Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Favorite Feature: Her Eyes

I know I won't be winning any awards for originality (I was totally drawing a BLANK in the creativity dept today!) but the very honest and literal answer is: I LOVE MY BABY'S EYES. Being the little halfsie that she is (Korean/Caucasian) we were elated to see that Ava's beautiful eyes are almond and endless! In hindsite, I should have cropped this pic closer to her eyes, but the color in her skirt and sippy were so nice that I didn't. What do you think?

For this photo, I played around with PW's Actions (Fresh and Colorful along with Bring Out the Eyes!) A BIG Thank You to Lindy who opened my eyes to this amazing site!!!!

Today's Feature, Todd!

Today we featured my hubby -- it's his birthday! Love ya, babe! Here he is featuring his favorite dessert... cupcakes!
I took this picture (boring point and shoot... ) and he was too backlit, so I just did a little tweaking with the brightness, and I was lucky enough to end up with a perfectly white background!
By the way, I'm back! I have a running computer again! Yippee! (This is me jumping up and down and clapping my hands with joy! I've missed you all so much! : } )

My Towns best Feature

The Coeur d'Alene Lake is one of our towns best features, most people here call it the "Beach" even tho it is actually a lake. It brings many tourist during the summer and thousands flock here for the firework show on the 4th of July. We also have one of the best Christmas lighting shows in the U.S. ( All done on the lake) So I wanted to focus on the lifeguard chair with a bit of the lake in the background. I added the vintage action to make it look kind of old and faded.
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Featured at the Cinema Today

f3.5, 1/1600, iso: Lo1, focal length: 18mm, exposure: -0.3, no flash
I didn't think I'd get any good pictures of the local run-down theatres, but I actually had a lot of fun! Anyone want to come watch a movie with me tonight? ;)


I am sorry this challenge is late today! I have been running since before the sun came up. :)

Challenge this week: FEATURE

What does that mean to you??

Be sure and do your best. Voting on the pictures starts this week!! Let's see who our first winners will be!

Oh--and a GIANT thanks to ALL of you who have participated in this past challenge. All those posts and COMMENTS rocked the blog!! It was SOOOO wonderful to see so many people encouraging others. So, a special thanks from me!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Okay, many of you asked for voting of the best picture per challenge. I think we talked about 2-3 categories...this is just a trial run, so we can tweak things later.

What do you think about voting for:


Sound okay?
And, I think it only fair that you can win only once per calendar month. What do you think?? I will post the winners each challenge on the sidebar.

In wondering how to do all this, I wondered if you guys think we should have one post to nominate your choice for each and then vote for the top choices from there?

I really want to get this part going. I know Janelle offered to help get this organized too--so I appreciate that!! A little feedback and we will be on our way. I think the best approach is to get this all figured out today and tomorrow and then after this weekend's challenge we can start voting each challenge.

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts??

Friday Feature: Light

I hope this isn't too simple a Friday feature- it's always nice to revisit the basics.

Lighting is the MOST important aspect of photography.

A definition of photograph is writing with light. The source of light is just as important as the amount of light.

Hard Light is light that is direct and harsh. It hits your subject from straight on or above. Most photo classes I've taken or books I've read advise you not to start out using hard light- rather to avoid it until you can confidently manipulate it the way you want. Until you can use it properly hard light is rarely flattering, causes harsh shadows and blown out highlights.

*Sources for hard light:

-Sun at Noon

-Flash- on camera flash, which also causes red eye.

A good type of light to use is Soft Light. This is light that is indirect and almost flat. It's very flattering and hard to go wrong with.

Another type of light that makes for nice photos is Dimensional Light.
A lot of painters have made their living off of dimensional lighting. Rembrandt’s studio had one wall made up entirely of windows. He would open and close the blinds to get the quality of light that he wanted at certain times of the day. Rembrandt Light is a lighting effect that was used beautifully in many Rembrandt paintings.The effect is to light a person so only ¼ of their face is in shadow and there is a triangle of light under one eye. It is a universally flattering, yet dramatic light on faces. It allows for most of the face to be illuminated but with some interesting shadow detail.

*Sources for Soft/Dimensional Light:
-Window light


-Open Shade – Is shade that isn't directly under the source that is causing the shade.

-Open Doors

-Open Garages

-Trees- Make sure you watch for uneven light on your subject when under tree shade.

