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Paperseed on Instagram

A couple months ago I finally joined Instagram. At first, I thought it was just a fad, like Hipstamatic, something that I didn’t really like or care to be a part of. I’m not sure what made me change my mind, but I’m really enjoying it now. It’s like photography practice on an (almost) daily basis, but using my phone instead of my dSLR. It’s so easy, too – no having to find time to sit at my computer to download photos (like I do with my dSLR), and then uploading them onto the web when I have time. It’s all so… instant. And taking good photos with my phone is part of the challenge.

The other thing I like about Instagram is that the people who chose to “follow” me do so because they are interested in looking at photos. They expect it. This is different than on Facebook, where I only uploaded photos if I thought they were relevant to me, my family, or my friends. After all, would my FB “friends” want to see a minimalist photo of sunlit bamboo leaves against a perfectly blue sky? Or a closely cropped architectural detail of Pittock Mansion? Or a single, rich sapphire-blue feather found on a walk? I don’t really think so. It would be too random, and then I’d feel like I had to explain it using words. And sometimes words just aren’t necessary, don’t you think?

So, anyway, I know I’ve been scarce in these parts the last month or so. That is soon to change, hopefully. We’ve done some pretty neat things this summer, which I’d love to share once I have some time. Plus, I also have some sponsored posts in the works (hooray!). Meanwhile, checkout my Instagram feed to see more of what we’ve been up to, and I’ll be back soon!


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Photography Goods: Paper Quilled Vintage Camera Cards

Back in January I mentioned buying a Beginner Quilling Kit. You can see my first attempt here. It was fun, but I haven’t had a chance to try it again since then. While looking for inspiration I came across these awesome quilled vintage camera cards by Sweet Spot Card Shop on Etsy. OMG! So cute!! The little details, like the tiny gems for the flash and lenses, really sets these apart.

That got me thinking about the art of quilling in general. A lot of quilled design feels sort of dated. And that is good if that’s the look you’re going for. But what could bring this skill back for the masses is if quilling took an updated turn – whether being added to mixed media, or moving beyond the common bouquet of flowers you see all over. Anyway, Sweet Spot Card Shop really nailed blending the art form and making it appealing to today’s buyers. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get a card (or calendar!) like these?

 


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Plum Blossoms

plum_blossoms

Did you know it will officially be spring next week? I’m so glad! We’re seeing signs of it throughout our neighborhood, little splashes of brightness here and there – daffodils, crocus, candy tufts – and our daphne smells divine! But most of all, I love seeing the plum blossoms start to open. Every year about this time, I take a moment to bust out the good camera and document the opening of their tiny pink buds. So sweet and serene and lovely.

This plum tree is actually in our neighbor’s yard. A few years ago she allowed us to dig up a runner that we placed it in a pot. It hasn’t gotten much bigger, but just last week David planted it in the back corner of our yard. Someday we’ll have plums! I’m looking forward to it.


Taken with a Canon T4i, 50mm 1.4

 

 


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Lomography Spinner 360° Camera

Have you heard about the new Lomo Spinner 360? I love the idea and the photos, but don’t relish having to use 35mm film again (or carry another camera!). Digital just makes everything so much easier. Call me lazy.

Photos above by K.D. Stevens. See more photos here and here. Via


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When a little discretion is advised…

Check out the Cloak Bag. The photographer in me is really tickled by this, but if I saw someone actually shooting with it I’m sure I would think it strange. However, it does partially fulfill my desire for a small, lightweight bag to conceal my equipment when I didn’t want to be so obvious (which is often). That is one thing about dSLRs. They are so in-your-face when I’d rather they be as  discreet as point-and-shoots. I guess that’s the price we pay for better quality and control.

What do you think? Would you carry this bag? via


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Happiness

I’ve been feeling a little bad about the last post. Some days are just harder than others, and I realize that there are a lot of people that would happily exchange their problems for mine. So today I’m just concentrating on happiness and I’m finding a lot to be happy for.

Happiness today is…

  • Chloe going back to sleep after waking up early
  • Spending that extra time snuggling with my honey
  • Watching Chloe’s happily explore during her art class
  • Driving downtown to pick up my professionally printed photo for the Living River juried art exhibit. Can you believe it?! My photo was one of 80 works (from textiles, sculpture, photography, paintings, etc) selected out of over 350 submissions. I’ve never “shown” my work like this before, which is kind of thrilling.
  • Treating myself to a mocha and bressane from the Pearl Bakery.
  • Chloe falling asleep on the way home, and then taking a second nap later in the afternoon.
  • Finding out my mother-in-law is coming for a visit!


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A Visual Guide to Stylishly Modern Camera Bags

Just a round-up of some pretty snazzy camera bags available. I own the Crumpler, a gift from my husband, which is a good fit for my lifestyle right now (aka camera/diaper bag). However, in a perfect world, I’d love to be able to design my own. If you feel the same, check out KATA’s Dream Bag Challenge. You can submit your own original idea for the chance to have your bag hand-built, and to win a professional photo kit worth $5000 (including a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR body, 2 Canon lenses, Gitzo tripod kit and Litepanels Camera Light).

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Crumpler 6 Million Dollar Home


Jill-e Medium Chocolate Brown Suede

 

Epiphanie Lola Shoulder Bag

Emera quilted bag


The Kelly Moore Bag

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KaTa 123-GO-10

Tenba Messenger: Small Photo/Laptop Bag

 

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Clik Traveler


ORKIO Cafe SLR Bagz

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Acme Made Montgomery Street Backpack

Oliday Dark Brown Canvas Camera Bag

 


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What nifty device can you make with paper, film and a Coke can?

