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Armida Evony
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Armida Evony

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Cheating at Bokeh

OK, I have to admit, I'm swamped with landscape shots and I don't want to go back and post some old macro thing. I've already skipped a day in +Ann Pollak's #5daybokehchallenge , so .. this is what you get. 

This diagonal and slightly menacing hill with its interesting (perky?) outcropping and striated (if that's the word .. is there a geologist in the house?) sands got its beautiful blur courtesy of Mother Nature. That thar is gen-u-ine Icelandic mist, folks. No, I did not climb this hill. Are you crazy? What do you think zoom lenses are for? 

Now ... who to torture next? Hmmm ... so many choices, so little time. Because I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning, and I bet you'll never guess where I'm going! Anyway. Between arm injuries, jet lag from a strenous business travel schedule, and Monday blahs, a lot of my favorite photographer friends are likely to turn down my challenge. So I'm tagging three of my favorites, and hope one, two or all of you will join the fun: +Katherine Bond, +Mark Rösel, +Marianne Äremann 

1. post a bokehlicious picture for five (more or less, and non-consecutive is fine) days
2. use the hashtag #5daybokehchallenge  
3. tag meeeeeeee!
4. pass it on to another photographer friend (if you like)
Mikko Moilanen's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoKatherine Bond's profile photo
You are just too cool for words but then all secret agents world travelers are +Armida Evony. Looking forward to photographic evidence ;-)
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Armida Evony

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Thanks to +Ann Pollak for inviting me to her #5daybokehchallenge party. I can't top Ann's pine pollen sachets and smoothies, but here is a bunch of grapes hanging from the arbor in my yard. No, I have no idea what kind of grapes they are. My neighbor told me they are wine grapes and he managed to make enough wine from them to have a good time, and that's all we're saying about that. 

Now I should mention that this arbor is designed to mask some very unattractive and complicated machinery which makes me nervous every time I get close to it, and there's also a very cute but timid lizard living there, so I was a little distracted when I took this picture, between freaking out and trying to speak soothingly to my lizard buddy. Much too distracted to worry about sharp focus. That's my story and I'm sticking to it ... 

I'd like to invite +Cilla C  and her cool new lens to play this time. If you have time, Cilla, please post some bokeh-related pics for us all to enjoy, tag me, use the hashtag above, and invite someone else if you're so inclined! 
Mark Rösel's profile photoMikko Moilanen's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoUsha Pillai's profile photo
I like to eat grapes, but I've heard that wine grapes are not sweet like table grapes, and they also have lots of little seeds in them. Still, I've tried champagne grapes, and they were sweet. So I will probably have to at least sample these when they finally get ripe! Maybe make some grape juice. 
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Armida Evony

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Oops. Today was my first equipment catastrophe as a photographer. I was at Gullfoss (big waterfall) and there was a ton of mist and lots of wind, and my fingers got cold. Funnily enough, I had just almost bought a pair of cute fingerless mittens at the gift shop .. but I didn't because there was an enormous line. And the sun was shining at California levels, and I wanted to get out there before the next tour bus arrived. 

So anyway, there I am in the parking lot, with very cold, very stiff fingers. That would be the gravel parking lot, and Icelanders do not mess around with little pea gravel. We're talking, fist-sized chunks of granite or something. Lava. Whatever. 

Chunky parking lot. Cold stiff fingers. Juggling car key, cell phone, container of icelandic meat soup, tripod with big camera attached, extra camera body and lenses in my camera bag slipping off my shoulder. Are you wincing yet? 

RIP brand-new ND filter. You were nice while you lasted. I'm sure you wish you had been purchased by somebody who is more careful with their stuff than I am. Sorry. But your sacrifice was not in vain. In fact, I'm thrilled that you got dented and shattered. Because you saved my Zeiss lens and probably my camera body as well :) 

And next time, I'm totally buying those mittens!
walter joseph's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoMatthew Schindler's profile photoDirk Reul's profile photo
Oh dear! I am glad the filter took that fall for that one, literally. 
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Armida Evony

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No Rain in Reykjavik!

