Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn Glory

My mom, my sister-in-law, Kathy, and my nephew, Matthew all made a little trip to the MN Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. It's really one of my favorite places. And we really couldn't have picked a better time either - it was peak color here in the Twin Cities area.

Here's the fam!

and one of the cutest nephews on the planet:

and here are some of my favorite pics from the outting.

and the last couple are extra special - it's of a sculpture by Paul Granlund, who I became a huge fan of during college. He has a very distinctive style and you can always recognize a Granlund.

If you want to check out the rest of the pictures from the day - and there are really some lovely colors in there - click the picture below and enter the password "autumn".

Photobucket Album

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Senior Year

Ok, my brother Nathan is a senior so, per the issue that professional photographers are freaking expensive, as with a couple brothers before him, his sucker sister takes him out for a photoshoot!

I was surprised with him and myself and really liked some of the shots we got. I think my favorites and his favorites will be different but that's the point of having a bunch of options isn't it? So here are some of MY favorites - he can post his own.

The first two are at Rice Creek Regional Trail where he trains for Nordic Skiing:

This next one is at North Heights Lutheran Church where he attends:

and finally - these last two are included just for interests sake. The first one because it is just freaky because it looks like a picture of his brother, Paul, instead of like him and the second one just because we both thought it was a cool "story picture" about graduation in itself and the road of life in front of him with no idea where it ends.

If you want to look at the rest of the pictures in the album, click on the picture below and type in the password "Nathan" and you can see the 20 best shots we got.

Photobucket Album

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Arrival!

This has been a VERY long week but I'm sure glad that it is coming to an end in such a dramatic fashion. Last night, Sept. 18, 2008, Camden Lee Thomas finally came into the world after his poor mom worked at it since TUESDAY!!

My brother Joe and his girlfriend, Amanda, are the proud parents of the 4th grandchild on our side and the first on hers. Yes, big surprise, yet another Thomas boy.... a little on the predictable side. But we kind of like him anyway, just saying.

Here he is:

Camden Lee Thomas
son of Joe Thomas & Amanda Dusterhoft
9-18-08, 6:24 pm
7 lbs 4 oz, 20 inches long

Mom & Daddy are pretty excited if a little tired after all that work. Here's his first visit with mommy:

Daddy is a little giddy cause he's talking to his boy (keep in mind, by this time, we were ALL pretty loopy):

and maybe my favorite picture from the night - Daddy just mesmerized by the little boy in the warmer:

final closing shot of the youngest Thomas:

so.. everyone is happy and healthy and resting up a little bit before they come home this weekend.

Good Times.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Summer at Como

With Guest Photographer Benjamin Thomas

It has been FOREVER since I posted!!!! I have been taking lots of pictures but .. honestly, this has just fallen to too low a priority to take the time to get everything uploaded. So, I have a serious backlog of stuff to share. But I'll start with the most recent.

So my mother and I took my youngest brother, Ben, over to the Butterfly exhibit at Como Conservatory and man, was that a great photographic challenge! Both Ben and I got some really beautiful pictures, both of the butterflies and of some of the conservatory flowers as well - just because we can never resist.

This one is probably one of my favorite pics of the day:

But this one also has it's own charm:

Ben got this shot that just blew me away:

The next group needs a bit of explanation. There was one particular kind of butterfly there called a Blue Morpho. They proved to be EXCEEDINGLY elusive to capture on camera. They really wouldn't settle down anywhere and they had very quick and erratic light paths. Both Ben and I spent more than an hour trying to find and/or chase a few down. We managed to get a few weaker shots but because the challenge was so immense, we are still pretty proud that we have anything to show for all the effort.

We saw a LOT of this in there but catching it on camera was a sheer miracle:

of course, now THIS picture is a zoomed in one that shows why it was so hard to see them sitting anywhere - turns out I have several pics of them just sitting on flowers but we didn't know it was THEM because the underside of the wing is so different!

We also had a lot of fun because butterflies don't care about landing on people so we'd been there about 10 seconds when one landed on my mom's back. Of course, she didn't even know which kind until she saw the pictures at home. But after a few minutes, one picked up on Ben's camera as a place that looked interesting.

and then when I decided in the pursuit of the Blue Morpho that I was going to set up shop on a bench and try to wait for one to come to me, I made a friend.

