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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love Bears All

A Teddy bear is a faithful friend
You can pick him up at either end.
His fur is the color of breakfast toast,
And he's always there when you need him most. ~Anonymous

"I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times, in life after life, in age after age forever." ~Rabindranath Tagore

"Everything in life I share, except of course my teddy bear." ~Anonymous

"Teddy bears don't need hearts as they are already stuffed with love." ~Anonymous

"We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character." ~Henry David Thoreau

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." ~Anonymous

My teddybear is soft and brown
His heart is warm and good.
No matter if I laugh or frown
I know I'm understood! ~Anonymous

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart" ~Helen Keller

"Anyone who has looked a teddy bear in the face will recognize the friendly twinkle in his knowing look." ~Harold Nadolny

"There's something about a Teddy Bear that's impossible to explain. When you hold one in your arms, you get a feeling of love, comfort and security. It's almost supernatural." ~James Ownby

Sugar and I took advantage of an unexpected snowfall. Her unending sense of adventure draws me out of my comfort zone, and back into the world of play. Watching her fearlessly take on each and every day, inspires me to find the joy in all things I long ago discovered and let go by the way side. She reminds me that even though it may be cold and laughter will keep us warm.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~Brrrrrrr

For more Wordless Wednesday go HERE and HERE!

*** oh and don't forget I'm on Top Momma!

CLICK HERE!!!!! You know you want to. Click it a few times in fact. I get a referral each time you click the link, and a click each time you click on Sugar's sweet photo. Isn't that fun? I can't think of a single thing I should be doing today other than clicking. Can you? ***

Monday, January 28, 2008

Are You Too Centered?

Stepping Into Their World, was so well received I found myself itching to write another post. I just had to find the time to take the photos. The weather here, this time of year, is not very conducive to outdoor photography. It rains about 80% of the time, and the other 20%...well, I find myself either at work....or sleeping. It really doesn't help that it is dark when I leave the house in the morning, and dark when we come home. I am trying to patiently wait for spring.

I had to postpone the lesson I had in mind, and go for something I could use existing photos for. I was pleased to find a nice set of photos I took a few weeks back when we had a brief break in the rain.

Today, I'd like to address subject placement. One of the most common things I notice when viewing other people's photos, is the fact that the subject of their photo is almost assuredly in the CENTER of the frame. I am not sure if it is a natural tendency or a learned habit, but normally people point the camera at the object of interest, center it, and snap the photo. It might be our desire to have balance in life, or just something we do without thinking, but I find that it is counter productive to interesting photography.

In fact, one should follow the "rule of thirds" to achieve a photo with balance and interest. "The Rule of Thirds" goes way back to painters in the Renaissance era. The aim is to create a nice background to the photo, and allow the photo to tell a story. This rule is used in all forms of artistry. Let me begin explaining this rule.

When actually taking a photo, or when looking at it in a photo editing software, imagine four lines cutting the photo into 9 equal rectangles. Simply divide the photo in thirds vertically, and horizontally. This will leave you with the 9 rectangles, and 4 intersections.

It is the FOUR intersections I'd like to draw to your attention today. If you want your photo to have interest, and draw people naturally into the entire photo, it is best to place the subject of interest in one of those four intersections. As you can see in the photo above, Sugar and her jeep are generally centered. They are not in the intersections at all. Here is how the photo looks without the lines.

It isn't a BAD photo, and some would like it just the way it is, however simply placing the subject in one the intersections I will draw the viewer eye into the photo. I find that it lends a sense of motion, or tells a better story. Your eye is led in the direction she is driving. Do you agree?

Let's look at another example. Here is the photo with sugar nearly centered.

Again, not a bad photo. As you see, I followed the techniques featured in my last post. I moved in close, and I got down at her level. There is much to like about this particular photo. I believe, however, it is a tad more interesting following the "rule of thirds". In fact, you can rarely go wrong when following this simply rule.

Yes, rules are made to be broken, but I like to think that one should have a firm understanding of the rules before trying to step out of the box. So go ahead give it go yourself, and see if you like it. Personally, it is rare that I prefer the centered version over the "rule of thirds" version. Here are some other photos taken that day to "drive" home the idea. :)

Vertical photos follow this rule as well.

Don't forget to get down at their level. Here is another example of how that particular technique makes a difference. Here I am standing looking down on her.

Taken a few seconds later while squatting down to her level.

