Friday, July 29, 2011

FMTSO - Pink!!

As I read the theme for this week's shoot-out, I knew exactly where I would go!

The them this week is pink, and there is a building in town that I personally think qualifies!

Check this out:

Check out those windows!  They sure look pink to me.

I also went for a drive with my daughter in the Potwin area of Topeka.  In this neighborhood, there are wonderful old Victorian homes that have been restored and look beautiful.  I thought we might find pink there.

So Lovely!  How amazing are those?!?  I have always loved Victorian homes.  :)

Then, as we were driving, my daughter (the one with a birthday this weekend) grabbed the camera and shot these pink things.

I wasn't as convinced as she was that the truck is actually pink, but she wanted to get it anyway.  We were driving so it's a little blurry....

Then, before we headed home, we had to take advantage of one of my favorite things - Happy Hour at Sonic.  As we were in the drive through, we spotted this sign.

Perfect end to a relaxing afternoon outing!  To see the PINK in other towns around the world, check out the shoot out page!

Friday My Town Shootout


We are enjoying the overcast skies today - our high is only expected to get up to 91 degrees this afternoon.  What a relief!!  It is so surprising to me what a 10 degree difference makes!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Much Love, 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

B is for Bokeh

Obviously, I wasn't able to post yesterday, but I don't want to miss out on the ABC Wednesday!!  This week is the letter B, so I am choosing Bokeh.

In photography, the word bokeh is used to describe the blurred portion of the photo.  Remember last week when we learned that Aperture produces a difference in Depth of Field?  Bokeh is the term we use for the area of the photo that is out of focus.

Here are some examples from my own photography.  Sometimes the bokeh is supposed to be pleasing to the eye, and sometimes there's something important going on there.  :)

I would really like to get better at finding opportunities for beautiful bokeh in my photographs.

I like how you can see the silo in the background if you look closely.

Some of my favorite bokeh - Christmas lights!

If you'd like to see more, I posted this one for Friday My Town Shoot Out a couple weeks ago:  The Letter B!

Go see all the other great ABC Wednesday posts here:

Badge Design By Troy

Much Love!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crochet Project

I've been feeling "crafty" lately and wondering what to do.  While looking around the internet for various things, I found a great pattern for a sweater!  I had some yarn at the house, so I dove in!

My daughter generously took these photos of my hands.  She crawled up behind me on the couch and took the pictures over my shoulder.  It would be an excellent way to create a tutorial!

One motif finished!

After several of the motifs are finished and linked together to make the upper part of the sweater, work starts on the lower half.

Here's what the finished project is supposed to look like along with a link to the pattern (in case anyone is interested.)

Click on the photo to go to the pattern

Have a fabulous Tuesday!  :)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Found It!!!

I've been hearing this bird in our yard for a while, but yesterday I finally found him!  He was sitting on the line and chirping his song.

Now if I can just get him to come a little closer.  All of these shots were at 200mm.

If I try to enlarge the bird by cropping the shot, this is what I get:

I'll keep trying - I think I will go out and sprinkle the yard with bird seed the night before.  I always see the birds early in the morning. 

Have a wonderful Weekend!


Friday, July 22, 2011

FMTSO - Fresh

Today's theme for the Friday Shootout is FRESH!!!  I was worried I wouldn't find anything, but my step-dad rescued me last night and didn't even know it!

When they came to town to see the show last night, mom and my step-dad brought cucumbers and tomatoes straight out of the garden!!!  YUM!

Gorgeous and Delicious!!

We HAD to have BLTs for dinner!
Thank you!!!

Go check out everyone's Friday Freshness here:

Friday My Town Shootout

Much Love,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aperture Part 2 - Why should I care??

Yesterday, I attempted to explain exactly what the aperture is and how it is measured.  I even showed you how to find it on your camera, if you are so inclined.

Here's a quick review:

Set camera mode to Aperture priority

Scroll to the preferred aperture setting

Most importantly, remember that the number you see is the bottom number of a fraction.  If I recall my mathematics correctly, that means that the bigger the number, the smaller the opening.  Correct??

Is everyone sufficiently confused??  GOOD!  :)

Now comes the fun part - How does it affect my photos and why should I pay attention to it?

(for these examples, I took a couple of quick shots of my sofa.  It is old and needs recovered, so don't laugh!)

Photo taken with a smaller aperture (larger number - 11)

Photo taken with a larger aperture (smaller number - 4.5)

The aperture affects the "depth of field" of your photo.  In other words, it affects which things are in focus.  Notice that in the upper photo with the smaller aperture, the photo is nearly in focus all the way from front to back (the stuff close to me and the stuff far away from me.)  In the lower photo, the things closest to me and the lamp that is the furthest away are thrown out of focus.  They have a nice blur and the only area in focus is the area of the sofa where I focused. 

So, why would this be important to know?  When would you want things out of focus??

Depth of field mimics the way our eyes naturally work, especially when looking at small things or things that are very close.  I actually remember noticing this at a very young age.  I remember laying on my grandmother's bed when I was supposed to be napping - but wasn't.  I would look at the bracelet on my wrist and notice that the curtains were blurry.  Then I would look at the curtains across the room and notice that my wrist and bracelet were blurry.  Have you ever done that??  

I was discussing this with my father a couple of months ago, when he commented about how he preferred that all things in a photo be in crisp, clear focus.  While I agree with him to an extent, there are times when you might want the background to be out of focus.

