Monday, January 31, 2011


Andy brought home yummy bakery treats for breakfast. . . just one of the many, many reasons we love him.

I didn't get any pictures of the goods, they were gone THAT fast, but I got this shot of the bag :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What are you using?

So I'm desperately curious as to what camera/lenses AND flash you ladies are using. Instead of asking each of you who's photo I admire (really all of you) I thought I'd tell you what I use and see if you'd tell me the same, either here in comments or as a post in your blog :). Aaaand I really hope you all don't think I'm too demanding! I feel like I have so many questions and requests. I've learned sooo much in the past 30 days from each of you and truly appreciate all the comments and support. It's been great fun getting to know you all!

Today's pic. I took with my 50mm f/1.8 and my Cannon Rebel XS (which also came with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens). That's the extent of my equipment right now. I almost never use the flash and am wanting a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 for my birthday. Any other suggestions? I'm still very currious as to if a flash would help me get better light and thus better focus. . or if I just need to stick with learning in natural light right now.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend :)

Not nearly as sharp as I'd like, but I love the expression and sleep hair.

Friday, January 28, 2011


It's a sound parents know all too well. That silence. The quiet that can only mean one thing. . . trouble.

Here's what I found durring the quiet of this morning.

I had poor lighting so my ISO was maxed out and the images are pretty noisy, but I still like them :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

About the word verification. I haven't had problems with unwanted comments (fingers crossed), and if any of you ever did I would totally expect you to turn it back on! I guess my little blog doesn't have too much unwated attention, so it's easy for me to have it turned off :)

Also, I thought some of you might be interested in this info. It DOES put your email address out there on your blogger profile, so if you don't want that, ignore this. It just makes it nice to be able to comment by email directly back to someone who asked you a question. I just found out this was possible the other day and thought I'd pass it along :)

Todays pic(s)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 25

Does anyone else worry about how they are going to keep track of what day/photo they are on after January? lol. I do.

Nothing great picture wise today. Crummy lighting and stuck indoors.

This is Jackson's FAVORITE thing to do- take the condiments in and out of the door shelves in the fridge. . .I tried to explain to him why it isn't good for the environment, but I don't think he was listening.

Also, I'm having trouble commenting on some of your blogs. I keep getting this message "Wir konnten Ihre Anforderung leider nicht bearbeiten" which means something along the lines of 'We can not process your request'. I thought some of you might want to know how to remove the word verification step in blogger to make it easier for people to comment on your pictures. Though I will still comment (or try to!) if you leave it on, this just makes it a step easier for everyone :) If you go here you can read great detailed directions how to do it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


SOOC. Jackson is still sick (just a cold) and I'm starting to feel that tickle in the back of my throat. We'll be taking it easy the rest of the week :)

50mm; 2.2/f;  s.speed: 1/125; ISO: 800

Jackson 'riding' his toy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sick Day

Jackson had a rough night, and day. He's so congested he can't breath, which of course means he can't sleep. . .apparently unless he's on me. This is how we spent the afternoon. No camera, no pictures. Thankfully my computer was close and I got this with my webcam. Hope you enjoy my enormous, white belly and maternity pants :) I must feel REALLY comfortable with you ladies :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I will not give up

Guys, I'm totally feeling down today. At the beginning of this project I was all like, awesome. I CAN shoot in manual mode, I (sorta) get it, great! But I'm still realllly struggling. Your pictures are all SO beautiful and SO inspiring, but I still don't know much about lighting (just got Understanding Exposure) or composition (book suggestions?), let alone the factors I don't even know to worry about yet!

My biggest hurdle seems to be getting things in focus. Sigh. Is that so silly?

Melissa, I took your suggestion and try focusing on the closest eye, but still SO many of my shots aren't tack sharp like I want them. Hmmm. I realize that first of all I need to not shoot wide open anymore and bring up my aperture a bit, however then I have trouble with not enough light/having to raise my shutter speed.

Do you all think a flash would help me, lighting wise, or confuse me more?!? If so do you have a good suggestion? Thanks for your input ladies. I'm not giving up, but definitely going though a rough patch.

And for possibly my silliest question yet. . . is my sharpness being affected by my camera? Is that possible? I 'only' have a Rebel XS, and realize it’s very likely my skill level, but, help. :)

Mommy is not digging the haircut. . .next time I'm giving it a go. . .it can't look worse, right?!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week 3

Day 21

Because my goal was to work on non-kid pictures. . .you get this picture.

