Let’s Play Camera: November 20, 2011

Let’s get together and play camera.  Sunday, November 19, 2011 at 2:00pm.  We will tailor this get-together to your needs.  Do you need the very most basic basics?  Let’s start with that.  Do you have the basics but need to be pushed to the next level?  Let’s do that next.  Do you just need a nudge to practice and continue growing?  Let’s continue on with that.

We want good pictures of our kids.

Let’s get together and learn from each other.  We’ll walk away feeling inspired to capture our families & document this very merry holiday season.

Please comment here if you’d like info emailed to you about the get-together.  Make sure to link your email address and leave a comment letting me know what you feel like you need to work on!

The fee for this class will be $0.00.

I’d love to follow this up with a winter book study on Understanding Exposure on the Michiana Mamarazzi forum.  Be watching for more information on that!


1 comment

Kristy Reese - I would love to get more information on joining. I just purchased a new camera a few months ago so I am a beginner…I can use a lot of help:) Please email me additional info. Thanks!!

A train lover’s paradise

It was hot that day. Like 95 degrees hot. I wanted to take my son to see the trains at Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Niles, MI. Who am I kidding? I really wanted to dress him up like a train engineer complete with overalls and a red scarf around his neck in this heat in attempt to get some pictures of this boy as he turns 3. My husband already took him to see the trains a few weeks ago, and he loved it. I missed out as I was doing the ever-important back to school shopping at the outlets with my girlfriends. So, I decided to load my son and my baby girl up and head on up to Fernwood for the morning.

I love Fernwood. It is a beautiful place for a hike any season of the year. They have so much to offer in this little hideaway up in Michigan. On this particular day in this particularly awful heat, we were there for two reasons: see the trains and get some pictures! After driving the winding road back to the main building, we parked our car and headed to the front desk. The admission is quite reasonable; I paid $7 for myself, and Sam and the baby were free. Kids 5 and under are no charge! The staff was friendly (enough) asking if we have been here before and if we had any questions. Of course, I reply with a, “I think we are all set!” And, we head off for the gardens. How hard can it be to find the trains?

Any responsible adult would, upon discovering that Fernwood does not have a big flashing sign that says “Andy, the trains are this way!”, return to the main building to get directions. Oh no, not me. We walked in the heat along the paths looking for the trains for quite a while. We did manage to see some frogs and do some hiking along the way, a nice bonus for us both! We did have to return to the main building for directions. But once we did, it was a short little walk to the trains! A very sweet volunteer greeted us as we entered the train exhibit. It felt like we were entering a secret little village from long ago.  Unfortunately, two of the four trains weren’t working that day, but my son could have sat there for hours watching those two trains. I was thankful for the park benches and for the water I brought from home.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The exhibit provided some shade, which allowed me to take a few pictures. Taking pictures in the full sun intimidates me. Taking pictures in any setting intimidates me. I need to get over it.

It was so hot, eventually my son asked to leave. On an overcast day, I think he could have sat there for hours. It’s a perfect place for any train enthusiast no matter their age. And even if you don’t like trains, it’s a perfect place to take a family hike or spend some time alone outside. I believe the trains are there through October; I would call first, it was terribly hot that day, and I might just be making that up! It is about a 25 minute drive from Granger; definitely a shorter drive from downtown South Bend. Fernwood Botanical Gardens and Nature Preserve. 13988 Range Line Road, Niles, MI 49120 Phone 269.695.6491 http://www.fernwoodbotanical.org. Enjoy the slideshow!



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three’s company…

…and there’s no better company than the other lovely ladies of this blog.  Hi!  I’m Erin McGrath.  New to the world of photography and even newer to blogging (so bear with me if there are some hiccups in this journey).

A bit about me:  I adore Fall weather.  The color yellow will always put a smile on my face.  My guilty pleasure is rap music (I know, I know).  I have one chatty daughter (loving on her pet rock, Rocko, below) and a dear husband, Sam, who is the reason our daughter is all personality.  We also have one on the way, so I think it’s about to get more interesting around our house.  I’m sure I don’t know the half of it.

Just over a year ago, we moved to Granger after a year-long stop in Chicago and nine years in Detroit, so the change in pace has been a breath of fresh air.  Literally.  I haven’t breathed this much fresh air in years!  I’ve enjoyed seeing some of what this area has to offer, but I’m excited to do more digging and see/hear what else is worth doing in Michiana.  And maybe learning to take a decent picture or two along the way…


Nancy - Too funny about the fresh air…and love that shot!

