The Door is a Jar

Dedicated to seeing the lighter and slightly skewed side of life


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How the #?$! do I use this thing?

Hey friends.  As I mentioned in my last post, I got a new rig for my camera.  In theory, this rig will allow me to mount my camera with the lens facing straight down so that I can take overhead still life shots.  But I gotta say, this thing looks kind of intimidating.  I mean, the more I look, it appears more like some type of “information gathering” device they might use at Gitmo.  Not that I have any first hand knowledge about that!  But seriously? Look at it!

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Where is Sir Laurence Olivier when you need him?  Is it safe?  I.  Don’t.  Know.

But as I think I have said in earlier posts, we don’t learn anything by not trying.  Time to leave the “safe” zone.

Turns out this thing is fairly easy to use, once you know which knob does what.  And really, doesn’t that answer most of life’s burning questions?  Knowing which knob does what?  But I digress…

I was having a bit o’ trouble coming up with subject material.  When in doubt…hit the art supplies cabinet!  I found a box of colored pencils.  And they were mostly sharpened and everything!  I guess I haven’t used them lately…or at all.  I took a few pics.  They look a bit blurry to me, but you will get the idea.

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From the art supplies cabinet, I moved to the next logical location, the kitchen!

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I don’t know if I can taste the freshness…but I can definitely sense the sugar coma.  Speaking of that, today we received a treat from our friend.  I don’t know if means anything that she gave us each one for free, but I think the name says it all.

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To all my friends that are parents, a word of caution.  If the Easter Bunny leaves one of these in your kid’s Easter Basket…Be afraid.  Be very afraid. 🙂

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I’m Back!!!!!!

Hello Friends!  I know it has been far too long since my last blog post.  I went away on vacation, took a bunch of really fun pictures, and proceeded to never blog again.  Well, I am not one for New Years Resolutions. However, I am one for changing up the routine every now and then!  And granted, this is sort of going back to my old routine…but it’s still a change from the current, right?  So we will call that a win.  At least for today.

I have also fallen out of the practice of going on my weekly outings…mostly because this winter has been rather cold, gray, uninspiring…did I mention cold?  Fear not!  I have received a new toy that I plan to use on a weekly basis to help keep those creative juices flowing, even on days when it feels that my blood has stopped.  Say hello to my little friend!

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Have you forgotten already that I speak in movie quotes?  Not to worry.  You’ll be reminded repeatedly.  My new toy is an apparatus I can mount my camera to and take still life pictures.  It was a “gift” from my parents.  They are in the process of cleaning house and asked if I wanted this.  I said “Abso-freakin-lutely!  I need more stuff!”  Well, no I don’t, but I definitely needed this!  Also, the peeps from the TV show “Hoarders” have not approached me…yet.  So I figure I have some time to play with this thang.  Now that I have the stand at my home, I just need to decide on a subject. Hmmmmmm.  Suggestions, anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?


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Vegetables as Art? Heck, Yeah!

Oh sure, flowers and butterflies always get all the attention.  They get invited to the best parties, their phones are always blowing up, treated like P Diddy! Or Ke$ha.

What about vegetables?  Sure, they might not be as obviously pretty (even though in most cases they started as flowers), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting!  You might even say they have a sense of humor!  Ok, even I wouldn’t say that.  But come on, give ’em a chance to shine!  And on more than just the plate!

So after you have lavished all the love and attention on the flowers, don’t forget to save just a little for the beauty of those that will soon dress our dinner plate.

Wow, I better go get something to eat.


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Bugs Besides Butterflies

Butterflies sure are pur-ty.  But there are other bugs that photograph well, if you can catch them in action.  For example, bees are loads of fun.

Caterpillars are also pretty cool.  Although some might argue that they are just pre-butterfly.  Some might also argue that they are not hard to catch on film as they move rather slowly.  To those people I say, “Look, I took over 300 pictures in just two hours.  I have tons of material I would like to share, which means sometimes the lines have to be blurred a little.  So, how ’bout I write the blog post, and you just read, ok? Ok.”

“Ummmm, we’re cool right?”

But, the bug that really tops them all, the pièce de résistance, is the dragonfly.

Why is the dragonfly special?  Aside from just looking really cool, those buggers (no pun intended) are really difficult to get in focus.  I think it’s the clear wings.  I’m happy, I got one!

What can I say?  Bugs besides butteryflies…are beautiful!