So we all got picked by a different flutterby type and had our fun. There are a lot more fun pics in the album if you click on the picture below and type in the password "conservatory".

Photobucket Album

In addition to the butterflies, we also had to go get more flower pics because neither of us can walk by a blossom without aiming that camera. This is my best shot I think:

But Ben really nabbed a great one here:

if you want to see an album of a bunch we got, here's another picture link and you can use the same password from above:

CapitalBabs/Como/2008/Summer Flowers

Monday, April 21, 2008

Springing up at Como Conservatory

It's been a bit since I was able to just go out and take some pictures - sadly, I kind of overdid it when I finally got the opportunity. Some friends and I went to the Como Park Conservatory on the morning of April 13th. Three hours later I left having taken nearly 1200 frames. That makes for a LOT of sorting and editing. I'm quite happy to say that I have it down to a much more reasonable number, although still a lot of them. But nothing made it feel like spring like spending some time wiht a bunch of gorgeous flowers and coming out to beautiful sunshine.

To see the shots that remain, click on the album photo and enter the password "conservatory". For the best view, I recommend clicking on Slideshow.

Photobucket Album

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Birth Announcement!!!

with guest photographer: Jonathan D. Thomas

Well... shockingly enough, a GIRL has been born into the Thomas gene pool!! Obviously, I am fond of pointing out that it does happen occasionally *raises hand* but it's hard to avoid the reality that it's a rare event despite birth being a pretty common one. But my brother, Jon, and his wife, Naomi, are now the parents of the first girl born to our family in nearly 36 years.


Elizabeth Jo Thomas
born: March 31, just before 9 pm.
Weight: 7 lbs 1 oz.
Length: 20.5 inches

She had a pretty big crowd waiting to greet her when she came into the world - but she better get used to it because her family is pretty darn big. I was glad to get just a few minutes with her myself.

while Daddy used the video camera to record the majority of the day, once all the hard work and excitement was coming to a close, I gave him my camera and let him follow the little doll to the nursery for her first bath and such things.

And just because it was so funny, I had to post this picture Daddy took while he was still trying to figure out his sister's fancy little camera

She really seems pretty calm about the whole thing after a bit but one of my favorite pictures that Jon got is this one where she's looking straight at him and kind of looks like she's thinking, "Daddy, what is that thing you have on your face?"

Luckily, it's QUITE obvious that she resembles her mother very strongly - including her extraordinarily large eyes. I'm sure that the Thomas genes will show up eventually - sadly, they always do - but for now, she's got her very pretty mommy's looks.

Of course, the nickname debate has begun in earnest already. Daddy has decided to call her LizardBreath. Yeah, he's not very nice. And it's going to be especially difficult considering the orginal "LizardBreath" (our 21 yo cousin) lives in the same house when she's not at school. Personally, I'm trying out LizaJo to see how well it sticks... And I think it is the nurses that Jon said are calling her EllieJo. That is nice too - we'll see what sticks.

ETA: it appears that EllieJo is definitely in the lead but a couple late entries have joined the fray, including EJ. We'll have to see how much of a tomboy vs girly girl she ends up being.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Montana Ski Trip

ok... I think this is the last of the old photos for awhile. I will have to get my camera out and take some new ones to show you next.

Anyway, back in 1998, we got a group of friends together in my grandparents' motorhome and roadtripped out to a cabin we rented in the Bozeman area and hit a couple different ski resorts. It was one of the more memorable roadtrips of my life - and not necessarily for the good reasons. But that being said, I still remember the trip fondly.

The saga started on the trip out... somewhere in the middle of the night as we entered the part of the North Dakota that actually ISN'T flat, my brother started having trouble getting the motorhome to go more than 40 mph and we could just barely get up the hills..


that's where we stopped at a gas station in the early morning hours just after we crossed the state line into Montana and discovered that the fuel filter was plugged and even though there was actually a Cummins dealership right off the freeway on our way, we couldn't get a new one. This was a few of the guys taking the filter out, cleaning it out as best we could and putting it back in. We should have taken this as an omen for the trip to come.


