in which i am considered a real photographer

the OTHER fun thing i did lately was take some cosplay pics! liz’s friend caitlin’s friend rikki had a photographer bail on her, so caitlin recommended me to take the pics! SO MUCH FUN. these girls dressed up in comicbook, videogame, and movie characters.

If you have facebook, we are currently voting on which good stock photos should be in the calendar here:Β

here’s my fave pic


in which i make a thing

SO a few things have happened since i last blogged! but first things first: i made an entryway bench.

i’ve been using an ottoman for the last year and a half, and i didn’t want to dish out the $100+ for a pre-fab particle board number. so i decided to make one from scratch!

i based my plans on this blog post from ana white, and just adjusted some of the measurements since i wanted it a little bit deeper and a little bit taller. (i’m tall and got a big butt, yo.)

went to menard’s and spent $35 on mid-grade construction lumber and went to town.

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all my cut boards. i hate working with a circular saw. a table saw would have been so much better for the project.

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in all seriousness, i wasn’t very careful with squaring things up. if my dad had been watching me do this, he would have made me take it apart and do it right. good thing he doesn’t have to look at it! 

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the first time i thought i was finished, i didn’t put a lip on the front, and i’m so glad i went back and redid it. it looks TONS better than when i first left it and thought it was good enough. i also have to go back to menard’s and get another 1×4 to finish off the bottom edges, and i’m glad i did that, too.


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sitting on my unfinished bench! you can see the bruise where i beat myself up in my sleep, too. (in reality, it’s from hauling that bench off and on my workstation.)

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finished product! i have to stain the very bottom yet, but otherwise it’s good to go. now all i’ve got to do is make the cushion, and it’ll be ready for the entry!Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 9.26.29 PM


buying and tools list:

Shopping List for the Bench (20″ deep, 4′ wide, and 19″ tall)
3: 1×10 @ 12 feet long
2:  1×4 @ 8 feet long
piece of plywood 4’x2′ for back

measuring tape
sander (or if you want to punish yourself, sandpaper and a strong will)
stain/paint of your choice and brush


on friday evening while i was trying to nap, i got a text message from caitlin asking if i wanted to do a photoshoot the next day. i was like, uh, maybe? she got me in touch with the person who wanted it, and on saturday, charlie and i went to mankato to do a photoshoot with a bunch of ladies who are a part of a cosplay calendar! 

i was worried since studio photos aren’t my forte, but the music studio where it was being held actually had a huge green screen we used as well as a couple floodlights. WHEW. i actually went out to amazon yesterday and ordered a continuous lighting kit so i can make it look a little better next week. 

so, we were there for about 3-1/2 hours and got about 6 ladies done. i haven’t done any of the photo touchups yet, but i’m pretty pleased with the overall look of them. plus, photoshop can solve all problems. i know some photographers who are like “get it right in the camera, and you don’t have to use photoshop,” but i am not one of those photographers. 

i’m going back next week to do the rest of the calendar photos, and i’m looking forward to it! it’s pretty fun!

writer’s block

my mom suggested writing something for my dad for father’s day, but i’m coming up blank. everything i’ve wanted to write about my dad i’ve already written. hmmmm.

final thoughts on SD

while the old standbys are fun and tradition, sometimes it’s nice to branch out and try something new. i did a few new things this time around in the black hills. nate and i went to see a cave, skipped rushmore, stopped at mt. coolidge lookout, and actually spent time in custer and sturgis (as opposed to driving through). 

next time i really want to get in on the missile tour, check out the 1880 town, and see the other cave that’s a national monument. i’d also like to venture off the main roads – there is a lot of hills to the west of the main roads. i was talking to my dad a couple days after i came back, and he had a good point: while we do a lot in the hills, there is still more that we haven’t done. 

it might be a matter of making sure that we get out there on a more regular basis. i would be ok with that.

so long, SD

on friday, nate and i got up early and left sturgis a little after 8 a.m. for a long trip home – we drove through and made it back at home base by 6:30. on the way we stopped at al’s oasis for lunch, where i had my chocolate shake. 

