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December 2007 Archives

December 2, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #17

This was Challenge #16:
Where in the World #16

And here's the answer:
Jafar
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 10/640s shutter, f5.3

Heather Young is this week's challenge winner. She was first to guess that this lovely jewel is on the turban of Jafar. Jafar can be found on the front of the villian's float in the Disney Dreams Come True Parade at the Magic Kingdom. Yay Heather!

Congratulations also go out to Courtney Mitchell, Heather Young, Christina, Jess, Nick and Annette Romano, Jude Toups, Sandra Shaw, Darlene, Brooke Kern, Rita Carmack, Stacey Barboza, Chloe, Steven Gordon, Jennifer King, Pamela & Briana Bates, Betsey Pickard and Chip Vermette. All of you also gave the correct answer and were entered in the November winner's drawing.

And speaking of that November drawing" Congratulations to Blair McGee! Blair was chosen from a pool of 140 November winners to receive a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies.
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Challenge #17: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #17

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

December 5, 2007

Light Meter: Kids & Teens

It goes without saying that children want to be able to do what their older siblings and parents do. If you have kids, they've more than likely asked if they can play with your camera. You may have responded with words such as "This is Dada's camera. It's not a toy. Go ask Mommy for hers." Maybe you have allowed little Billy Bob to look at the screen and push the button and are now astonished at just how much your cat tolerates close-ups.

Since this is the time of year for the Shopping Triathalon sponsored by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover you're considering making Billy Bob's dream a reality. Good for you, really. I truly applaud parents who put a camera in the hands of a kid. Why? Because I began shooting at age 6 and I loved it. It's very important to encourage creativity and a camera is just of many ways for someone, no matter the age, to think outside the box.

Of course now the question is what camera should you buy for Billy Bob? Personally, I think it depends on the child and not just the age. While one kid may be thrilled with something simple another may be bored.

Let's first explore options made specifically for Ages 5+

Fisher-Price Kid-Tough™ Digital Camera --
Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital Camera It'll hook up to your computer via USB cable for downloads.
The average price is $70.00.


Polaroid Pixie Kids Digital Camera The camera can be used to play games.
Hook it up with the supplied USB cable.
Average retail price...$80.00.

Less expensive options would include character-related cameras such as Dora, Spiderman, and SpongeBob. However those cameras usually cost $20-50 and only produce monitor quality images. They may not have a screen to playback images and are very small. In other words, Billy Bob could lose his camera in the sofa and the dog could easily break it. What else can you buy? 35mm camera these days are extremely cheap, they withstand beatings better than digital cameras, and have better quality lenses. What was once a $125 investment is now half price.

Elementary and Middle Schoolers

For the Disney fan (you may know one or two), Disney Pix Max Camera
These offer 3 million megapixels that will turn out a fair/good 4x6 print.
It will hold approximately 30 photos internally and also accepts an SD card.
It has a color 1.5" screen.
Also hooks up to the computer via USB cable.
There's Disney software included to play with images.
Average cost is $80.00.

Unfortunately, there aren't many cameras aimed specifically at the 8-12 year old bracket.

Teenagers

At this point you jump into the "cool looking" cameras with flashy colors in petite sizes by major companies such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony, and FujiFilm. The prices go up and so does the quality. Older kids and teens are looking for fun software in-camera. The ability to draw a mustache on your math teacher, paint hearts around your crush or morph into a creature is very attractive to them.

A few options that meet their demands and yours are:

Canon PowerShot SD1000>
7 million mega pixels
3x external optical zoom
stylish, small, with a 2.5" screen
color swap, color accent, viewfinder
Average price is $200.00.

Fujifilm Finepix Z10fd
7 MP
3x internal optical zoom
sleek, available in bright pink, orange, green, blue, and black with a 2.5" screen
slide shows, resize pics for blogs, send pics from your camera to a friend's camera (IrSimple™-ready)
Sells for $150.00

Sony Cybershot DSC-T200
8 MP
5x internal optical zoom
slick, available in silver, black, and red (Sony chose black and red for newer cameras to coincide with "Spiderman 3"), 3.5" Widescreen LCD
slide show with music, paint program, touch screen
Newly listed at $400.00

Nikon Coolpix L15
8 MP
3x external optical zoom
small and easier to hold, comes in silver, pink, and black with 2.8" screen
In-camera red eye fix, adjusts under exposed photos, some cameras sold as kits with case, rechargeable batteries and charger
Sells for $160.00

Many digital point and shoots have Face Detection these days. Carefully read or ask if a camera has digital vibration reduction or optical vibration reduction. There's a substantial difference as the digital version can cause your photos to look noisy or spotted. We'll explore that subject another time.

