Photo A Day ~ 26 Jan

I didn't plan on posting a photo for the 26th, since I didn't really take any picture with the challenge in mind. I snapped this quick picture late at night just to send to Daddy to show off Noah's artwork!

After dinner & bath, Noah (just turned 4) was coloring & having a snack before bedtime. He "found" my post-it notes and proceeded to write on every single sheet... all 150 of them! He was SO proud of himself because he put two together so it would be big enough for him to write his name. He can usually write his name if I help him along a little, but he did this all on his own. Ignore the awful PS work! It was really dark & had a bad shadow covering up part of his name so I did a very quick edit... cloned some to get rid of the shadow, sharpened it a bit and lightened it too. I should really just try getting another photo of it, but I'm kinda lazy tonight!

I'm hoping to get out & find some interesting things to photograph for the challenge this week... now that I'm feeling much better. (I hurt my back about 2 weeks ago so I've been limited on where/when I can get out & shoot... but I'm moving much faster now.) :)


Photo A Day ~ 25 Jan

My youngest woke up in a bad mood this morning and he was really whiny all day today. I couldn't get anything done around the house. He wanted my full attention & would whine or cry... for no reason. This went on most of the day... until I started playing with the timer on my camera!!! These pictures are awful... I had on no make-up, was still wearing my jammies, and they are dark and SO out of focus... but taking them made him smile... which made my life MUCH easier today!
It took us a few tries to get positioned right for the shot... and after about three shots, he decided making goofy faces was kinda fun!

As soon as I put away the camera and tried to do anything around the house, he got really really whiny again... so no other photos for me today.

I almost forgot to mention what my hubby said about these photos... I emailed them to him (I try to email him pics every day while he's deployed) and his response was: "OH MY GOSH... he looks more and more like you every day". That's saying a lot since we all thought he looked just like his Daddy from day one. :)


Photo A Day ~ 24 Jan

I think my kid loves the computer almost as much as I do! He was watching international cartoons online while I was on the phone... and this is how I found him after the call!

Canon dRebel XT, 50mm 1.8, ss 1/13, f 1.8, ISO 400... SOOC/resized for web viewing.

I could have played with the settings a little bit to improve the photo, but I just went with the quickest settings I could possibly use before he fell off the chair!!! :)

Photo A Day ~ 23 Jan

My child is totally obsessed with letters. He discovered the center of our newspaper today. Since most of our news is military and international stuff, we have this center section that gives little news highlights from all over the US by state. It has a map of the US and in large letters it says "American Roundup". My kid is 4. He read American (roundup was a little tricky so he didn't get that one). I squealed with joy... then grabbed the camera!!! Total "Proud Mommy Moment"!!
Canon dRebel XT, 50mm 1.8, ss 1/25, f 1.8, ISO 400, SOOC
But, honestly... I didn't even look at the settings!

Photo A Day ~ 22 Jan

(be back to post the pic)


Photo A Day ~ 21 Jan

I figured since I haven't been following the challenge calendar, I would make an effort to get caught up. I guess I've been too busy playing with the manual settings & learning new things to find specific things to shoot!

So... here's a little bit of my life... my scrap space!

Living in military housing never allows for a real scrap room so I always steal a closet for my space. This area is the near the front entry of my house... the foyer alcove area... in what used to be the coat/storage closet. The brown line on the wall is where the closet doors were... so I guess I stole a little more than just the closet! I took the closet doors down and made an L shaped desk out of my Store-in-Style cubes! I still need to finish making the curtain that will hide it all away, but for now, I love my little scrap space!

(No need to cc... it's just a quick snapshot on auto... and really bad lighting!)

Photo A Day ~ 20 Jan

Random goofiness! My youngest son was having the BEST time being goofy and watching his reflection on the bowl of my Kitchenaid stand mixer. He was especially fascinated by the way his arm looked when it was close to the bowl! And he thought it was pretty great to see my camera in the reflection too!

Nothing technically correct about this photo at all... just a quick snap with my 50mm since that's what I had on the camera at the time!


Photo A Day ~ 19 Jan

Well, there are two photos today... because I'm still playing with my 50mm lens! I took some photos to show my husband how I changed the living room furniture around, then I started working on "focus". Decided the Japanese lamp from last night was a good object to use for my practice so I positioned myself so there was a background object... and started shooting & adjusting!

