Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Mayhem

Every year I wonder if all the craziness that surrounds the holidays is really necessary. I mean, there's the shopping, the wrapping, the card making and mailing, more shopping, more wrapping, worrying that the kids will love what you give them, the worrying that you got everything that you needed to for everyone on the list, the worrying that you spent way too much on the holiday, the cooking, the baking, the eating, the stomach ache after all the eating.

And then there is the worrying that you wouldn't get enough pictures of it all. And prior to that, if you are me, you should have practiced taking pictures a little more with the pathetic lighting in your living room. I did manage a few ok pictures (with lots of help from CS4).

I don't often center my subjects anymore - and unfortunately this was the best Christmas picture I took with my 3 babies together. Someday when I get over the anger of shooting my relatively uncooperative kids, I'll post up all the outtakes (there are many more of those than there are good pictures of them!!!) In case you were wondering, the weird shape of the lights on the tree are called bokeh - which can be created a few different ways - we can talk about that some other time.
My toothy 9 year old, Dylan - complete with bokeh...With that picture window to Dylan's left, I even caught a reflection on Dylan's left eye.
This is a better shot of Dylan.

Here is my Christmas Angel. I tried to take pictures from different angles around the tree - I wasn't really thrilled by this lighting. But rule #1 in photography - there is no such thing as perfect lighting. Except in my living room, the lighting isn't even close to good. It's lovely on a sunny day through the picture window but the light from the ceiling isn't conducive to easy non-flash photography.
This was Melody's turn with the tree.

I will say that I still prefer SOOC shooting with very little post-processing to the photoshopped pictures here....like this one -
This was taken out of the window of my car while I was parked in my driveway a few weeks before Christmas (there aren't 2 suns, just a reflection through the glass).

Earlier on Christmas Eve, Adam and the kids made this -
He was practically perfect. Until the temperature rose above 50 degrees right after Christmas...there was about 20 inches on the ground for nearly the entire week of Christmas - now's it's all but gone - that's a New England winter for you....

Some of the above pictures were taken with my Tamron 24-75mm f/2.8. The Christmas close ups of the kids were taken with my Canon 50mm f/1.8. And the kids were all dressed in new jammies sent for Christmas by Auntie Booger, Uncle Mike and little Claire.

I will resolve to blog more this coming new year than I had this year. It will stay here at blogspot and if I am lucky enough to finish more scrapbooking projects this year, I will shoot those and post here too.

I have a few more good shots to post later this week - I'm on break from school for another 4 weeks!!! YAHOO!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


...this free watermarking action from CoffeeShop. I love their free actions! In case you didn't know what actions were, they are a series of editing steps in a photo editing program such as Photoshop or Elements.
This is my nephew Connor - I used the CoffeeShop Vignette action to darken the edges. I did though enhance his beautiful blue eyes from scratch. Such a cutie!

If by chance, I am randomly chosen to win this prize - it will make my weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Here I go again...

So I've been on typepad for a few months and decided that paying for blog space (while I love how big the images can be) was not worth it because I don't have the time to blog as often. So here I am trying to learn how to work around making my images bigger.
This is my Angel - I did a little photoshopping to enhance the color of the leaves in the background and make her a little warmer. I used two actions that I got from Pioneer Woman Photography (I love that blog!!!). You can download 2 different packages of actions for free!!!And they are amazing!
This is a picture of my Melody - taken in the front yard the other day. She is getting so big!!! This photo is SOOC.

This is Dylan in the same spot as his sisters. I used the same actions on this photo as I did on the one of Angel's except when I used the warmer action, I dialed down the opacity - which made Dylan not look like he was bathing in the sun. I also used my flash (which if you know me, I'd rather not - but sometimes, it can be necessary.) Using my flash filled in Dylan's face (which is backlit from the sunlight). Now, if I could only remember to do it more often....

Since I have tomorrow off, I will attempt to accomplish more fundraising related activities for Brockton Youth Hockey, do the last of my design team assignments for the Scrapbook Cupboard, do laundry (because what day would be complete without some laundry?), and run some errands. I also need to tend to all the stupid time-based games I got myself into on facebook and try to alter the background and layout of this blog.

See you on the other side...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Permanent switch

After 2 weeks or so of testing, I decided to give typepad a shot - mainly because I like how big the pictures can be.

So if you're still interested in my blog - it's new home is here. Thanks for reading and following - I'm hoping that while I'm on vacation for the next few weeks that I will get the chance to post more photos...

See you on the other side....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Possible switch

I haven't blogged in days because I'm thinking about switching to Typepad. I'm free trialing their weblog service - so for at least the next two weeks, my blog will be here.

