Monday, December 31, 2012

Excitement is brewing...

Today over on Facebook, I'm going to launch my first contest for a free session. I am so pumped about working for people and sharing images that they'll cherish for a lifetime. Come on over to my facebook page and enter your photo. Rules will be posted there as well.

In other news, I have had my DSLR for a little over 6 months now, and I have come a LONG way. I see lots and lots of improvement all the time, and it's exciting.

What's also exciting is that Jared Polin from is coming to San Francisco this weekend. He will be at Union Square at 4pm and I couldn't be more thrilled to meet him.

It's because of his desire to spread the love of photography and improve the images of amateurs around the world that I have found my true hobby. I can't wait to shake his hand and tell him just that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Be Merry, Friends.

Be holly.

Be jolly.

Be merry.

Please take a moment this season to think of the families who are incomplete this season. Be a little more grateful for those gathered around your tree than what's under it.
Be warm.

Be caring.

Be generous.

Take time to really hug everyone crossing the threshold of your home. Welcome them with genuine hospitality and grace.

Be grateful.

Be humble.

Be sentimental.

Remember that the intention of the Holiday season is to reflect on the year we have had, to celebrate the Holiday (whichever you choose) and remind us of what's important. It's not the gifts, friends. It's the smiles.

Be cheerful.

Be festive.

Be bright.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Practice Session: Studio Portraits

I attended a portrait photography workshop last weekend and I really enjoyed it. I can't wait to experiment further with strobe lighting. It's exciting because you can't tell what an image is going to look like until you press the shutter and the lights all flash in sync and BOOM! A photograph is born.

Caitlin was a great model for us. She was a true professional and very patient while we learned how to properly use the lights.





I might be asking Santa for some lights this year :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

90 Days

I don't know how, but I've made it 3 months without losing interest.  I have a tendency to get really excited about something and then fall off the wagon, so to speak.

This also makes more than 6 months total since I got my DSLR.  I have always had a hard time with work/life balance and having a hobby that was just for me.

I think I've found my "thing".

At the risk of sounding far more philosophical than I actually am, I have to say my heart has found it's happy place in preserving the moments and things that make this life special.

Boy Meets Ocean

I attended a workshop on touring our National and State Parks a few months back, and I think it's high time I start putting that information to good use.  Now that I've passed my "probation period",  I think I feel a road trip coming on...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Contest anyone?

I am considering running a contest for a free portrait session.  Something similar to what other local photographers are doing.

You submit a photo of your family, your dog, your kid, whatever the subject, and whomever's photo gets the most "likes" wins.  The LadyD Photography page gets likes, the winner gets a free portrait session, and hopefully that leads to your friends and family finding out about LadyD Photography for their next session. 

What do you think?  Is it a win-win or do these sorts of things just drive you bananas?

If you give me some feedback, I'll even give you a high five next time I see you. Consider this an advance!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Have you ever thought "I have a D-SLR, now what?"

Fair warning: this is a wordy post. 
Best read when you need to kill some time at work or after the kiddos hit the hay, but preferably not in the loo - that's just gross...

I know that was my first thought and, like many others, I have personally been found guilty of using my D-SLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) on fully automatic mode. *cringe* I've come a long way since then, but not without the help of others who have blazed the path before me.

You may be considering upgrading from your household compact cameras, receiving D-SLRs for Christmas gifts, or maybe you already own one but don't know what to do with it.  I thought it would be nice to share a couple of my favorite websites to help you get addicted started.

I'd like to share some resources with you that I have found ever so helpful. I want to make it crystal clear that I am not being compensated by any of these resources.  I am recommending them because, after weeding through a LOT of tutorials on YouTube and other crevices of the web, I find them to be the best.

I'll start with my favorite online guru, Jared Polin.  His website can be found at and he also has a YouTube Channel that can be found HERE.  Jared very easy to understand and has hundreds of YouTube videos ranging from camera and lens reviews to understanding ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, etc all without making you feel like a second grader.

Jared has recently published a 3 hour video - Fro Knows Photo: Go Above and Beyond Auto that can be purchased rather inexpensively. He also has a weekly Podcast called RAW Talk, and there are forums available on the website where you can post your photos for critique and ask photography related questions about gear, editing, etc. I have learned the majority of my skills from his website and I continue to learn and grow from it.

