Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Portraits

Received rights to a few more photos to post on the portraits page.  Here is just a sample of whats included.
Again, the light was amazing under the tree.

I really like how the post provides a border edge for this photo.

Same great lighting

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fast Glass Pt. 2,1810864So, I decided to add pictures to my description of Fast glass to help showcase what I am talking about.  I took all these pictures with a constant ISO (which was set to 200), I did this so I could show the affect changing the Aperture would have on the photos.  I was set to Av mode on my camera (aperture priority), so the camera would take the ISO and Aperture value that I choose and then chose a shutter speed to properly expose the photo (Review the exposure triangle here). 

Now I can hand hold my camera down to a shutter speed of about 1/60 with my 50mm lens on my camera.  Any lower and there is a high likelyhood of blur.  For this example however, I put my camera on a tripod and didn't use a flash or anything.  I just had the lights on in my living room.  A few things I want you to notice: 1 depth of field, notice how much is in focus in the first picture and how much is in focus on the last picture.  The first picture has very little in focus compared to the last one (see how each picture gets more and more in focus).  The lower the Aperture value (i.e. 1.8 vs 5.6) the less that will be in focus, the rest gets blurry.  2. notice how the shutter speeds change.  The first shutter speed is 1/60, the final one is 1/2 seconds.  There is no way on earth I could hold the camera still for half a second while the shutter is open.  If I wanted to use a higher aperture (like in the last photo) I would have to raise the ISO which creates more noise in the photo.  Anyway, here we go (these are all pictures of a quilt given to us for our wedding)...
F 1.8 shutter speed 1/60. Only picture I would have been able to hand hold the


F2.8 Shutter Speed 1/30 Notice the Second diamond from bottom is starting to be in focus

F4.0 Shutter 1/15 More is in focus

F5.6 Shutter 1/8

F8.0 Shutter 1/4

F11 Shutter 1/2  Notice, pretty much everything is in focus (Depth of field) but only because nothing was moving.
Notice how every time I made the Aperture bigger the Shutter speed was cut in half.  That is because I was making it so there was one "stop" of light less. So the shutter had to be cut in half to make one "stop" more light so we would get the same exposure. 
If you want to see all the pictures larger in a one after another process click here.  You can also pull up the EXIF (shutter speed, iso, f settings) on the right side of the page if you click more information.  Hope this makes a little more sense.


According to this link gold continues to rise in price as people move money out of the stock market and into gold.  I just don't understand.  Gold just closed a day at its highest price ever and people continue to poor money into gold.  If something is at its highest price ever, it really only has one direction to go in the long run...Down. 

I understand that gold is a security for many people and that if the financial systems collapse and our dollar becomes worthless gold will probably still have value.  However if I am looking for a deal and a long term investment Gold is not where I would be putting my money, because gold is over valued (read bubble) right now.  It may continue to go up for a little while here, but as soon as times become a little less strenuous, gold will go down in value. 

Stocks however, are really cheap right now, and don't cost very much.  There is some short term risk that they will go down, but (again as long as things stabilize here in the near future) long term they are at a bargain price, and who doesn't like a bargain. 

It's easy to see why people lose a lot of money playing this game.  Lots of people got out of stocks after 2008 when everything came tumbling down (so they lost a bunch of money). Then they put the money into Gold which is near a record high, and they will lose a bunch of money when it goes down.

The concept is to buy low sell high, not the other way around.  Right now stocks are low, gold is high, I wonder where I should be investing...

Just my two cents.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Father's Love for us

1st John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

I think of a mother's love for her child, I think of my love for my wife, and I know they are good, but they are still broken.  How encouraging is it to know that God loves us, and wants what is best for us.  Some days I just need the reminder that God loves me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fast Glass

So, I don't think I have any pictures to include in this post. But I will find a time to take some pictures to demonstrate this.

