Friday, July 30, 2010

Ayyyyyyyy Scurvy Dogs

Any guesses where we are spending a certain five year old's birthday?

We spent most of our day on either Pirate's of the Caribbean or Buzz LightYear's AstroBlaster.

Looking forward to what today will bring!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Behind The Lens: Debbie West

I love that teaching photography gives me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. Debbie is one of those people. I have loved watching her skills develop and just love the details she is able to capture. 

I'm pleased to introduce you to Debbie West.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I have enjoyed photography for a number of years but the real “match to dry grass” moment for me was a couple of years ago when I was browsing the Shutterfly site and came across Ali Edward’s December Daily book. I had just discovered something I never knew existed; digital scrapbooking. I was immediately smitten with the pages featuring wonderful big, bold, up close and personal photos. I loved everything single element of the process of scrapbooking but found myself frustrated at not having great photos to use on my pages and set out to do everything I could to improve my skills. In that process I found that I really loved the “art” of photography.

This was taken for Lesson 3 on metering.  I used matrix metering but more importantly, it was my first successful capture on Manual. 

What makes you happiest about your photography?
Nothing makes me happier than uploading a photo and realizing I’ve captured something unexpected; a detail I would not have otherwise realized existed.

The object was to find a new angle.  Once I found that, I thought most predictable point of focus would be the floral scene; so I went for the cup handle!  I really liked the result.

What have you learned that helped your photography most?
First of all, the very basic skill of focus; specifically of changing focal points.  I have learned how to completely change the “story” of a photo by changing its focal point.  I think it is the most effective way of saying, “THIS is what I want you to see”.   And secondly, I would have to say, perspective.  I remember the lesson where Katrina tells us to lay on the ground, point our camera up and shoot!  Now there was something I’d never considered doing!  But I have always remembered that lesson and now consider perspective in almost every photo I take.  I consciously think, “How can I show this to someone in a way they might not consider.”

I used both negative space and the rule of thirds for this photo.

How has your photography changed since Your Life: Captured Through the Lens?
It has become much more thoughtful.  I think one of the most helpful tools I came away with from Your Life: Captured Through the Lens was the critique sheet Katrina distributed for a chat session.  We uploaded photos and used the questions as a basis for critiquing them.  This was a huge eye opener for me.  I still remember the night Katrina pulled up my photo and proceeded to ask this group of complete strangers, “So how does this photo make you feel?”  Initially The Scream flashed before my eyes, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience.  I look at my photos with much more intent now.  It has also become much more adventurous as I am now comfortable with all of those “mystery” knobs and buttons on my camera.

This photo sparked my interest in seeing everyday things from a different perspective; it may be responsible for an addiction!

What are your photography goals for 2010? or Any Projects for 2010?
I have only just completed the class so I know that daily practice is very important to continue improving my skills.  I have started the 365 Project and hope to continue it through 2011.

You can see Debbie's scrapbook pages at DesignerDigitals.

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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tomorrow He's This Many

And the face? That is his "tomorrow it's my birthday face." Amazing the cooperation anticipation of presents can bring!

Monday, July 26, 2010

5 Years Ago Today

This is what I looked like.

Little did we know we were getting an early gift two days later!

Amy was right about Saturday's photo quiz. I shot with a wide angle lens at 17mm, as close to his face as I could get and still have focus. A fun little trick to play with! It always looks best with kids.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have To Goof - And A Quiz!

It's that kind of summer and he's that kind of boy. We're in a cooperating for the camera stretch because his birthday is near! I taught him the word manipulation last week. It seemed like it was time. He knows it well!

Any guesses how I took this?!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Behind The Lens: Amy LeJeune

Have you ever met someone online who you just know is an incredible, warm, fun person? That is how I feel about Amy. Amy has great photography skills and claims I helped her out! I'm honored and touched to have helped someone who was already skilled!

Please meet my friend Amy LeJeune.

What sparked your interest in photography?
At a scrapbooking event, a friend asked me to take a group photo using her camera. It had a lens that you turned to focus and it made a very photographic clicking sound when you released the shutter. It was the first time I held a digital SLR and I immediately knew that my photography skills had to improve. I decided to learn everything I could about my point and shoot and even tried manual settings on it. Then I treated myself to my first dSLR and never looked back.

What camera do you use?
I have a Nikon D300.

What is your favorite lens?
My favorite lens is my Nikkor f2.8 24-70mm lens. I have it on my camera most of the time.

My example for the blurring the background assignment in Captured Through the Lens. I later extracted the fern frond and used it as a brush on a scrapbook page!

What makes you happiest about your photography?
My photography allows me to revisit my life as often as I like. It lets me collect emotions and daily events to cherish forever.

