Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week 47 good to WOW Edit Thanksgiving

Just a quick post to share my Thanksgiving edits as I have a busy few days ahead...busier than normal.
Nothing too exciting.  I straightened a little and adjusted some sliders in LR.  I should possibly have straightened a little more but I didn't want to cut the flowers; sometimes editing cannot fix composition issues.

I thought it would seemed a little too busy, so I converted to BW with Lightroom's preset Creative Look 2 and added a little cream/orange to give back the warmth.
I cannot wait until next year to take more Thanksgiving photos!

Have a fantastic Thursday!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 47 good to WOW SOOC Thanksgiving and Monday Rewind

The long weekend was so wonderful, it is hard to get back into the swing of things, but Monday eventually comes and with it Shoot and Edit.  I never did post my edit for last weeks photo on gratefulness (and it only had 3 views on flickr, so I'm sure no one minds), but I thought I would start with it today.

For those that didn't have a chance to see it:
SOOC   ISO 100  f/1.8   1/200 sec   50mm 
Ultimately it came down to me being grateful for many, many things...but that my thankfulness goes to God, the provider of all good and perfect gifts in my life.

First I did my usual edits...fix exposure, take down saturation for this photo, noise reduction, sharpening, and a creamy white vignette.  My theory was it would create something soft in keeping with the sweetness of my little boy praying (even if this shot is actually posed.)
But I felt like it just wasn't quite right and that it had actually lost the mood created by using one lamp (and external flash) to light the scene, so I tried again.

This time I brought up the exposure with an adjustment brush in Lightroom only on his face and the wall leading towards him and noise reduction.  Then I took it to Elements, ran a soft layer--masked off of his face and hands, used Pioneer Women's Black Beauty to convert to black and white, and saved.  Back in Lightroom I added the dark vignette and cropped a tiny bit.  The seat of the rocking chair was kind of glowing through the vignette so I used an adjustment brush to lower its exposure and brightness.

So now that I am caught up for last week...though no one is keeping is my photo for today.

Thanksgiving (SOOC):
I wanted to take more pictures of this scene, but my aunt wanted me to take the plates back to the buffet table and get out of the way for dinner. 

And just to make this post really, really long because that is my favorite thing to do, here are a few more snapshots of our thanksgiving...the ones without brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, aunts, uncles, and is a blessing to have family.
Wednesday extended family dinner at a local Chinese restaurant -- Thanks Uncle B and Aunt H!

Thanksgiving breakfast with Oak's extended family here at our house...No one will play w/ me!

My Dad's Sister sets a beautiful Thanksgiving table

Lots of tasty food--okay, I'm not big on the traditional turkey meal, but the appetizers were superb and my cousin did do an excellent job smoking the turkey.  We brought the green bean casserole.  Almost too easy to count as contributing, especially since Oak made it.

Let's Eat!  Huckleberry said he was thankful that the aliens had not attacked and taken over the planet...then he said, I'm just kidding...okay, I am thankful that hasn't happened, but I'm really thankful for my family.  Most everyone said a variation of family...I said photography.

Pie and whipped cream...the left overs made a perfect breakfast for me Friday.

Time to go home...jammies for Sunflower and a coke for Oak to prepare for the hour long drive.
The next three days were spent with a trip to the zoo, working on pictures, taking apart electronics, playing games (mostly Wii and DS) and basically relaxing as a family...oh, and an experiment in Christmas pictures which should show up next week :)  I love my family.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

These prompts all have so many creative interpretations.  I cannot wait to see the other participant's finds!

While I waited for my husband and kids to come out of the aquarium at the zoo (I didn't want to have my lens fog over), I had the privilege of watching these birds.

The foliage at the zoo is sometimes more fascinating than the animals.  I had never before seen a black plant.

With my speed light, I was actually quite happy with some of my candid shots over this Holiday weekend, but most of them are of extended family who I do not have permission to post on a blog.  So you get this one.  I know this photo would drive my photography teacher nuts--who/what is your subject?   SnapDragon, Oak, Sunflower, food...

Knife, Fork, or Spoon:
Just a fork...

Rule of Thirds:
I was waiting for them to come out of the aquarium quite a long time.  These are some of the lights set-up for Zoo Lights, but we visited the zoo during the day.

Be sure to check out the other Scavenger Hunts linked up on Ashley's blog...which such fun prompts they are sure to be fantastic.


Exploring with a Camera: Aspect Ratios

I always learn so much from Kat's Exploring with the Camera series and this time is no exception...except it was a little easier this time.  After all, while I have a lot to learn about the art of cropping and composition, the math of aspect ratios I've known for awhile.

