My Project 52

Join me in my photography journey.  I'll be sharing my favorite photo as I learn new photography techniques each week for a full year.


week 52:  Christmas

I know I'll have other favorites to add to this but for now, I'll leave you with Santa reindeer pug.  Here's to a great P52 year and new ones to come!  Thanks for looking :)


week 51: Bokeh

I've always wanted to try out changing light with cutouts so here's my Christmas tree with hearts.


week 50:  Circle


week 49:  Lights

I love playing around with different techniques and the Christmas tree.  The next 3 weeks are related to this :)


week 48:  Thanksgiving/Gratitude

 I'm so thankful for my beautiful family and the little dog, too!

week 47:   In your hand

Katie was chosen to be awarded a bike through the Variety club of St. Louis!  She was so excited.  I chose to capture her testing it out.

week 46:  old/new

I picked this week to showcase my photography growth.  We got a rare early snow and I caught Ally standing in it just like she did last year.  At the time, the old photo was one of my favorites.  I can see improvements in exposure, reducing grain and keeping my subject focus sharper!  
New- Nov 2014

Old- Feb 2013

 week 45:  symmetry

The first thing I thought of for this one was faces and Millie was the only willing subject.  How could you not love that face?

 week 44:  Halloween

My girl in her self made Dragon queen costume.

week 43:  Backlight

Snapped this in between posed family photos for the Christmas card.  I love the action in this one and it actually won me my first photography contest!


week 42:  nature

Burr oak acorns... this one might make the wall, too!  Love their texture and the color palette.


week 41:  Long exposure

Catching the kids trick or treating.  This was tricky because I didn't have my tripod with me so it's not perfect but a great memory, none the less :)  This was the house where Katie was asked to tell a joke and she replied with "Give me your chocolate!" ha ha!


week 40:  Pink

End of summer and the last of the flowers are in bloom.  I was lucky to catch my nephew checking out the fairy garden.


week 39:   Geometric shape

I went to Grants farm with friends this weekend and even though it was really crowded, a moment of solitude opened up when we were in the horse barn and I was able to snap a photo of these beautiful doors with the amazing light.  It was literally seconds before the hall was filled with people again.  

week 38:  action/ in motion

This is one of my favorite effects to play with.  This is from the homecoming powder puff game at the high school I teach at.  We always go to school events on Wed. nights and my kids LOVE watching the big kids!


week 37:  Framing

We went to the science center with friends and I caught Katie exploring with a magnifying glass :)


week 36:  Fashion

My little fashionista has a spunk and flair no matter where she goes.  This captures that perfectly along with her favorite pink boots!


week 35:  Golden hour

At girl scout camp I was lucky enough to be in a perfect place for the setting sun.


week 34: animals

I'm an aunt!  I'm so blessed to have this little man in my life.  My brother has had a long journey through the adoption process so it was my pleasure to photograph him and his big brother boxer couldn't resist sneaking a kiss or two.


week 33:  street photography

I don't live in a busy city... just the suburbs and honestly I haven't found much inspiration of its average streets and box stores.  So, I'm including some street photography from Disney on this one!

week 32:  macro

I don't have a macro lens... some day I will but I have a couple of cheats to make macro work.  Here is a close up of another wildflower.  It's an immature Queen anne's lace.  I love the symmetry of the stem and the texture of the buds.


week 31:  landscape

I went back a bit and grabbed my favorite photo from Joshua tree for this one.  I loved the landscape's subtle colors.  This one made it to my wall as well!


week 30:  shadow

Full sun is tricky for photographing pretty much anything, but it makes a great shadow.  One of the things I like about taking photos of botanicals is looking for details, like interesting shadows.


week 29:  food

The tomatoes are ripe for eating!


week 28:   texture

While in California, we went on a road trip to Joshua tree national park.  the trees there have fantastic texture.

week 27:  National pride

We had the pleasure of spending the fourth of July at Disneyland!  Although we didn't get a great perspective at the fireworks show, with the photoshop magic of composites, I was able to get the perfect shot!


