On Photos, Cameras and Editing

This weekend, I said goodbye to a dear friend, Emma, as she left from a lovely visit to meet Mr. Jameson for the first time. I also said goodbye to my first DSLR camera, the Nikon D40, which I purchased in 2007. I sold it to her, plus the extra battery, and I am currently camera-less.

Of course, we’re not literally camera-less; I am not sure that’s possible anymore, because we still have Brian’s sophisticated point and shoot, plus our camera phones, and our camcorder which can take stills too. So by no means am I really camera-less, but I still feel the loss of the ability to shoot in RAW format. Like forgetting to put on my wedding rings: even though I have my lovely rose ring which goes on my index finger, my ring finger still feels naked and awkward.

Friends tell me I take great photos. I myself think I have a long way to go to be professional, but I can see the growth in my skills since Jameson was born. Like I told Emma, I think that you lose some things (like freedom haha) when you have kids, but you gain in others. Particularly, my Lightroom skills.

I never read the manual, so here I am learning on the fly. I started with the Library screen, the basic adjustments to my photos (Auto-whitebalancing, sorting and rating) and moved to where I am now primarily working in Design mode, I am syncing adjustments across all similar photos to save time (though Brian would say I still spend obscene amounts of time editing photos), and even starting to play around with free presets which can tweak photos in fun ways I may not have thought of.

So last week, I re-processed some of my favorite photos and posted to Flickr last night. Here are a few:

Remember when I talked about how much better the color looked in my recent monthly photos?

Here’s an example of a preset I used which made the photo look aged. I tweaked it to bring out the blues again because the hat is such an important part of the photo.

And there are examples of my improvement with eyes and softening skin to remove Jameson’s dry baby skin. Because baby skin is not always silky soft.

I’m excited continue to enhance my skills with a next level camera. My new friend will arrive on Tuesday from Amazon (of course). It will come with 16 megapixels versus the D40’s 6 for more cropping and blow up fun. It has 11 focus points and faster continuous shooting plus a vibration reduction kit lens for quicker more accurate focusing (especially for the sneaky fast baby Jameson is becoming). It comes with a view screen that flips and rotates for great positional shots in awkward places and self portraits! We’re going to have fun, my new friend the D5100 and I.

Are you curious as to how I chose this particularly camera? Then read on.

Continue Reading


I’m creating a digital scrapbook for Jameson for his first year which I don’t plan on publishing until after his birthday in December. So I’m a little ahead of the game when I started researching where I would publish his photobook. But because I had some specific requirements (square format, lay-flat binding), I wanted to make sure ahead of time that I could create exactly what I wanted.

I have ended up selecting a site called My Photo Creations, in connection with Digilabs who print for real photographers (So I have to think their quality is good). I had to limit my size though to 10×10 instead of 12×12 like I originally planned.

Anyway, this hunt started me on the search for photobook deals. I spent some time on the (confusing) site of Photobookgirl to help me determine where to begin my search for a square, lay-flat binding book and read some of her reviews. My top picks were:

  • Adorama – Best quality! But expensive. Has real photo books.
  • My Photo Creations – which again, seems to be the best compromise for what I want to do, but max size is 10×10
  • Picaboo – Best pricing with groupon that runs pretty regularly, but cheap quality according to reviews.

Anyway, during this hunt I also uncovered a $20 free gift card promotion with My Publisher (Note: you cannot combine special offers). They have these new mini books that they were also running free shipping on — so I received 8 mini books for the cost of tax (no guarantees for how long this promotion will be running). However, I wasn’t impressed with their photo book software which I had some difficulties with before successfully placing my order (pages being duplicated, unclear direction, etc.)

A couple days ago, Brian uncovered another photo creation site from slickdeals.net which I hadn’t heard of called Paper Coterie who are relatively new to the scene. They are running a $40 free promotion until May 8th (just extended). I purchased two spiral bound photo books for the price of shipping and a little extra, since my books were $22 each.

I like this new site because it doesn’t require you to download any software, and they layouts seem pretty flexible. And it was really easy to do a two page spread. I am excited to receive my order, since their facebook page has all kinds of customers raving about their customer service and the quality of the products.

In addition to photo books, they have some really nice looking unique calendars and other products. I’ll post a picture of my book when it arrives!

Continue Reading

A 4 Month Recap

This past week, I realized that I haven’t taken as many photos of Jameson this month as in previous months. It must be because of going back to work, but it made me a little sad because Jameson is so much more active and aware now. I weighed him and he is about 12-1/2 pounds right now. One of the biggest changes this month since he started daycare is his “tummy time”. He will now stay on his tummy for minutes at a time, and his head is way up, about 90 degrees (though not consistently the entire time he’s on his belly). Some of his recent photos demonstrate this, but I love this one from his 4 month photo shoot this weekend.

The second biggest change this past month is the development of his napping schedule. I think I’ve talked about this a couple times already, but okay, it’s still not really a schedule, but at daycare he will sleep 2-3 hours at a time, and at home on the weekends he’ll nap for 30-45 minutes at a time. That may not seem like a big change at home, but he is napping in his crib!

