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On Location, Knoxville, TN

Thursday, September 13, 2007
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I realize that I haven't posted in a week, but I've been very busy. Last Friday, I did some photos at Thompson Cancer Survival Center for an upcoming trade magazine article. The article features a local nurse named Victoria, and here's one of her photos.

My week

On Saturday I photographed a nice outdoor wedding, and on Sunday I celebrated my 31st birthday! Marcus gave me a cool necklace that he purchased in Sweden a few weeks ago. He's really good at finding unique jewelry pieces. We also went to eat at The Melting Pot. Of course I like to be behind the camera rather than in front of it so I don't have any birthday photos to share.
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Home, Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This isn't at all photography related, but I wanted to share a couple of my favorite food tips. These are going to seem really stupid if you already know, but if you don't...

1. Crisp Lettuce. Leafy lettuces are much better for you than the round iceberg variety. Unfortunately, lettuce doesn't take well to being cut and shipped, but there is a way to perk it up. Once I get it home, I pull off all of the leaves and wash them thoroughly before placing them in a bowl. Pour out excess water (I use a mixing bowl with a handle to make this easier) so the leaves aren't sitting in water, but the leaves will still be wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When you take out lettuce to use, shake off the water (or use a spinner if you have one).

I'm always amazed at how well this works and how long the lettuce will stay good like this. If you don't use it up in a couple days then you will want to add some more water and flip the bottom lettuce to the top. Just pour out any excess water and cover again.

2. Frozen grapes. These are a great summer snack, and you can get grapes for a really good price right now. Buy seedless grapes (I like the red), pull them all off the vine, and wash them thoroughly in the strainer. I then keep half in the fridge and put the other half in baggies in the freezer. Once the fresh grapes are eaten, I have frozen grapes to snack on. I really like to pour out a bunch in a bowl and eat them as they thaw. They're even better half frozen than completely frozen.

Not long ago I had a bag of green grapes experience freezer burn. Freezer burn is caused by the food being exposed to the dry air in the freezer. To prevent it, I bag the grapes while they're still wet from washing (pour out excess water so you don't get ice) and squeeze out as much air as possible before closing. Use individual baggie servings so you don't have to open and close the same bag over and over.
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Home, Knoxville, TN

Monday, May 28, 2007
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I have taken off yesterday and today but will return to work Tuesday.

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend and took a moment to remember all those who have given their lives in the military service. My grandfather fought on a battleship in World War II. Though he lived a long and full life after the war, I did visit his graveside this morning. He's buried with his wife, son, and daughter (my mother) so it's a difficult place to visit. I took some purple and red flowers to place in the vases on either side of the headstone and just spent a few minutes with them. Today is a good day to spend with your family and to just appreciate those who are here to enjoy it.

My grandmother learned this famous WWI poem as a young girl ,and she recited it for me sometimes. I thought it would be good to remember today:

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
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Fountain City, Knoxville, TN

Saturday, May 19, 2007
So what do I do when I finally get a Saturday off? I get a headache of course! No really, I planned on being very productive today and getting a lot done around the house, but I got a headache and feel like taking it easy.

I am getting one thing done. I went out and photographed some bugs in an attempt to identify what's killing the hackberry tree in my yard. I think that they're a mealybug of some sort, but if anyone knows what these are for sure and how to treat them then please let me know. The tree is about 25 feet high so I hope there is a solution other than spraying.

Warning: if you really don't like creepy crawly things then you might want to skip this post. It isn't a photography post so you won't miss much.

I was really interested in all sorts of creatures when I was little. I'd dig up worms and scout for interesting bugs. My mom even found me trying to pull a snake out of his hole once. Unfortunately, I'm not quite as fearless now, but I still think it's really interesting what you can find when you just stop and look around.

The culprit eating my tree is small and white, and it seems to be working its way in from the tips of the branches. It apparently produces these white cocoon looking things and then moves on to another spot. The white secretion seems to start around the head so I'm assuming it isn't an egg sack, but I could be wrong. For all I know, this could be one bug eating the egg sack of another. The mobile white bugs themselves aren't as easy to find as the white aftermath.

Name that bug

I'm not sure what this is, but it looks like it's making its own little white mess. I put it near one of the larger bugs for comparison.

Name that bug

While looking for the white bugs, I ran into this little guy running up and down the branch. When he found one of the brown scales, he stopped and seemed to be eating it.

Name that bug

He was also interested in the white aftermath. He looks a bit like a caterpillar, but it is very small and has little legs that it runs on (unlike a caterpillar). I got a shot of an ant running over him for size comparison.
Name that bug

May 20 Edit:
I think I may have an answer to my bug mystery. I found this neat little site called, aptly enough, What's That Bug? The folks running it are actually photography teachers and artists in California, and they were very quick at responding to my inquiry. This is the reply:

Hi Nancy,
You have quite an ecosystem thriving on your Hackberry Tree. The brown
insect with the white mass appears to be an hermaphroditic female Scale
Insect in the family Margarodidae. It does not however look like a Cottony
Cushion Scale as depicted on BugGuide but might be a related species. Your
white insect does appear to be a Mealybug, another plant pest. Your third
insect looked to us like a Ladybird Beetle Larva, a predator that is
probably feeding on some of the pests. When we checked on BugGuide, the
match is a Twice Stabbed Ladybird, Chilocorus stigma. BugGuide has a great
image of larva, pupa and adult Twice Stabbed ladybirds feeding on Scale
Insects. We don't give extermination advice. We would recommend a trip to
a good local nursery and NOT using a broad band pesticide.
I had some trouble navigating BugGuide so I'm going to take their word for it. Who knew that ladybugs have such ugly babies?
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Slab Town, Logan, WV

Monday, March 26, 2007
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Over the weekend, I went to West Virginia with my brother and husband to visit my grandmother's sister and her family. They live in Logan which is a really quaint, little mountain town, and we had a very nice trip. My cousin Emily grew up at her grandma's (or mamaw as we both say), and I always loved going to visit and hanging out with her. Now Emily, who is just a bit younger than me, is married and has two adorable little kids. Her little girl looks exactly like Emily did when she was that age, and I had fun getting to know her. She cracked us all up with her joke/story. She said, "Once upon a time there was a pooh bear and a piggy", and then she'd stop and laugh hysterically.

Weekend in West Virginia with Photos

Weekend in West Virginia with Photos

Weekend in West Virginia with Photos

Weekend in West Virginia with Photos

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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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