Let's review:

1. Move in close
2. Get down at their level.
3. Don't be too centered.

We are doing great. I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have questions? I appreciate all the questions and idea you offered up after the
last post. Soon I will be addressing lighting issues, fast moving toddlers, and ways to learn more about the camera you own.

Have a great week, and take lots of photos. Remember....the more pictures you take, the better you get.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Okay, so a few of the bloggers I read have recently posted a neat little widget that shows the Celebrities that they look like. I found it rather intriguing, and couldn't wait to give it a try. I was excited to see all the fabulous faces pop up. Brooke Shields maybe.....or Cindy Crawford......

Imagine my surprise when I got the results. It appears that I look just like.....

Donny Osmond

Richard Gere

Aidan Quinn

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm okay....what in the heck is up? It appears that I must have rather masculine features. Until mine,I had not seen males on any of the other woman blogger's widget....ummmmm...yeah.....? At first, I was a little pissy about it....but then I realized that at least the men on my widget are fairly good looking , right? It could have been a whole lot worse. I could have looked like the dude that plays the character of Ernest....or some old man with a huge nose like Walter Matthau, or something. Right???? it could have been worse. Tell me it could have been worse.

For the record, my photo and the photo of Topher Grace are really similar. In fact...we could be twins. Don't you think?

If you are feeling like looking at yourself in a whole new way, head on over to Heritage and make yourself a fancy widget. You never just might be surprised. I know I was.

*** oh and don't forget I'm on Top Momma!

CLICK HERE!!!!! You know you want to. Click it a few times in fact. I get a referral each time you click the link, and a click each time you click on Sugar's sweet photo. Isn't that fun? I can't think of a single thing I should be doing today other than clicking. Can you? ***

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Photo Hunters~ Old Fashioned

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

When pondering this weeks theme, I began to think a lot about technology and how quickly things are progressing. There were several things that crossed my mind to photograph that wouldn't be considered a common "old fashioned" item, but in the end, my love for old things one out.

A friend and co-worker graciously offered up her Grandfathers OLD FASHIONED telephone for me to capture. Due to time constraints and not wanting to be responsible for this precious item, I simply snapped a few photos of it at work.

What a beautiful piece of history. I can't wait to see what others have deemed OLD FASHIONED! Have a great weekend everyone. Thank you for visiting my blog this week.

Friday, January 25, 2008

From Sugar To Miss M

You might remember that the lovely Jo and Miss M made the most glorious Birthday surprise . It made my day, and Sug was pretty delighted as well. It was such a lovely gesture, and goes to show what a wonderful person Jo is.

Miss M, is having a birthday today! We wanted to send her birthday wishes as well. I had planned on a special video message, but as I have mentioned before....Video and Corey are just not getting along right now, so I decided to stick with what we know.

So here's to you Miss M! May your Birthday be shiny and bright!

We do hope you enjoy being......THREE!

Sugar wanted to let you know that she was singing the "Happy Birthday" song for you during the photo shoot, but being that is was only 24 degrees was hard to keep a positive attitude going for pictures. Sorry!

*** oh and don't forget I'm on Top Momma!

CLICK HERE!!!!! You know you want to. Click it a few times in fact. I get a referral each time you click the link, and a click each time you click on Sugar's sweet photo. Isn't that fun? I can't think of a single thing I should be doing today other than clicking. Can you? ***

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Celebration!

Last weekend we celebrated Miss Sugar's third birthday. It was a lovely day of good times with family. Getting together to honor Sugar's third year of life was such a blessing. In preparation, I had prepared a fun photostory of photos that depicted her growth in the last year. The final product was a hit, but the stress in making it was enough to send this mama to tears.

At 10:22 pm the night before the party, Window Movie Maker had some sort of glitch that completely corrupted the entire file. Oddly enough it let me save OVER the good copy. Wasn't that nice of it? NOT!!! 6 hours of my life (the time spent making it) were gone, and this tired mama couldn't bare it. After about 15 minutes of howling....I set to re-making it. It only took me 1.5 hours to recreate it, as all the pictures I had so carefully chosen were all saved in a folder, the songs were uploaded, and the creative tidbits were already imagined. In the end, it wasn't as perfect as the first copy, but it was close. I'd share it here.....but video...Internet....and Corey are not really getting along right now. You shouldn't be too disappointed though...I'm sure you have plenty of other things to do with 22 minutes of your life.

