Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hiatus. Be back soon...........

Hi out there!
I decided to take a short hiatus for a couple of weeks. I have a lot going on (who doesn't?!) and unable to commit to my blog like I would like to right now. So, I will be back in a few weeks.
In the meantime, I will be sure to still read the blogs I'm following and keep in touch that way! See you all soon.

I'll leave you with some recent pictures of Julianna and fall.... See you all soon.

She loves tractors! 

Nice evening for a walk in the state park. 

Fisherman on the lake at sunset. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

catching up ...

This past week ...

  • I worked. 
  • Celebrated my husband's Birthday. I made him cupcakes too. He loves cupcakes. 
  • Julianna got Daddy a cute card for his Birthday. 
  • I had to put Brian's birthday dinner on hold since I wasn't feeling great. 
  • Attempted to take some fall pictures at the park but not enough foliage yet for bright orange/red colors. 
  • Watched the NY Giants dominate the San Fran Forty-Niners. 
  • Watched the Yankees dissolve into nothing. Countdown to spring training has begun already. 
  • Decided I am so entirely sick of hearing about politics that I really do not go on Facebook anymore because I am sick of everyone's views. 
  • Bought crafts from Michaels to make colored turkeys, a foam gingerbread house, turkey ornaments, and holiday coloring books. It will be Julianna's first time with craft glue. Oh boy. I'm in the mood already for the holidays! 
  • Getting ready to celebrate Baby Benny's first birthday.  
  • Decided I need to buy Julianna some pom-poms and a white turtleneck for her Halloween costume - A NY Giants Cheerleader! 
  • Figured out how to do a cool (& easy!) haze on my photos courtesy of this tutorial at Polished Picture
  • Found this great blog on motherhood, photography & life called "Love & live out loud
  • Re-discovered my love for hot cocoa. 
  • Squirrels ate 2 of our pumpkins on the front porch, and we narrowly rescued the 3rd from being destroyed by bringing it indoors. We need to seriously carve this bad boy! Julianna saw the squirrels demolishing the pumpkins and kept saying "Skirls eat pumtins mama!!" 
  • The last of my outdoor plants kicked the bucket with the frost we finally got. 
  • Decided we have enough dried herbs from our garden to last until 2015. 
  • Loving the new Law & Order SVU District Attorney. 
  • Watched the 2nd episode of "Chicago Fire" and not loving it like I thought I would. Kind of boring. 

Here are some pictures from the park. There wasn't the bright & colorful foliage like I was hoping for yet. I think we'll try to go back in a week or so to capture some orange & red colors. I also used some haze techniques that I learned recently. I'll post a tutorial on this with my own added tips soon enough! 

Julianna was trying to pose her beloved Giraffe on the rock for his photo shoot. 

She loves picking this flower and wanting to give it to mama!

I love my girl's smile! 

It was sooo hard to get her to stand or sit by the rock to get a few pictures. She wouldn't stand still for 2 seconds. 

Twirling .... Twirling.... Twirling .... 

And of course a quick stop at the playground to go down the slide a few times. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Orange/Warmth and Haze tutorial

I'm participating over at "Live and Love out loud"Nurture Photography for Fall 2012.
This week's theme is "Orange/Warmth"
I took this picture at Ort Farms in Long Valley, NJ a couple weekends ago. I wasn't crazy about it until I added some texture to it, and it grew on me.

Nurture Photography Autumn 2012 Photo Challenge

Haze Tutorial (sort of) 
I found a great way to add haze to a photo. So simple too & I need to share it with you here. 
I found this tutorial over at Polished Picture which I love. 
In the past, to achieve a haze, I was adding a gradient layer or solid color layer then applying a filter. It works ok that way, but this new way is much better! 

So here's my SOOC shot - kind of dark.
The exposure didn't pick up the wonderful backlight we had that evening. 

Here is the shot after I brightened it up a bit in Lightroom 

I opened the picture with Photoshop Elements (you can do the same with Photoshop).
Then, I created a "Levels" Adjustment layer and slid the little black triangle to adjust. 

I moved the little black triangle slider below to the right. As you move it, the "Output level" will count higher. It starts at "0" and goes higher as you move it. I stopped at around '32' for this picture. You will see how it adds instant haze as you slide to the right. 

