Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Super Hero

I couldn't decide which of these I liked better so I'm posting two. Once I saw the theme I couldn't get this idea out of my head- so there was no getting around my "no people" rule this time.
Which one's better? You decide:

Both taken with bounced flash. ISO 320, 1/200, 2.8

CC :)

Super Hero

Here is my daughter posing as a superhero! I took the picture focusing about where her waiste is now and snapped the shot as she was sliding down. Then I used Picasa to add a small glow and soft focus to make it blurry kind of like a dream. My daughter is one of my heros for many reasons. CC is welcome!
Posted by Picasa

Fresh & Hero

Okay, I posted a post which I will try to delete about how my cookies didn't turn out for my "fresh" photo. I tried a second batch yesterday and again, no dice. SO Here is a photo of some DELICIOUS fresh homemade pudding, which really, when I hear fresh I think of fresh food and this is my favorite. :)

My mom is my hero. Here she is, making the very pudding pictured above. :)

I used "Clairify" and "Oh snap!" from the Totally Rad Actions set for both of these, in Photoshop. CC

wind beneath my wings

i married my hero....and here he is doing what he does with his adoring kids. i have to say that this picture didn't turn out quite as well as i would have liked...i ran out of battery so i had to pick from the 3 pictures i got before it ran out...not ideal..but you get the idea.

Scripture Heros

The scriptures are full of heros, learning of Christ makes you a hero.
taken at Iso 100 1/125 of a sec F8 with main light, fill light and a hair light. I put a pin strip border around using photoshop.

Super Stain Remover

Okay so this is my hero. I have lots of people that I could have gotten a picture of, but I took this way out of the box. I use this not only on carpet, but also on the laundry.


Friday, February 27, 2009


Can I just say, EVERYONE did a fabulous job with pictures this week. THANK YOU--I see a DRASTIC improvement over the past week and feel rejuvinated with this beautiful art.

The Challenge today: HERO

What does this word mean to you? How does it make you feel?

Let's have those pictures posted by Sunday at midnight! I am looking forward to another great set of pictures!!


My name is April Riggs-
I have a photography business in West Jordan called April Riggs Photography.
Felicia Howell is my daughter, and she did a great job on the Friday feature today!
I am married and have two daughters, and 11 grandkids- one from Felicia and the others are from my husbands children from a previous marriage. My passion is photography and photoshop.

Friday Feature

For my friday feature I thought it might (hopefully) be helpful to a lot of you wonderful photographers to learn some quick but very useful things on photoshop. Photoshop is not very user friendly unless you know what you are doing, and my mom who is an amazing professional photographer taught me a few simple tips that can turn ordinary snapshots into really great pictures. There is so much you cab do on photoshop but I thought I would do just a few basic things that anyone would be able to do. Hopefully this isn't all stuff everyone already knows, if so I know a lot of other really fun photoshop tricks that I can post about another time.

This is my son Allston playing outside last summer, it's an ok picture but the lighting is a bit off and he has a scratch on his face right inbetween his eyes.

Here is the after picture, the scratch is gone his lips are darker and his eyes really "pop" and the colors are a lot more vibrant.
It only took about 10 minutes and was really easy.
Here are the steps I took.

First you need to know about the Dodge/Burn tool. It's on your tool bar on the left side of the screen. The burn tool looks like a hand and the dodge tool looks like a wand it's next to the water drop button. The burn tool makes things darker and the Dodge makes things lighter. To switch between the two right click over the button.

The picture was a little light so I went to image then adjustments then curves. Then pulled the curve down just a tiny bit in the middle to darken it up just a little bit. (click right below or above the line right in the center)

Scroll in close to the eyes and turn the burn tool to about 6% exposure (top middle/right of the screen) slightly darken the pupil and the outside edges of the iris. Also use the burn tool to darken the lips.

Get your dodge tool and turn it to about 50% exposure (top middle/right of the screen) and lighten the middle of the iris and the lightest spot on the eye.

To cover any imperfections get your bandaid tool and hold down the alt key on your keyboard and click on an area of good color then put your mouse over the imperfection and click again. So on the picture of Allston to fix his scratch I put the mouse over the skin right next to his scratch then held down the alt button and clicked then put the mouse over the scratch and clicked again.

I also used the bandaid to lessen the lines in his skin right under his bottom eyelashes.
Then I got the burn tool and made it really big (you can change the size of the tool using the [ ] buttons on your keyboard after clicking on the picture) I kept the exposure at %6 and ran it over the right side of the picture where it was a little washed out. I then I icreased the exposure to %10 and darkened the edges of the picture.

Then I clicked on Image-adjustments-hue/stauration then I increased the saturation to 10 but you can just do it until you think the colors are bright enough.