Since I'll be at MouseFest during the time I would normally write my next blog, I will not have one for you to enjoy on Dec. 12th. Don't fret because when I return my blogs will be 33% bigger with a fresh new scent.

December 7, 2007

Live from MouseFest #1 - Focus on Disney World

MouseFest is finally here - and I get to tell you about it. Of course, that means I'll mostly be sharing photos. The first official land meets started today at the Magic Kingdom. Starting off the day was MouseFest 101, where Mike Scopa and Mark Goldhaber talked about the origins of MouseFest. They shared tips for first-timers and some great stories with a full house. They were followed by Dave Marx giving an amazingly brief Chairman's Kick-Off and the mingling began!

Next it was off to Mike Scopa's Fourth Annual Dole Whip Meet. I had never before tasted a Dole Whip and I gotta say, I'm not such a fan of that concoction. But the meet was fun none the less. We did a pretty good job of blocking traffic in front of Aloha Isle.

Following the Dole Whip meet I had to leave to pick up my friends at the airport. After several wrong turns and mishaps I made it back over to Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I was just in time to make it to the Fourth Annual MVMCP fireworks meet hosted by Deb Wills from AllEars and Dave Card from Tagrel. But since it's nearly 2am here, you'll have to wait til my next post to see those photos!

Photographic Innoventions: Telephoto Compression

A camera lens which has a focal length over 100mm is considered a telephoto lens. This includes the popular zoom lenses which go over 100mm. Just like a telescope, the longer the focal length, the smaller angle of view is seen through the camera's viewfinder. This has the effect of compressing objects at different distances in the field of view. Depending on the camera's depth of field or aperture setting, the objects can all be in sharp focus or just a selected object.

In the picture below of Christmas decorations down Magic Kingdom's Mainstreet USA, I compressed the wreaths, garland and Cinderella's Castle into a pleasing composition. The aperture set at f/8 kept all three subjects in focus and without the reference of buildings on either side, it's hard to tell how much distance is between them. Incidently, I took this from the Walt Disney World Railroad platform which overlooks Mainstreet USA. It's a great photographer's roost for parades, fireworks and for getting over the heads of our fellow quests.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Mainstreet Christmas Decorations. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/800s, f/8, 400 ISO, +0.3 EV, 116mm Focal Length

I promised myself I would not brood over the fact that my two blog-mates are both enjoying Mousefest at Walt Disney World today. I did attend Mousefest in 2006 so, as I looked through those photos, I found this interesting subject to talk about. I know Barrie and Lisa will be bringing us all back some great photos to share. You gals stay out of trouble, ya hear?

Further Reading: For those interested in attending future Mousefests, here's the link to the offical website: Mousefest.org

December 8, 2007

Live from MouseFest #2 Focus on Disney World

As promised, here are a few pictures from last night's Fireworks Meet at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I knew it would be very crowded so I didn't bring my tripod. Unfortunately, that means these are a little shaky. I'll get some better fireworks and night photos later that I'll be sure to share but I thought you might enjoy these in the meantime.

Now for Friday's meets. We started the day with the Seventh Annual Kilimanjaro Safari meet hosted by Deb Wills from AllEars and Fred Block from MagicMeets. This was a really fun meet. There were about 250 people who attended. We all entered the ride together through the FastPass lane, filling truck after truck on the safari. What a way to start the day!


Next up I headed over to Asia for the Expedition Everest Adventure. This meet was co-hosted by several different online communities: LimeGreenCheri, Moley, and BetsyAnn from Tagrel.com, Binnie from TheMouseForLess.com and Nathan Rose from Magical Mountain and The Magical Definition Podcast.


The Dinosaur/Dino-RADP meet had an interesting twist. Yesterday, Mike Scopa challenged Matt Hochberg to ride Dinosaur, a ride he is actually terrified of. The challenge turned into a benifit for two charities that raised close to $500, donated by MouseFesters who attended MouseFest 101.


Today was a busy day with more meets than I could possibly attend. I chose to end the day by going to the Ho, Ho, Ho Lotta Lights meet, hosted by Moley, WDWNJ, Big Red, roguepony and johnnyblack from Tagrel.com. The lights were beautiful and the company was the best - what a nice way to round out the day.


