Camera Upgrade!

The lens is close to having the most impact on the finished product, and I almost bought a new one last year. I wanted an instant fix to make my pictures better. It was me, however, and not my camera that was holding me back. I needed to figure out how to work the technical stuff better. So instead I spent an entire year of frequent practice and became  really comfortable with the equipment I have. I decided I was ready for the next step. It is a prime lens (which means it doesn’t zoom in and out,) and has an really wide aperture (1.4 if you are familiar with camera terms) so it can take take pictures in really low light and blur backgrounds nicely to set off the subject. It can be a little tricky to use at times, so it will probably be a while before I consistently get results I like, but be prepared for a lot of pictures as I learn!


Flowers can sit still for hours, and are very patient with beginners, so they make great practice subjects. This is English Lavender from the garden.

From Photography Class

The college photography class I took this semester was a challenge. The teacher’s personal tastes were very different from my own, so sometimes I had to ignore my own favorite pictures, and try to figure out what pictures she grade highest. But, some of the assignments produced some really nice pictures.

This is from the first week of class, when it was still really warm and flowers were blooming.




Light painting at the end of October:


Dad helped me set up this picture, and I really like it.


The self portrait assignment was the hardest of the year because I had to set the camera on timer and run around to sit in the photo. Landon helped me get in the right place in this photo:



This was the last assignment of the year for finals, and it was on of the hardest.  The goal was to spy on people and take pictures when they didn’t know it, and I felt really strange hiding behind things to take photos of other people. Nevertheless, these ended up being some of my favorite photos for the whole year.

These are in the college commons lounge:




In the library:

   This picture of  my friend from Vietnam was my favorite, and it received really good comments in my class.

Tutu Claire


I took this picture a few weeks ago for my college photography class, and now that I am on Thanksgiving break I finally  have a chance to share it.

Claire had just learned to sit when I took the picture, and now she is fully mobile, crawling around like crazy. She even has pulled herself up to standing a couple times!

Claire’s Three Month Session

Well, I can tell you what Claire thinks of my photography quest:



Ha, ha.


 I think she’s been getting a little bored of the process. I don’t blame her. I do believe that she has had more practice lifting her head on her belly than any of the other babies.IMG_7697

When I try to take her picture, she spends most of her time either trying to eat my new fabrics, or playing with her fingers.


But she gave me a couple good expressions nevertheless.





The reason for the lack of posting is that I have been spending a lot of time working on portrait photography. I had the idea to attempt a professional venture, so several times a week, I’ve been taking some siblings, neighbors, or members of our homeschool group out to a park to practice. Then Dad and I have sat down every night and dissected each picture to find out what could have made it better.  I’ve learned a lot, and now Dad has helped me set up a website: www (dot) luminaphotos (dot) com!

Garden Journal 2013-Volume I

It seems summer has finally decided to arrive at last. I just saw my first monarch butterfly four days ago, and three have flown by since then. There are not a whole lot of flowers to meet them though, because  all the plant life is a month behind schedule. What a zany spring we have had! Ice storms in April, snow on May 1st, and a hard frost on May thirteenth, just two days before the last frost date! But, the weather is coming along nicely now, and there’s been plenty of rain to get things growing.

I started a lot of plants from seed this year, including zinnia, peppers, eggplant, cosmos, snapdragons, foxglove, and hollyhock. This is a snapdragon:


and one of my cosmos:


I was so excited by these little cosmos flowers. This was my first year of success with starting seedlings inside, and I had always felt a little bit like a cheater buying ready-made plants from the store. I felt like someone who called themselves a baker, yet only knew how to make a cake from a boxed mix!

Then I went to the store and saw this cosmos flower. While the ones I started from seed have flowers the size of my thumbnail, this flower is the size of my palm! I wonder what kind of fertilizer they used?


I guess I’m still a cake mix gardener at heart, because the cosmos and these (already blooming) snapdragons came home with me. : )


More store-bought flowers:



This is a bindweed seedling. My mortal enemy. Do not let their dainty, white, morning glory-like flowers fool you. They spread like mad, have a taproot that resists pulling more than any other weed I know, and climb other plants and strangle them to death. Last year I waged a terrible war against them, turning my back on thistles and crabgrass in order to pull every single seedling and dig up every last taproot. I was successful, for there are no adult bindweeds in my garden this year. I have to remain vigilant, though, and pull at least twenty of these seedlings every day!


The columbine are in full bloom. I have a new one this year, also, as a volunteer made it all the way to blooming. I think it is a cross between my pink and blue plant, for it’s pink with tiny purple veins throughout. It also has a unique creamy yellow trumpet, while both of the other plants have a white trumpet:


The blue parent plant:



The pink parent plant:

More store-bought flowers:IMG_4015

This is one of the pepper plants I started from seed. I have jalapeno, bell, and banana, but I won’t know which is which until they start setting fruit because I mixed them all out of order when I potted them.

The raspberries promise a bumper crop this year. I lost all my 2012 summer raspberries to last year’s zany spring. It was so warm that they flowered in March, and then an April frost came and nipped them.

Beets are my experiment this year. We tried baking some from the store in the winter, and despite the strong, earthy flavor, everybody liked them, even Johnathan! I’m really looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

IMG_3968Sugar snap peas:


Tomatoes from the store:


The chickens would love to come gobble up my entire garden, so Landon built a pen for them:IMG_3983


Baby Photography Session

There are two things that make it extra fun to take pictures of little Claire: she is my first baby sister in 13 years, and she is the first baby to be born when I have had my big camera. So, and I’m learning a lot about baby photography. Claire still sleeps a LOT, so it has been really easy to pose her just how we want without waking her up. Maria has been helping me, collecting props and helping me adjust the super sweet subject.








How to Pose an Almost Two Year Old

Two year olds are very  hard to photograph. Even if they happen to be in a good mood, the usually don’t sit sit or face the camera for an instant. So, I tried out a recommendation from a photography book from the library and told Dominic to play peek a boo with me from around the corner. The result was some of the best toddler expressions I have ever caught on camera: