One of my goals for 2018 is to learn new techniques, improve myself in photography.  With recommendations from a group of friends, I joined in this journey with P52clicks.  A community where photographers all over the world encourage each other to learn 12 techniques a year (1 technique per month).  We usually have about 4 or 5 weeks to learn that technique for the month and to practice it with our camera.  Along the journey, we shared our images on social media and in the group for feedback.  This month, a group of my photography friends decided to show case our favorites from the month of January.  

“Tell me and I’ll forget.  Show me and I may remember.  Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

Instead of showcasing, I decided to write more of what I have learned from January.  The technique I took on was to capture subjects under low light conditions.  Low light is not necessarily night photography, it is only when the light source is limited whether it is sun light or artificial lights.  Let’s take your bathroom for example, most of the bathrooms have limited light source, it might have a small window that has some lights peeked through but the rest of the room is dark.  I called that little light peeking through “light pocket.”  Low light technique can be very addicting if you know how to manipulate little “light pockets” to your advantage or you can create a low light condition by limiting lights pouring into the environment you are setting up the shots.  Some might ask, why would you limit lights into your environment?  My answer is to create a light source focus only on your subject.  This will create nice shadows and lights on your subject to capture the true feelings of the moment.  After capturing some photos using this technique, I have a few notes or more of lessons for myself in the future.  I hope you will find this helpful.  I love this technique so for sure you will be seeing more of it in Storyteller Through Photos in the next coming months.

Lesson 1: When I walked into a room, here are a few things I ask myself: Where is the light coming from?  What kind of light source do I have? (natural lights or artificial lights) and Where will I place the subject using the available light source to capture the story?  A little careful assessment and preparation will help create more emotional and dramatic photos.

Lesson 2: Manual Mode is as always highly recommended.  You got the full control!

Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to increase ISO, prefer noisy photos over blurry ones.  Know your camera and lens well to see how much noise they can handle.

Lesson 4: lower shutter speed (long exposure) to get more lights, tripod is highly recommended in this method to avoid camera shake – still need to try this.

Lesson 5: Shoot wide open, which means low f-number.  When you get past the kit lens, you will never go back.  Kit lens usually has the owest F/3.6 while other lenses with F/1.8 or 1/4 can create much more desireable low light photos.  If you are working on a budget, I would say try 50mm 1.8 (I should with Canon).  This lens is a great learning tool for beginner.  Though I have moved on up with other lens, I still go back to this lens from time to time because it’s so light.  I can easily carry it in my purse anywhere with the camera.

Lesson 6: Don’t be afraid to use artificial lights.

Lesson 7: use light (natural or artificial) to create dramatic effects.

Lesson 8: Don’t be afraid to shut down some light source to intensify the story in the photos.

Lesson 9: Don’t forget to have fun and use any of the combinations above to your likings (just like cooking, you are the one creating the recipes to your tastes).  Photography is art, create your own recipe, even breaking the rules is acceptable to create your own piece of art.

here are some of my favorites from January everyday’s moment

In the photo below, the light was coming from a window of his left.

Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to increase ISO camera setting: SS 1/100, ISO 3200, freelens (no F stop info)

 

This photo was taken with 50mm, 1.8, you can see a little haze around him, I actually used my range oven light to light up his face.  I used double exposure with a little plastic to create a little glow in the photo.

Lesson 5: Shoot wide open. SS 1/125, F 1.8, ISO 1250
Lesson 6: Don’t be afraid to use artificial lights.
Lesson 6: Don’t be afraid to use artificial lights. My light source is the bathroom ceiling light, having the door slightly open to light up just this guy’s face.
Lesson 7: use the lights through window to create light and shadow effect
Lesson 8: Don’t be afraid to shut down some light source to intensify the story in the photos. The entire house lights were shut down, only one flashlight they carried on a stick with them.

My talented friend Suzi from Moments by Suzi also played along with this technique, please check out her low light favorites here, you will enjoy her work just as much as I do.

That’s it for this month, please check back for February photography technique.  Untill then if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me, I would love to hear from you.

 Thuvan – Your gal behind the lens here at FrameThisMomentPhotography

2018 January

January Photo Gallery

I challenge myself to do a photo a day then published it in this gallery.  I have different prompts every day or at least every week so that I can get familiar with different techniques.

This month’s prompts: lowlight, freelensing, rule of third, compassion, lights and shadow, in the frame, self-portrait, teaching & learning together, brothers, out of focus, morning snuggle, step by step, celebration, season – winter theme, backlight, curiosity, negative space, what I see, imagination, bath time, play time, run away, reflect, double exposure.  So far my most favorites were lowlight, freelensing, teaching and learning, and double exposure.  Double exposure, lowlight were very challenging, freelensing is quite difficult too but I’m getting the hang of it.

Continue reading “2018 January”

Our family secrets of summer fun in Houston

June is the beginning of summer in Texas.  Most of the school is out by June and summer activities began.   By all mean, I’m not an expert for summer fun.  I’m only doing this to give my kids some childhood memories, teach them how to care for others and just simply enjoy being a kid.  I hope our activities will give you some ideas to do with your kids.  Please do share what you do with your kids in the summer so we can learn and maybe do it in the next summer.  We still have two more months to go.  This is only June activities, I have so much more but I will save it for the end of the summer to compile all of our summer activities.

1- Involve in at least one sport event:

This year both of my older kids were involved in the summer swimming league so most of my Saturday is consumed around swimming meets until 3rd week of June.  They enjoyed swimming, meeting new friends, hanging out with old friends, school friends and just have fun all together.

20160506- IMG_7223 Swimming Team Summer 2016

2- Visit Hospitals especially children hospitals:

Early part June, we decided to go visit some folks in the hospital, the first person we met was Ashley Johnson.  She’s currently going to school in California and came home for the summer.  You can follow Ashley’s Journey here on instagram, Ashley’s Instagram.  She’s a very sweet young girl.  In our conversation, we found out that Ashley was also a swimmer who got the chance to see Michael Phelps when she was little.   She’s also a friend with our team coach so the kids actually enjoyed talking to her. This is something we will be doing throughout the summer after our summer road trip.  20160607-IMG_0489 Jonah Jaden Ashley Johnson

3-Enjoy nature: 

There are so many things and places are free around you.  Take a stroll around your neighborhood in the afternoon/early evening.  Let the kids go outside and shout out to natures.  It is healthy for them, it is good for them to appreciate little things in their life.

20160529-IMG_9902 ThienAn Anvy & Jaden

4- Some electronic time:

Although I’m not big with electronics, I would like to give them some electronic time so they can let loose and enjoy their own time, connect with friends from afar.20160529-IMG_9960 ThaiBinh

5. Library trips:

Go to the library, check out some books.  Let them open their mind with some imagination through readings.  The libraries usually have reading list recommended for all ages, you can find all kind of books for them to read during the summer.20160616-IMG_1502 VBS Decoration day

6- Volunteer:

Volunteer and involve in the community organizations, whether it is at church, nursing homes or at any food bank or anywhere that you are comfortable.  That’s when you get to meet people (interesting people), people from far away, people that you might never meet otherwise.  Open up their minds with the reality of world that there’s so much more than what they see.  This year we got to meet a young man who has traveled to US from France.  He’s one of the leaders for Vacation Bible School for our second baby.  A very nice caring young man.  20160623-IMG_1850 VBS 2016 at CTR B&W

 

I hope your family will have a fun and safe summer.

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Father’s Day – A special note to my partner in crime

To my children’s dad,

You are one of a kind.  I’m glad to have met you and together we created a family with three children.  Our kids are the most luckiest because they have the best dad in the whole wide world (I might be biased a little here but what can I say?)  The children adore you.  You have been there since day one and I have no doubt that you will continue to be this way with them even when they are older.  You show kindness, love, care and patience in everything that you do in our day to day.  I’m lucky to have a partner who’s as compatible or even more than me so we can share duties, love and laughters.

Today I have decided to document these special moments as a dedication for you as a dad. I love you to the moon and back and I’m sure our children do as well.

We started the day with our traditional breakfast in bed for all special occasions, this was more special with the assistance of our eldest.  He woke up early so he could help preparing this special meal for dad.  Then we headed out for church.  After church we were supposed to have lunch but spontaenousely we decided that it’s a “junky” day for dad so we broke all rules and got snacks instead.  Then we headed to our uncle’s house for a party to celebrate dad.

At the end of the day, he granted them “special visas” to sleep in our bed too… Now I’m re-thinking what I said earlier about… ^_^

20160619-IMG_1540 2016 Father's Day Papa
Our oldest woke up early to make special scrambled egg
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Our 2nd son and little daughter kept an eye on dad, making sure he didn’t wake up until it was time.
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He later admitted that the bacon smell woke him up 🙂
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Yes, corn was served for breakfast, one of his favorites.
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Then he had to share lol
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Everyone loved daddy’s breakfast.
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everything was gone in a matter of minutes except for the coffee, they all know they can’t have that just yet.
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Baby girl said she wanted a picture with Papa.
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Daddy walked in while she was putting her shoes on.
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Guess who helped putting it on for her?
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Then who else helped brush her hair?
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We are ready for our day.
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What mama saw and prayed for.
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Papa received a special blessing.  Her face though, I didn’t see it until I processed the photo
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walking hands in hands
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Baby girl shared her portion with Papa
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Papa is collecting his dues from the other two ^_^
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Papa enjoyed his special treats ^_^
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Yum yum!
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Oh yeah!

