Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 32-Necklace

Both of these necklaces were photographed in Macro Mode (but I want a macro lens and I'm aiming for mother's day!), with flash and tripod, ISO 200; 35mm lens; f/5.6; exp 1/125.

My sister-in-law made this necklace for me and I just love it. She mixes various things together, like fabric, glass, metal, and then heats it in a kiln. I'm so amazed, and totally delighted to get to be the recipient of these works of art! Thank you, Barb!

If your only two lenses were a 35mm 2.0 or an 18-135mm, which would you choose to photograph this?

Thank you everyone, who steered me toward the macro yesterday. I really do want to get one and my dear, dear husband said to get one. (but I'll wait till mother's day/birthday or I'd feel too guilty!)

Day 31 L.O.A.D.--St. Olaf

ARieff Template; SMJ Old Letters Kit

I am so happy that my daughter made the decision to change schools! I felt I needed to support her earlier decision to be 1400 miles away from home, but it was so very hard to accept. Just the logistics of getting from Washington, DC to Grand Forks were torturous. But the worst of it was how unhappy she was there. Now, she really enjoys her school, is around music again, and has much more respect for the math and science offerings. I'm impressed that she was willing to take the risk of turning her life upside down again to make this change. It's so wonderful when you see your children grow up before your eyes, and know that they are people that you truly have a great deal of admiration for! Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 31 POTD: Rocks

WAAAAAY too cold to go outside today, so just a rock from my desk, horizontal and vertical. I want a macro lens!!!!! Shot in manual, 18-135 mm lens at 105 mm, custom wb; exp: 1/500; f/5.6.

Thanks for looking. And yesterday, by far, people said they would choose to shoot the feathers with a macro lens.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 30 POTD: Feathers

Shot in manual, using my 35mm 2.0 lens at f/4.0; ISO 400; exp. 1/10; custom white balance, tripod.

Again, manual mode, with 35mm 2.0 lens at f/5.6; exp 1/8; custom white balance, no flash, with tripod.

If you were shooting something like this, feathers, which of your lenses would you have chosen and why? Thanks!

Day 29 L.O.A.D: Empty Nesters Gone Wild!

Asman font; KPertiet Papers, pin & overlay; JSprague grunge frame & 4 square template

My kids would look at this, look at the P.O.T.D. photo below and how we "entertain" ourselves, and say, "lame."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 29 POTD--Husband-In-A-Box!

So, which do you think makes a better container for my husband, the vertical one, or the horizontal one, or do you think I should just let him out already?

Shot in Auto mode, f/2.8; exp 1/160; 35 mm on my 18-135 mm lens; ISO 400, with flash.

Don't you just love when your husband does something weird and you can catch it on camera?

Day 28: Winter Essentials--L.O.A.D. challenge

Doris Castle Dreams Kit; font: Pepita

The photos in this layout will be familiar to those of you who have been following my POTD blogs. This is the 28th layout for the L.O.A.D. challenge! I am amazed that I have managed to do 28 of these. It's helped me increase my speed in digiscrapping, but I'm also looking forward to it being over! It's certainly helped me get printed many of the photos from our Alaska trip and to put down on paper some of the details of memories from this. Thanks to all who have commented on both the P.O.T.D and the L.O.A.D. entries!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 28 POTD: Self Portrait-Vertical & Horizontal

Day 27 LOAD: Taking Down the Christmas Lights during a heat wave!

KPertiet Vintage Winter Kit; font: Impact & century gothic; bdate christmas promise beads;

I'm using this both for the L.O.A.D. challenge, day 27 and Jessica Sprague's challenge to complete a digiscrapped page in 30 minutes. This was hard! But not as hard as my husband's task. He's such a good guy!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 27 POTD- Winter Gear

This is standard winter gear in my corner of the world. Some of you really know what I'm talking about! Note the beloved snow blower, which actually started most of the time this winter. Then there's the de-icer, for when your windshield completely ices over, including on the inside of the car. I have a little heat blanket, large clunky boots, a Russian hat, 16 foot jumper cables (only needed 3x this winter), and the most beloved item of all. . . . See that key chain dangling down off the box of the jumper cables? It has an Auto Start on it! Doug got me this for my birthday in August, and this means I can sit in my office when it's 20 or 30 below, start and warm up my car! Oh, bliss, oh, joy! There's still the challenge of getting to the car and clearing the windows, and driving on ice, but sometimes it's warm in my car!

