Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Today I thought I would start sharing some of my work from my photography class. I'm taking this class as part of my program and I'm loving it. At first I was slightly nervous. Then I got very nervous when the professor said we will only be using Manual setting in the class.  What?? I never use Manual setting.

The first thing we had to learn was the golden rule of photography:

Generally speaking, when hand holding a camera, your shutter speed should be equal to or greater than the focal length of your lens.

What does that mean? That means if you are using a standard 50mm lens and you are holding your camera, you should not set your shutter speed to be slower than 1/60.  You can break this rule if you are using a tri-pod or if you have image stabilization you can break it slightly.  By following this rule, you will eliminate camera movement blur that can happen if the natural shake of your hand.

Our first assignment was to take 24 photos of anything, using manual mode and getting a proper exposure. You could not delete any photos, they had to be 24 pictures in a roll, without any editing.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I'm really loving this class because I'm finally understanding aperture and shutter speed and how they work together. I've taken on-line classes before but I never really got it. But being in a class that meets twice a week and seeing other examples of work have really helped me get a better understand. So if you struggle with understanding your camera, don't give up! Take classes. Experiment. And take lots and lots of photos. 

What mode do you usually shot in? I was always a program mode person, but now I can see using my other setting more to get the photo I want.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Remember Me

I was the person that blogged often. I was the person that read my google reader daily. I was the person that did some crafts every week. I guess I'm still that person, I'm just not doing the things I use to do. I realized how bad it was when I went to my google reader and I had over 200 unread post!!  Wow! I couldn't believe it. How did it get so out of control?? I made the decision to mark everything as read and move forward.

So why haven't I been around.  Most of the reason has been my school schedule. It's mid-term time and I've had a lot of studying and projects to get done. I'm also a coach for my son's Lego Robitics team. I've never done that before and it's a huge learning curve. And finally (and the most frustrating) is our external hard drive died. We finally got it back and now we are having problems with it communicating with my laptop.  It was working fine for a few weeks, it works with my mac, but for some reason my laptop cannot map to it.  This is a huge problem because my laptop has my organizing software (ACDSee) on it, but the files are on the hard drive. My husband spent about 4 hours yesterday trying to figure it out and now he has given up. So my normal work flow has been extremely interrupted and it's still not back to normal.

Well enough of my excuses. I need to get back into a regular work flow to keep up with all my digi friends and to document my life.  Wish me luck getting my laptop to work again, I really need it!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More school work...

I thought I would share with you another assignment that I completed in my Photoshop class.  Most of the assignments are not really exciting to look at, they are meant to teach you about a tool or technique so we can complete our final project.  This lesson was to get us comfortable with tinting a photo.  The trick was to zoom in really close and adjust the paint brush.  It was time consuming but not very difficult.

The final photo is split in half. One side was the original color, the other is what I colored.

Here's how this was done.

Open the photo and make a new adjustment layer. Choose Hue/Saturation and slide the saturation slider all the way to the left. This will make the image appear gray.

Next, add a new layer and change the blend mode to color for that layer. Now, grab your brush tool, select a color, and start to paint.

This is a great technique if you want to add a "pop" of color to a photo.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of my inspirations...

Not to be forgotten...

Steve Jobs changed the world. He will be missed. 1955-2011.

Have the courage to follow your heart & intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. - Steve Jobs

Family x12 Blog Hop

Welcome to the next Family x12 Blog Hop!!

What is FAMILY x 12?
The goal is at least one family photo per month for a year.  It's not that easy getting everyone in front of the camera at the same time.  This blog hop has been helping me make sure I get a snapshot of my whole family each month.  It will be wonderful to see all the changes during the year with these photos. Thanks to Margie for inspiring this blog hop and project.

This month we have a very small group in the blog hop. This task is so much harder then it sounds. We don't take enough pictures of our families all together. I'm so thankful for this hop because I would have missed some gems like this months picture.   I would have been so easy to just take pictures of my boys and husband without handing the camera to someone and getting a group photo. I love this picture. It's our first family race.

