it’s not the pacific, but they like it

Fall is quickly approaching. It makes me a little sad. There are those that relish having four distinct seasons – we sure have them in Oklahoma. Then there are those that wish for summer year round. I fall in the second group. Give me shorts and flip flops all year. I’m trying to soak up these final days of hot weather. I’ve grown up going to the lake. Random Oklahoma fact – we have more shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf shore coasts combined. However, our shorelines are around lakes. I’m not a fan of swimming in lake water. My brother-in-law noodles. I’ve seen what comes out of Oklahoma lakes. No thank you. My kids, well they are all about lakes…like good little Okies πŸ™‚


The kids played for hours – digging, splashing, running, repeat. While they played with water and sand, I played with my camera. I took the three shots below with different settings, giving priority to the aperture. I thought I’d share a very basic tip for those of you learning your camera. Most cameras have an option that says Av or A (it is usually on a dial on the outside of the camera body). This settings lets you pick your aperture and the camera picks the ISO and shutter speed. The aperture, in general terms, determines how blurry your background is. The bigger the number (f/22), the more that is in focus. The smaller the number (f/1.8), the more that is blurry. It is a fun setting for you to experiment with, but keep in mind as you change your aperture the camera must change your shutter speed and ISO, this can lead to blurry and grainy images depending on what you are shooting and the lighting.

Anyway…that is something fun to play with on your camera. The aperture is determined by your lens, so you might not be able to get a really small number (which is actually a big aperture openingΒ  – confusing, I know).

In brief…big number, in focus. Small number, blurry.9.14water-08b9.14water-079.14water-089.14water-09If you are interested in learning more about aperture, shutter speed and ISO – there are a few spots left in my final 2014 DSLR course, which begins on Sunday. The course is for the very beginner student. I cover the foundational elements of composition, storytelling, and shooting in manual from my approach to capturing my days. You can find more information and register by visiting the SnapShop Workshop website.

If you primarily use your phone to capture your days and would like to improve your phone photography skills, I am extending registration for the final 2014 phone course. The course covers my approach to photography (composition, storytelling, apps) from the perspective that your phone is your primary camera. You can find more information and register by visiting the SnapShop Workshop website.

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  • Steph - ((I hope this doesn’t come across as awkward, because it is meant to be completely positive))

    I read a lot of blogs. What can I say, I spend a lot of time on hold at work, and I have a lot of interests!! You know, a lot of bloggers start out as one thing and morph into something different. Something more commercial, less authentic, etc. The change usually occurs when the bloggers starts to attempt to make a living off of their blog, or gain too many fans.

    I am completely in love with the way you are using your blog to contribute to supporting your family. You are taking your God-given talents, putting real honest work into translating them into something useful, and offering them to others at a fair price. And what you’re offering is concrete and rewarding to those who choose to take you up on it. In the meantime, your blog continues to offer so much beauty to those who don’t participate in your workshops. You share how you do (and don’t) balance your life, without becoming one of those blogs where every second of your children’s lives are sold to the highest bidder.

    I just had to tell you how refreshing that all is, and how I’m inspired and impressed by your (for lack of a better term) class and integrity. That probably embarrasses you, because you aren’t an attention-seeker, but darn it, you are deserving of compliments! Anyway, back to my own daily struggle to have it all while fitting my creative side and passions into my work and family life – you’ve given me a mental boost, though, and I thought you should know πŸ™‚

  • Susie - I agree Steph! Well said!

  • Catherine - What she said. ^^ πŸ™‚

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - I find it funny, I was born and raised in Florida and long for actual seasons. I like to say we have two: hot and not-so-hot. However, we can tell when the seasons change based on what’s being sold in Target, and you know it’s REALLY cold (as in, 70 degrees) when people start wearing boots outside. So although you and I both want the opposite of what our geographical location provides, at least we can experience what we have with those we love. πŸ™‚

  • kimberly oyler - i will trade you places. it is still not fall weather in california. i’m not sure how i’m going to survive.

  • MrsFun - I’m with you on the flip flops and shorts all year. I am entering my second fall and soon it will be my second winter and I am not ready at all.
    Love the first set of photos, so happy and carefree.

  • Alisa Muir - Awesome pics.
    I will say, that pic of Firecracket up the top walking out of the lake. My gosh she is a mini you. Like I did a double take in that pic.

  • AshleyAnn - Steph – thank you…your encouragement means a great deal to me…Thank you for taking the time to write that!

  • Monica - Hi Ashley, beautiful captures like always. One question what lens you use for the pictures above? I am trying to see what lens I should buy next. πŸ™‚ Maybe by Christmas .

  • Katie A - By chance, were you guys at Lake Eufaula? I grew up going to that lake and still visit every summer with my hubby and kids. Love sandy Oklahoma lakes!

  • Samantha - Do you use the back button focusing? When shooting portraits for some reason I always have one eye out of focus. Any tips on how to avoid this besides changing the aperture?