Shot in manual mode; exp:1/60; f/5; 31mm with my 18-135 mm lens ; ISO 400; white balance: sunny

Day 26:: Invincible Summer

I really like using the gradient mask brushes and this involved a winter image (now) and summer image (August) blended together. In August, we were on a houseboat in Voyageur National Park. Such bliss! A houseboat with a hot tub, no less! (There's another layout like this on January 20th.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 26 POTD: Addictions

Coffee and my camera! Two of my 3 major addictions right now! (The other is digiscrapping; just check some of my posts below!) As my children left home over the last couple of years, they would ask, worriedly, "What are you and Dad going to DO without us home?" Like our lives would come to a complete, purpose-less, standstill. Miss them incredibly, we do, but we'd say as somberly as we could, "Ohhh, we'll figure out SOME thing." I love my Nikon D40! Learning to use a digital SLR has been so much fun! And I find that I just SEE the world in a very different way as I scan for possibilities. I'm appreciating this POTD challenge more and more! I'm learning much from making myself take some photos every single day!

I shot this with my trusty 18-135mm lens at 48 mm; f/5; exp 1/40; in manual mode with custom white balance and ISO 400.
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 25: LayOut A Day

KPertiet Paper Reveal; AAspnes Explore paper & quote; Trish Jones distressed diva; KPertiet Jewelry Tag; Jen Wilson rivet

This is the 2nd page of the 2-page lay out on the White Pass and Yukon Route lay out. Thanks for looking!

Day 25 POTD: We Can Do It!

I just love my daughter's lunch box! She didn't take this to college with her, so now I get to have it on a shelf in my kitchen. I get to have it with lovely thoughts of her being a young woman courageously finding her way in this world, and how we as women have a legacy from the brave women in the '20s who fought for our rights to vote in the U.S., and the women of the '40s who challenged conventional beliefs about what women can do as they worked long hours in workplaces that had previously been closed to them. So when we're thinking we won't make it to the end of 2008 with 366 photos, think of this lunch box and remind yourself, "We Can Do it!"

Shot in manual mode with my 18-135mm lens at 48 mm, ISO 400; f/4.8; custom white balance, exp 1.3".
The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don't have any.

~ Alice Walker ~

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 24 LOAD Challenge:

Kate Pertiet Paper Revealed #2, A Aspnes Explore Kit papers; A Aspnes Wander stamps & clip; Trish Jones crush bubble paper & distressed diva grunge frame; Yukon trail stamp created from Wikipedia; Sara Marie Carnival stitches

From our trip to Alaska this past summer. It was total bliss! I want to go back. I HAVE to go back now that I have a good camera, right?

Day 24: POTD Roadside Attractions

You know how in rush hour there can be so many distractions from all the traffic on the interestate, and the road side billboards add to the sensory overload? Well, here's the ND version of that, just a little "signage" to help you keep from losing your direction!

Once again, shot from a car window at 75 miles an hour, on a foggy day, with a polarizing filter, on Auto mode. I used my 18-135 lens at 95 mm, ISO 800; f/9; exposure 1/200, wb cloudy.

And thank you for all the wonderful comments on my dog yesterday. This photo challenge really makes my day! You know it was a staged photo, or her glasses would have been on and the words would have been facing her, because that's the way she usually reads.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 23 POTD: Feed Me!

So close, yet so far! I would love to be able to get my little subject to continue to sit for another photo, so I could deal with the blow out in the upper right. I used the custom white balance, but set this for a section of the floor that DIDN'T include Bonnie's favorite sun spot. But I'm very excited about learning to use Custom White Balance, thanks to Debbie yesterday who posted her wonderful "Dance" photo and talked about this.

Settings were ISO 200; Manual; using my 35 mm 2.0 lens, 1 milkbone dog treat; f/5.6; exp. 1/125. I adjusted curves, sharpened, and applied a vignette to see if I could diminish the over-exposure a little bit. CC most welcome!

Now We're Rockin' LO

KPertiet Winter Vintage Alpha; Trish Jones Distressed Diva, crusshed bubles, idea papers; grunge frame; Torn edges; KPertiet Paper Reveal #2; JSprague Stapled Hearts; MFenwick Sept Afternoon Alphas; Angie Briggs Doodles; KPertiet Snow corners; Obsidian Dawn snow brushes; AAspnes Explore clock
This is my first lo for the NWR classes over at I'll probably scrap this photo more than once, because it is a very important photo to me, as you can see in the journaling. For those of you who have taken any of Jessica's classes, you'll be very excited to learn that today she opened a chat room! Such fun! So many ways to play. . . .
Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 22: River City Cinema

Enough with the shots from a car window, already! I decided to get this picture of a movie theatre in the early morning hours. . . just because I like the way it looks. I think the marquee would like good at night as well, and may try for an evening shot later. Manual mode; f/5.6; wb-sunny; using my 18-135 mm lens at 95mm; exp 1/125.
Oh, and while I'm at it--have you seen any of these movies and liked them?

