Photo Dump {Random}

Hello guys!

 

This is gonna be scary. I have never done a photo dump before. Expect a lot of pictures in this post. I will try to cut in down. Oh, also don’t expect all in the proper order… 😆 .

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Uh-oh. A 50mm selfie! Ahhhhhhh…. 😆 .

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That was only eighteen. We did good. 😀

p.s I posted this later than expected so there are some reused photos. 

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Check out this portrait I took recently of Sarah from Sarah Leana Photography. 

 

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Kit Lens Experiment + Limiting Myself

Hello friends!

Today I was determined to stretch my photographic muscles so I went out to our yard equipped only with my kit lens

The truth of the matter is this: I almost NEVER want to use my kit lens now that I have my 50mm 1.8.

 

Your kit lens is an old friend

My kit lens is the lens I first had. I couldn’t afford to buy another. It was the lens I chose to use even over the zoom lens that came along in the pack. One thing I was always frustrated with my kit lens over…was it’s adamant refusal to go above f/4.0 almost all the time. The smallest # I was gonna’ get—was f/3.5. And that only showed up on manual mode in rare conditions. So the blurring of my backgrounds in portraits was mediocre at best. But with some practice you tend to learn a few things. I was determined to use those tricks in today’s nature walk and really get my creative juices going with my kit lens.

  1. I made new discoveries with my kit lens.
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I still can mostly only use my kit lens for self portraits. My 50mm is too close to my face for comfortable self portraits. Ignore my angry eyes. 😉

2. I learned to accept limitations and overcome them, even in portraits.

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I still love this picture even today. The sad thing is that this photo was before I knew how to use manual mode (I took this on day 3 of getting my dslr) so I cheated with it and used CA (creative auto). 😥

But the point is limiting yourself can be one of the greatest ways to overcome obstacles and get better.

 

Limiting myself with my old lens

So out I went with just my kit lens for two reasons:

  1. I want to get better.
  2. Limiting myself teaches me patience and creativity.

If you’re still stuck with your kit lens…appreciate it! It’s tough when you see friends of yours or other people with nicer lenses (who get that lovely bokeh so easily, while you have to work hard to get it!) and cameras. I remember always looking enviously at close friends who had nice cameras and wondering if my turn to get one would ever come. Sometimes God opens doors when we least expect then. So don’t worry. Save up to buy that lens (or camera)– but in the meantime work hard to get that bokeh, work your hardest to get a shallow depth of field in your portraits. It’s possible. Just difficult. But when you practice it can become much easier. (I’m still practicing–haven’t hit ‘perfection’ yet 😉 )

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Strangely this butterfly was the first thing I saw. I couldn’t believe how close he let me get when I stayed still.

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Negative space, framing, and a pop of red against neutrals. Makes me happy.

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A bokeh manual focus GIF.

I was very surprised and pleased at the pictures I ended up getting. :blush:

 

Old limitations…what’s next?

I have something of a history with limitations. First, the fact that I had no camera. Then the fact I used my sister’s (not-so-great) point-and-shoot. Then the fact I (finally!) got my Canon Eos Rebel t6. Then I only had my kit lens. And then last year sometime a dear friend gave me my 50mm. THAT was a wonderful day. Everything has just been going to new levels since then.

One super neat thing–because I have been learning new things every day with my camera…now when I pick up my kit lens it’s not quite as hard to get pleasing images. As the photographer, it’s up to you to make your images great. Don’t just rely on your camera to automatically know how to be a good photographer. Your camera (lens, etc) isn’t the photographer. You are!

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Anyone remember this photo? It’s probably my favorite photo I’ve ever taken on my point-and-shoot. The focus is all wrong (the background’s in focus) but I can see a story here. I like that it’s almost sepia (coppery tones) and I like my composition. Whatever camera/lens you have—you can always get better with it with practice.

So, now what?

I have a plan for the next four years of my photography. It’s not a complete plan—but it is a purchasing plan.

I have decided on the next two lenses that I will buy.

They are…

Left: The canon 85mm f/1.8 prime lens!     Right: The ef-s canon 35mmf/2.8 macro IS-STM (prime)

 

Aren’t they gorgeous? They both run in the somewhere below $400 range which isn’t the $1,000 range…so I’m happy. But this will still take 2-3 years of saving I’m guessing. I’ve wanted a macro lens for a while and this one looks like the perfect fit for me. It even has an lcd light to help me see close up. It has a clear focusing rate of 5.16 inches (means I can get that close to the subject!!) which sounds amazing to me. The 85mm looks like an amazing addition to the portrait side of things and a great idea to expand for my future business (next 2-4 years, DV.). I want to possibly get into more newborn photography and I’v always wanted to take close-up macro shots of things like baby toes, fingers, engagement rings, etc. I can’t wait. But basically I’m going to set up a budget and hopefully get a job to go toward investing in my photography business.

