Experimenting with my new D-SLR Camera, the Canon t4i

For our 6 month anniversary as Amanda called it (which happens to be December 25th/Christmas), Amanda gave me a present that I have been wanting for years, but had not purchased for myself: a Digital SLR Camera. Before buying, she consulted withmy sister in law/professional photographer Michelle Sauer who helped her decide on getting the Canon t4iĀ EOS rebel with the 18-200mm zoom lens.

While I am still a newbie when it comes to using these cameras, I do understand that this configuration will help me be able to shoot landscapes very well – which is perfect, because that is the type of photos I most enjoy taking. I am most excited about this camera, because I plan to use it on my upcoming trips to Turkey and French Polynesia in April and June. I should be able to find some great subjects to photograph with my new toy!

In the meantime, I took the camera with me everywhere I went and experimented with taking photos to get the hang of things. I also had Michelle demonstrate some of the finer points of the camera to me in order to better understand what I am doing.

The result? Many photos of food from our Christmas dinner, our family foosball tournament and New Years eve. Of the 200+ photos taken, I was able to find around 20 photos that didn’t totally suck. Here you go!

Christmas Charcuterie Appetizer

Christmas Charcuterie Appetizer

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A Morning in Ketchikan Alaska

By the time we woke up on Thursday morning, the ship was already docked in Ketchikan. We only had a few hours in port, so we hastily got ready for the day and got off the ship as soon as possible. The ship was required to leave at 11:45 AM, so we wanted to make the most out of our short time in the city.

Ketchikan is a very unique city and I found it to be very beautiful as well. We were told that the city receives rain over 200 days a year, so it was surprising to see the sun while we were there. We also learned that the climate of Ketchikan is actually much warmer than Minnesota’s climate, that it rarely gets below 30 in the winter, and the summers are mild and not nearly as humid. I always thought Alaska would be much colder than Minnesota, but that’s not always the truth.


As soon as we got off the ship, we were once again greeted by several people trying to sell us day trips. Since we only had a limited amount of time in port, we decided to forgo an excursion and play things by ear for the day. My dad had heard about a lumberjack show that was taking place, and really wanted to go. I wasn’t too interested in going because it seemed like a ripoff ($36 for a one hour show… and the show went until 11:45 AM), but I caved when I realized there really weren’t many other options.

We had a few hours to kill before the show, so we walked around the town to see what it was all about. From what I heard, Ketchikan is a fishing village, and is actually the launching point for much of the deep sea fishing that takes place in Alaska. This definitely sounded accurate, as there were tons of boats in the harbor (to go along with the great views and photo ops).

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Skagway and Yukon Train Ride – Alaska Day 4

Day 4 of the trip was Tuesday, and our port of call was Skagway. We actually pulled into port some time during the early morning, so by the time we woke up, we were already docked.

After getting ready, we left the ship to go on a hike that was an “unpublished” free excursion that took us a few miles out of Skagway. My dad had received an article about this potential excursion from his neighbor, who had ready about it in AARP magazine. Sounds like quite the workout if it comes from AARP (American Association for Retired People). That was sarcasm; it didn’t really sound like it would be too strenuous at all.

So we took off walking and looked for the trail just outside of town. We found it pretty easily and crossed a very cool foot bridge that overlooked a flowing river. From there, we started on a path to Yakutania Point, our intended destination. It was about a half a mile hike to the point, and we ended up getting there pretty easily.

The point was pretty cool, and I was able to get some good landscape shots from that point of view. There were several very smooth rocks that we had to climb over in order to get an unobstructed view of the water and the harbor where our ship was docked.

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Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier – Alaska Day 3

Monday morning was our time to see whales. Dad and I woke up early and perched on our balcony the entire morning in search of some whales. We learned during the talk yesterday that this was one of our best chances to see whales during our cruise. That’s all we needed to hear, as dad and I got out our respective digital still cameras, dad’s HD Camcorder (1080i beeehotch), and some trusty binoculars.

We sat out there drinking coffee on and off for several hours, and I was the only one to see a whale (I saw two, but I mostly only saw the whale tails… and I’m not talking thong underwear). I was actually a little disappointed, because I was so focused on trying to get a photo of the whale that I didn’t even give myself a chance to appreciate the beauty in real life (thank god for photos!) We whale watched the rest of the morning (with a gluttonous stop at the breakfast buffet once again), and sat on the balcony up until the point the ship landed in Juneau for the day.

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