Wednesday, February 29

Rain, rain, go away!

It's been a bit of a wet week so far and the fur-kids have not been impressed in the mornings when we leave for work! Luckily they have plenty of shelter outside and a lovely dog kennel that they seem more interested in chewing on than sleeping in *sigh* I got home tonight and the waterproof bedding inside the kennel had been pulled out onto the driveway and chewed, fabulous!

Those dogs are just so darn cute that they get away with far too much and isn't Nala a little diva!? Check out the look on her face the other day as she 'miserably' watched the rain fall outside the window, she's so dramatic... 

Noooo! Nala is a dirt and mud magnet in a way that Harley with his shorter fur just isn't! Keeping those fluffy legs and paws dry in wet weather is quite a job and one I don't look forward to each many more months till we're back to Summer again?!
xo K

Tuesday, February 28

Our Local Coastline

This past Sunday was one of the most gorgeous days we've had all Summer so hubby and I took off down to one of the many gorgeous local beaches for some much needed rest and relaxation!

Of course no beach trip is complete without lots of photos! If you're following the Photography Tutorials  each Friday, I was shooting in Aperture Priority mode as usual, using the basic Exposure info I've gathered in the three Tut's so far - see they work!! :)

I wanted to be able to show you how lovely it is where we live, but having lived on this coastline for all of my life it's so easy to take things for granted, which I never want to do! So I tried to capture the small details that I would usually miss and tell the story of what a day is like for us at our little Kiwi beach!

Here's a look at our favourite bay just down the road with some guest appearances by my lovely 'model' a.k.a hubby, hehe isn't he a good sport?! So get comfy and let the warm, lazy Summer days start right here...

Golden sandstone cliffs you can walk around on are a gorgeous feature of this local beach...

You can barely see the sand for all the little cockle shells...

Pottering around the cliffs seeing plants growing in funny places and glistening rock pools...trying not to drop the camera in said rock pools...  

Someone was very brave (or crazy!) and carved this '2012' high up on the cliff face...more pottering around the rocks, it was so pretty on Sunday...

Hello handsome! Oh yes and I do love some yummy shallow depth of field!!

I was using my brand spanking new super-low aperture lens on Sunday too, the Canon 'portrait lens' 50mm f 1.8 - it's amazing, I'm obsessed, tell you all about it soon, if you're a Canon girl you NEED one!! :)

Cruising around on boats...hubby practising his best pose - Blue Steel anyone? ;)

Lots of gorgeous detail! Cockles on the beach, driftwood,
pohutukawa leaves and a toi-toi frond hitting the light just so... 

My two favourite shots of the day, taken under the enormous old, gnarled Pohutukawa Tree! It's such a great spot for photos, the filtered light is incredible...

Takes my breath away and reminds me that OMG, I LIVE HERE!

It all looks so heavenly that I wish I was there right now instead of at my computer listening to the rain...yep, after Sunday's brilliant sunshine it's back to raining again! Just another crazy New Zealand summer, gorgeous one minute wet and wild the next, at least when the weather is 'on' it's really 'on', best to count our blessings right?!

Have a lovely Tuesday!!

xo K
Linking up to:

Monday, February 27

Hampton's Classic

Hello Monday!! After such a great weekend spent welcoming my sister home from NYC (welcome home sis!) and spending most of yesterday enjoying the beach, I'm feeling in need of a little dream home inspiration this morning to get me going!

Here is a classic Hampton's stunner to help start the week off on the right note, she's a real beauty...  

Yes please!!

In love with the blue and white and those ceilings!

We have this paint colour in our home office, so pretty...

Love the pendants...

So fresh and airy...

The windows and light in this bathroom are gorgeous!

Love the colonial influences here, very India Hicks...

Gorgeous tongue and groove walls in this sweet bedroom...


This is my dream pool and view, right here...

Definitely dream-home worthy...

I'm feeling much better already, have a lovely start to your week girls!  

xo K

Images via Home Bunch

Sunday, February 26

Gone to the Beach

Good Sunday Morning!! It's an incredible end of Summer day here in Auckland, sun is shining, birds are singing and we're off to the beach! I have lots of great stuff that I can't wait to share in the coming week so be back soon...

xo K

Friday, February 24

Photography Friday: Shooting in Aperture Priority

Today is our third Photography Friday tutorial and I hope you have all learnt a lot so far like I have!! I'm having so much fun learning my camera and  today we will be teaching you how to set up your camera to shoot in Aperture Priority mode!

