Friday, August 30, 2013

In Focus Friday w/ My Mind's Lens: August 2013

Kaeley is here today for the August edition of In Focus Friday.  Lucky for me, she takes requests.  My goal for this holiday weekend is to soak up as much information as I can from my Shoot Fly Shoot classes for my trip to Florida.....I don't want my trip to the ocean to be a big fat picture fail!  If I am being honest, this post has kind of scared me.  Kaeley's pictures are beautiful, but I am seriously doubting my ability to capture similar images.....aperture, ISO, shutter speed - oh, my!  May the DSLR force be with me...and enjoy the eye candy below!


Last month, I asked Julie if there was anything in particular that she would like me to share with you for In Focus Friday - such as a specific subject, all black & white, or tips.  She chose #3.  A little bird told me that she is getting ready to visit Florida *which makes me very our summer here in the NW seems to be getting ready to die down already* and she's planning on bringing her "big girl camera", as she likes to call it.

While I would never claim to be an expert, I'd like to share a few tips on how to take pictures of the ocean, as well as capture beautiful sunsets.

Before you start taking pictures of the waves crashing onto the sand, or the sun reflecting off the wet beach, you should try to picture in your mind what you want the image to look like.  If you are wanting to capture the movement of the water, and the flow of the waves coming and going, you will want to use a slower shutter speed.  This will cause the shutter to stay open longer, capturing a longer period of time and resulting in that soft, blurred look.  However, if you want to freeze the motion and be able to see the details and individual water droplets, you will need to have a very fast shutter speed.

I don't have a perfect example of this, but below are two photos of a waterfall.  The shutter speed for the image on the left is 1/250 of a second, while the one on the right is much slower, 1/25 of a second.  The slower shutter speed captures a greater period of time, which allows the water to "flow".

If you are on full manual mode, you will need to adjust your aperture and ISO as well in order to get enough light to properly expose the photo.  Another option would be to use the shutter priority mode - this will allow you to choose your shutter speed, and your camera will adjust the aperture and ISO automatically.

You may also want to use a polarizing filter when taking photos of the water - it will help bring out the blues.  I got mine from Best Buy for less than $20.

One last thing about taking pictures of the ocean, or any body of water really: be mindful of the sky.  The following images were captured on the same day, at the same beach.  In the morning, the sky was gray and overcast, which was reflected in the water, giving the ocean a dark, murky appearance.  Later in the day, the clouds burned off and the pretty blue sky gave the water that glorious blue color.

Moving on to one of my favorite aspects of summer: the {beautiful} sunsets.  To be honest, I haven't captured too many of them in my own photos.  The colors and luminescence of the setting sun bring me a sense of awe and peace, but I rarely have my camera around to harness that feeling.  But, I recently had an opportunity to change that.

When photographing sunsets.....

1. Do not look directly at the sun!  You have heard this before, but just be careful and protect your eyes.

2. Set your aperture to a high value.  This one is weird for me.  When I take portraits, I tend to set my aperture at f/4 or f/5, utilizing a shallow depth of field and creating a blurred background, allowing the subject of the photo to really stand out.  By increasing the aperture, though, you capture more detail in the full image.  You will end up with a clearer photo.  Just as I told you that you'd have to adjust the aperture and ISO for your chosen shutter speed, you will need to adjust the ISO and shutter speed for your chosen aperture.  Your camera should also have an aperture priority mode that will do this automatically.

These were all taken using f/16 - which is a pretty small opening in the lens.  If you turn it up even further, say to f/22, you can get a really dramatic looking sun, and capture that "starburst" appearance.

3. Play around with your shutter speed.  When doing this, you will need to be in full manual mode.  Leave your aperture at one spot (try f/16), and move your shutter speed from faster to slower and watch the difference in the lighting of your images.  I forgot to mention before, but when using slower shutter speeds, you should try to use a tripod to help stabilize the camera body and prevent unwanted "camera shake" or fuzzy images.  If you don't have a tripod, try setting the camera on a table or other stable surface.

Here are some examples of how changes in shutter speed can change your photo:

Personally, I really like the dramatic contrasting look of the photos with shutter speeds around 1/125 and 1/250.  But it really is about getting the picture that YOU like best.

4. Wait for the sun to actually go down, and wait around a little after that.  As beautiful as the sunset itself is, the sky is often even more colorful once the sun goes down.  We didn't wait as long as we should have, but here is a little of what we got:

5. Try a silhouette.  This may sound challenging, but it really isn't.  First, find a subject in the foreground - a bridge, dock, rocks, another person.  Next, set your exposure by focusing on the sky.  Refocus on your subject and take your photo.  This is going to make it so the sky is illuminated, but the foreground will be underexposed, resulting in the silhouette.

