Fun with photo cropping!

Jonathan has been graciously letting me borrow his fancy shmancy DSLR camera.  I have always loved photography, but I didn’t (and still don’t) have the slightest clue as to how to take a picture.

He has patiently described things like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed to me, while my brain melted into my skull.

Pretending that I could learn everything there is to know about photography in one day or even one year is silly billy.  Instead, I am trying to take things one step at a time.  For my first lesson, I chose cropping.

Sounds easy, right?  Toooootally.

Until I read this post from Jodi Friedman.  Scary, right?  Yes.

It’s ok, we hold hands and carry on together.

For this project I used a picture from Josie’s recent trip to the beach.  (Please ignore all of the other problems with this picture while we talk about cropping.  Because otherwise my feelings might get hurt and I might cry.  Mmk?) This is the original snap:

Apparently this shows a classic rookie mistake of centering your subject.  The “Rule of Thirds” breaks your picture down into a 3×3 grid.  Our brains love to see subjects on the intersecting lines of those grids.  Go figure.

These lines aren’t exact, but it gives you a better idea of the grid system I’m talking about:

Josie should be on one of those intersections to make the picture more aesthetically pleasing and to make the photography gods happy.

So let’s put her on the top left intersection:

Uhm…weird.  That’s weird to you too, right?  I think the main reason this is freaky to me is that I have no idea what’s going on with the water.  And what is Josie looking at over there?

Let’s try putting her in the bottom right corner in order to get more water:

Ahhh…that feels better.

The one thing I really love about this picture is Josie’s reflection.  By cropping in closer, I might be able to get a better look.

Yes.  I think that the reflection is cool, but cropping the pic this much takes away from the overall story.

Maybe if we do a vertical crop instead of horizontal?

Well, this brings back the problem of what’s going on with the water.

I think we’ll stick to the bottom right corner crop.

Do you go through a process when cropping your pictures?

Any tips for amateur croppers?



I’ve mentioned my love for Gaga in the past, but from time to time I feel like I need to reiterate.

I. Love. Gaga.

She was on The View recently and discussed everything from her outfit choices to bullying to meeting the queen.

I understand why people don’t like her.

I do.

Sort of.

Ok, not really.

Anyway, I found this version of “Poker Face” today and fell in love.  It’s slow, jazzy, and soulful.  Check it out here:



Your Little Monster Mads

How to carve a pumpkin

I have been carving pumpkins forever.  I’m pretty sure I had a carving tool in the womb to make my mom into a Jack-o-lantern. Uhm…ok…this got real weird real fast.

Point is, it’s been a family tradition since I don’t remember when.  I thought everybody did it, but alas this does not seem to be a big tradition in California.

Jonathan had no idea where to even begin!

What you need to begin:
-a fairly large pumpkin with the all-important stem
-a sharpie or other thick pen
-one of those cheap carving tools.  They will make the whole process a
million times smoother.
-a big spoon
-a sharp knife
-newspaper (or improvise like us with some bubble wrap)






The Steps:

Step 1: Draw your design on the pumpkin.  (I like to make mine fairly simple, but you can make it as intricate as you’d like.). Ours was modeled after our mini-pumpkin friend.

Step 2: Cut a circle around the stem.  Make sure it’s big enough because you’ll have to stick your whole arm in there.

Step 3: Stick your arm in the hole and start grabbing out the innards.

Step 4: Use the big spoon as a spade to scrape the innards of the sides of the pumpkin.   Ultimately you want the inside of the pumpkin to be innard free and smooth.
Step 5: Use your big sharp scary knife to make starter cuts for the mini cheap saw (obviously this crappy tool was not meant for piercing all the way through pumpkins, just carving)
Step 6: Clean up any edges.
Step 7:  Light it up with a tea candle and spook your neighbors!!!

I so missed this family tradition and it was fun to start a new one with Jonathan.

What family traditions do you have for Halloween?  Did you start any new ones this year?


The Fall Lineup

There have been some new additions to the apartment family in order to prepare for the fall season.

Here’s the lineup:

Owly the owlybank

Fresh flowers weekly (two bouquets for $3 at the farmers market)

Harvest pig (I’m not sure what a “harvest pig” is, but it felt right to say)

Pumpkin pals–one is soon to be carved