Thursday, August 23, 2012

Embracing the Wide Side

When I got my first DSLR camera (about 4 years ago, has it really been that long?!) I was amazed at all the capabilities it had that my point-and-shoot did not. Most especially I loved that I could get so close to my subject. It was heavenly to be able to fill the frame with my beautiful kids' faces, their eyes sparkling back at me in the photographs just as they do in real life.

Mustang Island, TX

I found shooting nature and flowers close up to be a awe-inspiring experience, as well. So many details! All the amazing colors and shapes and beauty to be found if you get down close to a simple wildflower or moss growing on a rock.

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However, before long I found myself firmly in a photography rut. All of my photos began to look the same and my inspiration was waning. My photographs looked tight and cramped to me and I was feeling a bit cramped myself.

Wave jumper
Elizabeth is jumping over the waves in this photo. 

Finally, I learned to mix things up and breathe some new life into my photographs by embracing wide angle focal lengths. For me that meant shooting on the 18mm end of my 18-105mm kit zoon lens or shooting with my 24mm prime lens.

Sisters and Flip Flops

All of these pictures were taken on our recent vacation during a brief visit to Mustang Island State Park using the wide end of my 18-105mm zoom lens.

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In these photos there is room for my subjects, be they children or husbands or birds, to move and interact with their environment. It's also easy to see there different sizes of the kids relative to each other.

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I particularly love capturing so much of the sky in a photo so you can see the beautiful natural gradation of the blue. Capturing the surroundings as well as the subject in a photo adds so much more interest.

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It's a whole new world on the wide side.

I won't stop taking those close ups of my kids' precious faces, though. I just now know to mix them up with a few shots that capture their entire bodies and their surroundings, as well.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Summer Wrap Up

Well, here we are turning the bend toward the end of August and it's about time I did a little update on my blog. This summer has screamed by (as it always does) and my kids have been back in school for an entire week already. But, before I get ahead of myself, here are some of the things we've been up to this summer:

1. Our sweet Elizabeth turned eight.

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And when I say she is sweet I really mean it. She's fairly quiet and shy but loves to help whenever I ask. She's a voracious reader (are there any books left at the library that she hasn't read?) and is always quick to pray for the people she loves and those in need. This little girl is such a blessing in our lives!

2. We shot a few fire works for the Fourth of July.

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Gustin and Jonathan had a fierce head-to-head battle with their firecracker tanks.

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Gustin won. What joy it is when the little brother wins!

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Both my girls were happy to watch from the sidelines. They're not big fans of explosions.

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3. We went on vacation!

Every year we go on vacation with Eric's extended family and this year, for the first time, we went to the beach. We stayed together in a beach house (all 27 of us, including 9 kids under the age of 5) and had a terrific time.

We frolicked in the sand and water every day.

Mustang Island State Park, Texas

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We also visited the Corpus Christi Aquarium. Somehow I didn't take many pictures at the aquarium besides the obligatory ones in front of the wingspan sign.

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When we drove up to the aquarium we discovered that the USS Lexington is permanently anchored right next door. We had to visit it, too!

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What an amazing experience. We hope to go back another day when we will have more time to explore and without a tired, cranky two-year-old who was already pooped out from the visit at the aquarium.

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4. Back to school!

Here's our traditional picture of the school kids by the front door.

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Jonathan is a big 5th grader. He gets a locker at school now and can play on the school sports teams. Soccer tryouts were already on the second day of school and I may not be able to stop to breathe again until the season is over in October. Gone are the slow days and wide-open schedules of summer time!

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Elizabeth is thrilled to be in third grade.

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But, even Elizabeth's excitement can't eclipse how ecstatic Gustin is to finally be in Kindergarten.

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This little face at his desk on the first day of school pretty much says it all.

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There's only one baby at home with me during the day now.

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It's wonderful and melancholy all at the same time. Gustin told me on the first day of school that I wasn't allowed to cry because I missed him; I was only allowed to be excited for him since he was so happy. I tried, Gustin, I really did.

5. A prayer request.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in June. She will undergo a mastectomy on August 29th. They caught the cancer early and her prognosis is good, but please pray that they are able to remove all the cancer and that there are not any complications. Also, please pray for my dad who is experiencing some complications with his diabetes. Pray that these complications can be resolved quickly so that his health problems don't interfere with Mom having her surgery as scheduled. Thank you so much for even the smallest prayers that you can offer for my family at this time!