Saturday, May 9, 2009

Change is Good

This last few weeks has been full of big changes for our family (sorry I've been MIA, I really missed you guys)! We moved into a new house, and I always worry how my kids will adjust. I guess I didn't need to, I found Elizabeth sitting in the kitchen window looking so peaceful. Then she told me, "I like our new house Mom, it's a good one."

I took this picture with my Sony Cyber-shot point and shoot. Natural lighting, I love how the back lighting gives her a bit of a silhouette. Saturated the colors just a little with Photoshop, and burned the shadows just a bit.


Everything changed

Everything changed for this girl today, today she became someones wife. She was beautiful and glowing and it was her perfect day.

The only thing that wasn't perfedt is there was almost no lighting at all the whole ceremony, so the pictures are dark and it's been hard to edit them and I am never going to get them perfect and that annoys me.

a little changes a whole lot

Besides the fact that children change us everyday and we watch them change DAILY i have a funnier message than that ~

all it takes is a bit of make up, red boots, and skirt and a tank... and viola: my 4 year old boy is such a cute girl!

he is such a good sport. hated it the whole time and kept saying" but i am a boy mom, and we will trick them so good! :)

just for those asking about his hair... see, gorgeous shaggy hair! :0


How do you capture "Change"? This was a bit tough for me, and then as I've been out planting my garden all day I thot of how the plants change - they start as a tiny little seed and sprout and grow and blossom and turn into something delicious and beautiful. BUT since it is too soon for any of those pictures, and after taking many pictures of the budding flowers on the apple tree, my mind went a bit different direction.

I apologize for the UGLY picture of CHANGE that follows.

Changing, dying dandelions.

This picture perfectly shows the change that is taking place in our yard. When we moved here 4 years ago, there were lots of dandelions. And since then there have become LOTS more dandelions. This year I decided is the year to CHANGE that. My hubby and I each tackled about half the lawn and sprayed them all. And we will spray again. And again. And again if needed to get rid of them!

And as you can see from this picture, they are definitely CHANGING. I liked how in this picture you can see a yellow dandelion "flower," the white seeded ones, the shriveling up of the weed as a whole and the brown, changing, dying stems.

A Growing Boy

Looking at these pictures it is hard to believe that this is the same dog, but I promise you it is. It has been so fun to see the "Changes" this new addition to our family has made, from a clumbsy, eating everything , peeing everywhere, puppy to a beloved family pet. His name is Zeppelin and we adore him, it was really quite fun doing a photo shoot with him today. For the first time in so many months I can't remember the sun is shinning and it is actually above 65 degrees!
Posted by Picasa

Winds of Change

f2.5, 1/800, iso200

We've had a lot of change happen in our lives, and are looking at the possibility of more big changes in the near future, so I thought a lot about how change makes me FEEL.

I am like the dandelion... I feel like I've grown, and changed a lot in my life. I'm not the young, naive yellow flower anymore... I think I have things pretty much figured out.

Then, the winds of change will blow, and I feel like I am scattered, and sometimes lost, and it's often scary. BUT if it weren't for the winds of change, I would never have a chance at new growth. I'd never have flown in the wind to so many different places, and met so many wonderful people, and grown into who I am today.

So... here's to change! Let the wind blow me wherever it will! :)


Melinda and I sort of had the same train-O-thought here on this one... but NOT being from beautiful Wisconsin, we Idahoans have ANOTHER definition of "season change". Holla if you hear me on this one, fellow photogs, if you don't like the weather here in southeast Idaho... just wait 5 minutes and you'll get whole other picture!

This picture was taken out in the fields past the temple. It was a beautiful/crappy day... five minutes on, five minutes off... you get it. I used the dodge/burn tool to darken parts of the clouds to really enhance their OMINOUS nature, added a border and boosted the whole thing in the end.

Seasons Change

Spring hits late but beautiful here in Wisconsin! I have enjoyed watching the trees get little yellow-green buds, the buds grow green and full, the rains that come, and the flowers that burst up to cheer my day. Since I have the most opposite of a green thumb, I took the liberty of 'borrowing' my (very green-thumbed) neighbor's garden for this showcase. I really loved this little bloom!

