Just Another Drive

Just Another Drive

Just another drive down the Florida Turnpike with an incredible sunset off to the west.    Florida’s sunsets do not disappoint and this one was no exception.  Fortunately, Goalielocks was able to take pictures for me while I drove.

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Mundane Monday Challenge #137: Learn Photography

 

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Ice Hotel

Ice Hotel

For our Florida kids, the ice hotel in Quebec City was a modern marvel.  Their marvel was short lived as there weren’t a ton of activities for them to do.   Consequently, they ended up having a snow ball fight as the parents traipsed through the ice hotel and its bars.  They served wonderful drinks in glasses made of ice.  Both the hotel and our glasses were only temporary fixtures of the Quebec Countryside.

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While the ice hotel melts as winter transitions to spring, it is sure to be back as the arctic air reclaims the region the following fall.  I’m hopeful that my youngest will have the opportunity to play in the Peewee Quebec tournament.  If so, we’ll have the opportunity to return to this beautiful hotel.

If you’re thinking about taking a trip to beautiful Quebec City, which I would definitely recommend.  The hotel offers tours, over night stays and will even host your wedding.   You can book a room or a tour of the Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glace) here.

I am a neophyte to the daily photo challenge, but I look forward to posting more photos in the coming weeks.

Memories

I’ve been using Shutterfly to house and print my photos for the last eleven years, so many of memories are housed there.  In fact, I’ve been on Shutterfly longer than I’ve been on Facebook.  That’s a long time.  One of the thing, I love about Shutterfly is the memory emails.  Much like Facebook Memories, Shutterfly now sends email with a link to your old photos.

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Today’s memories email from Shutterfly was of memories from 10 years ago.  What a fantastic trip down memory lane.  Ten years ago, Jake was starting 3rd grade.  This year he’ll be starting at Palm Beach State.  The Mayor was a doll at a year old and Colin was almost four.  Now both of them are in middle school.

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You can see how digital photos has evolved since 2007 when comparing the quality of photos from 2007 to 2017.  Their are several super cute, but super grainy pictures of the boys.   Admittedly, part of the problem could be that they simply were unable to sit still long enough for me to get a quality photo.  However, they haven’t changed that much and the photos should still be super grainy if that was the case.  Grainy or not, the photos from 2007 are a wonderful trip down memory lane.

 

Trip Photos

Today I’ve been sifting through my trip photos and trying to organize them according to city and date.  Technology while helpful also frustrates the process a bit.  The wifi, while we were in Norway, wouldn’t always support the shutterfly upload process.  Consequently, I ended up having to upload half of the photos to my online library through Canon.

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Once I completely organize them, I will be adding photos to my blog under a separate page only devoted to photos.  I am fairly tech savvy, however, the Envira plugin and add-ons have been frustrating me all night.

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At any rate, I am excited to share these photos with the blogosphere.  Our Norway trip was magnificent.   The country is more beautiful than words could possibly describe, so I hope that comes through in the photos.  Some of the pictures look fake like they’re a built model set.  If I hadn’t taken the photo myself, I wouldn’t have believe it was real.  You can find our photos here.

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Dinner

Our second night in Bergen, our goal was to have dinner as a group.  This is no easy feat as there was nineteen of us including six children.  My sister-in –law found a great restaurant that happened to be  brewery, happened to be on the water and happened to be able to accommodate our large group.

As we enjoyed a post-hike beer with my brothers and their families, my sister-in-law Brandi managed to get all nineteen of our orders.  Before we left the brewery, Brandi had already placed our dinner orders for that evening.   While this was at the directive of the restaurant, it was a genius time saving move for all involved.

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Me with my mom, my grandma, my aunt Kandy and cousin Jessica
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Me with my mom, my grandma, my aunt Kandy, cousin Jessica and niece Priya

After chilling in the AirBnB and freshening up, we headed back to the Brewery for dinner.  For the first time in almost two weeks, I was wearing a dress albeit without heels.  We headed back to the brewery, this time all freshened up, to meet our family.

No sooner had we gotten to the table, Goalielocks and the Mayor headed over to the shuffleboard tables to meet their cousins.  The tables were a gift from god!  We were able to enjoy our drinks in relative peace as we waited for our food and discussed the trip.

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As soon as the food came, the Mayor devoured his king crab and caviar.  I struggled with my mussels.  Goalielocks ate the steak we were supposed to share and left me with the mussels.  The pear cider, which was completely addicting, was the perfect complement to my dinner.

