Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunlight and Weeds

Today I'm going to link to three link parties at once!  How is that for daring?  From whatever place you are visiting, thanks for stopping by!  I love visitors, and blog visitors are always welcome because I don't have to clean house.

Let's start with Sweet Shot Tuesday.  I took several of these, and I really couldn't pick a favorite, but at the moment it is this one.
Be sure to check out other people's sweet shots; they are always sweet!
Sweet Shot Day

Now my other Tuesday usual, Texture Tuesday.  The theme this week is garden.  I'm not sure this technically counts because I don't know what flower this is, but I'm pretty sure it is a weed--a giant, purple dandelion like flower--at least it wasn't in a garden but a patch of other weeds.  Update:  apparently it is a flower: a Centaurea montana or Bachelor's Buttons.  I want to hunt some down for my yard now.   They are a very pretty flower.
This has one layer of Silence in Overlay Blending Mode at 100%
Then, because I liked how it applied the texture and brightened the photo but I did not like how it changed the richness of purple and greens, I added to the Silence layer:
                a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer; hue +180, Saturation -100, Lightness -30
                (If you group with previous it will only apply adjustments to the layer it is grouped with)
Then to brighten it a little more:
                I copied the photo, brought the copy to the top at Soft Light Blending Mode 80% opacity

Be sure to check out Kim Klassen's Blog for more Tuesday Texture photos; there are some wonderful artists out there.
And finally, because I cannot look at photos of the sky without thinking about God, I have a photo for Scripture and a Snapshot.
This is my first time participating, but I love coming across and visiting other people's entries.  Creation is just so magnificent!

Have the most blessed of Tuesdays!

Week 21 good to WOW SOOC Looking Up

I took pictures of the sky all week, and tree tops, and just looking up every time I went outside trying to capture an interesting shot.  Some of the sky shots were very pretty with blue skies and fluffy clouds but nothing screamed "e-mail me to Jill!"  But on Saturday we took the children to the park.  It isn't my favorite park because it is so big, and while that is a concern for safety reasons, I was mainly opposed because it is hard to find the boys and take pictures of them at such a big park.  However, going to the park is about the kids and not me so...

And I am very glad we went.  Since I couldn't always see the boys, I spent a lot of time looking up.  (Oak was following Sunflower around which I also did at times--very difficult since she can get through parts we cannot, but fun.)  Now I cannot decide which to e-mail Jill, and these are just my very favorite from each set.  It was a beautiful and fun day.
1/500      f/5.6      200mm     ISO 100
Some people were flying kites.  I don't think they minded (or noticed) me snapping away.
1/500    f/4      55mm     ISO 100
I did not remember this giant climbing wall from our last visit.  So high and unsafe, but made it easy for me to locate the boys no matter where Sunflower was leading us.
1/640    f/4      55mm      ISO 100
He is climbing across the top of the fake cliff to the side he could climb down.  I imagine the view from up there was gorgeous (it was really high)!
1/500     f/22     55mm    ISO 100
I've been meaning to read about sun flares before I attempted them.  The only thing I remember hearing is f/22 is a good f-stop.  It was so lovely out I couldn't resist just taking a few with that little information.  (My husband is concerned that pointing the camera directly at the sun will burn out the sensors--is this possible?  Luckily it didn't seem to do so Saturday.)

Then Sunday we went to visit my dad (and I took some pictures for the Father's Day prompt) and his Rhodie bush was so tall I had to look straight up to take pictures.
1/60   f/5.6    200mm   ISO 100
It was a little overcast on Sunday.

It may not look like it, but I really did narrow my choices down.  I didn't give you the crow in flight or the pretty, fluffy clouds, or Sunflower peaking from the park equipment, or the other kite, or the airplane leaving a jet trail or one of several others.  Jill is right; looking up allowed for a lot of variety.  Oh, and I didn't know how to represent this in a photograph, but the numbers are "looking up" in regards to our adoption.

