Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 34

This week was supposed to be my vacation week. I was down in Wildwood Crest when I snapped this shot at the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May, NJ. The theme for this week was Connections. For years, lighthouses were a sailor's connection to land and their beacon guided them safely home. Well a little more than half into our vacation Hurricane Irene decided to come up the coast and was expected to make landfall in Cape May. The entire area was ordered to evacuate. So we cut our vacation short and packed up and went home. Luckily we did not suffer any water damage but many surrounded areas were devastated by flooding.

MCP Project 52 Week 33

How many times do you feel life is just speeding by?  Well, this week's theme is Slow Down and Look Back.  Do you remember when you were a kid and it seemed you had all the time in the world?  No worries, just living carefree.  Sometimes we need to do just that.  Slow down and enjoy life.  Otherwise it might just pass you by.

MCP Project 52 Week 32

Week 32 brings us to our Favorite Time of Day.  As you can guess from the picture, my favorite time is movie time with the family.  Friday nights are usually when I make a tray of finger foods and popcorn, of course.  Why is it better at home than in the theater?  Well, my food is better.  The seating is more comfortable.  And let's not forget the number one reason - pause and rewind.  This last feature comes in handy with the kids.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Featured in Ellenburg Photography

I'd like to extend a big thanks to Daphne of Ellenburg Photography for featuring my Star Trails photo from MCP's week 31 photo challenge in her blog this week.  Please take a moment to check it out.  If you see any other photos you like and you have a Flickr account, please click on the photo and leave them a comment.  Everyone loves a little feedback :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 31

For this week's theme, Sky, I knew exactly what I wanted to do - star trails.  I really didn't think I'd be able to do my experiment because every night was too cloudy or rainy.  This was my first attempt at star trails and you need a perfectly clear night to accomplish it.  Luckily, last night turned out to be a perfect, clear night.  I set up my camera in the backyard on a tripod and pointed it towards North.  All the stars revolve around the North Star so this is the best for getting that circle effect.  Unfortunately, the North Star is covered by trees so I adjusted a little but still added some trees in the foreground.  Next I set my white balance to Tungston to make the sky more blue.  I fired off some test shots for exposure until I was satisfied with the result.  Now, some sites I found said to do one long exposure, and that might be fine if you live in a dark area, but there is way too much light pollution where I live.  So I set the shutter speed to 30 seconds, attached my time lapse remote, and put the camera in burst mode.  I locked down the remote and walked away for a little over an hour.  I ended up with 166 exposures, which I ran through a little program I found, Star Trails, which combined all the images into one.  The above is the final result. 

A couple things, the other streaks you see are airplanes.  It would have taken far too long to remove them in Photoshop and I really don't mind them.  Second, there was a very slight lag in between shots which showed up as breaks in the star trails.  This is more apparent in the full size image.  Apparently, on the programmable remote you can control this, but mine is just the basic remote. It's amazing that the stars are moving so fast that only a lapse of about a second would pick that up.  Overall I am happy with the result and I think it turned out to be a good first attempt.

MCP Project 52 Week 30

Who doesn't like M&M's?  It was the perfect setting for this week's theme of A Letter of the Alphabet.  Can you tell I like the green ones?

Friday, July 29, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 29

This week I thought everyone would be taking a lot of macros of bugs and flowers, so while my stargazers where still blooming, I decided to do something different.  Yes, that's my eye and I can't tell you how many shots I took before I found one.  I had the camera on auto focus with the focus point in the middle.  I then turned it around and tried to position it so my iris would be the focus.  Well, most of the time I got my eyelash or lid. So here' s my attempt at Up Close, the theme for this week

Monday, July 18, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 28

This week was fun for me because I got to eat the prop afterward.  For this week's theme "Sweet Relief" I thought this could be taken two ways.  First, who doesn't like nice cold ice cream on a sweltering hot day?  I think it's a welcome relief, especially in the heat we have been having lately.  Second, to anyone with a sweet tooth an ice cream sundae with hot fudge will satisfy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Win an Artsy Couture Gallery Block for Photographers

Artsy Couture is a new sponsor of MCP Actions Blog and to celebrate they are running a contest to win a Gallery Block of your choice! There are so many styles to choose from. Click the link above for Artsy Couture to browse their site and see what awesome products are available. Then go to MCP Actions Blog Post and leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. Good luck everyone!

MCP Project 52 Week 27

Nothing displays "Nature's Finest" than having a beautiful sunset painted across the sky.  For Week 27, I lucked out with the fisherman at the end of the dock - I think it adds just a little extra to shot.   I have some real beautiful shots from the lake, that maybe I'll share in a future post.