Aperture Priority is the most widely used and 'useful' of all the modes on your camera! Basically there will be no Auto or Pre-set modes needed once you have mastered this, so if you want to learn some more and improve your photography to no end just keep reading, it's much easier than you think...

So what is this 'Aperture Priority' mode anyway??
Aperture Priority is one of the settings on the Mode Dial of your camera (labelled #2 in the diagram below) - it'll be labelled as either 'AV' for Canon's or 'A' for Nikon's. If you turn your dial to this setting you are in control of the Aperture (depth of field) for any images you shoot and your camera will then calculate the appropriate Shutter Speed and ISO setting for you, fab!!

You want to select 'AV' ('A' if you have a Nikon) on your Mode Dial for Aperture Priority mode!

Why would I want to control the Aperture of my camera? Why not just stick with Auto or Pre-set modes??
Shooting in Aperture Priority mode allows you to be truly in control of the depth of field in an image. So with some shots you might want a deep depth of field (a landscape with everything in focus) and other times you might want a very shallow depth of field (just one flower out of a bouquet in focus). Aperture Priority mode is pretty fabulous as it allows you to choose, you can really 'create' a shot using this method and it's really quite simple to master!

So I really want to learn about this Aperture Priority stuff! What else do I need to know??
For a quick recap of Aperture theory, in last week's tutorial we learned all about the Exposure Triangle and how different Aperture or f-stop numbers affect your Shutter Speed by speeding it up or slowing it down, we learnt that:
  • The higher your f-stop number (the more closed the aperture is) and the slower your shutter speed.
  • The lower you f-stop number (the more open your aperture is) and the higher the shutter speed.
Here is a great image I found of what your aperture looks like at each f-stop setting - pretty cool! I tend to picture this in my mind as I'm shooting and it really helps...

The f-stop range goes both higher and lower than the numbers shown but it gives you some idea of what effect each Aperture will have on Shutter Speed as it's opened or closed.

Last week we also learned that the lower the f-stop or Aperture the less that is in focus in your image and the higher the f-stop the more that is in focus.

For a little more reinforcement, the following images were taken at a variety of f-stop settings on the scale:

You can see that at the lower f-stop numbers of f 4.5 and f 5.6 very few of the lemons are in focus and that at the higher end of the scale f 8 and f 20 most of the lemons are in focus!

Got it! So how do I actually change the Aperture or f -stop setting on my camera??
Every DSLR camera will have a dial either on the back or top of the camera's body that you can roll backwards and forwards to change the Aperture up or down while in AV mode, easy huh?! Just check your manual if you can't find it and have a good play around with it - I promise it doesn't bite and it's so fun to play with! :) 

My husband's advice is to take shots at every setting your camera and lens allows you to, you will soon notice that at different levels of zoom and in differing light conditions the aperture you can achieve will change slightly, oooh!

I'm trying out all the f-stops on my camera but the f-stop number won't go lower than f-3.5, why??
I hear ya, I had the exact same problem and here's why; your lowest aperture or f-stop will be determined by the lens on your camera.
So, I currently use the kit lens that came with my camera it is an 18-55mm f 3.5 - f 5.6 lens and most of you will probably have something similar if you bought your camera with a kit lens. The numbers on your lens are key to the kinds of apertures you will be able to achieve and that's why there are so many different lenses you can buy - some of them at exorbitant prices!

Basically, the f-stop number on your lens is the minimum aperture your lens can achieve. So when my kit lens is zoomed all the way out it can reach f 3.5 and when it is zoomed all the way in it can reach f 5.6 so it's called an f 3.5 - f 5.6 lens. So the kit lens I (and probably you) own will never get lower than f 3.5, boo!!
To be able to get to the lowest f-stop number available on the scale, around the f 1.4 mark (which would give tons of that gorgeous background blur everyone loves) I would need to buy a different lens, but for everyday purposes your 3.5 -5.6 kit lens will do just fine!

So, what do images shot in AV mode with a standard kit lens really look like??
Well, I'll show you some of mine! Below are some shots I've taken in Aperture Priority mode as a complete beginner with my kit lens with the Aperture setting chosen by me and the ISO and Shutter Speed determined by my camera...

While in 'AV' mode I chose:
Aperture: f 5.6 (I just wanted the door in focus)
So the camera chose: Shutter Speed: 1/60 (fast) 
ISO 160 (low as it's daylight outside and already very bright!)

