Archive | Family RSS feed for this archive

Time to Paint

I found these Crayola paints at the grocery store one day, they reminded me of the ones my sister and I used to use when we were small.  Actually, I remember a time when Dad was babysitting and my sister Sara ate a pack of these paints.  We have a picture of that somewhere, but I think it’s at Sara’s house.  Anyway…here are some pics of my boys painting and loving it.  They don’t quite understand that you need to clean the brush after every color, after awhile all the colors start to look the same.  So I just run the pack under water and washed it up, ready to use again.

I Love My Sister

While trying to come up with something to blog about today, I was going through old pictures and kept seeing ones of my sister and I.  I’m so glad my dad took so many pictures of us together as we were growing up.  We pretty much always got along growing up; sharing clothes, jewelry and a love of family.  I still remember my mom telling us (quite often) that we should not fight with each other, because some day we may live far apart (like her and her sisters) and not see each other often.  Luckily, my sister and her family live only ten houses down the street from me in the same subdivision.  We talk almost every day and see each other at least twice a week.  I’m so thankful that God saw to bless me with such a wonderful sister, confidant and best friend.  I love you Sara!

Cottage Life

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents rent the same cottage every year in August for a week.  We all go up as one big, extended family (Papa, Oma, Beca, Sara, all the kids and hubbies when they can get out of work) and love each other all week.  My parents have been doing this for seven years now and I love this week.  Every year my boys and I look forward to it.  I tend to take lots of pictures all week, and this year was no exception.  I’ve also realized that my twins like to just wear their underwear all week.  I came home to one whole load of underwear in the laundry, and that’s all.  They swam in them, slept in them and played in them.  Good enough for me.  We spend a lot of time kayaking, a lot of time swimming and a lot of time giving kisses.  And the week would not be complete without watching all the Tiger baseball games!  These are a few of my favorites from the week.

My New Nephew

Wow, I’m finally home after another week long vacation.  I had the best intentions of blogging every morning, but when I got to the cottage we rented, there was no internet connection and no phone service.  So, we’re back and I’m ready to behave; a blog post every morning 🙂  My parents rent a cottage every year.  My boys and I go and my sister and her family go.  We spend the whole week together and it’s always fun and awesome!  This year, my sister was pregnant for their second baby and due on September 1.  No problem, we all thought, she’ll be fine.  But Monday night, my sister came into my room and woke me up, “I think I’m in labor.”  Needless to say, I ended up driving her in to Grand Rapids on Tuesday morning and by 1130am little Henry Paul was born via repeat c-section weighing in at 5 pounds and 18 inches long.  We went up to see him that night and here are a few of the pics I got.  I will be taking his official newborn pics tomorrow after church.  So watch for a post of those soon to come.  We love you Henry!

Kayaking Adventure

Once again I am on vacation for a week, staying at a cottage that my parents rent every year for our entire family.  Every year we spend a week together as a family; my kids and I, my sister and her child and our parents.  Our husbands come out after work a few nights and we all have a wonderful time.  My dad has two kayaks, one is newer and one he bought from someone and it’s got to be at least 30 years old!  This kayak is much bigger and can hold two people easily.  This morning my dad took me out for an early morning ride and I grabbed a few pics.  Unfortunately, I have very limited internet here and no way to edit these shots.  These are straight out-of-camera.  The best part was seeing a mother deer and her two fawns walking through the woods as we coasted by.  What beauty God puts in front of us if we just take the time to look.  I love you Dad for helping me “see” God’s beauty every day and for taking me on these rides every year!

