Tuesday, March 31, 2015

behind the scenes: DIY Lowel Lights

  I've mentioned my new artificial lighting a couple times now with the promise to share a little more about it soon. So here I am, sharing a little more about it. To recap: my original inspiration to make these lights came from this post and I used this tutorial for my lights. Full disclosure: this is NOT a full tutorial for making or shooting with these lights. There are tons of tutorials available if you're interested in making your own. I hope to share more in-depth insight in the future about shooting with these lights, but I can really only offer some preliminary thoughts and example shots this point.

In these first few photos, you get a close up look at the lights themselves. I decided to make two lights because I've always worked with two lights in my lightbox, and I love the way that you can create soft shadows a lot more easily with two lights than one light.

I added some removable white cotton to diffuse the light. It's awesome to have lights that are so much more powerful than my lightbox lights (400W total as opposed to 120W total), but I don't want the lighting to be harsh. The cotton attaches with Velcro so it's really easy to put it on and take it off as needed.

I have a new set up for these lights, but it's also really easy to move them around the house and shoot in other locations, as I did here in my kitchen.

Here are just a few examples of shots with the new lights. As I said before, it's still way too early to talk too much about shooting with these lights, but I plan to revisit the topic in the future.

I have three new backdrops: large ceramic tiles, faux chalkboard, and faux wood. Ceramic tiles of all sizes, colors, and finishes are readily available at any home improvement store at very affordable prices. You can read more about the other two backdrops over here.

This is a sneak peek of the first finished sample for my second ebook. I'll be posting more about that in the coming months, too.

Have you bought or made any new photography equipment lately? What photography skills are you working on right now?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pinterest picks for my birthday

I haven't put together a Pinterest favorites post in forever. My birthday seemed like a good excuse to make that happen again. Enjoy.

Recently I've started pinning cat pictures, which is a slippery slope. Of course many of them are little orange guys. That face...seriously, how does your heart not melt every single time you look at it?

Ever since Christmas, I can't stop browsing kraft gift wrapping ideas. Apparently this is going to be my thing now because I literally have enough ideas to keep me going for decades.

 This is the best melted crayon idea.

This picture is so perfect for so many reasons.

Because I can read about all things photography for hours at a time lately (surprise, right?).

Butterbeer is a real thing, and no, it doesn't contain beer. I made the hot version for a get together earlier this month, and it was a big hit. Put it on your list of things to do.

Finally, the past few months I've been listening to Pat Metheny's cover of The Sound of Silence all the time. And at the end of the day, I still have The Simpsons' The Sound of Grandpa in my head instead. #reallife Also, this made my whole month better.

What have you been pinning lately? Feel free to share links in the comments!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

a favorite early sign of spring

We don't need to talk about the fact that it snowed in the Midwest this week (and no, it didn't stick around for very long at least). Instead we'll talk about the fact that plants are starting to bloom! Even though it won't be really green for another month or so, it's so exciting to start seeing little shoots everywhere. Our front bushes start blooming in mid-March, and it always makes me happy to see those buds.

What are some of your favorite signs of early spring?

Monday, March 23, 2015

first 2015 trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo

Many of you know that I'm a huge fan of the Milwaukee County Zoo and I go multiple times each year. Somehow before this month, I hadn't been since the summer of 2014. The beautiful weather we've had this March was the perfect excuse to go again.

Where have you been taking pictures lately?

Friday, March 20, 2015

back at the VA grounds

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know that one of my favorite spots to frequent with my camera is the VA grounds. After months of nasty weather keeping me from taking regular walks in my neighborhood, it felt so good to get back there last week.


What are some of your favorite places to photograph?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

one of my favorite Etsy shops

I'm taking a few minutes today to promote one of my favorite Etsy shops: memoriesforlifesb. I know that many of my readers are familiar with Edi's shop and blog and/or have heard me promoting her items before. Whether you're a long-time fan of Edi's or you're just learning about her shop, I hope that you take a few minutes to pop over there and check out one or more of the following items.

Despite the recent popularity for fall and winter weddings, spring and summer are still by far the more popular wedding seasons. If you have a wedding in the upcoming months and are searching for those final few items, check out Edi's wedding section. She has an extensive selection of glassware (i.e. champagne flutes), guest books, table numbers, and personalized bridal party and wedding gifts.




Are you in the early stages of planning a wedding? Edi also makes engraved wooden wedding invitations.

Mother's Day and Father's Day are both going to be here before we know it. Stay ahead of the game and shop for your gifts now.

One of Edi's most popular items to date is her engraved cutting board. For moms who love to cook and bake and who make time tested family recipes on a regular basis, it's hard to go wrong with this cutting board.

Earrings are also an ideal option for many moms. These tribal wooden earrings are simple, lightweight, and versatile.

For the dads in your life, think about picking up one of Edi's newest items: an engraved knife with a wooden handle.

Cuff links are another great choice for dads that dress up on a regular basis.
Finally, are you in the market for a spring or summer birthday gift? I love Edi's wooden greeting cards and customizable picture frames.