Field Trip Friday: Camp Bayou

Last Friday’s field trip was a half family field trip. It was more of a school thing for the youngers, so dad, baby and the teens stayed home to do other things.

The rest of us headed down to Camp Bayou in Ruskin, Florida for a class on weaving and a class on hut construction. When we got there they split us into two groups — ages 7 and up started with hut construction and ages 6 and down started with weaving. That worked out perfectly for everyone except me who had kids in both groups. I had to keep running back and forth to get pictures of both classes. Aerobics

I stayed with Jesse’s group first as he’s usually a little lot nervous about me leaving him anywhere.

The instructors first showed the children how weaving would work. Once Jesse had a turn, I ran over to check on hut construction. Happily, Jesse stayed with his group.

They were still standing around talking so I ran back to weaving!

After Jesse’s mat was done, we ran back to the hut construction, but it was over. That quick those kids had constructed a hut and then taken it down again! Oh well!! The groups switched and it was John and Sophia’s turn to do weaving and the little guys got to build a hut. First the instructor let them examine a hut that was constructed by the boy scouts for an eagle scout project.

Then it was on to building their own hut!

Once hut construction was complete, Jesse and I (he wouldn’t let me leave him this time) ran over to check on the weavers.

They were doing totally fine on their own so we ran back to make sure we didn’t miss anything at the end of hut construction. Good thing we did. They were just about to take a group picture of the kids in their hut!

I couldn’t help snapping a pic of the moms snapping pics with their phones and cameras. We do all love taking pictures of our kids, don’t we? Pleasure

After deconstruction to ready the activity for the next group, the instructor led them around the grounds. They were pretty interested in the gator trap!

When Jesse and I walked back to weaving, Sophia was running around playing tag while John and a few others finished up. What a great little place and a fun time learning new things!!

DeSoto National Memorial

The whole family drove down to Bradenton yesterday to get baby’s handprint made for our wall collage. When he was done, we headed over to the DeSoto National Memorial.

It was QUITE chilly for Florida, but we thought the location was a hidden treasure.

The kids had a great time climbing around on the rocks. Mom was only a little nervous.

After running about outside for a while, we retreated into the visitors’ center to watch a 20 minute video about Hernando DeSoto. Overall, we found the story to be quite sad for both the natives and the explorers. I’m happy, however, for my children to have a more vivid account of one of the famous explorers than I ever had from school. After an obligatory shot of all the kids at the memorial monument, we headed home to get the kids ready for church today.

New field trip posts coming soon!

I’ve missed blogging. Life is so crazy that I’ve resorted to Facebook updates for some time. I’d much rather write as much as I want and put up as many pictures as I want and then link the blog to FB instead. 🙂 I did such a great job documenting our adventures in New York. Why not Florida, too? Today we’re heading to the DeSoto National Memorial plus having baby’s handprint done. Stay tuned for a photo log coming soon!

A few recent favorites

I really feel like it’s all coming together lately. I’ve had trouble wrapping my brain around natural light and how to manipulate it, but I feel like my photography has grown immensely in the past month since I started the lighting class. Sweet little baby was baptized over the weekend. I took the opportunity to practice some poses I’d seen on Pinterest. Here are a few of my favorites:

100515 (2 of 3)

100515 (3 of 3)

feet and cross

And a couple of extras for fun:

blown out but beautiful

elephant hat

I want to talk more about my plans. Photography is becoming more than just a hobby. It’s becoming a passion. 🙂 I’ll share more in a separate post about my specific plans for going forward. Stay tuned!

Today’s favorites

Sometimes it’s frustrating having to post only one photo on my 365 project. Today I had several that I liked a lot. 🙂 There is the option to upgrade the 365 to an ACE membership and not have a posting restriction, but I’m not ready to do that yet. Perhaps after I’ve completed my first project. (I’m at 82% with over 300 photos posted!)

And, if I get desperate to post extras, I can post them here!

I’m taking an Intro to Natural Light class with clickin moms right now. Today Sophia was my guinea pig. I had her in all different positions around the window in the baby’s nursery. That window is west facing and I was working at around 10 in the morning. The light was still quite bright, though, and she had trouble not squinting.

This shot is my favorite from our session. My only problem with it is that the catchlights are in the pupils. Does that look strange to you? I didn’t notice it until I downloaded. I’ve got to remember to see where those catchlights are before snapping!

Random 091815 wm (1 of 3)

After I fed baby, Sophia and Jesse and I made a quick run to the library. The librarian looked a little surprised when I walked in with my camera around my neck, but she was fine with me taking pictures of the kids looking at books.

I tried to get a good shot of both kids in the book aisle.

Random 091815 wm (2 of 3)

But my favorite (and the shot I ultimately added to my 365) was one of just Jesse pulling a book from the shelf.

Random 091815 wm (1 of 4)

When I got home, I had a message from one of baby Charlie’s godmothers asking for new photos. Of course, I’m not going to pass up a request like that! I had been meaning to take some pictures just for her anyway. She knitted an amazing Noah’s Ark blanket for him and he just happened to have a onesie that matched it perfectly! 🙂

Random 091815 wm (2 of 4)

Random 091815 wm (4 of 4)

Random 091815 wm (3 of 4)

I couldn’t even decide which of those three I liked the best, so I sent her all of them. 😉

Dad was around as an extra hand during the Noah’s Ark shots and he held Charlie when we were done. Couldn’t pass up a sweet Dad and baby shot, could I?

Random 091815 wm (3 of 3)

All in all, a pretty fulfilling photography day!

Self Photography Attempt #1

My husband hates to take pictures. My oldest daughter is great at it and usually doesn’t mind, but it really isn’t her thing, either. The teenage boys? Forget about it! So, if I want my family to remember in years to come that I actually existed, I’ve got to get in front of the camera more! I own a tripod and a remote so there really is no reason not to. Easy peasy, right?

Ummm… I’m finding it a bit more difficult that I originally thought.

A few days ago my husband took most of my children to their first day of homeschool co-op.

1st day of co-op (1 of 1)

Since they were going to the library and homeschool pe after co-op, I had over five hours to myself. Well, sort of. I still had a 6 week old baby home with me so my time wasn’t really my own. But I had small blocks to do with as I would.

During one of these blocks, I got the tripod set up. I discovered the batteries were dead in one of the remote pieces, so I replaced those. Then I started trying to figure out where I should sit with the baby. I got a lot of pictures like this:

slf atmts (2 of 9)

Then I wanted to mimic me in the picture. I wanted to make it easy for when baby woke up. This is where I ran into trouble. I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but the remote only wanted to work if I was standing behind or beside the camera. Whenever I sat down in front of the camera and pointed behind me, it wouldn’t take the shot. It was so frustrating!! Occasionallly it worked. But I never could pinpoint why. I got shots like this:

slf atmts (3 of 9)

During this time, baby was snoozing peacefully in his bassinet.

slf atmts (4 of 9)

I tried a few shots when he woke up before changing his clothes. But again, the remote was inconsistent. 🙁

slf atmts (6 of 9)

And baby got mad…

slf atmts (5 of 9)

At this point, I was frustrated, too, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t even bother to try hiding the remote.

I waited until baby was a little happier and went ahead and changed his clothes. I decided to just hit the trigger as much as possible while I changed him in hopes of getting something.

slf atmts (9 of 9)

slf atmts (7 of 9)

Then he got mad again. But at least he’s in focus, right?

slf atmts (8 of 9)

Here’s my favorite shot:

self portrait attempt bw (1 of 1)

I’m anxious to try again, but now that school has started back my time to practice photography is limited. I’ll do what I can when I can!! I’m taking an Intro to Natural Light class with so that will push me to keep photography in my schedule.

I think I wore baby out with all the getting up and down off the floor trying to figure out what was wrong with the remote. He went sound asleep after we were done. 🙂

chals slng 090415 (1 of 1)

Thanks for stopping by! Posting is hit and miss for now but I’ll post when I can. I’m still keeping up with the 365 project. I’m just not blogging about it. You can find my project at

365 project days 35-39

Day 35

oreo truffles

I have to admit. It was right around day 35 that I started getting lazy about my pictures. Thanksgiving and being sick took a toll that I’m still not completely past. Just so you’re warned. 🙂 This picture is of a new dessert I tried for Thanksgiving — Oreo truffles. The kids loved having these around because I let them snitch a couple throughout the day and there were plenty left the next day. SO. EASY. You literally just mix a package of crushed oreos with softened cream cheese, chill, roll into balls, and dip in melted almond bark. I’ll probably have to make these again for our Christmas party.

Day 36

Thanksgiving Table

Our table on Thanksgiving. The kids did every bit of this while I finished up the dinner. I think they did a great job!

Day 37

Jesse feet

I bought a copy of The Unexpected Everyday from Click It Up a Notch for 50% off on Black Friday. The first assignment was setting a focal point and the suggestion was to use little feet.

Day 38

roll dough

I didn’t feel like baking all 48 rolls on Thanksgiving, so I baked the second half of the dough two days later. Turned out to be a good idea as everyone was thrilled with fresh rolls amidst all the leftovers.

Day 39

Lentil beans

Novella helped me set up a lightbox for this shot. It was one of my most popular so far on 365project!

365 project days 30-34

Rats. I got behind again. I’ve got to carve out a little time in my day just to post my 365 project photo of the day! In my defense, I’ve had a terrible cold for about 2 weeks. Hopefully now that I’m feeling a little more human, I can do better! I won’t inundate you with too many photos in one post. I’ll do about five each time until I catch up.

