• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
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Spinning

Life feels a little bit overwhelming. There’s just so much going on right now. At school I just got some awesome new equipment that makes me love teaching again. I’m swamped in a good way with wedding photos to edit for my photography business. At home we’re still wading through the terribly dramatic twos. My sister’s getting married soon. Sometimes I feel a little bit dizzy from everything -like that feeling of spinning around until the world looks like a blur. It’s a happy but stressful way to live. The days just sort of blur together.

So I’ve been trying to step back from the chaos. Bri and I have been going for bike rides after school. Hubster and I have been chilling on the couch when I would normally be absorbed by the computer. And I’ve made an effort to reconnect with my girl friends. It’s been so nice to slow down again and enjoy life.

Day 3 ~ Twinkle Lights

Today I took a self portrait in front of the Christmas tree. I used my 50mm f1.8 lens which has a really shallow depth of field. I wanted most of the image to be blurry except my face. Problem? It’s hard to use your eyeball to focus on your own eyeball. I got pretty close. Here’s how I did it!

First I set up my camera on a stool so that it was approximately eye level with me when I was sitting on the ground. Then I used one of Bri’s new toys (I’m in the middle of wrapping presents over here) on a similar stool to focus in on. I set the focus to be sharpest on the number 24.

Then I hit the auto-timer setting and scooted over to push the play-doh stool out of the way. I tried to line up my eyes with the spot where the 24 had been. And here is the result:

My bangs were more in focus than my eyes, but I liked the twinkle so much that I didn’t care. I think my smile looks a little weird in this one but it was the second runner up:

Day 2 ~ Treat

Today’s seven day theme was “treat.” I know I’m going to sound so spoiled, but it took me most of the day to pick out a treat for this shot. I had an abundance of options but I couldn’t pick one!

Hubster finally suggested that we go get hot fudge sundaes and rent some movies. That made my ears perk up! So we headed over to *Bruster’s ~ much to Bridoodle’s delight! She loves ice cream!

It was too cold outside to play for very long. Hubster was only patient enough to let me set the auto-timer twice. I was pretty proud of myself for being able to get the shot that fast. Usually I toss out dozens of outtakes.

Did I mention that I have the best family ever? I think setting up the shot was the real treat!

*And just in case you’re curious, I didn’t receive any type of compensation for this post. I don’t do reviews. I just like capturing life as we live it.

tiny moment amidst a busy day

Today I did my first staged wedding shoot. It’s the first step of a giant project for the premiere wedding venue in my small town. I was positively giddy when I discovered a few weeks ago that I’d gotten the green light for the job. My twitter peeps may remember a secret that I was bursting to share. This was it.

So many things were up in the air for the shoot, including the weather. There were several days when I thought we’d have to (insert screaching brake sounds) post. pone. I had several models cancel for various reasons. But the day came together and went off with only one major hiccup. My very nice, external flash that I paid full price for a month ago (grrr…) decided not to work today. I have a feeling that it will sort itself out, but we didn’t get any of the indoor pictures that I’d planned to capture.

My favorite moment of the day: Bridoodle was traipsing around the gorgeously restored old mansion in her flower girl finery. She was singing one of her favorite songs as she skipped and hopped through the room. A sweet grandmotherly lady asked, “Is she singing Jesus loves me?” I blushed, “No… err… she’s singing ‘You’ll do it. You’ll use the potty. It’s a song from Sesame Street.'” Still giggling about that!

lost in the beauty of it all

I’m having a hard time finding a place in the Flickr-verse. On Twitter I feel comfortable. If I show up then I can chat comfortably with 500 of my closest friends. If I take a two month leave of absence, no one misses me. Facebook also feels like home. I know lots of people and it’s fun to check in on them at my convenience. It’s a great way to waste time when I should be folding laundry or doing the dishes. (Kind of like blogging ;o)

But Flickr, oh Flickr. I have a hard time there. My little networks have either fizzled out or grown ginormous. It’s not comfortable anymore. I don’t have a niche.

There’s also something about Flickr that brings out the insecure high school girl in me. “Oh that picture is breath-taking. I’ll never shoot anything as good as that. I should just take down my photography website. I stink.”

I’ve seen the camaraderie of the 365 group and it is alluring. It always amazes me when someone has 20 or more comments on a Flickr photo. But I struggle to make it through one run of 7days. How could I possibly take and edit a year’s worth of photos in addition to all that I’m already doing?

I’ve also seen people who add each and every photo that they take to twenty or so groups. I guess that does increase the number of comments that you’ll get but it seems a little strange to me. Like a combination of cheating and grandiose thinking.

I’d like to find a group where my pictures don’t seem to be swallowed up in a sea of gorgeous pictures. I want to find a small enough group where I can comment on everyone’s stuff without being swamped. I’d really like to find a group that challenges me without making me feel like a horrible photographer. Does that exist? Have you found something like that? Let me in on your secrets!

doesn’t everybody?

