June 29, 2009

Catching Sun Flare :: Aliso Viejo Photographer

xmas 2008 portrait2-lux hard

We modern digital photographers are a bunch of goofballs who might one day wonder why we spent so much time and energy intentionally trying to screw-up a photo with flare. And I will number myself amongst those who chased after the flare! [grin]

Engineers have worked hard to create expensive lenses that are impervious to chromatic aberrations such as sun flare. Lens hoods with non-reflective interiors have been created specially for each individual lens. Tutorial after tutorial after tutorial has been written to help us avoid sun flare. Expensive anti-reflective lens filters are available to decrease flare.

But. I've got to tell you: Sun flare is IN right now. It's hip. It's current. It's hot! But. I've also got to tell you: the rest of the world is going to think you screwed up when you show them your awesomely flare-endowed picture. I was thrilled last year to find flare on my tri-pod-achieved family portrait for our Christmas card. But my own mother (Hi, Mom!) wanted to know why I hadn't photoshopped out that green spot -- that green spot that was sitting squarely on my handsome husband's face, nonetheless. And she wasn't the only one who wanted to know why I hadn't fixed that "problem". :-)

So, in the spirit of trendy-ness (because, I fully acknowledge flare is "in" now, but might again be a photographic faux pas tomorrow), I hereby offer up the following tips for catching the flare. And, by the way, I accumulated this list by working backwards from the abundant tutorials describing flare avoidance. ;-)

The How-tos:

1. shoot directly into the sun.
2. wiggle/tilt your lens around until you can see the flare.
3. cheap lenses are more likely to catch the flare (because of lack of anti-reflective coating on lens) than expensive lenses.
4. do NOT use a lens hood.
5. zoom lenses are more likely to catch flare than prime lenses (because they have more lens elements).
6. smaller apertures are more likely to give you better defined flare and detailed sun rays.
7. cheap UV/polarizing/neutral density filters can increase flare by introducing additional surfaces from which light can reflect.
8. and one more (from Aunt Tea in the comments): it's easier to catch flare in the early morning and the early evening when the sun is lower to the horizon.

So here's one of my recent attempts to catch well-defined flare. I was using my zoom lens (24-105mm), hood off, wide open 24mm, shooting right into the sun, with apertures ranging from f/4 to f/16.

bridge flare

It's pretty clear that f/16 gave much better definition to the flare (you can see it all the way to the bottom of the frame) and the sun rays than f/4. If I'd had a cheap filter for this lens I would have popped it on for good measure.

Here's one more experiment. I had my 85mm lens (prime, no zoom), a cheap UV filter, no hood, and an f/16 aperture.

brett flare

Try as I might, the 85mm just didn't deliver much in the way of spectacular flare.

So, what do you think? Like flare? Not like flare? Think it's a weird current trend? Either way, you can use my list to chase after it, or avoid it like the plague.

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June 28, 2009

For He Himself knows our frame...

agapanthus array

Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more;
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children,
To those who keep His covenant,
And who remember His precepts to do them.

Psalm 103: 13-18


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June 26, 2009

Photo Tip Friday

Problem with squinty eyes in bright light? Have your child close his/her eyes for a couple seconds, then have your child open their eyes wide and snap the pic quick!


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June 25, 2009

Reasons #6254-6256 that I love living in CA...

... these trees:


... this place:


... these fries:



Thank YOU, In n Out Burger, for being the ONE restaurant where all three of my boys are happy to dine.

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Orange County Photographer

June 22, 2009

Baby H :: Ladera Ranch Newborn Photographer

Baby H was FRESH - just 5 days old, slightly over 5 pounds, and soooo very precious. What a privilege to meet him so early and take his pictures!


Baby H

newborn photographer baby photography orange county

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June 21, 2009

My Daddy taught me...

that honesty and integrity matter.
that I could do/be anything I wanted to be.
that a good, loving husband who treats his wife well is to be prized...
... and that I should settle for nothing less.
that I could always cry on his shoulder if I needed to.
that the lesser interested party is always in control (when buying a house/property).
that a little bit of humor goes a long way to make everything better.
that if your "work" is something you love, then it doesn't seem like work.
money isn't everything, but it surely makes some things easier...
... and generosity is a beautiful thing.

