Monday, February 21, 2011

Gray Or Grey...this weeks Challenge...a bit of inspiration on the rebirth of Winter

“Eyes too expressive to be blue, 
Too lovely to be grey.” 
 ~Matthew Arnold

This weeks Challenge is simply the word GREY.
No rules other than NO Black & White that would be cheating.
As winter shows its ugly head again in the north plains it seems all is grey, so there should be lots to photograph!! And Grey is certainly a mood too so you could go that way. Here are few more grey quotes and photos for inspiration.

“Break, break, break, On thy cold gray stones, O sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter The thoughts that arise in me”
 Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“The old gray mare just ain't what she used to be”

“His wings are gray and trailing, Azrael, Angel of Death, And yet the souls that Azrael brings Across the dark and cold, Look up beneath those folded wings, And find them lined with gold”
 Robert Gilbert Welsh

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.”
 Frank Gifford

“The photographer's palette [is] a thousand shades of gray.”
 H. E. Clark

“The gray, immense and unmistakably Central European sky..
air slightly perfumed with petrol and boiled potatoes.”
 James Morris

“The great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees.”
 Rudyard Kipling

Have fun and post on Flickr and you can post in the Facebook group too but please post all challenge pictures in Flickr first :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Triangle of Proper Exposure!!!!

The first thing I say to people who want to take better pictures is TURN YOU FLASH OFF. Back a few thousand year ago when my Lily was a baby the only camera I had was a Cannon power shot...a point and shoot, and I was able to get really good pictures with that camera simply by turning off the flash and making the camera work for me. One of the super gals over in my Flickr teaching group took a nearly perfectly composed image, however I think she can truly make it into an art image by simply turning off her flash and making her camera work harder :) {hopefully she will let me post the images once she is done with them}
There are three things that your camera does to expose an image,
I am going to explain them to you in the order I set them on my camera.
ISO~This goes back to old film speed for those of you old enough to remember film. Remember if you were going to take pictures outside you would 100 speed film and if you were indoors you would use 400 speed or higher. Well ISO on your digital camera is how sensitive the light gathering sensor will be. If your ISO is set to 100 you would be in very bright lighting conditions, If you were in a low light room your would set your ISO to 1000. OK so get your Camera manual or Natural Light for dummies :) and find the section on ISO and read it I am going to go fill my coffee cup {whistling} keep going I'll wait >>>>OK do you know how to set that on camera the case of the sample image the ISO was set to 1600 seems a bit high. The thing about high ISO is that>>>> the higher the # the grainier the image. Now the better your camera the better it can handle the higher numbers. But I always try to keep the number as low as possible!!!SO in the sample image I think I would hang around 1000, but you will need to get as much light as you can open curtains, the front door...but turn off light bulbs they just make everything yellow and add very little light :)
OK the second thing I set on my Camera is my F-stop or aperture, I am going to call it Fstop, OK??
Fstop is a function of your with different lenses you have different options. Fstop is how closed or open the "pupil" of your lens is at a setting. So pick up your camera....yeah go get it :} take the lens off and look at the back of the lens, look in and see the little black flower inside that is the aperture that determines how much light will be let into the lens....make sense??? so if we set the camera to say F4.5 we are telling the lens to not open up as much and let less light in >>>>buuuut if we set it, to say F1.8, we are telling the lens to OPEN WAY UP and let in TONS of light!!! now all lens have a limit to how high or low their Fstop can go I have a 18-200mm lens that only goes down to F3.5 so this lens is best for outside or lighting situation that have LOTS of light. But my 50mm opens up to F1.4>>> I can shoot in the house at night with no flash. Your Fstop also determines how much of the photo will be in focus, this is called depth of field.
Here are three samples>>>> this first image is ALL in focus and its Fstop is F8
This image was shot at F5.6 notice she is all in focus and the background is blurry she is sitting a ways from the background as well so that adds to the blur of the background.
and finally this one is shot at F2 and the only thing in focus is her face.

