Shooting the Moment: Ducks on a Frozen Pond

The little one and I went down to the park this weekend. This particular park has a moderate pond, which is usually home to about a dozen ducks or so. However, on this day when we went, the pond was filled with close to 100 water fowl! There were a variety of creatures: Canadian Geese, Mallards, white geese, etc. After the LO and I got done playing on the playground, we headed over to the lake to get a better view.

It was amazing to see so many ducks in one spot. I was half tempted to go home and come back with my DSLR camera ( I really should start taking it with me more places). Even with just my phone, I was able to get quite a few shots I was happy with. 🙂

A group of ducks on a partially frozen pond
Closeup of the Mallards on the ice
Panoramic view of the pond and ducks

Photo Ideas

  • A shot of a duck diving underwater, with its tail stuck up in the air
  • A duck with it’s wings spread out wide
  • A shot of just the details of the feet
  • Try to get a feel for how many waterfowl are there. It could be just a couple, or 200!
  • Get a shot that showcases not only the ducks, but the season. Ice and snow for winter, flowers for spring, etc.

Have a great week!

-Amanda

Can I document an event with just pictures of feet?

Interesting challenge: What do you do when you are at a photo-worthy event and no one wants to be in any Facebook photos? One option is to just not post any photos. Another is to take one good photo with no one in it and just use that photo.

Or you can be like me and document what your feet are doing. A group of friends and myself were at a local fun park for a bachelorette party. I started out by taking just one of my feet, and liked how it turned out. So I decided to keep on taking pictures of my clodhoppers.

Pros: My feet don’t complain about getting their picture taken. Also, it is a whole new perspective on the event. I enjoyed taking this creative approach and trying something new. I feel like I would try this again, and see if I could take better photos.

Downside: You get a lot of strange looks from the other members of your group when you keep pointing your camera at your own toes. Plus, holding up a game of mini golf so you can pose on the course doesn’t go over well. 🙂

My feet inside the Go-Carts

My feet playing mini-golf.

My feet waiting to play a game of laser tag.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and creative week!

-Amanda

Shooting the moment: Sunset

This evening I peeked out the window and saw a breathtaking sunset. Knowing there were only moments before the colors faded, I grabbed my phone and started shooting. It took a couple of tries to get a shot I really liked. The first shot had power lines in it, so I adjusted my position. When I did that I had a big, beautiful tree in my frame that looked great silhouetted against the magnificent colors of the sky. Unfortunately I didn’t have a tripod with me, which caused the image to be slightly out of focus.

This is the image that I liked the best. One of my resolutions for 2020 is to learn how to work my DSLR camera better. Once I have learned the functions for my Fujifilm, I am going to be using it every chance I get. I can’t wait to see what an image like this would look like through the lens of my DSLR.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

-Amanda

Special Moments: Coffee for Two

This weekend, my husband I got the chance to get coffee together. We found ourselves in a quaint little coffee shop. The walls were filled with local art for sale, the tables were crowded with chattering guests, and the store smelled of the sweet aroma of coffee. I was going to order a white chocolate mocha, but the barista suggested the Candy Cane Mocha instead. I decided to try it, and it was delicious.

If you happen to have your own special coffee moment, try some of these shot ideas.

Photo Tips

  • Try getting shots of your coffee from all angles
  • If the barista writes your name on the cups, get a shot of the names close together
  • A picture of hands wrapped around the cup. Try getting a shot with mitten hands

Have a wonderful week!

-Amanda

Welcome 2020!

It is hard to believe a new year is already upon us! 2019 is all wrapped up, and now it is time for a new decade. A new decade means new goals and welcoming a unknown future. I hope you are getting a chance to think about your own goals and aspirations, both photography and other. 🙂 I have come up with goals for this blog and my photography. For the first time, I created a “vision board” for my new year’s goals. It was a lot of fun to make it, and I will hang it in a place where I can see it daily.

My board contains the 52 week challenge I am going to try, some of my old photos, my goals, and motivational quotes. I also included some butterfly stickers for my blog name. Below is an image of my finalized vision board. I have a couple of specific goals for this year, along with some vague ones.

My 2020 Vision board!