{Please note, with the exception of the black & white conversion, none of these photos have been digitally enhanced}

I'm not doing very well at minimizing the "photo dumping" - but I can't help it.  So you get it all....actually this isn't even half of the images that I sorted through, so consider yourselves lucky!

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I hope Kaeley's post was helpful and informative to any fellow budding photography junkies out there.  I personally cannot wait to get out and give my newly acquired knowledge the old college try.My skill level on the manual setting has nowhere to go but up!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Random Runneth Over and Tuesday Tunes

Why yes, I am still alive....but I have had a horrible case of "I have nothing to say".....sad but totally true.  It isn't even writer's block I don't think, just nothing that I really thought you guys would be interested in.  There is a whole lot of random swimming around in my brain that I guess I can share in list form at which point you all may wish that I would have just kept it to myself.  Here goes nothing......

*my baby boy started junior high yesterday....which is scary enough as it is (at least for me), but this is his first time in public school - he has been in a bubble for the last seven years and mama is freaked out!

*I am beyond excited to FINALLY meet this sweet lady in person a week from Friday.  Katie is flying to the big ol' Lone Star Sate to see me for the weekend...EEEEKK!!!!

My Photo

*the weekend after that I am heading to the Sunshine State with these beautiful ladies for Girl's Weekend round 2....Round 1 was Chicago 2012.  I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to some beach time and catching up with dear friends......MUCH needed.  Luckily Jennifer lives in Orlando, so she and her husband are playing hosts for Megan and I.  They have a beautiful house on the lake that I can't wait to see! 

*as I briefly mentioned literally months ago I finally got a was a gift and it kind of just fell into my lap.  Unfortunately the first night that I had it...the case was dropped and the fancy zoom lens that I had (although, I really had no idea how to use it) ceased to zoom.  Cue the tears...seriously!  There was actually a Nikon repair store not too far from home so I took it there.  The owner told me that although my camera was old, it was a great camera...all metal fittings and the new ones of course are plastic.  He was skeptical that the lens could be repaired, but suggested that I think about it and also check ebay.  I would have had to pay $55 just to have the lens looked at with no guarantee and then an additional $75 plus if it could actually be fixed.  I scored a perfect condition, totally functioning one on ebay for $107.25.  Go me!  I am back in business and ready to capture something great on my Florida adventure.  But remember, I still can't use that thing off of AUTO.  I do have two online classes through Shoot Fly Shoot that I am dying to delve into.  I am a visual learner so I am hoping they are really going to help me!  Can't thank KF enough for his generosity...I am beyond blessed! 

* I am still making progress at my new place, but there is still so much that I want to do.  I wanted to have my gallery wall done by the time that Katie came to visit, but I just can't commit yet.  I have a lot of ideas but am so chicken to commit, for fear that I am making the "wrong" decision.  I know - pathetic isn't it?  Still need curtains and the Expedit storage system for my scrapping supplies.  I did make progress on the outside a couple of weeks ago.  A friend from work came over and helped me with seven bags of mulch and she transplanted some plants from her place to my mine.  Some didn't take too kindly to the move and some are thriving.  I am getting compliments from several neighbors about the fact that I am taking care of the yard.  My duplex is a rental and apparently the last few renters did absolutely nothing, so I am feeling good that people are noticing.  I like for my place to look nice (although, I was not blessed with a green thumb)....even if it isn't actually mine but we are are planning on staying at least until Zachary graduates from high school, so I want to make it a home for us.

We went back for 4 more bags of mulch and this was prior to weed pulling
*My dear friends Holli & Todd are getting married at Delaney Vineyards in Grapevine this weekend and I seriously could not be more excited.  They are the most fun couple and things have been pretty crazy for them since their engagement in December......they so deserve to have the most wonderful of wedding days....I cannot forget my kleenex!!!  I have loved doing little crafty projects for them for their wedding.  They are leaving little goodie bags at the hotel for their out of town guests and she wanted them Texas themed.

At least I warned you...I believe that was the worst case of random that I have ever posted at one time.  I guess I did have things to say just nothing on it's own worthy of an entire

Finally, just to give this post some street cred (yep, I did jut say that).  I am linking up with HolliLeslyn and Lauren for:

Leslyn's Lovely Life

I LOVE this song.....I am quite sure that men like this no longer exist, if they ever did, but a girl can always dream can't she?????  I am betting that a woman wrote it, so of course I looked it up.  BINGO.....A woman did CO-write it.  Thank you Rodney Clawson and Ashley Gorley!  Enjoy!

