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?


days 14 to 18

Mike was a happy man making his backyard rink for the boys. I took this shot from the dining room window. They’re watching the water fill up in the plastic thingamabob. They stood like this for a long time. Boys!

A scavenger hunt photo reject.

LittleR Dude enjoying cuddle time with daddy. Or, rather … daddy enjoying cuddle time with LittleR Dude. Likely both.

One of my hubby’s many Christmas surprises. A GorillaPod (tripod). I’ve been using it in the snow for down-low shots with my big Nikon D70.

This is a SOOC shot and is my stand-by for the Shoot and Edit challenge. I have one more day to capture a typical morning for me. I’m hoping for a quieter night tonight so I feel better rested than I did today.

shoot and edit – winter

This was an enlightening exercise for me. At first, I followed Ashley’s steps using PSE 8.0 but quickly realized how uncomfortable I was with working with this program. I ended up returning to my comfort zone and used Lightroom 3 (LR3) to get to get to my final version. I could have achieved the same results using PSE but it would have taken me forever to do it because I’m so unfamiliar with PSE’s drop-down menus.

Winter - SOOC

winter - edited using LR3

winter - cropped version of above

Here are the settings I used. They’re not identical to Ashley’s since my photo had a much lighter background than hers but I tried to change similar elements.

After putting the kids to bed, I decided to give Ashley’s advanced PSE instructions another go. It was easier to follow without the kids around but still slow-going because I’m still having a hard time finding my way around PSE. I used Ashley’s settings except for the Saturation and Brightness (mine was lower at .86) levels. I also added an Unsharp Mask to sharpen parts of my image.

Thanks Ashley for pushing me to try something that seemed so out of my comfort zone. I really like my revised edit. I’ve shown the SOOC image again for comparison.

winter - edited with PSE using Ashley's advanced tutorial + Unsharp Mask

Winter - SOOC


The planets aligned today. We got a good dump of snow overnight and both boys wanted to be outside after the excitement of making paper boats waned. Little Dude decided to launch one.

My dSLR didn’t really like being outside. It kept jamming up, especially when I was taking macros. I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it hates the cold like I do. So I moved indoors and put this little guy on the door ledge.

I’ll be using this photo for the Ashley and Jill’s Shoot and Edit challenge:

Winter - SOOC


LittleR Dude asked to go outside today to play with his diggers. Yeah, I thought. I can get some winter shots in for Ashley and Jill’s Shoot and Edit challenge. But alas, his older brother wanted to stay inside to do crafts so I had to position myself in front of the sliding door where I could see LittleR Dude happily playing in the snow and Little Dude making a masterpiece with crayons in the dining room.

I got my camera out but only managed a few shots. None of them were particularly exciting. I might use this SOOC image of my son’s diggers below for the challenge if I don’t get a chance to go outside with my dSLR again before Wednesday evening.

I’m also thinking of using this image taken yesterday. It’s also a SOOC shot.

Click on the button below to learn more about the challenge:


We took the boys skating after lunch. The outdoor rink was busy but we managed to secure one corner for our boys who are just learning to skate. I had my Pentax freeze-proof/shock-proof camera with me and couldn’t believe how gorgeous the sky looked through the viewfinder. I snapped a few quick photos. This is one of my favourites of the bunch. The hubby giving my 4-year-old pointers and encouragement.