Where Was I?






What do you think?

Where do you think I went yesterday when I was in NYC?

Cue Jeopardy music.

Okay. I’ll tell you. B & H Photo – my favorite camera store in the world. I was buying my Christmas present. A new camera!!!

This is a very extravagant Christmas present for this family, but we pooled some gift money we had on hand and some of my ad income and Etsy income and, and, and…..I got this camera:


Eeeek! I am so friggin’ excited I cannot tell you. I am over the moon.

But, as always, when I buy something that I consider extravagant for myself, I feel guilty.

A list of what ifs goes through my head. What if something goes wrong? What if that money is needed for something else? Do you do that? Please reassure me that I’m not a selfish brat. Don’t say anything if you think I am a selfish brat.

But this is about my blog and my Etsy shop and taking my photos to the next level.

And I love, love, love photography.

I took the bus in. Took care of some quick business when I first arrived. Walked to B & H from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Went upstairs to cameras and told the lovely lady who waited on me what I wanted (I had printed out the items from their website.) B & H, if you’ve never been there, has the most amazing system. You place your order, it’s entered into the computer, at some point during your conversation a blue box pops up from the bowels of the store with your items in it, the clerk scans all the codes but hangs on to the box, you are given a receipt, and you go downstairs to pay. In the meantime, your order travels on an elevated trolley system and somehow ends up downstairs, bagged and ready for you once you’ve paid your bill. This place is unbelievable. And it’s always packed with people, especially at this time of year. I mean, there were hundreds of people buying things there, yet the lines moved quickly and efficiently. I got there around 11:10. I was out of there and back at Port Authority by 11:45. That includes walking about 10 city blocks each way. I hopped on the 12:30 bus and was back home by 2:15.

Since it was a rainy day (endless rain lately) and it was dark, the photos I took have lamp light in them. Not the optimum scenario, but look how great they came out! I took these without doing any reading of the manual. I was experimenting with focusing on one item and blurring the background.

And of course, I had to take a picture of Scout.  She was thinking, of course, where is my food?

There’s a little orb in the dollhouse photo, but I sort of like it. And let me tell you, I have never been able to get a photo of the exterior of the dollhouse that I like. Now, I have.

Look how great the doily lamp looks, so clear, so wonderful.



Bokeh. I’ve been a wanting a camera lens that can do that. Bokeh: the way a lens renders out-of-focus points of light. (Wikipedia)

I’m in heaven.

I have much to learn but it will keep me busy while I’m missing my husband.

And I have some work coming up at the end of next week, a few days on a play my friend is directing in Hartford. 3 days next week and 2 more when the play goes into tech rehearsals during the second week of January. I have to decide what to do with Scout – do I take her with me and worry constantly whether she will bark when I’m at rehearsal (and she well might, she’d be nervous) or do I board her at my Vets. I’ve never boarded her because she was a rescue and I didn’t want to do that to her, but she just stayed at the Vets for 2 days when she was sick and she knows everyone. I’d know she was safe. Advice?

I’m off to play with my camera.

Happy, happy, happy.

Oh, a new scarf in the shop:


Happy Wednesday.



Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponPrint this page


  1. says

    I have the Cannon EOS 7D. You will love it. The only downfall is that it is heavy. Can’t wait to see what kind of pics you take:)

    • Claudia says

      I think the Rebel series is lighter in weight, Dawn. In fact this camera is lighter than my Canon Bridge Camera.

  2. Carol Killian says

    Dear friend,
    Congratulations on your present! You deserve and enjoy it. Scout would probably be more content(familiar) at the vet’s office.
    The sun is shining in middle TN. Shopping for me today…only a few more gifts. Have a wonderful day.

  3. says

    Cool camera! One note of advice (I worked at a vet years ago), if you board Scout, make sure someone will walk her a bit every day. Older dogs really need that.

  4. says

    Congratulations! I love Bokeh! I got an early Christmas present this year. Hubby bought me a very nice 50 mm portrait lens that the fstop goes all the way down to f stop 1.4! I love it! It creates magical bokeh! I love photography too! In 5th grade I developed my own black and white film and was hooked ever since. About 1-1/2 years ago I bought myself a Canon 60D with a 85-135 mm kits lens and love it!

