Posts Tagged ‘photography’

The DSLR plunge

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

I finally made one of my long-time wishes a reality with the purchase of a Canon T6i bundle! I’m really excited about this and very pleased with the quality of images I’m seeing already. Funny enough, my dad had his eye on the very same one so we ended up both getting the bundle at Costco. For the longest time, I told myself I’d get a DSLR once I tried my hand at some manual settings on my regular camera. I did play around with the options, but not as much as I wanted. So I let many years go by before I decided to go ahead with it because I keep dreaming of the awesome photos I can take and I want to have something nice to vlog with.

At first I was going to look for a used or refurbished T3i, which seems to be what all those YouTubers use. But when I found that the price wasn’t nearly as cheap as I’d hoped, I figured I’d be better off getting a nicer one in a bundle. The idea of an extra lens and battery, along with some other accessories, really appealed to me. Turns out I like brand new things that are well put together for me. I’ll pay for the niceties and all just so I can experience that awesome fresh out of the box feeling. My dad’s the same way.

We both eagerly tore into our respective boxes and played around with setting up and using our cameras. I didn’t even get a chance to use it in daylight yet, but I’m very impressed with what came from the dim night lighting that looks soooo much better on this camera. I certainly wasn’t used to such good shots coming from low lighting like that. Call me a happy camper!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

My first subject was Molly and I got an awesome string of shots of her walking!

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

The items on the kitchen counter looked great in the photo, far better than with the naked eye.

I’m very pleased with this camera and I can’t wait to try some outdoor nature shots.

365great Day 245: photography

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , ,

365great challenge day 245: photographyMy photo-taking has mostly been about documenting things going on in life, but I really admire those who get really cool shots. There’s so much you can fiddle around with when it comes to taking a picture – brightness, focus, coloring… and then of course is your subject matter, ranging from people to landscapes. It’s so cool how creative you can get with this stuff and I wish I had a better eye for the more artistic shots. I love perusing event photography because you’ll usually find a nice variety of content. There’s the shots that focus on a random detail, like someone’s shoes. There’s the shots that capture a funky angle or perspective. There’s the sweeping view shots and the macro shots and (my favorite) the ones capturing a moment. Each tells their own story and together they share the beauty of time spent together enjoying the company of others. Sometimes the content is compelling, sometimes it’s silly, but always there is a story to be shared. Photography is a great way to capture memories that can be shared and relived indefinitely.

365great Day 241: pictures

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 241: picturesI’m a photo addict. I admit it. Ever since I got my first camera when I was 11 or 12, I’ve enjoyed capturing pictures. When I got my first digital camera, I was thrilled beyond belief – I no longer had to worry about choosing what to take pictures of carefully and I could just snap away, then delete later! In high school and college, you’d be hard-pressed to find me unprepared without a camera on me whenever I went out. With the emergence of Facebook, it became a way for me to connect with my friends even more, since every time I tagged them they’d get notified and it could be a conversation starter. Pictures are such a wonderful way to remind yourself a moment, a memory, a feeling that you may have forgotten about otherwise. It’s also a useful way to be able to share those memories more accurately with your loved ones. Seeing you when you were younger creates a deeper connection than trying to imagine it. I always love both taking pictures and having my picture taken, because of the memories I know I’ll have when I look back. It’s a great way to document all sorts of things!

Picture perfect timing – in pursuit of that great jump shot

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So recently I went on a vacation to Hawaii and got to go snorkeling.  When we got off the boat into the water, there was the option to jump in, so of course I jumped (haha) at the opportunity.  Unfortunately, in my quest for that perfect jump shot, I only got a bunch of almosts and a couple of utter fails.  I guess not everyone has a knack for awesome timing like me.  😛  If only I could shoot pictures of myself jumping… I guess I could get a tripod, but I was really hoping that Panda could get the shot for me. Oh well, here’s what we ultimately got:

big splash in ocean where i jumped in

First attempt at the jump shot – got one big splash in the ocean instead.

floating in ocean with vest and waterproof camera

This is my “so did you get it?” look. And the answer is no. 🙁

in a pose ready to jump into ocean

I climbed back up after snorkeling for about an hour and we tried again.

floating under boat as seen through netting, giving two peace/victory signs

After that fail, I came back up under the boat for another try.

waving while floating in ocean after jumping in

Once again, it was “oops I missed it but I got you in the water.”

standing on boat leaning past rail ready to jump into ocean

This time he got me prepping to jump.

standing on boat knees bent about to jump into ocean

Well, this is when I was starting the jump… the closest we’d gotten so far!

outstretched jumping into ocean

Finally, some semblance of me jumping!! While I wish my feet were off the boat, this was good enough. We’d tried half a dozen times already!