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What’s so funny Papa?
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He’s a wonderful son as well, not so much through words but through his actions.
20160619-IMG_1742 2016 Father's Day Papa
winding down for the day, when they announced their special visas to take over my bed hmmm!!!
20160619-IMG_1747 2016 Father's Day Papa
The day is done.

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Day in the life – Self Documentary Portaits

So it finally happens.  Today was the last day of school.  I have been excited but worried at the same time.  I’m excited to get to spend the time and make memories with my little loves.  I’m worried that I don’t have enough things for the kiddos to do or keeping those growing brains busy enough but I’m leaving it up to the guy upstairs to help me having a great summer with the little kiddos and the family when we have our road trip.  Inspired by the idea of documenting “day in the life” by some friends in the Clickinfriends, I’ve decided to use this day to document what’s going on in our life.  This is not only for me but it’s also for the kiddos to see years later.  The difficult part of this challenge is to be in the frame at every photo.

The past year has been great for both school kids, they start to find their own interest and what sparks their little growing brains.  As a mother, each day away from them is a day of many worries but I place my worries in the hands of the Creator because there’s nothing I can control.  I can only control what I’m teaching my children.  Before sending the boys off to school, I try to remind them of the following hoping, praying that when they grow up, they will become useful individuals for their own family and for the society as a whole: “My sons, remember: always listen and respect your teachers (and any adults). Help your friends especially those who are not as fortunate as you. Treat others just like how you want to be treated. Study hard so you can play hard. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by. Love your youth because it only comes once. Watch your surroundings, pay attention to strange signs and strangers who you feel not belonging. Always say sorry, thank you and please. Be ready to forgive at any given time. Life is too short to hold grudges or let sadness take over your life. Always have the desire to learn new things, to meet new people and to make new friends. Remember that it’s important to have happiness but it’s even more important to bring happiness to others because ultimately that happiness will come back to you ten folds. Eat ice cream, read a book, watch a movie, listen to music, enjoy simple things in life. One thing I’m still learning is to listen, learn to listen before you get to my age. Treat elders with grace, passion and respect because you will be old one day too.  Always treat the ladies right because like your mom, they bore and gave births as well.  Remember to pray and count your blessings everyday. I will Pray for your safety and protection from God Almighty.”

Overall it was a great day.  Other than the usual happenings everyday, I was at the school with the kiddos for their end of the year parties, I visited my mama and was reminded how spoiled I am.  She made me green mustard kimchi, my most favorite and barely mentioned it at family gathering on memorial day that I was having a craving for it.  A few days later, here it is.  We celebrated end of the year as a family, the kids got rewarded for doing well in school.  Because it was raining, there were a few photos were taken with my phone.  I’m a little (just a little) disappointed that my bus stop surprise was not as good as I planned because of the rain.  I wanted to spray the kids with crazy strings when they got off the bus but it started raining so I squirted a few, grabbed the camera, the umbrella to hurry home so the kids and the camera do not get wet – well the camera mostly because the kids really they could play in the rain ^_^.  I’m glad to have had this challenge and had so much fun doing it although it was a bit tiring.  The picture of me hugging my husband at the end of the day was just how I felt.  I wanted. to. crash!  My most favorite photo was when the kiddos pulled out my oldest’s first year album and started admiring the places he got to go, things he did.  We had a good time looking through the photos with a few good good giggles.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Summer is officially here, we would like to wish you and your family a great summer, safe travels and make great memories with the ones you love!

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Kids are Kids

This is our second “6 on the 6th Blog Circle” and I’d like to write a little bit of what has been happening around here in Houston, Texas.  When you finished with my blog, please check out Elaina B Photography and see what she has on her page, then the one after that and after that… keep going until you end up at my page again ^_^.  As always, we love like(s) and comments.  Thank you for checking us out – with a cherry on top.  enjoy!

The week that I got back from my Atlanta trip, Cypress (the Northwest side of Houston) was flooded after one night of heavy pouring rain.  The flood had killed 7 people, destroyed 1000 homes possibly caused up to 5 billion in damages (according to CNN).

20160419- IMG_6536 Cypress Flood
Turn around, don’t drown

 

The Schools were closed so we had the kids at home watching movies, reading books.  On the third day, the sun came out so EVERYONE in the neighborhood also came out.  That included us.

