Monday, July 27, 2009

DIY Macro Studio

This weekend my husband and I attempted to make a home-made macro studio. It was fun, but actually harder than I was expecting. We did it all for under $10 though, which is the best part. I think the biggest problem was that we didn't have the right kind of lights to use, so we just used flash lights! It worked alright, but it was not ideal. First, we cut holes in three sides of a cardboard box, we covered each side with white tissue paper and put black poster board on the inside to use as a back drop. Check out for more detailed information on how to make one.

I took some pictures of my great grandmother's purple glass bowl. She lived in Phoenix, AZ and would turn clear glass purple by leaving it outside in the sun. I don't think they make glass like that anymore! I think the hardest part of using this light box was not getting reflections from the surrounding environment. This one turned out alright though, let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rain Drops on Roses

Recently posted this on the World in Black and White. It's a nice blog, you should check it out!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Macro Studio

The other day I tried to make my own little macro photography studio using a black table. I don't think it worked out so well, but it was fun trying. Afterwards, my husband had the idea to make a DIY light box or macro studio. I thought that was a great idea, so at some point this week we are going to try it out. I will let you know how it goes!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography seems fun and interesting so I thought I'd read up about it and see what helpful hints I could find. I found a few and thought I would share them with you! Check out this article for more information. It suggests going to places where animals have become accustomed to humans in order to get closer to them, especially if you don't have a zoom lens. The other day, I stumbled upon these ducks in a pond, that were obviously accustomed to humans feeding them. I, unfortunately, didn't have any food for them, but that didn't stop them from trying!

Secondly, the article suggests getting low to the ground, or even laying on your stomach to get artistic photos. I tried to get as low as I could without laying down.

Another article mentions that you have to be fast in setting up and framing your shots. It is a good idea to practice taking pictures of moving objects before going out in the field. I thought this pond was a safe place to practice! And it is hard to get good shots of moving objects! Keep the sun at your back and keep your camera ready for unexpected encounters. This article also suggests having a telephoto lens so that you can get good shots, without getting too close to your subjects.

I don't have one yet, but perhaps once I learn more and get better I will consider looking into one. I think my next photography related purchase needs to be a tripod! What I've learned is that photographing wildlife is hard! It's always on the move and you have to be patient, or take a million shots before getting one good one. Being patient and being lucky seem to be pretty important with this type of photography. It is fun and exciting to try though and hopefully I can keep getting better at it!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Dreams

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Huntington Gardens

The cactus gardens make you forget you're in the middle of Pasadena, CA!

Above you can see that the agapanthus are in full bloom!

Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, CA is a beautiful place! I highly recommend checking it out. It is a little pricey....but well worth it. There are acres and acres of different gardens from botanical to cactus and japanese to chinese. There is a wonderful little tea room in the rose garden, but make reservations because it can get super crowded! The chinese garden is new, and growing! There is a new, affordable and adorable dim sum restaurant which I cant wait to try! The agapanthus flowers are in full bloom right now and they are beautiful. You can keep checking back on their website to see what is blooming, so each time you go it will be a completely different experience. If anything, Huntington Gardens is a great place to spend the day and photograph anything and everything you see. I loved it and will definitely be going back. For more information, click here! During the summer they provide a space to have lovely evening picnics with live music. You can either bring your own picnic or buy food that they provide, which is different every time they do it. We are going to check it out this weekend and will let you know how it goes!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Lunch Time

These little guys were actually kind of hard to photograph because they were, surprisingly, moving pretty fast to get those Cherrios...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How to Photograph Flowers

The flowers in southern California are so beautiful right now that I thought I would post another "how to" today. I wanted to share some tips that I found helpful when photographing my flowers. Check out some inspirational flower photos here, some of them are absolutely amazing! I hope to be able to get some shots like that someday. Flowers are so delicate and colorful, they are the perfect subject for any aspiring photographer. Plus, they are super easy to find! You can just walk out your door, explore your neighborhood and photograph flowers along the way! Here is a great article that describes the best way to photograph flowers!

Some specific tips include to, first and foremost, plan your picture. Whether it's a macro (close-up) of a flower, or a field of wild flowers spanning across acres. For close-ups you will need to have a macro setting on your camera, or have macro lenses. I have a macro setting, which I used, but I also tried to get up very close to the flower since I have no special lenses yet. (If anyone has any suggestions on affordable macro lenses and filters that would be great!)

Secondly, the focus of the picture is very important. Decide on your focal point, or the part of the flower that you want to be in sharp focus. It could be a petal, stem, stamen or anything you want! Because this is a close-up, the focal point is very important!

Next, many sites recommend using a tripod for perfect pictures, but of course it is possible to do it without one.

In addition, trust your light meter, try for the best light and try to avoid distractions in the background....unless thats what you're going for. All in all, have fun experimenting and maybe you will get some good shots. That's what I tried to do, but after seeing all the amazing pictures of flowers in the link above....I think I have some more work to do :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pasadena's Finest Flowers: My first attempt at a design board

Completed this with a little help from my husband's photoshop skills and a little inspiration from Snippet & Ink's beautiful boards that they do!

Orange Delight

My first flower design board to come soon! Thought I would give you a taste of the shots I took today.

Friday, July 3, 2009

How to Photograph Fireworks

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone!! I'm hoping to get out there tomorrow and try out some new techniques while photographing fireworks and thought I would post some tips that I have found helpful. For two great sites with helpful hints, click on the links below. They have great suggestions depending on what kind of camera you are going to use, whether you have a dSLR or an iPhone!

With a digital SLR they suggest to use a slow shutter speed which means you will also need a tripod (I still dont have one, but hopefully soon!). Get a shutter release cable (I don't have this either....) to reduce any camera shake. Reduce the ISO (film speed) to the lowest level to reduce graininess, turn off auto focus and use an f/stop between f/8 and f/16. Sounds tricky to me, but hopefully I can still try to get some good shots without the tripod and the shutter release cable. Interestingly, for those of us without tripods, here is another hint: Use a faster shutter speed and a higher ISO. You will need to re-adjust your f/stop so that the images wont be too dark. These pictures will be a bit different in that you wont have light trails from your fireworks, but there will be a higher level of detail.
For more tips on using different kinds of cameras like the point and shoot and iPhone, click on the links below! Also, check out this book that has a few pages on how to photograph fireworks
as well as other really great tips. Have a happy 4th!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blog Review: The Menu

Heres another awesome new little blog called The Menu. It's not directly related to photography, but there are some great pics on there as well as very helpful food related information. Check it out here

There is also a really cool photo of a purple sunset in Tucson, AZ. Check that out here! I'm wondering if the purple hues are related to the volcano that erupted in Russia. The article about purple sunsets that were seen throughout the US can be found here. Was anyone else lucky enough to photograph this amazing phenomenon?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Photo Blog: Photography Bay

I love this picture that I found on Photography Bay's blog. It is beautiful and I hope to be able to take pics like this one day! It is a great site with helpful tips and information about photography. Check out their latest post on how to photograph fireworks:

Another post I really liked was how to shoot big cities at night
I hope to get a chance to try out their tips soon! I think my next photography related purchase needs to be a tripod though.... Does anyone have suggestions on affordable, yet functional tripods? Check back after this weekend and maybe I will have some semi-decent fireworks pictures of my own.