Be sure to check out Jill's Blog today for more "Looking Up" themed photos!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday--little birdie

This is a "new to me" photo meme, and I probably won't be able to participate every Monday (at least while Shoot and Edit is going on), but I took and edited this photo on Saturday and I needed a place to share it.  The only rule is the photo has to have yellow in it.  Well, this one definitely does.
I tried to take pictures of the kids in the yellow field of weeds, but the bird was much more cooperative.  Be sure to hop on over and check out more Mellow Yellow Monday photos.  There are a lot of them and yellow always brings a smile!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I love participating in Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  At the beginning of the week I look at the prompts and think, "oh, no!  I'll never come up with something for all five."  But I do usually have an idea for one or two, and once I have those, I cannot bear to not complete the project.  This really pushes me out of my comfort zone, and this week even more than most.  This isn't to say I'm completely satisfied with all of my images, but I know I worked hard and tried all kinds of things I wouldn't even try without participating in the hunt.  I hope everyone else has as much fun as I do.

Classic Still Life:
I am in no way recommending or not recommending this wine.  We rarely drink but my husband loves picking up random (ie cheap) wines every so often to use for cooking and pretending we have sophistication.

Do you KNOW how hard this is to do without a tripod and a remote?  I went outside for two different sessions but only ended up with 15 photos each time (with me in them).  I just got too tired running back and forth between the chair and my spot and sometimes, well, I missed being in the shot.  The second time out my husband put the chair on top of the plastic climbing toy so I wouldn't have to sit down to be in the photo.  I actually preferred a shot from the second session (available to see on mouseover), but my husband liked this one better.  He said it looked more like me, less posed.  Since in this shot I am trying to look happy but feeling very frustrated and tilting my head so it would fit in the frame without having to sit all the way down, I do not know what this indicates about my usual state of mind. 

On the Floor:
Totally out of creativity, energy, or even the desire to retake a shot BUT it does fit On the Floor and it IS from this week.  I also spent some time lying on the floor to see what I could capture but the laptop on the floor in the dining room was as interesting as it got.

Is this a stretch?  I took lots of pictures of our brick walk-way, too, but I liked the lines in these leaves a lot more.  Much more interesting than bricks.  Trust me.

Nothing says fresh to me more than flowers after a rain (or during a rain), well, and clean sheets, but I'd much rather take pictures of flowers than bed linen, wouldn't you? 

Whew!  I'm done and it is only 8:30 p.m. on Saturday!  Be sure to head on over to Ramblings and Photos to check out other people's hunts. 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Week 20 good to WOW Edit Chalk Drawings

Time for Thursday's reveal of our Monday SOOC shots.  People's shots were already great with lots of color and dimension.  I cannot wait to see what they did with them.

As I was editing my shots I realized I was actually fairly happy with their colors and exposure.  I believe my edits did add color and depth, but I would have been content with the before if I didn't know how to edit yet.  The disappointment in my shots was composition and my inability to capture the shot my head envisioned.  This might sound like I'm sad, but I am actually very encouraged by it since I bought my DSLR in March and started shooting in full Manual mode (except focus) in April.  I have been spending my picture taking time focusing on getting the settings right.  Going over the almost 400 pictures I have of the children and the chalk I realized I got the settings right more often than not.  Since they moved in and out of the shade I had to change the settings frequently to do so.  Now that changing and understanding my settings is easier it means I can start focusing my energy on composition again.  I am not the photographer I want to be (and I actually have my dream set fairly low) but I actually feel like I might get there.

That said I did finally have a chance to edit my pictures this morning, and I'm actually pretty happy with them, too.  If you have advice/criticism to give me, today would be a good day to give your 2 cents because I feel happy and optimistic, but I really do have some things I need to learn--starting with what exactly don't I know yet?  Oh, and by the way I'm trying that whole mouseover thing, so to see the before shot, put your mouse on the picture and see if it works.

I basically ran mini-fusion on all of these with a few adjustments and added the pink layer.  I'm not sure that makes them simple edits since it is simple to run the action, but it does a lot of different things to the pictures.  On this last one I also added a gradient map of burgundy to blue on soft-light blending mode which really added color to the pavement and bricks.

That's it.  I'm hoping I copied and pasted correctly for the mouse over affect to work so I can go look at everyone else's edits.  Be sure to check them out over a Ramblings and Photos.  Have a Happy Thursday!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Sweet Shot Tuesday--My Boys

I took a lot of pictures last week.  Too many.  I am finding that my children do not change that much in looks from one day to the next.  However, I still love looking at them and trying to get that one sweet shot.
Now if there was just another photo meme with a green theme--then I could add another button to my post.  I have a lot of pictures with green in the background--blame it on spring and lots of grass.  I choose to call it my green period.  I am also in my play with actions and textures period.  Everyone has one, right?
Sweet Shot Day
This sweet boy has been a little less than sweet lately--feeling ill.  My husband saw this photo and asked for this child back.  Hopefully tomorrow.

