Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My New Toy

During my week in England, I had the opportunity to watch a professional photographer at work.  It was a very interesting sight and a great experience.  One of the tools she used a lot was a reflector.  I hit up amazon thinking that they would be very expensive, but why not just look?

Fotodiox 22" 5-in-1 Reflector Pro, Premium Grade Collapsible Disc, Soft Silver/Gold/Black/White/Diffuser
There are many reflectors that were very expensive, but it turns out this 5-in-1, 22in reflector from Fotodiox is only $13.  For that price I figured, why not?

The best way to see something in action, is to take a series of photographs.  So, here's the straight out of the camera shots.  I haven't done any editing to these photos.

This photo was taken using the silver side of the reflector.  You can't see it, but I have the reflector to the right of the tea cup - its bouncing the light from the window onto the right side of the cup.  You can see a big difference between this one and the first one.  

The silver reflector brings light to the image and gives it more contrast.  As you can see, the dark shadows on the right side of the cup are now gone.  The photo looks light and bright!

The job of the black side of the reflector is to block light and help create shadows.  As you can see here, it did exactly what it was supposed to do.  This is not a setting when I would use the black side, but I still wanted to show it to you.  

"If you're trying to take a portrait outside, and the face gets a bit too much light on one side, a black reflector might help you reduce that by both creating a "shadow" by blocking light, and not reflecting any light onto that side of the face." -Source

The diffuser was something I was very excited to get.  When the light is strong, the diffuser helps to, well, diffuse the light and make it softer.  It gives you a wider spread of light, therefore diffusing the light.  Even though this photo doesn't look wonderful, there aren't any harsh shadows.  Like the black side, I wouldn't use this side in this setting, but I wanted you to see the difference.

A white reflector is used to bring soft light to an object.  They are good for photographing people because they give people a softer look and hide flaws.  This also helped to lesson the shadows on the right side of the cup.

Last but not least, the gold side.  The gold reflector is used to bring warm light to a photo.  This one looks very similar to the silver reflector, but the overall photo is much warmer.

And there you have it.  The 5 sides of my new reflector.  I took a lot of photos over the weekend of the different projects I was working on and this reflector was definitely worth the money. 

In case you are wondering where you might store a 22 in reflector - have no fear!  This 22 in reflector folds into a nice 7 inch package and fits into a carrying case.  It's light and easy to use (and not to mention very fun to open).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

About Me

The "About Me" tab of this blog was starting to bore me, so I upgraded things a little.

Illustrator has really added some fun to my life.  I spent my last two evenings working this out.  The hard part wasn't the design, it was picking the colors.

Option 2 was what I started the design with, but the more I used it the more I disliked the red.  Once I switched to Option 1, it was smooth sailing.

Click on the About Me tab to see the entire design.  Next up - Charlie's page.  Time for a major blog revamp. 

In case you are wondering-
    The fonts I used were Lavanderia, Gotham Rounded, and Architext.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Charlie's Commute

All dogs have their weird quirks; things they do differently.  Allow me to explain Charlie's morning commute.

Every morning I walk down the hallway to my living room and get Charlie her breakfast.  I fill her bowl with food and get her fresh water.  At this point, Charlie is either playing with Luke and Leia (who wait at our house for the morning bus), looking for my mom, or still in bed.

Once Charlie's breakfast is ready, I yell for her to come get her food.

Charlie emerges from wherever she was and stops just inside the door.  If she's just dragged herself out of bed, she'll yawn and stretch before entering.  If she's just come from downstairs, she'll just stop and look around.

Here's the "weird quirk" part of this little tale.  Instead of making a b-line for her food, my little pup take the longest route possible to get where she wants to go.  I have no idea why she does this, all I know is that it fascinates me.

I recently switched Charlie to Chef Michael's dog food and she LOVES it.  As much as my dog loves food, we've had some struggles with her eating actual dog food.  She loves this new food and literally comes running for it.

So again, why the long walk from door to bowl?

