Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Yes, I will admit that I have been a slacker reguarding my blog the last few weeks, but I have a good excuse!  I started a new 8 to 5 job a couple of weeks ago and have been adjusting to my new schedule.  I feel as though I get home from work, hit the gym, have a little dinner and by that point I'm exhausted and ready for bed!  Obviously that does not leave much time for blogging or picture taking.  I need to refocus my energy.  Don't get me wrong, I like my new job and I am extremely grateful for it and do not want to take it for granted, but I don't LOVE it.  And since I want to do something that I LOVE I need to make sure it doesn't hinder me from following my dreams and doing what I do love.  Photography.

After my brief lapse of non photo taking, I went for a lovely visit to my parents home and brought Canon with!  And I was excited to start practicing again!  However, my excitement was very short lived when the first picture I took turned out like this:

                                                                       1/15   5.6

WOW!  Talk about failure!  And, yes, that is a picture of grass.  I was immideately struck with the realization that not practicing is not an option.  Not practicing produces images like this.  Images that I could never be proud of.  Hello, wake up call!  No one can make me into a photographer except for me, and my success or failure rests on my shoulders alone.

I quickly adjusted my settings and experimented a while more before reaching a setting that I was fairly satisfied with.  Luckily, my beautiful niece was around to model for me!  (So far no photos on my blog have been edited, they are all straight from the camera.  I haven't even begun to tackle editing yet!)  1/20   14

In this endeavor, I am the only one who can let myself down.  It's always going to be easy to come up with excuses but the reality is that excuses will get you no where.  Excuses will get you a photo so overly exposed that you cannot even tell what it is supposed to be.  Life will always throw something in you way, but nothing can replace a little hard work and dedication.  I choose to work hard.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

One of them...

My new view on photography is that every situation can become a place to practice my photography!  What better way can there be than to try and capture 30 little dogs running around like mad?  I'm pretty sure if you can get decent pictures from that you can get them anywhere!  So, every month I take Coney, along with my mother-in-law and her puppy, Bitzy, to a daschund play group.  Yes, I am one of those people.  And I ENJOY it...probably more than Coney does.  I have taken pictures there in the past with my Canon using the automatic mode, however, this time since I have become slightly familiar with the manual mode I worked on honing my skillz.  To be honest, manual mode is still somewhat frightening, but at this point I am no longer terrified of it, that was definitely the case in the beginning.  The display screen was like trying to read an alien language.  But you learn a few things, and wah-la, it is suddenly not as terrifying as it once was!  The images below were taken at 1/50 and f5.6.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All Things African

My parents recently returned from a 3 week trip to South Africa to visit my mom's family.  Yay! for a safe and amazing trip!  I am soooooo jealous, my mom kept posting pictures of them on the beach and in front of Table Mountain and looking at those made me want to be there with them!  It would sure beat sitting in front of a computer in a cubicle where I was spending my days!  But I am so grateful for the time they were able to share there.  My parents are two of the most amazing, giving, and loving people I know and to see them so happy fills me with joy...even though I missed them tremendously when they were gone!

When they arrived home, they not only brought themselves (which is plenty for me), but they also brought home lots of treats and trinkets for the whole family!  Of course, seeing these amazing items they returned with provided me with a wonderful excuse to whip out my camera and practice shooting manually...indoors at night...under fluorescent lighting...eeeek!  I won't lie, I had to play around with my settings for awhile before I started to get decent pictures.  First there was not enought light, then my images kept being blurry, obviously I need A LOT more practice!  But after a little while I started to get some decent pictures, and was beyond excited and proud of myself.  Enjoy these African creations!

These were amazing!  Paintings on pieces of wood with tin cans used for the buildings!  So creative!

Have to have some sweets...of course!

Gorgeous jewelry for my sister and I!

And, a drum for my nephew.

And if there is anyone interested...these were taken with WB set to tungsten light, shutter speed 1/5, and aperture f5.6.  Took me awhile to get there but I think these pictures came out decent!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Goals: Healthy-ness

Weight loss seems to be at the top of a lot of lists when it comes to New Year's Resolutions.  Instead of setting a weight loss goal this year that I will fail to reach I am instead attempting to be healthier all around, i.e. eating more fruits and veggies, working out a few times a week.  This actually began for me at the end of last year when I bought a juicer and went on a juice diet for about three days (that's as long as I could make it!!) and loved it!  Since then I have made veggie juice a regular part of my diet along with more fruits.  I haven't eaten fast food in about a month and I think that may be my biggest accomplishment so far, it saves fat and money!  But out of this healthier eating kick I have development somewhat of an tea!

