Well, I think I said hello and good-bye to June all in the same breath. That went fast! July is fast approaching next week! Have you cleaned your camera yet this summer?
I just dusted off my Nikon and I’m getting ready to use it to photograph some lovely children! I’ve been using my mirrorless camera more this summer, so the Nikon needed some love. She was getting dusty. Funny isn’t it, how we refer to non-living things as he or she. My husband’s car is definitely a she and she does not like me. She’s a jealous little thing who only prefers to have my husband drive her. She’ll put the “check engine light” on so quick when I drive her. She’s getting cranky in her old age. Do you use pronouns for inanimate objects?
Back to my camera. Here’s my arsenal of cleaning equipment:
I just recently talked about the APS-C Frame Sensor Cleaning Kit in this post. I haven’t used it yet. I also have glass cleaner and some microfiber wipes. My husband is an optical engineer and works with lenses daily. He uses glass cleaning solution and KimWipes Delicate Task Wipers to clean all his glass lenses. I think I need to get some KimWipes when I place another Amazon order. I also have a toothbrush. Yes, a toothbrush. I use it to brush around my lenses when I change them. I showed how I did this in this post. A toothbrush is a must if you live in a dusty area. The last two items are the rocketblower and lens pen. Those are my favorite cleaning items!
The Giottos Rocket Air Blaster is just so much fun! It blows dust and bits off your lens, plus it can be used to get kids to smile! Blow it on them! The Nikon Lens Pen
is also fun and oh-so-handy. The bristles brush dirt of the lenses and even on the camera. I always take my rocket blower and lens pen with me on photo shoots.
I haven’t been too focused on photography this summer, which is fine by me. It’s going fast and I’m just trying to enjoying the time with my children (school-free). I’ve also been busy writing a science book for them. I have a feeling I’ll be rushing to finish it. I’m trying to take photographs for that!
We’ve been busy with biking and bike races, when time and weather allows. There may have been some crashes.
Summer activities. Water on a hot day is always nice!
Down time and reading. Comic books are a favorite during the summer. The dog prefers to watch for bunnies.
Taking photos of insects and plants on visits to the Botanical Garden so I can maybe put them in the science book.
Enjoying rainbows after a storm.
What have you been photographing or enjoying this summer?
I haven’t done a 365 update in a while. There’s a reason for that….I haven’t been able to keep up with it. At all. I wanted to. But it became a burden trying to keep up with it and I lost the joy. So I gave it up. And I hate giving up on things. I hate failing, I hate doing things wrong, I hate disappointing. But I feel alright about this.
So, if you’re still going strong on a 365…I’m giving you a high five and cheering you on. You’re amazing! And if you gave up, like I did. There’s no shame. I’ll pat you on the back and empathize with you. Then we’ll go on with our lives and be happy.
I just looked back on all the photos I had taken and they make me happy. I’m happy with the moments I was able to capture. It almost makes me want to pick it back up. Almost. I can barely keep up with daily life and I just want to enjoy the moments with my children. I don’t want to worry about editing photos and missing out on things. I want to pick up the camera and take photos without thinking I “need” to do it. I just want to do it because I enjoy it. I think a 365 could be great for those who want the challenge to make them pick up the camera everyday and get better at it, it just didn’t work that way for me. I do better when I pick up the camera because I want to, not because I have to do it everyday.
Here’s one of the last photos I captured. It was my realization moment that maybe I need to give this 365 up. I hadn’t taken a photo of the day and I needed one. It was about 10:30 at night and my household had been in bed for awhile. I was up working on writing a science book for my children (after editing photos). I took a self portrait. It was the beginning of the end of my 365. Goodness…I’ve since chopped my hair off. 11 inches of it!
Summer is blowing by here and I’m trying to enjoy it. I actually haven’t picked up my camera much. I think about it every now and then. And when I do pick it up, I enjoy it. I’m capturing life, rather than portraits or art. I got my mirrorless camera out the other day and took some photos of the kids rollerblading in the garage during a rainstorm. Editing took all of a minute for those 3 photos. Mostly to downsize!
My husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary recently. There’s a hiking trail in the mountains here that we always wanted to do, but haven’t been able to since we have children. (Though I think they both could do it now, it would just take a while.) The grandparents took the kids all day for our anniversary so it was my request to hike that trail. It’s rated one of the top ten most strenuous trails in the US. Apparently our “selfie” shows that. I didn’t realize I was sweating my sunscreen off. And my husband never told me. We just took our pocket camera to take some photos. And we took some with our cell phones to send to the kids. We hiked to the top in 3 hours. I have no idea how the fastest trail runner did that in 54 minutes! That is crazy! In total, we hiked 11 miles and had the best time together! And yes, I’m crazy enough to post a makeupless, sweaty photo.
