Monthly Challenge – Get in the Frame

It’s been a whole year already?  Our blog circle is in its final chapter, and I would like to thank each of the 16 or so gals that worked hard each month to participate.  A special thank you goes out to Davina for all her time and effort in organizing us!  This year has been a year of growth and trying new things for me thanks to this group.  Yep, I’m gonna miss getting to know you through your lenses, so stay in touch!

For our last challenge of the year we are getting on the other side of the lens.  That isn’t always the most fun, or easy thing to do since, well we’re the photographers here.  I enjoyed this challenge and felt like a bit of a goofball the night I set up these shots.  In my quest to better my landscape astrophotography skills I chose to get myself into a photo just outside my back door on a somewhat mild night.  While these are not the most technically perfect astro shots, they are my start, and when the weather gets a little warmer I plan to do a lot more of these in my area while out camping with the family. Be sure to keep checking back for more of my Outdoor Exposures, and follow the blog circle around one last time starting with the ever so talented Davina!

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Monthly Challenge: Creating Drama with Light

My daughter is a nervous thumb sucker.  I captured this moment just as we were taking off from Salt Lake City heading to Baltimore last week.  I loved how the light came in the window, adding more drama to her already dramatic second flight of the day.  (With all the excitement of flying, there was no nap on the first flight!)  As soon as the plane started picking up speed, said thumb went straight into said mouth.  I still think it’s adorable, but am not looking forward to the day when we no longer do…

To see other examples of this month’s challenge follow the blog circle around starting with the very talented Jennifer Reynolds.

Monthly Challenge: Spookiness

Someone recently told my son that we wouldn’t have any trouble with ghosts because our house is new, and since we didn’t build it on any known burial grounds, we should be fine. I’m not so sure of that anymore. After being kept awake the night before Halloween, I decided to set up my camera to see what’s making all the noise. What’s weird is that the ghosts look a lot like our family members…IMG_7779 IMG_7785 IMG_7790 IMG_7793 IMG_7795

To learn how to capture similar ghostly shots check out this post on the Clickin Moms blog!  And for more examples of spookiness, be sure to follow the blog circle around, making a stop next on Jennifer’s blog!  Happy Halloween!

Monthly Challenge: Humanizing the Non-human

The mornings are cool, the leaves are changing colors, and snow is starting to cover the mountain tops.  It’s fall in Mammoth Hot Springs and that means the paparazzi are in town to capture photos of our local celebs.  Our celebs are the tall dark handsome types, however, they are also the dangerous kind.  The kind that will charge your car, or try to chase you around if you approach their harem a little too close.  Hoards of visitors come each fall to watch the chaos that ensues during the elk rut.  Each day is like a TV soap opera around here, where the set is constantly moving and the body guards (rangers) are always on duty.

This month’s challenge was to humanize the non-human.  Yellowstone may be one of the last wild places, but in Mammoth you can’t help but stop and be in awe of the local dating/mating scene that plays out (almost) like a trip to the local watering hole.  Each fall I become a bit of a paparazzo myself.  Be sure to check out Catherine’s blog for her take on this month’s challenge!


Taken from my office porch to not draw attention from the big guy. Check out all the peopled lined up to take photos!


Some days at work aren’t so bad when this is my view!

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Monthly Challenge: Motion Blur

Motion blur isn’t entirely easy to capture.  This super out of focus shot of G being super speedy on his balance bike was the only thing I managed to put together for this month.  It’s not a great example of motion blur, as he should be in focus, but I love this photo as it shows how hard he was working to help me get this shot.  He’s even got his little tongue out because that makes him go faster…

Zoom. Zoom.

Zoom. Zoom.

To see other examples of motion blur, continue on to the very talented Davina here.

Monthly Challenge: Phone Photography

This month’s challenge was perfectly timed. We are in the process of finishing up our cabin (finally!) and moving. Moving is never fun, no matter how far you’re going…even just 30 miles away. And with very little time for things … Continue reading

Monthly Challenge: Shallow Depth of Field

Just after my daughter was born, I began searching for photographic inspiration on the web.  Like many right-brained moms with somewhat boring day jobs, I purchased a DSLR to fulfill that creative need, and wanted to capture photos of her with that lovely, dreamy, blurry background that I soon found to be called bokeh.  It wasn’t until several months later that a Clickin Moms Pro friend of mine from our military days recommended I check out Clickin Moms, and as they say, “the rest is history…”

It was that beautiful bokeh, accomplished by shooting with a shallow depth of field (wide open aperture) that drew me to photography and the quest to learn how to do it better myself.   I have so much yet to learn, but I have to thank my friend and the Clickin Moms community for all the help along the way.  It’s been just over a year since I switched the camera to manual, and I am so glad I did.  And without further ado, here are some photos with lovely (if I don’t say so myself) bokeh shot at a shallow depth of field.

