Monday, November 30, 2009

Take It Off Of Auto Pilot!!

This is a long needed photography tip for all you DSLR users! I have noticed lots of photographs I come across through blog hopping are well, lacking something! Many times I cannot put my finger on it and then other times I can see that the ISO is way to high and the photo looks grainy and that tells me one of two things! 1. You forgot to check your settings before shooting or 2. You are shooting in auto mode, in which the camera chooses the ISO for your conditions and if the lighting is poor it will boost it through the roof!

So my solution is to take it off auto and take creative control of your camera because it is NOT all about the pose, you need to make sure your settings are correct in order for the portrait to turn out and look good! I hear the panic in your voice! You are trembling with fear at the thought of stepping into another dimension! You can work your way up to 100% manual be setting your camera on A (Nikon) for Aperture Priority in which you choose the F stop you will be using f8, f1.4 etc, the camera will then choose the shutter speed. Or, you can set your camera to S for Shutter Priority where you set the shutter speed 1/125, 1/30 etc and the camera chooses the f stop. This is what I like to call co-pilot because you only choose one or the other and the camera does the rest! The camera may not always choose the best either but it is a starting point!

Then there is the band aid (quick and with little pain) method in which you just switch your setting to M for manual and start playing! The letter M really is the most feared by newbie photogs and with good reason but it will make your life so much better when you switch! Today I am going to give you some tips on letting the letter M back into your life! Keep in mind that these are starting points that are no fail BUT, you will need to experiment with your camera and different lighting situations and your lenses!!

OK, here we go! Let's start with the outdoor rule of thumbs! First, 100 ISO is equal to a shutter speed of 1/125 sec.! Set your ISO to 100 and let's go outside. Now if it is sunny set your aperture to f16 and start shooting!

If it is a cloudy day set your speed to 1/125 sec. and set your aperture to f8 to let more light into your lens.

For sunsets, sunrises and low light conditions set your f stop to wide open to let the maximum amount of light in! Remember, the lower the f stop, the more light that is let in. Set your speed to 1/30th sec. and shoot! These types of shots require a tripod to avoid camera shake.

Did you get all that? Now we need to move onto the indoor stuff! Just take notes! Remember we are still M mode and we are now ready to head indoors for that Christmas photo by the fireplace!

Set your aperture as big (the lower the f number the more light that gets in)as it will go (according to the lens you are using). So if I am using my 50mm f1.4 lens then I will set my aperture to f1.4. For your shutter speed you will choose somewhere around 1/60 sec. Keep in mind that it is hard to hand hold the camera much below this! Something else to keep in mind is that you never want to shoot lower than the focal length of your lens. So if you are using a 50mm prime lens than you do not want to shoot lower then 1/50 sec. Most likely you will need an external flash for these shots! A flash that can be bounced (off a wall or ceiling is ideal). Next take a few test shots and if they are not bright enough then you may need to boost your ISO! Start low boosting a little at a time until you get the desired look for your photo. ISO is one of those things that you do not want to overdo because you may get some noise (that grainy look) in your photos which may require a program that helps reduce noise!

So now you know how to take it off of auto pilot! The only thing left to do is grab your camera and go play!! I hope this helps!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

“We ♥ Tooshies” at I ♥ Faces


To say that I am addicted to I ♥ Faces would be an understatement! Every week I say, not gonna do it and then I do it anyway! This is one week I just could not pass up because I really do ♥ Tooshies and they always end up in every session in some way or another! Making me pick one was just the cruelest thing I could ever imagine! I have babies crawling tooshies, baby walking with mom and dad tooshies, family tooshies and every other tooshie photo you can imagine!

So I narrowed it down, as hard as it was and chose sister tooshies! At 9 and 17, there was quite an age span between these siblings but they were so cute! Although big sis was sometimes annoyed with lil sis, the love and adoration was evident in every photo that we took!


