Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy To Be Here

We made it! We arrived in Denver last night in time for a walk and a
little bus ride. The bus ride made for a very happy boy!

Today he meets his puppy, so I expect this grin to stick around for a

Sunday, March 28, 2010

See that look?

Ian snapped this at lunch today. We explored Salt Lake City and
stopped for lunch at Sage's. All vegi, completely yummy. A good day
and a great city. We all agreed we'd come back here to explore again.
Tomorrow we arrive in Denver.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our view for most of the day.

A Trip: Well Documented

We have packed:

2 Canon dSLRs
1 Nikon Coolpix
1 Fisher Price Camera
1 iPhone with camera
1 Other Phone with camera
1 Flip Video Camera
1 Sony HandiCam
1 tripod
15 gigabytes of memory
1 card reader
1 laptop
1 500 gigabyte external hard drive
Extra AA batteries
7 power cords
5 lenses

I think we are ready to document this trip.

(I hope someone packed socks and underwear)

I'll be taking photo requests along the way.

But first, a quiz! How many photos TOTAL do you think we will take on our Spring Break Road Trip?

Snapshot Saturday - Signs of Spring

Spring is all around us. What does it look like to you? Why not photograph a sign of spring and share on your blog today.

Link us to your post so we can leave you some love!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Waiting To Take The Shot

When I first started exploring photography I said, "I'll never be one of those people who waits around for hours for the twenty seconds of perfect light or who painstakingly sets up a shot." I am an everyday photographer, capturing life as it happens."

I lied.

I sat in the garden today waiting for the shot.

I saw it yesterday, but it just didn't pan out.

Today while pulling weeds and planting cucumbers, I saw it again. This time I was going to be ready.

I grabbed my camera and lens, still attached to the tripod after yesterday's attempt. With extension tubes in my grubby fingers I set up in the garden, about two feet away from my broccoli.

I waited.  I attempted some shots. Waited some more. Attempted again. It was not cooperative, but then, we began to work as a team.

Everyone in my house has a favorite. Which is yours?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Today, I'm Not Taking My Own Advice

Does this happen to you too? You know it will make life easier if you download your photos from your camera. It will be easier if you tag them as you import them into Lightroom. It will be easier if you pick your photo of the day and upload it to flickr. Keeping up with a 365 project helps to keep things streamlined. Helps to avoid missing a photo.

But some days.

Do you just go to bed thinking, "I'll get to it tomorrow?"

Or is that just me?

See you all tomorrow.

Snapshot Saturday - Up For A Challenge?

One of the best ways to improve your photography is to take part in a challenge. Something that stretches you.  A challenge that moves you away from your typical photos, typical settings, and typical subjects.

There are so many great sources of challenges around the web.

You can take part in Shutter Sisters' One Word Project. This month's word is Dream.

You could jump on over to IHeartFaces and get ready for next week's challenge, Angles.

Spend sometime searching flickr.  Challenge You is one of my favorites but there are many, many more to choose from.

The March DesignerDigitals challenge, "Texture," is another great place to stop.

MCADesigns has a fun challenge on getting closer. Those of you who took Your Life: Captured Through The Lens might recall hearing something similar!

You can also do the MarchPhotoWalkWithMe this weekend if you missed it last weekend!

Take a challenge. Post it to your blog. Link us to your post! Have fun!

If you know of other challenges that you like, let me know!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Behind The Lens: Susie Westervelt

Colorful and fun are two words I'd use to describe Susie's photography. She brings everyday objects to life with her camera. I met Susie at DesignerDigitals and have learned more about her in the DD Photography Group. Every week she fills our gallery with beautiful flowers. Susie took Your Life: Captured Through The Lens last year. After reading her interview you'll see that she has always been a photographer and seems to have rediscovered it!

She is a wonderful person and photographer! She said about her portrait, "I like this picture of myself with Sarah.  It's who I am." Let me introduce you to Susie.

1.  What sparked your interest in photography?
My dad.  He took pictures and movies all the time.  My first camera was a little Brownie (that dates me), then the small point and shoots. I always carried a camera with me.  After my first daughter was born I bought an Olympus OM10.  I was lucky to have had two close girlfriends who were also into photography.  My friend Liz had a darkroom and we would spend hours in there.  Once I had my own darkroom I would develop all my own photos, both black and white, and color.  I loved pushing the ISO to its limits and seeing the effects.  And, I will never forget the first color photo I developed in my makeshift darkroom and how perfect it came out.  My friends called my kids "the most photographed children in America."

I used the rule of thirds here. I don't think this would have made for an interesting photo if I had been any closer or had centered the strawberry.
2.  What camera do you use?
I use an Olympus E-500.

