apples to apples.

Something about being home for Christmas felt distinctly different this year; something felt like it was missing. I should blame the timing; we usually stay longer after Christmas day. But it just felt more like a product of our ages. All the members of my family seemed to go their separate ways far more often and I felt like I had less quality time with each person. But what brought us all to the table as usual were the games...Apples to Apples is always a favorite. So this is a post I hold close to my heart, to remember the rare, real fun we all had.

Jeff Scroggins and Colorado.

The CD is made and the cover and liner notes are in the works by their digital artist, so this is not the real CD cover, just having fun. The band has begun sharing some of my photos so if you are interested, go check it out!

Jeff Scroggins and Colorado: the highlights.

I'm the lucky one who got to spend a day with this awesome Colorado bluegrass band and shoot their pictures for their website, promo materials, and new album! 
First we stumbled on a local winery with three great backdrops: the mountains, a barn complete with antlers, and a great Victorian looking home and porch. The winery owners were happy to let us use their property for the shoot, as long as the band played a few tunes (hence the shot with the wine bottle below). Then we went over to find a church and also stumbled upon a great little spot with a white house and green trim and craggy peaks in the background. In the evening, they had a gig at the Rustic Station, a perfect hunting lodge type feel for the shoot.
Here are some of my favorites from the wonderful Saturday we spent together up in Bailey and Conifer, Colorado!


Here's another edition of linklove, a collections of some of the more interesting photography related reading on the interwebs:

Found Film: all about film left over in cameras, found and developed by others.

Your favorite photography compliments that aren't like "Your photos are awesome. What camera do you use?!" and nine more:

13 Things Your Camera Wishes You Knew:

A photographer I'm digging on. Please share with me some of your favorites!

Oh and if you don't follow MamaOwl's family photography blog, check it out here. It is always super enjoyable!

Tutorial: Graduated Filters in LR

In case you missed this over in Mortal Muses...

I find that the graduated filters tool is a hidden gem of which many Lightroom (LR) users are unaware. To find it, go to the right side of your LR Develop module where all the sliders are, look under the histogram there at the top, and you'll see five icons. The first is the crop tool, second is spot removal, third is red eye correction, and that fourth one, that is your graduated filter tool. To apply a filter, click a spot on the photo and drag into the photo in the direction you wish to apply the effect. For instance, click and drag down to make the intensity decrease from the top to bottom of your image.

They work like gradients in photoshop, but with somewhat different tools and application. Each time you apply one, you can adjust several qualities within the range of space you've set up for the filter, and it will apply at a graduated intensity from the direction you first 'pulled on' the filter. The qualities you can adjust are: exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness, and you can also apply a color. So if you want to bring in some more color in a sky, or take out some perhaps distracting colors in the bottom of your frame, or perhaps you didn't quite get the exposure right but not necessarily for the entire shot. Or maybe you just want to play, be creative, make a filmy light leak effect or some fun color gradients to create some magic...graduated filters are your friend! Here are a few screen shots to give you some idea, but the best way to learn is to play with it yourself, so get to it!

In the two screen shots below, the filter I am working with is indicated by the black dot with the white circle around it and the lines coming out from it. I am applying a creamy yellow graduated filter from the bottom up, at a slight angle. It is also adding more contrast to that area. In the second screen shot you can see the difference as I increase the sharpness to the area. This is my favorite use of filters besides the color, the ability to add a selective and gradual sharpness. There is another way to do this in LR, the adjustment brush is the 5th icon, right next to the graduated filter icon, but I find it more cumbersome and less easy to apply evenly. I'm just not as skilled with that tool, but it is also very useful!

The screen shot below shows how to add a color graduated filter. If you click the little rectangle you can select any color from that palette, at any saturation level in the entire spectrum. As you can see below that, I eventually chose a green to give some more blues and greens from the top down. You can see how simple and intuitive lightroom makes this process. Just try it out with extreme values and you'll catch on quickly to how it works!

In the screen shot below I'm adding a purple graduated filter from the top left, and I've decreased the brightness quite a bit. Those dots are what appears when you click on an area of a photo to start a filter. You can see there are three other filters in this shot.

In the screen shot below, I am adding some warmth, some pinkish color, and increasing exposure from the top down.

In this screen shot below, I'm adding a pink color as well as increasing general saturation in the area on the right, moving left across the photo. Therefore, the saturation of colors in the image is at the highest on the right, and gradually becomes less moving to the left. 