Andy - I was wondering when I would get to see Rocko! We are so thrilled you came here to get some air!

sora - hey! did you take any good pics from first day @ bridges?

Erin - @ Sora: No, sorry! I took pictures on her first day during the Summer session, but I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t bring my camera for the first day of the Fall session!

A Hot Beignet or two…

Krispy Kreme has great morning light. Nancy told me that little secret. And I’m sure we’ll discuss Krispy Kreme on this blog a time or two. My kitchen table has fabulous light as well. As I am new to the world of photography, I often think of my table as my “light safety zone.” I generally know what settings I need on my camera at certain times of the day when I am at my table. My daughter was having a lunch tea party with a lovely friend when I took this shot:

I was in the mood for a different sort of place to take the kids for pictures and a treat. With my kids I have learned that I have much better results if I involve a treat while attempting to snap a pic or two. Or did Nancy share that great tip with me too? Most likely the latter is true.

Long ago before children (in what now feels like prehistoric times), Jon and I interviewed in New Orleans for a job. We ate at the lovely and well known Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter where we were served unforgettable hot beignets and chicory coffee. Yum. And yes, I still have the occasional dream about these hot beignets with powdered sugar. So, when I heard there was a French Quarter style coffee house in South Bend I did a cartwheel.

It was a fun adventure driving from Granger to downtown with four kids (friend included) in search of good light and even better treats at the Chicory Cafe. I noticed plenty of windows (yay), and the place had a warm and cozy feel to it. I ordered beignets for the kids and a latte for myself. Who am I kidding? I ordered beignets for the kids and a latte and beignets for myself. The beignets were hot and the latte was quite yummy. I was excited to sit down and take pictures, but I did notice it was darker (than my “light safety zone”). There were also some muted overhead office type lights interfering with my photo shoot. Unfortunately, life took over, and I was only able to capture a small handful of pics. My son was “bothering” his sister and her friend, and my baby decided it was time to need a fresh diaper. It was a fun time taking all four kids into the bathroom and discovering there was no changing table. That’s okay, I handled it. The baby did not go to bed with a dirty diaper that day.

Please be patient with me while I learn to post images on here. I didn’t think you wanted to see larger images of my latte, and it’s too late to stay up and figure out how to create a slideshow. Oh Nancy?

The Chicory Cafe is on the corner of Michigan and Jefferson in downtown South Bend. It is across the street from Healthworks Museum at 105 E. Jefferson Blvd., South Bend.  It is definitely a fun place to grab a treat or even lunch after a morning at the Healthworks Museum; they have some books and games to enjoy if you decide to stay awhile.  http://www.chicorycafe.net


Nancy - Love the shot with the chair!!
Looking forward to trying this joint!

Tina Hunter - Yum!! Heard the beignets were great 😉

Tina Hunter - Yum!! Heard the beignets are great 😉

Best haircut ever: Rocco’s Style Shop

Bradyn has stick-straight hair with a wild whirlwind cowlick at the very top.  He’s had some really horrible haircuts.  There’s the “uneven shag” and the worst and most common, “the lloyd christmas” (see image here).  My husband claims it’s because I don’t word things right when talking to the stylist.  But I gotta tell ya, Brian’s brought him home with some real doozies himself.  So for the first day of second grade, I decided to take him to a real barber shop.  And when I thought “barber shop”,  I thought old fashioned chairs, little men in white jackets, tile floors, and last but most importantly, good light.  So after some googling and super-sly sleuthing (driving into parking lots and driving slowly by windows to scope out decor and light), we chose Rocco’s Style Shop at 1437 North Ironwood Drive, South Bend, IN 46635-1839 (574 277-8065).  It’s just north of Edison on Ironwood.

They only take cash or check (I had to run to an ATM).  A haircut is $18 and I think a blowdry is an extra $4.50.  They take both walk-in’s and appointments and are just as tolerant of kids (and luckily, moms with cameras) as any chain place.  The haircut took about 15 minutes start to finish which is longer than a chain place but a million times better.  It’s completely perfect.  Totally worth the extra money (this coming from the mom that waits for the “sale” at Great Clips) and I guarantee he won’t need a haircut nearly as soon as he would have with an “uneven shag” or “lloyd christmas”.

Head into Rocco’s and tell ’em Nancy sent ya.  No really don’t tell them I sent you but I do highly recommend Rocco’s for a good haircut performed in good light.

1 comment

jasmine johnson - So awesome, Nancy! I love you for putting so much effort into this whole thing :)