3. What is your favorite lens?
My "walk around lens" is a Sigma 18-50 mm Macro lens.  I purchased this because I can set the f-stop at 2.8 and it stays there throughout the entire zoom range.  My kit lens won't do that.

This was my first attempt  at using continuous focus and natural lighting.  I really liked the composition and the lighting.

4. What makes you happiest about your photography?
I'm so happy when a picture comes out exactly as seen through my eyes, for instance, the colors of the sky at sunrise.  Due to my diminishing eye sight, I have a hard time seeing through the viewfinder and so it makes me smile when I see that I captured the light or the clarity the way I had envisioned.

5. What have you learned that helped your photography the most?
The back-focus button and continuous-auto focus have helped me the most, especially when shooting my active grandchildren.  They have allowed me to take more candid, unposed, photos of them.  I have been much more pleased with these photos than when I'm asking them to turn toward the camera and smile.

One of my favorite POTDs.  I am drawn to primary colors.  If you look at my photostream so many pictures have red, blue or yellow in them.

6. How has your photography changed since reading Get Me Off Auto?
I have owned by DSLR for years and had never used it until I took Katrina's first class and read her Get Me Off Auto.  It just looked so complicated and it was so much easier to use my Sony Cybershot point and shoot.  But, now my DSLR goes everywhere with me and I never shoot on Auto.  I now can just look at a situation and know how I want it to look, set my focus, ISO, white balance and aperture and I feel that I'm successful when I upload the photo.  I also think more about the composition and crop of a photo as I'm shooting.  I revisit her class notes and Get Me Off Auto a lot.  I'm still learning.  I'm very happy and excited about my photography again.

 The rule of thirds again.  Using two desk lamps to light this daisy, I was pleased how soft the petals look.  The look like fabric.

7. What are your photography goals for 2010?  Or Any Projects for 2010?
I'm shooting a photo a day and uploaded them to the Designer Digitals Flickr group everyday.  I've seen my photography improve in just the short time I've been doing this.  I learn by doing and this has helped me tremendously.  I'm so inspired by the pictures my DD friends have taken.

You can find more of Susie's beautiful photography in her flickr photostream and in her DesignerDigitals gallery.

Have I helped you with a classebook, or tutorial? Would you like to be featured Behind The Lens? Send me an email at katrina at katrinakennedy dot com.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Questions About The Very Basics: How To Use Your Camera

Many of you have asked about The Very Basics. Here is a roundup of all of the questions with answers!

When Does Class Start? 
Class starts Tuesday, September 21st. A lesson a week for six weeks with a video each week to help out the visual learners! Lessons post on Tuesday and videos on Thursday.

I Don't Have A dSLR, Can I Still Join?
Absolutely. We are talking about the basics of using ANY camera. If it captures an image you will find something helpful in class. I also interact with you in the forums to find out your specific camera and your specific needs for class.

I Took Your Life: Captured Through The Lens, Should I Take The Very Basics?
It depends. If you still struggle with understanding f/stops and basic photography terminology and want a good foundation this class is perfect for you. If you breezed through Your Life: Captured Through The Lens then you The Very Basics might be too basic.

Do I Have To Be Online At A Certain Time To Participate?
Not at all. There is one schedule chat as a class and one day with office hours where I'll be available for live questions. Otherwise, you can download the pdf's and view the videos at your convenience.

I hope you can join us before the room fills up!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Take A Quick (and easy?) Photo Quiz

Today's photos were taken within about two minutes of each other as Ian and I walked home from school. He was complaining about the long walk (it's short) and I was doing everything I could think of to distract him. You can see in the first shot that he got away from me, but before you worry that tiny person in the distance is his dad!

For today's quiz, can you tell me what makes these photos unique for me? To help you out the answer is not that they are flowers!

While you're looking, care to help me decide which one is Photo of the Day worthy?

Thanks for looking!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Before The Fall

I snapped this just seconds before he came crashing to the floor, head first. His face is pretty badly bruised, he has a story he's enjoying telling everyone, and I have proof that he was happy!

50mm | ISO 400 | f/2.8 | ss 1/250

This is one of my favorite spots to shoot in. The light is filtered from the north and west and the mirror reflects so nicely. We'll go back, we have to!

What is your favorite spot to take photos? Which direction does the light come from?

I Heart Faces Week 11 - Bundled Up

The theme this week at Iheartfaces is Bundled Up.