week 26:  Half

Half way through the year!  This week we visited an aquarium and one of the viewing windows had a perspective where you could see in and out of the water.  I couldn't resist getting an underwater version of half of a duck :)


week 25:  8 o'clock

We took a mini vacation to visit family in Texas and what better than an 8 o'clock swim just before bed?


week 24:  Sound

We spent memorial day camping at the shut ins.  When I look at this picture I can almost hear them.


week 23:  In the background

My daughter Katie has a genetic disability called Williams syndrome.  This year I served as a walk co-coordinator so in the background is the walk and all our efforts in action.  It was a wonderful event!


week 22:  Architecture

My aunt lives on a beautiful historic street in downtown St. Louis and the architecture there is amazing.


week 21:  Shallow depth of field

I spent hours photographing wildflowers on our most recent camping trip.  This is one of my favorites and will not doubt go on my wall.


week 20:   Reflection

Through the looking glass...

week 19:  Going out

I call this one-  going out on a limb- at girl scout camp we came across this tree bridge and Ally had to muster up her courage to make it across.


week 18:  transportation

The air show is back!  One of my favorite childhood memories is camping out and watching the blue angels fly by.  When they zip over your head and you feel the sound in your chest it makes me giggle like a little girl.  I had the opportunity to take my kids this year and got some pretty awesome shots!  


week 17:  Black and white

The dogwoods are in bloom!  I'm very excited about this because botanicals are my favorite photography subject, second to my children.  I usually don't like flowers in b&w but the contrast in this one makes it very dramatic!


week 16:  Faith/Belief

I had the opportunity to photograph a good friend's baby christening.  They had this beautiful cross in front of the stained glass.  It was perfect for this week's theme.


week 15:  Straight out of camera

I admit it, I took the cheap way out and photographed a flower instead of a person on this one!  SOOC is really hard to get right with white balance and skin tone so I went with a botanical.  Maybe next year...


week 14:  friendship

I'm a leader of a brownie girl scout troop and in our fourth year together, we've forged some pretty amazing friendships- and not only between the girls but with the moms too!  I love these girls like my own kids and feel blessed to be involved with their families as they grow up!


week 13:  contrast

I'm majorly in love with black and white photography.  I've learned though, that not every picture is good in b&w.  You really need good contrast.  This might be my favorite picture of the entire year because of the composition and contrast and of course my baby's freckles that I adore.


week 12:  mood

The feeling of a campfire sets a great mood and feeling.  Plus, we're in the mood to go camping... even though it was below freezing!  We were determined to roast a marshmallow.  It would get hot and melty and then by the time you took it off the stick it'd freeze again!


week 11:  I am ___

I am teacher of the year!  I didn't take this picture and it's just a snapshot but the moment was unforgettable so it counts!


week 10:  Number

This week happens to be my girl's birthday!  

week 9:  After Dark

Tired babe at bedtime


week 8:  Leading lines

We had a warm winter day so even though there was slushy snow on the ground we threw on our jackets and capri pants and went to the park!  This photo is of the slide and the bolts that line the edge of it.


week 7:  Love

For this week, the girls and I went to the butterfly house, one of my favorite places to visit in the winter because it's so warm and bright with lots of botanicals.  I took a picture of this butterfly and the spots looked kind of like hearts, but not quite so I used the cloning tool in photoshop to make them valentines day worthy!


week 6: pet's eye view

I had so much fun with this one!  The first one I didn't even use my pet, I just pretended I was playing tug of war with her, which is one of our favorite games.  The second is one of my favorite things she does- she's a couch potato, tv watcher and gets very involved when dogs are on tv.  We tend to rewind a lot when she catches a glimse of a dog just for the pure enjoyment of seeing her interact :)


week 5:  hot/cold

This time of year it's difficult to find inspiration since you're either stuck indoors or photographing the drab looking outdoors.  For this one, I liked how my daughter was warm inside during her lazy pj day and her window art has the backdrop of the snowing outdoors.


week 4:   negative space

I played around with creating a neutral backdrop with this one.  There is a photographer that I follow, named Melissa Gibson, who takes these amazing photographs of her kid's toys.  Inspired by her photos, I set up a white sheet over a window so it glowed a bit and then used my daughter's favorite little lizard as a subject.  I did some post-processing to smooth out the fabric so the background looked seamless.

week 3:  Low light/selfie- 

I rarely take pictures of myself and neglected to most of 2014.  One of my goals this year is to put myself in the photo at least once a month!


