More on the awesomeness of a well-used flash -or- Why I need to take the time to learn the proper use a flash

I took some photos yesterday of the children playing in the back garden. In the first few photos, due to the settings that were set on the camera, I unwittingly used fill flash.

30 January 2009

I turned the fill flash off, which is how I normally have my camera set, and this is what the pictures looked like:

I still have so much to learn (or relearn — I had learned about fill flash in college, but dumped the knowledge as soon as the course was over). Using fill flash really helps a photo on a very sunny day. I can use my Photoshop skills to somewhat compensate for my lack of photography skills. I played with the levels of the second photo to find detail in the darkness.

Poor little guy had no color in his skin after making such drastic changes to the levels, so then I had to correct for color and add pink back into his skin.

Of course, I played with the levels of the first photo as well to bring out more detail. This is the fill flash photo again with very slightly tweaked levels. No color compensation required.

Fill flash is pretty awesome. Maybe I shouldn’t have disregarded that knowledge so easily. 🙂

January 31st, 2009 | Photography | No Comments -

Free-falling

Damian blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.
(We were so sick of cake by his birthday because
of Lily’s ginormous cake a few days earlier, that Damian
got a little cake so that there would be absolutely
no leftover cake afterwards.)
08 January 2009

I watched this 20 minute video, The Story of Stuff, and then read Your Money or Your Life (it was on the recommended reading list on The Story of Stuff website, and I happened to have it on my bookshelf, so I dusted it off and read it). After watching and reading these two things, I’ve been depressed because the framework of my reality has been torn down.

Considering that I’m a modern suburban hippy (or at least I thought I was), you wouldn’t have thought that the environmentalist ideas presented would have thrown me for such a loop. You see, I was so used to blaming big business, advertising and the government — and waiting for them to fix the problem — that  I never really examined my role in the process. The movie and the book covered two ideas that, though they may not be novel, are still presented in a very personal, cogent and immediate manner:

1) We — you and me — drive consumerism. Without our willing participation, the system will not work. In all fairness, we were raised from our cradle by society to be consumers, but now we are being shown that we don’t have to live within the paradigm with which we were raised.

2) Here, I am going to quote Mr P.J. Ruane who left this comment on Amazon regarding Your Money or Your Life: “Your income depends on the number of hours you work, so if you spend frivolously, you are not spending your money, you are spending your lifetime. e.g. You earn $10 per hour tax paid? then if you spend $400 on something (that is probably really of no benefit to you, that you didn’t really need), you are really spending 40 hours of your lifetime for that useless item. To most people that is a working week. Multiply that a few times and most of our working lives are spent for NOTHING.”

There was another comment on Amazon that I liked very much from Eric Scarbro: “As with all revelations, the reader needs to be ready to hear the message.”

So where does this leave me? I’m free-falling now. I don’t have an answer. More than just a habit has been changed, the framework of how my reality works has been changed. I have no reference now, and so feel very lost.

But that’s not neccessarily a bad thing. However it is a very uncomfortable thing. Where is the line between enough and mindless consumption? I don’t know. But at least I know there is one now.

This is a really good spot for a Mary Poppins quote. 🙂

Enough is as good as a feast.

January 30th, 2009 | Recovering Consumer | 2 Comments -

Flash Photography

Daddy and the kids played with blocks.
24 January 2009

I cannot take a decent picture with a flash. I mean, sure, the content is great and the composition may be good, but the lighting is just crap. If I were to take one photography course, it would be how to take pictures with a flash.

And all my photos are of a photojournalistic nature. I don’t do studio or set photography where you have time to set everything up precisely how you would like it. I need to learn how to take good immediate photographs with a flash. I would say, at my current level, the use of a flash is definitely my weakest skill.

January 25th, 2009 | Photography | 2 Comments -

How Angel Got Her Groove Back

We bought the most amazing Princess cake for Lily’s birthday.
It really was a work of art.
01 January 2009

I’m trying to not let the blog go dead again, so please bear with me while I write semi-uninteresting posts for awhile until I get my groove back.

Random weird blog fact: As I’ve mentioned before, I have maybe 15 people who read my blog, all family and friends. That is a tiny blog especially compared to the blogs out there that have thousands of followers. So here’s the weird fact about my miniscule blog:

To date, there are:
2682 comments
49 are legitimate
2633 are spam.

Isn’t that crazy?! Can you imagine how many spam comments the large blogs must get? I had to put a little filter on my blog. The big blogs must use fire-proof, teflon-covered spam filters.

January 23rd, 2009 | General | 2 Comments -

For dad-in-law

The kids played outside in the leaves on Christmas day.
25 December 2008

Never let it be said that I don’t listen to my father-in-law. As requested in the last comment, more photos of the children. 🙂

And yes, even with the economic recession, there is definitely a feeling of hope among Americans with the election of our new president. I hope he is everything he seems to be.

January 22nd, 2009 | General | 3 Comments -

End of bloggie silence -or- Where the hell have you been?

Lily wanted pigtails, so I did her hair up.
I don’t know what it is about little girls in pigtails,
but they are cute cute cute.
23 December 2008

Then she danced around the living room
in her new pigtails and her Giselle dress.
23 December 2008

First of all, I have to give a little bloggie shout-out to my father-in-law. He is the strongest supporter of my blog. Sure, it’s because of the steady stream of cute pictures of his grandchildren, but it’s still nice to have such an enthusiastic fan, even if it is by proxy. Shelrie, Ben (Matt’s brother), Allison, my mother-in-law, Sam, my adored husband, Justin, Donna and Deb also all encourage me and my little blog… you guys are awesome. Thanks for encouraging me in all my creative endeavors. No matter how old we get, it’s always nice to feel like you’re wanted and you’re doing a good job. My little preschoolers thrive on praise and approval, and so it seems do adults.

I’ve been thinking. And creating. And doing. And living. And my blog was tossed to the side for a little while. You know how I constantly search for the perfect planning system and how I am a lover all things office/school supply related especially if they are feminine, pretty and/or cute. Well, I’ve decided to create my own planning system, tooled to fit my specific needs. I’ve ordered some bookmaking books and next on the list is a padding press to create my own pads.

I am both excited and intimidated by the idea. Can I create a usable and pretty planning toolkit? Can I combine the functionality of a dayplanner with the encouragement of a goal-oriented system and tie it all together with beautiful colors and art? I don’t know, but I think it will be a lot of fun trying, if I can manage to just keep my lack of self-confidence at bay.

Art is in all of us. When we create, we breathe life into our soul. Creativity should be nurtured and honored because it feeds passion and growth.

That will be my mantra when self-doubt comes like a cold, unwelcome wind at my door.

January 21st, 2009 | Planning Nerd | 1 Comment -