Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cleaning Up, Moving Forward

The older I get, the more I try not to make New Year's lists I know won't make it past the first couple of weeks in January. Instead, I've started making a list of things I'd like to improve upon from the past year. Yes, I know, it's still a list but it's all in how you look at what you're about to tackle.

I began this blog last April. For various reasons, I've allowed myself to be easily distracted and haven't put the time into the blog that I should have. It is so very hard to not let life get in the way of our pursuits. 

This week, I decided to make necessary changes and took the leap to enhance my online presence: I'm now creating a proper online portfolio through Smugmug. I really like the look of the site and the flexibility it offers to display my work.

What does this all mean?

Through the rest of February, I will be straightening up my blog, developing my portfolio and will be able to sell prints of my photos as well as many other items. I hope--over time--it will mean I can start bringing in some extra money to help pay household bills. Take a vacation. Sell the house and travel around the United States in photography bliss...

I think you get the picture. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And the winner is...

"Eerie Night" 

Chosen by the readers, "Eerie Night" is Irish Lady Photography's top photo manipulation of 2011.  It's a view of low-hanging storm clouds that passed just to the east of my house.  Between thunderstorms, I grabbed my D40 equipped with the 18-55mm lens and ran outside to snap pictures.

The initial photo didn't show the proper definition seen by the naked eye.  I popped the photo into Microsoft Office Picture Manager and played with the color and contrast.  When I got the clouds the way I wanted them, I then used another editing program like PhotoScape and used the watercolor filter to get the finished look you see here.

~ ~ ~

Thank you so much for your time spent viewing and voting.  I plan to add more manipulations throughout 2012.  Please come back often to see the new additions.  There will be chances at the end of each quarter to vote for your new favorites. 

Thanks again, 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Catching Up

So sorry folks, I'm way behind in posting.  You know how life sometimes intervenes, right?  Lately, I've been running in circles.  Doctor visits, kid getting ready to take his driving test, playing with the new camera, gearing up for NaNoWriMo (yes, I'm a fiction writer as well)--all take time away from my photography.

To catch you up, I received the D3100 just in time to do my very first family photo session.  Thanks to Nikon keeping their fans in mind, there isn't a big operating difference between the D40 and the D3100.  Yes, there are things that define one from the other but I haven't had the opportunity to delve that far yet.  Suffice it to say I was able to use the new camera the first time out with ease.

Since the family session, I've been learning the finesse of touching up photos.  And with many distractions around the house, it's been slow going.  But I AM learning.  I began with over 200 photos (this was a twelve person session), narrowed it down to around 30 poses I liked and now have 13 finished photos.  That's a ton of culling.  But I will say I'm getting better at framing my shots and for that, I'm thankful.  It sure saves time (as well as pixels) when you get to the editing stage.

I'll check back soon to talk more about what I learned from my first family portrait session.  Until then, keep your batteries charged and your camera handy for that impromptu shot that will appear when you least expect it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm Excited!

Just put in my order at B&H Photo for the D3100 and some extras.  Everything should be in by the end of the week.  Can't wait to start taking photos with the new camera!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


picture from Digital Photography Review
For a while now, I've wanted to upgrade to a better camera.  "Better" in this case simply means more than the 6 megapixels I currently have.  Don't get me wrong; my D40 takes great pictures.  It would be plenty of camera for me except for the fact I want to produce artistic prints of my black and white photos and the occasional photo manipulation.  For those, more pixels means producing prints closer to painting quality which, as an admitted perfectionist, I want to attain.

Initially, the 12.3mp D90 was my "tax return purchase" goal after reading many user reviews.  It has remained a logical hobbyist upgrade but for the continued high price (@$750 for body only).  The fact that D90 owners don't seem to get rid of them keeps the demand high and thus, a D90 remains out of my budget if I want to add lenses or other gadgets to my purchase.

The next camera I considered was the 12.9mp D5000.  The lady I photographed a wedding with owns one and swears by it.  I tried the camera out at the wedding and liked the way it felt in my hands, though it is a bit heavier than my D40.  Given the greater amount of pixels and quality results, it seemed to be the camera for me at a more affordable $400-$600 price tag. 

I wanted to be sure I was making the best choice in my situation.  Life has changed for my family in the past year and I'm facing the need to help bolster our finances.  I know this seems like an oxymoron but I have a one-time opportunity to purchase equipment that can help me help my family in the long run.

So, I continued my search.

On recommendation, I explored Ken Rockwell's review site and have since discovered Digital Photography Review. Between these two websites, I have found a wealth of practical and technical information to aid my decision making.

picture from Digital Photography Review
After perusing pages of reviews and comparisons, I have decided that my next camera will be a 14.2mp D3100.  Cost-wise, it runs @$600 for the kit that includes an 18-55mm lens (not the one shown here) which will allow me to purchase a couple of extras.  The body is smaller and lighter.  It should fit my tiny hands perfectly and not tire my carpel tunneled wrists.  The extra megapixels will allow me to further my artistic projects.  And the great thing about staying in the Nikon family is I can still use all of my current lenses and filters. 

Now that I've decided on the camera I want, I would like to add another lens to my arsenal.  Check back soon to see what lens I choose and why...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Early Morning"

Aug. 20th, 2011
Horseshoe Mountain Rd.
Paris, AR

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



Money?  Goods?  Time? 

I enjoy spending time with my photography projects and sharing them with the public, yet I have wanted to do a bit more with my ILP blog and time.  While cruising the net looking for ideas yesterday, I ran across the FreeRice website.  I'd forgotten how much fun it is to test your knowledge and "earn" rice to donate to needy families.

How the site works:  You can choose to create an account that will keep a tally of your progress or you can play on the site without signing in.  There are six categories in which to test your knowledge: Math, English, Geography, Chemistry, Language Learning and Humanities.  My favorite is English vocabulary under Language Learning.  Questions start out simple and progressively get harder the further you go.  For each correct answer you get, ten grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme and they can add up fast.  Play as little or as much as you want.  

Normally I’m not one to jump on the cause bandwagon nor do I push others to do so but the experience seemed to fit the bill of that something “more” I was looking for.  So I came up with a small challenge for myself that I can do each day. 

My challenge:  To donate 15 minutes of my time each morning to see how much rice I can earn and send to hungry families.  For the rest of August, I'll be participating in the English vocabulary category. 

I would love to see other bloggers and readers take up similar challenges with me but I understand if that doesn’t happen.  After all, time is precious and this cause isn’t for everyone.  I do, however, challenge you to find ways to help others that fit with your availability and beliefs.  

Check back often to follow my daily progress in the right-side FreeRice widget.  And if you have unique ideas for other avenues of donating time, goods, or skills, please share them.  I'm always looking for new ways to help.

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