I Am Baker

three quick photography tips

 

Food Photography Tips

I just have to preface this with, I think you already know these tips.  I think everyone already knows these tips.

There tips are along the lines of “DA” and “common sense” but when I started using using a DSLR everything about it was terrifying, and the photography was so overwhelming that these little details were completely lost on me.

The only reason I am sharing them here is because I did not know these tips until someone mentioned them in casual conversation.  But when they did, it changed my life!

1. RED DOT TO RED DOT.

Most DSLR camera’s come with a handy dandy little red dot on the body.  There is also a little red dot on the lens.  When you are putting a lens onto your camera body, if you line up the red dots they will fit perfectly into place.

How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

As you can see my camera is a Canon, I have heard that on Nikon it is a white dot.

I did not know this for the first year of using my DSLR.  I would struggle with it every time! Seriously embarrassing.

2. PROTECT BOTH ENDS.

I remember the first time a saw a professional change their lens out.  They put the lens cap on the lens first, removed the lens, then put the back lens cap on.  They looked at me and said, “It’s that back elements that matter, right?”  Yes, yup sure right.  I totally knew that!

How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

I totally did not know that.  Here I was babying the front lens, not even realizing I was damaging the back with improper handling.

So now I make sure that when a lens is not on a camera there is a lens protector (cap) on both ends.  I also do not ever touch the back elements.  If there is dust or dirt, I very gently use a Q-tip or simply blow on it.

3.  GET YOUR SHOT, THEN START SHOOTING.

Ok, so this last one is more about shooting pictures than the mechanics of your camera, but it was one of those things that you hear and it changes everything about how you shoot.

I was watching a CreativeLive series and heard the photograph say, “Set up your shot, get your “hero” shot.  Now the fun begins.”  After he had gotten the picture he needed for the client, then he went in and changed angles, lighting, props.

When I did this for the first time, it totally opened up a whole new world of creativity and inspiration.  It’s like taking pictures suddenly got really interesting again.  I have found that some of the ‘after’ shots is what I use in my Instagram feed, as they tend to be my favorites.  I just like the fact that it’s a bit different, a bit more personal, and a lot more fun.

 

"marry me" cookies! So good, they will propose!

I recently posted these “marry me” cookies.  After I got the shot I wanted (a tall stack) I tried playing with it a bit.

Marry Me Cookies

This specific shot never made it to the blog post (although a brighter and sharper version did) , but as a photographer I got a sense of satisfaction in trying something new to me.

So there are my totally obvious tips.  If you are looking for some real photography tips check out these guys:

Food Photography Tips for Bloggers from Cookie + Kate

10 Items That Can Improve Your Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography from Serious Eats

Tips for Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

10 Things I’ve Learned About Food Photography from The Pioneer Woman

Our Approach to Food Photos from smitten kitchen

I Am Baker

(un)invited house guests

You may remember the frog incident; Our ponds and surrounding swampy areas were inundated with frog mating and frog babies and croaking and leeches.  To call it traumatic was an understatement.  Well actually it’s not, according to the dictionary traumatic describes it perfectly.  But anywho.

We have snake.

our snake

 

Here he is in action.  It is a common gardner snake and harmless.  Well, that is what people say, but it really all depends on who is defining “harmless”.

You can also see that he is no skinny minny.  At least four feet in length and about a quarter size around in girth.  Starving he is not.

My kids discovered him and I should have won an Oscar for the amount excitement I shared with them.  For me snakes=not so exciting.  But I do not want to pass on my fears to them, so I try to not show it every single time wildlife freaks me out.

Which is often.  It all freaks me out.

Yay, I live in the country!

But, as is often the case with these types of things, circumstances have changed.

Our Snakes iambaker.net

Now we have two snakes.

Our Snakes iambaker.net

Two creepy crawly slithering snakes.

Two sets of beady eyes and shed skins.

Two bulging bellys leaving us to wonder what on earth have they been feasting on.

