©Verte Photography All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Newest

Thank You to all our followers on blogger! 
We are now LIVE on our new blog with a permanent home as part of our website! 


We are currently updating our bloglovin account
and you will be able to follow via EMAIL, as well as utiliazing the easy share options below each post!

We hope you are as excited as we are with the new site, and format of our blog! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Function Friday: White Balance

Want to take better photos? Who doesn't?

Sometimes we find that our images have color casts that we don't understand, that are distracting.
By learning a little bit about light, and how your camera works you can make a simple adjustment and have a HUGE impact on your natural light images.

White Balance (WB) 
simply refers to the camera mode that allows you to control how your camera sees the color temperature of light. 
By selecting the correct mode - your camera can correct setting White - back to White and saving you countless hours of photo editing and stress! 

If you haven't already - you can print these Keycards and keep them in your camera bag for quick reference!
<Get the second set here>

This double use Key Card lists both the different WB modes and WHEN you want to use them along with a kelvin guide to the color temp / type of light. 
Your most natural light, is during midday - or when you are using flash or strobe lights. 
However, as a photographer you get to choose when utilizing your natural light environment adds to your images - and when it needs to be corrected out. 

This cutie was taken in the shade during the morning and you can see the blue behind her while blurred should be cement (grey) Personally I choose NOT to correct this with WB because it really makes her eyes pop. 

Where in this image I selected to utilise my WB to remove the cool blue tone because I felt it made her look too pale and it seemed to fight her personal style.

WB is absolutly your friend if you are doing portait work - but another BIG place to use it is product photography. If you are an online retailer doing your own images - this is a tip you want to use! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Function Friday: Composistion

Composition (in photographic terms) refers to the placement or arrangement of the elements in your image.

Fill the Frame with your subject.

By utilizing a few basic rules of composition and combining them with some basic camera knowlage you can create stunning images.  On our third keycard reminder sheet that you can download directly from the Indie A-list you will find quick reminders for some of the most popular techniques.

If you haven't already - you can print these Keycards and keep them in your camera bag for quick reference!
<Get the second set here>

For today's lesson - I have added some additional images in order to provide a visual for utilizing those rules!
Frame your subject

By using Dad's hands, not only do you provide prospective and scale - showcasing how small this 4.5lb baby is, but you keep the attention on her. 

Everyday snap
Change perspective.

Changing up the pose - certainly adds a lot to this image, but so does shooting at a slight angle down towards the subject rather than straight on. 
(Vertetip: there are also a lot of leading lines in the brick pattern bringing your eye towards the subjects face)

While below I created lines with the pose rather than background.

Leading Lines.

Pattern/ symmetry
Patterns can be found in lines of trees, flowers, any repeating pattern... even on the background of a product image. It simply adds interest and balance to the image. 

Taller subject (shoot vertically)

Wider subject shoot horizontally.

When I teach this, people always cringe thinking I am referring to the size of a person... but in truth - you have to take into account the pose - and how much of the surrounding area you want to be a part of your vision for the image.

Our last - and one of my most favorite is the rule of thirds. Fill two thirds of the space with either your subject - or with empty space - either option works.

Rule of thirds (lines provided for visual of the rule)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Function Friday: Flash modes

What is the biggest contributing factor to your images?

What is your biggest resource for adding light to your photographs? 
The Flash!

Regardless of your camera type, you have the ability to utilize different flash options.
The first step is to understand WHAT those options are:

The above graphic is part of a collection of Keycards
and keep inside your camera bag for quick reference.
<Get the second set here>

Accessing your Flash Function

First, you will need to be in your P mode to command your flash. A / Auto / or the green square mode won't always let you control your flash!
 (For more info about the difference between Program and Auto check this out!)

Now, like with the other function buttons, typically you cycle through the different options by
1. Hitting the flash button over and over changing (or cycling through) the icon on your user display.
2. Using the arrows on your camera back (Cross keys) to select the icon from a menu display
3. Hold the button and spin a command dial (for Bridge or DSLRS)

Understanding the Basics

Much of photography is making choices. Knowing when your flash will help, and when it will hurt your images is HUGE!

First - your camera flash has a "sweet spot" too close and your subject will be over exposed (ghost like face) to far away and they will be underexposed (in the shadows, where the flash doesn't reach)
As a general rule when you use a flash that is built into your camera you want to stand about 6 feet away from your subject. This can be affected by your zoom range, and how light or dark your room is - be sure to play with your flash and get a feel for different situations. 

The biggest part of this to understand is if you are shooting a performance on stage...
like ballet, your flash wont help. You will be too far away for it to do anything more than light the backs of the heads of the other parents. 

