Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rough Bark

nikon d90, f2.5, 1/160, iso400, 50mm, exposure bias -1.0, no flash

This was tough to decide... we went camping last night, and I had lots of pictures of "rough", since we were, well.... roughing it! ;) I picked this one because the bark is completely rough, but more importantly, I fell in love with the bokeh! :)

Rough coat

This looks like an image out of a scientific paper to me, which is probably why I find it appealing. It's a coconut shell I had hanging around, holding change (and other odds and ends). Taken in natural light with a 50 mm macro; ISO 100, f/8.0, 4 sec exposure. Changed to bw and boosted the contrast. cc

I'm very happy to actually be participating this time. I took a bunch of pictures for the fluid challenge only to discover I couldn't download the images. The problem's fixed now (obviously) but too late (grr). Anyway, I wanted to share the pictures I took, which can be seen here along with some other pictures I took for this challenge.

Rough on the Road

I didn't have anything specific in mind when I randomly selected this word--and I had to really think HARD about it! I came up with a few other ideas, but at the end of the day, the one that kept coming to me was the rough road trip we just finished! While it was a good trip, it was also ROUGH to keep the kids in carseats and to get some real REST while driving! :)

I took this tonight on a busy street (and I am shocked nobody called the police on me because they all probably thought I was stalking them) Took lots and lots of shots...and in the end I am frustrated because I kept the ISO too high--so it's granier than I would like.

ISO 800, 30 mm, f20, 1/13 second

At Times It Gets Rough

I think the title and picture says it all.

Some had it Rough


My husband and I were out taking a drive today and came across this little town that had all these really neat historical things like, wagon wheels, wagons, tractors, and many old pioneerish type things. So I choose this wagon as my picture of the day because we all know how the Rough the pioneers had coming across the plaines, I never would have made it! We owe so much to them and I am eternally grateful for all they went thru for us.
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Quick post...challenge today is ROUGH

Posts in by midnight tomorrow...

see ya then!

Winners: FLUID

Good morning fellow M24 bloggers! Ready for to hear who the winners of this challenge are?

Drum roll please....

First place goes to Shelby for her oh so awesome "Droplets" shot.

Second place was tied for Teri with her majestic shot of "Fluid in Motion" and Melanie with her "Fluid, both definitions".

Way to go ladies...YOU ROCK!

Everyone did a super job with this was fun seeing all of the different ways FLUID could be interpreted!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Hey everyone!

I am sorry I haven't been around for a few days. We were on the road and didn't have internet access--but we are finally in Idaho! hooray!

I am sorry some weird things have been going on! :) I notices the preposting didn't work so well, and that we dont' have winners announced, and that we haven't posted the feature photographer yet. I have a lot to get on top of for sure! So, I apologize for being out of the loop.

Anyway, I will be back again tomorrow with a challenge...and will get the feature photographer posted today.

I loved all your photos! WOW! What a great last challenge!! Am bummed I missed it!

Oh, one more thing. I did some thinking about the voting and wondered something. I really want everyone to feel included, and like they are progressing! I know a lot of you have felt like you won't ever make the cut and win a challenge. I wish there were some perfect way to make it all good for everyone. I know we started out with the best overall and best take, and that seemed to just get the best 2 overall we changed it and picked a selected random category and best overall...which I still felt ended up being lopsided sometimes.

I guess I wasn't really sure what to do this time, so I just went for the best overall...

I am pretty sure this voting thing is going to drive me crazy until i figure out a great way to make it good for everyone...


Anyway, happy Friday!

Featured Photographer...Melanie

Sorry...don't have a picture with just me in it...this is me and my husband!
What camera do you use? A Nikon D80. It is the best thing I have ever owned!

What is your favorite photography subject? (or, what do you like to take pictures of the best?)
Funny question! 2 months ago I think I would have said my kids, although I would love love LOVE to take pictures of anyone’s kids…or anyone for that matter. But now (after forcing myself to become creative for this blog) I get all giddy anytime I get to shoot ANYTHING! Sometimes I can't even sleep because I'm too busy thinking of what I can shoot next!