My niece's bridal bouquet. I practiced perspective on this shot by squatting down and looking up a little. I liked this upward angle on the wedding cake too. 

What have you learned from my classes or tutorials that has helped your photography most?
I loved Captured Through the Lens and have all the lessons printed and stored in a binder. The information is concise and fundamental, and a quick review of it always brings me back to the primary elements of this wonderful hobby.

For this portrait I practiced metering for side lighting.

If you could only photograph one subject for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would photograph my progeny. Now that my sons are almost all grown up, I hope someday to have another generation to add to my photographic stockpile!

You can see more of Amy's talent and progeny on her blog and in her DesignerDigitals gallery.

I'm looking forward to meeting Amy in January of next year! It will be fun to finally hear her voice and spend time shooting together.

We just wrapped up Your Life: Captured Through The Lens, but it's not too late for Your Kids: Captured Through The Lens. Registration closes today.

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, July 21, 2010

Make Your Fair Face

Today begins Ian's Jubilee! All day he said, you can have anything you want mom, it's my jubilee! Of course he also said, I can have anything I want, it's my jubilee!

He showed me his best fair face.

Notice the chocolate ice cream on his hat and face? THAT IS a fair face! At his request, he took a spin on the ferris wheel.

A good way to spend a day that started, so very strangely.  I was at the 6AM class before any of it was cleaned up. Just strange.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 On Tuesday

My dear friend Mel posts 10 on Tuesday. So I'd thought I'd take a little inspiration from her!

  1. I'm on Day 6 of a 40 Day Transformation at Zuda Yoga. Three sessions of studio yoga already, with many more planned. I'm loving it and feeling great. Excited about what the next 34 days hold. We're using the book 40 Days to Personal Revolution.
  2. Today is my baby brother's 34th birthday. We're so lucky we live just a few blocks away. He is referred to as "Uncle" in our house, as well as a few names not suitable for typing here.
  3. The chickens are laying three eggs a day now. I don't eat them, but Shea is certainly happy! I'm happy knowing where they come from. I'd be happier if they'd stay out of my tomatoes!
  4. I've been getting lots of questions lately about my diet. I am vegan. It's really not that weird. I'm planning a post about it next week.
  5. Your Kids: Captured Through The Lens starts today. I love when a new class starts, so much enthusiasm, excitement and fun to be had!
  6. Ian's Jubilee starts tomorrow! He is so excited about his birthday this year. 
  7. My garden is producing like crazy - squash, long beans, tomatoes, and tomatillos. The bell peppers, jalapenos, and green beans are just starting to bloom and grow. Sadly, the potatoes are almost done, but that is probably a good thing given #1.
  8. I'm loving Sunday night dinner. I spend a lot of the week thinking about it, planning for it, and watching what's available in the garden. I haven't decided this Sunday's meal yet.
  9. I've been thinking a lot about my 365 photo project lately. I need to make a decision about it, but not today.
  10. Today I'm canning tomatoes. There will be photos.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finding Lost Treasures

Somedays I click on old posts to see what was going on in our lives.

Today I clicked on July 19, 2008 and found this photo. I love it more know than I did then.

Do you ever sort through your photos or posts to find treasures?

We Have A Winner

Congratulations Jennifer M. in S. Korea! You were randomly selected as the winner for a pass to Your Kids: Captured Through the Lens!

Jennifer, check your email, you'll receive more details in your inbox!

Thanks everyone for playing.  I hope to see you in class!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunflowers at Sunset

We've driven by this along the side of the 80 for years. I've always wanted to take pictures of them.

Last year we drove out specifically for that purpose. They were already done, their blackened faces sadly turned to the ground waiting to be harvested.

Last night, we ventured out an hour before sunset to see if we could find them. The first field we found we just couldn't get close enough too, fenced, buildings, and a huge ditch. Being from a farm family, I know better than to trespass across freshly dug ditches or to scale fences.

So we kept driving. 20 miles further actually. We spotted the field just as we were beginning to give up, watching the clock as our available light dwindled away. Shea pulled of the interstate and meandered country roads trying to get close. Again, we couldn't. So we kept driving.

And there it was. Millions of sunflowers stretched out before us.

They weren't facing the sun so I was forced to shoot into the sun. I perched myself precariously atop our step stool and shot. And shot.

And then when we arrived home, I played in Lightroom just a bit. Ilove how one flower is reaching above the others as if to say, "look at me."

Next on my list? We are going back at sunrise. They'll be facing the sun and smiling back at me!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Want To Win A Free Pass to Capture Your Kids Through The Lens?

