Monday, March 30, 2009

Just for practice 150/365

This one's just for practice. Khalila didn't really wanna pose but she pulled out this cool costume and I have some red netting so why not? She's always so helpful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Here's the trick & 149/365 (bottom)

In February 2008 I made it my goal learn photoshop elements so that I can work on my own pictures. I struggled to do very basic adjustments on Photoshop Elements but I knew I needed to learn, and so my journey began. I've read, practiced and practiced some more. I've read just about every tutorial I can find on line and picked up numerous books at the library.
I have a far way to go yet, but I must say that I went from totally hating this program to absolutely loving it.
So I've decided that anytime someone wants to know how I did something I would take the time to show them. Here is my first request. Thanks Tess.

Here is the original picture. There's nothing spectacular about this image except this: My Viking man, who is a mega talented photographer (his style is a bit on the dark side see here: Shuttertonin)
has been challenging me to learn the "camera numbers" without looking at the camera meter. For example, he'd say, "look at that bridge, what do you think the setting would be? Don't look at the meter" I'd spit out a number like, F4.5 at SS500" He'd say "I think that's gonna be to dark/light but try it"
THAT'S CORRECT my friends, Viking man doesn't need the camera meter. He can look at a scene and decide what kind of "feel" he wants and take the picture. Portraits are not his "thing."
O.K. so I got a bit distracted. Here is the bridge on that sunny afternoon.


My software is Photoshop Elements 7, but I've heard that you can do bigger and better things in full versions of Photoshop.
I opened filter>Render>Lighting effects>

Light type chose omni.
At this point you can move your circle of light by putting your arrow in the center of the circle and drag it where you want it to be.
Just so you can see what it looks like so far.
The default color is white but you can click on the first white box to change the color. I've chosen a very light blue.
Move the intensity slider around until you have the look you want. Mine was set at intensity 45.
Under properties I've selected a black box, Ambient light of 29.
There is a preview box that allows you to see what changes are going on in the image. Just play and have fun.
Click o.k.
Now to make it appear more "believable" I went back to Filter>Render>lighting effects>
I changed the light type to Spotlight> pick a color close to the one you selected the first time. Again I chose a very light blue. Use your arrow to move the direction of the light. Intensity I chose 71, Ambience 14.
I decided to use the shadows created by the sunlight in my favor this time.

This is my first tutorial if you have any suggestions/question feel free to drop me a line. If you decide to try this technique link up so that I can see it.

My Picture of the day:

My neighbors Cherry Blossom Tree. I love that thing. I take pictures of it year round. I thought it was interesting today as the tree struggles to prepare to bud there is snow and ice on it's branches. Yes, it snowed today.

It's a trick . . .148/365

It's a trick, can you see it?

Ever have one of those super busy days, where you run and do, and do some more and at the end of the night you're still folding laundry? That's my day today. Feeling like a "Human doing" and not a human being. I plan on putting most of my adult responsibilities aside for a little while tomorrow and just "be."

The picture? It's taken in full sun. See where the shadows are? I was just trying to make it a moon lit image.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yes it is definately Spring . . .147/365

I was out in the yard yesterday and these were not open. Today when I walking home from work I see these yellow splashes of color in the yard and "Hello Spring" there it is. Yes we are expecting some snow and cold weather, but this tells me that if the snow does come, it won't stay long.

What do you do with a picture that the exposure is off? If it's not a human face you Topaz Adjust it! LOL

Picking flowers . . .146/365

I HAD crocuses in my yard :} Isabella took care of them for me. They are sitting in water inside right now.

Her mommy is out of town doing her army duty. She's been gone for a week and Miss Isabella misses a lot.
I picked her up today and she hung out with us. We ate dinner, colored, tried to ride her bike, walked, played in the leaves and she picked flowers. Then she had a nice long bubble bath, snack and a movie. By the time I got her in her car seat and taking her home she was knocked out. I was able to get her out of her car seat in her house, take of her coat and hat and she didn't even wake up. LOL She says "HI MOMMY" She misses you but she's doing really good.