So why this one? Because I love how lil sis is trying to do everything big sis does! It is evident that lil sis wants to grow up to be like big sis! I also love it because I am a lil sis and I miss my big sissies a lot! The earthly one who lives across country and my big sis angel in heaven!

Now scoot your tooshie on over to I ♥ Faces and check out the other great entries! Come on back tomorrow when I will give you some guidelines on how to get that DSLR camera OUT of auto mode!! It will be worth the trip back, I promise!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

High Tech Santa!

Today was the best holiday parade that this town has ever seen and the weather was a beautifully sunny 60 degrees with lots of sun! The parade was well over an hour long from the time it got to us until the horses trotted past! The Diva got LOTS of candy and I learned that Santa is in constant contact with the North Pole via Blue Tooth! Oh yeah, the Big Guy in red is high tech keeping in touch with the elves! I suspect it is to instantly update the naughty or nice list and to relay gift requests in real time! No more having to remember until he gets back to the pole! He's getting old ya know so who knows what his brain is like these days! Ha!


We had a great time! The Moody teen marched for the final time of his Junior year! Wow, time is flying!


This little guy was watching for the parade to arrive and his wait was almost over!!




The only thing missing was the cold and snow! LOL!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No Black Friday For Me!

I have only done the shopping thing the day after Thanksgiving twice!! It was fun and exhausting but not for me! This year that is especially true because I am DONE! Well, except for stocking stuffers! The Moody Teen's final gift is his 96 Chevy S10 with extended cab! Hopefully he will be able to drive it by Christmas! The Knight is putting in a new clutch and third door handle and then there is the part about me teaching how to drive a 5 speed! I know what you are thinking, "Why doesn't his dad teach him?" And the answer is because he does not have the patience to do it so it falls to me!!

In other exciting news, the Holiday parade is Saturday!! The Moody Teen will march for the final time this year and then enjoy free Villa Pizza compliments of the parade committee while I head to Peterson house to photograph the kiddies with Santa!! There will be elves on hand to take kids letters to Santa and each letter will be entered in a drawing for a cool prize!

So that will be how I spend the rest of my holiday weekend! Oh yeah, I put the tree up today! I had two strands of lights that were toast, which did not make me happy!! So, today, I am thankful that Dollar General (3 blocks from the house) was open and had 100 count lights on sale for $1 per box! Today was my lucky day! Here is what happens when I try to get a cute photo of the Diva with the tree!!

OK enough rambling because it will soon be time for a turkey sandwich for dinner and some pie! Now the big decision pumpkin or apple crumb! Tough!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

That is what I am doing this Thanksgiving! I am so thankful and grateful for all of the blessings in my life! There are way to many to mention but I am going to try so here goes:

1. My Hubby and kids - with my parents and sister gone and my other sister so far away and my brother off in his own land, they are all I really have in this world! I am all my husband has now that his father has passed and we cling to each other!!

2. Our health.

3. The fact that we work for ourselves and do not answer to anyone at the end of the day! We make it or break it without relying on anyone else for support.

4. My bloggy pals who make blogging so much fun! I love you all! Harriet my goal in 2010 is to meet you in person since I have been in your neck of the woods so much yet you elude me!! Ha!

5. My clients who have trusted me to capture their precious memories.

6. Our dogs, even when they are driving me batty!

7. The Diva is potty trained! Enough said!

8. My sister's new knees! May they bring us together at least once a year!! LOL!

Ok, there is so much more that I am thankful for like the new rub on wall art that I just discovered and love so much. Then there is my iPhone, yup you knew that would be something I would be thankful for! I know, I know, it's getting out of hand so I will end my list!

