Saturday, April 11, 2009

easter flowers

easter always means new birth to me, and the warm, and flowers... i meant to upload this one!!! for the challenge, my flowers starting to pop. oops, sorry it didn't upload! here it is!

I wanted to take a fun colorful picture of my kids, but we are celebrating Easter a little later this year, and it would have been to late.  But still being Easter, I try to remember what this Holiday represents.  The whole reason for why today is such a good day!!!  So I went and took this picture.  I believe fully in the resurrection of Christ.  And I believe that through him we will all have that same opportunity.  I found this tree in the middle of the cemetery,  everything around here is just coming out of winter so the bloom on this stood out so bright, it was beautiful!
Camera set-(Iso 400, F7.1, 1/160sec)
(CC) I still don't know what I'm doing!

a "More Wonderful Fruit"

I had a lot of ideas for this challenge (but lack of chicks, ducks, bunnies, daffodils, any semblance of green leafy sprouts popping through the earth, etc. put a screeching halt to all of those)
But what I DO have is CANDY!!!! I love Easter... the innocence, sweetness, rebirth and fresh starts. I ran PW's Define and Sharpen and Fresh and Colorful actions.

The Easter Dress


This is a very sad Easter for me,I bought this little Easter dress for my youngest grandaughter a month ago and she will not be wearing it because she and her sister moved to Hawaii with their mom about 3 weeks ago. These girls have lived with us for the past 8 years, so as you can imagine I am having a very hard time with them being gone. My life was pretty much centered around them especially when it came to holidays and my photography. This is the first Easter since we have had children that we are not doing the typical Easter stuff, coloring eggs..etc.( My kids are all grown, except one and they didn't want to come and color eggs) Sooo I submitt this as one sad grandma! :(
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Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs
(50mm, f/4, 1/40, ISO400)

It's a tradition for our family (along with millions of other families I'm sure) to dye Easter eggs every year. It's kind of an odd tradition if you think about it. Anyway, after dying the counter, her hands, shirt and a few eggs my three-year-old grabbed her favorite egg and bedazzled it with a whole sheet of stickers. I couldn't help but capture her artwork.

Hope you all have a marvelous Easter!

BTW-This was my plan B. The thing that stinks about being in this challenge with my husband is when we both get the same idea one of us has to back off. Sigh. Ah well, Easter eggs are fun.


I love it when challenges fall within a few days of a holiday!

And for the challenge this time, I would really love to see what everyone comes up with for this word. I obviously do not know everyone's religious or traditional background, so this could be really varied in response.

So, the challenge today is: EASTER

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

Let's see it!

Pictures in by midnight, SUNDAY NIGHT! :)
OH, one more thing...don't forget to label your picture submissions in the bottom right by LABELS FOR THIS POST. You should include your name and the name of the challenge.

(and keep scrolling if you want to see the winners of the B&W challenge and the Friday feature!)

Black and White: WINNERS!

The votes are in! We had another tie this week (but not two ties)

For best take on the challenge, there was a tie between Amanda and her fire, and Katy and her silk flowers.

For best overall photo, Teryn and her scary trees win (but Lindy and Rachel were both close behind her).

There were so many great photos submitted for this challenge. The votes were really spread out. Great job everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Feature

This was inspired by this latest assignment, obviously. I was just going to post it on my photogblog, but Rachel asked me to do this instead. One thing that I've noticed about a lot of "novice" black & white photos is that they're muddy. They lack contrast, meaning the whites are grey and the blacks are grey. And we want our whites to be white and our blacks to be black, am I right or am I right? Right? Right. So I'm going to walk you through using a level adjustment layer to give your b&w photos more contrast.

First, here's the pre-black & white photo opened in Photoshop. Ooooh, aaaah. Being the Pioneer Woman Action addict that I am, I generally run her Define & Sharpen action, toning down the opacity as needed. I'm also currently in love with Boutwell Magic Glasses by Totally Rad Actions...I sat here staring into space for a good 15 seconds (sorry, short attention span) attempting to come up with a fitting metaphor to explain to you my love of this action, but words fail.

Next you will notice the palettes on the far right of the screen. At the very bottom is the tiny circle cut in half, black on one half, white on the other. Click on that and select "gradiant map" out of the menu that drops down. When the little gradient map screen thingy pops up, push ok. This will change your color photo to black & white.

Unfortunately, it's pretty dull. More "Study of Shades of Grey" than black & white. To fix that, go up to your Layer menu at the top of your Photoshop screen. Under that menu, select "New Adjustment Layer". A second menu will pop out to the right, from which you will choose "Level". Another small screen will pop up giving you the opportunity to name that layer...don't bother, just push ok.