Ahhh, this boy. He loves the snow. I, however, am thankful most of our days are filled with California sunshine. This photo was taken in a parking lot in Sequoia National Park. The lodge we were planning on staying in unexpectedly closed and after some parking lot sledding, we headed home again. He didn't even now what he was really missing!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Self Portraits: Who I Am At This Moment

Four years ago we sold our first house. We lived two hundred miles away from it and hadn't been living in it for several years. I found a realtor through recommendations and the web. I had only seen photos of her. When we finally met face to face, I wasn't certain I was talking to the same person.

She prompted a need for me to capture a real photo of me at this moment. Real. Ok, that frightens me. I'd rather you see a touched up photo in perfect light at the perfect angle reducing all of the extra me. Of course the perfectly styled hair, made up, dressed up version of me doesn't really exist so if we met, you'd just walk right by.

So here you have it.
180mm | ISO 400 | f/7.1 | ss 1/125
The real me.

It was the assignment first on the March Photo Walk With Me list. It drew fear to the hearts of all that read the list.

I knew what I wanted to try before I entered the alley. I wanted to stand at the opening of the alley, camera on tripod, blurring the rest of the roadway behind me. Since the alley dips down and then rolls back up it would create a nice background. I set my 70-200mm lens up on a tripod and had my husband stand where I was going to be. With remote in hand, I moved to his spot and clicked a few times. After viewing my first few attempts, I readjusted and shot a couple more. This was the ninth shot of nine.

So now, I have a real photo of me. Ian will know what I looked like on March 13, 2010. Yes, I could look at the photo and find a million things I don't like about myself. But today, I'm ignoring all of that. Today I'm just going to enjoy who I am at this very moment.

There is still time to register for The Very Basics: How To Use Your Camera. I'd love to see you in class!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snapshot Saturday Self Portrait

We spend a lot of time on our blogs sharing photos of others - our families, friends, pets. When not sharing photos of the people we love, we share photos of the things we love - dinner, our garden, places we go.

For this week's Snapshot Saturday share a photo of yourself.

Perhaps a reflection.

Or use your wide angle lens and hand hold your camera.

Maybe even get your tripod out and use your self timer. I'll be working on that today and posting results later.

Link me to your photos! If you want an even bigger challenge, you can join me for today's photo walk, from wherever you might be!

If you are joining me from Get It Scrapped, don't forget to link your blog post in the forum!

Friday, March 12, 2010

If You Take A Boy To The Library

and he can't read the books, he'll be a bit confused.

We took Ian to an event at the library tonight with the author of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. He loved meeting the mouse and the pig at the door. And then things just went badly from there. A million people in line for her new book. Lots of people milling around. Utter confusion by a four year old little boy who loves the library and didn't understand we were going to listen to her read the book. I'd explained to him, but I think he stopped listening after library.

We were there about 10 minutes. Shortest library trip ever. I did get a fun happy shot before the tears began.

That little blur you see? Not shutter speed, but photographer's lack of slowing down long enough to hold the camera steady.

Photo Quiz Answers and Winners

In last week's quiz you took a guess at my camera's aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. My photo gave you a clue about the aperture. I shot at f/8. Not wide open, not closed down. You can see the difference with the two extremes. Literally, look at the hole in my camera's lens.  F/22 lets in less light, gives you more detail in focus with a greater depth of field. F/1.4 gives you more light at the cost of less in focus with a shallow depth of field.

The photo and it's settings
50mm | ISO 800 | f/8 | ss 1/100

The shutter speed was fast enough to stop any movement. Aperture wide enough to get most of me in focus and the ISO soaks up enough light with the flash adding a little extra boost.

Shirley and Claudett both guessed f/8 correctly! Email me so I can provide your prize! (katrina dot kennedy at gmail dot com)

Many of you guessed right for this photo (or have really good memories!)

I did take this with my iPhone! It was taken almost two years ago so the subject was SHORT and you can see his cousin is crouching some to get in the shot. I stood up and shot down on them, no chair, ladder or other trick. The afternoon sun was low and behind them and we were under the shade of a tree.  I used the Noiseware Professional plugin from Imagenomic to reduce the noise. I'm still searching for the original photo, but my guess is there wasn't much to begin with. I don't recall, but it looks like I may have dodged their eyes a bit too much too! (Oh, what we learn in two years.)

Using Random.org the winner is Esther_A! You win a spot for you or a friend in The Very Basics: How To Use Your Camera. Email me so I can get you set up with a class registration!

Thanks for playing!

Take A Photo Walk With Me March 13

Are you ready for the March Photo Walk With Me? We'll meet Saturday, March 13th at Steamers at 101 K Street in Old Sacramento at 8AM. Yes, it's early. Just think, great light! Parking is enforced in Old Sacramento on Saturdays. Meters are only 90 minutes, so I'd recommend parking in one of the two parking garages to avoid a ticket!