Who knows what the future will bring? But this girl’s looking forward to seeing what it brings for sure! *thumbs up

 

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In what ways are you limited as a photographer?

Do you have any tips/experiences you’d like to share?

What are your goals for the future on the photography side of things?

Crushing on any lenses? (drooling, dreaming, etc. 😀 ) 

 

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P.S USING AN OLD LENS OR LIMITING YOURSELF BY TAKING ONLY HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL SHOTS FOR A DAY IS A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY EXERCISE. LOOK FOR CREATIVE WAYS TO LIMIT YOURSELF.

 

The Fourth of July

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Family favorite: sparklers.

On the fourth of July…our family generally goes to a party for our church held at a friend’s house.

I  don’t know about you…but for me the 4th isn’t the 4th. WHATT?? 😆

UNLESS…you have fireworks, that is 😀 .

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Taking selfies on the phone and then taking a picture of the selfie on my camera. 😀               Right-me Left– E.B

I have a lot of memories from previous 4th of July’s. One (not-so-great) memory that concerns the gal in the selfie with me…is also concerning fireworks. You see, we used to be allowed to bring fireworks to the party and shoot them off during. But people were being irresponsible and unsafe and my friend was at the bad receiving end. She got hit in the face with some of the flying debris of a rocket firework. 😯  Don’t worry though…she was okay after a while.

Moral? Stay safe y’all. Always act responsibly. Your carelessness could hurt someone else.

That said I  ❤ LOVE ❤ fireworks! Loud noises don’t bother me and I love taking pictures. This is the 1st 4th of July that I’ve had a dslr to mess with.

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So where do I watch fireworks if I don’t do it at the party? At home. Everyone else goes to a fireworks show. But that’s not something my family has ever done. Don’t know why. This year my sis wasn’t with us so we went back and did our own fireworks.

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A friend let me borrow a wide angle lens during the party. It gave neat perspectives.

For me the 4th of July is a time where I photography anything in my path (isn’t that everyday, Emma? Uh…yeah. I guess it is. ). Nature, fireworks, food, people, etc.

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Wide angle lenses ensure sharp focus generally. You will be able to see more in focus vs. less. In this picture I was trying to see if I could get any bokeh out of the lens. Turns out you can. A little bit.

 

I did notice that you can get much closer up with a wide angle lens. Just in case you were wondering…I DO know that wide angle lenses are mostly used in landscapes. But there weren’t many landscapes to talk of at the party so…yep.

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Okay, so I took ONE landscape with the wide angle. Just one. 😀
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OH, wait. Come to think of it—I took a sunset picture with the wide angle.  🙄

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Oh, and I made a fireworks GIF from one firework.

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Anyways I had a good 4th of July. I hope you did, too. I do think I haven’t gotten the hang of fireworks pictures. My ISO was too high for my taste and my shutter speed was too low. 😥

 

How was your fourth?

Did anyone say ‘may the 4th be with you’, to you? (I think it’s annoying!)

Did you take fireworks pictures?

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Timing In Photography+ A White Dress

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In my mind…timing is everything. It pertains to the lighting, the expression of the models face, and the mood. If you time something incorrectly, you might miss a special moment.

 

What Time is Nicest?

This is honestly a matter of personal preference. I would say golden hour (there are two!), and for me the last one. I have been awake (for the first golden hour) approximately one first golden hour and it was before I got my camera 😥 . But find what works best for you. I know of people who’s favorite time based on lighting to photograph is twilight.

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Image from Pixabay.com

But now some photos I recently took during golden hour…including the white dress 😀 .

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Check Before You Snap!

I am awful, terrible, dreadful- when it comes to following this. I am always forgetting to check and see if something distracting is in my frame. I forget to take another look at the expressions on my models’ faces. And I also forget to check my settings. One shift can change your exposure. And especially during the golden hour! For instance…I think that where I live I have less time in the golden hour. This is not because my golden hour isn’t an hour. It’s because our property only gets the lovely light as long as I can follow it.

This means I’m constantly getting my subjects to move for me.

“Oh, the light’s moved again! Can we move this way a little? Maybe stand right there…uh…not there. There! Much better!”

