366 Day Challenge

•December 31, 2007 • 2 Comments

Some photogs from the NikonCafe forums have pledged to try to take a picture everyday in 2008, which is a leap-year. Hence the 366 days instead of 365 days. Well, I’ve joined in as well. I usually carry a camera with me everywhere I go, but sometimes carrying my D80 isn’t always feasible, much as I wish it was! So I’ve got a new toy for this challenge: the Olympus Stylus 770SW. It’s crushproof, shockproof, freezeproof, AND waterproof! This will also give me a good reason to post on this blog everyday! >biggrin<

Product Review: Smugmug

•December 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

(This product review will have a permanent page link to the right.)

In the past I’ve used Photobucket to host my photos, and I even tried out Flickr very briefly (against my misgivings). I can only hope I’ve found my longtime home with Smugmug. My husband actually pointed me in their direction, and when I did a trial membership it was originally because I wanted to see how easily I could customize the site. What got me to stay was the amazing customer service. Almost every question I had about customization was answered in a matter of minutes, and the ones that weren’t answered in minutes were answered within a day at the most.

They offer three different levels of membership: Standard, Power, and Pro. Each advancement in level comes with certain privileges and abilities. While some people find them a little on the pricey side, I actually consider the fees to be more than fair. The least expensive level (Standard) offers unlimited storage and bandwidth and beautiful themes. It only gets better from there with the Power and Pro accounts. Power accounts offer almost full customization and Pro accounts offer all of the previously mentioned perks plus the ability to right-click protect your photos and use a custom domain name. And like I said, the customer service is unbeatable. They really take care of their people.

Another feature I enjoy is the ability for viewers to choose how they view your photos, from the ‘Smugmug’ view to all thumbnails to a slideshow. Of course, we can choose for them if a certain style fits what we want for our galleries. Users have the ability to allow their fans to purchase prints and other products such as mugs and t-shirts, and Pro users can set their own prices to make a profit. Anyone has the ability to make galleries public, password protected or completely hidden from view. And one of the best perks: NO ADS!!! FOR ANY MEMBERSHIP LEVEL!!!

Now I do have to give this warning on anyone who would perhaps want a customizable Power or Pro account – very basic computer skills are needed. The customization experts are more than willing to help, but many of the people on the Smugmug forum (dgrin.com) volunteer their services, so don’t expect them to build the site from scratch for you. I had no idea how to use HTML or CSS before Smugmug, and I got plenty of help, but I also made the effort to learn some on my own and experiment.

If anyone reading this would like to try this service, click on this Smugmug link. Free trials are available. Enjoy, and have fun!

2008 Merritt Island Wildlife Shoot

•December 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment

For the fifth year in a row, photogs from the NikonCafe and DigitalGrin forums will be meeting here in Florida to shoot some wildlife for a week. Last time I went out there on my days off and had a great time. I’ve asked off the week for the upcoming shoot so I can enjoy more time out there. Harry Behret, the mod at DGrins nature and wildlife forum, is putting it all together, and he does a great job. He’s even arranged for the shooters to see trained raptors in Apopka and take an eco-cruise on the Indian River Lagoon. I got some fun shots on the past shoot in the short time I spend out there, and I’m excited about having even more time this upcoming shoot. The dates are February 3rd through February 10th. Hopefully, I can get a couple of friends to head out there with me.

Here’s one of my favorites from last year.

Trying to see differently…

•December 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I went to EPCOT the other day. I’ve been there many many times with a camera, and I’ve taken the landscape type pictures with Spaceship Earth and the fountains and the lake, but this time I wanted to try to take pictures of different things, or at least take pictures of familiar objects in a different way. These pictures might not be the best, but I had fun taking them. Here’s are a few.

Wish list

•December 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

…which I’m sure will be updated quite a lot.

Nikon D3   >biggrin<

Nikkor 70-200mm  f/2.8 VR
Nikkor 200-400mm  f/4 VR
Nikkor 60mm  f/2.8 Macro

Other goodies:
3 and 4 stop ND filters
6×8 Wacom tablet

I gotta be cool, relax…

•October 25, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I just wrote a semi-long post over at the DGrin forums about my history with photography. It got me to thinking about why I might feel so stifled.

Here’s some of it:
“When I was about 5 or 6, I “appropriated” my grandmother’s instamatic and snapped away. I don’t know what ever happened to that camera…
In middle school and high school I “borrowed” my mom’s Minolta p&s and she bought an SLR for herself. She had no idea how to use it and never used it, so I cunningly persuaded her to trade. Well, it didn’t really take much cunning. Getting that SLR was when I actually started learning about shutter speeds and f-stops, etc, but I wasn’t really into anything more than taking lots of pictures around my school. Sometimes to the annoyance of my friends, heh.
In college I finally bought my own camera, a Minolta Maxxum 7 that I still have, the first one to be truly mine and not liberated from another family member. I really loved playing around with that thing but since I was on my own financially (except for a BF that eventually became my DH), my film budget was limited. Now with a (very) slightly less limited budget and a digital SLR, I’m having even more fun. Don’t know if photography would ever be a career for me, but if I occasionally sell a print then that would be cool.”

I think maybe I need to go back to those early days when I shot for the pure fun of it. Lately when I go shooting I get so bogged down with worrying about getting a really good picture that I forget that some of my favorite pictures were taken when I was just mucking about. Not to say I shouldn’t worry about shutter speeds and apertures and histograms, but I’m just going to try and RELAX. If photography is not a career for me, then why should I worry? Just have fun!

Thai Festival, October 2007

•October 8, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I went to a Thai food festival with my mother (who happens to be Thai) in Kissimmee yesterday. Twelve dollars got you all-you-could-eat food from Thai restaurants located all over the Orlando area. Ironically, I didn’t take any pictures of the food. I was more interested in the girls walking around in traditional Thai costume and other interesting little artifacts.

Street photography is something I’m interested in getting into. I’ve always pretty much focused on nature and landscape. The challenge for me is being able to take pictures of strangers without feeling like a stalker. Going to things like this is good practice because I can take pictures of people without feeling bad because it’s an event, not just me walking around some random place with a camera.
The album for the festival is here. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

This is a test post

•May 13, 2007 • Leave a Comment


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