Next, your level adjustment screen will pop up. Here's where it gets a bit more complicated. See the graph? Good. See the three little triangles under the graph? Great. Notice that there is one triangle to the far left, one in the center, and one to the far right? Wonderful. The one on the left is going to control your blacks, the one on the right, your whites.

Before clicking on the far left triangle, push and hold your Option key (alt if you're on a PC), then click on the left triangle and start dragging it slowly to the right. This will white out your photo, but that's ok, don't panic. You will start seeing blacks appear; keep dragging until you are happy with how black your blacks are. Let go of your mouse and see how the blacks in your photo have changed. If you want to, you can un-select the "Preview" option in order to see the original b&w.

Now repeat this process, only clicking on the right triangle and dragging it left. It will black out your photo and you will start seeing whites appear. You can continue adjusting both the blacks and the whites until you're happy with the balance. This is my final product.

See? True blacks + true whites = a photo that really pops! Here's the original B&W next to the edited B&W. Yay no more muddiness!

Mucho thanks to my girl Carly Carlson, who first introduced me to adjustment layers. They have changed my life! (Ok, just my photos, but still.)

Hope this helps!

PS. Rachel, sorry about the shots getting cut off on the right, but if I go any smaller, none of the detail will be recognizable. Maybe if we were to go to a Minima Stretch template (it wouldn't mess anything about the blog up), larger images would fit better. Because larger images are happy! :)

Black and White: VOTING!

Good morning everyone! I will be taking over the voting part of our challenges, to take something off of Rachel's plate.

We had a really good showing for this challenge, so I'm excited to see the results. I'm guessing there will be a lot of honorable mentions.

Last challenge's winners were Mindy, Brittney, Erin, and April F (since we had two two-way ties), so don't vote for them this time around. Honorable mentions are welcome, though.

Please remember the voting system...
Plus extra shout-outs.

Voting ends at midnight tonight.


Okay everyone. I am not being paid to put this up, nor is it madatory. I just saw this deal and wanted to make sure to pass it on.

Photoshop Elements 7 is now only $59--That's a GREAT price! For any of you who are serious about getting into photography, this would be a really great place to start. There are TONS Of tutorials and free presets you can download, and it could be a really great tool to help you make the most of your artistic abilities. I cannot say enough about having a good editing program--the free ones are great, but there is something so nice about being able to really manipulate your pictures the way YOU want. I think it's a great investment and will last for a long time. If you are interested, take a peek. The offer is good until April 23. You can also try it free for 30 days!

click here to check it out!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This Was Hard - Black and White

This proved to be a hard challenge for me. Not in the since that I couldn't get a decent photo... but it was in the sense that I got too many and couldn't pick just one! (see voting: here) lame, I know. I also had voting on my Facebook account too! I fell asleep on the couch waiting for results, and thus my entry is one hour late..... I just woke up.

This picture is one that I took at COSI, our local kid's hands-on science museum. It is a device that is in a huge circle. In the middle there is a pendulum that swings back and forth representing the earth's rotations. Within a 24 hour period, all of the balls around the circle will have been knocked off by the pendulum. It's pretty mesmerizing to watch it!

I took the photo in color, and turned it black and white in Picassa, I also cropped a little.
I wasn't sure how to make the black "POP" as it has been suggested to me (I am just not computer literate enough... lol! I did try messing around with some of the settings, but nothing seemed to change the photo), but I hope it is okay anyway.

This was a fun challenge!

I Am Lame

Ok so I was very optimistic aboout this weeks challange but it proved to be very disappointing for me in various ways. The time I got to go out and take a picture was the last 10 minutes of light and it was raining. Since B/W photography reminds me of older times, crime scenes or crime shows/movies and mystery I wanted to do something like this. Obviously the rain washed away my chalk I drew and rocks didnt show up on the camera. My wife says I'll just seem morbid but hey for me it is thinking outside the box.

Photo in color ISO 200 no flash, use program to darken and Paint to draw the chalk body line...I know its lame.
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"Paradise" in Black and White

Ive been on vacation this week and have gotten behind...I thought these were due Friday...oopps, took this on Topsail Island where we stayed this week. I think it as beautiful without color as it was with....

Going to the Chapel

When I think of black and white I think of something old but with a lot of character. That is what this church is old but the building has so much character. I took a lot of pictures of the whole church but liked this one of the door the best. At first I thought the palms were too much of a distraction but now I kind of like them.


