Friday, April 29, 2011

♥Charlie's Birthday♥


Guess who's turning 21?!
Charlie! ♥

2009 was a pretty rough year for him, poor guy.
2010 on the other hand--umm--definitely the high life. 'Retirement' has been good: big green pastures, a warm stall, his own little herd of friends, the best of care, and months to recover and get strong. It's such a blessing to know that he is in good hands--the Millers are the most wonderful 'birthday' present I could ever hope to give him. Favorite horse treats, lip-twitching belly rubs, and long rides will have to wait until I get home.

This past summer, my step-mom was kind enough to take a few photos for us. She was able to capture an ordinary summer night at the barn through some extraordinarily special photos. (Thank you!) Here are a few of my favorites:








Click here to see the full photo shoot.


Looking forward to many wonderful years ahead!

♥Happy Birthday, Charlie!♥
-m.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Silliness Vid

Thought it might be kind of nice to end the week on such an absolutely silly note. [Pun intended.]


He he!
-m.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Following Jesus


{6.2011}

Not the quickest read, but really really good stuff.
(Just in case you're considering picking it up, don't let the small size deceive you. It's loaded; took me a good 7 months to read all of its 114 pages.)

-m.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photo Club Assignment #16: Editing

The next assignment was to learn a new editing method and apply it to a photograph.

When you're armed with iPhoto, your magic wand only knows so many tricks. The Aperature and Photoshop lovers in the group did some pretty amazing things. Me--I was just excited to learn what a histogram was and to fiddle around with it a bit.

This is the original photo:


I took it on our dhow cruise in Oman. As you can see, the aperture was much too high (low f-stop) for the sunny conditions. I set out with the goal of editing to simply salvage the picture.

After a couple of minutes, my tweaking here and saturating there resulted in this:

The hand is still too bright, but overall the image looks so much better. I have to say I really like the way the anemone turned out--the colors are just so pretty.

Our next assignment, #17, is on HDR. I was in China for the 'workshop' meeting, so will have some catching up to do before our 'show & tell' meeting in May. Will keep you updated!
-m.

To see more before/after images + some techniques on how to edit, head here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Photo Club Assignment #15: Food Photography

After feeling frustrated with my flash, when I found out the next assignment was food photography, I was pretty excited. Easy as pie, right?

However, by the time the deadline for the assignment rolled around I was extremely busy and I didn't get around to taking any new foodie photos. The way I saw it, I had 2 options: don't turn anything in or [cheat a little and] turn in a few pictures I already had. I chose the latter but was later chided a little bit for missing the point of photo club. Ahhhh well.

Food Photo #1

Taken on the back streets of Kathmandu.

Food Photo #2

Taken at the Bellingham Farmer's Market.

In a nutshell, here's what I learned at the workshop taught by another photo club member, Jereme.
{You should most definitely check out his portfolio here. Super impressive. It's easy to see why The Outdoor Channel, Versus, and ESPN2 think so as well!}

Food Photography Tips:
1. Shoot with a narrow depth of field. (This is when I have to point out that my 35mm lens is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.)
2. Use natural lighting. (Jereme recommends diffused lighting in either the morning or the afternoon.)
3. Try to get some reflection onto your food and 'bounce it onto the foreground'. (He likes using a simple mirror to avoid using the flash.)
4. Get up close & take photos from all angles.
5. Keep the background clean and simple.

Yum!
-m.

To see more submissions, please head here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Without Easter, there is no reason to suppose that good will triumph over evil, that love will win over hatred, that life will win over death. But with Easter we have hope; because hope depends on love; and love has become human and has died, and is now alive for evermore.
-Thoughts by N. T. Wright

Wishing you much hope today!
-m.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photo Club Assignment #14: Flash Photography

Going to be pretty straightforward about this one: It's been my least favorite assignment so far.

Originally, at our 'workshop meeting', we took flash photos with reflectors and lights, strobes and remotes and all of this other gadgety gear. I do agree that it made a big difference. However, when it came time to doing my assignment, all I really had to work with was the built in camera flash. Definitely didn't produce the same results that we had in the studio.

Flash Picture 1:

I took this photo when we were out playing in the desert with the Al Zaabi family. Although it's kind of a silly photo, I chose it because the flash was a bit more natural looking than some of the other images I'd taken.

Flash Picture 2:

We were given the flash assignment right before I went to Nepal. Sitting around the Monkey Temple at dusk seemed like a good time to practice. This is what happened. Again, not my favorite photo, but kind of the best out of what I had to work with.