In the screen shot below, I'm working with that filter indicated by the dot on the bottom. As you can see, this filter's main purpose is to decrease saturation, coming in from the left. So from the farthest left area has the least saturation, and saturation gradually increases from -45 as you move right across the image.  Before I had done that, the yellows on that side overwhelmed the image and distracted from the overall softness of the shot.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity to show you a few things. I love teaching others what I know and helping fellow photographers to learn! Let me know if you have questions.


I tagged along with friends Jennilyn and Marie and their furry friends Zoey and Rose for today's Dogtoberfest. I had big plans of photographing lots of dogs, but I was so overwhelmed and it was so crowded that I ended up just busy watching all the different dogs go by, and then the camera came out mostly just for Zoey and Rose. There was so much to see and do for people and pooches alike! Zoey got a new leash, met a puppy version of herself, and only wanted to play frisbee. I got some action shots:

Rose entered the "Best Tail Wag" competition and won! She is such a sweetheart who totally won me over with her sweet face and disposition. And she's gorgeous...check it out!

The fall colors clearly made for a photographer's paradise, and so I really was the "Pupparazzi!"
They had a costume contest and I really loved the Italian Greyhound in the Rocky style track suit (below). It was a beautiful day and so we all enjoyed the weather and the company. What a perfect day!

Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

The show at The Granada in downtown Lawrence was pure magic. With a crowd of maybe 80, it was so intimate it was like they were jamming in their garage. Chris made the crack "It must feel have made it to Wednesday night. Cuz look around, not everyone did" and maybe for him, it sucked to perform for such a small crowd, but we were an appreciative and attentive small crowd. And the small group lent itself to making the show seem extra special. The guys played in such a way that it didn't feel like they'd been doing this every night of the week; it seemed fresh and organic, like they were playing some of these jams for the first time. What a memorable night. Now to seek out some of the new songs I heard that night...Enjoy my shots. Pretty proud of this set. - Set One - SOMEDAY PAST THE SUNSET TOMORROW BLUES TOUGH MAMA STAR OR STONE BROWN EYED WOMEN TULSA YESTERDAY THE DOLPHINS ROSALEE - Set Two - GIRL ON THE MOUNTAIN POOR ELIJAH - TRIBUTE TO JOHNSON (MEDLEY) TRAIN ROBBERS THEY LOVE EACH OTHER VIBRATION & LIGHT SUITE RIDE SILVER CAR SUNDAY SOUND - encore - OLDER GUYS

i got lucky.

fujifilm, minolta x370

I'm super impressed with the Minolta on this one. It is very sharp and well exposed for an inside shot. I guess I should give myself some extra credit since it was all manual. I probably just got lucky. But I already knew that. I mean, look at the love in those eyes!

unleashed at the dog park.

Anyone who has been around me lately knows I've got a dog-shaped hole in my heart. Luckily, my friend Jennilyn lets me hang out with her sweet pooch Zoey, and Zoey's friends, at the dog park! Here are some of the highlights...
p.s. lily won the tug of war!

presets used: jack film, bring up the lights, simple gerbera, my B&W, 70s sun film grain, outdoor film grain, milk tea, orchid soft, suki, sonny

new magic.

Looking forward to some new adventures...

(preset: soft orchid)


A must watch. You will laugh. I promise.
This guy rants in an 'open letter to Canon'...hilarious.

Kansas Fiddling and Picking Championships.

I had fun today at the Kansas Fiddling and Picking Championships here in Lawrence. There were tons of sweet kids, talented pickers, and just about everyone had a dog with them! Below you can see the two youngest fiddle competitors who also happened to be sisters and watched each other from the sidelines...too cute! I hung out with Rocco the Italian Greyhound (and his buddy Drake) and Ella May (the lil half chihuahua, half yorkie you see below) and enjoyed the picking...It definitely got me psyched up for Winfield Bluegrass Festival in a few weeks!
presets used: golden oolong, simple details and vignette, jack less filmy

Royals beat the Yankees

Yes, you read that right. And I was there, with a big group of friends, and we had a blast. Last week on a hot summer night, a group of about ten of us set off for Kansas City indulging a recently developed obsession of one of our friends. He grew up a Yankees fan but has been following the Royals all summer and hitting up many of their games. I don't think any of us expected the Yankees to lose so when it came down to a dramatic last inning, most of us agreed it was one of the most exciting baseball games we'd ever seen!

Here are some highlights below. I really, really dig these shots; they are near and dear to my heart. I'm really excited about how they came out and how it all looks together. I'll say it again...I love being able to capture my time with friends and family like this! And I especially like the guy selling the beer, and the action shot of the batter hitting the ball and the pitcher still in motion from the pitch!

