Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If these don't make you smile....



and a bonus because 2 Weimaraner pictures aren't enough

...then there is something wrong with you!  We had a seriously good game of fetch tonight and as you can see, Milo is one tired, happy pup!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 400, f/2.2, Shutter speeds respectively 1/1600, 1/2500, 1/320, Auto White Balance, Matrix Metering.

Sunday, May 29, 2011



I have a thing for bright yellow flowers.  These are called Sunfire Coreopsis and I think they make a lovely addition to my flowerbed.  

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/1.6, 1/2000, Auto White Balance, Matrix Metering.  In editing I cropped and applied a preset called NY Times Magazine.  It basically punches all of the colors up a bit and in my opinion, makes this photograph look a bit more like a painting.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seriously, More Flowers?


You all are going to be so sick of flower pictures by the time I'm done with my landscaping projects!  Of course I HAD to go check out the Memorial Day sale at Lowe's.  I knew there would be flowers on sale so it was just calling my name.  Now I have several trays of flowers sitting in my garage waiting to be planted.  I had a good excuse for procrastinating and not planting them when I got home today.  It was yet again, crazy hot.  111 degrees to be exact.  Tomorrow is only supposed to be 101 so if I get up and start planting first thing in the morning while there's still shade over the flowerbed, then I should be able to get it all done.    Wish me luck!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 2000, f/1.6, 1/30, Auto White Balance, Matrix Metering.  I'm actually impressed with myself because I took this picture at 1/30 handheld.



What do you do when it's 110 degrees outside?  We go to the opening of the pool early in the day before it hits 110.  We went around noon when it was only 90 degrees out which sounds hot but is actually much more tolerable than 20 degrees warmer.  That was a good move because we were pleasantly surprised by a free lunch at the pool to celebrate its opening.  A free lunch will always make this mom's day!  And then, later in the day when it does actually hit 110, we go to:

The kids have been bugging me for a year to go to Dairy Queen when it reopens.  We live in a tiny town and our Dairy Queen closed down shortly after we got a Sonic.  Personally, I don't think the town can support both, but someone bought the DQ and reopened it so we'll see what happens.  So yesterday the kids finally got their wish.  And since it was crazy hot outside, I was happy to oblige.  Today is supposed to be just as hot so we might have to have a repeat of yesterday's activities.  

Technical Notes:  Both of these pictures were taken with my phone (Palm Pixi).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flowers, Mulch & More Mulch


So this is what I've been working on lately.  First I built a pathway from my driveway, through my front yard and up to my doorstep.  That pathway created a large space between it and the existing flower beds that was just screaming to me to do something with it.  So I decided I'd plant a few flowers and a few bushes in there.  I started by tilling up the whole area.  Then I added a row of Snapdragons along the border of the pathway.  Then I planted a few rows of Salvia behind the Snapdragons.  The Salvia are what you see in this picture.  Then I filled the area with mulch.  Lots and lots of mulch.  Mulch which I have to move by the wheelbarrow full from my side yard over to my front yard.  I lost track of how many loads I've taken to the new flower bed so far but I'm sure I have at least 30 more to do.  I'm kinda sick of moving mulch already.

And now for a bonus picture so you can see how the whole thing looks.

It's far from done.  I need to add more rock to the pathway.  I need to fix the solar lights that my lovely friend installed for me because their kinda crooked.  And most importantly I need to buy many, many more plants.  And then move lots and lots of mulch:)  I can't wait until next summer when all the plants will be more mature and filled in so I can see my vision come to life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Water Fountains and Flowerbeds


I had a fabulous day today filled with accomplishments, food and fellowship.  But unfortunately I took NO pictures!  So you'll have to put up with another one from the state park yesterday.  It was ridiculously hot at 103 degrees so the kids decided to cool off in the drinking fountains.  Today, by contrast, was only mildly hot and it gave me the opportunity to plant some new flowers that I bought instead of doing groceries like I was supposed to.  I always enjoy buying the flowers but don't enjoy digging the holes to plant them in so much.  So tomorrow I still have 12 more holes to dig.  And I'm sure when I'm done planting these, I'll get a hankerin' to go buy some more plants to finish out this new flowerbed I made.  And when I finish this new flowerbed, I'm sure I'll get a hankerin' to build another flower bed.  And when I'm all done going overboard with the number of flowerbeds in my yard, we'll end up moving and I'll have to start the whole process all over again; which I'll love because I'm crazy and I love starting new projects.  But not finishing them so much.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD, ISO 400, Focal Length 250mm, f/5.3, 1/800, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No More Pictures, Please!



That's how I feel somedays!  I love photography, but some days I am so tired that I just can't bring myself to pick up my camera another day in a row.  Yesterday I took my pictures for the day and didn't love any of them so I decided not to post anything rather than post a bad photo.  But today I took my kids to a state park that I've been wanting to check out for a while.  I figured it'd be a good opportunity to get outside AND to take pictures for the day.  My youngest son was NOT in the mood for any pictures as evidenced by the first photo.  But luckily my oldest son was willing to pose at least a little bit for me.  