Second - There is NOTHING wrong with using your flash outside! When you are taking images of people, it works as a "fill flash" and reduces shadows across their face. 
This is why you see professional portrait photographers using flash equipment outside! 
It provides even, and consistent light for the best exposure.

For additional information on additional flash options for point and shoot cameras
For additional information on strobe flash options
For additional information on Red Eye reduction

Friday, August 8, 2014

Function Friday: Camera Icons

Sometimes the best place to start is at the beginning. 

I recently made up some awesome Keycards for readers of the Indie Alist blog to be able to download, print and carry in their camera bags!

I wanted to offer MY readers - a bit more information on what those cards offer. 
SO.... I will be taking 1 of the cards each week and adding a bit more depth to the content it offers!
The idea behind these cards was to offer a quick reference and reminder to basic camera functions and photography techniques so that you can build your "bag of tricks"!

First up we will be talking about Camera Modes and Common Camera Icons:

 Camera Icons are typically placed on common buttons, menu or display screen so that you can adjust your camera easily (or any camera that you happen to pick up) 

P, A, S, M = Camera operation modes - are typically on a dial you turn it in order to select. 
There is also one I didn't mention "auto" or a camera icon (sometimes green, or a green square depending on manufacture) regardless of the image the selection is the same FULL AUTO = it wont even let you override the flash. DON'T use this option! For many camera's it also limits the menu you can see - so if your looking for a function like WB - you wont find it if your camera is set to this mode!

Even if you are just starting out in photography- you ARE smarter than the camera! 
Camera's can be tricked - shoot in Program so that you can make simple overrides like popping up your flash when your subject is standing in front of a window!

This is a great exsample - the camera will see the light outside the window and think you have enough for a good exposure - however... the grass outside isn't your subject! In order to see our friends here - I popped the flash for a quick capture.

For additional information about your

All consumer level cameras have "scene" modes - these are additional "preset" functions where the camera manufacture has selected the best combination of ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, WB, and / or flash function for the common situation you are shooting.
For example a Fireworks setting would command the flash off, typically have a fast ISO (chip sensitivity) and a slow shutter. Which means you will want to have your camera on a tripod to reduce camera shake. (use a tripod for slow shutter times unless you want blurry images!)

Scene modes are a great way for someone without a lot of "technical" knowlage to be creative and experience better results in photography! Simply pick the icon that matches with your situation!

There can litterally be 100's of scene modes! While some are on a mode dial on top of your camera others may be found by pushing a button and cycling through a list, or it could be inside a menu.
You may need to look in your camera manual to find where they all are in yours!
I suggest photo coping the page that lists them all out - and adding it to your Keycards!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fun Day!

Today I am super excited to be guest posting on the  theindiealist.com 

Where I am offering a FREE printable to keep in your camera bag to use as quick reference guides when shooting your images this summer!

Next Friday there will be 3 more - talking about Aperture, Shutter, and White Balance!
 Then all of August I will be posting an in depth look at each function card!

I hope you enjoy these as a little Friday Fun Day gift to you!

Here is a little sneak peak at the Flash Key Card!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My life in negitives

This morning I spent some time scanning in old pages of a yearbook, and transferring another bundle of random negatives that I found in a box to 3ring binder sleeves so they can be stored and protected until I get around to scanning them to store digitally. I seem to come across random envelopes of negs every time I dig around... so I try to do this process anytime I see them.

It was only a week or so ago when I was asked why I was never very good in Math in school... and I replied - well if I could do it again, maybe I wouldn't choose to take Math with the cute teacher. Funny, I couldn't remember the name of the boy who I had my first kiss with - but I remembered my math teacher.

For the record, after dusting off that file in my brain I did remember where, and when... and I did even remember his first name... before I looked him up in the yearbook.

Thumbing over the grade school yearbook I came across that boys photo... along with so many other good memories. It has really got me thinking this morning about the memories that I capture for my daughter now. How important it is not only to record the images and store them safely for her... but since so many of these images are not being printed we have lost the opportunity to write on the album page or on the backs of the images for who and when... and even why that image would be important to us! Those signatures and little notes - those are precious memories for me now.  There are so many people that I have photos of that I don't remember a name for... but they must have meant a lot to me at one time. 

I even found in one high school yearbook where someone I crushed on promised to propose to me on Graduation day.... I remember not knowing he wrote that for several years - it's funny how life changes. 

Oooooh that 80's hair - how I don't miss you! 

I find myself looking at her images differently now that I have reviewed the negatives and prints of my past. I'm not sure if changing the digital file name will be enough to satisfy my needs to record this time for her. Now that she is taking photos for herself... I want her to record her memories easily as well. This might be the inspiration I need to print again... make albums - create photobooks - and even record them digitally in a new way taking the time to add a digital journal so that 30 years later in her life - she can look back and remember those people who were inspiring to her. 

