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With gratitude to digital photography

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  ~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”  ~Henri Cartier-Bresson


With Thanksgiving right around the corner here in the United States, I’ve been thinking of the many things that I’m grateful for…like family, nature and our home.  Something that is definitely towards the top of my gratitude list is photography, and more specifically digital photography.

I was late to the digital photography party.  I didn’t switch to a digital camera until 2007, and that was only because my film camera stopped working. I needed to buy a new camera, so after much research I finally bought a digital Canon S3-IS, and then a year later I decided to get a DSLR  (Canon Rebel).  After I got my new camera I took some photography and photoshop classes, both on-line and at a local community college. I also read a lot of books and magazine articles about photography. Along the way I discovered many reasons why I love digital photography. Here are my top four:


One of the things I love best about digital photography is that I can take as many shots as I want because I don’t have to pay to have all the pictures developed.  I can take pictures of things other than just the typical special occasion shots, like birthdays and holidays.  I have the freedom to take photos of nature and detail shots of our everyday life. I can take 200 pictures of the sunlight shining through the blossoms of a cherry tree if I want to and only print out the ones that I love.  

I can experiment with light and shadows and perspective.  I can try different lenses and play with various settings. If the photo doesn’t turn out I can learn from it…and then delete it.



Digital photography allows me to be more generous with my pictures.  I find myself taking more photos of friends and family, and then giving them the prints or digital files. I was the unofficial team photographer for the kids sports teams (baseball, cross country, lacrosse). At the end of the season I would create slideshows for team parties and photo collages to share. I would also put the pictures up on a file sharing site (like SmugMug).

One of the first photos that I took when I got my digital camera was of a pet of a family that I met at the baseball fields.  This family’s son was on the same team as my son and they would often bring their dog to the games.  I took a picture of their pet and later printed it out and gave it to them.  Fast forward to four years later when I was at their house for a party…and they still had the picture up on their refrigerator!  


I love combining my digital photos with filters and textures in photoshop (I use an older version of Photoshop Elements).  I’ve made all sorts of items using my digital creations…most of them to give as gifts…things like calendars, coasters, canvas bags, coffee mugs, and recipe cards.

If it wasn’t for digital photography I don’t think I would have my small creative business selling my art photography prints on and at a few local coffee shops.  



I find myself using my camera as a photo diary, taking pictures of the little details of our daily life that I want to remember. Little reminders of the food that we ate, the clothes that we wore, the places that we went… pictures of the dining room table filled with notebooks and homework, or of the mudroom with shoes tossed under the bench and backpacks on the floor. These pictures mark a moment of time in our lives that I don’t want to ever forget.

Another reason that I love digital photography are the apps that will send you emails with your photographs from years past.  I use Shoebox, but there are other ones like TimeHop that do similar things.  It’s so awesome to see pictures from this day in your photo history from 5 years ago.


Looking through the lens of my digital camera changed the way that I see my life and for that I’m forever grateful.  What are some things that you’re thankful for?

This article was written by Dawn Smith.


5 Tips for Taking Photographs in the Snow

For many of us, this past week has brought a dusting, if not a few inches, of the fluffy white stuff.  Snow.  And so begins the season of bundling both our children and ourselves to enjoy some outdoor adventures.  While (at least for myself) it’s easy to remember to bring the camera along for our warmer weather fun, don’t shy away from bringing it to document your snowy explorations too.  Photographing in the winter and snow, brings a few unique challenges with lighting and white balance.  

Today, I’m sharing 5 quick tips for making the most of your winter photography…

1.  White Balance

White balance is often the trickiest part of photographing in the snow, it can come off in your images looking gray, brown or even blue. This white balance issue can easily be corrected by setting your camera’s white balance mode to Shade.  Another easy option is to meter off a white sheet of paper or poster board.  

2. Exposure

The reflective nature of snow can be confusing to your camera. One way to fix this is through exposure compensation.  Overexposing by +1 or +2 when shooting in manual mode will brighten up that white, and eliminate any remaining gray tones.  

3.  Stay warm

Keep your camera warm by tucking it in a bag, pocket or inside your coat when not shooting.  This will prevent cold from draining the battery, and any precipitation from damaging equipment.  

Keep your hands warm while shooting with a pair of fingerless gloves, or mittens that will fold down to expose your finger tips.  These are cute!  This will give you a good grip on your camera and help manipulate the dials and buttons as you are shooting, but still keep your hands warm.

