Category Archives: Photography


When I first started using my Canon Rebel, I shot everything in auto or aperture priority. After several weeks of shooting in auto mode, I began to question my decision to spend money on the new camera. The reason I wanted to upgrade from my point and shoot digital camera to a DSLR in the first place was because I wanted to have more creative control over the pictures that I took.
However, I was overwhelmed with all of the features and buttons and OH MY GOD APERTURE WHAT? ISO THE HELL? I mean, I knew what “exposure” meant and that it was “very important.” (Lighting is EVERYTHING!) But I didn’t know how apature/iso/speed all worked together. And anything I would read about it would make me cry a little because TOO MUCH INFORMATION. BRAIN JUST DIED A LITTLE.
I began to ask my brother in law, who is an incredibly talented photographter, some questions and he did his best to help me understand what it all meant. And as he would tell me, I’d be all “Ohh, I get it!” But the next day, I’d be all “wait, low light needs higher f-stop or is it the other way around and ISO is for what again?” For some reason, all of the information just wasn’t clicking.
But I was determined to shoot in manual. I was determined to learn how it all worked because a) creative control! b) I HATE FLASH.
Then, one day a friend suggested that I buy a book titled Understanding Exposure. I ordered it on Amazon that day.
I’ve not shot in “automode” since reading that book. The way that the author breaks it all down was perfect for my delicate little brain. It may not be “the best” book out there about exposure and how it all works, but it’s definitely been the most helpful to ME.
Here’s an example:
Just before I left for NYC last April, I read the chapter on “panning.” I had never heard of panning, nor did I ever think I’d need to know how to take a panning shot.
The last night of our stay in NYC, we decided to take a late night walk to Times Square. As we were waiting for the light to change so we could cross the street, I noticed the taxi cabs racing by us. And then I thought. “speeding cabs, bright lights in the background. OMG PANNING!” And so I tried the technique that I had read about in Understanding Exposure.
This was the result:
Taxi in motion
Awesome, yes?
I recently decided that I want to learn more and felt that another camera upgrade was in order. So, I sold my rebel and a lens that I loved very much. (Because it took shots like this) With that money, I was able to purchase a Canon 40d. I am more inspired than ever to learn more about photography. I want to see how far I can go with something that I may not be the best at, but love with a passion.
Now, because I love this book and because I love the people who are still reading my blawwg, I’d like to give away one copy of Understanding Exposure. I will purchase the book from Amazon and immediately ship to the winner. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post. That’s it. I would love if your comment included a link to your favorite picture, taken by YOU. Just for fun! I will close comments on this entry on Friday night (tomorrow) and announce the winner shortly after (no later than Monday morning, depending on how busy the weekend is.)
Comments are now closed. Thank you for the links to your photos. Will keep looking at them over the weekend.

If he would have bought me a card, it would have said something like “We’ll go out next week because it’s way too crowded on Valentines Day anyway. P.S. Drink lots of wine tonight, WINK WINK.”

I know.
You hate Valentines Day.
I understand. I don’t particularly love it myself.
We love each other every day and All That Cheese.
That said, I hope that YOU had a Happy Valentines Day and that the love of YOUR life at least bought you a card, or, I don’t know– a piece of chocolate?
Happy Valentines Day
Update– about 10 minutes after I published this, PigHunter handed me flowers, chocolate and a card. Now I sorta feel like an A-S-S-H-O-L-E.

Beautiful Baby Girl

beautiful mama
My brother had his first child last week.
A girl.
It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my little brother is a dad. Not because I don’t think he’ll be a good Dad– I know he will be. It’s just… my little brother is a dad
I was in the waiting room of the hospital when she was born. My brother sent me a text that said “she looks like she’s going to have a sense of humor” with like, 30 exclamation points. I thought it was an odd thing to say and so I laughed about it.
Then, I saw her. And it I totally got it.
She had this sweet little face, but the look on it was like “You have NO IDEA what you’re in for with The Funny I’m going to bring to this family, guys.”
I instantly fell in love with her. (And quite possibly instantly ached for another one of my own. Why, babies, WHY do you do that to me?) I look forward to watching her grow and getting to know her. And you better believe I’m going to steal her as often as possible.
I can’t help but wonder about one thing… How long until SHE hates my camera?

Get it? Because I’m “addicted?”

