Monday's Musings - Grieving while Giving Thanks

I didn't really want to write this post. 

It's time for Thanksgiving. It's supposed to be a happy, feel good holiday. One that makes us reflect on the blessings in our lives.

Being thankful for blessings is a wonderful thing. I'm thankful for so much.

Holidays can be very difficult though, when you're missing a loved one. Especially the first year after a death.

That's where I am.

And it's hitting on two fronts.

And it's harder than I imagined it would be.

I knew it was coming.

We lost my mom and father-in-law two weeks apart in May 2013.



Photo Tip Friday - Using Different Angles

Welcome Back!

Today's tip is about changing your perspective when taking pictures. 

I'm going to use one subject from different angles to show you how to change your thinking in taking pictures. 

So let's get started. 

We were able to visit Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina this summer. It was amazing!

This statue is covered in gold. Yes, real gold. 

I included the first shot to show you the context of where Dionysus by Edward McCaartan is. Notice the high, round shrubs? They surround the statue, but at a distance. 

There are usually others at the gardens at the same time so you have people to deal with as well when trying to take pictures.

I walked the entire way around Dionysus, looking for good shots

The second picture is from the side. Notice the pedestal he stands on.

And the third picture is from the back. 

Notice how the trees form a green background for the picture? It's nice, but still seemed a bit distracting to me.

So I moved around to try a different background and took the fourth picture with the sky.

I didn't like the shot as much as I thought I would.

Then, I took some closeups. 

It's amazing how the sculpture is so life like. You almost expect to hear a growl. 

And, by walking around the sculpture, you focus on a different aspect. 

The photos have a different feel to them. 

In this shot, I placed Dionysus on the left side and made sure to get the Alligator Bender by Nathaniel Choate in the shot. And just to the right of that sculpture is one more, further in the distance. 

So, which shots do you like the best and why? 

Please discuss what you like or what you would change.

As always, feel free to leave comments and questions below. 

Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking! 



Wordless Wednesday - Bitlmore House Part 2

Welcome Back to Wordless Wednesday!

Here are a few more shots of Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.

Come back on Fridays for Photography Tips!

Join Linky below!


Monday's Musings - I Love You Mom

Hey Mom,

I miss you so much.

Your smile.

Your laughter.

Your encouragement.

Your steadfast faith.

Your quiet strength.

God did an amazing work in you.

I pray He can do that in me as well.

Life does go on. I miss you being a part of it. So does Daddy.

But I know you'd be the first to tell me not to stop living. So I'm learning to focus on the blessings that are in my life.

You taught me that.

And as you suffered with spinal fractures and migraines, you grew more convinced God was in control. I saw you live that. The more you suffered, the more you turned to God. The more you cried out to Him.

Thank you for that example. I'm crying out to Him as well to get through this valley of losing you and Pap Pap.

You finished your race well.

I want to live well. To live strong. To love God as you did.

Thank you for leaving behind a wonderful legacy.

A lasting impact.

Many miss you Mom. You were an amazing, amazing woman.

Just know that I will love you forever.



Photo Tip Friday - Photograph Action or Sport Shots, Part 2

Welcome back! 

Today is the second part in a series on how to take action shots. 

You can read Part 1 here

Today's shots are complements of another of my sons. This is my youngest. 

Let's get started learning what we can from these photos. 

First of all, these pictures happened in no more than 2.5 seconds. I didn't have time to "prepare" for them. 

I was taking pictures with my family at the Biltmore House. All of the sudden I heard my son's footsteps behind me. I turned, with camera in hand and started shooting. 

Action shots happen fast.

Real fast. 

You'll notice the ISO is on 100. 

Last week, I showed you how changing the ISO to 800 or 1600 will result in clearer action shots. (Click here)

So why was I shooting pictures of my son running at 100?
Because that's what my camera was set on for the shots I was taking just prior to my son running downhill. If I had stopped to change the settings, the opportunity to get any shots would be gone. 

How did I compensate for such challenging circumstances? 

Well, I focused on my son, hit the button to take pictures as fast as my camera could (3fps) and I turned with him as he flew past me. 

First off, notice he stuck his tongue out at me in the first photo. :) Yep, that comes from my kids being on the other side of the camera for so long. Doesn't bother me at all. I think it just adds to the joy of the pictures! 

Then, notice how the background is blurred and he is fairly clear. At the ISO I was using, and my son's speed, I couldn't get him completely clear. 

But that's okay. 

You get a great sense of action. A sense of speed. Of motion. 

His feet aren't even touching the ground. 

I want you to understand that in photography, a creative eye and a different perspective mean a lot in taking a good shot. 

You don't have to get all the technical aspects "just right."

But as you learn the technical aspects of your camera, you can then take challenging situations like this and still come out with some great shots. 

By turning and following my son with my camera, I got great action shots that would have just been totally blurry otherwise.  

Learn to follow your subject for action shots to create pictures that convey motion through appropriate blurriness. 

So which of these is your favorite? I love picture #5. And #4.

As always, leave me questions or comments below. Or links to your shots!

Thanks for dropping by

I hope this tips helps. 

Keep on clicking!



Wordless Wednesday - Biltmore House

Welcome back to Wordless Wednesday!  

These are a couple of shots from the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.

It was stunning. More to come. 

Drop back by on Friday for Part 2 of my Photo Tip Friday series on taking action shots! 

Join Linky Below!


Monday's Musings - Getting Stuck in Grief

I got some encouragement yesterday. 

As I've said before, my husband and I are taking a GriefShare class at our church. I can highly recommend it to anyone who's lost someone they love. 

Next week's lesson is about getting stuck in grief. It's something that can happen when we don't know how to deal with the grief. As our facilitator was talking about next week, she said this, "It seems the three of you here aren't really stuck in grief." 

She has facilitated the class for years and so that was a great encouragement. I've had losses before. But losing two parents so close to each other has been difficult. Very difficult. 

But what I'm learning is to grieve. To let it out. And that's okay. 

We tend to want to stop the grief and pain. Our society really wants us to drive on. Get over it. 

But ignoring grief only puts it off and complicates the recovery. I know. 

At times, I've felt overwhelmed. 

I didn't want to cry anymore. 

I wanted my mom back. 

That's all normal. 

But now, because I've given myself permission to grieve, I cry less often. 

I have moments of enjoying life again. 

I'm seeing God work.  

I'm still going to cry. 

The holidays are going to be hard.

There's no way around that.

That's normal, too. 

But I'm not letting the deaths completely define me. 

They are part of my story, my journey.

God is using it. 

I have much to live for. 

My husband, my kids, my dad. 

My writing, my photography. 

God has blessed me greatly. 

And I can see that. 

For that, I am grateful.

How are you seeing God work in the midst of the joys and sorrows of life? 



Photo Tip Friday - Photograph Action or Sport Shots, Part 1

Welcome back! 

A reader asked, "How do you take action shots or sports shots?" So today is Part 1 of a series on how to photograph action or sport shots. 

Let's get started. 

It's very easy to take blurry action shots. 

Why? For multiple reasons.  

One of the biggest is that your ISO is set on 100 or 200. While that is a great setting for taking pictures in bright light, it doesn't work as well for action shots. 

You need to move your ISO up to 800 or 1600. This one change will dramatically help your shots.

When someone is moving, jumping, running or swimming, you need to take a very "fast" shot (Time value - Tv) to stop the motion. As you can see on my shot here, the Time Value is 1/200 th of a second. The swimmers are almost all clear as they take off the blocks. Because I set the ISO at 800 which is more sensitive to the light, I was able to take the photo and have them come out clear.

My camera shoots 3 frames per second (fps). I'm putting up this sequence to show another technique for getting clearer action shots. 

Notice that I move my camera with the swimmers?

Another big reason why sports shots are blurry is if your camera is staying still and your subject is moving quickly, then you're much more likely to get a blurry photo of the athlete. If you follow your subject, then you can get a much clearer shot. 

Next week, in Part 2, I'll show you how to use this technique to create photos that are blurry in the right way to show motion you want to show. 

So, to recap, change your ISO to 800 or 1600 which will dramatically help. 

Then, learn to follow your fast moving subject with your camera. 


On to a personal note, my son won the race he swam that day. But I just want to show you what makes me the proudest of him. Here he is BEFORE the race. He goes to the swimmer on each side of him, shakes his hand and tells him to have a good race. 


And AFTER every race, whether he wins or loses, he shakes their hands once more and tells
them they did well. 
That makes me prouder of him than actually winning. 

Done with the proud mamma moment....

If you have any questions or want to show off your pictures, leave me a comment below! 

Join me next week for Part 2! 

Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking!