Thursday, August 26, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photos: Week 9

Al 12 lessons can be viewed here . This tutorial was originally offered through the 2 Peas in a Bucket scrapbooking/photography website. Show them some love here.

Week 9 is Portraits
Well isn't that easy peasy? Technically speaking, my eleventy billion photos of K count as portraits :)

Challenge: Take a Portait
1. Take a portrait of an individual.
2. Take a group portrait if you have the opportunity.
3. Take a portrait in front of a backdrop or colorful wall or a fun outdoor setting.
4. Take a portrait with black & white film or convert your photo to b&w. (In fact, we'd love to see both versions - color and black & white, if you care to share.)

I hit #1 and #3 on a weekly basis. here are some of my faves from the week I completed this challenge:

I love the texture and colour of the bench here. plus it gave me a nice chance to have her look straight up for awesome sky catchlights. even with her crinkled face her eyes are super sharp and blue.

both are SS: 1/250, F/2.5, ISO 200
both were edited in GIMP - most likely just a curves adjustment (pull up the middle, pull down the left) and an unsharp mask.
The 2nd is me trying to work a bit with backlighting.
Normally I would probably try to pull out some of the pink in her face, but it was a hot day and she had been working hard, so I left it. it tells the story of how she felt at the time :)

And for #4, here is the 2nd converted to B&W. I really struggle with conversions. I always think mine look gray and lifeless unless I completely blow out their skin. Which looks unnatural.
This one I don't hate too much (except for that white shadow on the edge her face, but I am nowhere ready to try and tackle that)

next up: Landscapes

Hanging Out for Love That Shot

Thursday's is Love That Shot's Link Up day. They ask that you share your photo plus tips on how you took it, edited it, whatever!

Here is one of my faves from the past week. This is K's newest trick - hanging on the swing, She loves to twist it around and kick her heels up. She loves that she doesn't need anyone to push her. I love that part too because I can just sit back and shoot.

SS: 1/400, Ap: F/2.5, ISO 400, 50mm

This is nearing sunset, with the sun probably dipped behind trees/clouds at this point. I am loving that the sun is setting so much earlier right now. It is usually in that golden hour in the hour before K's bedtime. perfect!
What I like about this was  the composition - she is in a strong rule of thirds position, there is little to no distraction around or behind her. I feel like bench acts as a nice leading line too, even though its part of the bokeh.
It looks a bit cool to me though.

Here is my edit:
I just brightened and increased contrast overall using curves. Then I went into the blue channel and pulled some of the blue out. I wish her pants wouldn't go so neon, but I again, I am so not good at the masking/layers game to know how to brighten the whole photo without this happening. This happens whenever I have pink in a photo. And with a baby girl, that is pretty much everyday. meh.

What shot do you love from this week? Come share them here:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Punk Rock Mama Challenge: Perspective

A brand new weekly challenge. How fun! Thanks to the contest queen, Ashley for pointing this one in my direction.
Punk Rock Mama is kicking off her photo challenge with the theme "perspective". Love this, because basically all I have going for me is my unique perspective and basic composition skills. I feel like of all the technicalities of photography, composition comes the most easily. WB, colour, sharpness, light and clarity, well I struggle with those a lot.

Cars are a fun one, because its all about using angles and perspective to your advantage to accentuate the lines of the car

here are some from a recent "show and shine":

SS: 1/160, F/5.6, ISO N/A (must have been below 200)

SS: 1/800, F5.6, ISO: 200

I also really love it for finding unique details, like these:
SS: 1/200, F/5.6, ISO: 200
converted to B&W and edited slightly in GIMP

SS: 1/4000, F/2.2, ISO: 200

I actually went back to one of the first photos I took when I ventured off the auto settings and into A/V mode. I still love it (though I will admit I re-edited it today!)
This is what I would like to enter in PRM's photo challenge:

SS: 1/20, Ap F/5.3, ISO 400
cropped, edited curves slightly and ran an USM in GIMP

for more unique perspectives, check it:

Simplicity Challenge: Birthday

It's Faith's birthday this week, over at Simplicity. In honour of that, she is hosting birthday themed photos this week.
I shared another one from this series last week for Trendy Treehouse's Favourite Things challenge. Here is a slightly different perspective for you today:

SS 1/500, Ap f/2.8, ISO 400, 50mm
edited curves slightly in GIMP

Happy Birthday Faith!
For more birthday treats, visit:

Wordless Wednesday

Aaah, the smell of summer

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Raw(e): Pink

When Sami gave the heads up for this week's Raw(e) challenge, I immediately knew I wanted to submit this photo, which was taken two weekends ago at a family picnic. Until I saw her actual entry post, and her photo is basically the same as mine! But in the end, I kept coming back to it. I like how pink is truly the main focus here. I swear I am not brown nosing the teacher :)
So without further ado, some frilly pink ruffle butt!
SS: 1/200, Ap: f/2.8, ISO: 800

For more pink in your life, visit:

12 Weeks to Better Photos Week 8: On the Go

looking through my older posts, I realized I am a bit behind in blogging my 12 Weeks tutorial challenges.