To see other amazing examples of shallow depth of field, follow the blog circle around to Jennifer Reynold’s fabulous blog HERE.

IMG_5624Garrett enjoying a quick snack (something with peanut butter perhaps?) along the Firehole River.  Taken at f/2.5, ISO 100, SS 1/400 with my nifty 50 mm.IMG_5629A shooting star blooming along the Firehole River taken at f/3.5, ISO 100, SS 1/500 also taken with my 50 mm lens.IMG_2605This shot was taken shortly after a prescribed burn was conducted near Yankee Jim Canyon.  It’s amazing how burned areas are the first to green up in the valley each year.  The surrounding hills are still brown, but every burned area is bright with fresh green grass.  This super shallow depth of field shows you the bokeh sandwich you can capture at wide open apertures.  This was taken at f/2.5 on a 50 mm lens, ISO 100, SS 1/1250.

Monthly Challenge: Beautiful Ugly


There is just something so cool about a car graveyard.  I found one in an area high above Gardiner, Montana on a run with a group of friends last week and couldn’t resist dragging the family back up there with the good camera to take some photos of something ugly, that’s ultimately beautiful.  The challenge this month is to shoot beautiful ugly subjects.  Maybe it’s just me, but the textures and the lines of old makes of vehicles are something that really appeal to me, and although some may think a rusty pile of metal isn’t their idea of beauty, I beg to differ.  To see other examples of more beautiful ugly, click here to see what the talented Catherine McAteer discovered for this month’s challenge.

Monthly Challenge: Shooting Through Glass

This month the Clickin’ Mom’s blog circle theme challenged us to shoot through glass.  These are photos of my current view and my future view – both through my front glass windows.  We are in what we hope to be the final months of our big “cabin” build and we hope to move into our new log home this summer.  I am looking forward to being able to have a garden and chickens, not having many neighbors, and am excited about the new view.  Our future mountain view will be inspiring and different every day depending on the weather.  I look forward to our next chapter, but will definitely miss the amazing wildlife watching in our little Yellowstone neighborhood!Current ViewFuture View

To see what the fabulous Catherine McAteer has captured with this challenge, please continue to her blog and beyond by clicking here.

Monthly Challenge: Interesting Perspectives

This month’s challenge was well, interesting.  In reading up on what the challenge was intended to include, our photos were to focus on various perspectives that add interest to a photo.  Below is an example of vanishing point perspective that I took while in Livingston, Montana.


Before looking into various examples of perspective I assumed that this challenge encouraged you to take photos that gave insight into your own personal perspective.  While getting ready to wash dishes one day a bison slowly made its way in front of our kitchen window into my view.  Even though I was rushed to get dishes done before picking up the kids at school, I chose to use that time to take advantage of this photographic opportunity, dishes and all.  In the summer our house becomes a similar scene.  Laundry piles up, floors don’t get swept as often as they should, and recycling goes weeks before being emptied.  When weekends are full of camping, floating and fishing the river, hiking and being outside, dishes, laundry, and recycling can wait.  This photo captures the occasional lapse of cleanliness and order in our lives to appreciate those things one shouldn’t take for granted…those things that should be enjoyed, shared and experienced…outside.


Another shot taken this month is one that reminds me to stop and be in the moment.  This is my son and his silhouette that I was lucky to capture on our wall one morning as the sun blasted through our east facing windows.  I love his silhouette with his crazy hair in the back as this is how I’ll remember him from our mornings together before anyone else is up.  Garrett is our early bird.   The silhouette on the wall reminds me of a younger Garrett with his chubby little cheeks and his usually crazy long hair all tousled from a good night’s sleep.  This year he turns 5, so this photo will be a great reminder to me of how fast he’s growing up and to never take those mornings (or days!) spent with the kids for granted.

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Interesting perspectives can be explained or depicted in many ways.  For another look at interesting perspectives, stop by Stacey’s blog to see what she’s captured this month.