Tag Archives: photography

Family History

This past Easter weekend, we went to my husband’s family’s for dinner and a visit.

I have been asking for a while for pictures of his grandparents when they were young to go with the gallery wall I have featuring my grandparents when they were young and my parents were small.

Here is a picture of it so far.

I have pictures of my grandparents and their businesses (logging camp and trucking outfits) and then pictures of my parents when they were little.

I wanted the same thing for my husband’s family.

And I finally have some pictures to add!

This is his grandma in the mountains after she moved from the prairie.

I can imagine it was quite the change in scenery for her.

I love how there are always pictures with horses.

And speaking of, here is her husband on his horse, Silver.

Here they are together.

I also love how, in all the old pictures, after there are children, they are always included in the shots.

My mother-in-law with her dad.

Helping her dad with a swan (and you can see the beaver pelt in the background).

You can see how much my husband looks like his grandpa!

Here is my mother-in-law and her sister with dad skinning a bear in the background.

Isaac and the girls.

The girls.

With a beaver.
Grandma looks less thrilled than the kids.
 It will be fun to choose some of them to enlarge and add to the family gallery wall.
Do you have old photographs in your home?
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Photography 101- Rule of Thirds

Last week, Aimee’s lesson was on The Rule of Thirds and beginning composition for photography.

Basically, the picture should be divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically, and the subject(s) of the photo should be on (not in between as I previously thought) those lines or at the intersection of two of them.

Hmm! Who knew?

Here are my practice shots.

Unfortunately, I woke up to hoar frost here this morning. Beautiful. Great for pictures. But I’m really ready for green!!

You can see that the first picture had objects on the vertical (left) and horizontal (bottom) lines.

I thought this picture had a couple of horizontal lines covered. This is the view behind my house, by the way.

And I think this picture is a good example of her lesson on how diagonal lines create interest and movement. The tree on the left is a diagonal and the tree line fading off into the distance is also a subtle diagonal line as the tree line is moving away from the camera.

Such cool tricks!! We are going skiing this week and I’m going to practice her spring vacation tips on taking pictures in bright light and holiday pictures.


Photography 101- White Balance

I’m a little bit behind on my photography posts, but I have been working on it!

Last week, Aimee posted a lesson on white balance and it was something I really needed.

Basically, you can set your white balance manually, but to begin with, it is probably best just to get used to the camera settings and options for white balance to see what they can do first.

I used my camera in manual mode for these, as I’m getting quite used to it now.  I placed my props in a well lit corner of my living room (although it was cloudy) and started shooting, going through each of the options my camera has for white balance and then metering until I was balanced.

The auto worked quite well.

The setting for cloudy made it a bit too yellow and flash-y looking.

As did the flash setting.

The incandescent setting adds blue to make up for the yellow in incandescent lighting.  Since there wasn’t any, it turned quite blue!

Again, the shade setting added a bit of a flash looking yellow.

The setting for sunlight worked.  Which makes sense since that was what I was using- a naturally well-lit area.

It is so interesting to see and figure out what the camera will do for you in different types of lighting conditions.  I am going to keep practicing using my white balance options in different lighting conditions (use the incandescent in that type of light and see if the picture turns out, etc.).

Happy snapping!


ahem…spring?

Snow.  All day yesterday.  All night last night.  All day today.  So far all night tonight.

He is smiling because there were no buses running today and there probably won’t be for tomorrow, either.
Look at the piles of snow on the edge of our deck!!!  Our poor little Norwegian spruce is nearly buried!
I took a few more pictures and then played around with them in Pixlr as I guess I will have to get used to not using Picnik soon.  Sigh.
I was pretty happy.  Pixlr is way faster than Picnik, and while there aren’t as many options (although I didn’t take the time to explore everything), it can give you text and a nice frame as well as other effects.
 Does spring know it is supposed to be arriving in 3 weeks?

Photography 101- More Metering

To continue with the photography series, where I follow my photography guru Aimee from It’s Overflowing and her wonderful lessons, I spent more time on metering this past weekend.

I felt like my original metering assignment didn’t turn out that well (unlike the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO lessons, which turned out beautifully) and I thought I needed more practice on it.

Here’s what happened.

I learned how to meter on a bright background and then focus on an object to get a silhouette effect.

Can we just pretend for the next three pictures that my windows are clean?  Please?

Can you see the difference?  If you meter on the bright, snowy background, you get a darker image.  If you meter on the object, then the silhouette effect is lessened or removed.

So cool.

Then I used my Valentine’s Day flowers to play around with the aperture and try to get a blur effect.  Aimee did point out, though, that with a kit lens like mine, this may prove to be difficult as the aperture will only go so low in certain light conditions.

Then I took some pictures out my front door into the woods to experiment a little with focus.  In the first one I focused on the background.  Then I focused on the foreground in the second one.  The rest of the settings remained the same for both.