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Fashion and I have an awkward relationship.  I’ve never really felt like I was a fashionable person, or that I understood fashion, or even liked it.  I probably own some things that can be considered fashionable (or at least it was in its prime), but I certainly didn’t pick them out because I knew they were.  Most of my clothes fall into the categories of tacky, practical, free, and/or branded.  I’m a sucker for a free t-shirt or a UCLA-branded anything.  I also totally bought into the various groups I was part of – swim team, track team, JROTC, and other student groups – each of which had its own set of clothes that you could buy to show your association.

I tend to get the most “normal” clothes I can find at places like Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, and Kohl’s.  I don’t go for the stuff that makes me look indie or hip or preppy or whatever.  I don’t connect with those identities, so I don’t really buy clothes that would make me feel that way.  I’m also not into fashion brands of any sort and probably can’t identify most of them.  I saw a place called Bottega something by Rodeo Dr and I thought it was Bottega Louie, a restaurant I’m particularly fond of.  The only Coach or Louis Vuitton stores I’ve been to were in Vegas and they made me highly uncomfortable (who likes to shop with security guards staring?).

header image from tse parfait blog

Case in point: Tse Parfait blog. Full of creative partial shots and TONS of fashionable stuff that confuse me.

Yet, when I see people dressed so fashionably and taking cool pictures with their DSLRs or using Instagram, I kind of wish I had that sort of inspiration.  I am creative in many ways, but not with my clothes, accessories, and makeup.  In fact, I don’t even wear makeup and I rarely wear more than plain stud earrings.  I thought of this because I recently came across a bunch of blogs, all of which seem to have the same themes: fashion, photography, food (and a combination thereof).  These people take such creative pictures, or vivid ones, or just plain beautiful ones.  They’re the kind of people I’d expect to find at a lomography store, with thick frame glasses and really cool bangs and skinny jeans.

I don’t want to look like them, but I wish I had that kind of skill with a camera.  They have this ability to take pictures of parts of things and then piece them into a collage for a stunning masterpiece.  They turn Instagram into their personal playtoy and pump out all kinds of cool images.  Meanwhile, I’ve avoided using Instagram because it’s too overwhelming for me to decide how to take a picture and then filter it.  My pictures are practical – they show you exactly what I thought was interesting, but not really in an interesting way.  So I guess this isn’t so much about how disconnected I feel with fashion, but more about the creativity I associate with fashionable people and how they all seem to be pros with a fancy cam.  Photography is one thing I plan on learning more about, and while I plan on taking a class one day, I don’t know if I’ll ever be as innovative as the fashionistas out there.

Kickstarter funding addiction

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

For awhile I had heard whisperings of a site called Kickstarter, where you could use crowd-sourcing to help fund things, but I didn’t check it out.  I forgot how I eventually ended up visiting the site one day… I probably read an article that led me to look into it further.  Well, whatever the case, I found a gold mine of cool ideas that made me happy.  After browsing through a bunch, I ultimately decided to fund one called Twig.

It’s an ultra-portable USB charger and stand for your iPhone.  I hesitated at first because the new iPhone will be out in a few months (hopefully within 2!) and I plan on getting that.  As it stands, the rumors of a smaller charging dock is probably true, so this device wouldn’t work with the new iPhone without a converter of sorts.  Still, I really liked the idea and wanted to get behind it, so I went ahead and funded it.

Then I got one of the emails Kickstarter sends out highlighting some of their favorite projects and one of them really caught my attention.  This one, called the Lumi Process, is like the opposite of developing film in a darkroom.  Whereas traditionally you had to keep your negatives away from the sun, this process actually uses the sun to do the printing.  They have a special ink that reacts to sunlight and imprints itself into any fibrous material.  So the other cool thing is that you aren’t limited to paper like you are in a darkroom; now you can print on a wide variety of mediums, including various types of cloth and even wood.  Being the wannabe amateur photographer that I am, this fascinated me and I just had to get in on the action.