I have become a member of several local photography clubs through MeetUp.  You put in your interests and it shows groups in your area that do fun things, like photo walks, workshops, etc.  Most events are free, but there is a charge for others.  The knowledge I have gained by being able to ask real life questions has been invaluable - like "How do I move that little red focus dot on my viewfinder over to where I want to focus?" LIFE CHANGING!

Another great resource is your local Adult Education center or community college.  Unfortunately for me, all of the courses seem to be in the middle of the day when I'm working at my real job.  I am hopeful that someday I'll be able to take a course though.

I think everyone should know how to use their camera, pro or not, to capture the impromptu memories that would otherwise fly away like dandelions in the fall.

I thought it might be fun to post a little  photo set of where I started all the way to where I am now.  Check it out over on my Flickr page. Just click on the first image, press "L" on your keyboard and hit play.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Day at the Office

Recently I went to work with my Mom for the day.  A little too old for Take your Daughter to Work Day, you say?  Well, yes, maybe :)

I went with her and took head shots of her coworkers for the outside of their cubes next to their nameplates and for their wall in the lobby, plus there was a Thanksgiving Potluck that day. SCORE!

Heald College Stockton Head Shots 11.21.12

For some of them, it had been years since their photo was done.

Heald College Head Shots 11.21.12

For others, it was just in good fun.

Heald College Stockton Head Shots 11.21.12

Heald College Stockton Head Shots 11.21.12

Whatever the circumstance, it was sure a lot of fun to spend the day with such a great group.

Heald College Stockton Head Shots 11.21.12

Heald College Stockton Head Shots 11.21.12

I hope I get to photograph these folks again soon.

Monday, November 26, 2012

LadyD Has a Facebook Page

I did a corporate shoot last week and someone asked if I had a Facebook page.  I hadn't really thought it over too much, but I went ahead and opened one up.

There are multiple LadyD Photography websites - how could there not be, it's so "catchy" ;) - so here is the official Link to my Facebook Page.

The link is also available in my Google+ Profile under linked pages.  If you'd like to drop me a note, check me out over on Facebook or leave a comment here and I'll be sure and get back to you!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Pearly Whites

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Practice Session: On Camera Flash with Molly

I have added another momentous piece of equipment to my arsenal - a speedlite.  More commonly known as a big, honkin' flash that attaches to the top of your camera.

I bought one for my Mom for her birthday and of course we had to break them out on someone.  Enter my cousin, Molly.  She was free on Saturday afternoon for a little while, so we invited her over for a little sesh.
She was a great subject and didn't mind being photographed.  I mean, she's BEAUTIFUL so there's not much to nit pick about, right?
I also had some really cool software I'd been wanting to try, but needed some true portraits to give it a workout... How about some purple eyes?
Purple Eyes
I love this photo because the smile is as genuine as it gets.

Molly also has a really cool tattoo of an owl on her forearm.  I had to get a shot of it.  I also got to work out the new lens I posted about recently.  See that blurred out Molly in the background?  Yep - my fancy lens at work :)
I hope you all had a splendid Thanksgiving and were as fortunate as I was to spend it with friends and family.  With a little one, it makes the Holidays far more enjoyable!

Take care,


Monday, November 19, 2012

A Day in the City - Part 2 of 2

After the surprise proposal and our trip to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, my lovely Mom and I drove across the Golden Gate, ventured through downtown San

We landed in the main parking lot and met up with a group of photographers I join from time to time to get out and shoot.  This time, we were planning to shoot the night skyline of downtown San Francisco from the middle of the bay on Treasure Island.
As the sun made it's way closer to the horizon, the city was illuminated from behind.  What a wonderful spectacle.
We had some hot coffee thanks to the little cafe' and good company thanks to the group. There were about 20 photographers there, all with very similar angles on the City.  I thought - what is going to make my shot different from theirs? What will make mine stand out?

Aha!  Black and Whites ~  while some of the shots look equally as great in color, they also lended themselves quite well to monochromatic processing.




