ūüôā

Refrigerator Wall - After Kitchen Renovation

When all is said and done, the blood, sweat and tears were SO WELL worth it!

I don’t know what it is, but I find flamingos completely fascinating. I suppose it could be that they are¬†pink – a color I¬†am hopelessly¬†drawn to when it comes to flowers so why not with birds, too?

No denying it, flamingos are¬†exquisite birds – fluffy poofs of feathers balanced atop¬†spindly legs, long graceful necks and piercing eyes encased in black eyeliner. C’mon, what’s not to love?

“Coquettish” (Lesser Flamingo, Phoenicopterus minor) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro B&W and Bi-color Filters

This beautiful¬†bird was definitely playing coy with me.¬†Little did it know,¬†s/he had me at ‘pink’. ūüôā

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