Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It’s not our usual Focus on Photos post…but we couldn’t let a fabulous photography opportunity pass by without giving you a few ideas to try!
We had a spontaneous block party in my neighborhood the other night and I decided to pull out the leftover fireworks from last July 4th. It was mostly sparklers and smaller fireworks of the ground-spinning variety, but there were plenty of kids of all ages on hand to enjoy them! Best of all – I was able to walk around the festivities trying my hand at fireworks photography!
For me this little “experiment” wasn’t about photographing the kids, but the fireworks themselves. It’s so rare for me to have a chance to try out something like this that I consciously decided that I wanted to play with photographing the light and not the kids. You’ll want to have an idea of what you wish to capture before you get started, too.
My objective: Use slow shutter speeds to capture the movement of light from the fireworks!
- Gather your equipment: tripod & camera.
- Lighting…you’ll want to encourage everyone to hold out for it to be as dark as possible before the festivities begin. I took some photos around dusk, but my favorites were from later in the evening when it was nearly dark. In my neighborhood I also had to deal with utility light poles, so I set up in the darkest part of the cul-de-sac with my tripod.
- Initial settings: set your ISO to 100, your aperture to f6, and set shutter speed to 1/100.
- Set your camera to single shot mode (not continuous). Later you’ll try some photos with much slower shutter speeds and single shot is all you need!
Before you start asking subjects to pose for you (trust me, they get sick of it!)…take several practice shots to see what your exposure looks like. This is where chimping, a photography term that means looking at your LCD display to see how your photos look as you take them, is a perfect solution! Find a slow moving kid with a sparkler or a spot where ground firework will be lit, and get ready to focus! as soon as you see the lighting, focus on the firework and then start shooting away. Take a few, then view them through the LCD to see if you like the results. You need to use your tripod (or prop the camera on some other stable resting place) to ensure that you don’t interrupt the light patterns with shake or motion introduced by the camera. Here are some of the very first shots I took that night:
Notice the difference in these two photos! they were only taken two minutes apart, yet the results are significantly different. The photo on the left was taken first, with a relatively fast shutter speed. The sparks from the sparklers only had time to create very short trails of light. Compare this one to the photo on the right, with the significantly longer light trails! But because I decreased the ISO and slowed the shutter speed, more of the background content is illuminated. Once I had these sample photos, I just kept on playing, changing one item at a time to see what yielded the best results!
For me, I decided that I liked the stark contrast of the brilliant light and the very dark – even black – background. So I closed up the aperture (higher f-number) and kept the ISO very low. Even with shutter speed of half a second, none of the ambient streetlight was picked up in my images at these higher f-stops!
I tried two different lenses, an 85mm and a 30mm, and my favorite results were with the 85mm. You might want to play with this yourself, but if you have it, I recommend starting out with a 50mm for your photo session!
Play with shutter speed
A “fast” shutter speed (around 1/100 is about as fast as you can go in such low light, but depends on your distance from the fireworks)…will create an effect that seems to “freeze” the firework. The resulting photo is very similar to what you see with your naked eye. I was able to take some shots at 1/100 without using my tripod, which let me interact with the kids and the fireworks up close.
a slow shutter speed (I did half a second (.5), but you can go even slower!!) will result in some really incredible light captures that you’d never see with your naked eye. You will want to use your tripod for these slower shutter speeds.
So after a bit of trial and error (through a totally fun process!) – I got these two shots, my favorites from the night (both at ISO100, f9, .5 sec)…
This above photo was of a traditional sparkler, the kind that emits tiny sparks around all sides as it burns down. This type of sparkler was best photographed head-on, and in this case my “neighborhood assistant” was directly facing me making tiny circular motions with the tip pointed towards me.
The above photo was also a sparkler, but a different type that shot sparks out the front tip. It produced awesome trails of light and this shot was taken from the side with the sparkler pointed to the left.
This was my first time ever getting out there trying my hand at fireworks photography and I really loved my session! In total, I spent about 30-40 minutes photographing and managed to capture at least 20 in-focus photos that are beautiful illustrations of moving light!
I hope this has inspired you to set up your very own mini photo shoot this July 4th holiday!