Our Snakes iambaker.net

 

We think they live right outside in the rocks.

I mean, that is where they are during the day.

where the snakes live

At night is a whole different story.  I have no idea where they slither off to.

But that uncertainty is exactly why they are still alive.

Let me explain.

We live in the country where there are mice.

Snakes eat mice.  Mice try to get inside the house.  Snakes usually stay outside.

Snakes win.

Our SnakesAs much as I dislike those serpent eyes watching my every move, they are here to stay.

As long as they stay OUTSIDE in the rocks eating other rodents and stuff I don’t like.

Which they have, for 3 weeks now they are basking in the sun on the rocks everyday.

Somedays, when I a feeling particularly brave, I will get my camera and take some pictures.

Snake Eating a Frog!

(I don’t think this will end well for the frog.)

Snake Eating a Frog

How cool is that picture?  For people who are used to country life this is no big deal… but I am still completely fascinated by it all!

And maybe I am off my rocker, but I swear those snakes are posing for me!

Smiling Snake

Doesn’t it look like he is smiling?  As much as snakes can smile I suppose.

Wonder what pets we will discover next?

Hopefully bunnies. Playful adorable little bunnies.

I Am Baker

froggy business

If you can agree to any of the statements below, just stop reading this and move on with your day.  Trust me.

1.  You passed high school Biology.  (The frog dissection part).

2.  You have basic knowledge of how frogs procreate and give birth.

3.  The idea of seeing frogs being intimate does not gross you out.  Likewise, watching frogs have babies is not gross.  Because really, I don’t actually know what I have captured a picture of.

pond life: frogs

 If you happened to have answered yes to the above statements but are still here, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  The sheer stupidity that I am about to admit has sent me lurching down a shame spiral.  To this day I still do not know what I saw.

It all started innocently enough.  I was working inside last Saturday and the kids came running in.

“Mom, mom!  The leeches are taking the frog down.  They are killing it!”

Well, that sounds lovely.  Why don’t I head down to the pond with you and check things out.

So we all venture down to the shoreline, me with camera in tow.  In my mind I had conjured up an image of a poor sickly frog being slowly sucked to death by dozens of ravenous leeches.  I was prepared for gross.  Or, at least I thought I was.

There was one little froggy hanging out on a branch so I snapped his mugshot.  But as I looked into the water, things got weird.

pond life: frogs

 

There were a lot of frogs.  I want to say at least a hundred just in one of our ponds. And they seemed to be mating.

I stared at them.  I mean, as a city girl I had never really seen a lot of frog mating and honestly I was a bit fascinated.  Grossed out, but fascinated.

The kids were asking questions and I was pretending I didn’t know, because having a “birds and the bee’s” discussion wasn’t in the cards for that day.

I mean, there were frogs humping everywhere.  It was like amphibian smut.  Explicit frog art.  The “birds and the frogs”.

 

pond life: frogs

But then I looked even closer.

There was this stuff everywhere.

Black strings of stuff.  EVERYWHERE.

MASSIVE amounts of it.

pond life: frogs

All around in the water there were globs of it.

pond life: frogs

 

Turns out its frog babies.

That is not the technical term (and since I am not planning on looking it up anytime soon I will just stick to that), but I will hold fast to the wild assumption that it’s babies based on the little I do know about the birthing process.

That and this picture.

pond life: frogs

 

Where it seems that the babies are being ‘laid’ or ‘born’ or excreted from a frog.  Is it coming from the top frog?  So the female frog is on top?

Oh,  ok.  I get it now! 

Um, no, no I don’t.

So as I stood there in complete disbelief that I could be so entirely clueless about the frog mating and birthing process, I noticed the blobs of black frog babies were moving.

Pulsating.

pond life: frogs

That’s when I noticed the leeches.  There are three that I can see in the picture above.  They were feasting.

Ugh, that word makes me shudder.

They were writhing and rolling and feasting on the unsuspecting unborn.