So to recap>>> ISO determines how sensitive the sensor will be and Fstop determines how much light will reach that sensor by how far the "pupil" will open, and how much of the image will be in focus>>> so that bring us to SHUTTER SPEED
Shutter speed is ‘the amount of time that the shutter is open’.
In film photography it was the length of time that the film was exposed to the scene you’re photographing and similarly in digital photography shutter speed is the length of time that your image sensor ’sees’ the scene you’re attempting to capture.
You this on your camera as 1/60, 1/250 etc. the lower the number the more time the shutter will be open, seems a little backwards but this because it is measuring in factions of a second. If you have a low light situation you would want to set your shutter speed lower like 1/125 or if you are in a high light area you could be all the way up at 1/6400. Your camera can meter for what you need to set that shutter speed at. Again go to your manual and read about how to meter for shutter speed. If your shutter speed gets below 1/60 you are likely to get blurriness from your hands moving {or even your heartbeat} So a good rule for now is not to go below 1/60, if the meter is asking for a lower shutter speed then move your ISO up to the next setting {if you were at ISO 200 move up to ISO 250.
OK final recap :) TURN YOUR CAMERA TO M....not auto :) and make sure your flash is off!!
Set your ISO to your lighting
  • Low light>>>High number{like 400-1000 or more} 
  • High light>>>Low number {100-320}
  • High number= grainier images>>>Low number=sharper images
Set your Fstop for lighting and what depth of field {or focus} you would like
  • Wide open Fstop {like 1.4-2.8}>>>> lets in lots of light, and less of the photo is in focus
  • Tighter Fstops {like 3.2-22} >>> let in less light, and more of the photo are in focus
Set your Shutter Speed to what your Camera meter tells your to set it at.

Generally once I set my ISO and my Fstop for a photo session I don't change them too much, what I am changing for each pic is the shutter speed. Sometimes I will change the ISO at say Sunset where I started the session at 100 and by the end as the sun moves down, I am at 320. And I change my Fstop depending on how may ppl are in the image, more ppl the more of the photo I need to be in focus, with less blur.

This was a ton of info!!!! Thanks for making all the way to the end:) please ask question!!! and play with your camera :)
Miz Wildflower!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Love in your Life and Composition

First please click on this link and ready about the basics of composition...Assigned Reading

Now the photo you take this week should somehow tell a story about love and work on ONE of the rules of composition that your read about.
Full color is fine and no people... that is hard when it comes to love but I want you to really think about the set up :)
Here is mine>>>> I would say that this image follows the rule of thirds Mr and Mrs follow the line of the bottom third and the bow on the heart box is at the top line.
Thanks for playing I can't wait to see what you come up with!!! Try to have your pics posted by Sunday and we will have a new assignment on Monday!! Its going to be a fun one :)
Don't forget your monthly challenge COFFEE OR HOT CHOCOLATE!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Monthly Challenge

  • Can have a person or not
  • Can be a more candid shot or a set up
  • FULL color only
  • Only 1 image
  • Extra love points given for those who include a spoon {because this can be hard to capture and still have a good composition}

Afternoon Breve

Feburary Week One Challenge {FEB 5-12}

Since this is Miz Wildflower Says.....challenge one I would like to see who you all are.
So the challenge is a SELF-PORTAIT in a reflective surface>>>>

  • Use a reflective surface {not a turn the camera around and click at yourself :}
  • The final image posted to the group must be in BLACK & WHITE
  • You can show the camera or not but don't let it cover your pretty face
  • Only one image please no colleges or posting of more than one image
  • You may use words on your image if you like but you don't have too
  • You must give your image a title
  • In the description please introduce yourself

Here is my attempt at this challenge. This is an image taken in the reflection of my dryer door. I titled it a Portait of a Homemaker>>>>>
So be creative, have fun, LETS PLAY!!!

Let's get together YAH YAH YAh over at FLICKR

So over the last few years several of my "fans" and friends have asked me to teach photog classes. And as much as  I would like to have a photography retreat once a month here the ranch, that is just not a possibility. But I love to teach and love the interaction with all of you so in response to all of that I am going to start a little group on Flickr. Flickr is a photo sharing community that is set up to handle lots of photos and is great for a group like this.

