Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where my heart belongs.....

If you are a regular on Pinterst you have probably seen this little beauty floating around!  It's a peice of art representing your favorite state with a heart placed in the city that is the most meaningful to you!  After staring at it in my "craft" board for several months, I have finally decided to attempt it!! 


I have decided to create the state of Alabama, which is where I grew up.....and my heart will sit on top of the city of Tuscaloosa, which is my college town, and the home of the TIDE.....Here we go....

Step ONE....Grab a peice of wood.....

Step TWO....paint it the color of your choice....I chose various shades of blue.....

Step THREE....sketch out your state with a peice of chalk.  Don't worry, the chalk will wipe off easily!

Step FOUR.....Hammer in nails along the border of your state, just follow your chalk line.....

Step FIVE....Don't forget to hammer in your heart.....

Step SIX....Get a bundle of thread and start stringing it through each nail on the border and each nail in heart!

Well...what do you think??  My heart belongs in Tuscaloosa.....where does yours belong???

To see the parties I'm linking to go HERE!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Photo Friday #5.....

"Finding the Light".....this seems to be the hardest aspect of photography to master.    It should be easy, it should be second nature, I feel like I should know exactly where to place people and where I should stand to shoot.....but I don''s hard.....I haven't quite figured it out.  I have to search for the light....I have to think about which direction the sun is coming from, then figure out how to place my subject.  I have to take a moment and think it through, which is a challenge when trying to photograph a toddler!!

It's so important to master this skill because it affects every part of your photo....The lighting situation will either give you an amazing photo, or a really blah one!  After reading about 1000 articles on the "best way to find the light" here is what I have concluded.....

1.  Place your subject by a window or door on a sunny or partly sunny day....(this one is kinda a given)
2.  If you are shooting a person, watch for the catch lights in their eyes.  A catch light is that pretty sparkly refection you get in the eye when the light hits it perfectly!
3.  To find the catch lights, have your subject stand near a window, then have them rotate slowly in a circle until you see the sparkle.  That's when you know you have "found the light"
5.  If you have an assistant pull out your reflector.  

Keeping these rules in mind I think I have successfully "found the light" in my house!!  

Look at those catch lights!!!!  This photo just makes me smile!  The trick to keeping a toddler still is giving them snacks!!!
ISO 800, 1/160sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

You can even find the catch lights in your pets .... Jules giving Max some love....
ISO 800, 1/125sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

This is Max thinking....."put the camera down already".....
ISO 800, 1/160sec at f/1.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

beautiful natural light.....
ISO 800, 1/30sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

As you can see....I had to bribe with more snacks......But after seeing those eyes it was totally worth it!
ISO 640, 1/250sec at f/2.0, 50mm 1.4 lens

No catch lights here, but beautiful natural light bouncing off of her pretty face!
ISO 800, 1/200sec at f/7.1, 50mm 1.4 lens

Now it's your turn!!  Go open those windows and "find the light"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A little bit of Heaven......

I'll admit it....I have been crushing on neutrals for sometime now.  I can't help it!!  The simple, cozy, elegant look just draws me right in.  From home decor to's all just so enticing!!

This loosely knit blanket is just screaming at me to come cuddle up inside and get cozy with a book.......

Isn't this palate beautiful!!!  I love the accent of pink!!


Just Lovely....It's like a little bit of Heaven!

Love the song lyric project??  I think so!!

Why yes....I think I will have breakfast on this lush, cozy, neutral heaven before me.....

Doesn't this just scream romance!!!! ....or elegant little girl nursery....either way....LOVE!

I love how the pinks are making their way into neutral spaces!  

I wish I had the time to make my bed like this every morning!

Maybe it's the model, maybe it's the photography, maybe it's the outfit...but isn't this absolute neutral beauty!!

If I could find a dress like this I would be purchasing it now!!!


I love sweaters and skirts!!  just my style!

