Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vacation 2010

I'm on vacation from work this week. So far we've gone to the beach and went swimming at a friend's house. Today is our bum around the house and try to get motivated to organize day. The kids will be hanging out at mom and dad's later today as I have to get to school today. Yes, I will be returning to school in the fall. But tonight, I'm testing to find out what classes I can skip over.

Anyway, last week, the family made the annual pilgrimage to a pond nearby Bridgton, ME. And while I didn't get to stay for the whole week, I did manage to take some good shots -

I love this picture of the girls - I applied an action from MCP Actions called Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness (it's free on their website - click on the link above). Originally, it was too dark but with this action, I saved this shot.
I don't usually like to pose pictures but need material for next year's calendars - every year for the last 3 or 4 years, I've made my parents and my in-laws scrapbook calendars as a Christmas gift. Last year, I made ones for both my sisters-in-law and this year, I decided that I will make myself one. This is Melody sitting on a rock, complete with a fresh booboo after tripping over a tree root while running.

The wind up there on my last day was absolutely nuts - hence, the windblown niece and sister-in-law. I love this picture anyway - That's the view from our camp, looking across the pond.

Finally, my favorite picture from Maine vacation - so windy - but they were happy to be there.

I've been using this vacation time to take more pictures and learning new editing skills. I'm also trying to organize my scrapbook room. That'll take more than just this week. I have way too much stuff. I'm just enjoying being away from my everyday life and getting around to doing things that need to get done.

Will post again once or twice this week as I've got lots of photos to post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When it's hot and muggy out

There's no better place to be but an ice rink. Yes, especially in mid-July on a hot and muggy evening. Dylan goes to a power skating hour in Pembroke. That rink is so cold that even the penguins have the sniffles and shivers in there. We made the big mistake last year of giving Dylan the summer off the ice but this year right after the season was over, Dylan spent two nights a week on the ice for 6 weeks. We let him take 3 weeks off with nothing and now he's back on one night a week until after the family vacation and then he's back on 2 nights a week until the season starts. Last season, he was on the ice almost everyday towards the end of August.

If you thought ice hockey was just a winter sport - you were way off!

Dylan wears his Yankee Conference All-Star jersey for practice. I'm so glad he loves playing and works so hard to get good at it. I'm so glad that having him in hockey gives me a great opportunity to practice taking photos in such a challenging environment (lighting is all fluorescent lighting and the ice acts as a reflector but unless I'm on the bench, I am shooting through glass and learning how to make that ice look white instead of grey in my shots).

Panning is something that I need to practice more - According to Wikipedia, "When photographing a moving subject, the panning technique is achieved by keeping the subject in the same position of the frame for the duration of the exposure. The length of the exposure must be long enough to allow the background to blur due to the movement of the camera as you follow the subject in the viewfinder." An example I took of Dylan tonight:
Dylan is mostly in focus while the rest of the background in a bit blurry. This implies that he is in motion.

I have all summer to figure out how to do this consistently before the season begins. YIPPY!

While we were in the stands, I got this shot of Melody -
That was pretty much the same expression I had when I saw how much Dylan's skating has improved because of this hockey clinic. Unbelievable!

I hope he sticks with it and I hope he works as hard at everything in life as he does at skating. He has the kind of stuff in him that makes great things greater...maybe I'm a little bias because I'm his mom. I'm also a pretty decent judge of character - Dylan's got what it takes to become a superstar in his own right. Of that, I'm sure.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just one little photo...

...of my little Angel in our friends' Mike and Michele's pool....
I love their backyard - it's like the ultimate party backyard - hope to visit more often this summer....thanks for having us over.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our long long July 4th weekend

How long can you stretch out a holiday weekend? In my case, I am on my 4th and last day of my long long 4th of July weekend. What did we do this weekend?

Well, there was some visiting with cousins up in NH. They are the only family I have out this way (the rest of the family we have up here is actually Adam's family - well, my family too but you know what I mean). I took a couple of photos of Angelica at the pool:
Angel probably has a BMI of -3. She's 7 years old and hasn't broken 50lbs yet. She's built like a twig...but she's not frail - she's probably as healthy as we should all hope to be.
I like this photo better - One of the things I want to work on this summer is to learn how to shoot in full manual. I have a crazy habit of staying in Aperture Priority (AV) mode on my camera. While it's cool for tricks like blurring the background and capturing bokeh, it's not as helpful as shooting in full manual. I think it would help making sure what I want in focus is in focus. I find that in both these photos, Angelica's face is only softly focused when I wanted her face to be more focused.

Besides breaking out my camera, I finished a long awaited scrapbook for my friend, Michele and started making the invitations for her little one's birthday. Adam and the kids put up the tent we got him for Father's Day in the backyard. They tried twice to sleep in there overnight. We're in desperate need of blow up beds or camp cots or something - last night they all came in at midnight because out old Aerobeds did not hold up and flattened out by then. I'll have to photo the tent the next time they put it up.

We did a lot of swimming this weekend - here in New England it's been 90+ (or around there) for the entire weekend. We went to Auntie Sandie's pool on the 4th and yesterday to cool off. My favorite picture of the weekend:

My favorite people in the whole world - love you guys - here's to a great summer ahead!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm not proud of these...but they will have to do.

So I haven't kept my word on blogging more. I've taken my camera out even less.

