Archive for April, 2010

So…I’m probably going to end up making post after post about the baby moving around but I just can’t help myself. It seems her dancing for a half hour while I read in bed early this week was the kick-off point and now I feel her a lot more.

Last night when I went to bed, C lay down next to me for a while. I felt her kicking so I lay on my back and he put his hand on my belly to try and feel a kick. Mostly he felt my heartbeat, but there were a couple of kicks that he said he might have felt. It’s not all that easy for even me to tell the difference between heartbeat, baby kick, or his hand twitching, so that stays a maybe. But it does give hope that maybe he’ll feel it for sure next week or the week after.


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Check engine light on in the van…

So I mention to C that the check engine light is on in the van. This is how the IM conversation goes:

Me: it’s been on since lunch yesterday but I forgot to mention it yesterday. I’m not worried…nothing’s changed. I mean, it doesn’t sound different or anything
Him: Oh, babe, we needed to get that checked this morning. I wish you’d told me
Me: I know, I’m sorry
Him: We’re not driving three hours to Chicago with a pregnant woman in a van with the check engine light on
Me: if something happens, your family or mine can come get us, but I don’t think it’s likely at all
Him: ಠ_ಠ
Me: oh come on 😛 We have cell phones, it’ll only be dark for the last half hour or so, and we’ll be close then anyway. The check engine light goes on for all kinds of things
Him: ಠ_ಠ
Me: [my co-worker] points out that we can go to autozone and they’ll tell us what the problem is for free. His has been on for two years
Him: ಠ_ಠ
I’m still laughing, especially when I picture his very expressive face with that look. We decided to take it to Autozone and if it’s a real problem we’ll ask to take his mom’s van instead. Yay compromise!
Update: turns out it’s just the O2 sensor, which we had a problem with before…I remember not fixing it, he remembers fixing it, so we’ll have to check that. But it will be fine for the trip up to Chicago. I always prefer to take our own vehicle, so I’m happy.

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Camera settings

An excellent comment on Reddit explaining the technical basics of photography. I’m reposting it here so I can come back to it later:

Honestly, if you just move the dial to “M” mode and tape it there, after a week you will be far and away better than 90% of amateurs out there. That’s what everyone had to do until the 70s, and they didn’t even have a screen to make sure they got exposure right.

Here are the basics of what you need to know:

There are three camera settings that control exposure – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Set the Iso as low as you can for the amount of light you have (daylight 100-400, twilight ~800, indoor 800-3200), then set shutter and aperture according to fine adjustments in lighting. There is a lightmeter inside the camera; use it, then check exposure on your screen to make sure it’s okay.

Shutter speed (1/60, 1/125, 1/250, etc) is the amount of time the shutter is open. A rule is to keep the shutter speed at 2x the length of the lens to get sharp handheld shots (18mm = ~1/60, 50mm = 1/125) – this can be knocked down significantly once you get better.

1/15 is for getting blur on slow objects while panning example, and 1/125 is just about the fastest you can use for panning fast objects. 1/250 will freeze sports with less motion, and by about 1/500 you should be fast enough for most action.

Aperture (also f-stops) is how wide the lens is open. Small numbers correspond to large openings. f/2.8 is rather large, f/16 is rather small. Small aperture numbers (large openings) mean less is in focus. (Think of it this way – if you need glasses, take them off. Looking through squinted eyes or making a small hole between your index finger and thumb will make everything look sharper.)

So – shallow depth of field (less in focus) – f/2.8. Deep depth of field (more in focus) – f/11.

Finally, ISO. Iso is simply how sensitive to light your camera is. 100 is the best one because it gives you the best image quality, but in lower light you can go down higher and higher until you are able to shoot (100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200). I would recommend trying to stay under 1600 90% of the time. Only go to 3200 if you really need it; the image quality gets pretty bad.

Edit: White Balance has been requested.

If you shoot jpeg, white balance is very important. If you shoot raw, it’s okay to just leave the camera on Auto white balance and get it later in Raw processing. Raw doesn’t set white balance, so changing it in post is the same as if you changed it in camera.

For jpeg, you should get white balance as close to correct the first time. White balance is set around color temperature theory. If you think about how temperature interacts with color, as temperature goes up, color changes from warm to cool colors, with blue at the highest.