52 Week Challenge

In 2019 I tried doing monthly photo challenges, which involved taking a photo every day. This time around, I wanted to do a weekly photo challenge. I am hoping if I have a whole week to complete the challenge, then I will be able to get a better shot. I looked at Pinterest for several challenges, and I liked this one the best. It is by Everyday Eye Candy, and their Pinterest account can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/lashawnwiltz/. I am hoping to use this as a “Photo Friday,” and post weekly updates on my Facebook page. It is a goal I am really looking forward to!

Make $35 on Shutterstock

This might seem like an odd goal. Mainly I want to sell more of my images on Shutterstock, and having a monetary goal will help. $35 is the minimum payout amount for Shutterstock, so I figured that would be a good goal to start with. For the 6 months I have been a contributor, I have had one imaged downloaded for $1.88. I know this means I have a long way to go, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

Holidays, Meaningful Moments, Special Times

This year, I am adding a little more structure to my posts. I am going to have three main categories: Special Moments, Capturing the Day, and Shooting the Day. Special moments will be those events and gatherings that are planned out. For these I will be able to do some pre-planning and be able to take better shots. Capturing the Day is going to be holidays and multi-parted events. There are a lot of “wacky” holidays that would be fun to try and capture. These events will most likely have multiple parts to them. Shooting the Day is those unexpected moments: Weather phenomena, running into a car show, things like that. These are ones that I do not have any pre-planning for, so I will have to do some creative thinking on the spot.

I hope that you will join me on this journey of mine! I also hope that 2020 will be your decade. 🙂

-Amanda

Special Moments: Star Wars 9 Showing

It is the end of a saga that began over 40 years ago. The last of the 9 canon Star Wars movies premiered December 20th of this year: Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker. My husband and I got to see it on the 21st, which is only one day after the premier. My husband had gotten plot spoilers for the last two movies, so we wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again! We went to a local, one screen theater to see the movie. There were several people outside the theater dressed as movie characters, which is such a fun addition! There were three altogether: Darth Vader, Ray, and a Jedi. They were waving at cars driving by, and the cars would honk and wave back. Groups of people came up and would get selfies with Darth Vader.

The costumes were great. These were not off-the-Walmart-shelf outfits, but carefully constructed cosplay costumes. The actors were in great form. Darth Vader kept asking people if they wanted to come over to the Dark Side. 🙂

Ray standing on the sidewalk waving to passing cars. I really wish I had captured the whole shadow for this shot. Something to remember for next time.

As they drew crowds to the theater, a line began to form. I was able to get a couple of quick shots of the actors waving to the people. However, I did not get a good group shot of them. In the new year, I want to be less shy about asking people for their pictures – especially in situations like this one. I found out after we left that there had been a costume contest after the showing. I wish I would have stayed for it to see even more cosplaying greatness. Cosplay photography is something that has peaked my interest for a few years. I am sad I didn’t have more time to get more shots. I was also relegated to using my phone because I didn’t think to bring with my good camera for this event.

Getting a shot of the movie poster
I wish this shot was clearer. I was trying to go for an old school feel,

In other news: The movie was good! It was definitely the best movie of the new three ones. Adam Driver really brought home his character. If you get the chance to go see it, I would highly recommend it. 🙂

-Amanda

Shooting the Moment: Fog

A week or so ago there was a fog system that moved into the area. While fog is not that uncommon, it was unusual for it to last so long into the day. I was excited at the chance to shoot some fog photos, because I had never gotten a good chance to do so before. I didn’t have time to get my good camera, so I was once again relegated to using the camera on my phone.

The fog descending into the background

I was able to get a couple shots of the fog that I really liked. I then edited a few of them with the settings on my phone. Some of the special settings/filters on the phone helped accentuate the fog. Plus, it gave the photos an other-worldly feel to them.

Fog on the Street

As we go into the week, I will leave you with this fog pun: I tried to catch some fog, but I mist. 🙂

-Amanda

Special Moments: Christmas Lights

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is to drive around town and look at Christmas lights. Our area hosts some amazing displays of creative festivity. Each year more and more houses join in and partake of light decorations. Normally my husband will drive while I am on camera duty (my favorite job to have 🙂 ).

