Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Wolf


Better to see you with, my dear


Better to hear  you with, my dear.


Better to smell you with, my dear.


Better to eat you with, my dear.

How to get by without a circular polarized filter

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, there's a landscape shot just waiting to be taken. Our eyes see the high contrast clouds against a blue sky with green grass and we can’t wait to grab that natural beauty. However the camera sees two areas of exposure. If we expose for the sky, we end up underexposing the ground. If we expose for the ground, we get a large billowy white space where our lovely clouds were supposed to appear. The most common solution to this is the circular polarized filter which cuts down the glare of the sun and allows for the highly defined cloud shapes and colors to show through. Unfortunately for your every day shooter, the filters are just another thing added to the buy wish list. The cheapo filters for $40 and under are so ridiculous in glass quality that I wouldn’t recommend them.

So what can you do about it?

Several things.

1. Risk lightening.


Wait for nature to provide the light you need. The (poorly composed) picture above was shot when a bridal shoot by the river turned into a “oh my goodness, we’re going to die!” windswept tornado watch moment. It poured down rain just as the bride and her gown made it safely to the car. 

While not ideal for working with subjects who don’t wish to get wet, the moment right before a storm, or right before golden hour is the perfect time to capture skies. The contrast between your sky and land exposures will be lessoned. Wet air also makes nature look alive and brings out richer more saturated color. Always bring an umbrella, and don’t mention it to your mom that you are outside before a storm (heaven forbid! you might catch a cold in that rain!). Stand underneath bridges or parking garages to shoot if it looks like it’s going to be a doozy. A wet camera is not a happy camera, so keeping your expensive investment safe should be top priority.

**and since you’re waiting for the storm, why not try your hand at a lightening shot with your tripod?

2. Cheat a little

Photoshop is not a sin. Here’s a little trick I learned. (The concept is virtually the same in photoshop but I am using photoshop elements).  With your RAW file open, adjust your picture for only the sky and save a file as something like “Pic1Skyexposure.jpeg”. Play with the contrast and saturation of the clouds.


Adjust your photo’s exposure again for your ground and save your file as something like “Pic1Groundexposure.jpeg”


Open your ground file, and then add your sky file as a layer.

create a layer mask for the sky layer (for PSE 7 & 9 right click and select “add clipping mask”)


sf7Think of the mask like a piece of paper. The white is the part of the photo that you want to shine through. Since our correctly exposed ground is the bottom layer, and the bad exposed layer is on top, we want to use the mask to cover it up.Use the selection tool to select the wall and filled it with black. Then I eased some of the harsh corners that the selection tool gives by using the brush set on low opacity.

Now you have the finished product, two exposures that have been meshed together.

12 copy

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moving right along


Hello blog, remember me?

I’ve been a bit absent from bloggerland due to our move and work and everything in between. The past two weeks have been downright chaotic, frustrating and tiresome. I’ve been on the road a lot for shoots and we finally have the old place cleared out thanks to my sweet sweet parents. I came back to Charleston last night as crabby and cranky and completely burnt out since my two hour drive had morphed into a five hour drive thanks to a flaming truckload of computer parts blocking the highway. A recap of the last two weeks would include:

  1. DSC_0908a funeral
  2. lots of unpacking
  3. lots of cleaning
  4. lots of traveling
  5. car problems/ traffic problems
  6. falling, electrocuting, burning and gouging myself all in a fatal swoop
  7. cranky people
  8. a sad puppy


  1. involuntary 11 mile walks
  2. 100 dollar parking tickets
  3. persistent hobos
  4. a general lack of sleep
  5. sickness
  6. lateness in getting peoples photos back
  7. fishing the dog out of a public fountain.
  8. doing shoots in 106 degree weather next to a mosquito infested pond.
  9. lack of water in the new place.
  10. falling in (the neighbors) dog poo (since they don’t clean up after it).
  11. general adjustments to tiny apartment life (ie. noise, screaming, drunk people, no parking, lack of personal space, confused animals).


BUT, I am reminded in times like this of God’s faithfulness. He has taken care of us in the small things. I am way out of my comfort zone right now, stretched in so many ways, but I was reminded recently to stop and step back. The big picture, that’s what really matters.

And because I am a nerd, here is a nerd’s application,deliberation and devotional….


One of the reason’s The Lord of the Rings is my favorite story of all time is because of a little moment with Sam at the foot of Mt. Doom. The situation is grim and they are on the limit of their energy, Frodo is giving in to the ring and all they have in front of them is the climb up. Sometimes it’s so hard to keep going when you know that the only  thing in front of you is doom and gloom (or for Sam,  literally, Mt. Doom). It seems like there is no pleasant end waiting for you at the end of your journey, or even if there is an end or a reassurance that you did what you set out to do. Sam becomes overcome with despair at the situation, but he looks up. In the sky amidst the shroud of darkness and clouds a small hole opens up and he can see the stars. He remembers Hope because of their beauty peeking out of the black. This idea is what allows him to carry on.

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell

Alan Lee-måne

……and on that note, I am off to unpack the mess that is our new home.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

what happens when charley find’s things in the garage.


Howdy partner, and welcome to the old west.


where the going gets tough and you keep  a straight  face….


and you show em the LAaaaazzzeeee eye….


A little later I asked charley if he thought his sister in law would like a ciao belle shirt for my niece. He thought she would need to see it modeled before she could make a definite decision. Juneau was volunteered.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yes, I’m six


So cleaning out the garage ended up with this. I found the sidewalk chalk. I couldn’t resist the chalk. Thus fire breathing blue unicorn ends up on our driveway. I sort of kind of forgot that there were people stopping by to look at the house today too.  Oh, and I might have said a little lie to the neighbors about “it’s for a birthday party” because I was too embarrassed to admit that I was coloring on the sidewalk for fun.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Maru the Cat

I found this cat on youtube a few years ago and laughed hysterically at his joy for jumping in a coke box head first. Little did I know, theres a blog, devoted to Maru the cat. He’s adorable…so if you haven’t met the pudgy box loving feline heres his blog.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bruno’s Pedicure

We wanted Bruno to be looking his finest for the move so he got  a cage clean and his nails trimmed. There is some discrepancy as to whether or not you are supposed to trim your hedgehog’s nails, but we do because they get extraordinarily long. He tends to get them stuck while running, so we trim them so he doesn’t rip them off his feet.  Supposedly they are  bite them themselves but he never has (maybe his mom never taught him proper grooming habits).


Getting to a hedgehogs nails is an entirely different issue. Since he’s grumpy he will ball up with his spikes out. You basically have to fish for a paw, avoid his frantic nips and hold firmly while you cut. We use our nail clippers, and just like you would a dog, trim just the ends, to miss the sensitive nerves that grow up the nail. Its extremely hard to hold him still so it must be done quickly.


Afterwards he gets a kind pat from his “daddy” to console him for the stress. Unfortunately petting and social interaction only stress him out more.


After that I BEGGED charley to help me with a shot I had been wanting to get. Charley didn’t want to inflict further stress on his beloved creature so he agreed that we could try it briefly with no repeated attempts if Bruno wasn’t cooperative. One of Bruno in a red party hat. This was no easy task and it failed tremendously but we will try again when Bruno isn’t as angry. The already flustered hedgehog wasn’t easy to calm down and didn’t take to being put in full light and forced to wear a hat.

Charley attempted to place him on my white box set beside the window to bounce the light on all sides of him. The second he had his hat on, it was shaken off and he zoomed to hide away from my desired shooting location. I am going to have to try again at a later date.

Hat placement:


Hat displacement:


the . 03 seconds that he kept the hat on that wasn’t on the white board:DSC_1299

To bad I don’t score awesome picture points just for trying.

*gasp* A post without a picture????


What Am I thinking?

Well at least I put a disclaimer so you can skip right over the blank void and onto the next post. Actually this is just a quick update for those wondering about the move status.

We’ve been packing and organizing for a week now with hopes for a non-chaotic and simple move. Pretty much anything that didn’t get packed at this time got frantically stuffed in a box with no rhyme or reason. We’ve narrowed down our things to only what we needed so that our tiny apartment living will be more comfortable.  I, **sniff* must pack away my books for a while as well as my sewing things and a few art supplies. I have several plans for making use of little spaces when we get there. One of them involves a trip to IKEA for some lack shelves to place above our bed. (See how I strategically NEED to go to IKEA? It’s like a sickness).

It’s weird seeing the house empty (aside from a few dust bunnies that haven’t been swept yet). This makes walking in the dining area very annoying because I’ve hit my head on the hanging light 4 times already. I never remember that it’s there as I pass through the room. Hubby has hit it a few times too. We both have large bruises forming.

We ended up not renting the U-Haul trailer because we didn’t have a good hitch. So we were able to put everything in two normal truck loads. I cringed as I watch the hubby load up the furniture at awkward positions. No matter how secure things are tied, I don’t like moving furniture in this way. I tried to step back and hope for the best and direct for damage control. Even though I padded everything with rags, our furniture got badly scratched. Adds character right?

The drive there was uneventful …Oh wait, just kidding. The tarp kept blowing off the back of my truck and freaking me out so I pulled into a gas station, cried and bought myself a frosty to recover. I had to stop on three different occasions trying to retie the tarp down but the final solution was to just take it off and re-secure the furniture. I couldn’t see out of my rearview in  a truck that I wasn’t used to driving and I was just way out of my comfort zone.  We also got a really late start and were in rush hour traffic and were slowed by two wrecks on the way there (one of them was a school bus on fire on the other side of the highway, a frightening image). Needless to say, I still very much hate driving, but God kept us safe and watched over our travels. While a little frazzled from the experience, I cannot deny His hand  turning our mess into a successful adventure.