I belong to a Flickr group called “Bokeh Wednesday.”
Every Wednesday, we can post up to 2 photos with bokeh to the group pool to show off our best bokeh shots from the week.
What is bokeh? (From Wikipedia) Bokeh is a photographic term referring to the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field.[1] Different lens bokeh produces different aesthetic qualities in out-of-focus backgrounds, which are often used to reduce distractions and emphasize the primary subject.
Here is an example of a photo with Bokeh–

The blurry backgroud with all the preeeeetty cirles? That’s bokeh
I’ll admit that I freak the eff out every Wednesday because I love posting my bokeh shots and going through the group pool to see what everyone else came up with. Every Wednesday when PigHunter comes home I’m all “OH MY GOD LOOK AT MY SUBMISSION TO BOKEH WEDNESDAY!!!111!” and he’s all rolling his eyes and pretends to be interested in A FLICKR GROUP because he knows how much I love it and how happy it makes me. And I know how stupid that sounds, but we all have those little things in our life that we geek out about that are kind of lame to everyone else, right?
Most of the pictures that I post there don’t get much attention (i.e. make it to explore or get lots of comments) because the quality of my pictures don’t even begin to compare to those posted in that group.
(No, you’re not imaging it. I really just typed that sentence and I really am writing an entire post about a group on Flickr.)
But yesterday, I posted a shot that made it to the front page of explore. That is like, THE ULTIMATE for a Flickr dork like me. (a Flork?) And so, I had to post it here. No, really…I HAD TO.
Front page!
Because all the cool kids on Flickr do Scrabble shots
Maybe if I were this excited about, let’s say, decorating my house, I wouldn’t have to call Lena and ask her to help me “make my house pretty for under $200 for my party on Saturday.”

Sending You Elsewhere

Just before BlogHer, Tracey asked me if I’d be interested in writing a post for Shutter Sisters. I can’t even begin to tell you how flattered and thrilled that I was because have you seen the photographers that post there? They’re amazing. my post is up now, if you’re interested.
Since I’m talking about photography, I thought I’d post a few of my favorite recent photos.

Sleeping in Mama's bed
I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

When in Doubt (or in Thyroid Hell) Post Pictures!

When I came home from BlogHer, I had all of these profound! And Wonderful! things that I wanted to write about. But I was tired. Very, very tired. So, I would say “I will write about it tomorrow after I catch up on my rest!”
Here we are 5 days later and I am still tired. The kind of tired that has me knocked flat on my ass and it hit me that it probably has nothing to do with the trip to San Francisco –a) I didn’t leave my time zone as it was in the same state b) I got more sleep while there than I normally do at home c) I did not once get drunk, which, CRAZY, I know!– and everything to do with my mother effing thyroid. It’s been over 2 months since my last TSH test and I am pretty sure that it’s crashing again and I need a medication adjustment. It’s not just “The Tired” that leads me to this conclusion, but also the fact that I’ve been doing boneheaded things, like, losing my cell phone (have never in my life lost a cell phone) and then losing the box with the charger to my new phone at the hotel. (p.s. if I had your number, can you please text me or email me your number again? Am feeling horribly lost without your names in my contacts list.)
Until this brain of mine is functioning again, which will hopefully be by tonight, because I really need my brain tonight, I am going to leave you with my favorite pictures from San Francisco. Lame, I know. Take it up with my thyroid, man.
Trolley Fun!
Lindsay was a good sport and posed for a few shots while we were waiting for the trolley to leave. They ended up being some of my best shots. Ever.
View from the 11th floor
The view from the Alpha Mom (a.k.a cheeseburger headquarters) Suite on the 11th floor of the Westin St. Francis. Strangely, there was no screen in the window, which made me very happy (because I could get awesome pictures) but also terrified me so much that my vagina went weak with fear. Like, literally, I felt the fear in my vagina as I leaned out.
Sleep is for the Weak.
Taken at the book signing for Sleep is for the Weak (the lovechild of Rita. I was supposed to be in that book, but being the flake that I am, forgot to turn in my stuff in time. Kicking myself for eternity for that one.
On the streets of San Francisco.
I stopped to take pictures of this man and his jewelery in an attempt to get rid of the homeless man who was trying to pick up on me. At first it was a great conversation, but then he asked if I was single while staring at my tittays and I was like “WHOA.” But still, he was nice, so I continued to be polite, but then he refused to believe that I was married because I wasn’t wearing a wedding ring and I was like “this conversation must come to an end now!” I suppose that’s why I love this picture so much, because I will forever be reminded of the fact that a homeless man tried to “get with this” and that can only mean one thing… THAT I’VE STILL GOT IT.
San Fran Bokeh
This was taken on a cruise (thank you, Isabel! and Nintendo!) of the San Francisco Bay. I wanted a different perspective of the city lights, so I turned off auto focus and went for some preeeetty bokeh. I love the results. (And THANK YOU to Shutter Sisters for making this shot the “Daily Click.”)
And last, but certainly not least…
Sea of Bagged  Heads.
Because a room full of women whom I love, respect and admire wearing McDonald’s hats on their heads WHILE having Serious Conversations will never stop being funny to me. NEVER.