Spring Nesting!

At school one day my son became very excited to show me something. We were outside the building and he told me it was something he made. I was confused. Then he led me to a tree and showed me a re-purposed citrus mesh bag filled with yarn scraps. He explained that it was for birds to use for their nests and said he really liked doing something nice to help the birds. Isn’t he sweet?

Crocheting was a new hobby for me then and I figured that would be a great way to put the short yarn ends to use, but sometimes my intentions are better than my follow through. Please tell me you can relate. 🙂

Then I found this adorable Etsy listing that reminded me that my boys and I want to help our little bird friends find nesting materials and beautify our neighborhood bird nests, but we never actually hung one in our yard.

After wooing a friend into the addicting world of crochet, this idea came up again and I shared that cute little Etsy listing I had pinned as a reminder. If I hadn’t done that this would still just be another one of those great ideas I found and saved on Pinterest. {sigh}

Instead, she gave me this suet cage as a thoughtful Christmas crochet-buddy gift!

So now that spring is officially here it seems a little like I should have more scraps saved than this. Dare I say I have been a crochet slacker?

If you would like to do this too just make sure your ends are between 4 and 8 inches long.

Sarah from Repeat Crafter Me made a variation on this too. It looks like she does a LOT more crocheting than me! Ha! I love her patterns and have made several of them, but WOW! I can’t even imagine how she gets that much crocheting finished. Plus she is creating the patterns! That is talent. Check out her yarn scrap recycling post here.

Happy Spring!

Garden Fresh

A Photography Lighting Study Using Window Light

Window Light Photography ComparisonUsing window light and some low cost light modifiers is an easy way for you to explore and craft lighting for a table top still life set up. If you don’t have lighting equipment you can do this! Experiment and you will be able to dramatically change the look of your photos. This exercise is great for anyone who wants to refine their lighting skills. It gives you ideas, confidence and experience to work anywhere. Let’s look at some easy and surprisingly dramatic differences made by modifying light with simple changes.

For my example this tomato caught my eye weeks ago. Today I discovered it was the first to ripen in my garden! The shape of it was interesting to me and I felt that showing just part of it emphasized what I found to be unique about it. I also wanted to evoke the thoughts, feelings and maybe flavors of tomatoes fresh from the garden. It seemed that placing a freshly washed tomato on a cutting board with knife would encourage the viewer think about cutting and tasting it. The green leaves added a complementary color to scene (green and red) while reinforcing the “fresh from the garden” idea.

The behind the scenes photo shows you how to set up the shot. Note the camera is on a tripod to make composing precise and it gives you the ability to take the same photo with slight adjustments to see the difference. Also the scene may seem bright to your eyes, but to a camera using a small aperture/ high f number (for maintaining focus throughout the scene) it will need a shutter speed longer than can be hand held. If you also use a remote trigger or your camera’s self timer it will free your hands to hold a light reflector. For any photo labeled “mirror camera left,” I stood next to my scene to the right of the camera and used a small mirror to reflect light onto the tomato then pressed my remote to take the photo.

Behind the scenes window light experimentationThe black foam board behind the subject helps you control how or where the light enters the scene. It allows the light to wrap around the subject with side and backlighting. For comparison you can see how the light affects the scene without it. Also as you can see without reflecting light back into the front of the scene the subject becomes dark.

Take some time to look at the differences in these photos, but more importantly do this yourself! You will learn the most that way. Find a window with bright light that doesn’t directly shine through the window. Choose a subject and start experimenting and learning. I’d love it if you tell me what you notice from your experiences in the comments below.

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Ready to Ride?

Batteries charged, lenses clean, media cards empty and I have a parking permit with my official “Photographer” vest. I even picked up a poncho because we are expecting A LOT of rain.

My gear is ready. Am I?

The Ride for Roswell is a bicycling event fundraiser to benefit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  Around Buffalo, NY we are quite familiar with this institution. If you aren’t familiar, it was “Founded in 1898 as the nation’s first cancer center, Roswell Park set the standard for today’s multidisciplinary approach to the highest quality cancer care.” It is the 20th annual Ride for Roswell benefit this year. It is also the first time I will participate beyond pledging to Riders. I will be a volunteer photographer.

After participating and volunteering in other cause-related fundraising events, I know they are emotionally charged. Some people are celebrating triumphs, others are working through struggles and some are remembering and honoring their losses. Many stories and tears are shared. As a sensitive person who has lost an incredible person in my life to cancer, I’m not sure I will have the strength to handle the emotional roller coaster throughout the day. I also imagine the intensity will be super-charged because it is a milestone anniversary year for the Ride for Roswell.

As I write this, the memories of pain, courage, strength, battle and defeat in the face of cancer are overwhelming me emotionally…

It seems I’ll need to pack some tissues in my camera bag too. I am determined to get out there to do my small part to support others with the hope that the story of their battle ends with triumph!