Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A conversation with Allie

Bedtime. We are alone in her room, cuddling.

Allie (playing with the birthstone charms on my mother's necklace): "Which one is mine?"

Me (holding out the first clear crystal charm): "This one."

Allie: "Awww. I want the purple one."

Me (purposely not telling her that it is pink, not purple, because I know that she will insist that it is purple): "That's your sister's."

Allie: "Is it Abbey's?"

Me: "Yes."

Allie: "Was she in our family when we were babies?"

Me: "No, sweetie. She was in heaven."

Allie: "When did she die?"

Me: "When she was a baby."

Allie: "What did she look like?"

Me: "She looked like you, sweetie."

Allie: "Mommy, why are your eyes wet?"

Allie: "I love you, Mommy."

Allie: "Why are you crying?."

Hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shooting in Manual: Part II

In Part I of my easy series on shooting in manual, we discussed the functions of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Today, in Part II, you will learn how the three work together in order to properly expose a photo.

In Part I, I had you think of ISO, aperture and shutter speed as a triangle. These three functions are connected to each other and do not work independently. So you can't just say, well, I want to keep my ISO low at 100 and I want a fast shutter speed, say 1/2500, and I really want bokeh so I'll just set my aperture for 2.8. Maybe that would work but chances are, it won't.

The thought of shooting in manual always intimidated me because I thought that you had to have settings memorized. You do not need to have settings memorized and we will discuss using the meter in your camera in this post.

I think the most asked questions when it comes to shooting in manual are:

"Where do I start?"
"What function (aperture, ISO, shutter speed) do I set first?"
"How do I know what to set my aperture, ISO and/or shutter speed to?"

In short, there is no correct answer, which is good. It gives you more options. Hopefully, I can explain why. Let's start with the pictures from Part I. I am going to talk about the settings so hopefully you can see how the three functions (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) work together.

For this first one, I wanted to use a low ISO so I set that to 320. I then set my f stop to 2.8 so that the lens opening would be wide to let in light. I metered in my camera for the shutter speed that would properly expose the photo. That was 1/25, which is really super slow.


In order to achieve a faster shutter speed, I either had to increase my ISO or decrease my f stop. I wanted to leave my f stop at 2.8 for this example. By increasing my ISO to 4000, I was able to increase my shutter speed to 1/320 (by metering in the camera.)


Aside from the increase in graininess, the two photos are almost identical.

Is this starting to make sense??

Now, let's look at the settings for my other example. In this first one, I wanted to keep my ISO low (to avoid grain) and my f stop low (for a blurry background and to let more light into the camera).

ISO - 100
Aperture - f/2.2
Shutter speed - 1/60


That's a pretty slow shutter speed and if children were in the picture, someone (most likely) would have been blurry.

Suppose I needed to use a higher number for my f stop because I wanted more of the picture in focus and less bokeh. I would have to increase my ISO if I didn't want to (or couldn't) decrease my shutter speed.

ISO - 400
Aperture - f/4.5
Shutter speed - 1/60


I still want less bokeh....

ISO - 800
Aperture - f/6.3
Shutter speed - 1/60


What if I increase my f stop to 8.0?

ISO - 1600
Aperture - f/8.0
Shutter speed - 1/80


I hope that these examples show you how the triangle of ISO, aperture and shutter speed works. If you change one component, you will need to change another one to compensate for either the loss of light or the addition of light.

Here's a cheat sheet:

When you increase your ISO, you are increasing light but also increasing graininess.
When you increase your f stop, you are decreasing light and decreasing bokeh.
When you increase your shutter speed, you are decreasing light but increasing the ability to capture motion.

When you decrease your ISO, you are decreasing light and decreasing graininess.
When you decrease your f stop, you are adding light and adding bokeh.
When you decrease your shutter speed, you are increasing light but decreasing the ability to capture motion.

What is metering?
  1. With your camera on, set it to manual. On my Nikon, it is the M on the spin dial.
  2. Look through the viewfinder.
  3. At the bottom, you should see a meter. There is a zero in the middle with a + to the left of it and a - to the right of it.
  4. If your photo is underexposed, you will see a lot of little lines or marks to the right of the zero. If your photo is over exposed, you will see little lines or marks to the left of the zero.
  5. I always meter for my shutter speed. Turn the dial to change your shutter speed as you look through the viewfinder and watch the lines move to tell you whether you are over or underexposing your photo.
How do I decide my settings?