So I had this idea months ago, even looked to see if someone else was already selling it, but came up with nothing. So, may I present to you..."I click therefore I am" a play on the good old Descartes quote, "I think therefore I am"

My friend manages the local ACME t-shirt shop and we whipped this up together on Friday. I imagine that many of my friends will want one too, and so the more orders I get, the cheaper they can be. If I can get 20+ orders, I can sell them for around $20 including shipping. Fewer orders means more like $25 a pop. If I only get one or two, it will be a sad $30 so please place your orders soon! :)

They come in all sizes and lots of colors, from the American Apparel brand, and are super soft and cozycomfy! You know you want one!! You know someone else who wants one! So let me know!

Did you know that Steve Martin plays banjo?

Here are some more highlights from RockyGrass, mostly of the performers we watched. Anything Mike Marshall or Darol Anger touch turns to gold in my book, so we loved their performances with all of their different groups, including Psychograss, and Republic of Strings. Del McCoury Band is always an absolute favorite for me; a traditional, charming, and tight performance is always guaranteed. And when David Grisman got up there with them it just sealed the deal. I spent some time spying on a dobro player down by the river. Hot Rize's pals Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers showed up again! Always entertaining in their goofy charm...And, by the way, did YOU know that Steve Martin played banjo? :) Check this out if you didn't catch it already: Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers perform a song for atheists...

Mortal Muses Giveaway!

 photo by me! mission cheese, san francisco. film.

Now that I'm one of the muses, I'm so excited to let you know that we are doing a giveaway!!

Check this out! We just want to see you link to your interpretation of the theme "two" so we can share and build our community! Hope to see your links over there!!

RockyGrass 2011

I wasn't going to do this because the idea of doing our recent trip to Colorado justice was too daunting. And if I go back to my Rockygrass 2011 folder, I'll see all the ones I missed and wished I had included. But that's are just a few highlights. All of the musicians were amazing but I only got a few decent photos this year because I was less determined; I had my fill being a 'concert photographer' with the 300mm lens last year. This year I just wanted to capture the vibe, the happiness, the friendly atmosphere and overall experience. That included the life size Connect4 game, the hoopers, the kids, the candids of happy festivarians, and even a few selfies this time!

It was soo much fun spending time with my friends from Albuquerque too, The Squash Blossom Boys. Get their album! You won't be disappointed! And what location could be more perfect than the amazing Lyons, CO? Perfect sunny days, cool starry nights, and a river to tube from the venue back to our campsite when we got too hot. This was our first year (of the three) running our own tarp too...we had the "K.U." in tie dye pink duct tape tarp! Andy thought the lines for numbers and to run was ridiculous; I found it oddly exhilarating, a comical version of the land runs our ancestors made perhaps. You can find more of these photos in my facebook album if you are interested...

Winfield is up next!!

ode to french toast, in film

To Milton's, the very BEST french toast.

pizza with our pals.

That's not a pizza food baby, she's really pregnant... remember? Besides, those two only split a piece, whereas Andy and I polished off 3 pieces between the two of us! We had a lovely Sunday afternoon lunch downtown at Papa Keno's with two of our friends (who are expecting a baby in October). Papa Keno's is the best and closest to NY slice you can get in Lawrence.

I got to use up a roll of film to see how my new (old) Minolta manual focus was working, and luckily I got more than a couple decent shots! Walgreens threatened them with a terrible scan job, but they made up for it by correcting it for free.

all images fujifilm pro800z, minolta x-370.

Link Love!

nikon f100, film, by me in San Francisco, at Mission Cheese

Well! Have I been saving up some good stuff for you all! In case you missed any of these while wandering the interwebs for intriguing photography related stories, never fear!!

-Amazing GIGAPIXEL photography! A gigapixel image has one billion pixels...can you even fathom that? If not, or even if so, the photos should help to give you an idea! The Yosemite example might be the coolest, because it allows you to click and see the nearly hidden hikers, giving the best sense of scale.

-Some great tips on black and white photography! Basic, useful, insightful, and great reminders if you already know the stuff, too.

-A really well illustrated explanation of how focal length affects depth of field, and images in general.

-A crazy story about a stolen photo! If you've ever had one of yours stolen, you'll be especially interested I bet!

-A really interesting criticism/article about nostalgia in our culture and in photography. Discusses Vivian Maier, records, and our return to film: "What if all that talk about analog photography being more real is just a form of nostalgia? Nostalgia for the good old days when men were still men, and photographs showed you the truth?" What do you think, guys? What are your thoughts?