I hope this is has been helpful and easy enough to understand. I hope this was an okay thing to do for a friday feature (it's hard being the first one). If anyone ever needs any help feel free to call me 801-860-4695

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fresh Air, Fresh Smell and Fresh Water...

I wanted to take a fresh start at photography and start playing with settings on my camera. This was for beach setting with vivid color, no flash, auto ISO. It isnt great so I decided to try and zoom with a photo editor in order to make it better. Didnt work as much as I wanted. CC please!

Fresh Flowers?

So I have taken some time off, but Rachel has inspired me to make a FRESH start. I love fresh flowers!!


Fresh Mouth

This is also known as Sassy Sauce... and it works amazingly well for talking back and for biting and, well, for just about any other "fresh" behavior.

I took the photo outside in natural light without a flash. I used the macro function to focus closely. I might just have to borrow hubby's camera so I can play more with lenses, etc. but I'm a little nervous about that. CC

A Fresh New Hair Style

I feel bad posting another picture of myself...but I couldn't stop smiling today because I felt SOOOO FRESH! I rarely get my hair colored...about 2 times a year...and when I do, I feel like a FRESH NEW WOMAN! So here is my FRESH shot. And believe me...I'm feeling more feeling like I have mommy hair!

Taken with a Canon XTI
Iso 200

Studio lighting

CC is always welcome

Fresh Homemade Bread

There is just something comforting about Fresh homemade bread right from the oven with butter and jelly. This is the first thing that came to my mind when I read the topic for this mission. So far all the pictures have been amazing and the tips so helpful. Thank you everyone.

Freshly Falling Snow

Wishing I knew more about camera tricks. The falling snow today was pretty, but I just had a difficult time getting a clear shot of SNOW against the white sky! Also, I'm new to this "burning" tool and such!


Here is my little boy - my Bug - FRESH out of the shower (ok, technically still IN!) after getting a FRESH, new, much needed haircut!

Soft, Cozy, Warm

I love the smell and warmth of fresh blankets and towels straight out of the dryer. I am still using my point and shoot, hopefully I will get a SLR soon. Nothing fancy going on here just set on Close Up Scene Mode.


Fresh: Smell

I think this one is pretty much self-explanatory.


I'm Drowning Here...

So that I actually do a challenge I'm posting this Lame picture. I could not get creative with this challenge. I tried to frame it so that it looks like it goes on endlessly (which, believe me, it does). Any CC if you want!

Fresh and Clean

I took A LOT of pictures for this "fresh" challenge, of a lot of different things--clean dishes, fresh laundry, freshly fallen snow, etc. (many of the pictures of which were much more technically appealing than this one)--but none of them really felt as fresh to me as this picture did. I think it's because it reminds me of the fresh feeling I have just after taking a shower or going swimming. And I realize that the flash washes this picture out a little bit, but I think it adds to the freshness of it all, by making it seem that much brighter and cleaner. CC


This picture happened quite by accident. I have been pushing myself to shoot only in manual mode, but I am much more used to the settings INSIDE my house than dealing without outside light. So, in between finding the right settings, I snapped this shot of my little boy on the swings. I know it isn't exact, or perfect to the trained eye, and is overexposed, but I feel so drawn to this picture when I think of fresh air. :)

ISO 200, f14, 1/40 sec

Fresh Box of Crayons

One of my favorite things in the world... a fresh new box of crayons. :)

f5.6 1/40, iso200, no flash, wb auto, photoshop to warm and boost colors, slight burn on edges


A really great source for Nikon users

I just found this really great source for Nikon users. It's called Nikon d-town and has videos with camera tips and tricks for your Nikon. GO CHECK IT OUT! I was impressed!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fresh from God

"It is no small thing when those who are fresh from God love us."

fresh is good

Gotta love a fresh mouth!


Although Fall is my favorite season, Spring always comes with the renewal of life and a fresh new start for me. I took this today. These flowers popped up last week, reminding me that Spring will soon be here!

Smell the Rain

When I think of fresh, I think of the smell after it rains. So I was trying to catch the rain in this picture, not easy without a water proof camera! I don't really know much about the picture, I took it on the action setting. As for the rest of the tricky camera chat that you guys do, well hopefully soon I will be able to tell you about my own pictures! I didn't have to Photoshop this, so that makes me happy!
I want to say thank you to all of those who have left me comments, it really makes me want to push myself more!

Fresh Produce

(f 2.7, 1/5, ISO 200, 6mm, natural light from window)
(photoshop enhancements: duplicate layer with soft light blend, color variation to add more green.)

