31 March 2014

My Pleasure

««Click to the right for the other picture for this post««

It's kind of ironic that I was taking pictures in my car/of me driving the day that my car just completely quit on me... it's kind of like I now have some sort of documentation to remind myself of what it feels like to be driving it during these next few weeks? that I won't get to drive my car.

The other night I was driving to our youth night/young people's meeting at church. It was just me and my bug. To make things more perfect, there was a nice steady drizzle coming down. I reached behind me and grabbed my camera and took pictures practically the whole way. Half of them weren't in focus because I had my lens still on manual focus... and it's kinda hard to notice things like that when you are driving. I really don't care though, I was having fun. 
I set my camera down though, when I came up to the first stop light along the way. And I noticed something funny sounding with the way my car was idling extra loud and clanky. :/ I was kind of embarrassed, but once I got the car up to speed, it sounded normal. So I thought it was maybe just a heater channel that was rattling around since we unhooked it. I was still hoping though, that I wouldn't have to slow down and stop at any other light to avoid having the whole world stare at me and my loud car. 
Ha! Well, I think I had to stop at two more agonizingly long lights, and I just sat there staring at the light... whispering for it to turn green soon!
I was probably two miles out from the turn off to our church when... well, I'm not a mechanic, but I know when to pull over. So I pulled over and called my dad on my phone that was dying. 
The long and short of it: my little car had to be towed home and my sister came to pick me up from young people's meeting.
And now? My engine has to be removed to get some loose part put back together. I have no clue really, but it doesn't sound fun.


30 March 2014

What I'm Loving {Today}

I wasn't really planning on blogging today... at least I didn't have anything in mind. But when things are so good, my heart bubbles over and I have to share somewhere. So I'm just going to share what's making me happy today :)

[1] my open window with the breeze blowing my curtains [2] all the birds making noises outside [3] sunshine/natural light in my bedroom [4] getting laundry done with all the elements from 1, 2 and 3 ;) [5] wearing a super comfy hoodie *which is advertising US-made cars... whoops! I guess I need a VW one ;P [6] using my Lensbaby [7] plans for tomorrow: getting to visit an elderly woman 


29 March 2014

Exploring the Night

Once again, I was trying/hoping to capture lightning... and got this ;)
And of course this one has a story, too. :P
When we left the spot that I took the last picture at, we pulled over here and I had taken two pictures already and I was taking this one when a car literally creeped by us on the interstate. Then Ranelle started hollering at me from inside the car that "that was a cop". So I stopped the shutter at somewhere around 40 seconds and hopped in the car again. She said we better move on because she would hate to try to explain to him what we were doing. :P Alas, so we went home. I guess the lightning was too far South by then for us to continue to chase it, anyway. 
On our way home we were both just kinda like "Humph! This part of the trip isn't half as exciting as it was chasing the storm and turning down any road that would get us closer to the action." :P
The whole night was still fun though, but I just can't wait until I can actually look at the back of my camera and see lightning!! Ahh!


28 March 2014

Passing By

Ranelle and I went chasing after the lightning last night and had several adventures along the way (which always happens any time I take some kind of shot at night - I guess it just goes along with the nature of being out when it's dark).
There were clouds covering most of the lightning from where we lived so we knew we needed to get closer to it so we could have more of a clear sky. As we travelled along some country roads we just followed whatever road we thought would get us closer... until we turned down a dirt road that suddenly got really narrow and was lined by close trees. Somehow, we felt funny as we drove past the first house. Only to soon realize that the road abruptly ended at a really dark, unkept house. :/ Ack! Ranelle threw it into reverse and did some fast backing out of that road!! 
Then we took a Hwy neither of us had ever been on and it landed us on the interstate, so we took it because the lightning looked a little more promising out there.
We were looking for places without any interference from other lights, but I decided that I could maybe just try to get lightning and light trails from passing cars. I took this image and as I was starting to take another (in hopes that some lightning might finally show up really clear), but Ranelle told me to jump back in the car because a car on the opposite side of the interstate stopped exactly in line with us. The only lights we had on were our back brake lights... so we weren't sure if they even knew we were there, but it was just a little creepy to have both of us sitting on the side of the road at night and so close to each other. :P


27 March 2014

Jennifer's First Birthday

It's been a little less than a year since I wrote a blog post about Baby Jennifer - my first time meeting her, a few weeks after her birth. 
And now, the sweet little girl is one year old and brings so much joy to her family!