And I can never, ever resist taking pictures of new snow.  I just played with the meter until I found the effect I liked.

You should head over to Aimee’s to read her amazing step by step instructions and explanations and to see what the rest of her loyal followers have been working on.


Photography 101- ISO

Just a recap…so far in our photography 101 course, taught by the wonderful Aimee, we have covered…

the intro,

Nikon D3100 : Right

aperture (which I like to think of in terms of a blurry or a focused background),

shutter speed (which I like to think of stopping or showing motion),

and now we are moving on to ISO, the third part of the exposure triangle having to do with light and your camera!

ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light.  The strength of light that can rush into a south facing room (glaring) versus the steady and diffused light coming into a north facing room is a good analogy.  If you live in the northern hemisphere…

So if you are photographing in a brightly lit, south facing room at noon, you don’t need your ISO to help so you can set it low (100 or 200).  If you are in a north room and it is overcast, ISO can help absorb more light if it is set medium (400-800).  And if you are losing light, set it high (1000 and up).  This is very helpful in places that do not allow flash, or if you do not want to use flash, but are in a low light situation.  Your camera can actually absorb a bit more light when you need it to.

Beware, though, because higher ISO settings can cause ‘noise’ or ‘grain’ in your pictures.

On your camera’s menu button, change the white balance to auto, and then choose P on the mode dial.

Nikon D3100 : Top

There is no ISO button on the back of my camera, so I have to access ISO through the menu.

You can see how the pictures become quite grainy by the end.

I am going to continue practicing all three elements from the exposure triangle in order to become even more comfortable with them, but I am finding that these exercises are really helping me to make sense of what my camera can do.

Thanks Aimee!!!


Photography 101- Shutter Speed

To carry on with our lofty goal of learning to use the fancy dslr cameras, we are moving on from basics and aperture to shutter speed.  Remember that we are following along with the fabulous Aimee, from It’s Overflowing.

Last week, I worked on aperture.  You can see the difference between a lower number (blurry background) and a higher number (sharp focus all the way to the back).

I am feeling pretty confident with aperture now, now I think I’m ready for this!

Shutter speed is part of the exposure triangle that has to do with how much light is used by your camera when taking a picture.  Aperture is how much light is let in (but I think of it as having to do with getting that lovely blurry background), and shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter is open when you take the picture.

The higher the shutter speed, the quicker the shutter will open and close and the less light comes into your camera.  This is good for capturing children playing when you want to stop the motion.

The lower the shutter speed the slower the shutter opens and closes and more light comes in.  This is good for when you want to show the motion that is occurring.  Because the shutter is open for longer, a tripod and remote becomes important for these kinds of pictures.

Use the menu button to change white balance and ISO to auto.  On my camera, a Nikon D3100, you have to be in one of the scene modes in order to do this.  Once you have that figured out, it is easy to scroll through the menu and make sure that both white balance and ISO are on auto.

Nikon D3100 : Top

It won’t work for the PAM modes or the auto or auto flash off modes.

You can, however, use the S mode which means shutter priority mode and then use the command dial (top right) to choose the shutter speed.

Nikon D3100 : Back

Then you have to try and decide what you are going to take pictures of in order to try and capture your shutter speed trickery.  I tried to take pictures of the fire in my fireplace, but it was too dark, so I copied Aimee even more and used the faucet in the kitchen.

You can see how the really quick shutter time slowed down the water into droplets, but did not let a lot of light into the camera.

More light and more movement.

Until finally the droplets turn into a stream- motion stopped to motion shown!!

So there is this week’s lesson on shutter speed.  Have fun playing!!


Photography 101- Aperture

Photography is a popular topic right now for a lot of bloggers with new cameras from Christmas, or else, with a New Year’s resolution to actually learn how to take pictures with their DSLRs! Like me.

I found a wonderful series by Aimee on It’s Overflowing! on photography basics, and I am going to follow her along while she takes us through it.

You can find my first photography post here. Today’s photography lesson will be on aperture. You can find Aimee’s lesson here and she gave us an assignment to work on aperture.

Without getting into the really technical parts of it, aperture will control how much light gets into your camera (along with other elements such as ISO and shutter speed).

It is useful to think of aperture when wanting to take pictures with a focal point up front and a blurred background.

Aperture is shown in f-stop on your camera. The lower the aperture, the more light gets in, and the higher the aperture, the less light.

To try and see what aperture does to your pictures, choose a subject and then take the same picture over and over only changing the aperture. On my camera, I will choose A on the dial (so everything except aperture is then on auto) and turn the subdial to change aperture settings.

This is what happens.