Saturday is another jam-packed day. I'll be spending a big portion of it at the Dolphin for the Mega Mouse Meet. Don't forget to check back to see the potos!

A little Mousekeeping... I apologize for the photos being out of order. Without loading them one at a time, I have no control over what the order in which they show - and there just isn't enough time for that here.

If you are having trouble viewing the slideshows, try refreshing your browser or checking back later. Sometimes the slideshows are a little temperamental!

See you tomorrow!

December 9, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #18

This was Challenge #17:
Where in the World #17

And here's the answer:
Living Seas
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 1/500s shutter, f13

You're going to have to get up early to beat the Romano family! Once again, Christina, Nick and Annette Romano have won this week's challenge. Christina was first to let me know that this cute little fish lives on the outside of the Living Seas with Nemo building in Epcot's Future World.

Congratulations also go out to Mary, Christina Cella, Chris Burns, Brooke Kern, Kari Svinarich, Emily Rennie, Shannon Milair, Heather Lyons, Blair McGee, Amiee Stooksberry, Belicia Dawson, Jennifer Bourg, Amanda Campbell, Anne Hainsworth, Willie Tople, RR Martin, Lisa Simons, Paula Potts, Charlotte, Shiraz Biggie, Trish Babler, Jennifer Horst, Ken Fischler, Carinne, Karen Schlumpf, Anderson Dun, Judy Koslowski, Melissa Littman, Katie Poole, Erica Adkins, Erin, gshaw7, Austin O'Blenis, Collee Dubin, Nancy Ahlsen, Deborah Shauan, Richard Uhler, Jennifer Lalli, Kelly Jean Clarkson, Cathy Adams, Melissa Wheeler, Matt Cofone, Jude Toups, Brittany Irish, David Hicks, Angie Volluz, Monica Alderman, Cheri Fitz, Jennifer Dye, Jane Bradley, Darlene Harmon, Vicki Vaught, Tim Rachuba, Catherine Chiarello, Charissa Banks, Betsey Pickard, Debbie Hudson and Sharon Pierce. All of you also gave the correct answer and will be entered in the December winner's drawing.
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Challenge #18: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #18

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

December 14, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Hats Off to More Disney Props


Last month I did an entry on Props at Walt Disney World and asked people to send in their favorites. By far the most popular ones where all the different and fun hats you find in shops throughout the resort. As an example, my daughter is trying on a very patriotic hat in The Chapeau, a hat shop on Magic Kingdom's Main Street. This shop can monogram almost any hat and, of course, Mickey Ears for you while you wait. Hats found in World Showcase are a big hit with our Photo Blog readers from French Berets, Sombreros in Mexico, Coolie hats in China to Homburg style hats in Germany. The little outdoor shop at Rafiki's Planet Watch in Disney's Animal Kingdom has all kinds of safari hats. My daughter just had to model one for me.




Safari hat. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4.5, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 40mm focal length

Other popular suggestions for props was RC Car from Toy Story at the All Star Movies resort, the larger than life Troll in Norway's Puffin's Roost shop, a Cinderella statue at the Marketplace in Downtown Disney similar to Buzz Lightyear I mentioned in the first Disney Prop entry and the Mickey sculpture at the Contemporary resort with Mickey ears perfect to sit kids in.

Would like to continue this topic so if you have a favorite Walt Disney World prop, I'd like to hear about it! Just leave a Comment using the link below.

December 16, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #19

This was Challenge #18:
Where in the World #18

And here's the answer:
Lamp Post
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 1/125s shutter, f5.6

Challenge #18 turned out to be a difficult one. I have lots of photos of different light fixtures at Disney World. They are always so creative and interesting. Tim Rachuba was the first of only three people who knew that this photo was of a lantern that can be found on Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Congratulations Tim - you're this week's winner. Tricia Noble and Nancy Ahlsen also had the correct answer this week. Tim, Tricia and Nancy will be entered in the December winner's drawing.
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Challenge #19: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #19

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

December 17, 2007

Not Quite Live from MouseFest #3 - Focus on Disney World

Another MouseFest has come and gone. I can hardly believe it's over already! I had such a fabulous time. Here are a few highlights from Saturday.