I found a very interesting book on the new arrival shelf at the library yesterday. A book called Build Fun Paper Cameras: Take Eye-Catching Pinhole Photos. My first thought was Hmm, those look pretty cool! My second thought was They still make 35mm film?! It is almost hard for me to believe that everyone just doesn’t use digital these days. I love the instant satisfaction of seeing an image onscreen (especially handy when I notice a detail that needs fixing). Film cameras don’t give you that amount of control, and that idea is… intriguing.

So, I’m curious. I decided to check the book out and experiment. What if I had to physically rely on myself to manage the exposure (and not just tell my digital camera how long to do it for me)? I mean literally open and close the shutter by hand, and not with the press of a button? What would it be like to manually make my own equipment? And wind the film myself? I’m guessing the worst that can happen will be that none of my photos come out, but even so I’ll have made some pretty nifty little paper cameras. So, if you’ll excuse me – I have a Coke can to cut and pierce, film to find and purchase, and 8 sheets of freshly printed card stock to cut, fold and assemble.

To be continued…


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Experimenting with wings

I’ve been doing a little experimenting with Photoshop. It is an amazing program, and one I wish I knew better. Here I’ve played with adding little butterfly wings to a photograph of Chloe, and to a couple of my friend Greta’s photos. It is interesting to see the results. Aren’t these little girls darling?


Bottom two photographs taken by Greta Fleckenstein, and bottom set of wings by cocacolagirlie.


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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

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(1) Maple leaves in the forest  (2) White flowers, Smith Rock
(3) Indian Paintbrush at the grandparent’s  (4) Miniature Rose in our yard

I’m thinking about putting new photographs in the four gallery frames hanging in our living room. Over the years they’ve held illustrations, photos, artwork, magazine pages and right now they’re displaying fabric. However, you’d think with all the photos I take, I’d easily fill those four frames with new photographs. But, no. The issue? Finding four vertical shots to make a set. Since I don’t often photograph vertically, there is a limited number to choose from. Choosing a matched pair is easy. A set of three, fine. Finding four that look good together? That’s a challenge.

I briefly considered doing four shots of Chloe, but it seemed too shrine-like in our little house. Then I considered texture shots, but now I’m thinking about the four nature scenes above. I think what ties these together is the sunlight and glow of color, plus the combination of crisp foreground and softer background.  I also like that Chloe and David are represented in one of them, but not overly so.

Someday I’d like to  shoot a set of nice black & whites – maybe architectural in theme – bridges, buildings, cityscapes. I like the set of three France photographs donated to Craft Hope’s Etsy shop (they sold!), but they are all horizontal, too. Or maybe I just need to scrap the current frame layout and turn them all sideways. Hmm… there’s a thought.


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Self-portrait Plus

I took this photo of myself in the window of our Honda Element yesterday. We were parked near the Wilson River. Chloe is secured to my back in her Beco carrier eating a graham cracker and I’m carrying a bag with things to entertain us by the river (a magazine, snacks for Chloe, extra lenses, etc).

I’m kind of throwing the idea around of taking a weekly self-portrait, the challenge being that it would include more than just me. I’m thinking it could include someone else (likely Chloe, or David or Barkley) or a sense of where I’m at when the photo is taken. It would force me to deal with the kind of logistical issues that come with taking that kind of portrait, where I won’t have a lot of control, and making do with what is around me. Not to mention getting over the fact that I rarely ever like how I look in photographs.


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Maternity Session

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph a maternity session for a friend of a friend (see more photos). I tried to capture her gorgeous shape the best I could, but I know I have a lot to learn. On top of my list is focus, photo-editing, and how to better use my speedlite. This past week I attended a Canon Intermediate Discovery presentation and am excited to practice all I’ve learned. Sadly, it has already been several days and I haven’t once cracked open the workbook. Just where does all the time go?


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Mother + Daughter Photographs

As the main photographer in my family, it is rare to find both Chloe and I in the same photo. Luckily, a couple months ago my talented friend Greta took some wonderful, keepsake-quality shots of the two of us. And check out that watermark – I am proud to say that her new logo is one of my designs!

Here are just a few of my many favorite captures:


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Just sharing…

I really enjoyed the photography class I took at Newspace. I chose it thinking that I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a full-semester college class, but now I’m kind of sad it’s over. It was a lot of information to digest in only 4 weeks. I understand more now, but at the same time, I don’t really feel that my shooting has improved. Actually, I’m still frustrated a lot of the time. Shooting in manual mode is a challenge. Although I have an idea of what I want my image to look like, I can’t always figure out how to get my camera to do it. There is still so much to learn.

After each class we had homework assignments. I thought I’d share some of them:


“Detail”

Leading Lines
“Leading Lines”


“Common”


“Tell a story”


“Shadows”


“Power”


“Rule of thirds”


“The future”


“Self-portrait”


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Gratitude


Photo taken during our recent visit to the Oregon Zoo

I just want to thank everyone who left a comment on my Challenges post last week. Your words of encouragement, recommendation and understanding were so good for me to read. I am happy to report that I’ve taken positive steps – enjoying lunch with a neighbor, meeting a friend at the zoo, calling someone I haven’t seen in ages to set up a breakfast date… I’ve also signed up for a photography class! I can’t wait to learn about f-stops, shutter speed and depth of field, so I can put my new camera to better use. It doesn’t start for a few weeks, but it gives me something to look forward to. I’m curious to see how I’ll feel those couple hours without the baby in tow for a change.


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Dreaming in Color

My mother-in-law sent me a link this weekend to a site called Elemental PhotoArt, which I thought I’d share. It’s a little slow getting around (I tend to be impatient with sites like these), but there were some pieces that I thought were really nice. These caught my eye in particular, with their dreamy quality and rich colors:

Sand Stars, Tia Magallon

Golden Puzzle, Tia Magallon

Nevada Monocot #48, Todd France

California Monocot #43, Todd France
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