Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Silly Self


I was pretty entertained by my new look today so decided I should share it with you all via a self portrait.  My hubby worries because I spend so much time working outside in the sun so he suggested I get a floppy hat to wear when I'm working outside.  So thanks to Wally World and $13, I'm sporting a totally new look today.  If you're driving down a country road in West Texas and see a 30 something wearing a floppy hat and camo sunglasses, it might just be me;)  I'm sure my skin is ever so grateful and honestly I probably will be too.  Since I can't use the fabulous skin smoothing tool from my photo editing program in real life, I should probably take better care of myself.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 2000 (Pic taken in my bathroom mirror), Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/125, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.  And yes, in editing I smoothed my skin and removed a blemish or two:)  I also adjusted the white balance because the photo was too yellow straight out of the camera.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Monkey Boots Go With Everything


Do you own a pair?  Well you should because apparently they can be worn for any occasion.  In the life of a 4 year old it's monkey rain boots or bare feet.  There's no in between.  You can ride bikes in them, go to school in them, run around with no shirt, gym shorts & monkey boots, whatever your heart desires.  Yet another life lesson you can learn from your kids:)

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 70mm, f/5.3, 1/1000, Auto White Balance, Matrix Metering.





Holy moly I'm behind!  I've still been taking pictures everyday but haven't posted them yet.  I've been thinking about the Project 365 recently because some days, even though I take pictures, I don't have any that I'd like to post on this blog.  So it got me thinking about the purpose of this project and whether or not it's worthwhile.  Overall, I do feel it's worthwhile for a few reasons.  First of all, it keeps me thinking about photography and keeps it a priority in my life.  I have so much to do as a mom and wife, that I don't always put a priority on things that I like to do.  Photography is one of those things that I do just for me because it makes me happy.  So I like this project for keeping my focus on something I love.  The second reason I feel this project is good is because it forces me to practice techniques and to always learn more about photography.  So on the days that I just don't feel like I have an interesting or good picture to post, I try to remember why I am doing this project.  Thank you to everyone who takes the time to look at my pictures and read my ramblings.  I'm having a lot of fun with this project and it makes it even more fun for me to know that people out there are interested in seeing what I have to say through my pictures.

Monday, April 25, 2011

She'll Never Know!


When you were a kid, did you ever pretend to be asleep when your parents came in to check on you because you didn't want them to know you were still awake and playing?  I know that I did but I usually couldn't help but smile when I felt my mom or dad's eyes looking at me.  Apparently that smile is genetic because my youngest son can't help but smile either.  And he's always up playing when he shouldn't be!  I'll forgive him tonight though because I liked the way the last little bit of light from the day was shining through his window onto his face.  

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 6400, f/2, 1/80, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering, in editing I applied a Preset called "Detailed Low Vibrancy."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Storm Trio




Clearly I got very behind on my pictures over the last several days!  But I'm making up for it today.  Today is Easter and we were blessed with some much needed rain.  But that rain also came with gigantic hail in addition to tornado warnings.  We joined some friends for dinner and were interrupted by the sound of hail on the roof.  So we ran outside to the back porch to watch the storm.  Isn't it funny that the first thing we do when we hear severe weather is to run outside to get a better look at it?  The storm started with rain and hail, then it all stopped and the sky got very angry as you can see in the last picture. The girls kept their eyes on the clouds and worried about every movement we saw that looked rotational in nature.  Thankfully no tornadoes emerged near us.  And then it started raining and hailing again.  And then it stopped.  And then it started again.  So in the end it was just a fun adventure and we ended up moving the Easter egg hunt inside.  Which didn't dampen the fun even one bit!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Candy


I was really tempted to post yet another picture of one of my boys but decided to post this one for a little bit of variety.  Continuing on with the Easter theme, whose idea was it to load plastic eggs up with tons of sugar and then give them to already overly energetic kids?  I'm certain a mom didn't come up with this idea.  I'm trying a new strategy this year though.  I usually regulate my kids' sugar intake and only allow one or two pieces of holiday candy per day.  But then for months I have to listen to them ask me a hundred times a day if they can have a piece of candy.  And then I say no and then they ask why and this continues all day every day as if we were groundhogs.  So my strategy this year is to let them scarf all of their candy down in one day and then they'll have one big sugar high followed by an even bigger sugar crash and then we'll be done with it.  I'll let you know how this plan works out.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 800, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/640 (I used these settings because I was taking mostly action shots today and needed fast shutter speeds), Auto White Balance, Pattern Metering.

Easter Time Silliness


Little boys don't believe in using anything for its intended purpose.  Hence the Easter basket as a hat.  I kinda like it though and I think he might be on to something here.

I apologize for the late post.  This is actually yesterday's picture and I will get another picture up for today.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 800, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/500, Auto White Balance, Pattern metering.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Before and After



Ok, these are just snapshots because I've been super busy the last few days and haven't had much time.  These are pictures of my youngest son getting his hair cut today.  He said he wanted it short for the summer, but you can see the scowl on his face in the second picture because his haircut was taking too long and he was over it.  Who knew 4 year olds could be so moody.