Here it is, though, my renewed commitment to shooting more photos. After all, last Christmas I got a second hard drive to save more pictures. So here are some shots I've taken since the last time I blogged.

***Note: some are more technically better than others (nice grammar there - Mrs. Gunset, my high school English teacher would be so mad right now).

This was taken on Angelica's First Communion while she was walking down the aisle. Pictures in church are tough without a flash and a faster lens. It's a little dark in there. It didn't help that it was thunderstorming outside. Mom picked out her veil and headpiece while Angelica picked out her dress.

I wish she was smiling in this photo but I took it on the fly through the passengers' side door and didn't have time to snap another because it was spitting rain on my camera. This was by far, my favorite picture of the day.
This would be a favorite if everyone could smile like the moms in this photo - These are my kids (and my nephew) with my parents and Adam's parents - so who do you think they look like now?

Here's a picture of Melody while we waited for the First Communion kids to begin the ceremony.
It's odd that she has 2 catchlights in her one eye and barely one in the other. Not to mention it's such a soft focus in the picture.

All these pictures are a complete testament to the fact that if I want to be a better photographer, I need to shoot something everyday. And that going for the best shot without editing is still the way to go. For each one of the shots above (except the one of Angel in the car), I had to edit something somewhere and I am not that good at it (yet) and someday when I do get good at it, I still want my photo to be near perfect before I touch it -

And while these photos aren't the best I've ever shot, they are enough to make me promise myself to take my camera out more. And they still bring the memory of Angelica's First Communion with them. It was a pretty good day...rainy but good. We had a nice family get together afterwards and we were lucky enough to get my parents up here from NYC before mom's hip replacement surgery. (She's recovering nicely!!! YAHOO for that!)

Alright, this is a long week at work because of staffing and late nights but I'm still going to take my camera out every day for the rest of this week and the July 4th weekend is coming - totally an occasion to shoot - but so isn't every day...will work on it -

Monday, May 3, 2010

Outside my best friend's house

We went home to NYC this past weekend to surprise my family - it was my nephew, Andy's First Communion. Angelica will have hers this Saturday -

On the way home, we visited my best friend, Agnes (her husband, Mike and little baby Claire - my Goddaughter. I have posted about her before - here.) My city girl, Booger bought a house in the 'burbs of CT (I knew she'd fold and move to New England near where Mike grew up - I can't fault her, I did the same thing by moving to MA where Adam is from).

Took a few pictures of the outside of her house -

A trellis in the backyard.

This is somewhere in the middle of their backyard.

The pond at the very end of their backyard.

On the walk back to the house from the pond, we found this - a smurfy 'shroom.

Out front to the right of the round driveway.

The Black Pearl in the round driveway - I was standing on the front porch.

Boog's house has an inlaw addition - this is the front porch on her side of the house.

This is the inlaw side - for now, they have a friend living there.

This is my favorite part of the front porch. I love those rocking chairs.

I only took a couple of pictures inside the house. Melody insisted on this picture being taken - she's sitting on Claire's blow up horsie. This was taken in Claire's playroom.

This is Melody and Claire writing on the deck in the backyard. She's almost 2 years old. Claire was a riot playing with my kids. On the way to their house, Melody said, "I can't wait to see Claire. We might not be able to play together - she can't focus on playing." Well, Melody - I think that almost 2 year old kept up pretty good.

More photos later this week - have a couple of projects that need to be completed by the end of the week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Beach on a Spring day in New England

It's the strangest thing about living in New England - when the temperature is about 60 degrees in the sun, the water at the beach is not that cold. When you visit the same beach in the middle of a 90 degree heat wave in July, that water is more like the water you would find off the coast of a melting glacier.

On my last day off during the kids' spring break, I took them to Nantasket - love that beach - the waves are so little and the slant of the beach is so subtle that you could venture to go out pretty far (maybe 50 yards) without the water even reaching your waist.

Took some pictures -

Angelica and Dylan standing in the water. I'm not thrilled by the composition of this photo - I also wish that I had gotten more their reflection in the water...I cut them off. Sorry kids. I also wish that the horizon was a little straighter.....mental note for next time.
While the horizon isn't straight in this photo, I love this picture of Angelica running back to the shore. The look on her face just epitomizes what she's like - she's carefree and much of the time, happy - by her own doing. At 7 years old, she's learning to accept that you don't always get what you want and many times, she surprises me by just letting those kind of things go...

Love this photo - that horizon is as straight as I was ever gonna get it - I love how the kids look little and the beach and sky look huge. I took all these photos with my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 with a circular polarizer attached to it - I am still learning how to use this kind of filter and as I learn, I will post here...I only know that you can get some hot looking blues in your photos with this type of filter. The unnaturally blue sky was also helped along by a little editing magic on CS4.

More of Angelica and Dylan checking out the shore - I got my feet wet too in this shot.

This is the newly 5 year old Melody watering the sand at her feet - I love how her hand is in her pocket.

When we were leaving, I told the kids that I needed a group shot - the first two I'm posting are outtakes and the last one is the almost best one of 17 shots that I took before I gave up....
What is Melody smirking about?

I kinda like this one - they all look genuinely happy - now if only Dylan's hand was not in this shot....

Someday, they will all smile nicely for me - just not right here....we'll work on it -