As you spend time with family and friends please remember to give thanks for all you have and if you can please help out someone who is less fortunate during this holiday season! If you are near my neck of the woods and know someone who cannot afford to get their family photos taken but would benefit from this please shoot me a comment or email! I would love to give them this gift in the spirit of Help Portrait (12/12/09)!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 46 Sunflares


Did you hear me say I was not participating this week? Oh yeah, I think I did but them my fingers had a mind of their own and before I knew it the post was done and ready to publish! Thank you fingers for doing what my Monday morning brain would not allow!! Ha! Ha!

This was taken of a lovely pair of brother in early October!! These little cuties were so cute and fun to work with! Now on to I ♥ Faces to see the other cool entries! BTW, Becker is this weeks guest judge!!!! Did you get the utter excitement from that that sentence?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Busy but Fun Weekend!



This weekend was filled with photos and singing! I did a shoot Saturday evening with these lovely girls! The weather was a gorgeous 60 degrees at shoot time!! We went to a little cabin in the woods and it was tons of fun!

Immediately following the shoot I had to get my booty home so I could head to church for our Thanksgiving service. We had a great time singing and listening to the little kids tell us what they are thankful for!! Too cute!

Next weekend will be our Holiday parade and taking pictures of the kiddos with Santa in his sleigh immediately following! Not sure what to expect from that but it should be a good time anyway! I am sure I will have lots to share with you but for now I need to make it through the holiday in front of me! I am cooking for my little family of 4! I was prepared to cook last year when I came down with a stomach bug so my guys and little gal went to Walmart, McDonald's and Subway while I stayed in bed trying to get my fever to break! What a Thanksgiving to remember!! Hopefully this year will be better!

If you want to see more from this shoot you can go here! Talk to you soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Custom Cards Are Here!!

Yup, I have been knee deep in making custom cards for my photography clients!! Right now everyone who books a session through December 18th gets a free custom card designed just for them! I made like 14 different cards for my family last night to share as examples! I did one this morning for a client who had a session back in October! Here is their card:

And here is one of the many I did for my family! These were made using Holiday Cards Vol. 4 the Professional edition by Shabby Princess!

If you need a custom card and/or the photo to go on it, let me know and we will see what we can do!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cahrter Internet at Phatband Speed - A Dream Come True

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.



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Are you a gamer? Maybe you like to watch your favorite TV shows or movies on your computer! Perhaps downloading lots of music from your favorite on line music store! Well if you can answer YES to any of these questions then I have great news for you!! Charter is rolling out it's latest high speed internet product called charter ultra fast 60Mbps and it is one of the fastest in the US! This awesome service became available in St. Louis and is now expanding to other locations throughout the rest of 2009 and is looking to be offered in the majority of locations where Charter has a presence by the the end of 2010!!

Charter’s Ultra60 Mbps service is all part of Charter's strategy to provide you with the fastest Internet speed available when you need it most! What does that mean to you? Higher speeds mean better multitasking opportunities for those times when you need to work on a project and video conference with your co-workers from a remote location! Second, you can load movies, TV show and video games in record time without the "searching" or "loading" messages that frustrate or annoy you!

Isn't speed all we have ever wanted from our internet connection? Charter is listening and making it possible to have the world at our fingertips at lightening fast speed!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - My Motto!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Put Your Twitter Account to Work For You!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Sponsored Tweets. All opinions are 100% mine.


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Are you looking to make some extra cash? How about monetizing your Twitter account using Sponoredtweets.com? IZEA has recently launched this great new marketplace that will help you monetize that Twitter account and put it to work for you!

Here is how it works: first you need to sign up for sponsored tweets, set your price and add some key words and then sit back and wait for offers to come in! Like other IZEA marketplaces, you are under no obligation to take an offer so you get to pick and choose what you Tweet about! If you accept an offer and Tweet about it then your account will be credited within 24 hours of the Tweet and you can cash out after your account has reached a balance of $50. Easy as pie, right?

As with all IZEA platforms there is a code of ethics and safety built into the application! What does that mean to you? First off, you remain in complete control of your account at all times with NO advertising inserted without your knowledge or consent. The code of ethics include: Mandatory Disclosure, Freedom of Authenticity, Freedom of Choice and Transparency of Identity. That means you know who you are dealing with and IZEA has pre-screened the advertisers!

