Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lyra at the Playground, Luray, Virginia

There is no setting more suited to getting great photos of kids than a playground. Luray has a small park in the center of town with lots of good old playground equipment. The kids especially loved the see-saw, which did not have any of the modern safety features of newer versions.

While all the kids played, due to some combination of their behavior and operator error with the camera, Lyra ended up best represented in decent photos. These are not as sharp as I would like. I was trying to set the shutter speed for motion blur in the background, and ended up with too much blur in the subjects. The results were also helped by the fact that (when she is in the mood) Lyra actually likes to pose for the camera, and most of these shots had her cooperation. Lyra especially loves the monkey bars, and as usual ended up with blisters on her palms. She worked hard to pose holding on with just one hand.

Via iPad

Love places like this!

Pack's Frozen Custard in New Market VA.



Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Cathleen Phelps

More photos of Luray Caverns in Virginia

I shot these handholding my 7D. I also tried flash, but generally did not like it. Someone smarter than me on our tour brought a tripod, but with my wife and three kids that would have been too much. And on Saturday afternoon the tour was packed. I need to go back alone at some point alone with better gear for low light. As my friend Joe Nash says, it's the difference between going somewhere and taking photos vs going somewhere TO take photos. Luray Caverns is designed for heavy tourist traffic. Our guide said 3,000 people on a heavy day. WikiPedia says 500,000 in a year (which would imply more than 3,000 on busy days in season). The path through the cave is paved, and the cave is well lit with electric lights. The guide told us they actually wash the cave formations once a year because of all the dirt introduced by the tourists. This was a far cry from our cave experience in Belize where we basically had to swim into a cave and the only light source was our headlamp and the guide's flashlight.

A more significant difference from Belize was in the use of the cave by Native Americans. In Belize, where there is also a dense cave system, the caves were extensively used by the Maya. In Luray Caverns the evidence of earlier human use is very limited and inconclusive. For such a large and spectacular enclosed space this surprises me.

Via iPad

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cave Formation, Luray Caverns, Luray Virginia


> These incredible caverns were discovered in 1878 and basically saved this little town from bankruptcy. They are about 35 acres underground and have the best cave formations I have ever seen.

Cave Formation, Luray Caverns, Luray Virginia

These incredible caverns were discovered in 1878 and basically saved this little town from bankruptcy. They are about 35 acres underground and have the best cave formations I have ever seen. Sent from Bill Phelps' iPhone

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Driving the Tesla Roadster #fire11

I could not resist the opportunity to test drive the electric Tesla Roadster this morning. It is crazy fast, handles like a go kart and the only sounds are the wind and tires. I wish I had it for the day and a long winding mountain road. The electric motor is very fast in bursts (0 - 60mph in 3.9sec), but overheats under sustained load, so unfortunately the car is not feasible to run on a race track - so no Tesla race series for the time being. Too bad because it would be great marketing. 200 mile range between charges, so an expensive toy, but one that is very fun.


Via iPad

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo Day for Lyra's Ballet Class


was yesterday and we took our own photo in the garden.  I don't know where she got the idea to pose like this!

Lyra takes ballet at Tiny Dancers.  The kids got to vote on the recital theme, the choices being (unfortunately) a bunch of Disney movie titles. Aladdin was the winner. I have never seen this movie but her class's dance has something to do with finding an oasis. The girls wear these funny little costumes with these old fashioned bathing cap things and they will be dancing to Surfin' Safari by the Beach Boys. How exactly this relates to the theme of Aladdin, I am not quite sure. I guess someone sees a connection between the Oasis and the beach but that is a big stretch for me.  Personally, I would prefer actual classical ballet themes and music, but the kids do have a lot of fun and they sure are cute. Maybe things get a little more traditional in the older classes.

Lyra is going to try a tap/hip hop class this summer.  She *desperately* wants tap shoes, what little girl doesn't?  Not a lot of hip hop fans in this household but I can't wait to see what she learns this summer.  I anticipate some fun video opportunities!

Posted via email from Cathleen Phelps

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Tasting Notes - Leeuwin Estate Art Series - 2000 Margaret River Chardonnay

Circle Wine & Liquors in DC is liquidating their premium Australian wines (25% off all wines over $25). I am indulging in some of the better bottles. It is really great that they have cellared some these wines for a number of years.

Aged Chardonnay, typically only seen with White Burgundy, is a very special treat. This wine was only 11 years old, but it was a beautiful amber color, and the flavor had shifted from fruit toward aged mineral and earth notes. I would give this a 4/5 on my scale. It was a fantastic wine worth savoring, but lacked a little of the OMG impact of an aged white Burgundy.


Via iPad

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Las Vegas or Rome?

Caesar's Palace copy of a Roman fountain. No gelato nearby.


Sent from Bill Phelps' iPhone