30 Days of Photography {Week 3} and then some

Well we are at week 3 now, almost 4. I'll admit I've slacked a lot, mostly due to being sick last week, and still working on gaining full strength back. Here are a few more photos I've taken and edited throughout the past week and a half.
August 15 - Elk Antlers. Edited in Gimp. This elk skull and antlers are sitting in my grandparents' backyard as a decoration piece. There's actually two sets of interlocking antlers. If this grosses you out, stop reading now. But my gramma and grandpa are both hunters, and these were their trophies from 2007. They are HUGE in person, this photos doesn't show them justice in that manner, but I loved the color I was able to achieve.
August 19 - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Edited in Gimp. Last Wednesday, when I wasn't feeling too hot, I made these out of desperation. I was craving a fall treat, even though it was at least 105 here. I also happened to have some leftover pumpkin in the freezer and so these were made. They might have been the best thing ever, at least for that moment. I'm pretty sure I ate at least 8 that night. No joke.
August 22 - Dessert Plates. Edited in Gimp. Saturday night I hosted a girl's night dessert party at my house. Since we only have Corelle dishes at our house (don't cringe please) I had wanted to buy some dessert type plates for the party. I ended up finding a great deal on a set of mismatched plates at Marshalls and they were only $1 a plate! I bought 12 total. I'm not sure it's really a set, but they are different patterns of off white and I love them. They are more like small dinner plate size, so I hope to get some good wear out of them.
August 26 - Desert Tortoise. Edited in Gimp. My parents' backyard has a few of these guys that call the place home. This is either Samantha or Goliath, I can't ever tell them apart. They are the biggest, and are probably 40 years old or so. They've had a bunch of babies over the years, much to my mom's dismay, which results in lots of baby tortoises. The backyard and laundry room are full of these guys. It's illegal in Arizona to sell them, but sometimes they give them away to family or friends.
Tonight will make for some good photos I hope. My mom is helping to host a party and she's hired me to make sure all the food and drinks stay replenished throughout the night. I'm happy to do it, and plan on taking lots of food photos before the guests arrive. I'll also be taking some guest shots and working on my "people" skills. Wish me luck!


30 Days of Photography {Week 2}

So here we are...week 2. While it's hard to take photos every day, basically due to lack of subjects, I'm still getting 5-6 quality photos per week. I'm still having a lot of fun with it, but if anyone has a subject idea, please let me know! It's so hot here that doing anything outside is pretty torturous, I wish it was cooler so I could take a field trip or two around town to get some good shots. But without further adieu, here's week 2!

August 10 - Peanut. Edited for color in Gimp. Peanut is my almost 5 year old Chihuahua. This photos captures his beautiful eyes perfectly. Those eyes get me every time. That and his ears. He positions his ears different ways and each time he resembles something different. My favorite is the Yoda look.
August 12 - Raw eggs. Unedited. I was looking for something other than my parent's animals to photography one morning and my mom was making breakfast. I love the color of the egg yolks, although according to my mom, nothing beats the color of fresh egg yolks. The blue bowl contrasts nicely with the yellow yolks.
August 13 - Failed cookies. Edited for color in Gimp. These cookies were from the first batch of a new recipe. As you can see here, they didn't turn out so well. Of course that doesn't mean they didn't get eaten anyway, they just didn't make it into the gift boxes I was making. The recipe is courtesy of Pioneer Woman if you are interested. Note that I meant to upload the cropped photo without the cord in the background, so picture it that way.
August 14 - Roxy. Unedited. I love this picture of my parent's cat. She was sitting on a bench in their living room. I love the contrast of the bench with her fur.

August 15 - Cherry Pie. Unedited. Oh cherry pie, how I love thee. This pie was from the weekend's birthday festivities. We did a multi-birthday celebration with my dad's family and my mom and I brought this pie along as her birthday desert. I will admit that we both messed it up a little, me with the crust and my mom with the filling. Didn't stop us from eating it though, or photographing it for that matter!