Join us here again tomorrow, for an all-new template challenge :o)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
:::post by Lu and Shabby Princess:::
(please note…this post has lots of images…so might take a bit to load)
Hi everyone, it’s Lu here with this week’s Product Spotlight! Can I just please tell you how excited I am to feature Summer Cottage?? And, best of all, it’s on SALE for only $5.21 this week!
I can think of oodles of great uses for this kit, especially as we (here in the States) consider our plans for the 4th of July next week. I’m just thinkin’ out loud, but for starters, I think this kit is perfect for:
barbecues (okay, duh)
beach shots (duh again)
trips to National Monuments (I’m a history buff, so this would appeal to me)
low country boils (a fun alternative to bar-b-que on the 4th of July. And no, that’s not sacrilegious)
holidays, as I mentoned the 4th of July, but also Memorial Day, Flag Day, Labor Day (and this is just American holidays~ I know there are many others)
But hey, why don’t I just show you instead of tell you about its great uses! Here is my layout with the kit (click on the layout to see full credits):
Isn’t this a beautiful kit? I just love the rich brown, soft contrasting blue, yellow & green, and the vibrant pop of red! And SP has just released an adorable add-on to this kit, I can’t wait for ya’ll to see it up close (see below)!
Well, that’s it for me today…Hurry on over to the Shoppe, so you can be prepared to scrap those 4th of July photos next week! And remember, you can pick up Summer Cottage for $5.21 this week only. Happy Scrappin’, ya’ll!
NOW…here’s Shabby Princess with her part of today’s post…
hey all! SP here :o) I am super excited to show you two new products that we have just added to the Shoppe! How about I show you first…then talk about them and share some fabulous inpsiration?!
:::THEY ARE ON SALE FOR 25% OFF THIS WEEK ONLY:::
So, we have a wonderful ADDITION for the SUMMER COTTAGE collection! If you want to extend the ‘life’ of the kit…this is perfect! It is full of really fun summer and patriotic graphics (I teamed up with the fabulous Jennie Baer again), wordart and embellishments! Everything is perfectly coordinated to go with the Summer Cottage collection and includes digital rubons and digital stickers of stars, swirls, lanterns, bbq stuff and more! Soooo cute and fun :o) And, our other new product is a new concept for us! I have been wanting to do something like this for a while…and finally just took the time to do it :o) So, I introduce our WORD WHIMSY line of clustered titles! This collection is all about FAMILY with words like brother(s), sister(s), mom, dad, grandfather, grandmother, family and together. I can’t tell you how much fun I had putting these together AND scrapping with them! They add so much to a page and are full of detail and lots of little bits and pieces! Each was designed to coordinate with a specific kit…OR…of course you can mix and match! So, let’s get on to some inspiration :o) Oh, keep in mind that both of these are on sale for 25% off this week only (sale ends Monday, July 5th)…
:::most of these layouts feature both the Summer Cottage kit and the new Summer Cottage Seasonal Additions:::
(visit the Shoppe’s GALLERY to see full size images of these layouts along with credits)
and, now…here is some inspiration for our family WORD WHIMSY! I thought it would be fun to show you a couple of before/afters so you can see how much detail and interest these titles add..with very little effort :o) The before/afters are the exact same layout – only difference – one has the word whimsy and the other doesn’t…
and, more inspiration from the team (again, please visit the gallery to see larger images and credits)…
Whew! Now that is A LOT of inspiration lol! I hope you loved peeking at this layouts as much as I did! You can find more details (and lots more images/previews) about the new products on their product pages in the Shoppe :o) I’m also happy to say that we will be releasing a brand new KIT soon, too…and it is truly my favortie kit ever :o)
Alright – I think that’s enough for one day, he he! Come back tomorrow for another fun post…by Lu and/or Beckie…or better yet, BOTH lolol! Have a great day :o)
Product Spotlight, Shoppe News, Uncategorized
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Hey guys :o) This is just a quick post to share our new (and free) JULY desktop with you! I hope you like it – I really enjoyed combining a few kits (mostly Summer Cottage, but also An Affair to Remember and Sweetie Pie), but staying within the same color palette! As always, the text (except for the calendar dates and the july title) is on my example only – yours will be blank :o) That way – you can add your own names/sayings/message/etc. Have fun working with this one…here ya go:
CLICK HERE to download the 1024×768 desktop
CLICK HERE to download the 1280×800 desktop
THANKS SO MUCH for stopping by :o) Have a great day…we’ll see ya back here on TUESDAY with a fun new product spotlight AND a couple of NEW products :o)
Free Desktops, Uncategorized
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Hey there, it’s Lu here and…yippeee!! It’s Saturday & that means LOTW! It is so much fun to see all the wonderful layouts uploaded each week. And my goodness, it is truly tough to make a choice! But one layout in particular caught my eye because of the great pictures~ and of my favorite things ~ a party! I don’t know if I’m just nosey… but I’ve always been captivated by details. Nothing grabs me into a scene than to zoom into those vignettes! Yes, I’m probably just nosey. With all that said, I will now get on with it & tell you who grabbed my attention this week… “Nolen’s birthday” by IndyAngela!
