Monday, September 27, 2010

Home, Home on the Range

I love my family. The last time all three Atchleys were in Panhandle together was Thanksgiving of 2005--pre-Neal. Having my husband, brother, sister, and spouses under one roof? Priceless. And then of course there's Anne. And Meg. And the boys. And finally, I'm home. No matter how long it's been since I've been back or how far apart we all heart is happy with my family. This weekend my heart was very happy!!

**Look at how none of the Wood boys can even look at the CUTE are they??? Meg we missed you and Linc in this time we get a REAL family picture!

I took a lot of pictures this weekend. I'm going to separate the posts out into themes. Tonight is the wide open spaces, the range, the Texas Panhandle.

Panhandle is Unless you've been there, I just can't explain it. When I go home everything is just...out there. The rolling plains, the bright sky, the history, everything is so...well, open.

Meet Justin Beiber's twin (the miniature horse version):
Genius. This was legit...only in Panhandle.

Look at that night sky. The clouds were like a quilt, loosely covering the beautiful moon.

I used the prime lens most of the time this weekend. It was more experimental than purposeful. I love the low light capabilities that the prime gives me; I love the bokeh effect (you'll see it more later...look for Annee); and I love having the choice and the flexibility of having two different lens. Get excited for some blog updates this week; they're coming!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Prime Time

I'm so freaking excited! I've been coveting certain photography blogs, wishing I could get my pictures to turn out like KelliWendiJennaRee does (I do realize that raw talent and expensive equipment is probably behind most of it, but I like to think I can get some of the effect). After doing a little research, I found out what kind of camera lens is crucial in getting the "bokeh" effect (blurry background). And true to my cheap spending habits, I found a great deal. So with my birthday money, I went out and bought a new Prime lens for my camera. It's a Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens. It's great in low light (yeah!) and is often used for portraits/closeups. There's no zoom feature; it's just what you see through the lens. I've only messed with it a little around the house but am SOOOO excited to have real subjects to try it out on. This weekend in Panhandle should provide a lot of good shots...and Ellie will be the perfect model too...and Jack...and Preston...and book club...heck...I can't wait to take it everywhere!!

Oh, and I got bangs!!

I took this one myself (can you tell? Ha!) at 1/100 shutter speed and f/2.8.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hearts and Hammers

Saturday Neal and I woke up and headed out to Oak Cliff to volunteer with Hearts and Hammers. It's similar to Habitat for Humanity, except that this house is already built, occupied, and falling down again. Hearts and Hammers goes in and fixes it up to meet code (at least on the outside). Occupants are happy! City of Dallas is happy! Volunteers? They're tired...but happy to help!!

With the sun so high, I was able to keep the shutter speed up and aperture low. I also changed the white balance to full sun and turned the ISO up.

The best part about Saturday was knowing that we were able to get out of the house and do some good. The wheelchair bound woman who lived there was inside while we were working on the house, and when I saw her through the back door she was so excited to show off her Hearts and Hammers t-shirt. I was so excited to show her that there are a lot of good people out in the world; people who are willing to give up their time and their energy to those who need it. Good work, KPMG...time well spent!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Best. Birthday. Ever.

I am blessed! It was confirmed this week that I have the best husband, the best family, and the best friends! By far, this was the BEST birthday! It all started the night before my birthday. It was a long day (Open House at school, ugh)...I came home to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my sweet husband. Maybe the prettiest bouquet ever. I may have a new favorite flower; sunflowers make any room seem brighter!!

I woke up the next morning to a hot breakfast (again, sweet sweet husband), had another bouquet delivered to school (live flowers at school? Makes a dull classroom come alive!!) from Anne and Rick, Bruce and Becky came in town, and we all headed to the Ballpark. To top it off...a Rangers win!! I managed to remember to break out the camera this time...I love the colors at the Ballpark. So festive!

How funny is this kid?? **I also just noticed the guy scarfing his hot dog down in the back...nice.
Then on Wednesday, my sweet friends took me out to our favorite wine bar for delicious pizza and wine, and even better company!! Heather got me a card with a vanilla cupcake flavor strip (think listerine strips).

I am so thankful for the people in my life that help me appreciate everything that I have. I am also so thankful for the ability to capture these special moments so I can remember them forever!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dallas Heart Walk

Saturday Neal and I woke up early after Game Night and headed downtown to participate in the Dallas Heart Walk benefiting the American Heart Association.

They had us routed through downtown Dallas which was really cool; much different than other 5k walks through neighborhoods and up by Northpark Mall. We started and ended at Victory Park and wound through all of the high rises. Like so many other great fundraisers, this one was packed! We managed to avoid the crowd and break up early, which is always nice. Since we were walking (not running), I decided to bring the big camera for some cool shots.





I've found one way to take pictures at a different angle and not seem like quite a creeper is to shoot from the hip. For most of these, I set the ISO at 200, had the shutter speed around 1/200 and the aperture as low as it would go (between 4.2 and 5.6). I've been combining the editing tools in iPhoto with Photobucket.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Game Night!!

Last night we hosted Ellen's birthday party at our house. And I must say, everybody brought their A-Game for Game Night. There was Cranium, Flip Cup, Catch Phrase, and a new favorite: Mr. Bacon's Big Adventure (no joke).

Betsy wowing her team with her mad acting skills...


Intense concentration and teamwork here...

Pretty girls, taking it all in...

This was a fiercely competitive Flip Cup game...Whitney and Missy started us off right, but Morgan and Neal were pretty impressive on the tail end.


Have YOU ever played Mr. Bacon's BIG Adventure? If we had played according to the rules, we all would have had a heart attack. In the Bologna Forest, you had to eat a hot dog wrapped in ham or something like that...there was also the Meatball Meadows, Wiener Wasteland, Hot Dog Hideout, Sausage Sea...Mmmmm...doesn't it just make you want to go out and eat some MEAT??

The inside pictures were taken with an ISO of 1600 and shutter speed between 1/15 and 1/100; the aperture stayed around f/5.6 all night. I used the flash outside and was pleased with the way they came out...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hook 'em Horns!!

Lauren has stepped into a different color orange this year as a Texas Longhorn. After four years as a Cavalier, the burnt orange looks good!! Neal and I headed to Gregory Gym this weekend to cheer on Lauren and the Horns. Not only did they win, but I also got some action shots for the blog! Win-Win!

I used the sports mode to get the initial settings. That's one thing I love about my Nikon: I can use the automatic settings as a learning tool for the manual. The ISO was set to around 800 and the shutter speed was anywhere between 1/40-1/120. For the last shot, I slowed the shutter speed down and set the ISO lower as well.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Up Close and Personal

So Ellie has started rolling over, and she's all about the tummy time. So to get good pictures I also was all about the tummy time. I like getting up close and personal (one, cause she smells like a sweet baby...and two, way better pictures).

In the next one, she's taking a minute to check out the Rangers score...

I love the next seriously makes me laugh out loud every time. Not only is Ellie's sweet smile caught on camera, but she's totally laughing at her mom...if only I had caught her pointing and laughing...Camille will do anything to get that girl to smile!
I'm so glad all of my friends have sweet babes for me to practice my photography on...I'd be way behind the curve without them.

I kept the ISO up again (either 800 or 1600) and the shutter speed between 1/5 and 1/25. I'm also keeping the aperture as low as possible to help with lighting...