    Can’t wait to see all the beautiful pics you will create. At first I shot in automatic but now the lens is usually always on manual. The possibilities for creativity are endless! See many of your dreams are coming true. You have beautiful Mabel and now the camera of your dreams. I know you are missing Don. So glad you have Scout to keep you company. He may get tired having to endlessly pose for the camera :)

    • Claudia says

      I bought a 50mm lens with f/1.8 along with the camera, Sandy for just that reason. That’s the one that creates the bokeh. I usually use the manual setting – thought I have to learn a lot about this camera’s settings. My other camera is a high-end Canon Power shot and I got used to working in Manual because I could do so much more with it.

      • says

        You are off to a great start and way ahead of the game since you’re already used to working with the manual settings. Do you have a tripod? During these dark gray days my house is so dark that I need to really slow down the shutter speed to let enough light in to get a good picture without flash. I hate using the inboard flash. Some day I hope to get an external flash. I’m so happy for you. Glad to hear that good things are happening in your life after the scare with Scout a few weeks ago. As far as boarding Scout, she did well when she was at the vet’s for a couple days right? She should be okay since she knows them and they treat her really well. That way you won’t have to worry about leaving her in an unfamiliar place and about the possibility of her barking. Wow! It sounds like you’ll be really busy and that’s good. Glad to hear that you got the 50 mm lens too. You’ll love it! Now you can really get creative with your photography.

  5. says

    Congrats on the new camera! I have one that my guy ordered for me from B & H in New York! I wish I could visit this amazing store. I love my Cannon EOS 10D but it is heavy so I got a Cannon PowerShot SX40 to take with me when I travel. You are not selfish! Blogging is important and a source of income for you and photos are what it’s all about. I bought my new camera using money from my first Social Security check…yep I did! Enjoy and keep busy. I also think Scout would be happier boarding at the Vets.

    hugs, Linda

    • Claudia says

      The Rebel series is lighter in weight, I think, Linda, than the 7D and 10D. I’m hanging on to my other camera simply because it’s good and is smaller – so that I can switch back and forth.

  6. says

    I’ve often thought it was time to move beyond my little Canon point and shoot. A few people have mentioned that the Canon Rebel is fantastic; I’m confused by the options within just that one category. I guess I need to do more research, visit a couple of camera stores, casting inertia aside. Have fun with your camera. (Perhaps you’re able to claim it as a legitimate business expense on your taxes, as your blog/Etsy does provide a source of income. I imagine you’re already looked into those sorts of things for part of the house and so forth.)

    Good Luck with Scout; you know her best. This is when a wonderful neighbour would be very handy.


    • Claudia says

      The newest Rebel is the t4i – just came out this year, I believe. It’s more expensive than the one I have – which is why I went with the t3i. I will claim it on my taxes. We’re used to doing that as we freelance and have a lot of expenses to itemize. I also will claim the new laptop I got this year. And I use the laptop for my blog and for my coaching business.

  7. susie says

    Hi Claudia, That is the camera I have been wanting. I do not know if I will get it for Christmas. But I will buy it for my b-day, if I don’t .LOL. Enjoy it, maybe taking photos for others will help pay for it…don’t feel guilty Claudia, you deserve this camera. You have been having all those repairs, tree choppings, poor doggie health issues…you deserve that camera girlfriend.xo,Susie

  8. says

    Congratulations!!!! I have a Canon Rebel XS EOS an just love it. I’m sure you’ll feel even more excited after you’ve worked with it a bit more. Those are wonderful cameras, sugar, just wonderful!

  9. says

    Totally envious of your new camera! My camera died the other day. That’s the same camera and lens I would like to get but I’m getting by with a borrowed one until (hopefully) a tax refund comes.

    I’ve used B&H for a lot of equipment I use for business and they do a great job.

    • Claudia says

      Oh, Steve, so sorry your camera died! Let’s thing positively about your tax refund. File ASAP! Then your new camera will be on its way.

  10. Judy says

    I know nothing about photography, But WOW! pictures are so clear,and vibrant and BEAUTIFUL!
    This is a business expense,beside that you work hard writing your blog 7 days every week. If anyone ever Needed/Deserved it you do .

  11. says

    Ahhh, you got it!!! Yeah, it’s lovely….I need to know how to take those close up photos. I still haven’t figured out my Nikkon yet. I can’t wait to hear more!!! That store sounds fantastic, maybe more shops should follow their lead.
    I think Scout would love a stay at the Vets, what a safe and friendly place to be.