Here are some examples:

If the background were in focus, you would have trouble seeing the spider's web.

If the flowers were in focus, we might not notice the bubbling water fountain.

It can negate a distracting or unattractive background

It can also pull your attention to what you want to emphasize most!  (ps - you can barely see the overhead powerline because of this!)

Again, this post is getting too long!  You can talk a lot about aperture and still have so much left to say.  I can see why all the photography sites talk about it so much!  All of my pictures today have dealt with a large aperture which produced a shallow depth of field.  Maybe tomorrow I will work to show you shots with a smaller aperture.

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aperture - What on earth is it???

I decided to talk about the APERTURE today since ABC Wednesday is starting the alphabet anew!  :)

Go visit everyone else to see what their letter A was for today!

Click on the picture!  :)

If you are like me and visit lots of photography sites, you are eventually going to start reading and hearing people talk about the aperture.  What is it, and why is it important to me??

If you stay in the auto areas of your camera, or if you have a point and shoot, your camera will adjust the aperture for the light available and your point of focus.  BUT - if you are starting to be brave with your camera and want to use the manual controls of your camera, you need to know what Aperture is, what it does, and how to adjust it.

Here goes!  This is my VERY basic aperture tutorial.  (Remember, part of the reason I explain these things is so I can learn!  If you already know, or think of it differently, that's totally cool with me!)  :)

1.  First of all, the aperture is a piece of your camera that controls how much light gets to the sensor when you open the shutter.  It looks something like this:

I got the above image from this web site - which has a very detailed description of aperture in photography!!

As you can see, it works a lot like the iris and pupil of your eye.  When it is closed, not much light gets in.  When it is wide open, it lets in lots of light.  Makes perfect sense!

2.  The next thing to know is this "f" thing.  The aperture number is measuring the opening that the light is passing through.  How big is the opening???  You also might notice that it is written as a fraction with "f" being the top number.  I prefer to think of it this way - instead of "f", I think of it as being a "1".  So the biggest opening (in the above diagram) is 1/2, the smallest is 1/16.

Make sense so far???  Boy I hope so!

Also, it is helpful to know that sometimes people refer to this setting as the "f stop".

The problem comes when you look at your camera to read the number, it only gives the bottom number.  So if you have your f-stop at 16, it means that your aperture is open to "f/16" or 1/16. 

Examples:  (taken with the cell phone)

First, set the camera to Aperture priority  (why is there a "v"??  I haven't figured that out yet...)

Here you can see that the Aperture is set at f/29 (or 1/29) which is almost as small as my camera will go.

Here the Aperture is set to f/4 (or 1/4) this is about as open as my camera will go.

Since this is getting long, tomorrow I will show you WHY you might want to control the aperture.  It really is pretty great - come back and see!  :)

Happy Wednesday,


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is Everything a Lie??

To my great disappointment, I think my video card is on the fritz again....

The good news?  I just bought it a month ago - so if it is the video card going bad again, it should be under warranty.

The bad news??  It might be my monitor instead...  Oh the horror!!

So - in order to figure out what the true problem is, I have changed out monitors.  I took the monitor from my husband's now dead computer (long story involving a lightning storm..... actually, not that long, but it involves a lightning storm.)

As I turned on the computer and looked at my desktop, the internet, and my photos with the different monitor, my heart sank!!

These are not the pictures I have taken and created.  I have poured my soul into many of these, my favorite, photos and now they don't look anything like what I remember!!  Has my monitor been lying to me all these months?  Did I think I was creating deep, vibrant, jewel-toned colors only to find that they AREN'T?!??

AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!   I'm melting, melting!!!!  *imagine wicked witch of the west*  Actually, it's too hot here, I probably am melting!!!

All that aside, it does bring up an interesting thing - calibrating your monitor.  I remember reading about it last year in one of the dozens of books I picked up at the library.  I remember that it was supremely important to make sure the colors on your monitor were actually true to the colors intended.  If not, you might think you are creating a wonderful portrait, only to print them off and find that everyone's skin is a lovely alien green/gray!

My problem?  I read this in one of many books over a year ago, and I can't remember how to do it!  Not only that, this isn't my monitor....  Is my hubby going to flip if I change up things on his monitor?  (He's kinda possessive about his belongings...)

Well, while I let my computer run long enough to have problems, I'll leave you with the "green" photo of children....


What it looked like when I had it printed at Wal-Mart:  :(

Sad - so sad....

Lessons learned!!!

1.   NEVER go to Wal-Mart to have your photos printed!!! 

2.  Make sure your monitor is calibrated, so you aren't living a lie!!!!


PS - yes, it's a touch dramatic today, but it is SO frustrating (and it's very hot)!!!  I can't do anything except take more pictures.  Posting them or editing is pretty much out of the question at the moment...


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guest Photographer - MY DAUGHTER!!

Yesterday, Elayna wanted to take pictures, so she borrowed my camera.

She has a good eye and is also learning how to use the camera.  Here are some of her shots from out in front of the house.  Pretty good - says I!!!  :)

Elayna really seems to be drawn to textures.  I LOVE them!! 

What great macros!



Thistle - I wonder where she found this....  I didn't know there were thistles in the yard!

I love that my children are such artists - each in their own way!  I'm sure Elayna also says "Hi!" to her friends in Texas!  :)

Have a great weekend!