Canvas Wall Art

I love having photos on my walls.  Luckily, I have very high ceilings that allow for lots of wall art and I take lots of pictures, so I always have a lot to choose from.  I have one wall in my living room that I update with new canvas prints or a gallery mount every January after my annual New Year’s Day photo shoot of my boys.  That means that I always have last years’ canvases to find a home for somewhere in the house.  Therefore, my bedroom wall is the dumping ground for old canvas and gallery mounts that move from the living room.  I also love to make up large canvas prints for my living room and kitchen area from photos taken throughout the year, steering away from my kids and using nature.  I’m always asked where I get good canvas prints made.  For my clients, I use a professional lab here in Grand Rapids.  Their work is awesome and I love their product.  But for my personal home canvas prints, I will use Costco or the professional lab.  While the quality of the Costco canvas is not the same as Prolab Express, I feel like the look is just fine for my personal use.  The following are some canvas I have up in my home.  I will follow each pic with the lab I used to print it.  Leave me a comment if you have any questions!  Happy Saturday!

my bathroom canvas.  i need this to remind me daily that God’s compassions are new every morning and His faithfulness is great!  this was done at Costco 20×30

three canvas across top of window, these were done at Prolab Express, Grand Rapids

the boys done at Prolab Express, Grand Rapids.

the boys done at Costco.

my kitchen up above the cabinets, done at Costco 20×30

Digital Scrapbooking

When I got married almost 15 years ago, I received a 12×12 white wedding scrapbook and some tools to work on it.  And so began my love affair with scrapbooking.  I have about 5 books pre-children.  Then, I have about 16 books for my oldest son (who is only 9, what can I say, I tend to take a lot of pics) and the poor twins only have 4 books each.  This year I started to forgo doing a book for each child and am doing family books from here on out.  I figure they can fight over them some day down the road (or should I say their wives will fight over them).  I’m hoping to decrease the fighting by doing all my scrapbooking on my computer, digitally.  I started digital about 4 years ago.  And it was the best decision!  No more unpacking all my supplies all over the kitchen table and then having to clean up.  Everything is on my computer.  I work on my pages at least once a week, more in the winter.  I am only five months behind, which for me is fabulous!  Email me with questions or leave a comment, I love to talk to others about this!  I also teach a Digital Scrapbooking for Beginners class every winter.  Let me know if you’re interested!  Here are a few samples of pages I’ve worked on recently.  Enjoy!

Playing with No Flash

I love my camera.  It’s like another child to me.  I talk to it, sing to it, take it everywhere with me and spend a lot of money on it.  Just like a member of the family.  My current pro camera has no flash.  It has a hot shoe mount, but no flash that pops up.  And I love this.  It forces me to think before pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.  And believe me, it has taken me a long time to be able to do this almost second nature, without looking at the dials, to do it subconsciously, manually.  And let me just say that I am in no way a camera genius, I definitely have a ton to learn about manual shooting and flash.  I’m just hoping everything I write today makes sense, it’s early and I’m still drinking my first cup of coffee as I write.

Last week at the cottage, the boys were sitting on the couch so nicely all together.  And let me tell you, that very rarely happens.  When it does, I like to grab my camera and try to get a shot.  Usually I’ll grab my little point-n-shoot (which I have to tell you I hate) because it is close to hand at home and my big pro camera is usually out of reach.  But last week at the cottage I only brought my pro gear.  As I sat in the chair opposite them, I looked at the light.  Being inside, I automatically change my ISO setting up from 100.  If I’m outdoors, I normally always have my ISO at 100.  To put it in layman’s terms, ISO determines how much noise shows up in your pic.  The lower the ISO number, say 100, the less noise there will be in your shots.  Think back to film days, when I shot film there was a great film made that had a really high ISO.  Somewhere around 2400, I can’t remember the exact number now.  But it would give you a very grainy, almost antique look.  But the higher the number, the slower the shot happens, letting in more light.  You will also get more blur if you don’t have a tripod or if you are moving too much.  Because of this, I like to keep the ISO at 100 if at all possible.  But sometimes I need to change that.  Most receptions I photograph are indoors in a dark reception hall.  I can tell you I normally shoot my receptions at an ISO of 400 or 800.  I’ve even done a few at 1600.  Not all cameras have an ISO feature that goes that high, and you have to watch the graininess of your shots when shooting at high ISOs.  Anyway, sitting in the chair opposite the boys I dialed the ISO up to 400.