Some of you noticed in an earlier post that I took Bri’s picture on top of a coffee table in the middle of our driveway. Doesn’t everybody do that? Well, lest you think that I’m crazier than I really am, let me explain. No, let me sum up.

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My parents gave us a coffee table set when we were newlyweds. It was perfect for our tiny apartment, next to our free sofa that we picked up off the curb. A few years later, we upgraded to a new house and big pretty sofas. The coffee table suddenly became too small. So it went into storage along with the end tables that match it.

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This past weekend I finally decided we should get rid of the set. I decided to sell them on craigslist but I was too lazy to post a picture. An interested buyer e-mailed me asking for a picture. So I made Hubs get them out of the garage for me. We wiped them down so that I could photograph them. It seems that Bri had other plans though! She thought they were new toys!

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She was so excited about them that I decided not to sell them. In fact I’m going to take them out on my next photo shoot! Who knew I had such great props just sitting around in my garage all this time?

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kit-kat post

I had to think of something clever for this post title, because my original idea would have made you hit “mark already read” in your feed reader. You can go ahead and do that if you want!

I’m sitting at home in a quiet house all by myself for the next few minutes. Today was a rainy gray day and I got soaked on the way to the car, so I decided to indulge myself with some alone time at home. I changed into jeans before grabbing the computer. It’s eerily quiet around here.

Every day after school I stop by the daycare to pick up Bri on my way home from work. Then we go on to do our normal errands or we go home. It seems like I melt seamlessly from one role (teacher) into the next (mother) and the next (wife) and the next (photographer). I rarely stop to just be me.

So today I thought I’d take a thirty minute break. And it was fun. It’s nice to know that I still like myself, because I don’t get to spend much time with just me anymore!

Murder and Mayhem and Memories

Last weekend, Hubs and I had a little holiday at home. We took Bri to stay with her Mimi and Gampa, so that we could attend a party. The party was a costume party set in the 1920’s that included a full murder-mystery plot.

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We were each assigned various characters. Meet Guilda – the innocent wife of the Mafia boss’s accountant.

 

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And here’s the mayor. He’s on the mafia’s payroll. Don’t say that I told you so!

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At the party, the lights flickered out and someone was “shot” in the dark. (It sounded more like a high heeled shoe slamming down.) We spent the rest of the evening pointing fingers, claiming our own innocence and discovering dirty secrets about the other characters at the party.

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Secret affairs and marriages were brought to light. As well as dirty money and threats of blackmail.

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Did I mention that the food was delicious? Yum!

 

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And the setting was lovely. It was the Grand Opening of the new speakeasy – a gin joint owned by a couple known for their houses of ill-repute.

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And our hostess herself, was a doll. She and I had so much fun capturing photos for the party.

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She made sure that I got in front of the lens every once in awhile too. We had a blast! Can’t wait to do it again.

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two truths and a lie

School’s back in session, so I’m up to my old tricks. Namely lying to my students. You know, like telling them that they’ll learn stuff that will actually be useful in the real world. Of course! Because I’m sure you remember Avogadro’s number and how to balance chemical equations and all. Right? You use that every day. Uh huh.

So I break them in slowly. With a game. I had an even better version of two truths and a lie for my students this year. It’s probably going to be painfully obvious to y’all. But here they are.

1. I shot over 35 people this summer.

2. I dropped out of law school after two years.

3. My elbow bends backwards.

Which one’s the lie? It’s harder to lie to people who know you. :)

the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel at Night

Because I had to sleep off a migraine on Saturday, I woke up with lots of energy. So after hitting a couple of parties, Bridget and I went down to the Navy Pier for a really fun experience. We met a few of the clydesdale horses that advertise for a beer company. My favorite was Duke.

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wait, actually this one is Duke

As we moved away from the horses, both of us were captivated by the twinkle lights on the ferris wheel.

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Our initial reason for this pilgrimage had been a late dinner. However it turns out that even major tourist attractions draw the line at staying open past mid-night. Since we arrived on the Navy Pier around 11:30pm we were watching everything start to close down.

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We decided to try to ride the ferris wheel before finding some food. (Nothing to upchuck then, know what I mean?) And we bought our tickets three minutes before the ticket window closed for the night.

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We boarded the red gondola with some trepidation. They don’t stop the ferris wheel for you to get on. It’s a moving mount. The upside to that though is that you don’t come to a halt in mid-air (which is the scariest part in my opinion).

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Our bravery paid off though. We both captured amazing shots of the Chicago skyline at night. It was well worth the room service pizza that we ended up ordering for dinner!

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I tried really hard to capture the image below, and I’m very pleased with it. I wanted the bulbs to be in focus and the skyline to be nothing but bokeh. The camera didn’t want to focus on the light bulb for some reason. So there were a lot of outtakes.

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