White balance relies on color temperature. It is measure in Kelvin (K). Candlelight is a white balance of ~1900k. An incandescent lightbulb is about 3000k, horizon daylight is ~5000k, and normal daylight is about 7000k. The easiest way is to use preset WB settings (daylight, shade, fluorescent, incandescent, cloudy, etc).

If you want to do a little more, though, you can make sure your white balance is 100% accurate every time. White balance is all about balancing the color of the image so that whites actually appear white. Under different light sources, whites will appear too blue (strobes), green (fluorescent lights), or yellow/red (incandescent). Worse still, each type of light varies in white balance according to how it’s manufactured, and even its age.

The best thing you can do is take a manual white balance reading. Any dslr has this function. It’s best to carry a white or grey card with you for this purpose.

Comment is here.

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Baby dancing in my belly

Last night I sat up in bed to read for a while…ended up reading for a lot longer than I intended, but that was partially because the baby started bouncing around, more than I’ve ever felt before. I felt her moving around for at least a half hour! Up till then, I’d only felt a nudge here or there, maybe a couple in a row, but I couldn’t always tell the difference between muscle spasms and baby punches.

She must have been facing my back, because I mostly felt bumps on my intestines. They started with a few jolts to the lower area and pretty soon there were also bumps a few inches higher. Felt like she was kickboxing my spine. I also felt some bumps in the front, and managed to have my hand on my belly for a couple of them, but I couldn’t tell if I’d actually felt them with my hand or if it was just my heartbeat.

Speaking of which: I don’t know if I just didn’t notice before I was pregnant, or maybe it’s the fact that I now have approximately 35-40% more blood than I used to, but I can feel my heartbeat in my belly. I can feel it in my skin and with my hand, which seems weird to me. I can see it on my tummy.

C came over and stared at my belly for a while. It’s covered in hair now, really fuzzy. The soft skin formerly inside my belly button, that hasn’t seen the light of day in 30 years, is now poking out to say hi, and he laughed at the face I made when I realized how shallow it is. I love these moments, he and I and our baby, enveloped in the magic of what will be; he pokes me curiously, calls to the baby, “Helloooo, Kaelie” and holds my belly in his hands with love.

Big change is coming.

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I love the way he touches and talks to my belly. Last night as we were falling asleep, he said something about how I was going to have to pry our daughter out of his arms. No no, it’s okay, he’ll hold her to the breast when she’s hungry.

It’s been five and a half years, a year married in May, and I still can’t believe my luck.

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It’s a girl!

The woman doing the sonogram was very certain: it’s definitely a girl.

Yay! I know how to decorate a girl’s room. I’ve even got lots of pretty things to put in it. And though C disagrees, I’m pretty sure the second bedroom in the new place is already pink, and while I’m not generally a huge fan of pink, at least we don’t “have to” repaint it.

It was, once again, pretty amazing to look at my baby inside me. Holy shit this kid has grown. Of course the sonogram gives you a cross-section so we could see all the major organs and bones, though we had to have her tell us what was what on a lot of them. What really got me was the feet (ZOMG CUTE BABY FEET!) which is weird because I’ve never taken all that much notice of feet unless you count the necessary amount of attention that my D width, crazy-thick feet require in order to get shod.

We’ll have the pictures up on Smugmug and Facebook in a bit.

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Can’t get enough eggs. It helps that, at least while I’m pregnant, I’m not having the all-day egg burps that I always had when I ate them hard-boiled before. Got a taste for one right now…it might send me home from work earlier than I intended.

I’ve also been craving sugar like…I dunno, this is pretty bad. I may not have very much willpower right now but these cravings are strong enough that I don’t know if I’d be able to resist them either way. I’m putting off my chocolate craving of the last four hours or so with the knowledge that I have Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food in the freezer at home.

Also this heartburn is getting seriously old. I didn’t use to really mind it but it’s every freaking day now. If I slouch too much, eat too much, sit wrong, I pay for it with an hour of burny esophagus. Doesn’t help that these pants, which are comfy enough most of the time, get a little too snug after a full day of sitting at my desk.

Baby kicking feels less like popcorn now and more like muscle spasms in my abdomen; I’d assume that’s what it was except the pattern’s wrong (like, nonexistent). I still haven’t managed to have my hand there when I feel one so I can see if they can be felt through my belly fat, but I’m guessing not yet. I have at least an inch of fat on my stomach so I think it’s still going to be a while.

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