Category Archives: Family Stories

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Are you germs friendly family?

We do not live dirty, nor do my kids walk dirty all day long. Our house is relatively clean. Still, I do like to expose my kids to some friendly filth and I let them eat from the floor.

To the day I got to United States I had never heard about 5 seconds rule. Neither my kids will ever hear about it :)

What about you? 

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Southland Sightseeing

It feels like ages since I wrote my last post.

Well, it’s been a rough road that last month. Lots of ups and downs and something close to an aversion towards blogging. Nothing personal, just too little energy and too much in my head. 

No.1 turned 3

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I managed to have two photo sessions. One is already on my blog here. For that session I had the opportunity to try a wonderful lens: 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S. As I got used to it “Oh” ‘s  and “Ah” ‘s were coming out of me all the time. I was simply in heaven.

My second session was with a pregnant, beautiful mamma and her family. I didn’t have much time to post them on the blog, though.  Will do it shortly.

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I have two newborn sessions in front of me so starting tomorrow I am getting back to the hats making mode. 

Last Saturday we came back from Orange County where we had gone for husband’s business trip. We did some sightseeing but mostly just from our car.

 

We visited my husband friend and his pets

 

There was a lot of coffee involved

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Not as much as I thought of crocheting:

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And two nights in hotels. I was very surprised how good our kids dealt with that. 

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Before we had left the house we planned the trip so I could see the “Hollywood” sign. I was very excited about that but it actually didn’t happen, and I am not heart broken.

We drove by the place where we suppose to stand in order to see the sign:

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but when we got there, there were cars on cars parked on cars. Cars to the left and cars to the right. In addition the kids just fell asleep after a quite long time of screaming. I did not feel like I want to spend my time looking for a parking and then climbing up the hill to see some big letters – and just for that waking up the kids. It felt so good to ride in silence. They wake up pretty soon anyway. Go figure.

At least we stopped to see the “Walk of Fame”. I really enjoyed that. 

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I got lucky to find my favorite star within a few minutes from where we get out of the car. 

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Then a few more:

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And just as we were packing everybody to the car the husband spotted this place:

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On the way back we saw a sand storm, or a beginning of one.

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Oh… and we finally left our young doggy where she belongs – with a trainer.

 

and we picked up our Old Lady who during the last year has gotten so old, and blind, an deaf and oh… so disoriented. We got very close to actually not having her, but my crocodile tears had changed it. Not that I did it in purpose, but I just couldn’t stand the vision of not having her back. Simple. 

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She still is the very loving and patient dog I remember. She always has been. 

No.1 has already taken good care of the Old Lady.  After a few times of trying to ride the dog we finally told her that the dog is sick (which is not far from the truth at all), so she shouldn’t be doing it anymore. It worked. Now she is very carrying and loving towards the dog. She brings her blankets and pillows. 

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We are all happy to have her back. I can’t describe how happy I am. She is back where she belongs! 

warm hugs,  

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Tips for photographing kids and for family self-portraits

Haven’t posted any tips for self-portraits during the last several weeks. 
Time to change it. 

Today I’m going to focus on the entire family: How to take pictures of yourself plus your family members. 

My last photo session with my family taught me a few lessons, and I want to share them here.  

Last week we had No.2 B-day, and I had this neat idea for some cute pictures which of course ended up not as I had planned. I mean, TOTALLY not as I had planned. Well, this should be a lesson for me and for all of you out there who plan photo sessions with kids and husbands.

Most of the ideas that you have probably won’t work out!  

Here are pictures from the session. 

Family portraits used in this post are from the same day, but about an hour earlier when everybody wasn’t hungry, tired and cold. The best thing would have been to stay at the same place and continue with my ideas, but I had different vision in my head and the only place I saw in that vision was the second location. So we had moved, and by the time we got there the weather had changed from nice to not VERY nice :) – cold and windy.

Before dragging all those balloons and the basket (which is kinda heavy), I tried it at home, and No.2 was very happy to sit in it. She actually didn’t want to come out. Every time I took her out she would climb back inside.

Guess what she did during the photo session?

The very first second after I put her inside she got the hell out of there and she did not want to get inside. From there my entire vision was ruined and I was ready to go home. In addition the wind tangled all the balloons and it was a TRAGEDY. 