Thanks for checking it out - please leave comments here or there to tell me what you think of it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Little Claire's Big Day

In my culture, it's a big deal to be asked to be a Godmother (Ninang, as they call it in Filipino). Yesterday, I became Claire Paige Parniawski's Ninang. Her mom, Agnes (whom I still affectionately refer to as Booger)is Melody's Ninang. Pictures I took:
Quite possibly my favorite shot of the day...those lights in her eyes make me happy.
Boogs was afraid her that Claire's christening gown was "over-the-top". I thought it made her look very angelic.
This is Boogs and Claire. The last time I saw Claire, I thought she looked a lot like her Grampy Mike. I think, as all babies do, Claire has changed and looked different to me.
I think she looked a lot like her Grammie Emma. Although, I think Claire was trying out her scary face and she doesn't look much like her Grammie at all.
Again, those catchlights in her eyes...my favorite part of pictures....
Brunch before the Christening at a restaurant called Almond. To Mike's left are Missy and Ryan - who got married last May (congratulations!!!) If you didn't read my blog in March when Boogs and Mike got married, Ryan is Mike's brother and was his best man (and my partner) in their wedding. I have some pretty good looking friends, if I don't mind saying so myself!!!
This was Claire, Mike and Boogs right after we woke Claire up from a catnap. She was holding me in contempt for this.
This was before the Christening. Claire's nickname (one of them anyway, because everyone calls her something different) is Beet. Notice how nice her hair is before the hair washing....
This was after the hair washing but before the ceremony was over. This is Melody putting on a Baptismal garment on Claire (who proceeded to take it off, drop it and eat it when it was given back to her).
This is my 2nd favorite photo of the day - she looks so naughty - just how you're supposed to look after the priest washes you clean of original sin...
This is after the ceremony (check out Claire's do). I'm just waiting for Beet to drop that candle on Angelica's head....she didn't, but it would have been funny...

Boogs and Mike, thank you for choosing me to be Claire's Ninang. I am honored (once again, by you guys) to be part of such an important event in your history.

Friday, June 19, 2009

They aren't mine - but they are still cute!!!

Yesterday, my friend, Tracy's kids came for a visit at work. I just happened to have my camera from Melody's graduation:
This is Alan - Back in 2007, he was Baby New Year for the hospital where he was born. He's where I chased him to the writing desk in our lobby and he was coming out from underneath.
This is Kerry Ann (I hope I spelled that right) - can you believe that she is only 5 months old? It's the super milk, mom!!!!

I'll post on FB for you, Trac - hope I get to take more pictures of them soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

just a thought

I am seriously thinking about switching my blog over from blogger to typepad. I know that you have to pay a small monthly fee to typepad, but I think in all my aging blindness, I would appreciate the bigger photos. I'll think about it...leave me a comment if you have an opinion....

Melody Graduates!!!!

Today, Melody "gwadjuwated" nursery school.
I feel like time is just going on - she's already 4 and now a graduate. This was her existing the school yard at the end of the outdoor ceremony. It was great that the rain held off! And yes, that is Angelica's shirt that doesn't fit her and barely fits Melody.
This is Melody and Miss Mary, one of her 3 teachers this year. On her report card, Miss Mary commented on Melody's confidence and self-reliance and cooperative manners. At least she's like that out in the world - makes me feel good!
So proud of this little kid!
This my baby - growing up quick - thanks for taking this picture, Pooka!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This week's lucky shot

This week, my day off was reduce to a 1/2 a day off - I'll take it - I was running some errands after I picked up the kids yesterday and took this lucky shot...

I wasn't looking through the viewfinder, I was driving and hoping that I could catch at least some rays - the sun flare and position of that sun was pure luck. In fact, I wasn't sure that this picture was going to have the sun in it or even as much of the sky as it did - it was just pure luck!

I also want to thank Bev @ the Scrapbook Cupboard for the opportunity to teach a beginner's photography class - I hope our students enjoyed and learned even a little bit about photography. I have my point and shoot class to teach there on June 27th 1-4pm. Check out the Scrapbook Cupboard online for registration details.

Thank you to Traci, Kristin, Rosalie and Betty - I hope I at least taught you something you didn't know about photography class - remember, the only way to take better pictures that you do today is practice, practice, practice!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My niece's birthday

Last Sunday was my niece, Meghan's 8th birthday - We had some great weather here in Southern New England, which afforded me some decent photos...
This here is Miss Meghan - she's a doll! She's about 6 months younger than Dylan -
This is Samantha - Meghan's younger sister. She's 3 days older than Angelica.
Here's my Angel - I turned these 3 girls into tree huggers that afternoon - I'm least happy with Angelica's picture - not sharp enough for me...
Here's Sami blowing bubbles...
And finally, Meghan right before she blew the pretend candles on her ice cream cake out...we lost the candles - sorry, buddy!

Hope you had a great birthday, Meg!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

At the pond...

I was lucky enough to score a day off on a day without rain. Yesterday, the kids had a 1/2 day and after I picked them up, we decided to feed the birds at the pond in D.W. Field Park. I went there last week with Melody on a drizzly day off without any bread...so we brought bread and this is what happened:

There had to be at least 100 Canadian Geese just lined up waiting to get fed by park goers like ourselves. We brought a package of hamburger buns and it still wasn't enough.
Dylan's toothless grin - nice shades, D!

