Wednesday, December 24, 2014

O, Come Let Us Adore Him!

O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Awkward Christmas Photos PLUS One!

I took a Christmas photo of my daughter and her family of handsome men for their Christmas card!

Now check out some more Christmas family photos for your chuckle of the day.  (P.S.  If you have very delicate sensibilities, just note there are a couple of photos with scantily clad people, however, all the critical parts are covered.)

Please tell me I did a better job than these awkward family photos!!!  I bet the families AND the photographers who took them, cringe when they revisited these photos years later!  (I also cringe when I look at some of my past photography attempts.... as recent at last week - haha.)  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Share The Gift!

If you are among my dear friends who say "Merry Christmas" at this time of year, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, take a moment to be be inspired and uplifted as you listen to David Archuleta and Peter Hollens sing "Angels We Have Heard On High", accompanied by the Piano Guys and joined by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The video depicts beautiful scenes of Christians wanting to ‪#‎sharethegift‬.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turn Your Christmas or Holiday Lights Into Beautiful Bokeh!

The trick to turn your lights into a beautiful background bokeh pattern is to use a relatively wide aperture (small f stop).  Position your subject a good distance in front of the lights.  Using a telephoto lens, zoom in for a close-up of your subject, (focus on your subject), and you will create beautiful light balls.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Turn Your Christmas or Holiday Lights into Stars

Tip:  to make your Christmas lights twinkle like stars, set your camera for a small aperture, (big f number), and a long exposure.  You will probably have to use a tripod:

 (Check back for another light tip.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

St. George LDS (Mormon) Temple at Christmas

St. George Temple

Tip for shooting outdoor Christmas and Holiday Lights:  
Instead of waiting until dark, shoot about 15-30 minutes after sunset. Think twilight or dusk.  Instead of having a boring black sky, you will have a beautiful deep blue sky as a backdrop to the colorful lights.

(Two more tips to follow on how to make your Christmas light photos more eye catching and interesting.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuweep Overlook, North Rim, Grand Canyon

Tuweep Overlook, North Rim, Grand Canyon

Well, today was an adventure!  We took off early this afternoon to explore a new area for RZR riding.  We loaded up the machines, packed a lunch and headed out on a beautiful, warm, sunny day in December.  It is hard to believe what beautiful weather we are having both here in southern Utah and also in northern Utah.  I feel a bit guilty enjoying near 70 degrees of warmth, when other parts of the country are either having horrible snowstorms or are recovering from horrible snowstorms. 

Anyway, our goal today was a remote lookout over the Grand Canyon which is about 90 miles from our home near St. George.  After turning off the main road, we found out, however, that it was illegal to drive our RZRs on the side road, so rather than turn around we hauled them over 60 miles on a dirt road, that at places was worse than a washboard, and at other places we had to navigate over boulders.  Sixty miles in and 60 miles out going about 10 mph at times is a long way to be jerked, jarred and jostled!  We kept saying, if we were riding our RZRs we would have been able to zoom along at a good clip without any effort at all! 

It is safe to say, that of the millions of tourists who visit the Grand Canyon, only a very, very small number have been to this remote location.  There are no services, no gas, no stores, no cell phone service, and if you get a flat tire, or have another emergency, it will cost you about $2000 to get assistance that may take a very long time to arrive!

Needless to say, it took longer to get there than expected, and we arrived just shortly before sunset.  If you like the peace and quiet of remote desert landscapes, enormous red rock boulders and cliffs, and standing on the edge of a 3,000 foot vertical drop that ends in what appears to be a tiny ribbon of the Colorado River, then this place is for you!  The scenery was indeed breathtaking!

As far as picture taking goes, I'm not so sure.  Looking in the opposite direction of this view, which would be roughly east, I could not see the river at the bottom and most of the canyon was in deep shadow.  So no picture there.  Because of the terrain and position of the setting sun, I couldn't find a composition without the sun.  I had to take whatever shots I could get quickly, because the sun was setting fast.  I only took about five shots, and so I had to be satisfied with this, lens flare and all.  Personally I don't mind the flare, but I know many would find it distracting. 

Even though we have the satisfaction of going somewhere beautiful that very few people will see, I don't think this will be on our list of places to revisit.  But, hey, we can say we've been there once!   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Savaii, Samoa

Sunrise or Sunset????

I can't remember which it was, but either way it was a beautiful day in Savaii, Samoa.  I look at this longingly as I contemplate surviving the next few months of cold temperatures, slippery ice and a barren landscape.  (Have I mentioned that Winter is not my favorite season!!!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Follow-up to Last Post

Hello Photography Lovin' Friends!

After my last post, I had a friend send me an email, saying he had a photo printed on canvas that he was not entirely happy with.  I told him what I have learned about having my photos printed by my local lab and I thought maybe some of my comments might be helpful to others, so I've copied part of my response below:

First of all, if you are particular about how you want your prints to turn out, especially if you are printing something large to hang on your wall, you should use a local, professional lab (if you have one near), where you will get personal service and can talk to someone face to face if there are problems.  (On the other hand, if you need to print a couple of snapshots, and you don't mind if they turn out greenish or bluish, are too light or too dark, and you need them in an hour, then go to a 'big box' store!)

Early on when I began printing large photos from wedding shoots, I found that I was not always happy with the results.  I found that matching the color and exposure so that what I saw on my computer was similar to what I saw printed, was tricky and not an exact science.  I realized that obviously, since a screen and a print are two different outputs, they will never look exactly the same, but they should be in the ballpark, and this takes a bit of effort.  Here's what I do:

1.  First of all, I broke down and purchased a Colormunki Display which calibrates and color corrects my monitor, and then I calibrate my monitor to the same settings my photo lab uses to calibrate their equipment.  (I would imagine that you could get this information from any professional lab.)  There are several different brands of calibration devices to choose from, and you may have to purchase online.  But you don't even need to do this, read on.

2.  Calibrating your monitor will get you in the ballpark, but each monitor is different and will show different color tones, and different degrees of light and dark.  For example, if I did not intervene, most of my photos while looking great on my monitor, would still turn out too dark, too dull and too contrasty when printed.

3.  Here is a good solution that works well even without having to spend money on a device to calibrate your monitor:  Have several test photos printed as 5x7s to use as comparisons.  Print out a landscape, a portrait, maybe something contrasty like a sunset.  Compare them with how they look on your monitor, then 'correct' your photos in your editing program (LR or PS for example), to compensate for what you don't like in the prints.  I've learned that I need to compensate by making my photos look much brighter, more saturated and less contrasty on the computer than they would normally look good to me, in order to produce what I really want them to look like in print.  

4.  Here is another important suggestion: When I submit my photos,  I always tell the lab, "do not correct, print as received".  Unless you give this instruction, the lab techs will usually correct or adjust your photos to their interpretation of what looks good, not yours.  I learned this the hard way.  I have a canvas print of a Lake Powell sunrise.  In my rendition, the water was a dark shade of blue, but still colorful.  The tech decided this image was supposed to be more 'moody' with only the sunrise colorful, so when it came back, the water was totally black.  I didn't like it at all, and since I told the lab not to correct, (they missed my instructions), they reprinted it with no questions asked.

5.  Here is another lesson I recently learned the hard way.  Even though I now know approximately what to do on my computer to get the printed result I'm looking for, if I'm planning to print something large that will cost a lot of money, I ALWAYS have a 5x7 test photo printed first, just to make sure.  It is well worth the small amount it costs and the time to do it, (and if you tell your lab it is a test print before ordering a large print, they might do it for free.  Mine does.)  Because I was too lazy to do this, I now have a Lake Powell sunset on a large canvas decorating my closet!
Most labs who cater to professional photographers offer excellent service and great quality, and because of the less expensive online services  available, they go overboard to make sure you are happy and satisfied with the work they do.  Many times when I have called my lab with a problem, or I need advice or instruction, the techs will spend as much time as it takes to help me.

