Wednesday, July 31, 2013

AOK’s Best Books of Summer Series #1

The first in a series (we hope) of guest posts by Aidan on his favorite reads of the summer.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
For ages: 12-16 (Editor’s note: according to Aidan, even though he’s only 11!)
Score on a scale from 1 –10: 9, or maybe 10 based on what my mom would call “inappropriate humor”

AOK review:
Artemis Fowl is the ultimate book of fantasy, humor, and seriousness combined. It all starts when a teenage criminal genius kidnaps a magical fairy, and tries to offer her back with the ransom of his mother’s return to sanity…… and, of course, a huge sum of fairy gold. But these aren’t your average kind-hearted, grant-you-three-wishes fairies… for Artemis has single-handedly kidnapped a member of the LEPrecon fairy police… and the LEP is ready to do anything to get her back.

This story is full to the brim of a super-smart thirteen-year-old, a gassy dwarf, a sarcastic (but smart) centaur, and a 7’ 8” bodyguard- all involved in a full-blown war that takes place in a large front yard. It’s awesome and it’s a sci-fi/fantasy lover’s dream come true. There are 8 books in the series so far, and I am currently halfway through the fifth book, which includes a tricky little warlock demon. It’s a great choice for a book and if you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ella | Moab Newborn Photographer

It’s good to be back. I took a step back from the blog and even photography at the end of May. The combination of a husband who fights forest fires, and therefore leaves unexpectedly during the summer, and three boys in need of some adventures necessitated scaling back. It’s been lovely, but I admit I’ve missed this space.

I have a few sneak peeks to catch up on, and plan to post more regularly in August. Look from some guest post from those adventure-seeking boys too.

sweet newborn moab utah

Beautiful Ella was a delight to photograph.  Since transitioning from in-hospital newborn shoots to in-home, I’ve discovered what a difference a few days can make. It is still essential to photograph your newborn within the first week or ten days after birth if you want to capture certain womb-like poses. I’d much rather err on the side of too soon than too late. But everyone is happier at home, especially after nursing/feedings have found a rhythm.

mother and child by Deirdre O. Keating

I love beautiful newborns, but what makes my heart come alive are photos that capture the connection between loved ones. I’m so thrilled that Ella will always have this photograph of herself in her mother’s arms.

newborn photography in Moab

Could these girls be any cuter?

moab newborn photographer

Monday, July 15, 2013

Photo+Quote | July Blog Hop

“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

Each month a group of photography friends and I interpret a famous quote through images we have captured. I believe the beauty in James’ beloved phrase, summer afternoon, relies on the luxury of time. This month I sought to capture moments that basked in summer’s wealth of time.

2013 06 11_1316

2013 06 11_1371 reading at the pool

Time to splash and freak your mom out with your fearlessness in water. Time to read and enjoy an apple during a break at the pool.

2013 06 13_1529 aidan drawing

Time to draw and use up all the printer paper your heart desires.

2013 07 12_1860 OCP sprinklers

Time to run in sprinklers.

2013 06 30_1480 mario kart race

Time for epic brotherly races on the Wii.

2013 07 10_1809 sean's last game of 2013

Time for one more baseball game.

2013 07 10_nolie and hawaiian ice

And time to celebrate the end of baseball with the best cool treat of summer.

For a glimpse of how Aidan & Sean celebrated summer five years ago, click here.

Photo+Quote is a monthly series that I’m using to dig deeper into my own archives. On the 15th of every month we are challenged to pair a chosen quote with photographs.You can see how the other photographers in the series interpreted this month’s quote by following the blog hop to Brad Jolly of Mephis, Tennessee.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shallow Depth of Field

I love being part of our Clickin’ Moms Challenge Circle. So much inspiration from fellow photographers all over the country and the slightest push to make me look through the lens in a different way.

This month’s challenge was shallow depth of field. Depth of field refers to the area within your photo that is in focus; whatever is not in focus is outside your depth of field. I LOVE a shallow depth of field (usually referred to as DOF). My quest for some boken was the impetus for my first SLR. I find an image with every thing in focus often falls flat and feels less dimensional. However Aidan will often look at an image I love and say, “Bummer, part of it is blurry.”

Some subjects easily lend themselves to a shallow depth of field. When you want emphasis, especially on something small or subtle, your DOF can provide exactly what you want.

web2012 09 28_1093

Insects and bugs for example.


Flowers and food.

strawberrys SDOF

Of course, as a portrait photographer, my favorite use of a shallow depth of field is in a close up of one person. Here’s Sean at age six.

IMG_sean edit

Duke has taught me a lot about DOF, as dogs provide a particular challenge. It was easy enough when he was a puppy.

Duke web

See how the grass is all blurry, with what is called boken, and yet Duke’s face is in focus? That’s the goal. But then Duke went through his awkward pre-teen age and his whole face stretched out so that I can’t have quite as shallow a depth of field if I want both his eyes and nose in focus.


See how just the end of his face is in focus above.

web duke at 7 months

Here’s a happy medium. Background is still blurred but all his facial features are in focus.

I love using SDOF to emphasis certain facial features, such as Nolie’s outrageous eyelashes in this recent shot.

web2013 06 02_Nolie's eyelashes

The grand prize subject though for shallow depth of field, for me, will always be baby toes. I love a sharp focus on toes while the rest of the baby is blurred.

2013 04 27_101

2013 03 03_111

2013 02 24_113

Some one once told me that you know your boys aren’t babies any more once you no longer want to kiss their toes---because their feet are so stinky.

But newborn toes are like human gumdrops---sweet and innocent.

Please continue through the blog circle to see how other photographers interpreted the challenge, starting with Tabitha Safdi of North Carolina and her post on Shallow Depth of Field.

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