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So, the conclusions are:

- do not expect a lot while planning session with kids – at least have more than one back-up plan!!! 

- do not use balloons in windy days – or at have a good plan where you’re going to place them. 

- have plenty of food for the kids – and for the adults as they tend to get the same grumpy when hungry! 

- have warm clothes, no matter how warm the weather is when you start the session.

- one location is probably enough. 

- give everybody a break from the camera.

- do not panic – which is hard when you take pictures for money at the session turns into this kind of mess!

- do not get angry - which is hard when you take pictures of your family (kids and husband)!

So far I’ve made all those mistakes and probably will do them again! 

As for the family self-portraits. 

Well,

First of all you must have a partner  who does not want to kill you (or you him) during the session.  

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Second of all plan your session according to the endurance not only of your kids but of your partner also! I figured that for my husband one locations is already ONE TOO MANY! And a session that is 2 hour long is about 1 h 40 min too long for him.

Knowing that you are going to take some family shots WEAR SOMETHING NICE. Make it a reason to pamper yourself a little. Do not wear or let your husband to wear anything that later will be a reason to reject the pictures.

Prepare yourself to run back and forth, from the camera to the family, many, many times.
Prepare yourself that most pictures are not going to be pretty, and I am not talking about “pretty looking” but pretty as “technically correct”.

In addition, if you have a dog who acts like it has fireworks shoveled up her/his rare end… well… then it is extra hard!  Probably it’s better to leave her/him at home.

If only the light wasn’t shining on N-o.1 face I would consider this picture as the best one:
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and probably this one IF (again), the dog wasn’t looking like she just saw a squirrel, and No.1 is making very silly face:

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Finally we moved to a different place and this I consider a good shot, although the dog is not in it:

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1/160 sec., f/2.5, ISO 320

and No.1 is a little out of focus as she started to wiggle like a worm. 

To be sure that all members are in focus even if they move a little, use smaller aperture – f/3.5 (and up), and faster shutter speed – 600 sec. for example. At this point you might have to bump up the ISO also.
In case if you have people standing in front of each other, using aperture f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2 simply won’t work. There will be always somebody out of focus.

Of course, if you have a perfect light and a great gear that allows you to bump up your ISO to 1000 and up, then you could set your shutter speed to above 2000 and that would make easier to take photos with less blurriness.

During my year of self-portraits I found out that my 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 lens doesn’t produce very stunning shots, the background is not as pretty and and the depth of field isn’t blurry and shallow, BUT it is more likely to take pictures where I am in focus even if the focus was a little bit off from the start. While with 35mm f/1.8 you have to be very precise with the focus if you want to get a sharp picture. 

One rule that is very helpful in taking family portraits is to keep everybody close to each other. KEEP IT IN A TRIANGLE. Bring the family together! 

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Considering that there is nobody standing behind the camera, waving, making silly faces or using his/her voice to catch the kids attention the best way would be to use something like those lens creatures for the kids to keep looking at the camera:

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Simple, “Hey, Smile at Elmo” would do the trick.

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Of course, I did not take it with us, what is very clear looking at all the pictures here. 

And as I always say, “do not expect perfection”, but if you still have the time and the energy, and if you haven’t killed each other already, try for better picture, again, and again, and again. It is free.

Finish the entire session with a nice dinner in your favorite restaurant 

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That will calm everybody down, and the frustration will go away with the first sip of a hot coffee!

Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition

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Photo Art Friday, b-day girl and spiders

First of all…

No.2

is

ONE

YEAR

OLD

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This young lady origins from the grumpy kind (my blood).

Very recently she has learned to climb on mom’s bread machine.

She walks like a pro, but sometimes she still prefers to get on four – mostly when she has to keep up with her Big Sis.

She loves to blink at mom and dad. 

She wears sunglasses like a real star. 

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And not like her sister, she eats almost anything

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She makes a great bunny

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and she loves to be her Big Sister’s partner-in-crime – or it’s the other way around… (probably).

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This week’s theme for Photo Art Friday is “shadows and/or light”. I’ve missed last few weeks :(
I dug out this picture from my archives:

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and this one is from few days ago:

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I finally finished my shawl, something I wanted to make for a long, long time, but always thought it is too complicated to make. 

