Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

I Heart Faces Challenge: Best Face Photo in January

Here’s my entry for this week’s challenge at I Heart Faces. I love her eyelashes. They make me so jealous.  And the color in her lips and checks kill me.


January 30, 2011

Sunday Slideshow: Who Knew Homework Could Be So Fun?

Jerry spent most of the day doing work towards his Master’s Degree. We decided to have some family fun time at the park before dinner. We wanted to enjoy the warm weather since snow might be on its way to visit and I needed to get a few more photographs for my Wednesday night class.

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My homework was much more entertaining than Jerry’s. Look close at the slideshow. Can you spot the funny oopsie?

January 29, 2011

Ready for College Already?

Jerry and I took the little girl on a walk around UNM’s campus this afternoon to enjoy the warm weather. I love the catch lights in her eyes as she claps with joy here. She definitely enjoys getting out of the house to stretch her legs.

When she discovered this bike rack, she couldn’t get enough of racing through the tunnel. I kept the camera’s focus mode in AI Focus (Artificial Intelligence Focus), but should have switched to Al Servo for more consistent tracking of her quick movements. Most of the time, the camera guessed right and the setting was much better than the One Shot focus I tried earlier in the day. One Shot is great for still subjects, because you can lock focus and then reframe your shot. But, One Shot is horrible for a constantly moving toddler–almost nothing was in focus on that setting.

Jerry had a tough job keeping up with her this afternoon as she ran in every direction. He was careful to take hold of her hand when we stopped to watch the ducks at the Duck Pond. I think if she had her way, she would have gone for a swim with them.

She had a blast looking for things to climb on and we had a time keeping her from falling down.

After more than 6 months of walking, she’s finally able to crawl without a gimp leg. She’s ready to travel the long road.

January 26, 2011

Musings on the Power of Verbs

I started a second photography class Monday evening: Photography Composition. During our introductions, my instructor, Pat Berrett, made tally marks on the board without explanation. After 12 introductions, there were 9 marks on the board. Yes, there was one for me.

It was a great lesson hook. (I apologize for the teacher language.) He explained that each mysterious tally mark represented a person who used the word “shoot” in their introduction to describe their photography.

On the board he wrote, shoot, take, capture and explained that these were violent terms to describe what should be art. He suggested we use the terms create or make instead to describe our work.

I’ve been chewing on his ideas since Monday and believe their is some merit to his observations. As I learn more and more about photography, I’m appreciating how much consideration goes into creating beautiful images. Its often much more than just pointing your camera at something pretty and ending up with a great shot.

Other times, like when I’m chasing my 15 month-old around, its about capturing a fleeting moment. Her quick movements and expressions can’t be created and I have little time to compose an image.

I woke up early this morning with the intention of creating a few images for class tonight. I wanted the bright yellow flower to invoke the brightness of the morning sun. I like how the outer petals glow in the early light, but wished I had noticed the distracting blade of grass on the ground. 

I hope your day was cheerful and full of sunshine.

January 24, 2011

Innocent Wonder

I Heart Faces photo challenge theme this week is “Innocent Wonder.” I think this picture of my little girl expresses just that. Although you can see a liver of her face, the crinkles on her cheek hint at her ridiculous grin as she raced down the dirt road at Los Poblanos farm this weekend.  I love how excitement is expressed through her arms and even the swing of her tassle.

This is my first entry in the  challenge. If you’d like to enter too, click on the button below. Entries are due by 9 pm Tuesday.

January 23, 2011

Sunday Morning at Cafe Green

photo by Jerry Sprouse

The family and I returned to Cafe Green in Albuquerque for the second week in a row. We made it in time for brunch this morning and were not disappointed.

I started off with a yummy coffee. No bad diner coffee here.

I was tempted by everything on the menu again, but ultimately I decided to go with the Crab Benedict. 2 crabcakes on English muffins topped with poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and slivers of green onion. Jerry ordered La Croque Madame, one of his favorite brunch plates from The Grove. Cafe Green’s version includes ham, fontina cheese, a poached egg, and bechamel sauce on toast.

The plates were both beautiful and delicious again.