What camera equipment is on your wish list?
I'm not savy at all on the "equipment" available. I would be thankful to get any accessory compatable with my Nikon. I would love a home photography studio, with additional lighting and backdrop. Additional lenses would of course be nice too!

What are your hobbies outside of photography?
I love to do anything crafty, but I am particularly fond of scrapbooking. I also LOVE to read.

Tell us about your family! (married? Kids?)
I have been married for nearly 11 years to Elmo. We have 4 kids, my stepson Erik is 17, my oldest daughter Paige is 9, my son Coleton is 7, and my sweet baby girl, Jadyn, is 2. I am the 2nd oldest of 6 kids, was born in Utah, and grew up pretty much all over the USA.

Where do you live? (you don’t have to be specific if you don’t feel comfortable)
I live in Litchfield Park, AZ, which is about 20 minutes outside the city of Phoenix.

Do you have a blog you would like to share? (family blog or photography blog?)

I have a family blog and a "photography" blog that I post in regularly. (click on links if you want to visit them)

What is the best photography advice you have ever received?
Would you believe that until joining this blog, I had never received any advice!? Since then, I have been advised by all of you to take shots at various angles, fill the frame, and challenge myself by adjusting my settings and getting to know my camera.

What (if any) editing program do you use?
I use photoshop 7.0, and anything I do to edit my pictures, I have to YOUTUBE first to get a tutorial, since I don’t know how to use it very well.

10.Can you share your favorite 3 pictures with us??
Only 3?!?! Talk about a tough choice! Here are favorites of each of my kids. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Let it FLY!

I promise it's before midnight here.

I attended my brother's State Track Meet. He threw discus, and I am very proud of him. He has to have a very FLUID motion to get the furthest possible throw.

I didn't get my F/stop high enough, but he only had 3 throws so I wasn't able to make the adjustments. The end result is interesting with the blur. The blur by his right arm is the just-released discus.

I cropped, then applied a 30-year newspaper finish. I think it looks kind of cool.



Wow! TONS of great submissions this time...artistic, unique and fresh!

Great job everyone!

Now, at Rachel's request, please only vote for your favorite photo. I don't know about you, but that is going to be hard for me!

Good luck everyone!

Fluid: With the Wind

This is the grass in my front yard. My husband put patch treatments on yucky spots two weeks ago, so we can't mow it for another four weeks. Problem is, the weekend before that, he put some kind of Miracle Gro type thing on it, so now it's growing so fast, but we can't mow it. So he weed-whacks the whole yard, which is actually kinda funny. Last night, he did the whole outside of the lawn, but didn't finish the middle, which is still long. Well, he finished it tonight, so it's not long anymore, but it was when I snapped this photo. I like how long grass sways with the wind. It looks fluid-like to me.

About the photo: adjusted exposure, made black and white, added frame.

(You can see my runners-up here if you'd like.)


Fluid Knowledge

Just when I start getting comfortable with the knowledge that I've gleaned on photography, something else comes from left field, smacks me on the side of the head, and rocks my world, which just teaches me that all knowledge is fluid and changes from day to day. This time it was my husband showing me this amazing type of editing called the Orton Effect, which takes certain photos (only select photos work with this) from hum-drum to WOW!!! Plant photos are especially great for this. I put a tutorial on my photo blog if you want to know how to do the this. Unfortunately, I am posting this from work (I made my hubby email it to me) so I don't have the photo exposure info. When I get home, I'll post the SOOC of this photo on this same post so you can see the difference.

As promised, here's the SOOC.

Fluid Breakfast

A cup of soy milk, a handful of blackberries and a handful of frozen cranberries, throw it in the blender and what do you get? A delicious, nutritious FLUID breakfast! If ya can't tell, we are big smoothie fans at my house.

I had a hard time deciding on which picture to post but decided on this one because it was a little bit more creative, I guess. I'll post the second picture just for kicks though.