Week 2: Smell

Week 1:  A Cup of __

See more from this week's project on my blog post here



Week 52: Christmas

I can't believe I did it!  So excited about this project and the growth I've made in learning my camera.  I'll see you in 2014 as I start another one!

Week 51:  Lights

I have no idea how these lights are twinkling.  This is just a jpeg.  I guess it's a Christmas miracle?!?  Either that or I'm seeing things!

Week 50: Winter


Week 49: Calm


Week 48: Macro

Week 47: Food Photography

Week 46: Thankful

I'm very thankful for the change I've seen in my dog recently!  She's becoming a little older and calmer now so I can give her more freedom around the house.  I've really missed the opportunity to snuggle and play with her like I wish I could because she is so wild and would almost immediately potty on the carpet or eat something she shouldn't.  Lately we've had none of that, though.  She's turning into the kind of do I wanted :)

Week 45:  Imperfection-

This week I chose to post a photo I took that has no post processing.  This is straight out of camera or SOOC for short.  I've been working really hard at landing the perfect photo using my camera and adjust its color, etc. as little as possible using photoshop.  I'm definitely getting better but its still not perfect, hence imperfection.... Katie on the other hand is pretty much perfect :)

Week 44: Halloween

Week 43: Leaves

Week: 42: Fence

Week 41:  Orange

We had pumpkin decorating at the fall festival... couldn't pass this one up.  Isn't she artistic?  She said she wanted it to look like glitter icing.

Week 40:  No Theme week!

Our project 52 group is hitting that low point where you want to finish the challenge but you start to lose motivation.  This week was supposed to be boudoir... yeah right!  ha ha... so we decided as a group to make the theme whatever floats your boat... I took a picture of a plant instead ;)  I took a bunch more on this little outing (see them here).

Week 39:  Bokeh

I have a bad addiction to shooting is really low apertures, so when bokeh week came along, my biggest problem was choosing one.  How could I pass up this beauty?

Week 38: Autumn

This week there wasn't much by the way of change in tree color but inside we had football, chili and homemade carmel apples!

Week 37: Color

I found this colorful fly hanging out on our green pepper garden and thought... why not?  Not my favorite animal but actually pretty in this picture :)

Week 36: School

Ally on her first day of second grade.  I try and get the traditional picture as they leave to school on the first day but she's always nervous I usually get a grumpy or sad look.  This year I decided to just take one after school she has a smile on her face!

Week 35: Labor

This year is kicking my "butt" so to say...  Lots of grading has been occuring at home. 

Week 34:  Golden hour

The Japanese Maple in my front yard... I love its colors.  One of my favorite purchases for my house!

Week 33: Butterflies and insects

This week I played around with adding textures to photos in photoshop.  I really love how it turned out, not to mention I love all the structural details in the butterfly!

Week 32: Sunset

This photo was actually taken way past week 32.  I had a really hard time getting a sunset this time of year because it was always at my kid's bed time!  This photo was taken at my daughter's horseback riding therapy session. 

Week 31: Sunflare

We had a really cloudy week... freakish weather for August.  Typically it's scorching hot but this week has been barely breaking 80 degrees and cloudy like fall.  Not that I'm complaining!  So, the weather wasn't perfect for sunflare photos but I found this little slice of sun on a hike we took as a family at Big Spring in the Mark Twain National forest.

Week 30: Floral

I have no idea what this flower is but I loved the symmetry, the long stamens and the contrast of it's white petals against the dark background.  It makes for a pretty interesting subject!  I have other flower photos I took on this same outing at my blog post here.