I took about 35 shots, and got pretty consistent with focusing on the object I *wanted* to be in focus... some near objects, some far objects. I can't even begin to explain how much this challenge has encouraged me to learn more about my camera...

Image #1: Focus on near object, blur background...
Image #2: Focus on far object, blur foreground...

Both images shot with Canon dRebel XT, 50mm/1.8 lens,

ss 1/8, f 2.2, ISO 400, auto WB, SOOC (resized image for viewing)

Photo A Day ~ 18 Jan

I was sitting at my dining room table tonight, reading some photo info online, and decided to play with my camera a little bit... problem was... I was too lazy to actually get up & go to a room with better lighting or more interesting stuff to photograph! ;)

So... here's a tilted view of a Japanese lamp & picture frame on the table behind my leather sofa. That's me & my hubby in that photo! (*Note to self: dust sofa table. HA!)
Canon dRebel XT, Canon 50mm/1.8 lens, image is SOOC...
ss 1/15, f 1.8, ISO 400
And these were totally random manual settings since I was just adjusting & shooting... learning by doing... :) I was just playing with my 50mm 1.8 lens basically because I'm so not used to shooting with a prime. I forget that my feet actually work sometimes!!! I want the lens to get me closer... I'm either spoiled by zooms or lazy!

Photo A Day ~ 17 Jan

(I'll be back to post my POTD here!)

Photo A Day ~ 16 Jan

(I'll be back to post my POTD here!)


Photo A Day ~ 15 Jan

This week's Photo A Day Challenge is all about showing our hometown... so here's a little piece of where I live. It's not my real "hometown"... but then again... home is where the Air Force sends us! So, I guess the Tokyo area is home for now...

Passed this while out shopping. I was walking down a sidewalk... sort of off the beaten path... on my way back to the train station when I saw this driveway entry. It was a private home, and I have NO idea what the sign says, but I thought it was pretty cool looking! :) The area is very urban, tall buildings on the opposite side of the street, and then there was this entry. The houses behind the entry were bigger than most in the area and the garden area was immaculately kept. The most amazing home I've seen in that area... but I was too chicken to poke my head through to get a better photo of it! ha!

ss 1/200, f 8.0, ISO 400 (cropped & resized for uploading)

Photo A Day ~ 14 Jan

Aren't they pretty?! Flowers from the hubby... (used auto setting... because I had a 4-year-old that insisted on "helping" me take the picture!)


Photo A Day ~ 13 Jan

I took some random shots around the house today but the lightening was horrible and nothing was worth showing... so I'm gonna cheat! I started working on a photo from July. I love this shot of my son wearing one of Daddy's old flight helmets! I think it still needs a little something, but I'm just not sure how or what to do to it now. I'm posting the original and the PSE4 version... any suggestions, help, ideas?

Canon dRebel XT, kit lens, auto setting; ss 1/60, f 5.6, ISO 400

PSE4 EDITED PHOTO: lightened & sharpened...

I'm no expert with PSE4... so I did what I know... anything beyond that will require some really good instructions! ;)

Photo A Day ~ 12 Jan

My 16-year-old is a skateboarding fanatic. He loves it and has gotten damn good at it too! It is fun to try out my photo skill and lenses on him! This shot was one of about 400 I took of him on the street by our house. I don't know why... but of all of the photos... this one just sorta jumped out at me.
Canon dRebel XT, lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM;
ss 1/320, f 5.0, ISO 400, SOOC
And this next photo makes me laugh... because as this was snapped, I was screaming like a girl and trying to avoid being hit by his skateboard!! ;) I took a series of shots of him on that rail you see in the background and he nearly fell. The skateboard shot towards me and evidentally it was pretty funny to my kid!

(this was taken on the sports setting... the last shot in a series of 4 photos)

Photo A Day ~ 11 Jan

Just a quick shot of my goofball 4-year-old trying his best to mess up my bed within minutes of me making it!

Canon dRebel XT, kit lens
ss 1/60, f 5.0, ISO 400, SOOC

Photo A Day ~ 10 Jan

We took my parents to the airport Wednesday... and while they were getting checked in the boys grabbed some McDonald's. I rarely have the chance to get them all in one candid photo. It's amazing to see those three together... they are just SO different!

