Monday, February 28, 2011



With all the chaos in the world today, I need a bit of sunshine.  These Marigolds provide that.  I know, they look a little sad because I bought them last week and haven't planted them yet.  I made the classic mistake of buying them before I had my flower bed ready for them.  How could I resist, though?  My 3 year old saw them at the store and said, "Mom, can we get these Marigolds?"  And I said, "How do you know those are Marigolds?"  "Because they're yellow," he said.  Duh, mom (with eyes rolling) is what he was really saying.  Then smarty pants mom had to go check the label to prove that my 3 year old was not correct.  Ok, Mommy is not as smart as she thinks she is and I'm pretty sure my two boys are going to be way smarter than I am by the time they are 10.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 400, f/4, 1/40, White Balance set to Shade

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What a Fetching Guy!


I think he's quite handsome.  And he likes to play fetch too:)  This is our go to game when he's bored and about to drive me crazy with all his Weimaraner energy.  Oh and he's a nerd too.  Ok, maybe not a nerd but actually a NRD which stands for Novice Retrieving Dog.  He earned that title this past fall at a ratings test. But of course my husband has to give me a hard time and tell me that he's not even a real retrieving dog, just a novice one.  Oh well, we'll try again to get that real retrieving dog title at the next test.  In the mean time, we'll keep playing with fake birds in the backyard.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/250, changed to black & white in editing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011



Oscar:  world's best mouser, able to intimidate a rambunctious hunting dog with a mere glare, friendliest cat ever, all around great guy.  We got Oscar a few months after we moved to Texas.  It was after about the 3rd mouse I found in my house that I packed up the kids and went directly to the city animal shelter.  Never mind the fact that my husband is allergic to cats.  I was not about to live with mice.

So we walked into the cat room at the shelter and Oscar caught my eye. I met him, held him and loved on him for a bit.  Then I put him back in his kennel so I could look at the cat below him.  But Oscar was having none of that.  He reached through the bars of his cage and grabbed my hair and wouldn't stop doing that until I stopped looking at the other cats.  Done.  Oscar was ours.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/100, White Balance set to Shade, Preset applied called Monster Punch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear Mr. Flu,


Why won't you leave me alone?  The only bright side I see to this is that it's a good reason to order pizza since there's no way I can cook tonight.  The down side is that I'm too sick to want to eat more than one piece.  Who eats just one piece?  That's just not normal.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 400, f/2.2, 1/50

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The 5 year old takes over the kitchen


I've been completely wiped out today by some nasty bug.  So tonight, my wonderful 5 year old son is my hero.  He volunteered to make me dinner.  He made me soup.  Ok, it was out of a can but he's 5.  He opened the can himself, poured it into a bowl, and put it in the microwave.  And somehow at dinner when he was bragging about how he made dinner for us, it turned into that he actually went to the grocery store himself and bought the food.  Typical man, always exaggerating.

Well, he did make dinner rolls too.  They were from the freezer but he did a great job placing them on the baking sheet and buttering the tops of them.  AND, he set the table and got us all drinks.  Ok all you 5 year old ladies out there, I'm grooming a fabulous husband for one of you.  You can thank me when he's 30 and I finally let him start dating.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 400, f/2.5, 1/60, Flash used, White Balance set to Flash

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Goofing Around


One of the best things about being a mom is getting to goof around with your kids.  And I try to take full advantage of that!  I love this picture because I have one just like it of me when I was Tug's age.  It's hanging on my fridge right now thanks to my wonderful Titi Esther (that's an aunt for those of you who don't know).  She kept the print for all these years and then had it copied and gave it to my kids so they could see how silly their mom looked when she was little.  All I have to say is, thank goodness for digital pictures!  I wouldn't have even 1/4 of the pictures I have now if I had to do it all on film.  But I am grateful for people like my aunt who keep all the old film pictures and share them with us down the road.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/3.2, 1/400, White Balance set to Shade.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Another One of the Dog!


