The Missing Camera

By Isabel M.

      Eleven-year-old Elizabeth was sitting down, speechless. She was shocked. With her jaw dropped, she looked as if she was in a trance. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what to do. Her camera was gone. It was missing.

      “I searched everywhere,” Elizabeth said to herself. “Everywhere! In every spot, in every corner of this house I looked! But yet, my camera wasn’t found. It wasn’t found!”

      With intensity, the words kept ringing in her head: it wasn’t found. Her two sisters helped her look. Her parents helped her look. All Elizabeth could do now was just sit there, and not move. Nobody quite knew how devastated the girl was. She was a passionate photographer. So much so that she couldn’t imagine life without her beloved camera.

      The camera was the most expensive one she had ever had. And it was her favorite one, too. She had some cameras before, but none of them matched up to the performance of this one. She thought it was irreplaceable.

      Life suddenly seemed very strange for Elizabeth, who sat there that afternoon, in the quiet house, in the living room.

      Elizabeth’s two sisters, 9-year-old Sarah, and 14-year-old April were each in their own rooms. Neither could really bare the sight of their sister. The parents, Claire and Gradgrind, were also gone, out of the room. There was nowhere else they could look for the camera.

      Nobody liked it this way. But more than anyone else, the youngest sister, Sarah, didn’t like the gloominess in the air. The house wasn’t the same without Elizabeth’s cheerfulness. Sarah wanted to change this. She moved about, and paced with doubt. Finally, she thought it was a good idea to see her sister, and try to make her happy again.

      Sarah walked into the living room. She sat down next to her sister. Elizabeth didn’t blink. She didn’t move.

      “I can’t believe your camera is gone,” Sarah said. “It’s a mystery indeed.”

      In her best encouraging voice, Sarah added: “But you know, Elizabeth, there’s a lot more cameras where that came from.”

      Elizabeth was deep in thought. “She doesn’t quite understand. My camera was the best,” she said to herself.

      “You know, it’s getting late Elizabeth. Don’t you think you should go to bed, and perhaps wake up without thinking of your camera?” Sarah attempted yet again, but nothing seemed to work. After trying, and trying, and trying, and trying to make her sister happy, it was 10 p.m. Sarah went on for about two hours. Her sister was pretty upset. The girls were told to go to bed by their mother, and Elizabeth, practically had to be forced to go to bed.

      Early the next day, everyone was at the kitchen table for breakfast. Nobody was really all that happy, besides April, the oldest sister.

      “I’ve got an awesome idea!” April said. “I’m going to help Elizabeth find her camera!” The family looked at her, wondering how she was so content, and so sure of herself.

      “April,” Gradgrind began, “I know things are sad right now, and you’re trying to help out. But, we don’t want anybody’s hopes getting high now.”

      “But daddy!” She continued. Believe me, it’s going to work!!! Look, here’s the plan! I’m going to give it specifically to my friends!” She gave her father a sheet of paper. It said this:

Just yesterday morning, my sister lost her camera. She’s very sad about it. We all are. You see, she was in the backyard, swimming. Mom was in the garage, working on something, and also watching Elizabeth. I was gone at my friend’s house, and so was our youngest sister. Daddy was at work. It was then when Elizabeth first realized her camera was gone. It could’ve been that she left her camera on the chair next to the pool, and it slid off on the hole that was next to the chair. Again, mom wouldn’t know, because she was only watching Elizabeth, and didn’t really pay attention to the chair. We don’t know. It also may be that she left her camera in the house somewhere, and it got lost, and she totally forgot about it. This is because she was really excited about swimming, and nobody else was thinking about her camera. Otherwise, we would’ve been able to detect where it last was. Again, she was pretty upset about it gone. Nobody ever found it, though. It’s a mystery where it is.
Anyway, I thought of an idea to find this camera. We’re all going to look super hard around our house, today, all right everybody? Sure, our family already did, but you all, my friends, could double check! Come on friends, do it for my sister! You never know where it is. It could be that when me and the rest of the family looked, we may have skipped something. Who knows. But today, at 3:00, I would like us all to gather and do this!

Gradgrind read this paper.

      “You know, April,” he began, “this may be impossible. Who knows where that camera really is. It’s hopeless. We already looked everywhere This plan wouldn’t work.”

      April was no longer all smiles. The table was sad again. Her father said it, and it was final. The plan wouldn’t work.

      It was a dark and gloomy day.

      And so was the next day. And the next. And the day after that.

      Finally, about a week past. Elizabeth was getting used to the idea of living without her one, irreplaceable camera. But she was still sad.

      Sarah had gone back to everyday life, doing what she always did before the camera was lost. Today, she was on a mission to look into April’s cabinets to read her diary!