20160420- IMG_6589 Jaden & Anvy
Big brother helped little sister up when she fell
20160420- IMG_6599 Jonah Jaden & Anvy
water puddles on the streets are fun to play with

 

It was fun to watch the children being out and enjoying themselves.  The whole neighborhood was out either biking, walking or even canoeing on the risen water creek.  I wouldn’t recommend jumping off the bridge but they seemed to have fun.  I remember my friends doing this when I was little.  I didn’t know how to swim so I tend to stay away from these activities.

20160420- IMG_6637 Flood 2016
One.! two.! three.! then you are on your own.
20160420- IMG_6695 Flood 2016
This isn’t a river, when the water is gone, it is just a creek. Water went up to about 13 feet high.

 

Some adults walked by with their heads shaking, some stayed back to watch, some stood by to give them tips of safety.  I was one of the ones to give them tips.  There was no way of stopping them, might as well teach them how to do it safely.  They were really not bad kids, they were very polite.  When I started the conversation with the few of them, they talked and responded back in a very respectful manner.  Kids are just kids.  They need to have some fun after being “held captives” during the flood.  I’m glad they found something healthy and fun to do rather than smoking, drinking or doing drugs.

Just a heads up, if you ever visited Houston and got caught in the flood, just “turn out, don’t drown”.  The level of water on the street is unpredictable and it would be too late by the time you say the word “Oops”.  Your life and others can be in serious danger, please don’t risk it.  Nothing is more important than yourself and your family at the moment.

Thank you for stopping by, until next time.

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Flying with Toddler

It is that time when you are ready to take your toddler to see the world or to visit families and friends.  Before booking that flight, read on these tips to help you prepare and make the trip as fun and enjoyable for you and your toddler.  Here are some tips that I came up with after flying with my toddler.

    1.  Booking the flight:
      • Book either an early or mid afternoon flight, around their nap time is best.
      • Nonstop flight if at all possible.
      • If your toddler is active and likes to move around, I’d choose an aisle seat.  This will allow your toddler to walk around if need to.
    2. Getting prepared for the flight:
      • For young toddler that are still on bottle, bring a bottle of milk so he/she can suck on during take off and landing.  If your toddler is still breastfeeding (yay for breastfeeding babies), you know what to do mom.
      • Be prepared for security line.  Bring an umbrella stroller or a stroller car seat so that your toddler can rest in it.
      • For older toddler, bring lollipops or something to chew and swallow during take off and landing.
      • Bring a few favorite books, coloring books and some crayola and a few favorite small toys, and ONE favorite comfort thing (blanket… etc).  Be careful with comfort thing because you will have to make sure you don’t lose it or you will be miserable for the rest of the trip.  I let my kids use multiple blankets so there’s no one comfort.  We can take any blankets with us and it’s no issue to replace them.
      • I don’t use tablet but there are people using them to entertain their kids (music/movies/games) and it’s fine.  The reason I don’t use tablets is because I want to teach my kids to travel light and enjoy things around them such as art galleries at the airport hallways or making conversations with other travelers.
      • Separate your things in plastic ziplock bags so you can see them easily.
    3.  Day of travel:
      • Get to the airport early.
      • Car seat and strollers are free luggages.  Be sure to bag them so there will be no damage.
      • Be prepare for security line: Let them know if you have to bring milk/water/juice bottle in.
      • Don’t forget to bring all those items you prepared in #2
      • Bring some snacks for yourself and your toddler (let it be chip, crackers, or fruits), the airport allows you to bring those.
      • Let your toddler run around.  If it’s too crowded at your gate, find another corner that has space for your toddler to run around or you can take him/her up and down the hallway enjoying the art galleries  or looking out the windows to see planes landing and taking off.
      • Time to pull out those activities book, reading.  One thing at a time so you don’t have a cleaning chore when it is time to take off.
      • Take your time, and use flight attendant and your fellow travelers as your allies.  You can ask for assistance to put luggage onto the overhead bin.
      • As much as we all like to board and settle early, I would take my toddler in as late as possible.  If you are traveling with your spouse, divide and conquer, let your spouse board first with all gears, then you can board with your toddler later.  This will allow toddler some wiggly time out in open space.
      • Bring a surprise toy in case for calm down period.
      • Don’t be afraid to ask a stranger to act as an aeroplane police if needed.  Sometimes a stranger’s voice is louder than parent’s voice.

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I hope you enjoy your first flight with your toddler, it will be fun.  Key is to keep them entertained and their brain intrigued.

 

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