The Mega Meet is an event that is attended by pretty much everyone. It was held in a huge ballroom at the Dolphin Hotel. Disney guidebook authors, web site founders, podcasters, and members of many Disney fan communities all had tables at the Mega Meet.

Everyone who visited the tables left the event with a bag full of freebies and many people were lucky enough to win some great prizes.

One of the activities that everyone had a great time with was a bingo-like scavenger hunt sponsored by MEI and MouseFan Travel. Here are just a few of the photos I took at this meet. [Just refresh your browser if the slideshow gives you an error message.]


In addition to the official MouseFest meets, different online communities sponsor dozens of meets for their members. One of my favorite community meets is the Tagrel Karaoke meet at Kimonos in the Swan Hotel. Definately one of the more wild and crazy meets I know of, this one is incredibly fun!

That's it for today. I have just one more MouseFest installment. Check back to see my wrap up with photos from a couple of the Sunday meets.

December 19, 2007

Light Meter: Silhouettes

Bonjour. I trust you are all rested after whooping it up at MouseFest. Those of you who were not in attendance were probably causing trouble elsewhere. News gets around, ya know.

I was on a mission to come back with hundreds of photos to share with you. Photos that would demonstrate what you and your camera are capable of. Sadly for you, most of my time was spent documenting Aladdin in various locations. OK, maybe not so sad for some.

Whilst making my way through France, I came upon Serveur Amusant. This performance is wildly popular among furniture makers and health insurance agents. Certainly we all have snapshots of the "tourist" climbing chair after chair hoping to reach the height of Godzilla. But what if we changed our position to create a more dramatic looking image? Something you wouldn't normally do...something bold and magnifique!

I give you...La Silhouette! (That's French for The Silhouette!)
Serveur Amusant

How did I achieve this grand masterpiece? Ah, listen closely. I made my way slowly through the sweaty masses, watching the sun, and squinting. Once the sun was behind the subject, I stopped moving. I raised my camera and pointed it at the man atop the chairs and after cursing at the LCD screen I could barely see, I pressed the shutter release button. Voila!
:curtsy after thunderous applause:

December 21, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: From All of Us to All of You

A Very...


Nikon D70/18-70DX, 1/125s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

The Downtown Disney Christmas Tree from 2006. Selective coloring and graphics done in Picnik.com. Update: Use iPiccy instead.

Here's wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday. I will not have an entry for next week but will be back in the New Year! If you get any cool photography stuff under your tree you'd think others would like to hear about, drop me a line!

December 23, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #20

This was Challenge #19:
Where in the World #19

And here's the answer:
Dinoland
Copyright © 2005 Barrie Brewer, Fuji FinePix S5000, 1/1000s shutter, f9

This giant dinosaur calls Chester & Hestor's Dino-Rama home. You'll find Dino-Rama in Dinoland USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Stacey Van Dyke was this week's lucky winner. She was the first one to send in her answer. Congratulations Stacey!

From the number of answers I got this week, I'd say Dino-Rama is no secret. Stacey Van Dyke, Brittany Irish, Jennifer Chartier, Austin O'Blenis, Christina Romano, Daniella and Isabells, Belicia Dawson, Jessica Romano, Willie Tople, Katie Wetzel, Amber Keen, Sherry Klinefelter, Neil Taylor, Ed Aleszczyk, Kelli Olthoff, Jude Toups, Tim Rachuba, Aruna Mohan, Bethany Cybak, Denise Cayz, Paula Potts, Carinne, Laura Barnes, April Ramey, Tricia Noble, Richard Uhler, Melissa Blackwell, Garland Cox and Jennifer Schwing will all be entered in December's winners drawing. Good luck to you all!
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Challenge #20: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #20

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

December 25, 2007

Focus on Disney World - A Holiday Gift

Season's Greetings! I hope everyone is having a wonderful time with your loved ones. I have a gift to share. I hope you like it. The gift is a monthly calendar for the new year. Each month I will post a photo calendar page for the next month that you can print out and use at home or work. It's just a little bit of pixie dust to brighten the days before your next trip.

You will need to have Adobe Reader on your computer to download the calendar(s). Just click on the photo to download the calendar you want.

This one prints out at 8.5" x 11". It's handy if you need a calendar that you can write on.

January 2008 8.5x11


This one prints out at 4.75" x 4.75", the perfect size for a CD Jewel Case frame.