Canon dRebel XT, kit lens - ss 1/30, f 5.6, ISO 400,

PSE4: brightened a little and cropped to cut out some other airport dwellers!

Taking Mom and Dad to the airport was really hard... but it was a nice trip. Originally I had planned to go alone to take them to Narita... right up to the time to leave! I could tell my parents didn't want to say good-bye to the boys and then ride a bus for 2 hours to get to the airport. I also didn't want to ride home by myself after saying good-bye to them at the airport. Less than an hour before we had to catch the shuttle bus to Narita Airport, I made a quick trip over to the transportation office and purchased tickets for the three boys!

Having my parents here helped me so much with Tom's deployment. I had their visit to look forward to when he left, and it was wonderful to see them with the boys. Noah had an amazing time playing with Grammy and Papa! I miss them already... and now all I can do is count down the days until Tom comes home. I mean, I'm ok... there's just nothing big coming up to keep my mind off of it. The everyday stuff keeps me busy, but when the kids are in bed and the house is quiet...


Photo A Day ~ 9 Jan

My parents leave tomorrow so I took my mom out for some last minute shopping today. On the way back home my mom wanted to stop off and get some pictures of some stuff on the base. I stopped at the round-about circle so my mom could get some photos of the plane in the middle... and I read the memorial granite slab near it for the very first time! It is a memorial to John F. Kennedy put up by the Japanese workers of Yokota Air Base in 1983. As I was looking through the camera, I noticed I could see my reflection... and I just thought it was kinda cool!

Canon dRebel XT, kit lens, ss 1/80, f. 9.0, ISO 400


Photo A Day ~ 8 Jan

MOM'S WALKING TOUR... Mom and I went shopping today. We walked all over Fussa... the town just outside Yokota Air Base. We bought some stuff at the ¥ shop. It's basically like a Dollar Tree store because ¥100 (100 yen) is close to $1.00 and almost everything in the shop costs ¥100. It's a pretty fun store. Three floors of all sorts of little stuff... storage, kitchen gadgets, dishes, pet supplies, candy, snacks, decorative stuff for the house... and we couldn't read any of the labels!

I took Mom to eat at a restaurant that my husband took me too a few months ago. Ya have to pick your meal from the pictures on the menu and just hope it's what you think is in the picture!!! ;) When we were walking back I took these pictures of the big road sign & Mom in front of a cute little statue. I didn't carry my camera today so I used her little Kodak point-n-shoot camera. And since her camera is set to her date/time in Florida, it still said 1/7/07 at 2:30pm on January 8th here!


Photo A Day ~ 7 Jan

There are times when being on the other side of the world will catch up to me on these posts for the challenge! Well, today is one of those days!!! It is nearly 2:30am on January 7th. I just got home from a military "after-holiday" party... and I'm going to count this as my 7th Photo A Day because it's technically the 7th for me!!
My husband's unit had a lot of people traveling or deployed in December so we all decided to postpone the annual party until January. It was GREAT! I had a really good time, despite being there without my own husband because he isn't home from his deployment yet. These people are so amazing. I feel like part of a seriously big family when I'm with them! I was having such a good time, I only took a few pictures. This one is by far my favorite! The goofballs in this photo are all friends of ours. I just love 'em to pieces! They were quite the entertaining group! ;) We are SO not the party crowd... but these guys are so much fun to be around!

dRebel XT, kit lens, ss 1/60, f. 4.0, ISO 400,

(auto fix red eyes on one person with PSE4)

Photo A Day ~ 6 Jan

Having my parents visit us here in Japan has been amazing... mainly because I love seeing them with my boys! I've missed that more than I thought. Yesterday my dad and Andrew (13) decided to start putting this puzzle together that Andrew got for Christmas. They were chatting & goofing around the whole time. I'm surprised they still have all the pieces! Well... after about 2 hours, Andrew took a break & started playing PS2... but Papa kept at it! HOURS into this puzzle, he finally recruited my mom to help! The man was obsessed!!! I know this shot is a little blurry and dark... but I love it anyway! (ok, actually, it's the only one out of 30 that wasn't nearly black or REALLY blurry since I kept turning that dial on my camera to see what it would do! ;) heehee)

dRebel XT, kit lens
ss 1/13, f. 5.6, ISO 1600


Photo A Day ~ 5 Jan

I'm going to warn you now... there are SIX photos for today... but I just couldn't decide! They all said something different to me. I spent about 45 minutes in a little park near my house, snapping photos of the two foo dog statues near the entrance. The background wasn't exactly photo-worthy so I concentrated on getting close shots of the statues at angles that didn't show the icky apartment buildings in the photo. I'll post medium size pictures instead of the larger ones... just so they aren't too much for one day! :) Sorry for the overload of photos! I promise I'll get better at making a decision!

