i heart faces – best face photo in january

This was my Little Dude Sunday afternoon … eyes sad and cheeks red from a fever. He spent most of the day under the quilt on the sofa watching his favourite shows. He fell asleep at around 5:30 as the rest of us were sitting down for dinner and then woke up at 4:30 this morning. I’m tired but glad that he’s back to normal again.


365 | week 4 in 2011

It’s been a weird kind of weekend. Friday night, I published a post I was in the middle of writing, walked away from it and then finished writing it only to realize that it had already been published. Then today I discovered that I forgot to link the post up to the Shoot and Edit challenge. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

I finally got a chance to sit in front of my computer to edit and post my week 4 in 2011 photos on Flickr. It only took me a few minutes to create this story board so I think doing weekly posts of my 365 project images will work out, after all.

I’m linking up with the following 365 projects for the first time this week:

NapTime MomTog Project 365The Daily Wyatt

shoot and edit – good night (part 2)

Okay. So I started this week’s edit with the intent of using Lightroom 3’s basic adjustments (much like Ashley uses ACR) and then jumping to PSE to take care of the nitty-gritty stuff. I really do think that PSE (and CS) has a greater capacity for fine-tuning than LR3 and I wanted to take advantage of Ashley’s tutorials to learn these skills. But as fate would have it, I chose the wrong photograph. I got to the end of my basic adjustments in LR3 and decided that there was very little that I wanted to do with it beyond some minor changes that LR3 handles very easily (like vignetting). Note to self: For the next challenge, I need to pick a close-up portrait or macro to really take advantage of PSE’s advanced features and Ashley’s tutorials.

This is a cropped version of the original SOOC image

sooc - cropped

My goal was to correct the white balance and show the true colours of the wall and floor while maintaining the dark essence inherent in this night time shot of story time with the boys.

After basic LR3 edits

basic LR3 edit

Final version


Before and after histograms and basic settings:

Typical Workflow

  1. Open photo in LR3.
  2. Crop and rotate photo if needed. I do this at the beginning because LR3 adjusts the histogram based on the crop.
  3. Use White Balance Selector (eyedropper) to select my “neutral light gray” (in this photo, I used the pillow).
  4. Use Temp and Tint sliders to fine tune the white balance.
  5. Click on Shadow Clipping Indicator (the arrow at the top left corner of Histogram to show black areas with no details and adjust Blacks slider accordingly to minimize black outs, if desired.
  6. Click on the Highlight Clipping Indicator (the arrow at the top right corner of Histogram) to show white areas with no details and adjust Recovery slider accordingly to minimize blow outs, if desired.
  7. Make further adjustments to the Tone settings (Exposure, Fill Light, Brightness, Contrast). Again, because I wanted to maintain the essence of night-time reading (mainly the photo’s darkness) I increased the Exposure level only slightly.
  8. Adjust Presence sliders (Clarity, Vibrance, Saturation). I upped Clarity to 50 and Vibrance slightly for this photo.
  9. This is the point where I had intended to continue my edits in PSE but didn’t because there was very little graininess that I wanted to correct and there were no facial details that could be recovered using PSE because I didn’t zoom in on this shot. Incidently, LR3 allows you to open the image into an external app like PSE by going to the top menu bar and selecting Photo > Edit In and following the steps to select the app you want.
  10. Use Sharpening and Noise Reduction tools to minimize blur and noise.
  11. Use Adjustment Brush to brighten faces slightly. Again, because of the lack of details on the faces in this photo, LR3 did a good enough job in my view.
  12. Add Post-Crop Vignetting, if desired. For this photo, the vignette amount was set to -24 (a medium setting).

365 | week 3 in 2011

I’ve decided that taking a photo and creating a blog post each day just isn’t going to happen for me this year. Daily photos … yes … maybe. Daily posts … clearly, no. I’ve been posting my 365 project photos on Flickr when I have the time. I’m also considering posting them here weekly like the NapTimeMomTog does but that really remains to be seen. Anyway, I just spent the last few hours making my own template. I considered using the CoffeeShop template but I’m not a rounded-corners kind of gal. Type A. I know. Anyway, here is the result of my efforts this evening. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be saving time posting weekly mosaics of my 365 photos but … whatever. It’s done.

shoot and edit – good night

I was really excited about taking some bath time shots this evening (following Jill‘s lead). It had been awhile. The lighting in my kids’ bathroom is deplorable and, without a speedlight, I get multiple shadows showing up everywhere. But I tried it without a speedlight and the first couple of test shots didn’t look too bad … except, this is what my sons were doing then and for most of bath/shower time…

Like cats and dogs, they were. So they were separated … as best as could be when sharing a tub. I gave up on shooting without a speedlight and got these. The youngest at one end of the tub…

… and the older one at the other end.

Finally the boys’ evening bath/shower came to an end and the oldest got a big hug from daddy…

and the younger one, tonight’s little tyrant, continued his tyranny in the tub.

And yep, he IS wearing a plastic tub on his head. Don’t all kids when they’re showering?

Story time, at last.

All photos are SOOC shots (like as if you can’t tell). All, except for the first and last ones, were taken with a speedlight. I’m still somewhat undecided as to which one to use for the Edit part of this challenge … although I am leaning towards the last shot right now because it gives me good, positive vibes looking at it. And, with that …

good night : )

i heart faces – innocent wonder

I see glimpses of innocent wonder when I watch my two boys play. My youngest (who is almost 3 1/2) will still sometimes lie flat on the floor and watch the wheels of his toy cars turn as he pushes them. But these moments are becoming more fleeting and harder to capture on camera as my sons grow older.

One sunny afternoon, I clipped a paper butterfly on each of my boys’ shirt and watched their eyes fill with wonder, then curiosity, and then sheer delight. It was truly magical to be witness to this and I snapped away with my camera greedily. This is my favourite photo from the series of shots I took that day. The gentleness in LittleR Dude’s face and hand fill my heart with love and tenderness.