January 30, 2011

Favorite January Picture ...

... at I Heart Faces. With People's Choice Voting again :-).


Here's my little student, once again redefining how he optimally works; and, of course, it's NOT by sitting traditionally upright, facing forward, with his bottom soundly planted on the chair's seat.

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January 26, 2011

The Perfect "Fix".

All today, for no good reason, I just felt blah. Bah humbug. Lethargic. Grumpy. Ill-tempered.

This was the perfect fix. Just the right medicine. Better than any day spa.

The Strand Android 3

Photo stats: Big Dude's Android phone. Free Fx Camera. Polandroid Setting. Vintage Film. Square.

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Dana Point Beach Photographer

January 25, 2011

All the World's a Stage ...

Which is a good thing. Because sometimes my littlest dude needs a bigger than usual stage for his epic battles.




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January 22, 2011



Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you:
not as the world gives, do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

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January 20, 2011

Being married to an engineer ...

... means that when one's HOA requires that one keep one's house paint trim looking nice and tidy, and when Engineer-Husband begins said maintenance-task, that it's quite likely that Engineer-Husband will find something done incorrectly by former builder-painter, even such a fine homebuilder as ours (gigantic tongue in cheek), which has been "caring since 1881..." Engineer-Husband will discover that our fine CA homebuilder constructed our porch railings not with wood, but with fake plastic wood. Fake plastic wood that paint will not stick to. And then Engineer-Husband will likely tear the whole thing apart and begin from scratch.



Which ends up costing a whole lot more [time and $$] than a simple can of paint.

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January 19, 2011

Capturing Real Life.

After our summer travels last year I wrote a post for I Heart Faces about the value of shooting with a stopped down aperture (specifically f/8 or smaller, specifically for landscape/vista detail).

I'm now feeling an even stronger urging to use smaller apertures in everyday photography - for the specific purpose of INCLUDING life details that I've otherwise been blurring out on a regular basis. You see, I've been scanning old film pictures. And I've discovered some things:

1. I was NOT a good photographer.
2. I had zero understanding of depth of field and how to use it.
3. Apparently I wasn't concerned with good composition, either.
4. I did a pretty good job documenting life. And when I look back thru all those crappy, albeit beloved, photos, I remember ...



I remember that godawful, ugly, gold-colored Lazyboy from my own childhood that was super comfy. I remember the bedraggled dog bed in the corner by the fireplace. I remember that even from his earliest days, the Teen and I made regular forays to the library and greatly enjoyed all the books we brought home together. I remember all the blankets I draped over that not-very-comfy futon in a futile effort to keep the cat's fur off the furniture itself (see her peeking through, from behind the futon? she usually parked herself atop the futon, just behind our heads). I remember the kitchen clutter, always piled up on the corner of the counter by the phone, next to the bottled water that was always covered with an ugly towel to keep the water from growing algae. I remember the baby gates that defined the safe borders of Littlest Dude's world at the time. And I remember the purple REI backpack diaper bag that went everywhere with us, lasted thru all three boys, and still looked new at the end. (dang, that was a well-made bag!!) I remember so much and appreciate the tiny details when I look thru these photos.

And I desire to bring that insight into my photography this year. I will be intentional about allowing "distracting elements" into [some of] my photos. I will include some of my cluttered backgrounds. I want to capture the details today that I know I will forget by tomorrow (ok, or next year, cause I know the distracting clutter will probably still be around tomorrow and next week ... ).

Here's one of my recent attempts to capture the history of today ... a "before & after", if you will. This first image captures the book that I'm reading and LOVING right now:


This second image captures my context, my space, my stuff that I live with ...


This picture helps me remember:

1. That though my mom (hi, Mom!) raised me to daily, neatly make my bed, I rarely do so now that I'm all "grown up".

2. That I love the light that spills into my bedroom and wraps all around everything.

3. My decorating failure. Someday, when I'm not so clueless, I'll figure out an eye-pleasing arrangement to those canvases I love. And Big Dude has even agreed to re-hang them when I finally figure it out. :-)

4. That I always have stacks of books everywhere.

5. That Big Dude, who in all other ways is seemingly grown-up and mature, insists on keeping that Star Wars Lego ship-thing on his bedside table. I don't know why. And he is adamant about it not going away. This image will also remind me that Big Dude bought his own Nerf gun in order to personally arm himself for engagement in the dudes' Nerf battles (I don't count this as a check-mark in the "immaturity" column, but rather in the "good-Dad" category!).

