December 30, 2007

Persistence.

It's good to know that eventually, if you hang in there, and keep yelling at them, this...


...and this...

...and this...

...and this...

...will eventually become this...

December 26, 2007

So, this morning I found out what Sophie does when left alone.

December 25, 2007

Aubrey and I decided to make Tracy's incredi-awesome cinnamon rolls. It was Christmas Eve and we both had to work, so we said, "Why not? If ever there was a reason to make them, it's now."
So, we hauled all the ingredients, KitchenAid mixer and all, into work and spent the night luring people into the room with smells of deliciousness.

We still actually had to do work from time to time so we couldn't spend all night in the kitchen. (It only has like two inches of counter space anyways, so we were probably better off.)
Luckily, it was a pretty slow night. We didn't kill anyone...I don't think.

We were afraid of getting flour all over everything in our less-than-ideal cooking environment, but we actually did pretty well. My blue pants were all white afterwards, but I think we managed to keep the mess out of the keyboards.

We had a hard time finding a plug for the mixer, seeing as there are ten billion computers and things that occupy our outlets. We found one shoved in a corner. It was awkward, but hey, we're flexible.

Don't worry. We 409ed the crap out of that desk when we were done.

Mmmmm...giant cinnamon rolls....

Even Jason helped. He didn't want to sit at home all night doing nothing, so we kept him company.
(Note: He's holding the reject pan.)

Gooey deliciousness. I couldn't finish mine. I think I got enough calories to last me until the New Year. But it was sooooo worth it.

December 22, 2007

It's new lens day!
Again.

so in love...

Cross another off my Christmas list.
Thanks, me.

December 20, 2007

Every year my friends and I have a Christmas party/dinner/gift exchange and I noticed something interesting this year.
Either we are all very polite, over-exited gift receivers or we buy each other incredible, awe-inspiring gifts.




With reactions like that, you'd think we all just won the lottery. Or a new car.

Maybe we were all in a really good mood after our delicious, homemade dinner complete with bruschetta and creme brulee.




Naturally, I can't have my camera out with out attempting some artsy-fartsy photos.




And of course, I must share one of my jaw-dropping gifts. Cute, new camera strap! I love it.

Merry Christmas to me!!
(And no, I didn't think to take a photo of it before putting it on my camera. That would have been way too easy.)
SONG OF THE WEEK
Rihanna-Unfaithful


December 17, 2007

Ok, Walmart. Let's break it down.
You and I are tight and always will be.
I understand that it's the holidays and things are busy, but honestly. There's no room for laziness.


(please pardon the crappy camera phone)

December 13, 2007

The Power of Post-Processing


The image on the left is SOOC (straight out of camera). The image on the right is my final product.
It's a little depressing when I think about it. I have all this expensive camera equipment and this is the best image it can give me??
Granted, conditions were not ideal when I took this shot. I was sitting on my bedroom floor at 3 AM, using only available light which included my overhead light and two Walmart lamps. Normally, I would have used my external flash, but Aubrey had borrowed it. I didn't think it was nice to bother her during the middle of the night, so I made due.
In looking at my SOOC shot, there are several things I notice right away. Probably the most obvious is the white balance. Way too yellow. I had my camera set on Auto which usually does an adequate job shooting outdoors, but I was indoors. It should have been set on Tungsten light. However, I shoot in RAW so that is something easily fixed.
Next, I notice that the photo is a little bit underexposed. I was working in a low light situation, but there were several things I did to help my exposure.
I was using my 50mm 1.8 lens. I shot wide open, meaning the largest aperture. I wanted to keep a narrow depth of field, while allowing the most amount of light I could. But, I kept my ISO low at 200. I could have bumped it up to 400 or even 600, but I wanted to keep the noise or grain very low. I knew I could correct it later, so I just compensated by using a tripod and holding very still. (How much that helped, I have no idea. It just felt like the right thing to do.)
The image also has virtually no contrast. It makes for a very boring photo. However, when I was going through all my shots, this one jumped out at me because I knew it had potential.
I did most of my editing in Adobe Camera Raw. I adjusted the white balance, exposure, and contrast very easily. I then added a vignette and opened the image in Photoshop. There I was able to clone out some stray hairs and the wrinkles on my forehead. A quick dodge over my eyes and the image was done.
It's nice to know the difference a little Photoshop action can make. It sure would be nice if my shots came out of the camera looking like this, but in my world, post-processing is the fun part. None of my photos see the light of day without passing through my digital darkroom.
No matter how good your photo, it can always use a little help. That, in my opinion, makes the difference between an average shot and an amazing shot.
I was driving to Walmart tonight and was reminded of another very important rule for Sam's Exclusive I-Have-Christmas-Lights-That-Aren't-Tacky Club.

~Lights on a net can be used ONLY after completing a competency course i.e. tossing them on a bush ain't gonna cut it.

December 11, 2007

Posted below is The Master List!!
Namely, a list of photographers who I love, who inspire me, and who totally intimidate me. I plan to keep it updated, so check back.
It is is mostly for my own use, but feel free to explore!
THE MASTER LIST

Ardent Photography
Ash Imagery
Bare Baby
Beth Cupitt Photography
Beth Jansen Photography
Brenda Acuncius Photography
Brianna Graham
Brittany Woodall Photography
Bryan Niven
By Faith Photography
Captured by Carrie
Captured For Life Photography
Celebrate Life Photography
Christine Tremoulet
Decent Urban Lifestyle
Digital Izatt Photography
Don't Box Us In
Elizabeth Leighton Photography
Erica Berger Photography
Gwyneth Colleen Photography
Heavenly Portraits
Inspired Images by Nadia
Inspired Reflections Photography
Jefra Linn Photography
Jesh de Rox Experiential Photography
Jessica Claire Photography
Jessica Oatman Photography
Jessica Strickland Photography
JWL Photography
Kate McElwee Photography
Lara Jade Photography
Lauren Clark Photography
Leah Profancik Photography
Leigh Taylor Photography
Lily Blue Photography
Mariah M Photography
Mark Eric Photography
Marta Potoczek Fotografia
Melissa Brown Photography
Michelle Black Concepts
Miss Aniela Photography
Mist Photography
NicholeVan Photography
Open Field Photography
Photography by McKenzie
Pink Sugar Photography
Pinkle Toes Photography
Red Heart Photography
Sarah K Chen Photography
Sarah Maren Photography
Sarah Turner Photography
Sheye Rosemeyer Photography
Skye Johansen Photography
Still-Motion
Sweet Baby Photo
The Image Is Found Photography
Trash the Dress
Whitebox Weddings
Work of Heart Photography
Wynona Robison Photography

and of course...

Every Little Moment Photography

December 10, 2007

first*snow
So, it feels like winter. It's not technically winter for a few more days, but I tend to base the seasons by my wardrobe decisions. When I can finally unpack my 40 billion scarves and ten pairs of fingerless gloves, it's winter time. (I have a thing for scarves and fingerless gloves.)
Winter, obviously, means snow. There are a lot of things I love about snow. Sometimes I am in awe seeing what a few inches of white can do. I love how during a snowstorm it can be 3:00 AM and it will still be a little bit light outside. I love how the earth will sometimes be completely silent if snow is falling. Stepping out on the porch and not hearing a thing can be the best sound in the world. Snow on tree branches and balanced on fence posts? I love it.

However.

There are a great many things I despise about winter. Scraping off my windshield, frozen fingers, wet pant legs, being cold in general...
And don't even get me started about driving in the snow. Not only do I drive an un-4 wheel drive car, but put some snow on the roads and everyone thinks they can drive like an idiot.
I think we all remember what happened last year. I'm bound and determined not to let THAT happen again.
Which brings me to my next point. Last Sunday, the City of Orem had 29 traffic accidents in 4 hours. I hate driving to work in a blizzard, knowing my next 10 hours are going to be hell and not being able to do a thing about it.

Now, I hate being judgemental, but it's things like this, this, and this that make me want to move to Aruba. It puts me in a bad mood to see a house that looks like it was barfed on by the Ghost of Christmas Lights Past. I am so picky about what makes good Christmas lights, I should start a club. Only a select few are allowed to join.

Sam's Exclusive I-Have-Christmas-Lights-That-Aren't-Tacky Club.
~No icicle lights
~No flashing lights
~No multi-colored lights
~No multi-colored, flashing, icicle lights
~No inflatable lawn ornaments
~No light-up deer that are pretending to eat your grass
~No giant manger scenes
~White lights on houses ONLY, preferably large bulbs
~Colored lights on trees allowed ONLY if the whole strand is the same color
~Wreaths are allowed on doors and windows, can be lit with white lights

These are the basic rules. Any other questions will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Request to join the club should include color photos of your home from at least five angles and a two page essay explaining why you think you deserve to be accepted.

December 07, 2007

SONG OF THE WEEK
Michelle Featherstone-Coffee and Cigarettes



December 05, 2007

It's official!
(The dot means he's the new guy.)

See how happy he is?
(Check out his hair. It's combed!)

They kept making us walk through different doors. Missionaries in one...

Families through the other...

Then back together again.

But not for long.

There's more to the story, but I couldn't take pictures past this point.
Summing it up, we have an Elder in the Johnson family. He'll be in the MTC for three weeks, departing for Florida on December 26th.
If you'd care to send him letters, here ya go:

Elder Taylor Johnson
MTC Mailbox #190
FL-TAL 1226
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

December 02, 2007