Monday, February 6, 2017

Creative Exercise - In the morning

This year I have some goals...I want to get my pictures current -- like right now they are in folders but that's it.  I don't have things labeled, I haven't looked to see if things are blurry or just pictures that I don't want to keep.  I have caught up and put all of the photos that I took in 2016 in folders - labeled them and then saved them on another hard drive.  I've stayed current so far with 2017.  Right now I am working on 2015 and amazingly enough, I am almost through all those pictures - going through them, deleting them and labeling what they are.  Once that is done I have to do 2013 and 2014 - my goal is to get all this done before the baby comes.  I have maybe 10 more weeks before baby comes.

I have a couple of photography books that I would like to get through.  I have started the first chapter in one book and they have creative exercise to work through and think through.  So I'm gonna try to do that.

Then with my facebook group, they will be putting up some creative exercises that we can work through for about 2 weeks and then we will move on to another creative exercise.  I think this will be the place that I will blog about my creative exercises and also about maybe the assignments that are in the books that I'm reading.

My goal this year is to improve my photography, have fun with my photography and just to be mindful and take pictures that make me happy.

For the next two weeks are working through the theme of In the morning in our facebook group.   Basically, we will all be shooting stuff that we see in the morning -- we can have people in our shot but we don't want the people to be the subject.  So I can't wait to see what I can think about for this exercise.

My first pictures for this theme - In the Morning.  I wake up every morning and I turn to look at the window and I smile because I see these BEAUTIFUL light beams that peek through my curtain.  I always tell myself that I should take a picture of them because they make me smile and just make my morning.  But I have never done it.  But this morning I decided that I wanted to remember those light beams and the emotions that come out when I see them.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 13 - April Fools

Do you do anything funny on April Fools?  I really haven't ever but I think I might try this year.  The thing husband is really good at getting back at people and he's even better at it so I have to figure out how I can do this carefully!!  Hopefully I can pull off something hilarious without it backfiring on me!

Your assignment for this week is to take a picture (could be anything -- close up, snap shot, etc) of what you did for April Fools (or what you wanted to do but were to afraid to try it!)!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 12 - What is it?

Have you ever looked at a photo and thought to yourself....what is that?  It's either a part of something or just taken from a different angle than you are used to. 

This week your challenge is to take a moment and look at things that you might look at every day and take a picture of it causing people to go hmmm.....what is this or this is a different way to look at that!  Have fun....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week 11 - Green Week

Saint Patrick's day is this Thursday the 17th and because I always have tried to do something fun for my boys on Saint Patrick's day....I figure it would make for a fun picture.

Let's take a picture of something green.  Let your imagination roll with this one!  Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 10 - Macro Photography

Macro photography is just another word for Close up photography.  John is really good with getting awesome detail shots with his camera (which by the way is just a simple point and shoot camera)!  With a DSLR or just a regular SLR you have to make sure that you have a macro lens which helps you get UP close and personal with your subject.  But if you have a point and shoot camera just switch that camera to your macro setting and just start shooting.

Some tips for macro photography:
- Make sure that you have a clear space (maybe even a black background or a white background)
- Make sure you have plenty of light so that you can take your pictures!!
- If you are able to put your camera on a tripod because you want to avoid shaking the camera.

Your challenge for this week is to take a close up something! (Could be a picture of your jewelry - rings, necklace, charms, etc or close of cooking - spices, chocolate chip cookie, etc or a flower or animal) Let your imagination flow!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 9 - End of the Month Fun

This week's challenge is to just take a picture of something fun!  Have fun with your camera and let your imagination roll!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 8 - Catchlights

Have you ever looked at a fashion magazines and just looked to see what makes the models look so warm and inviting? What about when you are just looking at a make up campaign where the focus is mostly just on the eyes?  It's that white spot that gives your eye a glimmer of life to it.  If you just look into your mirror right now you'll notice that you have that in your eyes.  It's usually the light is reflecting off something and is catching your eye!!

Catching the light basically means that you want the light to catch them (the eyes) so that it gives the subject that you are taking a picture of life and sparkle. It's light that shines on your subjects face and eyes that reflect the eyes and give them amazing detail & color. It's what happens when you just look at the one picture and are amazed that you were able to capture that special spark which makes you want to take that picture of your subject over and over again.  It's difficult to get pictures with catch lights if you aren't paying attention but if you practice and are aware of your surroundings you can get really good at it!   I am not very good at being consistent at getting shots with catch lights but my goal is to be more aware and to try to get some really good shots.  Also catch lights are great and good if you can get them but if you are trying to take pictures of kids or trying to capture the moment go for just taking pictures of the moment then getting your picture technically perfect!!  Also your best bet for taking good pictures with catch lights if you just have more of a portrait type picture (more of a close up picture than a full body photo)

How to get great catch lights is to make sure your subject is facing an open light source that is not directly hitting their face. So in your house have your subject sit or stand by an open window, facing the open window but not in the actual light.  When you are outside go to the shade and spin them until you can see the light hitting their eyes (usually facing the sun in the shade)!