6. That my window is wide open ... in January. Because here in SoCal, it seems January always has a freakishly warm week or two. This was that week. And I soaked it up in my favorite corner chair. In my bright sunny room. With a warm breeze. And my favorite book of this year (yeah, yeah, I know it's only 19 days into the year, but I'm pretty sure this book is IT).

7. Ultimately, it will remind me that on that day I could have chosen to spic n' span my space, but instead I chose to kick up my feet & curl up with a good book. As it has ever been, may it ever be ... ;-)

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January 17, 2011

My Love for My Publisher ...

I just sent off my 2010 family album to My Publisher (that's one big, HUGE, checkmark off my "to-do" list). If you're considering making a photo album, NOW is a great time to test out My Publisher's product. They're offering a couple promotions currently: up to 60% off (for anyone) or Buy-1-Get-1-Free (for new customers only). And for what it's worth, I'm not paid to promote them. I just think they offer a great product for a great price.

2010 MP pages snipit

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Kellers Workin’ the Sunset …


IMG_9654 IMG_9657 IMG_9613

It’s just one of those things that we do.  Smile

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Aliso Viejo Family Photographer

January 16, 2011

Before Everything ...


“The LORD brought me forth as the first of His works,
before His deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
before He made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
I was there when He set the heavens in place,
when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when He established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when He gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep His command,
and when He marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was constantly at His side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in His presence,
rejoicing in His whole world
and delighting in mankind.

Proverbs 8:22-31

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January 14, 2011

Our Canyon–after the rains …

We took our first walk in the canyon (post rain) this week.  After seeing the $12+ million damage wrought by the creek in Laguna Beach last week, we desired to see what the creek that runs thru our canyon did.  So off we set …




First effect of all the rain?  There’s a whole lotta this growing:


And, of course, a couple of obligatory self-portraits with my beloveds are in order …



Green, glorious green …


Approaching the stream, we can already see that a bunch of trees are gone and shrubs are flattened …



IMG_9450 IMG_9457



Here’s Big Dude, thinking he’s all tricky, photographing me, photographing him …




Orange County Family Photographer

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January 11, 2011

It's the Simple Things ...

that are so wonderful. Like a date. In a parking lot. For a quiet hour. With a mocha. And a fun cookbook to peruse (thanks to my brother & sis-in-law). And an excellent book. Some beautiful clouds to see thru the open sunroof. And my man. Doing some work project. While all three dudes enjoy a chess class.

parking lot date

photos courtesy Droid.

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January 10, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, I Heart Faces!

I Heart Faces is celebrating their second birthday with a Smile! theme this week. Here's my quirky, smirky, more-often-than-not happy-go-lucky Little Dude. I shot this itty-bitty picture with Big Dude's Droid phone, FxCamera app, Polandroid setting...


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January 9, 2011



For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears,
many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach,
and their glory is in their shame.
Their mind is set on earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there,
the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control,
will change and transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.

Philippians 3:18-21

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January 7, 2011

Adventures in Textures, Part Four ...

with much gratitude to Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations. Have you met Jerry yet? He's not only/merely a genius texture artist, he's a generous genius texture artist. He creates gorgeous textures and makes them available to the internet public, free of charge. He even regularly tutors his readers in how best to use his gorgeous textures.

Textures are becoming a little more familiar to me, but I've still been befuddled as to how to have texture/color show up on blown-out, detail-less skies (which is something I capture frequently here in SoCal). This particular tutorial at Shadowhouse, along with the available canvas texture, walked me thru the steps to put texture on a blank sky. Wanna see?

Before (notice the detail-less sky):


Here's a screen shot of my layers (with modes and opacities labeled).

shadowhouse canvas snipit

And here's the "after".


I know my "after" is not an earth-shattering piece of art, but I'm just so tickled to have the texture "stick" to the sky, and I'm anxious to try the technique on other images. :-)

Now, go visit Shadowhouse, be inspired, learn, and download some textures!

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January 6, 2011

In the game of Me vs. Me ...







Me won! Totally wiped out the competition with a sweeping victory ... ;-)

Processing detail: all photos edited using Jessica's fabulous One Willow presets. She's releasing a brand new set this month. Keep your eyes peeled. I unreservedly and whole-heartedly endorse her beautiful presets!

Fun chess detail: Littlest Dude is excited to be starting a chess class this week, and before he goes, he's teaching himself to play using Fritz & Chesster software. Clearly, he's having a terrific time!

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