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We decided to take some group photos since we were all together, my family, my brothers’ families, my parents, my grandma, my aunt and uncle and my cousin Jessica and family.  Thankfully we chose the one day I got dressed up and did my hair.  After over a week of casual dress in yoga pants, tanks, hoodies and not doing my hair, it felt great to be dressed up and not so casual.

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The resulting photos were absolutely sublime and ones that I will cherish forever.  It was a very special trip for my family to Norway and the cities’ from which are family emigrated from.  It, however, was even more special since we could share it with our extended family.

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Bergen Bound

We are Bergen bound!  This afternoon we said goodbye to the Aurlandsfjord and Flam area as we headed west to Bergen.  The westward journey was only 2 1/2 hours, which compared to our travels to Trondheim and the Fjords was a relatively quick trip.

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I have to say I was worried that driving in Norway would be disastrous for us, but it has worked out pretty well.  The road are quite narrower than what we are accustom to, h however,  but there is also significantly less traffic.  More importantly, our fellow drivers in here are far more congenial than they are in South Florida.  I can’t imagine South Florida drivers trying to navigate the mountain route up to Stegastein (nobody would survive.)

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The vista were once again spellbinding, which makes for an entertaining drive.  Tvindefossen is a waterfall visible from E16 just outside of Voss and is pictured above.  I don’t think any of us enjoy all the tunnels, especially my husband who has done most of the driving.  Thankfully, he gets a break from driving duty as Bergen is our home base for the next several days.   Bergen is a walking city that we are excited to explore.

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The Fjord at Night

Before we prepared for bed this evening, I  took some pictures of the Aurlandsfjord with my new camera.  These photos of the fjord at night were all taken after midnight in natural light.  I will say that being in the land of the midnight sun throws off your internal clock.  You don’t want to sleep when it looks like it is 6:00 pm.  Worse than that, the kids don’t want to go to sleep when the sun is still up, but I digress.  I am happy with how they turned out and look forward to experimenting more with photography at night.

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Savage Beast

We took a trip to the Glades this evening so I could test out my camera before our big trip.  If you’ve never been to the Everglades before, it is hard to imagine what it looks like.  It doesn’t look like a swamp.  It’s a peaceful, beautiful, slow moving river teaming with wildlife.

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The most savage beast of the glades is the American Alligator.  Fishing here comes with the added challenge of having to reel in the fish before the gators can steal it.  The big gators will often sit below the fishing dock waiting for someone to reel one in and then they’ll pounce.  Tonight we saw several large alligators in the water, which was great.   Additionally, we also saw several baby gators hanging close to shore in the weeds hiding from the larger gators and other predators.

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The Mayor had a lot of luck fishing for blue gill and tilapia with worms.  Goalielocks was fishing for bass, but the bass were not biting.  He had a near miss with a gator and gar.  Gars are a pain in the butt to catch as they’ve got very sharp teeth (and a lot of them) and they’re hard to get off the line.   The gnats were out in full force, so we only stayed out for about an hour and I got plenty of practice with the new camera.

My New Toy

After leaving the nice camera on the shelf for the last year or so I brushed it off, charged its battery and got the lenses ready for graduation.  I bought the T2i for our trip to France back in 2011.   If you’re travelling to Europe or planning any major trip, it is worthwhile to invest in a good camera.    Many museums, cathedrals, castles, palaces and other landmarks prohibit flash photography, so you’ll need a camera that takes good pics in low light.

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Since 2011 my Canon EOS Rebel T2i has served us well, but after 6 years, countless trips to Minnesota, countless hockey tournaments and countless school events culminating with Jake’s graduation it is time to move on.  Truthfully, some of the photos from graduation were a bit cringe worthy.  The T6i comes with an improved lens compared to the T2i.  In addition, the camera is a bit heavy by current standards and lacks the connectivity to smartphones and computers built into the T6i and T7i.

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i can be controlled from my iphone.  No more running and tripping to try and beat the timer when taking a group picture off a tripod.  You can also review and manage images easily on your iphone, which is a huge plus.

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In preparation for my trip overseas, I’ve been playing around with the camera to try and learn the different settings and familiarize myself with it.  Fortunately, my puppies, my guinea pigs  and my kids have been happy to oblige.  My initial review of the Canon Rebel EOS T6i is that it is a huge upgrade compared to the T2i.  It is light, easy to use and easy to navigate the menus.  After my trip I will write a more comprehensive review.   Here are some of the practice pictures.