I was going to take one year pictures of Jennifer until the weather cancelled our plans of going to Kansas City, so I got to take pictures of her birthday party -- equally as fun!! :)

Of course, little Nathan did the honors of blowing out the candle for her :)

She wasn't the type to really dig into the cake, but she humored us for quite a while by kind of playing with it. At this point we could all tell she was done, though ;)

It was quite chaotic to try to get all of them together... but at least one shot of them all looking in the general direction is worth it :)


If at first you don't succeed, try agian

I got a voice message one day from my cousin's wife asking me to do something for her, that was really for her husband. I was like, "Okkkaayyyy....???" (Yeah, I don't deal very well with the unknowns) When I called her back, she was wanting me to make a business card for him. I am farrrr from a graphic designer, but if someone believes I can do it, then I tend to believe for myself that I am fully capable.
When I thought I was done with the business card, I shared on Google+ the transformation from the original picture to the business card.

After the cards were ordered they wanted some new information added, and they mentioned that the font was a little small. I made those changes and just sent the cards off to be printed this morning.
But, boy, am I glad that I had a second chance at it, because now that I look at the original card and the one I made additions to... all I can think is "Umm... wow."
So here is the comparison, and you can see the difference for yourself.

Before and after, respectively

I'm sure that if I spent even more time on it/actually had some formal instruction in graphic design... I would change a lot more. But I'm happy to see the improvement in these two cards anyway.


25 March 2014

Top Dog

We've been studying studio lighting in photography class, and last week our instructor told us to bring in something we wanted to shoot...
Well, of course, I left the task of figuring out what I wanted to bring in until last night.
And then I was supposed to get it all together this morning.
Let's just say that nothing fell together this morning. I wanted to use a little lego person and have them holding up a fresh flower... After I finally found our legos, I dumped the whole bucket out on the floor (which is still at home waiting to be cleaned up). We only had two little lego men and they were both incomplete. One was missing an arm and the other was missing legs. And they were apparently a different type because the legs of one didn't work on the leg-less man. :P Lucky me!
I also tried making a little wire person who would hold the flower... also a fail!
I saw our game of Clue... "Ah, the little people staged on the board with the knife and stuff will be cool." But I looked inside and our game just uses little pawns instead of the people figurines. Bummer!

I knew that it was time to leave, but when I finally looked at the time and I was supposed to leave 10 minutes ago to be on time to class. Great!  
In desperation I snatched some Monopoly game pieces off of a shelf, stuffed them in my pocket, and then I got the whole board game and ran out the door so fast that my dad had to chase me outside to ask when I would be home. :P

On the way to class, though, I still didn't know what I wanted to really shoot. I thought about using the dog game piece, somehow portray that it was the winner and title the picture "Top Dog". But I looked at the game pieces I had and I only had the ship, boat, hat, and canon. :/ Really!?
So for 25min, my mind was going wild on how I could create something with meaning.

When I arrived to class, I had an idea of something I could do with the ship. But when I was setting up the game I saw that there were game pieces in there. *Duh!* And I found the little doggie :) So I was able to go with my first plan.

That's not even the half of the things that have went backwards today... but really none of it has bothered me, it's still a good day!! :)

Why am I soooo wordy sometimes, and then on other blog posts I have like nothing to say?? Ha!


24 March 2014

Heirloom Seed Co.

Last night I suddenly remembered that I took a lot of pictures at the Heirloom Seed Co. earlier this month, and I haven't really done much with them. 
I decided to upload them to flickr instead of making a whole long post.
So you can hover over the image and click the right arrow to view what I took there at the farm.

