Saturday, July 31, 2010

Robin Watch - Part cinco (that's #5 btw)

Bitty baby robin

Remember baby robin? That post was only 9 days ago. Look at baby robin now! Sadly the other 2 eggs never hatched so they disappeared. Apparently, getting 100% of momma and daddy's attention makes you grow even faster and fatter! I'm expecting this one to leave the nest any day now.

I'm contemplating feeding Tanner chewed up worms and see what happens.



(just kidding, lighten up!)

Band Booster cards are in!

If you are not local, don't look at this post, it will make your eyes bleed from jealousy.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


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Dearest local friends. Tanner is in band again this year and they are raising money to march in Washington DC. If you are needing one of the Spoofhoud band booster cards this year, please email me, and I'll send Tanner over to terrorize you eat your food lovingly sell you a card that you can use at 18 local businesses repeatedly. I've used them before and saved more than $10 in my first week.

Cards are good for one year.

Tips for Momtographers - big scene, small lens

Huge sunset behind my house


Every once in a while, you'll run across a situation where you really want to capture something huge and beautiful. That might be a sunset, the grand canyon, a redwood tree, or your nosey neighbor's butt.

scratch that.
(the suggestion, not the butt. yuck)

I found myself outside yesterday, with a camera, a beautiful sunset and a lens that wasn't wide enough to capture it all. In fact, the widest of wide lenses that I own, would have never captured the expanse of sky. So, I did the next best thing, I took several photos and stitched them together.

You can do this too! It's easy!

First, I will explain it if you have a DSLR. You need to set your focus on manual (infinity in most situations). You will also need to shoot in full manual, *including color balance*. Your color balance may shift between images making it harder to stitch them together. I forgot that part above and you can slightly tell where my stitching was. It's ok, I'm not hanging it in an art gallery.

Next, stand in one spot and shoot, overlapping your photos a bit until you cover the whole scene. If you are shooting something like a building or a tree, etc, you will find that your image may be distorted as you shoot upwards. Go with it! It'll make a cool shot.

Now, if you have a point and shoot, set it on landscape mode (those are the little mountains). If you have a more advanced P&S then you can set your ISO, shutter speed, etc just like a DSLR. Shoot the same way above.

When you get back, open up your photo editing program. There are programs that will stitch the photo together for you but I just do it by hand since it doesn't take me all too long if I only have 3-4 photos. I will create a new canvas that is much larger than I will need and then I copy/paste the images into the new canvas lining up the overlapping photos. If I notice that there is a slight color difference, I'll create a new layer and then adjust my colors or darken/lighten them until they match.

With the above photo, I could see the line where the images overlapped so I used my eraser tool to soften the sharp overlapping photos. I then popped the saturation a bit, and voila! An image that photographs a sky that is at least 5-6 miles wide! I can't capture that with a 35 mm lens.

If you don't have photoshop, try out Gimp which is a very "photo shop like" free download.

For more Tips for Momtographers - Click here or the tag at the bottom of any momotographer post.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I have a couple "dirty little secrets"

I have something I've been hiding, from you, my loyal friends and faithful followers. I've been living this lie, hidden behind closed doors and careful cropping of photos. It's something that has gone on for a full 3 years now (the entire time I've lived here) and now I'm ready to cleanse myself of the awful lie.


The truth is, I've been living with some pretty big messes. You know, things just "happen" and you start living with them. For starters, there's this pile here:

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It's all the wood that we were given about 3 years ago, that will eventually become all of our baseboards. Yes, GIVEN. That's a lot of wood, and it's a whole lotta free too. Did I mention I don't have a garage? I don't have much room to store such things. Soooooo... it ended up (stacked neatly) under my dining room eat in bar. Yep. 3 years I had a pile of wood in my dining room. Sigh. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I seriously am putting off doing baseboards.

It wasn't all that bad really, you get used to seeing it after a while. However when we'd have company over, I'd take this huge tablecloth I have and cover the whole pile. No need to look backwoods if all possible.

However, something happened last weekend. We found a set of 3 (exact amount we needed) pretty bar stools (just what I was looking for) at a garage sale for about 20% of what we were willing to spend. ($75 for 3!) We took that little blessing as a hint and brought them home - one sticking out the sunroof of the jeep.

This was the incentive we needed to get the wood moved. I didn't have time (I was editing some photos) and so Gene did it all by his lonesome. He pulled the jeep up to the dining room window and piled wood in the back. It was quite the sight.

A little sweeping, a little paint, and voila!

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It's like a whole new dining room!

Despite what everyone keeps telling me, I think I'll keep that husband of mine around - at least a while longer.


Now the second big secret is way worse. Oh, it wasn't hidden, in fact, you could pretty much see it from space.


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Yep.. I have a shed in my backyard that is out there for the "whole world" to see.

Long story short, long before I got here, there was a fire. The owners replaced the garage "temporarily" with a refrigerated semi trailer. Before the new garage was built, his mom passed away and they decided to move instead - leaving the trailer behind.