MCP Project 52 Week 26

This week's theme was Hidden Objects.  I was still thinking about what to do for this theme and it hit me one day as I was stopped at a red light.  I happened to look to my left and there I saw in the clouds a smiley face.  I almost looks as if it's winking.  I quick pulled out by point and shoot (which is always in my purse) and quick snapped this picture before the people behind me started honking to go already.  I remember as a kid lying back and trying to find shapes in the clouds.  I still do this today with my own kids.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 25

What to you Crave?  For me this week came easy.  With work being so busy and then still having a house and family to take care of, I just want a little "me" time.  Yup, that's right.   I want to lounge in the hammock and just read a good book.  No sound except that of the birds chirping and an occasional bark of a dog in the distance.  It would be even better if that hammock was strung up between two palms trees on some quiet Caribbean island and a waiter was serving me drinks in a pineapple with a little colored umbrella sticking out of it.  But hey, I would settle for my own backyard!

MCP Project 52 Week 24

This week's theme Make it Tasty couldn't have come at a better time.  I was shooting some food for my in-law's restaurant so I used one of those shots for this week.  The best thing about doing the photo shoot was getting to eat all the food after we were done.  The above was eggplant over spaghetti with a homemade sauce - just so yummy.  One of my other favorites was a mushroom rigatoni that was to die for.  I told the chef I had to re-shoot that one, just to get another plate, but he was on to me.

MCP Project 52 Week 23

Enchantment was the theme for week 23.  I love fairies so I knew I would set up something with them.  I have a fairy door in my rock wall along my house but for this shot I moved it over to my oak tree to make the shot more interesting.  I did a slight Orton effect and then added some lens flare to create the look of fairies.  I also used MCP's Grass is Greener action from the Bag of Tricks.

MCP Project 52 Week 20

Week 20's theme was Spring Fever.  I have been extremely busy with work lately so I skipped a few weeks.  Hopefully I will get back on track.   Honestly, I didn't think I was going to make it outside to take a picture within the allowed time-frame because of all the rain we have had.  I lucked out late Friday afternoon when there was a break in the clouds and the sun shined through.  I quick grabbed my camera and snapped this image of one of my irises.

Monday, April 11, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 14

Week 14's theme was Fusion.  I originally wanted to use a fossil for the picture but was unable to find one.  While going through my son's rock collection, I came across some rock quartz and thought this would fit into the theme.  One of the requirements for this week was to use one of MCP's action sets, Mini Fusion, to process the image.  Click on the link to download the action for free.

MCP Project 52 Week 13

Well, I'm a little behind in my posts due to a major project at work but I have been keeping up with the project.  Here is from Week 13:
The theme was Just for Fun.  After a stressful week, what could be more fun than a pitcher of homemade Sangria with fresh fruit?  This drink is so refreshing I just can't wait for the warmer spring and summer months.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MCP Actions Blog

I have been following MCP Actions for a couple of years now. I stumbled across the site one day while looking for some Photoshop actions. Being new to actions, I wasn't quite sure how to use them so I downloaded some freebies she offers to give it a try. After that I was hooked.  I now own several of the sets and they make your images look beautiful. MCP Actions also offers tutorials and tip and tricks through the Blog. One of my favorite posts was a 6 part series about using a flash. Check out Part 1: Flash, the natural light photographers “dirty word”

Friday, March 25, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 12

This week's theme for MCP's Project 52 was "From the Jewelry Box".  I knew soon as I saw this theme that I would photograph some of my pieces from Kirks Folly.  If you've never seen their jewelry I suggest you go check it out.  They are all about fantasy and fun.  Their merchandise is available through QVC or on their website.   The above necklace is one of my favorites and I can't tell you how many compliments I receive whenever I wear it.  I absolutely love anything celestial and I am a big fan of star gazing.  To add to the celestial theme, I sprinkled some folly dust on the table and added a crystal ball for an extra touch.  And no, I don't tell fortunes with the crystal ball.  I bought it years ago for a Halloween decoration but I ended up keeping it out all year long.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Spring

So this is the scene I woke up to yesterday morning.  It seems Sunday's warmer weather had been just a tease.  And if this isn't enough, we are expecting another 5" tomorrow.  Will Spring ever come or will Mother Nature continue to torture us?

Monday, March 21, 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 11

I am participating in MCP Action's Project 52 (see badge on the right).  Every week on the blog, they post a new theme for the week.  Pictures must be taken between Saturday through Friday and then uploaded to their Flickr group.  This week's theme was Darks & Lights.  I was a little late in posting for this week.  My original idea for this theme was to go out to the highway at night and get some shots of the cars passing by with the buildings illuminated in the background.  Unfortunately, I was too busy this week to make the time.  So, being the Super Moon was approaching on Saturday, I went out to my backyard on Friday night and captured the almost full moon.  I got some good shots before the clouds started rolling in and I ended up choosing this one.  I thought the clouds added a little mystery.