My Maternity Leave in Photos

I’ve been sitting here struggling with how to get back into blogging. For some reason the words just weren’t happening, when I realized that, duh, I could just share some pics! Those are what people look at first anyway and I love taking them. Plus my kid is super cute so there’s no way I can go wrong with a post full of cute-kiddo pics. Plus, of course, I could never forget about the dogs’ super-cute abilities. So, in no particular order, here are a bunch of photos from my maternity leave. Enjoy!



Maternity Leave

Baby J was born June 19, 2013.
He was 7 pounds, 8 ounces and his first act in the world was to pee on two nurses.

It’s been a whirlwind of diapers, feedings, and sleeping in one hour stints since then.
It’s been amazing and crazy and everything you always hear about, but more. More love, more moments, and more not-sleeping than you can imagine.

As you can tell blogging has quickly fallen to the wayside as I get a hands-on practicum introduction to mommyhood, but, never fear, I don’t plan to be gone indefinitely.

In the meantime, make sure you like my page on Facebook.
I’ll be posting quick updates and pictures there when I can.


Maternity Self Portraits

I really wanted a few photos to document this pregnancy. I would have loved to hire someone to take them for me, but as much as I value photography it just wasn’t in the budget. And even though I’ve had a couple photographer friends offer to take some for me, being on bed rest really cut into my opportunity to have that done. Thankfully, I took the time awhile back to capture a few shots. They aren’t much, but they’re mine and I’m happy to have a couple images to remember this pregnancy by.


On Photography: Shooting Wide Open vs. Stopping it Down

Since I am very much still on my photography journey I thought I should make more of an effort to share the things that I’m learning about. Currently on my “to be practiced to death” docket? Playing with different apertures! In particular I’m working on shooting wide open vs. closing down on my aperture. (If you’re new to photography and don’t know what aperture means, check out this post.)

Shooting Wide Open:

What it Means: Shooting with the widest possible aperture your lens will allow. Typically it’s a reference to shooting in the f/1.4 – 1.8 range, but it could also mean f/2.8 as many high end lenses only open that far.

What Happens: Shooting with the widest possible aperture brings in the maximum amount of light (allowing shots in low-light situations) and can create some neat effects. A wide aperture means that less of your image will be in focus. When you’re shooting with an aperture of f/1.4, this can mean that mere slivers of an image are sharp, bringing emphasis to a certain part of a shot.

Some photographers shoot almost solely wide open and for a really long time I’ve tended to shot almost exclusively wide open too. Wide open shooting creates lots of bokeh (blurry backgrounds), something that a lot of photographers love. The images created by shooting wide open can get really creative and artistic and many photographers base their style of photography on this technique.

Here are some images that I shot wide open:

f/2.8, 1/250, ISO 500

f/1.4, 1/800, ISO 400

f/2.8, 1/60, ISO 3200

While shooting wide open has lots of benefits, it also has its pitfalls. With such a shallow depth of field it’s easy to miss focus, so you may get more out of focus images, especially if you’re shooting something that’s moving around. Which means you have to take more shots, which means more editing, more time, and more wear on your gear. Lenses are also typically softer at their wider apertures, which means that even the in focus areas aren’t as sharp as they could be if you were shooting with a smaller (higher number) aperture. Most lenses are their sharpest when shot a few stops from their widest aperture.

Lately I’ve been trying to practice shooting at stopped down apertures. While I think wide open shots are great, I realize that I’m leaving a lot on the table by not using my lenses to their fullest. There’s a whole world of apertures out there, I should be trying them out! By stepping down my aperture just a bit, I can still get great bokeh and create a sharper image overall. I haven’t completely moved away from shooting wide open, but I am enjoying the flexibility that a slightly smaller aperture brings.

Here are a few shots that I’ve taken with smaller apertures:

f/8.0, 1/8000, ISO 500

f/4.5, 1/40, ISO 320

f/4.0, 1/100, ISO 2000

f/4.0, 1/320, ISO 1600

There are merits to shooting both ways and while I discover my shooting style, I’m enjoying experimenting with both.


Mr. Grumpy Gets New Threads

Way way back when the awesome Emily from Our Waldo Bungie came for a visit she also brought along a great little gift! She brought me (or rather, Moe) a cute new bow tie from Tiennot Knits Sweaters. (If you like cute doggie sweaters and other pup accessories, go check them out!)

I finally got the chance to photograph Moe in his new threads, but for whatever reason he was not into giving me doggie smiles that day:

I said you could take my picture, I never said I’d be happy about it.

Yes, I know I’m handsome. That’s why I look down on you.

Maybe if I look away you’ll get the hint that I’m done now. I’m dressed to impress… I just don’t feel like impressing you right now.

Grumpy model or not, the bow tie is still adorable! Thank you Emily!


Bed Rest

If you only read the blog (and don’t follow me on Facebook) you may have notice a distinct lack of posts over the last few weeks.

The reason? Well, I blame this post where I completely jinxed myself. Here’s a helpful tip: don’t go talking about how you’ve had an uneventful pregnancy, it’ll just encourage an event to happen. So one happened to me and I was ordered on bed rest for a few weeks. Unfortunately I didn’t have a laptop to keep me occupied during my bed rest period, so no blog posts or updates and I just watched TV and napped with the dogs every day. Luckily, bed rest wasn’t too bad and both me and baby are doing great. Baby still hasn’t come along quite yet, but it’s just a waiting game now.

Even though I didn’t pull out my big camera during my hiatus, I did take a few instagram shots of how my experience went. Here are a few images from my time on bed rest:

The dogs are pros at the whole bed rest thing, they definitely showed me how it was done.

So now I’m back and ready to roll. I’ve got lots of posts on the horizon and lots of catching up to do!


I am Officially Awkward

I haven’t posted much about my pregnancy. One big reason for that is that there hasn’t been too much to post about. I have more doctors appointments and my belly is getting bigger, but for the most part I’ve felt pretty normal. I’ve been pretty lucky that I never had intense morning sickness (and what I did have stopped around the 10 week mark), I’m not so big that it’s been uncomfortable to get around, and in general I don’t think too much about having a tiny human growing inside me.

Until now.

I am without a doubt squarely in my third trimester and sh*t’s getting real. My belly is larger, and growing weekly daily hourly by the minute. I hate maternity pants. The tops are passable, but the pants are pain in the butt. My feet are doing their best impression of a marshmallow 24/7. And most of all, I am officially without any grace. I am not agile. I cannot deftly hop over a puddle. I am awkward.

For the most part it’s not the end of the world. I walk slowly. At least I’m pretty sure it’s still a walk and not a waddle (yet). Getting out of the car when it’s parked on an incline is a nuisance, and although I do it gracelessly, it can be done.

What I can’t do anymore? Kneel down easily to take photos of the dogs. I like to shoot them at eye level, which typically means I’m on my belly, or, at the very least, sitting on the floor, to get the shot. Getting down on the floor isn’t usually too much trouble (although I’m certainly not laying on my belly anymore), but getting up is problematic. I recently took photos for a couple friends of mine (they have the cutest bulldog ever) and none of us could stop laughing at my (in)ability to maneuver around. Imagine me on the ground, basketball belly and all, wiggling forward and backward to get the shot. It was hilarious. You gotta be able to laugh at yourself in those moments. For now, I think my wiggle and scootch on the floor days are over. Until the baby comes, I’ll be taking photos the easy way. Me standing up over them.

I’ll be doing everything else the awkward way. As slowly and carefully as possible.


Really Big, & Really Cheap, Art

In my long overdue house updates post I promised I would share more information about that large print currently hanging over the fireplace.

I found the image thanks to Pinterest. It’s one of two free printables of vintage cameras from Design Interest (if you like the prints head over there to download them). I’ve been wanting something to fill in the space above the fireplace for ages and since I (a) love photography, (b) think these look cool, and (c) they were free prints, I jumped at the chance to fill in that area.

I love both prints but ultimately decided to hang the Seagull camera print (I actually got an enlargement of the Brownie print too, but haven’t done anything with it yet).

The total cost for this project was super small. The photo enlargement cost me about $8 and it took me another $5 to hang it on the wall. I love the cheapness.

The print itself is actually an Engineering Print from Staples. I got a 36″ x 48″ print (very big!) since I had a lot of space to cover. Engineering Prints are done on thin paper, are black and white, and aren’t the high quality images you’d ordinarily expect from a photograph (hence the low price tag), but given the vintage nature of the images, an engineering print works great here.

Of course, when I had the print made I didn’t consider how I was going to frame/hang it first. A 36″ x 48″ image is even larger than poster frames that I could find, but for only $8 for the print, I didn’t want to spend much on a frame solution for it. Custom framing was definitely out, and I didn’t readily come across any extra-large frames in my search that weren’t equally expensive. I looked around a lot, but just wasn’t finding anything that would do the trick for me out of the box.

After one failed attempt to glue the print to a large piece of MDF (don’t do that, it wrinkles the paper because it’s so thin and looks terrible), I started over (easy to do for only $8) and simplified the process even further. Two pieces of wood and I was good to go.

My supplies were simple:

1) 2, 36″ 1″ x 1″ dowel rods from Home Depot (~$2.50 each)
2) one small stapler (free, already had it)
3) 3M Command Large Picture Hanging Strips (free, already had them)

this project’s secret weapon: a tiny pink stapler

The process was equally simple:

1) I stapled the 1″ x 1″ dowel rods to the top and bottom of the paper (on the backside, so you can’t see them from the front)
2) Attached the command strips to the dowel rods and stuck them on the fireplace
3) Patted myself on the back for my brilliant solution.

Here you can see the dowel rods at the top and bottom of the print:

And underneath where the staples are:

Of course you can’t see any of that unless you’re right up against the wall and looking at the backside of the picture. From farther away it just looks like a big print hung over the fireplace, albeit one without glass.

If you’re thinking that this seems like the cheapest way to hang something ever, you’re right. And frankly, I don’t expect it to last all that long. The paper is completely exposed and unprotected, so it could tear or get ruined pretty easily. I’d like to eventually get real art (or a real frame) to replace this, but given the extremely small price tag and the impact it makes in the room, it’s totally worth it for however long it lasts. Even if it’s just for a week and a half.

Regardless of however long this particular print lasts, I love the vintage camera images and the way they look on engineered prints. Down the road (after this is replaced) I may even have smaller prints done to hang them in real frames in some sort of photo gallery wall. For now, I’ll enjoy my really big, and really cheap, art right where it is.

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