Rainy Day Pick-Me-Up

If last week was excessively busy, this week was excessively wet. And dark, and cold. It’s almost as if someone read my last post and said, “Hmm how can we give her exactly what she doesn’t want?” So for everyone out there who’s had to suffer right along with me, I apologize for writing about summer and getting your hopes up.

On the other hand, if there’s one creature who doesn’t mind a little cold & wet it’s Cole man. Since he’s pretty much the best cheer-er-uper anyone could ask for, I decided to do a little impromptu photo shoot/training session to boost everyone’s mood. :)  And as an added bonus, anyone who saw the first birthday post can now get a clear picture of just how much he’s grown!

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“You have the cheese and the dummy. I love you.” – “You threw the dummy!” – “I’ll go get it for you!”

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The following are not technically great photos, but they show his utter enthusiasm and the funny way he always starts shaking with his shoulders down to his wriggly butt! Oh and in case you were wondering, the blue rope is his 50ft check cord. Since he’s being trained for hunting, it’s important that he brings the dummy back every time. He’s still young and kind of distractible, so the check cord allows you to keep control at a distance.

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Best friends =)

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Tideline Aquatics

Last week I had the opportunity to shoot at Trey’s favorite store in Charleston. His number one used to be Guitar Center, but after awhile you own all of the guitar stuff you need that isn’t crazy expensive (ex: a Gibson Les Paul) so going in just becomes less fun. On the other hand, when you have a reef aquarium you never have everything you need.

Enter Tideline Aquatics, the local fish store, or LFS as hip forum people know it. The great thing about fish stores is that no one starts them for the money, so they generally have really passionate, knowledgeable owners. Shaun is no exception to this rule, and his employees are similarly equipped.

Me, not so much. But I’m learning! Or trying to… I know all the common fish, but my eyes tend to glaze over when it comes to the chemical balance, phosphate levels, and the plethora of ways to “get rid of” hair algae (I have my doubts about the possibility of such a feat…) Anyway, to see how far I’ve come since the first day Trey brought home a lion fish, I’m going to try to caption each of the images below. If I get something wrong, feel free to let me know ;-)

Ok *deep breath* so this first one is one of the anemone tanks and it’s mostly populated with sebae* anemones plus a couple of turbo snails.

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Next we have some red mushrooms, but I think they have a more specific name that lets you know they’re bumpy… and a Clarkii Clownfish with its anemone host :-)

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This next one is an arrow crab, but its resemblance to a spider means we will never own one. Ever.

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Ok these guys are really cool! It’s a cleaner shrimp, and fish will actually swim over to it whenever they want a “bath” so it can eat all the parasites and other grime off of them. They’re really good for your tank, but we lost ours in the move :-(

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Ok I cheated and googled this one (so much for knowing all the fish). It’s a Scopas Tang, not a Tomini Tang like I thought to begin with. Which is really too bad because Tomini Tangs are probably my favorite tangs!

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Here we have a really awesome and probably rare clam. I don’t really care about clams, but Trey always starts to drool when he sees it, so I think it must be really awesome ;-) The fish on the right is some kind of trigger fish, and easily the most colorful one I’ve seen.

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This is a Tangerine Clownfish. They’re a really rare version of your common ocellaris clown (you know… Nemo) that doesn’t have the black lines. It think it’s also a different shade of orange, but don’t quote me on it. Oh and next to him is a red montipora! We have a green one and it’s my favorite SPS (small polyp stony) coral :-)

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This is a jawfish, and a particularly colorful one at that.

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The guy on the left is one of my favorites: a dwarf lionfish! They’re so tiny and adorable!!! I wanted to get one, but they eat anything they can get in their mouth. You probably know the one on the right; it’s a seahorse :-)

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And to finish it off, we have a couple of blue-legged hermit crabs. Whew!

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So that concludes the reef lesson for today. If you’re thinking about getting into the reef hobby, Trey would love to talk you into it, but beware that regular tickets to your public aquarium are probably cheaper ;-)

*Google was only used for spelling (and that time when I checked the spelling of “Tomini” and realized I had the wrong tang. Oops.)


Fun with Food

Yesterday I met up with my friend Martha to dabble in a little food photography. She’s currently in culinary school and will be taking a photography class this spring so that she can go on an awesome trip to Italy focusing on food and food photography. I’ve never really photographed food before (too busy eating it ;-) ), so it was really fun getting to work through a different set of challenges.

We started by lighting a piece of mac and cheese. Texture tends to be brought out the most with side light, but the shiny cheese top stood out more with back light, so we dug up another desk lamp. We did a pretty simple two light setup with the main light on the right side of the cheese going along the front side and a highlight lamp behind and to the left.


We also had a piece of eggplant parmesan to work with and discovered that a burgundy scarf really brought out the sauce.


We’d been having color issues with the mac and cheese because the green plate reflected green light onto the cheese and made it look kind of sickly. In the interest of not having more dishes to wash, we tried changing the background. Yellow to bring out the cheese = not a good idea. Red to cancel out the green cast worked much better. And then we made it melty!


A dark background and back lighting are essential if you want to see steam, or mist, or rain, or dust, or really any kind of particle. Mmm it’s making me hungry right now!


New Lens!

My new macro lens just came in the mail!!  Ahh I’m so stoked! My 50 prime has been my baby for the past year and I still love it, but tiny baby toes and diamond rings weren’t really its strong suit. Plus the new macro is 90mm so I’ll be able to have a greater working distance when photographing couples or shy kids. So, without further ado, the first photo ever taken with Tamron 90mm macro number 066656:

See? It’s gorgeous! And this is the real reason you buy a macro lens. Ahhh so awesome!!

The dog was not willing to be a proper model (he kept breaking his “stay” to come sniff the camera), so I took on the fish tank. These are Trey’s pink star polyps,

pulsating xenia, and frogspawn.

And then Mr. Goby and his friend, the giant blue legged hermit crab, came out for a few photos too =)

Lake Weekend

This weekend Trey and I took the dog and headed to Columbia. His grandparents have a little house on Lake Murray that they got back before Columbia expanded and made everything super expensive. Trey has stayed there countless times while we were dating/engaged, but this was the first time we got to go as a couple on vacation. We grilled out, taught Cole how to jump off the dock, and recovered from all of the swimming with back-to-back episodes of House Hunters. Basically it was perfect :-)

King Cole vs Ivan the Terrible

This past weekend Trey had Friday off for Independence Day, so we went to visit my parents in Georgia. Cole (our 5 month old lab monster) had already decided he loved Trey’s parents’ house (they live on a farm in the low country), but this weekend sealed it for him: he does not want to be an apartment dog.

At my parents’ house, Cole got to go canoeing for the first time, stay outside while we were at church, and visit the horse barn. It was at the horse barn where Cole met Ivan, a 6 month old German Shepherd. Go ahead and cue Queen’s Your My Best Friend.

They were perfectly matched and passed out at the same time. Now Trey wants another puppy to exercise Cole for us ;-)

Just before we left, Cole went over to say goodbye.

Walking the River

My good friend Alyssa (you may remember her from this portrait shoot) is taking a photography class this semester for kicks because we’re seniors. It’s really been a blast having someone to talk to about all the things photographers geek out about, so this weekend we decided to go to the riverwalk and just spend some time taking pictures. Here are a few shots from the day:

Alyssa had borrowed a magnifying glass from her professor, so we used it to get some cool ghetto macro shots at a fraction of the price! ;-)

Trey came along since he was in town, but he was very adamant about nobody pointing the camera toward him. I did convince him to take a shadow picture with us, though.

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