Archive for the ‘photography’ Category



I bought a Nikon SB-600 flash unit for my camera nearly a month ago. I’m loving it. I feel like a free woman now that I can take decent photos in low-light situations. When I say low-light, I mean practically pitch black. Really.

Can I brag about it for a minute? I love this thing. Let me show you how awesome this thing is:

I took these photos at my cousin’s house at midnight. Each photo was taken from the same spot on the couch using the same settings. The above shot was taken without a flash of any kind. So sad.

This shot was taken using my pop-up flash. It’s not horrible, but it looks pretty bad. Right? It’s still really dark.

Now this is what I’m talking about!!! The above image was taken using my new flash pointed at the ceiling with a diffuser cap. WOW. Isn’t it nuts the difference between this and the rest of the photos? I love my new toy, I just have to start working out my arms so I can better handle my giant camera/lens/flash set-up.

Join IS•LY’s New Flicker Group!


Ok, I sort of alluded to it last week, but it’s official now. I started a flickr group called ‘I Still Love Handmade’. Fitting, no? I’ve been thinking a lot about starting one; but mostly since the community building session at Alt. I think it might be a little fun for you to do some showing and telling. It may end up being a time suck for just me, because I just love to see what you’ve been up to.

{click on the image above to join the flickr group}

In celebration of the new flickr group, I’m hosting a little competition this month!

Whoever wins the best flickr group photo for the month of February will get all sorts of cool prizes. I haven’t picked out the prizes, but rest assured there will be a hand-bound book, some calligraphy and other goodies in there. You’re going to like it. PROMISE. So please, join my little group and show off what you’ve made! It can be anything! A drawing, a refashioned shirt, the awesome dinner you made last night, you get the idea! Please post a picture or 12, just as long as it’s made by you, photographed by you and very PG.

I really hope you’ll participate. I’ll keep you posted as I figure out what exactly will go to the winner.

This contest ends February 28 at 11:59pm MST. Winners will NOT be chosen randomly. 3 judges (me & two other guest judges) will vote on a winner. Judges’ entries are not considered part of the contest. Multiple entries are encouraged. You must have a flickr account and entries MUST be added to the flickr group pool to be entered. Am I forgetting anything? Sheesh. Comment or email if you have questions.

Good Luck!

Art Weekend Recap


Bookbinding Class 1

Here we all are having a serious moment. Andy (middle) taught the silkscreening classes which I so stupidly missed. He’s really cool.

Being able to participate in Nicole’s Art weekend was so much fun! The last bookbinding class I taught was nearly a year ago, so it was great to get back into sharing the addiction. In two classes we bound nearly 30 books! I was so impressed with how well all everyone did. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of a single one of their books. Oops.

Bookbinding Class 2

Alma's Lovely Ditties

Alma, one of cool art weekend teachers (and one of my dear friends) gave me a super rad flower brooch. She teaches fabulous illustrator classes, designs beautiful repeat patterns and sews these fabulous felt pins (among other things). Check out her etsy shop here. Her husband taught the photoshop & workflow classes (which I heard were great) and their baby. Oh. Their baby taught the how to melt everyone’s heart class. He’s very cute. very.

Tabletop Photography

I had the pleasure to Audit Nicole Hill Gerulat’s Tabletop photography class. I learned all sorts of cool tips and tricks to get better photos. Nicole convinced me that I need to start shooting manual and focusing manual. I learned a lot more about photography that way.

Tabletop Photography 1

We were in such a dark room for this, but look at how the coke can was lit! Nicole is very impressive with her lighting abilities. She’s also very nice and one of my favorite photographers. You should take her classes.

Tabletop photography 3

These photos I took with my lensbaby because my regular zoom lens is an embarrassing piece of j-u-n-k that stopped focusing that afternoon. Now I’m getting a new zoom lens, can’t wait to get it in the mail!

Tabletop Photography 2

I had a great weekend, it was so packed with creative time I just crashed on Sunday. I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep. It was a pleasure to meet and hang out with everyone at art weekend. I surely hope it’s not my last!

8 pounds of camera gear is always worth it


Last Friday as I was wrapping things up at work, Chris and I decided that our Friday night plans would be best spent camping. The only problem was we have NO gear. Chris picked me up with a long checklist of must-have items and we set off for the cheapest outdoor gear store we could find.

