Category Archives: Eye Candy Friday

Happy Friday Everyone

Sprout (and Mommy) slept for seven hours straight last night. It was glorious and I feel amazing. So this is a very happy Friday indeed.


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A book review and showing off what I learned from it

The camera manual just wasn’t cutting it for me. Can we say dry much? So when Stephen and I took our birthday cash to the bookstore last week I decided that I was going to get a photography book. After perusing several it came down to two books, one was about photographing babies only and the other was Photographing Your Family: And all the kids and friends and animals who wander through too by Joel Sartore with John Healey from the National Geographic publications. Since the latter was more broad I chose it, but I think I want to go back and get the other book too because it looked like it had a lot of good hints and I liked the way it had little lessons throughout. For those of you on GoodReads, please excuse my reposting of the review, but I wanted to share it with everyone…

Every family has that one person who’s running around trying to document their lives, even the most seemingly insignificant moments. This book is for that person. Get it for them. Joel Sartore is a professional photographer for National Geographic and he will say all the things to this person that you’ve been dying to. Then he’ll give them a bunch of really great, practical, easy to understand photography hints so they can get the best photographs of your family.

Some of my favorites:

“If you’re living with someone, you have better access to that person than to anyone else on earth. That’s huge when it comes to getting great shots. But should you shoot everything? No way. In fact, you shouldn’t shoot most things. Bad light, bad composition, and sensitive subject matter are all red flags. There’s a time and place for everything.”

“Because you have unlimited time and access, your family photos should be the best photos you’ve ever taken. Just be discriminating. Remember, not everything your loved one does merits photographic preservation.”

“Believe it or not, I often construct my pictures from the rear forward. If I can’t make the background look good, I move on. You can really tell if photographers know what they’re doing by looking at their backgrounds. Are there streetlights and tree limbs sticking out of loved ones? That’s the mark of a rookie.”

“Being selective about what you shoot is tough, but it’s the key to making really interesting frames. Ask yourself, ‘Should I take a picture of that?’ and most of the time, the answer will be a resounding no because most of the time the light is too harsh, or the kids or the cat or the spouse are not really doing much. Think about why you’re taking these images. Are they to preserve some special moment? Are you going to show them to people? Is it worth their time and yours? Have you captured something funny, something joyous, something peaceful, something sad? It can all be good, but you have to give it some thought and time.”

“Shoot candidly. Nothing bores me more than seeing photos of people standing stiff and smiling just because the camera is on them. They all look like bowling pins. My mother’s camerawork is gawd-awful, for example. She has this little point-and-shoot thing and drags everyone out in front of it, then lines ’em up and shoots. It’s predictable and irritating.”

“There are many, many times when taking pictures is not appropriate. Ever see a fumbling, oblivious photographer draw attention away from a wedding ceremony? Not cool. Or how about the obnoxious click of a shutter during a school exam? Know your limits at solemn ceremonies. Ask permission to shoot sensitive subjects, even among family members.”

“Please remember, they’re just pictures. Put it in perspective. A hundred years from now, nobody will know you existed. Ever see people who are videotaping every moment of their kids game? Or snapping stills endlessly at school plays or piano recitals? Who in the world will be willing to look at all this stuff? Is that harsh? Maybe, but somebody has to tell the truth, and it may as well be me, an objective observer who has had to sit through way too many bad slide shows. It’s truly mind-numbing.”(less) “

So anyway, I’ve learned a lot and will be revisiting this book several times over to make sure I get the stuff down that he’s talking about. For now I’ve already started putting some of it into practice and really thinking about my photographs. This week I decided to mainly focus on the Av (Apperature priority) mode on my camera and specifically getting some fun and candid portraits. I pretty much kept my F value at 4 or 5 all week long. Now, just because I read a book doesn’t mean all my pictures were great or worth keeping. I did get some that I am much happier with and I feel like I’ve progressed a ton in feeling comfortable as an amatuer photographer.

This shot breaks all the rules… rule of thirds is definitely broken… her ear and the little wisps of hair next to it are what are in focus instead of her face… she’s cut off in weird places… etc. But I love it. I love the expression of absolute delight at doing her favorite thing: swinging.

My white balance setting was way off on this one, but I kinda fixed it in the processing phase. I also cropped it. She was laughing and trying to grab her papa’s mop of hair and he was really out of focus to the point where it hurt your eyes to look at the photo.

Love both of these, but wish his hair wasn’t all in his face! He’s getting it cut this weekend:

Anyway, hope you are enjoying the return of Eye Candy Friday as much as I am. 🙂


Filed under Eye Candy Friday, Family, Photography, Reviews

Exploring the Tv setting

I’m actually reading the manual that came with the new camera and there is quite a bit of information in there. Today I decided I should bring “Eye Candy Friday” back to my blog and share some of the playing around I’ve been doing each week for the different settings on my camera.

Upon a cursory read of the manual, the first thing that intrigued me was the Tv setting and what the manual had to say in there about changing the shutter speed to do things like blur movement, particularly the movement of water, on purpose or capture them in crisp detail. So that was one of the first things I wanted to try.

What I learned today is that if you want to get the blurred water look, you should probably not head out with your camera in the middle of the day when the lighting is super harsh. Most of the pictures I took using a slower shutter speed were way overexposed. I was able to selvage a few of them though by messing with them in the editing process.

Crisp shot of the fountain shooting into the sky.

An attempt of the same shot with a slower shutter speed to blur the fountain, but as you can see it is very over exposed.

Crisp shot of a the mini “rapids” section of the creek in the park.

And some blurred shots:

Overall, I admit these are not very good photos. I’m still learning, so bear with me. 🙂


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Eye Candy Friday: Flip Flops and Polka Dots

Ruth came over this morning and brought over a whole new bag of hand-me-down toys and clothes. That is one of the best things about having older cousins. Bean gets such cute stuff.

Anyway, I just about died when I saw these little lovelies:

It was the perfect excuse to hit the pool. Which we did. Then we showered finally and I just put Bean in the cutest little outfit. I love dressing her!

What is catching your eye this week?


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Eye Candy Friday: Trying on the wedding tutu

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Eye Candy Friday: Conejo Creek Park

Today I headed to Conejo Creek Park (I think, correct me if I am wrong TO friends/fam) which is also where the library is. After walking around quite a bit we headed over to the baby swings so Bean could get some swing time in. That’s when I overheard one of the other moms talking very loudly on her cell phone about how there was going to be a storytime at the library in a few minutes. I headed back to the car to give Bean a quick diaper change and then we went to storytime.

The storytime was great. Very interactive and geared towards babies with lots of picking them up, bouncing on the knee, tickles, and singing. Then they had a play time with tons of great toys for all the kids to have fun with.

It was perfection. Several hours of keeping Bean occupied and not fussy!

The parks here are gorgeous. So green with lots and lots of big huge trees. My photography skills weren’t the greatest this morning, I seriously think my camera is frizzing out lately, but here are some pictures from the park.

These little guys are EVERYWHERE around here!

When I sat down by the pond to take their picture all these ducks started swimming towards me. There were at least 10 times as many as you see here. I think they thought I might feed them. I did not.

I love how creepy oak trees look.

Since I’d never been there before I just stopped at the first parking lot I saw and proceeded to head into the first sidewalk. Except this is just a stand alone area. There was a guy in there doing a Bible study and I think I disrupted him. He got up and left. Sorry sir if you are reading this. I didn’t know where I was going.

Anyway, I’m hoping that the change of scenery will make today go a little better and I can get the laundry that normally takes me a day to do finally done after three days.

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Crappy cell phone pictures, firemen, nature and lizards

Today I was bored. So I decided to take Bean to the park by our apartment and check out the Botanical garden there.

First I parked and walked around the park. Then we went to the play area and I pushed Bean on the baby swings. She really likes swinging! After walking around the park I figured out where the entrance to the Botanical garden was and that a stroller would not work there. So I decided to walk back to my car and ditch the stroller for the ring sling.

As I approached my car I was kind of freaked out because there were three fire engines and a bunch firemen running around shouting and rolling out hoses. After a couple minutes I figured out that there was no fire and my car wasn’t in danger. The Ventura County Fire Department was just doing some sort of wildfire hillside spray drill.

So I did what any good blogger would do and I whipped out my cell phone to document it…

After all that excitement I managed to wrangle Bean into the sling and set off for the Botanical garden. Once in the entrance there were about three different trails you could take.

I decided to take the “short loop” because it had the word “short” in it and I was hoping that was really the case. I wasn’t wearing proper shoes for the occasion, by any means.

It was the perfect length hike. Very naturey. I will definitely be going back in the future to try the other trails.

Though I will admit I was a bit freaked out along the way because of these guys running all over the place…

I kept thinking, “Oh no! Was that a snake?!?…. Oh. Just another stupid lizard.”


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Eye Candy Friday: Too cute not to share

Earlier this week we decided to reintroduce ourselves to our old friend the rocking horse. I think this one is the best of the bunch:

And this is how I started my day today:

Happy Friday everyone, I’m off to the nursery in just a few.


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Eye Candy Friday: Wildflowers Galore

Right by the entrance to our neighborhood wildflowers have cropped up in massive amounts. It’s like the olive trees are sitting on clouds of yellow and orange. It makes for quite the spectacular view to come home to each day. We totally love living out on this side of town and will definitely miss it a little.

And of course the scene would not be complete without my little flower child:


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Eye Candy Friday: Just 5 miles away

Wednesday afternoon as I drove down the hill into the little valley where our neghborhood is, the view was absolutely gorgeous. Sun streamed through the clouds creating patches of brightness on the rolling green hills that lay ahead.

I just couldn’t resist. I stopped at my house long enough to grab my camera and then continued to head eastward.

The XM radio starts fading in and out as you reach the mouth of the canyon so I turned it off and enjoyed the winding drive in silence while Bean continued to nap.

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