Saturday, May 23, 2009

one MORE year!

I was Thrilled about today's challenge word! We threw Ava's 2nd Birthday Pool Party Bonanza today and I was SURE it would be full of MORE, MORE, MORE situations.... and I was right! More ice cream, More cupcakes, More presents, More FUN- I was in "MORE-Utopia"!!!

But this was the picture I decided on... just the simple cake shot (with WAY MORE candles than a two year old requires). This little personal cake for Ava-Lou was "more" than she wanted, only a couple of dainty-ish bites taken out- but then again, she was probably full from the three candles she ate. Completely. Gobbled. Down.

More, Please!

More candid than otherwise...and, really, there was no 'please' involved; this face and the accompanying grunt were definitely a demand. My favorite thing, other than her expression, is her fist clenched in the corner. She was ready for her turn at the milkshake!

Winners and a new challenge

Good morning everyone, and happy Memorial Day weekend!!

The votes are in, and AprilF won best bokeh hands down with her stacked rocks.

Best overall goes to Teryn, with her waterfall in motion.

Great job ladies!


I am also bringing you your new challenge today. The word is MORE. Have fun with it, and please post challenges by tomorrow night!


I'm not sure if I'm supposed to post here, but this is photography-related and I'm terrified! (Besides, where else can you ask for help at two in the morning?!)

I have offered to take some bridal pictures of my sister in law, when she gets married in two months. I figured I have enough time to get some input for that.

However, I heard some neighbors talking, heard the word 'wedding' and wondered if I could get some experience there, too. I figured they couldn't say no if I didn't ask. So I got myself across the street and talked with the bride. She was surprised, since we've spoken, grand total three times in a year and a half, and responded that the wedding would be in three (3) weeks. She said that she'd love for me to take pictures, that they couldn't afford a photographer and were just going to do disposables on tables. Suddenly my plan wasn't so good. I don't want to be the SOLE photographer! I'm not a photographer. You've all seen my work and know it's extremely basic. On the other hand, I don't want to back out. Every bride should have some pictures of herself, and if I don't try I'll never know if I can.

So, here's my request. Since I just have a point/shoot and a couple month's experience of trying, I want to know what any of you would do for this bride. What are some bridal/bride and goom poses that you'd recommend? I think from reading the weekly tips, I can glean more help, but is there anything I need to know about bridal shots in particular that could give her something better than 'okay'?

ANY input you all can give would be most helpful.

And, sorry if I should have done this elsewhere, but you're all the first group that I thought of when I woke up worrying half an hour ago and couldn't get back to sleep!

Friday, May 22, 2009

VOTING: Choose your challenge!

Good morning everyone! I hope you are all doing well this fine Friday morning. It's Friday on the cusp of Memorial Day weekend -- how could you not be fine?

Today we're going to have two voting categories again, because that's what I like and I'm doing the voting this time, so I get to pick! :) We will be voting on "best overall" and "best bokeh."

Now for those of you who don't know what bokeh is (I had to look it up a couple weeks ago when I started to see the word pop up on here), it's essentially the out-of-focus background of a photograph. Technically it has somewhat to do with the light in the background, but you can read more about it here: Wikipedia -- Bokeh.

Nicia, Susan, and Teryn were our winners on the last challenge.

Please get your votes in by midnight tonight, and we'll see you back tomorrow morning with the results and another challenge.

(Also, if you haven't had a chance to comment on many of the photos, please take the opportunity to do so sometime today as you look through them for voting.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fish Face

This is the daughter of a friend of ours. I took some pictures for them today--and she was SO cute...just way too funny. I have to add myself to the list of cheaters for the challenge. I had so many ideas...and every picture I took made me want to change my ideas all over again! (being on vacation makes me take WAAAAY more pictures than usual!)'s my walk of shame. :)

I loved her simple take on life...her funny conversations and poses...this was her fish face...and I just laughed so hard looking at it tonight. :)

Mission 24 get together--Eastern Idaho

OKAY EVERYONE! I know this is in the middle of a challenge, but I just couldn't wait to post pictures from our get together.

