Tag Archives: photos

Confessions of a Not So Professional Photographer

Recently I was asked to do the class photos for our Charter School.  I teach first grade there.  I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I had done them last year too.  But, this year, since I had recently graduated from NYIP I decided I needed to be paid for the endeavor.  After all, I’m working toward being a professional photographer, part-time yes, but still professional.

Well, I gathered my backgrounds, my lighting equipment and of course my brand new Nikon D750.  I set up a schedule.  I took the pictures.  Man, it’s not an easy task getting the attention of approximately 18-20 wiggly kids.

Then came editing time.  I cried.  I cried more.  I told my husband I was returning everyone’s money.  Because the camera is new to me I had to ISO too high.  The pictures were noisy and the background wasn’t wide enough to accommodate so big a group.

I wanted to give up!

My husband, a teacher at our school and formally in the printing business, said NO, you can’t give up.  We worked hard at coming up with a different place to take the pictures.  After a week of retrying with cute, rambunctious volunteer youngins we hit gold.  I now have a plan for retakes.  My class and my husbands are done and look great.  I wish I could post them here, but alas can’t.

Our yearbook person needed photos ASAP so I worked like a dog for over a week on the pictures that I had already taken.  With the help of my wonderful husband and the book, Teach Yourself Raw in Photoshop by digitalcameraworld, I had a crash course on learning how to denoise and save photos.  The photos that I thought  were so terrible actually turned out really well.  I learned how to fix them and I also learned how to take out the background and add a different background.  I looked at the class photos from 2014 and 2015 that a “professional” school photo company had done and found that mine very much outdid theirs.   I have my confidence back.

In fact, this weekend I took the senior pictures of one of our secretaries’ son.  It was such a fun photo shoot.  My  subject was handsome, sweet and did a great job modeling.   My camera did exactly what it was supposed to do.  And so did I!

I can now call myself a professional!  I’ve broke the barrier.

DC Statues

One cannot help but notice the thousands of statues and sculptures that are scattered throughout Washington DC.  Notice one and you are probably missing half a dozen more.  These are great subjects to photograph as they don’t move.  They can be challenging in that you have to get your shots without people in them.  The shots are usually in the what I call the “crane your neck” view as you have to look up at them to take the shots.  This also means you have to watch that the sky doesn’t blow out your highlights.  This view, however, can add to the immensity of some of these works of art.  Especially my favorite, the view of the Infinity Sculpture/Artwork that we found outside the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  I’ve taken this shot before, but never did it come out like this one.  The reflection of the sky in the metal just added to the feeling of motion.  I don’t know what the names of many of the statues are, as I took them as we were walking from point A to point B.  Often, I was only afforded a few minutes to point and shoot.  We were always on the go!  There is just so much to do in DC.

 

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Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The first place we visit when in Washington DC is, of course, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  This is a must due to my very nerdy men.  My husband, a fifth grade teacher, loves science almost as much as he loves me and that’s a lot.  Our 8 year old son, gifted, cute and truly a young scientist at heart wants to be a NASA engineer when he grows up.  Last year he even got to meet a real NASA engineer, which of course, further fueled his desire to one day build a faster rocket than anything they have today!  Watch out future American citizens, he just might do it.

 

These are only a few of the photos I took.  I didn’t take near as many as I did the first time we went to the Air and Space Museum.  Back in 2014, I think I took a photo of just about every exhibit.  This year, not so much.  I wanted to concentrate on what I was seeing.  Of course, the coolest exhibit this year was the original model of the spaceship Star Trek Enterprise.  Being a fan of the show, this was a must see.

Arlington Cemetary: A Humbling Experience

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My father is a 20 year veteran of the United States Army.  He is a veteran of both the Korean and the Vietnam wars, doing several tours in each.  I feel extremely proud of my father and proud of all the men and women that have and do serve our country.  Many of these brave men and women and their families are not as lucky as I am.  My father came home.

We were very blessed to visit Arlington Cemetery.  While there we saw Kennedy’s Eternal Flame and burial site.  We also trekked up the hill to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  A must see at this part of the cemetery is the changing of the guard, a remarkable and humbling experience.  The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, rain, sleet, snow or as in the day we visited – sweltering heat.

The pictures I took cannot possibly do justice to the immense size of this place.  They cannot come even close to replicating the feeling one has when realizing just how many men, women and even children are buried here.  (Wives and children can be buried with their husbands/fathers.)  For those men and women that gave their lives for our freedom – Thank You!

NOTE:  There is a lot of walking to see this expansive cemetery.  Wear comfortable shoes, hats and sunscreen (for summer), and definitely take water with you.  Many of the sections are on hills and walking  can be difficult.  In the end, though, you won’t regret the discomfort.

Rules for Visiting Washington DC (summertime)

Rule no. 1:  Wear sunscreen.

Rule no. 2:  Wear a hat.

Rule no. 3:  Take the Metro.  Buy a SmartCard.  Yes it seems very safe, people are very nice and it is fairly clean.  Much cheaper and more flexible than a tour bus.

Rule no. 4.  Make sure your camera battery and phone battery are charged each day.  I must have taken a thousand photos, I kid you not!

Rule no. 5.  Realize you will be doing the tourist thing all day long.  It is tiring, but oh so worth it.  It also means eating out a lot!

Chillin' at the Zoo.  The misters were great.
Chillin’ at the Zoo. The misters were great.