The best part was that we loved the park.  There were lots of great hiking trails with tons of stuff to explore.  You gotta love Texas though because when you go on a hike here, you do it knowing there are wild hogs and rattlesnakes out there.  But the Texans don't seem to think it's a big deal and they just go on hiking anyway despite the risks.  I guess I've adopted that same mentality.  My kids hear me say all the time, "Just watch out for snakes!" as I send them off on their adventures.  In reality though it's pretty unlikely that you'll run into a snake or a wild hog.  They'd rather avoid us just like we'd rather avoid them.  You just have to be cautious and aware of your surroundings so you don't sneak up on anything that wouldn't take kindly to being snuck up on:)

Sunday, May 22, 2011



Milo has some friends visiting this week.  We are dog sitting our friends' two little Italian Greyhounds name Tip & Cheerio.  Tip is featured in this picture looking out the front window of my house.  It's a favorite spot for me to take pictures because I'm a big fan of the lighting only coming in from one side.  He wasn't thrilled with having to take time out of his busy playing schedule to pose for me.  But I promised him a hot dog if he'd cooperate for 5 minutes so he reluctantly agreed.

Technical Notes: Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 1600, f/1.8, 1/320, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.  In editing I dodged his face to make it a little lighter, burned the background to make sure it was as dark as I wanted it, and changed the picture to black and white.  I have several Presets for black & white downloaded into Aperture 3.  The one I used for this picture is called Diane Arbus.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Great Outdoors


The girl isn't mine but I'm seriously thinking about stealing her.  No one would ever know, she looks just like us:)


I'm a huge believer that kids, and especially boys, need to get outside and bond with nature.  And when your boys are as wild as mine are, it's even more important that they have that time outside to be as crazy as they need to be, expend a bunch of energy, and just be boys.  Tonight we went fishing, bike riding, and Mule riding.  The fishing was fun but nothing was biting.  Then we took the kids for a ride on the Mule just because they love it.  And finally they rode their bikes.  But my oldest son tends to think he's a little better on his bike than he really is.  So while riding down a dirt hill that was too steep for him, he lost control and wiped out worse than I've ever seen before.  He face planted in the dirt and his forward momentum kept him skidding across the ground for a few extra feet. He's none the worse for the wear and he only got a few minor scrapes on his face.  And his best friend was there to give him a hug to make it all better.  But only after Mom gave him lots of hugs because Mommy still comes first:) 

Besides the fact that the 2nd picture shows his battle wounds, I'm in love with all the creamy, dreamy bokeh!  Bokeh is a word used to describe the blurred background in pictures.  I love great bokeh in portraits and it's something I always try to achieve.  I used my Nikon 50mm lens at f/1.8 to get the bokeh in this picture.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite


A word of caution, if you get invited to go to your child's school and fly kites, be afraid, be very afraid.  Today was kite day at my son's school and they invited all the parents to come out and fly a kite with their child.  I haven't flown a kite since I was a kid and I was NOT prepared for how much they cost!  But I plunked down my money and bought my son a kite.  Well, let me tell you, just because a kite is expensive does NOT mean it flies well.  This kite was dive bombing everyone!  It targeted one poor man repeatedly!  I'm seriously surprised that no one lost an eye today.  Every time I turned around this kite was attacking someone.  And of course the 5 year old at the end of the string had no idea how to prevent the attack.  Eventually we got if flying high and managed not to hurt anyone.  But it was touch and go there for a while.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD, ISO 400, Focal Length 240mm, f/5, 1/4000, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



Somedays they hate each other.  Somedays they love each other.  Today they loved each other.  At least for this one moment they did.  But all that matters is that they loved each other long enough for me to take a picture:)

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Tamron AF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 400, Focal Length 80mm, f/8, 1/320, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cows for the Weekend



I set out tonight to look for a picture that I missed last night.  I told myself to take my camera last night but then I left the house in a hurry and decided not to grab it.  After all, there would be nothing to take pictures of anyway.  Well, I ended up having the perfect opportunity for a picture that I've been wanting to take for a while.  Except that I didn't have my camera.  The funny thing was that I saw someone else standing on the side of the road taking the picture I wanted to take!  So tonight I figured I could go find that same scene that I missed last night.  No such luck.  So instead we drove around the country side and looked for cows that were willing to stand still long enough to let me take their picture.  I spent a fair amount of time mooing at them from behind my camera to get them to look up at me.  Clearly they thought I was crazy but hey, anything for a picture, right?

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD, ISO 200, Focal Length 300mm, f/5.6, 1/250, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I may have gone slightly overboard...