More often than not, I set my f stop first. Trust me when I tell you that it will come to you with time and practice. If I'm using my 35mm f/1.8 lens and I'm photographing the girls playing, I usually use an f stop of 3.5. For other situations and lenses, I usually have an idea of what f stop I would like to use.

I then assess the light and try to use the lowest ISO possible. Suppose we are outside and it is very cloudy and overcast, I'll probably start off with an ISO of 400.

I will then meter in my camera for the correct shutter speed. As long as the girls aren't running, a shutter speed of 1/160( which will show up as 160 on your camera's display) should be sufficient.

If the shutter speed is too slow - suppose my camera is telling me that my metered shutter speed is 1/100 - I'll have to decide whether to decrease my f stop or increase my ISO. In this case, I would probably change my f stop to 3.2, which will open the lens allowing more light in and increasing my shutter speed.

Let's take a real example of the girls trick or treating. When we stepped outside on Halloween, the sun was already hidden behind houses and trees and I was losing light fast. I first decided to set my f stop to 2.8. I bumped my ISO to 4000, which gave me a shutter speed of 1/100, which was slower than I would have liked but fast enough.


Why an f stop of 2.8? For the most part, lenses are not at their sharpest when wide open. So while I could reduce my f stop to 1.8, I don't because I don't want too soft of a picture. Depth of field, which I will explain in another post, plays a role in this as well.

My camera won't let me set my f stop to 2.8! This is where you need to understand the lens that you are using. If it is a zoom lens and says "f/3.5-5.6" on it than the lowest f stop is 3.3. If you are zoomed all the way out, your lowest f stop is 5.6.

Focus point(s)

Just a quick note that when you are shooting in Manual, you should be selecting your focus points. Do not let the camera decide what it should be focusing on!


In Part I, Andrea asked how I prevent pictures from being blurry when there is low light and I leave the shutter speed for longer without using a tripod.

You need to have a steady hand or something to rest the camera on. I usually don't take low light, slow shutter speed photos because that's typically not what/when I am taking pictures. For night or really low light situations, I use my Speedlight whenever possible, especially if people are involved. For the night photos taken from my hotel room in NYC, I sat on the window seat and steadied the camera against my knees.

Coming up...

Yes, there's more. There will always be more. I think another important aspect to shooting in Manual is deciding on how your camera's meter should read the light. There are three options: matrix, center-weighted and spot. Stay tuned....

The wishing star

Glow in the dark star stickers adorn Allie's bedroom ceiling. Rich and I placed them there when the girls were babies (sharing that bedroom) and we were willing to try anything to distract them from crying during bed time. Last night, after bed time stories, the girls were delaying a bit from climbing into their beds. All of a sudden, Allie cried out, "Look at the stars." She had turned off her light so that the stars would glow.

Anna and Em ran into her room and said, "Wow," as they looked up at the ceiling. And then Emily said, "I see the wishing star. I'm going to make a wish. I wish that Mommy didn't have to go to work ever again."

Gah! She's been in extra-cling mode lately.

I've been working on Part II of my shooting in manual series. I hope to publish that tonight. Hope you have a good day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

That creepy old guy

Rich and I hadn't planned on a visit with Santa excursion for this holiday season for several reasons. After the girls' reaction to him during our trip to Santa's Village in August, we pretty much knew how they felt about the big guy. Although Emily had shown some interest and was the one who insisted that we return to Santa's house for one more quick chat before we left.

The week before Thanksgiving, I learned from one of my online MoM (mother of multiples) friends that the Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place had a nice Santa set-up. We had never been over there so we decided to check it out. Plus, we had heard that the store itself was a sight seeing adventure for little ones.

Emily showing off her new hairstyle before we left the house. This one is called "like the girl in the American Girl catalog."


Instead of having one long, out of control line, the store was handing out time passes. So you would line up at the time indicated on your pass. We arrived at the store a bit past two in the afternoon to discover that the earliest time for passes was 4:30. As Rich asked the woman with the passes about the time, she handed him a pass and said, "It's your lucky day. Someone just turned in this pass for 2:30." Thankyouvermuch. Especially since we didn't actually see Santa until 3:00.



Emmy and Daddy, who was perfecting the art of napping while standing.


Can I get a picture of the three of you in front of these trees? Okay... over here. No, can you stand... Can you turn... Can you look... Oh, just forget it!


As predicted, the girls wanted nothing to do with Santa.


I just love my antlers. (The picture was a freebie.)

If I step into the girls' minds, I can understand why the whole Santa thing is a little scary. Here's this old guy asking you if you like dollies and if you've been nice. And then he's going to come into your house while you're sleeping. It's a little bit creepy.

