Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

White Balance Lens Cap Review


I’ve got some exciting stuff to share with you soon: A ginormous giveaway & the big reveal of Penelope’s & Felix’s room. Their room is coming along quite nicely (well, that is if Penelope will ever stop destroying it long enough for me to clean it up & take pics of it). I’m also excited to share with you my new toy: White BAlens Lens Cap. This (besides my wireless remote), might be my favorite camera gadget so far.

I took 5 minutes to find this white balance in Kelvin. BAlens did it in 10 seconds.

I’ve never been happy with the white balance presets that any of my Nikons have had to offer & the auto can get so frustrating when in mid-shoot you have different color corrections. It’s especially annoying when batching photos to find the colors all over the map! Seriously, I’ve spent hours editing poorly exposed/balanced photos before. It’s misery.

Almost exactly two years ago I took Nicole’s table top class, where she emphasized heavily on shooting in manual & mentioned manual white balance. Since then, I’ve gone completely manual when shooting and I’ve been using my Kelvin setting for white balance. I’ve been using that for the last 1+ years and it’s MUCH more consistent than relying on presets. I’m sort of getting the hang of it, but I’m nowhere near consistent enough; especially when in dark situations with multiple light sources.

I forgot to adjust my white balance from earlier in the day. BAlens fixed that.

 This little lens cap has seriously solved all of my problems. Not kidding. You can see a huge difference in these photos, right? I sure do. No matter what, the BAlens is going to be consistent. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Unlike a greycard. It’s also pretty seamless to use this while capturing fleeting moments.

The lens cap is always with you – as long as you have your lens that you bought the cap for, at least . You just turn on your camera, follow your white balance preset instructions & take a picture with your cap on. Then you take the cap off & shoot away. It’s genius.

This is close, but still too orange/red.

I love that I don’t have to worry or guess anymore to find the correct color balance in low/artificial light settings. No matter the light source, this thing helps my camera properly adjust for the lighting & gives me perfect skin tones every time. That’s huge. I hate it when my pictures make me look like Snooky.

Since using the BAlens cap, I’ve cut down on  my photoshop time by 90%. No joke. SO worth the $45-65 price. This is the least amount of time I’ve spent in photoshop since I started blogging. I have better things to do with my time – like nap with my kids. Or actually do the laundry. What’s your favorite photography gadget?

BAlens provided by Photojojo – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

This Weekend


We had a great weekend! What did we do? I don’t know – lots & lots of cuddling with the kids. I got some adorable pictures of Felix & Chris, I have to share with you. Chris just loves to play with Felix (and Penelope!), and there’s nothing sweeter than to watch him be completely silly with them.

I was playing around with my white balance settings & showing him photos every once in a while. After I showed him the first set of pics, he said something about being bald & went back to playing with Felix. This time, he was singing a song – a song that he made up. Eu sou careca – I am bald. He’s hilarious.

Little did he know, I was capturing his goofy moment on video. HA! That’s the best part about having a DSLR with vid capabilities! He thought I was slowly framing my image, but I was recording every bit of that funny song of his.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve shared pictures & info on baby Felix, I thought I’d share a few stats with you. He’s a chunk-monster! AKA the Feli-monster. He’s 20lbs (95th percentile), 28 inches long (off the charts for his age) & his head. . . oh his head is WAAAAAAAY off the charts. He’s got the average size head of an 18 month old, which explains his difficulty sitting up. He still hasn’t reached that mile marker yet. It’s getting a bit frustrating that he still wobbles in his high-chair, but he’s getting there and I’m more than happy for him to take his time. I’m just glad he’s not like my younger sister was and walking at 7 1/2 months.

Also, this video makes my heart melt. I still need to remember to shoot horizontally when I’m in video mode, but you get the idea. He just lights up whenever I talk to him. Do you see that cute gaping smile at the end? He’s got me wrapped around his tiny little finger.

I’m Back!