Week 29: Water

This photo was taken at one of our favorite places to visit in the St. Louis area...the Butterfly house.  I took a ton of photos of the kids playing in sprinklers, at the pool, etc. but I kept coming back to this one.  I love the way the light is dappled through the vegetation.  It almost like it's shining down on the flower in all its glory!

Week 28: Abandoned

For this week we decided to take a drive in the southern, country areas of Missouri and look for a good abandonment photo opportunity.  We actually ended up in a place I've been before- The Missouri Mines National Historic Site.  It's a really interesting place- an abandoned lead mine with an unparralleled mineral collection on site.  You kind of get the feeling that you shouldn't breathe while you are there- or touch anything in fear you'll get lock jaw but it has interesting history and the tour guide claims it's all safe! See the collection of photos here.

Week 27: Fireworks

I was SOOOOO excited for this week's theme.  I'm sure I looked crazy setting up my tripod and fooling with it during the display but I didn't care in the least because I knew it would be fun to edit and my oh my was it ever!  I'm actually going to print some of these for my wall.  You can see the whole collection here.

Week 26: Friendship

I kind of pride myself on capturing great facial expressions on camera so I figured I'd have this week in the bag but I actually had a hard time getting a photo I really liked.  The irony of this is that "friendship" week feel on my wedding anniversary week and my husband is by far my best friend.  I didn't really get a great photo of us while on our weekend trip away but just after returning home I captured this one of my neices at a family party.  It's a week late but I'm so in love with it I proclaim it winner as my favorite friendship photo :D

Week 25: Pets in Action

This week was fun!  I typically try and capture photos of my children and neglect my other "kid" Millie.  She was a great subject and even did a little posing for portraits, too.  You can see more here.

Week 24: Macro Flowers

See other photos from this week at my blog post Macro Flowers!

Week 23: Sky

Took this on a camping trip.  I wanted a different perspective of the tree... like you could climb to the sky.  Update:  See a new sky collection here.

Week 22: Emotion

Kate is all emotion.  She feels things in extreme and painting was a blast! :D

Week 21: Childs Play

My kids' favorite thing to do is play with bubbles.  I should take stock in them!

Week 20:  Negative Space

My brother and his lovely growing family <3 br="">

Week 19:  Motherhood

Week 18:  Nature

I've been working on incorporating sunflare and I LOVE how this one turned out.  I might actually print it :)

Week 17:  Household Item at an Unusual Angle

This is an old copper jello mold that hung in my mom's kitchen and now hangs in mine... taken with a macro attachment.

Week 16: Animals

My silly Millie.  She makes such a great photography subject!

Week 15:  Reflection

This is from a very popular macro assignment that I've been wanting to try.  It's fruit in selzer water.

Week 14:  Bloom

The only thing that is blooming in my yard at the moment are dandelions so that's what I photographed this week.  I broke out the macro attachment again.  I'm really digging macro and just pinned a new lens to my wishlist.  Trouble but some day it will be mine!!! :)  I've been trying to play around with different crops.  I have a few different version of the dandelion in a blog post here.

Week 13: Blue

Today we dyed easter eggs so I couldn't pass up the opportunity for my blue picture of the week!  I made sure I set up the egg dying station where there was lots of good natural light coming in from our window.  It makes the eggs look whiter and colors look brighter.

Week 12: Signs of Spring

I took this one on our spring break trip to Mississippi.  After our first night camping I woke up to my blue car looking green- it was covered with pine tree pollen.  I took a macro photo of it for this week's picture.  The shiny circle effect you see there is called bokeh.  It's a cool effect you get when you take photos with a low aperature.

Week 11:  Night Photography

I've been working a lot on this one.  It's really challenging to get the right levels for a decent picture.  This one is a sleepy Ally just before bed time.  I learned from the last one I tried with this  that you need a lot more light source to illuminate the face than I had on the low light week.  Next time I'll try to turn her a bit more to get a small amount of light on the dark side of her face- called Rembrant lighting.  I tried that out at a portrait session I did and it turned out pretty awesome!  Now if I could just get her to smile :)  She's tired of me taking her picture.