Sleepless (Weekend) in Seattle

Friday morning I headed to Seattle for a dear friend's wedding. Being that Chris couldn't attend, I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to fly in Friday morning, attend the wedding Friday night and return to Phoenix Saturday evening. Of course, as soon as I hit that 60 degree weather, I really wished I had sucked it up and stayed another day! Anyway, before I headed up there, I did a lot of food research, as always. Cakespy is a fantastic blog based in Seattle, so I managed to find a donut tour that she did a while back. I was extremely happy to find a donut shop that was close to where I'd be traveling. So as soon as I had landed and gotten my rental car, I was off to find Top Pot Doughnuts. After a minor issue with my GPS system (thank goodness I'm good with navigation) I found it. I kept telling myself that I was allowing myself ONE. However, the minute I stepped in there, I couldn't make up my mind. Thank goodness there was a line so I could take a while to figure it out. In the end though I couldn't decide and had to choose 3. Yes 3. I couldn't help myself. I settled on a maple bar, chocolate cake and a glazed old fashioned. As soon as I got in the car I couldn't contain myself and ate the chocolate frosted cake immediately. Once I got to the hotel I pulled out the camera and snapped a few photos of the old fashioned before consuming that one as well. I did manage to save the maple bar for the next morning. This is also the same company that supplies Starbucks with there doughnuts these days, but I can't guarantee they taste the same. No matter what, I wish they had them in Arizona so I could eat one every day.

After the doughnut incident, I managed to get myself ready for the wedding. The wedding was for my friend Megan. She and I have known each other since Freshman year of college. Not only were we sorority sisters, but we also lived together in Germany during our sophomore year and were roommates our junior year as well. She is an amazing person (and now attorney) and I was so happy to be able to share the occasion with her. The wedding was in Woodinville, Washington at the Willows Lodge and it was incredible. Below are a few photos I took of the wonderful evening.
Megan and her dad walking towards us in order to walk down the aisle. We had a nice long glimpse of them, which was a great opportunity to take some photos.
The archway where the minister stood and some of the floral decorations. This photo is a little dark, but the sunset was frustrating me and my camera.
My friends Lauren and Carin and me. Lauren was in Germany with us, and Carin is also a sorority sister of ours!
Megan and her new husband Scott cutting the cake with his marmaluke. He's a Marine Corps JAG and he wore his uniform instead of a tux. How handsome!

Sharing their first dance as husband and wife.

Megan and I at the reception. That guy in the cowboy hat behind us is the best man.
The next morning, I met my grandparents and cousin at the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. My grandparents were visiting my cousin Rainy who goes to school in Olympia, so we decided to spend the day together. After a horrific parking ordeal (let's just say that parking in downtown Seattle is ridiculously expensive) we started the day off with a trip to Daily Dozen Doughnuts. I was in serious heaven here. They serve 3 kinds of cake doughnuts, powdered sugar, sugar and spice, and frosted sprinkle. They are small and come in 1/2 dozens in paper bags. I think I could have eaten an entire dozen by myself.

After breakfast we hung around the market, taking in all the sites. The place overwhelms the senses, in a good way. The sights, sounds and smells are amazing. It makes me wish I could live near a big market like that. I would make the best food with fresh produce like that.

After the market tour, we headed to the Seattle Aquarium, which was really fun. They had all kinds of touch tanks, and seals and otters and such. I recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in downtown Seattle. After the aquarium we headed to lunch at Pike Place Chowder. I have one word for their food...AMAZING! I had a 1/2 crab roll sandwich and a cup of clam chowder and the chowder was possibly the best I've ever had. My cousin recommended it because she had been there on a previous trip, and I'm glad she did. After lunch we headed to the Space Needle, which was another must-do just to be able to say that we went there. After that, we headed back to the market for a snack before I headed back home. I could have easily eaten more, although my stomach couldn't have handled it. I guess that means another trip in the future!
These two photos are of me with famous pigs they have around the market. There are a series of pink pigs directing people to the market and the bronze pig is at the front of the market.


