Children's Portrait Photography with Tamara Lackey - Last Day

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm getting ready for day three of Children's Portrait Photography with Tamara Lackey | I Didn't catch all of day one, since it started on Friday and I had to work, but I was able to catch some good parts off and on while I had time. On Saturday, we connected my laptop to the 42" HD TV in the Living Room--wow, pretty sweet monitor!

I liked what they did for the studio audience (6 people I think), where they had a studio set up with lighting and backdrop and then they brought in different kids/models. Each audience member got their turn to do a short photo session with the child while Tamara stood by to give advice and assistance--and, of course, we got to watch as well.
Today, they plan to cover the business end of photography and a Post-Processing Walkthrough of the Family Photo Shoot we were able to observe. I'm looking forward to that part! Even if you don't want to know more about or specialize in Children's Photography, there were plenty of general photography tips and tricks from someone who clearly has a wealth of information to share and is happy to do so.


Great Picture, but--ewww!?

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm finally getting around to processing some of my first pictures taken with the new Extension Tubes I got for my Anniversary. I took my camera out on one of my daily walks around the building after lunch using my Tamron 70-300 Zoom Macro lens (love that one).  Ok, this is not really that unusual, since I always take my camera, because the two times I didn't, I missed out on some great shots.
Now, there isn't that much to see along the walkway if you do it every day, except for the occasional squirrel and bird, which I've captured pretty well I think.
So, I was trying to find something really small to try it out and the only thing I could find was this spider! Ok, fine, not the cutest subject around, but it'll have to do--I had get back to work, you know?
I was amazed at how close I got without getting too close--does that make sense? Of course it does :D
Anyway, here is one of the shots that I think came out amazing, except for the up-close creepiness.

If you zoom in, you can see three sets of eyes; if you can get past the fuzzy legs up close :)


Seattle Butterfly House

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yesterday was a full day for Family Activities. First stop was the Harry Potter Exhibit. Nick really enjoyed that--Katie--not so much--too scary I think. Then, we went to the Butterfly House and I think I managed to get a few good shots despite the inconsiderate masses who didn't seem to care when people wanted to take pictures (don't get me started). Anyway, this little guy really liked my husband's cap, cause he decided to stay for what seemed like a long time :D.

I just did some cleanup in Camera RAW and used these actions: Boost (from PWAction Set 1--my fave!), and the Crackle and Bring out the Eyes actions from MCP's Quickie set.
The last stop was the BSG Exhibit at EMP. I got a few shots, but not too great; they had a no flash rule plus the lighting was really dark. I'll post more pictures as I clean them up.


New Photography Course

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I just signed up for the Children's Portrait Photography with Tamara Lackey | It's FREE to attend live. I purchased one of their Photography courses after watching it live; they are excellent! And I'm not just saying this because they are located in Seattle :D


More wonderful Free Textures

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Check out the latest from Shadowhouse Creations: Square Texture Set Vol.26:

"Square Texture Set Vol.26 contains seven assorted textures, each measuring 2000 X 2000 pixels in size. Square - 156 Downlo..."
I just love those and all the others that you can get here absolutely free. However, if you are like me, after downloading a bunch of those, I feel compelled to reward all this hard work with a small donation. Join me, won't you?


JHP Action Review - Retouch

Sunday, October 3, 2010

For part two of my JHP Photoshop Actions review--Retouch Lab, I used a close-up up my daughter Katie I took at the playground. One of the few times she actually stood still for a picture :D

I used a number of actions from the set, so I thought I'd list the steps showing how I got to the final image. This set has a number of other actions as well, like beautify and tanning bed, that will be great for dramatic fashion-type shots. There are several skin smoothing and refinement actions, so you'll be sure to find one that's just right for many different looks. As with the last review, hover your mouse over the picture to see the before image. Click here for a larger view.

Read on for the how-to:


JHP Action Review - Vintage

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Since JHP Photoshop Actions has kindly sent me their Complete Set to play with and review, I thought I'd spend a little more time on each set and show some examples from each set. I started with the Vintage set because I had an image that was perfect for it. I ran the EverydayBoost-Vintage action and then added Intensify from the Color Lab set. Then I applied a radial gradient to the mask of the Intensify Layer to bring out the vehicle. Lastly, I added a SimpleVignette - Dark from the Creative Lab set; applied a gaussian blur (around 90 pixels) and lowered the opacity to about 30%.
The image shown below is the after. If you hover (thanks to this wonderful tip from ShadowHouse Creations) your mouse over it, you can see the before.

