Friday, January 29, 2010

Biggest Full Moon of 2010

Tonight's moon is supposed to be the biggest full moon of 2010. This is one of those times when I am sorry that I don't know what I'm doing. These pictures are OK, but with a proper lens and proper settings, they could have been great photos.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Photo Posters

Here's something else you can do with Picnik - turn your photos into posters! This would be something very cool for kids sports photos.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snow Sprinkles

I really enjoy taking what I call texture pictures. Pictures so sharp, you feel as though you could almost feel the prickles. These are pictures that I took after a strange snow Tuesday afternoon. The snow wasn't really flakes. Instead it reminded me of the little beads you find in bean bag chairs. I think my favorite of these is the picture of the snow in the pine needles.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Window Shots

Today I was intrigued by the shapes on the window made by the shadows of the leaves. The shot didn't quite turn out they way I saw it without the camera or the way I had pictured it in my mind. But, I still find these two pics interesting. Of course, I did use iPhoto to turn them black and white and soften the edges.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Peak

If you stick with me long enough you will discover that I'm always looking for great shots of the Peak. It's not unusual for parents dropping their children off to find me standing in the school parking lot with my camera. These are few I took after school today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting On Their Level

When taking photos of pets or children, I've learned that it's best to get down on their level. This may mean that you have to get down on the floor on your knees or maybe even on your stomach. (Note: This is not easy if you are wearing a skirt or dress, but it can be done - while still maintaining your dignity.)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Yesterday I felt foolish because I had chased a hot air balloon around two neighborhoods and ultimately failed to get the shot. This photo is an example of why I would do something that might seem silly to some people. It was taken at the 2009 Colorado Springs Balloon Classic. Hot Air balloons are wonderful subjects for photos.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One Snap - Three Different Looks

Here are a few more things you can do with Picnik. Would you believe these are the same photo? I created three different looks by playing around with the special effects.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Those Missed Shots

It's one thing to miss a great shot because you forgot your camera or because you looked away at the wrong time. It's quite another to miss a shot because you couldn't find a safe place to park. When my husband is able to drive me around looking for pictures, I can just quickly jump out of the car with my camera around my neck and he can drive on, thereby avoiding traffic jams or near crashes.

Today, coming back from the library, I spied a hot air balloon in the sky above our neighborhood. There were several gorgeous shots from my car - if I could have stopped in the middle of traffic. I actually drove around my neighborhood and into the next one trying to find just the right view that coincided with a parking space. However just as I found that spot, the balloon landed and by the time I was out of my car, it was already deflating. So, I ended up with another picture of The Peak. Sometimes, though the Photography Muse may be with you, she gets knocked down by Murphy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cloudy, but no Meatballs!

I've always thought it would be neat to create a book of photos for elementary students to use as writing prompts. Children have such amazing imaginations. They often think outside the box when looking at a photo. That's a good trait for a photographer. Sometimes, you need to be able to see beyond the picture you took to the picture it can become with a little tweaking.

This is a photo the sun in the clouds I took during the 2009 Thanksgiving break. The original snapshot was not this interesting. Using iPhoto I enhanced the picture, boosted the color and then turned it black and white. The result reminds me of wrinkled sheer curtains.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pretty Enough for a Card

I'll admit it. I'm a little behind. So the Christmas Tree is still up at our house. I can't even say I'm leaving it up until the 12th Day of Christmas because that was yesterday. However, running behind did give me an idea for today's photo. This year my youngest decided to put a set of his dad's dog tags on the tree as an ornament. Sometimes, just like a poem or a story, what makes a photo great are the feelings that it generates in the viewer. I think it would make a nice card and just maybe next Christmas it will be.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Forecast says we're due for possible snow and certainly freezing temperatures. In fact it's already sub zero in some neighborhoods.

Just like wildlife and small children can provide opportunities for interesting photos, so can the weather. These are a few of my favorite "outside the box" snow pictures. Ok, so the drainpipe is ice, not snow, but when I took the picture earlier this week, there was still snow on the ground - just not in the picture. Those of you in Colorado Springs or other frostbitten regions of the country should remember to carry your cameras with you if you venture out. Just remember to wear shoes with good traction (or if you do fall make sure the you cushion the camera's fall with your body.) And don't forget to take off at least one glove before taking the picture. It's often hard to press the button with gloves or mittens.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Your Camera: Don' t Leave Home Without It!

When you live in a state like Colorado, you never know when you are going to see wildlife up close and personal. If you are serious about getting great photos, then you should never leave home without your camera. At least keep it in your car. We saw these lovely creatures today in the field across from the pharmacy on the Air Force Academy. Of course, I had my camera, but since I was carrying it in my purse and not the camera bag, I didn't have the zoom lens with me. I was able to blow up the pics a little so we can get a little closer look at the deer. But just think how close the shot would have been if I'd had the longer lens.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let's Picknik

In case I have not already mentioned it, I am not by any means a professional photographer. I just wanted to clarify that in case a professional stumbled across my blog and started laughing so hard he or she might be in danger of dropping their camera.

My other passion is books. I do happen to be a professional book geek (elementary librarian). This blog is just something I challenged myself to do in order to improve both my writing and my photography skills.

