Autumn Sunset & Sunrise Photography with Your Digital Camera!

October 17th, 2008

God's Power

With the shortening days (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere) we are being treated to some of the most glorious sunsets and sunrises.  Do you have trouble capturing sunsets or sunrises?  If so, here are a few tips to help you capture all those blazing colors.

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Don’t just let them sit there! Post your photos to the Internet!

September 29th, 2008

Directions, please!

Are you taking photos and letting them sit in your computer’s digital dungeons, or worse, on a memory card? What a shame since sites like Flickr are just a mouse click away. I spent several hours at a harvest festival outside of our city this weekend. The colors and the festivites were so vibrant; there was no end to photo opportunities.

This little Halloween teddy bear came into my possession (my husband won him in a “fish pond”). I loved his strong orange color and decided to add him to my shots. He turned out to be the perfect subject, so well-behaved and so patient.

I could have posted this photo of him as I had taken it, but Flickr also offers this cool photo manipulation program called, “Picnik.” And well, using Picnik, is as much fun as a picnic. And it’s so easy.

You can do it, too. Like I did, you can manipulate (tweak) your photo’s colors, contrast, and midtones. And you can add a frame or text, like the orange text I added to the white sign. It was just crying out for a little creativity.

Flickr is so easy to use and it’s free unless you choose to go “Pro” and even that is ridiculously inexpensive.

Go on. Get your photos out of your computer’s digital dungeon and share them with friends and family. Or the world.

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you safe and happy travels,
Sheree Zielke

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How to Find the BEST Cruise Deals! Start with Vacations-To-Go!

September 25th, 2008

Mexican Coastline by Sheree Zielke

Are you yearning for the open seas?  A vista complete with swaying palm trees and exotic lands?  Someplace that isn’t here (where you are at the moment)?

Then grab a cup of coffee and settle down with your computer for at least 45 minutes.  You are about to go on an adventure, a cruise, the first cruise you should take before booking your real cruise.

Your first port of call?  Vacations To Go.

Read on . . .

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Cheap Flights: Fly on Specific Days During the Holidays & Tips for Making Money While Traveling!

September 18th, 2008

Plane Tails by Sheree Zielke

Yes, Virginia, there are cheaper days to fly, especially during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And if you plan your flight schedule to include connecting, instead of direct flights, you will save a bundle.

It’s true.  The airlines lower their fees on holiday days and days surrounding holidays because fewer travelers are choosing those days.  If you can opt for some of the cheaper flying dates, you could save enough for another flight on a later date.

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Urban Blight: Graffiti Art or “Street Soul”

September 15th, 2008

Sundown Graffiti by Sheree Zielke

Some of us call it urban blight, some of us call it street soul, some of us call it a shame, while others of us simply call it, “beautiful.”

Is there a city or town in the world that doesn’t sport its share of graffiti?  Our city in central Alberta is no different.  And while our city has sent out its graffiti-removal brigade, thank goodness the cleaning squad hasn’t found all of it.  This artwork, with its nasty invectives and racial slurs, especially viewed against the backdrop of the setting sun, can be very intriguing.

Read on . . .

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What to do in Houston, Texas? Look for the Red Cat Jazz Cafe!

September 7th, 2008

Houston, Texas Downtown Buildings by Sheree Zielke

At first blush, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to be “going back to Houston,” like the old pop song advocates.  This massive city struck me as cold and impersonal, and sadly lacking in human energy.  Houston, we have a problem.

But that was before I found the Red Cat Jazz Cafe.

Read on . . .

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San Antonio – An Awesome Value Vacation Especially After Labor Day!

September 4th, 2008

Yellow Rose Named Leonardo

San Antonio, Texas is, simply put, one heck of a great vacation destination.  It is family-friendly, it is easy to navigate, it offers many activities and adventures, and there are no crowds right after Labor Day.   But even when there are crowds (like on the Labor Day weekend), San Antonio is a must-see.  And, a caution here, a couple of days just won’t be enough time.

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Hurricane Gustav has its perks! You could wind up in San Antonio!

September 1st, 2008

Mission San Jose by Sheree Zielke

(An early morning view of the beautiful Mission San Jose in San Antonio’s Missions National Park.)

Thank you, Hurricane Gustav.  We are sitting high and dry in one of the loveliest cities in North America, San Antonio. We are supposed to be in New Orleans. But thanks to a little convincing by Gustav and American officials, we changed our plans.

On the day we were set to arrive in NOLA, evacuation orders forced nearly two million folks to leave the southern seaboard.  We had planned a holiday riding the rails, the Amtrak rails, but the trains were needed to take people out of New Orleans, so Amtrak cancelled our reservations.

We were in Houston (another area slated to be hit by Gustav) so we had no choice but to rent a car and head north to San Antonio.  In fact, on our way, we passed a convoy of 2 dozen buses that were heading south on a rescue mission.  Later, on TV, we watched as an endless line of buses, filled with those folks escaping the storm, headed away to safer zones like Dallas and Houston.

Now we are watching as the eye of Gustav makes landfall — the good news, maybe, for New Orleans, is that the eye will be passing farther to the west than expected.

But in the meantime, we are in San Antonio, where we have rented a comfortable house, we have walked the famous Riverwalk, we have ridden the canal boats, we have paid homage to the Alamo, and we have made an early morning trek to the old Spanish missions.  What a joy!

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Our Disappearing Heritage along Western Canada Roadways!

August 22nd, 2008

Old Building in Alberta

I felt a pang, no, a pain, that swept through me in an instant as I beheld the old decrepit building with its weathered facade and its old-fashioned architectural detals.  The pain was one of nostalgia, a yearning of things long gone, things that made my childhood magical, things that most children will never understand in today’s fast food world.

Except for my grandkids.

As long as I can walk and talk, as long as I can get into a car, and pack them along with me, my grandchildren will be introduced to my past, my heritage – a heritage in danger of disappearing altogether under the pressures of weather, urban sprawl, industry, and . . . time.

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Digital Camera Lessons – They are FREE online! Just Google them!

August 11th, 2008

Alford Lake by Sheree Zielke

Have you been told to shoot in RAW?  Have you looked at photographs that seem not up to par?  Are you having trouble getting great shots from your expensive DSLR?

Then maybe you should put down the camera, and do some reading instead.

Read on . . .

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