How did it go, you ask?
Well....check out this choco-choco cake courtesy of Katy ...

How could a get together centered on that delicious beauty not be totally amazing?? And then add the other goodies in the mix?? WOW. This was DEFINITELY a good one!

(oh, and Alynn's dishes were to die for! Dang, I am jealous!)

Alynn has got the GREATEST kids who were so willing to share their toys with my kids. Dress up, trucks, barbie horses...they were in heaven! And her house?? HOLY MOLY! That girl has got some serious organizational skills. She moved in 2 WEEKS ago and it looks SO put together and beautiful!

After lots of chatting and laughing and chatting some more, AprilF (for Fabulous) pulled out her external flash and things got a little crazy! :) I was like a kid in a candy store...drooling over her beautiful toy. And DANG, I was shocked at how much difference a flash makes!!!!
Alynn helped me demonstrate the extreme change...(sorry Alynn, this was just way too funny to NOT post)


I mean seriously--I was practically running out the door to buy one....except that I realized I didn't have that kind of dough. Crushing, really.
Jenny and Travis brought their new baby who wasn't even 2 weeks old! Jenny=amazing! And that cute little baby was the center of photographic attention.

And Katy seems to have run into some major steroids lately...first her new MEGA point and shoot and now her glasses... :) HAHAHAHHA....JK. SOOOOOO hot Katy!
The mob of photographers...

And here's the whole crew! Left to right is: Katy, me, Jenny, AprilF (for Fabulous), and Alynn.
(sorry ladies...can't figure out the liquify tool...hahaha)

Seriously ladies, I laughed SOOOOO hard and had the BEST time ever! I am jealous you all live in the same town and can totally get together any time you want.

Choose your challenge: Celebration: Service of a lifetime

Oh my goodness, I had so many ideas for this challenge that I couldn't stay in one place! I cheated (like Rachel said we couldn't). I took pictures for One, Red, Black & White, Vintage, Celebration, Shadow, Reflection, and Fluid. I actually really wanted to do Key because it was my own challenge word and I didn't get a chance to do it. I ended up with a photo that I love and is a combination of Vintage and Celebration. Mostly Celebration.

This was my second to last photo of the day. I passed a cemetery on my way home from the grocery store, and it was all decked out with flags for Memorial Day. I quickly whipped left and pulled in. I saw signs for veterans' lots, which I didn't even realize existed at that cemetery. The field was beautiful with all the flags.

About the photo: I took this at about 8:20pm, with sunlight waning fast. I cropped it, adjusted color and exposure, made it black and white (just for kicks, but decided I liked it), then warmified it to make it looks older and vintagey, and then added a "film grain" (more vintage feel), which felt appropriate.


all KEYED up


I'll admit. I cheated. Totally and utterly cheated. I had a word in mind (rough) since I didn't post a picture for that word and also because I had something in mind. Well, my ideas were better (much better) than the reality, so I sat at the computer feeling sad and dejected.... just hours away from deadline. What, oh WHAT, was I to do???? I really wanted to do something I had previously missed out on... so as I STARED at my computer, pressing the "Question Mark" key over and over again... it dawned on me. KEY!! I enhanced the "?" mark because that's the one that inspired me. HA!

Her Desire....

It was a nice hot day today. I decided to take our girls up to a waterpark at the mall. We love going there to hang out and play. My sweet daughter was having a hard time posing for pictures. She was longing to go back and play in the water to cool off.

I thought it would be interesting to take a picture of her watching the other kids playing in the water, as water from her last run though the fountain was dripping down her shoulders.

Memorial Day

This is the display of flags at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum here in Fayetteville in honor of Memorial Day. Each flag represents a Hero's life lost in war.