Our inspiration list, focus on some technical shots this time too:

1. Self Portrait with a blurred background
2. Lots of Depth - shoot at f/16 or narrower
3. Tell a Story with f/8
4. Stop The Action
5. Reflected
6. Up Close and Personal
7. Green
8. One Word
9. Lucky

If you are using a point and shoot or shoot in your auto modes, this list is a helpful translation for the first four items on the list:

1. The Portrait Mode (the person's profile)
2. The Landscape Mode (the mountain)
3. The Landscape Mode
4. The Running Man

Not in Sacramento?  Use the list as inspiration for your own photo walk. Let me know if you do!

After the walk you can upload your photos to our new Photo Walk With Me flickr group! When you upload please tag them with March, the corresponding word, and your photo walk city!

Will you be joining me?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Simple Photo

95mm+66mm extension tube | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | ss 1/250 

Congratulations to those of you doing a 365 Project. Today is day 70! 295 to go.

Still time to take this week's quiz for a chance for a spot in The Very Basics.

Behind The Lens: Kelly Middlebrooks

Kelly Middlebrooks is a talented photographer. I love the way she captures the emotions of animals in her life and the details surrounding her. In addition, she is a genuinely kind person. I was lucky enough to meet her in San Antonio last year at the DesignerDigitals crop and chatted with her until the late hours of the night about photography, life, and living in South Dakota! 

I'm pleased to introduce you to Kelly.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I bought my first camera (a 110) when I was about 14 years old.  I know I wanted it in the worst way, but I have no idea why.  I took pictures on our summer trips to my grandparents and of friends when I was in high school.   When I got married and had kids I took pictures to send to family as we were military and didn't live near any of them.  It was more of a documentation thing I guess.  I wanted to to show them where we lived and how the kids were growing.  Printed pictures sent through the mail were a link of sorts.  When a friend sold me her Canon 10D after my boys had left for college, I became hooked on digital and a whole new world opened up to me.

What camera do you use?
I now have a Canon Rebel XSI.

After the Through the Lens class, I was very conscious of the "rule of thirds". 

What is your favorite lens? 
The lens that is on my camera most of the time is a Tamron 18-200.  I love candid shots and most of the time my subject matter includes animals so a lens that doesn't require me to move around too much is a must.  When I am shooting still shots though, or working through a class assignment or tutorial, I love my Canon 50mm 1.8.

This one might be a little grainier than I'd like, but I never would have been happy with this on auto.  Thanks, Katrina.

What makes you happiest about your photography?
What I like most about photography is the emotion that I'm able to capture, being it the expression of an animal, the uninhibited emotions of my family or friends or the beauty of nature.  I love it when I upload a photo and find that I am smiling at what I see.

I used back button focus when I took this picture of Ed.  With the field as a canvas I was also hoping to capture some degree of depth of field that Katrina had taught in class.

What have you learned that helped your photography most?
I think out of all that I've learned from Katrina's class and tutorials, the thing that helped me the most was something that I learned in the very first lesson of my very first class. . . focus; specifically, continuous focus and the use of focus points.  I love photographing animals and since they tend to be moving most of the time these methods helped me produce sharper photos.  Because of the class and tutorials I also have more confidence about being able to "get the shot."  Before Katrina's class, my camera was always in "action/running man" mode.  This was my best chance of "stopping" those dogs in action.  Now, it's only action shots that I shoot in that mode. I'm no longer afraid to "mess with" the settings.  Thanks to Katrina, I'm loving the versatility I get with M and AV.

Rule of Thirds is prevalent here as well, but I actually walked around to find the best light for this one.  (Things I never thought about before. . . so fun!)

How has your photography changed since reading Get Me Off of Auto and taking Your Life Captured Through The Lens?  
Since my first class, I have noticed a big difference in my photos.  It's baby steps with me and I love the results of each new thing that I've learned from the lessons.  It seems that as soon as I'm happy with my results of a new technique,  I think of several other directions I want to go with it.  This just makes me want to learn even more.  I'm one of those people who crop through the view finder as I'm taking photos (rather than editing afterwards).  Looking at some of my favorite photos, it's evident to me that the rule of thirds has really influenced the type of shots I take.   Because of the class and tutorials I also "fill the frame" more than I use to,  I'm more conscious of bright sun and shadows and I pay attention to the details more when it comes to the "mechanics" of composing a shot. 

When I saw these mittens I immediately thought of the assignment on depth of field.  This photo turned out EXACTLY as I had envisioned it. 