Week 10: Motion

This week was fun!  I had pinned a bunch of photos in pinterest that I wanted to try out.  We didn't get to all of them but I had fun trying.  I have a post on others I took here.

Week 9: Glass

The theme this week was a funny one for me because I'm always trying to reduce camera glare through my daughter's eye glasses so I thought, why not embrace that reflection?  I wish the reflection could have shown Ally better but it still turned out pretty cool.  We were playing in the snow and Katie wanted a break so we sat together up on the deck and watched Ally explore in the snow.  This is the result...

Week 8: Shadows

This week I experimented some more with low light.  I stood in a dark room and turned on the hallway light so that some light spilled in but the room was basically black.  I set my self timer and stood so the light illuminated my face.  It was difficult to get in focus but that kind of adds to the appeal.  In photoshop I learned how to stretch my canvas.  In the original photo, I was more on the left side of the frame and I thought the composure would look better if I was facing the open space.

Week 7: Symmetry

Third week straight of botanicals... think I'm ready for spring, or what?!? 

Week 6: Texture

I played around with a cheap macro attachment for this week and had a ton of fun.  I learned that I may have to buy a legit one :)

Week 5: Low light Photography

I've been playing around with this a lot this past month and I'm finding my camera (or my skills) are limited in getting really good quality photos without so much grain.  But, I've learned some tricks... I learned how to use luminescence slider in photoshop RAW to reduce grain and color noise.  I was pretty pumped about that!  This photo was taken on a little outing I made to the Missouri Botanical Gardens with my friend, Christy.  There isn't many flowers this time of year but they have some greenhouses with some pretties.  This flower was in a dark room with a sky light shining some sun on it.

Week 4: Weather

St. Louis always has weird weather.  If you don't care for it today, it'll be different tomorrow!  I actually cheated a bit and took this one earlier over Christmas break.  I was uninspired to go outside when it was only 12 degrees... Snow is tricky to photograph, though.  I had to pay attention to my white balance so it wasn't over exposed.  I learned out to change that on my camera this week.  I have a ways to go with that, though.  I typically have it in auto and adjust it in photoshop.  baby steps....

Week 3: Shallow Depth of Field

This is my favorite style of photography and one I've been practicing a lot for the past year (since I got my first fixed lens- my nifty 50).  I love the challenge of getting an ultra sharp focus with a blurry background.  The bokeh (rings of light) in the background is my favorite effect.  This week I learned how to change the way my camera uses autofocus so that it doesn't search for a focal point, instead I can tell it the exact place to focus on.  This should help me get sharper photos.  Sometimes I'll go and edit a photo and instead of a clear face I get a focused elbow and blurry eyes... one of the main challenges of photographing wide open.

Week 2: Silhouettes

I found this week especially challenging.  I haven't really taken many photos in low light.  I also kept trying to set up silhouette situations that were duds.  I wound up stumbling upon my daughter peeking out our window while I was taking my dog out for a walk.  So my biggest lesson was just to let the subjects come to me.  I also actually broke out the tripod to minimize hand shake and played around with my shutter speed.  For the past year I've been mainly photographing in semi-automatic mode (where I choose aperture or shutter speed and letting the camera choose the rest).  This week I kept my camera on manual and actually learned how the metering works.  It's actually not as hard as I thought!  I had no idea why I didn't use it before.  I'm really excited to enter this new phase of my journey.

Week 1: New Year

This year I made a resolution to grow as a photographer. I still have the standard desires to lose weight and all that, but I thought, why not resolve to do something I really love... and that is photography.  I'm excited because I know I can keep up with it.  Just ask my kids.  They get irritated every time I take out the camera :)  I recently joined a group named Clikin Moms and although I've only been a member for a few weeks I've learned SO much! I joined a weekly challenge for the full year called a Project 52.   Each week will have a new challenge that will push my photography to new limits. So, here is to a year of learning and personal growth! 

Check out more of my photography at my public facebook page and while you are there be sure to click like!

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