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Capture the Moments #VZWBuzz #Photography #Memories

Winter is gone and we’re soaking up the great weather every chance we can get.  One thing our family is obsessed with is firepits. Sometimes we get together with an elaborate spread of food and snacks and invite the neighbors and extended family. But sometimes we just have one to hang out as a family to spend quality time together.

I look around and see everyone staring into the fire, I call it the fire coma. The fire is mesmerizing, it draws you in.  It’s easy to lose focus on a conversation when the night is silent and the fire is roaring. These are the most relaxing moments of the week.  

Friday mornings are filled with anticipation and hope that there will be no winds that night.The kids ask over and over if the weather is right.

These calm, cherished moments are few and far between. We live such hectic lives every day between school, work, activities, errands and other obligations. It mean everything to me to slow down and soak up the attention my kids give to these moments.  Capturing Moments with your Phone #VZWBuzz #photography #memories

These moments are captured thanks to the technology that comes with me everywhere I go.  As a VZWBuzz influencer I’m aware of how much my iPhone can do but one of my favorite features is having a camera at my fingertips. Capturing Moments with your Phone #VZWBuzz #photography #memories

To say I have thousands of photos on my phone is an understatement. I’ve been taking pics as far back as my Blackberry days.  The quality has definitely improved but I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

#VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger

Pictures of Summer in NYC

a couple months back on one of the hottest days of the summer Steph and Kelly and I ventured into New York City for an event.  The event sucked but we made the best of it while walking the streets of NYC, through Chelsea Markets and Union Square and doing a little bargain shopping.

Here are some pictures I took while there.

chelsea markets clock

chelsea markets chinese paper lanterns

shopping in chelsea markets

folk art ferris wheel gumball machine

flower market close up

green apples in chelsea market

anthropologie chandelier chelsea market nyc

brownstone stoop and door nyc

Here is Matthew Silver, The Great Performer.  I spotted him half a block away across the street doing his thing in Union Square.

matthew silver the great performer

Where did you go this summer?

Gallery Direct Photo to Canvas Upload

We got the chance to continue our Blogger Ambassador-ship with Gallery Direct for 2012. One of the first things we got to do for the New Year was re-visit their custom photo upload, photo to canvas feature. In case you don’t remember from last Father’s Day I ordered this awesome canvas of Rob and the kids. It’s one of my favorite pictures of them; it’s from our Carnival Cruise Family Vacation of 2010.

This time around I wanted to do something a bit more special and sentimental. Since I’m usually the one behind the camera there aren’t many pictures of Rob and I that actually look good. We lucked out this past Thanksgiving and Sabreena was able to snag this gem; never mind it was 1 out of 32. I knew it had to be displayed. I had it printed as a 5X7 photo and it sits in a frame on the bookshelf but I knew it needed something grander. Now it’s printed on canvas and sits at the top of the steps on the 3rd floor.
gallery direct, photo upload, canvas photo
This time I had it done in black and white, I like the effect it brings to this mostly candid shot. Gallery Direct hasn’t let me down yet. Our house has never looked so put together. I didn’t realize how much warmer and lived in a home could feel with art and larger scale photo up in the wall.

Don’t forget that your prints aren’t limited to traditional art or photos. Gallery Direct has a HUGE selection of stock images in their Photo Vault to choose from. If you have a specific theme or want to commemorate a special place make sure to search for the image that best shows it off. Remember though there is no better way to display your best memories than with a personal, custom Photo Upload.

stock photo, photo vault, gallery direct

just a couple options to choose from in the photo vault

Gallery Direct guarantees their work 100% against defect and personal satisfaction. Hang your picture, see how it fits into your style and decor and if you aren’t happy simply return it.

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Friday Fives-5 Beautiful Beaches

I’m back with another list of 5. This week is a list of 5 beaches I’d love to visit. You’ll never get me to say I want to go skiing or dog-sledding but point me in the direction of sun, sand and surf and I’m there. I chose these places because lets face it, the images are stunning and captivating.

What beaches have you either been to or want to visit that should be on my list?

Cape Town, South Africa

Cumberland Island, Georgia, USA

Maldives, Indian Ocean

Mykonos, Greece

Prince William Sound, Alaska

Do you have a list of fives? Link it up to

Friday Fives Badge

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DSLR for Dummies-Digital #Photography How To Series Part 2

Hello and welcome back to this DSLR for “dummies” series brought to you by The Beginners Lens. Last week we shared the many reasons you might want to get yourself a DSLR camera. This week we’re delving a little bit deeper to help you to move away from the far over-used Auto Mode!

Your DSLR has a dial on it that probably looks a little something like this:

This is the mode dial. If you already have a DSLR but haven’t gotten around to learning about the different modes, you’re probably familiar with at least one…the Auto Mode (indicated by the green rectangle on Canon, x on Nikon). This post is going to help you break out of your regular routine and start using the manual controls available to you.
You might be wondering why you should use manual controls?

Well it’s about flexibility, and more importantly, getting the photos you really want! With a little bit of knowledge, and some dedicated practice time you’ll open up a whole new world of photographic possibility. It’s not difficult, but you’ll need to be patient with yourself as you learn something new.

Take a look at the mode dial again. There are several modes to either side of the Auto Mode; these are the presets and the manual modes. Depending on the model you’re using, the presets are likely to be Flash off, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Close-up, and perhaps a few more.

On the other side of the dial you’ll see the manual controls. Just to complicate matters the camera manufacturers like to give their controls similar, yet different annotations so we’ll go through the most commonly used brands here. If you’re a Canon user the manual controls available to you are likely to be TV, AV, and M (at the very least) you may have a few more. If you have a Nikon camera, you’ll see A, S, and M on the mode dial. So what the heck do all of these letters mean anyway?

TV (or S for Nikon users) stands for shutter speed priority, where AV (A) stands for aperture priority, and M denotes the fully manual mode. If you don’t see any of those letters, you should refer to your camera manual.

For today we’re going to get to grips with the aperture priority mode, the easiest of the manual modes. Instead of diving head first into technical jargon, we’ll describe the aperture in terms of what it means to your photos. The aperture determines the depth of field of your photo, or how much of your photo is in focus. You can choose to have the entire scene in focus (as far as the eye can see) or you may want the foreground in focus and the background blurred (which is great for portraits). As you progress with this feature you may want to experiment with having both the foreground and the background out of focus with your subject in the middle!

Take a look at the examples below:
As you can see that the photo has a large depth of field, where the whole landscape, including the foreground (the mountain) and the background (the sea) are equally in focus.


Photo By Tulasi Nandan Parashar courtesy of Flickr

On the other hand, this photo has a shallow depth of field, meaning the subject (the flower) is in focus, but the background is blurred.

On DSLR cameras the aperture is indicated by an F-number in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. The higher the F-number, the more of the photo will be in focus. On the other hand, if you were taking a photo of a flower and you want the flower to be in focus but the background to be blurred you would use a low F-number. Let’s take the above photos as an example. The landscape image above was taken with a large F-number, to ensure the entire scene is in focus, whereas the image on the right was taken with a small F-number to create the beautiful creamy background.

So to use the aperture priority mode on your DSLR, move the mode dial to AV (or A for Nikon users) and set the value of the F-number using the command dial. The command dial is usually located on the handgrip, but each camera is different so you may need to refer to your user manual at this point. Once you’ve got your F-number set, the best way to understand how aperture works is to take several photos (of the same scene) with different F-number values to see how changing the F-number value affects the photo.

Start with the subject close to you (less than a yard or approximately 1 meter away) with a bit of perspective in the scene. Focus on the subject with a large F-number, you should see that everything in focus. Then, decrease the F-number to the lowest number possible, and now you should see the subject in focus but the background blurred. Note that if you zoom in at this point, the blurred effect will be accentuated.

There you have it, your first steps out of Auto Mode! Easy, right? Feel free to enter your questions in the comments as you experiment. We’ll be glad to provide additional help if you need it!

Calling all casual photographers and photo nuts don’t miss The Beginners Lens Big App Giveaway this summer! If you’re into iPhone photography, enter via The Beginners Lens to win a $100 iTunes Gift Card!! The Beginners Lens is a new online source for mobile and digital photographers, featuring tips, tricks & tutorials for beginners and beyond. With free and premium video content spanning a range of photographic topics including everything related to the iPhone camera, digital camera buying guides, gear & software, accessories, online photo services, and much much more…there’s something for everyone at The Beginners Lens.

Get more tips & tricks on iPhone photography & digital photography at The Beginners Lens.

DSLR for Dummies-Digital #Photography How To Series Part 1

Photo by: Erin courtesy of Flickr

First off, we definitely don’t think you’re a dummy! But, maybe you’ve had your eye on a DSLR for a while now, and you just can’t seem to make the full commitment to purchasing one. Shops like offers camera rentals. Or perhaps you’ve already bought a DSLR but haven’t had time to learn how to use it. We get it!

Having a DSLR is no fun if you feel totally overwhelmed and don’t know where to start! So to help you learn the basics, we’ve put together a “dummy’s” guide to the DSLR. For more inspiration, also read these photographer quotes from Capture it! Photography. We’re hoping to make things nice and simple so that you can master the terms and skills you need to get great photos with your DSLR (without all the hassle)!

Let’s start from the beginning – why would you want a DSLR over a regular compact, or point & shoot camera? There are several reasons:

Great depth of field. Don’t be put off by the technical-sounding term, it simply means that a DSLR gives you the opportunity to take photos with everything in focus, or with beautiful blurred backgrounds. In the photography world, the blurred background technique is known as Bokeh, a Japanese expression. Of course, it’s not just either or, there’s a whole spectrum of possibility when it comes to depth of field in photos taken with a DSLR.