For anyone who knows me this may be a surprise, i have never been a fan of tea, iced or hot.  After reading the benefits of green tea (and I'm not talking about the bottles in the store with 16 g of sugar!) I decided to give it a try and now it's a daily staple.  I try to have 3 to 5 cups a day.  Along with my healthier eating/drinking, I am all about excise these days!  For the past few weeks I have been taking 5 classes a week at my gym and have been feeling great, but some days it's not as easy to get off the couch and go do it.  All of this leads me to my delimma tonight...on Monday's I take two classes at my gym: strength training and spin.  I love both of these, but I am struggling to find motivation to go tonight.  Work was long, I got to bed late last night, and I'm sure I could come up with about 10 more excuses!  I figured if I blogged about it and threw it out there for the world to see I would be struck with motivation instead of excuses, so far there has been no stike.  All I want to do is jump into my sweats and sip on green tea!  I suppose only time will tell if the motivation hits...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Goals: Photography

If I have not clarified this before, I am starting with a very basic knowledge of photography and almost no knowledge my digital camera.  Up until this point I have been shooting in auto mode, essentially using my amazing camera as just a basic point and shoot camera.  Considering all of the many things this camera can do, using it as just a point and shoot is a waste of money and it's functions.  To begin to rectify this situation, this morning I braved the unplowed roads (we got quite a bit of snow last night!) to attend my first ever photography class!  Now, I was not planning on taking photography classes, however, this one came free with the purchase of my camera (and being the procrastinator that I am, I just now got around to taking it, 3 months later!).  Boy, am I glad that I went.  I learned so much in the two hour time frame and I will shortly show you the first pictures I have ever taken in a mode other than auto!

Through this class I definitely received a basic knowledge of some photography lingo that I had previously researched and failed miserably at understanding.  Some of these terms include ISO, aperture, depth of field and white balance.  In addition, I have started learning to shoot in Shutter Priority (TV) and Aperture Priority (AV) mode.  The pictures I am posting below were shot in AV mode.  Obviously these modes will take time and a variety of situations to master, but I feel as though I am well on my way!  Now, my goal is to be able to shoot in Manual mode in any situations, and I am definitely headed in the right direction!  It seems as though the most important thing I can do from this point is to practice...practice...and then practice some more!  Which is definitely what I plan on doing!

Here are some shots I took after my class in which I set the ISO and white balance myself.

Also I bought Digital UV Filters for both of my lenses!  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Goals: Reading

I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions.  Whenever I have attempted to make a list of resolutions in the past, I never fail to quit by the time February rolls around and then all I have left is the feeling of failure.  Now, I am trying something new.  In December 2011, inspired by the photography blogs that I follow, I decided to write out a list of goals that I want to accomplish.  This list was not far off from a list of New Year's Resolutions, however, I was more specific and gave myself time frames when applicable.  Of course, I gave myself goals dealing with photography and this blog is a step toward accomplishing that goal!  Another goal I set was to read more.  More specifically I wanted to read at least one book a month.  I used to read ALL THE TIME as a child and young adult, and still have bookcases full of my favorite books, but as I got older and stepped into adulthood, reading was one thing that slipped out of my life.  Completely.  It is a sad but true fact.  I remember getting lost in books and staying awake all hours of the night just because I couldn't stop until I knew how the story ended!  Those days are sadly long gone for me.  But I want that back!  I want to get lost in a story or be excited to learn again.  And the fact of the matter is that I do have the time...I just watch WAY too much T.V.  Luckily for my reading habits, my husband and I decided to shut off our cable last month (we are saving up to buy a house!) so now I have one less excuse to not read. 

This all leads me to my January book, "Created to be His Help Meet" by Debi Pearl.

I have been married for almost 10 months now so I still consider myself a newlywed.  This book was given to me by a great friend and has thus far shed so much light on how I can be a better help meet to my husband.  I would recommend it to a woman in any stage of her marriage.  This book is humbling and inspiring.  I already have found so many areas where I can take initiative to become the wife that God intended for me to be.  And since this is a photography blog...enjoy some images!!

I had to show my bookmark!  A photo from our wedding!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Experiment

I am beginning a photography journey that will hopefully end in a career and would love for you to join me as I go through this adventure.  In November 2011 (on a whim) I purchased a Canon Rebel T3.  I have no photography schooling or training, yet I have a dream of becoming a family photographer.  By a family photographer I simply mean that I love photographing people; families, newborns, engagements, weddings and of course any furry friends!  I love capturing a moment in life, no matter where the individual is at that point in life.  After my April 2011 wedding I became obsessed (that’s such a strong word but it is accurate) with my engagement and wedding photographs.  I loved that a moment could be captured so beautifully and was then preserved indefinitely.  I then began to creep…errrr…follow different photographer blogs and became even more enthralled.

From reading different photography blogs I noticed a recurring theme: all of the followers wanted to know how the photographer got started and built up their business.  I also was incredibly curious.  From this curiosity came either a wonderful or dumb idea to begin my photography journey, blogging the whole way for the world to see.  Since technology and I do not usually get along, I have yet to determine if this idea is inspired! or just simply the worst idea I have ever had.  This has the potential to be my greatest success or my most horrific failure.  Either way, I cannot sit on this dream anymore, I want to look back on my life and say that I at least tried!  Sitting in a cubicle for the rest of my days is incredibly daunting, I want to take a legitimate chance to make this dream come true.  I am scared of failure and I am scared of success.  Only time will tell if this crazy idea that flew into my head will end up changing my life, or not.  I hope you will join me for this journey and learn right along side me!

 And since I hear a post is way better with a Coney!

Samantha June