I don't know about you, but I am on my way sign up for sponsored tweets right now! Why don't you join me?

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Help-Portrait: Giving Back

Sometimes I wonder how I can give back to others with the talents that God has given me and today, poof, there is my answer. I had heard of this organization before in a photography magazine that I get! I bookmarked the page and then forgot about it until Mike, another photog friend brought it back to my attention and now I am on fire to do this in our community!!

The group is called Help-Portrait and I am excited to join thousands of other photographers in giving back through photography!! We are working on getting this off the ground in our area and I am challenging other photographers to get involved and make a difference!! When I think about helping a single mom/dad, a sick child, a family who is down and out, the elderly person who has no one, it makes my heart skip a beat!! The premise is to do a shoot with these people, who would not otherwise have the opportunity and then deliver the photos to them, all free of charge!!

This is not to get my name out there or to grow my portfolio or make money (there is NO money involved)! This is about making another human being feel special and loved and giving them hope! The group has designated 12-12-09 as the big day but it can be any time, any where!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 45 Autumn Beauty



If you really know me, you know for a fact that I would rather be behind the lens and not in front of it! It is rare that I do photos of myself and when I do they are generally goofy or just for fun or experimentation! When looking for a photo for this week's challenge I just was not happy until I dug out one from last fall! This was my first time experimenting with self protraits using a tripod and remote. The leaves that fell last year were so perfect, as opposed to this years that were brown the minute they hit the ground! So here goes nothing:




Now get on over to I ♥ Faces to check out the other great photos!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Lesson in Giving for the Diva


These days children are very materialistic! I am not say that we, as parents, make them this way but I am saying that society is making them this way! Commercials and goodies placed at eye level at the checkout counter all contribute to the "I wants" that our children have! So, how do we teach our children about giving when they want everything that they see?

With the Moody Teen, it was fairly easy! One Christmas we had very little money and told him that Santa had so many kids to take care of that he could only choose one gift that he really wanted for Santa to bring. He chose a furby and that is what he got plus a few other little gifts that were mostly necessities like clothes and socks. The Diva, however, is much harder to tackle! She is a diva in every sense of the word and we have made her that way by giving her the desire of her heart! Right or wrong, we have done it! So how do we fix the problem and teach her about the true spirit of joyful giving?

I decided that she was old enough to help in our charitable giving this year! We donated to the Thanksgiving basket drive at church by donating noodles and stuffing for 25 baskets that will go to a family that needs it! Today we finished our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes! We chose to do one for an older boy and one for a girl that is close to the same age as the Diva! The boys box was easy but the box for a little girl was the sticking point for her! We got crayons and a coloring book, a toothbrush and toothpaste, some hair clips and a doll! The Diva wanted the doll and cried when I told her it was for a little girl who did not have a baby of her own! She did not understand and continued to try to get the doll even after the box was packed and ready to be delivered to church tomorrow! How do I get her to understand that this world is a much bigger place and that there are people in need without destroying her innocence in the process?

Another challenge arose when we purchased some new toys for our Mother's group at church! They collect new, unwrapped toys and then distribute them to kids in our community. Again, the Diva wanted the toys that we purchased for charity and again, I tried to explain that there were kids right here in our town who have no Christmas unless we help! I tried to explain to her how lucky she is to have a Mommy and Daddy who can give her everything that she needs and wants. It is NOT easy explaining all of this to a 2 year old!

Our next purchase will be for a resident at Palm Terrace, which is a nursing home where most of the residents have nothing and no one to buy for them! We will choose a resident and buy the gifts that they have asked for! I am hoping that she will be a part of this and, again, I will be able to use this as a teaching experience for her!