The forecast looks great, so I'm off to take city views from the observation deck at Perlan, the world's most glamorous hot water storage facility. Includes gallery space, shops, and a revolving restaurant. Only in Iceland :) 

Tonight there is a special plan involving Vikings ... more to come, unless it gets too weird and I have to back out! 

Hope you are having a great day! 
Katherine Bond's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photo
mm it does +Katherine Bond .....
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Armida Evony

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Gnome Abduction, Or?
If they are anything like mine, they just ran off on their own .. probably the Pixies are having another pool party .... 

Xerox Found on a Telephone Pole


You might want to
watch your garden gnome.
Tuesday, a gnome
was reported stolen from Coventry Road.
Wednesday night (new moon), two gnomes
were taken from Avalon Court,
and Thursday, FIVE GNOMES
were reported missing
from Little Hollywood Trailer Park.
If you have a little guy,
you might want to bring him inside
at least for the immediate future,
as someone seems to have acquired
a serious gnome addiction,
and it appears he or she is now
in the "chasing the dragon" stage.
If you are the Gnome-Thief
reading this, please get help.
If you return our gnomes
(say, in the middle of the night)
it will be no questions asked
and no prosecution. It would be
so nice to have our boys back home.
Or, if you have ransom demands,
please take one of the detachable numbers below
and give us a call right away.
You can block your number.
Please understand we will need
to see a clear photo of our gnomes
holding a current newspaper.

Eunice Coughlin's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoJohn Wickham's profile photoEvan Griffith's profile photo
No home like the gnome home.
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Armida Evony

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Armida Evony originally shared:
Icelandic Word of the Day:

Definition: lunch
Pronunciation: how-deg-is-matur

Let's do lunch, Icelandic style: meat soup, skyr and some delicate geothermally raised strawberries ... mmm. I admire the way Icelanders eat .. neatly and efficiently, and they always clean their plates. Food is not to be wasted, any more than any other resource. 

Plus ... it's a pretty nice view here on our picnic table :) This was taken on the Snaefellsnes peninsula at the Arnarstapi bird cliffs, and the sea absolutely was that deep blue color.

Gott að borða! Njóta!
Joseph Moosman's profile photoKaren Cokenour's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoLucia Abonandi's profile photo
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Armida Evony

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Make Limeade

Invited by the irrepressible +Ann Pollak, here is my first entry in the     #5daybokehchallenge . This is a baby lime growing in a container near the pool, hence the combination of green and blue, which I like muchly. I am tagging +Sami Hurmerinta my first Finnish photographer friend ever, to play along, if you're up for it!  To show us your Wu-Tang Bokeh style:

- just post a bokehlicious picture
- use the hashtag above
- tag me in your post.

Pick somebody else to play too, if you like! Since I will probably not manage to do five posts in a row, I won't put pressure on anybody else to do so either :)
Sami Hurmerinta's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photo
Great! Thanks for participating +Sami Hurmerinta​ :)
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Armida Evony

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Amazonian Efforts

Just got off the phone with customer service. It took a long time, but they did make extraordinary efforts to clear up a delayed order. The customer service rep reconstructed my order from scratch, placing each item (and there were a lot!) in one of two different shopping carts (don't ask) and then making sure both orders went through and giving me free 1-day shipping to make sure my stuff gets to me before I leave on Tuesday. I'm quite impressed. Looking at their website, they clearly do everything they can to prevent you from getting in touch with a real person, but if you actually manage to do it, it pays off. Good for you, Amazon.