So if you’re in a rush…the goal is to make sure your pictures don’t look rushed. Stay calm and check the settings before you press the shutter.

  1. check to make sure the model’s hands aren’t placed stiffly.
  2. check your exposure on the meter.
  3. check to make sure the model is standing straight, but not stiffly (if they’re standing).
  4. check the background.
  5. access the negative space in your image.
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Negative space is how much space is after your image. Or around. From Pixabay.com
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Here’s an example of negative space on both sides of a picture. This is a photo I took recently.  ❤

Once again, the timing is everything!

Here’re a few more pictures before I close out this post.

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Yes there were other people nearby. 😀

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Editing…should you?

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Hello friends!

This post has been long in the coming. It’s a topic of some dispute in the photography community. There are people who hold to absolutely NO editing, people who hold to a crazy Photoshop approach (making the image look almost nothing like the original), and people who hold to editing to enhance the already-there quality of the image. These people tend to stick healthily in the middle–and have their own unique style of editing (but not crazy or they end up in the huge Photoshop category).

I fall into the last category…and in this post I will do my best to explain why.

Editing to Enhance

In my own mind…I dislike editing that completely changes an image. For instance I don’t like removing moles or freckles. Those are character adding. But blemishes–I think removing them is a good idea.

I edit to enhance what’s already in the image. Take this image here…(yes I realize I use this one all the time).

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The original image had blue color casts on my sister’s face, headband, and dress. Using a temperature increase removes most of the color cast. All it needed was a simple white balance fix and a mask to take all the blue color out of her dress (because it was a white dress.).

So when I edit I try my best to enhance what’s already there. If it’s just a bad picture then that’s my fault. I’m not going to beautify a picture that isn’t beautiful. That in my mind, is just laziness. If there’s no quality–it goes in the trash bin; not my editing platform. But if the image has great potential (focus is on point, lighting and composition are good.) then I will edit to enhance.

 

Jpeg User of Necessity

I shoot in jpeg for those of you wondering. My simple reason for that is my editing platform doesn’t do a good job editing RAW…and I have had a hard time actually converting them BACK to jpeg for internet sharing.

RAW is another way of shooting on camera. It saves information that jpeg loses. The drawback is that the information makes the image coming out somewhat bland. So you have to edit it back into the image. That’s actually not a bad thing…because RAW images have so much information when they’re fixed–they can be stunning! Jpeg chooses what information is saved in your image. But if you’re using something like light room shooting and converting in RAW is a good idea.

The big difference?

Jpeg processes the picture on your camera for you RAW allows you to process the pictures.

If this confuses you here’s a great article on RAW vs JPEG. 

Editing: did you change your mind?

I think in one of my earliest posts I said something about how I want to edit as little as possible to preserve what’s already there. I still agree with that statement. But at some point I realized that not everything can be done right on your camera and still look like a photographer. While I believe that a photographer should actually prove they know how to be one by strong composition, lighting, and focus– I think that a little less than half of photography is editing. Here’s an image I found before and after.

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I didn’t take this—but I love it. As you can see it looks a lot like the before image. But it’s brighter, cleaner, and crisper. As a client I would rather have the second than the first.

In some ways…I think it boils down to this. Are you planning on becoming a payed photographer? Or are you just everyone’s go to person to snap a photo and preserve a memory? If you’re planning on becoming a photographer…you should consider editing seriously. It’s fine if you want to be a natural light photographer (they still edit!) and if you want the quality of your image to shine through. You can still do that! Just don’t get into presets and filters and do stick to basic edits for lighting and blemish removal.

 

What’s YOUR Style?

I am going to do something new! I am gonna’ take you through my editing process on an image I took today. I promise the before photo will be the straight-off-the-camera photo. I am going to use screenshots so…yeah. Sorry. That’s the only way I can show you at the moment. I am literally editing this RIGHT NOW as I’m typing this post. So here’s my image:

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Here’s what you need to know. This image was shot in overcast weather (today) and I used a picture style setting which increased saturation by 1 and increased sharpening by 3. This is on manual mode…so it’s not cheating 😉 . It’s just part of my style for nature shots. Keep in mind that my style for portraits is different. Also bear in mind that different lighting conditions will influence the choices I make for editing.

  1. Fix the white balance!
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    I increased my temperature (of the white balance) by 12.

    2. Fix chromatic aberrations around the flower by removing magenta and purple from the photos on the color slider.

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    This doesn’t do terribly much. But I always do it because it helps remove color fringing–aka chromatic aberrations.

