I decided to go ahead and use a few of the shots from the Fox family session for this week. Due to a lot of work travel, I’m a bit behind on picking up the camera and posting.

For their session, we went to Shelley Lake in Raleigh. I’ve always gone to the lake to walk the trails but it was a great suggestion from another friend. The trees were beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange around the lake.

I love this shot of this family of 3.  It took a few tries and letting Bennett throw a stick to get a smile out of him. And I am so glad I was able to capture it.

My settings for this shot on the 50mm were f/4.5, 1/200 sec and ISO 100.



I know I’m a little behind on posts but since coming back from our trip, it’s been a little hectic. This week I am going to focus on shooting manual the whole time. I typically shoot in aperture priority but I want to start shooting manual as much as I can.

Saturday morning I had the privilege of shooting the Fox family. It was so much fun!

For their session I used the Canon 50mm lens. And my settings were f/4.5, 1/200 sec and ISO 100.

Isn’t he so cute?! 🙂


As I mentioned before the beaches in Costa Rica were fairly rocky but there was one beach, Playa Tamarindo, that had a lot of soft sand and people laid out on. We also got to see a beautiful sunset there with all kinds of boats anchored in the water. I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. I used my Canon PowerShot on manual to capture these photos.

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This beach was also a hot spot for surfers, even though the waves weren’t that big.

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The beaches also had huge, beautiful pieces of driftwood.

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After we checked into our first resort, we decided to explore the grounds and take a walk on the beach (Playa Mansita). The sand was so fun with its interesting patterns. Sometimes it sparkled in areas. I captured these next photos with the DSLR. My ISO was set to 100 with my shutter speed high since it was so bright out.

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And even though it rained a lot, we were lucky to catch a some sunsets.

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This picture was taken from the deck of the second resort we stayed at. The boat sailing into the sunset was magical to watch.

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There were so many interesting and cool things in Costa Rica. And I really tried to capture the serene and beautiful parts of it. This post’s photos are a few of the things I wanted to highlight.

The beaches weren’t as busy and crowded as they are in the States but that could also be because it’s technically “winter” there. I didn’t mind though. It gave me the chance to really take pictures without having people walk in front of my camera. (I used the DSLR with the 50mm lens for these pics.)

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We visited Playa Hermosa, Playa del Coco, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas, Playa Langosta and Playa Mansita. Most of the beaches were rocky so it wasn’t a beach you’d lay out on, but some had soft sand. I’ll have a whole separate post on the beaches and some of the pretty sunsets. 🙂

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With the below pictures I used my Canon PowerShot. We were visiting some of the local shops and I loved this bench on the sidewalk. Speaking of the shops, they had so many pretty pieces of pottery, hammicks, leather, etc. I obviously couldn’t resist picking up a few things.

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This handmade “bridge” just looked haunting to me. And yes I walked across it.

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I’m back from Costa Rica and can’t wait to share our trip with you!

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with friendly people and amazing views. Although we were there during rainy season, it didn’t stop us from soaking up the sun and having fun. We also had some of the best food while in Costa Rica.

One of the days we went on an excursion that included zip lining, mountain side water slide, horseback riding and a hot springs spa.

Since I didn’t want to take my Canon DSLR on the excursion (could you imagine if something happened to it!? GAH), I took my Canon PowerShot (point and shoot camera.) I’ve had this camera for a while but always used it on Auto. I never thought to really learn the camera and all the functions. It has a lot of the same functions as my Canon DSLR  (manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, etc.) so now that I understand what those functions are, I am able to use this camera the same way. I mostly shot in manual or aperture priority when using it.

During the excursion, we had an authentic lunch and some snacks that a few of the locals made for us. Most of the snacks were made from corn and were delicious!

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Some were sweet and some were like crackers. We even had local cheese. We used huge leaves as our plates. So fun and authentic.

One of the best restaurants we found off a dirt road was a beach front place called Lola’s.  The food was so fresh and so good! For these photos I did use the Canon DSLR and 50mm lens.

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We even dined with some special guests. I think this is Lola (their logo has a huge pig on it) and she just laid there the whole time drooling. She was HUGE.


This sweet girl sat right by my feet the whole time as well.

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One thing that pained me about CR was the abundance of stray dogs. It broke my heart. They just roamed around the streets.  Some even would lay in the middle of the road and you’d have to go around or honk at them to move. I just wanted to save them all.


I didn’t get around to doing a self portrait yesterday. I worked from home because we got some painting done in the house and then I had to drive to Fayetteville to take the dogs to my parents’ house since we are leaving for Costa Rica tomorrow.

So I’m just going to leave you with some pictures of trees taken from my backyard earlier this week.

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I was in love with how the warm light was hitting the trees. Just looks so peaceful.

New Lens – Lensbaby Spark for Canon

I recently came across one of the best photography blogs called Click It Up a Notch. What I love about the blog is that the author and contributors are all photographers who share their knowledge and experiences with techniques, equipment, etc. It’s a community that supports their profession and passion. It’s pretty inspiring. It’s also where I got the idea to start this project!

I was reading one of the posts recently (I can’t find it) where one of the contributors talked about the Lensbaby Spark lens. The fun thing about this lens is that you have to manually focus it and gives your photos a more creative feel.

After seeing a few pictures taken with this lens and seeing how inexpensive it was, I ordered it. (I also used Amazon points so really it was free!) I couldn’t wait to try it out last night when it came in the mail.


(I love the warm tones in this picture of the lens. It was taken on the console table behind my couch with 2 lamps on. I didn’t even edit it because I think it looks awesome as is. My camera was set to ISO 1600, 1/60 sec and f/3.5 on the Canon 50mm.)

It took me a minute to figure out what settings would work best because there is no aperture to set with it. Once I got the ISO and shutter how I wanted (ISO 1600, 1/60 sec), I took a few pictures of the flowers in our background.

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Since I was manually focusing, I didn’t quite get the daisy in focus like I wanted. However after playing with it a few times, I finally got it in focus.

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You also can’t really zoom with it so you have to physically move yourself closer or farther away from the subject you want to photograph.

This is such a fun lens to play with and I love the funky blur it gives the photos. I think this lens would be fun to take out to do some street photography with people walking or cars driving by. Looks like I may need to start a bucket list of things I want to photograph! 😉