Oh yeah I was trying the "flash fill" technique but I don't think it worked very well. It was lit nicely outside but I thought I try this. Not sure it was the look I was going for - especially those flash catchlights!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nope it's note late . . . .145/365

Well maybe just a little bit late posting - that's because my computer was acting up last night.
Here is one from last nights baby photo shoot. Baby C is one month old, he had a rough start in this world but is doing fantastic now. He's up to 10 pounds! Look at those eyes! Let me tell you . . .he refused to sleep! LOL He held his head up, pushed up (in this pose - we had to make sure we were hold him because he'd almost jump off of the bean bag!)

And here's another digi layout. Still just learning. If anyone wants to send tips my way I'd appreciate it. I'd like to take credit for the layout but it's another Jessica Sprague sketch.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't ever give up . . .

You are a warrior, a soldier, a fighter, a survivor. No matter how many moves, no matter how many wars, no matter how many scars. You are a Viking. You are strong.
Keep fighting the good fight. Hold your head up, fist in fighting stance. Keep your eye on the goal and never, ever let them see you sweat.

Bone warrior statue. Black felt backdrop with flash light directly on backdrop and ambient light. Camera on tri-pod 50 mm lens. Just playing with light.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I like to keep my word (E) 143/365

Both E's - you know who you are. I felt bad because I agreed to join a couple of friends (two to be exact) on a lighting/strobist learning adventure. Our first assignment was due yesterday. I notified the parties that I needed another week. Well, E completed the assignment and I did not. So I printed out the material and read it today on lunch break. Came home and twisted Khalila's arm to let me take her picture. Here is my assignment. Sorry it's late.

Softbox to camera right, high above at 45 degrees, reflector under models face and light directly facing backdrop. Nikon D300, 50mm 1:1.4, Manual mode F8, SS125

Here are the sites if anyone wants to join us we'd love to have more people join us so that we can critique each other. Strobitst Bootcamp and Lighting Now obviously we are not doing the assignments with the Strobist group because that was created in 2006 2007.

On a different note:
Oh, I'm just in love with this photographers work and his sense of humor. You need to be encouraged about your work as a photographer, or how about be encouraged about life in general? Here you have it:
Transform: A short film for (sorry film is not closed caption but there is a lot of reading material) Oh, and don't forget to look at the new stuff on his site.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nice Lazy Sunday 142/365

Tess has inspired me to FINALLY learn digital scrapbooking. I have paper scrapbooked for years and since I decided to get serious about photography I have very little time left for this hobby that I love. So I picked up some tips from Jessica Sprague and I bought a template for $3.99. Pretty inexpensive.

Here is another fantastic site I've been visiting lately. Living Locurto (here) You'll find tons of "FREE" stuff there. Free fits my budget right about now.

Speaking of Free - here's a link for some beautiful FREE scrapbooking kits! Shabby Chic

And the final product:

I've had fun creating this one. I think I will cheat with the digi scrapbooking until I can get the hang of it. It no way gave me the challenge or the satisfaction that cutting, ripping, inking, stamping, gluing . . . you get the idea, does but I think I'll be able to catch up on Isabella's books pretty quickly.

And for the picture of the day (I've been pretty long winded today)

It's a swap area a few minutes from home.

On a bright, sunny afternoon 141/365

On a bright sunny afternoon, Dave and I went to a Polish Sanctuary/shrine here in town. It's a place of meditation, introspection and prayer. It's basically a Catholic location but I think anyone that wants to walk/wonder and meditate is welcomed to do so. I'll fill in the details later on another post since I'm running late today.