4.  The Great White Reflector

Snow truly is the great reflector.  What better way to create beautiful skin tones and catchlights in the eyes!

5.  Avoid harsh light

Just as it is during the warmer months of the year, early in the day and late in the afternoon are the ideal times of day for shooting in the snow.  Avoid the harsh light and shadows of noon and the couple hours following, if you are able. Remember the light fades much faster due to daylight savings!

loved it! (26th edition)

You guys, this is it! My favorite time of the year. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. The preparations, the cooking, the decorating, the gift buying. I love the crunchy leaves on the ground and the first snow flurries of the season. I consider Thanksgiving and Christmas a wonderful, magical holiday all wrapped up into one. And I promise, it’s not like I am meaning to skip over Thanksgiving this year (I promise I am not! In fact I am hosting this year), but my brain is in gift buying mode! I know, I know . . . I am one of those people who starts thinking about Christmas gifts months (and months) in advance. So here are some ideas for some great gifts this holiday season:

Hollie Hibbert Illustration:

My talented friend and illustrator, Hollie Hibbert, recently updated her website and has a little shop with the cutest prints for sale. I kid you not, she is the most talented illustrator I have the pleasure of knowing! Back in college, she was in one of my digital illustration classes, and she would be whipping out all these darling drawings from her imagination . . . meanwhile I am surrounded by a million photo references. She is so great. And I am in love with her super hero prints- this wonder woman one needs to go in my daughter’s nursery stat!

Mommy Mailbox:

I have a good friend from my college days, Ainsley, that is launching a new business with some wonderful gals called Mommy Mailbox. It is similar to something like birchbox, julep, or the dollar shave club, where you sign up for a monthly subscription, and every month they send you a wonderful box of goodness in the mail. This one is all centered on things to make us mommy’s happy. Their motto- a treat for mom. My friend, Ainsley has impeccable taste. Her whole house and wardrobe is like stepping into a beautiful magazine, so I want this. And so do you. Plus, I just learned some fabulous news! Abbey Rodriguez from Along Abbey Road helped hand pick the items for December’s box! I am super excited and feeling kind of nerdy because I love her blog. I signed up for one box, and if I love it (and I know I will) I will sign up for a subscription. Learn more and sign up here. 

Amazon Echo: 

Over here at our house, we are diehard Amazon Prime fans. It is the best. I love the fact that things get delivered right to our door in 2 days time. And of course, when you’re not in luck at the store, you can always find whatever it is you are looking for on Amazon! In fact, sometimes it’s just easier than running out to the store. Well, Amazon is launching their latest invention here soon called the Amazon Echo. Look at this video!! It’s like Siri, only 1000x better! It spouts off news, weather, will play music from your Amazon cloud- you name it. You can click here for an invitation, and I really hope we get picked because this thing needs to be a fixture in our house. 

Taylor Swift- 1989:

Speaking of being a fixture in our house . . . my daughter loooves Taylor Swift. Therefore, it is always playing. If I had a dollar for every time she came up to me and said, “Shake it off?” I’d’ be one rich woman! And what is more cute than my almost-two-year-old dancing and shaking it off to her music? Nothing. So of course, the day her latest album came out, we ordered it (on Amazon of course)  and had a little dance party. You guys, her music is catchy! I know there are plenty of Taylor haters out there, but I will stand firm to my beliefs and be a fan. Because although I am a grown woman, I still like teeny-bopper music. I just do. Buy her album here– it’d be a perfect stocking stuffer. 

Tone It Up Apparel:

I don’t know about you, but I could stand to be a bit more healthy. In the past 2 years, I’ve put on about 20 lbs, and it needs to go! Although to me it’s not just about weight, I am trying to just be all around healthier by eating right and exercise. Well, have you heard about Karena and Katrina from Tone It up? They have a wonderful website with tons of workout ideas and recipes, etc. Plus they look just so darn happy- they radiate goodness! Well, they have the cutest shop with the most darling workout clothes and accessories. I mean, look at this! And I’m secretly hoping this will show up in my stocking!

Diamond Candles:

I am not sure how I came across this, but I love the concept! I looooove candles- to me they are a perfect gift to either give or receive. Well, Diamond Candles are super cool because not only do the scents sound heavenly, but each candle has a ring hidden inside. In every candle, you have the chance to get a ring anywhere from $10- $10,000! How fun is that? I am really eyeing this one– it sounds so delicious in the wintertime. Wouldn’t mind if my house smelled like that!  

What gifts will you be giving this holiday season?

This article was written by Jamie.