And I must share with you those few shots of baby spiders we saw the last weekend. What an awfully great experience ;) 

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Photo Art Friday – Portrait

Good Morning from my dark (in light, not mood - thanks god) and quiet corner, 

This week’s theme for PAF is “portrait”.

Well, I’ve got many of those! ;)
Every single day there is a new portrait. 
Every single trip to a park – new portrait(s). 

So I had a lot to choose from. 

No.2 is a very moody girl. She can change her state of being from very, very grumpy to very, very happy within 5 seconds. And she just switches from one to another all day long (just like her mamma, by the way!). 

Happy

Mad

Happy 

Mad

Happy 

Mad

…. 
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No. 1 LOVES balloons. 

This girl doesn’t need a lot to be happy but balloons made her exalted. 

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I’m in process of 3 projects.

2 sewing project (one already done) and 1 crochet project.

I’m actually stuck as I do not have the materials to finish the second sewing project and the crochet one, well, there is more unraveling that crocheting now, so I am very discouraged.

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Anyway, 

we’ve got a little piglet growing here. 
Nothing like her Big Sister who after her very picky father is a picky eater herself, No.2 eats almost ANY DARN THING! 

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and a few latest shots of her:

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I had many more PORTRAITS to share but I don’t want you all to get bored with all the kids stuff, and I need to start the day myself, as the magic word (or two): IN-LAWS!!! is/are circling around our home like a fly… 

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend

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Photo Art Friday on Thursday, and ALL my kids (minus No.4 – the husband)

I’ll try to make this post very short today.
Simply because No.1 just went down for her nap and I am able to become a couch potato for an hour or two.

Starting with my submission for Photo Art Friday:

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because Bath-Time-Fun is not for kids ONLY

Following with some shots or my darlings who drive me crazy lately.

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Finishing with No.3 (I call her My Special Needs Child  – the one with ADHD).
A few week ago she had a professional photo session with Black Newf Photography (click the link for some awesome shots).
This dog is a separate topic I am getting ready to write about (but not yet). I am waiting for the right mood to do so. Believe me or not, it is a hard topic for me to talk about. Not having two very young children but this dog is the main reason I get up at 6:30/7 am every morning. She is the cause of my weight going down. While those two are relatively good things the third one is not -she is the main reason of my new grey hair, a lot of them!

But I don’t want to go that road today…

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Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

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Dance and Play like nothing else matters

So far, I am very lucky when it comes to taking pictures of my kids.

Sometimes No.1 gets tired of it but for the most of the time she is VERY cooperative.

I just need to say: “smile!”

and if there is music playing, well… then I have the perfect situation:

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 Photo Art Friday

I tried to make this picture more “vintage” for Photo Art Friday theme (vintage) but all the textures and things I’ve tried beyond this point looked awful.
  

Taking an advantage of one day without a headache, yesterday I went with the kids to the park and later that day I put together this cute movie (my new hobby – making movies)


Today, I’m back to normal, what means the headache is back and I feel like I want to shoot myself in the head to stop it!

Hope you all are feeling way better than I am!

warm hugs from my corner!

Photo Art Friday, Minimalism NOT and stuff

This is my attempt to this weeks theme for Photo Art Friday: “Minimalist” 

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yes, it is a Facebook comment. One of many of the same or bigger length (longer length, should I say…hmm?). 

It is not from my wall, it’s a shot of my husband’s computer screen. The discussions he gets into turn into an obsessive arguments for most of the time. They are mostly about gay rights, religion, gun control and Obama. When he sees an opportunity to get into an argument with somebody on his Facebook he takes the chance 9.5 times of 10… and then I have to listen all about it… even worse, he makes me read it!!! imagine! 

So, there is NO minimalist here… 

Changing topic. 

If you remember my last week frustration with my computer… well… I got around it (not completely but at lest to the point where it is not driving me completely insane), and have been very busy with making short movies. They suck, but gosh I had so much fun making them. 

They are just a few minutes long so feel free to watch them. 

The first movie I made, it’s the one I was complaining about in last post. My husband says, he has never enjoyed “coffee” as much as while watching this movie :)  

The second one, I think is better, but youtube converted it into a crazy looking movie. 

The last one is from our time at the park from a few days ago. The quality is very bad because youtube changed something. After I uploaded it I got a message that they detected the movie might be to shaky (or something like that) and asked me if I want them to fix it. I clicked yes, and the outcome is horrible. So just in case, NEVER USE THIS OPTION ON YOUTUBE. :)

and just want to let you know, I have started putting together tutorial for taking self-portraits. I thought I will have it done by now but, as usual, life happened…, but in a good way. 

