Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Little Golden Boy

Monday, November 9th, 2015

While the big kids are at school, Linc and I get a lot of time together. I love it. Really really really love it. It’s been a long time since I only had one kid to take care of, and it’s such a pleasant experience. He’s a pretty easy-going baby (in broad, rose-colored-glasses terms) so bringing him with me to do my things or taking him places to do his things is fun. He likes walks, he likes people, he likes animals, he likes looking around. Things that might be boring alone are fun because I have a sidekick. A super cute sidekick.

I had an appointment last week and afterwards we had a couple hours to kill before nap, so I took him over to the arboretum at Conn College. It’s one of my favorite spots, I use it for photo sessions, but rarely do I just wander around. So we did. And it was lovely.

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Bebehblog Photography: What’s In My Bag

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

If you go back in time on this blog, which is totally possible because I haven’t been wise enough to delete my archives yet, you will see I have always loved photos. I didn’t take a ton when I was pregnant but once I had a baby it was ON. For example, in October 2010 we had a really fun weekend. I would encourage you to go look at it, because I cannot bring myself to repost those pictures on my current front page because they’re too embarrassing, not to mention the AWESOME COLLAGES I made. Cringing forever.

I hope in five more years I won’t look back at my current blog posts and feel the same way I do about those, but it’s entirely possible. For now, I’m proud of how far I have come and I’m going to write some posts about how I got here. (The pictures of my equipment are terrible because they’re taken with my iPhone since all the camera equipment was IN the photo. Irony!)

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First, let me tell you about what I shoot with. I’m a Nikon girl, although I started as a Canon girl back when people used film and dinosaurs roamed the earth. But when I was in the market for a digital camera I was a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman and she said she shot Nikon. So I bought a Nikon. There are die-hard fans on both sides but I’m not one – I like my Nikon, I have no plans to change, but I won’t swear you HAVE to buy Nikon forever. The brand matters a lot less than your camera style and your lenses, in my opinion.

Second, let me say that a big part of photography is you that you get what you pay for. As photographers, we get really insulted when people say “Wow, your fancy camera takes such great photos!” because it discounts our time, talent and skill in that equation. And it is true that talented photographers have taken breathtaking photos with less-than-impressive equipment. But there is a direct correlation between super-expensive equipment and amazing photos.

I own two full-frame camera bodies, a Nikon D610 as my main body and a Nikon D600 as my back-up. They are very, very similar – the 610 is just a slightly-updated version of the 600. “Full-frame” is a term that confused me a lot when I was shopping for a DSLR, but it means the camera has a bigger sensor so it can take sharper, less noisy/grainy photos. (This is a link to a better, longer explanation and it will also make you feel better about your camera if you have a crop-sensor.) Because they are a slightly fancier camera, they also let me do stuff your DSLR might not do, so if you’re reading a tutorial or taking a photography class and someone says “Set your white balance to 5880” and your camera doesn’t even have that option, that’s why. Some lenses also don’t work correctly with the different versions (they might not auto-focus on a crop sensor or they might not capture the whole image on a full frame) so it’s important to do a lot of reading before you buy anything.

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The four lenses pictured are what I shoot with and carry to sessions. I own two other lenses but they’re currently on loan to a friend because I upgraded. As you can see, all my current lenses are off-brand clones instead of official Nikon/Nikkor lenses. I’m a big fan of these “other” brands, especially in this age where I can read 10,000 online reviews before I buy.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART – This is my newest and current favorite lens. 35mm is pretty wide on a full frame camera, wider than a 50mm, which is generally explained as about what your eye sees when you look straight ahead. It is very sharp and very fast. It is also pretty heavy, so carrying it around for everyday shooting can be a workout. But the photos are gorgeous straight from the camera – I save myself a lot of time and effort by not editing them. The 1.4 f-stop means I get lots of bokeh (fuzziness) in my backgrounds. Generally, the smaller the f-stop number on a lens, the better it is (and the more it costs). This was also something that confused me when I was just starting out – I was focused on the “mm” number and didn’t realize the f-stop was what really changed the look of a professional’s photos. I used to own a 35mm 1.8 and I loved that lens too, so if your budget is cringing at the ART look for that one.

