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October 29, 2010

How and when to take the Best Photos, now that Fall is here!

12 Fantastic Fall Photo Tips
12 Fantastic Fall Photo Tips

Fall has up and arrived – kamikaze leaves crash down on unsuspecting passersby, leaf peeping is a thing again, and reports of rumbles coming from the Great Pumpkin have spread throughout the nearby towns and villages.

Any time of year is a great time to snap a photograph, but Fall is, of course, at least twenty times more so. (IOHO, of course.)

And since last year we wrote about how to get those perfect Halloween shots, this year we’re tackling Fall. We’ve jam-packed this edition with tips for photographing our leafy friends and fun ideas for fresh-new Fall shots.

Grab your camera and enjoy this Autumnal Equinox to its fullest!


Most people head out to take photographs in the Fall because of one reason: the changing of the leaves. Ordinary greens turn to shockingly vibrant reds, oranges, and golds…. Plus the leaf throwing, leaf crunching, leaf gathering – who can resist snapping a few shots during this fun Fall season?

Here’s some tips on how to get the best of it:

THE BEST TIMES TO PHOTOGRAPH IN THE FALL

Photo by  Lorrie McclanahanWhen we were growing up, we often heard that the early bird gets the worm. Well, we’re not big on worms, but the adage does apply when you’re trying to get the perfect shot of autumn foliage.

(1) Photograph around sunrise and sunset for the best light and color.

The first and last hours of sun during the day (the times right around both sunrise and sunset) have a brilliant quality to the light that can yield great photos. Movie people call these times “Magic Hours” – at least for the morning one, we call it doggone early. But there’s just something about the soft, golden light around this time (which brings out the reds and golds in your photos) that you can’t help but love.

Other quick tips:

  • (2) Photograph outdoors when your shadow is longer than you are, usually in the late afternoon. (That one’s from professional photographer Susan McCartney, BTW.)

  • (3) Don’t overlook overcast days. They can often be wonderful to shoot on because the sun isn’t drowning out the colors and the shadows are softer.

TECHNICAL TIPS

Photo by Richard Lo

  • (4) Use a tripod. Especially when shooting with dusk encroaching, tripods really, really help. (Don’t have one? Make one with a soda bottle, or buy one of the nifty Gorillapods and attach it to a tree branch.) Turn off your flash, set your ISO to 100 to minimize noise (sharper detail!) and start shooting. Experiment with your shutter speed -– a 1-3 second shutter can do wonders, stilling the foliage and the colors, while letting the rest of the world turn into a blur.

  • (5) Polarize your lens! Got an SLR? A polarizing filter can increase the contrast in your photos and make your colors richer, to the point where you’ll feel like it’s the 1950s and Technicolor just hit. If you don’t have one of these, or you have a point-and-shoot, no problem. (6) Underexpose your shots slightly (which most cameras, even point-and-shoots, will let you do) to deepen the saturation in your colors, then use your computer’s photo software (iPhoto, Picasa, or Photoshop) to increase the contrast and play with the color saturation to warm things up slightly.

  • (7) Experiment with your white balance settings. Don’t be afraid to take your camera off Auto mode and play with those settings. Increase the little numbers manually, or select a white balance setting like “cloudy”.

  • (8) Try a macro lens or macro mode. For those expert-looking close-ups of leaves, a macro lens is indispensable. No macro lens? Set your camera to macro mode and get really close -– that works too. Tripods are handy at this point so that you can really focus on the leaves without worrying about blurring your shot.

WHAT TO PHOTOGRAPH

Michelle ZlimenSome seasons only give you a few possibilities for how to frame your shots outdoors –- not so with Fall! Get up close for detailed leaf shots, or take a step back and take in a technicolor landscape. There’s so much change come Fall that the only thing you need do is look around you (or look up!).

You might also want to try:

  • (9) The Panning Technique – “Switch your shutter speed to around the 1/8 mark, zoom in on a part of a tree’s foliage (try to frame it with some nice blue sky in the background), as you hit the shutter speed pan your camera up and down or side to side. The results should be some lovely movement blur that give the impression that the leaves are moving in the wind.”

  • (10) Make-Your-Own Leaf Studio – Too windy to get those up-close macro shots of leaves to work? Try bringing some leaves home. With some good ol’ Scotch tape, stick the stem to a large open window that has some natural light coming through it, so that the leaf lies flat against the window. Now set up your camera and start snapping. Voila, brilliant leaf close-ups!

MORE CREATIVE IDEAS

Photo by Heather Robinson

  • (11) Take leafy portraits. While you’re busy raking those leaves up in the backyard, don’t forget the leaf fights, leaf forts, leaf heaps… they’re fun and the spontaneity will give you opportunity for dynamic portraits like this one by reader Heather Robinson.

  • (12) Capture a tree-changing time-lapse. As our very own Alicia Kachmar suggests, try taking a photo of the same tree, from the same spot, once every day for the next month. Take the shot around the same time every day if you can, and watch as the tree slowly transforms before your eyes.

  • Leaves and trees aren’t the only thing to photograph in the Fall. Visit a farmer’s market and snap some of the beautiful colors and shapes of Fall fruits and veggies. Go apple-picking or stop by the pumpkin patch.

THE STAR OF FALL: LEAVES, LEAVES, LEAVES

While we were thinking about how best to photograph leaves as they change color this time of year, we began to wonder why, exactly, they change color.

