Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Preparing for Portraits

You've probably noticed between my Flickr Account, my iPhone Photoblog and this blog, that I like to take pictures and share pictures. Well now... after 3 or so years of having my DSLR camera and many trial and error photos (more error than good), I decided it was time to actually understand all the settings.

Bob's recent frisbee action photos prompted me to pay attention to things like "max aperature" and ISO speed. I quickly learned that I did not have a decent or satisfactory lens for Portrait type photos. Could anyone guess why I was wondering about the need for portrait type photos in the near future???

Good thing for an amature like me, you can get a lens for about $100, which I bought today (ah hem, to give you an idea, when I began to ask about lenses a friend pointed me to a $1200 lens).  This $100 entry level portrait lens is good for me to start (even more) trial and errors pictures and then maybe, just maybe, I can graduate to a more sophisticated lens... No, I'm not talking about the $1200 Canon lens, I'm talking about the knock-off $400 Tamron lens !!

In a nutshell, here's why I needed the new lens... If you know all this, then no need to read, I was just excited about my revelation, my new toy and my pending new photography object! Or if it bores you and you don't care, maybe skip ahead to the before/after photo pictures.

Good Portrait focal length is somewhere around 50mm. Yes, my current set of lenses could provide this length but did not have not a wide enough aperature. What does that mean??

Bascially, if you notice in good portraits, the face or foreground is crisply in focus but the background is pretty blurred. That is what a wider aperature gives: a "shallow depth of field". It also lets in more light, without needing a flash or having to set a long shutter speed (that means the object, or camera operator, would have to stay still and... I don't think babies stay very still on command - about as still as my cat)

Here is a great article on "The Imprtance of Maximum Aperature". It really helped me. Also, once I ran out and got the new lens I had my trusty test-photo subject do some posing for me. Thanks Kitty :-)

Before Picture: approx focal len: 40mm,  aperature: f/4.5
f/4.5 was the max allowed aperature at this length on my initial lens
Notice (in the upper left corner) that you can clearly make out objects in the background

After Picture: with new lens:  focal len 50mm, aperature: f/1.8
Notice that Kitty's face is nice, crisp and detailed while the background is substantially blurred.

More initial efforts from this lens or, Kitty's full photoshoot (7 pictures),  is on Flickr. I can see after one session how a little zoom leeway (with the upgraded lens) could be necessary... I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, for my friends who are curious, closet photo geeks, here is my current, modest Camera Kit:
  • Camera: Canon Rebel XTi Great entry DSLR and it fits my little hands! Which comes with the starter 18-55mm lens
  • Lens: Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 VC (Vibration Compensation) Good all-around camera lens for travel to capture both close and far away pics without changing lenses. What's good about Tamron is that they make the same lens as Canon for 1/2 or even 1/3 the price
  • Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • The Shootsac, and you can customize your own cover. My onlly gripe is that the sac is for your lenses, and doesn't fit the camera base, or any thing else very well for that matter which leads me to...
My new object of desire: the Epiphanie Red Lola camera bag

Although I have my Shootsac... Can a girl really have enough accessories? Plus this bag can actually hold the camera without looking like a dorky camera bag.

Someone remind Bob around my birthday please :-)

Hmmm, is there a nice, cute Diaper/Camera bag out there.... somewhere?????

Sunday, April 25, 2010

ONE WEEK to go!!

We have exactly one week to go. I really can't believe it. We won't be counting down in weeks anymore, but in DAYS! As Keanu Reeves said it best... Whoa.

Big week next week to say the least. We have our last ultrasound tomorrow, hopefully there won't be anything to report. My mom will be coming out on Friday and staying through most of May and Bob's mom comes out the following Friday and will stay the week. They will provide us with MUCH needed help!

I am also excited that BGB will has a nice set of visitors already lined up to meet her... Susan and the Wagner posse have tentitively scheduled Memorial Day Weekend, The Bates: Jackie, Conor and Noah have booked a visit in mid June and Jessica, Bob's sis, is planned for August 1st!

We spent another lazy Sunday in the park, well lazy for me, hot and tiresome for Bob. I am getting a little better with action shots for those B.O.B. fans out there...

One last tidbit, for those of you still reading... I would like to point out that I have made it my whole pregnancy with my wedding bands still fitting my fingers! Yes, I can get them on and off :-) Woo Hoo!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blog About Bob

With all the bump updates lest we forget about Bob?? Never.
Because of the gorgeous weather this weekend, I havent been very good about following the drs orders about just sitting still.
So today, instead of sitting around the house, I decided to sit on the sidelines of Bob's Sunday pick-up frisbee game. I soaked up some Vitamin D and caught a few snap shots. It took me a while to figure out the right shutter speed by then it was the end of the game...

Nice Defense Babe

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mark Your Calendars...

Today I am officially 36 weeks and 3 days and I have gained 23 lbs. Also today, we had an ultrasound to check the baby size, because of my gestational diabetes. Usually babies with GD get too big. Everything is on track but the baby's stomach circumference is "behind schedule" or smaller than expected. The doctor is concerned the baby may be fighting for nutrients from the placenta.
She said you would want to see the baby fattening up by now and suggested I stop working - but really, I work from home in front of a computer so Bob and I had a chuckle and he suggested that instead, I stop running up and down our steps for tools and my many house "projects".
For example in the last week I have hack-sawed out a kitchen cabinet shelf, hung a spice rack, upholstered and hung a window cornice and put together a baby seat. Also we frequently walk into town and I guess no more walking to my Dr appointments.  The doctor also said she wants me to eat more - which is difficult when trying to stick to my GD diet! The doc said, "Beeee a placenta". What does that mean??? Anyway, we'll continue to monitor twice a week with the NSTs and do another U/S in 2 weeks to double check on the baby.
Oh and FYI I finish up work next week. I promise no laps while I'm on conference calls.
Now for the news... The doctor said with this concern, she wants to take BGB at 39 weeks. Today she scheduled that on Sunday night, May 2nd I will check into Los Gatos Hospital to start induction. She said I'll likely deliver around dinner time Monday May 3rd. The doc said she has a very positive induction success rate and that only 13% turn into C-Sections. Margarita on Cinco de Mayo anyone?? JK.... kind of.

Ready to go?

Bob tripped and stubbed his toe on the first baby item and BGB isn't even here yet!! I had literally JUST finished putting it together

I couldn't help but laugh.
Here is my packed bag... I wasn't joking

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baby room window cornice

Progression of my rainy Sunday project (minus the swear words)

baby room window cornice

nursery baby room
-Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Egg Dying Party

We just had our annual Easter Egg Dying Party. It was a last minute throw together and I was surprised by the turnout! Our little house held 15 people, 2 little toddlers and a newborn. Parties are definitely changing for us. I can honestly say the adults enjoyed dying the eggs more than the kids! Once again I failed to capture everyone together, perhaps because the house was chaos for about 2 hours OR because I was a slave to the eggs. We had 78 eggs to dye!!
Are we ready to dye some eggs?!
Fruits of our labor...