It is truly humbling when you are able to help others considering the fact that last year I wondered where our Thanksgiving and Christmas was going to come from! Yes, we had an angel who gave my husband a job that paid very well! In fact, 11/11/09 marked the one year anniversary! God provides and I guess, ultimately, that is what I want my darling Diva to learn through all of this! I want her to be a compassionate, caring girl with a heart for God and a heart for giving (that was also my prayer when I learned I was pregnant with her)! My charge to you is to help out in your own community in whatever way that you can because YOU can make a difference in the life of someone who really needs it!

Baby Formula - Store Brands vs. The National Brands

Do you breastfeed or do you use baby formula? There are so many choices that we face as parents when it comes to our baby and choosing is not always easy! The best we can hope for is to be well informed when we make our choice!

WIC is confusing enough but now they are introducing new food packages that are reducing the amount of formula that a family can receive for their new little one and that can put a strain on an already tight budget, especially in today's economy! The American government is encouraging new mothers to save money by breastfeeding, which, is the best nutritional option for an infant and it can save big money over the course of a year! The savings is estimated at around $2000 in savings during the first year of your baby's life!

I breastfed my little Diva exclusively for the first year of her life! There was no formula for her but had I needed that option I would have looked into the price of the national brands versus the store brands! Had I done this homework, I would have found that there really is no generic brand of formula here in the States! All baby formula is subject to the same strict guidelines that are in place to govern manufacturing and ingredients as directed by the Infant Formula Act! Therefore, the infant formula sold as store brands are a great nutritional supplement, for the more expensive national brands which can save you money over the course of your little one's first year and they also meet FDA guidelines for nutrition!! What more could you ask for? Great nutrition for your baby and great savings for your bottom line!!
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Wishes vs. Needs Christmas List

I know it is not even turkey day yet but, I have been seeing lots of wish lists popping up and the Diva has been pointing out everything that see wants which, by the way, is literally everything she sees!! LOL! Good luck to Santa on getting all of that into the house!! Anyway, I was looking at my list and trying to determine what is a wish and what is a need and here is what I came up with!

I want and need a second camera body! Always need a backup so I would use the new body as primary and my current body would become the backup! So next is to choose which body! Everyone knows I am a Nikon girl so I am looking at the D700 and the D3X.

Here is the D700, a workhorse in every way! Functional and would meet my needs wonderfully!


Then there is the D3X, which is a workhorse and then some! This is the camera of my dreams! And, yes I do dream of this sleek body in my hands!!


The difference? 12.1 megapixels versus 24.5 and then there is the slight price difference! OK, the HUGE price difference! The D3X is about $4,000 more than the D700! Oh, ouch! But oh, the things I could do (with either of these cameras)!

I am just dreaming and since I know this is not is Santa's budget, I will have to settle for some new dishes which are really needed since mine keep getting broken or disappearing. I have yet to investigate the guilty party but I keeping my eye on the beagle, who will eat anything that doesn't eat him first!

While I am enjoying the new dishes I will just continue to stuff my piggy bank to buy myself (my business) a new camera body! Contributions can be sent to.............just kidding!!

What are you wishing for this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Our Freedom!

11/11 at 11 AM they all came together.

The Young




And the Old



The Men


And the Women

The Ones who came back


And the Ones who did not

All for a common goal

To celebrate the men and women who made all of our freedoms possible! Please remember to thank a Veteran today because they paid the price for your freedom!

Today I salute them and say a special thanks to and a prayer for the men in my life who served!

Glenn Joseph Gordon (my father) - US Navy - WWII
Edward John Lammers (my step father) - US Army - Korea
Shane Edward Lammers (my brother) - Army National Guard - Afghanistan

Last but certainly not least, my husband, Spencer - US Army - 2 Tours - Iraq. I am blessed to be able to say that they all made it home safely from their respective tours. May my father and step father rest in peace knowing that they made this world a safer place for their kids and grandkids!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Story in Photos - Thankfulness

I am blessed! I have so many things to be thankful for that it would take lots of space to show you all in photos! My family, my passion for photography, God's creation that allows for beautiful nature shots and so many more reasons are why I am thankful!

