My Happy Place Days 20-24

Day 20:  Living in the "country".
Day 20: Living in the “country”.

It’s been a fairly stressful week for me. The kind of stress that makes me feel quiet and a need to retreat for awhile, which is why I’ve been quiet lately. So today I’m grateful for my camera and the joy I can find in capturing things I love. As well as the ability to express myself in pictures when I don’t have a lot of words to say. It goes a long way to helping me keep perspective in the midst of life’s “crazy”. So here’s to finding my “happy”.

Day 21:  Seeing my boy FINALLY excited about reading.  He read this book in two days!!  Makes a mama happy!

Day 21: Seeing my boy FINALLY excited about reading. He read this book in two days!! Makes a mama happy!
Day 22: Beautiful Sunsets
Day 22: Beautiful Sunsets
Day 23: Warm fires
Day 23: Warm fires
Day 24: How focused my girl gets when she is learning something new.
Day 24: How focused my girl gets when she is learning something new.
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Digital 102 Metering Homework Assignment

matrix/evaluative metering - reading the light of the entire scene
matrix/evaluative metering – reading the light of the entire scene

I have to admit, I’m starting to LOVE Mondays…mostly because that’s when I get to go back to my photography class! It definitely makes starting back from the weekend much more bearable!!  This week was so crazy I wasn’t able to post my homework assignment earlier.  Our project was to take a portrait, landscape, and high contrast light in the three metering modes – matrix, spot and center-weighted. The idea was to try and see the difference in the way the camera reads light in these modes.

I think I had the most success in my high contrast light picture, where Ray was looking out our back door with only the porch light on. Poor guy, it was at the end of a long day, and he was still in pain, but he willingly modeled for me. Such a good guy!!  My portrait and landscape pictures showed less differences in the metering. However if you look close on the right side of “Tifa” (the cute little shih tzu) and the base of the tree, you can see the subtle light and detail differences.

Today in class we talked a little more in depth about composition, and different styles of photography, focusing a bit more on night photography, and light painting.  As well as the technical steps on  how to capture those difficult nighttime and low light shots.  This weeks assignment is to put some of that into practice, and I’m so excited. 

I took my first trip out tonight and got a couple cool really cool shots!  I also learned that it would be helpful to have a small flashlight with you to actually see menus on your camera, and find things like lenses that you put down after you switch out to your zoom lens!!  I almost lost my “nifty fifty” (photographer jargon for 50 mm fixed lens)  tonight in the dark…yikes!   I would have been heartbroken to loose that!

I will post soon, but after my influx of posts last night I think I will spread things out a bit!

Spot - using light from a one specific focus point,
Spot – using light from a one specific focus point,
Center-weighted - Using the light from the middle focusing point, as well as the points on either side.
Center-weighted – Using the light from the middle focusing point, as well as the points on either side.
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matrix/evaluative
Center-weighted
Center-weighted
Spot
Spot
Matrix/Evaluative
Matrix/Evaluative
Spot
Spot
Center-weighted
Center-weighted

My Happy Place Day 18: Sweet Puppies

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I experimented a lot with black and whites and metering modes today. I needed to do a “portrait” in black and white, and in all three metering modes (matrix, spot, and center-weighted) for one of my class assignments tomorrow. Since my extended family was all together today and as you can see we love dogs, I decided to experiment with my family’s pooches for a little something different.

Between our family, my 2 sisters families and my parents, we have a total of 6 dogs between us. Here are just a couple of them…my other sis’s dachshunds I’m sure will be featured here soon as well. 😉

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Tifa

Emma
Emma
Rosie
Rosie

My Happy Place Day 17: Bright Colors and My Sweet Niece

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It’s been a crazy weekend, and I’m playing catch up tonight. It started with my husband having a pretty bad neck/back injury that has had him flat on his most of the weekend, my first of 4 Business of Photography classes (more on that later), and family birthday celebrations. I have to admit I’m cheating a little since I didn’t pick up the camera once on Saturday…but I took enough pictures today to more then make up.