Taken in natural, overcast lighting, using my macro button. Then taken to picasa and cropped and had some saturation added. The flower actually looked this vibrant, but my camera didn't do it justice!

CC welcome!!

On a side note, my change photo was going to be my beautiful new bathroom, but I couldn't get it too look as pro as I wanted. Nevertheless, I won't make you all be sad for missing it's new beauty, so here's my newly tiled, new sinked bathroom! (Oh, it's the floor tile that's new. If I had my way, we'd rip out the ugly wall tile.)

Change: Switching

I'm royally mad!!!! My dear loveable Sony DSLR-A200 has to be sent out for service. I've only had this camera two months and it has destroyed two memory cards. The first one I thought was because of my magnetic necklace I used to wear. I thought maybe that disrupted the camera process. So I stopped wearing the neclace. Then yesterday my camera started eating pictures again!!!!! I talked to tech support and I have to send my camera to Texas to be fixed :( So for now I'm going to be switching back to a Cannon Power Shot. Which is a decent camera but not mine. The only upside is that we are 99% sure that all repairs will be covered under warrenty.

As for the picture. I set this up in my office, with some natural light and a flash. I used a towel to lend some texture and but a box underneath the towel to ad some levels. In photo shop I cropped it fixed the levels a little. I know it is far from a good picture but that's just how mad I am. Okay now that I'm done venting.
-CC- is especially welcome on this picture. Who knows how long my camera will be out of commission. So I'll need help relearning how to use the Cannon. Thanks for listening!!!!


Okay everyone, this post will be brief. I am up to my elbows in garage sale. :)


What does this mean to you? How does it make you FEEL?

I can tell people are really stepping up with these challenges, and I love what I see!

Posts in by tomorrow night at midnight...

Winners: Balance

GREAT job all-- super impressed!

Our winners (drum roll please)...

Best Overall winner is Brittney with her oh-so-fab spa day
Best Angle winner is Lindy Lou with her beautiful day with baby mama
And the most votes total went to Janelle's scrumptious brownies

Have a very Happy Mother's Day weekend... kiss yo mamas!

Friday, May 8, 2009

VOTING: Balance

I'm sooo sorry I spaced out with the voting aspect of my responsibilities!!!

Thanks a bunch for reminding me, Janelle, you're the wings that keep this ol' duck flying (Um, I'm supposed to be the old duck in this scenario)

Ok: Let's VOTE!!!

Best Overall

Best Angle

Remember that last 'round Breezi and her her happy frog and Jackie with her amazing floating keys won!!

Get those votes in! AWESOME JOB TO ALL!!!

Please, Please, Please scroll down and check out our new Friday Feature!!!!!


What camera do you use? Nikon D90, and I LOVE it. Love it. Did I say that I love it? I use the kit lens (18-105mm Nikkor), and the 50mm 1.8 prime lens.

What is your favorite photography subject? (or, what do you like to take pictures of the best?) I used to think that I only liked taking pictures of people, and I still LOVE taking pictures of people... BUT I have discovered the magic of taking pictures of anything and everything. My dream is to take pictures for home magazines, like Country Living. I love that I can take a picture of something quite ordinary and make it into something extraordinary.

What camera equipment is on your wish list? Sigh... well... where to begin... I'd like a really awesome Crumpler bag in brown (now discontinued... sob!), a good tripod, a reflector combo thingy (I like to use technical terms ;), a detachable flash , a photo storage thingy, a macro lens, a 1.2 prime lens.... the list goes on, but I'll stop. ;)
What are your hobbies outside of photography? I'm a violinist (have played for 28 years, taught for 17), love to read (I read anything and everything, even notes the kids bring home from school ;), blog, exercise (although I start to NOT like it so much when I've taught my 4th power toning class in 5 days), bake pies, think about decorating my house (I just don't get around to doing much of what I dream up), and I love vintage stuff... (I live in a 112 year old house... what do you expect? ;)

Tell us about your family! (married? Kids?) I'm married to Brandon (14 years) (amazing, handsome, sexy, supportive man!), have a 13 year old daughter, Aubrey (beautiful, taller than I am, strong, good, and... did I mention she's 13?.... moody!), and two boys... Tyler (11) (smile to melt a mom's heart, exasperating, impulsive, and loving), and Cooper (8) (cuter than cute, cuddly, stubborn, strong-willed little monkey).