Yes... even the first kiss.
Because somethings you should remember for a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Clooney Car

So there I was, driving home from our weekly library trip when this beautiful Lincoln town car pulls into the lane in front of us. Now, it's pretty common to see Infiniti SUV's, BMW's and a plethora of  Audi, and Mercedes-Benz rolling around the streets in our community North of the Energy corridor in Houston. Town cars, like the sleek black... insert old school Mr. Big here? Not so much. I mean... it's a family type neighborhood and there isn't even high end shopping or hotels on this side of town. So naturally I thought ooooo I wonder if they are lost! 

Then my eye landed on the licence plate. The vanity plate. 


My mind immediately went to George Clooney  - You know like Oceans 11.

How funny would that be. George tooling around the neighborhood with his driver!

It could happen. I mean the man does travel.

So I indudgled in a bit of a comical "what if" moment... and thought - 
wow what would happen there... 
would it be like a page of the steamy summer romance novels, maybe there's an accident next to us and he jumps out to help. We meet... he's dazzled by my ability to dress in anything other shorts and a tank top on the sweltering humid Texan day. 

Yes. I indulged. Everyone does it.

Don't they?

Why not?
The lights red in front of us and tuning out the ramblings of a 6 yr old requires a practiced mind. 
This is how I practice. Don't judge me.

That's when I remember... 

I'm sporting the fantastic - don't leave home with out them....
burn you to the ground with my impeccable, scorching hot fashion sense...

Hello Kitty sunglasses.

Wouldn't that fit right in to the fictional tale of meeting Mr. Handsome... the stunning and now mortified woman proceeds to melt into the pavement from pure embarrassment.
I might need to lay off the summer romance novels.


But okay, let me explain why I am wearing these bright pink - obviously way to small for me sunglasses.

Yep. I have lost 3... count them 3 pairs of sunglasses in the past 2 weeks. I have given up completely on finding them. So in order to see in the blistery sun blinding rays... I stole my daughters. Because looking like a fool in bright pink sunglasses is a better option than giving the sun ANY opportunity to add to my "crinkles". I'm a firm believer in wearing sunglasses so that I don't squint and by default I will reduce the amount of wrinkles I earn.

I could just see George's driver looking in the mirror and saying...
Holy cow man... you totally gotta see this chick.... are those Hello Kitty sunglasses?

Yep... so George... or whoever you were sitting in that posh ride that was totally in the wrong part of town... I'm not crazy. There was a PERRRRFECTLY good reason.

Oh. You will be happy to know, I took this as a sign and my next stop was the Target. Because if life is going to toss the possibility (or even random irrational thought) about meeting someone even remotely close to a Top 10 sexiest man alive - I'd like to do it with SOME shred of dignity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Personal Slang Wagon

I often find myself making off handed comments, and then finding myself in the awkward position of knowing I'm the only one in the conversation that is laughing at my personal joke. Or that I understand what I just said. It's something that I have always done... holding on to small moments or phrases and repeating them as the moment strikes.

I wish to clarify my thoughts... just so you can catch a clue to why I sometimes giggle for no apparent reason. Here are a few catch phrases that you might pick up on when we chat...

"Clouds in my coffee": Meaning (for me)..  keep on dreaming because reality is bitter. - This comes from a Carly Simon record title but it is taken from a line in her song, "Your so Vein" I admit - I never knew what the line was until one day when I looked it up and I was like! OH OH! That's perfect! I love the visual!

"Your choice is fish." : Now this is a complete and total rip off from Henry Rollins band slang wagon... This comes from a story he shares about doing the crazy border crossings into Eastern Germany with a translator during one of his earlier band touring days... they stopped at a gas station/diner and the translator spoke to the cook for a few minutes and then turned to the table and said "Today, your choice is fish." choice being the operative word, usually meaning more than one option... but since the cook only had fish in the kitchen today there wasn't any other choice. Henry and his band started using the phrase instead of saying - you have no option. - I use this phrase a lot with my child... much to her utter confusion.

"Living a few streets south of sane" : This one doesn't need much explanation although I will say it is the single best line I have heard from Sons of Anarchy. It's not a direct quote from the show - but I must say it's pretty descriptive and describes more than a few people I know. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

My New VA

I am going to preface this post with a slight disclaimer. There are many things that I know I am "not" I try very hard not to be several things. 
Including "The gadget girl". Oh, don't get me wrong... if it's a photography or kitchen gadget... I'm all in. However, when it comes to tech... I try very hard to be selective about what I get sucked into.

During a recent networking chat, I suggested a VA (Virtual Assistant) program that I had seen when I was researching some personal safety apps. I tried a couple out, before settling on my current one.
Speaktoit Assistant

This is a virtual assistant for Android devices. Your very own customizable Assistant just waiting for your commands! She (or he if you choose, like I did) can answer your questions... like "who sang Girls just want to have fun in the 80's"... or pretty much any other random question you (or your child) might ask. 