Now if you would just quit trying to muscle your way into the hardware manufacturing business and allow instant video and kindle direct book orders to work on Android devices, I would be a completely satisfied customer ....
Mark Rösel's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photodeborah rabbit white's profile photoMikko Moilanen's profile photo
Feisty sounds good, simply feisty :D Aloha! This shall be celebrated with southern Lynyrd Skynyrd :D I wore boots too for long, but eventuallu found that jumping boots are better all terrain boots :D

Speaking about ropes, master Samwise said always have a rope with you, which makes me to rise my other eyebrow a bit, especially while being aware how he lusted to tie poor Gollum every once and a while :D Not sure though is he in English called master Samwise, but at least in Finnish translation he is titled as mesteri, which means master :D Anyway, now some Lynyrd Skynyrd and tea :D
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Armida Evony

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Vikings Sighted!

I spent the afternoon and evening at the opening of the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður. The festival is held at Viking Village, a slightly cheesy but fun hotel and banquet hall with pretty convincing-looking architecture and decor. I spotted it last year on my way to visit the Elf Park, and am delighted that I was here for the first day of the Festival.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and it felt slightly weird to be going to an event like that by myself, just to take pictures. But as it turned out it was a lot of fun and I got to try a bit of street photography too. It's hard! You have to think really fast, but stay out of people's way and not be obnoxious. I found myself really uncomfortable at first, feeling like I was invading people's space. Some people clearly wanted to show off their outfits, but I don't really like "posed" portraits, so I developed a sort of stealth technique and I kind of like the thoughtful expressions in some of these pictures. And please keep in mind that these are minimally edited on the fly so they will probably look wretched on a big screen with good resolution :) 

I had a great time. Interesting conversations, a mock battle (won by a fierce woman warrior, yay!) lots of absolutely adorable kids, fun jewelry and stuff for sale, and a Viking band that really sounded great.

Now off to collapse in my hut, next to the open fire .. and see if I can sleep through the feasting and revelry! Reykjavík really is a party town on Friday nights ... 

Have a great weekend everybody! 
Dirk Reul's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoJyrki Hämäläinen's profile photoEvan Griffith's profile photo
Your stealth method evidently works -- ! -- congratulations on working through the initial discomfort Armida --
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Armida Evony

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Fast Food Icelandic Style

I've been living on mostly gas station food for the past four days. Are you appalled? Don't be. In Iceland, there aren't a lot of restaurants outside Reykjavik, and people who are on the road need to eat. Including tourists and photographers!

Service stations have a wide selection of freshly made sandwiches with interesting fillings, plus lots of chips and cookies, fresh fruit, delicious cookies, and skyr (what yogurt wants to be when it grows up). The bigger stations also have hot food counters, usually pizza and hamburgers, but you can always get the famous icelandic lamb soup which is really good. Maybe my eurofriends and nordicfriends are used to this kind of thing, but it's definitely not how we do it in the U.S.!

Today I discovered another variety of gas station restaurant .. a cute little place on the Snaefellsnes peninsula which is an actual lace-curtain cafe with an extensive menu of cooked-to-order food. I could tell it was good, because it's totally in the boonies and it was mobbed. It's also a hotel, in case you overindulge and need to sleep it off, I guess.

I ordered their "signature" fish soup which was seriously gourmet. The guy behind the counter explained that he had made it that morning and that it takes hours for the flavors to mingle properly. He came by to check on me when I was finished.

Him: You didn't like it sad face
Me: Yes I did! It was the best fish soup I've ever had!
Him: staring pointedly at not-quite-empty bowl
Me: What? Are you upset because I didn't eat all the red peppers?
Him: sigh I'm sorry you didn't like it
Me: Really, it was delicious, I'm just not in the mood for red peppers today. But it was great soup. 
Him: Too many peppers ...
Me: I'm going to write a review on TripAdvisor and tell everybody to try this soup. I'm also going to come back next month and have it again. 
Him: Is that an American joke? Are you making fun of me?

Chefs. They're temperamental even in Iceland ... 
Tommi K's profile photoMikko Moilanen's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photo
Noooo, tell them not to die! I would love to come next summer. Hopefully they can make it through another winter ... 
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Armida Evony

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Three things I love about Iceland:

1., the amazingly accurate and detailed weather website from the Iceland Meteorological Office. They have never failed me yet. 

