Monday, November 26, 2012

A year in review through the eye of my camera

So I've noticed that it seems to be my thing to post to this every couple of years or so. I've certainly enjoyed scrolling back through the old posts to see the state of mind I've been in for the last several years. 

So after years and years and years and years of school/residency, except for a worthy addiction to Final Fantasy XI (yes shocking I know, a closet video game addict!) I really had no time for any hobbies outside of... work... Even now I joke with colleagues that I only know how to get from home to the office and in between but in regards to the general geography of this area I couldn't tell you the difference between being in Bel Air vs the Inner Harbor despite living here for almost 4 years.

And then I made the worst mistake you could ever make... I decided for Christmas a year ago I wanted a DSLR. Because I needed a hobby. And because zomg getting a super awesome expensive fancy camera with detachable lenses would make it easy for me to take awesome pictures that all look like they belong in a magazine right?? (The zomg is in homage to my video gaming days, sorry!)

First of all this is not by any means a cheap hobby. It becomes only a matter of time before you become obsessed with lenses, flashes, bags, memory cards, tripods, off camera flash set up, etc. All of this rapidly adds up, especially when you start drooling over L lenses such as the new 24-70 f2.8 II that comes in at a humble price tag of.... $2300. Oh and lets not forget about the new Macbook I *needed* so I could run Lightroom and Photoshop to edit all the awesome pictures I was taking! Let's just say that in the last year I spent a small fortune on anything photography related... and don't even get me started on the photography classes and workshops I've taken as well.

So have I made progress? I can definitely say yes! I feel very comfortable taking my camera off auto mode into full manual. The technical aspects of photography make sense to me. Raising my shutter speed to decrease motion blur, opening up my aperture to blur out my background, bumping up my ISO to increase my exposure, all of that makes sense. I still need quite a bit of work on my artistic side unfortunately but luckily I have years ahead of me of making my children into test monkeys.

Of course I can't post about the fact that I've finally undertaken a hobby without getting to post any pictures! So here we go...

12/6/2011 Early Christmas present to me comes in the mail, I take it out, set it on auto, whip out the pop up flash and SNAP! Say whhhaaattt?!? Why is my awesome new camera taking blurry out of focus pictures??

 Ok that didn't turn out as expected. Alright lemme google/youtube some tutorials. And now that I'm so awesome we'll even take our family Christmas photos on a tripod with timer and yes, the pop up flash again!

Getting a little better now. Wish my boys didn't always look like they were in pain in my pictures but oh well it'll do, at least I looked good lol.

End of December I found And it took my obsession to a whole new level.
One of my first photos in manual mode. Notice my soft focus, white balance issue, and skin tone issues.

After taking my first Clickinmom class. Better color representation. Evan is in focus, Lucas however was not. Needed to learn that shooting everything at f1.8 is not the way to go.

Lucky for me my sister was preggers and a willing model for me to practice some maternity shots.

A beautiful venue for a baby shower for the above sister

And of course taking pictures of baby!

My brother in law got married (finally) to his beautiful wife
We had family fun

I even got to shoot some senior photos for a friend's son

Enjoying the seasons!

And of course capturing my beautiful family

So despite being time consuming and oh so expensive it has definitely become a worthwhile hobby and one I plan on enjoying for the rest of my life!

Monday, June 01, 2009

In response to Thrifty Decor Chick's Goodwill Party

Thrifty Decor Chick (see her in my blog list to the right) is having a Goodwill Party where she is encouraging readers to showcase their secondhand finds. I have been pretty busy hitting craigslist and garage sales to find my various treasures and so far I think I've done pretty good. Here are just a few of the highlights!

I found a solid wood bookcase/hutch thingie on craigslist for $20. I forgot to take before pictures until after I primed it, but here it is.

After 2 coats of white paint here it is in it's new home in the corner of my living room.

There's a little spot in my master bathroom that I had been searching for some sort of vanity for. Originally I bought one of those plastic storage containers to go in it as pictured here.

However I hated the way it looked inside my bathroom. I found this little green number at a garage sale for $5.