but once we crossed the missouri, the west was gone πŸ™ 

i was feeling melancholy about leaving south dakota and watching the hills recede my the rearview mirror. it’s always so short.

but as we headed east toward home, and the grass got a little greener, the trees got a little (ok, a LOT) more prevalent, i began to see why people come to minnesota to vacation. (in fact, after i unpacked the car, i was ready to go to the derry reunion because i felt it was definitely time for a lake.)

we rolled up our driveway, and i was so happy to be home. vacation is awesome, but there’s something about coming home, especially after a week of different landscapes, and seeing the regular with fresh eyes.

hello from SD, thursday :(

so close to the end of vacay. here i am at home, but posting about yesterday. it was a grey day, but we packed up camp in the drizzle and headed north to deadwood. we ended up stopping at pactola reservoir, but it was pretty dreary, so i got creepy pics. got to deadwood for the lunch buffet, which ended up being the cheapest, best food of the trip. threw $20 away on slots, then checked out a miniature train exhibit, the museum, and the visitors’ center. i toured mount moriah without nate (he was sick and stayed at the car; i was sick and decided a tromp through the cold drizzle was a good idea) and checked out wild bill hickock’s and calamity jane’s graves (as well as a bunch of others’). 

then we headed over to lead to see the open pit mine, which was fascinating and disgusting at the same time. 

(meanwhile, this whole time, it was lucky if the temp got above 50ΒΊ – bleah.)

finally got outta deadwood to head to sturgis. i did want to see the motorcycle hall of fame/museum, but entry fees were a little high, so we passed. instead, nate and i checked out the indian motorcycle showroom, nate got his souvenir tshirt, and then we strolled main street. dead as a doorknob, basically. there were a couple kitchy tshirt shops open, but we stumbled into an antique/weirdo shop that was awesome! got a stellar father’s day present there.

spent the night on a bed that was 100x more comfy than the camping cabin mattress, then got up this morning and headed home πŸ™

i stopped at the minuteman missile center on the way to see what the deal was – it’ll have to wait for another trip. then the last stop of the trip was lunch at al’s, where i had the obligatory chocolate malt. crossed the missouri and here nate and i are – home again home again, jiggity jig.

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hello from SD, wildlife wednesday!

you know what’s elusive in the hills? the bighorn sheep. all week nate was on the lookout for a sheep. i hadn’t seen one in years – who knows when. then, while we were at our cabin, nate said, “LOOK.” and there was a sheep standing in the campground. RAN to get my camera and caught him running away. 

anyway, today nate and i went to keystone to get our dose of tacky in. we went by way of hwy 16 and the pigtail bridges, and it was SO FOGGY. i was really nervous driving on the edge of the road in the fog. we made it, and i finished up my prize shopping, got myself a sweatshirt since it was absolutely chilly out, then got a giant ice cream cone. mmmmm. considered the 1880 train, but was $26 a person, which seemed a little high to me. 

on the way home, we stopped at the mt. coolidge lookout, which was an even freakier drive up the side of the hill, but it was worth it. learned about the forest fire in 1988, which lasted only 5-6 days! couldn’t believe that. if it hadn’t been a little foggy yet, we would’ve been able to see some pretty awesome landmarks, but as it was, i was barely able to make out crazy horse through my camera lens. it would’ve been awesome to see the hills give way to the plains. ah well. another time.

back at the cabin, we had the sheep moment, then nate took a nap while i decided a hike through the woods on a minimally maintained trail while in the beginning stages of a cold was a good idea. i took my camera in case of wildlife or attackers (that sucker’s heavy!). it was a good hike until i got to the river i would’ve had to cross if i’d been a through hiker (not yet – another year). 

had a good fire that night! after a few false attempts and about 45 minutes of the wood actually drying out by burning pine needles, the logs finally burned well. watched the fire til it was embers.

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hello from SD, day 4 late!

today nate and i forewent mt rushmore because the line was humongous. instead we drove needles highway and the wildlife loop through custer. i got a high five from a chipmunk! tried to take some star pics that night, but it wasn’t working out that great. πŸ™IMG_0388 IMG_0412 IMG_0420 IMG_0427 IMG_0435 IMG_0454 IMG_0500