I am also thankful for my husband and so many others who have served this country so I can be free to sing, worship and just be me!




These are just a few of the many things that I am thankful for put together in a different way!! Enjoy! Now it is time to click on over to I ♥ Faces to see what everyone else is thankful for!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Update day!

Sorry, I have not been around but the weather here has been glorious with sun and above 70 degree temps for the start of November! I cannot believe how beautiful it has been and I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop and the snow to start flying!! I know, bite my tongue right!!

So today we spent the day outside enjoying this beautiful weather while it lasts and while I have been checking email and Facebook on my new I Phone, I have not taken to typing a post on my cute little gadget! Yes, I am a gadget girl which was confirmed by my husband last night when he told me I was spoiled! Really, I am just a techie geek at heart and I do love my little toys! I have already transferred all my music and purchased some new, downloaded apps like flashlight, Photoshop mobile, The Weather Channel (gotta know what it is going to do for future shoots), Doodle which is like etchasketch, WBGL (our local Christian music station)and bejeweled! I have just begun to learn all that this little work horse can do for me and since I use it for my business, I can write it off!

I am sure that after church tomorrow I will spend the day much like today!! Enjoying the weather and hanging with the family, well most of them since the Moody Teen has to work! Enjoy your Sunday and stop by soon for some I Phone photo fun!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something to Howel at!



This is the moon last night from my backyard! The tree had recently shed all of its fall color and the bare branches made for a cool overlay of the moon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Hound of Terror!!

When you take the risk of going out on Halloween, you know that you may meet several creatures of the night that may frighten you out of your wits! Saturday was no different! There were slashers and Freddys and Jasons and the scream dude was everywhere! The Diva kept telling me that she was not scared until she came face to face with one of these creatures!! She jumped off of the sidewalk and the poor little guy had to take his mask off to show her that he was only pretending!! Ha! Ha!

We continued with the evening and did just fine until we knocked on one door and came face to face with a creature so horrible that we were all scared! His eyes were big and mean and his fangs were beared like he want to eat us! And oh the noise he was making, it was somewhere between a howl and a vicious growl! I just knew we were in trouble! If we ran, he would chase us but if we stayed put he might just...............................lick us to death!




This is Roscoe and he is only 6 months old!! Look at those eyes and those ears! Could you not just eat him up? Too cute! He belongs to some friends and I just fell in love with him! There is just something about a hound that is so endearing!!

Can you tell that we are dog people?? Look at the Knight and Roscoe nose to nose!! What a cute little baby!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Little Pirate Went a Looting!!

Of all the adorable things that the Diva could have been, she chose a pirate! So my mind went to work trying to figure out how to make a pirate cute! I came up with the color pink and a tutu, after all what is cuter than a tutu? So off to Wally World to make the idea reality!
Her shirt is hard to read but it says "AARGH Matey"! I had the embroidery done at a local shop and did the rest of the costume myself, including a loot bag to complete the costume! She was pretty cute while out there looting!
My big problem these days, is getting her to let me take her picture!! She wants to move and look down and just be terrible 2!! LOL! She did get a little candy and had a great time walking around the hood and then jumping in the car to drive across town to three or four houses!

Sunday was a day of church, rest and fun in the leaves! I don't think the Knight was thrilled about us playing in his newly raked piles but he got over it!!

At first, the Diva was not sure what to do and then after a few minutes she let go and just started rolling the leaves having a blast! It was fun to watch her discover this fun activity!!


Before long, I got her to start throwing them into the air! Daddy had to re-rake everything he had already done but that was OK with him because she had a great time!!

Coming soon I will tell you about the beast of the night that we ran into on our Halloween journey!! Believe me, you will not want to miss this!!

 

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