After hauling our stuff in, Charley rushed back to Columbia to return the truck we borrowed and I set to unpacking some things. We were grateful to find that the repairs were in progress. They were replacing the dishwasher and found mold growing where water had splashed into the wall. All of the mold has been removed and a new wall has been put in. They are doing aesthetic repairs today and tomorrow. Having this get taken care of so promptly was  a huge relief.

Driving a huge truck down our narrow one way street was no small feat. There were a few places with barely an inch on either side of the car, but such is the nature of Charleston…I’m tempted to walk everywhere from here on out. There was discrepancy over which parking spaces belonged to us. Someone had taken our places so I parked next to them only to find I was blocked in when it was time to go and a “sweet” little note on the car something along the lines of  *#!@** . I’m sure that I have many more lessons to go as country girl meets city living. I’m already appalled by how communal people are. Everyone is out and about. It fees so strange to have a lot of people around your house and hear so many things. The stairs that wrap around the side of our apartment are indeed noisy as people climb to the upstairs apartment. I’ll be working with my hearing aid’s out quite a bit I think. Who’d have thought that being deaf could be such a luxury?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moving is no fun

Says Juneau: it’s boring, I’m hot and I’m tired. Why are there so many dust bunnies to cling to my nose while I sleep?

On the plus side, we found Juneau’s bone and a shoe under the couch, and my earrings in the chair’s cushion (??).


Sunday, June 5, 2011

an ode to teachers who let us do cool projects…


I was the kid that couldn’t pay attention in class. A few minutes into the lecture the professor was sprouting tentacles and giraffes were parading outside the windows. I have a huge box of doodles to prove that I was anywhere close to listening. I don’t have much of a memory so lists of facts don’t stay in my mind. So when a teacher actually gave a project that required visual/ creative activity- Kazam! excited. It’s that easy teachers, so why don’t we all do a little more teaching like that? Probably because it takes less effort for the teacher to plop his grading into a machine or look down a list of answers.

Hats off to you, teachers, who took the time to teach me something. I was cleaning/packing upstairs and came across the things I had kept from high school and college. I didn’t keep my test papers, I kept my projects where we’d been given a little bit of freedom, some guidelines, and the allowance to give information back in a visual way.  I thought I’d share a few with yall:


The first one was an interview project designed by our history professor. He wanted us to interact with people who had actually experienced the history we were learning about. We were to interview a veteran, so I chose my granddad who was in the Navy during the Korean war and lived through WWII, the depression and the cold war.DSC_0345DSC_0346

I had to write a paper, but the valuable time I spent with my grandfather was worth it’s weight in gold. I learned things about him, and our family’s past that I wouldn’t have asked on my own. Somewhere it clicked that  the things we read about in history books are real and it looks different for each person that experience them. Face to face communication was key in bridging the gap of our generation to the ones before, in which I could empathize and understand a little better.


Another project I found was from our art teacher in high school. He had us illustrate and write a children's book. My writing skills were horrendous, but the joy of creating a character and lead it through a story was enjoyable to the max. I realized what great joy I find in animation and sequential art.

DSC_0354 DSC_0351

My story was about a little dragon named Tomdore who lived by the sea. He wasn’t big enough to catch fish like his fellow dragons so he’s mocked and made fun of. He goes in search of friendship and learns the lesson that real friends will accept him just the way he is. He learns to appreciate  the joys of being who he is.


I even bound my book by using scrapbooking paper that looked like dragon hide glued to cardboard. The pages are held together by three brads.


It was full of typos and messy drawings, not to mention it had a sappy and moral filled ending, but I had so much fun with the freedom that we were allowed with this project. I felt that it was entirely my creation.


Botticelli's Bed & BreakfastThe third project I found was a faculty directed study I was allowed to do in college by a most beloved professor. He encouraged me to study the things that were close to my heart and allowed me to research what I wanted. The study was designed with complete freedom, all I had to do was record my hours and decide on a way to present the information. I wrote a 53 page paper…because I wanted to. It was nothing but reading on a subject that I wanted to learn more about. DSC_0360Botticelli's Bed and Breakfast was my guide. It’s a pop up book of a house and each room there is a painting or some hidden representation of a famous painting. I wrote a tour guide that winds it’s way through the pop up book like you are walking through the house and looking at the art. When we arrive at a painting, I’d give you it’s history and tell you about the artist. In the end I researched the 60 something odd paintings  in the pop up book and included illustrations next to my findings. DSC_0361DSC_0362DSC_0363DSC_0364DSC_0365DSC_0366DSC_0372DSC_0368

I even included mini replicas  of some paintings that I painted on heavy Bristol paper and inserted right in with the text. (I was a bit to shy to finish an important part to Adam’s anatomy )



Another fun thing I did in history class was make a WWII scrapbook. I printed old photos on photo paper and reveled in getting to catch the corners on fire. They were put in the “scrapbook” where I collected photos, songs, letters, and art of soldiers. My very beat up shoe is making its appearance in this photo…if you’d like to buy me a new pair I won’t complain.



All that to say: thanks teachers! Thanks for taking the extra time to grade things and help out the artsy kids.