That title should be the theme of my life!  I don't tend to do things on a small scale.  Like when we moved into this house and I decided that I need a 2,000 square foot garden.  Or like when I sent my son to preschool and within the first week I had purchased a business because I needed something to do.  At least I can admit I go a little overboard on things.  But in the case of the biggest, best sale ever at my grocery store once a year, I think it's perfectly reasonable to go overboard.  That's why I have an oversize pantry right?  

So once a year my grocery store has a huge sale on cases of items.  Each year they put different things on sale but somehow they always seem to know what I need.  So this year I bought 2 cases of cereal, 3 cases of canned soup, a case of Powerade, a case of Hamburger Helper, and 5 cases of Mott's juice; because who can deny that $1 per bottle of juice is a great deal?  You see I had to buy 5 cases.  I was forced to.  In fact I might go back tomorrow and buy more!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 4000, f/7.1, 1/60, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering (although matrix would've been a good choice here I just forgot to change it from my default).

Summer Fun


When you have kids, it's always nice when they have friends who you as a parent actually like.  And if you get along with the other kid's parents, that's even better!  We've been fortunate enough this year to make some really good new friends.  Our kids get along and we as moms have a lot of fun together.  The kids enjoy swimming together, chasing each other with water guns, and mostly love terrorizing us with water guns.  I think it's going to be a really fun summer for all of us!

Technical Notes:  Taken with my Palm Pixi and I have no idea what settings it uses!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rays of Sunshine


I'd like to think that I grow daisies because they're like a big happy ray of sunshine.  But in reality I grow them because they're hard to kill.  My thumb is only semi green so I have to work around my shortcomings by growing flowers that are pretty hardy.  My solution is to grow daisies and mums.  I've had mums that I completely forgot to water most of the summer when I lived up north and yet they still came back the next year for more.  They're tough little guys and on top of that, they spread!  The daisies and mums that line my sidewalk started as tiny little things and last summer they were practically bushes.  In fact they were bigger than the actual bushes I planted behind them and that completely threw me off.  The smaller plants are supposed to be in front.  So now I'm curious to see how big they get this year.  I've probably been way too good to them since I installed a drip watering system to make my life easier.  I should neglect them some more so they don't overtake my bushes and ruin my vegetative scheme.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wheaties & Baseball



My pictures today seem completely odd and uncoordinated but this is what I did today.  First I went to scope out some good photography locations with my friend.  We found a nice field of winter wheat and took a few test pictures.  Then I coached a baseball game this evening.  I don't usually get to take pictures at the games since I'm coaching this year but I couldn't stand the thought of going a whole season and not taking any pictures of my team.  So I pawned off my coaching duties tonight and picked up my camera.  And I'm so glad I did!  I can't wait to show my team how awesome they look out there!  Coaching this little league team has been one of the best things I've done in a long time and I love every one of the boys on my team.  They constantly keep me entertained with their antics.  And they always amaze me with their progress on the field.  I'm so proud of them for how far they've come in one short season.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 400 & 800 respectively, f/5.6 on both, 1/320 & 1/500 respectively, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering

Monday, May 9, 2011



This is my air conditioner.  It's broken for the 3rd time in a year.  Oh and it was over 100 degrees today.  And tomorrow it will be 100 again.  And the A/C repair man can't manage to get out here until tomorrow afternoon.  Whaaaaa!  I think I'll go fill my bathtub with ice cubes and sleep in there tonight.

I know I'm behind by one picture and I promise I'll make up for it tomorrow.  I did take some other pictures today but none are worthy of posting so I'll refrain.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 6400, f/1.4, Shutter Speed 1/25, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.  In editing I used noise reduction and adjusted the white balance to fix the colors.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Prom Season


Prom season is still in full swing and today I had the pleasure of photographing this adorable couple.  Portraits are absolutely my favorite pictures to take.  I love this one because of the beautiful soft lighting, the vivid green in the background, and the comfortableness the subjects have with one another.  

Before this photo session, I briefly pondered using a different lens, but then quickly came to my senses and decided to go with my trusty 50mm.  I have a hard time straying from something I like so much and am hesitant to fix something that isn't broken.  I'll explain my reasoning for pondering a different lens in a future post when I have some more time to take some sample photographs and post them.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, f/2, 1/640, Manual White Balance, Spot Metering.