I also almost always shoot with a wide open aperture.  My go-to lens is my 85mm fixed focus lens that can be dialed down to an F 1.8 aperture.  I would love to upgrade to the 85mm 1.4, even the 50mm 1.2, but let’s stay in reality here.  The lower the aperture number, the more light being let in.  This took me a long time to understand, it always seemed backward to me.  But 1.8 lets in more light than 5.6.  It also narrows down the focus considerably.  You just have to hold steady and make sure that everything you want in focus is on the same focal plane.  The boys were all sitting next to each other on the same level and therefore, all stayed in focus.  So I kept the aperture at 1.8.  This will also give you a creamy, out-of-focus background.  Camera guru’s call this bokeh.  The lower your aperture setting, the more bokeh you will get.  Another rule of thumb for aperture that I use, if i have one child in the shot, I know I can keep the aperture at 1.8.  If I have a couple, I like to dial it up to 2.2.  If I have a family of five, I’ll move it up to 5.6.  I try to keep the number of people corresponding to the F-stop number.  Not an exact science, but it helps me.

Next, I looked through the view-finder and focused on the boys.  I use my in-camera light metering system.  For my camera, this is great.  I trust the results and they seem to be right on.  I almost always shoot hand-held, very rarely using a tripod.  When hand holding my camera, I never want to be under 1/60 for my shutter speed.  If I can stay around 1/125, I’m happy.  When I’m out in the sun, that number could be all the way up to 1/8000.  The light coming in the slider door to the left of the boys was beautiful and allowed me to set my shutter speed at 1/80.  This was fine, as I was sitting in a chair and could balance the camera on my knees.  (I should have taken a picture of me doing this, I looked like a total professional…yeah.)

Now, the reason I love these shots is because of the lighting here.  There was only one light source, the big slider doors to the left of me.  The light seems to skim across their faces and is very creamy in color.  The tan skin and the brown couch help with that too.  This style is a departure for me, as I normally like a lot of light and get nervous about shadows or dark areas.  I love the depth of these shots and even though they are just candids, I love them.  Wow, that was a long post.  These shots are all straight-out-of-camera with no editing.  All taken at F1.8, 1/80, ISO 400.  Hopefully you made it this far and will enjoy these shots as much as I do.

Millennium Park Fun

Yesterday, my sister and I took our kids to Millennium Park in Grand Rapids.  For those of you that might not live here, there is a man-made lake, a beach area, a splash-pad and picnic areas.  There is no cost to get in, but there is a minimal cost to use the beach and splash-pad.  Adults cost $4 and kids over age 3 are $2.  Total cost for me and my 3 boys was only $10.  The weather was perfect.  Overcast, but warm enough to be in the water.  The lake water was perfect (at least for me, i do not swim unless the water is like my bathtub) and we started there.  The water is so clear and the bottom is pure sand.  The kids loved it!  Then we moved over to the splash-pad.  I stayed on the sidelines, as that water was too cold for me.  But my oldest loved it and my sister’s little girl, who is only 2, had a blast.  I would highly recommend spending a day here if you’ve never been.  It is much busier on weekends and when it is 90 degrees, so keep that in mind.  Have fun!

Here goes…

As most of you know, I earn my living as a photographer.  I love my job and have a real passion for wedding photography in particular.  Most of you also know I love food.  I love to bake, cook, try new things and most of all eat.  I also love to read, watch movies, scrapbook and watch HGTV and the Food Network.  I spend a lot of time with our twin 4-year old boys and our 8 year old.  Sundays are the most important day of the week for me, as I spend them at church in the morning with my family and at my parent’s house afterward for lunch and fun.

Spread the word to friends and family, tell them to check out my new blog.  I will blog about photography, food, family, hobbies and more.  Leave comments and let me know about topics you’d like to see covered.  And check back often as I will hopefully be posting daily.