-Overcast days- Can give a wonderful diffused lighting

The Golden Hour for photography is right before the sun goes down. It's considered by many to be the best time to take photos.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Support

This is my support. My husband. He works hard and long hours. This picture is taken on his work cooler, with his coat , his boots, and his lantern. Not only does he work to support our family, but he supports me in all I do, even if it may be crazy.
f5.6, ISO 200, 1/125  I used a black and white action along with a vignette

Support from my fellow musicians

I and some girls from my ward have formed a little ensemble, ( we were missing one of our cello players tonight) and we are so supportive of each other, especially when it comes to learning new music. We have challanged ourselves and committed ourselves to practice every Thursday. This picture is of our instrument, unfortunately I am the only violin player in the group and we are desperately seeking one more!! ( Mindy come plays with us!) Anyway I just love how we support one another for our love of music. I used my defuser lense to soften up the instruments a bit. Can I just say that all the pictures have been absolutely beautiful and so creative, I love how everyone has such different meaning of the word "Support"

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Supporting Role

This was difficult for me because my hubby's camera shy and had little time at home this challenge, but I wanted a specific pose...not that it turned out my favorite. Seriously, bedtime/just after work is NOT the time for a photo shoot!

My husband often seems to play a supporting role in our family...I have my health problems and I spend almost all my blog on my girls, but this guy really deserved a feature of his own! He supports us as a family financially, me emotionally, and the girls...well in the best ways!
I'm finding that I use my flash...a lot. BUT I feel like I can't get a focused shot without it sometimes. Help here?!?
CC welcome...seriously!

Computer Support

Okay so I know I've been slacking a lot lately, but I am now going to get back into the swing of things. My husband is a Programmer Analyst and this is my idea of support, not only is it what he does at work, but he is also supporting our house.

Nikon Coolpix 4300...5 more days til I get my D80 it is on its way as I type!!!


Support of a Mother

Yesterday was my first official shoot with my new lighting system! It was such a great learning experience. I am so grateful to the Mommy and Daughter pair who were kind enough to let me learn with them. This is one of my most favorite pictures ever taken. And it is the perfect example of the loving support a mother provides her baby.

f/10, 1/60, ISO 100. I've never really upped my f-stop that much with portraiture, but my lights did much better with it set higher, so until I acquire a light meter, trial and error is my friend. :)

An urgent call for Support

For my challenge I went to Target to find things of support. I cracked up at this sign. I didn't take it as the directional "This is where you find support leg hosiery", I took it as a call to action:
Support Leg Hosiery!!

(okay, maybe I'm just a little too tired and odd things seem funny to me.. hehe)

Support in Three Ways

This shows support in three ways. First - this is a picture of a mei tai I made recently. A mei tai is a baby carrier, supporting the baby without wearing out the mother's arms, and supporting the mother-child close relationship. Second, the picture is specifically the stitching where the straps are sewed onto the main body - triple stitched for strength and support so that they don't tear off. The seam where the straps are attached is of great importance to the entire carrier. And third - my mei tai is laying on top of more fabric to make another mei tai, one for my sister. We show a great deal of sisterly support back and forth. She has given me so much especially in regards to my children and this time I'm giving to her. We have a wonderful support system together.

Photo taken on macro setting (the little flower button) and focused on the stitching. Natural light from window. Enhanced brightness and contrast.


Support System

I wanted to give props especially to my wife who helps me get good ideas on what to take pictures of or how to take them. She helps tolerate me hogging the camera to practice and try things! Also my friend Rachel H for the encouragement. Without both of them I wouldnt have been able to take pictures like this one.

Just got as close as I could and a bit of zoom on macro setting. Enhanced colors with a picture editor a bit. CC please.

Online Support

I hoped to figure out a better setup to do this one, but I don't have lots of time today so this will have to do.
Most of you know my husband is in medical school and we are thousands of miles away from family. And sometimes I just feel plain lonely. But discovering the world of blogging opened up a whole new support system for me. Not only with family, but I have made so many wonderful new friends through the internet. And boy am I glad! :)

Hinged Helper

(ISO 100, f/3.3, SS- didn't show up, no flash. Shot with Sony Cybershot)

Just a little Support to help hold something up... like a gate door. I didn't realize the phallic shape until I posted - so don't go reading anything into that ;)


My husband's bonsai that still needs a little support. I love how they are shaped like hearts, which is very symbolic of his love of plants.

I think the flash is a bit harsh, but that's what I could do to make the supports really stand out.

Found In Your Arms

This statue was a present from my husband's mom when we got married, and I just love it. Every time I see it, it reminds me that we need to always support each other and put our little family first. My husband is amazing because he has given up so much to stay home with our twin boys while I work full time to provide for our family. Not many guys could handle staying home with twins! And true to the post day before yesterday, this photo was taken with my Canon point and shoot because I don't have a macro lens for my Nikon D70 yet...YET! I love love love my Canon PowerShot A470 for its super macro setting! I used PW's Heartland action and Boost action, because I'm in love with her actions. Go here to download her Photoshop action sets!

