Saturday, July 11, 2009

Winners: Inspiration

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the weekend!

Alynn was definitely the favorite for this challenge, with Rays of Inspiration. Coming in second was Charlotte, with The Secret Life of Bees.

Great job ladies!

Please scroll down to see today's challenge.

Challenge: Line

Today's challenge word is LINE. I think we can get a lot of good pictures with this one. Have fun, and please post by midnight tomorrow!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Featured Photographer: Candace

What camera do you use?

My main camera is a Nikon D300. My back-up is a D60.

What is your favorite photography subject? (or, what do you like to take pictures of the best?)

I love taking pictures of anything beautiful. My goal - as far as my photography business goes - is to focus on Weddings/Engagements/ Bridals/ Families/ Events.. etc.

I can’t think of anything more amazing than being responsible for capturing all the emotion in that most important time for a couple…. When they’re getting married and starting their new life together.

What camera equipment is on your wish list?

Right now, I really want a great zoom lens – specifically, the Nikkor 70-200mm- but it’ll be a while, that’s a $2000 lens. Just don’t have those funds right now.

What are your hobbies outside of photography?

Outside of photography… I have a hair bow business, called “Sassy Girl Bows”. I started doing that when my daughter was about a year old and I was spending way too much on boutique hair bows. I taught myself to make huge, multi-layered bows custom matched to her outfits. Now, I don’t make the gigantic ones much anymore for her, but I still make them custom for lots of kids in my area.

I also love to write. It’s my goal to write a novel before I die. J I’ve started two and gotten half-way through… become stuck and put it aside. Hopefully one day, I’ll successfully finish one.
And I love to read! I’m always reading at least one fiction novel at a time and I am also addicted to photography/Photoshop books. I LOVE them!

Tell us about your family! (married? Kids?)

I’ve been married to Tony for seven and a half years. We have two children, Emma (4) and Noah (1). We want to have at least one more child, but probably two more. I’d love to have another boy and another girl. But we’ll just have to see what the future holds for us. My husband works in Iraq as a defense contractor for 46 weeks of the year, so I do my best to keep things going around here and to keep us very busy. It’s not too bad, because we do get to talk daily and I have my family living all around me, so that makes it a lot easier for us to pass the time!

Where do you live? (you don’t have to be specific if you don’t feel comfortable)

I live in a very small town… Stedman, NC. It’s about ten minutes from Fayetteville, NC, which is the home of Fort Bragg. I’m sure you’ve heard of that on TV with all the talk of sending the troops from there overseas.

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

My family blog is:
My photography blog is:

I’d love to have you guys follow/read my blog! It makes me so happy to get comments; I get so excited to read every single one!! And I’d LOVE feedback on my work. That really makes me happy!!!

What is the best photography advice you have ever received?

Hmmm… this is a hard one. Honestly, one of the things that always echoes in my head is to get down on the same level as the subject. Pictures with children are SO MUCH better when you’re on their level, not photographing them from above.

What (if any) editing program do you use?

I use Photoshop CS3 and I love it! Now that I'm used to it, I don't know how I ever got by without it.

10.Can you share your favorite 3 pictures with us??

Of course!!
These are our three nieces. The blonde on the right is Tony's brother's daughter and the two on the left are Maura's daughters. Maura and Tony's brother, Johnny, just got married on June 6th. Theirs is the wedding that I shot. They make a beautiful family!

These are my two handsome men. I love them so much!

This is my best friend, Amy, she says this is going to be on an easel at her funeral saying that this is her, running into heaven! :)

Voting: Inspiration

Good morning everyone. Time to vote on Inspiration. Vote for your top two favorites, please vote by midnight tonight (Pacific time).

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Wow, I think this is the first time I've posted mid-week. But after being in a bit of a photography slump, I felt INSPIRED. After a long day at work and an after work dinner party, I was laying on the lawn. When I looked over and saw how cute my cat, Ani, was with the setting sun backlighting her, I had to get my camera.
22mm, F4, 1/250 sec, 400 ISO (I forgot to reset it). Also, my computer crashed so I have no Photoshop. :(
I tried so hard to get firework shots for our Patriotism challenge, but they all ended up looking like this

8 mm, F 6.9, 4 seconds, ISO 100 Does anyone have any tips? I want to know how Teryn got such a clear black sky without all the smoke in her fireworks picture! CC

Niki my source of inspiration

When I wake up and look at that face
I can not help but have a great day.!.
She is a great source of inspiration, pure innocence and the joy of my life.

Inspiration from on High

This is the Columbus Ohio Temple. It is one of the smaller Temples of the LDS church. It's still so beautiful. I think the best inspirations I've ever received were when I was serving in the Temple.