Another glitch in the party planning process was the cake. Seriously....I don't think I'll ever make her cake again. It is soooooooooooo not a talent of mine. I lack the cake making gift. In fact, not only am I not GOOD at it....I really SUCK at it. The bottom layer stuck to the pan, and I just had to fill the hole in the middle with cake crumbs. Then the fancy raspberry filling was too runny and just poured out the middle. UGH.....the top started to break down the center. IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOO NOT PRETTY! In the end, even though it was completely hideous, everyone said it tasted FABULOUS! At this point, I'm pretty glad I didn't give anyone food poisoning. Not much else could go wrong.

The party itself was really laid back, and Sugar had a blast playing with her cousins. She loved blowing out the candles on her cake, and I am proud to say that she didn't spit on it. I can't say the same for the cupcake she ate on her actual birthday. ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....but the cake...the hideous cake was relatively slobber free. Tears.....might have been in there...but spit....NO!

Going for the "less is more" philosophy, Sugar opened some modest presents. With her birthday so close to Christmas, I try to keep things to a minimum. Life is more about the love and less about the stuff. She opened books, games, some videos, and the big gift was a nice rug for driving her little cars on. I always wanted one of those as kids. I was sooooooooooo into hotwheels....I am we are having lots of fun.

The photography of the day is not my best work. I am NOT a flash photographer, so all the photos with flash left me unsatisfied. I was hurried, and didn't have the time to really relax and thoughtfully photograph the day. I only got one photo of her opening presents, as she wanted me to help her. In the end, being with my girl, and celebrating her day is more important than the photo quality. Life is Good!

Happy Birthday Sugar Bear. Here's to another wonderful year together!

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. ~Charles R. Swindoll

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again. ~Menachem Mendel Schneerson

You will always be your child's favorite toy. ~Vicki Lansky

Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson

The average adult laughs 15 times a day; the average child, more than 400 times.
~Martha Beck

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't. ~Barbara Kingsolver

In bringing up children, spend on them half as much money and twice as much time. ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~Her Future's So Bright!

For more Wordless Wednesday go HERE and HERE!

*** oh and don't forget I'm on Top Momma!

CLICK HERE!!!!! You know you want to. Click it a few times in fact. I get a referral each time you click the link, and a click each time you click on Sugar's sweet photo. Isn't that fun? I can't think of a single thing I should be doing today other than clicking. Can you? ***

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Sweet Moment....Well, Sort Of!

One day last week, Sugar and I were wrestling around on the floor. She successfully had me pinned to the floor. Her little body lay atop mine. Her sweet face pressed firmly to mine. We lay there giggling and giggling. The Joy....the Fun....the Togetherness. Life is Good.

Shortly she lifted her head and proceeded to intently examine my face with her deep blue eyes. The following conversation occurred:

Sugar: "You have beautiful eyes!"
Mama: "Thank you, Honey!" (melting a little)
Sugar: (annoyed) "Noooooooooooo MOM! That's not what you say!"
Mama: (surprised) "oh....I'm sorry.....what should I say?"
Sugar: "I say, 'you have beautiful eyes!', then you say, 'Get off my face!' Okay mom?"
Mama: (quite confused) "ummmmmm why?"
Sugar: "just say it mom, okay?"
Mama: "Okay Honey! Get off my face!"
Sugar: "Moooooooooooooooooooom! Nooooo! I say,'you have beautiful eyes' FIRST!"
Mama: "Oh Yeah! sorry! I'll get it right this time!"
Sugar: Nothing.....
Mama: Nothing......(waiting)
Sugar: "Are you ready?"
Mama: "I'm just waiting for you, Sug!"
Sugar: (delighted) "okay.....You have beautiful eyes!"
Mama: (obediently) "Get off my face!"
Sugar: (peels of laughter)
Mama: (still clueless)
Sugar: "Let's do it again!"
Mama: "ummm yeah, but where did you learn that? Who says that?"
Sugar: "Manny and the little guy, MOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!"
Mama: (racking her oh so tired brain) "manny....manny....manny....who is manny?"
Sugar: (annoyed) "you know....MANNY!" (said loudly, as maybe that would help!)
Mama: (still lost) "manny....manny....where I have I heard that name????"
Sugar: (even louder!) "MANNY! YOU KNOW! MANNY AND THE LITTLE GUY!"
Mama: (stares blankly)
Sugar: "On that movie MOM!"
Mama: (stares blankly)
Sugar: (louder) "THE MOVIE!"
Mama: (light bulb finally goes off!) "OH! From the movie ICE AGE, right?"
Sugar: (excited) "yeah mama....ICE AGE! what's the little guy called!"
Mama: (surprised she knows this!) "Syd! The little guy is Syd!" (Whew)

I don't know about you, but this sort of conversation wipes me out. So much brain work involved. First I thought she was complimenting me....ohhhhhh NO! Not her....she is just quoting one of a hundred movies she has seen. It never fails to amaze me the capacity for learn she has. The memory.....WOW! She is a little sponge right we are not talking "sponge bob!"