    3. Exposure Fix.

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    I doubt you can see my exposure slider very well…but it’s on the side. Here’s what I did.

    Exposure- +0.34

    Black level- +23

    Shadows- +7

    Contrast- -25

     

    And that’s it! Here is the before after for you…

     

 

You can see my style is a slightly warmer edit overall. This is a pretty recent development which I described in my post I Was Doing It Wrong!

 

For portraits I like warmer too…but my editing process is different. The reason I chose to edit this image vs. trash it…is because I saw potential in it. I like overcast lighting, and was pleased with the focus. Even the exposure wasn’t bad. I also like the other Queen Anne’s Lace in the background+ I love the blur. So that was a keeper in my mind.

For new people this may still seem like a lot of editing. I understand. I went through the no-edit phase. I was shocked when I saw stuff on pinterest which showed me the unedited work of photographers I looked up to and realized…half of the image was editing!

That’s not to say that the on camera quality isn’t as important. I think it’s the #1 priority. I don’t wanna take awful pictures and then make them look good on an editor! Yuck. But I have noticed that as I learn photography my style and composition and all-around skills–just get better! So don’t get discouraged if your photos don’t look like the pros right off. You will become a better photographer as you practice…and will learn so much more. Oh, and just so you know–the pros’ photos don’t look like the pros’ photos right away either! They edit them too. But the pros are also a lot better photographers as well. A whole lot better than I am.

 

Do you edit your photos?

How much do you as a photographer (or how little) do you edit your photos?

Thoughts on this subject?

Do you want to see more of my editing processes?

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Random Photography

This is a pretty popular idea as far as posting. And it’s attractive too…I can put anything I want in a random photography post. 🙂

So there are several things I want to show you. There are a few pictures from vacation in Texas I will show you. So here we go…

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One of our Texas friends’ cats.
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Black and white version. 
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I took this today. 

 

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Our Texas friedns also have an adorable scotch collie puppy named Lord Peter Wimsey (or ‘Laddie’) who had this habit of tackling the cats. I felt a little sorry for the cats but it WAS pretty funny. 
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Caption—-“Summer” —and there’s Hank!
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And a picture I took of Ellie who helped me take senior photos. She held the reflector, and other stuff. 

 

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And the other Texas cat. 

Breaking News!! Oh okay, not that breaking. My new favorite aperture is f/2.0 . How’s that for news?

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And here’s a sample from project warmth. I feel like editing it the warm way removed a lot of the blue color casts. I’m loving project warmth. 😉
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And here’s a picture in all its unedited glory. 
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And another one I took today.  I love this type of flower. 
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And one I took on my birthday. So this is pretty much a flower post 🙂 . 

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I Was Doing it Wrong!

So…this post is making me blush (😊) just a little. Because what I was doing wrong…should have been pretty obvious. Confused? You should be. In Texas this week I learned two lovely things that will stick with me always.

 

1. I WAS FOCUSING WRONG.

I literally have been having the hardest time getting my camera to focus where I want it to. I see other people who have similar trouble. But their trouble is generally just getting pin-sharp focus.

My problem was I could not get my focus points to adjust on MY VIEWFINDER. Isn’t that sad?😂 It cracks me up now to think of it. But when Sarah (a lovely photographer friend… go follow her new blog here.) told me that her camera does indeed select points while looking in the viewfinder–I knew it was time to look it up. This picture sums up what I figured out…

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Pretty much you just press the magnifier button while looking in your viewfinder and the focus point will light up. Then you use the dial to find the focus point you want. It’s so fast…and it makes me happy. My life is changed 🙂 . But here is the article I got this tip from for Canon users. Notice when you click it how it’s a dummies article 😀 . That always makes me feel pretty stupid! lol.

And now an experiment showing you the difference between my old (LOOOOONNNGGGG) way of focusing on the live view screen vs. the new way.

 

These are unedited. The first photo is the new method. I was able to quickly and easily focus on the last screw (which is what I wanted to do). In the second photo the focus is all over the place and it’s a little hard to tell WHAT I was focusing on. Was it a screw in the middle? Or the bigger tool? Or maybe the little screw off to the right?….see what I mean? Both these photos were taken on the same manual settings which you can view if you click on the collage.

 

2. I WAS EDITING LAMELY. 

With the editor I am now privileged to have I could do the basic edits much better than I was doing. My friend from Texas (Sarah again!) has Lightroom as her editor. I have an editor less pristine…but it does some of the same things. My problem was mainly flat images. Here’s an example (I used my reflector for this image).