We started out with a vegan meal at their restaurant, which was actually really good! Then we went down to another little building there in the "village" where they sold the best cinnamon rolls! We munched on those while we walked around and looked at the animals. After being in the seed store a while, I started to feel a little conspicuous with my camera when a worker made a comment to me (a nice one) and then asked if I had got any pictures of myself. "Well, no." So she took the picture of us three. Haha :) And when I realized that my mom and her friend were going to spending hours (literally) in the seed store I escaped outside to just walk around some more.
The very last panorama of these pictures was actually taken a little ways from Laura E. Wilder's house. Once again, my mom and her friend were doing something that really didn't interest me (going to the museum that was next to Laura's house). So I just took the car and drove the time away. :)


21 March 2014

20 March 2014

Deer After the Rain

I love taking a good dig back through my archives. 
Well, this time I was really just on a search for this picture from Colorado last September.

And now let me enter into la-la land where I dream of more trails to hike and places to explore. :)

19 March 2014


(this image was taken using the method I'm about to explain... if you don't want to read the rest, that's the short and sweet of it all ;) )

Yesterday, in our photography club meeting, we had a guest speaker who was supposed to speak about metering. Honestly, I was kinda like, "Aw, c'mon! I know he's a good photographer... why can't he choose to talk about a concept more complicated than metering."
Well, I take ALL of those words back!
I learned probably the most valuable thing I have learned in the last year.

So I have always shot in manual. Which is a good, good thing to learn.
But guess what?
I'm not going to use manual anymore. At least not as my "go-to mode".
Shocker, huh?

I always thought of manual as a way to get the photo you want... you are in control! And I loved that! And it is so true.
But there is one downside: it sometimes might take a while to find the right settings.
I know that I have gotten fairly fast at making adjustments after using it for a year, and goodness... I even shot manual at a wedding and it turned out fine.

So why am I not using manual anymore then? Because I now know the best of two worlds: getting the exposure YOU want and getting it really fast!

Starting now, I'm using Aperture Priority. I had heard great things about this mode before, but every time I tried it I never got good results. :/
So it doesn't stop there... you need to use spot metering (the exposure will be based off of just one area of the picture.) Using spot metering, you meter on a neutral place in the frame you are going to shoot (you are trying to find something that would equal that "18% grey"). And to lock that meter reading into place you press the little * button on the back of your camera (I'm speaking Canon terms here).
Then you reframe and shoot!
To control your exposure even more you can change the exposure compensation and stop it down or up to get exactly what you want. But this is something that you won't be adjusting much.

Okay, now that sounds like a lot of steps, but really it's a lot faster than adjusting ISO, shutter speed, and f/stop. The time it will take you to meter on a neutral area, press the * button, and reframe is only a fraction of what it would take to adjust the manual settings... no matter how fast you've gotten with manually adjusting.

With ALLLLL that said... let's just say I'm glad I decided to go to the photography meeting and "endure a boring lecture about something I already knew". Pshaw!


18 March 2014

My Favorite

When it comes to children... no favorites are permitted, right?
No, I don't like that.
Let's just say if they are your OWN children you can't pick favorites ;)
Because I think I have a favorite.

It might be because she is my Aunt and Uncle's first grandchild so she is the central attention of every family gathering. Nonetheless, little Lacey is so sweet that who couldn't love her?

-MarLeah Joy

17 March 2014

Wired In

Just saying... I love this little beaut of a workhorse.
We get along together quite well.


Back to the Farm

Well, here goes a new week.
I can't say I'm extremely happy for spring break to be over, but hopefully this semester will pass quickly if I keep my focus on other more exciting things going on. Like the two weddings I have booked for this year -- I'm sooo excited and not nearly as nervous as I have been about things in the past.

P.S. Flickr is taking away the option to blog your image... I found out that it didn't work for me anyway. So now this is just an embed of the flickr picture and you can click on it to view the full size in flickr or you can scroll through my photostream.


14 March 2014

Well I'm embarrassed!

Wow. It's a little hard to keep up with what my blog looks like on the mobile version since I don't have an iPhone or anything. I had no clue that when I was posting from flickr that it stretched the image.
I got on my blog a few minutes ago on my sister's phone... And what do I see but the last post -- which was of my eye of all things -- and it's stretched way down looking like a precious moments doll or something. Talk about a sad picture!! Really sad. And now I'm appalled!
My apologies! I will fix it asap!

Sometimes I Cry

Sometimes I Cry - I'm Only Human, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
Today's theme for FlickrFriday is "I'm Only Human". I was going to use the picture that I took last week with my "Morning Routine" post that was similar to this one, but the rules said that it has to be a picture that was taken after the theme was announced.
No problem. I'll just go "cry" some more :P
I actually like this one better anyway, because it actually looks more like I'm crying.
I hope you all have a great weekend and you DON'T cry ;)


13 March 2014

Inside the Farmhouse

Inside the Farmhouse, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
This was from Alyssa's house in West Virginia when we visited her for Christmas. Ranelle and I stayed in this room upstairs, and I loved looking out the window because the stars were just so bright and unobstructed.


12 March 2014

Spring Star Trail

It's finally warm enough outside that I can go out at night to take a star trail and not freeze up.
So with my new timer remote, I set up my camera in our yard Monday night/Tuesday morning. The remote will take 399 pictures until you have to restart it. 
So after doing all the math I figured out that with my 9 second shutter speed, I could go back inside and sleep for an hour before I had to go back out and restart it.

I was bairly asleep though, before I had to go back outside to reset it.
When I fell back asleep the second time I ended up sleeping through my alarm so I didn't get outside to retrieve my camera until like 5am. I was kind of uncomfortable with leaving my camera outside by itself, but it's a good thing we have a dog that would bite someone's head off if they tried to come onto our property and steal my camera. ;)

I guess the reason I keep doing star trails is because I hope that where ever I travel I will be able to do some with some different landscapes/foreground. Right now there isn't really much of interest to place in the foreground around here on our property, but maybe if I just keep perfecting the technique I can try it out somewhere else... one day, way off in the future.

I also made a timelapse video out of the images... but goodness, the only reason I'm posting it is because I spent time on it. I'm not terribly proud of it.
The movement is pretty slow :/ Also, it is so much darker on youtube than it was when I was making it and playing it on my Mac. So I just used the youtube editor to add in some exposure (and as of right now it is still processing those changes).


10 March 2014

A Dr. Suess House

From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere. -Dr. Seuss, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere. -Dr. Seuss


09 March 2014

Buried in a Book

Buried in a Book, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
You know... I'm really just getting to a good part in the book, and I think I just want to go read some more right now.
So bye, and thanks for reminding me ;)

Nah, really, I'll stay and share my thoughts a bit. This was on the way up to Mansfield, Mo with my mom and her friend. I spontaneously just decided to go with them, not because I was interested in the heirloom seeds they would be buying, but because I love just a little bit time when you are forced to do nothing while you are traveling.
When I was trapped in high school and overloaded with homework, I would just get this longing to get in the car and take a road trip. Simply because the thought of guiltlessly doing nothing sounded great!
Even though my life is a little more relaxed now, I still love being in the car. But even better... listening to some music and reading a book and being in the car.


08 March 2014

Morning Routine

So many times I have needed to be able to take a picture "hands-free" because I wanted to be holding something within the frame of the picture. To help with that just recently got a timer remote which allows you to set the exposure length, delay time, number of pictures to take, etc. And then you just start it when you are ready.

I've really been wanting to take some star trails or time-lapses with it, but for now I just decided to do a little macro of me putting my contacts in. :P Ha! 
It still proved to be a great challenge, but at least it is better than the time I was trying to take pictures of myself peeling an orange (that one was a pain!)

