Posts tagged ‘photography’

February 5, 2011

Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center

I took a tour of Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center. I’m so jealous of all the people who live and work there. It is a beautiful property in the North Valley and has lots of history. From the moment I turned down the tree lined drive, I felt like I was entering a state of calm and peace.

Our tour guide was Matt, one of the owners. He knew a lot of the history of the buildings, having grown up in the house as a child.

His family has taken excellent care of the property and been careful in their updates to match the original architectural style.

If you’re planning a visit to Albuquerque or just want to an in town getaway, Los Poblanos Inn would be the perfect spot.

You might even make a new friend.

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February 3, 2011

Lightroom, I love you.

She’s got lots of faces and I think they are all fascinating. I love her.

I also have a love for Adobe Lightroom that grows every day. Thanks to a quick and easy tutorial from Allison Torgesen Photography, I was able to create a few storyboard templates in Lightroom.

I love, love, love that I don’t I have to export the images to Photoshop Elements and mess with layers to make a simple storyboard. Each little block is safely watermarked and the look is simple and clean. Yummy.

I saved my jpeg to the same folder from today’s mini living room session and was able to run my regular blog publishing preset to create the perfect sized image for this post. And exporting the same image to Facebook at my husband’s request was only a click away too.

::swoon::

 

February 3, 2011

Pro or No? Choosing a Print Lab

Do you take a lot of pictures? Do they all live as virtual recluses on your hard drive? Too often these images get trapped on our hard drive in endlessly complicated files and folders. Honestly, when is the last time you looked back through those folders to revisit your images? Many of us don’t back-up our hard drives regularly, so we take a risk that we’ll lose all of our precious memories with an unlucky computer failure.

It’s time to pull the images, the best ones at least, out from hiding and give them a new life in the real world.

I enjoy the photographs hanging on my wall every day, especially the beautiful ones by local Albuquerque baby photographer Tammy Staley. Jerry and I hung her photographs of our precious baby girl in our hallway so we can appreciate them each time we walk through our house. Baby girl even likes to blow them kisses on her way to bed. (I hope she’s not becoming to narcissistic).

Now I’m taking more of my own photographs and spending time perfecting my images in Adobe Lightroom. I’ve been searching for a photo lab that would create the best prints of my images.

I sent test prints to a number of professional labs, and also a few common consumer labs for comparison. Because I chose to do my own color management rather than opting for each lab’s color correction, the images from the pro labs were almost indistinguishable. All the pro labs printed the images on Kodak Professional Endura Paper. This paper is relatively heavyweight and sturdy. Most labs also offered a luster finish on the prints. This finish gives a subtle texture for the print that helps protect them from smudges and finger prints. All of the pro labs closely match my screen images. (Please ignore the dust specks in the image below.)

scanned print from professional lab

Isn’t my niece gorgeous? I love those deep, dark eyes and her pouty cupid lips.

I also had my images printed by 3 consumer labs: Walgreens, Shutterfly, and Walmart. I don’t have much to say about Walmart’s print because they managed to lose my order. After navigating through the mess of our local superstore, waiting in line for service, and then being told to go home and try submitting it again after they’d sent me a text message to say my photo was ready to be picked up, I decided to not waste any more time.

Shutterfly’s print was not equal to the professional lab, but it was at the top of the consumer lab prints. Shuttefly prints on Fujifilm Crystal Archive Paper and I was able to select a matte finish that is similar to the luster finish offered by the professional labs. When uploading my images, I had to check each image I ordered separately to turn off their color correction services and it was really a pain in the rear. In the end, the print lacked some of the rich color seen on from the pro labs and I especially noticed the difference in my niece’s skin tones. And those are probably the most important colors in portraits, right? Can you see the slightly pale pallor? Not so pretty.

Shutterfly test print

Walgreens pick was my least favorite. Actually, let me take that back. At least they got the print to me. Their print was my second least favorite. I only had the option for a glossy print. I don’t like the glare on glossy prints. The no-name paper Walgreens uses is flimsier and cheaper in feel. The skin tones are closer to real life, but I noticed a too strong red tint in her hair.

Walgreens test print

If you’re looking for a place to print your next masterpiece, I definitely recommend trying a professional lab. If that’s not possible, Shutterfly would be my second recommendation.

PS I definitely recommend that you avoid scanning prints if at all possible. Each time you have to retranslate the image, you’ll lose some sharpness and detail and introduce the possibility of dust and funky color changes due to inaccurate color calibration.

February 1, 2011

Snow Day Excitement

Not even old enough for school yet…but she gets pretty excited for snow days!

Loved the effect of the window light for this picture. The snow covered ground was a fabulous light reflector. We stayed close to a large glass door and shot with a wide-open aperture. I set the exposure compensation up 2/3 stop and love how well-lit she is and how the background is so dark you don’t even have a hint of the mess that is my living room. For once, I didn’t have to play with the exposure in Lightroom (although I did touch up a few boogers and smooth out her dry skin).

By the way, that’s her new favorite word, “mess.” She’s mastered making them and pointing them out with an insistent repetition of “mess” that stops only when I clean it up for her. Then she quickly moves on to making another.

I’m so thankful the extra day to spend with my baby girl!

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.

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