Someday I'll get outside to take photos of something besides things inside of my house, but it's hard to get that done while on graveyard shift!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emotional Support

*sheepish shrug* heh. heh. I'm back! It's been awhile since I've taken on a challenge, but New Beginnings, right Rachel... wink wink! Anyway, I'm very very glad we have the Friday tutorials. Here's me taking a NEW LOOK at my nightly cone. Different angle, fill the frame, get creative... this is me GROWING!!!!

Dome supprt beams

Ok- I have to admit this. I'm cheating a little bit- just a little though. I took this on Monday- BEFORE the challenge. I know- big no no. I'm sorry! But when I heard what the challenge was this is the first thing I thought of and since they only have free days on Monday I figured this would just HAVE to do.

OK- mostly, I really like how this picture turned out and I wanted to share it and get some feedback. So- please forgive me for fudging the rules a little this time.

I loved how mechanical and somewhat cold it was, this was taken at the Domes in Milwaukee- they are indoor gardens but ironically you can't see any of the foliage in this shot. It's all about the structures of it. The focus may be the lamp but the subject is actually the domes you can see in the background. My only gripe is the section of the wall that is solid, it would have been so much cooler if it had been completely webbed.

f5.6 ISO-200 Exposure 1/400


My husband-My support

I know most of my pictures are of my son but with such a beautiful child I just can't help it.
When I hear support I think of all the support my husband gives me in being a parent. I can't imagine how hard it would be to do it all alone. My son has been sick with a cold on top of his allergies and my husband is such a great dad, he is an amazing support to me.

I wish his skin was a little less washed out but he is 2 years old so I only get one or two chances to get him smiling.

Sibling Support

f4.8 1/640 iso200 no flash
When I thought of support, I couldn't stop thinking of a pyramid, so I made my kids play around when they got home from school. My silly 7 year old kept poking the older 2 in the nose and eyes, and, like the good siblings they are, they kept supporting him (even though it made them laugh!)

f5.6 1/10 iso100 no flash
I also thought I'd post a picture of my "camera support", for Erin... now you can see how I taped the front, to keep it nice, and tabbed it, so I can find things quickly. :) Yup, like I said, I'm a nerd.

Support Beams

(f9.0,  1/125sec, +1.0EV, ISO100, 55mm)
I've learned so much from this blog!!  Thank you for the great comments.  Its really pushed me to do things with my camera and look at things in a completely different way!  One of the best things that I have done is started reading my camera manual!  You should see it, that poor little book is so torn apart (I take it everywhere with me).  So I want to give that as a little advice!!  READ YOUR MANUAL (again and again).  I've learned so much about my camera that I didn't even know it could do!! Its been a lot of fun!

Support : Working Buddies

The support of a dad.

A Husband's Support

Every young woman needs the support of her husband while pregnant! The wrap I hve the young mom in is something I got from sportsman warehouse to put a dead deer in- What do you think?

Support: TMI Warning

I definitely wanted to get this up quickly. It was the first thing I thought of as soon as I read the challenge word.

My daughter is almost 11 months old, and I'm working on weaning her off of breastfeeding. My supply has been slowing diminishing for several months, but I've only been actively cutting back for a few weeks. Yesterday morning when I woke up, I was completely empty. The well had dried up. So I put on a non-nursing bra for only second time since my daughter was born. There was underwire in it. It was great!

About the photo: the only thing I did was make it black and white.



If you are not subscribed to this blog yet, please scroll down to the next 2 posts as well. There is some important information there for you to read.

I hope this challenge will inspire many of you and we can have a great week of posting. I think it has many interpretations and there should be something for everyone! :)

Challenge this week: SUPPORT. Remember, move past literal!! I can think of several meanings for this, and know you probably can think of many more! So let's see what you come up with! :)

Again, if you haven't read the previous posts, please take a second to do so. If you don't already subscribe and get the updates automatically, click on the FOLLOW button on the sidebar and it will add you to this blog. Then you will know each time there is a post without scrolling through everything to check.

THANKS AGAIN everyone for making this a great blog!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You, yes YOU, can do great things with a point and shoot.

In the last post, we were trying to tweak a few things here on the blog. I would still love you to read this post and then head over to the previous one to give some input.

The discussion of point and shoot vs. fancy camera was brought up, and I mentioned my friend Stephanie who I think does amazing things with a point and shoot. I will say here, like I did in the comments on the last post--it is not necessarily important to have a fancy camera. You can do amazing things with a point and shoot by really putting YOURSELF into your photography and knowing what you have to work with.

My friend Steph, for example, always keeps her macro setting on. ALWAYS. That gives her a nice depth of field. And she doesn't use flash. Her camera is several years old--a Nikon Coolpix--that they don't even sell anymore. And these are some samples of what she takes...