Even though I was a day early, I am also linking up with Megan from In This Wonderful Life for Midweek Randoms, because lets face it....this post was ALL about the random.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Third Thursday Scrapbook Stories: August 2013

Like the first half of this year, August is flying by.  Can't believe it is already time for the August edition of Third Thursday Scrapbook Stories.  Katie is sharing a simple but cute layout recapping her New Year's Eve. I am not going to steal her thunder, so here's Katie to tell you about her layout.


Hi everyone! Happy Third Thursday of August!

Over the summer, I have more time to scrap (usually!) and I end up going back and scrapping things that I may have missed out on during the year.

One of those things was New Year's Eve.

Our New Year's was super quiet, and I wanted to reflect that in the layout, so I made a very very simple layout.

Even though this isn't my "usual" style, it wasn't a usual New Year's either! But I'm really happy with how it came out. It reminds me a lot of that night, very calm and not busy at all!

What do you usually do for New Year's? Do you like to go out and party, or do you prefer to stay in and have a quiet night? We've done both, but I really liked having a quiet night last year!


Three weeks from tomorrow sweet Katie is flying to TX to visit little ole me.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally meet her in person.  I am not sure if I had started reading her blog when I was in Chicago - I think that I found it right after.  But when I was there she and her fiance still lived there. Anyway, she and AJ have since moved to Baton Rouge - which thankfully is a bit closer to me.  Her fiance will be enjoying his bachelor party weekend  and she is having a weekend getaway to Texas.....EXCITING!!!!!!!  It will be a short visit, but we are going to try to squeeze in a cattle drive in the Ft. Worth Stockyards, killer margaritas and I am going to find her some good Texas BBQ.  Stay tuned....I am sure this is not the last you will hear about it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Holli & Todd's Guest Book

As usual I am moving at a snail's pace....but I didn't want to let the entire week get away from me without sharing what I created using my precious cargo from Persnickety Prints. If you missed my rave review, you can check it out here.

As a disclaimer, I can take absolutely no credit for this idea.  It was the brain child of the fabulous Becky Higgins.  She is absolutely a game changer when it comes to simplifying scrapbooking.....I am not sure we are worthy!

I digress....I met Holli about a year ago at a blogger meet up that I was co-hosting.  She kind of lights up a room....she is a genuinely sweet, caring person with an electric smile and an amazing sense of humor.  You really can't help but be drawn to her.  Fast forward to December when Holli became engaged to Todd.  I was beyond thrilled for her and quickly offered to address her wedding invitations as a my gift to her and Todd.  In the midst of the excitement of being engaged and planning a wedding....Holli was dealing with her father's grave medical issues....without going into too much detail, Holli's dad had a double lung transplant, and is thankfully, improving every day.  She can now enjoy being engaged and planning her wedding.  At any rate, during this very stressful time for her combined with trying to get a million thing done for the wedding I offered my assistance with anything that she may need.  I have had so much fun doing and helping on little projects here and there.  Her cousin Lauren (from Outside the Frame) took her engagement pictures and she graciously shared the images with me so that I could make the guest book happen.  I had originally wanted it to be a surprise, but I was afraid that she would go out and buy one, so I let the cat out of the bag.

Her bridal shower was this past Saturday and she truly had a wonderful time and it was obvious to everyone there that a huge weight had been lifted.

This is what I made.....

I started out with the Project Life Mini Album in Rain....added some instructions at the front of the album so Holli and Todd's guests would know what to do.

For the filler cards I used predominantly the Olive Edition.  I used a couple of cards from the Wedding Edition mini kit and I also added some coordinating cardstock.  I printed the card with the names, date and location on high quality paper for the main page.  I love the idea behind these particular guest books.  There is plenty of room for the wedding guests to not only leave their names but also notes, well wishes etc for the couple.  It becomes an instant keepsake, rather than just a fancy book with signatures.

Becky Higgins' original called for about 40 pictures.  I only had 17 and so I had to get creative. Enter Persnickety Prints.  I ordered the vertical prints in 6x8" and the horizontal prints in 9x8.  In order to get these sizes to work in the pages....I had to section the photos in either 2 or 4 pieces.  Some of the measurements required separating right in the middle of a face, but overall, I am really happy with how it turned out.
These two are the 6x8 size

These are the 9x8 size

These books would also be great at a bridal or baby shower, graduation party, anniversary or birthday!  It was so much fun to put together.  In total I think it took me about 2.5 hours to put the whole thing together and I think I took the most time just figuring out the card combinations.  Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!