Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

Ahhh my "happy place", it can be sooo many different places. I love my family to pieces, but I'm a natural born wanderer. Different sites and places intrique and excite me, I love the adventure of it. The open road calls me. I used to escape by driving, sometimes I would drive a half a days drive away or more, just because. That's a little harder to do now, but I still feel the need to get away from it all every so often, it helps to clear my head. Thank God I have a wonderful husband who, though he may not always get it, understands my need for it and accepts it. He even joins me from time to time.

Typically my "happy place" includes beautiful scenary, a National Park or state park if possible, lots of hiking, a lack of buildings, and lots of nature. I can do without the people as well sometimes :). Sometimes it includes my family, sometimes just myself, depends upon my mood. One thing is for sure though, I always have my camera handy when I do escape to my "happy place". The photo below includes just about everything I require.

Nikon D2x
Aperture F/6.3
Shutter 1/45 sec.
18-70mm lens at 28mm
Natural Lighting

This was taken at the Grand Canyon (beautiful scenary and a National Park) on our road trip down to Arizona, where we did lots of hiking. My family was with me and we were also visiting family. The park was not overly busy so we were able to enjoy it without wall to wall people. My dream is to hit all 5o states at some point in my life and attempt to capture it with my camera. My secondary dream is to hit all the National Parks. Some dreams are simple, some are more, ah, grand? What do you dream about and does it have something to do with your own "happy place"?


Friday, January 28, 2011

My Happy Place

This week has loosely been about things that make us happy. Scott's flower, Jay'me painting, Sere's sweethearts.
This edition of Friday Faces is all about my happy place and the people that put a smile on my face everyday and keep me from loosing my mind.

Meet Kim, the local barista at my Starbucks. She is one of many fantastic people that happily make me my grande non-fat, no-whip cinnamon dolce every morning.

Kim, my coffee and a drive-thru... nothing makes me happier.

Nikon d40 kit lens
ISO 400
aperture f/4.5
shutter speed 1/400

The only real challenge in this shot was getting the photo quickly. The 830am coffee crowd would lynch me if I took too long.

Thanks Kim for being such a great sport. See you tomorrow.

Wordless Wednesday is still open click here to enter this weeks contest. I'll be announcing the winner on Monday when I share Amanda's most recent guest photo.

Have a terrific weekend. May it be filled with happiness.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Drops of Water

Jay'me's painting/Brandi's photo gave me a chance to shoot flowers, something I really enjoy doing. Normally this time of year I would scoff at the idea. After all, it's a bit more authentic when you can actually get outside and shoot flowers as they grow. Here's the thing. Round these parts it's winter. Furthermore, the sun has been completely MIA. I mean, has it taken a liking to a different planet? WHAT THE HELL!!! So I thought maybe shooting a flower might give me a little jolt of synthetic sunshine and turn my frown upside down. I still miss the sun, but it did help staring through the lens at this extraordinary flower.

Canon 30d
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
ISO 200
Shutter Speed 1/4
Aperture f/9.0
A single hot light

I tried about 7 different set-ups with different ideas each time. The truth of the matter is that it is devilishly difficult to balance the light with the water and the flower and maintain focus throughout the shot. You can see that the water droplet loses sharpness at the edge. It seemed necessary to achieve a sharp refraction through the water droplet. I couldn't get both.

To be fair, I chose not to completely close up my aperture because the Sahara Desert rears it's ugly head in the form of a dusty sensor when I do that. Perhaps if I'd just get it cleaned I could have achieved both a sharp refraction and water droplet edge. Or then again, maybe it's not possible. Do any of you know?

Lastly, I wanted to make something of an announcement. I was thinking the other day (dangerous, even on the good days) and I thought it would be a great idea to have a 3C1D outing for us four and any of our small but faithful followers. I checked it out with B and J and they are excited by the idea. Sere I'm confident with be all in as well. What I'm thinking at this point is spring time, and I'm hoping to sort of center it where as many people as possible can join in. So what I want from you readers is a thumbs up or thumbs down on the idea and a general idea of where you be! I can't speak for all of us but I would be willing to travel a bit for the sake of the group. I think it could be a total blast and a great way to strengthen our little community and learn a bunch. So what'd'ya think gang? Are you in?

See y'all later


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For Jay'me

Another non-typical Wordless Wednesday. Jay'me's beautiful daughter Maddie had a routine surgery today and Jay'me is down for the count. I (Brandi) am happy to step in for her. This is photo I took of Jay'me on Monday doing what she does.

A photo of Jay'me for Jay'me. It's just how I roll.

Little different contest today.
Take a moment to wish Maddie well in the comments below and be entered in this weeks guest photographer race. For extra bonus points (which get you nothing but my adoration) guess what I was thinking ties Sere's photo yesterday with my photo for today.

Ready... set... go....

Nikon D40 kit lens
aperture f/4.5 as low as it will go
Shutter speed 1/20 - way to slow
ISO - 800 as high as I dare to go
natural light - horribly tragic natural light

Brandi the poet

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Heart Belongs to you

or however those cheesy sayings go. Valentine's Day theme a tad bit early is up for today. But before I get to that I would like to announce our Talkless Thursday (i.e. Wordless Wednesday) winner for this week. has spoken and decided that Amanda was our winner. So Amanda please email and let us know when you will be able to post your picture! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us.

