31 July 2013

Confessions of an ISO snob

As I have been learning more and more about photography, I find myself with habits or ideas about photography that aren't quite right and need to be corrected. I had no idea until recently that I was (as I now refer to it) an ISO snob. 

Bryan Peterson in Understanding Exposure* relates ISO to the number of worker bees that collect light for your camera. The more worker bees, the more light entering the camera (needed in dark or indoor situations). So by setting my ISO, it is just another control I have to determine how much light enters my camera. 

When I was initially learning about photography, somewhere along the road I picked up the idea that low ISO (like 100) was good, and high ISO (my highest is 1600...yep my camera is old) was bad. I learned that a high ISO introduced digital noise into my photographs and so I decided that I would just never shoot at ISO 1600.

Stop! Do you see my flawed logic? In an effort to oversimplify I missed the fact that although digital noise is icky looking, it can be removed in post processing! Because I denied myself from using my highest ISO available, sometimes I would not take a photograph because in order to do so I would have so use ISO 1600. 

I don't even want to think about how many photographs I missed taking just because I was an ISO snob. Thankfully I have seen the error of my ways.
In an effort to visit our favorite places before we move, last weekend we took our little guy (a true lover of all things that go!) to Hill Aerospace Museum. Long story short, I brought the wrong lens to shoot in the dark museum and so I was stuck shooting at ISO 1600, with my widest aperture, and a slow shutter speed.

The resulting photographs? Well you won't see much of J because he moves much too fast and became a blur with my long shutter : ) Instead I had the chance to take detail shots of subjects that didn't have legs to run away (and shout, "PLANE!" and frantically point in every direction).

After a fun day and saying goodbye to the planes (for a good solid ten minutes in the car), our little pilot spilled his treats and then promptly fell asleep. I love moments like this when I remember that he still is my baby.

* I just finished Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson and it was fantastic! He explained the most important parts of photography in a very clear and unique way. I'm still thinking about my little worker bees whenever I adjust my ISO.

26 July 2013

Session Five: Oh Baby!

I had the privilege of photographing yet another beautiful newborn last month. (Is it hard to believe that I'm not the smallest bit baby hungry after all this? I mean, the cuteness, the toes, the smell! Oh my.)

This little beauty was born with more dark, thick hair than my little man can ever dream to have. All I wanted to do was tickle her sweet little toes and play with her thick hair. Thankfully, I do have some self control and between cuddles I was able to create the photographs above.

(You can thank me later for helping to start your weekend on a happy, cuddly note.)

23 July 2013

A Day in the Pieper Life

Lately I have been taking a vacation from my problems. Vacation meaning I am overwhelmed at the idea of packing, moving, and finding a place to live so I just read a good book, eat banana bread, and try not to do anything. Anything includes taking pictures for my 365 project, meaning I found myself twelve days behind when I got back from vacation today.

While playing catch-up and reminiscing about this little house and all the memories it holds, I couldn't help but take pictures of small and simple things. Like J's toothbrush.

When I put all the pictures together, I realized that I was inspired by creativity exercise over at Clickin Moms, A Day in the Life. I found that just over a few hours I had a little collection of photographs that truly showed our little Pieper life.

19 July 2013

Session Four

So. Sometimes I have this feeling that words just get in the way. Maybe that feeling has always drawn me to a camera, to capture the feelings that words just can't express. 

Like right now. What can my flimsy words say that the images cannot? 

I had a chance to photograph a beautiful baby in her home with her family. She was an angel and she enjoyed (and deserved) all the snuggles and attention that came her way. 

Yup, and that is all I have to say. (Cue adorable baby...)
Also, this session seemed to change something in me. I felt confident. I felt in control. And most importantly, I fell in love with the images that I created. And the thought that I could have this experience over and over again, made it much more sweet.

17 July 2013

Month 17

My dear miniature man,

Another month, gone quicker than you running full speed for an open door, cabinet, toilet, or dishwasher! Our house has been much more noisy as you have added many words, sounds, and high-pitched screams to your repertoire. I am amazed at how quickly you are learning and growing.

