Parents, if you want wonderful pictures of your children, never teach them to say "cheese"! Please learn from my mistake or you will have thousands of photos just like mine - squinted eyes, scrunched up noses, clenched teeth, and an image that just screams "say cheez!!!". Join me while I search for that one perfect shot that doesn't conjure up images of dairy products. Oh, and unless you like that *messy* look, you'll probably want to clean their faces before you snap away. I never seem to remember myself.

An imporant sidenote is to make sure you document your life! Recording the little details of the who, what, where, when, & why makes for wonderful stories and captures your life for years to come. Because if you are like me, you'll forget it all 5 minutes later!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


School in back in session. N & J's first day was yesterday. N is in second grade so he's used to the routine and is gone all day. J is in afternoon kindergarten. While he's been in preschool 3 mornings a week for the past 2 years, it was still emotional for me to see him get on the bus and drive away. He was antsy all morning and couldn't wait for the bus to come. So by the time the bus got here I was ready for him to go too! :-)

It is a little sad watching them grow up, become independent, and discover a world that doesn't involve me (*gasp* you mean they are going to start to have a life that doesn't revolve around me?!)...a little bittersweet. I guess the bitterness is the knowledge that I have to accept that they are growing up yet it is SWEET! that there will be some peace and quiet for a few hours each day.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Faith in Peas

Ok, so I have faith that you fellow Peas can help me! I've been working with my new 70-200L f/4 lens. I've had it for one week now and it is a bit hard for me to hand hold without camera shake. I have one more week to play with it before I have to decide to keep or return to B&H. So far I'm not overly thrilled, mainly b/c of all my camera shake and the higher max ap (I'd love the 2.8 IS lens for this exact reason, but can't afford it).

I took a bunch of pics of my ds on our porch in bright light(it was sunny outside and the sun was starting to go behind our house so were weren't in direct sunlight, but were weren't in the shade either. Make sense???). The setting was TV mode, SS 1/125, f/4, ISO 100, and FL of 87mm. DS was moving around a lot - sitting on a rocking bench and so the pics are not as sharp as I want. I couldn't decrease the SS b/c of my camera shake and I couldn't go wider on the ap, and, honestly, didn't think to up the ISO. Here is one of the better of the bunch and I tried a few different bw actions on them. What do you think?

Original, SOOC

With Aly's BW conversion from

With Brenda's BW Conversion from

With Mike's Dragan Monochrome Action, warmed from

With Mike's Dragan Monochrome Action, cool from

I think I prefer the last one best as I like the cool tones and like how the background is solid black, but am bothered by how dark his eyes are. I wish they were lighter like in the one with Brenda's action but have no idea how to accomplish this as I'm a total PS dummy (hence why I have the actions!). Advice? CC welcome! I have faith you'll lead me down the right path and have faith that I won't get pissed off from your CC. Thanks!


Miss M is 2. And totally fits the sterotypical 2 year old...tantrums, trying to surpass her big brothers whenever she can, thinks she is 12, etc. She is supposed to be napping now but has plans of her own. I'm sitting in my office below her room and I can hear her banging her feet around, clapping her hands, giving a good shout out every now and then, and basically refusing to fall asleep. Oh, I think she just threw her baby doll out of the crib. Lovely child sometimes ;-).

I received this in an email...not sure where it originated, but it so fits our little "princess".

Toddler's Rules of Possession
1. If I like it, it's mine.

2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.

5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in anyway.

6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

8. If I saw it first, it's mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it's broken, it's yours.

Even with all my complaining she is so incredibly wonderful in my eyes. I'm constantly amazed by her and love to photograph her. We went to a state park over the weekend that had a magnificent waterfall. The sun was warm, we had a picnic, frolicked around in the stream and pool from the waterfall, and listened to the calming sounds of the cascading water. I guess Miss M got all zen that afternoon...I think this is her lotus position and I swear she was saying "om".

Most likely, she was just recharging for the tantrum she new she was going to throw later in the day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Faith Between Brothers

I'm jumping back in the game with the POTD. My boys are headed back to school next week and I'll be home with just my dd. My hope is that I'll have some extra time when she is napping to take more pics and post more. Here are a few pics from last weekend when we went to the shore. I think they're in line with the theme this week - faith. We were in Cape May, NJ and the waves were rolling in. My boys decided to take a break from boogie boarding and try their hand at body surfing. They held on to each other with great faith that they would keep each other safe. Nice to see them getting along.