And because I think my kid is pretty cute, you get this picture.

Today I tried back-button focus and really like it! It helps with a crazy moving baby to have the auto focus and shutter release separate. . . .though I'm still adjusting to the change :) Thanks SO much for the tip Melissa! This is the link I read on it for anyone else interested!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 20

Double your pleasure, double your fun.

More questions from 'the novice'. What's the furthest distance I should be using my 50mm at? I have a hard time focusing clearly on Jackson when he is more than 10-15 feet away. Am I just using this lens 'wrong'? Thanks ladies!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Thanks everyone for your responses. I loved all your tips and info on auto focus. I'm using my lack of auto focus points as one small reason I need a new camera. Mine are only in straight up and down lines (like a cross) I'd love at least 4 more to cover the corners of the frame! Melissa- I am SO excited to try back button auto focus :) and Trisha thanks for Courtney's link on changing your focal point. I thought I'd repost it here for anyone else who is interested.

Guys, I totally did pick up my camera today. Once. And I took about 4 crappy pictures of the snow that was coming down in sheets. They were TERRIBLE. So I'm sorry to declare I'm cheating and putting up TWO three! pictures from this past weekend. I figured if I was going to break one rule, I might as well break them all :) 

 The first is one from our walk on Monday that was trumped by the cool heart tracks in the street. I love these two together.

On Sunday Jackson brought his snow boots to me and insisted (in his own way) that I put them on him. He had a GREAT time stomping around the house in these cute mini boots that he has yet to wear in acutal snow. He lifted his legs high to make sure he could clear each step. It was TOO cute. This is the picture that actually prompted that auto focus point selection question. As you can see, it's not focused quite right.

The problem: I chased followed him from one side of our small main floor to the other. One side is very dark with no natural light, and the other is near our big floor to ceiling windows in the back of the house which give off beautiful light. It was so frustrating trying to change my settings back and forth as well as my focal point. He was standing, he was stomping, he was squatting; he was ALL over the place! I was disappointed with my pictures and didn't feel like I got 'The Shot'. Lesson learned. Next time I'll set the camera for one area of the house and stay there until he comes back, which he inevitably does. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another challenge

Look at me knocking out all these goals. Today's victory was shooting in public. Given it was only the 'Baby Signs' class we just started taking, but I busted out my camera and got a couple of decent shots, and wasn't embarrassed one bit as the other moms watched me. Want to know a secret? I think they actually thought I knew what I was doing! :) How funny.

Here is today's picture and a couple of questions- How many auto focus points does your camera have? Mine has 7 and I feel like it surely isn't enough. Also, do you usually use the AUTO-autofocus or do you manually choose your focus point? (Or do you focus manually?) I ask because I like to choose, but it's one more setting I'm trying to mess with. . . .Thanks for your input ladies!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Going out on a limb

Remember how I wanted to work on my scenery/still type pictures? (Totally don't know the tech term for this) We went for a walk yesterday (50s and sunshine in January is unheard of in Bavaria!) and I tried really hard to open my eyes to take in my surroundings and find a good shot. When I came across these tracks I knew I was seeing something that maybe everyone might not.

So I realize it's a little odd, but it goes with my goal of thinking outside of the box and trying to find something unique in the world around me.

I'm including both the SOOC and the edit so you can see exactly how much playing I did with the tracks ;) I wanted to get the track color closer to that of the rest of the tracks but couldn't quite figure it out. Suggestions always welcome.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 15

Edited with PW 70s and Boost. Hope you all are enjoying your Sunday :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week 2

I like doing these week-in-reviews, even though I post a picture every day. Lets me look back and see where to focus next week. I think I got some great shots of Jackson this week, and hope to next week, but I'm also going to try to broaden my horizons (literally- I want some outdoor scenery pictures) next week. Hoping the weather cooperates. Wish me luck!

Project 365 Button

Day 14

Because every other picture this week was of my baby. . .  :)

My first 'baby'. Nothing special about this picture. I tried to lighten his left (your right) eye with the portrait perfect dodge/burn but it didn't work well. What else could I use in PSE6 to try and bring it out?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 13

Today's picture: I tried to do a 'clean' edit. . .did it come out too much? I just used Coffeeshop's Portrait Perfect- only the Color Boost and Eye Define (along with the initial lighting balance).