All this brain power....she really is a blank slate....and it really makes me wonder if I should be filling it up with things OTHER than Dora! wink wink!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stepping Into Their World

Shortly after I posting "When I Press The Shutter", I decided that since so many of you seemed interested in taking better photographs, I'd set to composing a few helpful articles. My intention is to lead you in the right direction while giving you plenty of room for your own creativity. Photography should be unique to your personality, but everyone basically uses similar techniques.

Initially, I wanted to only touch on a single aspect of photography in each post, but I have failed to separate two of my most treasured techniques as they work together so well. This first post will cover both: Move in close, and change your perspective.

Parents love taking photos of their kids. That is a fact. Everywhere I look, I see photo after photo of children. Children playing, children eating, children sleeping....etc. The question is....What makes a photograph more than just a snapshot? Why do some photos just look like someone pulled the camera up and pressed the shutter, and some look like you are almost if you could reach out and touch the child?

I find that most people stand a good distance from their subject, lift the camera to their face and start snapping. In my opinion, these photos capture the scene, but fail to really capture the moment. I like to move in close, get down at their level, and step right into their world.

Here is an example:

This first photo is a typical shot I have seen. The child is sleeping on the sweet. So the parent stands there, and takes a quick snapshot.

As you can see.....there is hardly any focus on the subject here. There is so much in the photo. The couch, the child, the clutter....nothing truly stands out as the most important aspect of the photo, right? It is flat, and uninteresting.

The first thing you can do to make this a better photo is to simply move closer. It's up to you whether you want to move with your feet, or with your zoom, but just move in closer. Fill your frame with the subject of your desire. You don't want to capture the want the memory of your child sleeping. So move those feet, or press that zoom, and fill your frame.

Much better, yes? However, that darn pink pajama is distracting isn't it? Why would you leave it there? Do you want it competing for the viewers eye? Just remove it if possible.

If you want to take this photo a step further, you can simply get down at the level of the child. This brings the photo into the child's world. You are not looking down on her sleeping, you are right there with her while she sleeps. To achieve this, simply squat or kneel.

Do you see it? Can you see the difference in the three photos? If it isn't feeling very clear, just take some time to try it on your own. Take the photo the way you normally would. Then remember what I said, "Move closer, and get down at their level", and see if you get a different result.

Here is another example:

The first two photos here are the typical snapshot. Lots of clutter around the child, with little focus on her. The angle is slightly looking down on her.

Now....move closer.

Not bad. The focus of the photo is clearly the child who is painting, but it is still lacking some feeling....some emotion. Let's trying stepping into her world. Let's squat down and take the photo at her level, and see what happens.

There we go....see how we can see more of her face. It is almost like we are right there painting with her. Note that the background is a little fuzzy. This is ideal. It can't always be achieved with a point and shoot camera, but you can try. The best way to blur the background in a photo like this is to use your zoom instead of moving closer. If you zoom in on the child, the background will be out of focus making the child stand out more.

Now you may want to try moving around the child to find different perspectives. Taking photos from several different positions often tells the story more clearly.

What do you think? Are you seeing it? Are you recognizing anything that you might do to change how you photograph your child? Can you move closer? Can you get down at their level?

I know you can. I believe that these two simple steps can make a world of difference in your photos, just as it did mine. Try it. Let me know if you see any difference. I'd love to hear all about it. I'd love to see you photos.

If you have any questions or aspects of photography you'd like me to address in a future post, please let me know. I'd love to help you out. Photography is a process, and we are all somewhere along that line of process. I have so much more to learn, and I'd be happy to share my trials and successes with you.

*** oh and don't forget I'm on Top Momma!

CLICK HERE!!!!! You know you want to. Click it a few times in fact. I get a referral each time you click the link, and a click each time you click on Sugar's sweet photo. Isn't that fun? I can't think of a single thing I should be doing today other than clicking. Can you? ***

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