This was my favorite shot of the day, both in black and white and color.


If you enjoy my posts, I'd like to ask you consider subscribing by email - there's a little box in the top right - or leaving me a comment, just so I know you're there.  (Let's be honest, it will boost my ego and encourage me to keep shooting and continue updating my blog with regularity).

This blog started out being just for me, but the feedback has been pretty positive from those around me, so I *might* just be considering starting myself a little side business... Just for fun!   In addition, if there is a particular shot you like, please send me a message.  I'll be happy to have it printed for display in your home or business.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Day in the City - Part 1 of 2

I realized recently that I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area my entire life, but I've never been to any of the vista points surrounding the bridge.  Since I got my camera in June, it's been on my photographic "bucket list", and this weekend, I crossed it off.

I went with my Mom, which was a wonderful experience.  We started off our day with a surprise proposal (see my previous post about that).  Then, we cut loose from our responsibilities for a day and headed for The City. (An important rule: if you live in the Bay Area, you're not allowed to call it 'Frisco.  It's tacky.  Just call it The City.)



The weather was amazing, so everyone and their brother decided to join us at the vista points.  So much so that it made parking a nightmare.  Even the Marin County Fire Department was there to liberate a little boy who locked his parents out of the car.

11NOV12_Golden Gate Bridge-1-2

We were fortunate enough to find a parking space up Conzelman Road a ways and got some great shots from there.


On our way back down the road, someone pulled out of a space at Battery Spencer so we swooped right on in.  The history of the Battery was amazing.  It was a fully functional and armed guard station with anti-aircraft guns boasting barrels with a 12" diameter up until 1943 when it was decommissioned.  What a perfect place to visit on Veteran's Day.



Seeing the architecture left behind after over 100 years was pretty interesting.  As I was walking through the Battery where our soldiers once stood protecting our Port, I couldn't help but look around at all the families and children that were running about.  I'd be willing to bet those who served here had no earthly idea that this place would be filled with the laughter of Children one day.





Once we were through the battery itself, we walked out onto a hilltop. There she stood, spanning the bay.  She was breathtaking in both her enormity and the sheer beauty of the day we had to spend with her.


The bridge was more beautiful than I expected.  It was the most distinctive color of orange.  I wonder why they picked that color? 




I can now fully understand why so many people were there with us, and why so many of them came from foreign countries to see such a spectacle.

I hope to bring my son here someday and teach him the importance of this international monument, as well as the Battery that once stood guard of Her.

Later on this same day, we traveled across this bridge and across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island to photograph the night skyline. Photos from that session will be following soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Surprise Proposal

If you know my Husband and I, you also know that he has been very involved in softball for the past 10 years or so.  We have met a lot of great people over the years, but some of them really stick out as class acts.  One of the most genuine people we have the privilege to know put out an All Points Bulletin on Tuesday asking for our help.

He asked that we all show up on Sunday, 11/11 to play (or attend, in my case) a softball game that had been staged for the sole intent and purpose of proposing to his Fiancee.  We had an indoor softball complex, and, in cahoots with the owner of the complex, a lighted scoreboard, an umpire and spectators.  All of the normal things you would expect at a softball game.  As you can imagine, there were far more spectators than usual!  In the first inning, each team would score 11 runs, making the scoreboard read
11 - 1 - 11, their anniversary date.


At that point, he ran off the field, as the rest of the players took a knee (I wish I had a shot of that).  When he got to his Bride-to-Be, he whispered in her ear what I can only assume was an explanation of what was going on.



Classically, he was down on one knee when he put the ring on her finger.
 He was so happy to have pulled it all off!
She knew something was going on, but couldn't quite put her finger on it.
Of course, she said YES! I was in the perfect spot to capture their special moment, and I'm so glad that I was!
The Happy Couple 1

What a splendid moment to have been a part of.  It reminded all of us that love still exists in it's purest form, that creativity can still be found, and that things like this don't just happen in movies.  

Group Photo
A very special thank you to such a wonderful couple for including us in their special day, and to the folks over at Universal Sports Academy for making it possible - rain or shine.  It made the whole world a little brighter - and sparklier!