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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Magic Garden


My Uncle Bob gave us a gift bag of cool little toys. He said, "I figured I'd let you guys decide who gets what." Now this is how to give gifts. One bag, no wrapping, all the family in one shot. You have to admire it.

After all the bloody feuding over toys was done, we ended up with the "Magic Garden" (among others). It has a packet of paper cut outs in tree and grass shapes (coated with metal salts), you set it up and pour on the "Magic Solution" (sodium silicate) and in a few hours you have a pretty little chemical crystal garden that can be completely destroyed by a finger. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's some web sites: and a picture of our brand of little garden -- the whole size is about 20cm x 12cm x 12 cm.

Good opportunity to experiment with the new lenses. I was having a really hard time with my exposures and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out my camera (S5000 set on manual and jpg file format) is too smart for it's own good. I took a series of shots with my external flash varying the shutter speed and apature and got the exact same picture each time... that is "1/2000s at f9" gave me the same result as "1/60s at f9" as "1/500s at f3.2" or "1/60s at f9". Ye gods, it was frustrating. Pointing the flash directly at the subject gave me a modicum of control back, but it wasn't the effect I wanted. I think now that I have a bigger memory card, I'm going to go Raw and see if that gives me what I want. I'll try that tomorrow when I have another block of time. Posted by Picasa

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