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Yes, every single day I'm greated with "Scotlad foods" logo. Tanner finally figured out that there's a guy playing the bagpipes on there too. The back of it is spray painted "Maryville Sucks". Somedays I agree with that sentiment, but for the most part, I think it's there to make the farmers say "wtf" when they plant beans or somesuch.

The people that bought the house from the original owners did nothing. Well, nothing isn't exactly right. They cooked meth in it. Oh, and mummified cats and had sadistic rituals. I'm kidding about the cats and rituals part - I hope. The meth part is true.

I mean, their taste was good. It LOOKS like it should be a nice place to cook up some meth.

I really felt the need to apologize for it every. single. time. someone came out here. And well, I do apologize, and I think Scotlad foods needs to apologize too. And the meth cookers.

One day while watching the chickens I said in front of Gene and Tanner "That embarasses the hell out of me" and that's all it took for Tanner. Within a few days, without me asking, he went out in 90 degree heat to paint the trailer. We just so happened to have 4 gallons of paint given to us by the in-laws, left over from a project from the other in-laws and by golly, paint is a beautiful thing.

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Oh it's not beautiful. But it certainly doesn't make me want to bury a body under it anymore either. Oh wait...... Nah, Gene has been pretty good today. You'll even notice that the electric that was running to the "shed" is gone. It ruined so many great photos. That electric now runs to the chicken coop so the chickies can have their very own fan.

Yes they are spoiled, you ask because???

So there you have it. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Kinda....

I have one more, and when that gets disposed of, I'll show you before and after of that one too. Everyone is dragging their feet on that one, so there'll be a party when it's done.

you're all invited.

Meet Thelma

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{Can't a girl get a little privacy?}

Thelma
aka
"ya old cow!"

Likes: cracked corn, early mornings, scratching in the grass, pecking her underlings
Dislikes: Her underlings

  • Thelma can often be found stealing food from her "friends" or laying eggs.
  • She's a Libra with an passion for earthworms.
  • She likes long walks in the yard - alone.
  • She's named after Thelma from "Thelma and Louise" with the same sort of spunky attitude.
  • Makes great eggs with no desire to raise a family.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Senior Feature - Morgan

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Meet Morgan. I had the pleasure of photographing this funny and beautiful senior just yesterday.

Morgan's dad was in my graduating class. Morgan's mom was a year or two younger than myself. Yes, we're all old. Yes, I feel old. Morgan is also my senior rep from my old school and really into doing "out there" kind of pictures.

This makes me *a very happy photographer*.



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We spent a lot of time laughing over old school senior photos, and well, just laughing.



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And sadly also a raiders fan. Sigh.
I don't think there's any changing that.



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My favorite photo so far of the shoot was the one above. It wasn't planned, it just sort of happened and those are my favorite ones of all.

We actually have a second shoot coming up soon. Morgan has agreed to do a Trash the Prom Dress session (YAY!) so you will be seeing a lot more of this girl! Good thing she's so cute, so it won't be a difficult issue for any of us.

Out with the old!

Sometime in May, we got a big bee in our bonnet and made the unfortunate mistake of walking into a furniture store.

Bees, Bonnets and new furniture rarely mix. Bad stuff happens.

Before you knew it, we were sitting down with swatches and picking out color combinations, and plunking down a deposit with a promise of new furniture in 6-8 weeks.

Great! That gives us 6-8 weeks to ditch the old couch and loveseat. And when I say "ditch" I lovingly mean, "find a new lovely adoptive home to take in our wayward furniture".


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As the date loomed fastly approached, I started to get desperate. I had listed them on a local online classified. No luck. Always an email, never a bridesmaid.

Wait. Always a bridesmaid never a couch.

Something like that.

Then I paid almost $20 for a classified in the newspaper that garnered exactly nothing. My "profit margin" was being slowly eaten away.

Did you know there's a profit margin in used furniture?

Yeah me neither.



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I did the online classified again with a few nibbles but no commitment. Poor couches were getting a downright complex.

We were literally getting it ready to go into the shed, wrapped in plastic, to save for our upcoming garage sale (see the excitement in my voice?) when I got an email saying that she wanted it, and she'd be there that day.

YAY!

So my sad and lonely lil' set found a new home. In a way it was kinda sad to see it go, it was the first furniture Gene and I bought together - even tho it was slightly used when we got it.

Tuesday afternoon, the new dog is in town. It just worked out that it came when my mother and father in law were there to visit.

They didn't mind sitting on carboard boxes in the meantime.

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It's big, and still small. Comfy and cat colored.

The funny part is, it wasn't what I ordered! When I went to look at it, I said "it's lovely, but it's wrong."

The look of panic on his face was discernible. It was supposed to be cream with brown trim. Secretly, I was happy, because after I ordered it, I was worried that the trim would shift over time and would look wavy.

I sit on enough "stuff" that's wavy, I didn't need a wavy couch too.

Reordering was discussed. 6-8 weeks.
Sigh

I suggested an "appearance allowance" and before you know it, the price got smaller. So in the end, I got the couch I probably should have bought in the first place, for less money. And that, my friend, is why I wonder if God doesn't look over this little NW Missouri fool.

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The loveseat became a "chair and ottoman" and it seems so strange how these to simple things can change the entire feel of a room. These little things have finally started to take this house and turn it into *our* home.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wish I may, wish I might....

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Star Light, Star Bright
First star I see tonight.
I wish I may,
I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.
Hmmm..
No.
I could.. erm.... uh.
Nope.. I got nothing. Pretty darn happy with this lil' life I have right now.
{OK, if you persist,
I would like to have a much smaller butt, if that's on the table.}
***Company tomorrow, MIL/FIL is coming to visit. Got so much stuff done I needed to, then a senior shoot Tuesday evening.. then, a little calm interjected back into my world. Past 10 days has been stressful.

Monday, July 26, 2010

That's right, I'm cool

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Exciting news! Well, for me anyway.

Every once in a while, PW has a contest of a different theme here and there. There was dogs, and then cats, America, greeen, and 1400 other ones. All of which I have entered at some point. Usually, I have SOMETHING that might work. Once in a while, I don't really have anything so I pout and lay on the floor and have a big fit.

Well not really, but mentally I am.

However, there's finally a contest I can really sink my teeth into... or um, soak my feet in. The above photo was chosen as a semi-finalist in Pioneer Woman's "Water" photo contest.

I'm pretty much 100% positive that I won't win, but it's still cool finally seeing one of my photos up there considering there are literally thousands entered each contest, and only around 50-75 get picked to get featured.

Heck yeah.
Go me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Abbey and Anthony get married! Omaha Wedding Photographer

This post has been around 18 months in the making. I'm happy to finally be sharing these photos with you.

I want to introduce you to Abbey and Anthony.

A REALLY LONG time ago, I got this email. I wish I still had it, I would share with you, it was on my old computer that is currently on sabbatical. It said basically, "I'm getting married in Maryville, I have a photographer but I need to know where to have a reception."

Now, I know a lot of photographers that would have blown off this email, but I didn't. Cuz I'm nice like that ;) So I wrote her back, and told her the few places I knew, and told her if she decided she needed a photographer, to let me know.

Long story short, we emailed back and forth, and she decided that she'd like to have someone shoot for them, that wasn't just a good friend. We sat up a meeting and hit it off immediately. Abbey reminds me of me in ways, in fact, her family reminds me of the type of family you'd find me in. I'm kinda wondering if I'm not really her slightly older sister. :)

(her mom had me when she was 7. Yeah.)

Anthony is actually from an area where a lot of my relatives are. In fact, he knows my cousin's daughter. All this is weird considering that this place is over 3 hours from here.

The deal was done. We were all a match and I would be shooting her photos. We friended each other on facebook and each time I would upload a wedding, Abbey would comment and tell me how much she loved the photos and told me how she couldn't wait to see HER photos.

And so... here it is, a year and a half later, and here are her photos.



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You're going to see someone else here, that I know you've seen before. Remember Tacheny and JT? Well, I shot their wedding in December (which I think I need to share those photos yet!), Abbey and Tacheny are best friends, and she found me because of Abbey.



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I love the juxtaposition of the ring of a married woman, helping a new bride get ready for her day. This time it's Tacheny...


.... and this time it's her mom:

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This is a little "artistic flair" added to a photo that I marginally liked, but playing with it, loved.





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This is Anthony, and I think really is a good representation of the type of person he is. He laughs a lot, he makes Abbey laugh more. They are a wonderful match.

Even my husband is impressed by him, and trust me, my husband is rarely impressed by the youth of today.


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The funny thing is, over all this time, Abbey and Anthony have become friends too. This happens frequently, especially when you have a lot of time to get to know each other. These two are special, they are funny happy people, and their day ended up being like shooting a friend's wedding. I kinda felt bad charging them for it. lol.


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This shot was a reinactment of one we did in their engagement photos months ago. This was Abbey's favorite, and she used it for all their save the date cards.


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Funny story, this was supposed to be my wedding cake!! No really!
I saw it in a wedding magazine before we were married and I think I even clipped it out. SAME COLORS. I was happy that *someone* got to have it anyway. I don't think I even got a piece of it. *sigh*



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She was one of the cake ladies, and I fell in love with her feather. She had to tell me to stop taking photos.

Really.



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They were singing "my mom" instead of "my girl".
What sweet boys.
What a lucky mom!



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This is where I got teary-eyed. I can't remember the song that dad and Abbey danced to, but by the end of the song, every single person in the room was singing along. I don't think I've ever even heard the song, but it was so pretty and sweet to hear one more, then one more, until everyone was singing along.

I need to stop, I'm teary-eyed again!

I'm such a pushover for weddings. LOL



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Just like Tacheny's wedding, NO ONE was scared to get out and dance, or *sing*. It was so fun and the dance floor was packed. Probably because Abbey and Tacheny and well, all their families combined are singers, actors, dancer types.

(I'm telling you, I was such a drama/speech nerd in high school.)


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I heard the news the other day, that soon they are moving to Omaha. I will admit that I'm a little sad that I won't run into them at the store or the local mexican place anymore. Onward and upward!

Congrats you two. I'm glad you picked me, and you still had a friend take your photos after all.

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