On a technical note, this would've been a good situation to use a custom white balance.  You can see the difference in color between the 2 pictures and neither one of them are correct in my opinion.  A custom white balance would've worked well and I would've gotten more accurate skin tones.  But unfortunately when you're just taking snapshots, you don't always have time to set a custom white balance.  So it's something that can usually be fixed in editing later.  Most of the time though I prefer to correct as little as possible in editing.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Compromise


For the last 2 years I've had a ridiculous 2,000 square foot garden.  I say ridiculous but the truth is, I've really loved it.  I love preparing the ground, planting the seeds, watering in the early morning when it's sunny out but not too hot yet, I even love weeding.  I know, I'm officially crazy.  And of course the best part of gardening is the harvest.  Last year we had 48 tomato plants and we got to harvest the tomatoes by the buckets full which was a blast for me and my kids.  

But this year I won't be able to put all the time and love into a garden that it would require.  To my surprise, my kids have been really disappointed that we're not out there planting anything.  I keep telling them we can't have one this year and I give them the reasons why but they don't understand.  So today we compromised.  I promised them a small container garden and I let them each pick out 2 plants.  My oldest son picked 2 different kinds of tomato plants because he loves tomatoes.  My youngest son picked 2 strawberry plants.  And I couldn't resist the urge to buy a cilantro plant.  I think this tiny garden will be perfect for us this year.  Now I just have to resist the urge to buy hundreds of pots & plants!  Giving up gardening this year is really difficult for me but like all things in life, you have to pick and chose what you have time for and I know my other endeavors will keep me very busy and satisfied.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 800 (it was really windy out and I needed a fast shutter speed), Focal Length 56mm, f/4.8, 1/400, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Migration of the Monarchs


Yesterday at my son's school, they dressed up as Monarch Butterflies and pretended to migrate to warmer weather.  I have to say, it was by far the cutest thing they've done all year.  Seeing all those kids gently flapping their wings, migrating from room to room to show off their costumes was almost more than this mom could handle.  I have a seriously soft spot in my heart for kids.  I haven't always been this way, but watching my own children learn and grow has opened my eyes to how absolutely amazing the mind of a child is.  They are capable of learning so many things so quickly.  They are little sponges who view the world with an eager heart.  My boys remind me daily to appreciate the little things in life and to find joy in the seemingly ordinary.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 1600, f/3.2, 1/250, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.  Thank you D700 for allowing me to enjoy this moment flash free.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Which One?


I posted another version of this picture a few days ago.  I took several different exposures and really played around with this picture trying to decide what I liked the best.  When I took these shots, it was a spur of the moment thing.  The sunset was so gorgeous as I was driving home on the highway and I really wanted to capture it but knew the sun would be completely set by the time I got home.  So I thought about this grain elevator and the railroad tracks and decided to run over there real quick to capture just a piece of the sunset.  But when I got there, I realized what I really wanted to capture was the small town scene of the grain elevator and the tracks.  

So this exposure (as compared to the first one I posted) puts more emphasis on the grain elevator by illuminating and sharpening it much more than in the first picture.  But the colors of the sky still play a very important role in the background of the picture.  So my question to you is, which one do you prefer and why?  

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-89mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 3200, Focal Length 80mm, f/10, 1/100, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.



Remember that boat I mentioned a while back that the kids were bugging me to take out and I kept telling them no because it was ancient and probably had holes in it?  Well, they finally convinced me to put it on the water for them and see if it floats.  Turns out it does.  So ever since then, they've been obsessed with going out on the boat and fishing.  We only have a small pond but the kids are loving it.  And I have a feeling that it's going to be one of those great childhood memories for them.  

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400, Focal Length 50mm, f/5.6, 1/500, Auto White Balance, Center Weighted Metering.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

West Texas Sunset


Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 3200, Focal Length 80mm, f/10, 1/250, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Very Sad Situation


This is not a good photo.  What this is, is a very sad situation that is all too common in the area I live in.  About a week ago I noticed 2 dogs on the side of a country road with no houses anywhere nearby.  I stopped of course and tried to get the dogs to come to me but they were extremely skittish and wouldn't come near me.  I decided I'd come back the next day to see if they were still there.  And of course they were and they still wouldn't come to me.  This road is one that I drive a few times a week and the next time I stopped, I noticed some food dishes in the trees and a kitty litter box filled with fresh clean water.  I wondered if another good samaritan was feeding them.  Today when I was going that way, I noticed a car stopped up by the dogs.  I got out and talked to the woman, and she, along with another unknown good samaritan are both feeding these dogs.  Well, it turns out there aren't 2 adult dogs, there are 3 and one of them just had puppies.  

This poor mama is so terrified and won't let anyone get near her puppies.  One of her puppies has already died and now she has 2 left.  She'll accept food that's tossed to her but she actually bit the other woman who was feeding her recently when she was trying to get close enough to remove the dead puppy.  The woman feared a coyote or a wild pig would smell the dead puppy and come attack the whole pack.  We talked for a while and decided that we would try to save the puppies as soon as they were big enough to start moving around and exploring.  In the mean time, we'll keep feeding and watering them and hopefully the adult dogs will get used to us and allow us to rescue them.  They need to get proper nourishment and they need to be spayed and neutered so this doesn't happen again.