Your assignment for this week is to get some good catch light pictures of your kiddos, animals, yourself, etc!!  Good luck! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 7 - Romance

This week it's the most romantic week in the world.  Okay maybe not but Valentines is this week.  I have no real challenge or explaination for this week only that this week's challenge could be a fun one!!   

Your challenge this week is to take a picture of something that you find romantic (it could be literal, abstract,etc.) Have fun and enjoy!!

Happy Valentines!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week 6 - Aperture Part 1

Aperture is the fancy word for the blurryness of your background (or foreground) depending on how you focus.   Aperture is alsot talked about in f/ can have f/ stops of f/1.2 all the way up to f/22. The confusing thing about Aperture is that when photographers are talking about the blurryness (bokeh) and complete in focus of a photo is when people are talking about it they say that they have the maximum aperture they are usually talking about a small number usually an f/stop of 1.2 all the way to f/4 which is when you get your subject nice and your background has a nice blurry background (bokeh).  A miniumum aperture is when you have a larger number usually an f/stop of 11 all the way up to f/22 which is when you have your subject and your background all sharp and crisp (the higher the number f/22 the more everything is in focus). 

Here is your assignment for the week.  Take a picture using a maxiumum aperture (a small number -- try using the lowest number that your lens or your camera has) and then take a picture using a minumum aperture (a large number -- try using the highest number that your lens or camera has).  Have fun and enjoy!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week 5 - Shutter Speed - Part 1

Shutter Speed how fast your camera takes a picture.  With a point and shoot camera it's a little bit more difficult to control how to take a picture.  When you take a picture (whatever camera you have to have your shutter speed fast enough so that you have a clear and sharp picture!)  The reason why your pictures sometime don't turn out crisp and clear is because your camera (or you) has choosen to slow of a shutter speed and you are hand holding your camera to get the picture and your hand starts to shake.  There are a couple of things that you can do to adjust or fix this. 

1. Adjust your shutter speed (in order to do that you have to make sure you have enough light so that your subject isn't all dark -- see if you can bump up your ISO)
         a.  For little kids (I fail at this miserably) you should make sure that your shutter speed is at least at 1/125 of a second.  Every time I pop my shutterspeed below that and I take pictures of my kids (unless I'm using my flash which is another subject completely) I am disappointed -- I usually get blurry kiddos! (Is it illegal to use duct tape and super glue to force your kids to stay still? Yes?....darn it!!)
          b. If it's an inanimate object or a person who you might be able to get to sit still and be patient (not in my family) and you just don't have enough light to keep it at 1/125 or higher pop that baby (camera) on a tripod and try that and see if you can get sharp and clear photos.

Your lesson for this week is to try out taking pictures of people and play with your shutter speed.  See if you can get crisp clear photos -- in different lighting & by trying to adjust your shutter speed.  You can do it.....if you are confused and don't know how to adjust your shutter speed read your user manual.....memorize that baby it's your friend!  Good luck!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week 4 - ISO

ISO....most cameras if you can adjust your camera to manual you can most likely adjust your ISO.  ISO is what you used to have to use for film you would have your 100 for day light and then 200 - 800 for various other times when it wasn't quite as nice and it was dark.  I remember having my film camera.....a cute little point and shoot film camera.  I never understood what ISO did for my pictures when I had my film camera.  I would have some pictures that were usually just dark and didn't have enough light for them to really be recognizable.  I really didn't understand how ISO helped my pictures and what effect it had on my pictures until I was reading my owners manual and started reading books about the subject -- Bryan Peterson wrote an excellent book Understanding Exposure.  Which helped me understand what ISO did and how it helped with photography.

ISO  basically is how much light is let into the sensor (if you still use film -- then film).  Now you can only go so high with your ISO before you introduce noise.....which is basically graininess (film) and noise (digital film).  This is usually when it's nice to have a nicer camera -- the more expensive the camera the more equipped it is to handle the noise.  Which is why...probably in three years I hopefully will be able to go up to a full framed camera

My advice to everyone is to play with your ISO.  See if you like the noise....maybe you won't notice it at the higher ISO.  I usually notice and can tell when I take pictures with ISO 1600 and the picture it's really grainy. Here is my rule of thumb....try it out!

My rule is as long as I have light......and can keep my shutter speed where I want it to be I keep my ISO at 100.  That doesn't always work and isn't always helpful because you don't always have the beautiful sunny days and the brightly light rooms.  So if you don't have a lot of light...say it's a cloudy day and you are in the shade.....try having your ISO at 200 or 400.  If it's night time and you are inside and don't have a lot of lights turned on.....turn your ISO to 800 or beyond.  It's gonna get a bit trickier because you will be dealing with the noise but it will work out!! 

This weeks challenge.  Play with your camera's ISO...experiment with your white balance and your ISO.  Also see if you can notice the noise at the higher ISO ranges?  Do you like it?  Can you use it creatively?  Good luck!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 3 -- The Exposure Triangle

You will hear ALOT about exposure once you devlve into the world of photography.  Exposure has many different meanings. You can use it to compliment a person on how great their photo that they took -- "Great Exposure!!" You can use it to say how long your photo was exposed for (how long the shutter was openned for). 

200607192012The exposure Triangle is the relationship between ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture.  A really great book about this topic is written by Bryan Peterson -- Understanding Exposure and talks in length about how these three different items all help with photography.  If you don't have your ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture correct you can either end up with Underexpose or Overexpose your photos.  In Bryan Peterson book he talks alot about how you can have lots of techanically correct exposures BUT one creatively correct exposure.   By that he means that you can have everything perfect your ISO totally lined up, your shutterspeed just right and the perfect aperture and it will be a great picture BUT is it telling the story that you wanted it to be.  Is the background in complete focus or is it slightly blurry (changing the aperture)?  Is the the person or thing that you are taking a picture of is it completely stopped or is it showing motion?

Here is your challenge for the week.  Play with your camera....try to play with your camera, change your ISO, your shutter speed & your aperture. See how things change.  Try taking pictures of a moving object and see what tells the story the best (adjusting your shutter speed)! If you don't want to do that  try taking pictures where you can either have the main subject completely in focus with the background out of focus (good bokeh) or have the background and foreground be completely in focuses (adjusting your aperture).  More explainations will be coming in the next weeks about what ISO, Aperture & Shutter Speed does.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Week 2 - White Balance

        I figured I would start talking about something that almost ALL cameras have the ability to change....which is changing your white balance.  No matter what your camera (cell phone, point and shoot camera, DSLR camera) you will be able to change your white might not be able to set your custom white balance but you can adjust the white balance to get different ways of expressing your photos.
       I never truly thought & understood how important white balance is to photographs.  When you take a pictures you can change the whole mood and how the picture turns out just by changing the white balance.  Also by changing the white balance and making sure you have the correct exposure (another week) you can drastically improve your photos.   The nice thing is most cameras allow you control and you don't need a fancy dancy camera to do it. 

Most cameras have some standard white balance that when you go into a setting and don't have enough time to set your camera for a custom white balance you can usually pick from these and your pictures will come out fine.  You want to make sure you understand how they all work so that way you can just think.....well I'm inside my lights are on I should change my white balance to tungsten. 

Auto -- The camera will choose what it thinks is the best for the scene.....usually if you don't have time to think and you are going to be in and out of building and outdoors.....just keep it on Auto!

Daylight -- Best for Clear skies and some puffy clouds! Also if you are indoors and aren't using any artificial lights you can sometimes see if daylight will work for you!

Cloudy -- Best for Cloudy skies!  This will give you a warm look because when you are taking pictures outside when it's cloudy if you shot on auto or daylight more often then not you will have cooler pictures and it just won't feel the same.

Shade -- Best for when you are in the helps give you a warm look because (duh) you are in the shade and don't have the sun to help warm up the picture

Tungsten -- That handy dandy light bulb in your house....well sometimes it helps if you change your white balance so that you can be inside and it runs more cool than if you were to use daylight.

Fluorescent -- Those wonderful light that are in most want to use fluorescent lighting rather than tungsten because both bulbs light the room differently.

Flash -- When you use your automatic or external flash....set your white balace to's very similar to daylight but not!  (Not gonna explain unless someone wants an explaination.....this is just basic easy explaination!)

Custom WB -- You can set and adjust your WB....well at least on my camera you.....maybe not on your phone.  Having a Custom White balance means that you take a picture of something gray and then set your WB in your camera....every camera is different so I can't tell you how to do this....I'll show you on my camera how I do it but it would probably be better if you grabbed your handy dandy owners manual and checked out their advice.

When you are changing your white balance just make sure to look around and just check out the lighting'll be amazed at the difference you will see!!  Also once you understand how white balance effects your pictures you can use it to help change the way a person might view your photograph.  Say that it's early morning and you want it to seem like it early could switch your white balance to shade or cloudy and get a very warm picture instead of the blues breaking up.

For my examples I actually used a previous picture I had taken in Raw (more on that later) and because it was in Raw I was able to quick look at the picture and change the white balance in photoshop so I could give you some examples outside (because most likely I am not gonna go outside to take pictures in the North Dakota winter! Brr!!!!  Anyways as you can see you get either warmer or cooler pictures when you use the various white balances.  I think my favorite picture (just with changing the white balance) is between the Shade white balance and the Custom White balance.  The lighting is just a little bit more the right shades and so forth in both of those!!  I could do more to make the picture my favorite but because we are only playing with white balance I'm just showing you the potential of just doing a little thing in you camera and how it can effect your whole picture!

This week's challenge is to play with your white balance. Figure out how white balance works on your camera and just take pictures of the same object using the various white balance presets that your camera has. Also take your object inside, outside, in full sun, when it's cloudy, in the shade and see how things improve or don't improve using your white balance. Be observant and become aware of how things change.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Challenge 1 -- Going back through my pictures

It's been a busy week of packing & cleaning over here so I haven't even touched my camera.  It seems strange to not take a picture everyday.  What my plan was for this week was to set up Little M with a cookie and take pictures and make a collage of that like I did for Little N when he was that age.  Goal for next week!!  Here are some pictures through out the years that I took.

 May 2002
 May 2003

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Week 1 -- Photography

My love affair with photography started when Tante (my aunt) got me a sony camera before going over to Japan (2002) to teach conversational English.  I started documenting my life and sharing my photos with my family.  I had an eye for photos (at least in my head) and was always happy when I was able to capture something special that I saw (let me tell you there were many other pictures that didn't turn out the way I wanted them to -- I had many happy accidents).
John was always after me to take pictures he would always tell me that I can always delete pictures and that I have digitial film so it doesn't matter and I shouldn't worry about how many shots I have on a memory stick because you can always download them and shoot some more.  While I was in Japan I cateogorized my photos by month and usually never exceeded 200 pictures a month (and usually didn't exceed 100 pictures).  I was living in Japan and never took alot of pictures....but in my mind I thought I took TONS of pictures. 
Since then I have to to organize pictures by cateogory (sometimes by month) and always by the date I took the pictures.  There are days that I might shoot over 300 pictures a day!!  (Those are what I call good days!)
I have since upgraded my sony to a Canon xsi.  I am always learning and growing as a photographer.  I started taking LOTS more pictures after the birth of my 1st son.  I have begun to look back at the pictures that I took in Japan to when I had Little N to currently and I am amazed at the improvement I see.  (Which I love seeing.....even seeing improvement from the birth of Little N to the birth of Little M.)

How far I've come -- I still have a long way to go but I'm seeing progress!
2002 -- Japan (Two of my favorite shots & then many just capturing where I was moments)

Little N -- (2007) -- I love these pictures because they capture a moment but I can see how I've progressed!!

Little M - (2009 - 2010)  I love how I see improvement even here.....granted not all my pictures look like that (I still go for snap shots to capture what the kids are doing just to tell a story about our life during this stage of our life but every month for their first year I would try to take pictures of them kind of like their professional pictures....some months I thought that they were really good and other months....ehhhh not so much!)

Now -- it's helped that I've learned how to use my camera.....which makes me happy!! (I wouldn't want to have my camera for as long as I've had it & not seen improvement (John wouldn't have let me get upgrades either!)! Also it depends on what you want to take pictures you want to have "professional type pictures of your kids" or do you just want snap shots of your day to day life?  You don't have to chose between those but it helps to know what you want your pictures to look like and to know what makes professional pictures look professional! When you know what you like it's easier to try and learn how to do those type of pictures and figure out how to make it all work!!  Practice, practice, practice!! :-)   My now pictures I will post later this week!

This week's challenge is to show how far you've you see progress in where you started with your photography to now? Are you just starting out....take pictures and then after a year  or 6 months look at where you started and reflect!  Also think about what you want from yourself?  Do you want to take pro like photos of your kids and life or do you want to capture moments that you don't want to forget that is going on right now in your life?  What's your can be both and a photographer can always turn off the photographer side of their brain (it's hard) and just spend their time capturing something they don't want to forget!  I'll find some beginning of my journey & what I do now later!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

52 Week Photo Project

My project for this year is to take a picture every week.  I'm gonna try to think of themes or activities that we can try to do and learn together to write about each week.  I succeeded in taking a picture every day last year BUT sometimes I was scrambling right before bed to make sure I got a picture.  I figure a good picture each week would be more manageable (don't worry I'm sure that I still be taking a picture every day but if I decide to not pick up my camera one day that's okay too).  So my goal is for 52 photos this year....who's with me?

My little sweetie!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Little N

My holiday quilt

At seminary I got the best present one year a homemade wall hanging from's gorgeous and I love it! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Memories of Grapefruit from Grandma D!!

Growing up we would have oranges and grapefruits mailed to us when my grandma would go down to Florida.  We got a fruit basket from someone at church and it had two grapefruits in it!  It was wonderful!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010