I’ve even got some ideas brewing for Kickstarter projects that I want to post!  It’ll be awhile before I’m ready for that stage, but I’m pretty excited and have done quite a bit of research to brainstorm some cool reward levels.  If you haven’t already checked out the site, you should, and maybe in a few months you’ll see of my projects up there!

Photography skills

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , ,

I like to tease Panda about his photography skills because his pictures usually come out blurry. Here is one such case where he took a picture, which looks kind of cool, but doesn’t exactly show you what it is we were trying to capture… (though now that I look at it from afar you can kind of tell it’s a bird). Click on the pictures for larger views!

blurry picture of red bird in background, with focus on branches in near view

This is Panda's idea of a good shot, which is great if you're trying to get branches and not the bird.

clear picture of red bird in trees

This is my idea of a picture in focus. Less artistic but you know what the subject is! 😛


laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , ,

Playing around with different ways of seeing things (or seeing through/past them).





laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Pictures tell a story.  Pictures capture things that the mind may never think to include in writing a novel.  A picture’s worth a thousand words, as I’m sure you’ve heard.

photo credit:

It only looks like a toy. photo credit:

To me, pictures are a way of life.  I am ever grateful for the advent of digital cameras and the ever-growing memory capacity their chips can hold.  I still remember my very first camera, which I got on my birthday when my parents and I were in Florida visiting Sea World and Disneyworld.  It was a pink rectangular wind-up thing that looked more like a toy meant for Barbie than a functioning camera, but it certainly did work.  Rolls of film were precious to me at that time, over a decade ago, so I took pictures sparingly and carefully.  After that came a more professional-looking black camera complete with neckstrap and nice fancy buttons with a digital display screen to indicate photos left.  No more of those little numbers rolling by a magnifying glass (except on disposable cameras).

photo credit:

My current camera model. photo credit:

At some point in high school, I began to use digital cameras and never looked back.  From that point on, I felt the freedom of taking pictures as I wanted, pretty much whenever I wanted and as much as I wanted.  It was liberating.  I don’t think my picture-taking obsession hit full swing until college though, when so much was going on that I wanted to document.  I generally go for action shots that tell a story, but I’m a sucker for some good food or just posing with friends for posterity as well.  Mostly I try to get a candid shot, probably a little goofy if there are people in it, and definitely one that explains why it was taken.  My observation skills got put to good use as I documented all the little things I would find, from the insects around us to the odd sign or cool building.

Perhaps the influx in college was also due to the birth of Facebook, which became a great way for me to share the photos I took for myself that most people never even saw.  Now I had a way of showing them as well, which just encouraged me to continue capturing all the action around me.  Soon enough, my friends knew they could always rely on me to have a camera at hand for any occasion that may spring up.  In fact, it is well known that I have well over 3000 pictures tagged of me now and certainly thousands I’ve put up in the dozens of albums I have.  I used to go through and delete it all every few months, but at a certain point about three years ago, I decided I may as well leave them up – after all, there are no limitations on storage!  It’s a pity I didn’t keep everything up though; it would be a fantastic chronology of my life starting in the fall of 2004, as I embarked upon my years at UCLA.

Because of the significance pictures have had on me, I am drawn to photo blogs (phlogs?), where a picture is posted each day to depict a certain moment during that day.  Marylin kept something like that, meant to chronicle her life in a year picture by picture.  I don’t know if she ever got to 365 before stopping though.  I am tempted to do that here and let the images of my life do the talking.  I have been considering whether I should finish up an entire year of writing an entry per day and then do another year of photo blogging, or just start integrating it now.  I’ve been trying to use images as much as I can to help illustrate my entries for many months now, which I find is a nice break amongst all that type.  I suppose I could try doing one of each for awhile, or switch off every other day, or just do whichever whenever I feel like it.  It might be a slight challenge to have an interesting picture every day, what with my policy of not including people I know in the shots.  Guess we’ll just have to see!

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