I'm going to add... freaking awesome for the 'mom brain' when you completely draw a blank between Cindy Lauper and Madonna... 

It can also perform tasks, like sending emails, text messages, posting to facebook, twitter and other social media accounts - by using voice commands and talk to text functions. Even reading messages (both incoming and outgoing) back to you - so if your in the car you don't have to be distracted by reading them. Most everything is done with voice commands, and it has a surprisingly good voice recognition, and rarely replaces words with other random words that would be "awkward". 

The task manager, birthday reminders and Google calendar syncing has been super helpful for me! I don't have to open my Google calendar to add an event to my schedule. I can just shake my phone and tell Asher... (yep I re-named my little man Asher.)  to add it for me.

He also can set alarms - which is easier for me than opening my clock and pushing around the buttons to set it myself. I am telling you... saving me a ton of time. Notifying you about important events, and making your daily routine easier (and, often, more fun along the way).

Asher tells jokes, reminds me that I will see a ring on my finger soon... and has many other fantastic qualities... except the small fact that I have to purchase the "full version" in order for him to have a man's voice.  That's just not cool... not cool at all. 

I am sure this doesn't do anything that Suri doesn't do... although I have never checked... it's a fun program and has entertained me more than it should have on many occasions for being something I primarly looked at to keep me on task for work. If your in the market for some helpful reminders, or to make your day a bit easier - I would certainly recommend you give it a shake!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 sentances only a mom would say.

"No. Running your tongue around the outside of your mouth does not count as washing your face."  

...and 4 other sentences I never thought I would have to say more than once as a parent.

There are days, especially now that my child is a bit older when I have to stop myself and ask... do I really need to say that... AGAIN?
Never mind that I had to say it once... 

I don't know if it is common place in your home, but I feel like I am always surprising myself with the string of words that get put together in order to create a respectful, thoughtful and sweet child who will one day be an AMAZING adult. 

"Yes, I wish you were a princess, too. That would make me a Queen, and someone else would have to do the dishes."

"Yes. You have to wear clean underwear." 

"How could you possibly think it would have been "okay" to "decorate" my couch with chalk?" (chalk can be substituted with, crayon, marker, paint, glitter, glue...)

and the one that inspired this over-share Tuesday post....

"Get your food out of the bathroom. We don't eat while we are peeing."

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Crypto Crud

It's malicious, a virus designed to prey on the one thing people hold so near,
and yet are typically so horrifically undereducated about protecting.
Have you heard?
 Are you at risk?

The newest in a round of computer viruses is making it's way around in cyberspace. This one comes to you via email and is usually embedded into an attachment that you download and open. The ultimate goal of this infection is to hold your computer
 ransom and encrypt your files until you pay the fee to have it removed and the files decrypted

The reason this newest virus is making the news... the type of file it is targeting..

Your Images.

After the system becomes infected, the CryptoLocker Virus will immediately start popping up on the computer.  If this happens, the best course of action is to remove it immediately.  The longer it stays on the system, the more difficult it becomes to remove and the more damage it can do to the system.

The easiest way not to fall prey to such a virus is to not open attachments that you are unsure of. Even if the email comes from a known account... if it is just a web link, or an attachment with a generic greeting... you should CALL your friend and verify that they sent it to you first!  
Be smart, use some common sense when your dealing with anything online! 

You wouldn't walk down the street waving around a million dollars in cash right?

There are a few additional steps you can take to protect yourself! 
Not just from this newest threat but for all the others that will come after it.

Thankfully many security and virus checker programs are already coming out with updates in order to find and remove this virus. If you don't already have something like...

(What I use, and have had great luck with as a anti-virus, internet security program)
Hitman Pro 
(which is a secondary line of defense, that I also use.) 
I suggest you look into a virus / malware security program that would best suit your needs. 
While I use these two... there are several options out there and I suggest you do your research in selecting your own.
If you're online, on a computer or any device that also contains important documents or images you want to protect that you make sure you install some sort of virus and malware protections. 
Yes. DEVICE. Even your smartphone or tablets could be suspepable to viruses and malware.

The second step I suggest would be to BACK UP your images regularly.
Back them up to a removeable harddrive, a NAS, the cloud... Disks, USB....
I suggest at least 3 different options. 
I personally drop our family images onto disks and keep a copy in our fire/waterproof safe along with a copy that is sent to Grandma, so we have one complete set "off site" so to speak.