I've just started shooting in RAW, just started using/learning CS2 (coming from PSE 5), and I was playing around with the SS to try to get some different effects with the waves. Unfortunately, that isn't easy to accomplish when the other subjects in the photos (children) move around a lot!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Good Week

It's been a pretty good week...spent a few days at Cape May (southern most part of the New Jersey Shore) and had a blast camping, frolicking in the sand, eating crap food, and dolphin watching. This was our second trip there and I really like it. Nice soft sand, wide beaches, and plenty of waves for the kids. Granted the water isn't the gorgeous turquoise of the Caribbean, but I'll deal with it. One thing that surprises me about Cape May is the dolphins. I'm so amazed that there are dolphins this far north. And the come so close to the shore! We saw them a few times as we were just hanging out on the beach. They come pretty close to the shore, maybe 100 yards or so away. They aren't easy to photograph, especially as I'm diving over my children to try to get a good angle on them, but I got a couple of quick snapshots.

I have water babies for sure. They absolutely love the water and spend every chance they get in it. This is one of the reasons I like living where we do - the close proximity to the ocean, the mountains, and the city.

Ken celebrated his b-day this week. B-days don't seem to be a special as you get older. But the children LOVE them. I had to really talk N&J out of getting the party hats, streamers, and balloons for Ken. They wanted him to have a REAL party, not just cake. They did get to serenade Ken with their ukulele and accordion while they sang happy birthday. Too bad I didn't have the video recorder on! Ken & I celebrated his special day with a concert in Central Park - not a bad way to turn 37! We saw Nickel Creek with Fiona Apple and had dinner at a great restaurant sans children (and bought my b-day present while we were in the city)...quite a good week indeed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Go Me Again!!!

This just makes me so giddy...I have to brag a bit again.

Better Photo Gallery

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Post Vacation Depression

Well, I think we are having the summer doldrums right now and so missing our vaca in Maui. We were there for 12 glorious days and now we've been home for almost a month. I didn't sign the kids up for camp this year because I wanted them to use their imaginations, play outside everyday and then be "bored" by the end of the summer so they'd be excited for school to start. Hmmm, WHAT WAS I THINKING????
It seems they've been bored ever since we got home from Hawaii and have been at each other's throats everyday and it is starting to drive me nuts! J has had fits because he can't understand why we can't go back to Maui IMMEDIATELTY - like I'm supposed to be able to wave my magic wand and *poof* we're there. Oh, how I wish life worked this way - there are so many things I'd use that magic wand for! N is "soooooo bored" and all of this toys are "sooooo boring". Life as a 7 year old is so rough. M loves to taunt her big brothers and then yells that they are "MEAN, MEAN, MEAN" when they decide to push back. Add the laundry and humidity to the mix and we are so in a post vaca depression!

Ken & I saw Dave Matthews Sunday night in Hartford. Great show, I think. We had lawn seats - so did every other high school and college kid in the state. Apparantly, DMB is big with the younger generation. And this younger generation seems to worship DMB - screaming every single word to every single song, going totally insane when budda dave would grunt out "thank you", gyrating like they were on the set of MTV Grinds (is that even on anymore?). So we didn't really get to hear Dave sing. But everyone around us seemed to have a trippingly good, smokin' awesome, ravin'licious time. Good grief - this younger generation has made me feel really old and quite prudish. I swear we were the only people there who were sober and came to hear the music, not for the party! We're off to see Nickel Creek next week in Central Park, so hopefully I'll have recovered by then.

Just so I don't sound TOTALLY grumpy (!), things have been pretty good even though it seems I'm dwelling on the downers in this post. M is doing great with the whole toilet-training thing. She decided this week that she was done with diapers and wants to skip over the kiddy toilet - I've got no problem with that! We've had some fun days at the beach by our house and most days the kids are playing in the pop-up pool thing set up in our driveway (classy, I know) and the kids are getting really good at swimming. We had a great outing blueberry picking and are up to our eyeballs in blueberry muffins, blueberry sauce, blueberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and now I need to freeze some of the blueberries! The kids have had a lot of fun picking the raspberries around the house before the deer get them - this is a challenge! We're off to Cape May tomorrow for a mini vacation at the beach. Really looking forward this! Hope to cure some of the summer doldrums and depression! Here are some, well several, random pics from this summer...

More pics

Still more pics (yes, I'm shameless)