(ISO 400, f5.6, 1/40 sec)
I wandered into my lab and realized this (a dewar--used for holding cold liquids like liquid nitrogen) would be a great black and white shot. The image has been cropped a bit and I boosted the contrast and brightness with the curves function in gimp (I'm a linux user).

This is my first post here--thanks for letting me join! I'm a graduate student studying paleoclimate and I enjoy photography as a hobby. My husband and I purchased a digital camera (Canon XSi) because we realized we'd spend a fortune on film taking pictures of our daughter. 4000+ pictures and a year later, we're very happy with the decision. The picture below is of me with my daughter, who apparently must be in any picture taken of me since her birth.

Blaze of Glory

Sorry I've been absent for the past couple weeks, we were on vacation. Here is a picture of the burn pile.
Sorry I don't remember the settings on the camera, but I did use PS to turn B/W and Sharpened the image.


Black and White: Local meat

I had a really hard time with this challenge. I wanted to take a picture of something that looks like it should be black and white, and I couldn't find anything I really liked. I went to work tonight and took my camera with me, snapping stuff while I was out (even sitting at a stoplight through the front windshield). There was a meat truck sitting in the parking lot at my work, and I snapped a quick picture on the way in the door. A friendly 60-some-odd-year-old man was coming out the door at the time, and saw me take the picture. He said, "I can set you right up, you don't need to take a picture!" I actually ended up with several shots I liked (once in black and white), but my husband picked this one out of my top two.

About the photo: SOOC except the black and white conversion. The conversion itself really wasn't very noticeable, except for the credit card stickers on the left side. The truck was already white with black lettering on it.


Backyard Barnyard

I love old barns. This one is not my favorite, but it is ours and is in our backyard therefore very convenient. I'm not sure what type of editing you do with B&W...any suggestions would be great!

I took this picture this morning while it was raining. I love that you can see the rain droplets on the leaves and the flowers. SOOC with some cropping.

Foreboding Path

The SOOC version of this was actually fairly happy. Blue sky. New spring colors just starting to peek out. Then I turned it B&W and got a totally different feel. Kinda scary and foreboding right?

I really struggled with this one. I always seem to struggle with the ones that I think SHOULD be easier. Then I came across these curved trees on a walk with my son and it was a AHA moment. Then I was really excited about what the black and white did. I'd love your feedback.


A Mothers joy

This is my daughter Whitney, I love love love taking her picture, I absolutley loved this challange and I actually did take my camera all around town today to take some different shots, but she owed me some time to take pictures and this one just turned out the best out of all the ones I did today. She will be 20 years old this year and she truely is a Mothers joy!
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Giant Lincoln Logs

This park near our home always reminds me of a giant size version of Lincoln logs. I had this as a straight b&w then I added texture and vignetting.

My Black and White Baby

This one was hard. I took several pictures of both Zaylee and Thomas, and really had a difficult time choosing which one to post! I had about four absolute favorites, but eventually chose this one.

I usually do some enhancing on the computer after uploading my pictures, but I left this one exactly as it was. She was sitting by the window, slightly cloudy outside, with the camera set to B&W and macro setting.


On Angels Wings.

I really didn't like putting this picture in B&W.  It looked so good in color.  But I love B&W.  It calms everything down! So... what do you think of my angel wings?
Sony Alpha 200 (ISO 800, 50.0mm, f5.6, 1/3200sec)
PS- Border, Signature, Some shadow burn.

Old Fashioned Black & White...Kinda

(D70, ISO 500, 1/60 sec, f13.0, 120mm)

I managed to sneak out this morning after I got off work and spend a good hour just lurking around town looking for fun photo ops. There are several photos that I really like out of this set, but this one was the one that made me really feel something. It was actually on private property so my zoom came in handy.

I cropped it a bit to make it more square, used PW's Boost and Definte & Sharpen actions, made it black and white using gradient map, and then made the blacks and whites more true using a Level Adjustment Layer. Good times. I pushed the black and white level adjustment a bit to make it more stylized.

Just a heads up, I'm probably going to be MIA for a while. My job is getting cut at my dispatch center, so starting July 1st I'll be out of a job. As a result, I am in the midst of finding another job, putting our house on the market, paring down our MOUNDS of stuff to make it easier to move, taking care of babies, and working full time. So I'll be back, as soon as this tornado that has hit our life settles a bit.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I used my sister to practice some bridal shots and realy liked this one. There were others I liked better but they didn't look as good in black and white. I used my moms studio and it was really fun playing with all her big expensive lights and camera.
I found this bridge last summer while on a bike ride. As soon as I saw the challenge I knew this was the pic I wanted to take. The one good thing about the storm that blew in this evening is the clouds really added texture to the sky.