Where do you live? (you don’t have to be specific if you don’t feel comfortable) I live in Dinosaurland... otherwise known as Vernal, Utah... also called the armpit of Utah. ;) Actually, it's pretty cool... you should all come on a photography trip here sometime! Really!!

Do you have a blog you would like to share? (family blog or photography blog?) Well, there's my family blog... You're welcome to look... just don't expect much! I'm also the founder of apron girls, but I can't take credit for any of the awesomeness of that blog... it's all about the girls there!
What is the best photography advice you have ever received? Hmmm.... I get great advice all of the time, but I'd have to say the things that I've been told that help me most is to practice practice practice and learn everything you can about your camera (thanks Rachel)!

What (if any) editing program do you use? Photoshop CS2

10.Can you share your favorite 3 pictures with us?? It's really hard to say which three are my "favorites"... do I choose the best technically? the best emotionally? the best story? I just threw in three that I really like for different reasons. :) After Rachel's incredible top 3, I feel very inadequate!
Brandon totally doesn't agree that this one is one of my best, but dang it, I like it. So, I'm putting it on here. ;) I like the artistic feel of it, and I like what it represents... I wanted to take a picture of a certain thing, and to accomplish that I HAD to put my camera on complete manual settings, including manual focus. This picture is ALL of my doing, and I like that.

This one was taken with my good old point and shoot before I had my D90. One of my favorite families let me do a photo shoot of them... my first one ever. I really want a do-over, now that I have my camera and oodles more knowledge, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart anyway.

And this one? I love it, even with all of its imperfections. This one makes me FEEL... all sad and happy at the same time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Perceptive Balance

There doesnt seem to be much balance in my life. I have so much to do and I feel like Im about to have a seizure and only have a few minutes to do this. To be honest im only 85% sure I took this shot. My brain is currently all out of wack! So here is my picture. Simply put suspension bridge taken at a odd angle doesnt look balanced. Yes, it is the Golden Gate Bridge. CC please.

Balancing Act

I'm in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming visiting family for a couple weeks, and yesterday we went to a cow cutting competition for a little while. Exciting I know, but it was fun to TRY to get some good actions shots. Please give me tips on how to show movement but still have a focused picture! Anyway, in cow cutting the rider singles one cow out from the herd but then it is up to horse to keep the cow out. The horse will make lots of sudden movements and cut sharp angles in order to keep the cow from returning to the herd. It takes a lot of balance of both the horse and the rider in order to be successful.

Sorry I don't know how to get my settings off of this program I'm using for the first time.

CC Please!

Learning to balance

This challenge is a somewhat poignant one for me. Today marks nine months since my daughter was born, so it's in some sense a balancing point in that she's now been alive outside my body for the same amount of time she was alive inside my body.

She's also recently started pulling up on furniture, learning to balance herself. I know she's getting ready to walk (though I'm hopeful it'll still be a few months before she figures out that trick).

Anyway, the picture is of my husband helping my daughter stand. It was taken outside our apartment building in natural light on a cloudy evening. Settings: ISO 400, f8.0, 1/100 sec. I used the wrong white balance, so I played with the colors using the curves function in gimp to make it look a little more natural and more saturated.

cc, as always. If anyone wouldn't mind commenting on the white balance/color corrections, I attempted some different stuff on other photos that are posted on my personal blog. Thanks!

marley belle, teaches us balance

I spent the last 12 hours with a girlfriend shooting her daughters birth. marley belle. I NEVER posed them, i shot it as it occured. This was such an incredible experience for me... She used the ball to work through contractions... and had little marley 100% naturally. it was so amazing! i cried so hard i couldn't look through my camera at times! I had never seen a birth!
i want to submit this one because i think there is so much balance in it. Her sweetie sleeping close by to be able to wake up and help her with the pain, and her resting on the yoga ball. I love this shot. it was a awesome moment! for my friends that want to see more... click here.
taken on nikon d300
14-24 2.8g
at 14
iso 640
speed 125
f 2.8


Balanced Vegetables

f1.8, 1/250, 50mm, iso 200, no flash

I tried four different things for this challenge... the first one I was too embarrassed to post, the second one I couldn't get to work (can any of you do that fork and spoon balancing on a toothpick thing???), the third one was just boring, and this one... I decided to challenge myself in a new way. I took my camera out IN THE GROCERY STORE and took a picture. This is a huge step for me. I was SO nervous, but as soon as I started snapping I forgot there were even people around. Someday I'll be as brave as some of you!

