Posts Tagged ‘camera’

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!)

whats in my camera bag 1

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 digital cameras, 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 tape and reel 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.

whats in my camera bag 2

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

D610 35mm 1.4

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.)

Wordless Wednesday: My Arm Is Broken. Wait, Not My Arm. My Camera. But It Feels Like My Arm.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012


Friday, September 14th, 2012

I have sworn up and down and sideways that even though I REALLY LOVE taking pictures I have no intentions of become a professional photographer. Not even a “mom with a camera” who starts a business as a hobby after all her friends demand she share her talent with the world. (Sidenote: no one has demanded any such thing from me. I’ve had exactly one friend ask if I could take a headshot, and only because she didn’t want to pay a REAL photographer.) And I’m serious: I do not want a photography business. But I do love taking pictures and I have this fancy camera and at this point no matter how I fancy them up in Photoshop my adorable gingers still just look like my gingers.

So what I’m saying is hey, friends, anyone want to schedule a playdate where I can take pictures of you and your family? I make no promises and I’m bringing the kids and you’ll have to work out prints and stuff on your own but I’ll bring the camera and the person to press the shutter button so ALL OF YOU get to be in the photo. Or just your kids, if that’s who you need pictures of for Christmas cards.

We can go to one of the local parks or ponds or your back yard. I know of some really cool spots. Like an old train bridge for example. (Don’t worry, they don’t use those tracks anymore. Probably. I’m like, 99.99999% sure.)

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

p.s. That’s a poofy skirt under a dress. She picked it out.

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot indian leap falls

This place is called Indian Leap. There is a tragic story involved, but it’s pretty self explanatory.

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

railroad tracks bridge photo shoot

Caroline suspects this is a stupid idea. I’ll let you know soon.

P.S. Email or text or Facebook or whatevs if you want a playdate.

I Am A Photography Genius

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

That’s a total lie. I just got SUPER DUPER LUCKY with the VERY FIRST SHOT I took yesterday morning when I tried my hand at a holiday twinkle lights bokeh photo shoot  (inspired by Jill & Pinterest).

Like I said, this is the very first shot, straight out of the camera. No Photoshop or processing.

Of course, the rest of my shots look like this:

For some reason when I set my camera (Nikon D90) on the A setting (which I am told stands for Aperture Preferred) so I can manually choose to shoot at 1.8 only 1 out of every 3 shots comes out right. The first one is good, the second is dark, the third is darker. Every time. I’m not switching angles or settings or anything, so I don’t know why the camera keeps changing its mind, but if someone could make it just always shoot like that first photo that would be super awesome.

Oh my God I am the WORST. I have this fancy, expensive camera and a whole bag full of lenses and I shoot in auto almost all the time with no real intentions of learning how to use manual. Like I said, THE WORST.

Here’s a couple more I managed to salvage with some editing:

Since I was trying to get photos to use on the mantle for Caroline’s party I went out and bought a silver sparkly dress (because the theme is sparkly snowflakes with lots of silver, light blue and light pink). So now she will match her decorations (CRAZY ALERT DING DING). But I ALSO bought an outfit for her to wear TO the party, because I didn’t want her to be wearing the same dress in the decorations as on the day (DING DING DING DING EFFING DING). I’ll try the twinkly light shoot again this weekend when E is home to a) help get the baby to look/smile and b) help me use my camera since he’s the one who read the instruction book.

My Week(29) in iPhone Photos

Saturday, May 21st, 2011


Pouring rain in Columbus, where luckily my sister-in-law had an alternate indoor location for her garden wedding

Self portrait of my fancy headband while I let one tired baby sleep in my lap

A little ring sling action at the reception. Caroline says "IT'S 9 PM WHY AM I NOT IN BED?"


I saw 10 hours of this while we drove home. The kids were incredibly well behaved - probably because they were so tired from 4 days with no naps.

Little Evan slept like this for most of the trip - and STILL went to bed at the regular time.


Excited to wake up in his own bed

Caroline gets some love from a Stroller Strides friend who missed her while we were gone.

This was for sale at the kennel where we board Brutus. If you dress your dog like this we cannot be friends.


Lazy, lie around the house day for everyone but me...

...because I am INSANE and decided to redecoraty my pantry. That's right, my PANTRY. A closet NO ONE SEES.

Meanwhile, our most used room looked like THIS.


I had to take Little Evan back to the pediatrician for another lead test because his first sample was "insufficient". He was NOT happy about getting poked again. (This picture is pre-poking)

Some milk and his blankie made him feel much better.

After bedtime I got out my camera manual and finally started learning how to use the damn thing


Someone has a hard time staying in his seat at Stroller Strides - but SCREAMS if I buckle him in.

Nursing baby cuddles.

Dollar Store generics crack me up


It FINALLY stopped raining so I went to check on my plants. Looks like I'll get blueberries this year!

Cereal for breakfast, as usual, in his new dinosaur shirt.

We went to Lowe's to look at pavers, since we need to get them ordered THIS WEEKEND. As excited as I am for a patio, this is not going to be easy or cheap and I'm worried.

Yeah, so, the patio. I know I keep talking about how we’re doing it “soon” but day 1 of the project starts a week from today. For some reason my brain simply CANNOT HANDLE the idea of square feet and cubic feet and tons and lengths and heights and all the other stuff we need to figure out. I’m sitting here right now with a notebook and a calculator, sweating profusely and swearing at the numbers. The good news is my folks are coming up to help (spoken: Mom & I shop for patio furniture while Dad & E do all the math and heavy lifting). If we blow our budget as much as I THINK we’re going to we might just be sitting on the bricks for the next year.

Did you take any camera phone photos this week? Link up with one or lots using the linky below and grab the code (so it shows on your blog too!) over at Amy’s . It’s really fun!