Neighbors Seen Through Black & White

This is of our neighbor's yard, and although I wouldn't buy it (the picture) to put on my wall, it appeals to me. These neighbors are kind of kooky, as evidenced by their 'scarecrow' staring at the run-down car that still has the reflective shade. I also think the brand new home in the background is an interesting juxtaposition.

This is SOOC.

CC welcomed.

He Meekly Died

1/1600, f 5.6, ISO 200, 11mm

I've totally been MIA this past month. I'm photoshopless while my husband is away on an internship (with my laptop) and I feel totally crippled. But I'm almost done moping about it and am ready for the challenge of posting straight out of the camera. So let me know what you think.

Light in the Dark

Da-na-na-na-na-na-na Da-na-na-na-na-na-na BATMAN!!! I simply love Batman, I have for years. My mother bought me this light two years ago and it's the perfect reading lap. This picture was taken with the black and white setting on my camera. The only editing I did was some rotation (The lamp isn't perfectly straight) and I cropped it. A simple but wonderful picture :)

New Girl

I'm one of the new girls on the blog.
My name is Crys (Chris) I live in Kentucky as a house wife, and kitty mommy.
I got hooked onto this page from my sister in law.
I love taking photos, I even have my own business.
So I jumped at the chance to try something new.
I look forward to seeing everyone's photos and working with pictures. If you ever have any questions about my photos feel free to ask. --Crys

Simply Black and White

I love black and white for the fact that you can take a simple picture put it in B&W and it gives it depth and even life, some times. When I thought of this challenge I instantly thought of the simplicity of music in it's appearance, just the black and white notes across a page but how complex music really is, kind of like Photography.

I used a Pentax KM/K-2000 SLR camera in auto (not flash) natural lighting, using the macro feature. I used Picasa to make it B&W and sharpen the black a little.

Don't judge too harshly ;)

side note: for those of you who don't have photo shop or don't know how to use it (like me) I use the free Picasa program and I love it (for the fact that it is easy) you can do quite a bit with it, it's no photo shop but it is a nice program to use if you don't have time to learn photo shop or don't have it.

Black and White

You should be proud of me. When I read the new challenge I wanted to grab my camera and my baby and start clicking away because I think there is nothing more beautiful in black and white then a small, smooth, chubby face. However, since I have used my children for the last two challenges I decided to venture out and try something new. Thus, the fence. I fell in love with it's rich texture. I took the picture in manual (50mm, f/8, 1/50, ISO 100). I converted it to B&W in raw editing and played with the contrast, clarity and black sliders to give it the umph I wanted.

Now, because I simply jumped right in to the challenges a week ago and never properly introduced myself I'll post a self-portrait and give some quick info.

I'm 25, married to a great man and am a stay-at-home mom to my two little girls (Emma is 3 and Ali is 18 months). I do portraits on the side. I first became interested in photography about a year ago and began studying everything I could get my hands on that had to do with photography. We saved and bought a Nikon D60 and a few lenses for Christmas. Now I'm hooked. Besides photography I love biking (road and mountain), experimenting in the kitchen, a good book, zumba classes, hiking and camping with the fam. and blogging. I'm excited to be a part of this group and get to know ya all through your marvelous pictures.

Great Lakes Fence Co.

I have loved this sign in our backyard ever since we moved in. As I was looking for inspiration, it popped out at me. I love it's rustic look.
ISO 320, f5.0, 1/100 second

black and white in Adobe Lightroom
Oh ya, and I shot in RAW mode


in the absence of color...

Typically people love flowers for their POP and COLOR, but I figured today we can also remember to enjoy how soft the petals are and how delicately a flower is held together. This is NOT a real flower... just a silk one in my kitchen. I used PW's black and white action.

Branching Out

I really tried to stretch myself today. I thought this birch tree was so beautiful because it was already black and white -- and is was a little overcast today so the lighting outside was perfect. This picture is uncropped, but I did have to branch out a little and play with my new Photoshop Elements just a little! I sharpened it up a bit and added just a titch of color to the black and white. I have to admit, I'm totally in love with this picture!

Sad Duck

Still no computer... still no photoshop... still one sad duck. :( (Luckily my camera can convert to black and white IN camera!)

Forgot to add: f1.8, 1/100, iso200, 50mm, no flash

AND... to add to the sad duck, I think we lost 6 years worth of digital pictures and all of our itunes music... we thought we had them on our external drive, but they're not there.