Here is another example using four more actions from the Vintage set: Instamatic S-10, Vintage Power, RetroMagazine and Turn Back the Clock (with Intensify from the Color Lab set). Click on the image for a larger view.

small sample
These are quick and easy one-click actions giving you excellent results with little effort. One thing to note, though, is that if you're using CS5, you'll run into a few snags where the actions are looking for filters that have been removed. But you can just click Continue to skip the step and finish the action. And if you feel up to it, you can always open the action and uncheck the misbehaving step. I'm told that a CS5 and an Elements version will be coming soon.
Well, that's it for today. I think I'll try the Retouch Lab Set next. Remember to check out the free actions
at JHP and if you decide to purchase the Complete Set, here is the 15% discount code again ==8473988B


Coming Soon - new Action Review!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I have some exciting news! I just got a set of JHP Photoshop Actions complete set (yay). I'm working through them and will post a review with Recipes and examples here shortly.
In the meantime, you can download their free actions and give them a try.
If you like them, use this code to get a 15% discount for the complete set8473988B


Here it is!

The new blog look, that is! I know, it may be a bit underwhelming, but I thought I'd stick with a less distracting background, like, oh, white maybe. And no, it didn't take me this long to come up with it; I got a little sidetracked with other stuff.
So, hopefully I won't get tired of the new look too soon. I'm one of those people who used to re-arrange their living room (or any other room for that matter) about every six months.
I did put a little color in the footer though and cut my header picture down a bit. I'm still not completely happy with the header and I'll probably have to clean up the footer area some more, but I think it'll work for now.


Blog Envy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yes, I am, once again, not really happy with the blog look. It looks too squished to me. I checked out loads of other (blogger) blogs and even though they use the same width for their main area, they look wider. Compared to mine, it appears to be the background image. Even though I like it, it does seem busy after a while.
Anyway, I'll be tinkering with different backgrounds for a bit. But, being the paranoid person that I am, I don't want to try this on my active blog. So I created another one and marked it private. I can try all the crazy new looks and widgets that I want and no one will be the wiser :)
So, stay tuned for the new look...


Organize and share your Bookmarks using Pearltrees

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I first heard of this new way to organize and share your bookmarks on the Shadowhouse Creations blog (thanks Jerry). It's called Pearltrees and after trying it out for a few days I really like it. 

Like any blogger, I collect bookmarks--a LOT of bookmarks. So I save them in existing groups and create new groups, and so on, and so on... Of course, the next time I need to find a bookmark I thought I'd saved, it seems to have disappeared into a black hole; so I find the site and save it again. I know what you're thinking just organize your bookmarks into better groups, silly. I did that, but I'm still having problems finding stuff; plus I'm spending way too much time looking for new stuff.  This is where, for me at least, Pearltrees comes in. It's also organizing your bookmarks (Pearls) into groups (Pearltrees), but it does it visually. Once you have a Pearltree, a small status bar stays on the bottom of your browser window and you can navigate through your pearls or pearltrees. You can pick other people's pearls to add to your trees and they can do the same. It's like Social Networking for Bookmarks--really cool. Check out this Pearltree video:

Here is my Pearltree. Check it out, won't you?



A Walk in the Park

Thursday, August 5, 2010

On the way home from our 3-day vacation at Great Wolf Lodge, we stopped at the Monarch Sculpture Park (SE of Tumwater, WA). After all the fun (translate: loud) activities, this was a welcome break. I only managed, however, to get a few shots (still processing the rest), because my 5 year old--aka Princess Katie Bean--decided to throw a tantrum and we had to cut the visit short.


