Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's Electric

Where in the world have I been. Well actually I went to Paris but that's a story for another day. I tried my hand at lightning photography and about 60 photos in finally figured out just how to make it work. Manual mode, F/22 ISO 100, bulb mode, exposed until I saw lightning. The shutter stays open for as long as you tell it too so there are a couple rules: you need a remote, a tripod/steady surface, and it can't be too light out or you'll just get a white photo. Also, you need to be seeing the actually strikes, just flashes doesn't really work. I took these photo from my bedroom window (don't get struck by lightning people!).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Usmle owns me

I'm studying for my boards on June 14th. This is all I have. iPhones take good photos too.

Monday, March 26, 2012


project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge my3boybarians.com

In order to purge my body of a whole month of indulging in whatever food my boyfriend was craving (Five Guys, Thai take-out, Pizza "Pie") I bought a bunch of fruit. This pomegranate had been sitting in my fridge for a while. I hadn't gotten around to eating it because, frankly, I had NO idea how to cut/serve/eat a pomegranate. Then divine intervention in the form of a facebook newsfeed post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ7dk9nDR-k <-- This guy is super happy about pomegranates but his method works and I finally got to have some of this deliciousness!

So this is my first entry for P52 Weekly Photo Challenge! The theme this week is hungry! Check out the other submissions here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


A while back I took photos for a band at a basement party. Talk about lighting challenge! Check out the photos of Damascus below.

A Foggy Day

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Just 2 months into this resolution and I'm getting a lot better at editing. I already posted the picture I'm featuring today (not as part of this challenge) but I was never happy with it. I snapped this shot of a gorgeous little girl in the Himalayas but the yellow from the tent just threw the color off like crazy. As I was not shooting in RAW this was not a simple fix. While it still isn't perfect I've improved it quite a bit. Below you can see the original, my first edit, and what I did today. None really do justice to this little girl but I'm getting closer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Light

I found a little post on via pinterest that I, of course, cannot locate at the moment that I just relocated on ApartmentTherapy. Although it didn't teach me much I didn't already know (use indirect sunlight), I'm writing about it because 1. It may be helpful for anyone looking to take better photos on anything from an iPhone to a dSLR and 2. It have me great idea on backdrop. I am constantly using the underside of an old Coca-Cola crate because the old dark wood makes a good vintage feeling negative space, but I often find it really darkens the photos. A lot of photography these days is super bright and slightly overexposed. That's hard to do with ark wood. Possibly the best $5 I have ever spent on photography was on a 2 ft x 2ft piece of light wood that I picked up from the lumber section in Lowes. The men in blue vests were happy to cut it in half for me and now I have a great little base and background that I can easily move around and use to find good light (which is exceedingly hard in an apartment because my windows only face 2 directions). So if you're keeping score so far, for around $25 at Lowes you can get a decent light and a backdrop. Not bad! Especially considering what some people pay for big backdrops. I took this photo using my new setup. #44 Bright white light!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Work in Progress

Both this post and the blog artwork are a work in progress. Not complete but I need to study and leave this be for now. But I will leave you with a little something. I went to Vermont this weekend and it actually snowed! Snapped this picture of the barn from the first day of the photo challenge just when the setting sun lit it up.

This is the inside of the barn, not exactly as pretty as the outside, but cool in an old barn sort of way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pink Tea

Looking at different blogs and following Instagramers, I get a little jealous of the downtown jaunts that offer passerbys delicious cups of coffee and a variable selection of teas. Out in the Jersey burbs we have a Starbucks. The town I live in is in dire need of a mom and pop coffee shop. So I pull out my own chipped china and make myself some Passion tea (purchased from Starbucks ::gasp::).

Monday, February 20, 2012


Ruche is this amazing little clothing company that I am falling in love with and lusting over their clothes everyday. It might have something to do with the awesome photography on their website. They also have a great little blog with photo tutorials. Today they had a nice tutorial on creating a taped on look using some free tape patterns.

I was easily able to create this look:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Falling Behind

Went on a pretty long hiatus there due to the arrival of my boyfriend. He takes priority over a blog. He loves visiting NYC when he is here. Not even the hefty NJTransit ticket prices can deter him from bringing us both to "The Center of the Universe". As a boy that grew up in a town with a population of something ridiculous like 100 people, he is a bit floored by my ability to reach the city that never sleeps in less than an hour. And as any tourist does, he loves Midtown. As I get pissed at gawking tourists walking slow and saying things like "O M G Can you imagine driving here!" I drag him weaving through people avoiding pashmina vendors and hotdog stands yelling "NO I DON'T WANT TO SEE A COMEDY SHOW." Anyone who has been to Time's Square knows what I'm talking about. And so this picture expresses how I feel in Time's Square.

