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Posts Tagged ‘clickclickshoot’

I have taken more photos this January than all Januarys combined since I got my first DSLR five years ago. I much prefer shooting in natural light because of the way our house faces and the window situation~ It really makes for absolutely dismal choices when trying to get the photos I want. So beyond a special occasion, my camera normally keeps the shelf pretty warm until April or so. I had big plans to brave the cold this year, to get out and shoot some beautiful, snowy Minnesotan scenes, however, it has been below zero nearly every day since Christmas and I know I was born and raised in this state but I’m sorry, I’m just not that hearty. So I had to suck it up and work on indoor shooting and I have to say, it’s forced some great practice out of me. Working with the light I have has been challenging, and I only get 1-2 good shots out of every 30 I take, but I’m learning and slowly getting more comfortable and confident about where to position my subject and getting more intuitive about what placement will get me the right shot.

I know I will be MORE than ready to get outside once the temps creep up into the 20s, but for now I’m happy with what I’ve learned and love that My 365 Project is keeping me motivated to get out my camera, whether it’s my Canon or my phone, and capture the life around me.

Here is my full January set, and these are a handful of my favorites…

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Alright. I wanted to do a big holiday recap but for all but the first 2 days of our break, Ez was sick. We thought it was that his mouth was exploding with 4 molars and an eye tooth but after a week of sososo much green mucus, the fevers started in and then he quit sleeping, like, ever. I’m of the school of thought that When Thou Taketh Sick Children to thy Doctor, Thine Sick Children get Sicker, so I always do the wait and see method but this boy has been so miserable for so long, Bill and I packed him up and sat in urgent care for an hour before the doctor could see him. Of course he perked up when we got there, the Tylenol had knocked his fever down and all he wanted to do was run around and lick every germy surface he could get his mouth on so Bill and I just traded him back and forth, attempting to contain his toddleriness while exchanging knowing looks of GOD THIS IS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY POINTLESS. However! He had a big fat infection in both ears so we are now on day 4 of antibiotics which will hopefully clear up one problem, the other being his teeth which I’m pretty sure will plague us til the END OF DAYS.

Anyway! I wasn’t able to accomplish a ton because of a screamy baby and two very squirrely children but I did finally manage to compile my November and December Flickr sets. November was pretty great {as Novembers go… it is NOT my favorite month} so I did get out a few times. December was pathetic. I don’t think I picked up my 7d more than a handful of times, but I’m so grateful for my iphone to capture the little moments, especially because all the best stuff seems to happen in shitty light and I am not practiced enough to navigate through my settings to get the shots I want, so the phone was my lifesaver this season.

Here they are:

November 2013

One of my favorites:

1.8.1

December 2013

One of my favorites:

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This leads me to my next project which I started January 1. I follow a few instagram accounts that do 365 projects and was inspired to attempt my own this year. I’m only 8 days in but it has motivated me to pick up my big camera and capture small stuff every day. I know there will be days when I’m gonna regret this but so far it’s been a great experience. Here are my favorites from the past week…

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I tried to focus on Rowan because I knew once school and dance started up again, my opportunities for photographing her would be sparse, plus she is sort of temperamental about getting her photo taken so I have to snap her when I can because I never know when she’ll let me do it again.

I have a lot of stuff in the works right now, both personally and for our family. {This is where I confess I’m cheating on this blog with a new tumblr blog that will be used to work through the massive overhaul of everything I’m stupidly attempting.} We have a BIG 2014 coming at us. The words for this year are WORK HARD. It’s going to be nuts but I’m hoping that this  365 project and my monthly shoot compilations will be a good reminder of all the good parts of our lives together, it is pretty super kaduper after all.

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It has been a truly exceptional, beautiful fall. Normally by mid-October most of the colors have shifted to brown and the leaves on the trees are starting to get scarce. This year there was still a fair amount of green up until a week or so ago, which for Minnesota is pretty rare. We had a freakishly late spring, enjoying the fruits of an eeeevvvviiiiilllllll Mother Nature who graced us with snow and cold temps through May, so that’s probably why the colors have lasted so long. And while that scenario isn’t ideal {let’s not make ever-lasting winter a habit, mmmkay?} the brightness and boldness of right now is a pretty great consolation.

