My New Venture

Good morning everyone!! A lot of you have noticed that Im not here that much anymore. However I am on G+, and have another WordPress site! Yep. I opened up shop so to speak. Go check it out and add me on G+ if you’re there!



8 Easy Tips for Lens Flare (Tutorial)

This is my first ever tutorial as promised. Hopefully it’s understandable and easy to simulate :).

I first started exploring photography almost a year ago today, and part of that exploring meant pouring over blogs and reading tons of websites devoted to photographers.  I love almost every type of photo out there, but the ones that always caught my eye were light and airy. Many had these amazing little rainbow circles that were almost magical to me! Come to find out, it’s actually something that isn’t wanted by many photographers, thus the invention of lens hoods.  Well! I am not one to go by the rules, so after many months of experimenting I’ve figured a few tricks out to get that little rainbow circle in my photo’s. Btw the rainbow circle is called a lens flare sometimes refered to as a sun flare.

Hint #1: It’s easier to produce a lens flare with a crappy lens! All you kit lens owners rejoice!!! That’s me too btw! So even if you own an awesome $1,500.00 lens but have yet to master the lens flare, pull out that first lens you bought or that came with your gear.


Lens EF50 f/1.8 II
ISO 100
1/500 sec f 2.8

Hint #2: Focusing. It’s practically impossible to focus when you’re shooting straight into the sun. So I block out the sun with my hand while I focus and expose for my subject. I have my focus set for center focus so once I get it, I will recompose and then click.

Lens EF-S55-250mm f/4-5
1/250 sec at f / 5.6
ISO 100

Hint #3: Exposing. This one took me FOREVER to get. I admit, I still have a way to go figuring out exposure. I’ve abandoned the meter inside my camera, because more times than not, it’s wrong. Or maybe not “wrong”, just not what I’m going for. So here’s the trick. Set up the histogram to show on your display. I was terrified of histograms, but trust me, they aren’t THAT bad. :).  When going for lens flare, most of the time, if not all, the background will be blown out. Who cares!? It’s part of the creative process that comes with the look we’re trying to achieve.  So expose for your subject.  And over-expose that by a little more so you don’t have a black blob.

Lens EF-S55-250mm f/4-5
1/250 sec at f / 5.6
ISO 100

Hint #4: Shoot during the golden hours. If not, you will be on the ground aiming up, which isn’t bad, it’s just not always as easy.

Hint #5: You can actually see it through the lens! I look for the flare in my viewfinder. When I can see it, I know that I have it.  It’s not as big on the photo as it is in the viewfinder though so don’t be shocked!

Nifty Fifty
1/320 @ f / 3.2
ISO 100

Hint #6: Different apertures will give you different shapes. When I have my aperture opened all the way up (think low numbers) I get round flares. When I have it closed (higher numbers) I get more of a hexagon shape.

Nifty Fifty
1/100 sec @ f / 3.2
ISO 100

Hint #7: Different lens’ have different colored flare.

Nifty fifty
1/1000 sec @ f / 2.8
ISO 100

Hint #8: Have fun!

This is my absolute favorite that I took when I first started trying to get lens flare!

1/20 sec @ f / 29
ISO 400

This Past Month….

Hello all you out there!!! So I bet you’re dying to know what I’ve been up to? Well, as usual I have been very busy with dinosaurs, mammoths, and blushing brides, oh my! I think I’ll keep this post to the dinosaurs and mammoths though :).

On September 3rd…wow is time flying by or what?!…we went to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This trip was prompted by the movie Night at the Museum and Romans fondness for dinosaurs. Well its more of an obsession really. My days are filled with talks about dinosaurs, or hell just talking to imaginary dinosaurs that are sitting on top of the house or next to us at dinner. I digress…

Do you see the pitiful look on his face? It looks like he’s hating life. The only thing he was hating at the moment was that he couldn’t ride the T-Rex like the kid does in the movie. He lives a hard life I know.

Almost a smile here. Lol! Oh my…

Once he got over that little reality check it was all good. The museum was beautiful and much bigger than I expected.

This is one of my favorite photo’s from the whole day. I love catching him when he’s in his own world. He may not be looking at me but I know exactly what he’s thinking and feeling.

The next day we headed to the La Brea Tar Pits. No dinosaurs, but plenty of prehistoric creatures!

Roman and Sal are pushing a rod into tar. I was amazed that there was tar coming up in the middle of LA. It smelled kinda…well, like tar.

Here’s Roman with Manny :). He had such a good time and keeps asking to go back. I just got an invitation to a Halloween event being held there and I’m thinking we might go.

