Sunday, June 3, 2007

I Am Totally Sucked In

I'm moving past denial and I'm just going to admit it: I'm now a photography addict. What started out as a simple point-and-shoot session with my 6 week old Charlie has now grown into much more. The more pictures I take, the more I want to be able to do better.

Charlie 6 weeks old
[Charlie, 6 weeks old. The first time I really got excited about taking pictures!]

1. Last week I hit a milestone: my photo made it into a photo contest. Actually I have already won one weekly contest for, which was because I asked everyone to go vote for my picture. Charlie was totally stoked because the grand prize was a Thomas the Train movie! Anyhow, the reason this new contest is so important is because it's not just for parents with point-and-shoot cameras, it's for everyone, from the novice like me to the seasoned professional. You may remember I entered round one with this photo:

photo contest reject

But I didn't make it to the shortlist...which were the ones to actually be voted on. I figured it's just as well, since I'm a total amateur, and the ones that did make it were great photos. So I sat out for Round 2 but Chuck convinced me that I had a photo worth entering for Round 3. So I submitted the entry last Friday and checked over the weekend to see if it has been added to the shortlist. It hadn't. I figured it had been rejected, and that really I'm not skilled enough to run against talented photographers. Then Tuesday Chuck emails me and tells me to check the photo made it!!

So starting tomorrow, it's open to the public to be voted on... But also, if you choose to vote, you have options. Chuck entered his recent masterpiece of Charlie with the glow sticks, and that one made it as well!! So, if you'd like to vote, my entry is here, and Chuck's is here. I'm so elated that we both made it, and that our entries are of Charlie! If you visit our entries, take a look at some of the other entries. They're amazing! And we're competing against about 600 other I'm not holding my breath! By the way, the theme of this one is "speed."

photo contest entry
[My entry]

chuck's entry
[Chuck's entry, isn't it awesome?!]

2. Then yesterday I finally had a photo shoot of someone besides my own kids. I asked my sister to let me take some pics of her and her baby belly! When I came home couldn't wait to process them. Chuck graciously stepped aside, and got off the computer. Thankfully, he understands the obsession! And I'm learning a lot about image editing, but more about that later. Here are my favorites:

Anna pregnant bordered_phixr

Anna Pregnant Verical Mosaic

Anna 5 months Pregnant

3. And today brought another milestone. I actually went to a meeting for photographers! We post our pics on and have joined a group called flickr-group-sa. It was so fun to sit and talk with about a dozen other photographers, which made me realize...I'm definitely hooked. Talking about lenses, equipment, software, places to go take's all interesting now. I can't deny it anymore, I'm an addict. :)

So skip this part if you're not much into photography...
I'm now aware that the best way to process a photo is with Photoshop, but it has quite a learning curve, and costs $800! There's also Photoshop Elements which is easier to use and only $80 (at Costco, at least), but I still haven't been able to justify spending that much yet. However Chuck has purchased one online which is based in Austin called Bibble. It's really great for adjusting the colors and stuff, but it's not much into borders, text, etc. So I found a few online free editors, which I've been experimenting with. I still think I want to get Photoshop Elements someday, but for now these will do. These all work especially well if you have your photos on, although most allow you to upload from your computer or other photo-storage sites.

Free Image Editors Online

This one is fun for making mosaics and putting interesting frames on the pics.

This one allows you to add text (cursive, even, which is hard to find for free), despeckle, bend the photo like an instant photo, and add basic borders.

This one works really well with flickr! It's in beta so everything's free right now, but that may not last forever. It allows all sorts of effects like lomo, boost, infrared, hdrish, vignette (in any color), and basic borders.

Also has a neat instant photo effect, text, and overlay, which is a thin line inside the photo around the perimeter.

It's so fun to have a hobby again!


Angie said...

Comment from Sarah Jones:

Well, you know I have the same obsession!! That's great that you entered a contest. (I haven't voted yet, but I will). And your photography group sounds like fun. I, too, could talk about photography all day... and photoshop! I know it is expensive, but well worth it. I was able to purchase an upgrade from Elements, so it wasn't quite so much. I've also read that you can buy older versions of PS on eBay and then buy a current upgrade. Does that make sense? And it's legit... I know there are lots of sources that are not on the up and up. Anyway, we should get together for a photo session soon!

Angie said...

Comment from Edmo:

You've joined flickr-group-sa? I used to go to those meetings, but I just got lazy and stopped making it to SBVJ. How are you enjoying it?

Angie said...

Comment from Angie:

Hey Edmo, It was neat, as I'm sure you know. It was nice to place faces and names with photos from the group. And it was just fun to talk photography with others you know share your interest. We'll let you know if we go again...

Angie said...

Comment from The Thiers &- Blog Archive &- A Warning to all Potential Photographers:

[...] But then I had a baby. And as soon as he was born, so was "the photography monster" in me. I just couldn't take enough pictures. And I began to wonder if I needed a better camera, one with a faster shutter speed, since I missed so many great moments between clicks (and also a long flash-recharge time). So we upgraded to another point and shoot. This one had a manual mode, where I began to play with making my pictures better. Then Chuck decided he wanted a dSLR when our second was born. For the first year and a half, I told him I didn't want to even touch the thing, it was way too expensive, and I am way too accident-prone. But then, one day, my friends and I wanted to have a photoshoot in the bluebonnets. Chuck couldn't come because he had to work. So I did Eve biting the apple, I borrowed that fancy camera. Here were my results. [...]