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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Photographer Interview: Becky Leatherman (Life with Kaishon)

Not sure how I stumbled across Becky Leatherman's blog Life with Kaishon.  She may have found me first I can't remember.  Her comments are always so encouraging and straight to my heart that I just fell in love with her.  I visit her blog because I always ALWAYS leave with a smile on my face.  She takes the most beautiful pictures of people and life.  She says her blog isn't a photography blog and she really doesn't like anything to do with camera specifics like ISO and aperture's all about capturing the moment and that's what I love about her.  She definitely captures it:)

She does these amazing photographer interviews.  When I see one come up I feel giddy inside.  I just love learning about people, and photography is obviously something I connect with.  They are SO good!  Anyway it dawned on me one day that no one has interviewed her and that's just a shame.  So here's my attempt to get to know Becky better and to share her with you.

As a blogger how has your direction changed and why?

When I started it was because some of my friends from college did it and I thought it was a brilliant way for people to keep up with our family. Then, I got addicted! It was so interesting to meet new people and see how they were living life. People fascinate me.

When did you start pursuing photography?

I Heart Faces. I saw it somewhere in the blogosphere the very first week it started and I was in love! The first 3 or 4 weeks I was using pictures I already had and then I started trying to get a new shot each week. And then started taking more pictures. And then I started taking pictures daily. Then I learned how to {sort of} edit in Photoshop Elements...and the rest is history. I am in love with taking pictures!

How did you learn??

I didn't go to any classes. I read my manual and had no idea what it was saying. I learned by shooting. I shot the trees in the morning and the kids playing outside at night. I shot the snow shoveler's in our neighborhood and the ballet dancers at the Nutcracker. I shot third grade basketball players in florescent lighting and I shot brides at sunset. Anything and everything. I loved learning. And I still have SO much to learn!

One thing that is very important to me though is to always have fun and to capture moments. I know a lot of people that take technically perfect pictures but there is something missing. The heart perhaps? I never want that to happen to me. The moments are magic! We are blessed to be able to capture them. If I shoot something and it isn't technically a great picture but I got a special moment it goes down as a winner in my book!

Do you have a photography business?

No business. I don't charge to shoot yet because I do not have a small business. I don't file taxes. I don't feel ready. I see a lot of people start up and I look at their pictures and I think 'Oh NO!'

I think it should not be jumped into just because your camera cost $1k or more or because you have a Mac with iphoto. That doesn't make you ready to be a professional. I don't want to be a part of that crowd!

Hats off to anyone that tries it but that is just not me!


What equipment do you use? Is there someone who took you under their wing and helped you decide what to get? What's your favorite lens?

I started with a Canon Rebel and wore that camera out! I moved up to a Nikon D90 and I love it. The thing I loved most about Canon was the color. Impeccable. The thing I love about Nikon is the sharpness. It can not be rivaled.

No one told me what to get except the salesperson at the local camera store. I believe in shopping local because I love to support small businesses! My camera man had seen my pictures from the Rebel for 2 years and he told me it was time for a D90. I tested it at the store and was leery. I took it home and didn't use it for 3 months. Finally, my friend Drew insisted I bring it to the I Heart Faces workshop. Loved it : ) and so did she even though she is a Canon girl through and through.

I have a couple of lenses: I don't know what there numbers are. (This just goes to show how uneducated I am) I got a 50mm 1.4 because everyone and their brother was swearing by it. Just like the camera, I didn't try it for 2 months. And now I am in love with it : )

How do you get people to let their real beauty shine though in photos?? How do you capture that?

I believe every person is beautiful. Every. Single. One. And I love finding that. One time I heard some wedding photographers complain about having to shoot a wedding with an ugly couple. It broke my heart. Everyone has beauty within. I truly believe that and I think it shows in my pictures. I think the day that any photographer thinks in their head 'I am shooting an ugly couple, or an ugly baby, or an ugly family' is the day they should stop. If you can't see beauty in everyone then this isn't the right field. People are beautiful. All kinds.

What is your favorite thing about being a mom to Kaishon?

My absolute favorite thing?

I can't pick. I love reading books at night before bed. He has such great thoughts about ideas. I love when he uses his imagination and acts out stories. He is dramatic. I love that he loves acting and he is so good at it. I love that we are both struggling through 5th grade math together. I love the happy moments when we can't stop laughing. I love the job of being a Mommy more than any other thing ever. These past 11 years have been the best collective years of my life. I treasure him.

