Thursday, October 23, 2014

photographing Refracting Dewdrops

Refracting Dew Droplets I stumbled upon this article, it is explained so well! I can't wait to try it!
**This is NOT my image. All rights to this image belong to Brian Valentine, the writer of the article linked above**

Friday, June 6, 2014

B&W Series: Day 14- Wishes

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D;EFS 100mm Macro Lens; ISO 100; Shutter Speed- 1/200; Aperture f/3.2

Wow, it has been a long time since I have updated this blog! There have been a lot of things going on, in and out of Labor and Delivery because, according to the nurse and doctor, I have an 'angry uterus' that seems to want to start contracting regularly and painfully every time I try to do anything at all. So, after a long visit at L&D after what was supposed to be a routine 35 week appointment, I am on modified bed rest. Minimal housework, minimal standing and walking, no heavy lifting, only going up and down the stairs when absolutely necessary and pelvic rest. I basically have to be sitting or laying down the majority of the time, which, with a two and a half year old is near impossible. As well as being in the middle of my 'nesting' phase- it's kind of driving me crazy. But I would rather have a dirtier house for a little while and at least make it past the 35/36 week mark so Gabriel is healthy and doesn't need any NICU time. Also, if I were to go into full blown labor, or get past the 4cm mark before 36 weeks, I would be sent to Mobile, AL since Keesler doesn't have a NICU. So-- sitting on my butt until I get closer to the due date it is. We will see how everything is progressing at my 36 week appointment next week!

I took this photo right before a really bad thunderstorm hit the area, and with using my macro and it being very windy out, I am so glad I was able to get a few shots in-focus!

I am going to be trying to take as many photos as I can while still being within the MBR limits, but for sure once Gabriel is born, even if I am not able to update this blog as regularly, I will be taking TONS of photos. :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

B&W Series: Day 13- Life

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D;EFS 100mm Macro Lens; ISO 100; Shutter Speed- 1/250; Aperture f/4

I took this photo last week, lone dandelion that bloomed in the middle of my backyard.

I seems like the further along into this pregnancy I get, the less energy I have. There is so much left to get done around the house and to get prepared, I wish I had more energy to get it all done. Also, having a baseline of contractions every 10 minutes for the past three weeks is really wearing on me. But at least I got Gabriel's car seat cushion washed, and while I was at it, I washed Kaelyn's booster seat too. Now they are hanging to dry, and that will be one less thing to get done. This weekend we are putting together the crib, last weekend was the dresser. Another thing I have to figure out, which seems kind of silly, is where to put the carseat base in our car; and where to put the booster seat. Right now the booster is in the middle, but I'm thinking of moving it behind the driver seat, and putting the infant seat behind the passenger seat, or in the middle. I'll have to see how they fit.

B&W Series: Day 12- Fenced

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D;EFS 100mm Macro Lens; ISO 100; Shutter Speed- 1/500; Aperture f/5.6

I feel like I'm slacking again; running out of ideas, running out of inspiration. I'm in need of new ideas- anyone?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

B&W Series: Day 11- The Storm

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D;EFS 100mm Macro Lens; ISO 6400; Shutter Speed- 1/160; Aperture f/2.8

I took this photo the other day when it was storming like crazy all day, along with tornado watches. Lets just say it pretty much turned into a movie day for myself and my daughter. I sat with her hoping and praying that the tornados would stay away. It was one of those days where I woke up really early because of the continuous lightning outside, mixed with really strong wind- I literally thought a tornado was coming- and then it hit me-- I don't even remember what to DO if a tornado were to touch down near us. Living here for a few years, then living in Hawaii for 3 years (there were a few tsunami warnings while we were there, not even much lightning) and now being back on the Gulf was nerve-wracking. The last time I remember doing any type of 'preparations' for a tornado was in high school, when they had us all sit in the hall with out knees up, heads tucked into our knees and hands over our heads. Other than that, in the moment, I was clueless.
Growing up in Chicago we had basements, so if there was a tornado to come through, we would all know to go into the basement and stay away from any and all windows. Here, there are no basements. What do you do? Where do you go?

I found this very helpful tornado safety website that tells you what to do/where to go in any type of building- home with or without basement, hospital/large building, shopping mall, outdoors, etc. I highly recommend keeping this webpage for safe keeping in case of a tornado warning/watch, and just to know before something should happen. Click here ---> Tornado Safety

Here is an excerpt from the site:
" Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. All administrators of schools, shopping centers, nursing homes, hospitals, sports arenas, stadiums, mobile home communities and offices should have a tornado safety plan in place, with easy-to-read signs posted to direct everyone to a safe, closeby shelter area. Schools and office building managers should regularly run well-coordinated drills. If you are planning to build a house, especially east of the Rockies, consider an underground tornado shelter or an interior "safe room".

Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:
1.Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
2.Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
3.Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.
4.Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.
5.Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
6.Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can offer some protection also.
In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper:Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
In a mobile home:Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety video from the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.
At school:Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway,leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.
In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands. "

Monday, April 28, 2014

B&W Series: Day 10- Color

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EFS 18-55mm Lens; ISO 400; Shutter Speed- 1/30; Aperture f/3.5

This was taken on Easter. Haven't had a lot of time for new pictures, and I feel like my backyard flower photos are getting a bit repetitive. I will be getting out to take some different photos soon, I hope. Or at least maybe be able to take a short walk or to the park for a new perspective! So, for today, here is one of my lovely daughter coloring in a Doc McStuffins book she got for Easter.

Friday, April 25, 2014

B&W Series: Day 9- Morning Dew

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens; ISO 100; Shutter Speed- 1/250; Aperture f/4

This is my husband's tomato plant growing away in our backyard. I never realized how quickly tomato plants grow, growing up I never really paid attention to my mom's vegetable garden, but wow, they grow fast! Hopefully little tomatoes will start coming in soon! He's also got a couple green pepper plants coming in as well. I never knew he had such a green thumb with vegetable plants. :)

While doing this black and white series project, I have noticed that it is a lot harder to get everything leveled correctly while shooting in manual mode. To have the blacks, whites, and greys come out the way I picture it to be. I've been trying my hardest to get it right, and I know it's still going to take awhile, but this project is really helping me learn more. I have always been afraid, or more like ignorant of shooting in full manual. A lot of the time I shoot in Program mode. Basically, the camera will determine the shutter speed and aperture. I can still choose ISO, white balance, focus point, etc. While on that subject, finding the correct white balance for what I am photographing, is another thing I am striving to get better at. I am saving the previous link about white balance to reference in my upcoming photos. It is very informative!

Anyone have suggestions that helped you with working in manual mode and with white balance?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday

I know this is not a photo from my Black and White Series, but while my husband was teaching our daughter how to ride her tricycle that she got from the Easter Bunny, she stopped and picked me some flowers while I was watching them in the backyard and I needed to share a photo. I Love my family <3

B&W Series: Day 8- Finding Hope

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens; ISO 100; Shutter Speed- 1/500; Aperture f/5.6

You may have noticed that I haven't added a new blog in a few days. It's been a very busy and nerve-wracking weekend-- Friday morning I had horrible amounts of pressure in my pelvis and lower back, I was contracting and starting to dilate.

I called Labor and Delivery at the hospital I will be delivering at and explained my symptoms-- extreme pelvic pressure, sharp consistent pains, lower back pain/pressure, Braxton Hicks (or what I thought were just BH, ended up being real contractions). The nurse on the line told me to come in to Labor and Delivery right away. I called my husband at work and told him what was going on. He got out as soon as possible and we were on our way.
When we got to the hospital, they hooked me up to monitors to check baby's heartbeat and see if I was indeed contracting. Our little boy's heartbeat was great, but after an hour of monitoring my contractions, the nurse told me I was contracting too much (I shouldn't be having actual contractions at all- I'm only 28 weeks at this point). She showed me the paper that was keep track of the contractions, I was having them consistently every 7 minutes. She ordered a cervix check, since my other tests showed no sign of infection or anything abnormal. After the exam, she told me something I most definitely did not want to hear- I was dilated to 1. Even a small bit of dilation at this point is not a good thing, so she hooked me up to an IV to give me some fluids. The contractions didn't slow down. So she ordered Procardia to stop them, and it finally worked. After being hooked up to an IV and monitors for a few hours, the contractions (although not stopping) slowed down to the point where they let me go home, telling me to take it easy and come back if the contractions started up again.

After we got home, I started feeling some contractions again, but they weren't as close together. The next morning I woke up and started to feel more pressure again. I started monitoring the contractions, they were coming every 8-10 minutes. I was having at least 6 an hour. I called Labor and Delivery and told them what was going on. Since I started dilating the day before, they told me to come in and get checked out to make sure I didn't dilate any further. Again I was hooked up to the monitors and got another cervix check. I wasn't dilated any more than the day before (Thank God), but my little boy's head was moving down. The nurse brought in the OB Doctor in charge to double check. She ordered another dose of Procardia and more fluids. Telling me this time that I wouldn't be leaving the hospital until the contractions stopped completely. After a few more hours, they did stop, at least to the point that they were comfortable sending me home. I was told to take it easy, no strenuous activity and to call the OB office on Monday to get an appointment for a fFN test to check for preterm labor. Also, to come straight back to Labor and Delivery if I started bleeding, the pain got unbearable, or my water broke.