If you would like to improve your clickin' skills and your artistic view, please join our group!!! Whether you are a mom with a cannon power shot and you would like to take better pics of your own kiddos or you have a big dog camera and your own business, I hope you help you all. You need a Flickr account which is easy peasy to sign up for, and its free at its basic level and that is all you will need for this group. You don't have to have a fancy camera I am a true believe that beautiful images can be taken with any camera, its just understanding how your camera and light work together.

Here is the link to the group: Miz Wildflower Says... If you are not a member of Flickr go sign up first and then come back here and click the link and join.
Now here is the dealeo!!!!
WEEKLY CHALLENGE ~Each week I will post a challenge here at the blog and on the flicker group. If you can do it that week great if not, no big deal, no pressure just learning and fun.
MONTHLY CHALLENGE~At the beginning of the month I will also post a monthly challenge.
POP QUIZ ~ surprise challenges whenever the inspiration strikes.
GOLD STARS ~ Each week there will be a few Gold Star photos that will be featured on the blog and in facebook. I am rattling around the idea of prizes but not sure yet, so for now let's just say its for joy of being picked :)
REPORT CARDS ~ Anytime you post an image in the group you can place in the description that you would like a report card, and I will give the photo an honest critique. Over the last few years of posting images I have TONS of positive comment but words like stunning, lovely, and breathtaking {although great for the ego} didn't do anything to improve my work. I will do my best to tell you what I think the best and the worst aspects of the photo. This will be a growing tool for those of you brave enough to face Miz Wildflower :) I promise I will be infinitely kind and honest :)
HALL MONITORS ~ As I get to know you all I hope to bring on a few of you as additional teachers and overseers but lets get to know each other first :)
FINAL EXAMS ~ not sure what and when this will be.....but maybe a weekend together :)
Here are few rules:
Keep it clean!!! no nakedness, rudeness, lewdness, or crabbiness!!
Lots of love, joy, kind truthfulness, LOLing!!!
NO old photos!!! please take each challenge as an opportunity to grow and take new images......there maybe a few editing challenges where I will ask for old photos but that will be the exception!!!
OK I think that about covers it!!! are you ready????
Miz Wildflower

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Our family has not been called to a foreign mission field, or to adopt orphans from a far away land, or start a home school ministry, or to “create” a large mega family, to write a curriculum, to start a college, to open a book store, to live organically off the land in our log home our family built, to sell everything buy an RV and take a US history tour, or any of the other excitements that many home schooling families are called to.

We have been called to live a simple, quiet, agrarian multi generational life, which I am sure conjures up in you imagines of Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, sleigh rides, dips in the pond, enormous meals (all from scratch), a wise Pa, a soft-spoken mother, and mischievous  kids getting into a pickle. But those lives of old, and ours are about a “slow steady obedience in the same direction” (AW Towser?).

Get up, pray, feed kids, feed livestock,  discipline kids, teach, discipline kids, do laundry, clean up, feed kids, pray, read, clean up, do laundry, hug waking child, pray, feed kids, discipline again, feed livestock, chop– sauté— bake, listen, advise, feed kids, clean up, read read read, wipe, brush, tuck, rest, sleep, re tuck, sleep, REPEAT. One day into the next, then week, then month, then one year folds over the next.

Some days this rhythm feels like drudgery, but on my best days I will tell you that it is so much more. Victor Hugo Penned: 
Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones, and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace---God is awake.

Great sorrow and laborious tasks take place everywhere on my plain and simple prairie or your historical RV trip. All the small joys and sorrows are felt as acutely here as there. On this side of heaven we all live in a place where, work does not always feel like a blessing, Pa doesn’t always have the answer, Ma forgets that kind words are sweeter than honey and some times the pickle your child finds themselves in will have life long consequences. So whether you are called to a quiet life or some exciting home school adventure we all need to pray for courage, patience, the strength to do hard work, trust in a God who is ever watching, and selflessness to love as Christ loved us. Perhaps then the monotony and the drudgery will turn into beautiful gardens, flowers beds, children who rise up and call you blessed, clean and orderly homes that are safe havens, well-loved husbands, cared for elderly parents, and all that is good in abundant living, When the work is done and the golden end of the day comes, and the end of the calling pulls you to eternity, you can finish in peace and then rest.