We celebrated the end of a great year with some great friends both new and old. The Ayscues, Schenkel/Fruchters & O'Connells came over for dinner, bear and a really fun and extremely politically incorrect game of which I do not remember the name. I was having so much fun I nearly forgot to get a picture! Wouldn't that have been just tragic!!! But I did remember and clamored up on the bar stool to get it. I didn't even fall.
That wraps up my mission. I did, indeed, take at least one picture every day this year and posted one for each day. Some were good, others... well, let's just leave it at - I took a picture every day.
It's been quite a year. I've been through 3 DSLRs and 5 different lenses. I have learned a tremendous amount. I realize I have LOTS more to learn and I plan on continuing to build my skills. I have put more on my wish list than I've taken off (New stuff always begets more new stuff.) but I am getting a better feel for what I need.
Some of the most important things I've learned this year:
Depth of field takes LOTS of practice.
Professional Nikon lenses are worth the extra money. I'm considering selling both my Nikon 70-300mm and my Sigma 24-70mm and getting the Nikon 24-70. I'm simply not happy the the sharpness (or should I say, lack of sharpness) of the Sigma.
Light Room is great and more powerful than I have figured out completely but I will eventually need Photoshop. For now, I'll just bug Eyal.
There's no substitue for a good lighting set up. I'm looking at getting one now that I've learned how to use my SB600 as a slave.
36 megapixel pictures make for ENORMOUS files. Yeah storage space is cheaper than it used to be but I have to be veeery picky about what I'm willing to keep.
A grip is a good thing.
I still need to SLOOOOW DOOOWN!
Shooting gymnastics below 1/500 of a second will produce blurry pictures. I can go as low as 1/320 on beam but below that it's a giant mess.
Equipment helps but it's not a slam dunk. You still need an eye and skill to capture that elusive perfect picture.
My true sweet spot is sports photography. Landscapes and portraiture are nice but I LOVE getting the shot of the day when someone makes the winning basket or that touchdown or the back handspring. Those were my favorite shots all year.
And last but not least: My husband and my friends have been extremely supportive of my mission. Thank you everyone who allowed me to shoot them this year. Without subjects, my pictures would be pretty boring. And thank you all my loyal readers (I think I may have 3) who have followed me on my year long journey.
Where do I go from here?
Stay tuned to find out!
As outdoorsey as Dana and Eyal are, they had, oddly enough, never been to Eno! We decided it was time to introduce them. I don't know why it never occurs to us to go there unless it's cold but, again, we find ourselves hiking around and jumping on rocks when it's about 45 degrees outside. Thankfully, no one fell in.
Eyal and I both brought our big lenses. They are without a doubt the sharpest we own. I busted out my Dewitt strap which Dana laughed at me for but I'm so cool I can pull off un-cool. (I just found out that they aren't made any more so I'm going to cherish mine.)
The first place we stopped was the replica log cabin. The kids took to playing a game where Eyal and I would try to shoot them as they stuck their heads out the windows and doors. They would scream and run away. They spent a good 20 minutes doing this and even recruited another little girl they found there into the game as well. Some of the shots were OK but really because of the lighting, I had to have my shutter speed too slow to capture them.
I managed to get some better pics of them once we were outside. I've played with them all in LR but except for a few instances which will be obvious, I didn't do too much.
Several years ago, back when I was first working for Total Rehab, I was seeing a few patients in Durham. One of them was a wonderful family who lived in an amazing old Tudor style house on the golf course. I discharged her just before Christmas and as a gift, the family gave me this beautiful glass Santa. It's very heavy and I always make sure I'm the one who hangs it on the tree so I'm sure it's on a good stable branch and won't go crashing to the floor. It's one of my favorite ornaments. I think it's the look in Santa's eyes that does it for me.
Yes, you are seeing this correctly. This is my picture of the day. There is a story behind it:
Eyal, Dana and the kids came over to do some trip planning and so Guy and I could watch the VT bowl game together. He wore his Hokie shirt and I wanted to get a picture of the 2 of us. I know my camera has a timer on it but I haven't tried it out yet. I assumed it'd be simple, just like on my previous cameras. I was wrong. This is the type of picture you get when you don't read the instruction manual and try to just wing it. It went off as I was reaching for it. The situation had us all in hysterics. I never did figure out how to make it work. I'll have to do that so I'm not working on the fly next time.
In case you were wondering, yes, Tech won in OT. Terrible game, neither side had much offense. But, a win's a win. I'll take it. Go Hokies!
With all the drama, illness, travel and gymnastics we were dealing with this fall, I never got a chance to do proper Christmas pictures. The girls very obligingly donned their Christmas outfits for me this morning and allowed me to shoot a few pictures. I tried to use my SB600 as a slave and bounce it but with our vaulted ceilings, it simply wasn't working so I had to abandon that and use it on camera. I used my soft box but the shadows were still a bit harsh. I did a little adjustment in LR post (including turning this one to B&W).
ISO100, 50mm, f5.0, 1/80
I originally wanted to get them in front of the fireplace. The light and space was just not working. I managed to get a few but wasn't really happy with any of them. The stockings, which I was hoping would add holiday festiveness just ended up being distracting.
This one may have been a little better but Macy was slouching.
I had to play with this one a little in post but it's the best one I have have Delaney. I think I'll have it printed and use it for her Christmas picture for the year.
Macy has taken to making this really obnoxious face when I ask her to smile lately. Therefore, getting a decent picture of her is nearly impossible. I'll take what I can get, I suppose.
After the pics were over, we were mobbed by girls again. Morgan and Ashelynn came over for a playdate and we had our typical 4 so it was quite the afternoon. Chicken strips and pineapple for lunch and everyone was happy.
Since we gave the girls the TV and Santa was kind enough to bring the futon, we upgraded the playroom again. We brought the Wii up there and my parents gave them the game, Dance Dance Revolution. It's actually a lot of fun. Today was a cold and rainy day so it was a perfect day for all the girls to dance the day away.
Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a dog in a Santa suit! Floyd was all tuckerd out after a hectic morning. The girls were up at 3:30. Thank goodness for their "sneak peak" and letter which reminds them that Mommy and Daddy don't get up until 7:00. Not that we really slept much after hearing their scampering feet but didn't I hear somewhere that just laying in bed gives you about 80% of the benefit of actual sleep? Anyway, here are the rest of the pics:
Another Christmas tradition: Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's. The kids open presents from Gammy and usually each other but this year, since we were giving Molly and Ben the same thing we were giving our own kids, we worked it out to do that tomorrow. The kids were happy with their Airzookas though.
From a photographic standpoint, this demonstrates a benefit of shooting RAW. Notice Mandy's terribly distorted face in the upper right hand corner? If I'd shot in RAW, I'd have been able to click the Lens Correction button and that would have been fixed. As it is, I shot in JPG and there is no ability to do that easily and certainly no way I know of.
As I mentioned a few days ago, Macy had a bit of a meltdown when we were out looking at lights the other night so we had to go home rather than hitting the last stop on our tour. Therefore, we decided to stop by on our way home from Chapel Hill. It's almost as impressive as Happyland but has the added benefit of being allowed to get out of the car.
As many of you know, on days when there is no school, we tend to have at least 4 girls around. The K girls practically have been living here over break. They come over around 10am and Rob comes to get them around 5pm. When it's nice out, they all play outside but if it's cold or rainy, they come in. We regularly feed them lunch and a few snacks throughout the day. Today they were asking for food mid-afternoon so I busted out the banans and got a picture of the monkeys. Yeah, I know, DOF issues again and you may wonder why there are 2 sticks of deodorant on the kitchen counter. The answers are: 1) I was quickly shooting a snapshot and these kids move FAST. I didn't have time to perfect the settings or I'd have missed the shot altogether. 2) The girls just emptied their lockers and this is where they dumped the contents. Yes, I have asked them to remove it but not the requisite 17 times yet. They will get there....
It's a family tradition: every year we hop in the car and drive around Cary looking for the best holiday lights displays we can find. We've come across several great spots to which we return every year. The one above is the Allen's house just outside downtown Cary. We know they are the Allens because a sign out front says, "Merry Christmas! From the Allens." They and the house next door are the only 2 houses on the street with anything approaching a display but they are around the corner from Melanie Ct which is an entire cul-de-sac that participates!!! I wonder if when one sells a house in that cul-de-sac if that needs to be mentioned in the disclosure section?
We get out of the car and take our time checking out the fabulousness:
I like to get a picture of both girls but this year, disaster struck as we were pulling up: the bracelet that my mother had sent Macy broke. There was no recovering from that and she spent the entire time crying in the car. So, I got a pic of Delaney and KC instead.
We also go to Happyland Christmas Lights off of Penny Road. He starts decorating in October and they are up starting Thanksgiving through New Year. He doesn't accept any donations to offset the expense, he just enjoys spreading the cheer!
Unfortunately for him, he has a grump neighbor who regularly calls the police. People drive from all over the area to come see this display and he lives in a small neighborhood. You can imagine the traffic gets to be a little irritating but according to Happy (as I've decided to call him) this grump will call the police 2-3 times a week if he even suspects someone has gotten out of the car to look at the lights. The police are obligated to respond but every time, they assure Happy he hasn't done anything wrong. I believe he was actually brought to court last year but won the right to continue his display. Sadly though, it means we can't get out of the car. We have to drive by and hang out the window to get pictures.
I'm a mother of 2 girls living in NC. I've dabbled in photography on and off but really this is just for fun