Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Twinkly Christmas Magic

Monday, December 19th, 2016

This was my first attempt at twinkle light bokeh photos, almost exactly 5 years ago. 

Here is the best one. It was a total accident because I had no idea how to use my camera.

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I took some more for our Christmas card in 2014, but for some reason I never blogged them?! That seems very unlike 2014 Suzanne. She blogged everything. Not like this lazy cow 2016 Suzanne who can’t even do once a week. But I’ve looked through every post from the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 and can’t find them.

For posterity, here’s the best one from that set:

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And this year, I attempted them with all FOUR of my children. Finnegan is still super skeptical of group shots and being held by his siblings. He is pretty sure that’s neglect, and I should rethink my life choices for allowing it.

But capturing matching jams and twinkly lights is my favorite and I’m going to take this photos every year for as long as I have even one child who will cooperate.

This year’s jams were a gift from my friends at Gymboree, who are the best. Finding jams that fit ages infant to big kid isn’t always easy, but we’ll be able to match for years in gymmies.

(Also, I’m actually sort of horrified by how much bigger my children are. This is not ok. Why do they grow so fast?!)

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Here’s my quick 30-second list of tips if you want to take twinkle light photos yourself.

  1. White lights on white cord on a white background.
  2. The further away from the lights you can place the kids, the blurrier the lights will be.
  3. Set your DSLR camera on A or AP (so you control the aperture) and use the smallest number your lens allows.
  4. Use natural light (besides the Christmas lights) if possible, otherwise your photos will be really yellow.
  5. Don’t be afraid to crop after the fact – if the edge of your backdrop shows, just cut it out when you’re editing/looking at your pictures on the computer.

Let me know if you try, I LOVE this kind of pictures!

 

 

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Here Are Some Nice Pictures To Look At

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

I don’t think I’ve ever written about my 365 Project here on my own blog. I wrote about it for Jill’s blog once last year and I share my photos on Facebook and Flickr (when I remember to put them on Flickr – here’s 2015 and this year). But if you just happened to stumble across my blog here, you’ve never seen most of those photos I take every day.

Since pictures are about as much as I am capable of right now, here are a bunch of this year’s photos that make me smile. And who doesn’t like happy photos?

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San Francisco Whirlwind

Friday, October 14th, 2016

This post is going to be long and rambling but also full of pictures because I currently have 30 free minutes and who knows when that will happen again, so I’m just doing this all at once.

We survived flying to California with 4 kids! A 5 week old who basically just eats and sleeps is a very easy traveler. School-age kids who whine until you buy them in-flight entertainment are slightly more difficult but still manageable. A 2-year-old is awful. He only slept on the way home after hours of rolling around and crying. Ok, it wasn’t hours. But it felt like hours to his two parents who were desperate to get him to be quiet so we could nap for at least a few minutes.

I had been really worried about the logistics of our travel, but it worked out well. We brought our Joovy Caboose stroller and both car seats to the airport, along with a Tula baby carrier and a babywearing wrap. After we parked, we loaded everything we could onto the stroller, I wore Linc on my back and we had the kids pull our rolling carry on. At the check-in counter, we checked two big suitcases and Linc’s car seat in a car seat bag. At the gate we checked the stroller and Finnegan’s car seat, so I wore him in the wrap and E wore Linc. On the plane itself, we each had a personal item, I ahad the diaper bag and E had the rolling carry-on with all our wedding clothes. It all worked in reverse in San Francisco perfectly. If we hadn’t been flying direct, we would have also gate checked Linc’s car seat (I was very worried they might lose it).

I won’t tell  you about the bathroom incident on the plane ride, but let’s just say I recommend packing at least an extra set of underpants (if not a whole extra change of clothes) for EVERY child.

For our stay, my parents rented a house from Home Away or Air BnB or one of those places, so our family could all stay together. It was the 6 of us, my mom and dad, my brother, my grandmother and my uncle. A house was SO much nicer than a hotel for a lot of reasons. The big kids had their own room, there was a general area we could all congregate to watch TV or have snacks, we kept the fridge stocked with milk and Diet Coke, and when Finn cried in the middle of the night there was space to take him so he didn’t wake EVERYONE up. I will definitely look for houses vs hotels for any future family travel.

On Friday morning, we had some free time before the wedding obligations and since everyone was on East Coast time we were awake and ready to explore by 8 am. Our first stop was Battery Spencer, an old fort overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. I needed to readjust my expectations of “old” for the West Coast – in Connecticut, 1700’s is old. Battery Spencer was built around 1900, so just slightly old. The actual fort wasn’t impressive but the views of the bridge were AMAZING. It was easy to find, an easy walk from the parking area, and totally doable both with the kids and the stroller.

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After our visit to the fort, we took a very very narrow, very very very VERY windy road through the hills down to Muir Woods. It’s a really popular National Park with a remarkably small parking lot, so we parked in the second overflow lot. Since none of our group had been there before – and there was no cell phone service in the valley – we didn’t know if it was going to be stroller-friendly or not. So I let the kids go ahead with my parents and E hung out with me while I fed and changed Baby Finn, then wrapped him up on my chest so we could go stroller-free. For the record, the main path is a very wide, well-tended boardwalk, so the stroller would have been fine. There are lots and lots of trails but if you do the main one you never have to really hike at all. It took ages to find the rest of my family because our phones only worked half a dozen times in 2 hours, but eventually we met up again.

It was amazingly beautiful and the weather was perfect – nice and cool and quiet. I suspect it’s like that a lot down in the woods. I would very much like to go back some time without so many kids so we can do a full hike up the mountain (hill?) and down to the beach. I have major regrets that we never made it to a beach in California.

P.S. The National Parks offer a year-long pass for active duty military that lets them (plus 3 dependents) in for free. At Muir Woods, kids under 15 were also free. They gave E the card right at the register, no planning ahead needed, so we enjoyed our day for zero dollars.

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I told Caroline this was the area where she could say anything she wanted and she said she wanted ice cream for lunch.

The rest of Friday was the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. I’ll spare you too many family photos, but the location (the groom’s parents’ newly renovated smart house) was so beautiful.

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They had these instant Fujifilm cameras around for guests to take photos. It was a great idea, except for all the photos the kids wasted (and the ones I wasted. Backlight does not mix with instant photos).

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At about 6:30 pm I made the call that we were done. Taking my kids at their best to a fancy restaurant is tough. Taking my kids who were still on East Coast time after 5 hours of running around is impossible. Evenings are Finn’s fussy time too, so I was at the end of my rope, patience-wise. I felt like kind of a jerk skipping the dinner when I was the maid of honor but I am 100% sure everyone enjoyed themselves a lot more without us there.

And then Saturday was wedding day! I was not the wedding photographer. I wish I had been, but only if someone else had been maid of honor and some other someone else had watched all of my kids all day, because there were so many beautiful details to photograph (not to mention the bride!!) and I didn’t get any of them because I was busy being IN the wedding. I’m just super jealous someone gets this gorgeousness in their portfolio and I only have a handful of pictures to document it.

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This is my brother, who has a promising career in leaning casually.

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The catering was actually done by someone we went to high school with, so in my head she’s 15 years old and performing in The Wiz with me. But it was INCREDIBLE. The best food I’ve had in years.

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The day after the wedding, the bride and groom hosted a brunch with lots of delicious food at Mountain Lake Park in the city. They even picked up In-n-Out burgers for us (although, I’m not gonna lie, Five Guys is still my true burger love). The kids had a wonderful time running around and tiring themselves out. The California trees were great for climbing and we found a pre-made fort slash fairy house in one of the groves. I’m definitely dreaming of moving to San Francisco and selling my soul to afford an apartment that backs up to that park. I might even bring one or two of my kids.

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While I made them pose for this photo, literally every other person at the picnic started asking them SO WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE KIDS LOOK HOW CUTE YOU LOOK AS A LITTLE FAMILY I BET THAT IS WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE EVEN GOING TO LOOK LIKE???!?!?!?! Apologies to you both, guys. Please remember I said NOTHING about you having kids at the wedding or during my speech.

And then we said goodbye to San Francisco.

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The last known photo of Everest. We can’t find him now, so I think he got left at those chairs during the shuffle to get everyone and everything on the plane. I think I’m more upset than Lincoln was.

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Aquarium Date With Linc

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Linc and I went to the Mystic Aquarium this morning, with no real agenda and as much time as we wanted to wander. I realized with school ending tomorrow we’re at the end of the “off season” and from now on we’ll basically avoid Mystic like the plague, because tourists are the worst. Even if we go on less-nice days, or weekdays, or days you wouldn’t expect it to be crowded it will be the Special 15 Day Camps From Long Island All Come At Once Day or something. But today at 9 am we were golden and after 2 hours of saying hi to all the animals, we left just as the buses started pulling up outside for end-of-the-year field trips.

Photography at the aquarium is always fun but definitely a huge challenge for me. The indoors is very dark and has lots of colored light. Outdoors is super bright and sunny and without a really nice zoom lens the animals are too far away. Remembering to switch settings back and forth between those locations seems to get forgotten while I’m also trying to make sure I don’t lose Linc or let him throw stuff in the touch tank. One of these days I’ll go ALONE and bring a macro lens and try to just get fish shots, but for now you mostly get the back of my kid’s head while he looks at things.

Linc took a nice nap today and everyone got 100% green points at school which means they earned some iPad time, so I managed to get these sorted AND edited less than 12 hours after taking them. I’m very proud.

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Terra Firma Farm Creamery Opening Day

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

This part of Connecticut is pretty rural, despite the fact that we technically live in a city. One of benefits of all that open space is stuff like orchards and farms, where my children can pick their own food, meet the animals that make their milk, or say hi to the pigs that will one day be delicious bacon. We’re all about the circle the life over here.

On Saturday, we visited the new location of Terra Firma Farm‘s dairy. We only bought milk on our first trip, but I’ll be back for eggs, hot dogs and bacon ASAP. Eating local just got way easier.

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Caroline’s AMAZING dress is from a shop called Rainbow Waters on Etsy. You can follow her Facebook page to see when she lists stuff.

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Linc was NOT happy about sharing the chocolate milk.

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There was a pond full of tadpoles to catch and a waterfall to throw things into on the property. The kids actually enjoyed it, despite how their faces look in this picture.

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