I think I have spoiled myself by buying the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 mk2.  It is such a great lens that it has spoiled me.  Because the aperture is so large it allows me to take great indoor pictures without using the flash (in a moderately lit room.  This week, I took my kit lens (18-55mm F3.5-5.6) to work, because we were going to the farm and I wanted to be able to take some wide angle pictures.  However, it turned out to be a fairly dark overcast day, and when we took a hay ride with the kids, we sat in a covered wagon (it was sprinkling rain) this made it harder to take pictures with my kit lens, because I had to use a higher iso setting (which caused some noise to appear in my photos).  I even have some pictures from the day, were I took a picture at f4, and then zoomed in (so my F value went to 5.6) and the amount of light in the pictures is drastically different.  I like to shoot at a constant shutter speed, so I know that the photos won't be blurry (normally 1/100 or 1/80s).  So, basically I wish I would have taken my 50mm, so that I would have been able to take sharper pictures all morning.
Now here is the spoiled part, after seeing how drastically different they are, I want to always have fast glass (lowest f value where 1.8>2.8>4>5.6).  However, the faster glass is always more expensive, so that sucks, because it will mean more money out of my pocket when I buy a telephoto zoom lens (hopefully someday I will get it).

Rich in America

Came across this in the news recently.  Basically the Forbes list of richest people had gain 8% in value since last year.  And being me, I like to read the comments by 'normal' people below the article.  Most of them complained about how the rich were getting richer and the poor poorer, and how we should do something about that (tax the rich more, etc).

First, 8% in the last year isn't really that big of a gain. My personal stock portfolio (which isn't very big) is up almost 7% for the year (not including dividends).  Which is pretty close to 8%, last time I checked and I assume the rich have people (or are the type of people) that spend more time picking stocks than I do.  So I think they should be making a little bit more.  I also assume that most of the rich have a very large portion of the money invested (AKA working for them).  Whereas I would assume that most American's have a larger portion of money in savings (making a measly 1.5% or so) or no savings.  I recently heard that some ridiculous amount (like 50%) of American's have less than $10k saved by the time they are 50 years old. 

So why are the rich getting richer, and the poor poorer?  Besides the above data I have a theory.  The rich learn how to handle money from who? Their rich parents.  The poor learn how to handle money from their poor parents.  So, the poor start with less money and end with less because they never learned how to manage money.  While the rich start rich and end richer because their money is working for them (see above making 8% instead of 1.5%).

So even if we give the poor money, they don't have the skills (and they often have very pressing needs, which get the money) to get the money to work for them, they often end up just spending it.  Instead of blaming the rich for all the problems of the poor, maybe we should start teaching kids how to handle money (Not going to become financially stable with out the right knowledge).  So that when they get older, they will have the knowledge that will make them successful.  This is (IMHO) one of the biggest failures of our public school system. In 4th grade we did a great study on the stock market, we were split into groups of 4 I think and given $25k in imaginary money.  We got to pick our stocks, great learning tool.  But after 4th grade, I didn't learn anything about money (there was one class in high school that I didn't take that was offered, that was supposed to teach kids how to manage a check book, budget, etc.).  Nothing.  One of the most important things to succeed in our society and our schools aren't teaching anything about it.  No wonder why we end up with so many people that are struggling to make ends meet.

We need to be teaching kids growing up how to handle money and how to get their money to work for them.  Most kids graduate high school and move out end up learning how to handle money on the fly.  Spend a little here, spend a little there, borrow some here, borrow some there, whoops, how'd I get in this big hole?  I think a little financial education could go a long way to helping people take the steps to get out of poverty.  Maybe start that forth grade project and continue through high school, so we could see how the money grew.

I know the problem is very complex and multifaceted, but we have to start somewhere...
Just a thought.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cinnamon Bread

1/2 C milk (warm)
1/2 C water (warm)
2T butter (softened)
1C Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 C Flour
3T cinnamon (or more)
2t yeast
1t salt
2T sugar (and maybe a dash of brown sugar)

2T Butter melted
1/4C brown Sugar
2T cinnamon

Put them in the bread maker (or make into dough yourself) on the dough setting.  When the dough setting finishes, pull the bread out and place on a floured surface.  Flatten into a 8"x12" rectangle.  Melt 2 more T butter and spread ontop.  Then mix 1/4C brown sugar with 2T cinnamon, and spread liberally on the melted butter.  Roll up (like a jelly roll, whatever that is) and seal the seams.  Place seam down in the bread loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes (sometimes it takes longer at my house).  Slice, and butter and enjoy.  Yummy.

I've also been known to put Wheat Germ in it (high in Vitamin E and Folic Acid, which are good for you).   And/Or I put ground Flax Seed in it which is high in Omega3's which is good for my heart.  Quite important. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spider Webs

Found these spider webs at work, thought I'd take a picture. There have been tons of them everywhere. I found it a little difficult to focus on the webs. The camera just wanted to focus on what was behind them. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Imitation of Christ

We have been using this as our benediction at the end of our church services.  I really like it, and thought I'd share it.  