Hey Charlie, there's a faster way to get what you want.

ps. Does anyone else think that my little Charlie illustration looks like a pig?  Hmm...I guess going to college to be a gym teacher didn't help with my drawing skills.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The State of Affairs

Don't worry, this has nothing to do with the upcoming election.  This is much more serious.

This is my dog and this is my mess.  Charlie looks concerned, but who wouldn't be?  Look at this place!

This whole mess is mine, except for the blanket.  That is Charlie's bed and I take zero responsibility for that wreck.  Charlie doesn't like spending time in this mess and neither do I!  I have an idea - how about we just hang out in the living room until I get this cleaned up?

Oh wait...nevermind.

This is my life lately - an overwhelming mess.  Now, I don't live like this all the time — it's only been like this for three days. Between working during the day and falling asleep at 6:30, I haven't found the time/energy to clean.  And since I'm a middle child, I'm pretty sure I can blame this on someone else.

The good news is that I'm feeling like I'm past the jetlag and by Friday at midnight, this will all be gone.  Every piece of this mess will be put back in it's place and I'll be ready for Saturday.

You know what I'm going to do Saturday?  I'm going to test out taking photos with my new reflector.  I'm going to put together something I got for Cam.  I'm going to frame pictures and hang them up.  I'm going to go somewhere to take photos for the November wallpapers.  I'm going to do a project inspired by my last trip to Anthro.  I'm going to finally go through Applesauce Day photos.  I'm going to do a project inspired by something I've pinned.

Ok, that's a lot for one day and maybe I wont get it all done, but the best part is that I'll have time to try.  There hasn't been a free weekend on my calendar in over 2 months and I'm very excited that I don't have to go anywhere.

But first...I have to clean.  You know it's bad when an 8 year old doesn't even want to go in the room.

Lukey: "I was going to watch TV in your living room, but it's too messy."

Talk about a wake up call!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Home Sweet USA


My week in England was wonderful and crazy and exciting and chaotic and awesome and tiring.  As you can probably tell, my head is sort of in a shambles.  I didn't really have the opportunity to pick up my camera and spend time taking photos - so here is my week in iPhone photos (also in a shambles and a little out of order).

This is our hotel room in Lichfield at St. John's House.  Bethany and I stayed here for four nights and we loved every minute.   The owners are incredibly kind and caring.

the streets of Lichfield

This is the tub/shower that was in our room.  Umm...does it get any better than this?  It was awesome.

The architecture in England is really beautiful.  I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to enjoy it and really look at it, but there were moment in every day when I got to just stare.  It's really beautiful.

I'm a simple girl.  I like simple foods.  Ok, basically I'm a picky eater.  I'm 27, by this time I know what I do and don't like, so I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food.  Indian food was really out of my comfort zone, but I tried it anyway.  I wasn't a big fan, but at least I tried it, right?

You can call me immature or tell me to get my mind out of the gutter - but that's just funny right there.  

One of the best things about this trip was the people we got to meet and spend time with.  We worked with a lot of people on our UK team and they were absolutely fantastic.  I want to go back just to spend time with them.  Actually, I need to go back just so they can continue to explain what "cheeky" means.  I still don't get it - they use it in so many ways that it doesn't really make sense and their explanations just weren't working.

Does this walkway outside of my hotel room in the Cotswolds remind anyone else of Mario Kart?  No...take another look...

Ok, it's not the same - but it was the first thing I thought about when I walked out the door.  Both in the game and the hotel room, the walkway was above water.  It was dark and foggy when we got there, so they looked very similar.

This photo is from our day in London.  What a great way to use umbrellas.  Hmm...I think I need to find a place to buy lots of umbrellas because I want to do this.

This was the view from our room in London.  Good morning Big Ben!  Good morning London Eye!  Good morning random castle.

I even came home with a pair of wellies.

We spent one morning in Oxford and I really wish we could have been there longer.  Of all the places we went, I would have liked to spend more time there.  It was beautiful and full of so much history.

