I thought it was time for a few shots of my kids.
Not like I’m proud of them or anything.
This is just an average afternoon at our place…
If it hasn’t been obvious yet, it will be now that my favorite wedding moments are the candid, fun ones – especially the getting ready moments. Here are a few of those from the recent wedding of the lovely, totally laid back and amazing, Sarah and Shane.
Birdy singing Bon Iver.
Quiet, sleeping children.
Silence. Glorious silence.
Then a little Passion Pit.
Totally distracted by editing photos.
Loving the simplicity of one.
Loving the complexity of another.
Amazed by the beauty of people.
Phone call from my Sam.
Laughter with my family.
A little bit of Psych.
Cleaning up from supper.
When I got distracted editing, I created a little challenge for myself. I went through a series of photos and edited them without using the crop tool. When I first began taking photos, I relied heavily on cropping. For some reason I pretty much refused to compose the shot while taking it, thinking I would create what I wanted in post.
I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still use the crop tool to get the 4.5×6 look I love so much.
I was surprised how quickly my finger sped to the “c” key even though I basically compose the shot on the spot now and rarely crop. It was a good reminder to me of how difficult old habits are to break and what a challenge it is to create the photo you want on location. It’s easy to rely on post processing tools – especially when you have such amazing tools.
Speaking of, all of these un-cropped photos used the VSCO 02 film pack for ACR 7. Can I just say delicious? There was just something, some totally undefinable thing, missing from the film emulations in the first pack and I am totally amazed at how perfectly these filled in the gap. There were many photos that were a quick edit with 01, but some were just a challenge. I really had to work with the HSL sliders and other elements to achieve the look I wanted. That gap is now gone. Even just Portra 160VC+ and Neopan 1600 took care of that. Amazing.
Also, for those who care, zero post sharpening on these photos.
Zeiss lens. What else is there to say?
I spent Sunday afternoon at the Old Wadena Rendezvous.
According to the Rendezvous website, they want to “preserve, protect and share knowledge of the natural and historical treasures of Old Wadena and to encourage the folk arts for the education and enjoyment of everyone.”
The last time I was at the Rendezvous I was a child – and it was so much more fulfilling the second time around. It’s satisfying to meet and learn from people who know so much about history and care about sharing their wealth of knowledge with others.
I had no idea that American Indians from South Dakota would travel to the trading post there, on the Crow Wing River. They would bring meat and furs and trade for pots and other necessities. It would take them a few weeks to travel approximately 400 miles for trading.
A descendant of those travelers was there, and he and his friend were cooking this over an open fire. It looked amazing. I learned that before this era of metal pots, the bowl of choice would often be a buffalo stomach. You would heat rocks and drop them into the stomach to cook the food. I think I prefer my non-stick pan over a gas flame, thank you very much!
Monroe’s Crossing, a bluegrass band, was part of the entertainment.
And the clockwork clown drew a huge crowd. Made me feel like a child again.
There was a plethora of exhibits and people dressed in period costumes, all demonstrating some aspect of life from the 1800s and ready to answer your questions.
Of course, I had way too many questions.
Okay. Stop right here. What this lovely lady is creating is a miracle called Fry Bread. Yes. Fry Bread. And yes, it is exactly what you are thinking. Fried. Bread.
With meat and wild rice. Or cheesecake. Or berries. Or sausage. Or chicken. Or…
For this lover of history and beauty, it was a perfect afternoon.
Yesterday my sister, my daughter and I had a bit of fun. Nothing too crazy, just pretending that a tiny half bath was a natural light studio. I was surprised with how well the photos turned out, considering the room is a bit… hideous.
Living (albeit temporarily) with your parents isn’t necessarily the dream of most wives and moms. It can feel like a step backwards, away from your own little family and away from your independence.
We ended up here for this transition time because my parents have the space and lots and lots of babysitters. With five siblings still at home there are plenty of aunts and uncles to entertain my children and plenty of people to keep an eye on these three very active toddlers.
Two of the kids have taken turns spending the weekend with Sam’s family and I’m so glad they had that time. I’ve noticed them talking about their cousins and grandparents more and they are often begging me to go see their “friends.” I love having a bit of a closer connection with family.
Today my baby found this photo of her great-grandma, aunt and grandma. She immediately latched onto it. She had to tell me who each person was and some unintelligible story about them. Thankfully I had my camera with me – she began to show me the photo. She was so proud of it.
I’m proud of my family – proud to be part of my birth family and my family by marriage.
And I’m a lucky girl. My kids are lucky.
I think that now they know that.
When I started seriously taking photos, I read and watched every free tutorial I could find. There are so many awesome tutorials out there, but somehow I never stumbled upon one that extolled the virtues of the HSL/Grayscale sliders.
I sort of stumbled upon their awesomeness on my own so I thought I would share a few of the things I love about them! This is by no means an exhaustive tutorial on HSL or really a tutorial at all – just a small example of how powerful this little tool can be.
Here we have a photo of the gorgeous Rachel. The lighting and coloring of the room she was in was, in a word, awful. I worked the white balance as best I could, then found the creative preset that worked best with the colors. That happened to be (in my opinion!) my fave Fuji 800z+. Now the photo is fine the way it is, and some of you might even like this version better than how I change it, but I just wanted her skin to be a tad brighter and not as orangey without lightening the entire image.
So I went to the HSL sliders, clicked on the Luminance tab, and slid the Oranges slider up to +30. In my version of ACR sliding it to the right brightens that specific tone and sliding to the left darkens it. For me, that tiny change added just the right pop and the skin tone I was looking for.
So. Color sliders for color images. But black and white – that’s where I get really excited. Here is the photo with my favorite black and white preset – T-MAX 3200+. It is totally fine on it’s own, but once again I want the face to be a tad brighter without affecting the rest of the image.
I think the result here is more dramatic than with the color photo – and I didn’t even brighten the orange tones quite as much.
I also wanted this photo to have a bit more contrast, but not be “constrasty” so I darkened the blues, adding depth to her sweatshirt.
This is, of course, all a matter of personal preference. Maybe you like the original photos better! I have found HSL to be extremely helpful when I can’t get skin tones right by just adjusting the white balance.
In this photo I have already used an Adjustment Brush to brighten and smooth her face. It looks fine the way it is, but her face could use just a BIT of redness reduction. I don’t want to desaturate anymore than I already have, so to HSL I go!
So I overdid it a bit here for illustration purposes, but you can see how clean her skin looks. The luminance not only reduces the red, but brightens her face without upping the exposure over the entire image.
HSL sliders in ACR are no substitute for skin smoothing in photoshop, but for someone with skin like Esther, it works just fine.
So there you have it! Two examples of how I use one of my favorite editing tools. Now – go experiment!
I went to the park with my beautiful little sister and two of my kids last week. We had a blast together. Can I say I have awesome siblings? They are amazing aunts and uncles! Some days I like to tell stories with my words. Today I just want to tell this story of childhood with my photos.