One of the main destinations in San Fran for me was the Haight Ashbury district. Back in 2005, I took a month and a half cross country road trip and out of all the sights I saw, San Francisco was one of my favorite cities, much thanks to the Haight. With all of its color, quirks, and shops that are right up my alley, I fell hard for this part of the town. I made sure to revisit the Love of Ganesha, once I found it, a store that influenced so much of my style and decorating for the years following that trip. It was just as fun this time around, too! We saw musicians everywhere, hit a cool, but upscale and pricey hat shop, and soaked up all the color on that weather-gray day. Make sure to notice the window with fishnet stockinged legs coming out of it!

presets used: san fran vintage, alfredo, suki, all in the new "San Fran" presets set.

Best of the Bay Bridge.

Melly was kind enough to stand super still in front of the Bay Bridge so I could play around with some long exposure and bokeh light ideas. Here are the best ones, including one from the film roll (the one of the back of her head toward the middle with the super saturated colors)...I wish I had come more prepared but a tripod would have been too much to carry. I made due with a wobbly post sticking out of the ground. Melly thought it was some kind of travel tripod I'd brought. So after I ran back across the street for the photo of us, she had a new appreciation for my dedication to the shots when I told her it was a precarious pole sticking two feet out the ground that barely held my camera up and could fall at any second! I had to get a shot of us though, and I'm so glad I did (and that nothing happened to the camera!)

Kansas City's 1st Annual Food Truck Festival!

...And we were there. My close friend from grade school was in town from New Jersey to visit her sister who lives in KC, and there just happened to be a food truck festival that day! Lucky us! We indulged in all the expected delicacies you see below, plus tamales, sausage, enchiladas, and the like, and then headed over to Kelly's for a few rounds of drinks and some good conversation. The men bought the rounds, little sister bought the jello shots...thanks again for your generosity. Oh, and make sure you say "Albondigas" out loud. Its like the most fun thing to say, ever. 'Al-bone-dee-gahs' i think! That's the fun way anyway! ha!

Mission Cheese, Accomplished.

Mission Cheese was on my list of places to go because I'd seen good things on Flickr. Who am I kidding, that was most of my list. And so, with lovely company, I headed over to the Mission district.
We ordered purely on looks, asking the cheese barista (what WOULD you call that person?) to give us the most photogenic of cheese plates. She didn't disappoint, but my tastebuds were, as I'm just not cut out for this stuff. I did like the one that was closest to goat cheese, and the Le Merle Saison was great, as well Melly's red. 
We spent a fair amount of time and film there, observing the San Franciscans in their natural habitat and pacing ourselves through the cheese and light. We even snagged a stranger for my 100 Strangers Project, as well as some of my proudest shots yet. It was an epic light-venture. I could have stayed all day, just to see how the light would change. You can see the owner, I believe, hard at work preparing a cheese flight in the shot below. If I ever go back, I'd love to try the biscuits and mac and cheese. What a delight this place is!

4th of July!

4th of July this year was a photographer's dream...great light, pretty people, a cute puppy, a cuter lil girl, expressive friends and lots of fun and food! These are all straight out of the camera; they just didn't seem to need much...simpler can be better sometimes.
Enjoy! Hope yours was a blast, too, no pun intended!

We took the long ride out to the Pacific Ocean while I was in San Francisco. Being a girl born by the sea, I always feel its pull on me, and it was wonderful to have some quiet time out there, just the ocean and me. I'd only seen the Pacific once before and so of course I had some fun snapping photos. Below you'll see some digital and some film (the really blue ones).

The berries and bread on the bottom are Melly's homeless people food. You run into so many of them in San Fran, and when Melly found some really cheap prices she decided to arm herself for the next homeless person asking for handouts. Of course, once she did find him, he showed her all the food he already had with him, and refused her food, asking only for money. She walked around with it the rest of the day and never was able to give it away!

The digital were processed with late day sun and San Fran Vintage (new!) presets.

Suki Meet Up: The Doggy Photo Shoot!

Chillin' with Suki and her doggy pals Zuko and Taro was pretty much the coolest thing I could have done in San Fran. Here's the rest of my shots from the visit, film (bottom) and digital (top). Jonathan was shooting all three dogs and I got to watch the shoot in action! How many people does it take to get 3 dogs to look in the same direction? You can see below...What a patient group! Jonathan even took the time to take a few really great shots of me and the flickr star, Suki...what a fun morning.

Mission Cheese, the summary

Greetings! I'm just back from a super visit home to New Jersey, and yet I'm still catching up with my California shots!

Soon I'll have time to do a photo dump on this visit, but here's a little teaser...

The Mattson's Baby Girl.

A lil preview for mom and dad from my first maternity shoot. I might be spoiling it, since these were some of the best shots, but they are getting me excited to work on the rest!


Etsy Shop