 

Thanks to the reflector the light was pretty even in the photo. But my friend from Texas does something which is very simple and never even crossed my mind. She increases temperature! Literally temperature increase is my new favorite thing. I’m pretty sure I did about 0 changes on the second image except temp increase. And just look at the difference. Temp difference corresponds with white balance, btw. Here’s another one of a cat…

For this image I just cropped it…and increased the temperature. I love how it came out. Here’s a tripod timie of me. All that was done here was temperature increase, cropping, and a quick exposure fix.

My thoughts on temperature increase on the whole: I love it! It seems to just really provide a pop. And it seems to make sunlight look more like…sunlight 😀 . 

 

 

And that’s what I learned in Texas! It was so lovely to spend time with my bestie and rub off eachother in the photography realm. There’s so much to learn. Also Sarah took my senior photos while we were there…and I love em! Here is a sneak peek of one of them that I love.

 

I couldn’t decide if I liked the color or the black and white one better yet. So I just put both. Click on the collage for full size and resolution.

And a sneak peek of the shoot I did of Sarah while we were in Texas. We edited them using Lightroom.

And again…couldn’t decide which I liked better 😀 😉 .
And a sneak peek from the senior shoot I just did of my friend! Editing is coming along splendidly. I don’t know if I’ll be sharing those photos or not. We’ll see. This is a more creative shot and one she wanted to do. Nice idea, btw. ❤
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What do you think of temperature increase?
Do you as a rule like color or black and white better?
Have you ever had focusing trouble?
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Vacation Photography, Part 4. {Finale!}

Here we are!

For the final post in this short series. This might end up being the longest…but I don’t know for sure. We were visiting some friends…this post has water, miniature ponies, azaleas, and swinging. Plus some more randomness.

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At this moment I am digging texture photos…remember the brick? 😀

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My bother got all wet in the creek and then wanted a photo with this miniature horse. My brother isn’t very tall, btw. 😀
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Aren’t they cute?
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I love this vertical shot!
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This cracks me up! A nice size comparison. 😉
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Oh, and I forgot to mention the ducks!
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And they were all happy…until my brother chased them. 😉 😀
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Bro and sis on the swing. BTW, they aren’t concerned. They were laughing right after this shot was taken. 

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I got mom to pose for a picture. Happy Mother’s Day, btw. My only regret is the cup she’s holding. I was so eager, I overlooked it 😉 . I do like the diverse background though. 

Going home I shot pictures from the windows.

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That’s a wrap, folks.

I hope you enjoyed this little four-part series. I could have added tons more than I did…but my memory is really getting small now.

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Vacation Photography, Part 2.

Here’s part two!

We got to visit our dear childhood friends again on this day. I didn’t take many pictures that I liked here (because talking sometimes is more important than taking pictures 😀 ).

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They had a hanging planter with these pretty pink flowers. 

And they had just gotten some chicks and baby ducklings. They were so cute! I photographed the ducklings.

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In this one it looks like the left one is laughing! I desaturated this one for a more subdued look. The green was more overwhelming in the original.

And then I took a nice rule-of-thirds photo of their fence.

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I love the f/1.8 selective focus of this one.

Then we went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house and I went for a moody photography feel. Pretty much all black and white. 😉

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And I know this is nothing like my normal shallow depth photos. I guess I’m trying to expand my horizons. 
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I love brick walls! #colornexttime

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My sweet little sis and our cousin, Emmett. 

And then some pine cones for a rustic look.

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And closer up.

And then I almost missed this special cousin-bonding moment. My brother and cousin Steven were playing by the playground. So I snuck up and framed them with a bush 😀 .

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And this is my Aunt and Uncle’s chihuahua–Chica. I like her a lot. She’s actually a nice dog.

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I used a filter that’s in the manual mode #manualisthebest . 

And that’s it for part two!

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p.s–Don’t forget to join me next time for part three! 😀

New Editor= Image Changes

Guys…photo director 3 is #nice !

I love it.

There are more practical uses…like this photo:

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And more fun editing to do like in this photo:

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I mean, look at those eyes!

Then there are just nice settings to improve white balance and softening. Like in this image:IMG_7171.jpg

 

All in all…it’s been a ride.

I do acknowledge that this sort of editor COULD make one lazy. But I refuse to be that type of person when it comes to editing. I still prefer quality from my camera…I only like basic editing for my actual photography stuff.

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