D610 35mm 1.4 (2)

D610 35mm 1.4

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D610 35mm 1.4


Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 – This is my best walking-around lens. If we’re going to the zoo or the aquarium or a ball game this is probably what I will bring. I love shooting at 28mm during sessions to get that big, wide space and then zooming in on a family to get the closer shot without having to switch lenses. It can take a picture of a big group or the whole beach as well as a face or someone blowing out a birthday candle. I used to have the f/3.5 version of this lens and didn’t love it at all, so if you want ONE nice lens for traveling, I would recommend springing for the f/2.8.

D600 28-75mm 2.8

D600 28-75mm 2.8

D610 28-75mm 2.8

D610 28-75mm 2.8

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 PRO D Macro – I bought this lens because I was super interested in snowflake macro photography but wasn’t willing to spend a ton of money on what I thought would be a lens just for taking nature photos. Instead, this lens became one of my favorite portrait lenses and I use it all the time. Long lengths like 85mm and 100mm mean you have to stand far away from your subjects to get a lot of background in the frame, which isn’t always the best for kids since they lose interest in the person making funny faces and animal sounds when I’m standing waaaaaay over there. This is the next thing I’m going to upgrade, probably to an 85mm 1.4, but for now it’s working just fine. I don’t think everyone needs a macro lens but they’re definitely fun.

D600 100mm 2.8

D600 100mm 2.8

D610 100mm 2.8

D610 100mm 2.8

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 – A 50mm is such a classic, I don’t think I’ll ever not have on in my bag. I especially love it for newborns and babies, so if you have one of those a 50mm should be on your Christmas list. It’s not nearly as bulky as my 35mm so it makes a great carry-it-everywhere lens. If you’ve skimmed most of this post with your eyes glazing over, this is the only part I want you to pay attention to. The kit lens that came with your camera body is not going to make you happy and you should buy either the 1.4 or a 50mm f/1.8 like this one.

D600 50mm 1.4

D600 50mm 1.4

D610 50mm 1.4

D610 50mm 1.4

The rest of the stuff in my bag is just-in-case equipment. I have a battery grip and extra batteries so my camera doesn’t unexpectedly die during a shoot or on a long day of adventures. I have the remotes (two; I lose things) because they are cheap and sometimes it’s nice to be in my own family photos. And the Expodisc and the grey card are to help me get correct white balance. I remember to use the Expodisc about 10% of the time, the grey card 20% of the time and just wing it the other 70% of the time.

Not pictured but ALWAYS in my camera bag: Smarties candy. They’re small, they don’t stain, and they dissolve quickly so they make excellent bribes when all else fails.

So there you go, that’s what I shoot with right now. Go ahead and ask me questions if you have them. I think for the next photography post I’ll talk about shooting in my house and how I work around what is truly a horrible disaster 99% of the time. Unless anyone has a request, because that would be better.

(Non-disclaimer disclaimers: links in this post are not affiliate links, but if an Adorama ad shows up in the sidebar anywhere that one probably is. I buy 90% of my equipment from them because their shipping is unbelievably fast and they have a great used program where I can sell my old lenses back to them. The photos in this post are unedited and from my 365 project, so it was the equipment and not Photoshop that made them look like that.)

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Charleston Photos 2015

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

I went to the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. When I was looking at colleges, I picked out ones with strong marine biology programs because I was 1000% sure I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. And look how that worked out! Here I am, an extremely successful marine biolo- what? I’m not actually a marine biologist, because sometimes the thing you decided you wanted to be when you were 7 years old isn’t a thing you are actually good at? I never would have believed you when I was 17.

When I was 16 I learned to scuba dive and went on a 3 week dive trip in the British Virgin Islands, which made me even more sure I wanted to be a biologist. One of my instructors/adult supervisors was named Will and he was a professor at the College of Charleston. He also drove a motorcycle and had a huge scar on his leg from where he was bitten by a nurse shark once. I figured if C of C was cool enough to have him as a professor, then I should definitely go there.