As for the story behind my picture, I was actually thinking about the wooden beams in both pictures. The wooden dock and the wooden whatever that the chain was on, also the reflection in my shot gives the look of chains as well. You also have the angles of the shots. That picture was from my recent trip up to Bayfield Wisconsin . A beautiful lake town on Lake Superior. We were walking along the harbor looking at all the boats. Each Friday the boats do a "parade of lights" around the harbor where they decorate their boats and "parade" them through the harbor in front of a very rambunctious crowd who claps and whistles to show their appreciation the decorations. Very fun to see if you are ever up in the North Woods of Wisconsin. Oh and Bayfield also has sea caves that ice over in the winter time, something I would LOVE to go and see one day. Now on to my picture for today.

Nikon D90
ISO 200
Aperture F/7.1
Shutter 1/250 sec.
Exposure 1.3 steps (oops didn't realize I had that)
Lens 18-200mm at 200mm
Two off camera remote flashes, one had on a lightly tinted filter

I would not suggest using your camera to the very top end of its capabilities, I was trying not to do that, but for this picture it turned out okay. When I saw Brandi's shot I kind of groaned, not because of the picture, which is really pretty, but because it was a flower and pink. Two things not very prevalent in my household.

I lugged my camera around all day today trying to find inspiration. Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like you're in a creative void? Today was one of those days, maybe it was the gloomy, cloudy day? Or just my mood, but nothing came to me all day. So what do I do when I get home, but have a snack and I happen to LOVE the candy hearts that are out for V Day. Aha pink!! And kind of romancey just like a flower, now to just be able to get the shot.

I had no idea what I was looking to do for the shot, still life photography has never been my strong suit. I'm more of a portrait and nature/animal photographer and I love travel photography though that would not be my strong suit either. For this shot, I just set up different things and began to shoot away. Nothing very exciting came from the shots at first, but then I thought about zooming in because I find that you can get a drastically different picture by doing that and a different perspective. So what type of photography are you drawn to? What causes you the most difficulty?
Later all!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wild Orchid

Well... I got it at the grocery store so it isn't really that wild but it's an orchid. An orchid that is indigenous to Hawaii. Hence, my tie in.

Nikon d40 kit lens @ 48mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/5sec
Aperture f/5.6
kitchen light and supplemental living room light

I should have taken a pull back photo of this little mini photo shoot. I'm heating up the spicy sweet chili that our friend Josh brought over for dinner. I've got cornbread in the oven and I'm cutting up the brownies for dessert. All the while, I've got the tripod sitting in the kitchen, a potted orchid plant sitting on a stool in front of the only white space we have in our house (a door). Miss K, my 3-year old is eating dinner, Josh and my husband are talking in the living room. I'm using my remote to fire off a couple shots. Occasionally, walking past making adjustments and such. I decide there isn't enough light in the kitchen so I grab a lamp out of the living room, walking right past the boys chatting. Pay no attention to the crazy lady with the lamp.

The food was delicious. The photo was well... adequate. I wish I had gotten my potted orchid a little earlier in the day so I had some natural light. I also wish I had a macro lens so I could really have had fun with this beauty. But isn't that the nature of photography? Always wishing you had something more, different, better.... What do you wish you had? What piece of photo equipment, kitchen gadget, book, tool, accessory are you coveting?


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pack me up

Brandi here. I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this photo with you all. RJ is our latest winner from last weeks Wordless Wednesday. As usual, this weeks Talkless Thursday (same thing as Wordless Wednesday but a day late because I suck) is still up for last minute entries. Go put your name in the comments section and join us like RJ has.

RJ, the lucky dog, is joining us from Hawaii. Usually an Illinois resident, he's in Hawaii for a little rest and relaxation. I'm not sure what the weather is like there but I can tell you it sure beats the sure cold weather in Illinois and most of the continental United States.

Here's what the sunned, RJ has to say.

Rj here, happy as can be since I'm sitting in the middle of Waikiki. Ahhh...sunshine, blue waters and Mai Tai's of course.

Well I would like to express my gratitude to 3C1D as they inspired me to start up my own blog ( ). Well done and keep all those great pictures coming.

I'm currently using a Canon Eos Rebel Xti. It was given to me as a gift so I figured I'd better learn how to use it. I've got a long way to go but I'm really enjoying getting out and taking pictures of the world that surrounds me.

So how do I tie in to Scott's wonderful picture of Brandon. Well loosely....very loosely!

Let's see, I used "natural light", it was "converted" by use of my HDR program (Photomatrix)

And to play off the Rrrrr....Matey theme, there are ancient stories of how Shaolin Buddhist monks were called upon to battle Japanese pirates raiding the coastline.

So my picture is of the Byodo In Buddhist Temple on the Windward side of Oahu. It's just a beautiful place that is surrounded by ponds with Koi fish and Black Swans. It also sits at the foot of the Ko'olau mountains. I took 3 pictures at different exposures. Then ran them through the HDR program. You can play with the lighting to your liking. I hope you enjoy it and if you get a chance to get out of the freezing Midwest I highly recommend Hawaii.



Stunning! Absolutely stunning. If you all would like to donate some money to send me to Hawaii, I would be eternally grateful. Sere and I were on the Big Island a few years back for Sere's wedding. I have spent much time since then wishing I could return. This photo only makes it worse.

Go over to RJ's blog and check out his other photos, they are pretty awesome as well.