It was a horrific.  It was nature.  My husband got excited at the prospect of fat leeches for fishing.  I declared myself incapable of comprehending the frog baby murders occurring right before my eyes.

The kids got hungry and went inside for snacks.

My disbelief froze me.  I stood there, camera poised but not taking any pictures.  Just watching.

After some time a lone frog made his way over to me and started croaking.

It was so loud it hurt my ears.  Was it a mating call?  Was he warning his fellow comrades of the brutal leech feast occurring on his potential offspring?  Was he just sick of me standing there?  I will never know.

But.

pond life: frogs

 

I did manage to capture this moment of that sweet little frog croaking so loud his vocal sac was about to burst.

It was so still in the moment leading up to his song that the water reverberated with his chorus.

pond life: frogs

That was cool to see.

So while I am  fully scarred from the days events and will never fully understand what we all witnessed that day, at least I can look back and appreciate the frog song.

And when I say appreciate I really mean not appreciate.  It is SO loud and annoying!  My brain was hurting.

Moral of the story: Frogs are weird.  I do not understand frog sex and baby making.  They are loud. Leeches are disgusting.  Having ponds is not as cool as you would think.

The end.

I Am Baker

life

Life has been crazy.

I have been stressed and calm and happy and sad and excited and dejected and that was just today.

Since updating my mommy blog has been something I have been wanting to do forever but have been woefully negligent in doing so, I am just going FULL BOAR on it tonight.

eddie

 

This little man is growing up.  In less than a month he will be 3 and I cant handle it.  He is my snuggle bear and so stinking cute and makes us all laugh on a daily basis.

I have started taking our sweet Eddie to speech therapy once a week.  It was a tough choice because he is so small and because it’s quite expensive and our deductible is very, very high so we pay for most everything!  But he is worth it and I am hoping to see some improvement soon.  He seems to have a hard time with “sm” words and “pr” words.  He also drops words and doesn’t care to identify ‘he’ and ‘she’ correctly.  All fixable, and the prognosis is very good.

audrey-sassy

 

This sassy malassy is a stinker winker bear.  My sweet Audrey.  Full of spirit and words and energy, I find that she is my greatest challenge everyday.  Not only does she love to get dressed up as a princess (every.single.day.) but she is now obsessed with Elsa from Frozen and is constantly asking for us to tie blankets around her so she can have a long cape.  Not that the cold bothers her, that is.

parker-image

Cookies on Blue Plate by Parker

colton-image

 Cookies on Red Plate by Colton

I have been trying to teach Colton and Parker photography basics.  So far we have started on food photography, and they are LOVING it.

The above assignment was for the kids to pick any props they wanted and they had to “style” the shoot.  Once they got everything laid out they way they wanted, we put the camera on a tri-pod and talked about lighting.  How light bounces and reflects and shadows and natural vs. artificial.

This has been challenging because I am always learning as well!, but youtube has some great tutorials.

Secretly I am hoping one of them really has a passion for photography and I can start asking them to take all my blog pictures for me!

Intentional Parenting

 

I started writing a series on Intentional Parenting.  I have two weeks done now, and its really making a difference in my life!  Just hoping to do some more research and get some life experience before I share it.  Hoping it will help others as much as me!

I have also started running.  As in, running.  I know that is hard to believe as anyone who knows me knows I HATE RUNNING.  One day I just woke up and said, “I think I need to like running.”  And I did.

treadmill

 

This was the first time I ran over 2 miles.  I think I had a permagrin that whole night.  It felt SO good to reach that goal!

Tonight I ran 4 miles in 52 minutes.  That actually equals out to be a slow jog, like a 13 minute mile, but its a big deal for me.  A BIG deal.  The night before last I ran for one hour straight.  No stopping.  An hour!

I look forward to my run everyday and have thankfully avoided injury thus far.  My biggest challenge to date is mental.  I get bored.  I get distracted.  I get tired. (da)  So hubby downloaded The Biggest Loser and I watch that.  It’s been REALLY helpful and inspirational.  (I tried running without it and was only able to go a mile… that goes to show how mentally weak I am!)