Four years ago today I sat down to begin to write About A Boy. My plan was to capture day to day details of a little boy's life so his Mumzy and other family could follow his shenanigans from a distance.

As he grew, things changed. Of course.

It became a little less about just a boy as I started to share my perspective. And then I started including my digital scrapbook pages. Finally, in the last two years, photo information and stories and meanderings all melded together to create the current blog. No longer solely about a boy. And somehow along the way, other people started reading. And leaving comments. (I love comments.) That was never part of my original plan, but has become a welcome (and fun) addition to my life! I've made new friends, expanded my community and found a great outlet for all the noise in my head (there's a lot).

Sometimes my posts are simple and sometimes they are written from somewhere deeper. Something I've got to get out.

So I celebrate About A Boy's Fourth Anniversary with a giveaway for one lucky reader and a good friend!

Here it is...four questions. That's it!

  1. How old was Ian when I started writing About A Boy?
  2. What special thing did Ian do during his Karate Class last month?
  3. What did I want to do the first time Ian unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper?
  4. Who did I have a conversation with on a bus at Disneyworld that resulted on refocusing my photography?

Everyone who posts the correct answers at the questions will be entered into a drawing for a pass to Your Kids: Captured Through The Lens. The lucky winner will also get a pass to share with a friend, because isn't class more fun with a friend?

The contest closes at 11PM PDT on Sunday, July 18th. I'll announce the winner on Monday morning. Class beings on July 20th!

Your Kids is a fun, interactive six week class. It includes downloadable pdf lessons, videos, two live chats, and a message board for interaction and questions! I'm including a special lesson this class on theme park photography! Guess where Ian is going for his birthday/research!

**And here's a hint. I've made it easy to get the answers! Each answer can be found on one of the links in this post! I added a couple of extra links for some added fun. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Capture Context In Your Photography

On Monday, several of you mentioned you loved the context in our family dinner photo. It set off my thinking about context, "the big picture" of our photography.   In working towards the perfect photo with a lovely blurred background it can become easy to ignore the details that provide time, place and memory.

I love my childhood photos with the green countertops, funky wallpaper, and odds and ends in the frame. How do you capture context in an appealing way though?

It's all about focus. Focus on a strong subject in the frame so the viewer knows exactly the story you are telling.

In this photo, Ian performs his version of the chicken dance. While the story is definitely about he and the new chickens, you can see so much of our life at this moment in the frame. In the foreground is the potato bed, a favorite place to dig for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the background you can see his fort, the compost pile where we've witnessed a skunk and a snake, and on the left side of the frame, one of our 17 tomato plants sneaks into the frame. Zooming in on just him would have lost all of those details.

Here's another favorite of mine. Ian is playing Plants Versus Zombies on the iPhone. I'm certain it will be a favorite childhood memory for Ian. In the details of the frame you can see our location, our meal, and the fun art that Ian loves about Capital Dog.

You can see more of my examples in the garden and looking back to the holidays of 2008.

 Do you love context too? I'd love to see yours!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Four Year Anniversary Give Away!

Yesterday I mentioned I'd be giving away a pass for one lucky winner and a friend to Your Kids: Captured Through The Lens! Be thinking of the friend you'd like to have join you in class. On Friday I'll post a little quiz! Everyone who answers correctly will go into a random drawing!

Good luck!

Any questions about class before the quiz begins?

One More Way To Photograph Active Kids

Adding on more technique to yesterday's 5 Ways To Photograph Active Children.

Dress them up and ask them to make a pirate face!

50mm | ISO 1000 | f/2.2 | ss 1/200
processed in Lightroom with Matt K's Edgy Look Preset


for those of you concerned, know that Ian chose this costume willingly.
No bribery or coercion was used.  Really. None. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Five Ways To Photograph Active Children

Taking pictures of children can be tricky. They move, squirm, make faces, and don't always cooperate. The hardest times to photograph them can be some of the moments you most want to remember!

So how do you photograph them before they can't even stand being around you? Taking Ian to his first day of Art Camp was a great opportunity for me to use six of my favorite techniques. Notice my favorite, bribery, wasn't even included!

Dare Them - Ask them to do something BIG! Jumping over something is perfect. Shoot with a shutter speed of at least 1/125th of a second if you want to stop action. This is especially effective if they are wearing pink. I think pink may be the new red rule.

50mm | ISO 400 | f/2.0 | ss 1/125

Playing, from behind - The best way to get cooperation? Don't let them know you are shooting.

50mm | ISO 400 | f/2.5 | ss 1/800

Intent on an activity - Get them involved in doing something. Stage it by good light. Shoot. This may also be the only way I can get a photo with him.