The girls were not impressed with the Bass Pro Shops. Maybe if they were boys, they would have liked it. All they wanted to do was eat so we left and found an ice cream place.






And then we checked out Old Navy, where the girls scored holiday Hello Kitty tees. It was a busy afternoon and yet, the girls didn't want to go home. They kept asking us if we could do something else.

A few days after meeting Santa, the girls and Rich were having a conversation about Santa and telling him what they want for Christmas. Allie said, "Maybe we could go see a different Santa. One that is nicer and doesn't wear glasses."


Saturday, November 26, 2011

One down...

two to go.

I am working on a "visit with Santa" post (I promise) but, for tonight, you'll have to settle for pictures of Allie's Christmas dress that was finished this evening.


(Doorknob in focus. Child not. User error or lens focus issue? I hope user error.)


That's Anna's arm. She was half-dressed and kept chasing after Allie and jumping into all of the pictures.


Anna tried on Allie's dress and gave it a few spins.


Allie loves her dress. She gave me a big hug and told me that I was the best mommy ever and that I do great sewing.

(Fashion note - they will have to wear long sleeved shirts under these dresses for this time of the year.)

Friday, November 25, 2011


My brother and sister-in-law hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was nice to spend the morning at home and the afternoon with family. (My dad has been sick and decided to stay at home so as not to spread germs around. That part was not so nice.) The girls sort of watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which they refer to as the parade in New York, and then had some play time with their cousin.

Photos are scarce in this post so it may appear that I didn't take very many. This is somewhat true. There was a big photo session before we left our house to drive over to my brother's house. That's another post for another day. (Maybe tomorrow or this weekend.) After playing seamstress and professional photographer, I needed a break. Especially since my kids were running around like crazy for most of the day.

(My brother's neighbor has horses.)


The kids' table.


When I served food onto the girls' plates, I placed a little bit of each item and told them that I could give them more of what they liked. Allie immediately chowed down all of her turkey, carrots and green beans. She told me that she tried the sweet potatoes (with marshmallows!) and the stuffing but didn't like them. I was okay with that and gave her more of the other three. Emily, who had been soooo excited to eat turkey, told me that she didn't like anything. Anna was acting picky but then did eat. They all ate at least one roll too. I think Allie had two of them.


There is marked difference now in attending family functions. If the girls are in the other room playing, we don't have to watch them like hawks. We don't have to worry about them getting into something they shouldn't. The eating situation is easier as well. Although, there were two spilled milk incidences, one potty break and a few refills so we weren't quite able to just sit and eat our meal but I'll take it.

At some point before we ate, I was holding Allie and wanted a picture of us together. I sought out a spot on the porch with some natural light, set up the camera and handed it over to Grammy. Allie was chilly, which HELLO happens when you insist on wearing short sleeves and a dress with no tights or leggings.


Here's my hang-up about being photographed: I have aged about 10 years in the past 5. I never had an issue with photos until Abbey died. Grief ages your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states. You are never the same. Add triplets and some unnecessary stress to the mix and I'm an old lady at 38.

I don't want my kids to look back and say, "What did Mommy look like when we were little? There are no pictures."


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On this eve of thanks

I tend to be more of a glass is half empty type of person. That's my personality and I shouldn't have to apologize for being me. So I do have grumpy days or weeks. That's my life.

But for tonight and tomorrow and maybe I can extend it until Monday, I want to throw stress (mostly non-bloggable) out the window and focus on the good. So here are some of goods that I've been thinking about lately:

I'm thankful that we are healthy and that my family members with dangerous jobs are safe. I'm thankful that Grammy received amazingly wonderful news from her doctor a few weeks ago. I'm thankful that my Papaw has kept up his battle with cancer and Alzheimer's and that my Mamaw is well enough to care for him.

I'm thankful that Anna has not experienced any issues with her shunt or Chiari II malformation. I have three beautiful little girls here with me who mean more than anything in this world.

I'm thankful that I have a husband who helps around the house and understands how important sleep is.

I'm thankful that we have supportive, caring and helpful families.

I'm thankful that we are able to live in a nice home on a quiet street in a safe town with a good school system. I'm thankful that we don't have to worry about turning the heat up when it's cold outside or turning on the air conditioning when the house becomes an oven.

I'm thankful that we have good health insurance and don't have to worry about bringing the girls to the doctor when they are sick.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What to wear to a baby shower.

