photo & seashell mobile craft project

it’s always the same question whenever i get back home from the beach….


what am i going to do with all these seashells that i collected?

today i’m over at focusing on life sharing a fun and easy DIY craft project for displaying these delightful little treasures…


it’s like a hanging scrapbook! and i just love it.


Posted in crafts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

around here

IMG_9261_blogIMG_9136_blog IMG_9218_blogIMG_9250_blog IMG_9256_blog IMG_9258_blog IMG_9235_blog

around here we are drying out after having received over five inches of rain this week.

around here my hair has never looked better.  #sarcasm

around here my sweet pumpkin is feeling much more like herself after having a minor surgical procedure.

around here i am on my third (yes third) lenscap for my tamron 24-70 lens…this time though i also bought a fancy lenscap holder that attaches to my camera strap.  in my mind i keep hearing jeff foxworthy saying, “if you’ve lost a lenscap while traipsing through grass trying to take pictures of your daughter on a riding lawnmower, you might be a photographer.” #photoghumor

around here i am relieved and overjoyed to have a house-cleaning service again.  i work more hours now and the weekends have been busy…so it feels good to take this one big thing of my to-do list.

around here i am once again reminded that i don’t truly appreciate the mental benefits of running until i stop running.  fog-lifter, mood-booster…for me running is a total life-enhancer.

around here i am grateful for my friend laura who led me to this quote via the talented artist ruth simons

cease endlessly striving for what you would like to do and learn to love what must be done. goethe

thanks to these inspired words, i manage to finally rid myself of the EPIC pity-party i had been throwing myself about my never-ending to-do list and lack of time for my creative life.  instead of railing against the laundry and the weeds and the trips to the grocery store, i am remembering who i am and what i love…which is a wife and mother.  remembering my {A}rt and putting first things first.

around here i am determined not to let one more ungrateful day pass this summer. around here i will find a way to embrace the mess and the chaos.  make peace with the imperfection.  because i know from personal experience…that’s where grace lives.

hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

love, kelly

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

the weekend in pictures

IMG_8560_blog IMG_8566_blog-2 IMG_8568_blog IMG_8578_blog IMG_8586_blog IMG_8624_blog IMG_8627_blog-2 IMG_8630_blog IMG_8642_blog IMG_8643_blog IMG_8650_blog IMG_8654_blog IMG_8656_blog-2 IMG_8662_blog-2 IMG_8671_blog IMG_8676_blog-2 IMG_8689_blog IMG_8696_blog IMG_8715_blog IMG_8729_blog IMG_8731_blog IMG_8736_blog IMG_8738_blog IMG_8742_blog-2 IMG_8749_blog IMG_8753_blog IMG_8756_blog-2 IMG_8759_blog IMG_8761_blog IMG_8777_blog IMG_8787_blog IMG_8788_blog-2 IMG_8797_blog IMG_8818_blog IMG_8819_blog-2 IMG_8824_blog-2 IMG_8842_blog IMG_8851_blog-2 IMG_8870_blog-2 IMG_8953_blog IMG_8954_blog IMG_8961_blog IMG_8966_blog IMG_9038_blog IMG_9087_blogwe spent fourth of july at the lake for the first time in years.  i want to remember…

  • morning coffee and crossword puzzles
  • a long walk
  • the smell of sunscreen
  • the sound of the boat gliding through the water
  • warm sun
  • smiles and laughter
  • golden evening light
  • locusts and cicadas

hope your weekend was wonderful.

love, kelly

Posted in family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

exposure::the three legged stool::putting it all together

hi everyone!  so here we are in week five of my summer photography series, how to find the light in your photography.  and just to give you a quick re-cap….remember that:

  1. aperture is the opening inside of your camera lens that lets the light in.
  2. shutter speed controls how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to the light.
  3. ISO determines is how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to the light.

and together these three elements determine the exposure of an image.  i like the analogy of a three-legged stool because each of these key elements has to work together to create a well-exposed image.


before we get started, it is important that you know that there is no “right” or “wrong” exposure.  and depending on your personality, this can be either a) incredibly liberating or b) incredibly frustrating.

in case you were curious, i was in the b) category when i first started.

you can take the same photography a million different ways, but in the end, all that matters is this….does this photo tell the story you want to tell.  that’s it.

and this leads me to another important thing to remember…the most important pieces photographic of equipment that you will ever own are 1) your heart and 2) your head.  no camera, lens, gadget, or gizmo can ever bring heart and soul into a photograph.

ok.  so now you’ve got your camera, you’re armed with knowledge of the basics…let’s do this!  let’s make some magic!

to start with, set your camera to manual exposure (M).  and now i want you to stop and connect with your subject.  ask yourself, “what is the story i am trying to tell?”  next, think about the camera settings we learned during the past three weeks…which ones will help you tell this story.

this is how i usually get started:

1) check the light and set my iso….what time of day is it? am i indoors or outside?   is it sunny or cloudy?  i find that ISO 100-200 is good for outside in bright light.  ISO 200-400 works for cloudy days or shade.  and i’ll use ISO 800-1600 indoors.