A coat of primer and several layers of white paint later (that green was a pain to cover up) I now have something a little more acceptable for my bathroom.

I'll take pictures later of my parent's room which I almost completely furnished secondhand except for the bedding and TV which I bought on clearance. Not including the bedding I spent $100 total for all the furniture pieces and it looks great! I'll try to get to it in the next few days or so.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If Handy Manny can do it so can I!

So I've been trying to be frugal and save a little money by browsing Craigslist much to Loi's amusement. He makes fun of me for splurging on some items and then going cheap on others. I apparently can never buy him store brand ketchup, he must have Heinz ketchup onry. Anyways, I was actually trying to find a dresser for my parents when I came across a listing for a small writing desk with matching vanity and had to have it immediately. My bedroom set only came with one nightstand, and I never could find a matching nightstand to place on the other side of the bed. So for 4 years I tried out various workarounds and was never quite happy with the end result. This table however would be perfect, and was a steal at $40 for both pieces.

Here's Monster checking out my new find.

Unfortunately the vanity cover was woefully stained.

Well I had watched enough HGTV to know how to fix this dilemma! A screwdriver revealed this mess on the other side.

Apparently whoever was paid to put this thing together got a bonus based on how many staples they could put into the backside. Ok, no problem, I can get them out. However it didn't take too long of digging staples out of the backboard before my carpal tunnel started kicking in.
The next best invention? The ever handy box cutter!
Muahaha that made short work of that pesky nasty seat covering!
Next a quick stop at Joann's netted me a new toy and my new clean seat covering.

Staple guns are awesome! I don't know how I went so long without one. It took me all of maybe 10 minutes to staples on the new cloth, and get the seat reattached. I then took a touch up marker to the table and chair legs and table and seat were practically brand new! And it goes perfect with my bedroom set. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Construction zone ahead!

So we've lived in our new home for approximately 5 days now. I'm excited to tell you that today I found our silverware and the can opener! Now we can really settle in! As promised I am about to show you the "after" pictures. Having a moving company move you is really the most awesome thing ever. However, they don't skimp on the boxes, and a "perk" if you want to call it that is that they will also haul away the packing material. Which means unpacking EVERYTHING. Even if you have absolutely no clue where you want to put it yet. The other downside is that our belongings had to be split up into 2 separate shipments because the first truck ran out of room. (Don't ask...) So while we have a headboard and foot board, we're missing bed rails! I might have the coffee table top, but alas where is the base? Anyways I digress... now on to the good stuff!

A whirlwind of activity in the master bedroom. The problem is, everytime I think I'm done finding room for that last one t-shirt, another bag full of clothes surfaces instead! And don't get me started on how many freaking shoes I have grrrr...

The dining room was pretty simple.

For now I'm thinking this will be Lucas' room. And I thought *I* had too much stuff. Word of advice to future parents. Don't buy it if you think you'll need it, just wait to see if you do. We could have saved a lot of money just buying Lucas empty boxes to play with since that was all he was interested in.

Guest bedroom number 1.... (I don't plan on anybody staying over quite yet lol...)

Guest bedroom number 2....


Basement again. Check out those bookcases I put together! (Loi helped with part of 1, but the rest were all me baby!)

Another picture of the basement. My mother graciously gave us her leather couches since she knew we were going to be short furniture. However, after spending years in her home... they've acquired a certain "odor". Canh chua to be exact if you're of the Vietnamese persuasion. They've been getting a daily Febreeze bath, don't know how well that works on leather though lol.

The formal sitting area up front.

The mess that is our kitchen currently...
The living room. Sadly that TV shown is the only working one we have at the moment as our big screen piece of crap Mitsubishi has died on us. Loi insisted on moving it regardless thinking he could bring it back to life. Instead we have one hell of a paperweight downstairs in the basement... But don't worry. That box in the picture is our new TV stand for the Sony Bravia that should be delivered within the next week. ;)

Slowly but surely we should be able to get our home pieced back together. Let's just call this my mini version of an extreme makeover?