What do you think...which one would you have posted for the challenge? How would you have made the pictures more visually interesting? I took these this morning and wasn't going to post them because I've seen the ROCKIN' pictures coming in and was a bit intimidated, BUT, I figured that's no way to learn ;). So, let me have it. CC PLEASE. Thanks you guys!

Oh forgot to mention, I was really experimenting with lighting in these pics. Just a side note :).
50 mm, f/3.5, 1/50, ISO400, spot metering

Don't Cry Over....

Cleaning Up the Fluids...

I woke up this morning to the sound of a toilet overflowing (True story! Sad... but true!) Later that morning, my son's diaper leaked on my lap, then he made a puddle on our carpet after his bath. I'm sad to say that I had a lot of experience with fluids this morning, just not any that I can take pictures of! : ) It got me thinking of how thankful I am for all the fluids I have around the house to clean up all our happy accidents, and keep my home clean! My dishwasher is leaking so I've been doing the dishes for our family of five by hand, and will be for another two weeks until my landlords can put in a new one! A small sacrifice, and a great photo-op!

Fluid Motion

Everybody has done amazing water shots and I just couldn't figure out the buttons and doo-hickeys on my brand new camera (you read that right, folks, BRAND SPANKIN' NEW clicker!!! happy jigs all round!) anywhoo... I have yet to fine-tune my settings to make water look awesome-possum so I opted for another element.
FI-YAHHHH... (that's "fire" in a weird accent... don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about). I used my Fireworks setting (sigh, I love that I have SETTINGS now) and holed myself in the bathroom all morning to get some crazy shots. Then I Boosted and Define/Sharpened it.

Fluid down the window

I know this isn't original in any way, but it was whatI could think of.
Rain has been abundant these past 2 days here. :)

Fluid...both definitions

I seriously took so many "idea" shots, it was hard to decide which one to post. If you want to see my other choices, please click HERE.

This was taken off of the rock waterfall we have in our backyard. It, to me anyway, shouts FLUID, both in the liquid form and movement. SOOC, just added border in Photoshop. CC welcome.


I could watch these things all day...everything about them is fluid.....I added a frame but other than that this pic is ~sooc~

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fluid Beings

From fluid we came, fluid we are, fluid we need and fluid we return to! Kind of gross I guess. Mostly I thought of the last time I lived in Cali I was in 5th grade and we disected a pigs eye. My partner was grossed out so I got to do it all myself. Needless to say there is a lot of fluid in eyes. CC welcome.
ISO 800, f 4.9 still working on perfecting the balance. Though I cant change the fstop my camera makes that auto I can change the ISO.

Fluid in Slow Motion


I was out and about looking for something that had to do with fluid and I happened to come across this waterfall a little ways out of town, I reduced my shutter speed to about 1/30 and got this really neat affect. Very happy with the way it turned out.
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Smooth Movement

The duck in this photo displays fluid movement.

I was actually taking photos of the Falls for water (water= fluid) but the duck took off
from the side and flew into my path. I decided that was a better use of

I did a lot to this photo in PS- well more than I normally do. There were some ugly sticks in the water that distracted from the duck and I didn't like how brown the water was so I changed those things. {CC}

ETA the Original


My sweet girl was fluidly swinging to and fro all evening long...

I got several shots of my family that I'm in love with this evening. Tony's leaving Monday to head back to Iraq and we won't be together again until December, so documenting every moment is very important right now. If you'd like to see more of the pictures from tonight, you can check them out on my family blog. :)

This picture: f/2.8, 1/2000, ISO 200


(f-5.6, ISO1600, Exposure 6 seconds)
So- as simple as this picture may seem, it was a real stretch for me. I actually pulled out all of my limited photography knowledge to pull it off and I realize it's still not perfect but I'm kinda proud none the less.