Photoshop is an amazing tool. In the SOOC image my sky was so bright it was blown out. Here is what I was able to do in photoshop elements

Did I tell you I had my guardian angel with me? Here's the proof:

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Portrait without a person 140/365

The challenge to myself is to take a portrait without a person. That means pictures of "stuff" that represent someone in your life.
This is just a rough play. I'll have to try again some other time. I don't think I accomplished the goal this time.
David was a Commander at the Gary Police Department from 2007 - 2008. Last time he wore this formal uniform was to one of his guys funeral (notice the jacket badge still has the black band of mourning across it). Minus the "mourning" part of it, this is a very elegant uniform.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who says you can't buy camera love? 139/365

About a month ago I was taking a picture of one of the dogs and Isabella thought I was taking a picture of her - so she starts covering her face and saying "no Nani" I said, "No, Isabella, Not you, the dog." Well from then on every time I picked up the camera she'd say "No, Not You!" and she'd run away. Well, today I had some Jelly-Belly's and she wanted some :) I told her I'd give her one if she would look at the camera. Done deal. Needless to day she "earned" about 6 of those jelly beans hehe. I'd better go stock up on those.

I also want to share an awesome portrait of my mother-in-law. What do you think of the border on this portrait? Is the portrait too formal for the border? I bought some of these from "Design by Jenn"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Wednesday, . 138/365

The middle of the week, hump day. It's always hard for me on Wednesdays. I'm more tired than usual. So here's a quick snapshot or two. My daughter would not let me take her portrait today - it's an assignment I have and no one else is around either. So I give you her guitar pick and capo. She had put the guitar down for a couple of months but picked it up again this weekend. She was practicing and telling Twix that she was getting to close to her guitar and she wouldn't be able to practice. Twix liked her music so much she decided to lay on her lap and nap. LOL
Twix is too cute.

Irish Blessings 137/365

Hope you had a Happy St. Patricks Day
Dave participated in a fund raiser in support of children with cancer. He grew his hair for a couple of months and raised money so that it could be shaved today. St. Baldrick's.
"the mission of St. Baldrick's Foundation is to raise awareness and funds to cure kids' cancer by supporting cancer research and fellowhsips."

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

We are missing some family members but this was the crew today. I know the selective coloring is cheesy but I wanted to try it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Red Tailed Hawk Egg . . .135/365

I started cleaning the yard yesterday and I found this . .

Just to show size comparison I took the second image.

a Red Tailed Hawk Egg (or what's left of the egg). This family of Hawks has been nesting in our yard without incident for years. Apparently the family continues to grow and spread around the neighborhood. We were once told that they were an federally protected species but I could not find that on an Internet search.

Last year they swooped down, several times, towards our petite pets. This eggs is just a reminder that we better not let the dogs out by themselves this year.

Pictures taken with my 50mm Nikon D300 with the natural sun light that I LOVE so much.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The snow has finally melted 134/365

It took 8 clicks to get the image I wanted and here it is. It's underneath a huge flower pot in the park and as the ice has melted it was dripping.
It's been a wonder two days here - 50 & 55 degree temps and sunny!
Yes Spring!!!

I read a book today called "How to Photograph Your Life, capturing everyday moments with your camera and your Heart" by Nick Kelsh

It's a very basic photography book, for beginners and Hobiest's. I highly recommend it for anyone learning. Some chapters were refreshers a few were nice challenges. Like these two pictures here.

"Appreciate the effect light is having on your feelings now and how it will affect what - and when - you photograph in the future. Now apply a similar experiment to photographing a house. Take one picture at noon and another at that moment in the evening when the interior lights on the house and the background sky are balanced.

It's the difference between a real estate ad and a photograph of a warm, inviting home." pg78
Camera on tri-pod first image taken at 5p.m. last image taken at 7:30p.m.
I took pictures every 30 minutes.

This is the side of our home. The grapevines,the glass structure on the viewers left is a green house, the large window is our dinning room, directly under that is our basement/laundry room, the stairs take you to my studio. I tied the curtains open today to let the sun shine in. You can almost see the kitchen in the night picture.

There are two other challenges I will be trying in the near future.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cast Iron Skillets 133/365

Not the greatest picture but I'm in a hurry!