On an other note….Im nearing my one year mark. Oct 6th is it people! I will be turning the big 30! So much has changed, yet so much has remained the same! I plan on doing at least two more posts before than. Hey…that will make it the most I’ve blogged in a couple of months! Hehe. One post will be a tutorial on sun flares. Ill do that tomorrow, and of course, one will be on my birthday. I cant believe it’s almost here!

I’ll Trade You!

So it was time to get my hair did! I was looking a bit…..yeah! So we traded photo’s for a cut and color!

This little cutie is Emery! He is soooooo stinkin’ adorable! He was so easy to work with! By the end of the shoot he was my little shadow!

She also has a handsom son and georgous daughter! Lucky lady!

A little funk for ya…

I’ve got a couple more coming for you guys! And….Im gonna catch up with all your blogs!!

My First Wedding

A little over a month ago I photographed my first wedding for a friends mom. I was scared, nervous, excited, nervous, scared. Wait did I already say that?? I stayed up late studying after studying. Lots of studying in the Ramirez house. I knew I only had one chance to get it right. They knew I’m new to this. Still…wasnt totally comfortable.

I am so thankful that it was a friend, and a laid back momma. You hear that you should never photograph a friend’s wedding, but luckily it was a friends mom. Well, maybe it turned out awesome because the bride and groom were great.

This is the lovely bride. Lupe!!! I ❤ her tons! Everything went great. Some things, well everything, was a learning experience. I learned that a flash can only handle so much before going bizzerk on you. It started running through all the programing modes and making this weird whirling sound at the reception. Yeah, maybe I should look into a new one… 🙂

I figured out I need to find a good slide show maker. Any suggestions? I learned that I don’t have to stay on manual the WHOLE wedding, shutter priority will work too :).  I learned to wear something comfortable!!! Lots of studying….lots of learning.

I want to thank the Lopez family for letting me be a part of their beautiful day! They were truly wonderful, and trusting. I seem to catch breaks every now and then, and this was one of those times.

On another note, I have a ton on the way for all y’all. I have two families, a boy who decided to paint his face with mommy’s makeup when he was supposed to be napping, and another wedding :).

First Senior Moment

Not that kind of senior moment :).

I was in San Diego again for work last week, but this time I took my cousin with me who will be a senior next year.  We headed to Imperial Beach on Coronado Island. Here are a couple of pictures…

I’m so glad I was able to do this for her! She’s beautiful and I learned a lot without any pressure! Still a hobbyist and completly okay with it :).

Sea World and My Hiatus

 Ahhhh….I’ve been on Hiatus for a while. I feel like I’ve been saying that every time I post for the past couple months. LOL! But what can I say! I’ve been living life! I do however look forward when it’s not so busy with the “musts” but full with the “I get to do what I want to do”, like post more often, take more photo’s, spend long nights at my parents pool, wander in the desert, all that good stuff. Soon! I’ll be done with school in December so I’m hoping for some time after that. That’s if I don’t roll straight into the masters program. Shhhhh!!! Not sure how many people will be happy with that decision, but sacrifice in the present will lead to benefits of plenty in the future.  Or that’s what I like to tell myself anyways!


So I owe you all a HELLO, well anyone that still reads this, but I’ll just let the polar bear wave for me. As you can tell we went to Sea World last weekend. I was in La Jolla for work last week so the family came down to spend some time at the amazing hotel and hit up Sea World. Sal and I also caught a football (soccer) game on Wednesday. We watched Real Madrid vs. Guadalajara Chivas. We had a great time, and Sal was like a giddy little school girl watching Christiano Ranaldo play. He had the camera and I think the majority of the pictures are of him. Which is fine by me!!!

Roman recently watched Free Willy from beginning to end and is now in love with whales. So we got up Friday morning and headed to Sea World to meet all of Sal’s sisters and kiddo’s.  We knew we had to see Willy (Shamu- but try telling Roman that) and didn’t have anything else planned. There were so many of us that we didn’t really make plans besides that. Before the show started we stopped to see the seals. We fed a couple of seals, and one blasted seagull that took a sardine right out of my hands. Damn him! LOL!

We saw Nemo and Dori too! 

I have a photography challenge coming up where I will be in low light so I tried my hand at high ISO with no flash. I thought it turned out pretty good. Not good enough, but not bad. Maybe a little more brightness in LR? Anyways, this was the shark exhibit that Roman loved. He usually runs through these tunnels not really paying attention, but this one had his full attention. What is it with guys and sharks? For any of you interested, it’s shark week right now. LOL!

Finally, in the artic area a beluga whale giving the crowd a show :).

