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We spent some time at WinCo today…

cartscandycandy-machine-2candy-machineprizecartHappy Wednesday!

Over at iheartfaces this week we have the chance to post about the progress we’ve made in our photography journey thus far.

Since  I didn’t start getting serious about photography until the end of last year, I feel like all of mine even now are more like “befores” than “afters”.

But I dug around my files and found quite a few technically and artistically BAD photos.  I still love them because they’re mostly pictures of my kids so I’ll keep them but I’m so glad that I now “know better” and have the ability to take better pictures these days.

Here’s an example of a typical before:

DSC_0204

Cute kid but BLECHY photo.  I used the camera I use now but on AUTO of course, with an on-camera flash (yikes), without a clue about composition, or exposure or natural light, or any concern about what was in the background.  Just a fancy camera that I used to point and shoot.

The beginning of this year I realized what better pictures I took when I didn’t use the flash.  I was still on AUTO but because I didn’t know how my camera worked, I manually held the flash down with my finger and shot away (double yikes).

DSC_0267Everything was just so yellow and out of focus. And OOPS I chopped off her feet…

Finally, I got my camera manual out and actually read it!  Lo and behold I did not need to hold down the flash in order to turn it off.  Who knew? Certainly not me!

Ever since that defining moment, I have been gleaning all I can from blogs like iheartfaces and ilovephotography, and Clickinmoms.

And I shoot every chance I get.

I think I learn something everyday.

After looking through all those old picture files, I actually feel a little better and can see that I am, in fact, improving little by little.

These were shot a couple of weeks ago:

maddy graffiti texture

maddy12 copy

Here’s what I shot today.

will play dough I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m loving every minute of it.

Head on over to iheartfaces and take a look at some serious progress being made in the world of photography.

Happy Monday!

Let's Pretend…

Remember when I debated whether or not to send Will to kindergarten?

Well, I ended up keeping the little bugger home for 1 more year.

He does go to preschool.

But not everyday.

Some days he and I spend the day together.

Some days WE have lots of errands to run and things to do.

Other days I have lots of things to get done around the house.

These are the days he misses his brothers and sister.

Today was one of those days.

So I put my stuff away and we did a photo shoot.

We got out the old Halloween costumes and he tried some of them on.

This is what our day looked like:

darth

ben-franklin

vampire

dementer

wizard

leopard

dog

Let’s Pretend…

Remember when I debated whether or not to send Will to kindergarten?

Well, I ended up keeping the little bugger home for 1 more year.

He does go to preschool.

But not everyday.

Some days he and I spend the day together.

Some days WE have lots of errands to run and things to do.

Other days I have lots of things to get done around the house.

These are the days he misses his brothers and sister.

Today was one of those days.

So I put my stuff away and we did a photo shoot.

We got out the old Halloween costumes and he tried some of them on.

This is what our day looked like:

darth

ben-franklin

vampire

dementer

wizard

leopard

dog

fix-it friday

FacesFixIt

Before:

beaty

This was a really fun photo to play with.  Such a cute girl in a beautiful dress needed more than a brick wall to frame her.  So I gave her a little bit of princess-ness. (not a real word.  I know.)

Work flow:

1. Crop and straighten

2. Coffeeshop’s Powder Room 2 to smooth skin and brighten eyes

3. Adjust contrast

4. dodge and burn highlights and shadows

5.  Dodged the crud out of the background bricks

6.  Added a texture layer

7.  Adjusted opacity

8.  Smudged her back to the foreground

9.  Burned a vignette

10.  Reduced noise

11.  Unsharped mask

12.  Decreased saturation

Here’s the Result:

BEAUTY

Go check out the other edits over at iheartfaces.

Happy Friday!

Back to School

4 backpacks….check

4 new pair of shoes…check

2 lunches packed…check

paper, pencils, pink erasers, scissors, tissues, rulers, crayons, markers, calculators…check

permissions slips signed…check

4 tired kids…check

4 different schools this year…check

kids-on-porch-webshoes-webback-packs-webmaddy hi res copyjack-weberik-sitting-web

Can you guess who didn’t want to get up early for preschool?

will-web

Happy Back-to-school!

button - photochallenge1

It’s nostalgia week on i heart faces.

This is a photo of Jack on his 11th birthday (which I STILL haven’t done a post on, DARN it!).  I love Jack for many reasons, one of which is the fact that for every present-giving holiday he has something off-the-wall on his list.  One year it was a carnivorous plant.  Last Christmas it was a ventriloquist dummy.  This year for his birthday he wanted a slinky dog.  A slinky dog?  I mean how many 11 year-old boys ask for a slinky dog for their birthday?  But not being one to shrink from my motherhood responsibilities, I embraced the challenge and set out to find a slinky dog.

Let it be known…

Those suckers are hard to find.

I started out where I always start out no matter what I’m looking for…Target, of course.  No slinky dog there.  I took a deep breath, all the while cringing and faced my next destination…Walmart.  Luckily I made it out in one piece, although unfortunately, sans slinky dog.  I started getting a little leery that slinky dogs still existed.  But I was a determined mom so I threw caution to the wind, double checked to make sure I still had zero kids with me and headed into The Last Resort…Toys ‘R Us (shoot me now).  I was in and out in a flash when I determined NO slinky dog would ever reside in such a place as this.  I headed home resigned to the fact  that I would not be successful in this year’s quest for Jack’s Off-the-Wall Gift.

We just happened to be in Utah for Jack’s birthday, on our way to Chicago and I needed to pick up a few last minute gifts for him.  I had all but written off the slinky dog.  I went to my all time favorite toy store in Utah, The Red Balloon. I love it because it has all the irresistable, high quality, time tested toys I played with as a kid.  You know, the ones without the motors or electronic mumbo jumbo.  Just good old fashioned wood and paint and high quality plastic.  The kind of store my grandma would be proud of.  As I walked past the Schleich figures and rounded the end of the Playmobile display, there on the shelf…you guessed it,  were two slinky dogs! YESssss!  Mission accomplished.   Jack’s Off-the-Wall birthday gift 2009 completed!

nostalgic 2

If you are ever in the market to buy a slinky dog, a carnivorous plant, or a ventriloquist dummy, give me a holler.  I’m your go-to gal.  I’ve got the 411.

Go check out all the nostalgic photos this week.  I’ll bet mine will be the only one featuring a slinky dog. 🙂

(or maybe not…)