I’m looking forward to taking some photos of my husband and kids in their mountain bike races this weekend. That reminds me that I need to charge up my batteries! What are you looking forward to? Will you be capturing any photos?
I hope to try to post more, but I can’t promise anything. I’ve got plans for a post on photographing people with glasses, a post on how I use my Expodisc for white balance, and how I clean my camera. If you have any suggestions for posts, feel free to comment or email me. Requests tend to motivate me. Enjoy your weekend!
Whew! I’m pretty sure summer has picked me up and flown away with me. I barely have time to get my feet on the ground! I’ve got maybe long enough to type out a quick post! Hopefully I can get back to posting more, but my photography as of lately has been scientific in nature. I’m photographing things for a science book I’m writing for my kids. Nothing like photographing fungi! I’m thinking of getting an inexpensive digital microscope imager to take photos of what I see in my microscope to put in the book. That way the kids can make sure they’re seeing the correct things during their labs. I’m kinda excited. Photography and science…two of my favorite things!
I bought 2 new pieces of photography equipment in the past couple of months. I’m not sure if they count as equipment, but that’s what I’m calling them.
Have you ever lost a lens cap? I thought I was doing so good, I hadn’t ever lost one…then I lost one. I have no idea where that little puppy went to. I usually keep the lens caps in a pocket of my jeans and sometimes in my camera bag. I have had more than one case where I thought I lost a cap and I frantically pat all my pockets and look in all the pockets of my bag, only to have the lens cap in a pocket I didn’t check. Well, this last time the lens cap didn’t show up. Bummer. So I ordered some on Amazon. I got extra, just in case. I got 5 caps and 5 cap keepers. I’ve never used cap keepers, I may have to try those. Maybe I won’t have to crazily pat all my pockets in the future. Plus, I got a bonus magicfiber lens cleaning cloth. Cue the “ohhhhhhs.”
While I was doing my Amazon shopping I decided to get a sensor cleaning kit. I got this APS-C Frame Digital Camera Sensor Cleaning Kit from Amazon. Again, make sure you get the kit that is sized for your camera sensor. I have a crop sensor in the Nikon D3100, so I needed an APS-C sensor cleaning kit. I paid a crazy amount to have my camera cleaned and repaired a little while back and I was quite disappointed in it. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with getting a kit and saving myself half the cost of my camera!
I have since watched numerous YouTube videos on how to clean a DSLR crop sensor. I think I could go into business cleaning cameras. Except I haven’t cleaned a camera yet and I don’t think I could do that everyday.
I took some photos to check to see if my sensor has dust on it. Unbelievably, it doesn’t appear to have any “oh my goodness….look….there’s a piece of dust” things sticking out at me. I took a photo of the blue sky at a low shutter speed (that’s the white photo) and then I took a photo of the blue sky at a normal exposure. I zoomed in on them while viewing and they didn’t appear to show any glaring dust spots. Do you see any? I did notice dust spots on my monitor. Maybe I had better clean that.
So, perhaps my camera does not yet need me to clean the sensor. But my lens and camera body could use a little love. Plus, my viewfinder looks like it’s been through a dust storm. That was one of the reasons I took it in and one of the reasons I wasn’t happy. I’ve got to try to clean that. Dust on the viewfinder doesn’t affect the photo, but it sure annoys me. Apparently dust on my furniture doesn’t annoy me too much, because it’s got quite the layer on it!
Have you ever attempted to clean your own sensor? If you have a DSLR…take a photo of the sky (or a white piece of paper) and check to see if you have dust on the sensor. If you’re not comfortable cleaning your own sensor, you can always take it to a professional.
Here’s hoping you see some dustless blue skies this summer!
There’s nothing like a social media break. I’ve been back from vacation for over 2 weeks, but I just haven’t felt like getting back to blogging. My kids had their last day of school on Thursday, so I was busy with them.
I’ve debated whether to post my vacation photos. This is my photography blog, so I like to keep track of what I do. But on the other hand, these aren’t “works of art” photos. These photos don’t at all proclaim “a hobby photographer took them!”