Crab Benedict


La Croque Madame, photo by Jerry Sprouse

I loved my Crab Benedict. The crab cakes were delicious and fresh; I only wish they used lump crab meat for a chunkier texture. I gave up on the English muffin after a while because it was a little too tough to cut easily with a wimpy butter knife. Jerry enjoyed his Madame, but the Grove‘s version remains his favorite.

We ended the meal with one of two desert crepes. Jerry chose the Banana Cajeta crepe because of little girl’s fondness for the fruit.

Banana Cajeta Crepe

The light crepe was stuffed with carmelized bananas and topped with goat milk caramel, vanilla ice cream, and powdered sugar. The bananas and ice cream were scrumptious, but I found the caramel a little too goaty for my tastes.

We enjoyed our second visit to Cafe Green, although service was slow for the second half of meal. Best of all–this gourmet brunch was inexpensive. Our bill was about $25 this morning. We’ll be back again to try some other dishes that have been calling to us. Maybe next time I’ll be able to resist the crab’s siren song.

January 22, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Smiles

Albuquerque has something like 300 sunny days per year and that’s usually a good thing. I love the sunshine and warmth…especially in the middle of winter.

Today, however, I learned to be thankful for the partly-cloudy sky. Jerry and I took our little girl around Corrales to enjoy the warm afternoon. The clouds provided an excellent filter for the usually harsh midday sun, and I got some beautiful shots.

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Little girl has on a cute vintage  hand-knit sweater. The hoodie zips up the back like a backwards cardigan. Jerry thought she looked a little goofy in it, but I love the neutral color and texture of the knit. Plus, I wore it when I was little, too.

As usual, I did most of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. I love that program! For this round of pics, I did some extra editing in Photoshop Elements to get rid of some milk that dried on her face while we drove around town.

January 17, 2011

Yumminess 7 Ways

1. Sleeping in until almost 10 am. Thank you, baby girl.


2. It was too late for breakfast by the time we headed out the door, so we had a delicious lunch at Cafe Green in downtown Albuquerque. Hello gouda soup. It is very nice to meet you. I think we should become best friends. (Is it okay to eat new best friends?)

3. Off to a hike at the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area. Yummy view #1 was the mountain with its cloak of moody clouds.


4. View #2 is even more yummy. My handsome husband.


5. The sharpness of the cactus spines. Okay, so this is probably the least tasty of all today’s yummy things. They would probably hurt quite a bit going down my throat. But, I still think this picture is pretty yummy.


6. The spicy aroma as I made Chai Tea Concentrate. Thank you to thecatnipcat via Tasty Kitchen.




7. Afternoon tea. I love afternoon tea. I like afternoon tea at The Bonbonnerie. I love afternoon tea in English novels. I love afternoon tea at home.


January 16, 2011

Sunday Slideshow: Just After Sunrise

I woke up just after 7 on Saturday morning and headed straight out the door with my camera. My hope was to follow-up on last week’s sunset slideshow with a sunrise slideshow. Well, the sun was a little too far ahead of me for that. So, I’ll share some just after sunrise pictures instead.

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I visited a farm not too far from my house. There was so much to see and photograph. I loved the variety of surfaces and back-drops that were aged in ways you can’t manufacture. In fact, I think this location would be great for portraits. And judging from the lovely, weathered yellow chair hanging out in the stables, I’m might not be the only person who thinks so.

Now, I just need to find the right subject for this wonderful back-drop. If you’re in the area and you think this might be the perfect setting to capture your lovely face or the lovely face of someone you know, leave a comment and I’ll be in touch with you.

January 15, 2011

Life is Messy, But Beautfiul

Somehow my daughter never seems to have a clean face. I hate trying to wrangle her into a still position to wipe her face and listen to her angry screams. Even my not-so-clean husband sometimes gets bothered by the ickiness before me. So, most of the time I let her run around with a food-slathered, somewhat crusty, dog-hair covered face. That sounds really gross. But, even really gross can be really beautiful.

I did some minor editing in Adobe Lightroom for this beauty. I changed the white balance to make the picture a touch warmer and softened her skin just a bit. I did not edit out the food on her face–she just wouldn’t be my daughter any longer if I did. If you look close enough, you might even be able to find a stray dog hair.

I’m loving how the pink in her shirt is picked up by the flowers on the silk pillowcase. Thanks mom for the gift from Singapore!

What’s messy but beautiful in your life?

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