New to the blog

Hello, I'm new here so I'll introduce myself....

In the Blogging world I am known as K Harker, you can all call me K. I am a mother of two cute kiddos and a wife of a hardworking husband. We are enjoying our short time out in the Mid West while my hubby finishes up Dental School. We like it here, but we consider ourselves true Westerners and can't wait to get back there.

We just bought our first SLR for my hubby (he's the artist of the family) but I have found I enjoy taking pictures with a nice camera just as much as he does. I know Rachel from Rexburg ID and I have been stalking this blog since it's beginning but was too afraid to join, until we bought our newest camera, that is. So thought I could learn some things from all of you as I feel like I know nothing about my camera or photography and you all seem to have some amazing pictures on here.

Nice to officially "meet" all of you!

(I will do a seperate post for my B&W challange pic, just give me a couple of hours :)

Black On White

As soon as I saw this challenge, I was reminded of a poem I wrote in high school, Black Upon White. I can't find it, nor am I sure I would share such amateur stuff if I did. BUT it was based on my love of music and the piano, showing that the keys and the written music are black on white. This was my favorite of the pictures I took this morning in remembrance of that.

Taken in natural lighting, no flash, in b/w setting, using macro.


P.S. Sorry I went AWOL last was crazy. But I'm back on the wagon and ready to work!


I was stumped on a word this week--and so I decided that we should do a black and white challenge. While I love beautiful colorful pictures, I also LOVE Black and white pictures. They seem to have such depth and feeling.

So your challenge this week is: BLACK AND WHITE

Take a picture of whatever you want. However you want. But you must submit it in black and white. If you don't own an editing program, I know there are several free ones online. I picked a few I found to give you a place to start if you don't have one already. I have not used these personally, but they looked like they had good things to offer: ]

Anyway, hope that helps you get started!

Let's start thinking black and white--pictures in by midnight on Thursday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And the winners are.....

This was tough! LOTS of great shots.

And so, the winners are:

Mindy with her whirling, twirling beaters


Brittney with her very merry go round! :)

That's right...a tie.

Which ironically, we had in BEST OVERALL as well!

We had Erin taking off as a photographer with her bird take off!

and April with her amazing composite of a guy on the go!

CONGRATS to the winners and A HUGE round of applause of all the participants this challenge!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Friday signups

Hey, just letting everyone know I put the Friday Feature calendar up on the sidebar. Please take note and let me know if I got anything wrong. I was trying to gather all the volunteers from a variety of comments, so if I need to change anything I will.

Thanks again for all your contributions! Each of you add so much!

p.s. please note you can pre-schedule your feature ahead of time--
p.p.s. Dave, I think you should do one on panning! You got that down for sure! :)

Let the voting begin!

HOLY COW! This challenge felt (at least to me) like it went SO fast! But it's a rainy Monday morning and it's time to vote.

This voting stuff is seriously getting harder and harder. And we keep getting more and more members who are doing beautiful work! Thank you again to everyone for your contributions.

Still looking for some Friday features to finish up April. The 17th through the end of the month. I thought we would do a drawing to help spice things up. IF You sign up and follow through with a Friday feature, you will be entered in a drawing quarterly to win some fun stuff--I promise it has to do with photography! :)

So sign up now! :) I will update the calendar later today, so get your name in there while you can! :)

Oh, and let's vote!

Be sure to put:

Then any shoutouts you have. It's fun to see your name mentioned, even if you don't win, right?

Have fun!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


My boy in motion. For this photo I wanted more of the back ground to be blurred but he just wasn't riding fast enough. Maybe next time I will make my husband ride instead. 
I also have a question for some of ya. I'm wanting to make a signature thing to put on my photos. How do I do that?
ISO 200, F36, 1/80

Eating Motion

Here is my cute nephew in the motion of eating. I loved the motion of the cheese sliding off the pizza. SOOC.

static motion

Hee hee... my title is a little ironic but very fitting I think. I know hair is supposed to have "movement" but I think this is a bit over the top!

Motion and Addiction

Sorry, it has been so busy around here. The first picture, Motion, is of a random child I shot while waiting to get Rod taking a jump. The picture of the kid turned out better than the one of Rod (mainly because Rod was moving too fast). It is hard to tell that the kid is off the ground. I'm not sure how to fix that.

This next picture, for the addiction challenge, is of a serious problem I have. I am a purse-a-holic; cheap, expensive, big, small, teeny-tiny, fits my kitchen sink . . . I love them all.