January 2008 Jewel Case


I took this fireworks photo at MouseFest this month. I was standing on the outside deck of Teppan Edo - one of my favorite places to capture Illuminations. I think this particular bit of fireworks was part of the Christmas tag at the end. It was spectacular.

Speaking of MouseFest - I have one more installment of photos to share with you. Watch for it later this week. Then it's back to my regular tips after the first of the year. Happy Holidays everyone!

December 26, 2007

Light Meter: Congratulations on Your New Camera

Ruh roh. Did I spoil the surprise? C'mon, you must have known what was in the box already. Seriously? How could you not know? It's square or rectangular in shape and perfectly flat on all sides. Even your new puppy knew it was a camera! What? You didn't know about the puppy?! :smacks forehead: Well quick, go open that moving present. Catch him!

Is everything alright? Alright. Back on course. Congratulations on your new camera. If this is an upgrade from what you have, awesome, you'll love it. If it's your first digital camera, you are in for some fun. If it's replacing the camera you dropped into a mug of beer while you were out shooting pool with the boys...you're a very lucky man. Go tell your wife you love her and then take out the garbage. We'll wait.

While we're waiting let's name all the Disney characters according to height starting with...oh hey the menfolk are back. 7, 8, 11, 15, 26, 53...good they're all here.

I'm going to quickly give you a rundown on everything you need to know. Ready?

1. Read the manual
2. Charge your lithium-ion battery. If the camera takes AA, get yourself rechargeables. See previous blog on batteries here and here.
3. Keep your camera safe and protected in a padded or hard shell camera bag.
4. All digital point and shoots have some delay. Newer cameras have faster processors. One way to help speed things up is to use a faster memory card. I recommend no less than 5MB/sec. If the card you have doesn't give it's speed then it's about 2MB/sec.
5. Cameras do not like liquids or sand.
6. Read the maunal. It's worth being repeated.
7. That built-in flash only goes 8-10 feet.
8. If you use any Night mode, you'll need a tripod.
9. Cameras have a tendency to get drunk on New Year's Eve, fall down, and require a trip to the repair center. Don't let your camera drink.
10. GO OUT THERE AND TAKE PHOTOS!

HERE ARE A FEW OF MINE! Why am I still yelling?! These are from MouseFest. They're not great but they're funny and if they make me laugh then they must be good.

candle-hat.jpg
While in the UK, my friends and I watched the World Showcase Players perform. This fellow was too close for the camera to focus properly and quickly enough. It's all good cuz I still caught the moment.

canada-zoo.jpg
I had never stopped and sat in the waiting area for Oh Canada! before. My friends were on the bench in front of this window. It reminds me of every single zoo and I thought if we waited long enough then perhaps some monkeys, tigers or bears would show up. I'm still waiting.

December 30, 2007

Wrapping Up MouseFest #4 - Focus on Disney World -

One of the best times I had at MouseFest this year was attending the Illuminations Dessert Party. I was lucky enough to be a guest of Deb Wills and just loved viewing the fireworks up close and personal. The wind was not in our favor so I didn't get many fireworks photos to share but the event was great fun!


The last MouseFest meet that I attended was another Tagrel meet. I was one of the co-hosts of this meet. Granted, that makes me a little biased, but I'm CERTAIN it truly was one of the funnest meets of the week. Capture the Magic is a wacky photo scavenger hunt through the Magic Kingdom. Teams are given 90 minutes to complete their photo quests, the winners being the team with the most points at the end. My only complaint about this meet was that the hosts didn't get to play!


MouseFest was a blast! It's just so much fun to see old friends and meet new ones while getting to play at Disney World. I already miss everyone and can't wait for next year.

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #21

This was Challenge #20:
Where in the World #20

And here's the answer:
Crayons
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/6s shutter, f4

I noticed this shelf of crayons when I was headed into Cape May Café at the Beach Club Resort. These are the crayons they give kids to play with while they are waiting for their meals. Who would have ever thought that a crayon storage space could be used so cleverly to decorate? That's Disney for you!

Christina Romano was this week's winner once again. Christina is getting hard to beat! She was joined by Jessica Romano, Nancy Ahlsen, Loretta Reed and Gretchen who all knew the answer and were entered in December's winners drawing.

It's time for another drawing winner. Congratulations to Nancy Ahlsen! Nancy was chosen randomly from a pool of 95 December winners to receive a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies.
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Challenge #21: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #21

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
_______________________________________________________________________

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

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About December 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in December 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2007 is the previous archive.

January 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.