For four year olds, by four year olds. Because, really, who cares what I wear.

Each and every night, the girls insist on choosing their clothes for the next day. We started this little routine for the nights before a school day to save some of Grammy's sanity but now, deciding upon outfits has to be completed each and every night before bed. Even on the weekends. So a few Saturday nights ago, when Rich and I arrived home from Family Game Night, Jen, who babysat, informed me that Allie and Anna had already selected their outfits for the baby shower we would be attending the next morning.


Okay, I gave up on my children wearing what I want them to wear a long time ago. But this was a BABY SHOWER and I wanted them to look adorable.

And, yes, they were invited to the baby shower for their cousin who is expecting twin girls. It was a tiny bit stressful for me only in that I wasn't feeling the greatest and let's face it, caring for, feeding and entertaining three four year olds at a baby shower isn't exactly EASY. But the girls were very well behaved, Jen was there to assist and I survived. I was even able to eat almost all of my food.

I know, I know. The outfits. Emily has actually been working with me when it comes to her outfit selections. I hope this trend continues because look at how stinking cute that pink dress and leopard print shoes are.


Allie, who was trying to tell Em a secret and not coughing in her face, wanted to wear her purple dress. She wasn't too keen on having me as a fashion consultant and insisted on wearing those red shoes.

Best "Let me tell you a secret" picture ever.


And where was Anna during all of this?

  1. She refused to be photographed. You should have seen the dirty look she gave me after the flash fired for that picture.
  2. She insisted on wearing that outfit. At least the pink matches the pink in her shirt. (The girls are finally wearing pants, which is great for cold days and playing outside.)
  3. The placement of her headband reminds me of 1985.


Never a dull moment...

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Monday, November 21, 2011


The scale to fine tune the auto focus for a lens ranges from -20 to +20. I had to adjust by -10 for my 35mm lens. -10!

Here's my unsophisticated set-up:


Here is the first picture that I took with an f stop of 2.0. (I enlarged the picture for your viewing pleasure.) I was focused directly on the 5.


As you can see, the focus fell on the 6 and into the 7.

Here's the same shot (f stop was 2.2) with the auto focus adjusted by -10.


Here's Tiger with the focal point on his right eye.


I think I need to find a replacement because my warm, fuzzy feeling with this lens is gone. Does anyone have a Sigma 30mm f/1.8? Bueller? Bueller?

Can you solve this problem, Dora?

When I arrived home from work Wednesday evening, Emily informed me that a special Dora show was going to be on Sunday night at 7:00 and she really, really wanted to watch it. "Please can we watch it?" There is something so refreshing about the innocence of a child so Rich and I conferred and agreed to allow the girls to stay up a bit later to watch the special, which I'm sure will be replayed on Nick over and over again. On average, the girls are asleep between 7:15 and 7:30 so they really wouldn't be staying up that much later.

And, no, we don't have a DVR or any other way to record television shows.

Allie finished her Z pack for babies on Friday but still has a nasty cough. She's not coughing as frequently but now Anna is coughing. Again, not frequently but when she does, it's nasty. Anna also slept until 8:30 yesterday morning, which is almost unheard of in our house. She looked exhausted and ready for bed by 5:00. I think Rich and I could have gone to bed at 5:00 last night too.



So the deal was that the girls had to be bathed, teeth brushed and in their pajamas before the show started and when the show ended, they needed to go to bed without me reading or telling them any stories. They did okay. As soon as Rich shut the television off, Anna announced, "I want dessert now." She had already eaten dessert hours earlier. Allie insisted on telling me a story and Emily called me upstairs twice.

The girls told me that they enjoyed the show and I'm glad that they were able to watch it for several reasons, one being that I realized that my 35mm lens is back focusing. For at least the past month or so, I have felt like my photos taken with this lens are soft. I ususally keep my f stop at 3.5 - 4.5 with the girls but the few times that I have used a lower f stop, I noticed some focus issues. Because I feel like I am swimming in a fog half the time, I just ignored it.

Well, it was really bothering me on Saturday. I took a slew of photos, which (soft or not) I'll post later, and the focus was obviously not right. Last night, I dropped my f stop to 3.2 to photograph Emily sitting on the couch. Although she was frozen in place and I used my external flash for additional light, I could see immediately that the focus was falling behind her and not on her face.
Some quick, rudimentary testing after the girls went to sleep confirmed my suspicions . And then I lost it. I don't have a "back-up" lens close to this focal range and so I am without a main lens until this issue is corrected or I purchase a new lens, which I am not ready to do because I don't know what to replace it with and I really don't want to spend $1,400 on a lens right now. I did check this morning and my D7000 is able to fine tune the auto focus on lenses so guess what I'll be doing tonight.