I used a tripod set up in my bathroom to take pictures of the droplets on the window. I needed to do it with with no flash so that I could still see the neat bokeh of the tree behind it. Then I had to use manual focus to get the droplets instead of the tree. Finally, I had to take the shot without shaking the camera since I couldn't find my remote. Wheew! Somehow I pulled it off, at least to some degree anyway. This was my original plan for the challenge- fluid motion of the swing. It was another tough one for me since I wanted to get the flowers of the tree and the lighting was terrible especially with a moving target. I still played around with it a bit on photoshop to give it a pinkish-purpleish hugh- just for fun. Sorry- I had to share!

Fluid: From Heaven

(f5.6, 1/30, iso1600)

We had fun listening to fluid falling from heaven on to our umbrellas today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fluid: A Necessity

Fluid is good.
...Especially for a fish...

Don't have any photo editing software yet, so I just used the Windows photo thing I had on my computer to change the color settings a bit. Tried to really make that fish pop.

Hello All You Talented People You!

Hello! My name is Nicia. Pronounced knee-see-uh, and I believe I am the newest member of this awesome blog! I am very excited to get into this whole photography thing. I know I have an awesome camera...I just don't know how to use it!

I reside in beautiful Cheyenne, WY with my Air Force hubby, Joe, and my beautiful daughter, Alyssa (2).

Rachel told me I had to put a self portrait of myself on here. I went on to tell her that if I did that, that meant I would have to actually do my hair and makeup. Things I avoid at all costs these days! (just kidding....kind of.) So, here you are. This is more of a last minute, 10:42pm shot, focusing more on my camera than myself. Not that that is a bad thing. :)

Challenge : FLUID

Today's challenge word is Fluid!

I can't wait to see what this word means to you.

Be creative, let loose, see where this takes you, but most of all....HAVE FUN!

Happy snapping.

Be sure to post your entry by Thursday at midnight!


Good morning everyone, and welcome to today's edition of challenge winners!

Candace had the best angle this challenge with her front door wreath.

Best overall goes to Jen, with her desert sunset.

Jen also received the most combined votes.

Congratulations, ladies!

(Please scroll down to see M24 business and today's tutorial.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shooting Portraits Like a Pro

Two of my very favorite Digital Photography books are called just that... The Digital Photography Book and The Digital Photography Book Volume Two. They are both written by Scott Kelby and I consider him a virtual genius... at least in the photography world. He is a dedicated Nikon and Photoshop user, so if you're a fellow Nikonian of mine, you may very well have heard of him. He teaches workshops for Nikon and for Photoshop. He's the president of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) and also the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine and Layers Magazine. I'm sure lots of you already know this, but for those of you who haven't discovered him, you should totally check him out!

Some of the places you can find him are... and

I decided to focus this tutorial on learning to shoot portraits like a pro. He devotes an entire chapter in volume two to this subject. Here goes...

1) Don't Leave Too Much Headroom.

Personally, this is what drives me NUTS when a random friend or family member takes a snapshot of me or anyone else for that matter, which is why I'm almost never in pictures, because it makes me crazy when I look at the screen and half the picture is air. Okay, now that I've vented about that... This is fastest way to ruin a portrait. Just don't do it. Don't leave too much space above the subject's head. :)

Kelby details the rule of thirds in a different chapter of this book and as far as headroom goes, it basically states that your subject's eyes should be in the top one-third of the frame. If you do this, you'll avoid too much headroom.
I chose to demonstrate this with the cutest little boy I know.

Too Much Headroom...

Taken Using the Rule of Thirds...

2) The "Sun Over Your Shoulder" Rule is Bogus.

You might have heard of this rule which says that you should always have the sun over your shoulder, or behind you so that the subjects faces are always lit. This, however, is pretty much the worst thing you can do. It pretty much guarantees that they'll be squinting and this is the last thing we want. Right? Right. It also causes them to have harsh, direct light bolting right down onto them. Instead, he says to try to keep the sun behind them, so that there's a flattering rim of light around them. Then you can use a tiny amount of flash to put just enough light on their faces to help compliment the natural light that's around them.

Also (this is totally me, NOT Scott Kelby), if you shoot with the sun behind your subject, you can catch one of my very favorite things.. sunflare!!!