What are your photography goals for 2010? or Any Projects for 2010?  
I take photos almost every day.  I love using my photos for my digital scrapbooking habit (excuse me, hobby), and am currently working on my second 365 book.  (I got hooked last year and just couldn't stop).  This year I really want to get a handle on quality of indoor photos. . .  the winters are long in SD (need I say more?)   I hate the harshness of onboard flashes and want to learn how to get better results with my external flash when I have to use it.  In general, I hope to grow in knowledge as far as photography goes and take my photos to "the next level."  (And you, my dear, Katrina will most likely be leading the way for me.  You inspire me in so many ways!)

Interested in seeing Kelly's 2009 365 book?

Were you wondering what some of Kelly's terms meant? Things like M, AV, or depth of field? Curious about her focus results and moving around for the light? You might be interested in The Very Basics: How To Use Your Camera a six week class to explore your camera, point and shoot or dSLR.

Have I helped you with a classebook, or tutorial? Would you like to be featured Behind The Lens? Send me an email at katrina at katrinakennedy dot com.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How'd I Shoot It?

This photo was taken almost two years ago. Isn't he small? And those eyes, wow!

Any guesses to how I took this? Besides using a little too much noise reduction, any guesses?

Give me your answer by Friday 3/12 at 9am EST. I'll place those of you with THE correct answer in a drawing for a class pass to The Very Basics! Class starts March 15th.

I'll post the answer and winner on Friday along with the winner and explanation of last week's quiz too.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Taking Requests for Photo of the Day

50mm | ISO 400 | f/1.4 | ss1/80

I asked the boys what I should take a photo of today. They both said, "your flowers." They were selected by Ian at this week's farmer's market. It's becoming a tradition. 

I'm okay with that.
I shot this using just the overhead light in our dining room. Wide open aperture, slow-but-fast-enough shutter speed to avoid shake. 
Do you have a request for tomorrow's photo?

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Story Behind The Photo

40mm | ISO 400 | f/5.6 | ss 1/125

Ian loves cactus. Really loves it. I have never known another four year old so attracted to the prickly stuff. Each outing to the nursery he hunts it down. Finding it is then, of course, followed by requesting one. Typically, the spiniest ones win. The red cactus is the newest in his collection.

This afternoon was beautiful so we headed outside to give his cacti (?) a proper home. He gave artistic direction and I wore the gloves to perform the transplant.

What funny quirks do you have in your life? Have you photographed them?

Since today was a bright day I was able to grab my 17-40mm f/4 L lens. Oh, how I love that lens on a day I can play outside!

Enjoy Your Camera

What better way to enjoy your camera than to get shooting! I have a lot going on this month to help you enjoy the process even more!

My next class, The Very Basics, starts on March 15th at GetItScrapped. If you want help learning to use your camera this is the class for you (or your mom or your neighbor). A new lesson is posted each week for six weeks. I'll be there to support you every step of the way!

Intro To Flash is my newest Give It Your Best Shot Tutorial in the DesignerDigitals store. If you've been frustrated learning how to use your camera's flash, you will find it helpful.

Saturday, March 13th is the month's PhotoWalkWithMe! If you are joining us locally, we'll be meeting at Steamers for a walk through the alleys of Old Sacramento and across the Tower Bridge. I'll post our photo prompts on Friday for those of you joining us virtually. We'll be meeting at 8AM to take advantage of the light! Yes, it's early, but we are starting at a coffee shop!

Looking forward to seeing you either online or in person!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Judges Are Sleeping

Since my Picture of the Day judges are sleeping, I am unable to make a decision! Today was a full day, with many photos, several different things happening.

In the absence of my decisiveness I'll leave you with a photo that breaks every rule.  We took Ian to see Dan Zanes today. Here he is perched on Shea's shoulders in the 4 year old "mosh pit" trying to touch bubbles.  The shutter speed was too slow, ISO too high, motion blur, no focus. I could go on and on. I love it anyway.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Nine Thousand Words

Eight days of black and white photos was never intentional. A little green in the corner gives the dark days of March a little hope as many of you suggested. I used Ali Edward's products again, as I did in this collection of nine days.

I never intended for this to be the format of my 365 book, but I've really come to love it.


If you are visiting from GetItScrapped and taking part in the blog challenge, link me up to your 9000 word post! Well, heck, if you are visiting from anywhere and have a 9000 word post, link me (as long as you aren't also selling some adult enhancement, weight loss, or other such stuff).

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spinach or Dinner?

Without Ian home for the deciding vote, Shea and I are at an impasse. Which photo would you choose for photo of the day? 

My spinach newly sprouting in the ping pong table converted to green house?

Or the tables at Aioli  where we escaped away to last night for a much needed bottle of wine and veggie paella?


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