Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Rose Garden?

For our SLR 2 field trip we went to a rose garden, but sadly the roses we not in bloom, but there were beautiful water fountains and a lot of other flowers that were ready to be shot by eager students.

Dandilions are one of the most annoying flowers out there, but so very sweet at the same time.

This fountain was perfect to practice long and short shutter speed.

Hans has a thing for Lilacs. I'm not sure if it's the look or the nostalgic smell, but I was thinking of him when I shot this.

I am excited to report that this photo didn't need any photoshopping.

This too is real thing.

One of our assignments was to work on using foreground

Being born in the desert has deprived me of plants that I'm sure are common place in most other parts of the world. These little beauties are called bleeding hearts.

There was a sculpture garden and this statue had a bunch of these oragami birds stuffed in it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Minneapolis at night

My digital SLR 2 class promised to be more hands on than SLR1. Last week our instructor took us to a slightly sketchy but amazing location to get pictures of Minneapolis at night. The bridge in the pictures is the historical Stone Arch Bridge. It was built in 1883 to allow trains to cross the Mississippi River, but is now a pedestrian/bicycle bridge.
Minneapolis was once called "Flour Milling Capital of the World." It was and is in many cases, home to such companies as Pillsbury, General Mills and Gold Medal Flour. (If you look to the far left you can almost read the GOLD MEDAL FLOUR neon sign.)
While the class was shooting, at least 20 Canadian Geese families with there goslings swam through the bridge. The city and the bridge from the right side.

Conrad's 1st piano recital

There's a man in our ward by the name of Drew Thomas (he's a pediatrican), who plays the organ for our church service on Sundays. He does a great job with the hymns, but his postlude is what is amazing. One day after, the Sacrament meeting he played Widor's Toccata - 5th Organ Symphony Opus 42 No1. Hans, Conrad & I just sat there, hypnotized by the beautiful music. After he finished, Conrad turned to me,

Conrad:"I want to play the organ like that."
Me: "It took Drew a year to learn that song and he's been playing the organ for years."
Conrad (with resolve): "Okay, I'll do it."
Me: "You'd have to learn to play the piano first."
Conrad: "Okay."
Me: "You'll have to practice everyday."
Conrad (with even more resolve): "Okay, I'll do it."
Me: "Okay."

So, this past Thursday (May 21, 2009) Conrad played in his 1st piano recital.

I've noticed with Conrad that when he has to perform, whether it be dance, music, or a speech, he gets his game face on (see picture above) and acts very serious and self assured. I asked him if he was nervous and if he felt ready, he coolly answered, "No I'm not nervous at all and yes, of course I'm ready."
I felt like quoting Willie Wonka and saying "You do seem confident, and confidence is key..."
That night he played 3 songs, Old McDonald had a Song, Wind in the Trees and All the Stars are Shining. After he played, looking rather satisfied, he took a bow and sat down. His recital went well and I'm hoping this will be a jumping off point for him and he will excel and want to push himself to play Widor's Toccata.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Digital SLR 1

I bought a fancy Nikon D80 last Thanksgiving and had been keeping it on the automatic settings ever since. I felt pretty lame not knowing how to use the manual part of my camera, but afraid of the "unknown." (I know how silly to be afraid of a camera.) I was rightfully chastened by a couple of my swanky photographer friends for using this sweet camera as a glorified point and shoot. Hans was encouraging as well, "Buy a book, study online, take a class. Let's get our moneys worth out of this camera and learn how to use it."
I took their comments to heart and I am currently enrolled in the community ed Digital SLR 1 & 2 class. The first session just ended and I am a changed lady. The instructor was fantastic. He not only helped me get comfortable with "the other side" of my camera, but gave helpful and practical tips for maintenance, accessories, editing, printing and extras.
Below are a couple of my final products of Digital SLR 1.

This picture was taken using a small depth of field. (just the hand and shells are in focus.) The comments from the instructor were to not put the object in the center (to make it more interesting) and to use a softened flash to help the object pop. I must admit, I've been anti-flash for a long time because of how it washes everything out, but with a filtered flash, it's like a whole new world.

This was taken at Lake Como using a large depth of field (everything is in focus). Again I have an issue with putting everything in the center.

Smaller depth of field. (the background isn't totally in focus.) The instructor liked Conrad's positioning in the picture, but again suggested using a filtered flash, so that he would stand out more from the background.
I love Conrad's quizzical brow in this shot. He was actually slightly annoyed with me because we were at the lake taking pictures, not having fun. He also got a fair amount of mosquito bites that night, poor guy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Conrad and his bow

All year long, Conrad, Riley & Amelia spend a lot of time outside. The boys busy themselves by building forts, trenches, weapons of mass destruction, traps, etc. from things they find around our community. For the past 9 months Conrad has been sharpening his bow and arrow making skills and practicing his aim.
Hans and I have tossed around the idea of purchasing a "real" bow and arrow for Conrad, but our friend Brian told us not to because it would spoil the creative juices that are flowing through him all the time. So being good parents and not wanting to ruin our oldest child, we haven't bought him one. I think one can say Conrad is craftier and our community and the small animals that live near us, are safer because of our restraint.