Sunday, July 8, 2012

Props to the Blog that Inspired Me

Every day that I've written in this blog, I've a had certain other blog in mind that I feel compelled to give some credit to.  It's called The Great Umbrella Heist, and my discovery of it was actually the impetus I needed to go from thinking about starting a blog to actually doing it.  It's also partially what has inspired me to really concentrate on learning the art of photography.

I've been wanting to mention it here for awhile now, but I've been a little afraid of being compared to it.  I often feel that I am borrowing too much from it sometimes, in terms of style, focus, and content.  Obviously, I am not writing about identical triplets, or spina bifida, or stillbirth, or running, so the content is not the same in that way.  But I am writing about my children, and my daily struggles and victories with them, and about my journey into the world of photography, just as the author, Sarah, is.  Probably not so different from many, many blogs out there, to be honest.  But hers is the one that has touched my heart, for reasons that I cannot entirely explain, and I simultaneously wish to capture the raw, honest, intimate tone that she creates, while desperately hoping that my own blog is still uniquely mine, with a voice and style that are all my own (and fearing sometimes that this is not the case).

Also, while the name of my blog is entirely my creation, and has special significance that you can read about here, I borrowed the idea of using such a unique-sounding name from Sarah's blog.  Prior to reading about how she came up with her blog's name, I had been leaning towards a name that was original, but in some way mommy- or family-related.  All of the positive commentary that she received over the creativeness of her blog's name encouraged me to think outside-the-box when I sat down to pick a name for my own.  I left those mommy themes behind and chose something memorable, catchy, and meaningful to me.

I feel that now is the time to give credit where credit is due because this post relates directly to a post of Sarah's that I just read, which you can check out here.  It's an older one, because since I was determined to read her story from the beginning, I've spent the last month or so reading archives from 2008-on.  And I'll be honest, I haven't caught up to her current material just yet.  I was excited to discover it, because it gave me some guidance on how to get started with manually adjusting some settings on my Nikon D40.

So, when Michael had an adorable moment during floor play this morning, I got down there with him, and grabbed my camera.  Unfortunately, I started shooting before I remembered to change any settings, and shortly discovered that my speedlight was low on batteries, which caused it to go off only every fourth picture or so.  I ended up switching to the in-camera flash for the last few that I took.  Now that I've had a chance to upload and look at the pictures on a computer, I can definitely see the effect that the various changes I was making had on the final product.

With this one, I was on auto everything, and the speedlight did not go off.  It came out pretty dark all-around.

 This shot was the only one that benefited from a functioning speedlight.  I can't remember whether I fiddled with any settings before this, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't until after.  You can see that the overall picture is brighter and clearer, but still very natural-looking.

By the time I got to this one, I had had a chance to set the ISO to 200, and the shutter speed to 160.  I couldn't figure out how to change both SS and f-stop, so the aperture remained at 5.6, per the camera's default.  I think that these settings allowed for a much better utilization of the natural light in the room.  Still a little bit darker than I'd like, though.

And finally, here's an example of why I was so excited to get my speedlight.  This is what often happens to my photos with the in-camera flash.  There is too much light on the subject, the coloring is washed-out, and the background disappears into darkness.  (The subject is still pretty cute, though, IMO.)

Speaking of Michael, he graced us with some amazing sleep last night: his first shift was 9 pm to 2 am (five hours- which is unprecedented), and his second was from 2:30 am to 5:30 am.  Unfortunately, I didn't go up to bed until 11 pm, so I only enjoyed three hours of the whole thing, since after waking at 2 am I could not fall back asleep.

Honestly, I'm not sure that my body even remembers how to sleep properly anymore.  It's been a good year since I've had an uninterrupted night, as I slept poorly even throughout my pregnancy with him.

I'm not sure what to expect tonight, since sudden improvements like this one have proven to be flukes in the past.  So no getting my hopes up, just yet.

But I pray fervently each day that, at the very least, Michael will outgrow the reflux soon.  It breaks my heart to see him so uncomfortable, and I dearly want to see more of this:

And this:

There's nothing I can't handle when I see that smile.