Friday, April 29, 2011

Defining moments . . .

So, today is a happy day!!  I think of all the moments in life -- the really big, newsworthy moments, that mark passages in life.  Not just mine.  Everyone's.  Everyone has moments they'll remember forever -- some personal, like their own wedding or the birth of a child, some public -- like a royal wedding, or the death of a beloved leader.  As with all of life, we take the bad with the good.

Take, for instance, the Challenger crash:
I was in jr. high school -- and remember watching it live on television.  We were in home room, and that's where we ended up staying, all day, watching the news coverage.  It was somewhat surreal at that age -- understanding the sadness, but not the implications.  The setbacks.  The politics. 

Of course, there was 9-11:

This is probably a moment that most vividly stays with me -- the horror as well as the hope.  I had just taken my husband to work, and was driving back home when a live report came on the radio of the first crash.  By the time I was home, and turned the tv on, I watched, on live television, the second plane crash into the second tower.  I remember watching all throughout that day and the days following, glued to the television, hoping for survivors, praying for those affected.   I think for my mom, it was the shooting of JFK that most stood out in her memory.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  The tsunami in Indonesia.  The earthquake in Japan.  Katrina.  All disasters, all horrible in their own way.  And the list goes on, I'm sure.  

Today, though, we've a bit of hope.  A royal wedding!  Our beloved Princess Diana's son, who looks so much like her, has finally tied the "Windsor Knot" as the news is calling it.  To a beautiful "commoner" (gasp!), Miss Kate Middleton, now Princess Catherine.  The Duchess of Cambridge.  I can't even imagine how much her life has changed in just the last 24 hours.  
It was a beautiful wedding.  Regal.  Long.  If you watch the clip of them walking out on the balcony, you see her eyes widen and can see she's saying WOW to the number of people gathered to greet them.  But her smile shows happiness and delight, and I, for one, am thankful for a happy day . . . a happy memory.  

I scrapbooked 9-11, and my feelings and thoughts behind it.  I think perhaps I'll scrapbook the royal wedding, as well, as if I were a treasured guest, to show future generations that we take the bad with the good.  It's this trip called life we're on, and it's a wild ride.  

Best wishes to the new bride and groom -- the new Princess and Prince of Wales!!  May God watch over them and keep them ever in His care. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Heart Faces Photo Contest Entry -- Pets

Once again, my awesome upline Lynette Kankamp hooked me up with this amazing website.  I'm having fun learning about new photography websites while I'm taking my photography class.  I just couldn't pass this one up, as my two labs are my babies!!  Sweet and simple -- this is my Sadie, after a romp in the snow:
You can check out all the other wonderful enteries at their website.  Just click on the button below.  Thanks for looking!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Photo Basics -- Week 2 Homework

OK!  So here we are with week two of my photography class: Photographic Principle: Shutter Speed.  I can tell you that I'm going to be doing a LOT of practice with these settings!!  Actually, I can tell you that I'll be doing that with all of the assignments, just because shooting in manual is so new.  But it's so awesome to be in control!!  In fact, I was practicing my singular theme photos this weekend on my sisters daffodils, and she said "Oh -- are you using the MACRO button?"  I got to smile :) and say, "No, manual!!"  We've been in WY this weekend for Easter, so had limited opportunities for photos.  Limited time, rather, I guess.  Anyways, here are my submissions for this week:

Actually, for this one I have two:  the one I wanted to submit, but I know it was too dark -- but I still love the concept. If you click on it and look at it closer, you can see her ears frozen.  Can't quite tell her feet are off the ground!  My dog, Sydine, jumps for her ball, and this would have been a great frozen action shot if I had gone out just a little earlier:

ISO 1000
f /5.6

So, I know that one is too dark, but I wanted to show you that it would've been really awesome!  This is actually my submission for the first photo -- my nephew, Nicholas, is into longboarding, and this is a picture of him coming at me:

ISO 250
f /13

Post one IMPLIED MOTION image:

My submission for this one is of my uber-adorable great niece, Miss Penny.  She was 5 mo. on the 18th, and is into waving her arms when you talk to her!  So stinkin' cute!  Just love her to pieces.  If you look at her left hand, it's blurred while the rest of her is in focus:

ISO 250

Post one PANNING image:

Ok, I have to admit I am extra proud of this -- even though it was a fluke.  Second panning picture I tried, and I think it came out pretty darn good!!  I tried several closer photos after that, but blurred my nephew as well as the background in all of them.  Will have to keep practicing -- but am thrilled to share this with you all!

ISO 250

So, there you have week two!!  Many thanks to my nephew, Nicholas, and my other nephew, Chris and his beautiful wife Summer for sharing their sweet Penny with me and letting me post these pictures.  Till next week, friends and fellow photogs!  Namaste!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Assignment, Week #1 -- Aperture

Ok, so this week, we learned about the photo triangle, and how to control the aperture on our camera.  I have a Nikon D5000 Digital SLR that we purchased last spring to take to Kauai with us.  We got some awesome photos -- on automatic.  I can only imagine what we might have gotten had we learned how to use the camera before we left.  That's ok -- just means we have to go again, right?  LOL!

Anyway, here are my photos for this week.  We were to take a series of 9 photos; 3 for each of the three groups of aperture.  As this dealt a lot with depth of field, I decided that my small backyard and my always-in-motion dogs were probably not the best subject choices.  So, my dear hubby and I ventured out to the marina on the Great Salt Lake, near our home.  Here is what I came up with:

Storytelling Aperture:

 ISO 200

 ISO 200

ISO 200

Singular Theme Aperture:  note -- I included the first picture because I liked it the best, and think it best represented the assignment on singular theme; however, as I was working with birds, the goose moved, then actually had another one join him/her, so I started over.  Not quite as happy with the first of the three images with the geese, as the camera focused on the grass in front of their faces and blurred them just slightly.  It didn't help that there was a slight breeze.