Choose your challenge: Hero

f/10, 1/1000, ISO 200

Motion of Water

f/22 1/8sec. ISO100
I took this challenge as an opportunity to first, make up a missed challenge and second, to practice some of the things that I've learned from you guys so far.
It may not be the most original idea and I think that I could have come up with a more creative composition but my focus here was the water. I was playing around with shutter speed to see if I could get the cool ethereal effect that some of you done in previous challenges. This one was my favorite. Then I finally found a border I liked- thank you Lindy!
I have been looking back on my past photography and I can really tell how much you have all helped me- thank you all so much for your feedback and your great examples and ideas!
p.s.- for those of you who asked about my last few pictures. I use PS3 and some free actions from Pioneer Woman. My Rough Landing picture was edited with her Colorized action. I thought it fit perfect with the red slide.
I almost forgot- CC ALWAYS WELCOME!!

~Still Hanging On~

So , I chose vintage. And wow I had a hard time with this. I did find an old building that caught my attention. I took a lots of shots of the whole structure but really liked this one of the hinges for the front door the best.


Home Sweet Home

Well since "Red" is my favorite color this challenge was pretty easy for me...this little birdhouse sits on my neighbors fence, I love it. I probably could have chosen the topic Rough for this picture too since the wood is pretty rough looking but I love the red and yellow together.
Posted by Picasa


Nikon D80, 120 mm, 100 ISO, F/5.6, 1/50 shutter

Ok, seriously, I had NO IDEA what abstract meant...I actually had to google the word and look at your previous submissions to see what you, this is my take on it. Still not sure it is what "abstract" means, but this is the trunk of one of our Queen Palm trees in our yard. I thought it was kind of cool.

PLEASE CC, I really struggled with this one!

If you're interested, here are the other shots I didn't choose.

ONE little foot

At the M24 get together yesterday, our sweet little Grace had a photoshoot with the other photographers, and I couldn't resist taking a few photos myself. This was my favorite picture from the shoot, and really--who doesn't love baby feet?
Taken with my Nikon D-40, automatic setting, slightly cropped. CC welcome.
P.S. It's good to be back! I'm excited to start applying all of my new knowledge from everyone's Tuesday Tutorials soon, now that I'm almost recovered from having our sweet baby. =)

Hold Still Now...

I decided to do a challenge which I had missed - which I'm embarrassed to admit there were quite a few.


It took me more time to set up this simple shot than any other challenge so far. Getting those rocks to stay, in the wind, not an easy feat. I have my other top two posted on my blog if you'd like to see what else I liked from the "session".

I also had so much fun at the E.ID Meetup! I was great seeing people I've known and meeting new friends! I only wish we could have done a proper session with baby Grace.

Colors of spring

I didn't know which challange word I was going to pick so I decided to just take lots of pictures, pick one I like and tie it into one of the challange words. So I chose the challange color, I love the colors that come out in spring. My flowers are blooming and I even have some new colors this year that I didn't have in my flower bed last year. I love these flowers I think they are called flags. Last year they bloomed so big and heavy some fell over.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Mundane Pin

This is my take on ABSTRACT, using my clothesline for inspiration. I was surprised how it turned out. I make it b/w to emphasize the lines.

The spiderwebs are an interesting hi-light, don't you think?

Door to the Past

I wanted to do a challenge I had missed too, but when I went thought the list I'm so sad and embarrassed to admit I've failed to do more that just one or two! Oh, the guilt! I was overwhelmed with my list, but after our little M24 get together I was inspired and finally up to the challenge. Vintage stuck out to me, but I had something else in mind. But this great door knob called to me from my neighbor's shed. How had I missed this little gem all this time?
As for the get together I mentioned earlier, I had to share a couple of picts I took there. We're such a bunch of camera geeks! : ) Katy and Rachel:

Sweet baby Grace must have felt like she was being mobbed by the Paparazzi!

I wish everyone could get together, we had so much fun in just the couple of hours we had! Thanks Rachel for organizing this, I had so much fun seeing you again and making new friends too! You're all welcome back in my home any time!