Just hoping I can stick with it and get healthy (er).

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

image credit susan powers

Last but not least is this guy.  Officially on the book store shelves in 2 days.  Talk about a labor of love!  I have developed such a huge respect for the people in this industry.  The literary agents and publicists and publishers and editors and copyeditors.  Wow.  Those folks are such a talented and creative and AMAZING bunch.  I hope to have the opportunity to know them more in the future.

That being said, if you have not purchased the book do it NOW! (please)  I want to share this experience with you and read it with you and bake cakes together!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

And with that I am headed to bed.  (And I didnt even talk about homeschooling!  I have some big changes to report on that front.  Hopefully soon!)

Be blessed!

I Am Baker

keep on clickin

Photography has been a bit of a conundrum for me.  I love love love to take pictures, but have never felt much confidence in it.

Hoarfrost in Minnesota #iambaker

 

I am enamored with the idea of capturing a moment in time.  With causing others to stop and appreciate something that they may or may not have noticed prior.  With finding beauty in the ordinary.

Hoarfrost in Minnesota #iambaker

 

Recently I created a new Media Kit, which is basically the equivalent of a bloggers resume.  I actually hired someone to do this, as resumes are not my strong suit.  One thing that I was tasked to do is define my occupation.

(Apparently “blogger” is not sufficient.)

Hoarfrost in Minnesota

 

And there, in black and white and looking as scary as ever, I had written ‘Photographer’.

The timid insecure girl in me wanted to immediately follow it up with, “…but not a good one, I just do it because I have to!”

Hoarfrost in Minnesota 2013

 

But I shouldn’t have.  Because even if my images are not as professional as they should be, or correct in composition, or are over sharpened, or are of the same leaf that has been photographed a million times before…

Hoarfrost in Minnesota 2013

 

…even if they are not beauty in someone else’s eyes, that is ok.

I have to say it again;  If others don’t like what I do, its ok.

 

Hoarfrost in Minnesota 2013

 

They are an extension of me.

Of my perspective in this world.

And my soul finds purpose in that very simple expression of self.

So for now, I will keep on clicking.

I Am Baker

things i am thankful for

Something I have been trying very hard to do is be intentionally thankful and grateful for the blessings.  Here are a few of late.

The Kids Playing

cute kids congregating

Symmetrical Swinging

sensational smiling and symmetrical swinging (see?)

Spider Web

dads and husbands dutifully destroying arachnids

inga

intelligent indépendant infinitely

inga

incredible inga

Baby Olivia

 original olivia

(and all my babies!)

I am also thankful the beautiful setting in all of the images above.  It is a luxury rental home that we rented through All Star Vacation Homes.  I can’t wait to show you the inside… and tell you why its the best choice we even made!

 

I Am Baker

nothing gold can stay

iambaker.net landscape photography

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.

iambaker.net landscape photography
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.

iambaker.net landscape photography
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,

iambaker.net landscape photography
So dawn goes down to day.

iambaker.net landscape photography
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

I have loved this poem since the moment I first heard it; which ironically was in the book The Outsiders.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of it as I gazed upon golden leaves falling to a diamond frost covered ground.  Its a good thing I live in Minnesota, as the changing of the seasons is often a soul event for me!

I Am Baker

sunrise


I could not resist sharing images of the sunrise this morning.

sunrise in minnesota
As I stepped out into the cool crisp morning air, its almost as if I could hear the colors the sun was weaving through the sky. They laughed and danced and stretched and paraded about in subtle grandeur.

The peace and joy that overwhelmed me can only be likened to intense love.  It was fulfilling.  It was majestic.  It was awe inspiring.

sunrise in minnesota

 

I stopped and prayed and gave thanks to a God who delighted in delighting me.

How lucky I am to get His grace anew every time the sun rises! (Did you know YOU are that lucky too?)