This was such an amazing day. This was my second race and since the boys could walk for free I thought it would make a great family outing.  I figured I would run and all the boys could walk the course. When I finished the race I turned around and started walking back to join my family. I was so surprised when I saw my middle boy running towards me. He had a huge smile on his face and was so excited. We ran the rest of the way and I had a hard time keeping up with him.  Shortly after him his big brother came running over the finish line.  We didn't have to wait long before my youngest came running.  Then we all cheered their Dad on over the line.

They were all so excited about the race. My middle child's excitement did not end at the finish line. He wants to run a race were he will have a number so he knows his time and sees his name on the list. He has been asking me daily if I found another race for us to run.  I told him we will run a local race at the end of October and he is so ready to try a 5K race.  I'm just hoping I can keep up with him.

Thanks for stopping by this month. Your next stop is Jo.  Here is the rest of the people that have joined us this month. Like I said it's a small list, so please stop by each to congratulate them for keeping the Family x12 blog hop going.

Monica   <----- YOU ARE HERE

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monthly Recap

September! Where did you go?? It's definitely feeling like Fall here in Michigan. That means the colors will soon be blazing on the trees and the air will be cool and crisp. I love the Fall! But back to September, it went by so fast. The start of the school year is always crazy and slightly stressful.  I think things will start to settle out (a little) and we have our routines down. So here is what I've been up to this month.

1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

Oxygen & Clean Eating - my usually monthly magazines
Good Housekeeping & Family Fun - love the Halloween ideas
Reread Western Sky  by Nora RobertsMy text books

2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. Did I watch this month?

The story of Pixar - great documentary
History of American photography (watched in class, really interesting)
Wipeout - our family favorite

3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Boys started school
Celebrate oldest & youngest birthday
Open house at school
We all did a 4K walk/run

4. What gifts did I give and/or recieve?

Oldest child recieved a new bike
Youngest child received a LeapPad

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

New 70-300 Zoom Lens for camera

6. What illness or health concerns did I have?

Had EEG to see what's going on with Headaches. 
7. What were my accomplishments this month?

Ran my first 5K and 4K.
Started Pilates Class

8. What disappointments this month?

Still not drinking enough water
Haven't been doing meal plans and I really miss them.

9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

Ran 5K in 30:52. Ran 4K in 26.28.
Organizing supplies did not go well. My ext. harddrive broke. I had to send it out to get it replaced because it's under warrenty.  The files are there it just will not "talk" to the computer.
Did some baking and froze some snacks.

10.  Anything else noteworthy to include?

I'm the robot coach for one of our FIRST Lego Robotics Teams. I've never done this and I'm learning as I go, but I think it will be fun once we get a better understand of what we need to do.

Goals for next month:

Sign up for a least one more race before winter.
Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing deep breathing to relax.

This idea is from Katie the Scrapbook lady.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop

Welcome back to the 9th OLW blog Hop! September has been a big blur.  My schedule has been so packed with activities, work, meetings, appointment and assignments. I have to admit I did this months OLW project just two days ago. I printed out the worksheet at the beginning of the month but it just sat there until I found time.

Our project for this month was to pick our battles. Choose one battle I'm willing to fight for and one that I'm surrendering.

I choose to fight for my health. Exercise was my main focus this year and I've come so far and I'm worried I might slide backwards. I need to keep this battle a top priority. I need to make my health a priority. A step I took to help with this battle was to join a pilates class.  So now I have three scheduled in stone appointments that support my battle.

The battle I'm surrendering is my goal to go weekly challenges.  This was adding too much stress and not enough joy to my creative outlet. I'm not saying I won't do any challenges, I'm just not putting them on my to do list.

Thanks for stopping by. Your next stop on the blog hop is over at Lynn's lovely blog.  Here is a complete list of all the blogs that are participating this month.

Julie Ann
Monica  <---- YOU ARE HERE