Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Challenge

Photo Challenge #4 -

Since the Holidays are a busy time, I thought about skipping a week, but decided to embrace it instead.  Challenge #4 is to take at least two holiday themed pictures.  Pictures of family, pets in funny costumes, Christmas trees, etc.

My first two pictures don't just happen during the holidays but these are from last Monday, 12/22.  My daughter wanted to have people over before they all went their separate ways for Christmas break.  I think between the photos I counted 25 pairs of shoes.  I'm pretty sure there were more than that as it's a come and go event and some don't take their shoes off.
Always glad to have them here!

Taken with a Canon T4i, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, 18mm focal length

Taken with a Canon T4i, 1/13s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, 18mm focal length

These little guys came from my wife's family and are more than a few years old.

Taken with a Canon T4i, 1/50s, f/4, ISO 1600, 35mm focal length

My oldest is in Europe for a wedding this Christmas and so I shot a picture of her gifts with my phone to send to her on Christmas day.

Taken with my Motorola Maxx XT1080 Phone
1/40s, f/2.4, ISO 500

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

A child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rest upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Still Life Challange

Challenge #3 - Still Life!  
Hosted by

This one is a photo taking challenge, but one that can be done indoors.  The idea:  take common objects from your home and do a classic still life portrait.  Looking at old paintings of fruit and flowers, this has been an age-old technique for practicing your lighting techniques in controlled circumstances.

I have to admit I'm not a real big fan of still life but this challenge gave me an opportunity to see some dramatic changes simply by changing my angle on  the subject and also a little room to play with some depth of field.

I took this picture first and liked it.
Photo taken straight on with a window to my left.
1/60s, f/4.0, ISO 2500, focal length 39mm

 I took this one second and was amazed at how a 
slight angle shift made such a dramatic change.
Photo taken from an 45° angle with the same window lighting.
1/60s, f/4.0, ISO400, focal length 42mm

 I like being able to create a soft focus using
aperture settings to change the depth of field.
1/80s, f/5.0, ISO 6400, Focal Length 65mm

 Had to include one of my favorite ornaments!!
Go Chiefs!
1/80s, f/4.0, ISO 5000, Focal Length 42mm

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Crop It Challenge

Cropping photos is one of the easiest editing techniques and it can create some very dramatic differences on the end result.  This weeks challenge is all about cropping and although we're suppose to show the results of two photos after cropping, I picked a couple extra just because.

So here's this weeks challenge from
Challenge #2 is another easy one, but a technique that is essential to modern photography; Cropping.  Since this is a pretty easy one I'm making it a two part challenge.  First I want you to fix a picture (by cropping) that "ruined" by somebody's head, random passerby, car driving by, etc.  Second I want you to take a picture that is "good" on its own but needs to be cropped to either get closer up to the subject or move it to a more pleasing spot in the frame.

Lots of clutter in this photo.

Manually cropped with Vignette effect form Picasa

Original shot with no editing

Final result with a little cropping and editing in Picasa

Neat background for this photo but a bit too much

Cropped in with some basic editing in Picasa the colors pop
 to create a beautiful background for this Sr. shot.

Extra Credit?

Hard to imagine something of value in this photo.

Manually cropped with Vignette effect form Picasa

When I shot this photo I knew I'd be doing some cropping to get a panoramic pic

Creating cool panoramic shots is one of my favorite things to do while cropping.
Simply take the shot with a wide angle setting and then use the tools to bring it to life.
Manually cropped with Vignette effect form Picasa

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Color Out

Over the past year my wife and I have been participating in a weekly photo blogging challenge hosted by Erin at 

The premise of 30 Words Thursday is simply to post a picture and describe it in 30 words; no more, no less.

This week one of the bloggers who frequently post to the 30 Words challenge ( ) issued his own challenge so that he could have the opportunity to grow in his knowledge of photo editing.  I decided I'm going along for the ride.

Photo  Challenge 1) Black & White
Starting out simple:  take three color photos and change them to black and white format. Ideally these will have a different tone or impact when changed to black and white.  Other photoshop effects are allowed but the  biggest change should be the removal of color. Show the before and after pics for comparison.

Photo taken with a Canon Rebel T1i, edited with Picasa tools

I chose this photo because of the extreme color in the original.
I like the contrast created in the B&W.

Photo taken with a Kodak Easyshare M753 early in the morning on landscape setting.

I chose this photo because it is one of my all time favorites.
I like the way the sky became really bright in the B&W.

Photo taken with a Canon Rebel T4i

I chose this photo because it's a reenactment
of the Boston Tea Party
I like the way the B&W take us back in time.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Acting Out

How many times have your heard your friends
talk about their children acting out?
When the students in our school
“act out”
it’s a great thing that’s fun to watch!!