That's what my mom is saying right now!  She says she's tired of seeing the dog.  But if it were up to her, there'd be nothing but pictures of my kids on this blog.  I tried to tell her that my Weimaraner loving audience demands pictures of the dog so I have to give my audience what they want.  Audience, ha ha, all 8 of you that are gracious enough to read my blog and look at my pictures:)

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400, Focal Length 80mm, f/7.1, 1/3.  This was another shot where I set the camera on the ground to stabilize it and take the picture.  And besides I like that perspective when it comes to Milo pictures.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Working on my Food Pictures


I'm a pretty good cook, I'm a great eater, but I'm a terrible food photographer!  It drives me nuts!  I'm always trying to take pictures of my food and they just never turn out the way I want.  For one thing, I have terrible lighting in my kitchen. Oh Dear Husband, can you please, please, please install the pendant lights I want over my island?  It would make my life so much easier.  I'd happily take my food outside to photograph it but the West Texas wind isn't too nice to food.  If there is a food photography expert out there reading my blog, would you please give me some tips?  I would be forever grateful.

Technical Notes: Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/60, pop up flash used, White Balance set to Flash.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Back to the Zoo and the Worst Picture Ever!


We were back at the zoo again because my kids had yet another activity to attend there.  They LOVE going into the snake house and would spend all day in there if I let them.  This is my favorite snake they have at our zoo.  He's a Green Mamba and his color is spectacular.  Unfortunately I had to take the picture through the glass, with a flash, so I don't think he looks as striking here as he is in person.

Technical Data:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 800, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/60, White Balance set to Fluorescent. To keep the flash from bouncing off the glass, I held a white piece of paper up in front of the flash which allowed for adequate lighting but eliminated the glare.  In editing I punched up the colors and used noise reduction.


And this is just the worst picture ever of Milo!  He's got white paint on his nose thanks to the kids, his lip is stuck in his teeth, and he looks really surprised to have the camera in his face again!  So because it was such a bad picture of him, it earned a spot on my blog:)  And because I've been busy the last 2 days and haven't taken any better pictures!

Techincal Data:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 80mm, f/7.1, 1/200, White Balance set to Shade.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today's Project


I love a good project and I'm always starting new ones.  I always have huge plans about what I'm going to do.  But I'm only good at getting them 90% done.  The last 10% will remain unfinished for years.  Today's project was to sand and paint this little fence that you see in the background.  I'm working on an outdoor photography studio for my portrait work that I started last summer.  Except clearly I didn't get it finished last summer!  Do you see that cute raised flower bed in the background on the right?  I made that last summer along with another one that you can't see.  Except there's only flowers planted in the one you see.  The other one still needs dirt and plants.  So my goal for the next few weeks is to actually finish this space in my yard so I can actually use it to take portraits in.  Stay tuned and if you don't see a portrait from me taken in that space within the next few weeks, someone yell at me, will ya?

Technical Notes (for the first picture):  Nikon D70 (as always), Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G (seems to always be on my camera lately), ISO 200, Focal Length 60mm, f/6.3, 1/320, no editing.

And just as a bonus, here's a picture of my kids after helping me paint the fence....which isn't finished by the way, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's That Time Again


Little League time!  This is one of my favorite times of the year and I literally could not wait for the day when my kids were old enough to play.  We had sign ups a few nights ago and today the kids wanted to get out and practice.  It brings back great childhood memories for me since I grew up playing ball in the yard with my brother (which included getting hit in the face with a speeding baseball more than once!) and also played on a team.  This year I signed up to coach my kids' team so hopefully I'll get to do that.  Although I'm kind of torn because if I coach, then I can't take pictures.

Techincal Data:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 56mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, cropped in editing and preset applied called "Driftwood."  I really like this preset and have used it on several pictures lately.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Love Post...a Bit Late


Aren't those stamen fascinating?  Ha!  Have you heard that word since your elementary school science class?  Ok, maybe since junior high science.  I was actually amazed that I remembered what those little black puffs of photographic goodness were called.  I did have to google it though just to make sure I was right.  I wouldn't want my biologist sister-in-law to e-mail me and tell me how scientifically inferior I am to her.  Not that she would really do that...ummmm, at least I don't think she would.

Anyway, my wonderful husband sent me flowers on Valentine's Day and I just needed to wait a few days for them to open up before I photographed them.  I love that he included tulips in the arrangement instead of just the standard dozen roses.  Tulips always remind me of spring time and the promise of new growth.  So here's to love and the promise of new growth.  (No Sweety, that's not code for me wanting to have another baby.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Monkey For Your Thoughts?