Day 17’s Happy Place then comes by way of my sweet niece modeling a scarf my friend made. I LOVE this color. I could never pull it off like this sweet girl, but I still love it. And my niece, well she’s stolen a piece of my heart. She was more then happy to model for her Aunt Teri today. Such a little joy giver.

My Happy Place Day’s 8 and 9

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So it’s been a little crazy around here lately. My Happy Place posts had to take a break as I’ve been pretty much just dealing with life. My happy place day 8 is this guy, my husband Ray. I took this picture actually a couple weeks ago, but it’s one of my favorites. He is my biggest cheerleader, my hero, my best friend, and my rock in so many ways. Everything, and I mean everything he does is for me and the kids. He is my “happy go lucky, the world is a beautiful place” guy that keeps a continual bright spot as an anchor for my melancholy personality. I’m fairly certain I would not survive without him (there’s that ol’ melancholy showing through again! :))

This week he was put in harms way while he was working, and while it could have been much worse, it kind of pulled us both up short. Realizing the world is full of crazy people, and each day that is given is not promised to us, but a gift. I’m finding myself feeling extremely blessed, hugging a little tighter, and praying a little more for him. My heart is full, and overwhelmed when I think about how lucky I am that God gave me him.

Day 9 is my sweet ballerina girl. I love watching her grow and blossom into the beautiful woman God is growing her into. She is one of the most loving people placed on the planet earth, and has been since the day she was born. She wins even the toughest personalities over with her warm hugs, and accepting personality. I can learn much from her. And when she dances, she brings me such joy. Her love for dance comes out throughout the day. At any given moment you might come around the corner and see her choreographing a dance to the music playing inside her heart. She’s grown so much since the first ballet classes she took at 5, and her grace and beauty on stage can take my breath away. I’m truly blessed that I get to call this sweet girl mine.

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One of these two ballet slipper pics will be my submission for the theme “New” on my photography class assignment this week. I’m curious what one you like better?

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My Happy Place Day 6: My Gang Fighting the Post Christmas Blues Together

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Today was the day we packed away the Christmas decorations. It always makes me sad to put them away for another year.  I love how festive and warm they make our house, and it always seems empty and bare after their coziness has warmed our days.  But it’s a task that must be done, and the only thing that made it better is this gang I call my own.  They warm my heart more then anything else in the world, and their presence and  warm fire help to chase the post-Christmas blues away.

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His attempt at an Elvis impersonation. He makes me laugh.
His attempt at an Elvis impersonation. He makes me laugh.

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My Happy Place Project

Day 1:  My boys.  The only pic I took on New Years Eve and Day.  My ballerina girl was at a sleepover, and we let the little man stay up to watch the ball drop.  He was thrilled.
Day 1: My boys. The only pic I took on New Years Eve and Day. My ballerina girl was at a sleepover, and we let the little man stay up to watch the ball drop. He was thrilled.

I have to admit, I don’t usually put much stock in New Year’s resolutions or that there will be any true change with the simple advance of the clock from 11:59 on December 31st, to 12:00 on January 1st. However this year, I think I was looking forward to the turn of the calendar, as much as I was to Christmas, if only for it’s symbolic picture of a fresh start.

2012 was a tough year for me in a lot of ways. God in His wisdom decided He needed to re-prioritize a few things in my life. It has been a painful journey, fraught with misunderstandings and hurt, death of vision and dreams I felt were from Him…and perhaps harder still to see, hidden blessings. I wish I could say that I’ve navigated it all perfectly and as a picture of grace, but that wouldn’t be true. Frankly, there have been times that I’ve flat out thrown a “temper tantrum” that would put any two year old to shame, because I’ve not liked the path He’s chosen for me to walk. But God has been so gracious to me, forgiving when I humble myself before Him, giving me strength to pick up and move forward again and again. And in that process I’m catching more and more glimpses of the simple truth that, when He allows pain into our lives, it is often used for a deeper and greater good.