      Sure enough, that day, April went to her friend’s house, and the rest of the family was busy doing things. This was Sarah’s chance. She was, indeed, successful.

      Coincidentally, the first page she randomly stumbled upon while opening the notebook was this:

My sister is devastated, because her camera is gone. Poor her! She looked all over the house for it. She acts like it’s the end of the world. “Waaaaaaaaaaa! I can’t find my camera!” Is what is sounds like she might as well say. Anyways, when she was absorbed in the pool, and mom was in the garage, I took my chance, snatched her camera, and hid it by the flowers. Deep in the dirt, too. They didn’t notice it. So much so that I had plenty of time to do it. She deserved it. She always wants to make fun of me. She always told me to “wash the dishes” if I want to earn a camera. “I did it myself!” She said. Whatever. Anyways, that’s what’s going on. Me? I’m enjoying the peacefulness in this house. But the rest of the family is feeling sorry for my sister. I’m just faking to feel sorry. In fact, I made a plan for me and my friends to “search” for the camera. To make it seem like I’m the great sister, mwahahahahaha 😉 However, my friends would act like they didn’t find it. When they actually could help me put the camera deeper in the dirt!

Amazingly written by,

— April the Cool One

      Sarah ran to the kitchen, where her mother was at. She ran. And ran. And ran! She was so content, so happy, because — finally — the mystery of the missing camera was solved.

      When she reached the kitchen, she screamed out loud, “MOM! MOM, LOOK AT THIS! DADDY!!! QUICK!!! COME HERE!!!” Hearing the screams, Claire and Gradgrind moved as fast as lightning.

      “What is it?” Gradgrind said. “What’s got you screaming your head off?”

      Sarah handed him Aprils’ diary and Gradgrind read the entry about the camera aloud. Both of the parents were shocked. Full of fury. They were angry indeed.

      “Wow!” Gradgrind said. He went outdoors, to grab the camera. He managed to dig deep, and took it out.

      April, was in the middle of painting her nails, across the street, upstairs, at her friend’s house. She was enjoying her time.

      Claire quickly walked across the street.

      “April!” She said to her daughter, looking up at the open windows upstairs. “You’re in trouble. I suggest you come down here. NOW.” She tried to say this calmly, but, you can imagine, she was really quite upset.

      April’s friend looked at April. April was totally embarrassed. But do you think her mother cared? No. (And she shouldn’t have cared either.)

      The mother of April’s friend opened the door.

      “What on earth is going on out here!?” The mother said. Her daughter, and April, were now behind her, at the door.

      “My daughter is in trouble. I’ll talk later. For now, I’m going to take her home.” Claire looked hard at April, but tried to stay polite in front of the neighbor. And, again, tried not to lose her temper. They walked across the street. April didn’t say a word. But she knew she was obviously in trouble.

      She was inside now. The whole family was at the kitchen table: the parents, and April, of course, and also Sarah and Elizabeth. They all looked at April. Still, she didn’t dare say a word, since she was picked up at her friend’s house. Everybody knew about the paper, and Elizabeth was all smiles, with her in-perfect condition camera in her hand. But of course, it had to be cleaned up a little bit because it had been buried in dirt.

      “You don’t want to do the dishes, I see,” Gradgrind said. “So, your jealously made you go, take your sister’s camera, didn’t it? Your jealousy, and lack of wanting to earn something. You stole, and you made your sister upset.”

      All eyes were on April now. And Sarah couldn’t help but to sneak in a laugh.

      “You’re going to do all these dishes,” Claire spoke up, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes! All of them! Two months straight! Nobody will be allowed to help you! And did I mention, your use of Facebook? NO FACEBOOK! NOT AT ALL! For six months! Apparently, you’re not mature enough to handle it. Oh yes, and did I mention, you’re cleaning this whole house tonight? That’s right. All of it. Now explain, why did you do this?!?!”

      April looked around the table. She was still nervous, but then, more evilness kicked in. This wasn’t just about a camera now. Her younger sisters were ruining her reputation. And she did not want this to pass without protest.

      “Well mom,” April quickly said without much thought, “Sarah read my diary, did she not? What about her? Doesn’t she get any punishment?”

      Of all the crazy things she said in her life, that was the craziest! She shot herself in the foot.

      “Wow!” Elizabeth said. “You falsely accused my sister, my kind sister, Sarah!”

Now Claire piled on the punishment. Lots of dishes. And lots of cleaning. Claire was fuming. And the rest of the family was upset with April, too.
      The day came to an end. Everybody went to bed. Except for one. April had to do her math.

      The family went on and enjoying their time, while April suffered for what she did.

      Eventually, after about a few months, April went to apologize. And it was a sincere apology. April was honestly, truly feeling sorry. It was too bad, though, that she didn’t learn sooner, before causing a photographer’s nightmare.