Around Town

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We recently discovered a nice little area with a walking/running trail along the waterfront after dropping our son off for his summer activities. Early (well, relatively early) in the morning, the water was very still and all the boats were still docked. Along the way, we noticed a heron who wasn't in a hurry to get anywhere--just waiting for breakfast, I suppose. He (at least I think it was a he) finally did step off his little perch and, very gingerly, started wading through the water cocking his head and quickly snapped a fish right out of the water. I missed that shot, of course, since I was playing around with exposure settings--ugh! But I think I managed to get a nice pose anyway.

I used CoffeeShop Web Diptych2 and MCP Finish It and MCP Quickie Collection actions to process the pictures.


Mmmmm, Cupcakes!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last February, we were invited to a friend's wedding reception. Katie was very exited that she got to wear her new pink dress. She was having a great time dancing and twirling and eating cupcakes, while her brother was off playing video games and watching TV with the other boys.
There was a beautiful display of a cupcake-tree Katie made several trips to and she actually sat still long enough to get some pictures (yay)
I bought the Finish It and Quickie Action Sets from MCP (love them) ad also used the free MCP Magic Blog It Board Action. I would love to buy the big version, but can't decide which one (Set 1 or 2). Ok, I'd really like both...and a couple others--boy my Wishlist is starting to get big!


Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Well, I did my first Fireworks shoot and I think I managed to get a couple of good shots despite my uncooperative tripod! We spent the 4th at a friend's house where we had a great view of the water and the barge holding the evening's fireworks. I just set the camera to Manual mode, took off the Autofocus and played around with the Shutter speed. I think the best ones came out at around 2-4 seconds. The only reason I think some of the pictures came out blurry is that darned tripod--hint, hint :D I guess I'll be researching tripods to put on my wish-list next.
I also just bought the MCP FinishIt Action Set--wow, what a timesaver! If you need to get your pictures web-ready, branded, framed, whatever, this is the Action Set to use. Of course, now I want all the other MCP actions, too :D Boy, that wish-list is getting longer and longer!


A Nifty Camera Accessory

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I saw on, I think, D-Town TV a review on the Zeh Photographic bounce. It is soft and flexible and slips right over your popup flash. Plus, I really like the fact that it fits in your pocket and literally takes seconds to set up, unlike the LightScoops, which need to slip into your Hotshoe. Don't get me wrong, I still like the LightScoops; but for a quick-and-dirty flash bounce, you can't beat the Zeh bounce. And--this is a big one--you really can't beat the price: $10 (plus Shipping). But wait, there's more; if you're a NAPP member, you get it for $8!! How's that for a sweet deal?

Here is a quick snap I took (indoors of course) with my camera's popup flash:

A bit too bright, don't you think?

And here's after I snapped on the Zeh bounce:

Looks pretty good to me.

These images are SOOC--no editing whatsoever (except re-sizing for Web).

Don't they look great? I've also found that I can use it outdoors as a quick fill-flash to give it just that little bit of extra highlight. You can get the Zeh bounce from the Zeh Photographic website, or check out their Facebook Page. Give them a try, I'm sure you'll find them very handy to have around.


The local Wildlife

Lately, I started taking my camera on my walk around the office building after lunch, mainly to get more familiar with the new camera and the new lens, a Tamron AF 70-300 Macro Zoom (sweet). So, every day I try to look for something new and interesting to shoot. Yesterday, as soon as I stepped outside, I heard birds chirping nearby and started to look around. Sure enough, one bird (don't ask what kind because I have no idea, decided to take a break right in front of us. I think he (she?) was talking to another bird and didn't want to chirp and fly :)

I really like this lens. It does a fantastic job of capturing the subject and the resulting DOF and bokeh are great! I used to have to do some creative adjusting in Photoshop to get the DOF even close to what I'm getting now, which saves me a ton of post-processing time. That, combined with some really cool (and extremely useful) actions I got from the Pioneer Woman and CoffeeShop sites, gives me more time to work on the fun stuff, like adding textures.


Aaargh. Bugs!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yay, my Accidental Bee picture made it into Group 3 of The Pioneer Woman's Bug picture Photography Assignment (happy dance)!