This year was particularly interesting. For one thing, the little one was big enough to realize there were lights. He was quite fascinated with the displays. However, he fell asleep part way through. About the time he fell asleep, two people came out of the house we were watching. This particular place had music timed to their light display. They were approaching a lot of the cars that were parked along the road, and appeared to be asking for donations. They bypassed our car though, so I am unsure what they were asking for. Another thing was that we ended up getting somewhat lost on our way to one of the big displays. We missed the turn. However, there was a car right behind us so we couldn’t turn around. We ended up at a dead end at the end of a dirt road with multiple cars behind us (apparently they thought we knew where we were going). My husband had to maneuver the car around a large pit and do a 3 point turn. We then had to get around the other cars that were waiting to do their turn arounds as well. However, the challenges were well worth it to see some amazing displays.

A challenge for photographing such a tradition is two-fold. One, the car is continually moving. A lot of the residences with large displays had signs that said “No Parking.” It is probably due to the bottleneck situations that have happened in years past. Another problem was that it was so dark. I wasn’t able to get out my nice camera, so I was relegated to my new phone. It wasn’t bad all things considered. However, next year I would like to research ahead of time and see if there are any tricks I can use to get better pictures of the lights.

Even if the pictures didn’t turn out, we still had a great time driving around looking at all the displays. I hope you and your loved ones get to celebrate your own traditions this year!

-Amanda

Capturing the Day: St. Nicholas Day

Today is a most festive day: St. Nicholas Day. As it was explained to me as a child, this was the day when good boys and girls write letters to St. Nicholas. They then put the letter in their shoe, and leave the shoe outside their bedroom door. That night St. Nicholas comes for the letter. If the child has been good, they will find candy in their shoe. If they were bad, they will find coal. If they find coal, it gives them a little time to turn the tables before Christmas!

There are different variations of the tradition, including leaving the shoes on the fireplace mantle or receiving fruit in the shoes instead of candy. At the heart of the holiday, it is a great way to celebrate a Saint that was known for his generosity.

Photos to Take

Be sure to get before and after shots of the shoes: One with the letter and one with the candy. Try getting low to the ground or taking directly above shots. Also get shots of the letter outside of the shot.

Daddy Shoe, Mommy Shoe, Baby Shoe!
Letters to Santa
The letter is read, and the goodies are in the shoes!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

-Amanda

Gift Wish List for Photographers

Note: This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Camera and Gift

It is that time of year again! Looking to find something for that special someone on your list. If your list contains a budding or seasoned photographer, take a look at some of the gift ideas that are on my wish list this year:

#1 – Camera Cleaning Kit: I have been meaning to get a cleaning kit for my camera for awhile now. I have a nice camera and want to keep it that way for a long, long time. I found a kit on Amazon that looks like it has everything I would need to keep my camera going.

Product: Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit

#2 – Camera Bag: One of my biggest fears is that when I am out with my camera it will start raining. I would hate for my camera to get ruined due to a sudden downpour. I live in Colorado, and weather changes are quite common. I found a camera bag that is waterproof, and has compartments in it for all my camera gear. It is a handy backpack design, so you could probably carry quite a bit in it.

Product: Beschoi DSLR Camera Backback Waterproof

#3 – Camera animal for kiddos: I have a little one, and it can be hard to get him to look at the camera some of the times (ok, most of the time). I had seen professional photographers use stuffed animals to get children to look at the lens. This one is a stuffed animal designed to fit on the camera, which is a clever idea. It prevents the need to glue or attach a stuffed animal to your camera, and can keep the hands free if you just hold the stuffed animal. I would be very interested to see if it would hold the interest of my little one.

Product: Shutter Huggers Monkey Shutter Hugger

#4 – Crystal Ball: I have seen some clever photos taken with a crystal ball. This would be one of those novelty items, good for the photographer who seems to have everything else!

Product: JIHUI Photograph Crystal Ball Sphere

#5 – Photo Shoot Box: If I don’t buy one of these, I am probably going to try making my own. 🙂 With stock photography, I have been trying to get more “product shots.” These can be hard without good lighting, and Shutterstock has rejected quite a few of my shots due to poor lighting and excessive grain. This particular model has a few different backdrops, plus has a small tripod for smartphones. It is portable, and pops up and down for easy storage. It looks like a perfect way to start trying still shots!

Product: EMART 14″ x 16″ Photography Table Top Light Box

#6 – Photo Journal: I found this intriguing photo journal on Amazon. From what I can tell it has a lot of interesting ideas and prompts in it. It would be a fun thing to work at over the course of a couple months or a year.

Product: Use this if you want to take Great Photographs: A Photo Journal

I hope some of these ideas will help you when you are shopping for your own shutter bug. ❤

-Amanda