Simple Leaves

I had a buggar of a time picking a challenge word, that is, until I saw "simple". I love simplicity. I CRAVE simplicity. Plus, it's one of the challenges I didn't do. I found these leaves on a walk with my wee ones today. I fell in love with the colors, texture and the detail in them. I don't often stop to admire some of the simpler things in life, like leaves. I really need to start. There is such beauty to be found.

I wanted to try something different to display the leaves and stuck them in one of my glass cylinders with some water in it.

292mm macro mode, f/5, 1/160, iso200

Almost forgot, CC welcome

Vintage Girl

Really, how could I pick anything else?? It didn't take me more than 2 seconds to choose which category, but it took me a LONG time to choose which picture. I begged my model (I apologize for using her again so soon) to pose in some vintage shots for me... my goal was to take a picture that could have been taken a long time ago and that had that vintage feel that I love. Sorry I don't have the settings right now... my battery is charging! It's been a long week for my camera. If you want to see the rest of my vintage shoot, check out my blog.

CHALLENGE: choose your challenge

Okay everyone!! TODAY is the Eastern Idaho get together and I can't wait! I thought it would be fun to do something a little different today, since I am sure lots of pictures will be taken today--

So the challenge today is to CHOOSE YOUR CHALLENGE... Got to the sidebar and check out the labels for past challenges...and then pick one. NO CHEATING...pick one this morning and then go with it... :) And when y ou write your labels with your posted picture, PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME, THE CHALLENGE YOU CHOSE, AND THEN THE CATEGORY LABELED Choose your challenge.


Rachel, Abstract, choose your challenge

I can't wait to see what categories we get this time and how people see things!

See some of you later this afternoon!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Playing with Shutter Speed

First of all, I apologize if this tutorial is a bit scattered. Every time I sat down to work on it I would get called away for one reason or another. Sigh. Anyway, Mindy did an AWESOME tutorial on exposure a couple of weeks ago. If you didn’t read it, hurry and go have a look because I’m just going to branch off of her tutorial. I’m going to go into a little bit more depth on the glory of shutter speed and show you a few fun things you can do by playing around with it.

Freezing Motion

To freeze motion you need to use a moderate to high shutter speed. In Understanding Shutter Speed, Bryan Peterson recommends using a shutter speed of at least 1/250 sec. for subjects moving towards or away from you. For subjects moving up and down or left to right use a shutter speed of at least 1/500 sec, 1/1000 sec. is best but you can usually pull it off with 1/500 sec. That is just a general “rule” I like to keep in mind. I took this picture using a shutter speed of 1/320 sec. and didn’t get any blur so you can vary a bit.

Just know if there is blurring in your picture (and you don’t want it there) you need to up your shutter speed.


Panning is fun. It also requires a bit of luck and usually, a lot of takes. The “trick” to panning is to set your shutter speed low, usually somewhere between 1/8 and 1/60 sec and move your camera parallel to, and at the same speed as the moving object you wish to capture. As the object enters your frame, focus on it and follow it (smoothly) with your camera snapping away. This will keep the moving object in focus and give the background a really cool blur. Dave took this picture of me using a shutter speed of 1/40 sec.

Another cool way to get the panning effect is to actually be moving AT the same speed as what you are taking a picture of and snap away. For example, I took this picture of my feet while on a swing.

I set my shutter speed to 1/60 sec., got going fast, focused on my feet and took the picture. I used the same technique to take this picture of my daughter for the motion challenge.

I set my shutter speed to 1/40 sec and hopped on the moving merry-go-round with her.

Implying Motion

If you ever want to add Pizzazz to something boring (in my case this sign) try this technique. To imply motion select a low shutter speed. In this picture I used a SS of 1/50 sec but it usually works better if you go lower.

Next, press your shutter release button WHILE zooming in on object. It’s kind of tricky and like panning can take quite a few tries.

Flowing Water
If you want to give flowing water an ethereal, cotton candy effect then, you guessed it, choose a sloooow shutter speed on your camera before snapping away. To capture this waterfall I set my SS to 1/4 sec.

