December 23, 2011


It's that time of year to make our traditional Christmas card, unfortunately it is not as easy to get all the kids together.  So this year I took the photos separate.  I have several backgrounds that I use in my new studio, but have always loved the black background for portraits.  I like the dramatic effect on a photo and really like this one of me and my husband.  I actually enjoy it so much that I am going to have it enlarged for my desk.

My poor husband had to put up with my various poses until I liked the "right" one.  This one is a keeper (so is my hubby)!! LOL

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December 11, 2011


It isn't exactly easy to do a self-portrait without a remote trigger so the timer on my camera had to do.  For those of you that are familiar with self-timers it is quite interesting trying to take that perfect shot in focus, in position and pose in time before the camera snaps!  This was my best shot from tonight.  Stay tuned for more experiments on my learning curve with my strobe lights.

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December 10, 2011

First Portrait with New Strobe Lights

Finally I have been able to take some time and practice with my new strobe lights and my barn door backdrop (yes it's actually from a barn door).  This is definately a learning curve, but I am very excited to be able to capture studio portraits.  Today my darling husband allowed me to use him as my model. 

Shot at F11, 1/160, ISO 125 with 28-135mm lens.

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December 9, 2011

Tis The Season

"Christ"mas is my favorite holiday of the year!  I love the spirit of this time, the happiness, decorating, baking and just spending qualiy time with family and friends.  It's not about the presents(even though kids would say differently), it's about remembering the birth of Jesus.  So often we lose sight of what Christmas is really suppose to be celebrating.

This year, my son and his wife have their own place so they won't be here Christmas morning.  That will be a change that I'll have to get used to, but I am looking forward to spending time with them later that day.  Decorating is one of my favorite things to do, so here is a collage of a few photos from my house.

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November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving and Tree Cutting Tradition

Can not believe today is already November 26th!  We had a very blessed Thanksgiving and I hope each of you did.  I love having all the family together, isn't that what life is all about?  A few of my fav photos from Thanksgiving.

Our family tradition since 2008 has been to cut down a real Christmas tree the Sat after Thanksgiving at Blake's.  We live in Michigan so normally we would have our heavy winter coats on, scarves, gloves, long johns and looking for the bonfire to stay warm.  This year the weather was 58 degrees!!!  We loved it AND no one was complaining that it was too cold.  So, we cut down our appx 7' Frasier Fir and decorated it!  Of course, I had to have the guys stop for my photo opportunity while they were cutting it down, LOL!

Had to have the guys stop and pose!!
Me the jokster!

There's Melanie, relaxing again!

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November 23, 2011

My Family in Virginia

This week I had the opportunity to visit my family in Virginia due to a business trip.  Now, Linda is actually my Aunt but she is only three years younger than me.  We grew up together and are VERY close so we are more like sisters.  Bryan is her sweet huband who I just love dearly.  I cherish the times I get to spend with them which are not that often.  It's during the holidays that I really miss them :(

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November 20, 2011

Modeling Session

As you can see I haven't posted in awhile, I have been very busy with traveling, upcoming holiday preparation, photography workshop and a little downtime from a sinus infection.  So now I am playing catch up and I have so many things to share.  I am traveling again on Monday so I probably won't have time to upload all the photos, but in the meantime this is what will be coming up soon.

1.  Purchased more props for my studio: barn door, twig bench, old suitcase and old hatbox.  I'll post photos later. (Thank you Claudette for calling me!)

2.  Since I've started traveling again I am thinking about creating a "My Travels" page to post photos of various locations that I have visited.  I'm always looking for something different in each area I visit so I'm thinking this will not only be an interesting read, but also a way for me to journal my travels.

3.  Yesterday, I attended a lighting workshop in Ann Arbor, MI and we had two wonderful models to photograph.  This was very helpful since just purchased strobe lights myself.  These were some of my favorites.

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November 2, 2011

Strobe Lights Have Arrived!!

I am sooooo excited!!! My Britek strobe lights arrived today and were patiently waiting for me on the porch when I got home.  Another addition to my home studio along with my Promaster transmitter and receiver for the lights.  Now, let's hope I can figure out how to set them up and start putting them to use.  I have so many ideas I'm driving myself crazy.