Quite honesly, I don't have time for this. I don't have time for anything. I decided that instead of purchasing $60+ Christmas outfits for the girls, that I would sew them each a dress (and hopefully a skirt) with their input. I really do like to sew and the girls seem to enjoy their new outfit additions. I started on Allie's dress yesterday and I was able to complete almost half of it.

Last night, I told Rich that I feel stupid for trying to sew anything. I don't have time. I just want to be a normal mom but normal went out the window years ago and yet here I am still trying to squeeze it all in. Throw in a bad lens during a holiday week and I'm lost, sad and frustrated.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I experienced a bit of an epiphany the other day regarding Anna's handwriting. She is left-handed, which adds awkwardness to the positioning of her arm. When working with her a few weeks ago, I realized that something was not quite right about how she was holding her arm and hand but in the chaos of early evening, I couldn't place my finger on it.

Earlier this week, I was working at my cluttered desk and reached over a stack of folders and papers to scribble down a number and note on a pad of paper. It's hard to write neatly when my arm is up in the air like this. IT'S HARD TO WRITE NEATLY WHEN MY ARM IS UP IN THE AIR LIKE THIS.

I wanted to rush home to sit down with Anna and help her position her arm with the hopes that she would be able to write easier. Unfortunately, it took a few days before she would work with me. When I first mentioned it to her, she flat out said, "No." No explanation. Just a simple no. She finally told me that she didn't want to try because she couldn't do it. I told her that she could do anything she put her mind to.

The worksheets from her OT at school have three rows of blocks. In the first row, her name is written and she needs to trace it. In the next two rows, she fills in the blocks herself but, of course, she can refer to the first row. After she successfully completed one worksheet, I placed a blank piece of paper in front of her and removed the worksheet from school. I wanted her to think about what she was doing and not copy and not have any help from me.

This is what happened...


She's proud of herself and I'm so very proud of her!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Things we can't do

I've been meaning to post this for 9 months or so now. One of our Richard Scarry books had been hidden away in the basement with the toys and books on rotation and when it finally appeared, the girls had me laughing at bedtime when we reached Things We Do page. When I read the question, "What's the one thing we can't do?" they responded with:


(Note that I have marked the corresponding letter in red on the book pages.)

A - We can't dig in Daddy's garden.
B - We can't play with sticks.
C - We can't sleep when Grammy is here.
D - We can't run in the house.
E - We can't watch a lot of tv.
F - We can't pull sissies' toys.
G - We can't throw balls in the house.
H - We can't bite.
I - We can't cry.
J - We can't eat standing up.
K - We can't crawl under things.
L - We can't fall down.
M - We can't go up and down the stairs when Grammy is here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shooting in Manual: Part I

Remember this post from many (too many) months ago when I promised to teach you all how to use your camera in manual mode. Well, time obviously slipped away from me. Recently, I've come across a few photographer bloggers offering online photography lessons for a fee or selling e-books for a fee. One great aspect of the internet is that there is a lot of information out there that is FREE.

Don't get me wrong. There are some books that are great references to have. Most photographers would recommend that you read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson and I found the Field Guide by David Busch to be a nice expansion to my Nikon D50's manual.

For some, learning in a classroom setting versus doing it on their own is easier. And that's fine. Unfortunately, I know quite a few people who have taken photography classes or online sessions but it's not enough for them to transition to shooting in manual all the time and then they forget what they have learned.

I honestly believe that the key to improving is to practice, practice and then practice some more. You can read all you want but if you don't apply what you are learning on a regular basis, it will be lost. (Who remembers what they learned in Calculus 101?) I am self taught and with these posts, I'll spew out what I know in basic terminology along with tips as to how I remember it. I'm going to keep this very, very basic.

So let's jump right in!

The first lesson is to understand what ISO, shutter speed and aperture are and what they do. These three functions need to work together in order for your photo to be properly exposed. Think of them connected as a triangle. Remember that you need light in order for your camera to produce a photo.


The easiest way to describe ISO is to think of old school film. Do you remember buying film to use in your camera? The common "film speeds" were 100, 200 or 400. The film box would say to use 100 for outdoor use in bright sun while the 800 was for low light. Does any of this sound familiar or am I the only one old enough to have used a film camera growing up? (And for many, many years as an adult.)