So bottom line, if you are planning to hang your artwork in your home or give as gifts, (and want to insure they don't end up in a closet somewhere), make the effort and spend the money to have a finished piece of artwork you are proud of and will enjoy for years to come!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arches National Park, Utah

That's a Wrap......I mean a Canvas Wrap!

After all these years, I am finally determined to hang a few of my photos on the walls so I can enjoy them.  I'm starting with some of my southern Utah pictures that I'll put in our little winter casita located in southern Utah.  This is the largest picture I have ever printed.  It is 26 x 36 and will hang in the entryway.  I just got it from the lab, and it turned out beautifully, (although it looks a bit overly saturated on my computer.)  Can't wait to hang it up!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cuter Than the Gerber Baby!!!

Photo shoot with my youngest grandchild - Number 12.  He just turned One!  Isn't he the cutest toddler!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lake Powell

Beginning of a Beautiful Day and Waiting Patiently for Riders

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lake Powell Sunrise

Lake Powell Sunrise

At least one morning every trip, I get up early and find the best vantage point for a sunrise photo.  It was a beautiful morning on this day with just enough cloud cover to create a lovely and interesting sky as a backdrop for my picture.  I found my spot, set up my tripod and camera and then waited for the magic to happen.  It was a peaceful time to listen to the soft sounds of the water rippling to shore, the two chattering crows overhead with their birdseye view of the coming event, and the unsettling sounds of coyotes howling in the distance.  It was a time to reflect on the beauty of this earth in its many forms.  While in the South Pacific I marveled at the lush, tropical flora and fauna and thought this was indeed heaven on earth.  And yet on this morning, surrounded by barren red rock formations and rugged desert vistas, I also saw the beauty of God's handiwork.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghost Story Tutorial

In this post I'll show you how I made 'GHOST' STORY, which was my last post.  (Incidentally, there are many creative ways to make ghosted images and you can find tutorials on YouTube and other photo websites.)

The process I used was easy and quick, but will seem complicated if you are unfamiliar with PS and layers.  Here we go:

First I set the scene by dragging a chair and candles in front of the fireplace in my living room.  I turned on several lamps nearby for low lights.  I put my camera on a tripod, (very important), and put the settings to Aperture Priority at f/11, but many different settings would have worked as well.  I experimented by taking several images and dialing the exposure up and down until I got a dark but not too dark image.  The above shot is the one I ended up with.  As you can see, I wasn't very particular about the composition because I knew I would crop way in and straighten in post processing.

I then asked Jeff to sit down carefully, without disturbing or moving the spider.  I kept my camera position and settings the same, except that I turned the timer on, and ran to take my place in the composition for the next image.  It is very important that the settings stay the same and your camera does not move during both shots.  (Side note:  You might wonder why I didn't center us in the frame.  Because I was sitting closer to the camera, I would appear bigger than Jeff, and I didn't want that(!), so I knew in the final image the viewer would only get a glimpse of me and not the full butt/thigh view!)  Now I have two identical shots except that one is with us included and one is without.

After uploading to the computer, I opened both photos in Photoshop.
Working on the photo with the people, I clicked Select, then All

Then I clicked Edit, then Copy, after which I switched to the image without Jeff and I and made it active.

Now I clicked Edit, and Paste.  You will notice that my two images are now shown in the right panel with the people image on top.  Working on that top image, I lowered the Opacity slider, which is on the right side of panel just above the image thumbnails.  

I experimented with varied degrees of opacity until I got just the right amount of ghosting for my taste.  Remember I am only reducing the opacity of the top layer/image with the people. The bottom layer/image without the people stays at 100% opacity or transparency and does not change, so only the people will appear 'ghosted'.  When I was pleased with the effect, I flattened or combined both images, straightened and cropped.  Now comes the fun part.

I experimented with a variety of special effects, presets, editing programs, etc., and finally settled on a stylized B&W preset in Silver Efex Pro 2.  I finished it off with a dark vignette around the edge of the frame.