ss 1/320, f. 5.6, ISO 400
ss 1/160, f. 5.6, ISO 400

ss 1/320, f. 5.6, ISO 400
ss 1/200, f. 5.6, ISO 400

ss 1/320, f. 5.6, ISO 400

ss 1/160, f. 5.0, ISO 400
(The Japanese sign on the pedestal says "Yuko Park"!)
*all photos posted today are SOOC... no editing or adjustments.


Photo A Day ~ 4 Jan

I wasn't sure I'd get a photo in for today... unless it was another lucky shot in my kitchen tonight! ;) Then, as my dad was grilling steaks on the back patio, he commented on the moon... and my little brain went "TADA! Photo A Day shot"! I grabbed my camera & switched to my 70-300mm lens... then stood out in my back yard... snapping pics of the moon & some with those skeletal trees in the moon's light... all the while my hands were freezing!!!

Oh, and I made two discoveries tonight.... 1) my new green tweed coat was definitely worth the price and 2) my tripod is broken. :( I will be going shopping tomorrow for a replacement. The base exchange doesn't have a tripod so I will have to go off the base. (yay!) ;)

Canon dRebel XT, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
ss 1/800, f. 7.1, ISO 400, Focal Length 300.0,
cropped in PSE4 to show closer detail, no other adjustments made to image!

And this one... well, I just thought it was kinda cool looking! :)
Canon dRebel XT, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
ss 1/500, f. 8.0, ISO 400, Focal Length 300.0,
cropped a tiny bit to center image.

And a quick "THANK YOU!!" to DKDee & **Mogley** of 2Peas... This challenge has really got me thinking about my photography. I took 55 shots of the moon tonight with all sorts of manual settings... just kept playing with them to see what affect it had on the image. My family is pretty sure I've lost my mind!!! heehee ;)


Photo A Day ~ 3 Jan

Today was the typical day at our house... a little cleaning, laundry, went grocery shopping, mailed a package at the post office... and then it was time to cook dinner... and, as always, there was Noah right in the middle of the kitchen, spelling names and words with the Fridge Phonics magnet letters while I tried to cook!

dRebel XT, kit lens, kitchen lighting at night,
ss 1/30, f. 5.6, ISO 800,
cropped with PSE4 to get rid of blank white of fridge on the left side of the photo.


Photo A Day ~ 2 Jan

Photo A Day ~ Day 2!
My youngest son was on the back porch with my mom and I couldn't resist the opportunity for some great photos! I just love this one of him peeking through the slats on the porch fence railing. Peek-a-boo turned into quite a game! :) It was also a great time to play with the settings on my camera! I kept adjusting all the manual settings & shooting! The manual stuff is starting to make sense to me!

dRebel XT, kit lens, outside, mid-afternoon, overcast sky; ss 1/100; f 7.0; iso 800

And again, I couldn't just choose one! This shot was taken right after the one above. Same settings. But, on this one, I tried my hand at a little Photoshop work! To the right of his head, right above the fence, was a dark spot from something on my back porch. It was really distracting, poking up from behind the fence, so I "cloned" it out. :)


Photo A Day ~ 1 Jan

I'm not really sure how I should be posting my 'Photo A Day Challenge'... and since I'm just a tad ahead of everyone in the States, I'm just gonna wing it! ;)

I am obsessed with the trees of Japan... and most recently, the trees in my backyard! They were beautiful, lush green trees when we arrived in late April. Everyone said we just narrowly missed the Cherry Blossoms. I've watched these amazing trees transform from those full of leaves to these skeletons... and I am still obsessed!

ss 1/100, f 7.1, iso 400

Yes, I know it's photo of the day... not photos... but I couldn't decide which one I liked best! The roots of the skeletal trees are just as fascinating to me. There's something very peaceful about their finger-like roots sticking up out of the ground... seeing part of the network that keeps these huge trees alive.

ss 1/60, f 5.6, iso 400