Least favorite part of being a mom?

I am the worst disciplinarian on the planet. Kaishon is definitely spoiled. Now, the bad thing about that is...hello, SPOILED! But the good thing about it is that I was pretty spoiled when I was growing up and I turned out OK, so I am hoping for the best for him as well! As a social worker I see a lot of children that are not only not spoiled but not cared for at all. It breaks my heart.

What is a list of your favorite blogs, photographers etc...

Every day I go to a Quiet Life with Donna Boucher as well as Scott Kelby's blog.

There are many others but they are 2 of my favorites.

I am a part of Communal Global which is a great photography site because it has people of all levels and each day we share pictures from all around the world. I love it there : )

Do you have any special talents or other gifts we don't know about?

Taking pictures is my only special talent. I wasn't brilliant in school. I am not athletic at all. I can't sing or dance or play the piano or cook. So, nope, no other special talents.

You always seem so happy and full of life. What gives you joy?

Jesus gives me great joy.

And Kaishon.

Having a son like Kaishon gives me great joy every day.

There are two ways to live life: Thankfully or unhappily. If you are thankful you are joyful. I choose joy.

Thank you girlie!  Go visit Becky at Life with Kaishon.

Have a blessed day.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

gettin' saucy

This is a rare attention;)  I don't do the recipe sharing thing very often.  Cooking is just NOT my thing, but I do like eating and my friend Kristine is Italian and makes THE best sauce.  We're talking finger lickin' good, so I asked her to come over and help me make up a batch and thought you might like to see how it's done.

We cooked it all in one big pot.  So it was easy peasy clean up.  The first step is to put 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil in the pot and brown 1 pound ground hamburger and 1 pound mild Italian sausage.  Add 1/2 a finely chopped onion and cook VERY well until the meat is completely browned and the onion is translucent. 

Next add a heaping spoonful of minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Next add in your sauces.  This is what I had, but if you are going to the store buy 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (if you can't find it you can use 2 cans sauce instead).  Then buy 1 large can of tomato sauce and 1 large can of puree.  Add this to your pot of cooked meat.

Then take a knife tip of baking soda and add to the simmering pot.  It cuts the acid.

Add 1/4 cup white sugar.  Season again with some salt and pepper.

Finally add 1 tablespoon or so of Italian seasoning.  Make sure the sauce gets bubbly and then cover and turn it down to low.  I had mine all the way down and it was still simmering.  Simmer for 2 hours...stirring occasionally.  Then cool for an hour and divide into containers.  It makes maybe 3-4 storage containers worth to freeze for later.  It is THE best sauce.  Perfect combination of savory and sweet.  LOVE it!!!

Kristine's been helping me with another project too.  With her help I've started framing my house paintings.

Here's my header.  I love it framed.  It really sets it off and just gives it a nice finishing touch.  I found these mailbox letters at Michael's and thought they looked super cute. 

Here are a couple of other ones framed out.  Remember my 2 year blogging anniversary give-away??  The one on the bottom went to Carissa at lowercase letters.   Her house was so fun to paint.  Thought you might want to see the end result:) 

Have a blessed day.

**Oh and don't forget to link your picture up to this week's Thrive Project:)  Remember the two final winners will receive a leather cuff!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thrive Project: ISO and Rule of Thirds

Hello fellow photographers...and that's what you are if you love to take pictures:)  Are you ready for your next lesson?? This week we learned about ISO. It stands for something silly. Nothing you need to remember. I'm going to try and make this really simple. I think of it like a dimmer switch. If you are outside in bright sunshine keep the number low 100-400. According to my manual, if you are inside or if it's really overcast adjust the ISO to 400-1600. If you are shooting in the dark or at night increase the number to 1600-6400.

So just like a dimmer...if you need a little light keep the dial low and if it's really bad lighting up the number. The only way to know the exact number is to play with it. A big thing to remember with ISO is the higher the number the "grainier" the picture will be. You might see little grey fuzzy dots in your picture. It won't look as crisp and clear. So rule of thumb...use the lowest number you can to get the shot.

Taken at 7:00 am, very dark room... setting is 100 ISO.

This one shows the break down in the quality of the photo. See how grainy it looks?? It was taken in the dark at 7:00 at 6400 ISO.

Our teacher had us take TONS of pictures of one scene using our ISO dial, upping the increments and then taking a shot all the way up the dial. We did this at dusk or dawn, mid-day with a table lamp, and then in sunlight or full light.  I will spare you all those pictures.  I'm just sharing the 100 and 6400 settings for dawn and midday.   Hopefully this gives you a little idea of what ISO is.  Go visit my friend Suzanne if you need more clarification.  She has the gift of making it all make sense. 


The other thing we learned about was the Rule of Thirds. This is your homework this week. There is an imaginary grid that you need to think about when you take pictures. The super cool thing I learned is that when you go to crop your photos your editing software has that grid for you...YAY!!! I use Picnik. It's free and very very simple to use. The grid popped up on the screen and I was able to easily crop the photo to fit the rule of thirds easily:) Here are some examples:

Before and after...see how much more interesting the image is off to the side a bit.

See how the flower lines up where the lines intersect.

It's broken into 3 interesting lines.

If you line up your focal point in one of those intersections it makes your shot more interesting and pleasing to the eye. It gives it some artistic expression...makes it tell more of a story etc... Anyway just try it. Instead of putting your object smack in the middle, move it off to the side a bit. It really does make the photograph better.


Okay so now for the winners of this week's challenge. It was really hard for me to pick. I didn't count on so many good ones. Remember each week's semi-finalists will be put in the pot for the final week's prize. My two top favorite pictures will each win one of my cuffs:) YAY!

I picked this one because I went to Seattle last year and stood in line at the fish counter waiting for just this shot. It's almost impossible! Anyway catching that fish in mid flight is an amazing endeavor and a perfect example of shutter speed. Love the drops of water caught in mid-air too...awesome.

This was just cool. I meant to do something like this and never got around to it. Nothing like zooming past oncoming traffic while playing with your camera to get a fantastic shutter speed shot. That desperado deserves the win alone...ha!

Farmgirl Paints

Okay so link up and have fun. Play around with the Rule of Thirds. And for those of you who had trouble figuring it out last week...put your blog's url in the url section so I can find YOU. If you don't have a blog use my blog's url and then put your email in the caption (or title section) so I know who you are. Please include my button, so other people can find the project.  I'm going to make the thumbnail bigger this week so we can see your pictures better. You have ALL week.  Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Have a blessed day.

Example images were found at google "rule of thirds". 
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Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21st

There's something in me that's a rebel.  Don't know what it is, but when I know I should be doing something all of a sudden I don't want to anymore.  Case in point...this camera class.  LOVE it!  But I've never taken fewer pictures in my entire life!! What in the world??  I love capturing the moment and because it's "homework" now I've become a slacker.  Today I vowed to change that and this is my January 21st.

It's been just slightly bitter.  Can't say I'm really loving winter right now.  Our furnace even went out last night.  That of course CAN'T happen when the wind chill is 20-, so we had to have it fixed and it was after hours, so that meant double time.  Oh yay;)  But we DO have heat so grateful for that!!

When it's dangerously cold and there's nothing to do but stay inside, the logical thing is to brave it right?, and go to your favorite new restaurant with one of your favorite friends and just take in all the sights, sounds, smells to your heart's content:)

This place is called The BVLD.  And it is so swanky.  I love all the textures.  It just makes me happy on sooooo many levels.

I crave this!  It's edamame in some kind of salty soy garlicky sauce.  I'm completely PMSing so this hit that spot. 

Even the bathroom is cute.

After lunch Kristine and I hit Trader Joe's.  It was so cold that even in the store we were freezing.  One thing about Trader Joe's is that it makes me want to be a good cook.  I am NOT inventive in this area at all.  I just don't think about food.  I mean I love eat it, but to plan it and fix it and clean up...ugh.  Makes me tired just thinking about it!!

So here's what the fam was doin' while I was getting ready to make dinner.  Big Chick being responsible and getting her homework done.  Little Chick playing school.  She wants to be a teacher.  She's so funny to watch and for the record I've never seen my Honey lay on the counter top like that.  Maybe it was giddiness because it's Friday!!!

I got all adventurous going to Trader Joe's and tried breading our halibut with Panko breadcrumbs.  It was disgusting!

Poor thing!!  Needless to say we were all gagging.

So it was time for plan B...which means cereal.  I LOVE cereal.  Haven't had it in a month.  Yeehaw!!!

Plan B can be a very good thing:) 

 Hope you all had a great January 21st.

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