You can usually get away with 1/30 sec or lower; it just depends on how much “flow” you want in your picture, for more flow, go with a lower SS.

Capturing rain/snow

There are two options when trying to capture rain or snow in a picture. If you want to capture a few, defined flurries then a faster shutter speed is required. In this picture I used a shutter speed of 1/200 sec.

If you want to capture more motion in your rain/snow, you need a slower shutter speed. In this picture I used 1/5 sec.

In his book, Understanding Shutter Speed, Bryan Peterson recommends using 1/60 sec. when capturing rain. Which really seems like it would be about perfect and result in something in between my two shots.

Shooting at Night

Now, this is where it really gets fun, at least for me. When shooting at night you can get some REALLY cool shots (I searched through my archives and couldn’t find the one I wanted so you will just have to use your imagination on this one ;)). Slowing the shutter speed down allows you to shoot without a flash in low light or no light situations. This, if you’re like me and avoid using the flash at ALL costs, is simply fabulous. The possibilities are endless…the stars and moon, city lights, freeway lights…you can definitely have some fun. You will have to play around but a shutter speed of 1/2 sec to 4 sec usually works pretty well. In these cases not only is a tripod essential but you will probably need a remote because when you touch the shutter release button it moves the camera which will blur your picture in long exposures like this. No remote? No problem, just use the self-timer.

When playing around with your shutter speed always keep in mind the tripod rule. If your shutter speed is equal to or slower than the reciprocal of your effective focal length, you need to use a tripod. For example if my focal length is 200mm and I’m shooting with a shutter speed of 1/30 sec. I should probably be using a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod handy don’t despair! Simply brace yourself against something sturdy, hold your breath and click. If possible look for something stable to rest your camera on, I’ve used guard rails, the hood of my car, a rock and a sturdy tree branch before.

Most point and shoot cameras have modes that set the shutter speed a certain way to achieve a desired effect. I know Dave’s camera has an action mode (high shutter speed), a night mode (slow shutter speed) and a flowing water mode (slow to moderate shutter speed). These are AWESOME because if the camera doesn’t allow you to manually change the shutter speed these modes give you quite a few cool options.

Now, grab your camera and go play ;)


Good morning everyone! The votes are in, and they were really spread out. Everyone did so well with this challenge.

Best photo is a three-way tie between Nicia (with her military uniform), Susan (with rough bark), and Teryn (and her poor camel).

Second place was a four way tie, and there was no third place! That's how spread out your votes were for rough. Great job everyone!

Stay tuned for today's Tuesday Tutorial!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photography Contest w/ Prize

I hope you guys dont mind that I interject here but Google is having a photography contest with a prize $7500. It is for pictures to include with their themes for I know that there are many people here that could win it and the prizes would be sort of nice right. Plus it might be a good way to get your name out there or to add on a resume for any professionals!

Here is the link again! Good luck!


Okay everyone, let's vote.

I think we will try to just vote for your favorite again--and then we will have a 1st and 2nd place.

I am going to combine mission 24 business with this post, since there is not very much to say.

IF YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN AN EMAIL FROM ME YET, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT. I have added everyone who told me, so if you aren't getting one I want to make sure I have the address right or that it's not going to your junk mail box.

The big news this week is planning our mission 24 get together. I have been arranging much of that through email because I didn't want to put where we were meeting for safety reasons. But I think we will plan on MAY 20TH at 4:00 p.m. for the EASTERN IDAHO meeting. Feel free to bring kids, family, etc. and we will just play and have a good time together--anyone wanting to stick around to take pictures is welcome to--April has some reflectors and flash equipment she will bring to help make the harsh daylight work better so we can all make it at that time.


And I will get details all worked out for the Utah get together. IF YOU ARE IN UTAH, can you please comment if you are coming. I have only heard back from 2-3 people and I want to make sure that's all there is to accomodate for there.