It can’t be slightly depressing to look at other photographers’ works and see their beautiful vacation photos and know that I cannot in a million years take photos that equal that. (That’s a compliment to them! It’s me with the issues!)
To get myself out of a sad funk, I’ve got to remind myself that I do capture what I’m after….and that’s memories. I’ll never be the photographer who travels with their big camera. I only take it when I’m visiting nieces and nephews and I want to take their portraits. It’s just too big to travel with, it clunks kids in the head (thankfully only my kids), we usually encounter bad weather on our 5+ mile hikes, and I’d worry if I had to put it in my backpack and leave it while I rode a roller coaster.
Our lifestyle and vacation style isn’t patient and slow, it’s moves fast. I think you need to be patient or just plain lucky to get some great vacation shots. I never have time to get my manual settings correct before a child has jumped into a different lighting scenario. If I do stop to take a photo, I usually end up with backside shots of my family members as they get way ahead of me. Then I have to run to catch up!
So, let me entertain you with the real shots of a quick clicking camera toting mom. Cause I do love to take photos and I had a camera on or near me most of the time. I took my Canon EOS M out on various days, other days I just had my slim Canon point and shoot, and I always had my phone on me. Though my phone is a bugger, it takes forever and a day for the camera to load up! I didn’t edit these selection of photos, I just don’t have the time. These are neither the best or the worst, but they are full of memories.
We started with a 2 day cross country driving trip. I shot a few photos through the window of the Oklahoma sky.
We stayed near Oklahoma City on our way out and on our way back home. It was flooded. The weather was crazy both times, but as my daughter put it, “God put us in a space bubble,” because the weather went around us the whole trip. Our camping neighbors warned us one night that bad weather was on the way and we could seek shelter in the bathroom. We don’t get crazy weather where we live, so one child freaked out. I mean…FREAKED OUT! She did calm down. I quickly took a photo to remember the moment, but I took it so quick that I didn’t get my settings right. I had to get back to comfort one child and read comics to the other.
The next day was Mother’s Day and I put my EOS M on auto and had my husband take a photo of the kids and I. I looked at it and realized that a huge big box was in the background. I wanted another photo with a different background, but the kids were off jumping in water puddles. I wasn’t going to deny my desert children the chance to jump in water puddles.
I didn’t get very many water puddle photos because I had to keep running kids to the restroom for some reason. Not that they were enjoyable restrooms, there were no doors on the stalls! But I did get to watch some bugs trying to find their way out of the sinks. I did get to take a photo of that. Makes me think I should do a series on all the bathrooms I get to visit. But I won’t. Someone else can take that and run with it. Wouldn’t a coffee table book of restroom stall photos make a great gift?
We decided to blindly follow our GPS. My husband did look at it to make sure we were headed in the right direction. We stopped at one corner to look at it because we were in the back roads of Arkansas and things were looking pretty rural. My husband said, “I bet we go on gravel roads,” even though the GPS had the function selected to not take us on gravel roads. We went on gravel roads. It was hilarious! We were all laughing. Then we had to stop for a turtle in the road and the dog had the best day ever because of it. I’m pretty sure he thought he herded that turtle across the road with his barking.
The next day I handed the camera over so my husband could get some shots of the kids and I while I crawled through a speleobox with them. It was tight. He got some very unflattering shots of me. I thought this one was amusing. My body and my daughter’s head!
When in Rome….you drive go-karts. Had to try and capture that memory. I missed photographing or videoing the moment at the fast place (with the helmets) where my daughter forgot to take her foot off the gas at the end and rammed my husband. I think it was to get back at him for passing her at the end. Just kidding. Maybe.
The dog loved to run in the empty parts of the campground we stayed at. I couldn’t get my settings right to capture the little ball of fur running super fast.
Back at our site my daughter kissed the dog and I missed the moment. I said, “Kiss the dog again!” But it just wasn’t the same.
We spent 2 days at Silver Dollar City. I brought the little point and shoot the first day and my Canon EOS M the second day. My daughter decided to go on a big upside down roller coaster. I was waiting at the end, just in case she decided to back out and had my Canon ready. The battery was critically low, someone forgot to charge it! As I was taking a photo of the roller coaster pulling out, my camera promptly dies! Thankfully I had my phone ready to go, but I only got one shot of the backside of everyone (it’s on Instagram). So yep…I’m not the luckiest photographer. But I do take advantage when my kids say, “Take my picture” and I get something like the one below.
I tried to get balls falling on my daughter in the ball room, but it didn’t work out so well. A ball collection bag fell on my head and then I wasn’t in the mood to be out in the open with my camera. That hurt!
Again, another “take my picture” moment.
I handed over the camera while I rode a ride with my kids. They like fast rides! Mommy was a wee bit nervous. I can do up and down rides or roller coasters. I can’t do anything that swings back and forth or goes in a circle. Those make me nauseous. Daddy manned up and took those with the kids and endured the sick feeling. I love that man!
So, you’re in a beautiful setting and you want to get a picture of the kids walking down the road together. Yep, doesn’t work. One decides to get all cranky from the lack of sleep and takes off down the road. There is no interring with that child if she’s in a bad mood, it’s best to just let her work through it. I’m really good with the behind shots. Not so fond of it when it’s my behind.
Daddy got the kids jawbreakers as a treat. They were such good travelers! And something with food coloring in it is really a treat! This is another “take my photo” moment. Aren’t those the best? Not great photos, but they sure are great memories!
My husband and I went to the Ozarks for our honeymoon 17 years ago. We spent one day at Silver Dollar City then and were excited to share it with the kids this year. I had told them all about salt water taffy and they were excited to try it. Again, food coloring…so they’ve never had it. But we were on vacation! I only had my P&S camera and the light wasn’t great (no flash on), but I got a photo! And yes, my girl dressed like a pioneer girl. She could have worked there.
After our Silver Dollar City adventures we headed to Northern Arkansas. It was a tick-filled fest. We went on some hikes. On one I wanted to show the kids the difference of using different shutter speeds on a waterfall, but the wildlife was more interesting. I didn’t have time to get my settings right.
Speaking of wildlife. Aren’t you glad you bring a camera to get photos of the signs that you find interesting? Wildlife includes: poisonous snakes, ticks, and chiggers. Yep, we hiked that and guess what we saw within the first 5 minutes? A snake!!
We did many tick checks. The dog thought it was great. He got a lot of attention.
We tried to drown the ticks in the swimming pool. A freezing cold swimming pool! I tried to get photos the first day with the Canon EOS M, but I wasn’t doing so well on the aperture setting and the kids were bouncing everywhere. Or shivering like crazy. My husband documented the moment on his phone when I got in with the kids. I’m a swimmer, but I’m not crazy about cold water. I have vivid memories of my college days and early morning outdoor training swims in Florida in a pool that was freezing cold!
It was beautiful one night at the campground and I wanted to get a photo of my daughter walking back to the trailer after her shower. Well, it didn’t exactly work as I planned. Photographer’s child syndrome. She kept walking and I didn’t get the shot I was looking for. Oh well.
I have about 250 photos that the kids took on the 2 cameras. The loved taking nature shots and “artistic” shots. It isn’t hard to pick out which photos they took.
Oh, I forgot. On our way to Arkansas, we stopped in a MO State Park to do some mountain biking. The girl hung out with the grandparents and I biked with the boys. Except I haven’t biked in the Midwest in a decade. I forgot about wet roots, slick mud, and such after the rain. I wasn’t not having a good time and was near a panic attack (it happens every now and then when I bike…bad memories of crashes). So when my husband wanted to take a photo to remember the occasion, I acted like a pouty child. I did put a fake grin on for the next photo (which I didn’t put here). I cheered up when we saw baby frogs on the trail. Then I realized there were thousands of them (not kidding) and we had probably run over dozens with our bikes.
We hit another area as a family to bike in Arkansas. I barely got a photo of the kids before we took off. We didn’t make it far. We didn’t have a map and the trail we thought was easy, was very difficult. So the kids and I hike-a-biked back to the car, while my husband biked. The kids and I were hiking (and avoiding snakes) and I barely got the camera out in time to get a photo of my husband meeting back up with us.
On our entire trip, we saw dozens of armadillos. Dead armadillos. Road kill. Not one alive. On the morning we were packing up in Oklahoma City to head home, my husband says, “There’s an armadillo!” Oh the joy! My one wish was to see a live armadillo and there it was! I excitedly watched it and then thought, “I should take a photo!” I grabbed the tiny point and shoot and shot through the screen door to get a photo. Not so great. I decided to quietly and carefully open the slider to get a photo without the screen. Yep….the armadillo decided to walk under the stairs then. Just my luck!
Do you know what? My absolute favorite photo was taken with my cheap cell phone. It’s my kids playing happily in a puddle after the storm. We were protected again during that one. Tornadoes, wind, and hail were only miles from us…and we just got rain. It’s happy and sad at the same time. My heart goes out to all those affected by the recent storms.
I got my Canon out after that cell phone shot and tried to get some “artistic” water reflection shots. They just move too fast for me. And won’t hold still. I could maybe edit some of these photos, but I don’t want to. I’m glad they had fun playing with leaf boats in the puddles. It was more fun to watch them play, than to photograph them. Can you believe I just said that?!
This is why you keep a cell phone or small camera in your purse at a rest stop. The chicken egg laying machine! I remember these from when I was a kid. My daughter indulged me and let me spend a quarter on her. She’s wasn’t real thrilled about me taking her photo, but she let me when I said I would do it quickly. Thank you, sweet daughter! I even let her keep the prize.
So..vacation photos. Nothing stellar, but full of memories. I have to say…taking a mirrorless camera on vacation is the way to go. I just need to practice with mine more. I have to say that my husband took better photos with it on Auto than I did on Aperture mode. Manual mode is great, but I just don’t have the time to change all the settings when my family moves at super speed on vacation. By the time I get to the right settings, they are off on another adventure! This photo was courtesy of my boy!
What is your vacation photography style? Patient? Lucky? Big camera or small camera? A quick clicker like me?
**Arghh. I have no idea why some photos aren’t showing up! I’ve worked on it forever and I’m giving up for now. I apologize if all the photos aren’t showing up for you. I’ll try again later.***
I did just that the other night. It was raining and since it so rarely rains here, we go out and stand in it. My daughter was standing in the sprinkles and I quickly took a snapshot of her watching it rain. It was dusk, but it wasn’t too dark yet. I was using my Nikon D3100 with the 35mm lens. My settings were ISO 400, F2.8, SS 1/200. Auto White Balance!
It’s not a great photo, but it’s a lovely memory. The original photo is rather cool looking. I prefer warmer photos, but that’s just me.
So I quickly brought the photo into my PSE 11 to see if I could quickly change the white balance. I only shot this in JPEG and not RAW. You can also change this in Adobe RAW, but I tend to only shoot JPEG with family stuff. I’ll shoot RAW for portraits.
So, I brought the photo into PSE and used a levels layer adjustment to change the white balance. I thought I would show you the difference in using the dropper tools to select different colors and objects. I’m only going to show you three, but if you get a chance to try this….play with it and go crazy with lots of different tries. Use that handy reset button to get back to your original and try a new one. Here’s my original opened up in PSE.
I’ve opened up a new levels adjustment layer, but I haven’t done anything with it yet. I’ve circled the gray/grey (however you spell it) dropper and I’ve circled where I’m going to sample from. That red circle is around a gray rock I’m going to use for my sample.
Here’s after I selected that rock. See the difference? The photo is warmer and looks more true to life to me. The kids were ecstatic that we had “water front property” for an evening. I grew up on lakes. That’s a mud hole, but whatever, it brings the desert children joy. Now the mud they track into my house, that’s another story on the opposite of joy, but we deal with it….cause it brings them joy. Moving on.
I reset and tried the white dropper. I selected my girl’s shirt near the collar. Now, in real life, her shirt is a cream color. It’s not white, but this is just for demonstration and playing purposes. That photo has got some contrast to it now. If you like heavy contrast.
Reset button again. Sometimes don’t you wish you had that in life? Any hoo…I used the black dropper this time and selected a portion of the landscape up at the top of the photo that looked black. This was the result. It’s not hugely different from the original. Still cool looking. And my baby is cool. Actually, she’s was watching the rain and her Daddy who was removing vermin from a trap under the ground. Huge vermin. I’ll spare you that story. Our driveway won’t be collapsing in any more.
So, after my many diverging tales and making this post twice as long as it could be….this is the end result. The photo below is only changed by using that grey dropper to sample a rock. Boom. Done. And I’ve spelled gray a couple of different ways. Just because I can. Grey. I just Googled it, I can spell it both ways. Though I should be consistent in one post. But I’m not going to be in this one. Gray.
Take a look at the before and after. Wow, a big difference with just one click of the mouse. The vermin was not a mouse. Definitely not a mouse. It was about the size of many, many mice. It looked as if it may have eaten a few mice.
Because I can, I added some haze to the photo and cropped it a bit. Nothing glamorous and I probably won’t print this one, but it sure was fun to play with. You never know, it may eventually make in into our 2015 Family Yearbook. Now if I could just get started on 2007!