Thanks, Dad, for teaching me well and loving me even better. I'm grateful.

I love you,
Your Favorite Daughter ;-)

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Waters gone by under the bridge...

Hudson -2Hudson -1

If you direct your heart right and stretch out your hands to Him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then you will lift up your face without shame;
you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by under the bridge.
Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
Job 11:13-18

{**tho perhaps words wrongly spoken to Job by his "friends", a great truth is conveyed nonetheless...}

And the work of righteousness will be peace,
and the effect of righteousness quietness and confidence for ever.
Isaiah 32:17


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June 19, 2009

A School Year in Review

These are the slideshows we put together for the promotion night at Middle Dude's school. It's been a really nice year.

If you're local to Orange County and looking for a great school, Grace Classical Academy is a precious, precious place with solid academics.

Littlest Dude is NOT a thrill-seeker... ::Aliso Viejo Photographer

Which is why he hasn't exactly been begging us to teach him to swim.


He tearfully told the nice lady in charge of the swim school, "I. Don't. Like. to. get. WET."


His instructor definitely has his work cut out for him with Littlest Dude.


So far, so good. Mr. C is GREAT with kids!!


So it's really not surprising that he already has Littlest Dude smiling...


... as he tries to "run over" Mr. C. (oh yeah, Mr. C totally *gets* boys)


A good swim instructor is worth his weight in gold. :-)

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June 16, 2009

Spokane Falls, Riverfront Park

Wowzers. This place was really amazing/fantastic/surreal/loud/wet. I needed a fish-eye lens in the worst possible way. I couldn't bring myself to put away my camera, despite its wussy (non-existant?) weather sealing.



Big Dude, always one to win my heart by striking a pose to make an awesome image...


And I was, all, "that's nice, honey. But how 'bout ... ???


Oh yeah, and that's not a flat ledge, and there's nothin' but rushing water on the other side, and all that stuff that looks like I put a texture on the image? That's WATER. Slippery water. Everywhere. In the air, on the ground. Luckily when Big Dude slipped off the not-flat ledge, it was onto the drier side of the wall. :-} It's not always easy being awesome.


Being rock stars?


Maybe. But I like to think they were probably giving "ups" to Jesus that Daddy-Big Dude fell on the right side of the wall.

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June 15, 2009

The Evolution of an Image :: Aliso Viejo Photographer

Or, how to spend too much time editing just one image too many different ways. And I'll even throw in a couple TRA recipes. And finish with an I Heart Faces entry, that of course, I'm ineligible to win as I'm a lucky contributor over there. :-) Let's just call this Multi-task Monday.

Here's my SOOC image. I like it. Lots. But it has some pretty hefty color casts that I'm not sure I can fix. Which, of course, makes it a perfect contender for b/w conversion.


But first, let's try color:


Here's my first sepia-ish b/w:


Still playing around ... and a recipe:

TRA Recipe: Old School Std 70% + Warm-it-up Kris 40% + Oh Snap 35%

And, perhaps my favorite, a cropped version of above:

TRA Recipe: above recipe + B1tch1n B/W + Warm-it-up Kris + Contrast

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June 14, 2009



Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life
which He has given to you under the sun;
for this is your reward in life,
and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:9


dedicated to Big Dude, to whom I have now been well married for 16 years this weekend. ;-)

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June 10, 2009

Jars of Clay...

We've been huge fans ever since my brother-in-law first introduced us to their music back in the days of their first album. So when we heard that they were in town and playing at a local coffee house, we were all, like, "Hey! ..."


Look - here's their tour bus:


And look - here's as close as we got to the concert ...


Oh, well. The coffee was good. Maybe on some other Spokane trip when when we're in town when they're in town and playing at a local coffee shop ...

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June 8, 2009

I Have Products!!! :: Aliso Viejo Photographer, California

I have two new products that I'm utterly delighted to offer my clients! I received my sample album and image box over the weekend. They are luscious and luxurious and a feast for the senses - both touch and sight. Behold...

dream album sample collage

dream box collage



and a sample two page spread in the album...


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