She's a Little League Slugger at Fenway

My 7 year-old daughter plays little league baseball, "with the boys," I like to say.  She holds her own. She enjoys her teammates, coaches and the baseball family at West Springfield Little League.   Most of all, baseball provides that special connection with her father and older brother.  As she gets older there are fewer female teammates and people continue to ask when will we switch her over to softball.  I know the time is coming that she will pick another team sport, "with the girls."  With this day in mind,  I took some sentimental photos of her at one of our favorite baseball WSLL fields "Fenway." 

Equipment:  Nikon D7000 and AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED.  Settings for most photos:  70 mm, ISO 320, f/4.5, Shutter Speed 1/100.

On deck warming up.
(I shot through the chain link fence)


Waiting for the call from the Ump.

The pitcher lands one short in the dirt.

A beautiful evening for baseball.


Whack!  Bionic ball coming off the bat.

Watching where the ball goes.
I'll keep watching where she goes...


Cherry Blossoms 2012: After the Party

The Cherry Blossom trees in Washington, D.C. are so pretty and a perfect location for a photography lover.  This year we missed the peak, but still enjoyed the beauty.  The ground was pink with petals.  Petals blew in the breeze and gathered in pools of pink along the paths and in the water.  This year my photography outing tells a different story of the cherry blossom.  After the party...

Jefferson Memorial.
 Windy weather.
Choppy water.
Petals flying.

Cherry blossoms.
So delicate.
White and soft pink.

Petals cresting on the waves.

Reaching for the sun.

Confetti petals.
We missed the party.

Cradled in the tree.


Similar, yet different.
Washington Monument in the background.

Gnarled and wise.
Still producing beauty.

New growth.

Glowing in the sun.

Technically not a Cherry Blossom

Technically not a cherry blossom tree.  These bright pink hues were fun to photograph and too pretty not to share.  

Two trees were adjacent to the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC where the cherry blossom trees and Cherry Blossom Festival draw large crowds each spring.  These trees were tucked to the side almost under the 14th Street Bridge.  The blooms were plentiful and heavy causing the branches to bow.  Gravity brought more of the colorful flowering pom-poms eye level.

Photographs were taken with a Nikon D7000 and a 50mm 1.4 lens.

14th Street Bridge lamp post on the left.
Shot into the sun.

The lamp post offers a nice contrast to this simple cluster.
It looks like it is in a vase.

The dark branches add interest and depth.

Craving cotton candy.

Fun with a low f/stop.  Playing with aperture.   

My parting photo of our fun photography outing.


Reflecting on Back-to-School. Photographic failure.

As a parent of young children back-to-school morning is a big day.  Almost as much as it is for the kids, wouldn't you agree?  As a parent with a nice camera and a bit of skill you have high expectations of how you are going to capture the special morning.  I'm finally getting over my sense of photography failure and now can see the humor in the day.   These are the photos I captured.  I'm not just showing you the bad ones.  

She's excited to get to school and won't slow down for a photo.  He's pensive.

When she runs past him she sees how he is playing cool and tries to act like him.
 She avoids my camera.

Yes, I'm still behind you...

They will not stop for a photo.
I slowly stalk them to school.
Planning my next move. 

I plead for photo.
He won't stop.
 She turns around and gives me brief moment, but it's not what I want.

I repose her for better light and plead again for a photo.
She negotiates and agrees to one more shot.

"This IS my good smile" through clinched teeth.

My last chance as we arrive at the crossing guard.
"Give mom a kiss goodbye."

Fat chance.
Until next year.
 I will work on a new strategy.
I go home and see on Facebook all the wonderful photographs my friends take of their children on back-to-school day.
Sigh...I laugh even harder. 


Owl and the family

I was taking out the trash this week and this beautiful owl landed right above my head in the front yard. I've seen him once before from a distance.  I hurried inside to tell the kids to come outside and see the owl.  As we were coming out the backdoor to sneak up on the owl he flew around the back of the house and landed right above us on this branch.  He swiveled his head from left to right and he watched us.  He was curious.  The kids were thrilled.  I raced inside to grab my camera. 

 My photos were not turning out!  My 50 mm portrait lens was on the camera, my White Balance was set for day and my ISO was at 100 for a sunny day.  The owl was patient.  He hung around watching us long enough to give me time to change my lens, set my White Balance and struggle with finding the right ISO for the dusk.    

We were so excited to see the owl in our yard because I recently finished reading Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat to my children.  My son's teacher read the story to his class and my son begged me to read it at home because he thought his little sister would love the story.  She did.  This old story is about a boy and his pet owls.  If you like sweet old fashioned stories about kids, pets and the trouble they cause this is a fun read.

He was as curious about us as we were about him.
My kids and I moved upstairs and opened my daughter's window to get a birds eye view of the owl.
I like how the red buds on the tree brings a pop of color to this soft photo.

The sun was setting and I used my flash. 

The bluejay chased our owl friend away. You can see the bluejay in the branch behind the owl.  


Tae Kwon Do ~ A great sport for girls ~ lessons learned

Tae Kwon Do is a great sport for my kids to do together that builds both their self-confidence and body awareness.  My son loves the physical aspect of sparring and the tangible achievement a new belt after testing.

When I think of reasons why I like Tae Kwon Do so much I think of something interesting a friend told me once.  Kids today are not allowed, as much, to have rough and tumble playing time.  My friend who was raised in another county said "Americans don't let their boys be boys."  She explained that we often tell our kids at play dates "don't touch," "hands to yourself," "no tackling."  She said that is fine but some boys need an outlet.  Tae Kwon Do sparring provides this type of outlet for my kids.  At the end of a sparring day they are worn out and happy.  

