Thursday, February 28, 2008

... And We're Back!

(I said the title in my best DJ voice, which, by the way, I can only do in my head.)
So, after much fussing about, I now have a new version of Photoshop and a plug-in that makes my computer not hate my camera. Wouldn't it be nice if life were that easy?
Anyway, as I think I mentioned, I got a new camera (the Canon 40D) and a new lens (the 24-70L), both of which I love. All the pictures below were taken with it because I might be slightly obsessed. And get ready, too, because I am heading to Shedd Aquarium this weekend and I am taking this bad boy.

This is a picture of the tree on my stairs (potted, fake) right around 5:30 when the light on it was especially pretty. This was the first actual good picture I took with the camera (because, you guessed it, Flash and Ricker would not sit still).

Oh, this picture. I took this at someone's house while we were doing her senior pictures. And yeah, I am about over the snow so I would imagine that you are too, but when I started this whole blog endeavor, one of my stated goals was to get better at composition. And, well, toot-your-own-horn-alert, because I like the composition of this one. Yay! And the actual victorious part is that I didn't have to think about it especially hard, so I think it's coming more naturally these days.

Yeah, everyone knows I can never resist a poop joke, or apparently poop graffiti. I mean ... is that a phrase you ever thought you'd hear? "Poop graffiti"? Not me, but I love it.

And this last one, I call it Total Eclipse of the Heart. And also, turn around, bright eyes! Anyway. I am IN LOVE with this picture. It was the clearest of my eclipse pictures, which I was having a heck of a time with because it was beyond frigid outside and my eyes were watering and I had no idea if I was focused or not. Ha! Oh, I wish you could've seen it. Billy and I were bundled up and shivering in the middle of the road like idiots (well, I was the idiot, he was the chivalrous knight in shining armor), and my metal (!) tripod was freezing to my hands. The only feeling in my body was pain, and we lasted less than 10 minutes, but you know, I've never seen a lunar eclipse and I loved it, and I can't wait till the next one in 2010. Meanwhile, I was so pleased with my lens for getting craters and such, and the color was perfect. I want to put this one on the wall--that is how much I love it.

Alright, I know that wasn't probably enough pictures to compensate for all the waiting, but not to worry, because as I mentioned, senior pictures are on the way and I am utterly in love with them. So yeah, the editing is a time consuming process, but hopefully they'll be up sometime next week. And then next week I have a wedding, and a couple weeks after that, the engagement pictures start! We're really starting to rock and roll over here!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Still No Pictures ...

Well, I was just getting ready to spice up some pictures and post them to the blog, when I discovered that Photoshop wouldn't read my files. So I started to panic, and then Nicole told me I just needed a plug-in, but then I couldn't install it and I got so frustrated I very nearly started crying. After much scouring of the web, I have come to find out that this plug-in isn't compatible with my version of Photoshop, and so I can't work on pictures from the new camera until I upgrade the entire program, which is going to cost a couple hundred dollars. Grrrrrr! I have a check on the way so it hopefully won't be long, and until then, feel free to remind me to take a few deep breaths because I could really use them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Man, I have been SO slacking! I blame it on vacation--my nine-to-five job gave us Presidents' Day off, so I took the Friday before also so I could have a super long weekend. Man, it was so awesome, but it is kind of tough to get back into the swing of things. I have taken some pictures that I wanted to put up today, but they're not ready yet. I'm going to try to post them tonight, but it could be tomorrow. Hang tight! I've got a couple pictures of the pets, of the faux tree in my house, and of the lunar eclipse! Don't worry, NASA won't be knocking on my door any time soon, but I did have fun setting up my tripod in the middle of the street. Except for the part where the only feeling I had in my hands was excruciating pain. Totally worth it, though, even to just get out and look--I've never actually seen a lunar eclipse, and it was totally cool, with the red moon ... I totally recommend it.
Okay, also, I have news to report! Over the long weekend, I went on a mad camera shopping spree! I bought the new Canon 40D and a 24-70L lens. I am in LOVE, people! The screen on the back of this beast is huge, and I already know that by the end of wedding season I am going to have some hulking biceps because this thing is serious. But really, the picture quality is amazing, and I can't wait for you to see the results!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Two Pictures and It's Only Wednesday?!?!