 Everywhere we looked there was something so amazing and rich in history.  Ah!  When can I go back?

And it is all just so clean.  Everything is so clean!   

We didn't have time to do any shopping, so I had to pick up some souvenirs in the airport.  I didn't think Cam would care where I got this Lego key chain as long as he got to keep it - I was right.

I've never been so happy to see the sun.  The sun doesn't visit the UK, so we were feeling a little low on vitamin D.

 These wonderful little kids were at the house the morning after I got home.  It was wonderful to see them and give them lots of kisses! Cam was really liking his Lego markers (also from the airport mall).

His Lego key chain even had a little surfing adventure on his police car from "Ing-ga-land".

I'm actually not having a very hard time getting back on schedule.  I slept for 12 hours the first night I was home.  I felt a little tired during the day and I'm feeling tired now, but I was able to function and get some work done without feeling completely exhausted.

My room is an absolute mess.  My brain is a little fuddled.  I have so many thing I know I need to get done, but I don't remember what any of them are, but Charlie and I have gotten some quality bonding time so I'm feeling a little normal.  For now, I'm putting off doing laundry and cleaning my room.  Instead, I'll be spending the night on the couch because I know I will not be able to sleep in that mess.  Despite all of the things I need to catch up on or do...

It is surely wonderful to be home.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hello from England!

I've been in England for almost a week and its been the busiest week of my life.

I've been to Lichfield, London, Cotswold Water Park, and Bourton-on-the-water.  The sad part is that I've had time for only 10 photos - none of which are very good.

You may not believe me when I say I'm super busy, so here's a good example.  I was out and about in London from 9am until 4pm and I only took 2 photos.  Yup, thats how busy I was.  There would be something so beautiful right next to me - I'd look at it, think of how I wanted to photograph it, sigh, tear up, and turn to get back to work.

Ok, time to move on to the next place! I hope you are having a good week.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I found out Thursday that I would be leaving Sunday for a week long trip to Europe for work.  A week in Europe?  Count me in!  The weekend was spent frantically shopping, packing, and writing lists to make sure I didn't forget anything.

Everything has been bought, packed, and crossed off the list.  By the time you see this, I will have already landed overseas. Now its time to go crazy in Europe!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Some Good Ol' Fashion Fun

Esther and I had a very exciting Thursday last week.  We took our favorite nephew to the Please Touch Museum - or as Cam calls it, "The Touch You Museum."

It may have been the best thing we have ever done with him.  And the fact that he was wearing overalls just made everything even cuter.

This place had everything.  At first, Cam was very shy and made sure to ask permission before touching anything.  He's such a sweet little guy.

One of the weirdest things is that everything was soft.  I mean, EVERYTHING.  It was weird.  I'd never felt anything like it.  It's hard to describe, but it was weird.

By the end of the trip, he was running all over and we were running to keep up!  Esther probably told him "Cam, we can do whatever you want. You decide where we go." about 10 times.

Once he figured it out, he was off and running!

He even got to shoot a canon!  See that red thing flying through the air?  Yup, Cam did that.

Esther even showed off her muscles!  This tiny gym was one of the many rooms they have in the Please Touch Museum.  They had so many rooms that I can't even name them all.

Now, I've never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland (it still creeps me out), but the play area was really cool.

He ran to that door, knocked, and said "hello!" - then he proceeded to knock on all of the other doors.  No one answered.

The mini grocery store was my favorite part.  I learned something about Cam that I didn't know before - he likes to throw his groceries into the cart.  Hmm...let's hope he grows out of that.

Aw! He's going to for the cheese!  He's a man after my own heart.  I'm pretty sure he would have taken everything off of the shelves if we had let him.  He was having fun loading that cart!

Last but not least, the carousel.  This was really fun.  Cam was loving it.  He loved that his horse went up and down.

And just in case you are wondering, his horse was named Bullseye.

For those of you that aren't bored with Cameron photos, below I've posted all the photos I took with my phone.