I was able to get out a bunch in the beginning of the month, but between the absolute crazy schedule and sickness and birthdays {OMG sososo many birthdays}  that took over our house in late-October I fell off a bit. Oh, also camera-gate continues, I still haven’t heard if they’ve even begun work on it or what the cost damage will be yet.

One of my very favorite places to shoot is the cemetery my dad is buried in, which is a historic site well over a hundred years old and full of gorgeous, mature trees. Unfortunately the boys were sort of cranky when we went so I didn’t get to spend a ton of time there but my favorite time to visit is right after the first snowfall so I’ll be back sooner rather than later if the forecast for November is accurate. Other locations included Pioneer Park, Country Sun Farm and, of course, the neighborhood path and Brown’s Creek Trail.

Here are my favorites from the month of October! {Full set is viewable here.}

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Yesterday the sky was gorgeous in the late afternoon, so after looking up and cursing at it profusely for the loss of my camera on these last few, precious 50 degree days, I took out my phone. I have a mild to moderate obsession with Instagram. I love that I can worry more about composition than photo quality {understanding that it is what it is with a phone} and the fact that I can immediately edit is awesome*. The biggest reason however is the “moment” factor. Here’s the thing. Kids are quick, and fickle, fickle beings sometimes/muchofthetime/allthetime. If I relied solely on my DSLR I would come back with aaaaaa looooooot of blur and grainy stuff, and also it’s a beast of a thing so it’s not always possible/practical for me to drag it along. I wouldn’t capture a third of the small moments I currently do if I didn’t use my phone.

So I collect as many moments as I can throughout the day and usually edit over naps or after the kids go to bed and then I either post the 1-2 best images {or get obnoxious and bomb the poor feed sorrynotsorry}. Then, after what is inevitably a very long, busybusy day, I crawl into bed, pull out my phone and scroll through my feed which allows me a time to stop, be still, and be thankful for these sweet little things that dominate our every waking move. A kind of a prayer of yes, the baby hand-fed most of his lunch to the dog… yes, Rowan cried tears of frustration at finishing her timed math homework… and yes Keaton is sick AGAIN, But! Here is a chalk drawing of our family on my driveway. Here is a toothless grin. Here is a hog-pile mid-giggle.

Here is our life, staring back at me, so much on an impossibly small screen.

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 {*The majority of my editing is done with PicTapGo, VSCO cam and I sometimes use an Intagram filter.}

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10.3.1

~Munchkin Land, MN Landscape arboretum.

Since the kids are back in school and I have a little more time to play around during naps and such, I have been pretty active with my camera the last month. I got my first DSLR back in 2009 and shot with it mostly on Auto for about a year, which, you know, sort of defeats the purpose of having a fancyish piece of equipment, but I sure looked cool using it! Once I got more comfortable, I started shooting in Aperture Priority {AP} which lets you play a little but most of the heavy lifting is still done automatically. I took some pretty great pictures on this setting and finally decided it was time to jump into full manual mode, where I’m fully responsible for how each and every shot turns out. It is crazy frustrating but super addictive, especially when I get that one perfect shot {out of the 674 that I took}.

When it comes to hobbies, I usually stick to things I’m naturally inclined to or semi-good at. Like reading {I’m like, super literate}, eating cheese and drinking wine {am goddamn cheese eating prodigy} and binge-watching TV shows {now watching Six Feet Under to wash out the ridiculous let-down that was the last 5 episodes of Dexter. (tangent: seriously, if you haven’t watched the last season, just do yourself a favor and skip it. The incredible laziness of the writing really ruined the whole series for me.) K, I’m done.}  Anyway, so yeah, I like easy stuff. This is why of the 17 times I’ve attempted to learn to knit… 17 times I’ve ended up hiding my knitting bag in the back of my closet so I don’t have to walk past it and feel like a failure.

It’s probably not saying anything great about me, but I don’t really like to challenge myself in my free time. I want things to be easy. The thing about photography is that I’m really pretty terrible at it. I don’t have a technically-minded brain or very much patience, both of which are pretty key to being a good photographer. I had no idea the incredibly technical world that lives within each shot you take and how many things need to come together in perfect harmony to get a good picture. Just when I get my focus recomposed after spot metering and adjusting the ISO for too much/not enough light, and get the aperture where I want it to create a nice bokeh, I fire off the shot only to see that I left the shutter speed way too high so my picture, that I painstakingly, lovingly adjusted the hell out of is blown out completely white. Oh and also? There is math involved, People, and we all know how Christy Gunter feels about math.