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Nothing special, having a rough day today. So here is a picture from our adventure to the garage.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 11

I really like these. I know they aren't amazing, and I tend to over-edit a bit, but yeah. Tips on noise reduction? Or just general tips and comments always appreciated!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Steam cleaner or racecar. You decide.

Today I felt ambitious and wanted to steam clean our drool/milk/who-knows-what-stained couch. I left the room to empty the water reservoir and came back to this. I'm pretty sure he's convinced it's a racecar.

Edited using Coffeeshop's Portrait Perfect. Still learning, but so far I love it! Thanks Melissa for suggesting it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 9

Jackson is a teething machine right now. Those little fingers are ALWAYS in his mouth. But he's sure cute doing it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week in Review

So this project was totally painful for me! (And I realize my font box isn't the coolest) But I'm glad I did it. . . . I have an older version of Photoshop Elements (6.0) and followed Nap Time Mom Tog's suggestion for these great storyboards found on The Coffeeshop Blog here.

The Coffeeshop Blog is amazing, and I've only just touched the surface on what she has to offer. She has great tutorials, amazing photoshop actions, and the best part? It's free (though donations appreciated).

I still don't know what the term 'Clipping Masks' actually refers to and I had soooo much trouble grouping the layers. Meaning I couldn't do it. At all. (HELP- anyone with Photoshop 6.0 or with a tip or trick for what I was doing wrong?) So I downloaded Coffeeshop's 'Group It' action and it worked perfectly! I'm not sure I'll do this review every week, but I do like the look of it and if we are out of town or ultra busy I might do this to catch up for an entire week.

I loooved getting to know so many of you and looking at all of your pictures this week. You ladies are wonderful photographers and inspire me so much. . . I REALLY appreciate all the tips, suggestions, and advice. I feel like I've grown in only the last week! Looking forward to the next 51!

Day 7

I really like the perspective on this one, though the sharpness isn't there, still so sweet.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting a workout

So I realize this is going to sound really dumb. Dumb that I didn't think about this before buying my new lens (50mm 1.8/f), not that it would have stopped me. . .I was so used to a lens with adjustable zoom that I never thought about where I was (distance) from my subject (usually Jack). Often times I like to shoot from his level- meaning I'm on the floor. But with my new lens I have to adjust MYSELF, not the zoom on my lens, so I feel like I'm constantly geting up and down, moving around trying to frame the picture. Again, I feel silly asking this but do any of you have tips for using a lens like this? Especially with an on-the-move toddler? Ok, thanks :)

I actually took note of my settings today. We had some beautiful morning light, this picture was taken about 9am. I used the lens mentioned above, my exposure was 1/40, ISO 800. Editing I used Pioneer Woman's Define and Sharpen (I'm a little too dependent on her actions, but love them!) and edited out Jackson's recent battle wounds (walking is a dangerous job).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 5

So I decided to edit and upload this too. I always worry I go overboard. It is such a fine line between 'great picture' and 'edited'. I used PW Boost action and the tool for defining/sharpening the eyes. Comments/constructive criticism welcome :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 4

I took quite a few pictures today. Some turned out decent. But I'm still really lost with what I'm doing. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

We all have to start somewhere, right??

Picture 1

January 2

One of my New Year's resolutions was to get organized. I swear I was at some point pre-baby (I have a 14month old. Not so 'baby', huh?), but these little critters can sure change the game a bit.

My other goal? Learn how to use my camera with manual settings and generally take better pictures. My friend Carrie, who inspires me in many ways, encouraged me to try this project. Obviously I didn't get it started on Jan 1 as I would have liked, but here I am, a day late, still giving it a try.

I hope this blog shows a progression and hopefully improvement in my photo taking abilities. Bear with me. I know the words aperture, shutter speed and ISO but I have no idea what they mean. With that said, I'm going to start taking pictures today, in manual mode. No auto pictures here. So they may very well be HORRIBLE at first. . .I figure that is part of my motivation to learn.

I have a Cannon Rebel XS  (yeah the beginner's SLR) and my kit 18-55mm 3.5-5.6/f lens and I just bought a 50mm 1.8/f that I have no idea how to use.

Happy 2011!