I had to learn because my first camera didn't shoot pictures in any of the standard printing sizes.  It shot 3:4 as did most point and shoots (according to Kat's article).
3:4 Aspect Ratio
Costco print, or any other place on the street, were offering 4x6 or the now mostly outdated 3x5 (with 3% zoom and crop to create clean edges).  Everyone owned nice hundred page 4x6 photo albums waiting for those darn digital pictures to get printed.  I had to learn to crop so my pictures could fill those little plastic slots.
4:6 / 2:3 Aspect Ratio
It would take me weeks to prepare all my pictures for you can just use the upload tool for cropping...but I used Photoshop Elements 2.  I was thrilled when we got a Mac and I could just crop in iPhoto.  It was so easy.  But I was still always behind in my printing.
1:1 Aspect Ratio
For one thing, sometimes the most artistic crop wasn't a standard print I add white edges and crop?  But then it doesn't fit in my album!  I tried scrapbooking a was the thing to do...and while it eliminated the pain of non-artistic framing/ was WAY to much work and NOT very fun for my non-crafty self.

Do you KNOW how excited I was the first time I looked at pictures from my new dSLR last February to realize it shot in a 4:6 aspect ratio?  Now I would save so much time on editing and get upto date on my printing!


For one thing...4:6 is still not always the best ratio for my shot.  Knowing I intend to mostly print 4x6's, I tend to try to compose my shot with that in mind, but with moving kids and my single-minded thoughts (focus on the eyes, focus on the eyes, focus...), I often fail.
4:6 Aspect Ratio (original)
But even if I have to try every size on the chart...
5:7 Aspect Ratio find the right one...
8:10 / 4:5 Aspect Ratio
...the amount of time I would spend on editing in order to crop is only a minuscule portion of the time I now spend in Lightroom or Photoshop Elements (now 10, yeah!).

I'm pretty sure my husband would be thrilled if I went back to the days of the only editing I did being a crop and some red-eye reduction, especially as that would be so fast!  Certainly adding a little pop to each image takes very little time...even less time all together than my old edits would take...but I just have so many, many, many images, and there are so many, many fun things to try.

Now that I have so much creative control over my images from start to finish, photography is just too much fun...all aspects of it!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Shades of Autumn -- Finale

I hope everyone had a great Thursday!  I certainly did!  Now it's time for the Shades of Autumn Finale...and you really should link up because this time there are prizes (random number kind!)  I thought I would just use one from each post, but it seemed like every week when we'd moved onto the next color, I would find the perfect here they are:








Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge

Then my favorite photo of the week.  I used my new Photoshop Elements 10 (Thanks, Oak!) to create a panorama and to layer two different exposures.  Fun!

the long road


Monday, November 21, 2011

unThemed Tuesday

Usually I like to tie my pictures together somehow, but I've been doing such random shooting recently in an effort to practice using my new speedlight and absorb what I'm learning in my photography class.  Really it is good to expand my repertoire...really I have more in my life than Sunflower...but I do so like to match!  Hopefully the real artists that visit my site are a little more accepting of an eclectic mix.  Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility...some day I'll get it.
I know we are not the only family who entertains ourselves by taking things apart while Mommy takes pictures.  Many a pleasant afternoon is spent in such a manner.
Of course there is the ever fun Wii games...chewing boy not withstanding...I am the Queen of Mario Party (Okay, maybe Oak/Sunflower won.)
Now my favorite way to entertain myself is by taking pictures...even before reading big books...and Huckleberry spent a cold 20 minutes letting me practice with my new speedlight.  Now just to narrow the 30 or so remaining pictures to one or two since he was standing and smiling exactly the same in every one of them.  I guess I need to practice my posing instructions more, too.
Though telling Sunflower to pose is a useless waste of time.  I can still capture some sweet photos of her, though.  However, in the interest of full disclosure, I am lying down on the little slide with my feet up on the larger slide per Sunflower's instructions "This is your bed, Mama!"  Sunflower is standing at my feet leaning over me with the sun behind her.  I happen to have my camera on me because that is the deal...Mommy will go outside and play IF she can take pictures, too.

Scattered Horizons

Then, of course, I do love playing with photos!  I probably have enough photos to edit I could just stop taking pictures for the winter, but what would be the fun in that?  In the meantime, I did finally have a chance to play with textures because textures are fun!
This is Kim Klassen's Serious Magic, 100% screen.  This photo was taken on our photowalk early, early Saturday morning.  It really was as cold as it looks.
Kim Klassen's Stained Linen, Soft Light 100%, though I circled the bird and ran a Gaussian blur on him to remove the texture from him AND Magic Edges Screen 100%.  Birds don't take posing instructions well, either, but I think they were too cold to move.

The birds did stay really still at times and let me get awfully close to them, making for a few sweet shots.
Do you see the little ripple in his neck feathers?  That was the wind.  We went to breakfast once the wind started picking up!
Sweet Shot Day