Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Week Two of my Simply Bliss photography eclass was actually simultaneously easier and a bit more challenging.  It was easier because it dealt with friendly outdoor light, which is much easier to manipulate and produces much more glorious photos than indoors (boo to indoor light).  I have found a few "sweet spots" in my home now thanks to week 1 where I can get good indoor lighting throughout the day, but there's nothing like outdoor light to make a photography lover all gooey inside.

So first I had to do the same thing as week 1: place an inanimate object in different places outside and find the best outdoor lighting without too much shade or too much harsh direct light.  Unfortunately, I had three challenges.  Number one: it's still mud season and it's pretty cold and yucky out.  I waited until the end of the week to try to score a good day when my kids were napping to take some outdoor photos.  I did find one but then challenge number two happened:  Em woke up so then I had to drag her butt around with me.  I couldn't put her on the ground because it was muddy and wet.  I was also using one of her favorite toys, stuffed Mickey Mouse, as my prop, so whenever I'd put it down to photograph it she'd try to scoot over there asap.  Enter challenge number three: pretty dappled light filtering down through my leafy yard, which created many a shadow across Mickey's face.  I'd try to adjust my settings and then I'd be too bright, Em would try to lunge for beloved Mickey, we were all getting muddy, and I have to admit it wasn't my best effort.  Excuses, excuses, I know, but I didn't give it my all.  Here is my finished product:

I found the driveway to be the best light, but that is where most of the shadows/bright spots happen so it was also very frustrating.  Plus the fact that our driveway isn't paved, so it was a bit of mess for Mickey and baby.  I also love the light on our porch in the late afternoon/early evening, but this was about 1 pm so the light was a bit much.

The good part was, since Em was with me, I could proceed with part 2 of the week's assignment at the same time.  I needed to take a photo of my child outside SOOC (straight out of camera, no editing).  I waited until I found the perfect spot in the driveway using Mickey as my tool, then put Em in the exact same place using the exact same settings.  I got a pretty good shot, actually, minus the miserable I-need-a-nap face.

Faith was pleased with my exposure--she actually said she "LOVED" the light (yea!) but said I needed to work on framing and focus.  I completely agree, since I was a bit too concerned Em was going to crawl off the blanket and onto the yucky driveway and am so used to cropping in post-production.  Also, Faith wasn't impressed with my baby-didn't-nap excuse....must be because she's pregnant with her fifth!  Where she finds time to help people like me is a mystery.

Last was my final outdoor portrait shot, keeping lighting as my priority.  I submitted two:

The lighting is better in the second one (see the difference in the light in her eyes?) but it wasn't the best shot so I shared both.  Faith liked them both, and didn't mind the crazy binkie-gnawing in the second one.  I guess they don't have to be typical "portraits"--I just assumed they did.  I was glad that I used my 50 mm lens so that my depth of field (blurred background) was what I wanted it to be.  See those darn (blurry) trees in the background?  You can see why they mess up my lighting.

Two weeks down, two to go!  I love this class because althougth I already knew these things so far, I never really took the time to put these principles into practice (as Faith says).  It has made me a more conscious photographer--thinking more about things like light instead of just shooting away and hoping for the best.  I'm really glad I took this class, and I think it'll be the first of many in my future!  Always a great gift, family (hint hint)!


And now, onto more photography stuff.

I bought business cards yesterday.  Can you believe it?  So many times I see moms or meet them at playgroups and wish I had a card to give them after we've talked about the blog for a while.  So I made some!  And you know what I wrote under my name?  Writer & Photographer.  Wow.  Not Mom.  Not English Teacher.  Writer & Photographer.  When did I morph into this person?


Photo Challenges

The photo challenge at I Should Be Folding Laundry is Spring.

I bought some Easter/spring decorations the other day at Pier 1 (where everyone in the store stopped and stared at the woman--ahem, me--with two very small children with so many breakable things.  I got quite a few "Wow, you're brave" comments.  I guess they've met Jax before and/or he has quite the reputation.

So we bought some chicks.


And at first Em loved them.  They made her giggle and she couldn't get enough of looking at them.

That is, until she touched them.  And then she wanted those things as far away from her as humanly possible.  She actually shuddered.

Here! You take it!

So now they live on our kitchen table but out of arm's reach.  Not because they'll get broken, but because I think she'll wretch up her breakfast if she accidentally touches one.

Sorry, chickie.  Those babies are too cute; they're here to stay!


Susan said...

Great did well. I'm still learning about lighting.

Your baby is ADORABLE!

Happy Easter♥

Gillian said...

These photos are awesome! Good job! So you know, this post has inspired me to take a class.

PS - I can't wait to see how you progress... :)

Baby Talk without the Babble

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

I had to smile at your business cards -- I did the same thing lately. And I've taken to introducing myself as a photographer and digital artist, not an English teacher (something we have in common, also the chef husbands -- mine was a chef for decades). I wish you well in the process of reinventing yourself!

shellycoulter said...

Love the name of your blog. :) And that little girl has some gorgeous eyes!~ :)

Jess said...

Your daughter with the fuzzy chicks totally cracks me up! LOL! My little girl is the same with certain things, you just never know how she's going to react.

We have REAL chicks due to hatch this weekend, and I'm mostly excited to see what my girl thinks of them. (okay, I'm excited for the chicks too)

Ross said...

Your pictures are great! I'm an amateur photographer myself. What type of camera do you use? Your site is great, and I always enjoy reading your posts!

Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids said...

SO how do you like the simply bliss class? I was given an DSLR camera last fall and have been using it for my blog, but I still usually shoot in some form of 'auto' because I haven't had time sit down and watch the dvd about it or take the class. Is it worth the cash? Is it time consuming. I just found your blog this morning! Enjoyed your photography and reading, but especially love the name. :)

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

I'm putting my camera on manual today and venturing out

Bindi said...

I love reading about other amateur photographers and what they are learning. Helps me to understand what I need to learn too. The photos of your baby are darling. Love the chick ones too. Great shot for You Capture.

Brooke said...

HA! I love your little fuzzy chicks :D That is one store that I don't go into with both boys. One I can handle... but not TWO!

Elaine A. said...

I'm so glad you like the photography eclass. I wish I could carve out some time to take one myself. And your baby girl's eyes are amazing!! She's a doll. :)

An Irish Italian Blessing said...

Love the pics!! I think they came out really great. I think the only way to really learn how to do it is to practice. What kind of camera are you using? I'm seriously contemplating a DSLR but they are sooo intimidating!

Cat @ No Wooden Spoons said...

What a fun class! Sounds like you're learning a lot from Faith! I love the second portrait a lot too, and cute Easter chicks!