Anyway... vegetables are part of a balanced diet, the fruits and veggies are balanced so beautifully at the grocery store (until you pull the wrong one out of the stack!), AND the colors are balanced... red with green on both sides.


Perfect balance

When I was a kid we used to put the sprinkler under the trampoline when we would jump and we would get souked and have a great time doing it. So today I put the sprinkler under the same trampoline that I used (a 4th birthday present) for my son. He loved it as much as I did so even though the trampoline is old it looks like it will still bring joy for many years to come. New fun with an old toy, a perfect balance. Also my son was falling all over the place because it was a wet surface and he has NO balance. See it is all around a picture about balance:)

Taken with natural lighting and a little off balance (clever I know)

Click on it to enlarge it, it's better bigger!

On the Brink...

I walked out my front door this morning and found this guy BALANCING on the tip top of the tree as he cut off the very top branch. Unfortunately, by the time I ran for my camera he had scooted down a bit to cut the next section of the trunk. He still seems to be in a pretty precarious position. I was just excited to see something so unusual (for me anyway) on a day that fit our challenge so well. I just wish he had stayed put a little longer for me to get some more shots. I know I could have done something more with it.

ps-can one of you guys with the neat borders do a tutorial on how to add them? I just love them!


Balancing Act

Today we were at the zoo (FUN!) I love how the flamingos can balance on one leg all while folding their necks around their body.
It's a great thing that I'm not a flamingo. I'd fall flat on my face!
I also like how the flamingos little white eye is peaking out. He was watching everything.

When I first got this challenge, I was so excited. I was going to work (I am a teller at a bank), and I was going to take a picture of one of my co-workers balancing their drawers at the end of the day. Sadly it was against our security policy. Bummer.

I'm glad that my first idea didn't work out. I think my flamingo is much cuter than one of my co-workers :)

In Balance

It was an outside, play with chalk kind of day. So I played with it, too!

This was taken in natural light, then I cropped, saturated, and did a focal color point with everything else b/w. Naturally, my daughter decided those were the exact two colors she needed two seconds later! :P


I try to work out every day and when you're stretching or doing weights, you need to make sure that whatever you do on one side, you also do on the other side.

Chemical Inbalance

This challenge really made me reflect on life and balancing all that goes on, externally and internally. And that's why I chose this...

Center of BALANCE

My son nearly took a nose dive into this pond...but, regained his BALANCE just in time!


In PS, color boost, burning, and border.

Please CC


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Finding Balance in My Camera

I was using the tips from the latest tutorial and I am finding the Balance with
Aperture, ISO and Fstop.

I didn't use any photo-shop, this is straight from the camera.

I am not sure what the settings were, i am not sure how to bring it up on my camera.
I guess that is my next project with my camera.

Posted by Picasacc always

We Be Balancin'

Here's our uber-talented buddy, Mr. Hurst, pulling some hat tricks out of his.... well, hat? I had a blast shooting Riley. He's a good sport.
I played around with some sexy actions (oh sweet Actions, how I love thee). SuperHappyFun, Dirtbag, Troy and Boost were all included (say that five times fast... superhappyfundirtbagtroyboost... whew!)

Seeking Inner Balance


In an effort to establish inner balance I spent the day relaxing at a spa with my mom and sisters. No potty-training mishaps. No tantrums. No piles of laundry waiting to be folded. Just sweet relaxation. I'm feeling much more centered now, not so close to the edge, if ya know what I mean ;).

50mm, f/2.2, 1/160, ISO 800, set the white balance to cloudy for a warmer look.

In raw editing I sharpened and increased clarity and contrast. In Elements I added a border.


The Balance Between Good and Evil

Here's my sweet baby boy giving evil a kiss. :) His good daddy was there to protect him, though.