2. Traffic lights turn yellow before they turn green, instead of before they turn red. That's so you can start your car moving gradually when it's icy. So sensible. 

3. Water comes out of the tap icy cold and delicious. Glacier melt filtered through a thousand years worth of lava. Wonderful. 
Mark Rösel's profile photoArmida Evony's profile photoTimo Kiviluoma's profile photo
:O really???? That would be seriously brave ... I would never try driving one of those things myself, after having been in one with a crazy (although excellent) viking driver. I did very bravely go on a gravel road today though to get to a beautiful little seaside church on Snaefellsnes .... it was 3 km and I think I held my breath the entire time! 
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Armida Evony

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Icelandic Word of the Day: 
Translation: instant, moment
Pronunciation: ög-na-blick (German ö, can't think of a better way to write it!)

So much can happen in an instant. A child’s contagious giggle makes you look up and smile, remembering what it was like to be a kid, a poignant moment. You hear someone’s voice for the first time and it touches a chord in you. A smile exchanged with a stranger. Catching someone’s eye and realizing that you both feel exactly the same way about what’s being said. I love those moments of connection in day-to-day life. They always seem to come along just when I need them, too.

It’s interesting that those twinkly instants happen online too. Someone makes a wonderful comment and you can’t stop smiling. A quote jumps out at you and it feels like someone must be in exactly the same place you are, emotionally. An unexpected compliment touches your heart. You meet somebody that you immediately know you could be friends with, because they're “simpatico” .. an Italian term .. as warm and impulsive and emotional as can be.

There are instants that are life-changing too. Receiving momentous news .. either bad or good. Betrayal. A flash of intuition as you notice something and everything falls into place. Creative inspiration. Major news events too .. they become historical markers, and the way you felt at that augnablik becomes a part of your personal history.

This word must be useful in Icelandic, because Iceland is all about unexpected things happening suddenly. A river re-routes itself, a new mountain rises out of the sea, lava changes the whole landscape. Elves interfere with a human project. A fantastic new band comes out of nowhere. Icelandair manages not to lose your luggage (OK, I’m really asking for it now) ....

Pointless but Fun Trivia: there's a basketball team from a suburb of Reykjavík that is called Augnablik ... the Instant. Pretty cool :)
Armida Evony's profile photoMark Rösel's profile photoTingiun Lin's profile photoTimo Kiviluoma's profile photo
It is indeed one of the most fascinating and at the same time most complex games I've ever played, +Armida Evony. Unfortunately, as with most MMOs, it is also very time consuming which is why I quit it some years ago. Oh, social skills can come in very handy in this game. You could try to be a diplomat/ negotiator for one of the bigger corps there. :D

Speaking of social skills, one CCPs other projects I followed with great interest, World of Darkness, could have been something for you as well. But they cancelled it some time ago.. :'(
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Armida's Collections
Hi there! I'm the mom of two fascinating and funny boys, ages 9 and 15, who are polar opposites. I am passionate about encouraging kids to read and encouraging families to volunteer together. I take a lot of bad pictures, read a lot of books, and have extremely feisty gnomes living in my garden. I like to sing along, loudly, with a wide variety of music including baroque opera, country, metal and various quirky icelandic bands. I wish I could speak Icelandic or Finnish .. but at least I am a power user of Google Translate. My current fantasy is to find a sod-roofed hut in Iceland as a vacation home, and invite G+ friends to HIRL there with me. Sadly, I do not actually own the boots in my profile pic because they are custom-made and were no longer avaiIable by the time I found the link .. but .. I do have a lot of boots :) I am a real person, but I don't share pictures of myself publicly. My profile .. my choice. I'm an untypical California girl (Bay Area brunette, carnivore, don't drink wine or coffee) and tend to find nerds and vikings very sexy. And finally ... I totally have a crush on Finland. Yes, the country. Ask me why.

I mostly decide to circle people back from seeing their comments on posts (mine or other people's) and thinking we could have an interesting conversation. Please introduce yourself, I look forward to getting to know you! 
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Queen of the Gnomes