50mm | ISO 400 | f/1.4 | ss 1/640

Let them do something they normally can't - Okay, of course, within reason. Wearing chairs on their heads seemed to fit the bill.

50mm | ISO 400 | f/2.0 | ss 1/400

Ask them to make faces - Zoolander "Blue Steel" seems to be very effective in our house.

50mm | ISO 400 | f/2.5 | ss 1/800

Have a back up plan - If you can't get them to cooperate, grab something they think is special and shoot it. You can work in good light with cooperation!

Remember, too, that taking pictures of your kids means sometimes you live with imperfection. Keep it in perspective since when your little one is turning five, you'll love those photos of his two year old self, no matter the focus or composition!

I'll be sharing more techniques to photograph children in Your Kids: Captured Through The Lens - a six week online, interactive class.  Class starts July 20th. Registration closes on July 22nd.

Check back tomorrow for a fun scavenger hunt where one lucky winner will get a class pass for themselves and one to share with a friend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

How I Spent Six Hours In The Kitchen, By Choice

Remember that Sunday night family dinner idea I had? Perhaps, it's gotten out of hand!

My brother requested Indian food and being one up for a challenge, I took it on.

After a week of pouring through cookbooks and reading websites I selected recipes with ingredients available in the garden that sounded appealing.

The menu included:

Vegetable Samosas

Cilantro & Mint Chutney
Tomato & Onion Relish

Beets with Mint & Yogurt
Yes, it was really that pink! Not high on my must be made again list though.

Curried Vegetables
Red Lentil Dal

After six hours in the kitchen dinner was ready. Justin was already at the table, even though he knew the table needed it's photo shoot.

Not something I feel compelled to do very often, but certainly worth the effort. Dinner was yummy and we have leftovers for the entire week!  Photo of the day? I think I'm going with the first one since I didn't take a picture of all of the dirty dishes.

Next week I'm making salad.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

22 Techniques for Better Photos

I've gathered 22 Techniques into a tutorial for the DesignerDigitals store! I'm proud of this one and hope you enjoy it too!

It's discounted through Tuesday along with all new items in the DD store!

If you buy it, let me know which technique works best for you!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Friday Family Fun Day

Do you know the glorious thing about the Fridays of summer? They really don't very different from the other days! Since our project list is long, we are sticking to our Friday Family Fun Day rule though. No projects. No commitments. Just us together as a family. And my camera, of course.

We ventured out to the zoo today. I love taking photos at the zoo. So many great opportunities and so many distractions to get natural, unposed shots of Ian. Today was a sunny day, but we found lots of great open shade for better photos.

There was face painting. You were right if you guessed evil black octopus. Doesn't every kid ask for that?

There was giraffe and tiger spotting.

Do you know the trick for making the cage disappear? It's all about the zoom! The further the animal is form the wire, the longer your zoom with no direct light on the cage and the wire magically disappears. 

There was map reading. Always map reading even though he knows where everything is and has visited countless times. Ian LOVES maps. He typically stops to take a look which is my immediate cue to get the camera out. I love his little finger pointing. Any guesses what he is pointing at? If you've been to our zoo with a boy, I have no doubt you can guess it!

There was great contemplation over the duties of a zookeeper. Even when he is uncooperative, he insists on taking his picture here. I've got a photo from every zoo trip since he was about 8 months old!

And finally there was just play. As we walked to the play area he announced, "there are two more things to do. The reptile house and the gift shop. Then we go home." He's well trained!

We ended the day with a little lunch at the Rubicon, a long nap, and time with the chickens in the garden, but I (gasp) put the camera away for those events!

It's between the giraffe, the map, and play for my Photo of the Day pick. What's your choice?

Hello Sweet Baby

Ahhhh, newborn photo shoots. I love being invited into this precious moment in a family's life. I love the smell and the skin and the newness. I love it all. I'm always honored to be part of documenting this moment.
I used Cathy Zielske's The 12x12 Monthly Album Set and Ali Edwards' Hello Baby Hand Drawn Brush.

Just a reminder, Your Kids: Captured Through the Lens has an early bird discount through July 12th! Class starts on July 20th.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Meet The New Girls

They arrived yesterday and made themselves right at home in their palace. Ian instantly fell in love with them, greeting them with a big "good morning chickens" first thing this morning. He actually wanted to go outside to see them.

This is Charlie. She is my favorite with lots of personality and a sense of adventure (seriously, they have personalities already). The other two, Lola and Chicken, are nowhere as photogenic as Charlie!

Although Lola did leave this for Shea.

Perhaps I'll need to change my tag line to About a boy. And his mom. And photography. And chickens. 


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