Sunday, April 26, 2015

Emily's Afghan

Back in January, my niece Sarah had her first baby, Emily (just like my mother's name!)
I crocheted a pretty afghan to welcome her to the family.

I used Caron's Simply Soft yarn in this lilac with an accent of white stripes.

Before sent it off to Washington, I let my babydoll model it, wrapped in warmth against the winter cold.

The pattern is one I modified from an afghan I found on Pinterest. It's a row of two double crochet / chain stitch, followed by a row of single crochet / 2 chain stitches. In the white rows, I substituted two single crochets for the doubles. It makes for a nice cohesive pattern.


Inspired by Lisa Lately via Pinterest:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Self Portrait Week 16: Wigging Out

My daughter Jeanne came over to play in the rain with me today. We dressed up in wigs, and took a phone selfie on the deck. She chose hair my dark color; I chose hair her natural brown color.


Photo Lessons I Learned:

Today I taught Jeanne how to  use a verbal command to take a photo. My phone didn't like her voice. Her voice command could never get the shutter to click.

The biggest lesson this week was in photo editing. Jeanne is really good at it. She showed me several ways to play with levels and contrast and other tools to make all the various shades of black in this photo pop instead of getting lost in one big black blob. So the shirts and the hair and the umbrella each have their own tone. Goodness, I have a lot to learn ... and trying to cram so much into a single session makes my brain burn. She was incredibly patient with me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


My tulip is fully open, soaking in the sun. Splendid!
Can you see the heart at the center?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


The tulip by my front door bloomed yesterday. I love watching the transformation and the way the late afternoon light plays on the petals.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Self Portrait Week 15: Twenty-four Years

This week Dale and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. My gift to him was a joint photo session.

We do have our fun!



Photo Lessons I learned:

Dale was a good sport and played along with posing ideas. One thing I learned at the Parks & Rec seminar I took a couple weeks ago was that necklaces can be a tricky component to portrait photography. They like to go wonky. I learned this first hand in this photo session. Many of the photos were marred because my pearl necklace was askew.

I set up the lighting much the same as the last two weeks: backlight on the wall, key light with umbrella, fill light, and a reflector. I learned that things need to be modified when there's more than one person in the shot. I had to deal with some sharp shadows. We changed the lighting a bit between the first and second photograph, plus I had to tweak it some more in editing. The camera was on a tripod and I used a wired remote shutter and a custom white balance.

F 6.3 ... 1/25 sec ... ISO 800 ... 55mm

Sunday, April 12, 2015


A photo essay from the photo shoot earlier this month.


 Photo Lessons I learned:

 I like the story this tells: a woman working through a dark spot in her life, striking out, being isolated, and feeling trapped by her own emotions. The negative space in the fourth photo adds to the feeling of isolation. I captured the look of pain in the eyes of the final photo.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Self Portrait Week 14: Feeling My Age

When I grow old
I shall wear purple
and marvel at the blue veins
that creep prominently up my hands.

When I grow old
my glasses will slip down my nose
so I'll chain them to my neck
in case they fall completely off my face.

When I grow old
I'll tape my thumb in place
when I sprain it
then rest my chin upon a cane
as I gaze out the window at spring blossoms.


Photo Lessons I learned:

I had such fun creating this self-portrait! I love the way I look so much like my mom here.

This week I set up my home photo studio in our dining room. I took the picture as morning light streamed through the east window (on the left). I added a reflector on the right to add some fill light. I used a mirror propped on a chair by the camera and tilted it up to add more light to my face.

I found this great wig at a thrift store. On half price day, it only cost $1.50!
(I actually found five wigs, so there's more fun to come).

Unfortunately, I really did sprain my thumb this week and I had my doctor check it out. I've also developed a pain in my knee when I kneel too quickly (no more genuflecting for me!) Plus there's a small benign cyst bulging on my chest wall that's bugging me. So ... I was beginning to feel my age this week, and thought I'd capture it in a funny photo. This one makes Dale and me laugh and laugh. He says that even if I start looking like this, he'll keep me around.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tiny Grape Hyacinth

I broke out my macro lens and spent a little time shooting in my backyard.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Self Portrait Week 13: Finding Emo

Many find Holy Week a week full of EMOtion.


Photo Lessons I learned:

For this week's photo, I used some of the home studio techniques I learned last week, with a few twists. I took the photo in our daylight basement with the window light coming in the left side of the photo as fill light. I used the same key light with umbrella setup as last week, placing it to the right of the camera (see the catch lights in my eyes?) I added a reflector to the left of the camera to bounce some light up under my jaw. I used an "under cabinet" kitchen light on the floor behind the subject as a backlight to illuminate the grey felt. That worked really well.

Then I played with camera angle and costume. I wore all black with safety pins holding the hoody together at the neck. It's quite a trick to put harsh black make-up on wrinkly 57 year old skin! I'm rather proud of how that came out.

I put my camera on a tripod, but had the front legs lower than the back leg to the camera was angled down. For posing, I tried some whole-body shots, some upper body shots, and then some close-ups. Figuring out the posing angles is one of the toughest parts of this self-assignment! For this final shot, I went with this extreme close-up. I thought it captured the haunted mood I was going for just right. I have the camera higher than my head, then looked up into the camera.

I used a wired remote shutter button (which I'm really starting to love!) and my kit lens.

In editing, I lightened some of the shadows so that some individual strands of hair could be seen especially on the left. I brightened my eyes just a smidge and did a little color correction. I also did a tiny bit of cropping so that the edge of my chin was not resting on the edge of the photo (Nick taught me about how that might add unwanted tension to a photo).

F5 ... 1/50 sec ... ISO 640 ... 44mm ... no flash

I'm quite pleased with this week's outcome!