#39 Dazed in the Center of the Universe

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Sometimes you happen upon a beautiful Inn while walking around a snowy Vermont town and take a photo only to realize once safely fireside later that night that you never reset your white balance from that time you took photos in a really yellow house and now your picture is completely blue. Okay, maybe this exact scenario is rare but it has happened to all of us. We got one shot and it aint pretty! Mine in particular was this Inn. The white balance was completely off in this crazy custom mode and it was cold so I didn't take much time to compose it and I didn't have a tripod (gasp don't tell Scott Kelby) but I want to share the picture. So what do I do? Photoshop it into submission. Below is the original: crooked and blue.


Did I mention this was from before I did my shooting in RAW so fixing this isn't quite as easy as it might have been otherwise but it was really a quick fix after a couple youtube tutorials. I went to Image>Adjustments>Levels and selected the dropper on the right to set a better white balance which honestly did not do much. The best thing I did was apply a warming filter to cancel out a lot of the blue. De saturated a bit and decreased the brightness and contrast. I'm pretty much a novice at photoshop but I'm pretty happy with the result. Not quite right but better than it was and definitely presentable!

In case your wondering this is the Inn in Woodstock, Vermont. I fell in love with this town while visiting my friend Kate. This is the type of place where you pay at the general store using your phone number (which they know anyway), there is one tavern in town, and people stop their car so you can take a picture of a tree across the street (actually happened). This town has a wonderful little brook and river which means they got hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irene but they did as small towns do and really pulled together. I highly recommend a visit sometime especially given it's location near Killington Mountain.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Family Heirlooms

My sister recently got engaged which I am using as an excuse to do some pseudo wedding photography. One of the classic shots I've wanted to replicate is the ring shot. Wedding photographers love to hang sparkly things on branches or put them in the sand and take pretty pictures. Well, here's my shot at it! The ring is a family heirloom- aka the BEST kind of ring. Plus its a beautiful art decoish style piece. It's perfect for her.

 And if she was having a beach wedding, this would be a fun shot. But she's not.

And I made bread for the Superbowl this weekend. Second times a charm.

And here's a pretty picture of a cool bottle my dad dug up at a waterside work site.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Love in the Time of Cholera

The classic by Gabriel Garcia Marquez seems to be aptly named given the coming holiday, my boyfriend's pending arrival on the east coast, and well, our gastrointestinal block. I am nearly certain that the book was not named after this time in my life, but who knows. It's literature, it speaks to everyone differently. I was throwing out the very dead roses from B for my birthday and couldn't throw them away so I plucked some of the better dried up ones and thought, well that will make a great photo. Then I spotted my copy of Love in the Time of Cholera that I purchased in an old Philadelphia bookstore. This picture isn't exactly unique; it's been done. But I haven't done it. So:

  #32 Love in the Time of Cholera

And I'm a little behind and the moon looked great late this afternoon so I pulled out the telephoto and the tripod (necessary to get a stead shot at 300 mm zoom).

#33 Waxing Moon
Thanks to this little website I learned that the moon is 83% full tonight and waxing (which means it will get bigger tomorrow night).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mason Jars

They are everywhere these days. I was at an antique shop and hit the jackpot and couldn't believe I had never noticed the shelf before full of old mason jars. The shop keeper informed me that they can't keep them on the shelves. They get them in all the time and people come in same day and buy them out. A lot of wedding centerpieces are using old mason jars. I've also seen soap dispenser tutorials and lids that make them into to-go cups. Not sure what I'm doing with mine yet besides that pictures of them. I love the blue color on the old ones. A little Wikipedia factoid- older mason jars were tinted colors (like the blue seen below) because it was thought to better preserve food by blocking out some of the light. Learn something new everyday. My sister will probably be using a lot of them in her wedding since her fiance is a mason, you know like bricks and stuff. This of course begs the question, why are they called mason jars to being with? Looks like someone by the last name mason actually patented the design.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


 This bag was handed down to me from my great uncle. I don't know much about it except I assume it is from Mexico because he visited there often. The design though is a bit more reminiscent of Peru. So I can't say much about this piece because I really don't know but it has some great texture and detail which made it great to photograph.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beach Weeds

I came across these pretty little flowers this summer on the bay in Rhode Island. 180 degrees in the opposite direction was the most beautiful sunset obscured by some ugly trees and some powerlines. Looking back, I'm glad because I would have spent entirely too much time trying to take pictures of the changing sky instead of these little flowers that popped against the darkening sky. I'm making these #29 because I'm just not happy enough with the sunset pictures from yesterday. There are lots of really amazing sunset shots out there and those ones pale in comparison.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ski Season Redemption

Headed to Vermont this weekend with camera in tow with my sister and mom other sister planning on being very disappointed by the slopes and doing crafty things in front of a fire instead. We were pleasantly surprised to find that, despite the rain and lightning on Friday that closed Killington, Saturday provided some great skiing. We spent all weekend  carving up the mountain and I didn't even take my camera out until the drive home this evening. The sunset mixed with clouds over the mountains was a spectacular sight. See for yourself.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nom Nom

I've been cooking a bit this week, with recipes. As in, I've actually been measuring stuff out. I made a tasty mushroom soup that I found via Pinterest which you can check out here.

