Monday, February 28, 2011

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge | Anything But A Face!

Ian in the garden. Being a boy.

Stop by Iheartfaces to see more photos for this week's challenge!

February 2011 Rejects

February was a great month for rejects!
This month I found

  • out of focus toes
  • an unfocused dog edging out of the frame
  • a little boy a little too close to the lens
  • a fast moving bird
  • out of focus pirates with a pain in the neck
  • and  a shutter gone wild
What did you find in your reject pile?

Strange. He has the same shirt on in all the rejects. What can THAT mean?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Picture Is Worth More Than 1000 Words

There are so many details in this photo. So many tidbits of our life at this moment. Most compelling, though, is how this photo connects me to my own childhood. There are so many details I'm reminded of. Details I've not thought of in a very long time.

I'm reminded of my childhood fireplace. Rocks, each of a different shape and size. Some with nooks and crannies we drove cars through and played house with.

I'm reminded of the bookshelves on each side of our fireplace. Glass doors with hidden treasures behind. Old National Geographic magazines. The set of Encyclopedias with red binding. The Facts in Five Game. I loved that game.

I'm reminded of the trinkets along the mantle. The pigeon clock we used each weekend. The clay sculpture given to my mom by Bruce and Flo.

I'm reminded of Christmases with stockings hung. Reminded of the year the fire singed all of the oranges at the toes of the socks.

I'm reminded of lining up for Halloween photos. And special occasions.

I'm reminded of the green carpet in the living room.

I'm reminded of the maple coffee table. The one where we did our homework. The one we danced on. The one we played under. The one mom stacked laundry on as she folded it.

I'm reminded of the oil paintings created by grandmother.

I'm reminded of the white and gold vinyl couch that left imprints on your cheeks when you fell asleep.

I'm reminded of laughter and tears and moments of my childhood.

I'm reminded of my life.

I'm reminded there is so much more to a photo than what first appears.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How I Started My 365 Project, 1,093 Days Ago

Today is day 1,093 of my 365 project. Almost three years.

Perhaps you've started. Perhaps you've stopped. Maybe you've thought about it, but are afraid of the commitment. Every day for an entire year can be daunting.

How did I start?

I did not begin with 365 in mind. In 2008, a group of friends said, let's try doing a photo a day for 30 days. Seemed fun. 3o days, no problem. And so it began. 30 days of taking photos and sharing them with each other. We were excited and supportive and in love with photography.

Day 30 arrived and several of us couldn't stop. We just kept going. 30 days had created a habit we were now addicted to. Seeing the details. Trying things in ways we hadn't before. Documenting our lives in a daily photographic journal.

30 days, 7 days, 42 days, or 365 days, whatever you commitment. You become present. Present to the details in the world around you. Present to the craft and the art of photography.

365 is a blueprint of my life with highs and lows. Moments of clarity followed by moments of uncertainty. Happiness and sadness. Focus on the big picture and moments of minutia. I see it in my photos and I've felt it in the process of creating them.

It starts with one day. One photo. And you take it from there. We all begin with 1.

What's your number?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Categories of Goodness All Around

Happy Valentine's Day

Good things all around today!

In the General Goodness category, I captured this photo over the weekend. In the parking lot of Home Depot. The light is getting better. LOVE when we begin to move closer to the colors and light of Spring.

In the anxiously been waiting to tell you category, you can now take The Very Basics with me, on demand, self paced! You'll find it in the beautiful new classroom at Get It Scrapped. 6 Lessons, three videos and a forum and gallery for you to interact with me! You get me at your own pace, when you need to ask questions! I'll be in the forum for questions and in the gallery for photo feedback. Class walks you through seeing light, understanding aperture and shutter speed, and basic features of your camera. It is a great way to prep for Your Life: Captured Through The Lens.

In life is filled with surprises category, I got a little mention in IHeartFace's Photo Challenge | Hearts! Made my day. Amazing talent over there. It also means i can now proudly display this fun little icon!

In the I'm honored you love them category, my ebook and tutorials are 30% off at DesignerDigitals through tomorrow.

Am I the only silly one with categories of goodness? Must admit, I categorize most things in my life!

Enjoy your day. May you find love through your lens today. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

How I Photograph Valentine's Day

Love is in the air. I love the opportunity for red in my photos! Remember the Red Rule? It's also a great time to work on the February Photo List!