The kiddos & I are back from our week with the grandparents. I’m feeling refreshed, Penelope is feeling pooped and Felix is feeling rather accomplished.

My brother-in-law just got back from a two year stint in Honduras, so most of us Esplins were in Phoenix to celebrate his safe return home. Chris couldn’t get time off work, so he held down the fort & let me galavant off to Phoenix on my own. Chris’s sister, Shelley, flew with the kiddos & me out to Phoenix, which was HUGE. It was the first time I’ve flown with two kiddos & everything went surprisingly well. I didn’t have a companion on the flight home, but we fared remarkably well considering our flight came in at 11pm.

While we were in Phoenix, we went swimming, killed a scorpion, went shopping, watched movies, ate lunch with friends, watched bob’s burgers and helped organize my youngest sister-in-law’s bedroom. Felix spent most of his time in the arms of an aunt, uncle or grandparent and Penelope spent most of her time bossing around Molly the dog. It was perfect.

We got back to a clean house (which we have now destroyed, sorry Chris!) and my new camera! I’ve spent most of the morning playing around & reading the instruction manual. Seriously, I suggest EVERYONE should read their camera’s instruction manual. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, just learn all of its ins & outs. You’ll take much better photos once you do. Promise. I’m about 90 pages into the manual & have about 210 to go, but I feel like I’ve improved immensely since I started reading. I’ll definitely be reading it through a few times.

With all of my enthusiasm, I took this opportunity to shoot some pictures of the nearly 5 month old Felix. He’s getting so big & animated now, I just love it. During our vacation, he discovered his hands & started rolling over! It’s so exciting! Now I need to teach him to hold up that behemoth head of his.

DIY Photography Backdrop


I’ve had a few people ask me where my photography backdrop is in relation to our house. Well, it’s in my little studio room. I got the idea when I realized I had a TON of curtains & curtain rods hanging around from our old place. I thought a great way to clean up the look of my non-maternity maternity shots would be to add a curtain over the closet doors. Then I added another curtain to the floor to cover up the ugly carpet. I’ve been using this system for a while now, but now I’m wanting an even cleaner look.


I totally get washed out in white. PLUS a white backdrop is harder to expose for & get correct white balance for. I’m still a major rookie at the photography thing. In the back of my mind I’ve been thinking a middle-grey curtain would be so much better to shoot. Yesterday it clicked. I thought I’d go to Home Fabrics, a place that my friend had told me that offers discount home & upholstery fabrics, and see what they had. Despite their lack of grey fabrics (they mostly have tan & burgundy) I was able to find some printed grey cotton for $5 a yard. It was originally $10 a yard.


I needed cloth that was 57 inches wide – which just so happen to be the exact width of this fabric! All I had to do was hem the two ends & I was ready to rock & roll. Did you know that if you rip fabric, it’ll rip in a straight line, exactly perpendicular to the selvage? That’s how I was able to get an even hem on both ends. Making this back drop took about 15 minutes & $22.


I slide the fabric to the edge of the curtain rod & use bulldog clips to secure the extra off the ground when not in use. It’s a pretty slick system. Much better & cleaner than my last method.


Backdrops are so yearbook/1990, but I love that I can focus on taking pictures of me & the kiddies without worrying about the background/ugly carpet/styling. What do you think? So, if you take outfit pictures or kiddie pictures, what kind(s) of backdrops do you use?

Felix, Month Two


It’s nuts that it was just 2 months ago Felix came into this world! The time has flown by, but it feels like he’s been part of our family forever. Do you ever get that way with friends or new family members?


Felix is a dream baby, I’m very fortunate that he’s been so easy. All he does is eat, sleep & suck on his pacifier.

undefinedFattening him up is coming along quite nicely. Look at those side rolls!! I love chubby babies.
undefinedundefinedundefined This is quite possibly my favorite photo that I’ve taken of him so far. It’s like he’s shouting for joy, “I’ve made it to two months!”

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