I'm so far ahead of the game! Nothing really thrilling here, but it is a tiny taste of my week.
This is my welcome mat. And my footprints on it. Mostly, I just liked how the show was making a gradient. And I wish I could've zoomed out a little, but I was using a prime lens (for you non-geeks out there, that's one that doesn't zoom), and I didn't want to run back up the stairs and get a different one. What can I say? I had just worked all day and I was feeling lazy. One trip up the stairs for the camera was already an exhausting effort. And then I followed it up with a nap. Seriously. :)

And this is my new filing system, which I set up on Sunday. Can I just say, after working at an engineering firm with a wall full of files (and a basement full of archived files), and at a law firm with a separate entire suite for files, this made me laugh, and kind of say, "Awww, how sweet," in a totally condescending tone to myself.

In all seriousness, it is so awesome to actually NEED a filing system. As I'm trying to get my business up and off the ground, visible markers of progress are a huge source of encouragement. And I was surprised to find that I maybe shouldn't have bought the smallest file box I could find. Plus, it's just really nice to know how to do this stuff, and it makes me feel like all these hours behind a desk have paid off in some small way. Also encouraging.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nicole's Birthday/Puppy Time!

I took all of these pictures when we got home from PF Chang's because I forgot to take my camera there. And I totally meant to. But I was too busy wrapping Nicole's presents at the last minute (I know, I know), and trying to remember Billy's wallet, and I don't know, I just forgot, okay?

Anyway, here are Dan and Nicole with Otis, peeking over the back of my couch. You can see American Idol on the TV in the background. We sort of had a hard time ripping Dan away from it, but Nicole pulled the "It's my birthday" card and he had no choice but to go along with it.
Seriously, if you are ever on the fence about a picture, try it in black and white. It just has a way of making things look good (in this case, the picture was a little fuzzy). That's why everyone looks back fondly on the past--because everything in the past happens in black and white. Or at least that's my understanding, based on movies and TV.

Here's a color version, because I don't know, I just love my mantle and Billy's grandma's painting so much that I wanted everyone to be able to see the funhouse and I just went with it. And by the way, these pictures really do not do justice at all to how pissed Otie was at having to pose like this. He did a little better when we put a pillow under him and made Billy crouch down behind him and hold up his butt, but he wasn't thrilled about that either.

Neither was Billy.

It's the birthday girl and her puppy! And the cutest shoes ever, which you can't really make out. By the way, I don't do a ton of sepia because I never really know when to use it and I'm always worried it'll come out looking like those pictures where you go in a trailer and put on old Western wear and stare menacingly at the camera while holding your shotgun or something, but then whenever I do use it I end up liking it, so maybe I just need to get more courageous with it.

Ah, this. Remember how I said that one of my goals was to embrace the technically imperfect pictures? Prime example right here. One of Flash's most favorite games in the world is Pants, where he chases Billy down, grabs his pant leg with his teeth, and growls, tugs, and shakes it. This is more or less what that looks like--massively chaotic. I love it. I still can't figure out what the two circles are around Flash's butt, though. Lens flare wouldn't make sense, and I'm not sure what would make that kind of motion. Maybe it's orbs! Spoooooooky! (Not really.)

Here's Billy with Flash in a half nelson, which is one of their moves when they play. Oddly (or not, since nothing bothers him), Flash never really seems to mind. I think it gives him a chance to rest up. And also, I love how this totally captures the cuteness of Billy. Yay for cute boyfriends!

This is just cracks me up to no end.

This is a pretty similar picture but if you're looking closely, you can see that the focus is different--above, the focal point is the teeth, where here, it's the eyes. I'm kind of a fan of the first one, myself, but they're both cute and I like how the bottom one puts more emphasis (because of the focus) on his face wrinkles, because they're more noticeable in that one.

Not to be outdone, here's my gorgeous Ricker watching all the proceedings and actually allowing me to take her picture. People tell me sometimes that I don't take many pictures of her, and I think they think she's the redheaded stepchild at my house. It's really not true, though. She just doesn't like having her picture taken, or a lot of attention on her in general. Plus, she's skittish and the camera makes noises and she doesn't like having her space invaded unless it's in the bathroom. So I do have way more pictures of her than it seems, but many of them are of her turning her head so I can't take her picture, or of her with her ears flattened, or her just giving me that signature Ricker Look of Disgust.