If I were to go back 5 years and have my wedding all over again, I would mimic this photo EXACTLY!!

And how super cute is this!!!  Luckily you can find it on Etsy!!  Get ready Jules...mommy has ANOTHER outfit for you to wear!!!

To see the parties I'm linking to go HERE!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beer Can Chicken

Just because football is over doesn't mean the grilling stops!!  Daddy K pulled out one of our favorite recipes this weekend.....Beer Can Chicken......

Now isn't that a beautiful site.....It's very easy and inexpensive to make....

1 whole chicken
1 bottle of Italian salad dressing
3 Beers of your choice
Seasoning Rub - Salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic, paprika,

1.  Rinse and clean out the chicken
2.  Place chicken in tall container
3. Pour in entire bottle of Italian salad dressing, 1 bottle of beer (we used a belgian white) If that mixture does not cover the entire chicken, mix in water until it is completely submerged.
4.  Place container in fridge for 4-6 hours....the longer the better
5.  Light your charcoal on one side of the grill for indirect cooking
6.  Open a can of beer and start drinking....Only half
7.  Take the chicken out of it's container and rub with the seasonings listed above, then slide the chicken onto the can of beer
8.  Set the chicken on the side of the grill without charcoal
9.  Close the lid on the grill and cook until it reaches 170 or 180 (1-1.2 hours)
10.  Enjoy the remainder of the beer while the chicken is grilling...a little cornhole won't hurt either!!

Happy Grilling!!  I hope you enjoy!!

To see the parties I'm linking to go HERE!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Photo Friday #4.........

Do you want to improve your photographpy??  Of course you do!  Then it's time to suck it up, and have your work critiqued!  If you are like me....a complete photo newbie.....scared to death of someone saying your pictures completely suck.....then feel free to stay inside your comfort zone and start with evaluating your photos yourself.  That's our exercise for today!  You get to watch me critique myself!!  fun huh??

It's very important as a learning photographer to study your pictures.  Figure out what you like about them, and what you don't.  Review the settings.... is the picture too dark, out of focus, is the composition off, was the shutter speed too slow, is the depth of field what you were going for??  The only way to get better is by taking a step back and learning from your mistakes.  Today I have gathered a handful of pictures that have been shot in the last two months.  Some were taken in Auto, others in Manual.  I'm going to examine each one and figure out how next time I could make that type of shot better.....Today's theme.....

All in the Detail.....
Details are what make a memory special.  It's looking beyond playing at the playground or cooking with daddy.  It's taking a minute to identify that one special piece of the puzzle that you never want to forget.... 

Holding on as tight as you can to the playground swing!  I never want to forget those tiny fingers!

ISO 200, 1/200sec at f/3.5, 50mm 1.4 lens
love the shot, love how it's cropped, beautiful bokeh... however, I wish I had focused on her fingers rather than the metal  swing.

Don't you love how toddlers think....Use the crayons to draw??!!  I don't think so!!  It's way more fun to stick them in the spiral binding......

ISO 900, 1/30sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens
love the vibrant colors, love the use of "lines".....I wish the ISO had been lower....I can see a little bit of noise in this picture.  Next time I'll make sure we are closer to a window.

Rise and shine.....

ISO 1100, 1/30sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens
Love the natural pose, Love that you can only see one eye, Love that she is staring right into my lens.....Again, I wish the ISO had been lower....1100 is a bit high!!  

Is the milk good??

ISO 800, 1/125sec at f/1.8, 50mm 1.4 lens
Love the clarity of this picture, love that it is right in the moment!  The white balance is a little off, and if she were turned just slightly the lighting in the picture would have been better.  I'm still learning how to "find the light"......

Like daddy, Like daughter.....

ISO 320, 1/125sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens
Love the BW, love the use of lines, love that I captured that exact moment (toddlers are quick)  This was an afternoon shot, so the light was extremely harsh on both of their faces.  The only way to recover was to post process in a BW.  