Well, today is Monday. I set up an appointment for tomorrow morning, because it was the earliest appointment they had available. I am still having contractions, but not as often, and I am sitting down as much as possible while having a toddler running around. So I am really hoping that everything is okay and the test comes back negative. So, for everyone curious as to the signs to look for in preterm labor (contractions and dilation starting before 37 weeks gestation), here they are, and if you have any of these signs, don't take them lightly. It is better to be seen and have it be a false alarm, then go in and you are contracting and dilating beyond the point of stopping labor. Taken from March of Dimes- Preterm Labor

Signs of preterm labor
Preterm labor is labor that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This is too early for your baby to be born. Babies born too soon can have lifelong or life-threatening health problems.
What are the warning signs of preterm labor?
Here are some signs that you may have preterm labor:
Contractions (your belly tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina)
Pelvic pressure—the feeling that your baby is pushing down
Low, dull backache
Cramps that feel like your period
Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
What should you do if you think you're having preterm labor?
Call your health care provider or go to the hospital right away if you think you're having preterm labor, or if you have any of the warning signs. Call even if you have only one sign.

Your health care provider may tell you to:
Come into the office or go to the hospital for a checkup.
Stop what you're doing. Rest on your left side for 1 hour.
Drink 2 to 3 glasses of water or juice (not coffee or soda).
If the signs get worse or don’t go away after 1 hour, call your provider again or go to the hospital. If they get better, relax for the rest of the day.

Can preterm labor be stopped?
Your provider may give you medicine to try to stop preterm labor. You also may get some medicine that can improve your baby's health, even if he does come early.


I realize this photography series and blog is turning into almost a 'day in the life' blog, but I feel that my photography helps express what is going on in my daily life, so I think they just go together. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

B&W Series: Day 7- The Dandelion

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens; ISO 125; Shutter Speed- 1/40; Aperture f/2.8; Manual Exposure

I took this photo the other day. It was really cloudy and dim outside, due to the impending storm. I knew I had to get my butt out there and get a few shots in before the rain came. I am so glad I did. This was the only photo that I converted to black and white, but I think I might experiment a little bit with some of the others as well.

It is very ironic that I found these dandelions in my backyard when I did. The day before, my mom and I were talking about the flowers that my daughter is always picking from the yard (mostly weeds) and from the photos my mom thought the were dandelions, but they are some other type (I am not sure what kind, but they are slightly fragrant). Then the next day I actually find small dandelions in the yard, which I thought there were none of. Weird.

I am also hoping to get ahead with this blog a little bit or at least get everything ready in advance before finishing my posts, because the coming weeks are going to be very busy. Plus, I really want to be able to finish something I start. I have tried to do a 365 day photo challenge- didn't finish it. I tried to do the 52 week challenge- wasn't able to finish that one either. I think it is more realistic for me to do these posts every other day, but I am going to try my hardest to get them done daily. At least get one photo a day edited (like I put up yesterday).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

B&W Series: Day 5- The Lemon Tree

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens; ISO 1250; Shutter Speed- 1/160; Aperture f/2.8; Manual Exposure

This is my lonely lemon tree sprout. I found the idea to do this on pinterest from here. I planted the seeds from 3 whole lemons, and apparently only one was healthy enough to sprout. I think I will transfer it into it's own little pot once it gets a little bigger.
I feel like I have somewhat of a green thumb lately. I have never (besides grade school projects) planted anything from a seed and watched it grow. Right now, I have the lemon sprout, a petunia plant, and daisies (my daughter planted those!) growing from seed form; as well as Azalea and Pieris shrubs flowering beautifully in our front landscape. I honestly didn't think I had it in me. You learn something new every day I suppose, right?
My daughter and I also painted sun catchers today! She picked out the cross to paint, and gave me the cupcake. We will see how they turn out when they are dry. It seems like she really has a thing for painting and/or anything artsy. Every time she is coloring, painting, making some type of picture- she gets this oh-so-serious look on her face. She likes to concentrate very hard on what she is doing! My husband took her fishing last weekend and she loved it! First time out fishing (ever) and she caught two fish! She wasn't squeamish about holding or touching them either, I am pretty sure we have somewhat of a tomboy on our hands.

Anyway, back to the photo... I was slightly hesitant about putting up this particular photo, because in a sense, I think I like it better in color. Since I am pretty new to really 'delving into' black and white photography and trying to figure out what makes a great black and white photo (besides just changing the color space to black/white/gray), I want to post photos that might not be best suited for black and white. Then try to figure out why it isn't, and what I could change, if anything, to better suite it for black and white.