I love this little monkey.  I took his picture at our local zoo and initially I was concerned that the bars in front of his face would be too distracting.  But there was something so pensive about his face that I was drawn to it.  He intrigued me so much that I printed his picture and pasted it to my wall next to my computer.  Now I just keep coming back to it and I stare at him while I think.  So now he is my thinking monkey and he's already given me a few great ideas.  What good ideas will he give you?  And what in the world is he thinking anyway?

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, 80mm, f/5.6, 1/640, cropped, preset applied called "Sin City"

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Top of the World


Today was an absolutely beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and it was a great day to play outside.  I'm loving this beautiful weather so much and I'm pretty sure I'm ready for it to just stay this way.  Can it be spring time now please?  

Remember I told you how fun jumping off a rock could be?  Well apparently jumping atop hay bales is even more fun!  I would've tried this myself except there was no way for me to heave my middle age body up there.  Trust me, I tried.

Technical Data:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G, ISO 200, 55mm, f/4, 1/2500.  For editing, all I did was crop the picture a bit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dreaming in Grey


Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-30mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400, 28mm, f/3.3, 1/20.  This is a natural light photograph.  I set the camera on the floor to steady it for the picture.  Cropped & preset applied called "Driftwood."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Through the Eyes of a Child


"Hey, Mom, take my picture on top of this rock!"  "Ok, cutie pie! Because I never get tired of taking your picture."  Oh to be 3 and get such great enjoyment from standing on top of a rock and then jumping off.  Maybe we should all try that tomorrow and see what it does for our mood?  

Sometimes, just for fun, I follow my kids around on their adventures.  And you know what?  I never regret it.  My favorite is when they're playing Mountain Climber and traipsing through the woods, over the rocks, ducking under the trees & bushes that I then I have to try to duck under or maybe crawl on my belly to fit under.  It's all really fun to see the world through their eyes and to enjoy things that I haven't thought about enjoying since I was a care free kid.  

So here's my challenge to you.  Tomorrow, follow your kids around for a bit and really try to enjoy whatever they are playing.  I can almost guarantee you you'll forget about the responsibilities of adult life and just lose yourself in your imagination for a while.  If you don't have kids, try following your dog around.  I don't recommend following someone else's kids around unless you know them.  Because then you'd just look like a weirdo.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80 f/3.305/6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 28 mm, f/4, 1/500.  In editing I brightened his face a bit because it was too dark in my opinion.  I also applied a preset but I honestly can't remember which one it was even though I just did it a few hours ago.  Basically it just saturated the colors more. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hangin' Out


Don't be jealous, but, our weather is going back into the 70's!  After being cooped up from 2 weeks of cold weather, I  got out and enjoyed an afternoon outside with my boys.  And as always they make great muses.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80 f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 60mm, f/5, 1/100, White Balance set to Shade, edited to change it to sepia toned.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Random Act of Kindness


I took so many pictures today with my new lens that I had a hard time deciding which one to post.  In the end, I kept coming back to this picture because of what it represents.  A lovely couple showed up on my doorstep today holding flowers and a pizza.  They are dear people who are so representative of what this small town is all about.  I can't say enough about the kindness of the people in West Texas.  This particular couple has blessed me on many occasions with their kind words.  And today, they went above and beyond to make sure I had a good day.  How lucky am I to live amongst such wonderful folks?

And now a word about my new lens.  Overall I'm happy with it.  It's not as sharp as I'd like but I had a feeling that would be the case.  I've never seen a super sharp inexpensive lens.  But there are several other features that are fantastic.  First of all, I can get super close to my subject.  It's very decent macro for what I'd call an everyday lens.  Second, it's incredibly light weight.  It feels like nothing so I can see carrying it around all day and hardly noticing it's there.  My final opinion is that it's worth the hundred bucks and it's a lens that I'm sure I'll use a lot.

Technical notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80 f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/25

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yay, a new lens!