Meanwhile, Flash LOVES getting his picture taken because it means that someone is paying attention to him. In addition, if I'm trying to take pictures of something else, he will get into the frame and not leave until I acknowledge him, so usually as long as he's there, I just take some shots. Plus, he likes to strike poses and I can occasionally get him to do what I tell him to, so he's kind of a good model.

Oh, my gosh. This picture. We tried SO HARD to get the dogs to pose together and they were not having it AT ALL. So finally, I gave two ice cubes to Nicole to tempt them with and we made them sit for as long as we could. Now, two things you should know: 1. Flash considers ice cubes treats, and therefore so does Otie. 2. Nicole is always freezing, so this was a major sacrifice on her part. But I think it turned out cute. For this one, I made all my adjustments to the original, and then I created a saturation layer, which I colorized with a blue tone and then I did an overlay. I don't know what you'd call the outcome, but I liked it and that's good enough for me.

Alright, that's all I've got. Happy birthday, Nicole! I hope you had as much fun as I did. :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Picture Time!

So on the plus side, I have been pretty much posting three pictures a week. On the downside, they've been all at once, which isn't exactly how I planned it. But still, I am proud of myself for getting out there and accomplishing what the more important goals were, which was to shoot more and to learn more about Photoshop, which I have.

Okay, now let's see some pictures!
Remember the previous avocados? These are much greener, and my guacamole was actually a lovely shade of green, as opposed to yellow. Tasty, too.

I'm sure we're all well-versed by now in my love for fire hydrants. I don't know if this is one or not, but I still kind of loved it and it looked like it might belong to the fire hydrant family. Anyway, I decided to throw it up here with the hope that anyone would know what it was. And in case you're wondering, it was taken in Bloomington, so if you're from there, you're now officially on the spot.

This one is my favorite of the bunch and I'm pretty positive will be going on my brand spanking new LIVE website (go check it out at http://www.sarahbrowndowntown/ if you haven't seen it yet) just as soon as I get a few minutes to adjust the dimensions. Perfect for the whole Sarah Brown Downtown thing, no? And I just love the colors and the broken piece, and even how it's a little crooked. I don't know if you're allowed to say this about yourself or not, but it all just seems very "me".

Okay, now this is a napkin dispenser. (By the way, I just noticed that all of these pictures except the avocado redux came from our little Bloomington adventure.) I took it at the Trojan Horse in Bloomington, which was a Greek place with EASILY the best hummus I have ever had. It was one of those really dark wood places that's kind of cramped and used to be a seafood restaurant, so there were like random ship steering wheels and a fish tank and other such oddities, and as you'd generally expect in that sort of place, the lighting was super yellow. This actually made it feel pretty cozy, but the point of this is to say that when this picture came out of the camera, the napkins looked yellow. Making them look beautiful and white is a total testament to Camera Raw and the temperature adjustment slider. Love that thing.

Taking a picture of this sign with all the paint on the letters faded off garnered me some weird looks from the bank employees, but I thought it was worth it. In the end, I turned this bad boy black and white and it made me feel like something I would've taken in art school, which isn't always a bad thing as I used to have to just go walking around with a camera looking for pictures to take and that was kind of fun.

This little treasure came from Urban Outfitters, which is an obligatory stop on any of my Bloomington trips, although I am generally WAY to cheap for that store. I did, however, snag this little gem for a mere $1.99, and have already decided that when I get bored with it, I'll spray paint it and then I'll fall in love with it all over again and it won't get sent to the Goodwill. Plus, it's a piggy bank, so ... form and function. Also, I put it in front of my two vintage-looking tins that I keep tea bags in because I like them, but didn't feel like taking a picture of just them.

It just occurred to me that I've really only got about a month before weddings start up again, and then it'll probably be mostly wedding and engagement pictures for awhile (with, of course, my occasional trip to the zoo and so forth thrown in). So in the next few weeks, I'm hoping for some serious snow (and icicles!), and to remember to bring my camera to the office so I can take pictures of the giant aquarium in the lobby. And maybe there'll be some cute and Valentiney things to take pictures of too! So it'll be a fun February on the blog, I can already feel it.