I felt like this was such a super cute layout for many reasons, and since I am chatty as well as nosey, I will tell you what they are! First, I completely love children’s parties- they are just so much fun! Okay, not the cleaning up part, but certainly the planning part! This particular party was for a sweet little two year old boy (but I’ll let you read the journaling for yourself). Which brings me to another reason~ the journaling was a very thorough description of the day (and I loved the font, too). I also really like multi-photo layouts, but find they can be challenging in that they can easily look crowded & chaotic. But not IndyAngela’s…it’s perfectly clear & allows you to really focus on each photo. And what wonderful detail photos…I just loved it all! Last, but not least, is the kit choice, Bounce. I adore this kit~ it is perfect for summer and for birthday parties!
Congratulations, IndyAngela! Thanks for sharing those special memories with us…a $10 gift card to the Shabby Shoppe has been e-mailed to you! Enjoy!
And thank you to everyone else that posted this week~ keep ‘em coming! Have a wonderful weekend, see you in the gallery! SP will be back tomorrow with a free download for the July Desktop…
Layout of the Week, Uncategorized
Friday, June 25, 2010
Alright, I know you are already thinking about clicking that red “X” in the corner up there…right? Even just the word BUTTERMILK sounds gross lol! But, stay with me here, I promise that it’s just a name, and not a description of flavor :o) Trust me, I cannot stand buttermilk, I even have to hold my nose when I am mixing it into the recipe lol! So, if I can eat this and LOVE it, there is a good chance that you can, too :o) If you are from the South, you have probably at least heard of Buttermilk Pie, if not eaten it, too! It is pretty much a staple in the South, and is similar to a Chess Pie if that helps any at all. It is a rich and sweet custardy pie with a unique flavor and texture. I guess it’s really kinda tough to explain. The main thing I want to tell you is that it is SOOOOOOOOOOO EASY! Seriously – I am NOT someone who bakes pies, ever lol. They are too fussy and tedious, what with the crust and trying to make sure they are cooked perfectly, etc…give me a cupcake anyday lol! Except when it comes to THIS pie! It is super simple and comes out perfectly, every time! And, best of all, I also found a HOMEMADE PIE CRUST recipe that is truly no-fail (I would know, lol), and the best I have EVER had (ditto all of our family and friends who have had it!). So, let’s get to it…and at the end of the post, I am sharing the 4×6 recipe cards I designed specifically for these two FAVORITE recipes :o) I hope you enjoy and find them a great and useful addition to your own recipe box!
BUTTERMILK PIE (recipe by Tracy Mulder)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C).
Beat eggs until frothy; add butter, sugar and flour. Beat until smooth.
Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and nutmeg; pour into pie shell.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until center is firm.
