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Mar. 2nd, 2015

There is a definite 'Lower US' vibe to my visited states map. There are a few more I would like to add, but several that I just can't get excited about. :) I only selected states where I have spent a good amount of time, none that I was only driving through and didn't stay long.

visited 24 states (48%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or Brazil travel guide for Android

I realized I hadn't posted in a while!

Where have my bloggish manners gone? Out the window with our living room square footage, I think. Actually, I have been busy taking photos of all of my husband's saltwater fish and corals. It's been a change to photograph things underwater and through glass. The lights also put a serious blue cast on everything that makes white balance almost impossible to keep up with as you move around the tank.

I have been forging on ahead and notice things getting better and better (if I DO say so myself *laugh*).

Here are a few of my favorites from the last couple of weeks. I have also presented the first one for "Click it up a notch" favorite photo of the past month. It's great to get feedback on how you might improve and to bring that information to future photos.

What did YOU take pictures of this month?

My little Fu Manchu Lionfish:

Our Volitan Lionfish (the big bully of the tank):

Three fire gobies, or as we now call them, "Anemone lunch":

Get inspired and learn a little at the same time:
Click It Up A Notch

Finally a path from DSLR to iPad!

It's something I've been wanting since I got my iPad 2 - the means to take pictures directly from my DSLR Compact Flash card onto my iPad 2. Apple has a camera kit, which will let you connect digital cameras using a USB connection or transfer from an SD card onto the iPad. However, most DSLR cameras actually use the clunky CF cards, which won't work with that kit.

I can't tell you just how long it took for me to transfer all of the pictures I took from our last Black Belt exam to the point where I could post them to the Vision Martial Arts Center facebook page! I had to put the CF card in a reader on my computer, view the files to choose which ones I wanted on the computer to edit, transfer them to the computer, open them in GIMP to resize and/or crop, put them on an SD card, transfer them to the iPad and then bulk upload them to Facebook.

What a pain, right? Yes, I have reasons for why I did those last steps instead of just doing it on the computer, but they were worth it.

I just tested out the new iPad 2 Connection CF Card Reader Kit I bought this week.


Pulled the CF card from my camera, slapped the connector on the iPad, loaded them right up and there they were. Incredible! I would highly recommend this for anyone with an iPad as a way to quickly upload videos or get a larger/higher-def view into what pictures they are getting WHILE still out taking the photos. You don't have to lug a laptop around to have the convenience.

Love it. Love it. Love it! Now I just have to go share it with the guys at Camera Stop since they wanted to know whether they should stock it. :)

White balance is my frenemy!

We all know that our mind can play tricks on us, based on what it THINKS it is seeing. Our cameras can do the same thing. When you see something as white, the light it is under may cause the camera to record it with a yellow, orange or blue cast to it. Skin tones can become less natural.

I have to work to remember to change my white balance setting as I move to new locations and light changes. Either that or I need to start saving my files in RAW format instead of JPG so that if I DO forget, I can easily go back in and edit them. I only recently found out what a major effect white balance can have on your photos. Not only can the incorrect white balance cause your photographs to have an unnatural cast to them, it can also be used creatively to set a new mood for a photograph.

For this example, I thought I would use an example of a recent photograph where I forgot to set my white balance. Thankfully, I had kept the raw format, so I was easily able to go in and alter the white balance.

I love this picture of Matthew, which I posted the other day. The warm glow was part of my love. I think the tones in the photo, blending with the tones of his skin, were what made the photo special. I still had my white balance set up for outdoors instead of for inside with tungsten lighting. Here is the original:

Since I still had the raw version, I was able to go back and 'correct' the white balance to align more with what I had seen with my naked eye.

Notice how Matthew now seems to POP off the page quite a bit more than he did in the more consistently warm-tone original? This is what correct white balance can bring to your photographs. Just a simple correction in the white balance setting can make the difference between a blah picture and one with visual impact.

Since photography is creative, neither of these is CORRECT. It is a personal preference based on what you want to achieve with the end product. It is a setting you can play with, whether the presets already in your camera or setting up a custom definition of white within a setting, that can alter your photography just as much as the exposure.