3)Shoot Profile Shots in Horizontal

The reason you never want to shoot a profile shot in vertical is because they look boxed in and this tends to be uncomfortable to the viewer.

Here's that adorable little boy again. I don't know who he belongs to, but he should totally be a model for Gerber... ;)

See how this just looks wrong, but still... incredibly cute? ;) You just don't know who or what he's looking at. It looks like he's looking at the walls of a box.

When you shoot a profile shot in horizontal, it gives the subject more breathing room and they just look more comfortable within the frame...And... just in case you're curious about what that little bundle of sweetness is looking at... it's my dad.

4) Trendy Composition Tip

Turning your camera at an angle is a very popular technique right now. I love to do it. I was hesitant to post the picture below, because I was thinking.. hmm.. I may be breaking the number one rule in this one (too much headroom), but I think I just did pass with getting her eyes into the top third. ;)

Since most portraits are taken in either horizontal or vertical, doing something different like angling is always fun and... different!! :)

5) Cropping off the Top of Their Head

This is going a step farther than not leaving too much room above your subject's head. This is a very popular pro technique that fills your frame with your subject's head. Kelby says that although it's perfectly fine to cut off the top of the subject's head, side of the arms, shoulders, hair, etc., you should never cut off their chin. People are used to seeing shots where the top is cut off, but the chin being cut off is a very uncomfortable composition.

And I had to squeeze in a picture of my sweet girl... her brother's been featured five times already. Gotta give a girl some exposure...

And here's my best friend and fellow photog, Amy, again... isn't she so beautiful?

6) Tip for Posing Group Portraits

The next time you go to pose a group of people for a portrait, instead of lining them up, try having them gather around and object or on a couch or chair. You'll find that they'll naturally arrange themselves around it or on it.

Also, for a more compelling group shot, put your subjects in a tight pyramid shape. Try to make sure they're all touching... arms around each other... heads really close together. It gives the shot a more fun-loving, casual look, and also provides a sense of energy and fun to the shot.

7) When Using Window Light

Positioning the Subject: The most beautiful light for portraits is the window light from a north facing window. The window acts as a diffuser and the larger the window, the more soft and diffuse the light is. You should position your subject with their shoulder facing the window... so that the light comes across them and creates soft shadows on the far side of their face.

Where You Should Shoot From: You want to be pretty much up against the window, shooting at a slight angle back towards your subject. Your subject should be about 6 feet or so away from the window.

Okay, this is where I'm going to end this tutorial. I feel like it's already gotten a bit long and drawn out. Sorry if I've bored you to death. Scott Kelby offers up many more suggestions in the book on how to shoot portraits like a pro, but these are the ones that really stuck out as being the most important to me.

And for the sake of not plagiarizing...

The Digital Photography Book Volume 2, Kelby, Scott, Peachpit Press, December 2007. Chapter Three. Pages 71-100.

All Images were taken by me. :)

Mission 24 business

Hey everyone!

Bet you thought I wasn't going to be showing up again today! It certainly took me long enough to get back on here. :)

Just a few things to note:

This week we are going to try to switch up the voting again. I would like to see how it goes just having people pick their ONE TOP PICTURE overall. Then we will have a second place winner.

We will try this out for a week or two and see how it fits. :)

We have also kind of drifted towards a change with the challenges, in regard to who posts them and what their role is. SO, PAY ATTENTION HERE! :) When you are asked to post the word, please go ahead and do so. But I also ask that for consistency, you also put up the voting post the day after the deadline. Janelle will continue to tally the votes and post the winners, so that's covered. :)

Now in regards to posting a word: If you didn't know before, now you will! You can PREPOST your word.