You have learned how to help unload the dishwasher (the middle-man between the dishwasher and the cabinets), put away your clothes (kinda), and throw away your own diapers. You are also becoming better at using a cup and a spoon. (With the exception of applesauce...just too fun to smear.) 

Your new favorite outdoor activity is to sneak away onto our neighbor's front porch and shriek, "TRUCK!" at the top of your lungs. You really do love cars and trucks. Nearly everyday we sit on a busy corner so you can watch them go by while honking and beeping at them.

In fact, you about died and went to heaven this week when the city repaved the road right in front of our house. HUGE trucks zooming back and forth, meant you were sprawled on the back of the couch all day.

You have also added another performance to your circus act. You truly are living up to your nickname, Monkey Boy.

This month we also went camping for the second time as a family! You loved the dirt, bugs, and splashing in the lake. It was fun to look back and realize this same time a year ago we went camping for the first time. Both times we camped and threw rocks into a lake, both times we came home early because the thought of another sleepless night with a Mr. J was just too much to bear.
Happy 17 months my little ball of energy!

12 July 2013

Session Three: Families are Silly

I absolutely loved working with this family! I might be the tiniest bit biased because we are related (and they fed us beforehand), but these kids were packed full of personality and laughs.

This was one of my favorite locations because it was at their beautiful house and yard (with farm animals included!). I loved asking the kids about their favorite animals and seeing their surprised expressions when my husband made faces behind me.
 Working with older children was more difficult than the younger babies (when I just had to shake a rattle for them to look) because I was forced to be more of an entertainer. And believe me, they would let me know if my jokes weren't funny.
And when I said, "Only five more pictures, I promise! I need you to help me count!" They would count with me until we reached five and then they were done. My final and favorite shot came AFTER I had finished the five pictures and the kids stopped posing and smiling.
I saw this photograph as the essence of family life. Families (especially children) are anything but posed and perfect angels. Families are rowdy. Families are silly. 

Families are so full of love that even when your kids are climbing all over you during family pictures, you manage to smile and say, "Bring it on!"

10 July 2013

A Camping We Will Go

Remember the adventure we had a few weeks ago? Well for our first camping trip of the summer we headed up to the same lake for some rest and relaxation. (And I should clarify, for my boys this means hiking, throwing rocks, and wading in the lake. I prefer a hammock, a long nap, and a good book.)
Where's Wilson?
In case you couldn't tell, we managed to compromise and have a fantastic weekend. The boys splashed in the water and played Cast Away on an abandoned raft, while I was left alone to experiment with my camera among the wildflowers. It was the perfect way to spend a really hot (at home, but not in the mountains) weekend.

08 July 2013

Fourth of July

"When he sends me flowers, it makes my heart melt like a popsicle 
on the Fourf of July!"
Yep, that would be me kinda quoting one my favorite movies. Why? Joseph went backpacking last week and sent me flowers when he was away! My heart did a little melting the day before the 4th of July.

Although Joseph was gone, the remaining Piepers weren't lonely as we spent the week the both sets of grandparents + aunties! J was in heaven playing with new toys, chasing new dogs, and eating more sweets and goodies than he gets at home.

We started off the day early at the parade. We didn't get any candy but J absolutely loved all the big trucks and horses that were pulling the floats. Oh, and he also loved spending time with his favorite mama! (He finally said it! I'm in mommy heaven.)
That evening we enjoyed family, good food, and cute patriotic outfits. See this kid, (that cute one down below) he really loves the camera. And I love that he loves the camera.
After J was safely and soundly in bed (with his sound machine turned WAY up to compensate for the extra firework ruckus) and home with Grandpa, we headed to the biggest fireworks west of the Mississippi River! Which I always grew up thinking was just something people in town said, but it ranked #2 of the best firework shows in America. (But I still don't believe it. IDAHO? I guess you can add it to your small list of things you know about Idaho. 1). Potatoes 2). Fireworks)

And I couldn't believe how much fun it was to take pictures of the fireworks! I'm sure the people around me thought I was crazy with my tripod and remote timer going off every three seconds for most of the show.
PS: Don't tell J that I love taking pictures of fireworks, 
I think he would be a little jealous.
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