Day 30

John sleeping with book brighter

Even though I was sick, I forced myself to do a lot of Christmas shopping this day. It was dh’s day off and the big boys had co-op. I dropped them off and had three whole hours to myself! I thought I’d take pictures of shoppers or the stores where I shopped, but I was a little chicken. I did get a couple of shots of the front of the mall, but when it came time to post my picture of the day, I felt like I needed something better. My 9 year old had been trying to catch up with his readings for school and read Robinson Crusoe for so long he fell asleep. Perfect! Dh helped me by holding my cell phone up above me and at an angle with the phone flashlight on. I used my tripod so I could have a shutter speed of 1/2. My ISO was set at 400 and my aperture was 6.3. I really love how it turned out. He is always so diligent about his schoolwork so capturing a shot of him asleep with a book in his hands really captures who he is right now.

Day 31

We Love Daddy 2

Saw this photo idea on Click It Up a Notch and couldn’t resist re-creating it for Kenny’s birthday. I also practiced dramatic lighting while he was blowing out his candles.

Blowing out candles

Day 32

Soph with flowers

It was getting late on day 32 when I realized I didn’t have a picture for the day. (This seems to be a trend! I need to think about it all day not just 5 minutes before I lose light!) I called to the girls and asked them if they wanted to take a quick walk with me. We walked to a pond near our house and I took lots of shots but I knew I didn’t have “the one.” On the way back home, Sophia stopped to look at some flowers and I took a few more shots. The unplanned and unexpected always seem to turn out the best!

Day 33

bird at church

I was so sorry I didn’t have a zoom lens when I saw a giant bird sitting on the edge of the church property. I got as close as I could, but the bird spooked and flew away before I could get a really good shot.

Day 34

Jesse thinking black and white

The kids and I made pumpkin bread for breakfast on this morning. I got a couple of good shots of the mixing bowl with all the spices for the bread lined up in a ring, but I got afraid it would give away too much of the recipe. My mom’s pumpkin bread recipe is a family secret. 😉 So I shared an image I captured of Jesse later in the afternoon while he was playing outside.

365 Project Days 28 and 29

Day 28

hot chocolate

We’ve been pretty cold in Florida the last few days. No, it’s not New York cold. But we’re in Florida. I’m expecting to walk out most days of the year in flip flops and shorts. This has been sweater weather, people! And jackets!! I made the kids hot cocoa during our morning break from school yesterday and snapped a few pics while they enjoyed the treat. Here are a couple others I liked:

John hot chocolate

peach fuzz

Day 29

Novella stage makeup

Wow! The stage makeup was crazy! Novella had a performance at a Novemberfest celebration tonight. It was the first time we’d had to do recital hair and makeup since she switched to the ballet preparatory school. They glued rhinestones under her eyes and painted and glittered her lips. Again. Wow! I was so cold I didn’t even think to get a picture of her whole costume!

365 Project Days 18-27

Day 18

Sophia on the swing 2 lighter smaller

This girl is so photogenic! Here’s another one from that day that I like a lot.

Sophia on the swing smaller

Day 19

Heart shaped rock

Day 20

1st attempt at panning

I was trying a technique called “panning.” I definitely need more practice, but this shot is kind of cool in it’s own way.

Day 21

John legos

OK. I started getting a little desperate for inspiration here. It was almost sunset and I had nothing. We had just dropped Kenny off at the church and John asked me to look at some legos he was playing with. I immediately had him jump out of the car and place them on the fence at church. Thank goodness I had my camera with me!

Day 22

random flower

I read that my DSLR camera has a macro setting. I was trying it out but had trouble because of a breeze that wouldn’t allow my flower to stay still long enough! Therefore I couldn’t focus as closely as I would have liked.

Day 23

Jesse sleeping b&w

There was a specific dramatic lighting technique I was trying to achieve here. It didn’t really work. This was also the day my 50mm camera lens finally came in the mail. (I bought it used off ebay for a deal that was really too good to be true. After it took over 10 days to arrive, I thought I’d lost my money!)

Day 24

Dirty hands

Yep. That 50mm is pretty cool! Here are a couple others I liked from that day:

eating dirt

Jesse said, “Look Mom. Take a picture of me eating dirt.” Thankfully, he didn’t actually eat the dirt.

John with ripped jeans smaller

Day 25

Sophia shadows

Hang on. Just a couple more days and we’ll be caught up. 🙂

Day 26

girls in bandw

After I took pictures of the two girls, I tried the dramatic lighting trick again. I got a little closer, but there were some strange shadows I didn’t like.

Day 27

nov dramatic lighting 2

That’s what I was trying to do! Happy dance!!

Thanks for sticking in there for the massively long post. Going forward, I’m hoping to post at least every other day so I won’t have to post so many at once. Have a great Wednesday tomorrow!