Photo by Heather RobinsonSo to find out, we called up Mr. Pederson, our former Junior High science teacher. The short story: leaves don’t change color! Instead, during the Fall the chlorophyll molecules in leaves start to break down. Normally, these chlorophyll molecules absorb almost every color in the sun’s light spectrum and only reflect green back to our eyes. But once the chlorophyll starts to go, and the Carotene in the leaves progressively takes over, our eyes see less of the green and more of the yellows, reds, and oranges in the sun’s light spectrum, reflected back to us from the leaves.

And that, in a nutshell, is why leaves “change color.”

Cheers,
Jackie :)

Credits: Photojojo

October 23, 2010

Sunday Perfect Breakfast!


























Today is Saturday! I know.... but since this morning I'm craving French Toasts!! So I started to look in to my stack of recipes..as I wanted to eat Nice, Good and Toasty French Toast..but didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen or buy half of the supermarket on crazy ingredients! So I was able to find one of my old recipes..but now I made it more simple and delish!! Try it!! and let me know!

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 large croissants, halved (or country loaf, brioche or challah)
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 ripe bananas, halved crosswise and lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract

Directions

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, cream, and cinnamon. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Dip 4 croissant halves in egg mixture to coat both sides. Using a fork, remove croissants from egg mixture, letting excess mixture drip off. Place croissant halves in hot skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining butterand croissant halves. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large skillet, combine corn syrup, brown sugar, maple syrupand pecans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add banana halves and rum extract. Coat with the syrup mixture, and simmer 1 minute. Spoon over French toast. Serve immediately.

Cheers,
Jackie :)

October 22, 2010

Start a Family Tradition this Year!

Start a Family Tradition this Year!
Is that time of the year when everything about traditions, family, and friend

Every year one of my resolutions is to start a new Family Tradition, something that we all enjoy and can do tougher. But every year is more and more difficult as the kids are getting bigger and with that more "busy" or more "teen"

So this year I'm determined to create a new Family tradition, so I started by looking on line some ideas, for my surprise, I was able to find lots of good ideas and also found out that I'm not the only one with the same dilemma..Go Figure!!

So let me share my finding..hopefully they will help you create some new traditions for your family!
Finding these new ways to bond with your family is particularly important today because we live "in an age where we are growing 'super children' with sports and activities taking precedence over family time

According to family traditions expert Meg Cox of Princeton, New Jersey, author of The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Everyday, creating new family traditions is a way to generate memories and experiences that children can share. She suggests that families start with what they identify with most. "If you're a musical family, put on a holiday concert. If you're an outdoorsy family, plan an annual rafting trip," she says.

So get busy and start thinking! So ideas could be Family Game Night and Pasta, Friday Movie Night, Lets get Lost (this one I particularly enjoy) we get in the car get drive through roads we never drive before and if we find something interesting we stop, take pictures, eat and play some simple game)

A good one a Year Tradition

A Birthday Party at Christmas
As much as adults enjoy celebrating holidays, a special day is sometimes less meaningful to young children who don't understand the significance of the event. That's why every Christmas our family, bake a birthday cake for Jesus and sing "Happy Birthday" before blowing out the candles. "When the kids were younger it was an easy way for them to understand what Christmas was about. Now, it's tradition and even as teenagers they still insist on having a birthday cake".

Cheers,
Jackie :)

October 20, 2010

Are you Ready For Brunch!! here is a great recipe!!

Cheese Sandwich Souffle


On Saturdays we normally wake-up mid-morning and the best thing is to have a nice brunch...Here is a recipe I often make for my Family

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 slices homemade-style white bread, 3 to 4 inches square, crusts removed
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced cheese (Muenster, provolone, fontina or Gruyere)
  • 2 ounces prosciutto or boiled ham, thinly sliced, optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
DIRECTIONS

Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish and arrange 4 slices of the bread flat on the bottom. Cover each with equal amounts of cheese and ham, if desired. Top with the remaining bread.


Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl and pour in the milk. Season with the salt and blend well. Pour over the sandwiches, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the sandwiches, uncovered, until lightly browned around the edges and set in the center, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve hot.


ENJOY!!
JACKIE

Some New LO's to Share

Hello My Darlings

This pass weekend was fabulous!! I was in Puerto Rico for a Mini-Vacations with my Hubby. He was invited to a Church Event were the gave couple of seminars! He was great and I was sooo proud of Him!! In the mean time I manage to create two LO's for Jessica's Store!! Check this out!


Credits: Cosmo Criket-Mr Campy QP Hoot (MISM)


Credits: Elle's Happy Halloween QP2/ Monogram Tags HH/ and paper Papers Happy Halloween Kit




Cheers
,Jackie :)

October 11, 2010

Coconut Flan (Custard)


Hey My Darlings just want to share with you this new recipe I just tried over the Weekend!! Even I was surprise on how good it was....the taste of coconut is delicate and smooth...the Flan bakes beautiful and it is not super sweet...which I love..as I like to have a big piece and when deserts are tooooo sweet is just not possible as it overwhelm your pallet and your conscience! ;o)

Try it I think you will love it 2! And is very very easy

Ingredients
1 Can of Cream of Coconut
1 Can of Condense Milk
1 Can of Milk of Coconut
2 Cans of evaporated Milk
12 Eggs

For the Caramel
1 cup of Brown Sugar
3 tbs of water

Directions
  • Heat the oven to 300 degrees
  • Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl (make sure you blend well the eggs!)
  • Create the caramel
  • Poor the Caramel into a Soufflé Dish (or a tall baking dish..)
  • Wait 3 o 4 min and poor in the Mix dish
  • Place in the oven on "bano of Marie" (put the Soufle Dish inside a bigger bowl fill with 1" water)
  • Cook for 1hr or until the flan is set

Cheers,
Jackie :)

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