That's the second time one of my pictures made a selection! The last assignment was Macros and I entered my Mosquito (or similar bug--wasn't sure, but it looked mosquito-like) on a Tulip (I'm sure about the tulip, they're my faves :D). I didn't make the finals, but I'm happy to just make the group of about 20 or so selections out of millions. OK, so I'm exaggerating about the millions but it's a bunch and I for one think it's pretty cool. Anyway, a finalist group will be selected from each group and then the winner from that group will get the prize. Hmmm, I don't even know what that'll be this time, I just heard bugs and thought, hey, I got some bugs I can enter. There are always tons of wonderful entries and really enjoy visiting everyone's photostream and/or website and checking out their stuff.
I wonder what the next challenge will be about...


Princess for a Day

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On Saturday morning, Katie announced that she wanted to dress up in last year's Halloween costume (a pink princess outfit complete with tiara) and have a Tea Party. She spent some time trying to decide which ones of her stuffed animals to invite, since she only has four chairs.
Well, you don't have to tell me twice, I know how to spot an opportunity to grab the camera to try to capture this event (emphasis on try :D). Of course, I only managed a couple of shots, mainly because her highness didn't want to hold still and the whole event lasted just about under 15 minutes before we declared the party over and is was decreed that we wanted to watch a video *sigh*. I so envy the professionals who used to come to Katie's daycare--Li'l Angels Photography. They always got the best, most natural smiles out of both my kids. I can't seem to get them to stop long enough to try to focus :P
I did, however have the perfect pages on hand--Quickpages (also known as Ploppers) at that. So, all the work of the Layout has already been done and all one has to do is plop pictures into the placeholders. These particular ones are freebies from Vera Lim (vlim_itsmydayqp6 and qp1_antje), so these came together pretty fast.


New challenge at iHeartFaces

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

There's a new challenge over at the iHeartFaces site--no competition this week, just for fun and to bring awareness to a good cause: Soles4Souls. I made my contribution on my personal site. Check it out and read about Barefoot Week.


iHeartFaces - Week 22 - Barefoot Week

This week is a non-competition week at iHeartFaces, but, unlike other weeks, we are able to post more than one photo. The photos can be anything around shoes and feet.

About Soles 4 Souls: Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you. The charity distributes these shoes free of charge to people in need, regardless of race, religion, class, or any other criteria. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 7 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently donating one pair every 9 seconds.) The shoes have been distributed to people in over 125 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States. Soles4Souls has been featured in Runner's World, Ladies’ Home Journal, National Geographic’s Green Guide, and The New York Times. It has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, BBC, CNN and thousands of regional news outlets across North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS and donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Anyone can join our cause, and we need your help.

I am definitely not a foot-person. It's kind of like nude beaches--invariably, you only see the people who should really keep their clothes on!
I feel the same about feet, always have (usually, the people with the most gnarly looking toes wear the most revealing, open shoes) Summer is especially offensive; don't get me started!
I never thought that would change, until I had kids (of course, you probably say). I just love those chubby little feet with the even chubbier tiny toes. Ok, enough blubbering, here are my pictures of my favorite little people in the world--well, of course they are, they're mine :D

This is Katie's first time at the beach after we came back from our Adoption Trip to China

More to come here...


Need a new camera bag?

Friday, May 28, 2010

I know I do, only every time I seem to find one, they're sold out instantly and put on backorder for several months! After much research, I finally narrowed it down to three bags. The Lola Bag from epiphanie, the quilted bag from emera, and the grey Kelly Moore bag. All three look fabulous and not at all like camera bags. Of course I wouldn't mind testing all three (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?)
This was going to be tough, but I think after checking the dimensions I will get the Kelly Moore bag (16” (width) x 11” (height) x 4” (depth)). I've been using a kludged together solution whereby I used a big suede bag I had and squished the padded insert from a nylon hiking/camera bag backpack. It's not bad, but pretty wide, so it still looks like a small overnight bag. Plus it only has the regular shoulder-bag strap, so it can't be worn messenger-style across the shoulder (obviously not too good on the shoulder, and neck, when your schlepping your bag around for a couple of hours).
The Kelly Moore site has a cool video showing the bag in action, which is really helpful in making an educated decision about a purchase. I'm pretty visual, so I really liked that I could see that you actually can put enough gear in the bag and still wear it without it looking bulky.
The site has several styles of bags in different bright colors as well as black. They also have boy bags for the guys who don't want to wear the big black backpack all the time.
Hey, I just did a review! Even without having the bag! Well, go, check them out, they're cool!