Here is f-stop 4.8. See how only what is in the foreground is in focus?

f/5.6- Still blurred in the background.

f/6.3

f/7.1

f/9- getting a little more focused in the background

f/10

f/13

f/16

f/20

f/32

I highly, highly recommend that you try this exercise if you want to become familiar with aperture and what it can do. Not only will you learn how to adjust the aperture on your camera, but the mysterious numbers will all of a sudden make sense.

Best of all, you will remember it!!!

Have fun trying it out.


DIY Camera Dividers

A month and a bit ago, if you’ll recall, we received this beauty.

Nikon D3100 : Angle

And while a camera bag was not on my most-wanted list, I did want to protect my new camera when I carried it around.

I found this very cool tutorial over at Blue Lace House on how to create your own camera dividers and decided to give it a try.

I took some pieces of 1/2 inch thick foam and cut them to the size I wanted (these will vary depending on the bag you want to use to carry your camera in).

Make sure you use your camera itself to measure out width and length and height.  After all, this is what you are trying to protect here!  And make sure this will all fit into your chosen bag.

I am making a bag, but I did want to be sure not to make it too long as it could get pretty bulky to carry around.  So I snuggled up pretty close to the camera on the sides, only went to barely the top of it for the height, and gave myself a few extra inches on the end for battery, manuals, and later (once I save up!), an extra lens.

I cut one piece that will create both the bottom and sides (you will sew 2 seams down it lengthwise later to fold up for the sides), 2 end pieces, and a couple of pieces for the middle to use as dividers (I made one of these slightly longer to sit at a diagonal).

Then I used scraps of material I had (I wanted to use up what I had and I didn’t think anyone would really see it as I wouldn’t be carrying it around on its own) and cut them to fit around the pieces of foam.

I sewed up three of the sides of each of the pieces, and then inserted the foam and sewed up the last side after folding down and pinning the edges.

After you have your pieces of foam covered in your fabric, you have to sew on velcro to hold them together.

First, sew 2 seams lengthwise down your large piece of foam.  This will create the bottom and sides portion of your camera dividers.  You can see the seams below.

Then, lay out your end pieces and pin and then sew on your velcro to hold the sides onto the ends of the divider.

Once you have created your ‘box’ for the camera dividers, you can then decide where you want to place your middle dividers for the camera and lenses and any other components you want to carry with you- extra batteries, instructional manual, etc.  Use velcro to attach these pieces where you want them.  This is what mine looked like finished.

I only have one lens so far so for now I just leave it attached to the camera.  I definitely still need my instruction manuals with me too!  Later on, when I have another lens, I can use the longer divider to curve around the extra lens.

I am really happy with the way my camera divider turned out.  I am working on the bag for it and will post a tutorial on that as soon as I am done.

Catherine


Table

My parents have had a couple of tables kicking around for a few years now.  They are pretty old- they were originally from a social club that my dad volunteers for that moved to a new building.

They gave all the old ones away and mom and dad took a couple.  Very old school laminate tops, but with absolutely beautiful cast iron legs.  Heavy.  Not easy to move.  Mom and dad have one sitting on their veranda and my brother took one.  It sat in his garage for a few years and then he decided he didn’t want it.  We tried to sell it at our garage sale.  Thank goodness it didn’t go as I ended up seeing tables like them around and loved them!

Here is one close to it from Restoration Hardware.

via

So I decided to do a bit of a revamp on the table top to see if I couldn’t make it into something a little nicer.

Please ignore the general mess surrounding the table.  This is one of my little work areas so there are a thousand unfinished projects lying around.  Please ignore them.  I seem to be.

You can see that the legs are beautiful, but the laminate leaves the viewer wanting.  That’s where a ruined copy of the Cambridge Shakespeare comes to the rescue.  That and a little mod podge.  I just tore pages into strips and sections and put a layer of mod podge under and over them.  When I was finished, I covered the whole thing with another couple of layers of mod podge.  I need to poly it now, but I only have spray poly and it is too cold outside to do it.

Don’t worry.  The book really was previously ruined and was about to get discarded when I took it.  Pages missing and the like.  So far, it has seen me through a couple of projects as well as this one (my paper trees and cone wreath).

This is what the table looks like now, all styled up with its new top and in a much nicer spot.

I love the shadows the twigs cast on the wall.  So pretty and a little austere.  A nice change from the Christmas tree in that corner.

The pages make a pretty tabletop and I love the colour and texture.  It really reads as a solid from further back.

I didn’t want to put too much on it.  I’m kind of over clutter right now, after Christmas, and I prefer a clean look anyway.

I can see curling up in this corner with a cup of tea and a good book.  Lots of light.

Nice legs!

(Shame about the face?) I couldn’t resist including Bill.

You tell them, Bill.

I think it is gorgeous.

So that is the first project of the year for Stone and Rose!  What have you been up to so far?  I hope you are having a productive and happy start to 2012!

xo

Catherine


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