My daughter started Tae Kwon Do when she was 3 years old and it really brought her out of her shy shell.  She is much more self-confident and I see how this confidence works for her in school.  During a school recital a teacher once told me she put my daughter next to the disruptive boys because she knew she could handle them.  I like to know that she can handle difficult people at a young age.  This is a good life skill for a girl to have as they grow up. 

Recently, my kids tested for their new belts.  My daughter told me that I was really embarrassing her by taking so many photos.  She said I was not allowed to take photos during the testing, so I had to sneak these photos of her testing from a distance.  I hid behind a wall and swung out around the door jam to take some shots spy style.  I used my Nikon D7000 and my Nikkor 70-300mm lens.  I turned my ISO up really high so my flash would not go off.  My shots are grainy because of the high ISO.  After testing she said, "Mom, I saw you taking pictures."  Who me?  "I could see you in the mirror peaking in the room with your camera." Busted.

The week before belting testing I brought my kids into the basement and moved the furniture so they could practice their forms.  They stared at me with blank looks.  They could not remember their forms outside of the classroom.   Hmmm.  What to do?  I had to learn their forms to tutor them at home.   I learned the forms and helped my kids.  My husband was very impressed.  So was I.  My son said, "Mom, you can take Tae Kwon Do with us.  I won't be embarrassed."  Oh my, pitter patter my heart, what a sweet boy.   I told him, "Yes, you would."

Her kicks are getting higher.

She watches herself in the mirror...a lot.
My white balance was on auto.  My photos turned out orange tinted.
A friend suggested to set my white balance to fluorescent.
Huge improvement the next time I tried.

Concentrating to keep the foot flat.
I am leaning out from the door jam to take a photo
and not let her see me or let the flash go off.

This little girl knocked my daughter flat on her rear three times during her first ever sparring day.
She lay on the ground in shock, fighting back tears.  I saw a range on emotions cross her face.
 Fight or flight.
I thought "what did I do?"  She got back up each time and continued sparring.
 My daughter had to spar with her for the testing.
  I saw her overcome a fear that day.

Sister and brother.

Her first ever wood break.  Finally!
 She failed a few times before.
Confidence builder. 

A trophy!
 She tenderly arranges her trophy, certificate, and belt.
 I'll keep my opinions to myself (for now) about trophies.

A confident, tough, happy little girl.


Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop in DC ~ More Photos

A few of my new photography friends from the Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE workshop in Washington, D.C. are getting together soon, so I revisited some of my photographs I took during workshop.  Five months later, I see the photographs with a new eye.  

 If you have a passion or enthusiastic interest in photography and want to start a business then you have an awesome opportunity to join Me Ra Koh at her Spring 2011 CONFIDENCE workshops in Seattle, Chicago and New York.   I have several friends in the Northwest who could take the Seattle workshop...hint, hint. 

 You will learn.  You will gain confidence. You will cry.  You will laugh...a lot.
 Available now: Early Bird for Spring CONFIDENCE.  

Since the workshop, I have had a blast photographing the kids and my daily life.  I've challenged myself to try new techniques and take risks.   The workshop gave me the confidence to start a photography club in my neighborhood.  The club members host, research and teach a topic our group women with diverse skills and interests.  We will improve our photography skills together and support those who are starting a business.  It's really fun to have local friends who share an interest in photography.  With photography on my mind I look forward to photography field trips, blooming flowers, and little league baseball.  There is so much I want to learn and do with photography. 

  Like my jewelry business, photography is calling me and may lead me to yet unidentified opportunities. 

Me Ra Koh is very open sincere person with a lot of laughter and passion for photography.
 She is a generous with her knowledge and information.

In this photograph Me Ra warmly answers questions from Natasha Soreco of Ponteuf photography with undivided attention.   During the workshop Me Ra and Brian answered our many questions with patience, detail, humor and sincerity. 

One of our baby and mother models pose for our practice group.  It must have been exhausting for them to have our group pose, repose and follow them around for over an hour as we practiced our indoor natural light photography.

 I stepped back and admired this scene with the baby's nonstop smiling at the cameras.

He had stamina.
This photograph makes me laugh.

As I revisit the photos I took, I keep going back to this shot.
 I like this photograph much better now than I did at the time.

At the end of our session you could tell the mother was exhausted and the baby was ready for a nap.   This photograph looks reflective.  I like the shadows on her face and chubbiness of the baby on the balcony as he leans towards the street with new interest of  the passing cars.  
Day 2.  Father and daughter wait for Me Ra to tell the group our assignment on the street with our model families.

This is a just missed shot, but as I look back the blur of the photograph seems to fit her far-off stare.
 I asked her a question and she was thinking of a response.
Many of my shots were out of focus.  I learn now that my 50mm lens did not communicate with my camera properly.  I purchased the wrong lens.  I wish I could retake the class with my new camera.

Too cute and a relief for me.  I was shooting a mother with her toddler and baby.  It wasn't working for me and I stepped away behind a tree to hide my frustration while I reviewed my shots.  One of the other workshop attendees came over and told me not to give up.  She suggested I go over and photograph this lovely young lady who sat much more still than the baby and who was loving all the attention.  Me Ra teased me that I could specialize in 8 year olds since I found the toddler and baby difficult.

Air kiss.
Until later!