All done...I think

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! I tried out the (relatively) new blogger in draft and picked a template I liked, shuffled a few gadgets around and presto--a new blog page.
OK, maybe it wasn't quite that fast. I did have a nice background I had picked for my NKMphotos blog, but I didn't want to use exactly the same one, so I just re-colored it and thought I'd just upload it back to the site and use it--NOT! I guess I'll have to put that request in the next version suggestion box :D
But with a little research I discovered that I just needed to add a CSS snippet to add my own background. Once that was accomplished, all was well again.


What's going on here?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If you're wondering why everything looks kind of out of place, I'm cleaning up the blog page. I think it was a bit too cluttered, so I'm removing some and moving other items. Shouldn't take too long. Check back in a while and all will be well again :D



Sunday, April 25, 2010

I've been waiting for an opportunity to use this picture of Nick and this week's i ♥ faces challenge is all about smiles!

We took this picture in 2003 when we drove from Washington State to Colorado to visit family. It was July and very hot. I don't remember what we were doing or saying to him when we took the picture, but it must have been funny :D I'm just glad we were able to get this great shot--anymore I have to take bunches of pictures to get one good one! The kids all but groan when Mommy breaks out the camera.


New beginning

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I created a new blog (this one), Twitter and flickr accounts, and a Facebook Page. I named it NKM Photos; as in Nick and Katie's Mom. I'd like to keep these separate from my personal accounts and plan to post links to Photoshop and photography related tutorials (I might try some of my own), as well as some brushes, backgrounds, and textures I created.


Aaargh, I missed it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I had the perfect shot for this week's iHeartFaces' Dramatic B&W...and missed it by an hour!!! groan

Well, I'll show it here, anyway :) I took this picture (and many others) this last Saturday at the playground. We had just finished the Science Fair at Nick's school, where he and his friend submitted an entry on the Lego MindStorm Robot. The weather was actually pretty good, so we stopped at a playground to let the kids run around a bit. I actually got several good shots of both Nick and Katie. They were unusually cooperative and held still for most of them :D


Nick is Ten!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I saw this cool technique in the latest Photoshop User Magazine by Corey Barker (of Planet Photoshop) that I just had to try. It's called Light Beams Through Text and it uses TEN as the text. When I saw that, I immediately thought of Nick, who just turned ten! (OK, wasn't much of a stretch)
What a great excuse to try out a new technique. :D It was pretty easy, but looks really cool. I even had a picture of Nick I could use for the silhouette.
Now I just have to think of a Page Layout to put it on.


Chef Nick

Friday, January 1, 2010

School's out for Winter break and I took off the week of Christmas to get the house ready, put up the rest of the decorations and bake cookies with the Kids. We had a great time and even made enough cookies for Mark to take some to the office. Of course nothing lasts long in cubeville :)
We made it through the Christmas morning gift-ripping extravaganza, the turkey cooking, the 'she got more than I did' squabbles, oh, and let's not forget the usual comment from Ms. Picky Eater Katie (she's 4) after everyone said how yummy the turkey was..."I don't like turkey" (groan!) We're lucky if we can get her to eat anything that's not chocolate or cookies or candy.
Hmm, where was I? Oh yea, school break. So, for the second week, we signed Nick up for a couple of 3-day classes at our Hands-on Museum. The morning class was CSI for 1st to 4th graders. He had a blast dusting for Fingerprints (with cocoa), identifying Hair and Fibers and solving small mysteries using their newly acquired skills.
After lunch, it was Easy as Pie, a cooking and baking class. They made empanadas, tarts and the final project was an apple pie. They kept a recipe book of all their creations and got to keep their chef's hat and apron--plus the pie!
So tonight, he had to demonstrate his new skill and prepare his apple pie for us--a great opportunity for me to try out some of my Christmas presents--a couple of popup flash lightscoops for my Nikon D60 and a hotshoe attachment for my external flash that makes it fit onto a regular tripod. I took both jpg and raw images, so I can post the jpg's right away (provided they don't look too crappy). Then I can spend more time tweaking them in ACR and PS.
The pie came out great and Nick was very proud he'd done it all by himself.

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