I then masked out her face with a soft brush at about 20% opacity to make her eyes pop back out - 
I added a warming photo filter & slightly sharpened. 
I also ran the "Golden Afternoon" action from Coffeeshop Blog & dropped it to about 20% opacity and masked out her face as well. 
I love this action for early evening shots! 
Here is the finished product. It has some haze & her face still pops out nicely. 
Maybe it's a little too golden for some tastes or too hazy - but it's fun to experiment. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin picking and sorry I've been absent

We went pumpkin picking last weekend... it was a day where the rain threatened, so we decided not to take the hayride to the pumpkin patch. That and the fact that my husband's ankle is still recovering from the fall he took last time we got on the hayride to apple pick a few weeks ago.
I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog lately and I haven't really picked up my camera much either. I guess I'm going through a thing lately - who knows. I promise to be back soon and with some good stuff.

Ort farms in Long Valley, NJ is where we went pumpkin picking.  They have a great kids area with a petting zoo, a train ride, some hay bales to climb on, food vendors, a few old wagons and some other fun stuff.

Here are some pictures of pumpkin picking.

My Happy Kid. 


Walking with daddy to the train ride. 

Julianna says "Hi Cow". 


Julianna heading to see the chickens. 

Pumpkins lined up on the fence. 

Picking out some pumpkins... Hmmm... which one? 

This one! 

Time to go pay for everything. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall's here - How do I know?

This is how I know fall is here. 

We had to turn the heat on. 
Julianna is wearing her fleece PJs to stay toasty at night. 
Flannel Sheets are on the bed.
The mums are planted everywhere (We still have to buy ours!!) 
The Baseball playoffs are in full swing. (Yay Yankees) 
Football is getting good! (Go Giants) 
Baked Apple Pie aroma is in the air wherever you go. 
Oh and - cider donuts. Totally fall. 

The leaves are starting to change in NJ. We aren't close to peak, but soon we will be. 

Leaves are falling from the trees and covering the roads. 

Leaves are collecting in the bird bath after the fall rain. 

Pepper is snuggled up in the covers all day. She likes heat - she doesn't often get out of bed this time of year. Too cold for her. 

And yes, who can forget pumpkin picking. It's definitely that time. 

Submitting my fall photos to the following "Yellow/Light" challenge

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple Picking fun

Last weekend, Brian, Julianna and I went apple picking at a local orchard about 30 minutes from our house. We did this last year and it was so much fun that we decided to go back again to the same place.  The farmer told us that this year, they got hit by bad frost in the spring, and they lost a lot of their apple crop. They only had a few orchards open and not nearly as many variety of apples as they had last year.  No Honeycrisps! I was looking forward to those so much! But we did manage to get 2 big bags of Winesaps and another apple that is like Macintosh but I can't remember the name. We need to make applesauce soon before the apples start going bad.

It was a fun time until ...
We stepped off the hayride at the end.
Brian was holding Julianna and a bag of apples...
And he stepped off the hayride wagon, and when he stepped on the ground, he must have stepped on a rock the wrong way, and went down hard. He fell straight down with Julianna...
and the apples went flying everywhere...
Julianna was crying, no she was screaming! Luckily she did not get hurt. She fell hard, but somehow Brian's arm took the brunt of the fall and cushioned Julianna. She just got scared and she didn't like seeing daddy on the ground in pain. Brian did not fair so well. He was in pain. He hurt his ankle really bad and couldn't stand up. A few people ran to get him ice. Another lady was holding Julianna because she was crying hysterically. Another guy and his wife collected all of our apples and put them in a bag, and put them in our car. Everyone was so helpful.
It was no one's fault, he just stepped down wrong. It sucked.
So luckily my mother's house was very close. We went and dropped off Julianna and I brought Brian to the hospital. We both thought for sure he broke it. His foot was X-rayed at the hospital and it turned out to only be a bad sprain luckily, and they sent him home with an Air-cast for his foot. He had to elevate it and ice it for several days. It's been over a week and it's still swollen and hurting him most days. The doctor said bad sprains can take longer to heal than breaks sometimes. Poor Brian. I felt so bad for him.

So anyway, I got some pictures of apple picking, but obviously did not take any of the fall.

Julianna soon figured out that she could pick the apples off the tree and eat as many as she wanted 

Already eyeing up her next apple before she is done with this one

Mmmmmmm! Eating an apple with her favorite giraffe... 

Posing with daddy in the orchard 

Julianna was having her giraffe pick some apples. God help us if we ever lose the giraffe! 

Eating yet another apple sitting on daddy's shoulders 

We got our apple loot & headed back to the parking lot 

Next week, we are headed to a local farm to pick pumpkins. Not sure if we'll be taking the hayride this time though for Brian's sake!


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