ISO is your camera's sensitivity to light. The higher the number = your camera is going to be able to process more light.

BUT keep in mind that the higher the number also means that more grain is going to appear in your photos.

Example - Here are two photographs straight out of the camera with no edits (except to add a watermark,) The first was taken with an ISO of 320 and the second with an ISO of 4000. (We will discuss the aperture and shutter speed settings for both pictures in the next lesson.) Elmo volunteered to be my model since no child of mine would sit still for that long.

ISO 320


ISO 4000


Although I am showing you large web pictures, they are small in comparison to large prints so you may not be able to see the grain. So, in Photoshop Elements, I enlarged the pictures by 75% and then cropped. Do you see the grain now?

ISO 320


ISO 4000


Grain is more apparent or obvious on darker portions of a photo. With these two pictures, I would compare the wall behind Elmo.

(Please note that there are programs/software that will reduce graininess.)


Aperture (or your f stop) refers to how wide the opening of your lens is. When I was first learning about aperture, I found it easiest to remember what it does by thinking of it as the opposite function.

The smaller the f stop = the wider the opening of your lens and the more light you are capturing.

The smaller the f stop = your photo will have "more" bokeh.

I'm sure someone is asking, "What is bokeh?" Bokeh is the "blurred" portion of the photo, usually in the background. (Don't worry. Examples are coming up.)

Shooting with a small f stop is often referred to as "shooting wide" or "shooting wide open" because with the smaller f stop, the lens opening is wider than it would be with a larger f stop.

Here are a series of photos (all straight out of the camera) where I increased my f stop. You can see how the background slowly lost bokeh and became more in focus as I increased the f stop. In order to not overload you will too much information, you will have to wait for the next lesson to find out how the ISO and shutter speed changed with the change to the f stop.









Shutter Speed

The easiest function. Sometimes. The shutter speeds determines how long it takes your camera to shoot a photo. A slow shutter speed means that the shutter will be open longer, allowing more light to enter the camera. A fast shutter speed means that the shutter opens and closes quickly, capturing less light but freezing movement.

Shutter speed is referred to as a portion of a second. So if my camera is showing 100 as the shutter speed, it means that my shutter is set to stay open for 1/100 of a second. If you are photographing children, the key to shutter speed is determing what it needs to be in order to avoid blurry photos. This is what can make it a difficult function.

(If you are using an external flash, there are techniques where you use a slow shutter speed to allow light to develop in the background. We will discuss later as I don't want information overload to occur.)

I don't have any examples of shutter speed because, well, I think it is kind of obvious.


You will need your camera and the manual that came along with it.
  1. Turn the dial to M for manual.
  2. What is your ISO set at? Can't find it? Look in your manual. Then figure out how to change it.
  3. What is your aperture set at? Look in your manual if you don't know. Then figure out how to change it.
  4. What is your shutter speed set to? Again, refer to your manual if you can't figure it out and then learn how to change it.

In the next lesson, I will discuss how ISO, aperture and shutter speed are connected and how I determine what settings to use when shooting in manual.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creative talents

As a child, I always enjoyed painting and drawing and I imagined that I was a fantastic artist. By the time I entered junior high, I realized that I had zero raw talent. This fact was reinforced by attending school with kids who had amazing artistic abilities. My mother and her brother can draw and paint and I obviously did not inherit any of those traits.

So I then decided that I wanted to play the piano. I had taken flute lessons in elementary school and was a fairly good flutist but again, there was not enough raw talent for that wow factor. I had to practice and I only excelled because of lessons and practice. But then I knocked out my front tooth (permanent tooth) and my days as a flutist, sadly, were over.

After years of wanting to take piano lessons, the stars aligned during my senior year of high school. Again, I had to practice. I had to take lessons. And then I dislocated my knee cap and couldn't sit at the piano to practice because of the brace on my knee. Awesomely fun times. I did enroll in piano classes in college (and I think I earned an A (or an A-) for a grades.) I eventually purchased a piano and continued on by teaching myself for a period of time. But, sadly, I knew that I would never be a Tori Amos or a Vanessa Carlton.

But now I have photography. Yes, I had to practice to reach the level that I'm at but it has always come naturally to me. I didn't have to struggle through lessons or classes. My father is a photographer (along with other family members) so I must have inherited that from him. (I certainly did not inherit my Papaw's ability to play guitar.)

I took these photos of Allie a few weeks ago as she painted pictures. I love how intense she is when concentrating.






It appears that the girls have inherited my eye color: whale.