I'm headed to Ian's school today to take part in his Valentine's Day Celebration, which for me translates into, take a lot of photos to share with parents who can't be there. How will I go about capturing his day?

My camera bag is loaded with my camera, my 50mm lens, my 17-40mm lens, charged batteries, a 16GB memory card, and my external flash. Much of what fills my bag is just in case I need it stuff. Today I'll shoot with the 17-40mm lens, the wide angle, so I can get group shots and get in close to little hands decorating cookies. I'll grab my flash, bouncing it off the ceiling, if the light isn't as good as I expect. If it gets really dark, I'll switch to my 50mm.

I've learned from being in his classroom over the last few months that my 70-200mm lens, while great for zoo shots and candids, doesn't work well in the classroom on party days. Too much activity, too many little bodies crowding in close. I need to use a lens that works with their energy and activities!

I'll get some detail shots.

I always attempt to catch him in action. This seems to never be a cooperative moment. I'm hoping for better results this year.
I'll grab a group shot and smiling faces as they sort through their goodies. Then I will put the camera down and enjoy the festivities with both eyes!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Mom, I have a present"

The hands behind the light quiz.

I love Ali Edwards' 6x4 Photo Overlays! They will be at DesignerDigitals this weekend during the quarterly sale. You'll also be able to get my ebook, Get Me Off of Auto and my photography tutorials for 30% off throughout the sale! And rumor has it the sale just started!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Photography Quiz Answers | Light

I'm in a lucky stage with Ian. He asks for his photo to be taken, typically when he is doing something or holding something or dressed as something.

So when he showed me a heart created as he held his hands together, thanks to an old Barney episode, I knew I needed a photo. It became a perfect light lesson. I asked him to get in the good light.

He stepped into the blaring sun from the window. I asked him how it made his eyes feel. Squinty, he said.

I asked him to step just a foot to the left out of the direct light.

And just that easily, a mere 12 inches of difference, you can see the dramatic difference "good" light can make. He, of course, wasn't convinced until he saw the evidence.

So, yes, they were taken within a minute of each other. Here is a look at exactly where we were shooting. Yes, I have purple carpet in my office and in Ian's bedroom. It was one of those, "this will go as soon as we buy the house," bits of decor destined to remain for the next 20 years!

Do you involve your children in learning more about the camera and what it takes to get a good photo?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Photography Quiz | Light

Yesterday  I used two photos to teach Ian a bit about light. Any guesses about the time of day for each photo? Or location? What was his BIG lesson?

Monday, February 07, 2011

How To Photograph A Fun Valentine's Card

I love making Ian's Valentine's cards. We usually do something simple. He lasts through about four and then I finish the rest. This year I decided to try something different. I found the idea online, showed him the photo. He got a trip to the park for a little posing and I took care of the rest.

Settings and camera mode aren't as important for taking this photo as getting really close to his fist to achieve the fun distortion.
  1. Grab your widest lens (smallest mm # on the lens). I used my Canon 17-40mm L.
  2. Shoot in whatever mode you like, even Auto will work for this!
  3. If you choose a wide aperture (small f/ number) his face will blur.
  4. If you choose a narrow aperture (large f/number) more of his face will be in focus.
  5. Have your Valentine outstretch his fist, a bit to the side so his face isn't blocked.
  6. Get as close to the fist as you can while still maintaining focus.
  7. Shoot.
  8. Shoot again, just in case!
I resized mine to 4x6" and added  Jesse Edwards Doodles Hearts Brushes and a little text. I had them printed at Shutterfly and added the line, "Happy Valentines Day 2011 Ian Kennedy" on the back. I love that the date is included.

A quick two cuts along his hand, the addition of a Tootsie Roll Lollipop and Valentine's Day cards are done! He loves them. I love them. And we're done!
I think he was pleased!

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge | Hearts

Shea and I have a goofy tradition of grabbing a photo of the two of us together when we see our reflection. Last Valentine's Day we went on a little bike ride, photo outing and found this mirror in a window. I love how the fence blocking us from getting closer is also reflected in the shot!

Do you have any goofy photo traditions?

Pop on over to IHeartFaces to see some amazing heart images! And if you clicked over from IHF, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Take A Look Around The Frame

It was a cold morning. Okay, not Minnesota cold. About 40 degrees. Cold enough my fingers couldn't quite grasp the ring on the tripod mount to remove it from my camera, forcing me to hand hold my camera. Cold enough that my boys were bundled up, complete with heads covered.

I walked down the bike trail, looking for the spot that would convey the feeling I wanted when my subjects arrived.

A little hill. The bike trail curving into the distance. Through my viewfinder I could see that the road would start in the bottom right corner and move around the frame, ending towards the right again. Nice.

One distraction in the frame, but for anyone who is out on the trail often, it is also a place giver. The sign announcing who cares for the trail. The 20 mile marker seemed a fitting piece of context as well. We all have a story for that marker. Maybe it is where our workout started or our bike got a flat or the spot of our longest run.

The runners I waited for would appear on the left side of the frame. I wasn't planning on capturing my boys. The right side worked. It filled in the patch of bare dirt. Filled it in with a story bigger than any words I have.

In that moment my photo of the day arrived. Unexpected.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A Life Without Comparison

I wish for a life without comparison.

A life filled with happiness in what I have.

Happiness in how I am and who I am.

I wish the same for my child. And my husband and my friends.

I wish for the time to enjoy what is.

To treasure each moment.

I wish to remove comparison and expectation and desire for anything more than what is.

Because what is

Is really good.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Behind The Lens: Kathleen Ducharme

I love meeting new people in class. I especially love when they pour themselves into learning all they can to improve their memory keeping.
POTD 1.20.11 - Me
Kathleen is one of those people who I felt instantly connected to! Not only did she dedicate her energy to improving, but she was an amazing support to others in class!

I am so pleased to introduce her to you!
Bright Colors
What sparked your interest in photography?
I love photographs, all kinds of photos. Photography has been a hobby for as long as I can remember. My original goal was to document special events of my life. Not having any pictures of my childhood, my desire to take photos great exponentially when we began having children. I wanted our children to have their life stories available at their fingertips.

My camera: Nikon d7000

My favorite lens: Nikon 80mm f/1.8

Lens used most often: Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G
Santa in Training
I am happy anytime I have my camera in hand, shooting pictures. I am happy when I open my scrapbooks, look at a photo and think, "great photo!" Then, I realize I took it!
Day of Rest ... and Play
What have you learned from Your Life: Captured Through The Lens that has helped your photography most?
Isolating what I learned through Your Life: Captured Through the Lens and Capture Your Holidays is impossible. My photography was completely transformed through the instruction. My pictures came alive.

In terms of photo mechanics, I never understood how to successfully shoot in manual mode. Numerous photography classes failed to help me comprehend how to shoot in any modes other than the auto or program ones. I had resigned myself to thinking that manual mode would always be far beyond my abilities.

Your Life: Captured Through The Lens changed me.

The course offered an easy to understand, well-organized approach to very complex topics. Through following the instruction, my first photo taken in manual mode was a good one! Since then, manual mode is the mode I shoot in the majority of the time. I will not let myself even consider going back to auto mode, but I really never need to!

Most of all, the classes gave me confidence; in my composition and in my skills.
Stress Relief in the Woods
What are you current photography goals?
My 2011 goal is to participate in Project 365 and capture more of my day-to-day life. The majority of my photos are taken of my family. Capturing my life is important too. My focus is to compose photos of my routines in creative, non-typical ways. I also agreed to my husband's goal of taking more pictures of me.

You can follow Kathleen's blog and see more of her day-to-day life at JKPlusThree.

I love watching people's photography skills improve! I'll be offering Your Life: Captured Through The Lens soon, more details to follow.

Until then, you can download a Free Lesson. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

365 Photo Inspiration List For February

Do you like a little challenge in your 365 project?  I've put together a downloadable PDF February 365 Inspiration List for you! 28 fun ideas to inspire your photography. This list is open to a lot of creative interpretation.

You can use the list in several ways!

  1. Everyday, search for one item on the list.
  2. At the end of the month, search your photos and match to the words.
  3. Take a literal approach, finding or spelling the words with objects.
  4. Pick and choose a few that move you, filling in around the rest of your photos.

There are no right or wrong ways to complete your 365. Enjoy shooting!

I'll be using a combination of idea #2 and #3. What is your plan?

Happy February!


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