More to come....
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October 31, 2011

Wyatt's 1year photo

I had the honor of photographing some great friends and their adorable one year old son, Wyatt.  The location was at the grandparent house with a pond, willow trees and lots of leaves.  I couldn't have asked for a better location.  They are a beautiful family and Wyatt is a natural!

I loved all the photos and I hope Tracy & Brian love them as much as I do.  Here are a few of my favorites of little Wyatt of course in my new chair!

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October 29, 2011

New Photo Props!

I am always on the look out for photo props.  Today I snagged two great props.  The one on the left is a little baby cradle I guess I'll call it.  I have some cool ideas with this for babies and I can't wait.  I will be painting it in the next few days to dress it up and I'll post photos when it is finished.

The rocking chair has been something I've been looking for, but it had to be something that caught my eye.  This one did it.  I love the stain on it and I really do not need to do anything to it.  This litle guy is actually going to be put to use tomorrow on a photo shoot I have scheduled.  Picture this cute chair, with a cute baby boy in the middle of fall leaves!!!  Lovin it.

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October 28, 2011

Morning Frost on a Fall Day

This morning as I arose from my comfy bed and ready to get the day going I saw it....  I looked outside and everything had a thin sheet of frost on it.  It definately was beautiful, so I walked outside in my robe and tennis shoes (now that would have been a photo) to take a few pictures. 

As I was snapping away I could actually hear the frost melting on the leaves as the sun was warming things up.  It was just so pretty! 

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October 26, 2011

Little Mocha and her Toy

Our little Pomeranian is already a year old and just loves playing with toys.  This is her new toy of the month and it's just her size.  She will actually throw it in the air and it's cute to watch.  Of course, she is still driving Ella crazy!
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October 25, 2011

The Office (No not the TV show)!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was working on my new office.  I am excited to show you my new furniture.  Now, your sitting there asking yourself, "where did she get that beautiful set?"  Well, a funny story, my neighbors were renting out their house and the couple were in the process of moving.  They had this office furniture (which weighs a ton) in their home office.  They were moving rather quickly and did not have the time to disassemble and take it to their new home.

So my neighbors came over the other night and asked if we'd be interested in taking it on one condition, we had to move it.  So, me being the aggressive person I am with the plans in my head said, "YES, I want it!"  Then I proceeded to look at my husband and said, "You can move that honey, right?"  Of course, my wonderful husband looked at me with such love in his eyes and said yes, but I know in his head he was thinking how the heck am I going to get this moved.  You see it is three pieces and it must weigh about 300 pounds or more.

The next day my brother-in-law came over to help and they disassembled the set and proceeded to move it to our garage.  I come walking out and said, "oh I already have the room cleaned out so you guys can move it upstairs."  If you could have seen them, they both looked at me and said, "that X*#& weighs a ton there is no way we are getting that upstairs."

So little miss resourceful started brainstorming with the guys and decided to call, you know.....Two Men and a Truck!!  They were wonderful and arrived that day to move my simple three piece desk (2.5 hours later) upstairs to my office.  Actually, they were very thankful my husband was home because it took three of them to move the hutch upstairs!!

So here is my new desk that I am absolutely loving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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October 16, 2011

Blue Eyed Boy

If you know me I LOVE taking photos of my grandbabies.  Aidan is 19 mos old and is such a little cutie.  Today he was just so great with me and my obession to take his photo.  I must admit, I did have to bribe a little with graham crackers and tootsie rolls.  I'm thinking a future GQ model, what do you think?

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That's how I feel today, I'm one week closer to purchasing my photography strobe lights.  I am SO excited I can't stand myself, well not really!  I've already cleaned out the corner in my basement where I will be setting up my studio so when the lights arrive they will have a home.   I also went out yesterday and purchased some material for a baby girl backdrop along with a matching headband and flower.  Now all I need is a baby girl to photograph.  The mission begins......
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October 11, 2011

Lake Erie Park

Yeah for vacation days!  Today we went to Lake Erie park because it is known for the migrating birds.  September is really the best month and you could see thousands of hawks migrating.  As a matter of fact some of the bird watchers there said they estimated 194,000 hawks the other day flying over!  What an amazing site that must have been.  If you know me and my husband we love bird watching,  no we are not old!!!  Anyways, we are going back in November when the Golden Eagle is suppose to be migrating over Lake Erie, can't wait.