This is the Montana countryside through the window of the motorhome as we approached our cabin. You can just see it at the base of the hill. It was truly gorgeous out there.

And I know I posted these before but for reference sake, this is out back of the cabin:



I really loved the scenery there and we even got to do some hiking.



That was some of our in-cabin activities - push up poker and 4-man chess. Interestingly enough, I only went skiing twice while I was there. Part of my problem was that I wasn't too bright about choosing to hit the mountains to go skiing for my first outting after I broke my leg skiing the winter before. My brother, Jim, will tell you how he practically had to babysit me down the hill as my poor brain freaked out. It wasn't so much that I was worried about FALLING as I think I was really worried I wouldn't be able to get back up. I also had not gained anywhere near the muscle mass in my right leg that I had lost so it really wasn't very strong and I didn't have the control I was used to either. It wasn't the greatest skiing experience I've ever had. But at least here is the proof that I actually was out there making a go of it - this is at Big Sky:


as you can tell, it was starting to snow - which made the trip back to the cabin kind of interesting.


and from there, the trip REALLY started to get memorable.

I did not go out skiing the next day but the some of our group did - including my brother who ended up trying to figure out how to drive the motorhome through a snowstorm in mountain roads - with rapidly failing power-steering and brakes. I'm pretty sure that is when his blood pressure started going up. I think he might be a motorhome jinx but don't tell him I said that.

The next day (the day before we were supposed to leave and go home) was spent in the ever-exciting town of Bozeman trying to get a mechanic to fix whatever was wrong with the motorhome. If you know anything about vehicles of that size, they don't really have regular work done by your normal mountain town garage. Turns out the problem was VERY serious and they couldn't fix it.. so we could hang out for a week while they waited to receive parts that we couldn't afford anyway and we were on a VERY tight schedule so.. the week delay was not good either.

In an entertaining coincidence, one of the friends on the trip must also have been recently reminiscing because I received a link to a video that was shot while they were killing time while we were trying to figure out what to do with the motorhome... They decided to make a mentos commercial.

Due to the time and money constraints, we decided that our only hope was to limp the motorhome the 1000 miles home and have it get attention there. The problem was that we had a hole in the hydraulic system - which is a shared system between the brakes and the steering. That meant that whenever we used the brakes, it pumped all the hydraulic fluid out and we lost the ability to steer AND couldn't do anymore braking. Ever tried to drive a 44 ft motorhome with no brakes or power-steering? Yeah, that's a serious challenge. We invested in GALLONS of hydraulic fluid and set out for home - we could go about 45 minutes of very careful driving until we would need to pull over and refill the hydraulic fluid. Amazingly, driving straight through on the freeway for 24 hours with that same schedule, we actually made it home in one piece. I tell you, that was definitely more miracle than skill.

Anyway, it's still a memorable trip...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2008 Lunar Eclipse

2008 Lunar Eclipse

Frankly, I'm surprised I could coax the camera to actually focus in the -4 degree temperatures (I'm not going to even bother looking up what the windchill might have been). I'm still learning how to do the low light pics and this was DEFINITELY that but for all the difficulties, it's not a bad picture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Canal Park Visit

Believe it or not, also in 2000 (it seems it was a very busy year) and again in 2002, I got to spend a bit of time in Canal Park in Duluth Harbor. It's really a great place to hang out and you might agree that the scenery is pretty amazing. On the first occasion, my hotel was RIGHT on the beach so I got to take advantage the ocean views at dawn and dusk. I had to admit that I might have taken too many pictures but .. it was so pretty and makes for a nice progression!!!





but the Point has some great scenery even during the day




and I took this one while on a walk on the beach boardwalk


and since it's a harbor, you wouldn't believe the size of the ore boats that come in. They make for quite a sight.


and since you have that lighthouse for reference, this should give you an idea of the immensity of this ship


now that you have seen the size of the ships coming into harbor, just imagine the lift bridge that is required to allow ships of that size through!!


the group I was with was lucky enough to get an evening ride up with the bridge (something not allowed to standard tourists)


but it also allows a pretty spectacular view of the city


considering that I haven't been up to Canal Park since 2002, I might just have to go for a visit up there again sometime soon.