Saturday, December 22, 2007

Early Christmas in Tennessee

We decided to go up to visit Chris's family in Tennessee for Christmas this year. So we went up last weekend instead of this one because the plane tickets were much cheaper. All you travelers out there know how this goes. It was nice to get up there and have it actually feel like winter. It stays relatively warm down in Florida and it never fully feels like the winter that I always grew up with in Northern Virginia. But I took the opportunity to take a couple Christmasy pictures of the decorations at Chris's Dad and Stepmom's house. Look closely, its a self portrait!

When it was time for presents, I couldn't have looked anymore surprised when this present was given to Chris's dad:

My first thought was, what did I marry into?! Then I realized my dad would probably like to receive the same thing! For those that would like an explanation without too much detail, it is a tool used for deer hunting... and we'll leave it at that. If you'd like to try and top that as the most unusual holiday gift, leave a comment. =)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Causeway at Night

One night last week I left work a little later than I normally do, and it was just a few minutes after the sun had set. This makes for a pleasant drive since I'm not staring into the sun =) Anyway, I realized for once that I was a prepared photographer and actually had both my borrowed tripod and my camera in the car with me! So I swung by the causeway, which has become a very familiar place to take pictures (my previous sunset pictures and Trash the Dress session with my wedding photographer). It was a really great time to take pictures of the bridge because the colorful sky was still light enough to see, but it was also dark enough for the street lights to turn on and to see their reflection in the water. Take a look!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just another reason I love Florida.

As I was leaving work on Friday I had to hurry so I could make it to the causeway before the sun went down. I got there just in time to capture these beautiful shots across the Tampa Bay. I see this view on my way home from work just about every day. Most days I get annoyed because the sun is right in that place where your sun visor can't reach low enough. But then when I stop to really enjoy it, I realize just how great it is to be living in this paradise.

Sadly I couldn't capture the temperature outside when I took these pictures either. It was that perfect cool breeze that wasn't too cold, but kept me from sweating as I fast-walked to the end of the strip of causeway that I was on, so I could take pictures of the bridge before the sun went down. After I realized I had walked about a mile I decided it was time to head back to the car before it got pitch dark out. One of these days I'm going to find a closer parking spot and get a few shots of the bridge at night.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The mystery of fortune telling.

I sure hope there is no truth to fortune telling. At least for the fortunes that you get in your fortune cookies with take out Chinese food.

I don't know how they ever let this one into the production line. I mean really, what are the chances that this would even apply... its gotta be way less than 50%. And of course I get it and my husband gets the one about how smart and wonderful and successful you are. That about sums up my luck with luck. At least it is positive. =)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Holiday Time Memories

On my way home from work last night I noticed a special holiday decoration on top of the hospital, that reminded me of my four wonderful years in Knoxville, TN. There was a pole with a string of lights stretched from the top down to the roof on many different sides so it formed a Christmas tree. It immediately brought me back to all the holiday seasons in Knoxville where many buildings, even the tallest ones, would have these on their roofs in an array of colors. I would notice these as I got back into town from Christmas vacation, and while I was away from my family at home, it always made me feel like I had made it back "home". So it was a great feeling to see that lone tree of lights on top of the hospital last night. =)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Brandi, my professional model

My neighbor-friend Brandi was nice enough to be my personal model on Saturday so I could get more familiar with photographing people. We went to a park in Tarpon Springs during the brightest part of the day because we had to be back home in time to watch Tennessee lose to LSU... but anyway, we found a couple shaded spots where we struggled to find some decent lighting... I'm glad she is so good looking! Thanks Brandi, and I look forward to more of our photo outings. =)

One day I need to figure out how to make these photos show up larger on the blog since you really need to see them larger to appreciate them, hehe.

*Ok I figured out how to make them bigger, woohoo!

This one was overexposed a bit so I used it as a chance to make an artistic photo =)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trip to DC

For Thanksgiving my husband and I went up to visit my family in NoVa. We flew in early on Wednesday to avoid all the travelers and it worked out really well. The only downside was waking up at 3am to catch our flight. Once we got up there we decided to go straight to DC and do some sightseeing. It has been years since I got to do all that. We saw the Holocaust Museum, the National Archives, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and of course the Washington Monument (the pencil) that can be seen from pretty much anywhere in DC. The temperature was perfect in the low 70s.

Of course I had to take some pictures of the monuments and used my family as test subjects for some cute pictures with the fall foliage.

Michael and Maggie


Love this seal on the floor of one of the pillars of the WW2 Memorial.

WW2 Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.

WW2 Memorial fountains.

Washington Monument with the reflecting pool. I've never seen this!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Clearwater Beach

I spend almost every weekend out at Clearwater Beach, and what a beautiful place for pictures. Since I have an injured elbow, I'm taking a break from volleyball for a while so I went out on Sunday and took some pictures instead. I have always wanted to take pictures from the top of the Memorial Bridge that takes you over to the beach, and the weather was so gorgeous! There was a nice cool breeze at the top of the bridge and I could've stayed up there for hours. I also took some at the beach, under Pier 60.

I'm looking forward to a trip to DC on Wednesday so hopefully I'll be able to catch some good shots there as well. It looks like we'll have nice weather with highs in the 70s, then by the weekend we'll have to deal with the cold 40s. I'm sure I'll be ready to get back to warmer weather after 2 days of that!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Big Learning Curve

So I lied. I decided to go back to manual today. I figure I can learn a lot more about photography and how to control my exposure if I use the manual setting on my camera. I drove around the quaint little town of Safety Harbor today and found a park down by the water to take some pictures. A lot of learning did happen today. For starters, I relearned the fact that it is really hard to see your LCD in the blaring sunlight which in turn makes it hard to figure out how to adjust settings.

There sure is a big learning curve for photography. You can read all the books you want but things don't really come together until you get out there and start using your camera. Even then it takes a lot of practice. I have really acquired a new found respect for all those photographers out there shooting manual. I thought once you knew what changing your aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and zoom meant, that you could just figure it out from there. Nonetheless, I'll keep trying. We have so much water around here that really is beautiful, but it's too much to fit in one picture without making it too busy.

For this reason, I'm looking forward to taking more people pictures. It's easier to decide what to focus on. I'm going home to visit family for Thanksgiving so I should have a lot of agreeable subjects.

Who doesn't love palm trees?
Just so I know what time of day I was out.

Shooting toward the sun to add difficulty level.
The water reflections are fun tho.
A view of Tampa across the bay... with a purple tint.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Photo Op with Armin

Yesterday was a very eventful day. My greatest photography inspiration, Armin, so graciously took a day out of his vacation to come take photographs for me and a couple of my friends. First we took pictures in a beautiful backyard on the water, then drove over to a beach. Once I got out of the car I realized that my dress was getting pretty dirty. That is when we made the decision to "Trash the Dress". First my friends Keith and Dena had their photoshoot with Armin. I took a couple pictures, but tried to stay out of the way of Armin.

Then it was time for my session. I am anxiously waiting to see how the pictures turned out. Armin is going to post them on his blog as soon as he processes them. Keith took a few pics too. So this is just a preview of the rest of the dress trashing.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Too early for manual...

So I took my lunch break yesterday to go to downtown Tampa and take some photos along the river. Despite it being really bright around noon I took some pictures of the University of Tampa from across the Hillsborough River... needless to say, they didn't turn out well. It was very bright in the sky and the buildings with their signature minarets were all in the shadows. But there was a cute riverwalk that I explored with a couple bridges. I think the coolest things I saw were the birds. I had fun photographing them.

My other problem is that I decided to shoot manual just to see how things would turn out... I guess they invented automatic for a reason. I am not ready to start getting into that much control yet. I got this new camera and I'm going to let it do most of the work for me from here on out. =)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Best shot yet!

I know I had to have looked pretty funny trying to get this shot but it's the best one yet. With my left hand stretched out as far away from me as I could, and struggling to hold on to the big camera with the heavy lens, I only got a couple shots. Thankfully this one turned out. Its the best picture of my ring that I've gotten to date. You can actually see the cuts in the diamond for the most part. The only thing I did was crop the image. I tried to sharpen it to see if the cuts would be even more pronounced and it just looked strange. So here it is!

PS - Pictures of hands this close up are pretty creepy IMO so that is why it needed to be cropped.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Later that night.

So I went back to R.E. Olds Park later tonight and took some more shots. I got to correct some of the exposure mistakes I made earlier and found some new things to take pics of. I also got to capture the sky as the sun set. This might have been more fun if there were clouds, but I guess you work with what ya got.

Photography isn't as easy as it looks...

So I tested out my new camera today for the first time. I went to a park in Oldsmar that is right near part of the Tampa Bay. It was a beautiful day for being outside since the temperature has dipped into the 70s. The park had a beautiful view of the Tampa Bay, some really cool trees, a dock, a bunch of picnic areas, and a playground. So there were a bunch of photo opportunities for still objects. I obviously have a lot to learn when it comes to exposure, but I'd like to think that I might not have quite as much to learn in the composition department =)

The view is really beautiful.

This is a cool stone wall I found to test out the aperture setting.

I liked the manatee sign.
Wooden dock. Sadly there were a lot of bird droppings.
These trees were really cool. And the sky was so gorgeous.
This is just a bridge in the distance.
More cool stone.
Small depth of field with the trees. Also some over exposure in the background.
Love the wood chips. Still playing with DOF.
Still overexposed. The effect is kinda cool tho.
More overexposure and I'm sad cause this looked cool thru the view finder.
I left out most of the 161 pictures that I took. I got stuck on the wrong ISO for way too long and it ruined a good handfull of them. One of my neighbors has volunteered to be my guinea pig for shooting portraits too, so that is on the list of photos to try soon.

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