After uploading my two photos to the computer, the editing/post processing time was quick and easy, just a few minutes.  The hardest part was getting Jeff to pose for me!  HaHa  If anyone experiments with this effect, I'd love to see the magic you create!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I'll show you how I made this image in my next post!  In the meantime, have a fun Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lake Powell FUN!

Is Lake Powell FUN or what!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lake Powell, Utah Sunset

Lake Powell Sunset
We returned about a week ago from our annual Lake Powell vacation.  We had a fabulous time, and a bonus for me were the beautiful sunsets we enjoyed most evenings.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake Temple - Beautiful Fall Afternoon

This photo was taken the same time as the last post.  It was a beautiful autumn day and I wanted to take some photos on Temple Square during the fall season, which I rarely do.  Almost every year I am eager to photograph the riot of beautiful flowers during spring, and at Christmas time I enjoy photographing the gazillion twinkling lights that adorn the trees and frame the temple. 

 This fall day, the weather was delightful and the mood seemed mellow, calm, and peaceful.   People strolled slowly by, enjoying the beauty of the moment.  A bridal party and their photographer were creating memories.  Families were admiring the still beautiful flowers that will soon be gone.  It seemed to be a transition time between the busy, hot summer months of vacation and tourists, and the preparation and anticipation for the upcoming holiday season filled with Temple Square concerts, lights and decorations, and our focus on the birth of our Savior.  Taking pictures here was a great way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Temple Reflection

Salt Lake Temple and Reflection Pond

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Before.......

..... Boring!

Mersad wanted to see the before shot from the last post, so here it is!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

On our Oregon adventure, we went to Crater Lake.  I wanted to get some late afternoon and sunset shots but we misjudged the time it would take to get there and we arrived well after the sun was down.  I was determined to get something, even though it was very dark, with just a hint of pink left in the sky.  I knew that major post processing would be the only thing that would make an image I would want to keep.  First, I used a 16mm wide angle lens in order to fit the entire lake in one frame.  Using a wide angle lens, of course, made the moon the size of a pin head.  So I used a 300 mm telephoto lens to take a shot of the moon and placed it directly over the original moon in Photoshop.  Then in Lightroom I bumped up the color in the sky and increased the moon glow on the lake.  Finally I used Perfect Effects to give the entire image a soft, dreamy look.  Creating something out of nothing is challenging and fun!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

White Horse Falls, Oregon

White Horse Falls, Oregon

This was taken within several minutes after the photo on the previous post.  I really like the sunburst that adds an interesting element to the image, but not sure I like the sunflare that continues through the waterfall.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Clearwater Falls, Oregon


Jeff and I packed up a RZR and headed to Oregon for a little 44th anniversary get-away.  We spent a few days staying and riding in the beautiful forests around Crater Lake before heading to the coast to ride on the beach.  This was one of several waterfalls we saw along the way.  As you can tell, this was taken early in the morning on what turned out to be a glorious day.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Floating in Bubbles


This morning I took an early morning walk at Thanksgiving Point.  (Part of which includes many acres of beautiful gardens.)  I decided I was just going to soak in all the beautiful summer flowers in full bloom as a result of a very unusually rainy and cool August and not worry about taking photos. So I forced myself to leave my camera at home.  

I was doing great until the end of my walk which usually brings me to an enclosed garden aptly called 'The Secret Garden'.  It is my favorite place to sit on a bench, smell the flowers and enjoy a beautiful little fountain in the middle of the garden.  But I noticed that since my last visit they had changed how the fountain sprays.  And then I noticed it was now creating these beautiful bubbles that I knew would be perfect as a backdrop for a flower photo.  In the little class I taught on flower photography I challenged the group to find different and unique ways of presenting flowers, which I try to do as well, and I knew the bubbles and interesting water patterns would do just that.  