2) what is my subject….simple subjects like a person or thing i’ll use a wider aperture like to 2.8, 3.5, 4.0 to isolate the subject and blur the background.  a landscape shot i’ll got with a narrower apertures like 9.0 to 13.0

3) motion…is my subject moving? if so i’ll need a faster shutter speed to capture the action.

so let me show you how i put these all togther in the following example:


as you can see, my subject in this shot was this rose of sharon flower.  it was morning and i had some nice filtered sunlight so i set my ISO to 200.  i wanted to isolate this flower so i set my aperture to f/3.5. and so with that in mind, with my aperture fairly wide open and the bright, ambient light, i knew that i would not need my shutter to be open very long.  so i set my shutter speed to 1/500 to start with.  next i looked through my viewfinder and pointed my camera toward the focal point.  then i pushed shutter button halfway down to check the exposure which is indicated by the meter/index along the bottom of viewfinder.

exposure index

yours may vary slightly, but on my canon, the exposure index reads from -3 on the left to +3 on the right with 0 being in the center.  anything on the (-) side the camera reads as being under-exposed and anything on the right side the camera reads as over-exposed.  zero then would be what the camera considers to be the “correct” exposure.

in the above image, my camera indicated that my image was over exposed by about +2…too much light.  so i adjusted my shutter speed to be faster (open an even shorter amount time) to reduce the light coming in to the sensor.  as i moved the dial to reduce the shutter speed, i watched in the viewfinder until the indicator landed on the zero.  then i pressed the shutter button all the way down to take the photo.

the final settings were ISO 200, f/3.5, 1/1000.  this is what the camera determined to be the ‘correct’ exposure.  and i was happy with exposure…it told the story of a pretty pink flower on a bright summer morning.

here’s a completely different example.


i have a thing for kitchen sinks at night.   i love the sense of home and intimacy.  so before i took this shot, i went through my mental checklist.

first the light…nighttime with one simple, direct light over the sink – ISO 2000.  next aperture….a simple scene with no one ‘thing’ being the subject – aperture f/4.5.  stand back press the shutter button halfway to check the exposure.  this time however, i ignored my camera’s reading.  because to my camera, a ‘correct’ exposure would have been to have the entire scene evenly lit.  which is not at all the story i wanted to tell.  so i underexposed my shot by -2 1/3.  which keeps the light right over the sink and everything else in the shadow.

ok, here’s one final example.  yesterday we took a boat ride and my daughter and niece were jumping off the side of the boat.


i wanted to capture the jump, mid-flight.  plus any additional drops of water.  i knew i’d need a fast shutter speed to capture the action.  i set my ISO to 200 and my aperture to f/3.2.  then upped my shutter speed to 1/2500.  i did a quick check of my exposure and i was close but a little over-exposed.  so i bumped it up to 1/4000 until the meter was on zero then had the girls jump.  i snapped away.

ok…so i know this is alot of info to take in at once, but exposure is the foundation for photography. the thing i want you to remember is this…it takes practice.  it takes practice to learn your camera.  it takes practice to understand how light affects your camera’s settings.  it takes practice to develop your own, personal style.  so the key is to just keep taking pictures.

in the coming weeks, i’ll share some more about specific lighting situations, but for now just have fun {photography is supposed to be fun} and keep shooting.

love, kelly

to see all the posts in this series, click here.


Posted in photography | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

let freedom ring

i know i’ve been a little MIA lately.  but i just wanted to pop in to wish all of you a very happy fourth of july.

IMG_8420_blogIMG_8422_blog IMG_8448_blog IMG_8436_blog

the other day i made a little word art decoration to celebrate and wanted to share it with you.

let-freedom-ring_blogclick here for a full-size, full-resolution printable version.

click here for a *.png that you can you with your own photos.

{personal use only please}

i hope your weekend is full of all of the people and traditions you hold dear.  love, kelly

Posted in holidays | Tagged , , | 2 Comments