(Sorry I've been MIA.... Internet's been down... bummer....)

While looking for inspiration...

I have felt really stuck in a rut...and completely out of this challenge was actually really tough for me. But I loved the shot I caught while looking for inspiration. :)

A better way to bribe?

Rays of Inspiration

When I read this challenge, I instantly starting thinking of what things have been inspiring my photography recently. Since it seemed impossible to take a picture of all of you, I moved on to my next big inspiration -- light. I have discovered that lighting can make or break a photo. It proved to be a bit of a challenge to find just the right subject, but I feel this is the best shot I got that the focal point really is light.

Shamefully, I photoshopped the heck out of it. : )


The Secret Life of Bees

My husband and I rented the movie, "The Secret Life of Bees" last week. I can't say it was my favorite movie ever, but I definitely enjoyed it and would watch it again. It was one of those movies that made you think about life in a different way... in a way, I guess you could say it was inspirational.

I had no idea it would be so stinkin' hard to take a picture of a bee... they're fast little buggers! Thanks for looking.


When inspiration strikes...

My husband was hit with a wave of inspiration this morning while brushing his teeth. He wrote this sweet poem on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker, where I found is an hour after he left for work. In case you can't read it, it says:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I love you
Crap I screwed up the poem
To many people, it might sound thoughtless, but it made me laugh, and that's what its intent was. Inspiration struck and my husband left me a "love note" to let me know that he was thinking of me this morning. It made me feel special. And for anyone who knows him (or me, or us together), it makes a lot of sense and totally fits.

Admittedly, this is not a great photo, but I'd like feedback anyway.


Just There

Some times inspiration comes after much thought. This picture came from just being there. A friend of mine was playing the piano and I started talking pictures. I took the chance to work my shutter speed and f-stop on my camera. It was fun.

The picture was taken in B&W and I cannot remember the settings. In PS I sharpened the image so the edges or the hand and keys are more defined, oh I also cropped it.
-CC- is always welcome.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cool Inspiration

I think this picture is mighty inspiring for me today! CC welcomed.

Inspiration from Above

When I think of inspiration I think of my scriptures and my antique chair.
I find inspiration in reading my scriptures each day and in the stories and lesson's learned from generations past.

cc always welcome

Personal Inspiration

"Make a list of important thins to do today.
At the top of your list, put: "Eat Chocolate".
Now, you'll get at least one thing done today!"
Helps me, anyway.

Shutter Speed: .125s
Aperature: f/2.8
ISO: 400

Took it to Picasa and tinted the whole thing just a tad brown...chocolatey.


Before we do this challenge, I have a tidbit of news.

After lots and lots of pondering and debating, I have decided it would probably be best to ease up the content of this blog through the summer months. It seems like so many people are just so busy right being one of them! :) It has been a struggle to have follow through with the tutorials and I only have 2-3 more feature photographers to highlight...

So, I think we will mainly stick to challenges and voting...and once the summer is coming to an end, we will pick back up with our everyday schedule.

IN THE MEANTIME, If you would LIKE to be highlighted as a feature photographer and have not yet received the questionaire, please leave a comment for me and I will email it to you. Also, if ANYONE learns something cool that you want to share for a tutorial, or you have a word you want to submit for a challenge, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PREPOST IT. We have been using the date of 09/09/09 or you can save it as a draft. Either way. I will go in and get them scheduled once you do so.

I am hoping this will ease the burden for many of you who have been helping out with the blog--and also hoping that many of you will be able to contribute little tips and tricks throughout the rest of the summer--it doesn't matter what level of photographer you are. We want to hear from YOU!

If anyone else has any ideas for how things can go more smoothly throughout the summer, I would love to hear them. I apologize that this has taken a backseat to life right now. It's been a really busy summer...which is good...but at the same time I sure do miss the friendships I found here and all the inspiration that I loved coming back to day after day. You are a great group of people...and I feel so honored to know each of you!

Please let me know your thoughts and ideas. I would love to hear how we can change and make things work for everyone so that we can keep the INSPIRATION going around here...

And that, my friends is your challenge...INSPIRATION.

Pictures in tomorrow night, by midnight.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Winners: Patriotic

Thought I would just do the count so Janelle can concentrate on her family! It was a great job by everyone. Congrats to all. Here are the voted winners.

Most Insipring: Katy with Sweet Land of Liberty...
Best Overall: Mindy with Young Troops

Tuesday Tutorial-- Composition?

I titled this post "COMPOSITION?" because I really don't know what that means... so I'm hoping one or two of you can comment and tell me if I'm WAY OFF BASE here.