After I narrowed my college choices down to a handful, my mom and I drove south for 8 hours to visit the schools I was thinking about. We drove down I-95, took the exit for I-26 and followed that directly into downtown Charleston. I hadn’t even gotten out of the car before I decided that was where I was going. During the campus tour I barely paid attention because it didn’t matter – I was moving to Charleston. My mom suggested I apply to some of my other schools at back ups, which I did, but only because they didn’t require essays. There was no point. I was so in love with Charleston I would have moved there even if I hadn’t gotten in.

You can tell I really love my husband because I was willing to leave my favorite city to be with him, although I did insist my entire family, all my friends, his entire family, most of his friends, plus my husband himself (who had been transferred to San Diego) all come back to Charleston for the wedding.

It’s just a perfect coincidence that Kiawah, the site of our borrowed beach house, is just outside Charleston. This year my college roommate (who feels the same way about Charleston as I do, at least I’m pretty sure) had the good idea to stay an extra night in the city before the beach, so we could eat there and walk there and take pictures there without dragging all the kids back in from the beach. I think we’ll make it a tradition, so I can get a picture of my kids in this alley every year for the rest of their lives.

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Our hotel is that one right behind Evan. I’ve alway wanted to stay there, and not just because I love that fountain.

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That restaurant is where my college roommate and her husband got married, so obviously we all had to go there.

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That pink house is the narrowest house in the city, less than 15 feet. I would live in it in a second.

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Kiawah Island 2015

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

This is our fifth year in this borrowed beach house, but only the second time E has been able to come. Technically he was there for 24 hours last year, but I did the 2 day drive by myself so that doesn’t count as being there. He drove this year, the whole way, and I got to sleep and hand stuff to the kids in the back which is the perfect start to vacation. It turns out Linc is an amazing road tripper and his presence barely slowed us down, so the driving was well worth the end result.

Kiawah is amazing. It’s an incredible vacation just because of the setting, but the key to a true dream vacation is to have more bathrooms than you have adults. Never having to wait for a bathroom or use a bathroom on the same floor where everyone is eating or worry someone is hearing you in the bathroom or having to take a cold shower because everyone else used up the hot water is an amazing luxury. It’s why rich people are so much happier than regular people. Bathrooms.

Bathrooms are especially key when the main sources of beach house entertainment are eating and drinking and drinking. We’ve gotten pretty good at our menu and consolidating our shopping down to two big trips and then only a few smaller trips for emergency supplies (like limes, and another 5 pound bag of sugar since we managed to use the first one up in less than 36 hours). There was cake and more cake and an apple crisp and Lowcountry Boil, which is seafood and corn and sausage, and Bo Ssam, which is huge plates of pork with rice and lettuce and ginger sauce, and one thousand cocktails, which is the appropriate number of cocktails on vacation. We ate until we could barely move and then we played cards, because even though we were on vacation we are all responsible adults now and can’t get falling down drunk at 2 pm. I like cards better than throwing up anyway.

I took thousands and thousands of pictures, culled and edited them down to several hundred, and I uploaded exactly 100 photos for this post. I know that’s a ridiculous number and I ought to feel bad about my self-indulgence, especially because even though there were 7 adults and 6 kids at the beach house 99% of my pictures of just of my children. But I don’t. While we were in the kitchen, trying to remember specifics from previous years, one of my friends pulled up pictures from a previous year. I was surprised she still had them on her laptop, but she said actually she didn’t, she just looked at them on my blog. So it’s my duty to document this glorious vacation for posterity. Or at least so I can show the kids in a couple months and remind them that they are some very lucky children.

Previous years: 2011 2012 2013 2014

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There is a hair in my lens. It makes that shadow in the top right and the line just left and below center. If I print anything I will take the time to clone it out, but for now I don’t care enough. It ONLY shows when I photograph landscapes/sky at 28mm.

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