The Woodlands Family Photographer: garden & outdoor photography

My favorite place to take pictures is my the grandparents' house. They have the most beautiful flowers growing year round. It is late summer, early fall and the most beautiful flowers and lemons are growing. Makes for a pretty perfect backdrop. 

Camera & Settings:  Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, f/4.5, 1/400, ISO 200 (outside, midday, very cloudy). All edited with a VSCO pack 1 preset, with some minor adjustments, in Lightroom. 


The Woodlands Child Photographer

Sometimes it is totally worth it to wake up early, play in the fog and find a grasshopper or two. We are always finding the most beautiful places to take pictures in The Woodlands. Next time we will wear our rain boots so we can splash in the little stream too. 

Camera & Settings:  Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, f/2.8, 1/640, ISO 160 (outside, in the early morning with a deep fog filtering all the morning sunlight). All edited with a VSCO pack 1 preset, with some minor adjustments, in Lightroom. I also added layer of highlights to make my fog look a bit more dense because my eye seemed to catch that more than my camera. 

Tip for taking pictures in the fog:  meter off the skin of the person you're shooting or whatever you want to be properly exposed. Fog really illuminates the sky, so if you you meter somewhere in the foggy background, you might end up underexposing your subject.  Also, sun coming through the fog really makes for some nice back-lighting, so be sure to try that too!

The Woodlands Family Photographer: shooting in the cornfield & the country

So this happened about two months ago, but due to summer dragging me down (in such a good way!), I am just now getting around to posting these. They are all shot in either our darling Paps' farm or his home. I leave Mer Rouge feeling so jealous of all the beautiful wide open spaces. Our backyard is feeling extra tiny and pitiful now! 

All shot with Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4. For the farm shots, inside the corn stalks, I used f/3.2, 1/500, ISO 500. It was bright as could be outside, but lots of shade inside the corn stalks. In Lightroom, I touched up their faces with the dodge brush by about 35% & also took some of the green off their faces with a bit of magenta on that brush.  For all the shots outside the corn, I bumped down the ISO to 150 so I would be blown out. 

For the garden shots, I also used the Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, but I used mostly f/3.5, 1/250-320, ISO 800. I hate to use that slow of a shutter speed, but it was getting quite late and just a little sun was coming through those beautiful pecan trees, so I had to make adjustments, including that higher ISO. 

For the shots where I am trying to capture Paddy being tossed in the air, Paddy running and Bop running, I used back button focus to try and keep them sharp. It helped a little, but its definitely something I need more work with! 



The Woodlands Family Photographer: shooting on vacation in Hawaii


My tips for taking pictures on vacation:

  • I use my Canon 6d on a daily basis, even vacation, so I usually tuck it into a padded waterproof wet bag & then inside my purse. This one by Jaq Jaq is what I use.  It's good for beach because it keeps out sand and water
  • I use a compact, light weight lens, the Canon 50 mm 1.4
  • I keep a lens hood on to give a little extra protection to my lens and because I'm usually shooting in bright sun during the day time. 
  • I bring an extra memory card, an extra battery and my battery charger
  • Know what you want to shoot before you go... get on pinterest to get an idea of the kind of shots you want to get at certain spots  you are visiting. 
  • Camera settings: I usually kept it on about f/4.5, 1/500, iso (pretty dang low for outside). 
  • Sometimes you might feel silly or annoying when you want to stop everything and get a picture somewhere unconventional... well, moments after you take the picture, the awkwardness or inconvenience has passed and you have that picture you wanted. So just take that picture you want to take! You'll be glad later. ;) 

These are my pictures from our family vacation to Hawaii. We were there for my sweet cousin's wedding and I took a ton of pictures. We stayed on Oahu, on Waikiki Beach. My favorite activities were (1) the wedding, of course! (2) Pearl Harbor (3) paddle boarding and swimming in Waikiki (4) swimming on the North Shore and visiting Turtle Cove (5) eating fresh Malasadas (akin to a donut) from Leonards, (6) climbing Diamond Head (extinct volcano), (7) driving a Jeep around the North Shore, (8) the Dole Pineapple Plantation (9) spending time with family. Dreaming of another trip already... I wish!

What's Pop Rocks, Mommy?

I think we can all agree that watching children try pop rocks for the first time is the funniest thing ever? They wanted to know what Pop Rocks were. And you know as well as I that understanding Pop Rocks requires eating them! Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4 f/4.5 (I usually keep it between 4.0 - 5.0 when I'm taking pictures of them together & want them both in focus), 1/400, ISO 800 (inside with some inside lights on bright & a bit of window light).

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You Say Tomato

It's really nice having grandparents who grew their own tomatoes. Its even better having grandparents who share their own tomatoes.  The next installment for this series will feature our other grandparents, who grow their own potatoes. I'll let you guess the title to that post! Side note, my children eat tomatoes like they are apples.

Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 200, all edited with a Lightroom preset from Kate T Parker with some modifications.

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We visited NASA's Johnson Space Center last week. You can't live in Texas and not go there. It's just how I remembered it from my last visit, only better because of the kids. You really can't wrap your head around how massive everything is until you see it in person. Last night there was a full moon. It's hard to believe that big beautiful rock used to be part of the earth and now it is forever orbiting out in space. Thanks to the dozen space books we checked out from the library, Claudia can tell you just about anything you want to know about the moon... including that she will be going there someday. I guess we will have to wait and see about that!IMG_2436Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-48Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-48 IMG_2444Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-50Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-50 IMG_2479Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-54Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-54

Russell asked Patrick what happens inside the rocket boosters during takeoff. Here is Patrick explaining how explosions work: IMG_2504Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-58Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-58 IMG_2505Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-59Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-59IMG_2489Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-56Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-56 IMG_2509Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-60-2Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-7

Gravely Beautiful

Taking pictures midday can be pretty tricky. This is doubly true when it is summer in a hot climate. But sometimes you see beautiful things in the middle of the day and you just have to get over the bright, direct light and shoot anyway. Such was the case when I passed by the Old City Cemetery in Galveston, Texas. We were just leaving town, the car was all packed up and everyone was settled in their seats, ready to drive. I had seen the cemetery earlier and when we passed it again, I couldn't help myself. I made my husband pull over and I bribed Claudia to take some pictures. Again, it was hot (upper 90s) and midday. I knew I couldn't shoot for very long, so I had to be quick... like 5 minutes quick. I put the hood on my 50 mm, put some sunglasses on Claudia and luckily we found some dandelions for her. I underexposed all the images because I wanted to really catch the beautiful blues of the sky and the bright yellow wildflowers. The entire cemetery was covered with wildflowers. The graves went back to the early 1800s, mostly European immigrants. So again, not an ideal time to shoot... the sun was directly over us and it was hot as hell, but it was just too beautiful to pass.

Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, f/8.0, 1/640, ISO 100 (for all), all edited in LR with VSCO pack 1, Fuji 400 H- (minus grain)

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Just Beachy

I don't think there is anything more satisfying than a day at the beach. I get so excited when I walk down a wooden pier, knowing the sand and shore is just steps away. Galveston, Texas does not have the bluest waters... it would be more fair to call them brown, really. But when the sky is just the right shade of blue, even that muddy messy water seems to sparkle. On a bright day like this, I will keep a narrow aperture, a super fast shudder speed, and a very low ISO. Canon 6d, 50mm 1.4, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 100 (approximately around there for all of these), all edited in LR with VSCO pack 1, Fuji 400 H- (minus grain, plus a few tweaks) preset

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The Alley

For better or worse, my kids don't experience near enough alleyways. But on this fine day they did.

Canon 6d, 50mm 1.4, f/4, 1/320, ISO 4000 (it was almost dark outside...think I should have widened the aperture & brought down the ISO because Claudia's face was super grainy.

Had to use the skin soften ++ brush to make it not too noisy. IMG_2266Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer_texas-1

The Start of Summer

There is nothing more beautiful than a summer sky and there is nothing more delicious than a cold slice of watermelon eaten under said sky. Here's to summer!IMG_1901-3Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-1Canon 6d, 50mm 1.4, f/4.5, 1/800, ISO 250

LR edit: VSCO pack 1, Fuji 400 H- (minus grain) preset, upped blues saturdation, dodged Claudia, upped exposure / decreased saturation of clouds

Last Bugs of the Season

This spring we have been attempting to introduce these two to this Louisiana tradition. So far they seem much more interested in playing with them than eating them. Patrick picks up each crawfish, one by one, carefully examines them, then flings them back on the pile, announcing "he dead! for each one. Claudia, being the far more adventurous one of the two, has eaten a few pieces of tail meat, but largely reserves her appetite for the potatoes and corn.  As for me and Russell, we pretty much race to see who can eat the most. My technique is a little poor, so I'm usually behind him. Next year will be my year, I'm sure!IMG_1843Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-2IMG_1813Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-1IMG_1859Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-6The_woodlands_photographer_all_the_gold_crawfishIMG_1847Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-3


Claudia: You are winding down with kindergarten... just a few more days. You turned in your last homework assignment entitled "my plans for the summer."  So far your list includes: (1) going to Chuck E Cheese (we've avoided it this far, so I guess we are due); (2) swim at the beach; (3) have a slumber party; and (4) bake a cake. I think we will do all this and some more. You are trying to help me teach Patrick how to ride his balance bike. Thank you for that... it has not been easy, has it? ;) Patrick: With the weather being so rainy, we go outside every chance we get. You ride your scooter so well, but you are refusing to ride on your balance bike. You just want to "walk it," which means you walk beside it and pull it everywhere you go. Claudia and I are trying to figure out a way to get you on the bike so you can have some real fun! IMG_0897Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-1 IMG_0966Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-3