      But at least it was over. And it ended well. Eventually, everybody, including April, were all on a happy high.

And April never did a foolish thing like that again.

The End


How Kids Can Build A Website For Free | Part 4 of 4

      This post is the last installment of my four-part series, How Kids Can Build A Website For Free. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. To read part three, click here.

      Yesterday, you built your website, learned about site maps, created your website’s CSS, etc. Those are the hard things to do, so today you’re going to be doing easier tasks.

      The first thing you’re going to do is validate your website. When you validate your website, you are checking the code, to make sure you didn’t forget a bracket or anything like that. You can try it out here. An easier version to understand can be found here. The easier one doesn’t have confusing things like, “which encoding would you like?”

      If your website isn’t validated, you should read the previous blog posts I wrote, and revisit Lissa Explains It All. There might be something missing there that you didn’t understand. Another great thing to try are the forums of Lissa Explains It All. 000webhost also offers a help center if you’re confused about your website’s code.

      You also are going to need to make your website search engine optimized. There’s really no point in having a website when it’s not indexed by the major search engines — Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Making your website search engine optimized is very simple to do. All you have to do is add a description like this in the head section of your webpage:

      <meta name=”description” content=”Write in a paragraph or less what your website is about here.” />

      This description shows up when someone Googles your site. You’re also going to need keywords, which are also words people “google.” For example, if someone were to “google” landscaping, they would find your website, because you added “landscaping” as a tag. You wouldn’t be indexed on the first few pages though, unless you’re website that has been around for a long time, and lots of other websites have linked back to you. That’s why, for example, if you were to do a website design for someone, it would be smart if you told them to write that you designed the website, and include a link back to your site. Here’s the code to add keywords to your website:

      <meta name=”KEYWORDS” id=”mKeywords” content=”landscaping, snow, removal, landscape, installation, maintenance”>

      That should also be included in the head section of your webpage.

      You should also double-check everything else on your website. Make sure there are no broken links. This is neccesary, if, for example, you added a link to but meant to write You should also make sure you didn’t misspell anything, or have incorrect grammar.

      The last thing to do is optional. You can purchase a domain, but it isn’t fully necessary, depending on what type of website you have. A domain can make your website look more professional. Nobody can remember as easily as So when you purchase a domain, you basically have a shorter URL, that’s easy to remember.

      Tomorrow you’ll learn how to create a blog!

Five tips on how to photograph food and drinks

      1. Make sure to take detailed pictures.

      The more detail in your pictures, the more real the food looks. Most cameras know what the subject of your photo is which means it usually makes the subject detailed and blurs the background automatically. If you don’t shake the camera you are more likely to get detailed pictures. Also, most cameras have a mode called macro mode which is a good setting for getting rid of blurriness. In the pizza photo I took shown below you can clearly see the melted cheese and the green seasoning on the pizza (you can also see scratches on the fork). In the French toast photo below you can see the egg yolk in the bread, and in the root beer photos you can clearly see the air bubbles and in the last photo the shape of the ice.

      2. Make sure your food picture isn’t overexposed.

      Exposure refers to the amount of light in a photo. Overexposed photos are too bright, and underexposed photos are too dark. In most cameras you can change the exposure yourself. Usually in manual mode cameras have a setting called exposure compensation. Adjust the settings until your picture has the perfect exposure.

      3. Think creatively.

      Sometimes tilting your camera instead of just taking horizontal photos can produce some interesting results. This is good especially if you’re just taking a picture of a cup like the photo I added in this blog post. Also try some vertical photos, too.

      Sometimes photos are too “perfect.” For example, this photo below doesn’t have a single crumb anywhere. The slices were cut and placed in the exact same way, and the plate were positioned perfectly. If you’re just taking photos for fun, you don’t have to do all of that.

      This other picture also looks too perfect. The ice cream cone is perfectly straight and centered with a white background. There’s no melting ice cream or anything really interesting to look at.

      I like to take photos of food that has been partially eaten. Far from being perfect, they’re kind of fun because you never know what they’re going to look like. In the photo below, notice how delicious the sauce looks that’s on the fork. You can also see the clear pattern on the fork. Notice the detail in the partially eaten crust. I’m getting hungry just looking at all these photos again!

      4. Blur the background so that the food is in focus.

      Sometimes you might not notice what’s in the background until after you’ve taken the photo. Suppose it’s something you don’t want like all the junk on the table. One way to deal with this is to blur the background. If you don’t blur the background people might not focus on the food. Most cameras have an option of selecting the subject of the photo and blurring everything else.

      5. Have fun.
If you are too worried about changing all the camera settings, you might forget this. Unless you’re selling your photos you’re the only one who has to like them. One of the ways I try to make photography fun is by finding interesting subjects and for me that means something different all the time.

