Sunday, January 30, 2011

Out for a winter walk

I went for a long walk yesterday in the snow and the cold. It is a path I've traveled many times in the past couple of months, and yesterday was the first time that the weather was cooperating for me to take a photo.

Every time I've passed the picnic table (below) I've thought that it might make an interesting photo if there were snow. Well, we've had a ton of snow, but no clear skies. Until yesterday, that is!

It was a cooollld day for a walk (lower 20's) and the wind was brisk. The paths I followed were drifted snow through the woods, and glazed ice on the exposed hills. Not the best day out, but overall a nice walk.

The shot below is another one I've been wanting to take for probably 4-5 months now. At the top of a very high hill there is a hunter's stand (there is a field behind the camera where they would shoot!) with a beautiful view of the valley and Burg Lichtenberg (our castle). That little village is where we live, with an awesome view of the castle from our front window and porch. The castle - if you zoom in you'll see it better - is in the intersection of the right/upper thirds.

This was very near the end of my walk - so all downhill from here!

We're all (everyone except Ian, that is) dealing with a cold that Leah brought home. No fun, but whatcha gonna do? Enjoy your day everybody!



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photos of the kids

I finally decided to break out my photographic umbrella to start to familiarize myself with how it works. I was playing around originally lighting some glassware, but I wasn't having any luck. All of those photos were deleted (11 out of 92 survived the cut - none of the glassware made it).

Ian was helping me out, so I quickly set up to see how some portraiture type stuff would work. Overall I'm super happy with the results. I have quite a ways to go (I'll work my hairlight or kicker light next time for some extra pizzazz), but I'm still pleased with the early results. And it's fun learning something new!

I have several nice ones of Ian, but I felt like this one was the best of the group.

And this is one of my favorites of Leah from today. I'll continue to play around with a couple of the others and may post those - but they are going to be very similar to those I've just posted.

Either way, I think I have a couple of winners for next years' calendar! These two should definitely make it into the 2012 Skinner Sightings Calendar...

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Running of the Bull

After our little walk yesterday, we had a minor bit of drama/comedy unfold right in front of us. This is my docudramedy:

It isn't everyday that one can witness a neighbor out for a walk with his pet cow. I've lived in the country - just down the road from a dairy farm, and I've never seen this before. I know I live in rural Germany, but even a guy out for a walk with his cow on a leash is going to raise an eyebrow or two.

I'm thinking to myself, "this is interesting, not something you see everyday - go ahead and take a photo of it". Which is precisely what I did. I watch the man take the cow into the field just to the right of the photo here.

I then start to take some photos of the kids. Unbeknownst to me, the cow makes a break for it. You can just see this in the last photo from yesterday. The original anyways; I've cropped it out of the photo I uploaded.

Anyways, the guy taking his cow out for a walk isn't alone. He accomplice is stuck trying to chase down this cow. I'm laughing out loud at this point, and pointing out the dramedy to the kids, who really couldn't care less. They walk the 50 meters to our "front" door while I'm watching the chase unfold.

The cow makes it all the way to the road, but a couple of kind strangers in cars have stopped to help corral the cow. The cow makes a couple of half-hearted attempts to go back the other way, but the original walker-on-a-leash dude shows up, with some free candy for the cow. The cow falls for the bait, the man grabs the leash, and its off to the pasture for the cow.

All I can think is, if I were the guy walking the cow, is just how tasty that stupid cow is going to be ; )

Ahhh, what passes for entertainment in rural Germany . . .

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Enjoying the exceedingly rare sunshine

We had that most rare of experiences here today: sunshine!!!

I know I've seen the sun about three times since the first of December - but it was also warm (at least by German winter standards). Ian and I threw the football for a bit, then played stomp rocket (a toy) while enjoying the sunshine a bit before lunch today. We had so much fun enjoying the sunshine that we went in to grab Catherine and Leah.

Catherine was going to come - but my timing was bad, she had some stuff in the oven that she couldn't leave. So I grabbed the camera, and off Ian, Leah, and I went.

That's the look of a body producing vitamin D for the first time in a month. Obscure health-fact, I know. But just a couple of weeks ago it was cloudy, foggy, and snowing - all at the same time!

There is a funny story cropped out of this photo (below) - that will be for tomorrow.

Just some random photos of the kids while we were out and enjoying some fresh air and sunshine. Enjoy your day everybody. We sure did...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Leah!

Leah turned 5 this past Friday. We had a party for her on Saturday at the Arts and Crafts Center - which was way easier that I could have hoped to set up and tear down.

Leah invited a bunch of her friends from her school, and based on the yelling and screaming I'm guessing they all had a great time. It was a "Hello Kitty" themed deal - which is right up Leah's alley.

Here is Leah seconds before she blew out her candles. For those of you wondering, Catherine made cake balls. It was very messy and very popular with the kids.

When it came time to open up her gifts, even though there was plenty of space for everyone, all the kids crammed in around Leah in order to get a better look at what she was opening.

Other than that, nothing exciting happening here. Enjoy your week everybody!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy 2011 everybody!

I've been contemplating a new blog/website for the new year - we'll see what happens. Nothing new yet, and this blog definitely won't be going away. Either way, I'll keep you posted.

I decided to play around with my camera and flash, as well as one of the skylights upstairs with some of the kids' new "toys". While we were in England, Ian developed a fascination with Chess. I have NO idea where that came from, but he had a blast playing Chess on my computer. So while we were exploring some of the towns, we came across a couple of chess sets that were very cool. This one is from the Portobello Road Market:

While we were in Wales, we found this cute Tic-Tac-Toe game. So far Leah has loved playing it - especially when she beats me!

I hope this New Year brings you lots of health and happiness. It is shaping up to be an eventful year for us. A short trip to the States this early spring (for me) - followed by a move in late spring/early summer (for all of us). Again, I'll keep you posted. Enjoy 2011! We will . . .