He was so all about being all over this scary alligator statue, my daughter, on the other hand was terrified of it.. until her little brother showed no fear, then she would sneak a little closer. Never this close, though. He's gonna be a dare devil.


Balanced ~or~ Deeply Rooted



I took this today down by the waterway, the bank was lined with trees that had fallen due to erosion. This one amazed me, and I tried so hard to get a shot that portrayed both the depth of the roots, and height of the tree.

Before I left, while taking pics of a pelican, I saw this across the water on the other side of the bank...just not in time :( The tree fell right before my eyes......


Balance: Part of a balanced diet

Okay, so these probably don't actually contribute to a balanced diet, but I'd like to think they do. I made these brownies yesterday for Cinco de Mayo. They are easily the richest brownies I've ever eaten. You can find the recipe here (Mexican Brownies), but if you're going to make it, I would suggest almost doubling the amount of cinnamon, using semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, and be sure you have lots of milk on hand to chug with them.

About the photo: cropped, saturated, sharpened, added a little shadow. I took this in natural lighting with no flash, but I seem to have a lot of noise on the blue area (especially the bottom left corner). I noticed noise with several of the photos I took in this shoot (I did a lot of different color backgrounds). I had the camera resting on a flat surface so that it wouldn't move. I don't have an external flash, just a point-and-shoot camera, but I'm wondering if anyone can help me reduce the noise in my pictures.



(D70, 50mm, 800 ISO, f10, 1/50 sec)

This car is in my neighbor's driveway. This would be the neighbor whose house burned down and so the property is basically abandoned. When we drove by it yesterday, I noticed the car for the first time and immediately said, "I need to get photos of that car!" The tire in the photo is flat, so the car itself is decidedly "off-balance".

Because it was rainy and dark out, I lightened and warmed the photo using PW's actions and then stylized it using TRA's Super Fun Happy action. More photos of this car (because old rusted cars kinda rock) are on my photo blog. :)

Photoshop Actions Giveaway!

I know that several of you are photoshop users, and I found a great giveaway online through a site called I HEART FACES that I follow.

Click above and enter to win! There are lots of chances, and she has SUCH beautiful stuff!

So go check it out and enter to win, win, win!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


OOOOhhhh cannot wait to see what you come up with! I'm loving having all this POWER (throwing head back in villainous laughter... bwahahaha) choosing the word was super fun, even though I did have to pick out of a hat the final word (thanks Rach).


Get your thinking caps on...


Good morning! Here are the results of your "key" voting.

Congratulations to Jackie who overwhelmingly won the "best setup" category with her amazing floating keys.

Best picture overall goes to Breezi, with her happy frog.

Jackie also received the most votes overall, so congrats to her again for that!

See you tomorrow with a new challenge.

Monday, May 4, 2009

KEY VOTING and Mission 24 business

WOW! Lots of key interpretations!!

So, let's cut to the chase and LET'S VOTE!

Here's how we will do it this week:


Best photo setup:

So, let's hear what you think!!!
(both of last weeks winners didn't post this time, so you can vote for anyone who submitted a picture!)

Now, a bit of Mission 24 business.

--PLEASE remember to label your pictures when you submit them!!!
Put your NAME, and the category of the challenge.

--ALSO, I have sent out several emails now. If you have NOT gotten one from me, PLEASE let me know. I know I have said this like, a hundred times, but I think we are getting close to having an accurate email list...and I have a good system in place for new joiners from now on.

--What do you guys think about us having a sidebar button to post on your blogs. I have debated over this for a while. Yay or nay? Is it something you would use or would it be a waste of time?

--also, anyone have any ideas as to how we can make posting the feature photographers easier? I realized AFTER the fact that having everyone email me their pictures would mean a LOT of time trying to save and then upload everyone's pictures...maybe I could set up a schedule and you guys could each PREPOST your interview and pictures??? What do you think?

--Just want you all to know how much I appreciate you. I am constantly coming here and feeling so inspired! You have made this blog SO wonderful by being so open to sharing your art. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

I am SO appreciative...

Happy Monday.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

The KEY to not crashing...

As Dave mentioned we spent the last few days playin' in Moab/Southern Utah. We hit the slickrock bike trail one morning and I snapped this picture of one of our friends with Dave's rockin' point and shoot. If you know much about mountain biking you know that the key to not endo-ing (going over your handlebars) on steep downhill is to literally, sit on your back tire. As you can see, Nick isn't quite back far enough. Here's an "after" picture just for fun.