While this blog and my journey into photography is only a temporal part of the bigger picture, it’s still now a part of my story. You see, it is these trials and a few other circumstances, that have created the “perfect storm”, that has closed one door and opened another. And honestly, it has pushed me to walk through that door, in a new direction of something I may not have been brave enough to step into otherwise.

So with that back story, you might better understand why as I was visiting the blog of another photographer whose work I absolutely love and respect, I was impacted by her post, “The Wonder Project”. Seriously, Mary Anne’s artistry and knowledge is what I aspire too. I love her heart that comes out in her pictures and blog as well. Anyway, I could relate on so many levels. It was that post and echoes of Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” that have inspired me to throw caution to the wind, and commit to jumping in to my own challenge.

This challenge for myself is called, “My Happy Place”, and it will be my attempt to take a picture a day (or close to) of something that makes me smile, a blessing in my life, a beauty God has opened my eyes too, or things that take my breath away. The things that take me to my “Happy Place” where I’m overwhelmed by His goodness to me. My hope is that it will not only stretch me artistically, but that it will also affect my attitude, change my perspective and keep my focus where it needs to be. So here is my start in 2013, choosing to keep my eyes on God, the good things He has put into my life, and all that He has for planned for me in the year ahead.

One of my favorite families in the whole wide world.  This pic makes me smile everytime I see it.
Day 2: One of my favorite families in the whole wide world. This pic makes me smile everytime I see it.
My pooch.  She bounces when we go outside to play without a leash.  I love her quirkiness.
Day 3: My pooch. She literally bounces with delight when we go outside to play without a leash. I love her quirkiness.
Day 3: Crepe paper flowers with complimentary plastic bee, from the cutest little man I know.
Day 4: Crepe paper flowers with complimentary plastic bee, from the cutest little man I know.
Day 5: Flowers from my husband, who knows me better then I know myself sometimes. They came on a day I really needed to be reminded I am loved.
Day 5: Flowers from my husband, who knows me better then I know myself sometimes. They came on a day I really needed to be reminded I am loved.

The “B” Family

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I’m running off to a gathering with my hubby’s family, but I wanted to be sure I got this posted today. This post is a sneak peak for the “B”‘s . I am blessed to call this gang not only friends, but family. Mrs. B is my sister, and I love her dearly. I treasure the friendship we have built over the years. It has come with our share of bumps and bruises, but those have been the things that has added depth and dimension to the fun, laughter, and MANY treasured memories. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders, and knows when to give me a good “shaking” if I need it. 🙂 Her hubby is a gem, and I am happy to call him brother. And these kids??? Well, they melt my heart daily. Next to my kids, they are my some of my favorite subjects!

My time is short today, and I have so much more to share. I promise a post soon of all that I’m learning, and the new things that are on the horizon to grow and stretch me in photography. Until then, enjoy these pics of the people near and dear to my heart!

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Tis’ the Season…

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So with a little break in photo shoots and some unseasonably warm weather, we were able to pull out the Christmas decorations last week. So the halls have officially been “decked” at the Sommer household. As crazy as it can get, Christmas is my all time favorite holiday. This year the hubby is taking some time off over the holiday break, and I’m really looking forward to some down time with my family!! And of course there will be plenty of picture taking opportunities. 🙂 Can’t wait. Praying you and yours, are enjoying this holiday season too!!

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

So I’ve been a bit neglectful of this blog since my trip out west. Honestly, I hit the ground running stepping off the plane. With Halloween costumes to be made, boy scout trips to prepare for, and impending ballet recitals, there really wasn’t much room to do anything else. I did however take lots of pictures (go figure) and hopefully those will make it here over the next couple weeks. There are other exciting (read: scary) things happening too, but that is a post for another day.

In the meantime, here are a few final pics from my trip out west. Seriously there were moments that I thought about packing up the fam and moving there!  Between the scenery and dear friends, it is truly amazing.  If only I could convince the grandparents, aunts and uncles to come too. 🙂

Anyway, if you want to see some AMAZING pictures from this area, check out my friend Erik’s website. Really go check it out, because it’s these kind of images that make me hesitate to call myself a photographer! Simply stunning.