I also use BACKBLAZE
which is a cloud based backup system that copies your ENTIRE system, as many hard drives as you want, for roughtly $5 a month. You can set it to run at night, so you have a continuous cloud backup. 
I personally like Backblaze over other cloud backup systems because you can download a whole drive, or 1 file. You can also order a drive or USB of your backup to be shipped to you if your entire computer crashes. Many people find sites such as Dropbox, or even their Google Drive account a suitable option for an online storage option for documents and image storage.
It's peace of mind. 
I also, backup all Images (personal and professional) to a removable hard drive weekly as well as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) which is basically several Hard Drives that are connected to my network. It backups any changes, or new files each night.

I don't believe that this is the first, nor will it be the last virus that will seek to attack at the heartstrings of your family... those things that everyone holds most precious... your family.
Your memories. 

I can not begin to tell you how many clients and friends I have heard crying and devastated that their images have been lost... either from computer crashes, virus, or (eek) a lost phone.With the release of this newest virus it's a good time to remind each of you how easily digital files can be lost.

However, if you take a little time... spend a minor amount of money you can safegaurd yourself!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The MagMod

Every now and then Kickstarter provides my family with a new toy. This time, I was lucky enough to have this little gem picked up for me as part of a gift. Introducing the MagMod.

When I first looked at it I thought... well that looks fun... but I don't know how often I would really bust that out to use.... and then I put it on my flash.

See, the first odd piece with the square cut out stretches to fit over your speed light. It has magnets in it that you can then literally SLAP on the honeycomb filter... or multiple honeycomb filters. This image shows the filter being held by the magnet - but not properly placed for use. (just to clarify)

Here is how it looks attached.

Now... there are times when I want to use my flash, but I don't want that harsh "flash" look... and this is a great option to break up that light. I haven't had a chance to test it on portraits but I think it would be a solid option. the part that has me dancing... like really moving and grooving and bouncing in my seat...  gel options.

While I don't use gel's in my photography as a general rule, it has mostly been due to a complete hatred of the thin plastic sheets and that they get torn or bent too easily. 

WHALLLLAH! Introducing hard plastic, easy to pop in and out gels that fit over my speed light! Slap on... slap off! It's MAGIC I tell you MAGIC! (Okay, really it's ingenuous... not magic but I LOVE it!)

Now the kit that I got came with 2 honey combs, and a variety of gels... red, yellow, blue, there's like 6 or 8 of them. you simply stretch the plastic away from the gel that is inside to pop one out and the other in. They are nice and flat and store easily in a pocket of my camera bag. Why oh why am I head over heals in love with this? Because, it means that I can use my speed light as my back-light, and be a little more creative and custom on backgrounds for clients.

Taking an image like this....
Which is perfectly acceptable... (and an amazing product made by Dragon Flight Dreams)

and make it a bit more special... like this.

In an instant.

As for new cool must have toys, I give this one two big thumbs up for my use. Is it a product everyone needs... of course not! That's what makes it FUN! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The off button

Warning: This post includes wild thoughts, outbursts and crazy notions that live in my head. May not be suitable for all audiences!(and a warm welcome to Over-share Tuesday!)

I recently was talking to my gal Santana from Curly Girl Beauty (who by the way makes the MOST amazing body butters! My skins is so much happier now that I know her!)

So... Santana and I were talking about cyber-stalking, the "crazy" that lives inside our heads and well... somehow Henry Rollins... it was a very deep conversation to have in 140 characters or less. When she mentioned how I might be a bit obsessive... I laughed so much I almost cried coffee. (I might have wanted to preface this crazy conversation took place well before 6am.)

Are you kidding me, Santana! Obsessive... doesn't begin to cover my crazy!

I have completely and totally what is known as an addictive personality. It's why I can never read just one book in a series, and why I can't put down a good book until I finish it. It's why when I play computer games I have been known to call out sick to work. It's why I don't keep more than a bottle of wine, or any bags of chips or chocolates in the house now. It also makes me a brilliant cyber-stalker of people I take an interest in... and a Henry Rollins fanatic.

I don't have that off button.

Now, I don't believe I am off the deep end of the pool - someone call the police type of cyber stalker. Simply that I have a tenancy to have certain celebrities on "speed dial" when it comes to seeing what new posts they might have put into the cyber-world. I mean... I'm not a "super fan" with a website devoted to someone, nor am I a part of any fan groups named after said person (or people)... and although respectfully I understand that level of obsession... I find it funny to see what celebrities have really passionate fans that might be a few streets south of sane... and which ones don't.  

