April 15, 2010

Bluebonnets: Take 1


I haven't seen so many bluebonnets in a few years, so we decided to do a photography assignment today and take some family portraits in the flowers. Finding a thick patch of blue is not hard - they are everywhere you look - but I wanted one that was convenient... because working with a baby is not as easy as working with big kids who do what they are told. I needed room to get down on the ground and lots of extra time for multiple shots (since he would rather eat the flowers than look at the camera).


I probably took about 200 shots today, and only these few pictures are what I would consider 'good enough' to 'make the cut'. The more pictures I take, the more picky I get about how the final photo should look. Maybe I'm becoming more of a perfectionist (my mom would say that... but then, she had to help me hold the baby and pull the weeds out of his mouth today). I feel like some of the criticism is a good thing, though. I'm pushing myself to take better photos.


Developing my photos is another matter entirely, though. Or doing anything artsy with them (I still have NEVER added texture to a photograph even though I love textured overlays). While I might 'see' one thing in my mind, I'm rarely able to get the final look I want. Most of the time the problem lies with my lack of knowledge with the software program I am using. Confession: I've been 'winging it' for years - only using free editing software and straight-out-of-the-camera pictures, cropped to fit my blog. It was fine for a long time, but now, I'm not satisfied. I have an appetite to use better programs and hop it up a notch.

Enter Lightroom. Well, the free Beta 3 of Lightroom (until they cut me off or I get a paying photography client - whichever comes first)...


Holy moly, I'm not sure I'll ever learn how to manage the beast. I can only tell you that it took an entire day to upload all my photos in to the software - some 30 thousand PLUS pictures. I have no idea where I would find the time to organize, group, sort, or tag them all. Right now I'm not even sure where my "library" really is on the computer. That's pretty bad, considering that I used to be a database manager and am not your average computer illiterate 30-something year old housewife. I can get around on a computer. But Lightroom is kicking my butt.


It seems to take triple the time I would have taken to edit a picture in a free program. I still have no idea how to do some of the "easy" effects I'm used to doing in my cheapy software... like frame-masking, resizing for the blog, and adding a watermark. Those are all things I still have to exit and do in Fast Stone Image Viewer for now.


I ruined the above photo with a flash. It would have been a great one. The Star Wars T-shirt was not the right fit, either. And I would have liked my eldest son's face to be in line with his siblings and not behind the baby. Otherwise, it was a nice set-up (and in the very next frame, babycakes stuffed that yellow flower in his pie hole).

I don't even want to think about Photoshop if Lightroom is this difficult to use. Maybe I can talk my NAPP buddy, Dawn, in to spending a weekend here in the Lone Star State for a few bags of gummies? A girl can dream.

The feet have it.

It is hard to admit that your artistic photographic eye and desire to use it on pretty pictures is not enough.

It is even harder to admit that your equipment and software are smarter than you are.

I'd rather eat them.

And thus you have my 9 favorite bluebonnet pictures from today (instead of 200). But I'm not giving up. We'll be back out there getting bug bites and keeping the baby from eating the flowers this weekend. Just you wait.

Tiny sunbursts

One picture at a time, my friends. One picture at a time.


Anonymous said...

Awww great photos! Your children are so adorable. :) I miss Morgan's hugs!

Traci said...

These photos are really good. The colors are so vivid. The orange shirt just 'pop's' and I love the pic of the feet b/c it's 'out of the box' (although I love faces too). I just recently started using Photo Shop and the only thing I do is adjust the lighting levels to balance the image. What can I say, I'm a purest. (It's really easy.)
I recently followed a ladybug around my garden box and took about 50-75 shots of it. I probably saved a dozen of them if that. I think some 'perfectionism' is a good thing (coming from a recovering perfectionist!). My reasoning is that behind it is an intense desire to please God with our best and to 'perfectly' capture what we see so we can show it to others so they can experience the same emotions we do. Does that make sense?
Sorry, that was long!
Keep up the great work!

Hen Jen said...

beautiful photos! They are all great! I have photoshop elements, which isn't supposed to be as overwhelming or as expensive as photoshop..but I can only do a few things with it still. I can't use actions yet, which I am dying to try. I'm keeping my photos in iphoto still, and I crop them there because it is easier. Funny how we have these great tools in our hands, but don't have the knowledge or time to use them..frustrating, really.

your photos came out beautiful, even if you don't know your way around lightroom yet!

Catherine Anne said...


Dawn Camp said...

Those look great! I want you at my Lightroom class. Maybe you could keep track of questions for me. We just have to let Amy recuperate. :)

we have homeschooling friends who just found out they're being transferred to your area. If you don't mind, I'd like to give her your contact info so you can help her find homeschoolers there.

Sheri said...

Those are wonderful Heather! I know you said you took something like 200 and only liked 10, but the ones you are showing are fabulous. And my word does your girl ever look like you!

Sheri said...

Oh and shh...as a Texas gal you may just come up here and hit me for this (Hey! At least we'd meet!) I never knew those were Texas Bluebonnets until YESTERDAY, when a coworker showed me a picture. I always called them "Wild Lupine" Much better than Oklahoma's state flower. Mistletoe. Seriously? MISTLETOE?!

Mama Kautz said...

adorable...my fave is the one of baby in the rocker...his little nose scrunched is cute...your son looks so much like your hubs! Great shots!

Michelle said...

Those are so beautiful! How do you photo moms do it?!

Mama Teaching 3 said...

I love these! :)

Susan said...

Those are beautiful. I get the perfectionist thing. I also downloaded the free trial and have messed with a couple of photos but boy oh boy it is confusing. I am toying with getting photoshop but I just may try elements instead. Plus it is cheaper! What camera do you have?

Melissa Stover said...

that last one is awesome! but the rest are great too. good job.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

such lovely pics, heather! truly.

did you run into a lot of bees in those flowers?

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are always so breathtakingly fabulous! :)

patty said...

aahhh, more bluebonnets! cute kids, too! :)

ljc said...

Love these pics! So colorful.



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