Good thing we were in company with four EMTs :)

Honestly, I was missing my SLR a bit but didn't exactly want to subject it to the sand, rain and bumps. So, this probably isn't my best picture ever, but, I HAD to submit something ;). Now, I'm off to shower, it's been a few days...ewww.

Oh, and I promise its only 11:20 here

He holds the key to my heart (and caliente)

He holds the key to my heart.
1/60, F 3.5, ISO 2000, 18 mm, Colors adjustment layer and vignette

1/50, F 3.5, ISO 2000, 18mm, color adjustment layer and vignette

For Rod's 30th Birthday, I threw a Margaritaville themed party and rented a street taco cart to cater it. It had the best salsa. Here it is in our driveway. CC

One of Utah's KEY Treasures

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW (my bomb-proof point and shoot)

The fam. and I have been off camping in Southern Utah this weekend. While hiking up to Delicate Arch a fierce thunderstorm moved in and took us by surprise. It was pure craziness. We found a nice little "cave" to hole up in for a bit, glad we did as it started to hail. Finally, we ventured out and continued on up to the Arch. I hiked around quite a bit to get the angle I wanted. FYI this is the arch featured on Utah's license plate.

Crap, I just realized I am posting this under Britt's name, I'm much too tired to start over though. Sorry-just realize it's Dave.

The Key Was Turned...

I had three pictures I really liked, but this is the one I chose to post tonight. I'll put all of them up on my blog if anyone wants to see.

This is a snowmobile, and the key has been turned for many a fun ride. It's old and ghetto, so it won't make it through many more seasons.

Taken in positive film mode, then sharpened and clarified in PaintShop. As a side note, I like the 24 on the key, as well as the fact that the odometer is surrounds the key in the background. I considered cropping, but decided to leave the depth.

CC, as always

p.s., my blog is: zealylife (dot) sampa (.) com

KEY's Words

I know several people have already posted pictures of piano keys, but we took this picture before we had looked at the blog. =) Also, the focus of this picture is actually on the song "The Star Spangled Banner," written by Francis Scott KEY; the piano keys are just an added KEY bonus. =)
Taken with a Nikon D-40 on automatic setting. CC welcome.

Old Keys

I was at my grandmother's house this weekend in Oklahoma, I told her about the challenge, so she dug around for some old keys and this is what we came up with.


Piano KEYS

I'm sure others have had this idea, but I haven't looked at any yet! And once again, this picture ended up being vertical instead of horizontal. Oh well.

I took several shots of the piano keys alone, and then my 6 year old came over and sat down and I liked how it ended up better than the keys alone.


This was one of the first things that hit me when I read the challenge--KEY BANK! Cleveland is one of the major headquarters so the key bank building graces our skyline. :) It was a nice day, but very overcast, so I didn't get the awesome blue sky I was hoping for. Oh well. :)


Key to Happiness is....

Finding little treasures along the way........

Today my family took a walk at one of our local parks. We were walking by a pond and this little guy popped up to say "hi".
In my life I have found that when I'm having a really bad day, it's always the little things that I can be thankful for that can turn my day a little bit brighter.

Piano Keys

I guess I took this one pretty litteral. I drove around town looking for a bridge with a keystone but didn't have any luck so I ended up back at home. Needless to say- this isn't at all the shot I was hoping for but it has the literal keys of my piano and what my hubby knows is the key to my heart- a gerber daisy. I love them!


The Key to Youth

... is maintaing your sense of adventure! Ok, this may be a stretch, but hey.. this is my submission.

Today, at the beach, these awesome guys were out here doing whatever extreme sport this is. I got some amazing pictures of them and this is one of my favorites! It was so much fun watching them. I took almost three hundred pictures of them, but of course, I only kept about fifty.

I'm including this picture in the post so that you could see what they were doing. I thought it was windsurfing, but Tony insists that it's not windsurfing, but we're not sure what exactly it is. Do you know? If you do, please... do tell...
The specs on the top pic are.... f/ 5.3, 1/1250, ISO 200.