Saturday, May 28, 2011

Part 2

It did end up being a late night. I'm so glad I didn't promise to finish this last night. It would have ended up being early this AM, anyway.

So where were we?

Oh yes. We learned about finding the light in a house. So we were ready to go on an adventure. I love a good adventure.
Miz Booshay took us to a refurbished train depot. They have a bike rental business in the depot and then several train cars parked on the tracks. The thing that helps make this a great lighting location is the long pavilion that covers the sidewalk all along the train cars. Add the interesting textures of the cars and bricks and you have a great photo shot location.

I know I showed you this next one the other day, but it goes right along with what I'm trying to describe. 
The lighting is great. No shadows, but not so bright that you have to squint. The background is interesting but doesn't take your eye away from the main subject.
Throughout the workshop, we would work in two smaller groups. Here is the other group working with Emma.

From there we headed further downtown to the Capital building. Miz Booshay gave us wonderful advice about working with your subjects.

Ask them to run, jump, do something interesting.

Have them lay down and stand above them at their head. You can always rotate the picture 180 degrees in editing. By standing at their head, it makes them open their eyes more.

 Look for interesting/unusual ways to get a creative picture.
I love that we all have our cameras up to our face :).

Here are the wonderful ladies that I enjoyed the class with.

(Miz Booshay is the one on the right.)

And the final photo of the day...
Photo taken by Miz Booshay.

It was a complete pleasure to learn and laugh together. Thank you to Miz Booshay, Katie and Emma for their wonderful hospitality and sharing. 
Thank you to Carrie, Bonnie, Nancy, Anna and Deb for welcoming me into their group of coolness!

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Recap

This week I have been using up my computer time on a special project for one of my 4-H families. 4-Her, CMM, is graduating from high school tonight. Her mom is one of my 4-H volunteers. She asked me a long time ago if I would help her create a picture video for CMM's graduation. Her mom has been working for several weeks going through their photos, burning them to CDs and choosing the best 500 for a video.

I burnt the "draft" version this morning and handed it off for the debut tonight at the party. Later, we are going to add graduation photos and then create the final product. I loved seeing so many wonderful family moments and helping make a special gift. I know CMM is going to love it!

I hope you forgive my absence from the blog this week. I bet you have been on the edge of your seat waiting to hear about my weekend photo workshop. 

It was as wonderful as I anticipated. Miz Booshay was a sweet and wonderful teacher. I appreciated her attitude of encouragement the most. She welcomed six total strangers into her home with open arms - literally and figuratively :).

As the six students arrived we stood around visiting and being amazed at the connections we had. 

  • Three young moms (one is pregnant with her first), 
  • two grandmothers
  • three from Illinois
  • two "neighbors" from Chicago suburbs
  • six faithful Pioneer Woman and Miz Booshay readers 
  • six blog lovers
  • six amateur photographers wanting to look like professional
Miz Booshay set a beautiful table of morning treats. We joined her in the kitchen to continue chatting and getting to know one another and to begin class. 

One of the things that I appreciated most about the day was that her daughters and husband came and went just like it was completely normal for us to be at their house. Mid-morning, her youngest daughter Katie came home from softball (?) practice and shoe shopping with her dad. She immediately came into the kitchen, gave her mom and kiss on the cheek and said Hi to all of us. 

When Miz Booshay said "go change your clothes and put on something cute" Katie didn't hesitate. She "skipped" upstairs and came back down quickly ready to begin her day of modeling.

Oh! I just remembered! Miz Booshay also gave us each a Super bag of gifts.

This awesome LLBean bag was full of little treats....

This is my first LL Bean bag. I love that it is made in the U.S.A. I will have to do some LL Bean shopping and see if all of their products are USA.

We each had a bright red folder with the agenda and notes inside, plus the necessities of a bottle of water and pen. Attached to the outside of the folder was a nice laminated checklist. Everything a good photographer should check and adjust as they begin shooting. The best part was this...
This is a new chocolate favorite of mine. I've been savoring it slowly. I'm going to start giving them as gifts too. It is a special treat.

We enjoyed our morning together around the table learning

  • the differences among our cameras and lenses
  • more about the buttons on each of our cameras
  • metering
  • spot metering
  • changing the focus point
  • (please forgive me if I am not using the proper technical names)
  • what the numbers on the lens mean
  • white balance
  • ISO settings
I took a few test shots as I was playing with my settings

Nikon D60
ISO 400, 1/60s, focal length 42.0mm

The only thing that changed on this one is the shutter speed - 1/40s.

This one is at 1/30s.

and 1/25s.
These are all pretty "slow" shutter speeds. I think it only worked because the subject is completely still and I had my elbows propped on the table like a tripod.

I learned that the longer your lens, the faster your shutter speed needs to be, just because the lens is heavier and harder to hold perfectly still. I will begin paying better attention to this. For me, I think it will mean adjusting my ISO much more often than I have been.

Lighting was the next major topic. We jumped up from the table and Miz Booshay led us to the light. In her house it happens to be best at her front door and in the front of the garage.

I usually get caught up with the location and what the background looks like. I learned so much about lighting and now I understand how you can make a super photo with the right lighting in any location.
This one was taken using the light coming in the window. Katie is sitting on the arm of the couch. See the sparkle in her eye. That was the key to "finding the light."

It's time to get ready for the graduation party. I hope to get back to finish this post tonight, but just in case I don't, I'll go ahead and call this Part 1.

I know you'll love seeing the photos in Part 2. Til then....
Happy Weekend

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

Tonight I played four games of sand volleyball.
Add that on to a busy weekend and what do you have?
One tired me!

I have so much to tell you about my photo workshop with Miz Booshay

But it is going to have to wait until tomorrow when I can think a little bit more clearly. 

For now, I'll leave you with some photos - unedited.

PS - We won all four games!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are you gonna shoot?

For the past year, I have been working with a group of volunteers to begin a new special interest club for Shooting Sports. We have three separate groups for Archery, Air Rifle and Shotgun.

This week I attended two of the shoots so that I could get pictures. On Tuesday, I arrived at the Shotgun shoot right between the two separate sessions. I was hoping to get pictures of both groups. As soon as I got out of my car, one of my 4-Hers asked "Are you gonna shoot?"

I just laughed. And before I could respond, one of the dads came out and asked me "Are you gonna shoot?"

So I laughed again and gave them grief for not even saying hello first. Several other 4-Hers and dads asked me the same question. So after the end of the shoot I asked the instructor if I could have a try.

My Federation member W (who happens to be a great shot) immediately took my camera from me so he could document my attempt/humiliation.

My one stipulation was that the instructor could not teach me. He had to pick one of the 4-Hers to teach me how to shoot. So my 4-Her and friend D was chosen.

Thankfully, one of the assistant instructors joined me on the line. We are both beginner shooters.

D had to start at the very beginning with me. 
  • how to pass the gun from the instructor to student
  • where to hold the gun
  • where to put the butt of the gun

Me - "I'm left eye dominant."
D - "Then you put the gun right here."

Me - "What do I do next?"
D - "The safety is here. Put the shell here, slide the thing forward to close the chamber, then shoot."
I forget what D called it.

Me- "But how do I do that."
D - "The target will fly out, follow it and gently pull the trigger."

D - "Say PULL when you are ready."
Me - "Oh I have to say it."
D - "Yep, whenever you are ready."
Me - "My arm is getting tired from holding this gun."
D - "It helps if you say PULL and actually pull the trigger."

Me - "T, maybe you better go first."
T - "No, you go ahead."
Me - "PULL"
Me - "D, I missed. What did I do wrong."
D - "Just try again."

Following the target the target the target. Following the target wherever it may go.
It makes me want to fly to Neverland.

Me - "Oh, that hurt my teeth. They hit each other when I shot."
W - "Don't smile when you shot. Keep your mouth closed."
Me - "But you're taking my picture. I need to smile."
W - "Just keep your teeth down tight."

 Me - "I missed again. What now?"
D - "You gotta aim just a bit in front of the target."
Me - "Maybe you should have mentioned that at the beginning."

T - "I got it all under control over here A. You better get it pulled together or you're going to get laughed at."

Me - "Alright. I can do this. PULL!"

Did you see that? I hit the target. W said he got a picture of it. 
If you don't see it, don't worry. I don't see it either. Nor did I see it hit that night. I just guessed by the cheers and applause that I really did hit it.

Thursday night rolls around and the Air Rifle group wanted the same thing. The chance to laugh at my poor shooting skills.

This time C took the role of photographer and M was the teacher.

The Air Rifles were a little bit more my speed.

But I really think I'm going to stick with shooting my camera. I'm much better at that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Have camera. Will travel.

I have a new business idea!

If I share it here, please promise me you won't steal it from me. 


Pinky promise?


Here it is in a nutshell.......

It's a Photography package. The complete package includes a full day that includes child care, a one on one photo shoot of the child, photo editing and sending them to be developed.

Doesn't that sound fun!!!

It does to me as long as the child is as sweet and cute as this one.

This was how I got to spend part of my day with A in Texas. I loved it!!! She took a really good nap that allowed me to get the photos edited before mom and dad got home from work. It all worked out beautifully.

Tell your friends and call early. I think this new business idea is going to take off like a sky rocket!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Communion

My niece's first communion was today. Sadly, I missed it. But thanks to technology I still have photos to share.

I'm not sure who took this photo, but I must say "Well done!" This is a great shot.

Jordan called me this evening to ask me two questions....
Is it hot in Texas?
Nope. Not this weekend. It is unusually cool for this time of year. Low 70s.
What did you get me for my 1st Communion?
Can you tell that she missed me :).

Well I explained to her that she might be disappointed because it is not a toy. But on the other hand, she loves to read, so maybe she really will like it. I am sure that when she is older, she will appreciate it more.

Since I could not be there to give it to her. And I won't see her until mid June. I told her I would post a picture of it here. 

This is how it arrived. I ordered it from and the seller did a great job with her presentation. Super cute.

It is a metal bookmark with the words Jordan's First Communion 5.15.11 stamped on it. I purchased it from here

PearlieGirl gave me SUPER service. She adapted the design to fit all of the words and she got it done and shipped very quickly. I appreciated it very much.

If you are not a shopper, I would encourage you to check it out. Here are some other artists I have shopped with...

I know this artist personally. We used to play volleyball together. She is a lovely girl who is just finishing grad school and getting married.