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What do you know?

I have attempted to write my tutorial post this week almost as many times as Ernest Hemingway rewrote the ending to “A Farewell To Arms” (click here to learn more about that!).  I’m sorry but that is just too many…for me.  I thought I would keep it simple this week and recommend a source that I found incredibly useful.

Kelby Training is a website that offers tons of educational information about digital photography and post processing.  It is a subscription service, but every day they offer 75 free day passes.  If you get on the website early enough you can score one of those and watch as many of the videos as you want during the 24 hour trial period.  I recommend choosing a day when you have absolutely nothing else to do.  Yeah I know, who has one of those?

I would also like to encourage comments and a dialogue.  Have you found any particular books or websites helpful when it comes to digital photography?

P.S. I figured out today how to add links to my blog.  Could you tell?


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Random Pics Around Town

I tried.  I really tried to limit my posts this week to three.  I kind of burned one with “Blogger’s Block” that maybe I shouldn’t have because now I am feeling post withdraw symptoms.

Because it’s Friday and because I have the DAY OFF (woo hoo!), I am going to do a post.  Not a Feature Friday post, but hopefully a funny, insightful post about totally random things from last weekend’s walk.  How can someone be funny and insightful and random all at the same time?  Great question.  I have no idea, but we’re gonna give it a shot!

It seems only fitting based on the title of my blog, that I would occasionally show some pictures of doors.  This door is on one of my favorite homes in West Chester.  In fact, this is my “dream house”.  I had the pleasure of being inside this house because it was featured a few years ago on the Chester County Day tour.  That was a huge mistake.  I was smitten already just from the outside, but once I saw the interior, it was true loooove.  Or maybe you would call that obsession.  It’s ok, I only ride past it a few times a day.

So how cool of a Phillies fan would I be if I painted my house to match the team colors?  In 2008, it would have been a “fan”tastic idea.  This year?  Not so much.  But hey, the St. Louis Cardinals came back from 10 games out to win the whole thing last year.  There’s still time, right?  RIGHT????

This umbrella was just sitting on that short piece of the lawn that is in between the sidewalk and the street.  It must have been left there overnight.  This must be a nice neighborhood.

This is a photo of the West Chester Public Library.  It is truly one of the most interesting buildings ever.  In my house, it’s all about library books anymore.  I love that I can have books delivered here from any other branch.  It also gives me an excuse to go inside and ogle the architecture.  You might have noticed, I like to do that.

“I used to be a driveway once.  What the hell happened?”

I can’t tell if the herd gathered overnight to keep warm or they are staging a protest by linking together.  Thoughts?


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Who’s the geek with the tripod? Oh, it’s me.

Video clip from Sixteen Candles

There are many, many reasons I love this scene, but I have a new-found appreciation for it now that I am a total camera geek.

For example:

1)  While I question in general the use of a Polaroid camera at night because there is no way to adjust the aperture or the shutter speed to allow enough light in for a good exposure, I do understand why they need the tripod.  It is the only way possible not to have a complete blurry mess, assuming they can get enough light using the flash. I TOLD you I was a camera geek.  It’s not as if you weren’t WARNED.

2)  Did you notice how angry Farmer Ted is getting because of how long John Cusack and….and…and the other guy are taking to set up and get the shot?  It’s funny because it’s true!  If you have never used a tripod, you will just have to trust me.  Tripods, especially old school tripods like mine will slow down a photo shoot to a screeching halt.  AND if you only have two hours planned, tripod set up starts to eat away at your precious time very quickly.  I am grateful that I have a tripod at all, but watching me use it might be funnier than a John Hughes movie.  You know the scene in Sixteen Candles with Joan Cusack and the water fountain?  She is a vision of grace and poise compared to me using my tripod.  How’s that for a visual?  Not good enough?  Here ya go!

Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles

Soooo, now I am on the hunt for an easy to use tripod.  Seriously, I am looking for feedback.  If any of you have any good or bad experiences with a tripod, I want to hear from you!  I think a trip to New York is in my future to visit the B&H Super Store and give some a test drive, but I think this is a case of too much information is not enough.

Ideally, I am looking for a carbon fiber, quick release ball head, multi angle leg, light weight compact unit.  Maybe with a bubble level and throw in a turbo charge! [Insert Tim Allen grunt sound here]

 Tim Allen

I’m so glad I did this post in black and white.  It just captured the moment so nicely.