Monday, December 28, 2009

Jaron, Michelle & Sawyer

I succeeded in getting family portraits of everyone except Will & Amber.  Well, hopefully next Christmas we will have everyone together. 

Jeff & I are taking off tomorrow morning for Sedona, Arizona so I'll not be posting for the next few days.  Hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year's celebration.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Kimball Boys

Trying to get 4 HYPERactive boys to sit still for 2 seconds on Christmas Eve is next to impossible!!  We had a wonderful time at Scott and Tiera's home;  eating, playing games, opening presents, doing a service project, and especially celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Our Home to Yours......

.......we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tech Talk Tuesday


Sometimes a photo of a familiar landmark becomes more interesting if you can find a perspective or viewpoint that is not often seen. A few days ago I went to Temple Square with a group of photographers to photograph the lights. (Jeff came as my dutiful camera bag carrier.) I tried to find ways of looking at the temple that I had not seen before.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a Miracle!!!

A nice Christmas portrait. It's a miracle that all four boys are actually looking at the camera and a real plus, they are actually smiling. (And the reason for this is that I have the best assistant in the world. Michelle is behind the scene jumping around like a crazy woman to keep their attention).

Larsen Christmas Party 2009

We were small in numbers this year, but the food was delicious and it is always good to get together with our family.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Phriday Phun

With four very active boys, sometimes life is just a blur!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tech Talk Tuesday

High Dynamic Range
(combining multiple exposures)

Here is a nice photo of Jeff I took at one of the colorful, brightly decorated open air eating places we saw throughout our travels in Costa Rica. It was raining, which made the colors even more bright and saturated, so I wanted to duplicate what my eyes saw, but what my camera could not record. (Remember that a camera cannot record as many shades from dark to light as the human eye can see.) I should have had a tripod, but I didn't, so I braced my camera to be as still as possible, then told Jeff to hold perfectly still. I set 'auto bracketing' to take 3 shots right in a row. One at +2 exposure, one at the exposure the camera would chose as correct, and one at -2 exposure. I also turned the automatic timer on so I didn't have to push the button, further reducing camera shake. I ended up with the following 3 images. See photos below and more explanation of how I made the above photo.

In this above shot you can see the colorful tablecloths and napkins, and bright details, but obviously it is all washed out, and the bright background is totally blown out.

In this shot the camera is trying to do its best to compromise by balancing the dark foreground, tables and part of the ceiling and the bright background, while putting the most emphasis for a correct exposure on the main subject, Jeff. But he is still too dark. All these compromises don't really show how this scene looked to me.

In this underexposed shot, everything is compromised in order to properly expose the bright part of the roof and the background greenery.

So now look at these 3 shots, then compare them to the top photo, and you can see a fairly good combination of the best parts of all the exposures. If the scene you are photographing is all in even light, there is no need to combine exposures. Or if the scene has a bright upper half, like the sky, and a dark bottom half, like flowers in the shade, one could put a split level neutral density filter on their lens to correct the problem. But in a scene like this, you can use the miracle of computer editing, plus a little know how, (and a decent camera), and make it possible to approximate what the human eye can see. You can do this several ways in Photoshop, or there are numerous programs that combine images and allow you great leeway in adjusting the final image. One can make the image look realistic, or use some 'artistic license' to make an image that is out of this world fantasy looking. I should also add, that I'm giving the basics in the simplest way. In reality there are many more steps involved before I'm happy with the end result.

HDR imaging is still a controversy among photographers. Some 'traditionalists' don't like HDR, or other advances in photographic technology for that matter. I happen to love the look, usually in moderation to make a good image better, but not taken to the fantasy level. If you want to see the King of HDR and some amazing images, (whether you like them or not), go HERE, then let me know what you think! (I just noticed he has a few family photos posted, so scroll down a bit to see some of his travel photos.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sawyer Claus

I couldn't wait any longer to post these photos of Sawyer. He is just adorable, even if I do say so as a proud Grandma!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Phriday Phun

I have no idea what this is, but I took a picture of it anyway!. Maybe it is an indication that Costa Ricans have a sense of humor!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You Can't Judge a Book......

......or a butterfly, by its cover. Like the frog, this guy is perfectly camouflaged. A casual observer would not be overly impressed with the beauty of this butterfly. As I observed him (or her), he rarely revealed his inner self.

But briefly, he opened up and we saw the brilliant fluorescent blue of his inner beauty.

Aren't some people just like that. I remember when I was in college I met someone who I quickly judged as being boring, nerdy, and just not the type of person I would pick as a friend. But it didn't take very long before my whole perspective changed! When I made the effort to really get to know her, she was so fun, witty, smart and one of the nicest people I have ever known. She became one of my very best friends during those years. I still try to remember to 'not judge a book by its cover'!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Costa Rica Poster Frog

Just an ordinary looking green frog nicely blending in while sleeping on a green leaf....


Here's the same little guy, wide awake and showing off all his brilliant colors. It's hard to believe that one tiny creature can be this colorful! I can't remember his name, but he's a very popular advertisement on many of the travel guides and vacation ads for Costa Rica.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Few More...... of this beautiful volcano taken at different times, then a few photos around the lodge.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beautiful Beyond Description

Costa Rica

The sky was heavily overcast as we made our way to the Arenal Observatory Lodge where we were staying. We really could not see more than a few yards because of the rain, low hanging clouds, fog, and mist. We checked in, found our room, then hauled our luggage in and started getting settled. Just then the skies began to clear. We walked out on our balcony to this view. It was breathtakingly beautiful, like something out of another world. I wish my pictures could do it justice, but they look pathetically inadequate compared to what my eyes saw!! We sat on our balcony from then until dark, mesmerized by what the play of light from the setting sun, and the ever changing cloud formations did to this amazing vista. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like it. I must have taken 300 pictures. We were much closer to the volcano than these pictures show. This is because in order to get all the beautiful cloud formations included, I had to use an ultra wide angle lens which, of course, alters the perspective.

The lodge used to be a station for scientists observing and measuring seismic activity, so it is very close, but does have a ravine in front for protection. This is a very active volcano. You are seeing partly cloud cover and partly steam and gas escaping from the top. As we sat there we could hear rumbling from deep inside, accompanied by the very eerie sound of howler monkeys in the distance. We learned that on clear nights for the past 4-5 years you could see lava spewing from the top, but just 5 days before we arrived the lava stopped. This is not a good thing we were told, because it may be an indication of a build up for a major eruption, and people have been killed in past eruptions.

Something that made this area so unique and beautiful was the diversity of vegetation. We were in a rain forest, yet mixed among the tropical foliage were tall, beautiful pine trees. It seemed strange to see exotic flowers, vines, and palms climbing up and growing next to pine trees. We hiked to waterfalls and saw many beautiful sights in this area, but none compared to the grandeur of this volcano surrounded by a thousand shades of green.

I'll post a few of my favorite Costa Rica memories every day or so, but for any of you who would like to overdose on about 600 photos right now you can see them here.