I absolutely can't stand it when people dump their dogs on a country road and think that someone will take them in.  The truth is, someone WILL take them in.  Someone with a big heart who already has 5 dogs because people keep dumping them and she just can't turn a dog away to wander the streets and get killed by a car.  And someone will take time out of their day to go visit these stray dogs day after day after day just trying to earn their trust so she can save them.  I've worked in dog rescue in the past and I never ceased to be amazed by the people who were so willing to say they didn't have time for their dogs anymore and it just wasn't fair to the dog or to their family to keep the dog.  But apparently they think it's fair to ask a good hearted stranger to spend their time, money and energy caring for a precious animal that they cast off.   Here's an idea, if you only want a dog for a little while, only while it's convenient for you, don't buy a dog!  Try fostering for a rescue.  That way you'll only have the dog for a little while and if it's inconvenient for you to have a dog during a certain time in your life, then you don't have to accept a foster during that time.  And for the people out there who love their dogs and give them a good home but don't spay or neuter them, please, please, please spay or neuter your dog.  There are too many dogs out there that are abandoned and without a good home to bring any more into this world simply because you want to have puppies.  I do realize that sometimes in life it IS necessary to rehome a beloved pet.  But rehoming is different than abandoning.

I apologize for the long winded post tonight.  But this situation just breaks my heart.  If these dogs don't get killed by a coyote or a wild pig before I can rescue them, then I, along with the other woman I met tonight, will rescue them and find good homes for them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Friend,


Could you please do a better job of watching my kid?  He's never fallen in the fountain on my watch.  Just sayin' ;)

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/1.8, 1/5000, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One More Prom


I'm sticking with the prom theme today and adding one more of my prom girls.  I love this pose and think K looks absolutely lovely in this picture.  

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/2, 1/1600, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Saturday, April 9, 2011



I had fun tonight taking two more sets of prom pictures.  I snapped this picture in the salon where the girls were getting ready. 

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 1600, f/2, 1/100, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 160mm, f/5.3, 1/500, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering, changed to black & white in editing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Helping Uncle Andy


Helping Uncle Andy build my new deck storage box.


Playing in my new deck storage box!  Thanks Uncle Andy for putting this together for us!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200
#96:  Focal Length 70mm, f/5.3, 1/200, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering
#97:  Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/160, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Cuteness is Killing Me


All of this adorable pinkness is almost more than I can stand.  Another friend of mine who also has boys and no girls, was pointing out to me how all these little softball girls had pink bats, pink helmets, pink bags, pink everything!  It's something we'll never see in my house.  So I have to live vicariously through my friends who have daughters.  I'm just jealous that we didn't have pink bats when I was a kid playing softball.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 200mm, f/5.6, 1/400, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Pick Me!


When I saw this dog, I knew I needed a picture of him.  His one ear up, one ear down look is really working for him.  He looks like he constantly has his hand raised saying, "I know the answer!"  And the answer is, you are too stinkin' cute!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D70, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 80mm, f/4.5, 1/160, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today's Project


I love landscaping projects.  I know, I'm a little bit different.  But I love the end results and how they can transform your yard.  So today's project was to make circular brick paths around all 4 of the trees in my front yard.  And then to fill the inner part of the circle with mulch.  

I only got one done.  

Between the 97 degree heat and the 100mph wind, I was so tired after working on just one.  Ok, I'm exaggerating a little bit on the wind but the temperature was no kidding, 97 degrees at the beginning of April!  But it was worth braving the weather to have 1 out of 4 done.  My circle isn't quite symmetrical but hey, I'm not good at details.

Oh, and I finally caved and turned on the air conditioning in my house.  I was being cheap and trying not to turn it on but I couldn't take it anymore.  I'm a wimp.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-89mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400, Focal Length 28mm, f/13, 1/80, Auto White Balance, Center Weighted Metering.

Saturday, April 2, 2011



It's that time of year!  I love seeing all the cute couples out and about all dressed up.  The girls are so beautiful with their hair all done up and wearing the best dresses they can buy.  I'm really looking forward to the prom pictures I'll be taking in the coming weeks.  I remember being that age so fondly and it's hard for me to believe I'm nearly twice the age of these girls!  But I'm glad that I am because life has only gotten sweeter.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/2.2, 1/1600, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Embracing the Sun


My apologies if you are getting tired of pictures of my boys.  With this project, you will end up seeing a lot of pictures of my kids and dog.  The last few days I've been working on taking photos in different kinds of lighting.  I've been trying to challenge myself to work in less than ideal lighting conditions because in life, the light and the weather doesn't always work out when you want to take pictures.  And since this project is about improving my photography skills, I want to challenge myself to work in conditions that I'm not usually comfortable in.  So this picture was taken smack dab in the middle of the day with the harsh overhead sun.  It's a time of day that I usually avoid getting my camera out.  But like I said, I'm trying to embrace the things that I usually run from.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/2.2, 1/2500, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering