Thursday, December 30, 2010

The end of 2010

And I've begun to call it Twenty Ten. (no longer two thousand and ten)

This year has been monumental in my photography hobby. Even though we purchased the camera in 2009, I hadn't really discovered its possibilites until this year.

I have all my photog friends to thank for that. Real Life and Internet. Thank you!

I discovered this year that I love action shots. I love perfecting capturing JJ in action. This is totally a trial and error process and I've made plenty of errors. But, the few good ones will make long lasting memories.

I started out the year having just recieved my 55-250. Over the course of the year I acquired my Tamron. And just last week I recieved my 50mm. I've got quite the arsenal now. I also got a really cute bag to carry it all around in. I love my Jo Tote, I could write a fabulous review for it, but I will share this ONE, that pretty much sold me on it. This one is mine...


I took a little path down memory lane, browsed my flickr photostream and came up with my Top Ten Favorite Photos of this year, in no particular order, because I love them all so much...

JJ in the River


Making a move

POTW sidelight 2

Woody in the River


JJ age 9

IMG_0346 wm

My Dad and JJ in the pool

JJ and Do-Dah

Woody the Disc Dog

Flying High

Cable Beach in the Bahamas (my work PC wallpaper)


Flower (I had this printed on canvas)

water lily 2

Soccer Sunflare


Striking a pose in the snow

stike a pose in the snow

I am looking forward to the new year. I plan on documenting every moment. Jameson Woodworks really took off this year. I get to try my hand at some product photography. (Ok, so I already did some, but now that I have better tools and more knowledge I'm ready to really try!) Soccer and Baseball seasons are just around the corner. House renovation projects will resume. (Yeah for finally getting upper kitchen cabinets!) Flowers will bloom, parties will be had, and yummy treats will be baked. All of these will be captured in photos.

I wish everyone a safe and happy new year. Good Health, Wealth, and all that stuff!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas 2009

This weeks theme over at TMMAPC is Christmas Past. I don't have many Christmas' past here on my computer at work, but I do have some from last year. Last year was the first Christmas with the DSLR and I was super excited to take "awesome" Christmas card photos.

I set out one Sunday, at high noon, with JJ and Woody. Gene followed along for support in keeping Woody's attention. 45 minutes later and 100+ photos and I was spent! I wasn't happy with what I had gotten. Nothing screamed "MAGIC" to me, but they weren't really that bad.

I'll share a few outtakes first before I share my entry for TMMAPC.

I took all the photos in AE mode with and ISO of 1600! Holy grainy photos batman. Yeah.... go ahead and laugh. I know better now, so at least I learned my lesson.

First up... Possessed Woody! Gene is standing behind me holding the Frisbee. Can you tell what Woody loves more than having his photo taken?

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Next up... The Head-Lock. Woody just didn't want to sit still and this was JJ's attepmt to hold him. Poor kid, he tried.

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And lastly, for the outtakes. This one is more a flub on my part rather than subject participation (although Woody's tongue is funny. It was like this in at least half of the photos). Check out the tilt on this one! I think my house is falling off the face of the earth!

edit original IMG_3226

So I knew nothing about editing last year... so I took that last one and tired to fix it up a little

edit IMG_3226

And here ya go... the one (ok two) that actually made the Christmas Card. Its grainy, but its cute. I added a message about sending you hugs and kisses this holiday.

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I also included this one on the card because I love this part of the property.

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Skip on over to Two Moms Made a Photo Challenge and check out other Christmas' Past.

Monday, December 13, 2010


This weeks theme at I Heart Faces is all about pets! So, I'm going to take this time to share Woody's story with you (and then share a photo, which you've probably seen before, but its my favorite of Woody)

Gene and I decided we wanted a dog. He's always had a dog and I've never had one. I was a little hesitant about the care involved in taking care of a dog, being restricted to town because we needed to take care of him, and just overall, how would I be with a dog?

Gene wanted an athletic dog. Something he could exercise with, something that would be great for JJ to play with. He decided we needed and Australian Sheppard or a Border Collie. We tossed around the idea of when and where to get a dog. One day at work, I was googling Border Collies and I came upon a website for a breeder that lives in our town. I sent the page to Gene and I asked him if he knew about this place and he said no. He called and got some information. Not only did they have dogs, they have goats and Gene wanted to go see them all. We stopped by after work to see what they had.

I wasn't completly set on getting a puppy from a breeder. I know there are plenty of good dogs out their in shelters or rescues that need good homes. But, since this place was literally up the street from us, we decided to look into it.

We are talking with the husband and wife about things. They tell us about their puppies, what's available, what their process is. Then, mid conversation, the man asks his wife if she told us about the special ones. "Special ones" I ask? No, she didn't mention it.

He told us, a litter had been born a few weeks ago. It happened to be the coldest night of the year. Sometime during the night, the heat lamp in the kennel burned out. Each of the puppies had a varying degree of frostbite to their left ear, depending on how they were positioned against their mother. He told us, this shouldn't and wouldn't affect their hearing at all and they were otherwise healthy, but he felt he shouldn't advertise these as available because they we different.

We agreed to look at some of the pups. After all, I'm a little special, so why not have a special dog. He brings out two puppies. One he said was the least affected and one the most. I knew as soon as he rounded the corner from behind the kennel, that no matter what the level, the one puppy in his hands was ours.

You see, Gene had been very specific that he wanted a Red Merle colored dog. I was hesitant, well, because some didn't look very pretty. And, they usually have lighter colored eyes, and that kind of freaked me out.

But, in this mans arms, was a Red Merle puppy. Yes, the brown one in his other arm was cute, but that was our dog. I got to hold him. He snuggled up to me and nipped at my ear. Sold I said!

We brought JJ back a week later to meet him. We actually let JJ look at all of them and we "guided" him to pick Woody. JJ thinks he picked him out himself. :) We loaded him in the car and drove him to his forever home.

So where does the name Woody come from? Well, after we first saw him and decided he was ours, we needed to come up with a name. We had all kinds of ideas, but nothing seemed to fit. One night, Gene and I were watching a re-run of Cheers and I suggested Woody. I said, you are a woodworker, he's kinda colored like Woody, I think it fits. Everyone agreed and Woody he became!

Woody has been a wonderful addition to our family. He's got a great temperament. He's affectionate, he's eager to please, he's obedient. He loves to travel in the car. We have to be on our toes with him sometimes, because he's so smart! We have learned to love frisbee. And his little ears (or one little ear... hehehe...) perks up when you say the word Frisbee!

When we returned from the cruise and I picked him up from the kennel, he toppled me over because he was so excited to see me. I could see him light up when he saw me and he jumped around and kissed my face!

So, that's the story of woody... and as promised... here is your photo.


Make sure to jump on over the I heart Faces and see more pets!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Holiday Lights

I posted earlier about the bokeh cut outs. I liked them, I tried to use them on our tree, but what I discovered was I love the look of the round shape the best. You all know that I'm a bokeh addict anyway... I was like a kid in a candy shop with this. I took over a hundred photos in a matter of minutes. Just trying to get the right color combos.

I then had a little fun editing them, I will show some straight up and some that I tweaked a little. It was fun to have something basic to work with. It makes some great abstract art. I might get these printed and put up someday.

This one is my favorite, straight out of the camera. I love the texture of the circles. This was taken on our Cedar tree that is outside. It was just past dusk when I captured these.


This one is also straight out of the camera. This one is from our inside tree. It has a mix of white and colored lights, more of the white. I love the color variations in the whites.


This is the first one with a little adjustments. Just color corrections and such. Nothing major, just enough to make it pop. This was my submisson for this weeks POTW as Round.

round bokeh

This one was tweaked with an action called HDR-ish. I think it made a neonish type exposure. I love the way the tree branches created subtle shadows over some of the circles.

hdrish holiday bokeh

This is one with the white lights, with some color corrections....

holiday bokeh 3

This one with some focal softening....

holiday bokeh 2

And this one as a kind of pop-art

holiday bokeh dots

Happy Holidays,

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


I haven't done a photo challenge in a while. Not sure why, I think the newness wore off and I lost some interest. I also haven't taken many photos other than JJ playing soccer and they really didn't fit any theme.

But, this week at Trendy Treehouse, the theme is Zoom Zoom. I decided to enter a photo I took at the antique car show this past October. I don't remember if I shared these, but this was my favorite from that set

tail light

Make sure to check out other interpretations of zoom-zoom over at Trendy Treehouse!


Monday, December 06, 2010


When Gene and I first started dating, we decided to take a weekend getaway to his parents mountain house in early December. It was our first real vacation just the two of us. We took a long weekend and use it to get into the holiday spirit.

In Pigeon Forge, there is a store called, The Christmas Place. Its everything Christmas, 365 days a year. Its amazing! Well, that first year, Gene got me an ornament from there. I loved the sentiment of it and have continued every year to get one. We still go every December, but more recently I pick up the ornament when we are there in the summer so they are ready for the tree. The new ornament is always the first to go on the tree. I always try to pick out and ornament that represents something that occurred that year.

To start it off, this is the first one.

A boy and girl holding hands, how sweet!

xmas ornament 2005

This year JJ came with us to the mountains

xmas ornament 2006

The year we moved into the house

xmas ornament 2007

The first year we had our fireplace at Christmas. Also, Woody's first Christmas

xmas ornament 2008

The year we got married. Gene is mine forever (insert evil laugh). Just Kidding!

xmas ornament 2009

And finally... 2010
Because this year, we went on a cruise!

xmas ornament 2010

Can you tell the year I switched to getting them in the summer. I finally let them monogram them for me. When you go in December, the line for personalization is really, really long. I never have the patience to wait.

I love this tradition. I can't really claim is as own. My mother actually started it, except she used Hallmark ornaments. She has one from every year they've been married. I think its a great tradition and its really fun to decorate the tree and travel down memory lane.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting in the holiday spirit

This year I feel like I know my camera enough to experiment a little with it during the holidays. You can probably tell I'm a bokeh addict and I never shoot anything with an aperture higher than 2.8 (I would go lower, but that's as low as I can go, right now).

A few weeks ago, I pondered about bokeh and shapes. My friend Melissa pointed me toward this great website. It shows you how you can make an adapter for your lens to create shaped bokeh from surrounding lights. I showed the idea to Gene and asked if his computerized laser could cut the shapes for me. (I'm worse than a preschooler with scissors). I bought some cardstock and told him the dimensions and he went to town.

Heres what they look like...he cut a variety of shapes and sizes for me, not really knowing what would work.
cut outs

He made them so they go between the lens and the filter.... like so
camera bokeh card

Heres what it looks like.... I had to manually unfocus because I didn't have a subject I could put in my foreground to give me an adequate depth of field for the optimal bokeh. I was at a tree trimming party at a friends house and just couldn't wait to try. (Hopefully when we get our tree up later this week I can try out some more).


A few with a full perspective of the tree...
star tree

star tree 2

Gene had me be a model so we could try it with a subject in the photo.... (its dark, but you get the picture)
me and lights

I found that the star shaped worked the best. The snowflake did ok, but it cut off more of the shape then I liked. The heart may have been too big and it was just and odd shaped blob, not really a heart.

Stay tuned for more pretty shaped bokeh posts!

Friday, November 12, 2010

That time of year again

Its time to start thinking about the holiday card. I always like to have them done around Thanksgiving, so I can get them mailed out early. I love looking at every ones card, so the earlier I can get mine out to people, the longer they can enjoy.

I've had a hard time this year deciding on a photo. So, I think I've decided to do a collage of some of my favorite JJ photos from this year. Gene doesn't think him and I should be on the card (who wants to look at us?). I've narrowed it down and I'm eager to get them printed.

I'm pleased with how my photography skills have developed over the past year. I think the collection of photos that I have chosen accurately depicts that. I've met an amazing group of women that have shared their knowledge and love of photography. Its great to have this fantastic resource available. Its easy to look at all the photos you take with "momgoggles" and oh and aw over how great they are. But these women can give it to you straight, and also direct you on how to make it that much better. I still have a ton of learning to do, tons I tell you, but its fun to have a hobby that I can pick up when I have a few minutes and experiment with.

Back to the cards...just when I was about to hit the buy button in my shopping cart, I came across this great deal at Shutterfly for bloggers. Of course, I saw it on another blog. What I ever did before google reader, I don't know!

Sign up and you can receive 50 holiday cards for free! What an awesome deal! I'm so glad I found this. Our list gets longer every year and this will help us spread the holiday cheer!

Don't have a blog of your own... well Shutterfly had plenty of great offers for those that don't. Free shipping, 20% off.... now is a really great time to buy. Their selection of holiday cards this year is fantastic. I've used other sites in the past and I haven't had near the selection that shutterfly does. Check out what they have here.

Once I get the cards and get them mailed out, I'll share it with you all here! (I'll share that it includes 5 photos!)

I alsowant to share that shutterfly has great holiday gift ideas. One I love is the 2011 calendar. I made one of these a few years ago for my mother in law and one for JJ's mom and they both loved them. It was a great way to incorporate all the photos from the last year into one great gift. Check out the Calendar templates at Shutterfly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Where have I been... the Bahamas! I went on a cruise with my families (parents, grandmother, brother and sister in law, in laws, friends, friends of friends) for 5 whole days! We had a fantastic time. I saw the You capture theme for this week and knew I had a photo to share. I know you aren't suppose to search archives, but this isn't really from the archives because I just took it last week and I haven't touched the camera since I unpacked it.

Gene and I took JJ for a little beach time when we arrived in Nassau. We loved playing in the crystal blue water and white sand.

This is serene....


Here are a few others from the trip....
JJ watching the sun come up as we pulled into port...
Sunrise in Caribbean


He looks like a model here... the dang kid is RIPPED!
Enjoying the Beach

And one of Gene, because I love him...
Hot Stuff

Lastly, because we have one of these from every trip we've ever taken....
The self portrait
Ubiquitous Self Portrait

Check out more Serene photos over at You Capture.

I hope to get back to blogging more, with or without photos. Our life is going on a new and unchartered journey and I hope to share that here.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Fall Ya'll

Do you know that I really hate that statement?!? It just seems really cliche to me. I always hear it in a Paula Dean accent. Don't get me wrong, I love Paula Dean and I live where ya'll is a regular vocabulary word, but I just can't get a handle on that statement.

But anyway, I digress, the point of this post is to share some Fall photos for you and for you to check out some others over at The Paper Mama with Chelsea. This past weekend we were in the Smokey Mountains for Gene's work and I managed to convince the boys to stop at Newfound Gap for some photos.

The overlook was crowded, extremely crowded. I almost gave in and say forgetaboutit, but I didn't. JJ wasn't in an a very photogenic mood, but I did manage to capture a few of him. The timing was horrible (2 pm, bright sun with the sun on the wrong side of the mountain). I had little options on where to place him so that the lighting would be just right. I managed to find a few spots and then work some editing magic.

Here is JJ, age 9, fall 2010....

jj fall edit 3

jj fall edit 2

JJ being coxed into a decent smile... too bad it turned into a great laugh!

jj fall 5

Lastly... my two boys

jj gene fall edit

Make sure to hop on over to The Paper Mama to see more fall photos.

The Paper Mama