"Lord may it be that you will help us have steadfast hearts that will not be dragged down by false loves; courageous hearts that will not be worn down by trouble; strong hearts that will not be sidetracked by unholy or unworthy goals.  Lord help us to have the longing to know you, the diligence to look for you, the wisdom to recognize you, the faithfulness that will finally see you face to face.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen."

Adapted from Of the Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis

Photoshop plug-in's

Here is a old photo with a new trick. On One has three great free plug-in's for Photoshop, and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).   They are trimmed down versions of their pay ones, but they don't leave water marks and are amazing.  This is the same photo from the Portraits page, and with the ACR plug-in and one click, it made the photo look like this. I think it has a lot of potential.  I think this one is called Edge10 or something like that.  I'll check it later.  There are about 30 really cool effects, and they will probably become a feature of new posts.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  For some photos, I don't think this effect would work, but for this one I really think it does. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Understanding Layer Blend Modes in Photoshop

Been trying to learn as much as I can about Photoshop.  For a while, I had a hard time figuring out what the blending modes meant and how to use them. Just found this great tutorial that explains them so well to me.  Check it out and play around with some photos.

Blending Modes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Photos in Portraits

Added some new photos to the Portraits page slide show.   These are just a few (of the new photos) of a brother and sister.  So cute. 

From With rights
These photos by the tree turned out so well.  The dirt
worked like a warm reflector and the light turned out so well.

From With rights

From With rights

Talents...How do I use them?

I heard this parable mentioned this weekend. Thought I'd share a few thoughts... 

Matthew 25:14-30 (New International Version)  From Bible Gateway

The Parable of the Talents
 14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.  19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
 21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
 22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
 23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
 24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
 26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
 28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
  1. Matthew 25:15 A talent was worth more than a thousand dollars.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poverty in America

I came across this story on the website for my local new station.

Cliff notes version:
There is a roaming population of homeless that call themselves Tent City3.  It is made up of about 100 men and women with out children. They go from site to site every 90 days (by law, I think).  Mostly they stay at churches.  Frequently they are invited back to sites where they have been before.  To be in Tent City 3 (TC3) you have to operate by their code of conduct. The residents of TC3 rotate duties (such as security and cleaning).  You can read more about them Here.  So this group has been invited to stay at a Church in a neighborhood in northern Seattle.  Many of the neighbors there don't appreciate that the church is inviting them (at least it seems like many, according to news reports).  They say that the neighborhood can't support having homeless, in the area, even though the church has and continues to off shelter to some 20 homeless most every night.  It amazes when I hear people say that the church is irrelevant these days, yet when the church tries to do what Christ has called it to do, people don't like it. 

Recently our church put on two BBQ's for TC3.  One at the site they are at now, and one at our church. I was only able to attend the one at our church.  However, it was a very good experience.  I got to hear some of their stories, and share a meal with them.  I also was able to talk with the people that BBQ'd at TC3 and many of them came back to our BBQ, because they knew that what they were doing was worth it.  They had been at their current location for 2 months when we talked to them, and there had been only 1 police call, and the police were called because someone saw a homeless person (didn't know that was a crime). 

TC3 I think could be an effective way of helping to alleviate poverty.  The people that choose to stay there, have to live with in rules and want to get out of their current situation. It is not something that just anyone can walk in and be a part of, thus it weeds out most of those that are just looking for free hand outs.  They become a self governing group that has rules to follow.  Arguably most importantly, it becomes family and community. In my time working with homeless, the thing that keeps them down the most is they have no one to be accountable to and no one to share experiences with.  It becomes a steady place (where they can shower) from which they can leave their stuff and go to a job.  Not too many homeless have that opportunity. I think we should continue to give them the opportunity and applaud this church for giving them this opportunity.

In the future I would like to see people come along side the church and use the practices of When Helping Hurts (see link of book).  This would include building relationships with the residents so that they can get more training (to secure better jobs), skills for managing money, building relationships, being a good employee, etc.  A wholistic approach, so that they are offered more than just shelter, they are offered a chance to live life how Christ wants them to live life.

Here is one person's take on TC.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Softening and Fading a photo

I think I really like how this turned out.  It is a great picture to start out with I think (click either to view larger).  I love how the focus is so sharp on her eye.  Now, here is what I did, using Photoshop, I created a gradient Map layer, and changed the blending mode to screen (adjusting the opacity and fill levels to my liking).  Then I added a B&W layer and pulled down the opacity a little bit.  and here is what we ended up with. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

B&W Night Ferry

Playing around with photoshop and I really like how this turned out. I just cropped it and made it black and white, but I think it looks pretty sweet.