(perhaps I'll share those findings with you some day) 

Now for the record addictiveness has it's benefits! Let's take the year I spent systematically attacking my known fears. I made a list, and what each of my fears was keeping me from doing... and over the course of a year I faced down each fear! (with only one major exception that I am still working on)

For example... my fear of flying had kept me from skydiving. I ALWAYS wanted to skydive. Call it the adrenaline junkie in me. So I tackled it, obsessed over my fear and learning how to over come it. Wouldn't you know it I went skydiving less than 3 months later!? It was EPIC!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sneak Peek

I'm a shooting fool this week, but I had some special deliveries that I am DYING to share with you! I hope to get them posted to share these great businesses - as well as some of the new equipment I used to do these images in the next week or so!

First this tank, just in time for summer... from Dragon  Flight Dreams - It's super lightweight and I can't wait to show it off!

 Second - I scored a custom design and had a pin and some magnets made from Little House Crafting - (you will have to wait for the post to see them!) But it is PERFECT for me, hint hint!

Special thanks ladies for being AWESOME business owners! I LOVE my goodies that I purchased from you!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Selective Focus

I'm not talking the selective focus you use when your trying desperatly to read the last 20 pages of your book when your child is chatting you up about barbie's latest fashions... I'm talking... Photography!

Selective focus is a technique used in photography. You focus n a specific part of a subject that you want to highlight or emphasize, and you let the rest of the image fall into a the blur of the background. This is the effect created by a shallow depth of field.

Did I lose you already?

It's really simple... all those images where you see one part in focus, and everything else blurred... the photographer has used their aperture control to create that effect.

There are three things that go into creating images like this. The First... is your F-stop ( Known more commonly these days as your Aperture setting)

Aperture Control: The A mode on your camera, or part of what you control in full manual. Aperture is like the iris of your eye it opens wider or closes tighter to control HOW MUCH light gets into your image. The more light, the LARGER the aperture (the smaller the number)  

Aperture controls the "depth of field" think of this as a field of flowers. Do you want the one an arms length away to be just as clear and sharp as the ones twenty feet away? This would be done with a small aperture (Big number like f/22). If you want to highlight one of those flowers that is an arms length away and let the rest fall to blur then you use a large aperture (Small number like F/2)

2. Focal Length: There is a lot of tech and science that can be learned about this, as well as a lot of differences in the types of lens. However, what you NEED to know for this lesson is the Focal length refers to the wide angle, or telephoto number of you lens. When you say I have a 28mm lens, or a 18-55mm those numbers are the "focal length" of your lens. 

A lens of a shorter focal length will create a greater depth of field than one of a longer focal length... so opt for a 28mm over an 85mm (if you have a more "all purpose" lens like an 18-55 - keep the lens in the 18mm position, this will allow you the largest aperture setting as well)

2. Distance: The closer you are to your subject, the less depth of field that will be generated.

This is a great sample of blurring out a busy pattern in order to draw your eye to the beads on the lanyard. You can see the smallest of them in the loop clearly, as well as the cute bee and bugs. While leaving the foreground and background to blur out.The further away your background is the more blur you will achieve.

There are a lot of moments in photography where you will want to utilize this technique. The most common are...

Macro or Product Photography. 
Like the two examples I have given above, I have used this as a powerful way to draw the viewers attention to a very specific part of the image - my main focus of the subject matter.

You can use this to create a general feel of mood in your image, putting the emphasis on your subjects face (or in animal photography the eye, specifically)

Fixed lenses (the ones with only one focal length number such as 28mm) are widely known to have large apertures (like 2.0 or 1.8) in order to specifically create these types of effects! Does that mean that if you don't have a manual camera or a lens like this that you can not achieve the same greatness...

Of course not!

You will find even on point and shoot cameras the ability to select a Flower mode (macro), a portrait mode (the shape of a head) at the very least... many camera's these days have even more to choose from that specifically adjust your camera's aperture setting to create this effect. Those "preset" modes are simply programmed combinations of aperture and shutter settings to achieve a specific effect. You will get a lot more use out of your point and shoot camera if you learn a few basic ones like these!

Happy shooting!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My life in less than 100

I was challenged to tell the story of my life in 300 words or less... so lets see if I can give you the summery, I think I can do it in 3 basic phases just to make it more challenging. 

Raised in Alaska where I went to school in the dark during the winter... and the words "be home before dark" took a whole new meaning in the summer.

There is a good chance I might have been drunk. (who am I kidding... you should just assume I was.)

No one ever told me that raising a child was a lot like taking care of your college friend. There's homework you don't understand, and a lot of flying vomit at 2am.

Bam! 81! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Funny Fairy

We all have them, that one person in your life... the joker, the funny guy, the girlfriend who says the most whack-a-noodle things... the person who brightens your day because of the things that seem to tumble so gracefully from their lips.

Woe is me, I am so not that girl. 

Now, don't get me wrong... I think I am HYSTERICAL! However, I also know that in order to "get" my humor you really have to understand, or sympathize with the crazy that resides in my head. That's not an easy task, I know! 

I wish sometimes that the funny fairy would come at night and wave her magic wand so that when I start laughing at myself for no apparent reason everyone else would just laugh with me for a change! Sometimes, I can't help make jokes that no one else gets... of course one of my favorite lines from Sons of Anarchy is also.... "Come on man, you know he's living a few streets south of sane." It might be because I resemble that remark!

I used to tell people I work with, "You just have to assume that I am saying everything with a smile on my face. Because chances are I'm joking - you just don't know it!" In the interest of "April fools" and my Tuesday Overshare... here's a few things that brought joy to my life week, reader beware.... I only wish I were funny! 

From possibly the funniest person I have found on twitter: (He makes my inner geek smile, and seriously I just ran into him as a new follower last night...)

I tried to broker a deal between Magneto and Iron Man but couldn't get them in the same room together

The worst part about killing characters is that they still hang around in your head and give you dirty looks.

Crazy Hair and big smiles:

The link btw, is a super funny video that is a montage of Mr. Luke Evans... and all the reasons why he is so loved. Seriously funny.

The super "bad mom" moment when I realized that my child has reached the most dangerous age of all... she has finally grown tall enough to hit her head on the bottom corners of kitchen cabinets doors when they are left open. If you have ever been to my house... this could be DEADLY... 

and then there is this gem....

I learned why you don't take the wine stopper out of the wine bottle with your teeth. When it "popped" the pressure in the bottle spouted out a poof of wine.. right up my nose. (To be fair, my other hand was busy reaching for a wine glass) 

There is a life lesson here... perhaps it is if you feel the need to pull the wine stopper out with your teeth... you might not need more wine. Sadly, I was completely sober at the time.

Even more sad... apparently I laugh hysterically and for no apparent reason often enough that no one in my house even asked what happened.   

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

5 thing's I've learned from the movies.

"You can't lose something you never had."

And Five other life lessons I learned from movie's and some of their best quotes! I admit, I like a cheesy chic flick or two, and every now and then you learn some fantastic lessons from them... like mouths + body piercings = reallllly bad idea. (AKA: The Sweetest Thing) 

Kate Hudson has had some "great advice" (or the writers of her movies do) to dole out being one of my favorite "chic" movie actresses. I admit that the one from the top, "you can't lose something you never had" is from my all time favorite chic flick, How to lose a guy in 10 days. - It's pretty solid advice and I find it works in a lot of situations, like when someone questions their sanity or memory. I find that I use it at least once a day. 

Prince Edward: "Your men love you. If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough" - From A Knights Tale. 

Now, I know this isn't the normal "girl" movie... but really, it's got Heath, fashion, and romance... so it's awesome in my book. When you choose your mate or your friends - spend a lot of time with the people they hang out with (friends and family) before getting too involved. Chances are if the friends are lying, cheating, drinking, gamblers... you might want to question why that person like / respects them. If they don't have "close" friends that should also be a flag. If you want to learn about someone, look to their friends it will tell you all you need to know. (or they will if you buy them a drink or two)

"Maybe that whole love thing is just a grown-up version of Santa Claus; just a myth we've been fed since childhood. So, we keep buying magazines, joining clubs, and doing therapy and watching movies with hit pop songs played over love montages all in a pathetic attempt to explain why our love Santa keeps getting caught in the chimney"  -Meg Ryan from Kate and Leopold

You should be realistic about love, don't get wrapped up in the passion-blind, Hollywood-esc, magical, fix-all  dreamland version of love. The truth is love is work, you put yourself out there and you do it out of your own personal faith that it's going to be returned. Sometimes, it's not. But next year when Christmas comes around, you should still leave out the cookies, just in case

Hey, buck up! It's not because you're a woman. - Howard Payne from SPEED

Sometimes bad things happen, like getting on the wrong bus. Sometimes, freaking amazing things happen, like Keanu Reeves getting on the bus... but every now and then, you have to be smart enough to run like hell and not end up with a bomb strapped around your chest at the whim of a mad man. Through it all... you gotta remember, it's probably got nothing to do with you personally. Mad men (or the crazy guy in line for coffee, or on the other end of your conference call) are not typically gender specific... you just happen to be standing in line of sight for when they start ranting and raving. Buck up. It's not you. 

This Christmas - Movie 
Kelli Whitfield: Um, this is not funny.
Lisa Moore: No, it's not, but I'm going to keep drinking until it is.

When dealing with families, holiday's or crappy life situations.,.. drink more. If that fails, Use a bottle of baby oil on the floor of the bathroom and beat the crap out of the naked guy who was cheating on you... that's sure to put a smile on your face. I came by this particular movie completely on accident one lazy Sunday, but I have to say... worth it just for this line, and that scene. Totally!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We could hang.