Of course at this point I'm irritated that I didn't bring my camera with me, but I did have my iphone, so that's what I used to take the photos that went into creating this image.  Guess the moral of the story is, not having a big fancy camera is no excuse for not taking photos or creating art!  I hope you like it!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chalk Art - Street Photography

Street Photography is both challenging and interesting.  I'm not talking about the type of street photography where one is hidden behind a tree and sneaks candids with a telephoto lens.  And, I'm not saying that one can't get some interesting photos and capture great moments when the subjects are unaware that they are being photographed.  But I'm talking about a different kind of street photography that can be very intimidating and uncomfortable for the photographer, especially a beginning photographer.  It can also be intimidating for the subject who has just had a stranger walk up to her/him and wants to start taking photos.  There is a skill involved in not only convincing a stranger that you are not a stalker, but within only a few minutes making that person feel comfortable enough to allow you to photograph them.  Not only that, but to come away with an interesting, natural pose and expression to boot!

I remember my first experience with this kind of street photography was during a fabulous experience my sister-in-law and I had of attending a week long photography workshop taught by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore some years ago.  One of our assignments I called "Stranger at 20 feet".  He set the group loose in old town Santa Fe, New Mexico with the assignment to engage in conversations with strangers, obtain their permission to photograph them, and then come back and show our best shots to the group.  We only had one evening to work up our courage, figure out an approach, not forget how to use our camera in our nervousness, and return with something worth showing the group for critique.  This was one of the hardest things I had to do at that workshop, but also one of the assignments where I grew the most in my confidence and abilities.  (I'll post my 'keepers' from that assignment in a day or two.)  I still have a few butterflies walking up to total strangers with a camera, but I can tell you that some of my favorite 'people' pictures over the past years are ones of interesting strangers I've met during my travels.

All of the artists and other interesting people at this show knew I was taking their photo. Even the ones who are not looking at the camera or appear to be candid, I previously spoke with them for a few minutes, asked permission, then told them to go back to what they were doing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mirror Lake, Utah

Yesterday in the late afternoon, Jeff and I took a drive to Mirror Lake which is about an hour away from our home.  It was a beautiful drive, and the lake was peaceful and lovely.  We took a leisurely stroll along the shore and watched a few people fishing and paddling canoes.  We then headed home by way of Park City for a late dinner.  It was a nice evening! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


My how time goes by so fast!  Just not enough time to fit everything in, and that includes blogging!  Hope I can do better soon!  Here is one I recently took at Thanksgiving Point in preparation for a second flower photography class I'm teaching.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Morning Shower

Jeff was sprinkling the garden while I was taking pictures this morning, so I told him to give the flowers a shower.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LadyBug in My Garden

I love ladybugs, but haven't seen many in my garden this year.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Aging Gracefully.......

..... And Beautifully
(follow up to last post)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"We Can Work It Out"

 "We Can Work It Out"

Try to see it my way
Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?
While you see it your way
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Watchman - Zion National Park

The Watchman

By the time I arrived at this very popular location for landscape photography in Zion National Park, it was dark.  Usually the bridge where this view is seen is packed with photographers and their tripods, as well as a second group waiting for their turn to photograph this iconic scene.  When I arrived, the last photographer was packing up his gear.  It had been a beautiful sunset, and I had missed it.  I sat in my car wondering if I could make it back here while the trees were still adorned with the beautiful, bright green leaves of spring. I didn't know when that would be, so I got out of my car, and decided to shoot a couple of images anyway.  The good news was that I had my pick of anywhere on the bridge to stand as I was the only one there.  The bad news was that it was dark and I couldn't see where I was going or what I was doing.  I knew that to capture any of the remaining light I would have to keep the shutter open a fairly long time, but even so, didn't think I'd get anything worth keeping. I took several shots exposing for different parts of the scene.  I was surprised when I downloaded the images, that by combining parts of each exposure, I was able to bring out much of the detail in the shadows.  I was surprised at how many warm colors were still present even though the sun had set long before.  I often talk about how a camera can't record as much as the human  eye can see.  In this case, the camera saw a lot more than I did!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Fire Within

The Fire Within

Here is the LINK to the photos I used in the FLOWER POWER class I taught last night.