Disclaimer covered, let’s Picknik. No, I don’t mean get the checked tablecloth and the fried chicken and iced tea. It’s too cold her in Colorado for such things. Picknik is a web-based photo editing software than can allow you to have some fun with your photos. You can do some photo editing for free and for a subscription you can do even more. Check them out at (I’m not getting an advertising fee – a friend shared their site with me. Now I’m sharing with you.)

Today I’ve uploaded four versions of the same photo that I edited using Picknik. The processes used in the order they appear are: Invert, Heat Map, Orton-ish and Holga-ish. These are just a few of the effects offered by Picknik. See how just a little playing around can totally change a photo?

Now, my challenge for you today – what’s the object in the pictures?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, Part Two


I know I’ve already posted a picture for today, but it was one taken from yesterday. My goal is to take at least one photo per day. Some days that is going to be a challenge. Some days the challenge will be selecting which photo to use.

Since I was not able to get out of the house to look for an interesting photo op, I had to work with what was in the house. I have four pets: two miniature schnauzers, a cat, and a hedgehog named Marion. (And yes when she grows up, she wants to be a librarian.) If you are going to be child or a pet in this household, you better get used to having a camera stuck in your face. Tonight it was Olivia’s turn.

Many of the various workshops I’ve taken have talked about the composition of your picture. Many professionals caution against centering the subject of the picture. That is something I often forget, but I did remember it today. I caught Olivia snoozing on the chaise lounge I bought for my reading nook. For some reason, Olivia is convinced I bought this piece of furniture just for her. Remembering not to center Olivia in the picture, I zoomed in on her putting her to the left of my frame. While I was trying to get a good shot of her, I noticed that while she was facing left – the dog on the pillow is facing right. I thought it made for an interesting composition.

January 3 - Part One

Just What Is That?

People who go on photo walks with me are often amused to find me stopping to take pictures of the strangest things. Ice crystals, drain pipes, litter, raindrops on a leaf, a solitary leaf on the sidewalk and once, even a pair of dropped sunglasses are just a few of the out of the ordinary pictures I’ve snapped. I like to find things that people don’t expect. Yesterday, we had a brief snow shower. It was one of those strange ones that I’ve seen from time to time here in Colorado. One where it’s not really flakes of snow, but more like slightly larger granules. I was on my way to run an errand. Of course I had my camera with me, so I snapped this picture of the driveway just before getting in the car. Using iPhoto to boost the color then turning it black and white lets you really see the texture.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Portrait of a Young Man (Sorry Mr. Joyce)

Today’s photo is of my oldest son. Unlike when he was a toddler, these days Ryan does not like to have his picture taken. I try to honor his wishes and only take his picture with his permission. Today, I convinced him to let me take a picture of his new haircut. He was not sure he liked the pictures. I thought I would see if he would like them any better after I tweaked them with iPhoto. (Until Adobe Photoshop is in my budget, iPhoto, Pixelmator and Picnik are the only tools I have available.) I simply used the enhance photo button, cropped the picture so you only see part of the chessboard, then clicked on boost color, b & w and blurred edges to 5, ending with a #1 vignette. All of this turned an ordinary snapshot into a portrait of a young man deep in thought. I like this picture better than yesterday’s picture. What do you think?

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010 - Pikes Peak

Over the winter break, I watched the movie “Julie and Julia” which is about a young woman named Julie who decides to start a blog about her yearlong efforts to cook her way through The Art of French Cooking. Julie is an unpublished novelist and believes that blogging will help her writing.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but often find myself blocked by the idea that I would never be able to come up with anything as good as what has already been published. I’m a librarian and an absolute bookworm (I also have a blog about books.) I hardly go anywhere without a book. Instead of listening to the radio when driving, I listen to books on audio. All this reading makes me feel too intimidated to come up with an original idea, not to mention a good one.

I’m also a camera nut. Someone once looked at me at a party and said they believed they thought that was the first time they had seen me under dressed. I reached my hand up to my neckline – thinking they were talking about my not wearing the Engineer Castle I normally wear, but she laughed and pointed out that she was talking about my camera. I laughed back and pulled it out of my purse. I won’t carry a purse that will not hold both my Nikon D80 and a book.

I studied photography in college – long before digital cameras made their debut. If I say so myself, I have a pretty good idea for composition. However, I know there’s a lot I need to learn using my cameras (D80 and my D90) to take really great photos as well as learning how to use Adobe Photoshop: two resolutions for the New Year.

After watching “Julie and Julia”, I had the idea that I could borrow Julie’s idea to help me with both my writing and my photography. Instead of spending a year cooking, I’ll spend a year blogging about my search for the perfect photo.

I hope you will join me on this adventure.

Today’s Picture

My family and I live in Colorado Springs. Everyday on the way to work, I get a good look at Pikes’ Peak. I’m constantly on the lookout for THE picture of the Peak. In my opinion, The Peak is one of America’s most beautiful natural resources. If I had a time machine, I’d travel back in time to Zebulon Pike’s day and snap a picture of it its purest state.

This is The Peak at dusk on the first day of 2010.

Join me tomorrow for another picture!