Friday, April 30, 2010

May Desktop Image

 Beautiful Blossoms 

This is my May desktop image to share with you.  Just click HERE then right click to download to your desktop. 
(The photo should fill your screen and not be pixelated.  If you have trouble let me know and I'll help.) 

Phriday Phun


Is This for REAL???  Yes It Is!!!!

I think this is a new medical facility across the street from a building shaped like a pyramid.  Saying the architecture in this Las Vegas neighborhood is eclectic is a bit of an understatement.  A better description might be ridiculously weird!!  My imagination is working overtime.  Can you imagine a patient coming here to see a doctor because he's been having dizzy spells?  Or what about someone driving by after a party and thinking they had way too much to drink!  I wonder how many car accidents will happen when tourists come upon this unexpectedly?   


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring on Temple Square

My annual Spring pilgrimage to Temple Square

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Phriday Phun

THE CHALLENGE
THE RULES:
  • Choose a beautiful location full of potential photo ops
  • Spend the day 4 wheeling with at least 6 other people
  • The other people cannot be photographers and are interested in riding, not taking pictures; and,  however polite, fun, and wonderful they are, they would probably be irritated with a photographer wanting to stop every few seconds to take a picture, or spend time viewing a scene from every angle, or waiting for the perfect light, etc. etc., so..........
  • Take no longer than 5 seconds to compose and shoot each image
  • Only take images when and where the group decides to stop
  • Use only a point and shoot camera in auto setting
  • Must be the first time using said camera
  • No tripod
  • No bracketing or combining multiple exposures
  • Use only the LCD screen to compose your shots (if you have a viewfinder)
  • Shoot in the middle of the day
  • No filters, polarizers, etc.
THE OBJECTIVE:
  • Come up with at least 1 semi-decent photo that you wouldn't be totally embarrassed to post on your blog!!  

MAKING THIS CHALLENGE EVEN REMOTELY POSSIBLE!!! After seeing the images I ended up with, I realized immediately that for me to have even a chance at coming up with a few reasonable images, I had to be able to do some editing, so I did do some post process work in Photoshop.  I learned very quickly the limitations of a point and shoot camera, and if this experience did anything for me, it was to remind me how much I LOVE my 5D Mark II.  I left it at home this time,  and I ALWAYS take my camera on trips.  I felt like my arm was cut off!!


Here we go.  First a SOOTC snap of our group.  (I noticed right away the noise in all my sky shots was intense.)




The next two are about the best I came up with.  I tried to reduce the noise, correct odd color casts and I added a little clarity.  This is Determination Towers, Moab:

I lucked out with this next image.  A huge storm front passed over turning everything dark, dramatic, moody, and rainy which certainly helped the composition and lighting.  This was shot at Dead Horse Point.
I actually had a second objective with this challenge as well.  I often have people ask me what kind of camera they should buy "so they can take good pictures".  I always give them my opinion depending on the money they want to spend and how serious they are about photography.  But I always end by saying, that an expensive camera will not make you a good photographer.  There is no short cut to learning how to create beautiful images.  You must learn and practice, learn and practice, repeat, repeat.  But, I really do think that great photographers can produce great images with any camera.  And, although they certainly are limited creatively,  they know how to work within the limitations of whatever camera they are using!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring in Snow Canyon


All my senses have awakened from a long winter's hibernation; hungry to feast upon the delectable beauty of a desert dressed for spring.

P.S.  Off for our first trip to Moab this year - be back in a few days.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beautiful Sky

Landscape photographers try to shoot at the magic hours of dawn and dusk, but sometimes that is just not practical.  This shot was taken in the middle of a bright sunny day, but I thought the beautiful skyscape made up for the poor light.  This is another shot from Sand Hollow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heart Breaker!

Is This Cute Enough Grandma?????

YES, Sawyer,
it DEFINITELY is!!!!!!

Wednesday Workday (Interesting People in Their Environment)

Saddle Maker
On our way to California about a month ago, we stopped at an old mining town called Calico.  It is an old west 'ghost' town, now frequented by tourists.  We had fun browsing through the stores on the main street.  The owner of this shop was proud of his hand made saddles and was anxious to show us his craft.  I asked him to pose, and he gladly agreed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time to Celebrate!!!!!

TYLER AND EMILY ARE ENGAGED!!
I took this snapshot after Sunday dinner when they made the big announcement!  We are so excited and happy.  We love Emily and think she is just right for Tyler.   For my photo buddies who don't know my family, Tyler is our youngest and the last of our 5 kids to get married!  They haven't set a date for the wedding but it will be sometime this summer.  (For family members, please do not mention this to Grandparents Larsen.  They want to go visit them sometime this coming week and tell them in person.)   

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Indian Paint Brush - maybe?????