And this is for my good friend, Veevs, and anyone else who is interested: This is a link to Lady Ren's (Ren Oakenfull's) site where she sells PSE actions and to see explanations of her actions--Lady Ren

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 21 POTD: Chilly Old House


Not in focus, but I still kind of like it. I'd love to go back there, in warm weather, getting family members to agree to stop when we're on our way from Here to There. This was shot again at 75 mph through a car window with fog and hoar frost everywhere, with an 18-135 mm lens at 52mm, manual focus, wb cloudy; ISO 800; exp 1/125; f/11, and with a polarizing filter.

I used Ren's defog action, adjusted levels, sharpened further, and this was the best I could do.

If you look at my layout below, you'll see, sort of, a self-portrait (from last summer), and I used a gradient mask to blend several photos together. Thanks for looking and, as always, CC appreciated.

Day 20: LayOut A Day Challenge

Anna Aspnes gradient maps; Marily Fenwick Posh Twilight Dreaming paper

Just another picture to "honor" the -25 degrees this am (before windchill). I used a gradient brush tool from AAspnes to blend a current winter picture and a couple of photos from this past summer.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 20 POTD: An Alley View

Before: Just an alley in Grand Forks. I just thought it had an interesting perspective.
I shot this in auto mode with my 18-135 mm lens at 62mm; ISO 400; f/5.3; exp 1/500.

After: I then used Ren's color booster (juicy) action (below).

This one was with Ren's color booster action (below).

Thank you for all the wonderful comments I've been getting, and the commiserating over the weather yesterday! Tell me which you like best!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 19: POTD

Before-- A Rushing River Scene frozen by shutter speed 1/160:

Well, ok, not really. Frozen by the -32 degree windchill! And this made me so stubborn that I went outside anyway and got a picture. Rapidly. Manual mode, ISO 200, exp 1/160; using a 18-135 mm lens at 58 mm; f/13; temperature before windchill -15; wb sunny.


Just minimal levels adjustment, a little saturation, and a frame.

Before--A picture outside of my window:

Through my office window, at night. Manual mode, 18-135mm lens at 75 mm; wb shade; ISO 800.


Levels adjusted slightly, Slight bit of saturation; Used Ren's defogging; Unsharp mask; Ren's simple vignette; a little bit of spot healing to try to get rid of some of the window reflection. Thanks for looking! CC most welcome.

Day 18: LayOut of the Day

MElgen designs Call of the Wild kit
I must have a foot fetish or something, but the messy site of my kids', and their friends', shoes all piled up in our entry way just warms my heart! When they were little, I'd get cranky that they were in the way, on the stairway, but now I like seeing them.

And I'll take the warmth where I can get it! See my weather pixie? As I type this it's -15 degrees. It's suppose to get worse today. . . on the order of -30 to -40 with windchill. Send me some warmth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 18: Photo of the Day

My lovely Ms. Dianna graciously posed for this. I used my new lens, 35mm 2.0 at f 2.8; ISO 400; Manual setting; 1/60, with the icky flash.

After:This photo was edited using the adjustments described in this tutorial.
Now that I look at it more closely, I want to go back in and crop out the right side of it. CC GREATLY APPRECIATED, because I want my (big) babies to look their best!

Oh! And poll results. . . look at the poll results and 90% of you liked the Original background with Dianna and Scott on Day 15. Thank you for all your input! Also, to feel better about wherever you are, check my weather pixie on the right and marvel at our temperature BEFORE WINDCHILL tonight!

Day 17: Lay Out of the Day

SG Eternal Love paper and elements; Jen Caputo Torn Hearts templates

I'm starting my Valentine for my husband! He's such a great guy! Even though he's a little blurred in this photo, I love the two of us together. I'd just gotten my remote for my D40, interrupted his football time, squeezed into the couch with him and said I wanted to try the remote, look into the camera, and instead he just cuddled with me. This is Day 17 for the Lay Out a Day challenge at Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 17: Pine Cones


Manual setting; f/5.6; exp. 1/60; ISO 400; shade; at 112 mm on 8-135mm lens


I just cropped it in slightly, adjusted levels slightly. Then I select out the background and gave it a slight gaussian blur, and that's it. This was shot indoors, by the doorway, so quite a bit of light was coming in. I wanted to shoot in manual, but thought it still come out somewhat overexposed even when the meter said "OK."