It's simple. Start your post like normal. When you have added what you want, you simply click on the button POST OPTIONS in the bottom left hand right below this box. That will give you several options for comments and backlinks...don't even worry about that. Just move your eyeballs over to the right side where it says POST DATE AND TIME. Put in the DATE you want it posted and the time. DON'T FORGET THE AM/PM FACTOR. AND, when you post, if you could have it post pretty early in the morning, so the East coast folks can see it early their time, that would be great! :)

NOW, also along the lines of PREPOSTING, I am going to have you each do me a HUGE favor! After I started getting all the submissions for the featured photographer, I realized how totally overwhelmed I would be if I were trying to save everyone's pictures and add them myself. SOOOO, If you each will go into blogger, add your pictures (DON'T FORGET YOUR SELF PORTRAIT!) and your questionaire, and then PREPOST IT. MAKE SURE TO Put a later date and time so it doesn't post right away!!!

If you all will use the same post date for the featured photographer stuff, that would be great. That way I can go in and change them to the right scheduled dates and it will be a surprise when your name comes up! :)

Pretty easy to remember, right???

Don't care what time you put. Just please make sure the date is in the future--and preferably the 9/9/09 date! :)

Whew...what else?

Just a little note of encouragement to those of you who may be feeling discouraged. I am so disheartened at how often I hear feedback from people saying that they feel like they aren't good enough or that they are trying but feeling like they aren't being noticed. Heck, I have felt discouraged too--there is some seriously tough competition around here lately, isn't there?? :) It's easy to look at how wonderful some people are doing and feel down about where we might be individually. But please, please know that others share your same thoughts. And please know that we are each on our own individual journey...and ultimately, you are most likely to be successful with not only photography, but LIFE, if you are living and doing for what makes you happy and what you feel pride in. Feedback is great, and it helps us to improve--if we choose to take the things people are saying and actually do something with that.

So, let's all step it up this week and maybe take note of some of those who seem to be lacking in comments who are consistant commenters on YOUR posts...maybe we can validate each other a little more, and give some more honest feedback so we can improve.

And honestly, if there is anything I can ever do to help make this a better group, I am all ears.

WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT A DAY FOR OUR M24 GET TOGETHER IN UTAH! We picked the 20th of May for the Eastern Idaho one, (still need to figure out where!) but I WOULD LOVE to get the Utah one planned so we can mark our calendars.

What are your thoughts?? And who is going to come? And where should we have it?? Something hopefully pretty central...

Okay...I am off. Have a great night...

VOTING: Change

Okay everyone, let's vote! Some fun pictures were submitted for this challenge!

Let's see who you thought should win


Best angle:

Get your votes in, and I will be back a little bit later today with some Mission 24 business!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Waiting for a change

Here in Alaska we are waiting for Spring/Summer. If you notice the tree, it still has no leaves. It has some buds on it though so maybe by next week we will have greeness!
I didnt write down the camera's settings. Next time.


This one was a little harder, how do you capture change??

So for mothers day my family went to a Iris Garden for a change of scenery. Well that didn't really satisfy me for the topic and knew someone had already gotten that idea.
So as my daughter and I were taking pictures of what few flowers were in bloom, only a few iris, and Rhody's she made note that the bees could sure use a change in bloomed flowers.

TA DA, light bulb went on and the chase was on. I went from one bee to another and got two shots i wanted to post but here is one of them.

Posted by Picasacc always

Here is the other one that i had to share!!!

Some Things Never Change

(50 mm, f/1.4, 1 sec, ISO400)
Taken in the dark at 9:30 pm with no flash. I love my lens.

I've mentioned my home town of Mantua Ut before. I remember as a little boy my Dad would give me and my sisters 25 cents every Saturday and we would walk to the one store in Mantua and buy penny candies. The other day while taking my girls fishing in Mantua I was able to do the same thing for them. the shelves still held the same selection of penny candies. Some things never change.

A Change of Scenery (and a little off balance)

20mm, F 16, 1/60s

Instead of taking Rumba on a walk down the same old street today, we hiked Rattlesnake Gulch in Millcreek Canyon. It has a great view of the city especially at sunset (or on a night with a full moon).
20 mm, F 8, 1/500 s
Rod playing on the monkey bars.

18 mm, 160 sec, F 13

This one is a bit blurry (which I'm okay with since Rod is in motion). But it is so fun I had to include it. :)