I chose: f 5.6 (my fave aperture setting with the kit lens)
Camera chose: Shutter Speed: 1/2000 (super fast as we're outdoors)
ISO 100 (very low as it's extremely bright already)

This photograph used the exact same settings as the one above at f 5.6.
Do you see now how you don't need to do much at all in 'AV' mode to get a good shot? 

I chose: f 10 (since I wanted all of the image in focus)
Camera chose: Shutter Speed: 1/500 (still very fast as it was so bright outside)
ISO 100

I chose: f 5.6
Camera chose: Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO 100
So can you see how you're only changing one factor (Aperture) and the camera is doing the rest??
TIP: While shooting in Aperture Priority while you are primarily controlling the Aperture do keep an eye on your Shutter Speed in your viewfinder. You should be able to see it in the lower section of your viewfinder as you shoot (consult your manual if you're not sure which of the numbers in your view finder is Shutter Speed).

You can see in the viewfinder image below the Shutter Speed is sitting at 1000, this stands for 1/1000th of a second - a very fast shutter speed to capture the birds in flight:


So if you ever find that the Shutter Speed the camera is choosing is too slow for you (say you are photographing your kids and they are moving too much and looking a little blurry) you will need to adjust your ISO sensitivity as Shutter Speed cannot be controlled directly in Aperture Priority mode.

Hmm, okay so what is ISO again??
Do you remember how we learnt last week that ISO is the third principal of exposure?Well, your ISO control can be found in your 'Menu' and on my camera, as per the first tutorial, there is an ISO shortcut button that can be pressed (it's right on top of the camera), check to see if you have something similar, it's pretty handy!

So by choosing a higher ISO number you can cause your camera to become more sensitive to light which means your shutter speed will increase, eliminating any motion blur once you get the right number (I found that ISO 500 gives the perfect Shutter Speed for capturing my dogs running around without any blur so an ISO around there would be great for shooting the kids too!)
  • The golden rule of thumb with ISO is that if you double your ISO you will double your Shutter Speed.  So just keep increasing that ISO until your shots are no longer blurry!

CAUTION: Be mindful that a high ISO may create some 'noise' in your image. For my camera anything over ISO 1600 can do this but it will vary by camera so make sure you check yours as you increase your ISO, older camera's may not go anywhere near as high without noise.

Here is an example of what 'noise' looks like in an image, you've probably seen it before, it looks all grainy - the noise show up as tiny coloured 'spots' in your photo...

So just keep an eye out for it in darker shots and adjust your ISO accordingly! With time you will find out your camera's limits and when you can push it that little bit further.

Right, so that's it for today girls!

I hope we've given you a good jumping off point to begin  shooting in Aperture Priority mode! If you have any questions or run into any problems, ask away, I've probably run into the same thing at some point over the last three weeks of DSLR camera ownership and if not, my husband is great at trouble shooting!

Next week we will be talking about shooting in Shutter Priority mode ('TV' on the Canon mode dial) - in this mode you control the Shutter Speed and the camera chooses the ISO and Aperture for you, the opposite of AV mode! You definitely won't use this mode anywhere near as often as Aperture Priority but it's good to understand it just in case!

Oh and as usual, today's tutorial will be filed under the Photography Friday tab for future reference and the previous tutorials are there too if you missed them or are just catching up now!

Enjoy your photography this weekend girls, I'd love to hear how you're getting on and I'll share some more of my photo's soon so you can see my progress, maybe a photography link party is in order too! Talk soon...  

Thursday, February 23

Fete Magazine

There is another very stylish new kid on the block in the online magazine world! The very first issue of Australian mag 'Fete' is here and I'm loving every page!!

If you're into entertaining and stylish living within a real world budget then this is the mag for you! There's tons of inspiration for special events from recipes to table settings and the most stunning photography I've seen in awhile!

For even more stylish eye candy from 'Fete' check out the brand new online mag absolutely free here...

Welcome to Fete - Issue One...

Photography and styling to drool over...

Yummy recipes to try...

Romantic style for the month of love...

Party planning...

Cheap and chic ideas for your table...

Gorgeously styled interiors...

Pre-dinner appetizers to try...

...and some cheerful end of Summer style!

The first issue is just jam packed full of the most gorgeous, covetable things and I'm sure you'll love it just as much as I, don't walk to Fete!!   

xo K


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