Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring in Alaska

Anytime we see any sign of Spring approaching, Old Man Winter decides to pay us a visit. Here we are in April with a tad bit of snow. 

Looking out the front of my living room window, you'd never know it is supposed to be Spring.

The view from my dining room isn't much different either. Unfortunately we got dumped on this past weekend. . . 

But I can't complain too much. Snow days make for perfect indoor time spent crafting. I decided to try my hand at knitting cables, and out came this cute "mug sweater," as my daughter mockingly refers to it as. My favorite coffee cup is quite cozy, don't you think?

Off to enjoy some more coffee. Until the next time. . .

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you a beautiful Valentine's Day and hoping your day is filled with much love and happiness. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Photography - VERY Basic Tips To Getting Started

I have people ask me all the time about my photography equipment. The truth is that I have, by industry standards, a dinosaur of a camera, a Fuji Finepix S3 Pro. I don't think it's even made anymore. It's perfect for studio work, but does have limited options for low light ambient light situations. I use a very inexpensive off brand lens (Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8) or a nice quality lens (Nikkor 85mm f/1.4) depending on what I'm shooting. Some day I will upgrade to my dream camera, but probably not anytime soon.

You may have heard before, it's not the camera that takes a good picture, it's the person behind it. Well, I agree with that. . . . for the most part, but I won't deny that having a good equipment certainly helps, especially lenses. 

If you're serious about taking better photos, my best advice is to forget the big Canon or Nikon debate and do some research of your own to see what sort of camera will fit your needs. Everyone takes photos for different reasons. Once you invest in your camera, LEARN TO USE YOUR MANUAL SETTINGS. Once you gain a basic knowledge of proper exposure, the sky is the limit. It's not going to happen overnight, believe me, I'm still learning, but here are a few suggestions to help you get started. 

Check out DP Review and do some side-by-side comparisons on some cameras. Read the reviews and specs, but ignore the brand wars. The truth is there are many great camera brands out there, you just have to find out what works for your photographic needs and your budget.

Be careful of black and gray market products and be sure to use a reliable source to purchase your equipment. B&H Photo Video and Adorama are two reputable places to purchase quality photographic equipment*

Don't focus so much on kits, but rather what it is you're going to be shooting and what sort of equipment will offer the best outcome for your needs. Perhaps you already have a nice DSLR, and you want to upgrade your lens. Having quality glass can really make a big difference, but again, isn't always necessary.

Check out additional review sites that are geared for a broader consumer audience and not just for professionals, like Ken Rockwell's site. 

Invest in books that will help you gain a greater knowledge and better understanding of photography. 

I recommend the Photography text by Barbara London, Jim Stone and John Upton and Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I have older versions of both, and they are wonderful references.

You might also want to join, or browse, some online photography communities. Not all are geared for the novice, but many do have valuable information and resources. Here are a couple links you could start with. 

Last, but not least, get out and SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT! Practice what you've researched and try to gain a solid understanding so your images will be consistent. If you're frustrated because your pictures don't look like the pros, but you feel like you have a solid understanding of basic photography, you can now get started with your post processing journey. Post processing is meant to enhance a photo, but nothing can replace proper exposure out of the camera. The more you shoot and practice gaining control of your camera's settings, the better your straight out of camera (SOC) images will be and the less post processing you'll need to do. I will touch on post processing someday, in the mean time, go out and practice your manual settings!

Until the next time. . .

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lip Chap Cozy Giveaway

Many times after a gymnastics competition, gymnasts receive goody bags.  Those goody bags obviously don't fill themselves, so parents, at our gym, are asked to contribute 40 items to go into those bags. Since I'm on a limited budget, and I didn't want to give junk or candy, I decided I'd make 40 of something.

I didn't want to overwhelm myself and take on a project too big. I also wanted to make something budget friendly and quick, and ultimately decided on lip chap cozies (my daughter started calling lip balm lip chap as a baby, and it's since become the adopted term in our house).  

I looked online to find the perfect pattern, but most required fancy key fobs or D rings, which I didn't have, so I came up with my version of a lip chap cozy. I made a few to see which prototype I liked best and I think I'll be using this one. I don't have pictures of the other two as they were snatched up quickly by my daughters and are already clipped to their school bags. 

These make great little gifts and are quite practical especially during the cold dry winters. Head on over to my Facebook page for a chance to win this cute little lip chap cozy.

Until the next time. . . .
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