  12. says

    I’m so very happy for you, my friend! You deserved that. Keep the receipt for income taxes! I have never read my manual, I”m a little embarrassed to say. Have fun with it. I’m so very glad you treated yourself to that camera.

    • Claudia says

      Thanks, friend. I keep ALL receipts for income taxes, I’m so used to it now. When you freelance like we do and work on the road a lot, and now with blogging, ad income and etsy – every receipt gets kept and then reviewed come tax time.

  13. Terri says

    Congrats on your new camera! I know you will enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty as it isn’t as much a luxury as you think.

    Some dogs do well in doggy day care settings. Some don’t like all that excitement and prefer the vet or a neighbor caring for them. The reality is one has to board a pet to see how it goes–we hope well for your beloved Scout :)

  14. says

    Congrats Claudia, I am so glad that you took the plunge and got the camera…yes other bills will always come up, they would have even if you waited longer…

    I totally understand the love/guilt thing…just bought my new camera…my old one more or less bit the dust, I had no choice.

    Looking forward to seeing all the amazing shots that you will be getting.


  15. says

    Claudia- I KNOW you are going to HATE that camera. Please feel free to send it to me immediately to rid yourself of guilt and angst!;>) OMGOSH! You have my dream camera! I would love one but am not far enough along with what I do to warrant buying one yet. Guilt? I get guilty buying a cup of Starbucks…and because that is my secret guilty pleasure I experience the guilt everyday. Hmmmmm…wonder how many Starbucks I would have to give up to get a good camera? I hope you enjoy every moment of your learning experience.
    We have traveled with pets in the past and it did not work out very well for us. Being gone all day means that they are all by themselves in a STRANGE place with no comfort factor built in for them. Good luck making the decision- it’s a hard one. xo Diana

    • Claudia says

      I think I will go with the Vet. They are such kind people and I know they’ll watch over her.
      I stayed with my Canon Power Shot for a long time and learned to do everything I could on it manually before I allowed myself to even entertain the thought of a move up. I learned a lot that way!

  16. says

    If Scout’s already familiar with the vets, there may be a bit of “what are they going to do to me now?” anxiety initially, but I’m sure once they walk him and so on, he’ll settle in just fine. And perhaps the next trip to the vet won’t be so anxiety-ridden!

  17. says

    Merry Christmas to you!!! Looking forward to your new shots with that baby! I agree… I think Miss Scout will be fine at the vet’s… especially when she realizes there is no treatment involved. You know she’s in great hands there. :)

  18. Julie says

    Congratulations Claudia – your camera is beautiful, your pictures are amazing and I’m very jealous. I’m still using a $66 point and shoot from Walmart. I’m hoping to feel that my camera skills develop to the point someday that I deserve a real camera. Or is that backward thinking, should I be saving for a new camera so I can improve my skills?

    I think Scout would be happier at the vet’s and you would be happier knowing Scout was happy. J

    • Claudia says

      I stayed with my point and shoot for a while, then I went on the the high end Power Shot camera where I could shoot in different modes and play with manual settings. And I did all the learning and exploring I could with that one until I was really ready to move on.

  19. Kathy says

    No, I do not think you are a selfish brat. It is an investment in your business. If sweet Scout was my baby, I would probably board her with the vet. At least it’s a place she is semi familiar with and you know they will take good care of her. Just my opinion.

  20. GinaE says

    Congrats Claudia!! I too always feel guilty when I buy anything for myself. I’m so happy you were able
    to get something for yourself that you have wanted for a long time (you are never a brat!). It will be a good way to distract youself while Don is away. Hugs!

    • Claudia says

      Yes, lots of learning and reading manuals and playing with the camera just might help to pass the time.

  21. says

    What a wonderful gift to yourself (and to your readers)!

    I think Scout would be happier at the vet – they will keep her busy and happy while you are working. I wish I lived close to you – I would doggy sit in a heartbeat!

  22. says

    Congrats on the camera, sales, and EVERYTHING! It’s wonderful for you… I think of everything you wrote about…I have bus-ride envy. Yes! I haven’t ridden the bus in such a long time. Probably since I was a young girl. Makes me want to got to Dallas and park and ride to Downtown Dallas just for the fun of it!