Al 12 lessons can be viewed here . This tutorial was originally offered through the 2 Peas in a Bucket scrapbooking/photography website. Show them some love here.

Week 8 is On the Go
Everything to do with manipulating your shutter speed!

Challenge: Capturing Action
1. Use a fast shutter speed outdoors to photograph your moving subject
2. Experiment with panning
3. Embrace a little blur indoors
3. Take action - practice your skills at a sporting event
4. Take a portrait of your pet-in-motion

This was my photo from that week. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the blur of this moving model train:
SS: 1/5, Ap: f/14, ISO: 400

I love this affect! There is so much you can do when you understand how to freeze or blur motion. I have had some more fun since playing with motion blur/panning:
This was K's first train ride at a local fair. That is her in the middle of the photo with a pink shirt on.
SS: 1/10, Ap: f/22, ISO: N/A (I never understand why sometimes it does this. maybe its when I stop below 200?)

giving panning a try. You stop down your SS and then attempt to "move" with your moving target so the background shows motion and your subject is still in focus. This is SOOC.
SS: 1/20, Ap: f/10 ISO: N/A

Editing Then and Now, Plus Flower Challenge

I was scouring some photos for the most recent Paper Mama Challenge and decided to try my hand at re-editing a photo I took in March. I liked the results and so thought I would share with you dear friends.
I have always stuck to the analogy that in photo editing, less is more, and the best thing to do is get the greatest shot as possible SOOC (straight out of the camera). Photoshop is a beautiful thing, but its also a lot of responsibility. When we first get our hands on it, we tend to go overboard - heavy vignettes, over saturation, oompa loompa babies. the works! As time passes, we train our eyes, and our editing style will change (we all hope!).
So as an example, here is a photo I took in March, my original edit back then, and my new edit now

SS: 1/125, Ap: f/2.8, ISO 200, 50mm
Now I blew the highlights in this, big time. The flower is practically 3D, the reds are so clipped. Notice the hotspots on her hands and pants. Its also really cool.

Back in March, this is all I did:
basically I cropped and probably brightened the midtones a bit (which it totally doesn't need)

And this is the edit I just did:
 I was able to tone down the highlights, and play more with the individual colour channels (red, green, blue) to get the ground and her skin to a more natural colour, plus tone down the flower some. It is still clipped, and ideally I would like to recover it even more, but my masking/layering skillz are so not ready for that.

Back in March, you can see what two editing gurus were able to do with a few other shots from this same session here. I am not there yet, but I feel like I am getting closer. Baby steps, baby steps.

Hope that was helpful for some. With all that said, I am also entering the last photo in Paper Mama's current challenge, which is Flower. Check it out here for other "sweet" shots:
The Paper Mama

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Heart Faces: Beach

What to do with 2 eight month olds who wake up at 5:30am on your last day of vacation? Why, take photos of course!


drink in the last of these summer days and peruse fabulous beach entries by visiting:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In a Yellow House: Arts N Crafts

In a Yellow House's photo challenge this week - currently hosted by the incomparable Ashley of Ramblings and Photos - is "arts and crafts". Perfect because I caught this last month and love sharing it.

This is what happens when K is let loose with a box of markers, and then left to her own devices. Moms, if they are quiet, its never a good sign!

For more fabulous entries, visit:

Raw(e): Green

Well I am just getting right into the swing, aren't I? :)

Sailor and Co's weekly Raw(e) challenge theme this week is: Green

I took this when trying to get more comfortable with silhouettes. Since I totally blew the grass, I thought the affect was kinda neat for this theme.

For more green items, check out:

I am also editing this post to add this photo to the Wishful Lamb photo challenge, which is shadow:

Paper Mama: Orange and Thanks

The Paper Mama Challenge this week is Orange. Here is K in her lovely new orange dress:

ironically, pushing a stroller, just like last time. Though this time it is holding Penelope the Panda. Chelsey at Paper Mama is going to think that is all she ever does.

For more orange-liciousness (yes that can be a word), check out:
The Paper Mama

Secondly, I am super stoked to announce that last month, when I asked you all to vote on my "favourite toy" photo, boy did you deliver. I won the vote-off! Thank you all so much for helping me out. In addition to some fabu note-cards designed by Ms. Chelsey, I get to display this wonderful button:
The Paper Mama
thanks again Chelsey. I love playing along with you and Ruari :)

Trendy Treehouse: Favourite Things

I have been a terrible blogger! We went on vacation the first week of August and that meant I actually took photos, which meant I had to actually edit some! plus with limited internet, I fell off the wagon. My sincere apologies, faithful reader (aka Mom).

This week at TT the theme is "favourite things". Looking back through my recent photos, I was pleased to discover this one. It has so many of my favourite things: my husband, my daughter, my niece, cake, and even a bottle of wine! (yeah, technically I should have been cognizant of my foreground and cleared the space around the cake, but it works for this!)
Mostly my favourite thing is gathering with family to laugh and talk and eat. And this photo captures that for me. What a magical night we had. Now I want to break into some song, Sound of Music style.

To see more favourite things, visit: