Saturday, October 23, 2010

Old and lazy

So I've been going through old stuff to try yet again to put a portfolio together. And I'm realizing that I've gotten really, really lazy. seriously... with film I paid attention to details. But it seems like with digital I just let all that slide. Lazy, lazy, lazy!

I can't afford to be lazy about it next semester.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Does size really matter?

OK, this is a wordy post. So if you don't want to read my opinions then click away now. LOL

There's always been all this talk about full frame sensors and how they're the best because they're larger. They have more dynamic range, less noise, yada yada. And the full frame supporters always point to two reasons for this... the size of the pixels and the density of the pixels.

Ok, I gotta call BULL S^!T.

This might have been true, once upon a time. But look at the numbers now. The Canon Rebel XT's pixels are 6.4. The Canon 5DmkII pixels are 6.4. The pixels density is also similar on both cameras. Yet the 5DmkII produces better quality images with less noise and has a higher ISO range than my trusty Rebel XT.


I think it's not as much a matter of pixel size, as it is a matter of overall sensor quality. Because really, when we take away the question of size what else is left to say that these cameras are better? It's certainly not the other features, since the 7D out specs the 5DmkII in many areas.

There are other differences when it comes to full frame vs. crop. but when it comes to overall image quality, how does size figure in these days? If they can get the higher ISO performance with less noise when having pixel density and size similar to a Rebel XT... then make a comparable crop camera. Yeah, it will have less MP than it's full frame counterparts. So why don't they leave that for why you'd get the full frame version? Don't stiff us on the ISO and noise, because if you look at the size it's clear they can apply the technology now and make a lower MP crop camera with the same great performance.

I don't know, and I'm a little ranty this morning. But I think that photographers need to stop buying into the notion that size matters. Have no shame when you shoot with that crop camera. Because really, in the end it's not what you've got but how you use it that matters anyway.

Rebel XT with the non IS 18-55 kit

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Princesses at the World

We did some character meals at Disney. If you've never done one you need to. They are so much fun!

This is one of Cinderella's stepsisters.

And Cinderella signing her autograph

Snow White

Ariel, who had a great conversation with my son about his Ewok.

and Aurora, who was quite awake.

If you go to the World and want to see Princesses hit Akerhaus in Epcot and 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. Both were a lot of fun.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Road Trip

Ok.. so it's been a month. But I've been busy. Real life and all.

We went on vacation. Drove from Texas to Orlando. Cubby, the mascot for my son's Cub Scout pack, came with us.

Here's Cubby in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

And at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.

And at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Men in tights

Craftysprinkles said she'd love to go to Medieval Times, so I thought I'd post more shots from one of our trips there. For those interested, these were shot with a Rebel XT. I'd have to look to see what lens. I know I was using the 50mm f/1.8 a lot there.

I'd love to go back there now that I have the 50D and the higher ISO range. My only complaint is that they take away your food too fast. I barely had time to eat!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stuck in traffic

The kids and I went to see Bear at work a couple weeks ago and I took the Brownie along. As usual, we got stuck in traffic near downtown Dallas. So I rolled down the window and took a couple of shots. But only when the car was stopped because the shutter speed of the Brownie is too slow for the car to be moving. Oh yeah, and it’s not safe to shoot while driving.

I did have some wonkiness when I processed the film. Mainly because I didn’t make sure my reel was pushed all the way to the bottom of the tank. (yeah, I know it was careless) But I figure it’s art and just adds to it, right?

And I got a few other shots.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vacation photo obsessing

We're going on vacation soon. It's the first vacation we've had since 2004 and I'm excited. But then we come back and I start school along with the kids. And that terrifies me.

Anyway... I talk about photography all the time. And we're taking this trip. And I'm wondering what happens if I get home and all my images totally suck? Do I change my major? Move to another country? Change my *gasp* screen name?

So I'm looking over stuff I've taken the last few years on outings where it really would have sucked to have sucked. And of course sharing, because I like to share. I'm nice that way.

Really, I am.

I took Dancer Girl to Dealey Plaza to take pictures. That the camera from my avatar, by the way. And it's completely manual... yeah, I'm bragging on her.

At Medieval Times... this was my favorite shot of the day. That sword stuck down the back of his shirt.

I love his Dirty Harry look here.

Ok.. you're probably going um.... these shots really aren't that great? And yeah, you're right. They're not. But that doesn't stop them from being some of my favorites.

See, I realized I need to take the same advice I've given others and stop worrying about taking great shots. Just take pictures. They don't have to be images that make others go wow. They just need to make you happy.

Now I need to start making my packing list because I'm going to go see Mickey.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm so square

Finally getting some film processed and scanned. I gotta say, after the little I've been playing with the Brownie and processing old Holga rolls I've got a real itch to get a serious medium format camera. Lucky for Bear I can probably find a used one pretty reasonably priced. I wanted one when I was shooting film before, but just never got around to getting one. Then I got a DSLR and, well, here I am.

Anyway... here is a shot from Longhorn Cavern State Park that I took with the Brownie. I shot it on trix320 that had actually expired in 2005. But it worked. Sadly it was my last roll of it and all I've got left are a couple of rolls of Tmax that Arlington Camera had in stock.

Speaking of tmax... that's this guys name but we just call him Max. He was black and white when he found us. Of course now he's got a little brown... maybe he needed more time in the fix? Or acid free storage?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More 50mm love

We went to Longhorn Cavern State Park this last weekend. It was surprisingly fun and I was once again very glad to have my 50mm f/1.8. Now would I love the 1.4 to get a stop or two faster, sure. Or the 1.2 L (insert dreamy sigh here). But I've got the 1.8. And really, after shooting the caves, I think a wider fast prime just moved up on my priority list rather than gettign a faster 50.

A lot of people complain that the 50 is too long on an APS-C camera, but I never really found that. Until this weekend. So maybe a nice 28mm is on my list now. The Canon f/2.8 isn't too pricey and at that focal length will be pretty fast. Or the 28mm f/1.8.. it costs a little more but 28mm at f/1.8 on the 50D will likely shoot in the dark. I can already get really low light shots at ISO 6400 as it is but the possibilities that the shorter lens has....

Anyway, I'm rambling here. I got a few cave shots. Not sure what direction I want to take with them editing wise... but here's where I've gone so far.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

In the dark again

It was pointed out to me that I have not posted in like a week. Ok, so I'm not doing so hot at keeping up here.

This weekend I've been busy. I got a Brownie Hawkeye off ebay and got my darkroom up and going. I processed my first roll of film in six years. AFTER mixing new chemistry.

When it's dry I'll scan some and share. Until then here's this shot from the Mississippi state archives. It's from the first photography class I ever took, and the very first roll of film I ever processed myself.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Busy busy busy!

I haven't blogged. so much for that commitment. LOL

But I have been getting images together for my site.

Shameless plug click here

And getting ready for vacation.

And getting ready for back to school time.

And realizing that Tiger is not a boy.

It's been a busy week.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Maybe they're not evil

I used to bash cell phone cameras. I'm here to say I was wrong. What? I can admit it. (yes Bear, I can) I have long said it's not the camera that makes the shot but the photographer and a recent post on another blog made me realize my stance on cell phone cameras was a tad hypocritical.

OK, it's a LOT hypocritical. Cell phone cameras are not evil. Something that's even tougher for me to say is that one of the best in phone cameras is on the iPhone.

Now that I've been all humble and done that, I'll post some point and shoot shots. Because I read on message boards daily about people saying you can't get great shots with a point and shoot. Or that you must have a DSLR to get a great shot. Or the one I find really absurd, you must have a full frame DSLR to be a professional photographer.

While equipment can be limiting in some ways, it's not the camera that gets the shot. It's the photographer using it. Whether it's with a Canon, Nikon or even an iPhone, in the end what matters is the final product and not the camera that was used.

I didn't actually take this one, Bear did.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Randomness about me

I started painting my kitchen and living room in 2005. I ran out of paint close to the end. It's still not finished.

Bear and I had season passes to Six Flags in 1999 and went to San Antonio with the purpose of using our passes at Fiesta Texas. We were making our way down 35 through Austin when I realized my pass was back home (then in Arlington) on the coffee table.... where I put it so that I wouldn't forget it.

I was fifteen minutes late for my own wedding.

I'm 4' 11 3/4" tall.

I broke my right arm (compound fracture, got to see the bone and everything) in the second grade doing a cartwheel. Before then I had trouble telling my right from my left. Now I have a nifty scar to show me.

My kids do not do cartwheels.

I couldn't tell time on a regular clock (as opposed to a digital one) without counting the numbers until my husband bought me a Goofy watch that runs backwards. Never had trouble after that.

I can program in Atari Basic, Apple Basic and GW Basic. Sadly those skills have no marketable value today.

I cannot type. It really makes me wonder how my programs ever ran.

I have ADHD. Heavy on the AD... probably why I cannot type.

I gave Bear mild food poisoning the first time I cooked for him after we were married... though he now says he doesn't think it was, he was adamant that it was at the time. I have not made anyone sick with my cooking any other time.

When I was nine my brother in law threw a jumping jack (a little spinney firework) and it bounced toward my mom. She yelled. I freaked and spent the rest of July Fourth that year with a laundry basket over my head.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Marker text

I've become obsessed with Polaroids. Consequently, I'm working on making my text look more like a marker. I was asked how I do it and thought that it would make for a useful post. I started with a tutorial I found, I really wish I could remember where because the guy had some great tutorials. But it didn't quite get me everything I wanted, so I changed things a little.

anyway... here's what I do. It's by no means the only way to do this, it's just what I've been doing. I'm using Photoshop CS5

Start with your text in a handwritten looking font.

Copy the text into a new layer and apply a 2 pixel Gaussian blur.

Then use wind (it's under filter then stylize). I used stagger and from the right so that it smudges to the left, since I'm left handed. At least that was my rationalization... but now I think maybe I should smudge it the other way. I may have to get the sharpies out for some real world tests.

You'll probably want to turn the opacity down on your copied layer now. I put mine around 40%. but if you like it really messy, leave it darker. You may end up with a little glob of black where you don't want it, like on the edge. Now is the time to use the handy dandy eraser tool and get rid of it.

Go back to your original layer of text. Copy and paste it again. Apply a 1 pixel Gaussian blur this time and then merge the three text layers together

Next you want to distort it just a little. Use the ripple (look under filter then distort). Not too much, just enough to make it a little wobbly.

Anyway, that's how I do it. If anyone has a different method please share!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The Polaroid look is very popular right now, and I can see why. It's fun. It's fun to make, fun to look at... and it gives you some options you don't have when you are presenting a more traditional image. Like square cropping.

I've been playing with it. I downloaded a few Polaroid actions to see what people were doing, then decided to go on my own.

My first one..

The dimensions are off. The Polaroid frame just screams "hi! I'm here and clean and white!" and the image needs something.

A later attempt that I like better....
But the dimensions are still off, I hadn't corrected that yet. Lazy photochick! And it's still not quite there. Though I like the image in it better. The lomo style processing works well for this.

What I did today...
I dirtied it up more and corrected the dimensions. Stuck with lomo style processing. Still not there yet, but getting closer to what I want.

To make your own Polaroid, without any actions, in Photoshop....
 make a new document that is 3.5 by 4.25 inches with a transparent background.
Select an area that is about 3.1 inches square.
Invert the selection.
Fill the selected area with whatever color you want your frame to be.
Paste your cropped and processed image in, put it behind the frame layer.
Then add type, effects or distress the frame as you like.

That's how I did it. But there are a hundred different ways to do any given thing in Photoshop. And there are like a hundred and one free actions out there that do this for you. Feel free to speak up in the comments with your method or a link to a good one.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

More fireworks!

Tonight we will sit in our front yard and see if we can catch some of the fireworks over the lake near us. Some years we can, some years we can't.

Here's a shot from last night...

I'd love to see what other people are doing to celebrate. Post links for me in the comments!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I've been out at my brother-in-law's house tonight celebrating the birth of my nation by blowing up a small piece of it. But I was a bad photochick again. I took my camera, but I forgot the tripod.

When you go out shooting your fireworks remember that tripod. You need a long exposure to capture the blooms. Way too long to hand hold. So even if you're using a point and shoot, put it on a tripod.

And yes, point and shoots can get good shots. This one was shot with a 4mp Fuji Finepix a few years ago.

Have a good weekend and don't blow yourself up. Or anyone else.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I was just thinking....

I was just reading an article on the current oil disaster. It talked about other environmental disasters that man has wrought on his world. I really never thought much about the Dust Bowl. I never would have considered it an environmental disaster.

In school I learned it was a horrible drought. Thanks to john Steinbeck I’ve got some perspective as to what it was like for people who were directly affected by it. According to my dad it’s part of the reason his family ended up in California, but that is another story for another time.

But all this time I thought it was a naturally occurring phenomenon. I never knew, never really thought, that we humans could have been responsible.

If you haven’t read about the why’s, I’ll sum up. Over farming and poor ranch management helped kill off the native grasses. The top layer of soil lay loose. When there was a naturally occurring drought the loose soil dried out and took to the air, creating huge clouds of dust. Those clouds of dust caused tremendous amounts of damage to crops, livestock and humans and really wonked up the weather.

How much of that drought was caused by lack of vegetation in general as well? “Less rainforest means less rain.” (can you name that movie?)

Thank you Hurricane Ike for Rainbowl 2008. We lost, but it was fun.

So I’m wondering about today, here in the north Texas area. It’s hot. Every summer seems hotter than the last. Droughts are becoming more frequent. More and more severe. Every summer we see the lake levels dwindle lower and lower here.

Lakes in Texas, there’s another topic. There’s one naturally occurring lake in Texas. Name it.

But back to the environment… It’s really something to stop and think about. It makes me wonder if we have to worry about a major drought? We’ve already seen the effects of global warming (yeah, I’m one of those people) And if it’s coming, is there anything we can do to stop it?

This time of year wait for rain because if it's too dry they prohibit fireworksand we have to rely on Grandpa Spunkie getting crazy with the sparklers.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I've always thought I was somewhat of a purist when it comes to photography. My rule of thumb has been not to go much beyond what I could accomplish in a traditional darkroom. Meaning dodging, burning, adjusting exposure, using filters for contrast....

I was going for an older feel here.

Then  I started hanging out on a site where there are a LOT of people getting what I would call "Photoshop happy" on their images. Some do take it too far, but I started to see some really nice effects. Then I start to think back to things I did in the darkroom. Things that were considered by some to be extreme and not "pure photography" at one point in time.

The one on the left I went for a sort of lomo effect, at least that's how it started. The one on the right is pretty much SOOC.

And I realized I am a dinosaur. I really am. I was stuck and not moving forward. Really a disconcerting revelation to have. I'm attempting to grow. I really am. but it's a painful process.