Melody was scared of how many geese were around us. I made her and Dylan go to an area where there weren't so many geese - but in no time, there were plenty of geese right there....honking away for some bread.
I thought this picture of the flying duck was neat. Dylan thought how they skid into the water was neat (but I don't have a picture of that)
I have this fascination of shooting people from behind...here are my girls just watching the pond. I live for these moments - thankfully Angel had no ideas about throwing her little sister in the pond...that water is gross...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The yard sale at the Scrapbook Cupboard

If you're in the market for some crafting supplies, come on down to the Scrapbook Cupboard tomorrow 12-4pm. Friends and I will be setting up shop for a yard sale - Detail are here - click on yard sale when you get to that page.

The Scrapbook Cupboard is located at 516 Bedford Street, East Bridgewater, MA. When you're done shopping in the parking lot, shop in the store and check out all the neat classes they're offering.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather....Hope to see you there.

My Little Buddy Ryan

I had to pick up a tent for the Scrapbook Cupboard yard sale I'm doing tomorrow and I borrowed it from my friend, Michele. While I was there, I took a few photos of Ryan...who' been on my blog before. At nine months (holy crap - has it really been that long since he came around?), he's still one of the cutest babies I know!

This face comes right from the first sequence of Michele's DNA...it's the "um, should I or shouldn't I do it?" look
I think Ryan was thinking "why is that huge black box up in this lady's face?"
I like the change from horizonal to vertical - he is so cute - have I said that yet?
Michele said we should try putting Ryan in the grass but he really wasn't down with that.

Generally, I like the SOOC kind of picture but I thought this CoffeeShop action called CoffeeShop Denim was pretty cool...download that here.
I love this picture of Michele and Ryan (I would have taken pictures of Ryan's dad, Mike, but he hates me more than Adam hates me when I take his picture).
That's the best smile ever created -thankfully I got one happy picture of him in the 15 minutes I was over...he is just too cute!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

What I did today on my day off...

To me, it is well worth working for 5 hours on Saturday when you can have an entire day off during the week...so today, I did a bunch of things...

Took 2 of my 3 kids to school - Melody has a 4 day school week (I swear that is how it should be at work too!).
Went to Staples to make copies for a photography class that I am teaching in a couple of weeks.
Went to the Ash Street Playground to take pictures of Melody but then it started to rain. (I still got a couple of shots - wanna see?
An old friend and I caught up on Facebook this week and decided that we were going to experiment with our photography in an effort to make us better photographers. Our first challenge is to mess around with exposure compensation and focus. The above photo of Melody was one of the few I managed to fire off before it really started to rain on us at the park (which is right behind our house...literally if you hopped my 6 foot fence in the backyard and then scaled the 20 foot chain link fence you'd be in the park. Melody and I drove the 100 feet around the corner to the playground). Anyway, I shot this at +1 EC but when I pulled it up on CS4, I couldn't help but lower that after the fact - Melody looked a little blown out...with the adjustments I made, I believe that I ended up at +.66 EC instead...

I'd tell you what CoffeeShop action I applied to this if only I could remember...I like the bit of faded color this action made....the little vignetting does it for me too...

Went to The Art Experience to find a certain kind of pen I like to write with.
Went to Costco's to sign up for membership - apparently their photo processing is fantastic and relatively inexpensive for 1 hour.
Melody asked to have lunch at Ikea, so we did.

On the way home, we drove through D.W. Field Park. There's a big pond out there and some woodsy parts. It was pretty dreary and drizzly today...but Melody and I stopped in the park during a light drizzle to take pictures on the pond.
You know I was just praying that she didn't slip into the pond just there...it's very shallow right there but who knows what's in the pond water. A couple of years ago, when the fair was in town, there were 2 gator sightings at the pond (seems that someone who works with this travelling fair decided to let their pet gators free instead of living the travelling fair life...I believe they only ever found one). I'm sure that there was no gator nearby or we wouldn't have been able to see this:

This was papa swan. I think it's weird that his head can turn almost completely behind him.
This was papa swan with one baby swan.This is papa swan with baby swans #1,2 & 3. I took this shot at -1 EC. Still, papa swan and baby #1 were white enough to stand out more than babies #2 & 3.
Same picture adjusted to approximately +.33 EC.

Is it just me or does anyone else out there think that Canons shoot dark? Even at 0 EC, I tend to think that Canons shoot dark - any opinions on that, please post a comment.
This was the entire Swan family - you can't see all the babies - they're on papa swan's right side. Mama Swan is the smaller one that is further away from us in the photo. This pond is separated by a road that we often drive on - and we always try to look for "my" swans. Yes, they're mine - I own them. We've got a few years without seeing the swans out together - but for the most part, they are usually there. And no, I don't know if these are my swans and no I don't really own the swans...but I'd like to think they'd want to come and live in my hot tub or something. I'm not even a bird person - I just think they're pretty...even though these ones need their necks scrubbed...(their necks aren't as white as the rest of them.)
Not only were there swans, there were pigeons, seagulls, mallard ducks and an enormous flock of Canadian Geese. Mel and I watched a goose fight and were surrounded by a bunch of honking geese...not to mention the random piles of fresh goosie poo. YUCK!
Finally, Melody found this feather on the ground - ill!!! I made her put it back...in case a goose was missing that and left it there for later.

Will shoot more this weekend!