Always sit like a lady....

ISO 400, 1/100sec at f/5.0, 50mm 1.4 lens
Love the crop, love the bokeh, and I love the shoes!  :)  White balance and color both look a little off here......One day I will figure out to correctly post process images!!  :)

Can't forget about the baby.....

ISO 450, 1/60sec at f/4.0, 50mm 1.4 lens
love the color, love the bokeh.....I think I should have stepped back a little before snapping.....I tend to be a "lap photographer"  

Always keep your balance.....

ISO 200, 1/1000sec at f/1.4, 50mm 1.4 lens
love the crop, love the lines, love water reflections......again....maybe I should have taken a step back...

One step at a time.....

ISO 800, 1/60sec at f/1.6, 50mm 1.4 lens
Love the action shot, love the snow boots.....I think the shutter speed should have been faster....There is a little too much blur......

Gotta save that first curl.......

ISO 800, 1/80sec at f/4.5, 50mm 1.4 lens
I love how this one image tells a whole story! The first hair cut.... The lighting wasn't great so BW to the rescue!  I think the shutter speed should have been faster (too much blur in the stylists hands)...and does she even have a forehead??!!!  TAKE A STEP BACK FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!  If I take only one thing away from this exercise, it should be that!!

Never leave the baby and bottle behind......

ISO 400, 1/125sec at f/5.6, 50mm 1.4 lens
Again, I love how this image tells a story.  With Jules in the background, you can clearly see she never lets her baby or bottles out of sight!!  Good use of lines, and love composition.....Lighting was pretty harsh, I was trying to go for the "golden light" look....don't think it worked out too well.....

Little mommy.......

ISO 800, 1/60sec at f/4.0, 50mm 1.4 lens
good composition....harsh shadows.....

As Julia hugs her bunny, Great-Granddaddy watches from behind......

ISO 1250, 1/30sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens
Great story told through one shot, great BW...ISO a little high...too much noise in the foreground....

Dress up with Mommy's jeans.....

ISO 800, 1/60sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens
great close up, good composition....white balance and color a little off

So what did you think of my first critique??  Was I hard enough on myself?  I think it was a good starting point.  Maybe next time I'll let you guys critique...

I think our tip for the day is pretty obvious....Study your photos!!  I'm pretty sure all DSLR cameras record your settings....(ISO, fstops, exposure)  If you are using Lightroom to post process....once you import your pictures all of the camera settings are tagged with each picture!!  

I hope you enjoyed the exercise, and I will see you next week!!

....sharing with Sweet Shot Tuesdays and Show off your Shot.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

day of LOVE....... for lots and lots of chocolate.... for ongoing Hugs and Kisses.... for very stylish apparel.... for enjoying the night out....

I hope everyone has a great V-day!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photo Friday #3

HAPPY FRIDAY everyone!!!  Today is a very exciting day!!  Not only do I get to show you a handful of SUPER cute baby pictures, I am also proud to say every one of these were shot in MANUAL mode!!!  That's right!!  I have taken the leap!!!  Thank you Darcy for getting me there so quickly!!!  This was my first attempt at infant photography and I must say I loved every minute of it!!!

Born 4 months early at 1.7 pounds, Zoe Jasmine Hopkins is now 7 months old and a healthy 12 pounds!!

Tiny Love....

ISO 800, 1/250sec at f/1.4, 50mm 1.4 lens 

ISO 500, 1/320sec at f/1.4, 50mm 1.4 lens 

ISO 500, 1/125sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/400sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/80sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/80sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/125sec at f/1.4, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 500, 1/640sec at f/1.4, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/320sec at f/1.4, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/160sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/200sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

ISO 800, 1/200sec at f/2.8, 50mm 1.4 lens

If mom is helping you hold up the baby....Try to avoid giving her double D's...... 

Get ready time I see you, we are pulling out the tutu's.....