Dave loves to cook and for the past couple of years he's been picking up cast iron skillets. He now uses them almost exclusively.
He's made everything in them from breakfast to dinner, desserts to stews. He has several sizes and shapes. He loves those things.
He has learned just about everything there is to learn about them.
He loves stuffed green peppers but knows I don't eat ground beef so he made up this recepe. Uses chicken, rice and cream of celery soup. They turned out delicious.

I wasn't happy with the picture so I added several layers of texture - LOL

Friday, March 13, 2009

The four seasons in one day . . . 132/365

It's been a long, hard, bitterly cold winter. Yesterday we had snow flurries. I put my gloves and hats away a few weeks ago - I don't know what I was thinking!
This afternoon the sun was shinning so I ventured out to the back yard. I'm assessing the winter damage. Here's the pool of "water" that will hopefully continue being our fountain.

Mr. Tomatoe head is happy because even though the ground is still frozen in areas our "Chives" survived the brutal winter. There they are almost 3 inches tall ready to be harvested already.

and the daffodils have multiplied plenty. They are growing all over the fence line and the flower beds.

This picture represents fall - I saw the pine cone and thought it might look awesome in black and white.

and, we will just call this one summer. I found it in the flower bed. Who knows I probably had a starter or a flower there last summer.

See what a little sun can do for me?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"The Moment it clicks" 131/365

Don't you just love it when you get a gift you really want? My DD bought me this book. I've just started to read it but I think I'm really gonna like it.

It's loaded with tips, how to's, ideas and inspiration.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy Hands 130/365

Isabella busy at work

Strawberry dipped in chocolate 129/365

Our supervisor surprised us today with a couple of these - just because, or maybe it was because we've been working our tails off - whatever the reason, it was really a nice treat.

Window light only set on scrapbooking paper.

I just wanted to share a little something my daughter Khalila did.

She took some pictures of me on Friday and today she processed them. She is such an amazing photographer and Elements comes so easily to her!
I have studied and practiced photography non-stop for 2 years - this comes so naturally to her. If she decided to make it a career she would just be amazing - but I guess it's just not her "thing."
I love her work. Here's a sample.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Light 128/365

Well I played with light today and decided that I like the shadow better than the actual subject. So today it's a bit playful.
My lighting was a flash light with a snoot made of paper.

The Binky - 127/365

Lets face it guys - we take pictures every single day - not all of them are going to be worthy of uuu's and ahhhhs.

The whole idea of taking this picture was to document in Isabella's album, her struggle to give up her "binky." She gave up the bottle at 1 but now struggles to give up her binky. She's 2 years old and has compromised. She gets the binky to go to sleep and when riding in the car seat only. If the negotiation is with her mom, she might get it more often - LOL.

However, when I took this shot (the first one) it had dark shadows on her left side. We were riding in the car and I think, "I need a reflector" so I used an 8.5X11 piece of white paper just to see how it worked. It worked!

Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just converted to b/w from 126/365

Just playing with the conversion on an earlier post. Did I mention that I love these folks? Yeap, they are some of my favorite people in the world.

Portraits of my In-Laws 126/365

I didn't take it today but I edited today so it counts! LOL
My in-laws are so cool! Sorry guys but I have the best-in-laws in the world!!!
They are such a fun couple - they're getting ready to celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dad & Mom 125/365

I've been wanting to do natural lighting on both sets of parents but they were over today in the evening time so studio lighting it is. My dads health has continued to decline in the last two years. He is currently having issues with his eyes.

What do you think? Does the conversion work?

Mom NEVER EVER EVER likes her pictures taken. She gave up without a fight this time. I guess she figures I'm gonna take it one way or the other - she might as well cooperate because the "other" isn't very pretty - LOL

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Flowers from mom 124/365

The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
Albert Einstein

The first one is so you can forgive my transgressions of blurry flowers - LOL
The other 2 images are "water color painted" in photoshot. Gotta love my backdrop!
It's scrapbooking paper.


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