I hope for more “life happened”s  like that, you know :) 

So in this optimistic, not very minimalistic post, I wish you all happy Friday extended to happy Saturday and Sunday… ;)

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A little bit of this and a little bit of that…

… so as my 365 Project came to an end I faced a decision what to do with this blog. Before this project there was a lot of cooking and baking in here but that won’t be the main topic here as I do not cook or bake like crazy anymore. 
From now on it probably will be an every-day-life photography blog with a new recipe now and then, and as you will see in this post, self-portraits are going to appear as well. 

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I plan to participate in Photo Art Friday, that’s for sure. Digital art is not my niche but now when I’m not stressed about 365 Project I have more time to play with my pictures and exercise my imagination. This week theme, for example is: “entrance or exits“, and here is my attempt to it. 

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I know I was saying about preparing some kind of series of post with self-portraits tutoring but as for now I don’t know where to start from and what to consider as important. So as for now I’ll just keep taking them and meantime, free of the stress and pressure of having to take a self-portrait each day, I will write down some advice how to take self-portraits (with examples of an actual picture).

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Good news from this week: I finally received my business cards. I am not very happy with them but they will do for now.

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And I could not write a post without a few shots of my precious NOT angels:

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Many of you know how I used to complain that our No.1 has no interest in playing or sharing with her younger sister. So these days they’re becoming more like partners in crime.

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I’m trying to self-educate these days. Being honest with you: from the day I decided to go pro with the photography business (two months ago) I have learned way more then during the last few years. I do watch online workshops, read tremendous amount of posts about photographing kids and working with families, tips and hints, and I crochet more in order to have more props for newborn sessions. 

Today I had spent my day watching creativeLIVE workshop “Lightroom Mastery with Ben Willmore”. Gosh… my brain is about to explode. This workshop is free if you watch it LIVE… so, all day today I had struggled to remember things and make some notes while handling the kids… Tomorrow is going to be the same, and on Saturday. ugh…. 

ok, last thing… sneak peek from my latest session:

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warm hugs my friends

 

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365 Self-Portrait Project (THE END)

Yes, Yes, Yes! 

This is my last post for the 365 Self Portrait Project. 

It was great. It was good. I had ups and I had downs. 

Since I started it I wrote a few essays about this project for:

World Moms Blog: “(Self)Portrait of a Mother(hood)“, and for BonBon Break.

First post for BonBon Break: “Portraits of a Mother” earned me position of Top 5 posts of 2012 which I am really proud of. 

The second one: “ 365 Self-Portrait Project: a Life – changing Resolution is a great summary of what this project means to me and how it changed me, at some point. 

I do want to say: THANK YOU to all of you who have been coming back each Friday and leaving me all the great and encouraging comments!!! If not for you I am not sure if I would have finished it. 

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! 

Those last pictures I wanted to be more creative, better, more meaningful… at least to present my thoughts more clearly, but then, as many times before, life happened and I was in a rush or it got too dark, or simply I was not in a mood. 

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Simply Us. 

We were trying to take some romantic photographs for my Valentine’s Day ad for the business, and this is the best shot we ended up with. 

I’ll tell you something: It is darn hard to get romantic with two small kids around. This picture was taken while both our kids were screaming they heads off just because they had to stay on the floor ABANDONED (how dare we!!!) for about 10 minutes.  

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365/365

Simply me. 

This project was a bit like getting naked in front of many people. Showing my personal life, day by day, writing about ups and downs, being in my pajamas and without make-up, etc… even though, I have managed to keep most of the drama and all the details of my private life behind the curtains :)

So, naked, but not really :)

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365/366

2012 was a leap year so it was 366 days, that’s why I decided to take one more picture.

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I mean, two last pictures:

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both pictures have latest Bonnie’s texture “Brown Rice Paper” in them. 

The very last picture had one more layer added to it and it’s this picture:

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For all of you who want to: feel free to download it. For the full resolution picture you need to click on it (it must open in a separate window), then click on it again and drag it onto your desktop.  

Once again, thank you all for being here with me and for me! 

Hope to see you around!!! 

Photo Art Friday