Even though we didn't see any birds today (well we did see an Osprey fly over) I did manage to get some beauiful shots of nature.

A live Bald Eagle they have at the nature center.

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October 9, 2011

Studio "Before" Video

My dream has always been to have a photography studio.  I have decided to utilize the space in my basement to make this dream come true!  Now this is no easy task, my basement is a mess.  The attached video is to give you some perspective of what I have to work with.  I am sure as I start laying out how I want the studio to look that I will change it over and over until I'm happy.

If you have any ideas and would like to share them with me I would greatly appreciate the help.  Boy how I could use Extreme Home Makeover, Trading Spaces or Design on a Dime at this time!!

Thanks for endulging me!


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October 8, 2011

More Fall Colors

Today I took another drive to capture some more beautiful fall colors.  It was so nice cruising in my car, listening to satellite radio "Love" station and carefully watching for "that" tree!  I'm sure some of the drivers that were behind me today we thinking to themselves, "get out of the way."  In Michigan these abundant colors don't last long so I want to photograph all that I can this season.

Best Pie Place In Town!!!

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October 7, 2011

Fall Colors

I love this time of year when all the colors are changing.  It's a nice reminder that life is all about changes and we can either choose to accept the change or fight it and be miserable.  Change is all about growing and learning and I believe we are better for it.  That's how I feel as a photographer, if I'm not changing with the times and technology I'm not growing.

What's the most recent change you've gone through that you felt has helped you grow?

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October 6, 2011


For those aspiring photographers out there here is an awesome web site to help you learn and grow.  I'm addicted to it as I'm sure you will be once you start viewing some of the videos.  I'm like a sponge, soaking up as much information as I can to be a GREAT photographer.  I know you will love "Framed"
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October 5, 2011

HDR Image

I've always been intrigued by the HDR images I see on the Internet.  While vacationing in Florida I ran into a fellow photographer on the beach who was shooting HDR images for a magazine.  This enticed me even more to find out what this whole HDR process was about.  There is a great video that Corel has shared on HDR:

So after watching this video I decided to take a journey to my backyard and see what I could shoot.  After a few attempts this is the one I liked the best.  I'll be venturing out later to try it with a tripod next.

 I also had this idea when I took a trip to the cider mill.  There was this very large tree and the roots were growing above ground.  I really liked the look of it and thought it would make a neat HDR image.  I think it is pretty cool!

These are some other cool HDR images I captured this evening.  Love them all!!!!!

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October 3, 2011


Shuttermom University is having a giveawy for Dreamy Baby Props, a beanbag prop.  You definately need to enter.  Wish you all the best of luck!!
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October 1, 2011

9th Grade Homecoming

Tonight was my youngest step-daughter's homecoming.  Can't believe she is already in 9th grade, my how time flies.  I hope she has a great time with her friends and she looked just beautiful.

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September 28, 2011

A Girl's Shoes

Today as I was trying to take a self-portrait, which I hate to do, I decided to take a photo of my fav black heels.  You can never have enough black heels I must say myself.

Here's the dreaded self-portrait.

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September 27, 2011

Natural Light & Speedlite

In an effort to practice with natural light since I don't have strobe lights, which I really really want (hint to my husband) I decided to use Mocha, my dog, as my model.  Natural light can really make for some beautiful photographs.  My last post mentioned how I loved Adorma TV and Mark Wallace's instructional videos.  Well, here is my "first" attempt at using natural light along with my Canon Speedlite 420ex and reflector.  I really like the lighting and was so proud of Mocha for being such a great model!  Yes, she got a treat after our session.

First I want to show you my setup.  As Mark explains in his video you can practically find any area in your home to set up a small studio, mine is in my basement.  I used a white paper backdrop, a small window in the basement, my reflector bouncing the natural light onto Mocha and my speedlite.

Here is what it looks like:

And these are some of my favorite portraits of Mocha.  I did try to tie a ribbon on her, but all she wanted to do was chew on it so that was not a success. 
This is my FAV!

This one my chair isn't real centered, but it turned out ok.

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