Sunday, September 23, 2012

:: from auto + jpeg to manual + raw in 3 hours ::

I bought a DSLR last year right before Hunter's birthday, fully intending to "teach myself" how to use it properly right away. Fast forward to almost a year later, and though I had figured out a few things through helpful friends and Pinterest tutorials, I still had no clue about shooting in manual, and what all the fancy photography words I was reading about really meant.

I think I found Photography Concentrate through Andrea of Pink Sugar and the awesome blog pinksugarland. It was one of the those random stumble across websites that you are so so glad to find. 

I love the clean, organized layout, and the friendly, conversational tone of all of the posts. Most of all, I love that Rob & Lauren believe that everyone is a photographer. Whether you are just a mom like me, wanting to get the best shots of her cute kids, or someone more serious about their craft, we all just want to get the most beautiful captures of day to day life.

Which brings me to the pictures of Hunter's tractors :)

I decided to buy the Essential Camera Skills course, and while my little prince slept, I learned about focus points, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance, and all the terms that had intimidated me before. As a teacher, I totally appreciated the lesson/hands-on exercise/pop quiz format. The layout makes it really easy to go back and review lessons too (which I know I will be doing often!)

Then I went upstairs to bother my poor child/model with some sleeping shots. He woke up shortly after :)

I took some more pictures later that night, and having finally converted my camera to take pictures in RAW mode, I saw firsthand the reasons why you should be shooting in RAW. This orangey picture was so easy to fix in Lightroom because it was in RAW mode! Hooray for being able to fix my newbie blunders so easily!

Presto! No more orange!

I'm pretty excited to stop using my flash. I rarely love the pictures taken with it.

My poor kid is now going to be subjected to many photoshoots as I practice my skills shooting in manual. I feel a little like a kid who has just learned something new. I'm muttering under my breath about aperture, shutter speed and white balance as I try to get all the right levels for the shot. 

Sometimes, I get so caught up that I forget something crucial, like focusing on the right thing (crying face) and miss the moment. Plus, it was probably mean for me to be giggling and taking pictures of the temper tantrum instead of helping. Oops.

But every 1 in 100 pictures or so, I get something cute (even if his face is out of focus....I still have a lot to master!)

I'm really enjoying the learning process, and I am so thankful that the course finally gave me the knowledge & confidence to try shooting in manual mode, especially since I will have a cute new model arriving soon :)

If you want to buy Essential Camera Skills - you can do so here or by clicking on the new banner on the right hand side. They also have lots of great freebies and informative blog posts on their site. 

I've signed up to be a part of their affiliate program, because I think they are so awesome. Any money I make from readers buying their courses will be put in the new camera lens fund :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

:: wholehearted parenting ::

My roles as teacher, librarian and parent come together in my tendency to be a research mommy. I always have a parenting book on the go, and I try to stay humble enough in my own abilities as a parent to always seek to understand my child and improve our relationship and my parenting skills as he grows.

I stumbled upon Brene Brown's viral Ted Talk via Design Mom a while back and I devoured her amazing book The Gifts of Imperfection. It is a must read, not as a parent, but just as a human being. It has really changed the way I look at myself, my students and of course, my little boy.

She has a new book out that I can't wait to read called Daring Greatly, and she has this lovely parenting manifesto available for free download in 8x10 on her website.

If you are interested to see the parenting books I have been enjoying lately, you can view them in the parenting section of my Amazon store.

Monday, September 3, 2012

:: nesting & nursery 2.0 ::

There is something about fall that gets my creative juices going. I think it's probably back to school and having to prepare for a new group of students and the intoxicating smell of new school supplies. I have been in a" morganizing" mood lately and I can't stop thinking about our newest nursery.

We got the bedroom cleared out today and that makes me infinitely more excited. I am hoping to paint the inside of the closet with some stripes (inspired by Jen's housewinks post) and I've picked up these gorgeous alphabet art cards by Julie Morstad (illustrator of the books I raved about here and here) and this watercolour map of the world first spotted on a house tour featured on Design Mom.

We will be using Hunter's old crib (Gulliver - Ikea) and I'll be squeezing in our queen size guest bed in there too since I found we needed a bed for co-sleeping in the first months (okay, first year really! Maybe this baby will be my super sleeper?). Everything else - dresser, clothes, etc) will have to fit into the closet because this room is so super small. I'm looking forward to the challenge though and of course, I will keep you all updated.

Hope you have had a fun long weekend. Organizing and dreaming of decorating new rooms is my idea of fun - so we have had a lovely one!