Night safari at the Winspear Opera House

Earlier tonight I went on my 'Night safari' with Barbara Berry from Legacy Studios. We were all set up outside of the Winspear Opera House in downtown Dallas. I actually learned a lot about night photography! I also ended up shooting COMPLETELY manual, even focusing, when my auto-focus went out on about the third shot. *sigh* Through adversity, we learn.

Our challenge was to keep our cameras set to ISO 100 and take care of lighting conditions with the aperture and exposure. Thankfully, I have a decent tripod and a remote shutter release. It let me experiment with my settings and still be able to get in a good amount of light.

Getting more secure with shooting full manual is just going to come down to practice and more practice. That means you should see a LOT more photos posted here.

What do I want from you? Constructive criticism! Is the exposure too dark? Would it have worked better if I had changed the focus somewhere else? Did it just. not. work? I would really appreciate the feedback.

My favorite shot from tonight is of the front of the Opera House, duplicated in the reflecting pool:

I will put the rest behind the cut to save space, so ENJOY!Collapse )

Now I think that it is BEDTIME for me, for sure! :)

Click It Up A Notch

*tap* *tap*

*tap* Is this thing on? *tap* *tap*

Getting the messy work out of the way

I made Michael some pants last night, and today I was starting to work on Matthew's. The pattern was pinned down and I was ALMOST done cutting it out. I had been ignoring the dogs to work on the pattern. I turned my head for JUST A MINUTE and when I turned back, Ms. Sheba (foster) had peed on it! ARGH!

We've had animals pee on clothes on the floor here, but never quite getting it out of the way before they were even MADE! *laugh*

The material is getting a second washing right now, btw.

Major pain in the ass

I have a major pain in my ass. No. Really! I have a pain in my ass!

My tailbone began the day on fire. Thank you arthritis and weather going from 80s to 30s back to 80s all within a single week!!!! I went to physical therapy and it only got worse. By mid-afternoon the pain was radiating down into my buttock and into my leg. My butt is hurting really, really bad.

I've taken lots of Lortab and it hasn't helped at all. FUCK!!!!!!

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Still here. Still hurting. Still making the most of my life.

My attention span has gone to the dogs. Well, I think our dogs would disagree because they have gotten LESS attention if you ask them! :)

I have to choose each day of whether to sleep it all away or cause myself physical pain and possible damage by speeding my way through the day. I worked in the yard the other day. I had on gloves, but still hurt my hands by ripping out grass. I just kept plowing through it and could not stop, even though I knew my hands hurt. I then stayed out there until _1 AM_ moving things around trying to get the backyard to where I could stand to sit out there on nice days. I paid dearly for that day and am just now starting to feel 'normal' again. That was also when I gave up on the doctor's idea of taking 200mg of Provigil EVERY DAY. Now I just take it when I know I have to be awake for something, and then just hope I can remember what it was!

On a brighter note, I taught a jewelry class last night with three people in it. Saturday, I have 2 people in a painting class. Today, I found out that on the 3rd I have another jewelry class with 3 people, and the next day a sewing for kids (lazy pants) class with 3 kids!!!! YAY! It's only a little bit of cash, but I have enough notice now to be able to rest up and prepare. I wish I could find an actual JOB like this, where you make your own schedule, only have to work in 2-3 hour increments and know what will be happening before it happens. I could handle that but those jobs just don't exist unless it is under the guise of 'volunteer work'. Ummm, I need money.

The kids camps this summer should be fun. I signed up to teach quite a few - one of each of these a month: PomPom Planet (an earth wall hanging made out of pom-poms), a memo board, embellished flip-flops, a Disney scrapbook, garden creatures made out of small painted pots.

Also, I created a trend class with baby scrapbooking, picked up a jewelry 301 for stringing (beadweaving, actually. bad terminology on their part), and new painting subjects for the One-Stroke classes (roses and hydrangeas).

I need to upload some pics of my latest projects, especially so misskerri can see the one I made for her! That's next, I guess!