There's nothing very fresh around here except my groceries. This was really an experiment in composition for me. I played with everything from pineapple and oranges to carrots and zucchini. Today I present: Asparagus.


Fresh Fruit

This started as a basket full of fruit, but I couldn't get the composition to be interesting enough. Then I tried just one apple, but that wasn't really doing it for me either. I ended up choosing the apple and this pear with an interesting stem. I like how the pear and its stem sort of frame the right side of the picture.


Take Your Pick!

This was fresh...or we needed to get a fresh one on her...or both.
I took this in our (bad) basement lighting, with my basic point and shoot, with flash. Took it to my editing program, just the free picasa 3, cropped and made it sepia.


Alright,is everyone taking a fresh breath and starting this challenge with a renewed commitment to push ourselves to be better photographers??? The sun is hopefully shining wherever you are, and I am pretty sure that TODAY is a great day for a picture. :)

The challenge today (since I am feeling a bit of spring in the air): FRESH

What inspires you when you think of this word? Remember, go beyond literal...FEEL more than THINK.

Let's work on having pictures in by midnight on Thursday.

And if you missed the last post, please read through so we are all on the same page. THANK YOU to everyone who gave feedback so far. Your comments were appreciated! I will put a schedule on the sidebar so that everyone who has signed up to do a Friday feature can know when to post your (THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING!!) That way you can even write a feature ahead of time and schedule it for your date so it automatically posts.

Sound good???

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Revisiting the purpose of this blog

I have been thinking a lot about this blog lately--I feel like somehow it has switched paths from it's original purpose and maybe we are kind of off course with it. A few people addressed some concerns with me, and I must admit I agree.

PLEASE do not take any of these concerns as a personal attack. I am not trying to single any ONE person out, but I really had a specific idea in mind when we started this blog and I, as well as several others, really would like it to stay that way.

This blog was created to help people who want to be inspired with photography--who want to better themselves as a photographer and improve their technique and skills. And we do this with a 24 hour challenge. During that 24 hours, it's your chance to think on the word you have been presented with and find a subject to take a picture of. Experiment! Take a hundred shots if you need to. But the point of the challenge is to really work towards something better than you would usually take, whether that be through the angles or exposure, or the way you frame your picture.

I am afraid it has become easy to just be sloppy and post any picture just to complete a challenge. That, however, is not the point of this project.

A few things regarding posting:

--PLEASE POST A CURRENT PICTURE that was taken within the 24 hour project. This is how you push and challenge yourself to become a better photographer.

--Let's keep the stories and explanations short--I know several people have expressed that they feel that the place for those are on people's personal blogs. I am at fault of this as well--I know! :) So, let's just clean up our posts. Write a short blurb...3-4 sentences...and maybe the lighting we used, all the picture details, and any special technique we used.

--I am looking for people who would be willing to post a Friday feature--even if you are new to photography. If you have found a great article online, or want to share any aspect or technique of photography, go for it! PLEASE leave a comment if you are willing to post a feature to share. I really want to get this going in the next week or so.

I am so happy to have this blog and see the wonderful samples of art contributed by so many people. Let's all step it up--not matter what our current skill level. Let's really make this a place to be inspired!

I am open to any feedback on how we can improve. Please leave a comment or drop me an email:

Thanks again everyone! Be ready for your challenge tomorrow morning!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Success, Love, Late, and Reflection

I've been MIA for the past week, but I did do the assignments, I just haven't been able to post them. We went on a mini vacation to Idaho to visit family, and to let the kids play in the snow.(since we don't see much of it here in AZ) Here are my photos.

Here is Kennedy holding up the only SUCCESS of the day. My father-in-law took us ice fishing, this was the only fish caught that day. Although they did catch 12 the day before. 

My husband must LOVE me because this is what he got me for valentines day. Chewie is his name, and he's a yorkie. 

The main reason for me being LATE, is the vacation we just had, and boy was it fun, and enjoyable. This was the first time we had been skiing, and snowboarding in 8 years. And the kids even got in on the action, and got to go to ski school!

My daughter Jocelyn. She was playing with the mirror after I did her hair for church. She gave me some really funny and goofy faces, but I liked how she looked so innocent in this picture. It makes me reflect on what I was taught, and what I'm teaching my children. 

Reflecting on loving parents

I am so sorry for posting late, my weekend was crazy and I just had some time before work this morning. Like many of you when I heard the topic Reflection I couldn't help but think of my childhood and the loving parents that I had. Sadly both of my parents have passed away, I have this picture from their wedding haning up in my computer room and thought it would go perfect for this weeks topic. They would have been married 54 years this June.