It's so much fun to get a new lens and yet I so rarely get them.  I'd read good things about a really inexpensive Nikkor lens so I decided that would make a great birthday gift.  So I ordered it, then called up my brother and asked him to pay for it!  LOL!  He did pay for half of it because he's a good brother and because he wants to make sure I get him a nice gift when it's his birthday:)  Between all the errands I had to run today, I hardly had any time to play with my new toy.  But I did snap this picture of my son playing behind the curtains.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to take it out on the town and see what it can do.  Oh, and for those who are wondering, less than a hundred bucks including shipping, used from Amazon.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 28-80 f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400, f/3.8, 1/500

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rusty Old Truck Take 2


Today as I was cruising the net for interesting new Presets to download, I came across one called "Hard Surfaces."  I immediately thought of my rusty old truck pictures and went back and a had a second look at them.  I found one that I thought I had almost gotten right, but something just wasn't right about how I'd composed it.  So tonight, knowing I had a new Preset to play with, I set out to my back fence to take some new pictures of the truck, in different light, and to get the composition correct this time.  When I took pictures of the truck a few days ago, it was cold & rainy outside and it was about an hour and a half before sunset.  Tonight's picture was taken about 15 minutes after sunset and it was a lovely 65 degrees outside.  

I can't help but wonder what this truck's story is?  I have my theories but I'd love to hear yours if you're game!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 55-200 f/4-5.6, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/20, White Balance set to Shade which is a pre-programmed option on the D70.  I find this setting works well after sunset.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Little Superhero


My son recently received a cape with his initial on it as a gift.  Judging by the fact that he went to gymnastics tonight dressed just like this, I'm pretty sure he likes it.  And he likes his camo boots too....just a little bit.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside


It's been unusually cold in my neck of the woods for over a week now.  When I look out my window, all I see is cold.  I don't see the grass or the sky or the birds, just cold. So I started thinking, how can I capture the cold in a picture?  So I put on my boots & coat, threw my camera bag over my shoulder and set off out my back door to capture the cold.  Lucky for me, my neighbors have a lot of junk.  Which includes this rusty old truck.  What do you think?  Can you feel the cold coming through?

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 55-200, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/20, Preset applied in Aperture 3 called Hammer Film.  As a side note, I don't really like this lens.  It was cheap and had decent reviews.  But in the end it's soft and I usually end up unhappy with the results.  But today was an exception.  And besides I needed it's range to spy on my neighbors stuff:)

A Little Behind

I've been a little behind because I had some company this weekend.  Josie's family came down to get her and take her back home.  For those of you who don't know, Josie stayed with us for 3 months while her parents were preparing to travel out of the country, adopt two children, then come home & get settled in.  Now they have their 2 beautiful children and are starting to settle in so it was time to come get Josie.  These 2 pictures are just snapshots, but I had to take a few pictures of Josie as she left.  Josie is such a special girl and totally wiggled her way into our hearts while she was here.  We love her and will all miss her but are happy that she's going back to the life & family she loves.

Josie in the car ready to go home.

Josie on the left with her fur siblings Nina in the middle and Cache on the right. 
Love that hound dog face, girl!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!


I've been on this earth for 33 years now.  My mom reminds me every year on this day how much pain I put her through while giving birth to me.  Apparently I decided to take my sweet time and was fashionably late to my own party. I guess in 33 years not much has changed.  I still make the world revolve around my arrival - just ask my family who always has to change plans at the last minute because something has changed with my schedule;)  I'm kidding, sort of.  I don't actually think the world revolves around me.  But I do cause a lot of plans to change just because of the nature of my life.  Thanks to all my family and friends for putting up with me for this long:)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let Them Be Little


They grow up way too fast.  It doesn't matter if you have kids or dogs, it's true all across the board.  I always look at my kids and remind myself to let them be little because they won't be that way for long.  I love my boys' tiny little boots that they love to wear.  They get that from their daddy too.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 18-70, ISO 200, f/11, 1/80, Preset Applied in Aperture 3 called 1971 Unforgettable Trip

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blue Eyed Boy


My oldest son has these awesome blue eyes. He got them from his daddy. I never get tired of photographing him with his stunning eyes offset by his dark brown hair. I do believe he'll be trouble when he grows up!

Technical Notes: Nikon D70, Nikkor 18-70mm, f/4.5, 1/320, manual white balance, no editing.