Friday, September 17, 2010


As summer winds down, I thought I would share some pictures of S'mores to remember the great summer we did have.  There are only a handful of things that beat a nice calm night with a beach fire and smore's. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Model Release

Here is my sample model release form. I based it off of what I could find online and added my own touches.  Feel free to use it for your own photos.  I hope not to ever run into a situation where it is necessary to use it, but better to be over prepared then under prepared.  Click it to view larger...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sleepless in Shoreline

So, My wife is participating in this event with a bunch of women from our church. Check it out here.  They are trying to raise $4,000 to help build a women and children transitional housing complex.  It is pretty sweet. I also heard that they have 2 people that have said they will match that 4k.  That would be a grand total of 12k.  Pretty sweet deal.  Check it out and if you want to donate click here. It is a wonderful organization and they are doing great work to help those in need in our region.

James 1:27 (New International Version)

27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Quote of the Week

"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein

How do I see life? Is my cup always half full?  or half empty?  God has done so much for me, everywhere I look I can see evidence of his loving touch.  

Monday, September 13, 2010


Pancakes & Blackberry Sauce:

Blackberry Sauce from the post below

1C buttermilk
1C Flour
2T Oil
1 egg
1T sugar
1t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4t salt

Mix and cook like pancakes.  Yum Yum

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Night Photography 1

Went down to the Edmond's Ferry last night and tried taking some night photography.  Pretty interesting.  We were hoping to get to go to the other side and get a picture or two of the fishing pier all lit up, but felt a few rain drops and decided to go in.
It is an interesting thing, this night photography.  I felt like there were more colors in the sky then I was able to capture.  I will have to work on it some more.  I am quite impressed with the picture quality though, not a lot of noise, good sharp picture. 
It was such a nice night, til the rain started.  Calm, peaceful and quiet. I like that about the beach at night.  Not a lot of people are there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blackberry Syrup

Update: New with picture, not a very good picture, but a picture none the less.  Deb and I really like blackberry pie, but this is for just a pie filling basically.  We put it on ice cream, pancakes, crepes, waffles, french toast, etc.

4C blackberries (not the phones either)
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Water
2 T Cinnamon
2 T Lemon Juice

After cleaning the berries put them into a large pot with the water, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Bring to a good boil for a couple minutes, stirring often so not to scorch the berries.  Turn down to low heat and let simmer for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes (til desired thickness).  Mash the berries as desired.  Put into storage containers, and enjoy... Makes about 3 quarts (I think, its a little more than 3 of our little jars).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rights to Photos

I've gotten a model release for a couple of the kids at work, I'm still working on putting them all together, but here are some images that I've gotten releases for.  I am super excited to be able to post some of my photos that I have been spending a lot of time and energy on. The first photo is a formal portrait, with a little bit of touching up and smoothing of skin, the second I took the other day at work and is SOOC (straight out of the camera), I like taking some pictures with the sepia tone.

One of my favorite photos, I love the eyes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cedar Plank BBQ'd Salmon

This is by far one of our favorite dinners.  So yummy and quite easy to prepare/cook.
1 Cedar Plank Board (often found near the meat in the store)
.75-1.5 lb salmon fillet
1/2 Onion
lemon juice
Johnny's Seasoning
Garlic gloves sliced (or powder)

Soak Cedar plank for 1/2 before cooking
While it soaks prepare the salmon...
Lightly spread lemon juice on salmon
Drizzle a little bit of honey on the salmon (this caramelizes while it cooks and tastes so yummy)
Sprinkle a light coat of salt, pepper and Johnny's on the salmon.
Put 1sliced (or powdered) garlic on every square inch or so
Cut onion and spread rings over the salmon
Put salmon on the Plank and then put it on the grill over medium to high heat for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (may take longer with thicker pieces).
Enjoy...Its so Yummy.

Verse of the Week

Philippians 4:8 (New International Version)

 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

It's easy for me in life to get caught up about all that is wrong, all that is bad, and I miss or don't fully enjoy the good times.  I need to step back and enjoy all that is beautiful in this wonderful world God has created.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer Pictures

As Summer Draws to a close, I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures from my favorite summertime retreat. I love going there, its so close, yet seems so removed from everything. Its awesome.

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