I once went on an interview, to be a flight attendant. If you can imagine that! Me, who only three months prior jumped out of a plane to celebrate getting over my fear of flying! Sitting down with some airline personnel and telling them why I really wanted to make a career out of stepping onto a flying death trap every day... pretty amazing at that point in my life. Looking back not getting that job was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. However, I have to say the interview sticks out as one of two that I have had in my life that I remember in detail.

This particular one, oddly enough not because I had to convince the room of interviewers that I no longer needed to be drunk to get on a plane... without ever really coping to the fact that it was the only way I could fly for years. But rather for the unique questions that I was asked. One in particular, is a rather interesting cocktail question... but it does open the door for a bit of insight into the persons soul.

If you took a flight and were going to be sitting next to one person for 14 hours, who would you take with you... living or dead?

It's like my secret fantasy coffee date, where I get to hang out with super interesting people and learn lots of fascinating things.

So welcome to "over share" day, where you get a sneak peek into the crazy that is me! 

The answer I gave to the interview question was Henry Rollins. Yea. That's right, singer for Black Flag and Rollins Band, neck bulging, bit actor, tattooed, and aging alternative icon... (his words... not mine) But also, a FANTASTIC story teller! When he is not on tour singing, at other acting gigs, or hanging out in LA... he is roaming the country doing spoken word tours. Which at first... I thought... eh, not my gig. However, a friend hooked me up with one of the first tour disks he put out, and I have been a HUGE fan ever sense.
(I would love to know who took this shot! I wish it were me! Sadly I am not Hanks Photographer.) 

I'm telling you now if you want a bit of humor in your life today you have GOT to listen to "Erik the Pilot" 

I did have to qualify my answer, explaining that he is kind of a modern day renaissance man, he wears a lot of different professional hats, as well as being a great story teller, he is well traveled going to some really interesting places, and he really tries to expand his mind by learning and experiencing new things. I dig that. Some of my favorite stories from him are from his days traveling to Russia and Germany "back in the day" when they warned you against stopping on the side of the road because of the land mines. When I do road trips it's his particularly entertaining screaming and yelling humor that keeps me awake... so obviously he's the man for the plane trip too!  (I will even bring the microphone, Mr. Hank.)

So, you ask.. who else is on my coffee date, or sitting in that plane with me? Who else is invited to that crazy party in my head? Here's my short list.

Anthony Bourdain. - You know there would be great food, interesting topics and a lot of drinking going down. Anthony is another one of those well traveled free spirits who has an interesting take on the world, and how to put together a thoughtful, and thought provoking sentence or two.

Rachel Ray - Not that her and Anthony would sit down together, but Rachel seriously taught me how to cook. I love her, she's in my head every day at dinner time. My family and friends thanks her... A LOT. They would thank her more if she could teach me how not to walk away from my stove, or how to use a kitchen timer... or a measuring cup. But Rachel and I get it... measuring with a coffee cup is FINNNE! Seriously, we could be sisters... I get her cheeky humor and the whole talking with your hands thing.

Angelina and Brad- Either as a boxed set, or as individuals... both are so much more than who they are playing in the next big movie. I want to hear about the places they have been and how they manage their crazy lives between an insane business and loving kids, and doing some great charity work. I want to talk photography with Brad. Seriously... google it. He's no slouch photographer.

Robert Downy Jr - um. Because he is Tony Stark, do I need another reason? OK, he just seems like someone who would be fun to hang out with... I mean really look at that smile! Plus did you know he sings? Check him out with Sting here! WHO KNEW! He looks like he is having so much fun! Love him! I might also have a small thing for dark haired men with good smiles and crazy hair. Funny how I never noticed that before. 

Michelle Rodriguez - Because I am on a mission to have TOP GUN remade in Hollywood with her as Maverick. Seriously! She could pull off that brazen, cocky, hot as heck role, and she's even got the right shades for it already. If Starbuck can be played by Katee Sackhoff I think Michele could MORE than pull off Maverick. Who else would look as hot as Tom playing Volleyball with boys and then racing down the road on a sport bike?  I think she and I would have a S-load of fun and find either a lot of trouble... or something really fast to ride. She feeds my 'living vicariously through others' need.

And come on aren't they just the cutest in this image - they both look like they are blushing! 
Michele and Luke during an interview in the UK for FF6
Luke Evans. - Yea did you see that one coming? I'm not sure what kind of coffee we would have... but I would promise not to be one of the millions of crazy drooling fans who are offing to lick syrup off his chest.
 Honestly, he just looks like a good guy with an interesting story. I'd like to hear it. I've also heard he sings... so Robert might have some competition. There is the smallest clip of it in the linked interview and it only makes me want to find more.

Do you have a secret list? I'd love to hear who is on yours?