Rule no. 6.  Because you will be at it all day long, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.  Also bring bottles of water with you.  I cannot emphasize this last enough.  Very easy to get dehydrated.

With that being said, we are leaving DC tomorrow and heading to Williamsburg.  I haven’t been there since I was 10 and I am so excited.

Photos from the National Air and Space Museum

Below are just a few photos from our visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.  This is a must  see if you are in DC.  Very well organized, taking the visitor from the very beginnings of humanities’ place in the Universe to the most modern examples of human space exploration.  We spent our time in awe and totally enjoyed every minute of the visit.  Well worth the time. 

Tomorrow the National Museum of Natural History.

Jim fell in love with this one.  Found it to be quite interesting.
Antartic Plane.  Jim fell in love with this one. Found it to be quite interesting.
I fell in love with the chrome on this plane.  What remarkable shine and smoothness.
Howard Hughes plane.  I fell in love with the chrome on this plane. What remarkable shine and smoothness.
Even the Navy is represented at the Museum.
All Hands On Deck.  Even the Navy is represented at the Museum.
Apparently this was one of the types of planes used in the Indiana Jones movies.
Since our wedding was based on Indiana Jones.  Apparently this was one of the types of planes used in the Indiana Jones movies.
From Wright Brothers to Drones.  We have come a long way.
From Wright Brothers to Drones. We have come a long way.
One of the planes Amelia Earhart flew.  Very beautiful.
One of the planes Amelia Earhart flew. Very beautiful.
The plane is the original plane the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, NC.  I went there as a child and have been fascinated with planes since.
The plane is the original plane the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, NC. I went there as a child and have been fascinated with planes since.
Only 5 of these bikes exist.  Quite beautiful workmanship.
The Wright Brothers started off with bicycles not planes.  Only 5 of these bikes exist. Quite beautiful workmanship.
Many exhibits show how man has visited space.  It was quite amazing.
Many exhibits show how man has visited space. It was quite amazing.
We ate lunch at the biggest McD's we have ever seen.  Also the most expensive.
We ate lunch at the biggest McD’s we have ever seen. Also the most expensive.
Jim was explaining about the Sputnik satellite.
In Awe.  Jim was explaining about the Sputnik satellite.

Wedding Day

I think this is one time I should let pictures do more of my talking than words. Our wedding was held at the Silver River State Park Museum. A little gem in Ocala, Fl. Our reception was held at the large pavilion near the museum. It was unusual, fun to prepare for and definitely a wonderful way to express our love.

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12 Days til Yet Another Adventure – Joint Adventure That Is

The Mastodon Backdrop for our wedding.
The Mastodon Backdrop for our wedding.
Like all of our adventures this next adventure promises to be most interesting. In fact it could be our best ever. In twelve days, July 4th, Jim and I will be exchanging vows at the Silver River State Museum. This hidden treasure is part of the Marion County School Board in Ocala, FL. Being teachers Jim thought it would be only appropriate that we profess our love in a place that is meaningful and rich in history. For us it is time to write new histories.
Preparing and researching for the wedding has been an adventure in and of itself. Because of the history of the Silver River State Park we decided on a “themed” wedding. However, though we toyed with the idea of Tarzan or The Flintstones, neither of us could quite see being dressed the parts. Another theme came to mind and has taken on a life of its own.
After the wedding I will post pictures and thoughts, but for now a few more pre-wedding tasks and honeymoon chores. A couple of weeks camping trip to Washington DC and surrounding areas will be the height of our wedding adventures. No biking, no boating but lots of photos!

Photo Favs for the Weekend

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With all of us being sick, not much bike riding has occurred lately. Not to worry, I have enough “adventures” to keep me more than busy. This weekend I pulled the Nikon D3100 out and clicked away. I am enjoying playing with the camera, learning more and more how it works. I can’t wait until the summer when I can try taking a photography class. Until then, I practice away.

My Hopeful Flowers
My Hopeful Flowers

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First time climbing a tree.
First time climbing a tree.
Prepare to be astounded.
Prepare to be astounded.
Christmas cactus finally after all these years blooming.
Christmas cactus finally after all these years blooming.

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Watching through the window.
Watching through the window.

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Cold Rainy Day
Cold Rainy Day

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Change is in the Air

blue bottle

Some changes are in the making. First, Jim is going to sell Hot Dot. However, never fear, sailing is still in our future. (I’m so relieved, I do truly love it.) He has suggested we buy a smaller sailboat, one we can take out more frequently. His thoughts are we could go day sailing at the many lakes nearby or perhaps even go on a weekender. We won’t be able to do anymore 48 day sailing trips, but I think this could work. It would be nice to say on an unexpected sunny weekend, “Hey, let’s go sailing.” And then just go! At this moment he is working on building a website (www.sailboathotdot.com) to put information about Hot Dot out there. So more to come on that…..

Another change will be all about my photos on this site. My wonderful husband (aka Santa) brought me an awesome DLSR Nikon D3100 camera. It is fantastic. Little by little I am learning more and more how to use it. I hope to take a class sometime in the future. What fun. Now if the weather would warm up (I’m not as hearty as a blogger I just found is) and I could continue healing from a recent surgery we could hit the bike trails and I could take REALLY good pictures!

And the last change….well I’m not going to say much, except that June could be an important month.

Sailboat for sale: Chrysler 26