Thanks for all the feedback on yesterday's posts! I really appreciate it! The photos I get right now of my children can be few and far between, and getting your opinions on the treatment of the photos is very helpful!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 16: POTD

Photos from Day 15:

Photo # 1

Today, I'm going to repeat a little from yesterday. Some commented that they actually liked the background of the first photo better than the 2nd, IF it was cropped in like the 2nd. I thought I'd give this a try, with a poll attached to my blog. So please vote for photo number 1, with the REAL background, versus photo number 2, with the background from a different restaurant. Thanks for playing along.
Photo # 2

Photos for Day 16:
And now here's my photos for today, Day 16: A lovely ND shelter belt
I shot these from a moving car at 70mph, through the windshield, with a polarizing filter and my 18-135 mm lens at 52mm, in Aperture Mode, wb cloudy, f/11.0; ISO 800, exp 400.

And here's my after, with levels adjusted, and a light amount of sharpening:

And finally, in the next post I included a video clip that I really like for explaining layers, and some instructions I wrote for working with layers.

Layers Mask Video

This is my all time favorite layers mask video, by Keith Davis! It's extremely helpful, moves along rapidly, explains 4 different techniques. It's well worth watching more than once, and I find myself referring back to it from time to time.

A few things to remember in working with masks in PSE5:

FIRST, duplicate your original photo. When I refer to "first" photo, I mean the one you're willing to work on and modify, never, ever, your real, original, do-not-want to mess with original photo.
1. You work in the layers pallette. Click on the layer (or photo) you are going to make a mask for. Create an adjustment layer, like "levels." Don't do anything to the levels, just click "ok."

2.Above this adjustment layer, put the NEW background or thing you want to bring into your photo. Now you have 3 layers visible(beyond your background); the top NEW thing, middle adjustment layer with 2 little squares, the bottom first photo or layer.

3.Click letter "d" to change background colors to Black and White. Make black the foreground.

4. Select the adjustment layer with 2 little boxes. Click ctrl>i to fill your right little box with white.

5. Now select your adjustment layer with 2 boxes, but hover your cursor IN BETWEEN the two layers, above the adjustment layer, under the New (top) layer,WHILE HOLDING DOWN the ALT key, until a little weird ball-type thing appears. When it appears, LEFT Click. Your top layer will step aside to the right, with a little arrow pointing down at your adjustment layer (mask). In fact, visible in your work space should now be your FIRST (bottom) photo, not your NEW (top) layer. Your adjustment layer (Mask) is like a window, blocking out your top layer. It's all filled with black; you can't see through a black window. But you can see through a white window, and let the top layer show through like magic!

6. Change your foreground color to white. Select the brush tool. Select your adjustment layer (MASK), (layer with two boxes), and paint with your brush on your photo. You are now letting the very top layer become visible in just the sections you want.

All this sounds much more complicated than it is! Give it a try! If you have questions, leave them for me in the comments!

OScraps Paint the Moon freebie!

Jofia Devoe paper and ephemerals; AManning Come Paint the Moon kit; frayed muslin One Haute Momma-Jen Wilson; font-Lucinda handwriting, dwd-Rhonda grungy corners
There's a wonderful new challenge over at This week, Ann Manning has a beautiful free kit, Paint the Moon, available, with a layout challenge. I used it for the layout above, and will probably also use it later this week for the LayOut a Day challenge. Lisa at Lexicam has a totally awesome layout using this kit on her blog; mine doesn't hold a candle to the artistic beauty and creativity in hers! On the right side of her blog is a link to her gallery. Prepare to be awestruck!

I'm very excited that I got to sign up for the Jessica Sprague "Now We're Rockin'" digiscrapping class that starts Feb 11th! Hopefully, it'll inspire me to consider some new directions in my layouts!

And another thing I want to point out today is my all-new Weather Pixie. Dawn pointed me in the direction of the little, fashionably dressed, pixies! Now all my Dear Readers can be green with envy of the Grand Forks weather! Today we're boasting a balmy - 32 degree windchill! Now THAT's something to sneeze about!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 15: LayOut a Day

KissedTemplate 12
CRenae Art Fusion papers
dwd Rhonna distressed paint
jbolt delightinphoto stamps

I so enjoyed Scott being home for a visit for about 5 days. We hadn't seen him in 1 1/2 years; it's not that we don't like him, or anything like that--it's that he's stationed in Japan in the Navy. As I mention in the journaling for this, I caught Scott by surprise; he usually smiles much more readily, but I did like the slightly edgy, urban look of this photo. I added some grungy stamps to the layout.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day 13: Layout a Day