HAPPY SNAPPING everyone! Be ready for a super fun challenge on Wednesday--I have something up my sleeve. And for now, LET'S VOTE!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rough Night, Rough Pictures

So I have just struggled to take pictures the last couple of days. Last night my son was over tired and screaming at everything. From not getting a sippy cup with bed, to screaming at me for taking a turn brushing his teeth, to holding him the wrong way. It was just a rough night. Yes I was a terrible parent and started taking pictures of it. Then he was screaming at me "NO! no cheese, NO cheese!" And yes that brown spot on the bottom of his left cheek is chocolate pudding.

It's Been a Rough Year

Ok, I promise I'll stop using photos from my unfortunate neighbor's place....or maybe not. I feel really bad for them because it truly has been a rough year for them, but their property is just ripe with photog fodder! Anyway, I was getting done with my run tonight when I noticed (for the first time - how observant of me) their mail box laying in the grass in front of their burned down house. The lighting was a-ma-zing because the sun was just going down.

(D70, 42mm, f9.0, 1/25 sec, ISO 320)

~Some Like it Rough~

Ok, going way out of the box..and comfort zone here....hehe. Tried to think all day about how to "pose" the whip....this is all I could come up with. ~cc~

Rough: Brick

Like Mindy, I also went camping this weekend. My husband was at Camporee with his Scouts, and I went with him (me and my daughter). We ended up heading home early when it started to rain, and my daughter decided the tent was more fun to play in that to sleep in. By the time I learned the challenge word, it was too late to take a picture of "roughing it."

So I have a picture of brick instead. My husband liked it better than any of my other favorites for this challenge, and since I usually ask his opinion and then choose a different picture anyway, I decided to go with his this time.

About the photo: manual mode, macro focus, color/exposure adjusted, sharpened and saturated the image, and cropped it.

(See my runners-up here.)


Rough Winter

f/5.3 ISO200 1/125th sec
I spotted this guy at the Zoo yesterday and his rough coat really caught my eye. He's finally shedding his winter coat in preparation of the warm weather that is finally starting to arrive. The picture is pretty basic, straight on- no fancy angles but I kinda liked how it turned out- Raw, almost "Wild".

I'm still working on figuring out the border thing- I tried to add a black border and this is what I got. But I kinda liked it so I left it be. Istill think that would make a GREAT tutorial one of these days. ::hint hint::

Oh- sorry to double up on you guys but I really wanted to post this one. I just "technically" didn't take the shot (those are my feet) so I figured I'd just put it in for fun. I did the cropping and editing to bring out the bright reds and make it a bit vintage. I call it "rough landing". (I love that kid!)


Rough to The Touch


I was having a pickle of a time coming up with something for this challenge. I was actually thinking about it while making dinner and in walked my handsome husband with a week's worth of facial hair. Inspiration struck and I grabbed him (against his will) and started snapping away. It reminded me of all the times, as a little girl, that my dad would grab me and rub his prickly chin against my cheek as hard as he could. I would laugh hysterically, cry and then laugh some more. My girls do the same when Dave does it to them. Man whiskers...definitely rough to the touch.

Taken in front of a window, 50mm, f/4.5, 1/125, ISO400

CC always welcome.

Its Rough being two.

settings - (iso 400, F5.6, 1/10sec)
PS - Changed to BW, Border and sig.

In The Rough

This was my husband's idea and I liked how it turned out. Just a golf ball in our yard (which is FAR from putting green material). SOOC.

Cure to a rough week

I have had a rough week! I had to get a ton of dental work done and it sucked. I spent 8 hours in three days in my dentist office (its a good thing I have a great dentist). But last night we had some friends and their 2 kids over for food and a water balloon fight. It was just what I needed to fix a rough week. I wish I would have taken my camera to the dentist but I was to ornery to think.

Picture taken with no flash just outside lighting. Used photoshop to sharpen add contrast and saturate.

The rough life of ants

I think ants have it prety hard with kids like mine constantly wrecking their homes. I was taking pictures of the desert landscape and took a picture of these ant hills ~ just for fun ~ but ended up liking it the best for this challenge. CC welcome!


To see "runner ups" please click HERE