i heart faces – sun flare

I’m temporarily coming out of a self-imposed blogging break to participate in this week’s i heart faces challenge. I had actually planned to share a very recent sun flare photo but, today, I’m drawn to this outdoor shot taken last spring. Could it be that I want to replace my reality of cold, snow-covered days with memories of much warmer times when the boys and I spent our afternoons at the park? Yep, sounds about right.

In the photo, my then 2 1/2-year-old is lying on the boardwalk to get a closer look at the swans. The swans, thinking that they’re about to be fed, swam a little closer. And I, armed only with my compact digital camera snapped away, marvelling at the great luck of having swans, my son and sun flare reflections in the water all in one shot. The planets aligned then. Perhaps, it might happen again tomorrow. I see warmer days ahead. Don’t you?

picture inspiration, sun flares & advice from the dudes

I recently signed up for an online course … my first ever and the first photography-related course I’ve taken since the Intro to Nikon D70 class that I took … uhm … 6 years ago. On week one, we had to take a self portrait … pretty easy because of my 52 week project. This week, the theme is “Finding a little rhythm” … which got me thinking. Rhythm is exactly what I’m lacking these days with the hubby being so busy at work and other stuff which I haven’t told you about. So I’ve decided that it’s time to step back and find me some.

I’m going to take a little break from blogging … for how long, I don’t know. So I thought I’d share a couple of happy images and thoughts before I go.

Picture Inspiration – Week 2 “Finding a little rhythm”
I took this photo earlier in the year and thought of it immediately after reading this week’s theme.

Big Picture Classes

Sun flares
I wrote a beginner’s guide to capturing sunflares at the Paper Heart Camera last week. It was a lot of fun taking new sun flare photos. Here’s one of my favourites. I’m hoping the weather brightens and warms up soon so I can start practicing outside.

Advice from the Dudes
This is part of a conversation I overheard between my 3 1/2-year-old and soon-to-be 5-year-old. They were making up rules.

“Don’t touch fire. Don’t touch batteries.”
“Don’t touch dinosaurs.”
“Don’t knock down trees. They’ll bonk you on the head.”
“Don’t go out. A snowstorm can blow you away.”

And with that, have a very lovely weekend all. I hope to return with some lovely spring photos.

shoot and edit – self portrait (part 2)

I had two main goals for this edit:

1. Correct the lens distortion or warping that you can see on the wood trim
2. Fix the glare on my glasses

Well, okay, I also corrected the white balance but Ashley taught that in week 1 so I thought I’d skip over that part. Here are my SOOC and Final images:


LR3 + PSE edit

Correct lens distortion
The SOOC shot had a very noticeable distortion caused by my wide-angle lens. The wood trim on either side of me warped inwards. This is why I don’t like using this lens on close-up facial shots and opt for my portrait lens instead to avoid facial warping. Now if grabbing another lens is not a viable option, Lightroom makes it super easy to correct lens distortion. The Lens Corrections toolbox has two tabs: Profile and Manual. The Profile tool allowed me to select the lens I used (Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3/5-5/6) and Lightroom made the appropriate adjustments for me. Easy peasy!

Now after making this change I also noticed that the wood trims were straight but were angling in at the top of the photo because I had angled my camera up in order to keep my head from being cut off. In retrospect, I probably should have raised my tripod instead of angling the camera up but hind-sight is 20/20. Lucky for me, Lightroom also lets you correct this. I clicked on the Manual tab, making sure that the Constrain Crop box was also ticked, and adjusted the Vertical slider until the wood trims were parallel.

Fix the eyeglasses glare
I found that Lightroom didn’t have the fine-tuning capabilities to let me fix the glare to a point where I could see a big difference. I had to jump on PSE and used a combination of its spot healing and cloning tools to make the change. I also adjusted the brightness and clarity of parts of my eyeglasses. My fix isn’t perfect (I’m way too impatient for the intense fiddling required to get it done right). I also didn’t remove the glare completely but I think there’s a noticeable improvement.

I was going to give Ashley’s tutorial a go using my close-up self portrait from last week but the hubby is calling me to watch the American Idol results show so I’m going to have to leave that for another day. Looking forward to seeing all you’re beautiful faces.

shoot and edit – self portrait

Woohoo! A self portrait theme. I used this SOOC shot last week for my 52 week project. It’s pretty up close and personal but I like it. I’m almost half way through the project and, although it was a little jarring to see close-up photos of me at first, I’ve become very forgiving of my imperfections.

I rarely edit out my wrinkles when I post photos of me. I don’t mind the lines and spots on my face. I’ll be 45 this year. Aging happens. And I’m okay with that … at least, right now.

I rarely wear make-up but, since beginning the self portrait project, I’ve put a little on from time to time … but it’s often barely noticeable. This is the way it’s always been for me. Some things just never change.

I don’t like to fuss with my hair. I’m kind of stuck in the 80/90s with the whole Meg Ryan bed-head look. I shower. Swish my hair around a little and hope that it dries before I have to go outside. I have a blow dryer and use it for really cold days when I don’t want icicles hanging from my ears because I went out with wet hair.

I did another self-portrait shoot this morning, this time with my wide-angle lens — a dreaded torso shot.

Having lived most of my life with a flat belly, no hips and small boobies, I still haven’t completely accepted the body transformations brought on by motherhood. I sucked my gut in : ) Sometimes, I think I take self portraits in an attempt to will myself into getting back on the treadmill. So far it hasn’t worked and it’s been a half a year since I started doing selfies. I’m stubborn like that.

I think I’ll probably use this recent selfie for the Shoot and Edit challenge because there are a couple of things about this photo that jumps out at me that I’d like to change:

  • the distortion caused by my wide-angle zoom lens which is really noticeable because of the vertical wood trim on either side of me
  • the glare on my eyeglasses … this will be really tough … I usually try to avoid it when I shoot but it’s so difficult when doing selfies … I usually end up taking my glasses off

shoot and edit – pink (part 2)

Hmmm. I finished this edit on the 24th and even created a post but didn’t finish writing it … and then life happened … and then I got distracted by another photography project … and then the deadline for linking up came and went … and then …

Well, I thought I might as well publish what I’ve got which is simply the before and after shots.


I can’t remember how I edited this exactly. I used PSE 8 mostly to add the texture and quote but ended up finishing the edit in Lightroom.