RUTH’S GRANDMA’S PIE CRUST (recipe by Barbara Castodio)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cold water
In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
In a small bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
So, a couple of tips and revisions that I recommend :o) First, I try to always have a couple of these pie crusts made and ready-to-go in the freezer! They freeze REALLY well and are so easy to make, that it is fun to make extra to freeze for later. I just take a crust or two (since I generally bake two pies at a time) out the day before I am going to bake a pie, and let them thaw in the refrigerator. You really want the dough to be chilled when you are ready to use it. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a large cup/glass (just be sure to spread some flour out before rolling your dough) and that will do the trick. I like to use shallow pie plates for this pie (think tart pan, maybe just a little deeper) as I think you get a better texture that way, than with a deep dish pie plate (I’ve tried both). A mixer (either hand or stand) is really helpful since you want the eggs to get super frothy for the pie batter, and that is so much easier with a mixer. I have found the pie to be very forgiving and easy to alter if you wish! I’ll tell you about some of my personal changes as we go along :o)
Again, this crust recipe is the EASIEST I have EVER tried in my life…AND, beyond that – it is one of the best I have EVER tasted, too! And, that’s saying something as even though I used to never make my own – I have had lots of homemade crusts in my time…and really good ones, too lol! I’m not saying this will be the best YOU have ever had…but when you see how simple and fail-proof it is, you won’t care lol! So, my modifications are simple – I used BUTTER FLAVOR shortening instead of plain, and always use ICE COLD water. You could also try using all butter, or half butter and half shortening if you like. But, I have been pretty pleased with the flavor and the simplicity of going shortening all the way :o) Granted, you will not win any points when it comes to healthy eating…but let’s assume you’re not going to eat this daily LOL! And, if you do, well – that’s your business and you won’t find me judging you LOL!
There isn’t much more to say about the pie recipe/batter itself. It is easy and quick – but I do make a few slight modifications myself. My family is not big on nutmeg (although I love it) – so I literally just ‘sprinkle’ a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg into the mixture (you could also omit the nutmeg and try cinnamon instead). Also, I reduce the fresh lemon juice just a little bit and then make up for it with the vanilla (just to keep the liquids even). I keep saying that I am going to try the pie with SPLENDA instead of sugar at some point…but haven’t yet. It always seems like I am making it for a ‘special occasion’ and do not want it to taste awful lol! So, I stick with the sure-thing :o) You could also try low or no-fat buttermilk if you want. However, I ALWAYS suggest that the FIRST time you make a recipe – you go pretty much ‘by the book’. Then, you are better able to make changes and know how they will work for you. But, I always like to give the original recipe a chance first :o) UPDATE: I started the post several weeks ago, and since then…ewwwww – we did try a splenda/low-fat butter pie and let me just say that it was inedible. Not so much because of flavor…but texture. It seems that the splenda is not dense enough, so even after mixing very well, the eggs went straight to the bottom and we basically ended up with a quiche lol…so i would not recommend it…but still happy we tried.
When it comes to baking times, you know how that goes – they differ from oven to oven and altitude to altitude, etc. So, my advice is to set the timer for 40 minutes and then keep an eye on it after that. You want it to solidify a decent bit in the middle (not too much movement when you adjust the pan in the oven). But, keep in mind that it will never get totally solid or hard, it is meant to be a ‘soft’ pie. The top will caramelize and form a dark brown crust – don’t worry, it’s supposed to happen, lol! However, I will say that I generally cover my entire pie (LOOSELY) with foil when it is about halfway done (I almost always have to cook mine for the entire hour…so I put foil on top at about the 30 minute mark) – just so that the crust doesn’t burn, and the top of the pie doesn’t get TOO dark! Most importantly – DO NOT CUT THE PIE UNTIL IT ‘SETS’! If you cut it while it is still warm – you will just end up with a soupy mess (trust me, I’ve done it…granted – the soup is delicious, lol – but not what you want) :o) I recommend letting it cool on the counter and then moving it to the refrigerator overnight…as it only gets better the next day (and then you do not run the risk of cutting into it before it has set up). So, that’s it! It really requires NO garnish, lol – but if you must…some powdered sugar and fresh fruit will do the trick :o) ENJOY and I hope this becomes a favorite for your family, too (our son cannot get enough of this pie!).
As promised, here are the recipe cards I designed for these family favorites! I had alot of fun working on them and hope that you like them, too! Just click the image to download!
One of my favorite online recipe sites is ALLRECIPES.COM :o) That is where both of the above recipes came from! I also wanted to mention that their logo is being used with permission…well, actually – it is a requirment in their licensing that I include it on the recipe cards as well as here on the post. Just wanted to let you know in the event you were wondering why there is a logo on the cards LOL!
That’s it :o) Thanks so much for reading…and I’d love to hear from you guys if you give these recipes a chance!
Lu will be here tomorrow with a new LOTW…and I’ll be back on Sunday to share the new free desktop :o)
Food Stuff, Free (not desktops), Uncategorized