    Have fun with your camera. Pat

    • Claudia says

      The bus into Manhattan is really nice, Pat. Very comfortable seats, roomy, and and the drivers are pretty strict about cell phone and loud voices. Very different from the train, which is nice, but noisy. So many cars, so many commuters, so many loud cell phone talkers! This particular bus route starts a few towns north of here. By the time the bus gets to our town, it’s the last stop before NYC, so it’s smooth sailing. Usually.

  23. says

    Hurray for you! Your pictures are gorgeous! I got brave and bought myself the same thing about a year ago. I was so ecstatic I was almost afraid to hold it! I found a free online course and that helped a lot. Have fun with your new baby!

    A big YAY for getting the work! It sounds very interesting. Will you commute or stay there? I wish you all the best!


    • Claudia says

      I’ll stay there for a few days. It would be a 2 hour commute each way – 4 hours a day. No way. My old car would protest!
      I’ll have to look for an online course, Jane.

  24. says

    Claudia – So HAPPY you got your camera. It’s an investment in your future – think of it that way!! You deserve it. So glad you got it!.

    We have tried traveling with our Bella and it’s not worked out good. Even tho she was someplace where they allowed dogs, she was left alone and people going up and down the hall made her bark and she was on edge. I personally think she would be safer at the Vets – especially since she has been there recently. She’ll probably be a bit anxious to start, but at least you know she will be safe and taken care of. It’s your choice tho.

    Congratulations on your job and your camera.


    • Claudia says

      That’s exactly what I was thinking about Scout, Judy. I think she would bark and be tense and scared. I think the Vet would be upsetting initially, but eventually, she would get used to it.

  25. pam mikel says

    i am laughing….”brat”…so funny. a well deserved business expense in my book. i haven’t ventured off manual on my EOS ti1 but love, love your bokeh. gorgeous scarf. i’m enjoying mine so, even in the warm exas weather. merry christmas claudia. pam in texas

  26. Chris k in Wisconsin says

    You have invested in your business. How could that be “bratty”? Not at all!!!! (I do, of course, understand the guilt feelings,, though…) And….. I think the vet is a wonderful idea. They know her history, will pick up on anything that might be out of the ordinary and handle it immediately. If you take her with you, she will be anxious in a new place, and if she would have any problems at all, you would be at the mercy of a vet neither of you know. It just seems such a good thing to do for Scout. She will understand totally. You are doing the best thing for SCOUT,,,, although I am sure you would love to come home to her every evening after work. So glad you have the new camera to work with over the next 2 months as it will help make the time go by. It will all work out!!!!

  27. says

    I am so excited for you and so jealous. I am trying to save money for a new camera, but something else is always eating up the money. I think you will be busy taking lots of photos while Don is away. My daughters used to shop there when they lived in New York. They loved that store.


    • Claudia says

      It took me a long time to even think of getting one, Laura. Your time will come, I just know it.

  28. Donnamae says

    Oh Claudia…I’m so happy for you! And, you do deserve this. That’s what gift money is for! ;)

  29. says

    Claudia–how very exciting!! We are so much alike–the moment I buy something for myself the guilt sets in! But in this case you have earned this camera my dear friend–and you need it for business! So rest easy about it and start enjoying it. The pictures are amazing! I suggest leaving Scout at the vet, where she’ll be more comfortable and you won’t have to worry about her. xxoo, Martha

    • Claudia says

      I do need it for business but we have so many other financial stresses that I feel guilty. I think, though, sometimes you just have to go on faith.

      Yes, I am just about 100% convinced that it will be the Vet for Scout.

  30. says

    Wishing you all the best with your new camera, Claudia! I’m sure you’ll get hours and hours of pleasure from it, and it will benefit your blog and shop. Hoping the spirit of Christmas fills your heart and home and that you’ll have good health and happiness in the New Year.

    • Claudia says

      The same to you and yours, Haworth. Have a lovely holiday filled with warmth, laughter and happiness.

  31. says

    Good for you. don’t feel guilty. So glad that you have a new toy to help pass the time away while your hubby is gone. The pictures are beautiful. I can’t believe how quickly you did all of that.
    Scout would probably be okay if you boarded him your vet. I also think he would be okay to go with you. I’d take care of him if you want to bring him to Ohio.