Nope, I'm not crying. Just blinking away the extra solution ;)

Eh, I think star trails are a little more interesting and easier to take. So I'll probably just stick with that next time :)


07 March 2014

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
I spent most of my day at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. where this pic was taken. It's a very different place, but I can't say I had the most fun there... probably because I like for places to be a little more crowded, so you can actually snap pictures of people and they don't notice as much. :P
What I found very interesting though, is that the people who founded/live on the farm are strict vegans. They won't even allow for any part of an animal in their house for food. o.O Yet, all around the farm there are different animals: cows, chickens, rabbits, sheep, ducks, etc. So why do they have them if they aren't going to eat any of it? No eggs or milk even. Hmmm...
Another little funny thing there...
This sign. What is that supposed to mean? :P


06 March 2014

Trash... or not

Sometimes when I'm culling through images it's really easy to see the things that are just plain yucky and just give the picture up as a dud. (Yucky = that hard shadow on the left, underexposure, uneven skin tones, etc.)
But, goodness, with Lightroom I cleared those things out of the way in less than 2 minutes with a little cloning, a preset, and a few hand edits.
After I do something like that to an image I always love looking at the before and after :)
And then when I do that, I feel like sharing. (mostly because I'm avoiding my homework) :P



Theresa, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!


05 March 2014

On Reserve

On Reserve, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
My first time to drive on empty. I kept thinking, "Okay, I have a gas can in my hood, right? Because I might be needing it tonight. And I might get a little extra walking in..." Nah, my dad would have come to my rescue. :)


04 March 2014

RoadSide Panorama

RoadSide Panorama, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
I've had quite the day hiking around and videoing for 3 hours, and surprisingly I'm more sore than I ever get after playing a game of ultimate. First, I left early for college to go on a trail to get some videos (that I will likely never do anything with...) I had fun though, and I felt a tab bit like DevinSuperTramp running around with my camera (yeah... no!)

After an hour of that, I went to my PhotoComm class, took a quick test and was done with College by two, woot! I still wanted to go back to the trails and take some more videos, but I was STARVING. The first place I wanted to eat was closed, so I went to an Asian restaurant (that will remain un-named for a reason). I was the only person eating at the restaurant because it was some time after two. Midway through my meal the waiters sat down to eat as well. Two minutes later I started to hear a cat meowing... and it was in the back part of the building -- you know, like the kitchen. The waiters said something about it being their pop machine making noises. Ha! Likely! No, it sure sounded like a cat. I'm not so sure they actually served me chicken now...? Oh, well. Poor kitties.

Then I went to pick up Bretton and Kendra who wanted to go with me back to the trails.
We spent nearly two hours out there. I had a blast... and we got blasted in the face. Check out the video here: Snow-Mo

I went back to the college for a photo club meeting. When I stepped out of the college and saw the spectacular sunset, I hoped for everything that it would last long enough for me to find a good spot to pull over and take pictures. I actually ended up pulling over twice along the way home, and I got some panoramas that I've been wanting to take.

Long day! But a perfect day!


Cozy Home

Cozy Home, a photo by MarLeah Joy on Flickr. Click on the image to view in high resolution!
In our photography club a guest speaker, Tim Wemple, came to show us some great tips on editing (because he is the editing King... at least of the Joplin area, Haha!).
He told us that you have to understand WHY you are editing a picture before you can effectively edit.
And essentially, you should be editing an image to draw attention to the SINGLE subject of an image.
He said that so many times we will just take snapshots that bring back personal memories. But if you are going to share images with others, you need to make sure that the subject is obvious and that evokes emotion, etc. to others. Then he gave pointers on how to edit an image that really doesn't have much of a subject, by simply picking a subject and bringing it to life by adding contrast (and not necessarily contrast between light and dark).
Basically, the subject should have contrasting luminance, color, and sharpening when compared to other elements of the image.

When I took the picture, the swirling water was the subject I had in mind for the photo, but when I looked at the image on the computer it was clear that the swirling water didn't really have enough clarity or interest. So I decided that the house should be the new subject.
So I tried to apply the "contrast" techniques to the house...
This is my first edit with his tips in mind, so it might be a little over-done, but here is the comparison of before and after.