My Week of Photos - Back at it

My DSLR and I had a little bit of a break. So this week, we are back at it, capturing daily photos using the Capture Your 365 daily prompts for this month.

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/50 sec

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/50 sec

Exposure: My husband and I went to a local nursery and bought some California native plants for our backyard. When I saw the prompt for this day, I wasn't really sure what to capture. So after we got the plants in the ground, I grabbed my camera and decided to focus in on these plants, all while trying to get the best exposure of the overall setting as I could. I took this photo late in the afternoon. The lighting was really great. I wish I could show you the histogram of this capture! I know this is not the most exciting photo, but the histogram is just about a perfect bell curve! And if you have ever really looked at the histogram of any of your photos, you know a bell curve histogram is a pretty exciting thing!

ISO 100, f/3.5, 1 sec.

ISO 100, f/3.5, 1 sec.

Go Wide: The widest angle I can go with my current lenses is 18mm. Now, I could have jumped in my car and driven down the road a bit to capture maybe the valley or the mountains, but I decided to see what I could capture right in my own backyard. Since the sun had just set, I slowed down the shutter speed for this one. Loving the new solar lights along the fence!

ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/320 sec

ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/320 sec

F/1.4: Couldn't go as wide as the prompt on this one, since my 50mm lens is an f/1.8, so I made do with what I have. Picked up these roses are the grocery store for $2.99 the other day. Took them outside and up against the blue of my daughter's playhouse. Blue and yellow are my two favorite colors.

ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/640 sec

ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/640 sec

Simple: This little frame sits on my desk. A simple little frame with one simple word that makes me happy just thinking about the beach. Maybe I need to go on a day trip to the beach soon...

This wraps up my week of photos! What photo challenges are you currently following?

My Week of Photos - Favorite Portraits

Confession time here...I have not picked up my DSLR this week! I know, I really should be using it every day if I want to continue to learn to take great photos. But sometimes, life just gets really busy and there are times when I am just not feeling inspired to take photos with my DSLR. And I believe it is perfectly fine to take a break from something you love, even if it is baking, reading, or taking photos.

So, for this week's post of My Week of Photos, I want to share with you some of my favorite portraits I have captured. Ever since my kids were babies, I have loved capturing moments of their lives. Before digital came along, I would get my double prints and spend hours creating scrapbook pages to fill albums of our family memories.

Then digital came first, I had no desire to get a digital camera. And now? My iPhone takes better photos than my first digital camera. But at the time, those old digital cameras were better than not capturing any memories at all.

Last night, I spent hours looking at old photos on my computer...reminiscing and laughing until I had tears running down my cheeks at some of the expressions on my kid's faces in different photos. It really makes me realize that I need to make some time to go through and dump the photos I don't want to keep and print out some that I want to put into albums or hang on my wall.

Today, I am going to share with you some of my favorite photos of my kids and some favorites I have taken of other people. As I am getting closer to wanting to possibly start my own photography business, I have struggled with how to explain the type of photography that I love. Talking this over with someone recently, the perfect category for me: lifestyle.

I love to capture moments, not always posed. Real life that doesn't need to be photoshopped and lightroomed to death. Moments that people will look back on that bring smiles and laughter. Moments that warm your heart.

Here are a few of my favorite portraits:

Kelsey with cake

This photo was taken with a Kodak EasyShare digital camera. At this point, I had never taken a photography class and didn't know anything about looking for the right lighting, composition, or anything really. But I entered this photo in our little community art contest and won Best of Show! Wow, I was so surprised!

Matthew and Kelsey

Here is one with both of my kiddos, again with the Kodak EasyShare. This is in the days way before I even knew about editing photos. Looking back now, I can see that this photo could use a little bit of an edit. But the thing I love about this photo are the people in the photo and their obvious love for each other. Their really great relationship continues even today.

Matthew and Kelsey

Once I did start to learn about a little bit of photo editing, every now and then, I would change the tone of the photo. I think changing this photo to sepia really works so that my daughter's shirt pattern doesn't compete with my son's shirt pattern. But again, this photo captures the sweet relationship these two had and continue to have.


Once I finally got my first DSLR, a friend told me to turn the dial to aperture priority. And I sure had fun with that for a while! Our family used to do a lot of Civil War reenacting and this is one of my favorites I captured of my daughter in our camp one weekend.


Then I had a chance to take an actual photography class! I learned about shooting in manual mode and lighting and so much more! This was one of the first photos I shot of my son using natural light from a window in our home. And I learned a bit about Lightroom so I could fine tune photos a bit. 

Jazz senior portrait

During the photography class, we had a chance to go out one day to do senior portraits for one young man. This was my first time really photographing someone who was actually posing for photos! The group of us were able to suggest different poses. It was a great experience, especially using my new found skill of shooting in manual mode!


With my DSLR and my new knowledge of how to use my camera, I started feeling more confident in what I was capturing. And I had plenty of opportunities to try out what I was learning at different events.


It is moments like this that I still love to capture, ones you really can't plan for.


I have been second shooter at one wedding so far. This shot was completely unplanned. But when I saw where she was standing, I knew I wanted to try to capture this moment before she walked down the aisle.

girl on the beach

Here is another one of those unplanned shots. I was with some friends at a beach in Southern California when I saw this little girl at sunset. I took a few photos of her and loved what I saw in camera.

yosemite engagement shot

Then, a friend asked me to take their engagement Yosemite...and they were going to pay me to do it!! Win-win-win!! We spent the whole day wandering around Yosemite and I had the fun of capturing them together. This one was one of my favorites from that day!

Felix's family

But there is one thing I have been able to do that is even more amazing than being paid for my photography...having the chance to travel on two Compassion trips now and capturing moments like this one. In January 2014, my son and I traveled to Mexico where we had the opportunity to meet one of our sponsored children. There were a few people behind and around me when I captured this one, but I love how Felix is looking right at me. His smiling face is one I always remember from this trip.

Compassion kids in Mexico

You would never know by this photo that these kids were a bit skeptical of us when we first arrived. It is still one of my favorite photos from this trip!

Colombia Compassion girl

In February 2015 I had the opportunity to go on another Compassion trip, this time to Colombia! This little girl was at the last center we visited. This photo reminds me of a quote I just read in a new book, Small Matters, by Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado: "Jesus is the One who invites you and me to join him in reaching out to children the world has given up on, to take them by the hand, to rejoice for this one others considered lost who has found the way home."

Photography is something I love to do, capturing moments that people will love to remember.

Kickstart to Clutter Free - Day 14

Finally, I have made time to tackle day 14 of Kathi Lipp's Kickstart to Clutter Free challenge! Today's challenge...the Dining Room...

Kickstart to Clutter Free - Dining Room

This is what my dining room looked like this morning. Yes, there is a bunch of stuff on the table and on that end chair. The dining room table is an easy place for me to dump stuff as we come into the house. Flat surfaces and I are constantly having a battle in our home. I know what I 'need' to do, but there are times when I am just too lazy to tackle it.

So this morning, I grabbed my Kickstart to Clutter Free checklist and started working on clearing off the table.

Kickstart to Clutter Free - Day 14

First thing I did was correct and look through my daughter's school work. As a homeschool mom, this is a constant task for me. But rather than put her books at her place on the table, I actually walked them back to her room. Less clutter on the table!

Then I started working my way through old mail and other things that found they way to trying to be permanent fixtures on the table.

I changed out the table cloth and stopped for some flowers on our way home from Bible study.

Kickstart to Clutter Free - Day 14

Amazing how just 15 minutes of clearing out the clutter can change the look of a room!

Now I know it has taken me a whole lot longer than 14 days to complete this challenge, but I am glad I was able to make it work around my life. I am looking forward to doing some deeper de-cluttering around our home over the next few weeks and months.

If you are looking to start de-cluttering your home, I really recommend Kathi's Kickstart to Clutter Free challenge. Just think, in 14 days you can clear out over 500 items in your home! 

What's In The Mail? - Glimpses of God

Today on the Compassion blog, you can read my latest post which highlights the new Compassion letter writing guidelines. But today on my blog, I am sharing what's in the mail to my own sponsored children this month.

What's In The Mail - Glimpses of God
  • In my letter to my kids this month, I wrote about looking for glimpses of God where they live. I also reminded them that God is always with them and He is always watching over them.
  • Doodle 101 tutorial so they can create their own Bible verse doodle
  • I took time this week and drew out the Doodle 101 tutorial that I am sending to them. I left it as a coloring page for them to color in themselves.
  • What makes me special? devotional I found on this website
What's In The Mail - Glimpses of God

This month, I am including another free printable that you are able to print out and share with your own sponsored children. It is available here: jpeg or pdf

My hope is that each sponsor takes the time to write to their sponsored children.

Remind them that God loves them.

Remind them that God made them special.

Remind them that you are praying for them.

Take time today to write to the children you sponsor!

My Week of Photos - Texture

Last week, Nat over at Easy Camera Lessons shared about Understanding Texture on their YouTube channel. So this week, I put my 18-55mm lens on my DSLR and used some of the screw on macro lenses my daughter got me for Christmas and went on a hunt for things I could photograph that showed different textures. Here is what I found:

ISO 100, f/3.8, 1/250 sec

ISO 100, f/3.8, 1/250 sec

We took down a couple of trees in our backyard, so we have some big logs hanging out. I love how rough this looks.

ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec

ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec

For a shot like this one, this is when I wish I had a true macro lens! How I wish I could zoom in really close on the center of this flower to see so much more of the details.

ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/125 sec

ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/125 sec

Since cooking and/or baking is going on around here at least 5 days a week, I had to throw in a few food photos for this week. We had sausage gravy and biscuits one night, so I thought...why not show the texture of one of the biscuits. Just add butter, right?

ISO 1600, f/4.2, 1/640 sec

ISO 1600, f/4.2, 1/640 sec

I cannot resist fresh asparagus this time of year! Right now, it has been $1.88 a pound. I love to just drizzle them with a bit of olive oil, then salt and pepper them. My husband will usually pop them on the BBQ for a bit. Yum!

ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/200 sec

ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/200 sec

Now that our weather has warmed up a bit here in central California, my lavender bushes are starting to bloom. With the macro lens attached, you can actually see how fuzzy these blooms are. Can't wait until enough of them have bloomed to start cutting some to have in the house.

ISO 200, f/4.2, 1/50 sec

ISO 200, f/4.2, 1/50 sec

Any guesses on what this is?

It is grated cheese on a homemade pizza! We usually have homemade pizza around here at least once a week. Mozzarella, parmesan, and a bit of pizza seasoning. We tend to keep our pizza pretty simple.

So this week stretched me a bit, trying to get creative with what I could photograph that would show different textures. Which one is your favorite?