Be sure to head over to My 3 Boybarians for more Sweet Shots!

Texture Tuesday

I missed last week's Texture Tuesday.  I had a photo ready, but it just didn't feel "vintage" to me, even though I had used a vintage action on it.  I wanted to make a new one, but ran out of time.  I did look at a lot of the really awesome vintage photos from last week.  So cool!

Someday I'll have an actual vintage photo, but in the meantime, this is last week's unused photo.  I want to share it even though it didn't fit last week's theme or this weeks.
I don't remember the recipe for this, but I know it was fairly simple.  I ran PW Vintage action and added a texture (my mind is drawing a blank as to which one) at probably soft light 100%.

However, I do like to follow rules, so here is my entry for today.

This has one layer of Yesteryear -- Soft Light 100%
Then one layer of Yesteryear -- Overlay 35%
Then on top of that a hue layer with hue -24 and saturation at -64

Then I flattened the image and ran CoffeShops ButterScotch Vintage
Then I added on layer of Yesteryear -- Soft Light 64%
               Under the color fill and contrast boost layers and
               Above the other 3 layers the action added
Flattened and resized and sharpened for the web

Be sure to check out Kim Klassen's Cafe for other Texture Tuesdays.  They are guaranteed to be amazing!

I Heart Faces -- Yellow

This my first time entering a photo in the weekly challenge at I Heart Faces, but when I found out the theme was yellow I could not resist adding my own adorable Sunflower to all the other photos (each one more stunning than the last).  I just cannot get enough of her expression and hope others will enjoy it too!
Be sure to check out the other entries over at I Heart Faces.  There are some fabulous photos and really talented photographers participating!

So Many Pictures, So Little Time!--Monday Rewind

In order to get great at picture taking, one has to take a lot of pictures.  Then one has to look at them and maybe consult someone who knows something as to what made the picture good or bad.  Then maybe edit.  Then share.  Then start all over to learn more.  I think I might become content at taking mediocre to good photos!  However, last week I must have taken over 4000 (yes, thousand) photos.  Here are some of the photos that did not make into a challenge this last week but that I loved.  I didn't always love them because they were a great photo (and I actually ruined a few in editing so now I have to go back) but they represent something important and capture a special moment.  Really, isn't that what photography is for?  (Unless you are an artist which I am not.)

Thankfully there is the perfect place to share these photos over at Chic Homeschool Mama's.  She runs a weekly "Monday Rewind" just for all those favorites that no one would get to see but you and your family otherwise!

I took over 500 pictures of the kids and some instruments outside for the prompt of "Sound of Music" in Scavenger Hunt Sunday, and then went a different route (which also took about 500 shots to get exactly the focus, composition, and angle I wanted).   So here are few shots from that session. 
They decided they were much more interested in checking out Huckleberry's Pill Bug colony than sitting for photos.
They apparently needed more dirt.
I have a really hard time deleting pictures of my kids.  No matter how many almost identical photos I have or how "off" they are in some way.  My theory is that I cannot start shooting in raw until I can find a way to make shooting 4000 pictures in one week mean I have no more than 400 saved pictures.  Of course if I was better I wouldn't need to take 4000 pictures in the first place, but that is a different story.  I am making progress at deleting but...
not enough.  Her eyes are dark and shadowed and really don't have any detail, but I don't have another picture with her and the teddy bear and in those pig tails (her hair is rarely up because it is not a battle I'm willing to fight).  Plus look at that expression!  We cut her bangs--I'm hoping that will help me capture her eyes better.

I also took hundreds of pictures of flowers.  One, flowers stand still and don't get tired of being a model.  Two, I received an Orchid and a bouquet of Roses as a year end gift for my MOPS ministry.  I am not sad to be passing the work on to someone else, but I am sad to be leaving my role as coordinator and no longer be working as closely with some wonderful ladies.  I wanted to keep their gifts for as long as possible--and what better way than in photos?