30 Days of Photographs {Week One}

So here we are...week one! I've had a lot of fun with this project so far. So here we are...week one! I've had a lot of fun with this project so far. Since I really had no idea about my camera, I did a lot of reading online during the week, taking notes and printing tutorials. While I still have a really really long way to go, I think that I've started to understand some of the basics. I decided the best way to do this is show the picture with a little description underneath each photo. Some are raw, and some are edited. Right now I'm using Gimp, which is a free downloadable photo editor. I actually have photoshop 7.0 for Mac, but it doesn't have near the photo editing ability that the newer CS3 or CS4 editions have. I'm working towards purchasing that, but it's pretty expensive. And until I figure out a way to know which mode it was in, the f/stop, etc. I'll be leaving that part out. PLEASE feel free to comment or critique these. I want all the feedback I can get!

Oh, and yes, I already slacked and missed a few days, but I had a crazy week and not getting home until dark doesn't make for very good photos! Plus my subjects are limited, you'll see that later.

August 2 - Gulliver. Edited to black and white in Gimp. This is my parent's 11 (I think) year old yellow lab. Gulliver is pretty special to me. He is actually a retired guide dog for the blind. We raised him as a puppy and I took him to high school with me once a week. Almost a year and a half ago, my dad drove all the way up to San Francisco to pick him up when he was retired. I don't think there's a person in the world who doesn't love this dog. He made a great first day subject because he doesn't move around, literally. He will go 8 hours sleeping in the same spot. Thanks Gulliver for being the perfect model.

August 3 - Hawkins. Cropped and filtered in Gimp. This is a horrible photo, I know, but this is the kind of subject I get to deal with at home. And this was the best photo of the night. I think that should tell you something right there. He literally does not stay still for me. Chris manages to take the most amazing photos, but me? Oh no, I can't manage to take one good photo of that darn cat. I still love him though, even if he makes me look like a failure.

August 4 - Salt. Unedited. For some reason, I really like this picture. My mom was making dinner at her house, and I was looking around for different subjects. I actually bought this salt for my mom for Christmas and since I want to improve my food photography, I figured this was a good start.

August 5 - Roxy. Cropped and edited for color in Gimp. This is my mom's new cat, Roxy. I haven't blogged about her before, but my mom rescued her from going to the pound about 6 weeks ago. She is still pretty shy, but when she came out one morning I was at their house, I jumped on the opportunity to take her picture. She doesn't move nearly as much as Hawkins, so I took about 20 photos of her. This one is one of my favorites.
August 7 - Wedding flowers. Unedited. On Friday morning I flew up to Seattle for a college friend's wedding. That is a whole other post in itself, but I had some great opportunities to take photos. I wish my best photo for the day had been of people, but with the Seattle clouds and sunset, the lighting wasn't super spectacular. I don't know how I managed to get this shot, but I was pretty proud of myself for managing to get some good field of depth.
August 8 - Space Needle. Unedited. I'm sure that some of you are cringing at this photos right now. Yes the lighting is way off but I love this photos. It shows that I took the camera off auto and while I might have failed with the exposure, I tried. I love the greenery against the washed out Space Needle.


30 Day of {Blank} Revisited

Since it's officially August 1st, today starts my first day of 30 Days of Blank. After a lot of consideration, I've decided to do...30 days of Photography. For a while now, I've wanted to work on my photography skills. Of course, my goal isn't to become a professional photographer by any means, but I would love to be able to take better "everyday" pictures. People, animals, food, and events are areas I would like to improve.

The camera I'll be working with is the Nikon D70. First let me say I know almost nothing about this camera. It's Chris's and while I have used it a number of times, I don't know anything about it except how to turn it on and snap a photo. Oh, and I also know how to change the lenses, because it does in fact have two. I'm looking forward to the next 30 days of learning about the camera and taking photos. My goal is to snap one picture each day that I am proud of. I will post the pictures weekly, since we all know I'm not good at posting every day. If anyone has any ideas about this camera and photography, let me know! I am literally going to just starting reading and hope I figure it all out. Thank goodness for the interest these days!