Tuesday, May 27, 2014


My friend Debbie and I have a thing for wooden bowls. I don’t know when her love affair started but maybe she’ll comment and let us know how it started.

As for myself, it started when I bought one at a flea market from a vendor that stocked items from old world Europe. They sold weathered goat carts, hefty kitchen cabinetry, and textured bowls among several other wooden pieces.

The bowl pictured above (R) was made to hold rising bread dough, but it has held many different things at my house: Legos to mail, potatoes to car keys, and ripening fruit to Christmas cards. 

Debbie and I regularly swoon over each other’s bowl pics. Then last month she asked if I wanted to do some bowl dips (diptychs) together. So glad she thought of it and asked me! The only rule for our collaboration is that we must photograph something in our bowl. 

It’s so enjoyable teaming up with someone to keep you photographically on your toes.  Whether you have the same style or not, it doesn’t matter because they always turn out wonderful. 

And then at other times, it’s fun just to combine your own to photos. Do they have to relate...no! Does anyone have to understand why you decided to put those particular two together…not at all!  We used to have a group on Flickr called Two for Tuesday (thanks again to Debbie)…you should see some of the things I used to put together!

What I'm getting at here is thinking out of the box, either on your own or sharing a box to think out of with a friend. This is one of my favorite verses: 

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. –Proverbs 27:17

It's so true, isn't it? Let's sharpen and inspire one another this week, ask a friend, old or new, to dip with you. Have theme or not, you could pick the same hour of day to shoot, or combine a couple of your own shots. It's challenging sometimes to post on Instagram because of the size but maybe that's part of the box to break out of too...what if you only showed part of each pic to fit the square? It'll all work out because we are creative and love photography. Looking forward to your combos!

Ok, so, who wants to dip? ;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just take the shot sister….

     Just take the shot.  No…this is  not a basketball speech, nor a hunting adventure! I mean…take the shot sister! Pick up the camera and take it!  I just got back from a week long vacation in Southeast Alaska and it was so refreshing to see that part of the state once more.  The water..the boats…the wildlife!  I took my own advice and picked up my camera from a long awaited time apart…and took the shot! 

   I will post up some of my most quirky and silly photos that I just so happened to catch because I took my own advice! I had my camera on hand for all of the vacation and when the time was right for a perfect shot..I took it! Most importantly…when the time WASN'T right…I took it too! Sometimes, the perfect picture isn't planned! Sometimes the emotion and feeling within a photo comes impromptu! 

..My sweet boy caught a fish and he was so proud! I asked him to "show me your fish" and this was the pose I got! Forget the perfect picture…
I got a fish faced child! 

…so maybe this isn't the "take the shot" kind I had in mind…but this guy was too cute! Grandpa had brought home a big bucket of crab for us to chow down on.  Sadly, this guy was the last to "go"
I had to snap a picture or 25 of him since he was the last to be ripped apart!  He was colorful and full of zest! (then we ripped him apart and boiled him and ate him) 
Take the shot ladies! I took the shot before he was done for! 

Once more ladies…take the shot! 
Previously, grandpa and my little guys were posing for that "perfect picture" with the fish.  I was prepped with the lighting  and bokeh and blah, blah…but the fish wasn't prepped! He wriggled and literally jumped out of grandpa's hands and into my son's face!!!!!  What did this mom do?  I took the shot and kept snapping away! ha! 

     So, in conclusion, what I am saying is… just do it! Like the Nike slogan…just do it. Pick up the camera and keep taking shots.  Don't wait for the perfect moment and the perfect lighting..just go ahead and be fearless with the camera.  Don't be such a perfectionist with the details…the shots will come.  Thankfully, we have the latest technology and we can delete pics! All of them if we need to! So take it! Just take the shots and see what memories you capture!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

post processing

that's not a very fun title is it? But it is a very important part of your photography workflow. No matter what program you use to process your photos it's very unlikely you post any online or print anything out without some type of post processing. Today I'm going to share a little bit about my own personal workflow.
I upload all my photos directly into Lightroom 5, it's the easiest most streamlined way I've found to do RAW conversion and batch processing.  If you get your white balance and exposure correct in camera while you are taking your photo you won't have to do much in Lightroom, but if you mess up (and who doesn't?) then it can save your butt.
Normally I do a quick curves adjustment, maybe boost the clarity, and always double check the histogram.  You want to be sure that you haven't blown out any highlights and that your details in the shadows aren't lost. Blown highlights drive me crazy (we all have our thing, right?).  If there are any little spots in the photo (like the crumbs on the table here in this SOOC image)
I will heal/clone them in LR but if there is anything major I need to change or remove I move on over to Photoshop CC.  It's a seamless move from one to the other and back, yeah Adobe!
Here is a finished image from the same upload, can you tell the difference? In this shot I also changed the red luminance channel to remove the red color cast on her face.
My editing is usually simple, quick and easy.  How do you post process?


Monday, May 5, 2014

Creative or Technical?

I believe there are two types of photographers.  CREATIVE and TECHNICAL.

Creative shooters get a wonderful shot and others ask, "how did you do that?"  They answer by saying, "it looked good through my lens, so I clicked."

Technical shooters get a wonderful shot and others ask. "how did you do that?" They answer by listing all the ISO, white balance, lens talk, and other similar answers.  They can repeat that same shot with different settings at will.  I am always a little jealous of technical shooters.

I am a creative shooter.  I remember starting photography with my very first DSLR and asked someone on Flickr how to improve.

He said....

1. Read the cameras manual.  UGH!

2. Buy a simple 50mm 1.8 lens because it will allow you to shoot in various degrees of light more easily.

3.  Look around at other photographers and develop a top 10 favorite photographers.  It will help you see what you like for the next step.

4.  Set some photography goals.

5. This is not like riding a bike.  You do not always remember these things you have to practice all the time.  If you put it down for a year there will be a lot to re-learn.  Make photography a part of your life.

6. Never leave home without a camera.

So I did the "list"...

1. I read my manual so often it was bowed and worn out. It really helped.  Also, following some blogs will help. One of my new favorite blogs is click it up a notch.  It is a photography blog with all types of photography tips and information. Some basic and some more in depth.  For the most part she makes it appear to all be simple.  I love when people can do that. 

2. The 50mm was life changing.  I now own the 50mm 1.2. It allowed me to finally achieve shots with bokeh and DOF that I had always dreamed of.

3. My list has far exceeded 10 favorite photographers to date and each one has inspired and helped me achieve my photography goals without even knowing it.

I remember when I first started reading an blog post from Tara Whitney about thoughts on technical photography terms and she said," Don't ask.  I am not always sure how I do this I just know it happens."  She said her favorite lens was the Canon 24-70mm 2.8L because it allowed her to shoot in many different spaces and degrees of light.  She also said she always tried to connect with her subject by briefly getting to know each person she was shooting and that allowed her, she believed, to get the great shots.  To this day I still love her photography. 

4. Setting photography goals is a constant process in my life now.  THE BEST ADVICE EVER.  I try to always have a 52 weeks or 365 project in the works, ALWAYS.  It really helps you improve, even if you are just using an iPhone.

5. It is not like riding a bike.  I worked full time for three years and hardly picked up my camera.  My skills suffered.  I am still trying to get some of that back.  I should have listened to that advice.  I won't forget it now.

To this day I am more of a creative shooter and have to work hard on the technical aspect.  For me, if I am shooting and love the shots it really does not matter what my settings were.  I just enjoy seeing the world through my lens. 

So are you technical or creative?

I think the key is to have a little bit of both.  This week I am focusing and seeing the world through my lens but adding a little technique to do so.  Join me.