Saturday, June 30, 2012

Slowing Down - Part 1

The theme of family camp this year was "Fight".  It was based on Nehemiah 4:14- Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes."

When I walked into our new cabin, I saw this sign hanging over my bed.


When I originally thought about fighting for my family, I thought of things that I would do and ways that I would protect them.  I believe popular culture tells us fighting for our child looks like making  sure they have that particular teacher and working now to secure them a place on the high school ___________ team or even in the university of their choice.   But that is not it.


By the end of the week, I saw the theme as less like a list of things I might do and more like a list of things I need to lay down in order to be where I need to be so I can trust God to take care of the rest.  More like, well, this sign.   I don't do still very well at all.  I am a doer, a fixer, and a getter done gal myself.  So sitting still is way outside my norm.  However, I am finding that my need to have everything in place often robs me of the opportunity to interact with my children and see God move.


So we are slowing down around here.  I am taking less photo shoots. I have also decided to work one less day a week at my PT job so I can be home more.  The cutback won't be easy on our finances, but we are going to trust God to take care of the details as I focus more on being still with my family.  


Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Swimmers and Superheroes

Are you wondering when the camp pictures will end?  They will....someday...I am sure of it

But hang with me through just a few more adventures.  One of our favorite things to do at family camp is swim and especially play on the Slideasaurus.


Between swimming and dinner we always have a few minutes to kill so this year we made our own super hero capes during some free time.  I had visions of taking all of these great pictures but things don't always go like the motion pictures playing in my head. 


3 exhausted and hungry children were not so agreeable for picture taking.  Oh well.  They still looked cute in their capes. 


And one didn't even make it through dinner before passing out in my lap.  That's camp for you.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The last of the ropes pics

but not the last of family camp.  :)


On the second day of ropes we zip lined some more but also tried this thing called "The Swing" and that is an understatement.


They strap you in an harness and pull you up about 40 ft and then let you go.  It is terrifying to say the least.  When Sam got off the zip, he said, "I heard you on the swing mom."  Glad I didn't say anything I had to apologize for. :)



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fear? Not these kids

One of our favorite parts of Family Camp is the ropes course.  This year sister was big enough for the harness and showed us quickly that she is FEARLESS!

(Thanks to the pine cove photographer for this first set of photos)

The Pine Cove photographer happened to be at the ropes course on the same day so she took pictures from up top while I shot from the ground.


Jack wanted to go too.  Who would have ever thought 3 months ago that this kid would be suspending his body weight from a harness in June?  I am still not so sure his surgeon would have given the thumbs up on this one, but he did great (thank heavens). 


Sam is still a master of the rock wall.



And here is my little daredevil again celebrating her achievement.


That's one proud daddy.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Family Camp 2012

Every year our family spends a week at Pine Cove Family camp in Tyler Texas.  It is by far the coolest week of our year and I always come home with loads of pictures.   Since it seems I have lost the time in my days that used to be spent scrapbooking, I will spend the next few days storing those memories here. 

This year we stayed in brand new cabins that were AMAZING! 


We dressed up as western aliens for the first theme night.  Yes that was in the theme. 



Sam won the Wild Kids contest where they chase cows and pull blue ribbons off their tails.  It became a bit more interesting when he put that ribbon in his mouth.


More to come... When I filter through the next set. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Snapshot- T-swing

We spent last week at family camp and I will have lots of pics to post this week from our adventures there. 


For these I was on the ground under the T-swing for a different perspective.





Ruthie loved it and was completely fearless.  Wait until you see what else she did without hesitation.




Ahh trees.  Something we don't see in suburbia.




These were taken at ISO 640, f2.8 with my 24-70 L, and in the 1/250th range.   I increased my exposure a few notches to accommodate for shooting into the sky so my subjects would be properly exposed and then edited with LR one willow sets and used a decrease exposure/saturation brush to bring the trees and sky back out.  I hope that makes sense. :)
Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day Photo Fun

It's Father's Day and that is good excuse enough to talk my family into a spontaneous photo shoot.


...especially since my new Bad Sass Backdrops arrived weeks ago and I haven't had a chance to try them out yet. :)


I ordered them for newborn shoots so they are a bit small, but I decided it was worth the challenge to practice shooting in tight spaces.


I learned a few things along the way but the most important thing I saw in my editing...


...is that I am married to a great dad who adores and is adored by his children




Happy Father's Day Trent.  We love you.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday's Photo

This is a bit late.  Sorry Sam.

Sam graduated from Kindergarten last week in a Luau themed ceremony.  I can't post much here because I don't want to post pictures of other people's kids to the internet without their permission.  So here are a few pics of my Kindergarten graduate from that night.




We are so proud of you Sam. I know you will do great in 1st grade!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lessons in the Editing Evolution

I was visiting with a friend today about before and after editing photos.  It got me thinking about how much my photography and editing has evolved since I really got serious about this hobby.

My favorite photographer when I was starting out was Mackenzie Wheatley with Chubbyfoot Photography.  I loved how her images were so true to life and really told the story of whatever family she was working with.  I emailed her and asked questions about cameras and editing software because I wanted to take pictures of my family that captured moments like Mackenzie did.  Well, I got my hands on Lightroom and it all went crazy from there. 

I think one of the mistakes new photographers/editors make is that we get slider happy.  We figure out that we can do things like enhance certain colors, add clarity and sharpen pictures and we go crazy with it.  At least that is what I did.  And can I go ahead and say that I thought back then that it looked really good? :)  I have this picture from those days that haunts me.  Why? Well because I sent it out to about 300 of you in the form of Christmas card and printed it real big for my playroom.  Now every time I walk passed it I cringe and last week it came down.

Just in case you think I am exaggerating, I will go ahead and lay down my shame and share it with you here.  First pic is the SOOC original, 2nd pic is my frightening christmas card edit (apparently I had an affinity for yellow or yellow blindness), and the 3rd is more like what I would do today.


So why am I sharing my shame with you? Because I have learned several lessons through this evolution that I think are more worth sharing than my evidence.

Lesson #1. I will be slow to criticize other photographers and their choices.  None of us are perfect and certainly none of started out perfect.  If it weren't for a handful of mentors who encouraged me to improvement, I might still be editing my children to look like squash.

Lesson #2. I will never think that I have it all figured out or have this craft mastered.  Remember, I thought that middle picture looked good enough to send it out to 300 of my closest friends!

Lesson #3. I will remember that, in editing a picture, my personal goal is to help tell the story of my image and then to correct any mistakes of the capture.  It is NOT to draw attention to my edits.

So today I would say I have come full circle and my images are looking more and more natural.  A friend of mine said of Mackenzie at Chubbyfoot once that she barely edits her images.  Looking back I think that was an incredible compliment.  I know Mackenzie takes great pride in the editing of her images, but when you see them you see flawlessness not over enhancement and that is the way it should be.  And that is what I aspire to be. 


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sunday Snapshot- Dreamnight


The Houston Zoo hosted a pretty incredible event Friday night called Dreamnight.  They closed the zoo to the general public and opened it to invited children currently receiving care at several local hospitals. 




I took off work early and we headed to the zoo to enjoy the festivities.   


There were several special experiences, animal interactions, and of course photo opportunities. :)


Sam joined the dance party and even kept his hula hoop going for the limbo.


One of the clear favorite parts was the carousel.   In the spirit of trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone, I tried catching pictures of the kids through the mirrors as we passed and it was much more difficult than it looks.


I also tried to play a little with the sun as it was going down.


And then Trent grabbed my camera to prove I really was there. :)


A special thanks to the zoo, Shriner's hospital, and all the other sponsors for an incredible evening.






Ni Hao Yall