Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31: New Shades

I’ve finished my first month!  Some days have been tedious, but lately I’ve really been looking forward to pulling out my camera to see what pictures I’ll get to take that day.  I think I’ve learned a lot about my camera and how to take better pictures and I hope to keep learning and improving!

I bought Charlotte and Cooper some new sunglasses today.  They keep complaining about the sun being in their eyes and they always point to mine and my husband’s sunglasses, so I thought it was time for them to get their own pairs.

I love both of their expressions in this photo.DSC_0024_edit

This one is interesting because it makes Cooper appear much shorter than Charlotte when in fact he’s about 4 inches taller.  I also like the way he’s looking at her and smiling.  Charlotte kept looking from the bottom of the sunglasses which made for several unflattering angles on her nostrils. DSC_0016_edt

I went outside this evening during the last little bit of light and took some pictures of the flowering tree in our front yard.  It’s such a pretty tree!

I like this one because it almost feels like a piece of art.  I like that there are several points of focus on the flower because I had my f/ stop set very low and the flowers are at varying depths of field.  I wish we didn’t have an overcast sky, because then it would have been a pretty blue or pink/purple sky behind the tree.DSC_0033_edit

I like the bokeh on this one.DSC_0036_edit 

This is just a different framing of the same bloom.  I like that it has more flowers in the background.DSC_0039_edit

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30: Sandy Babes at the New Park

There are so many parks in our city and we usually only venture to the 4-5 that are within walking distance.  Now that the kids are getting a little bigger (and easier to manage) I’m starting to take the car to explore new parks in our city.  It would be so much easier to either have a second person to help, or not to have to worry about my diaper bag/purse, my camera, the dog, and two toddlers running in opposite directions.  Despite the craziness, I think we all managed to have fun at this ocean inspired park today.

I love this picture because it shows how well the kids play together.  They really do entertain each other, even if they sometimes get on each other’s nerves.  It also shows Cooper’s preferred lack of shoes, especially when sand is involved, while Charlotte doesn’t mind getting sand all over my car.DSC_0143_edit2


I took tons of pictures of Cooper today, but I don’t really love any of them.  I only took a few of Charlotte because all she wanted to do was swing (normal for her) and I find it impossible to focus the camera while she’s swinging.  This one is probably my favorite of Cooper from the day.  I have no idea what he was looking at, but he just looked too cute sitting on the bench.


This is my favorite of Charlotte because it shows how crazy curly her hair was today.  I am in love with her hair!  (I ran an unsharp mask on this, but you can still tell that her face is out of focus…I think the focus actually fell on her hands.)  DSC_0137_edit

On our way home they had snack in the car.  My camera sort of freaked out when I tried to take one of Charlotte (the light was slightly different on her side) and of course the cutest picture came out really, really dark.  I was able to recover it a bit in Photoshop, but darn for almost missing this moment! DSC_0186_edit DSC_0192_edit

Original DSC_0192

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29: Double Post – Bright, Bright Moon!

Taking pictures of landscapes (or the moon in this case) is so much different than kids!  I used my kit lens zoomed to 105mm for this and the moon was so bright I had to drop my ISO to 200 and raise my shutter speed to 1/2000 in order to capture the detail.  My aperture was set at f/7.1.  I did some post-processing to sharpen a bit (since I had to crop so much) and also adjusted curves, levels, and color balance to increase contrast.


Day 29: Somersaults at the park

Thank goodness for Photoshop!  I forgot to change my white balance, but loved this shot.  They are both trying to learn how to do somersaults.  I love how Scout has a look on her face that says ‘Oh, my what are they doing now??’DSC_0067

My first edit—no more blue/teal!DSC_0067 edit1

Other fun edits

CoffeeShop Vivid BrightDSC_0067 editvivid

CoffeeShop B&W SplendorDSC_0067 editb&W

Coffeeshop B&W Chocolate   DSC_0067 edit b&W2

Coffeeshop VintageDSC_0067 editvintage

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28: Mischief and Comfort

Cooper likes to torment Charlotte.  I usually can’t get a picture of it because he knows that she can fairly quickly fend for herself.  So he usually torments her and then runs away.DSC_0040_edit 

Cooper often walks up to me and hugs my legs (almost my hips now…wow that kid is tall since I’m 5’ 11”!) and then bites onto my shirt and sort of hangs himself off.  I really love this picture because I completely nailed the focus on his eyes (no post processing sharpening on this photo…only upping exposure, blacks, saturation and vibrance, yellows and reds).  I know I chopped his head, but for using my 50mm lens and having a moving target, I’m proud of this!  And checkout the light in his eyes!  Yay for a speedlight! DSC_0038_edit

Comfort for Charlotte is her thumb and blanket. DSC_0048_edit

Added a black and white version.  I just took my edited picture above and ran CoffeeShop Splendor Coffee B&W action (see here for other free PS actions).  I actually like this B&W version…it is a tiny bit blown out for me, but I like the true black and white and the sense of texture in the photo.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27: Boo!

We are all starting to feel human again.  I could actually get off the couch for more than 5 minutes today.  Because we’ve all been sick, I haven’t been taking very many pictures.  I’m simply choosing the best one out of the 5-6 that I take.  Being sick actually forces me to practice getting a good picture within a few shots, rather than taking 20 and hoping for one good one.  This is good, because I’ve taken over 900 pictures this month.  Yikes!


This one cracked  me up because she was stacking her books against the window.DSC_0013_edit

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26: Too sick to title

My husband and I are both really ill.  Here is a straight off the camera shot with my 50mm f/1.8 and speedlight.  We are so sick we didn’t bother changing Charlotte out of PJ’s and just pulled something from the drawer for Cooper after he decided to get naked.  I seriously hope we feel better tomorrow because this is awful.DSC_0006

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25: Tough night

Charlotte and Cooper were up all night throwing up.  My husband and I only got 2-3 hours of sleep a piece.  Very tough night.  (Here’s my husband’s first try at taking pictures with the new camera and speedlight.)

DSC_0007_edit1  DSC_0009_Edit DSC_0004_edit

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24: Morning Walk

Charlotte was feeling better this morning, but they were both crabby.  We’ve had terrible rainstorms here and the kids are getting cabin fever.  I decided we should take a morning walk to get some fresh air and figured I could get some really great photos too.  We are working on listening skills with them and they are getting much, much better.  However, it is quite difficult to learn a new camera, a new lens, deal with two toddlers, and a dog who suddenly forgot how to take walks on a leash.  I was exhausted when I got home!  I had to switch to A mode because I didn’t have time to mess with the camera all that much and still be able to prevent the kids from running in the street.   This wasn’t the best idea for me to learn how to use my camera!

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23: Snack Time

After the gym we have snack time before they take a nap.  Cooper switched between his snacks and eating the table.DSC_0187_edit DSC_0193_edit

After Charlotte ate her snack she threw up everywhere.  She woke up 30  min into her nap and threw up several times.  She couldn’t hold down anything but Pedialyte, so we sat on the couch all afternoon watching Handy Manny.  I’m hoping she’ll be okay tonight and  I’m also hoping the rest of us don’t get whatever she has!DSC_0180_edit DSC_0206_edit

Can you tell I haven’t figured out the white balance on the D90 yet?  Oh, and my husband bought my camera today!!  Plus a 50mm f/1.8 lens and a speedlight.  Yay!!  Now I’m off to read some manuals so that I can have fun tomorrow with the great morning light (providing my children are well enough to be my models).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22: Borrowed Camera

Wow, wow, wow!!  I am in LOVE with the Nikon D90!  I also tried another coworker’s Canon T1i, but it didn’t feel as natural as the Nikon D90.  I borrowing the Nikon over the weekend, but I’m positive this is the camera I want.  The controls are all in very intuitive places and it’s fairly easy to figure out how to use, even without reading a manual.  Overall I just like the feel of it in my hands better than the Canon, and much better than the Pentax.

Tonight I was trying to get used to the new camera but I still shot in manual mode.  For just pulling the camera out, without reading a manual and making a couple adjustments to the settings (I’m still figuring out how where to look to understand if I’m metered correctly since it’s different than my Pentax), the pictures turned out pretty well. 

I can say that I noticed a better quality with this camera versus my Pentax when I use the same settings.  For example, I took this photo in a dark room (all the lights were off since we had just gotten home) while it was dark outside, used my Lightscoop, and set the shutter speed to 1/100, aperture to f/5.6 and ISO 800.  Even without any editing, the camera and flash exposed the picture fairly well, got some catch lights, and didn’t have as much noise as my Pentax with an ISO at 800.Picture 010

And edited:Picture 010_Edit

The other thing I noticed is how quick it responds to taking a picture—or maybe the shutter lag (I think that’s the correct term…the time it takes the camera to capture the image after I push the button).  I haven’t figured out all the focus points yet, since it’s very, very different than the Pentax.  However, I was surprised to get Cooper’s shoe mid-air since my Pentax wouldn’t have captured that.  I wish I would have framed the photo better.  The kit lens has a bigger range (18-105 mm) than my Pentax does (18-55mm) so I was getting used to that as well.DSC_0183_edit

And because our little beagle, Scout, is largely ignored in photos with two kids now, here she is looking all cute!DSC_0204_Edit

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21: Presents!

Our very good friends bought a couple of gifts out of the blue for the kids.  Charlotte got a stuffed animal Lorax and Cooper got coloring books.  You’ll just have to believe me since the darn camera is dead.  Again.    I got three shots today and I don’t like any of them.  Oh well…at least I’m still sticking with the 365 project, even with a broken camera!  My coworker is going to let me borrow his Nikon D90 so I can test drive it before I decide to buy it, which means I should be able to get decent pictures tomorrow!

I’m not even going to bother to edit these pictures.  The one thing I am learning though with a broken camera, is to take fewer shots and make each shot as good as I can make it.  This is something I sometimes struggle with because 1)  I’m impatient and 2)  It’s digital and free to take tons of pictures.

IMGP4237  IMGP4238 IMGP4239

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20: Perspective

My camera wouldn’t turn on again today—battery depleted.  I put the batteries on to charge for about 30 min and I was able to take a few shots.  I’m going this weekend to buy a new camera…a few more days limping along with this one. 

I’m trying to work on taking pictures from a different perspective or point of view.  It’s really challenging and I think it’s going to take some practice before I feel like I get ‘good’ shots.  I want to be able to tell some kind of a story by taking pictures from a different perspective.  I don’t think I achieved that, but at least I know what I want to do.

Cooper dumped his cup of water all over the table during dinner and then started playing in it.IMGP4204_edit

Charlotte always has to sit with her legs bent at the dinner table.  I think it’s because she has short legs so she doesn’t like that they dangle while she eats.  I like how this photo is from my perspective standing over her.  I remember being little and looking up at adults and thinking, gosh they’re huge!IMGP4208_edit

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19: So Grown Up

My camera is working (for now) with e2 batteries.  We’ll see how long it lasts!

I am trying to work on at least cropping pictures vertically since I prefer landscape to portrait.  I don’t like to shoot portrait because I use my Lightscoop to bounce my flash and it just blinds me if I turn my camera.  Today they both look so grown up to me.  It makes me excited and also a little sad they’re growing up so fast.

This is what Cooper does to me when I get home every day.  It’s his ‘Momma, hold me’ stance.


Charlotte just looked so grown up in this one…so much a like a little girl!  I wish she was looking at the camera here and I had to do some noise reduction which smoothed her out quite a bit.  I’m still chopping limbs…she has no hands!


Cooper thinks I don’t look like mommy if I take my glasses off.  He doesn’t mind as long as I let them try them on.  These are just too cute, especially the one of Charlotte.  I think it’s my new favorite of her.  I also love Cooper’s gritted teeth…he makes this face a lot now.IMGP4195_edit IMGP4199_edit

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18: Hoping it’s the batteries

There may be something wrong with my camera.  Every time I put a fresh set of batteries in, I get about 5 pictures before the batteries are depleted.  I’ve read online that Pentax K-series DSLR’s are known to be particular about the batteries you use.  I have a K2000 and I’ve only used Energizer Lithium batteries, and I usually can take several hundred photos before needing to replace the batteries.  Of course over the last few weeks I’ve been using my flash quite a bit since I’m inside at night.  I just purchased some rechargeable batteries that I’ve read should work well.  If they don’t I’ll have to take my camera in and hope there’s nothing seriously wrong since I really don’t want to spend a lot to fix the camera (I’m considering switching to Nikon so I’d rather not have to fix this camera).  Our point and shoot is going bad as well and freezes up quite often.  Boo for bad cameras!

Here’s the only shot I got off tonight with the DSLR.  I had no way of metering or checking white balance, or even have time to check the focus.  Not bad for basically shooting blind!IMGP4175_edit

And this was my attempt to take one with the Sony Cybershot point and shoot…then it died too!  Bad lighting, bad white balance, blurry.  Ugh, I hate point and shoots now.