Learning More About My Camera

      Today I learned more about the Kodak Z990.

      The first new thing I learned is that with the camera you can change the brightness of the flash. Without changing the settings of the flash you might overexpose or underexpose a picture because the camera doesn’t always set the perfect settings on its own.

      I also learned that my camera really does need to get used to cold weather in order for the battery not to die very quickly. At the beginning of the day, I noticed the batteries died quickly, but at the end of the day, when the camera acclimated to the cold, they seemed to last longer.

      The last thing I learned was also about battery life. I had the Sandisk 2GB SD card with lots of pictures in my camera. My battery life was almost dead, so I charged the batteries. I then put the pictures in the SD card into the computer. I then took the batteries that were charging for only a few minutes and they were then put into the camera again and were 100% charged. The battery life seems like it will last longer without a lot of pictures on the SD card.

      Here is a picture I took with the camera:

Taking pictures in cold weather

      Today I learned about taking great pictures in winter.
      The first thing I learned was that your camera can react to the cold. The battery can die on you quicker than usual in cold weather. You should get your camera acclimated to the cold before taking photos in the outdoors.

      The second thing I learned was taking snow pictures can be tricky. The camera will most likely take a bad picture because the white snow is very bright and your settings might be wrong. I got a purple-toned picture trying to take a picture of a tree with snow on it. You should really customize your settings to make sure you will get the perfect picture and the camera doesn’t get confused.

      Here are some outdoor winter pictures I took outside today:

Kodak Z990 Review

      Today I learned a lot about the Kodak Z990 camera after trying it for the first time, shooting pictures indoors and out. The Kodak Z990 is a 12 MP camera with 30x zoom.

      Although confusing at first, within a few hours I was able to capture amazing pictures. I love the electronic viewfinder and the brightness of the screen. The camera is also very fast. In less than four seconds the camera turned on, and moving from one setting to another takes less than two seconds. I was shocked that the pictures were in focus even when my hand was not steady. I also liked that I could see how much the batteries were charged on the camera’s screen, and that the camera box includes rechargeable batteries. Unlike the Samsung SL30, when I zoom in on something far away, the picture is still very detailed, and not blurry at all. The camera is great at night photography.

      There are only two things I don’t like about this camera. I don’t like that unless you add an SD card to this camera, you can only take about 11 photos before the camera’s internal memory becomes full. When I added the Sandisk 2GB SD card I was able to take nearly 100 photos without the batteries dying and with nearly half of the memory available. I also don’t like that I can’t directly upload a picture to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, but instead I have to connect the camera to my computer first and then upload pictures to social media websites.

      Here are some of the photos I took with the Kodak Z990 (click on an image for larger view):

This is an amazing detailed photo!

This is one of my favorite photos. Check out the amazing detail in this photo!

One of the first pictures I took with this camera is of this camera strap. I can’t even see this much detail in real life but I can with the camera.

This is another one of my favorite photos. Using the smart capture feature I was able to blur the front of the image so that the bookshelves in the background are the focus.

      This camera has a seemingly endless amount of settings. I can turn a picture into a black and white photo. I can can use the sepia setting to make it look like an old photograph. I can easily take a picture of a flower using the flower mode, pictures of children playing using a children mode, etc. There’s even a photo booth setting! With the photo booth setting, I can take four pictures at once and then the pictures are saved in a strip, just like the real photo booths. Unlike real photo booths, I don’t have to pay every time to take the pictures in a strip.

      The camera is also great because it can take photos in very high resolution. The pictures have a resolution of 480 dpi — that high quality means that I can take a picture and publish it in a newspaper or magazine. Most digital and mobile phone cameras produce images that are 72 dpi, which is fine if all you’re going to do is post them on the web.

      The Kodak Z990 is one of the best cameras I have ever purchased. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

      You can learn more about this camera at:

      The Kodak Z990 can be purchased here at Amazon.

The First Commercial Camera

      Today I learned about the first commercial camera.

      The first commercial camera was built by the founder of Kodak, George Eastman, in 1888. The camera had 100 exposures and when you used all 100 exposures you would send the camera back to the Kodak company for processing. The printed photos would then be returned to you and your camera would come back to you with 100 more exposures. The camera had one fixed lens and one shutter speed. The camera, pictured on the top of this post, was the size of a microwave, and needed a heavy tripod.

      George Eastman created many advertisements for his camera. Because he wanted to simplify photography and make it available to everyone, not just trained photographers, he wrote a slogan on the advertisements stating, “You press the button, we do the rest.” One of the advertisements is shown on the right. The camera was easy to use, inexpensive, and was light. It became internationally popular almost overnight.

      The price of the camera was $25 and the cost to develop the film was $10, which included returning the entire camera to Kodak.

      You can learn more about the first commercial camera and George Eastman at: