Saturday, August 27, 2011

My First Newborn Session... McKinley

I shot my first newborn session today... tiny, baby McKinley.  This little girl is absolutely beautiful and I had so much fun taking her picture.  I have known McKinley's parents for a long, long time... her dad was a member of my very first class 22 years ago and her mom was my jr. high helper when she was in 7th and 8th grade.  Fast forward about 20 years and McKinley's mom gets a teaching degree, subs in my classroom (she was always my sub of choice!) and eventually gets a full time position teaching across the hall from me! (OK, so that does make me feel a little bit "old" - smile).  I was THRILLED when they asked me to take their newborn photos. 

It was a perfect morning and McKinley was the perfect subject!  I honestly expected her to be sleeping most of the time, but it was actually the opposite!  This little one is only 4 weeks old and is taking in the world around her like she is researching it for a dissertation!  She has these AMAZING eyes that are not only gorgeous, but look at you like she actually understands everything you are saying to her.  After our shoot I spent a little time holding miss McKinley and "chatting" with her... and it was mesmerizing - she looked right into my face the whole time I was talking, eyes WIDE open and studying my face.  This is one amazing little girl!  

I hope you enjoy the photos below... I think this family is beautiful, inside and out!!

PS  I'll post more photos as I finish editing them (I know McKinley's Grandma will be happy to see these up so quickly! - smile)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Little Pots

My husband and I spent a few days on vacation before I start back to school this week.  We enjoyed some time at Niagara Falls (we stayed on the Canadian side) and then stopped in Buffalo, NY on the way back.  Yes, I have many pictures of the Falls and it was absolutely beautiful... but my favorite photos were actually taken at the Knox-Albright Art Museum in Buffalo.  If you are visiting Buffalo and you have a few hours to spare, this is a must see!  We spent over 3 hours viewing all kinds of art... from Van Gogh to Andy Warhol, this place has a little bit of everything!  We especially enjoyed the video exhibit which was REALLY interesting. The last exhibit we wandered into was filled with these tiny, beautiful clay pots.  I fell in love with all these teeny, little pots... hundreds of them... all displayed in one area.  The artist is Katheryn Wilder and you can read about it here.  Yes, I'll post some of my "vacation" photos (when I get a chance to go through them... we all take WAY too many photos on vacation and I am no different!).  For now, here is a little collage of those lovely, little pots.  


Monday, August 15, 2011

More Senior Pictures... Golf

My nephew is on the varsity golf team and today was "team picture" day.  I got a call yesterday that went something like this...
(make sure you read the "nephew" parts in a monotone, non-excited voice and my responses really enthusiastically! - smile)

nephew "Aunt Lisa, I have golf team pictures tomorrow"
me "oh, that's great!"
nephew "yeh, well, you said you wanted to take some pictures"
me "sure! sounds great... what time?"
nephew "uh, we have pictures at noon"
me "so that means around 12:30 or 1:00, right"
nephew "uhhhh, I guess so"
me "so I'll see you with your uniform, clubs etc. around 1pm?"
nephew "yeh..."
me "OK, great, I'll see you tomorrow, can't wait!!"
nephew "uh, yeh, thanks"

...that's about as excited as he gets about pictures.  The first thing he asked me today was "will this take as long as the last time?"  That REALLY made me laugh and then I said "no, this will go quicker".  Honestly, he really is a good sport and does everything I ask and I'd like to think that it was "kind of" fun in the end.  I asked him which pictures were his favorites from the 2 previous sessions and he said "the pictures that I'm in"!  What a witty response - I about fell over laughing! Oh, senior boys!  A girl would have had a VERY different answer... as we are way more critical of ourselves I think.  

I'm posting the first 2 edited images below but will add more as I get them finished.  I think he is such a handsome young man.  I keep telling him that GQ is going to be after him for a spread in their magazine!  It's hard to believe that he is all grown up - wasn't it just yesterday that he was an adorable little boy? 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Normally I am photographing people... but I wanted to play around with the settings on my new lens, and since my husband wasn't willing to be my model (smile), I was stuck with the flowers in the backyard.  I found that flowers are a good subject to "practice" on... they don't move, they look good from all angles (no "bad" side), and they have brilliant colors.  I shot all these photos with the new 50mm lens.  I wanted to try out various f stops and see how close I could get.  I also messed around with the exposure and found that in aperture mode, if I compensate for light, I lose my fast shutter speed - which results in a blurry image since I can't hold camera still when the shudder has a long delay.  I really learned to appreciate the FAST shudder speed available with this lens.  Mainly, I learned that I have to decide what is most important for the shot... if I need the fast shudder speed, I may have to sacrifice light.  Since I know I can fix certain things in photoshop, that will help influence what is most important.  As I've said before, photoshop can't fix a blurry image (darn again!).  I use a variety of actions on these flowers to give them more of an artistic look rather than just a natural look.  I love the glowing colors!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Family Portraits...

Last year my mom wanted a family photo... so I told her "you get everyone here at the same time and I'll do my best to capture us all in a picture".  Believe it or not, everyone showed up.  We did not "coordinate" outfits or colors... there was no big plan, just show up and smile!  Turns out, this isn't a bad way to get a great family photo.  I found out that looking through the lens as the photographer and trying to set up the shot (and BE in the shot) are 2 very different skills!  I set up my tripod, got everything ready on the camera, jumped into the shot and "clicked" my remote... as many times as I could - hoping to get a good shot.  Since I had no idea what it looked liked, I just kept clicking away (hoping there would be some good images in there!).  I learned a lot that day.  For instance, I learned that it is important NOT to zoom in too close to allow for various crops of the photo to various sizes.  I learned that it's hard to feel relaxed in the photo when you are also the photographer.  I learned that my family knows how to have fun during a family photo shoot.  I learned that my family is VERY understanding when, after viewing the first set of shots, I decided we needed to do another set.  Most importantly, I learned that when you photograph a LARGE group of people it is very difficult to get a shot in which every person looks "perfect" (especially if there are children involved - smile).  While I wouldn't say the family photo is the best I've ever taken, I did manage to "capture the moment" of US at that moment in time.  I especially like the second shot... that's the REAL us!  I wonder if my family will be up for a new family photo this Fall?  I hope so!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy 45th Anniversary Mom and Dad

Just a quick post as I'm busy getting ready for the upcoming school year.  My parent's recently celebrated their 45th Wedding Anniversary... they started dating in high school, so they have actually been together for over 50 years!  While dating, they often ate at a local pizza place called Reino's.  When we were kids, it was our favorite place to get pizza as well (in fact, the owner's mother lived next door to us and when I was very little, she would pass me huge slices of homemade italian bread over the fence - yum!).  So, what better place to celebrate their wedding anniversary?  The food is just as good as it was long ago!  If you haven't eaten at Reino's, you are missing out on something special! We had a wonderful time, as usual!

...and just can't resist posting one more of my niece in the bitty pool with my mom.  Isn't camp Grandma great?!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cooling Off

I had a chance to try out my new lens today.  My 2 year old niece was "cooling off" in a teeny little baby pool that my mom has had for years.  She just fit in the pool and didn't seem to mind that it was a bit snug.  I guess it doesn't matter when you are 2, it's hot out and you're hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  When my mom has the nieces and nephews over during the summer, we call it "camp Grandma" because she always has lots of activities for them.  There is never a boring day at Camp Grandma!  I caught some cute shots of my niece enjoying her little dip in the "pool" (can you call it a pool when you can barely sit down?  I honestly think it was more like "swimming" in a bucket but she had a great time).  I love my new lens because it is very different from the 2 I have been using in the past.  It has great depth of field and excellent sharpness.  I still have a lot to learn about this lens vs. my telephoto lens.  I can already see the need for both depending on what I want to capture and how I want the image to look.  Below are a few of the first images caught with the new 50mm lens.  I think my niece is adorable... but then, I am a little biased!  Do you agree with me?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New lens... yipeee!

I purchased a new lens today!  A Nikon 50mm!!! I met a friend for lunch out of town and I mentioned that I was ready to purchase a new lens, but wanted to buy from a shop rather than the internet (I like to talk to a REAL person when I purchase something that is a bit pricey... especially if I have to return it!).  She promptly pulled out her phone and found out there was a shop about 5 minutes away.  I have driven by the shopping area where the camera shop is located many times, but NEVER even noticed it.  Needless to say, about 20 minutes later, I walked out with my new lens.  ...and I was practically giddy!  Unfortunately, I haven't had much playing time yet, but I'm sure I'll be shooting a lot of photos in the next few days.  Since I most love taking photos of people, I will be "bothering" some of my "models".  Hopefully, they will be willing victims! :-)  I'll post some photos taken with the new lens if a few days.  Until then, here are a few taken with my old lens at my nephew's 10th birthday party. 

My nephew and his Mom... can't believe he is 10!

My niece... she's 2!  Peek a boo!