    • Claudia says

      If Ohio was on my way to Hartford, you can bet I’d drop her off with you, Debby. I know she’d be spoiled rotten! xoxo

  32. says

    Oh, my…. YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT!!!!!!
    My Hubby bought mine last year for Xmas. I was over the moon too… and still am one year later.
    Enjoy! I am so looking forward to more…
    xoxo Liz

    • Claudia says

      I’m so happy that I finally got one, Liz.
      What lenses have you been using? Maybe we’ll have to go on a picture taking expedition….

      • says

        That would be so much fun.. My Rebel is EOS T3 Eos 1100D which comes with an added extended lens.
        I really like the zoom capability on the extended lens. For now, I’m just using the IS lens I believe it’s called.
        The lens that the camera has. Is this the Rebel you have?

  33. says

    I bought myself a “Rebel” about 6 weeks ago..Love it!! I’m still using it on “Auto”..They have classes here for $90/hr at the local camera shop..I think I’ll wing it for awhile..I need a tripod for moon shots..What’s really nice is that I had a 35mm Rebel and the lenses I had for that camera fit this one..Enjoy!!

    • Claudia says

      Hopefully, I’ll find a tripod under my little tree. Don left something here for me…. So perfect that you can use your 35mm lenses, Missy!

  34. Donna says

    So happy for you Claudia that you did something for YOU!!! Not an easy thing to do sometimes, but so necessary. In your case it is a bonus that it can also qualify as a tax expense! Too bad you weren’t in Boston, as I would totally meet you and have Scout come stay with me and my babies in Plymouth. As you know, my husband is overseas and we’re hoping for a Spring visit, so I’m already thinking about what to do with my three babies. Have fun playing with your new camera!

  35. says

    A great gift to give yourself!! Your pictures have always been wonderful and now I look forward to learning as you learn with your new camera. Could you take Scout with you to rehearsal? Wish she could come stay with us! Ann

  36. says

    What if everything goes right?
    You’ve done a terrific thing: Got a GIFT with a gift card!“ Congratulations!!!!
    It’ll help tremendously while Don is gone.
    Wish I could keep Scout while you work, but alas, I’m too far away. You’ll do what’s best for her, I’m sure.

  37. says

    Congratulations! You are certain to have fun while DH is away…
    If we were neighbors I’d love to have Scout here to play with Phoebe! Perhaps you have a dog loving neighbor?

  38. says

    Have fun with your new camera! I still have a Canon point and shoot that is about 5 years old, lol. It takes decent pictures and serves its purpose for me now. I’m not working/generating any income right now, so I can’t justify purchasing a “fancy” camera, when all I do is blogging for a hobby right now. Maybe someday!

    My son is an artist and photographer, and he has a gorgeous Canon camera – the xsi. He just did a wedding shoot and instead of the couple paying him, he got a free trip to Gatlinburg and this camera! He had a different Canon SLR (can’t remember the model) before this one.

    Do you have a friend that could dog-sit? If not, I’d go with boarding at the vet’s office.

  39. says

    Congrats on your beautiful new camera! I’ve decided 2013 will be The Year of the New & Grown-Up Camera for me so I’m curious to know how you decided on this particular one? I would like to own one that makes me as giddy as this one makes you! :-) PS So jealous you are so close to NYC.

  40. says

    my nikkon is one of the best gifts I received from Deano. It changed everything, it is a great investment.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family. Ciao Rita

  41. Nola says

    You deserve a wonderful Christmas present! Lose the guilt. I absolutely love the lighting in your photos; everything looks warm and inviting.
    If Scout would be alone while you were working, I’d board her. If you could keep her with you at all times, take her. You did say she was a seeing eye dog, didn’t you (wink, wink)? I know your delimma all too well. I love for Chili to be with me, but hate for him to be alone in strange places. He’s a barker, too, and I worry about the noise.

  42. says

    Claudia, I came back by to see if this was working, and it is. Odd. I’m not sure what is going on, but it makes me scrach my head for sure.

    I can’t think of anyone who deserves a camera more. Enjoy every minute with it!!!

    Love that shot of the lamb. He is the win to mine. ;-) So if you name him, come up with one for my lamb, too, okay?



  43. says

    Claudia, I’m so happy for you!! I would love to get a new camera soon. Mine just won’t do what i want/need it to do. But college tuition is the priority for me, for at least one more semester. So, I’ll wait.

Please check back to follow the conversation!