Moriginals template #7
Meredith Fenwick Posh Crazy Beautiful

This is my 13th layout for the LayOut a Day challenge at I'm gradually working my way through photos from a trip we took to Alaska this past summer. In Ketchikan, we took a float plane ride over the Tongass Forest. I'm the kind of person who really prefers to keep my feet on the ground. Large planes don't bother me, but I'm not fond of ferris wheels or small little planes or things that might require good human competence to keep me alive. It's just that I know how many errors I might make in just plain old proof reading a post! What about dangerous stuff? I blame it on my middle son; he got me to watch "When Good Times Go Bad" with him years ago on TV. And those little books about things like "How to Survive a Shark Attack," . . . they're just unnerving! (If I could just run a nice little mental status evaluation on the ski lift operator, or find out about drinking behavior the night before) things might be easier. I did feel a bit compelled to follow this line of thinking once with the anesthesiologist before my husband's knee surger, but hey! You would too! He was wearing a bandana!

Anyway, I did go on a float plane ride with my family in Alaska and it was phenomenal! I think this should be a required experience for everyone, like one of the "A Thousand Places to see before you Die' book, but let's not mix death into this. . .

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Tagging Game. . .

First, here is my photo for today for POTD at Angela's Corner

And now, I'll tell you about having been tagged by Dawn and what this I went over to her blog and here we go:

You've been tagged: The rules of the game:
• Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
• Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, we all want to know them.
• Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
• Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven facts about myself, or perhaps, "opinions", should the truth be known:

1. As addicted to reading as I have been in my life, it's suddenly taken a back-seat to some of my other interests: like my Nikon D40, digiscrapping, and a lively community of people who share cool knowledge and interests.

2. I live on a frozen tundra. Some call it a state (ND). It's bleak, treeless (OK, except for the one in the photo above), cold, and very rural. But it weirdly gets in your blood. . .It sneaks up on you when you accidentally move here, and before you know it, you're meeting the love of your life, raising 3 wonderful kids, getting rooted in a community of very fine people, making fun of our state with the best of them, and the years fly by . . .

3. I still love to read!!! My SIL introduced me to the Stephanie Plum series last year by Janet Evanovich and she is truly laugh out-loud funny, but definitely NOT any kind of literature. I am strangely fond of Stephen King novels, particularly the odd ones in which he seems to pit good against evil. I have a disturbing weakness for Dummies books. You know, Dogs for Dummies, Blogging for Dummies, Brain Surgery for Dummies. I love the way nuggets of information get broken down into readily absorbable pieces.

4. I can get lost in a paper bag and have the worse sense of direction, and, you guessed it! I tend to be the family navigator. With a map, I can find it, and I really like maps. I also carry a compass in my purse, just in case. (Along with my D40, ouch! that's heavy!)

5. Traveling fascinates me. I've not done enough of it, and hope to someday live much closer to an airport!

6. I really like gadgets. Why everyone doesn't carry a palm pilot around with them just baffles me. The search function alone is worth every ounce of extra weight in your purse. This is how you can figure out exactly when you middle child had a tetanus shot when you get called on your cell phone at 2 am while you're out on a business trip.

7. I have Bose noise cancelling headphones and believe these should be heralded as marriage savers! I hate the sound of football. I just totally dislike the background noise of people screaming (unless it's in a Stephen King movie.) Now I can listen to music on my headphones, digiscrap, sitting next to my DH on the couch, while he watches all the football he wants! Works for me.

so here are the seven i have tagged:

The last 3 were invited to participate through a thread at

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Photo of the Day posts from days 1-8

It's been a while since I've posted here, partly because I've been
having so much fun over at my other blog, Angela's Corner . That is
where I've been adding posts forthe Photo of the Day challenge
for 2008, sponsored by (Using one blog for
photos, and one for digiscrapping is an aftificial division at best,
but I'll use it for awhile to see what will work best for me.) The
POTD thread is a wonderfully active thread, and is really pushing
me to keep using my camera, learning what its capabilities are and
I find that it is really changing the way I look at the world. I'm
noticing framing, color, facial expressions all in a way that is very
different than before. Yesterday's photo was the one of my daughter,
and she has a slightly foreboding smile, but she's softening up to the
idea that letting me take her picture isn't such a big deal after all.
She was horrified, however, to discover that I have 3 blogs! I'm
quite intent, right now, on taking as many photos as possible, because
Scott is home visiting, and this is the first time I've seen him in 1 1/2
years, ever since he left for Japan with the Navy.