All that from a SIMPLE point and shoot. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty darn amazing.
So see! Fancy camera or not, there are some amazing shots to be taken--
What are your thoughts?
OH, And when asked about photo editing, she replied that she usually does pretty simple stuff on the program that came with her computer. Fixing the vibrance, etc. Basic.

Tweaking here and there

I have found myself in a strange position. I feel like we get to a great place with this blog and then it goes downhill again. It isn't that I am set on it being one specific way, but I don't want it to be all over the place either. This is a challenge I am taking seriously, for myself and my own photographic improvement. And I created this blog for others who wanted to take the same challenge.

When I started this challenge I hoped to have a pretty close knit group of people who could challenge and build each other up, so we can all be better. We have over 40 members of this blog now--all authorized to post. But week after week we have only a small percentage of that actually posting. In fact, this last challenge only had 15 ENTRIES! Only 15 out of 43...

I would understand this if it were just one week--people get busy, things happen. But it is week after week. I guess I just don't understand why some people wanted to sign up for this challenge if they had no intention of ever posting.

I am going to put a new rule in place, so that we can keep this blog cleaned up and close knit like I intended. IF YOU DO NOT POST AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, I WILL REMOVE YOU FROM THE LIST. Once a month is not too much to ask. That is ONCE every 8 challenges--even though I hope you will post more!

I made it clear from the beginning that this was for all skill levels. I still stand behind that. But part of improving and being better is knowing what was good about a picture and what could be better. Going through, there are SO few comments on people's pictures. I have had a few people tell me that it is discouraging to post and not hear anything back. Especially when those people have made a point to leave comments on other people's pictures.

I UNDERSTAND comments are not always possible. I know for me, I can't always get to them right away. But this is one area I think we can all improve on. Really, who DOESN'T love a comment?

And while we are talking about improvements, I would LOVE to know what you feel we can improve. I have heard a few people asking to vote the best picture for each challenge. What are your thoughts? And what are some things you think could be done to change things up? What will get you posting more? How can we add some spark to this blog to get people going and excited again??

I really would love to hear your feedback, good or bad. PLEASE leave a comment and let me know your ideas so we can make this a great place for everyone!!

Automatic Enjoyment

Sorry this is so late. There has been a ton of sickness in our family. Our little boy was sick, then my wife, now me. have just not been on the top of my list for a bit. But, I'm back. This is a picture of our sons fishtank that his aunt got him for Christmas. There are 3 little fish in it. Every morning he has to run to find his fish, and this is also his nightlight. He absolutely loves it, and enjoys it. He can spend minutes watching them. Also, when he eats breakfast, he watches is "baby can read" videos, and will watch for the full 45 minutes. For us, it is "Automatic Enjoyment" and we can get our morning things accomplished. It's great!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Late Friday Feature

Many apologies for posting this Friday Feature so late! It was my husband's birthday on Friday, and so this assignment completely slipped my mind! But, better late than never, right? So, I recently found out about a University Photographics Society which posts tutorials (step-by-step instructions) on how to create different effects with Photoshop as well as how to take great pictures. (These tutorials come from teachers, as well as photography students--most of whom hope to make a career out of photography someday.) To access this great information, all you have to do is go to, click on "Tutorials" in the upper left hand corner of the screen, and then click on whichever tutorials you'd like to view and learn more about. For example, I've already learned how to whiten eyes and teeth, eliminate acne and other blemishes, and burn edges in my photos from this site (now if only I actually owned Photoshop!). Hope this site is helpful!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Edge and Automatic

Another busy week with little time to take photos. Here are the best ones. Sorry!

Livin' on the Edge

18 mm, 1/160 sec, F 5.6, ISO 200
Rod and Rumba on the edge of a trail behind our house.


20 mm, 800 ISO, 1/155 sec, F5

No matter what we're doing, if Rod is near me, I automatically reach for his hand. CC

Automatic love for girl things

I have been MIA since I got this second job. I'm rarely home now and haven't had much of a chance to take pictures, but today and yesterday I grabbed out my camera and gave it a go.

Here is my Automatic
I think it is automatically instilled in some girls from birth to love phones and girly things. My little girl is obsessed with phones and loves to call people...even some I don't know...
For her Birthday tomorrow (celebrated today at Grandmas) I gave her a little play phone with chapstick in it. (Another automatic for a of makeup!)

CC always welcome

Big Boy!

My baby is ten months old today and it's very "automatic" to do a photoshoot on his monthly anniversaries. I can't believe he's already been here almost a whole year!
My studio lights are coming in tomorrow, so this was taken right by a north facing window.
f/5.0, 1/60, ISO 800 ( I know that's high, but it was a very dreary day, so to get any light at all, I had to bump it up a lot higher than I usually would.)