But. Despite it all, I really love doing it and if giving lectures to my kids has taught me anything {because seriously, who can tell if it’s sinking in for them} it’s that if you want to be better at something you have to keep working hard at it, even when you don’t really feel like you’re getting anywhere. And I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere, in fact, I feel like I’m moving backward since my photos turned out a lot better when I let the camera do the heavy lifting, but I’m at a place now where I’m willing to put the work in to get where I want to be.

Another big downside is that photography is an extremely expensive hobby. Someone could hand me $10,000 and it wouldn’t even buy one fifth of the things I need/want. Every time I comb through my favorite photog sites and forums or take free tutorials I find dozens and dozens of products that are tagged with the title “Things Every Good Photographer Needs”. Some of it is bullshit but a lot of it would be legitimately awesome to have. I sort of want to punch the people who say, “but you don’t NEED that stuff, you just need a camera, any camera, and a creative passion to shoot”. And then I ask, “okay, so what did you use to take these amazing photos and the laundry list of “unnecessary” equipment is daunting. Unfortunately, right now we are deep in the midst of Operation: Get the F*ck Outta Here so the Gunter’s are on a complete budget freeze which means I cannot even spend 10 dollars let alone ten thousand which is really frustrating when you want ALL of the things.

So this leaves me with these things:

1. My used Canon 7D. Bill bought this off a co-worker on the cheap last spring and while it’s definitely not my dream camera it was a big step up from my Rebel and I like it.

2. My Tamron 28-75 2.8

3. My  85 1.8

4. A bunch of cute, wiggly kids to practice action shots on.

5. And certainly the best asset I have, the Great Wide Outside.

I do light editing/color correcting in iPhoto and hope to get over my seriously debilitating fear of Photoshop so I can begin to utilize that as well, but trust me, if I could hide Ps5 in my closet with my knitting needles, I totally would.

All this to say that each month I will be posting my favorite shots from the previous month once I compile them. {Here are September’s!} The full set of favorites can be seen here {114 of the well over 2,000 photos I took over the course of the month}. They are not the best, but right now they are MY best. The hope being that I can look back in a year and laugh at how comically bad they are because I will have progressed in something I truly want to get better at and something I truly enjoy doing. And not just because I am preserving our family memories or compiling my kids’ childhoods for them, but because this is something I just really love. Along with the cheese. And the wine. And who could forget the olives, because I’m really good at olives too.

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This month the outdoor shooting possibilities were endless. The greens were juuust starting to shift into yellows, reds and purples and the September sky was such a vibrant blue. The easiest time of day for me to get out {read: at the mercy of Ezra’s naps} was the worst in terms of “good light” as I had to shoot in high, harsh sunlight. But it turned out to be a good lesson on how to use that light the best I could, and although there were a ton of images I had to trash because the shadows were too harsh, I learned to find the best angle and adjust things accordingly.

As for locations, I shot at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum which I lovelovelove but only make it out to every other year or so because it’s about an hour away. There was not a single cloud in the sky so I struggled a bit but the flowers there are so big and theatrical, so much fun to shoot. Other than that I stuck close to home~ heading to Lake Elmo Park Reserve one day but the rest of the images are taken from right in my neighborhood; the walking path outside our development, Brown’s Creek Trail and Boutwell Cemetery {dubbed The Butterfly Trail by my kids}. My favorite thing this month was playing around with dappled light and sun flares on the trails. I have a long way until these shoots become effortless but for now the work I put it was fun.

One thing I learned about myself is that I can’t sift through the images right after I take them because I’m waaaaay too critical. I normally load them and give them the once over right away but wait a few days to flag the best ones and start the editing process. Once I’ve had a few days to separate from the shoot I can do a more balanced job of  picking the best pics instead of banging my head against the wall every time I see a flaw.

So without further ado, here is a shortlist of my favorite September shots {if you’re so inclined, you can see the full set here}…

10.2,110.2.210.2.310.2.410.2.610.2.510.2.810.2.910.2.710.2.1010.2.1110.2.12

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