Instead of doing any sort of TUTORIAL-- I wanted to "wave my freak flag" all around and tell you what I've learned FROM YOU-- but in my own terms. Here goes Nuttin'.

As a newbie picture-taker, I've never heard of a lot of these new-fangled, snazzy terms like "bokeh" and "framing". (please, refrain from laughing till the end of the post). But here's MY take on some of the things I've learned from all of you "big-kid photographers".


This one seems pretty self-explainatory, but sort of changed my world when I saw it in action.
For instance, on our last challenge the picture "Summer Sunset" (haven't revealed the photographer on this one yet) but I LOVED the way that photo was FRAMED.

(sorry, these are all pictures I chose from my vacation last year to France-- everything else was... well, either bland or you've seen them all in the challenges!)


I know this is basic Photography for Big-Fat-Tards 101 here, but I love that people have mentioned this one. It's basic-- yet essential. Like that LBD (that's short for "Little Black Dress", Blake, alright? Got it?)

"The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections."
Thank you, Mr. Wik E. Pedia.

(I made Hubs do way too many of these OSOM 'optical illusion' pictures. Let me just tell you, he was NOT a willing participant. It was like pulling teeth.)

Um. Not sure this one really fits into this catergory.
But I figured I took A LOT of time doing those dang lines...

Changing Perspective

It ain't too hard to change the perspective... why, OH WHY, do I always think people wanna see everything from a stubby 5' 3" straight-on angle??? Well, that's no longer the case... I kneel, stand on things, lay down and climb a ga-BILLION stairs to get a new Perspective on life. Refreshing.

I just wanted to throw in my Optical Illusion Artwork...
no one appreciates good old fashioned "holdingtheEiffelTowerinmyhand" art anymore.
It's a pity.
Does he look slightly disgusted to you? Or just peeved? Ashamed. That's what it is. Shame for his loser wife.

Counter Balance

Okay, this was new (and slightly advanced for my brain to wrap around) but here goes. In THIS GEM of a reference, Brandon, one of the tutorial authors, says about Counter Balance, "Position your subject in the camera veiwer to arrange the shapes in the scene to either harmonize or contrast with the rectangular frame".
I THINK it means...

all these lines make cool photos?

or maybe it means, if you crudely draw lines all over your picture, you look more professional?

ps. I decided I should never become a surgeon. I just barely decided that.
Just look at those crazy lines.

Visual Walkabout

I think it was Dave who mentioned "S curves" to add glimmer to a picture-- I loved that. I now LOOK for awesome curves to take pictures of!

Have you seen the movie "Australia" with Hunky Hugh? Well, they talk about the boy going on his "walkabout" to become a Man.
Well, after these Visual Walkabouts... dontcha just feel more mature and wise?




Well, thanks for humoring me anyway.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Voting: Patriotic

I had great plans for this challenge. I was going to take a picture of my great-grandfather's navy medals (he fought in WWII and was a career sailor). Unfortunately, it didn't happen, due to a number of which, not the least of which was that my mom fell down the stairs Sunday afternoon (5 weeks after shoulder surgery, while she's still in a sling). My great plans will have to wait for another challenge. I loved everyone else's photos though!

So here's the voting rundown for this challenge. I want you to vote first for the most inspiring photo, and also for the best overall. Don't forget any and all shoutouts!

(And if I don't get the votes up early Tuesday morning, I'll do it later in the afternoon/evening. I fly home Tuesday, and finally get to see my husband after nearly two weeks!!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I'm thankful for this beautiful world we have...made possible by those who fight for our freedom.

Patriotic Duty

I love the Fourth of July - a holiday on which it is your patriotic duty to stuff your face at a barbecue!

Young Troops

I couldn't resist taking a picture of these adorable boys in uniform! I'm so grateful for those who have fought for my freedom, now and in the past.

For the Troops!

I did a little bit of research because I was curious about why fireworks are a part of our fourth of July celebrations. What makes bright colored explosions patriotic? Apparently, they became a part of American culture when they were used to boost the morale of the troops during the Revolutionary war. Ever since then they have been considered a symbol of patiotism across the nation.

I took this challenge as another opportunity to practice the things I've been learning. I pulled out the tripod and went all Manual. Hear that? ME MANUAL! Again! (I'm so proud) I loved this picture because I left the shutter open for 2 seconds as the orange one went off and just as the shutter closed the sparkley one snuck in- creating the contrast of speckles with streaks.

For more of my experiments check out

p.s. I'm turning over my pictures from my wedding this week so PLEASE leave any comments you can for them (same place) so I can do any touch ups necessary before I hand them over. THANKS!