So, I leave you with this question, and the color version of this image- What would make this a better black and white photo, if anything?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

B&W Series: Day 4- Looking Out

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EFS 18-55mm Lens; ISO 1000; Shutter Speed- 1/80; Aperture f/25; Manual Exposure

As you can probably tell by now, I am a big fan of negative space in my photos. I suppose that is one of the things that is starting to develop into my photography style. Ever since I started taking pictures, and experimenting with different styles or just taking pictures of various things, I always lean towards having more negative space in my images. You can probably see it a lot on my Flickr page as well- view it here.

I had a whole list of things to write about for today's post, but I think I am going to save it and leave it until Monday. Since I won't be posting on Sundays. My mom made the difficult decision to put my childhood dog Stiffler, to sleep today. He developed severe acute pancreatitis, and had diabetes, among other issues they just found after months of trips to and from the vets office. He was my first dog, and if you ever got to meet him, you would know he was one of the greatest dogs to have as a companion and friend. I am so glad my daughter got the chance to meet him and play with him. He was such a happy and fun-loving dog. I am just glad he isn't suffering anymore. It's one of those things you don't think about when you initially decide to get a dog (or any pet for that matter), that one day you will have to say goodbye. Whether they pass from natural causes suddenly, or natural causes that put you in a position to have to make the decision to put him/her to sleep, it is still so difficult.

I was too young to really remember how I felt when my mom's cat passed away, but now that I am 27 and the first dog that my family had is now gone, I can tell you it is terribly heartbreaking.

I'm going to miss you, Stiffler.

Friday, April 11, 2014

B&W Series: Day 3- Motherhood

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; EFS 18-55mm Lens; ISO 1250; Shutter Speed- 1/100; Aperture f/6.3

I had an impromptu mini photo shoot with my daughter today! I was taking some pictures just to test out the lighting from a window and she jumped right in. Below are those photos with both of us. Now I also know the best time for lighting in certain areas of my house. This particular place, where the photos were taken, is around 10-10:30am. So hopefully tomorrow or Sunday, if the weather/sun cooperates, my husband can get in on a photo shoot with us!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

B&W Series: Photo 2- Into the Sky

Photo Details: Taken with Canon 60D; 75-300mm Zoom; ISO 1250; Shutter Speed- 1/1600; Aperture f/14.0

Today was a very crazy day. I woke up not feeling well. A lot going on, trying to get my Rhogam shot at the OB's office, but there was apparently some horrible communication going on between the clinic and the pharmacy. Ended up taking well over 3 hours total of walking back and forth from getting bloodwork, the pharmacy being closed for training, orders not showing up in the pharmacy's systems. I'm glad Kaelyn only screamed and cried for half the time. The other half of the time, I felt like I wanted to scream and cry. It was just that kind of day.
Everything ended up working out in the end, it just took a lot longer than expected. To calm myself down all I could do for awhile was stand outside and look up into the sky; breathe slowly and realize it wasn't the end of the world. I was close to having a nervous breakdown, but I got through it. I had to continually tell myself to slow down, take it easy. And I did.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

B&W Series: Photo 1- Spring

*Photo details: Taken with Canon 60D; EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens; ISO 500; Shutter Speed 1/500; Aperture f/5.0

Lots of rain and flowers blooming is a sign that Spring has begun here. It is awesome to see my daughter so happy running around outside in the sun, picking flowers (mostly weeds, but she still loves it!) and putting them in her 'flower bucket'. She chases our Black Lab around the yard and plays fetch with her. Smiling and laughing the entire time. We set up a small toddler trampoline outside for her to jump on, and her goal every time she jumps is to "jump into the clouds" and she reaches as high as she can into the sky to try to touch them. It seems like these times are going by way too fast and I wish I could capture every moment in a time capsule to relive them later on. To remember her carefree toddler years (and maybe some of the "terrible-two" times as well, just for good measure. I wish I was better at scrapbooking.

Black and White and Sepia Photography Project. Beginnings...

I am working on starting a new project/series using only black and white photography. I am excited to get this series started and see where my photography grows from here! I will also be putting up some of my previous black and white photographs to show progression from when I first started. I wonder where this project will take me!
^This is a self portrait during my first pregnancy July, 2011.
^These are photos of my daughter when she was about a month and a half old, December 2011. All photos using my Canon Rebel XSI DSLR. Newer photos will be taken with my Canon 60D. I cannot wait to get this project started and sharing it with everyone! Also, if anyone has any advice and/or tips working with black and white/sepia photography, please comment! As I get further into the project, I will be sharing my own experiences with working with black and white photography. I will also be sharing any advice that I found helped me out the most!