Flexibility and creativity. There’s a great deal of choice when it comes to lenses available for a DSLR, giving you a much wider creative scope. Most DSLRs come with a kit lens that is typically 18-55mm – a good all-rounder. Budget permitting you can add any number of lenses to your kit to get different results. Some typical lenses are telephoto, zoom, wide angle, fish eye, and prime (also called fixed focal-length). If you were to splurge on one lens to get your kit started, go for a 50mm fixed focal length with a minimum f1.8 aperture. Without getting too technical, the aperture is the hole that lets the light into your camera. A small aperture number (like 1.8) actually denotes a large aperture hole. This lens will give you fantastic depth of field, plus it’s perfect for portraits and family shots. Another great lens for beginners is an 18-250mm lens. It allows for wide angle photos, but you can also zoom in close to the subject without changing lenses. Great for keeping things simple!

Better photos in low light, without a flash. Due to the large sensor of the DSLR you’ll get better photos with less light – provided that your model is not a squirming 2-year old!

White Balance allows for true-to-life colors. The white balance is great for correcting color before taking a photo so that the resulting image is more life-like. The white balance presets will help you avoid overly yellow, green, or blue-tinted photos.

Easier photo editing. DSLR cameras have the option of shooting in two different formats, namely JPG or RAW. The RAW format uses more space on your memory card and your hard drive, but because it does not compress any of the data as a JPG does, you have more flexibility when it comes to editing. A great feature for cropping or printing your photos!

As you can see there’s a plethora of benefits that come along with upgrading from an everyday compact camera to a DSLR. So with that said, we’ll let you digest all the reasons you should get a DSLR, and we’ll be back next week to help you get out of the fallback Auto Mode!

Calling all casual photographers and photo nuts don’t miss The Beginners Lens Big App Giveaway this summer! If you’re into iPhone photography, enter via The Beginners Lens to win a $100 iTunes Gift Card!! The Beginners Lens is a new online source for mobile and digital photographers, featuring tips, tricks & tutorials for beginners and beyond. With free and premium video content spanning a range of photographic topics including everything related to the iPhone camera, digital camera buying guides, gear & software, accessories, online photo services, and much much more…there’s something for everyone at The Beginners Lens.

Get more tips & tricks on iPhone photography & digital photography at The Beginners Lens.

Project 52 – Week 29

It’s week 29 for Project 52.  We are more than halfway through year and I’m glad I’ve kept up (for the most part) on Project 52.

This is where I give you a peek into what goes on behind the blog, the thinks that we don’t get around to posting about. Project 52 focuses around family, the activities that we do, the places we go and random silliness.

project 52, weekly photos


shae and sabreenas original tickle me elmo


travis pastrana of nitro circus, the only reason I went to monster jam


the moon just coming up

How was your week? What did you do? Do you participate in Project 52? Let me see your week in review.



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Project 52 – Week 28

It’s week 28 for Project 52.  This is where I give you a peek into what goes behind the blog that we don’t get around to posting about. Project 52 focuses around family, the activities that we do, the places we go and usually random silliness. I’ve missed the last 2 weeks and I’m bummed. I was really excited that I had kept up but life got really busy but in a good way.

project 52, weekly photos

This week was all about the 4th of July! The pictures aren’t great, I took them with my phone. The kids had a blast, there were hundreds and hundreds of people around with plenty of kids, ice cream and glow sticks to be found.
girls watching the fireworks

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Early Father’s Day Gift

For Rob, Father’s Day came a little early. I presented him with a custom framed canvas of him and the kids from our Carnival Cruise family vacation last year.

rob and the kids on our family vacation cruise 2010

close-up of frame and canvas finish

that's where the picture will be going, it just arrived this weekend

Gallery Direct has provided a really high quality finished product that is proudly being displayed on our living room. Using a heavy duty canvas and beautiful dark wood frame ensure this will last many many years. We can glance at this picture 10 years from now and remember the great time we had that week at sea. As a family we aren’t art collectors but when it comes to family photos they are in every space available. Having this canvas is a beautiful addition to our growing collection.  I contemplated going larger but glad I didn’t; anything larger than real0life would have been overwhelming for the space.
john-lennon-abstract-artI know Father’s Day is literally right around the corner but I recommend Gallery Direct not just for “turn yourself into a work of art” prints but also themed photography, abstracts and illustrations. Spruce up his mancave with a gorgeous canvas of John Lennon or vintage golf. Put the finishing touches on the home office with Americana art. What every theme, subject or artist you choose you’re going to be delighted with the superior finish, order process an selection of features available.

Come back and see the other great pieces we’ll get to review as LookWhatMomFound…and Dad too! has been invited to be a Gallery Direct Blogger Ambassador. We’ll focus on seasonal and holiday art and hopefully bring you great specials and deals for gift-giving for others or for yourself.



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Project 52- Week 20

It’s the 20th Saturday of 2011 and I’m still going strong doing Project 52. This is my weekly update of what if going on in our lives behind the blog. So in case you were wondering what we did this week here ya go!

project 52, weekly photos

This week was crazy hectic. My “job” is a daycare provider to my niece Madi. You’ve seen her here many times. But this week I had BOTH 18 month old nieces, Madi and Ella. What a handful but it was a lot of fun. They were so good together.


mother's day morning


sabreena and ella taking a ride

shae is just hanging out


the new ford flex-review coming soon

Share your Project 52 post, let’s see what you’ve been up to!





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