 ISO 200

 ISO 200

 ISO 200

ISO 200

A couple of other notes on this set of photos:  the second goose got shy in the third picture, so there is only one goose showing; also, I didn't realize until I looked at the photos on my computer, but the interstate is in the background, making each photo slightly different.  I was SO focused on the birds that I didn't even notice the cars (or the bicyclist).  

The "Who-Cares" Aperture:

 ISO 200
 ISO 200

ISO 200

So, there you have it.  Week one, learning about aperture -- which is, if I understand correctly, is defined as how much light the camera is letting in.  I noticed the biggest difference in light in the first set of photos, but had the most fun taking the singular theme photos.  Please let me know what you think!

I'm Taking a Photography Class!!

I am SO excited.  I am taking an actual photography class online, and learning to take "real" pictures; ie, pictures in manual mode (did you know your camera has one of those?) where *I* control the settings, not the camera.  Actually, after my adventure this evening, I'm thinking it's way too much power for anyone to have.  LOL!  Just kidding -- it was scary, educational, and exhilarating all at the same time!!  I can see where it will become addictive, and am looking forward to our next lesson.   Many thanks to my upline with CTMH, Lynette Kankamp (you can visit her blog here) for hooking me up with this class.

That said, I have to send kudos out to my teacher, Brooke Snow (check out her awesome website here and her blog here) who is VERY easy to understand, VERY knowledgeable, and VERY cute!!  I hope you'll join me each week, follow along with my assignments, and let me know what you think of my photos.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Another "Challenging" Day!

Ok, so . . . . maybe my title is a little misleading.  ;)  The "challenge" in my day is that I completed another page for another challenge!  But I do have to admit to having a little challenge.  I am terrible with titles.  I would love for them to be catchy and unique, but often times they seem to be, well, obvious.  Now, when you see my page, and see the title, it may seem a little blah and obvious at first.  But there is a story behind it, and that story makes it catchy and unique!  (At least I think so!)  First of all, here is the sketch, brought to you by Page Maps:

And here is my interpretation of the layout:

So, you can see my title is "Pretty Bird."  Rather obvious, right?  Well, not when you hear it's history.  First off, I had the page all put together, and my husband was critiquing.  When he asked me what I was going to title the page, I said "I don't know."  He responded, "How about 'Pretty Bird' -- you know, like from the movie, Dumb and Dumber?"  (If you haven't seen it, you're not missing anything, I promise.)  And (cue light bulb, harp music, hallelujah chorus) I said, "That is PERFECT!!"   Now, he's pretty proud of himself, thinking I'm taking the title from the movie.  BUT . . . here's the rest of the story!  If you click on the page, maybe you can read that the bird in the picture (taken at Waimea Canyon Lookout in Kauai) is a Red-Crested Cardinal.  Now, the rest of the story is that my mom LOVED cardinals.  They had them everywhere in Iowa, where she grew up.  So much so that she would talk to them.  Yes, I said talk to them.  (She mooed at cows, too, but that's for another post.)  She would whistle at them, and they would whistle back.  She taught us girls to do the same, and I have loved cardinals ever since.  What you may NOT know is that cardinals, besides their distinctive whistle, also have another call they make -- and when you hear it, it sounds, very clearly, like they are saying "Birdy, Birdy, Birdy."  So, my darling husband, knowing none of this, came up with the perfect title for my page.  Maybe I just need to quit trying so hard.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Play Date Cafe Challenge PDCC75

Hi!  I'd like to share my submission for the Play Date Cafe's challenge # 75.  Here is the challenge:

And here is my version.  I used Close to My Heart colors -- Grey Wool, Smoothie, and Twilight, as well as our April SOTM.  Also used are CTMH buttons and Pearl Opaques.  Thanks for looking!

To order any of these Fantastic Close to My Heart projects, visit my website here.  You can even shop in your jammies!  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Studio J -- The Why and the How!

After my many posts lately about Studio J and its amazing benefits, I wanted to share a video clip that a fellow consultant and amazing lady, Tresa Black, created to promote Studio J.  I have to be honest, it made me cry.

You can visit Tresa's Blog here -- stop by and give her kudos for a job so VERY well done!  (She is an AMAZING artist.  I consistently drool over her creations and ideas!) 

Another amazing video about Studio J was created by CTMH themselves, titled Studio J - Start to Finish.

This is a step by step guide to how to create a layout using our amazing digital software.  I tell you, I'm getting hooked!  I simply can't wait to take the layouts I've done for my nephew and niece home at Easter and see what they think!  I hope they love them.  Here is a peek at another of the layouts I created for their album:

Remember, once you've watched these videos, you can try Studio J for FREE simply by visiting my website and clicking on the Studio J link on the left hand side.  Let me know what you think.  If you find you love it, we have several options available to make your layouts even MORE affordable that I would love to tell you about!

A Special Treat for April -- NO FOOLIN!

Now, just because today is April Fool's Day doesn't mean I'm pulling your leg!   Close to My Heart has a fantastic sale this month --

Wondering what a Level 1 kit is?  It is a fantastic group of coordinated printed papers, cardstock, and My Stickease that allows you to create quick and easy layouts in a minimum amount of time.  Wonderful for beginning scrapbookers or if you're pressed for time!

That's a $9.95 value FREE.  All you have to do is visit my website here and place an order of $100 during the month of April.  But here's the kicker!!  When you place that $100 order on my website, you not only get to choose a Level 1 kit FREE, but you also earn our beautiful April Stamp of the Month FREE as well -- that is a $22.95 value, for a total of $32.90 in FREE product!!

So, hop on over to my website and place your order, today!  Happy Scrapping!