R.I.P. Cheech

Well I had mentioned that Cheech was sick and at the Vet’s. I went to pick him up today when a chat with the vet revealed an issue. He had a shunt. The short version is that his blood wasnt being filtered properly so it was poisoning him.  He wasnt living a very fulfilling life.  And while we were talking about what to do, Roman crawled in the kennel with him and put his hand on Cheech’s forehead and hit it with the other hand. He said “Cheech is all better”. I was a little mortified and smiling at the same time. I didn’t know we had a faith healer in the family until tonight. Roman has pulled us through so many dark times. He is seriously the reason were functioning as well as we are. To what level can be argued though :).

The photo above was from a couple of weekends ago when we went fishing. He didn’t like the water and this was him hesitating on the bridge.

Our time with Cheech was too short and sick. We will miss him a very much, but I know all dogs go to heaven and we’ll see him on the other side.


Sal went to Mexico last weekend for a quinceanera. He hadn’t been in about 16 years so he was way overdue. Since I didn’t go and can’t report first hand, I’ll post some photo’s with the explanation-ish. Lol!

This is Sal’s Godfather Miguel. He lives in Mexico so he doesnt get to see him that often. Im glad they got to catch up.

This is Sal’s Grandpa. He’s not with us anymore, but the family say’s that Roman looks a lot like him. They both have blue eyes which he didn’t get from me or Sal. I think it’s from Grandpa Ramirez (above) and Grandma Kirkpatrick.


This is an old church with huge doors. Sal was impressed with them, and even though I just get to see them in the picture, so am I.

This was inside the church. It’s so old!! 1716 and still amazing!

This little girl is inside the church. The story behind her is that she wanted to get baptized but her parents wouldn’t let her do it. The father of the church did it anyways to her parents dismay. Her parents killed her for it so the church embalmed her.

What the hell!!!!  Who could do that to their kid???  Crazy ass ppl!

These statues are great aren’t they? The bottom is the snake, the top is the bird. I think it’s an interpretation of the Mexican flag. But maybe that’s just me!

There was a circus coming into town and this was out front of Sal’s Grandma’s house. It looks blind in one eye.  Sad but beautiful.

All the boys!!!

The trip sounded like an amazing time and I look forward to going someday. I think one of the coolest things that Sal said though was that he saw everything through my eyes because I told him to take pictures. He saw the detail, he saw the color, he saw the beauty!

First Day of School

Roman’s first day of school was last Monday. I know I’m a little late posting but I’ll get to the reason in a bit. For now lets chat about school….

Before the first day of school, we had talked to Roman about it. We told him about all the friends he would make, and all the playing he would do. He was excited! He was out the door before we were with his lunch box in hand.

He was in the Navigator ready to go!

Ahhh….and here he is with his Dad.  But wait….what is that you see???? Is that a half-smile half frown???

Awww…..there it is. The fear, the trepidation, the uncertainty!!! Yep. You can follow the emotions through the pictures. See, I’m not sure we explained that we would be back. Yeah, I left that part out as I was pumping up school.

Anyways, we walked him in. He sat down at a table and started playing a game with locks and keys. We talked to the teacher, said our goodbye’s and we were off. But there was still this uneasy feeling in my stomach. I kept telling everyone that I was probably more worried about it than him.  Ahhhhh…..but Momma knows best.  When I went to pick him up Roman and his teacher were sitting in the lobby waiting for me. I must have stopped dead in my tracks and looked like I got hit by a semi, because the teacher calmly told me that “Roman had a rough day”. Uh huh. So I said “what happened?”  The teacher then informed me that he started crying at 10:30 and it lasted for about 45 min. My heart sank. I asked Roman what was wrong when he told me “I’m mad at you Mamma”. I asked why and the reply was “because you went to work”.  SHATTER- My heart broke. I held back my tears as I told him it was okay and that I would always come and get him.

The rest of the week went the same way. Except there was hiding in the morning, yelling, and crying.  I couldn’t keep it together at work. My concentration was blown. I couldn’t eat (which shows on the scale now), I was crying off and on. Basically a hot mess. Not a good look.

This week however, has been much better. He still hesitates in the morning but hasn’t cried once. My mind and heart are right again. Which I’m sure my boss appreciates. 

So on to the other reasons I havent posted for a while (like that’s not enough or something!). Well here goes…my cousin is staying the summer with us. It’s a little hard adjusting to a 17-year-old living in the house and on the computer. Our new puppy is really sick. He’s eating dirt apparently and is currently sleeping at the vets. Sal went to Mexico (check the next blog). I had finals (two A’s). And hell…life was happening.

Well I know that this has been a long blog, and if you’re still reading….THANK YOU!!!



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