I was looking forward to the spring flowers we see in the southern Utah deserts, but it still must be too early, at least where we were on our little adventure two weeks ago.  In two days of exploring this is the only clump of flowers we saw.  They looked like Indian Paint Brush, but I'm not sure.  Does anyone know?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Phriday Phun

Bustin' Out.......
......of the prison called winter.  That's just how I felt last week when we were in Las Vegas for the car show.  But the BEST part for me was when we took two extra days and zipped around the St. George area on the RZR for our first ride of the season.  I've been dreaming of this all winter, and I wasn't disappointed!  The weather was perfect (about 75 degrees),  and as I've mentioned before, we are seeing places we've never seen before.  The first photo below is just to document the 'first ride of 2010', and the second is my favorite from the area, both taken at a place called Sand Hollow.  
In Silhouette

Spring at Sand Hollow
 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday (just the basics)

White Balance
If you are a beginning photographer, you may or may not have noticed a sometimes subtle,  (or even dramatic), shift in color between what you actually saw at the time you took your picture, compared to what you see when you uploaded your images to a computer or printed them out.  Digital cameras often pick up different color casts depending on the lighting and colors in the scene.   Sometimes, for example, if you are taking a picture of a person surrounded by vibrant green foliage, the person's skin will take on a greenish tinge.  If you are taking a picture in a gym, it might turn out too yellow or orange or green depending on the lighting.  That beautiful winter scene might turn out with blue or gray snow. 
Most digital cameras have different white balance settings such as 'sun', 'shade' 'florescent' and so forth, to help compensate for color shifts.  (Or maybe to be used in a creative way...I don't know, maybe you like orange skin!)  You need to experiment with the white balance settings on your camera.  Shoot the same scene with all the different settings and see how the color changes with each setting.  Shoot indoors in incandescent light and florescent light, then shoot outdoors in cool morning light and in sunset warm light.  As you become familiar with the lighting situations and other conditions you are shooting in, you will know how to set the white balance on your camera.  (It seems that most Tech Talk Tuesdays I have a disclaimer, so here it is:  I could talk about setting white balance using a gray card, or adjusting the Kelvin settings found on more advanced cameras, or making sure your monitor is calibrated, etc. but I'll keep this simple for today.)
Even good photographers who understand what adjustments need to be made to achieve correct color are often disappointed when they see their unedited images on the computer or printed.  Fortunately in this age of digital photography and computer programs, images that would have been thrown away in the past, can now be easily and quickly color corrected on the computer.  (Just one more reason for those of you who have resisted using the computer to edit your photos, to finally jump on the bandwagon now.  It may seem overwhelming at first to learn new computer software on top of learning basic photography, but I promise, if you do, you'll never look at photography in the same way, and soon, your computer will be your best friend, even if you are almost computer illiterate like me!)

Below are some examples of the same scene with different color casts that need to be corrected to portray what I actually saw:

Initially, this photo looks nice, but compared to the next photos you can see this is way too blue.

This image has a bit of a magenta tinge to it.

This looks kind of gray/green.

With a few clicks of the mouse, I get this, and on my monitor it looks the closest to what I saw, (and if I print it out, it will look the same because I have my home monitor calibrated to the same specifications that my lab uses for their equipment.)

As you become a better photographer, you will be more aware of those things that will make your photos better.  Correct color and white balance are important ways to improve your pictures.

P.S.
Our friends invited us to spend a few days at their lovely cabin about two weeks ago.  It was so peaceful and we had a great time.


 


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Worship in Holy Places

Salt Lake Temple at Dawn
For Christians, the Easter season is a most sacred time.  In holy places, we worship God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We know that our lives have meaning and great value because Jesus suffered, atoned and died for our sins so that we to could be resurrected and live with Him after we leave this mortal existence.  We stand with wonder and awe at the love He has shown us, and we kneel at His feet with thankfulness and reverence, to be so blessed!
I join with you, my family and friends, to honor and worship Him this Easter season. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Phriday Phun

Sawyer's First Las Vegas Car Show
Sawyer, Mom, Dad, and Grandpa, watching the Races
Sawyer and Dad (Jaron, our son)
Jeff and our three sons have had a life long love of restoring and showing classic cars, specifically, muscle cars of the '70s.  They are always working together on a 'project' car.  Each of the boys has their own car which they've restored with their Dad.  Most Saturdays, if they know Jeff is working on a car, they manage to show up and help.  During their teenage years, Jeff kept them busy when they could have been out getting into mischief, and they each knew their efforts would be rewarded with a cool 'chick magnet'!  Now they are in their late 20's early 30's, and a wonderful blessing is that they all have a common hobby, they all enjoy each others' company, and if they would admit it, they would all rather hang out with each other and their Dad, than almost anyone else, (excluding their wives for the married ones, and his girlfriend for the single one, of course).  One of our annual family events, is to spend several days at a big car show in Las Vegas where Jeff is a judge.  All the boys do everything possible to arrange their schedules to be there.  The women tag along just to be with the men, but I love to see my men together and feel so blessed that they love each other and want to be with their siblings and parents.  And now we start the next generation of car lovers.  Sawyer was a real trooper, and we thought he looked so funny with his ear plugs on.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Desktop Image

Here is my April Desktop Image.  Feel free to download HERE and enjoy the beautiful spring wild flowers of Antelope Valley, California.  Right click to set as your desktop image.  This should not appear pixalated on your monitor.  (Let me know if you have problems and I'll help.)

P.S.  I've been gone for a few days to a car show in Las Vegas where Jeff was a judge.  On our way home we took our first RZR ride of the season.  (Check HERE if you don't know what a RZR is.)  I can't tell you how wonderful it felt zipping along in 73 degree weather and seeing the early signs of spring in southern Utah.  My bubble, however, burst quickly as today we are home and it is snowing!!!!