So much more to learn!
-m.

To see the other members' submissions, head here. There are some good ones!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photo Club Assignment #13: "Mentor Texts"

Our first assignment of the year was to research accomplished photographers in order to find one photographer with a style or an image that we really liked. After studying their life and work, the next step was to select a single photograph to imitate. Through the process of replicating this "mentor text" we would hopefully pick up a bit of the photographer's technique and craft.

After thinking about "mentors," I went back to a favorite from my college days: Henry Doisneau.

Doisneau, self portrait, circa 1953

My Mentor Texts:

Doisneau, a contemporary of Henry Cartier-Bresson, was a pioneer of photo journalism. He was known for walking around the streets of Paris, camera in hand, ready to catch life as it happened.

Rather than copy one specific photo, I decided to try and copy a common theme: children at school/children at play. Given my circumstances, it seemed like a do-able option. :)

My Replicas:




There are a couple of things I don't like, but for the most part I was happy with my first assignment.
I like how my girls are unaware of the camera.
I like how I was able to capture both enthusiasm and (dare I say) boredom.
I like how these photos so accurately represent their different personalities.
I like, most of all, how they are just so darn cute.

Salut!
-m.

P.S. To see more "Mentor Text" assignments, head here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photo Club

A few months back I bought a new camera. After successfully killing my beloved Canon point and shoot in a vandalized old Soviet ballroom . . .

(it died during this very photo shoot)

. . . and then drowning my waterproof camera at Wild Wadi,

(this, people, was the honesttogoodness beginning of the end)

. . . I wasn't sure if I was ready for a more serious camera. However, a quick hop down to Portland, a lucky Craigslist find, and a little reassurance from my family was all it took for me to wind up with my first DSLR camera.


My very first picture!

While I don't have a single regret about purchasing my camera, I do -- quite frequently -- regret not knowing how to use it to its full potential. So when my friend invited me to join her at a photo club, I timidly accepted. I do have to say that it's been a bit challenging to share my pictures with other people and to ask for feedback--but it's been good, too. Most meetings either involve learning a new 'technique' or sharing the results of our latest photo assignments. Although I don't really think I'm much better with using flash (assignment #14) or doing food photography (assignment #15) the little nudge to take more pictures has been worth it.

-m.

P.S. I'm just beginning to learn about all this stuff, but some of the members are quite accomplished. Make the jump to check out some of their professional portfolios!
Brunilda Monnig Photography
Brad Kerr Photography

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Women, Food, and God


{5.2011}

meh.
not her best.

-m.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

friday mornings

this is why i love friday mornings...








skype--you're my hero.
-m.

Monday, April 18, 2011

And we're back!

the only negative thing about getting my computer back (well, aside from the fact that it's still not fixed) is that it lead to a serious google reader binge. i definitely missed a lot of 'going-ons' in the blog world.

here are a few things i discovered while i was catching up:
garlic is growing now that it's spring in chicago


friends are taking fun trips to sri lanka


baby ladybugs!!


jordan ferney might just be the most creative and coolest person ever. (but we already knew that.)


it looks like monet made a visit to seattle


my step mom has a new blog!


and there are several new 'makers' projects up. have a look!

hoping to get back in the swing of things soon.
xo,
-m.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Turtle's Pace

(our turtle friend from Dhabbiya)
Nearly a week ago, I took my computer in for a little TLC. I wanted to add some more memory--maybe a new hard drive. Unfortunately, it's still getting worked on--only now it's at a different shop. Fingers crossed I'll get it back soon--I really want to share a few photos of our trip to China!

-m.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesdays With Morrie


4.2011

A touching story.
A good reminder of what is really important.
A thoughtful birthday gift from my lovely friend, Sarah. (Thank you!!)

xo,
-m.

P.S. It was the perfect heart-warming type of book to have on hand while waiting several hours in the fuhreeeeezing Beijing Airport.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Big News, Baby


It's me. And yes, I've been away for a bit. Sorry about that.

However, I have news to share--I've been saving up some biggies!



1. I just spent the last week in China!
We just got back yesterday. I went with my good friend, Jen. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it was a wonderful trip.

2. I'm officially DEBT FREE!!!! No more student loans!!!
Yay! Yay!! And . . .


And last but not least---
3. I've accepted a new job for the 2011-2012 school year!
Although it was only about 8 months ago when I swore up and down that I would NEVER EVER move to this country, I'm excited to announce that come September, I will be moving to the . . .


Yup!
-m.