Friday, May 6, 2011



Today was such a fun day for me.  When I was growing up, I always loved track & field.  It was my favorite sports season for many reason.  One of those reasons was the time in between events spent sitting around on blankets, snacking on high carb food, and hanging out with my friends while all the other poor souls who weren't in track were stuck at school.  So when I heard that my son's school was going to have a track meet, I jumped for joy and immediately got all nostalgic about my days in high school track.  Oh but my son is only in Pre-K.  So then I started to think about my first track meet in 3rd grade where my brother and I both won first place in the High Jump.  He won for the boys and I won for the girls.  It jumped in the family back then.  Now it would probably be pretty hysterical to watch me attempt to heave my body up and over a bar and then land gracefully on a giant mat.  (I know that at this very moment my brother is reading this and saying that I was never graceful.  He can just be quiet now and let me get on with my story.)  Anyway, back to my son's track meet.  I eagerly arrived at the track early this morning with my camera in hand.  To my disappointment, they weren't doing any of the field events, just a handful of races and an obstacle course.  But I still had a great time watching my son attempt to run the 50, 75 & 100 meter races.  He got progressively better and ended up in 3rd place for the 100 meters.  I took pictures of the races.  But the best moment that I captured today was one of him lounging around, in between events, hanging out with his friends.  He's such a lucky boy to have so many of those moments to look forward to in his life.

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD (This is an old lens that I forgot I had.  I bought it way back in the day when I bought my Nikon N80 35mm SLR.  I was so happy to find it hiding in my closet because it works perfectly!), ISO 200, Focal Length 70mm, f/4, 1/500, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby Model



Today I had the pleasure of having a fabulous little model:)  He did so well for an hour of photos despite the fact that he was teething.  I still have work to do tweaking my lighting setup and have a lot of work to do in figuring out how to make babies smile!  I used to be so good at it but I've forgotten what it's like to have babies.  Basically I just need to allow my inner silliness to emerge and act like a big goof.  I'll work on that tonight.

Technical Notes:  I'm not listing the details on studio shots because I'd have to take the time to give all of the lighting information too.  So if someone is truly interested, please feel free to e-mail me.  But I will try to say when I do any serious editing.  Today I applied a preset to the second picture to soften it and give it a slightly antiqued look.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Studio Work


A photographer friend of mine recently moved to the area and brought all of her studio equipment with her.  The only problem is that she doesn't have a studio space in her new house.  So she asked me if I'd be interested in setting up a studio at my house.  Of course I said yes!  I've always been a natural light photographer and have never wanted to stray from that.  But sometimes life hands you an opportunity and you just have to leap.  So I'm once again stepping out of my comfort zone with photography and exploring something new.  

Today was my first day playing around with the lights and the background.  It's so nice having my friend to teach me because then I don't have to start from scratch.  In the picture above, we were experimenting with getting my son's hair lit correctly so that his head doesn't just fade into the dark background.  We did get the lighting correct a few shots later, but I loved this shot so much because it really shows his personality.  And showing the subjects true personality is what I strive to do with all of my photos.  

And this photo of Milo is just a bonus photo for the day.  He was a little nervous because the floor I used was very slippery.  So it was good practice for me to work on convincing him to do something he really didn't want to do as well as giving me a chance to work with the lighting.  And he's one of my favorite subjects so you know I never get tired of photographing him:)

Monday, May 2, 2011

All Dressed Up


It's been a while since I posted a picture of Milo.  Here he is posing for his prom picture.  What?  Yes, you read it correctly, his prom picture.  We Weimaraner people are all a little bit crazy and I entered Milo in a contest for Prom King on one of the Weimaraner discussion boards I'm part of.  LOL!  It does make me laugh and it's all in good fun.  The best part about it is that when I asked my husband where his tie was, he didn't even bat an eye when I told him it was for Milo to be entered in a photo contest.  He's just used to my insanity by now.  And you have no idea how far back in the closet I had to dig to find his one and only tie!  And then I had to find directions on the internet for how to tie it.  So you can tell how long it's been since my husband has worn it.  He's much more of a t-shirt, jeans and boots kind of guy.  Oh well, it's a good thing someone is getting some use out of it!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 200, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/800, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.

Sunday, May 1, 2011



When I first moved into this house, there was some kind of nest made of mud on my front porch.  It terrified me because I was envisioning some kind of evil stinging creatures living in it.  But then the nice man who mowed my lawn that day and spoke no English told me the nest was for "golondrinas."  Lucky for me I had my Spanish speaking mother with me.  But unluckily she had never heard that word and couldn't translate it.  The man offered to knock the nest down but I told him no.  

I figured out later on that they are Barn Swallows and they make a huge poopy mess on my front porch every year.  But in exchange for that poopy mess, I get to see their beautiful little babies born each spring.  And the birds eat masses of mosquitoes and flies.  Which if you live where I do, that's an extremely valuable service they provide!

This precious little baby was kind enough to open his eyes and stretch his wings for me to get this shot.  My favorite thing about him are those huge, fuzzy, old man eyebrows!

Technical Notes:  Nikon D700, Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G, ISO 6400, Focal Length 80mm, f/5.6, 1/80, Auto White Balance, Spot Metering.  In editing I had to fix the white balance.  I've realized that at the higher ISO's the color is never quite correct and I always have to adjust it in editing.  I also used a noise reduction tool on the background.