I also made some butternut squash. My mom tells me I loved squash as a baby. Then I graduated from baby food and hated vegetables. I am recently discovering how much I really like butternut squash. I came across this recipe at a cookoff which is really simple.

#27 Butternut Squash

And since I'm heading up to Vermont today without internet access and enough cell reception to send text messages only I'll also leave you with

#28 Out at Sea. This shot was taken from Ross University Medical School on one of their picturesque study spots. Why did I got to medical school in New Jersey? As much as I love the Canadian Geese infestation (not) this would be a slightly better view. The ship I think is actually from Portugal or something like that. The people living on it are helping to clean up the harbor full of broken down ships (see photo #3). Also worth mentioning, this is the island that a lot of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on.


Anyone with an iPhone 4 needs to know, your camera phone 1. Probably takes photos better than that 2 year old point and shoot you use and 2. probably takes better landscapes than your average dSLR (read uber fancy big camera) user. I say it all the time and people don't really believe it. I've seen it with my own eyes though. Landscape often has difficult lighting. Top catch a subject against a pretty sunset, you either have to silhouette your subject or blow out your background. For example:

Silhouette shots are cool, but not if you want to see your subject
Now we can see the subject but not the sunset
 Alternatively you can use your flash as a fill to expose the subject and the sunset. Except sometimes it still looks like flash, which is bad. And the sunset doesn't even look great.

So then you pull out your iPhone, switch on the HDR and take an amazing photo that would put my fancy camera to shame. This is especially hard to deal with looking at an old album of photos you took back when you weren't too familiar with the camera and didn't even use RAW. There are a lot of tutorials out there on HDR which basically takes three different exposures of the scene and stacks them so everyone looks just the right brightness. You can achieve the same thing with a fancy shmancy camera with a little learning, which I have yet to do. But with the basic concept in mind I created the photo below. I actually made a duplicate, editing each photo separately. In one I made the boat look right and as a consequence the sky turned to basically nothing. In the other I darkened the sky to bring out the real colors from the scene and as a consequence the boat turned almost completely black. Than I took these two images and stacked them on top of each other with the good sky on top and used an eraser to take away the bottom half of the photo revealing a nice boat. The result is a composite of two different edits on one photo that looks much better than the original.

#26 Catamaran Composite

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Problem With RAW

For those of you who don't know what RAW is, my general understanding is something pretty basic like this: Normally you take a photo and it downloads to your computer as an image, usually a jpeg. With RAW, the camera takes in a lot more information about the scene so you can change a lot more when you download it to your computer. The two biggest perks, I find, are the ability to change the white balance (ie if you're picture is too yellow you can completely fix it, not just try to cover it up) and the exposure (basically how bright your picture is). A lot of times I find myself adding a little blue to balance out some severely yellow indoor light and increasing the exposure to really brighten things up. There are a couple problems you'll encounter- RAW takes a lot of memory, you need some good editing software to actually open a RAW file and make it usable, and now I dislike every other picture I've ever taken! The first two, not really problems. The third is ruining my resolution! I look at an old photo that I could edit but it's only a jpeg. I always adjust white balance and exposure now on my photos, even just slightly. Not being able to do that with the older ones is extremely frustrating. That is why I've been taking so many new photos. But I am going to do it anyway. Post some pictures taken before I started shooting in RAW. It makes editing harder, but I guess that's good practice!

 #24 BC Swank. This photo was taken at a science conference for... yeast genetics! O yes, yeast geneticists, we're a wild bunch. Actually yeast conferences are better than most because it necessitates free beer... because you know yeast make beer. This conference what at UBC in Vancouver. Vancouver is such a great city- a highly suggest a visit. And what made it better was being a guest at UBC and enjoying cocktail hour in a garden on a cliff overlooking the bay at sunset. Talk about the perfect setting for a wedding!

#25 Pot O Gold. I took this one a while ago visiting my now boyfriend while he was living on the island of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic). We went on a whale watching tour and saw no whales. But we did enjoy some rum punch, a big boat in the sun and watching a storm over the island develop into a full rainbow. Unfortunately I didn't have an ultra wide angle lens to capture the whole thing but the rainbow did a full arch over the island and then a second lighter one appeared! This was truly the most fantastic rainbow I have ever seen! Dominica is a gem of an island- it just might be the gold at the end of this rainbow. PS. A polarizing filter at the right angle can really make the colors of a rainbow pop.