Posted by Picasa

Reflection: A purer time

I was a Strawberry Shortcake fanatic as a little girl. I also played with Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, and My Little Pony. Strawberry Shortcake was quite possibly my favorite. It's a toss-up with Rainbow Brite. Well, SS has made a comeback (as have all the others, except for Rainbow Brite, which I don't really like to talk about), but she's been re-vamped. She wearing blue jeans and purple shirts. Huh? A few years ago, my mom got me a pair of SS pajama pants for Valentine's Day. You're looking at them. They're the original SS. The "pure" one. I feel like a little kid when I put them on. They make me happy.

About the photo: the only editing software I have is Paint, MS Picture Viewer, and Picasa. The black-and-white/color effect was created in Picasa. It's not great, I know, but the original by itself was worse, if you can believe it.

(Sorry I'm camera battery died yesterday, and I'm not sure where my spare is.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reflections of the Past

My dad made me take home my some boxes that I still had at his house. Inside I found letters from some really special people. Some have passed on, some I have lost contact with, others I just reconnected with and some I talk to everyday. It was great fun reading over these letters and to remember the bond I had with each one. It makes me sad that people don't write letters and mail them any more...

Reflection and Late

I was running out of time for the reflection challenge (I'm not sure why that bothered me since I always post anyway--see below) so I just took a quick picture with my point and shoot. I love how the reflection in the puddle makes it look like the sky is coming out of the ground. I don't love the composition, but I think if I had more time, I could have gotten in closer, blurred out the debris, and made this a really cool shot.

This one is LATE. Ha-Ha. It is also the remnant of a very late night. Um, no further explanation necessary.

1/6 sec. F10

Also, I just figured out the CC thing. Please always feel free to give me constructive criticism. The whole reason I'm playing is to improve. :) CC

Reflection of a earlier time

I was with my kids in the afternoon the other day and I started to reflect back to what it was like as a kid. Do you remember what it was like to love to swing without getting dizzy or sick to your stomach? Do you remember the thrill of a little tiny plastic slide in a sandbox or wood chips? I thought about it and it was odd because I cant remember the feeling only the idea that it was fun. It's like I'm Peter Pan from the movie Hook, I have forgotten everything.

From Belly to Baby

A reflection of my pregnancy...Emily will be 6 months old on March 11th.

Reflecting My Heritage

I have always, ALWAYS been told that I look just like my mother. Sometimes I resented it, but mostly I felt it was a compliment. So this is a photo of me, reflecting on an image of my mother, who I try to be like.
While looking for this photograph that I knew I had of her, I found a photo copy of a book I made for her, for mother's day my senior year of high school, that also mentions reflections, so I will include it for fun. This is a song my mom and I used to sing together, the first verse, I mean, then I made up the second (and a third) verse and added pictures that showed how much alike we were and are. In both instances below, the left is my mother and the right is me. In case anyone's curious, the third verse I made up was, "Lookin' at a picture, What do I see? I see the woman I'd like to be. Lookin' at a picture, what do I do? I work and pray so maybe someday, I can be just like you." My mom loved this!

Reflection on a Slice of Cake

Here is my dear sweet little girl, reflecting seriously on what she'd like to do with this piece of cake...

The story behind the picture: I was taking pictures for my food blog and the kids kept wanting to get closer and closer, probably trying to plan a sneak attack on the frosting or something. I decided to take advantage of Zaylee's desire to be in close proximity to the cake, and posed her kneeling by the table and looking at the cake. The cannibalistic look on her face, however, was entirely her own doing.

I used a trick I learned from a digital photography book to get the cake in focus when it's not in the middle of the picture. Hold the camera so that the subject (in this instance, the cake) is in the middle of the view finder or LCD screen and press the button down halfway. This activates the auto-focus, so that it is focusing on what you want it to. Then, while keeping the button half pressed, move the camera (keeping it the same distance from the subject) so that the subject is where you want it to be, then finish pressing the button. The photo will take with the subject still in focus, though it's no longer in the middle of the viewfinder.

And if you're interested, here's the recipe for the cake. :-)


I took my kids to the Draper temple open house on Friday night. What a gorgeous temple! I was overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was. The ordinance rooms have murals on the walls--one is a mountain scene and the other is a forest of aspens. The chandeliers are incredible and... and... well, if you have the opportunity to visit, I would highly recommend taking the time. I know there are still reservations available before it is dedicated.

Anyway... the sealing room is the last room on the tour. I told Anya about what happens there and she had the opportunity to look in the mirrors and "see eternity." I tried to emulate this as best I could with my bathroom mirrors. My towel hanger is a bit distracting and I tried to clean out the cabinets so that wouldn't distract either. Overall, I am happy with the way this turned out. It's a bit dark, I know, but I turned off the other light because the reflection in the mirror was overwhelming. CC.