Jameson’s bedtime is also gradually getting earlier. We’re working our way to an 8 o’clock bedtime. A couple weeks before starting back to work, we started him at a real bedtime and routine at 10. Since then we dropped to 9 after daylight savings, and now on most nights it’s 8:30. I’ve been avoiding an earlier bedtime, fearing that he’ll wake up twice at night, but the past two nights he has slept through the entire night (not just the 5-6 hours that doctors consider “through the night”, but a full 8-9 hours) Hopefully the trend continues and it wasn’t just because it was the weekend and he didn’t have as many naps during the day!

His photos on Saturday made him look so big! I put him in shoes, and a white button up onesie which my mom ironed for me last weekend when they were here. It was his “alternative” baptism outfit. He sat there with his little knee upright without my posing. And what a smile, right at me and the camera! He was sitting still enough there’s no blurriness.

Compared with his previous month photos below. I think I’ll have to do a little collage at the end for his 1st birthday party or something.

Can I just point out too, how my photo taking and editing is getting so much better? Look at how yellow the earlier photos are. I’m going to have to go back and re-edit some of those good ones!

In other news, Brian and I left his with Brian’s mom last Monday night while we went to the PACE Awards! Brian’s company didn’t win a trophy, but they did get a plaque, which is wonderful considering they go through thousands of applicants. There were a lot of engineers there, and we saw some great new innovations coming to the auto industry! A couple of my favorites (ie., I could understand what the innovation actually was) were the inflatable seat belt, which is effectively an airbag for the rear seat passenger, coming out on a Ford model. And also the high beam headlights which you don’t need to turn off because they automatically adjust the angles to avoid direct lighting in oncoming traffic, coming in a Mercedes model.

It was fun to get dressed up, and we met with Brian’s client and his wife, some other co-workers who I have met before, and his CEO and his wife. It was wonderful to be able to talk about Jameson (actually having something to talk about).

Jameson did great, and Becky successfully put him to bed without us for the first time. When we left he was giving his grandma all kinds of giggles so I knew he would be fine. He woke up when we got home for a feeding, and slept the rest of the night. The latter half of last week was a little rough on me though for lack of sleep since we got home so late. It was nice to sleep in on Saturday while Brian took Jameson, and I let Brian sleep in on Sunday. This is usually how our weekends go these days, taking turns.

This weekend, Brian has off on Good Friday and will be brewing beer (he says this batch will be a citrus-y IPA); on Saturday we are hopefully going to visit Jameson’s great grandma and more extended family who he hasn’t met yet; and Sunday will be a relaxing day after church for Easter. I am getting two pansy baskets in memory of Brian’s grandpa and my grandma. If it’s nice, I have been thinking about planting lettuce in either a basket over the railing of the porch or in a pot if their roots need more space. I got the idea from a recent Better Homes & Gardens issue. (like this but a little different).

Also, hopefully this week we will finally get to meet little Nicholas; our friends had their baby over a month ago now and due to a series of unfortunate illnesses (us and then them!) we haven’t been able to get together. Hopefully tonight will be the night!

Continue Reading

2 Weeks and Counting

Today Jameson turned 10 weeks old! But I haven’t edited those pictures yet, so I’ll show off from last week’s 2 month photo shoot!

I have just 2 weeks left at home with Jameson and I’m trying to decide what I want to do before I go back to work. Jameson and I have been to the mall and gone on a couple walks. He’s been out to lunch and dinner a couple times now too, and went with me to the eye doctor on Tuesday. I’d love to take him to the outdoor outlet mall near by but that will depend on the weather. He’s also met most of my friends now; Lynne stopped over just yesterday and Matti and Cassie came by earlier last week. That only leaves a couple people who haven’t met him yet. He’s been a very social baby while I’ve been off work! 🙂

So last week Aunt Holly and Grandma stopped by for a quick overnight visit! Jameson was in a much much better mood than during Grandma’s last visit while Brian was gone for work, so that was great!

Also last week on Saturday he visited his future BFF Jonathan, just 3 weeks old. Jonathan was born premature so he’s still wee little like Jameson was. Jameson looks sooo big compared to him. Also a lot more active. Jonathan has a better set of lungs on him though! haha

I took some photos of Jonathan for Lisa and JP’s announcements, which I’m actually pretty proud of. We didn’t have any natural light since we went over in the evening so they are a little indoors-y looking, but we got some great shots even with him being a bit grumpy that evening!

Lisa has some lovely furniture, so when I go back tomorrow to visit Lisa maybe I’ll get a few shots of Jameson looking cute on her couch, plus a few more of Jonathan in some nice natural light. I’ve run out of fun places here at home to take photos of Jameson, haha! Though this week I put him in his monkey hat for a few extra fun photos; I think I got some smiles out of him too so that’ll be cute once I edit them!

A couple people mistook Jonathan for Jameson on fb which was funny. Guess I just take a lot of pictures of Jameson so it’s natural to assume 🙂 But I for one know that Jonathan doesn’t look a thing like Jameson. All babies don’t look alike to me anymore! Speaking of other babies, our friends Carrie and Matt had their new son Nicholas a couple days ago! He’s got a cute nose, he looks exactly like Matt. They live nearby so Jameson has another future BFF now!

Next week on Tuesday we’re taking him to the daycare to visit with the teachers and get details on what he’ll need for his first days. Work is getting more “real” by the day. It’s funny but I think maybe I’m more possessive of Jameson now than I was at first. It’s going to be hard leaving him, so I’m glad Brian will be dropping him off at daycare, at least for a little while until we get a schedule going (Brian has a flexible start time for work).

I just had an extra moment to edit a couple of today’s photos, so here’s a sneak peak!

Continue Reading

One Month Old

Jameson was one month old on Sunday. I can’t believe how quick the time has gone! We went to the doctor yesterday and he got one shot. I was surprised to know how big he has gotten–particularly his head. I knew he had grown in length, because we are starting to use the 0-3 month clothing because he is too long for some of his newborn sleep and plays. But I didn’t guess how big his head had gotten! It grew 1 inch in circumference since his 2 week appointment. He grew just 1/2 inch in length, he is now 20 1/4″ long. And his weight is now 7 lb 3 oz. (Although, we did have a poo at the doctors after the weigh in, so maybe it wasn’t quite that much! haha)

A lot of people are having babies! On facebook today I saw that a friend from college had a 7 lb 11 oz baby.It is hard to imagine that a) a newborn is bigger than my one month old and b) that Jameson at this size now could still be in my belly! Crazy. He is so awake now though that I can’t envision it.

He has recently started spitting up more– and a couple times it has been projectile-like, so the doctor has told us to watch and see if the projectile-like spit up is happening more and if he starts peeing less. Apparently, a fairly common problem with first born males is Pyloric Stenosis and it is a problem with the valve at the bottom of the stomach entering the small intestines. It begins to appear between 3 and 6 weeks, so Jameson is right in that time frame now. The problem requires real surgery to correct, so Brian and I are strongly hoping that he doesn’t have this problem. So far, the bad spit up has only happened a couple times and we hope it was related to what I ate, or the quantity that he is trying to eat.

Otherwise, he is petite, but healthy and gaining weight well! Today, cousin Stacey is coming to visit him and tomorrow we have some more friends stopping by. This past week, he met my friends Cassie and Teresa. Teresa is going to be a pediatrician in just a few months, so I took advantage of her and made her hold him for a couple hours 😉 Cassie brought over a cute pull along toy. Before I know it he’ll be walking and playing with it, I’m sure!

I have finally given myself permission to not take a photo every single day. However, that day hasn’t happened yet. But I have a photo now of every day since he was born up to one month, I think it’s time for a break before Jameson gets camera shy! I did manage to get him on a bookshelf, which, in addition to the naked photos, is the only other thing I wanted from a professional photographer. Success without the cost! They turned out really cute too.

Continue Reading


Just playing the waiting game now! So I will write about other stuff:

We spent Easter at my parents in Centerville, which was very nice. Everyone was home, and (maybe because I can’t let childhood go), I had my mom hide eggs and our baskets still. I love that part of Easter, it’s entertaining, and fun to have Brian do it too haha. My mom started writing poems for clues to hiding places back when we first move to the house on Sentinel Oak (what was that, some 10 years ago now?). Anyway, it is a firmly planted tradition now even though it only started after we were all older.

My brother is spending the fall in Florida doing the Disney program in his major, Industrial Engineering. We are all supremely proud of him, and I am excited he will get to spend some time away from school which I think is a very good thing. Not because he’s not doing well, but because I am a firm believer in studying abroad (or elsewhere in the US as the case may be). It’s awesome to gain new experiences like that.

My lightbox which I was using to photograph my jewelry was taken apart with some of our last showings (as we were starting to get desperate to make our house look big and inviting). Anyway, I have thus not taken any new pictures of jewelry that I’ve created, though I have done a few. The most recent one combines chain, which is a new thing for me. I am going to do another chain one soon that I think will be good enough to sell. I am still enjoying the hobby!

This upcoming weekend I am headed to Columbus for a (mini) reunion with old friends, and to see Jamie’s new house which will surely make me jealous! I am impatient and have noticed this month to be harder than before to try and stay motivated and positive. I am ready for this all to be over. We started packing in the house last weekend (Brian started packing the garage earlier); I put away all the rest of the books and started in the office closet which currently houses all my crafting items. This week I want to finish the office and take things off the walls. I hate wrapping stuff in bubble wrap, so I don’t want to wait til the last minute and get sloppy on those types of items.

I will post pictures of the new place once we are settled! My parents are giving us some furniture of theirs that we aren’t picking up til end of May, so chances are there won’t be pictures until then. They are giving us their old couches, my old day bed (less the mattresses), a gliding chair, elliptical and some other stuff. I am super pumped about it, it will be so nice to have like-new furniture!

Anyway, that is all that’s new on this end. Til next time.

Continue Reading