Mirror Lake

Luckily, the first place we went to was the perfect place. Seriously. Besides backpacks (which we already had) we got completely outfitted for our hike-in camping adventure for under $190. We lucked out with an awesome sales associate who found us a $40 tent. Yup. Awesome.

We left a little late, which meant our hiking and set-up was all done in the dark, but it worked out really well. Chris managed to pack all of our gear and I managed to pack Penelope (nearly 30lbs) and my camera gear. I had a little argument in my head whether or not it would be worth it to take my camera and tripod and luckily the smarter part of my brain won out. Just before we went off to bed I took out my gear and looked for just the right shot. It was a beautiful night. As I was setting up the moon had just come out and the skinny tree branches of the trees created sweet silhouettes against the glowing sky. Seriously it was beautiful.


I’m so happy that this photo (above) worked out so well. It made packing the camera SO worth it. That night Penelope and I snuggled inside a mummy bag just big enough for the two of us. High-quality Z’s weren’t the name of the game, but I sure had fun snuggling with the Nels.

Exploring the countryside was so fun, this area was incredible. We’ll be doing this again. Definitely. Read more about our adventure on Whrrl.

Click here for the story.

Welcome to the Family


my new lensbaby

You need a mama? I’ll be yours indeed.

One of the many highlights of the BlogHer trip was hanging out in the Shutter Sisters Suite. The Shutter Sisters were sponsored by Lensbaby and Aurora, which—in a genius bit of marketing—let masses of bloggers test their products at the convention.

Aurora is a photo-editing program with a simple and sleek user interface aimed at matching your images to what you saw as you snapped the shutter.  Aurora’s feature-set sidesteps Photoshop by ignoring the fancier—and sometimes horrific—editing techniques that Photoshop users tend to abuse. Instead, the focus is on fixing common problems like saturation, color balance and exposure that tend to plague the entire photoshoot.  In addition to fixing photos, Aurora connects with websites like Facebook and Picasa to make uploading and sharing your photos a one application process. You can even edit the photos you’ve already uploaded! I’m anxious to get my hands on a copy to reduce my time in Photoshop and hopefully process all of my photos instead of just those destined for public consumption.  They’re only charging $20, so it’s a slam dunk.

Lensbaby stands for crazy lenses and crazier photos.  It’s Aurora’s doppleganger, kicking dirt at realism with the same impressionist attitude that makes old Holgas, Dianas and pinhole cameras so intriguing. These lenses have pivot points!

I’ve drooled over the concept since I first saw it on Shutter Sisters, so I leapt at the chance to test drive one of the ‘babies.  Image fidelity is not on the menu. The results are as distorted, fringed, and horribly out of focus as you want to make them. They’ve got three untamed lenses, all of which are customizable with optical inserts; there’s a standard glass lens, a plastic version for Dianaesque effects, and a pinhole insert.  Other accessories include telephoto, macro, wide- and super-wide-angle attachments. My personal favorite is the super-wide.

lensbaby 1

This image was done with the super wide attachment and plastic optic (check out the fringe!).

lensbaby 2

Lensbaby straight up. Double plated glass and no lens attachments.

lensbaby 3

Double plated glass optic and macro +4 and +10 filters on. This bug was about 1 cm long in real life! The macro would be perfect for capturing wedding ring details.

dsc_0467I can’t remember what accessories I had on for this photo, but I think it was just the plain old lens. This was taken right outside the Sheraton along the river.

Star LensbabyAnd then there are the novelty heart- and star-shaped aperture packages. Nice.

I’m a sucker for camera equipment, especially when I get to try it out for free. I went on two Lensbaby test-walks and called my husband Chris to see if it was ok to buy one.  He wasn’t too hot on dropping $270 on an impulse buy, which I can’t really fault considering how unemployed our family is right now. Like a good blogger, I entered to win a free one instead and kept my fingers crossed. I must have crossed them extra hard or cashed in some Karma Chips from my saintly elementary school days. Penelope was napping, Chris was looking for jobs online and I was checking my email on his iPhone when I found out that lightning had struck again!  I started squealing and shaking violently until Chris turned around and asked what had happened. He was overjoyed as well, if only because he might have saved some cash on my Christmas present.

I actually won the single piece of camera equipment that I was in the process of coveting. My only comparable experience so far in 24 years is—ironically—winning the BlogHer tickets from Whrrl! and Social Luxe Lounge. Blogging has been good to me. Time to go play with the ‘baby.

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