Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lightroom 3 Obsessed!

The snow and ice are gone, so the mail finally came and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 arrived! I've been spending every free minute all week (yes, about 3-5 hours a day EEEEK) playing, learning, obsessing, Googling, trial-and-error-ing! I've finally completed 1, yes that's ONE, photo, complete with a copyright watermark!

I've decided that editing is a highly personal thing to a photographer. I have a group of friends who all are amazing at both photography and their editing. I've noticed that not only do their photography styles vary, but the end result of their editing these different styles varies greatly as well! One likes things slightly brighter than real-life. One would rather have soft, dream-like quality. Another has crisp, natural color with no frills. And yet another is partial to black and white images, yet they are so radiant it's as if they are brightly colored.

As for me, I haven't quite figured out exactly what my photography style OR my editing  preference is yet, but I do know I'm having the time of my life figuring it out. Until I do, please enjoy my very first attempt at a finished edit. Please don't mind the messy background, I only paid attention to the protrait/face of my beautiful 8 year old niece, "Monkey." Also keep in mind, if you will, that I have no mouse and worked on this entirely on a laptop with a touchpad. I need to go shopping :)

Lovely, chocolate mouthed, Monkey

Glowing, bright-eyed, Monkey

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ice Storm, Beautiful and Surreal!

After the snow fell the other day, we ended up with a strange phenomenon called "freezing rain." Freezing rain and an ice storm are something that we don't get often in the PNW. It occurs when there is a cold layer of air and a snowflake falls, then passes through a warmer layer and turns to rain, the passes back into the bottom cold layer and freezes upon contact with anything it touches. Since we had about 7" of snow, this put a nice hard layer of ice about 1/4" on top of the snow. Our entire back yard looked like the top of a frozen lake!

This morning I went out to photograph some of the same things I caught covered in snow, to see what they looked like in a layer of ice. While I was out I saw my neighbors trying to cut some branches away from their house, the entire half of one of their trees cracked in half and fell. As I watched, the willowy bending treese behind their house were snapping, popping, cracking and falling to the ground as well.

Every time I take the dogs out (because they will not go out on their own right now without force, too cold!) all I can hear is sirens, what sounds like gunshots as trees crack, and I even heard what I'm sure was a car accident. The huge trees in the forest behind our house are popping and crackling as branches and limbs break off, every time the wind blows!

And, just before I sat to write this post, a huge limb cracked off one of our big trees out back.

It's scary, but also beautiful and surreal.

Every needle has a bulb of ice on it!

Every branch is coated in melted glass.

Each leaf is thick with a layer of ice.

The ice layer on top of the snow, at least 1/4" thick!

Icicles are everywhere!

It is currently snowing again, topping off and disguising the ice.

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Snow of the Season!

It finally snowed for the first time this season in Seattle! We've been waiting a long time for this one. A layer of fresh white snow makes everything seem magical. Everything looks cozy, soft, and clean! I was surprised to find signs of life in my yard, especially the Peach tree which I thought was dormant already. I was very excited to take my Rebel out and see what I could find. My good friend Morgan gave me some tips on taking pictures in snow, but while I was out I was too cold and excited to remember anything so I just did what felt right. My focus was off in a few shots, but I still like how they turned out for the most part.
Miniature droplets of melted snow

Just hangin' in there!

I love how the snow just piles up wherever.

The Peach tree, not dormant!

Blackberry vine

The wood pile

Just looking out

Carl went out to sniff for a minute, he was NOT impressed.

Later in the day it piled even higher!

Love the colors against the crisp white snow.

Peach & Pine

Warm & Cold

Made for this!

Love how the snow settles in wherever it can to become art!

Tropical snow

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Class + Lightroom + Seattle = 3 Fun Things!

This week I had 3 fun photography related things happen. I was able to schedule my DSLR Intro Class with the Chimpsy Groupon that I bought. Sadly I wasn't able to get into a class until February 11. So, a lot more learning and playing independently on my own until then I guess! I can't wait, altho I should be pretty comfortable with the basics of my camera by then.

The next fun thing that happened is I was able to get Lightroom 3! I've never had an editing program for any pictures before so I'm really excited to learn that, and see what I can do with it. Who knows where my head will be at once I've mastered learning Lightroom. For now I'll say I'm expecting that the main things I plan to do with it are fix facial blemishes, whiten teeth, and also to remove things from backgrounds like telephone poles growing out of heads and things like that. Hopefully I'll learn how to use it enough to keep my portraits looking real, but better.

Finally a really fun thing, the Hubs and I went into downtown Seattle to Pike Place Market so I could get comfortable taking photos of things in public, with people other than family watching me. You wouldn't believe how nerve wracking that simple sounding task is to me. My next goal is to gather up the nerve to approach strangers who intrigue me, and ask if they mind if I take their portrait. I was thinking of maybe making up some free Vistaprint cards with this blog address to hand them, so that they can come here to see their picture if they'd like. But, first, creating a watermark with my name and using that via Lightroom for my photos is probably something I should do first.

I had a lot of fun taking shots and playing with settings. Building on my last post, because I'm not a fan of on camera flash, I've been trying to learn how to apply proper ISO and aperture settings to avoid using my flash. It's really hard to do this in the perpetual dusk of Winter in Seattle! But, trying is really entertaining.

I'm also browsing photography meetup groups in my area. Hopefully I'll find one that's a good fit, I'd love to make some new friends that are interested in photography too!

Here are some photos from my Seattle outing!

I love things in rows, even fish!

I just love the color and lights in this one.

I'm generally not a shellfish fan, but these are so pretty!

Rachel, the Pig

Pine Street Cobblestones

Post Alley at Dusk

The Hubs, with lovely bokeh lighting!

Tulips, in January!

I love how the rows of lights highlight the depth of the Market.

Fuzzy Kiwi

I really like how the lighting on the fruit makes it look even more delicious!

Even brussels sprouts look tempting in this shot!

The Hubs and The Market sign, with pretty light bokeh too :)

Finally, I really love the angle here, but it's not at all in focus. Something to shoot for!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Rain, rain, go away!

The older I've gotten, the less I care about the yucky weather we have 75% of the time in Seattle. What I mean is, it doesn't bother me as much. I'm in work all day, and even running around after the kids and doing errands after work and on weekends it's not a big deal if its raining. It's not like I'll melt!

But this last month, it's driving me bat-shizzle-crazy! I wan't to go out and take pictures but the wet and the dark and dreary color are not conducive to the style of pictures I want to take. I need pretty, natural light to make my ideas come to life!

Well... Spring is just around the corner, I suppose?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Burn baby burn

"What?! You just got your first DSLR camera a month ago and you've already started a blog about it?"

YES. Because what  better way to show off my excitement, my learning curve, my passion? I want to be able to look back someday, in the hopefully not to far away future, and be amazed at what I've learned!

I took stacks of photos on a "borrowed" Polaroid as a child, then got my very own old 110 film camera, next a slew of 35mm film cameras came and went, I got my first digital point & shoot Casio Exilm only about 5 years ago, the beautiful, stunning Nikon S8000 I swooned over last year, and even my amazing iPhone 4... Finally (it seems like FOR-EV-ER) the wonderful, fabulous, Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D of my dreams that my amazing husband Doug (from here on I will refer to him as the Hubs) surprised me with the week before Christmas, 2011.

As long as I've ever been able to take pictures, I have loved what photography is. Until very recently, I didn't understand what learning the process of photography would do to me! Like a handful of my close friends, I became obsessed with photography while planning my wedding. While doing so much research on the subject and trying to narrow down the perfect vendor, it really sunk in how much I wanted to love the end result. I realized that looking at amazing pictures of my loved ones and myself was such a special treasure. That was the spark.

The fire kindled itself as my close group of friends also fell into the excitement of their new hobby. Sadly the timing was never right for me to make that big leap and purchase my very own DSLR, and I had to keep dreaming as I watched them making their dreams come true!

Over the last few years, I've paid attention. I've followed along as they learned and studied and built their businesses. Their ups, downs, and valleys in between, I feel like I've already been there and done it all! But it wasn't until the Hubs finally made the decision to invest in my dream that I was able to start stoking that fire for myself! The last 3 weeks I've been thinking he has really created a monster!

In the last month, my new Rebel has seen close to 2000 clicks already. I researched and sought out the perfect day bag to make sure I can tote my camera everywhere with me! I bought a great textbook style Digital Photography Camera Guide by David Busch, and even grabbed a DVD to teach me the basic controls. There was also a fantastically timely Groupon for a 2 hour Chimpsy DSLR Intro class that I snapped up, I can't wait to redeem that!

The fire is raging at bonfire status right about now! But I'm not looking for a fire hydrant. I'd rather let it burn!