Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's Getting Hungry Around Here

If I just sit here right by my bowl she will notice that it is empty...

 Excuse me, but did you see that my bowl is empty?

Hello! My bowl is empty and I'm hungry.

I'm really REALLY hungry!

My father's cat Chi while they were out of town in November...and it was 3 hours until feeding time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Fire

Nikon D700, 24 - 70 mm lens at f19 and 1/4 sec at ISO 800

Another California shot, this time from on top of a dune at sunset.  I had my camera on my tripod but the wind was really blowing and even at ISO 800 my shutter speed was too slow to capture the waves sharply and not long enough to blur the water...I did not have much time to try again as the clouds rolled in and covered the horizon just as we got there. 
I did not add any saturation or vibrance in Camera Raw but did increase the contrast about 20 points.  Also I used the Graduated Neutral Density filter in Camera Raw to darken the sky, then added a Curves  layer in Photoshop but masked it off of the red at the horizon.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meet Grim

This is Grim, my son's new Lab mix puppy that he "found" just running along the freeway (yeah, right).  He IS pretty irresistible as all puppies are, but actually pretty well-behaved too.  We recently lost a pine tree in our front yard to pine bark beetles and had the stump ground up which left a large pile of dirt and mulch and between the rain puddles and the dirt pile, Grim was in puppy heaven.  At least my son has his own place now, so I don't have to help raise this puppy.

Grim can also look extremely goofy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My First Ferret

 Farrah the ferret

The number of animals coming into Friendswood Animal Control has slowed down lately --- there was one week recently when all the animals impounded went home to their owners and I did not have to go in to photograph at all.  But this sweet little female ferret came in last week and is now available for adoption.  She is litter box trained and loves to just cuddle and snuggle in your arms.  I have had hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, my sister had a rat for a while but none of us have had a ferret, and I understand they do have some special requirements but I have no idea what those are.  If you know anyone who would like a ferret and is willing to do the homework to find out how to properly care for this animal, tell them about Farrah at Friendswood Animal Control --- she is available for only a $25 adoption fee.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Observer

My brother took me out to one of his surf spots so I could photograph while he surfed.  As soon as we pulled up I was struck by the golden grass all around. The early morning sky was overcast and the grass was glowing in the diffused light, and waves of it were covering the dunes.  The landscape was interesting just by itself, especially with the cloudy sky but then one of the surfers climbed the dunes to check out the waves on the other side and I really liked the addition of a human to give scale to the grass and to interrupt the rhythm and texture. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

At Camel Rock

Nikon D700, 24- 70mm lens at f22, 1/180th, ISO 1100

I am getting back around to editing some of my shots taken at the end of October in California.  This was from our trip up the coast to see my brother in Eureka.  Late in the afternoon he took us out to a private beach area called Camel Rock, where we had to hike down through large rocks like the ones above to get to the beach.  We were throwing the Frisbee for Shasta, my sister's dog, while I tried to get some action shots.  It was overcast but with a bright sky near the horizon from the setting sun, difficult conditions to get everything in the scene exposed correctly. I could not have used a ND filter because I was shooting action shots handheld and needed the shutter speed to stop Shasta's motion and also the huge rock was jutting up into the sky and would have been darkened further by the filter, even if I could have kept it lined up with the horizon.  I see in my metadata that the camera was set to center weighted metering mode and that was probably not the best choice for the lighting conditions.  I was able to add fill light in ACR but there is a lot of green fringing around the rocks.  I don't shoot enough landscapes to remember to check my settings more thoroughly...I guess Joe would have gotten out the SB900 and lit Shasta with a snoot... 

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Tool

 I have been thinking about getting something to help me correct white balance in my images for a while but wasn't sure what to get. When I remember to shoot a gray card I do, but it is large and doesn't fit in my camera bag so I don't always remember to take it.  I finally decided on the Color Checker Passport because I thought having neutral gray, several shades of white, and even some colors to use when correcting sounded pretty thorough and I like how small the case is and that I can hang it around my neck...Maybe I will remember to use it more.  I was glad to have it at my recent newborn session because two walls in her nursery are painted a saturated pink and that color was reflecting on the other two white walls and the white furniture.  There is also some software that goes with this device and I do not yet calibrate my monitor, but I could see a definite color change when using it in Camera Raw, and it seemed to clean up the color some but not all the way --- I had to use a Hue/Sat layer and/or a Color Balance layer to reduce the red even more in these images, mainly because the wood floor had a very orange cast that I knew was not true to real life.  It would be great to hear what other photographers use and if they think something else works well for them.
Also, I shot these images with my new 17 - 35mm  2.8 lens.  It worked well for getting a lot of the room in each shot but of course I had to do some perspective correction too....

 There is a cute family story about frogs and finding your prince or princess and it is the reason for this wall art.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baby in Black and White

Even though both of these images have very little color in them as shot (the blankets are both cream colored), when processed in Black and White I think they have an even more timeless feel.  I promise I did shoot some images with her in clothes!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pretty in Pink

I love the look of textures contrasted with newborn baby skin --- the texture really makes the baby's skin stand out as so smooth and creamy and unblemished.  My mom crocheted this scarf for me to use (thanks Mom!) and the pink color lets you know that this is a GIRL baby.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Brand New Year, Brand New Baby Girl

In 1974, on just about my first day of college I met Tonja in Dorm 15 at Stephen F. Austin in Naca-nowhere, I mean Nacogdoches, Texas.  We have been great friends since then --- we joined the same sorority which shall remain unnamed, both of us became teachers (first grade for me, Junior High art for her), were bridesmaids in each other's weddings, etc etc.  I watched her children grow up during many hours year after year spent at Lake Buchanan, and now her children are having children.  This adorable baby girl is her first grandchild and I got to photograph her last week, at 2 weeks old.  We spent about 5 hours one day and a couple more the next morning trying to get the baby to stay asleep while we posed her, but I am still trying to learn newborn photography and do not have all the necessary skills down yet.  Both of us worked hard, but had a wonderful time doing it and I hope it won't be the last time I get to point my camera at this little doll.

Happy New Year!