still life

Life Thru the Lens 15/52.... what's on my bookshelf: Tips on Paying Less for Books

I have to admit, although I love the feel of a book in my hands, most of the books I read are digital versions. Storage and weight have always been a concern, since I move often, so a digital library is the best option for me. I never pay full price for a book, well almost never. Sometimes, I splurge on my love of literature and purchase a book for the full price, but mostly... 

... Tips on Paying Less for Books:

Tips on Paying Less for Books | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

1. I follow sites that tell readers about Kindle book deals. My favorite site is Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has an active list of her suggestions for Kindle Deals on her site, or you can sign up for her Kindle Deals email and have them directly sent to your inbox. I also love perusing The Library on her site which includes, The Card Catalogue a listing of reviews on books she has read, and Circulation Desk a collection of blog posts new and old. 

2. I forage Amazon myself for great book deals. This is my usual Saturday morning relaxation time. I (mainly) look heavily at the beginning of the month and at the middle of the month. When I find a book I am interested in, I always look at "What Other Customers also Bought". I can almost always find another book on sale by browsing that section. 

3. I belong to Kindle First a fantastic program where Kindle Prime members can read upcoming publications for free. The selection is limited, you can only choose one a month, and it is only open to U.S. residents. 

4. Then there is KindleUnlimited, which up until now I have not been extremely interested in. I did try it once, but found their selection to be paltry when it came to books I would actually read. However, lately I have noticed quite a few books I would be interested in, so I am considering another go around. It would be well worth the 10 dollar fee a month, if I could find (say) four books to read. 

Tips on Paying Less for Books | Life Thru the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

Why Kindle you ask? No, this is not a promotional post. Why Kindle, because we are on a budget, and I am cheap. I love to read but I have a hard time spending full price on books. I have looked into other digital reading programs, but I haven't been able to find the same bargains there. However, if you are not a Kindle fan....

There is always the bargain aisle of the bookstore. You might consider joining your bookstores rewards program. I do belong to a rewards program, which I did pay to join, but have more than recouped the cost by my rare splurge, and for christmas presents, birthday presents, or little gifts here and there. 

Of course another true value is your public library. I believe in public libraries so much so that I often donate the hard copy books I have purchased to them. And, did you know most public libraries now belong to digital libraries that you can borrow books from?

What are you reading right now, any suggestions for me? 


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Life Thru the Lens 14/52.... back to still life, pursuing your photography passion

I love still life photography. I find pause in the creative nature of building props to compose a story in photo. Over the last few months my still photography has stagnated for several reasons... lighting, having all my props stored in a bin, lack of creativity, lack of inspiration. I have found, in our transition, that I am a creature who is invigorated by having all my things around me. Creativity comes as I pass a prop and the light is splashed across it so softly that I must capture it, then and there. Our circumstances will change, and eventually we will be in our own home, but until then I am finding that I have to pursue still life photography. Pursuing something is not always bad. Matter of fact, I feel as though I grow more in my art if I have to actively pursue it. 

Questions Answered:

Q. Where do you find your backgrounds?

A. At craft stores, and often enough hardware stores. I found cheese cloth extremely cheap at a hardware store. It comes in larges pieces, which is fantastic for backgrounds of for mingling among my props for texture. 

Q. Where do you find your props.

A. Everywhere, but I love the dollar aisle at a certain retail chain with a huge target of a sign. {Wink, Wink} I also love junk stores and antique stores. I have found most of my linens at junk stores. Buyer beware, if the tag is pinned to the cloth be sure to take it off yourself so that the owner of the store does not rip it off. Sigh. 

Q. What lens do you use.

A. My 50mm. I have tried other lenses, but I always come back to my 50mm 1.8. 

WHAT ARE YOU ACTIVELY PURSUING IN YOUR LIFE? Tell me about it in the comments. 

Beauty Surround Us | Fine Art | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

WHAT DOES YOU LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

New to Life Thur the Lens??? START HERE!

Life Thur the Lens | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

I'm linking to these lovely photographic communities.... join along!

C is for coffee

In an effort to learn more about still life photography I have decided to do a year long series of coffee photos. All of the photos will have coffee in them in some sort of fashion, and all the shots will be still life. 

Still life photography...the depiction of inanimate subject matter, most typically in a small grouping of objects.  

I do hope to post a few tips and tutorials along the way as well, but mainly it will be my own personal delve deeper into the still life world. I will be sharing most of my photos on my Instagram platform. If you do not already follow me there hope on over and join the fun at Lisa.Kerner. You can also follow along by searching the hashtag #coffeelovinbylk. 

cOffEe sOng

Call it obsession
Call it fanatical
But I am not trying
To make this a spectacle
I have this craving
Justifies behaving
I really need some of that

[Chorus]
Ooo, good coffee
Strong coffee
I need to have some
Ooo, good coffee
Strong coffee

Ooo cappuccino
Double espresso
I need something with
A really big kick
You ask me about creamer
You ask me about sugar
I tell you those things make me sick
With my...

Tips:

~I have found that in still life more is better. I usually begin building my scene with the basics... a piece of textile, things to create depth by stacking items, and color pops. From there I build until I am happy with the overall look. 

~I have found that when I am not happy with a shot, most of the time, simply shuffling my feet and setting up a new perspective will do the trick. I imagined this shot as a front on view, but really did not like any of the shots I took that way. It wasn't until I set up a top down shot that the creative juices really started to flow. 

Props:

~ I find that interesting backgrounds are really key to good still life. I follow a several still life photographers on IG and Flickr, and always their photos pull me in from the base of the photo (the background) up. I have learned that still life photography is about bringing the eye through all the levels of the image.  Goal: to purchase more interesting backdrops, and bases.

Dreaming: 

~ I chatted about dreaming on Monday, and doing change, so I figure I might as well admit right here, right now, that a huge dream of mine is to be published one day. In order to reach that goal I am taking a Lightroom Master class through Creative Live, and I plan to begin Photoshop classes as well. I have several classes on my wish list, and am excited about pursuing them throughout the year. 

What are some of your goals, or projects, for 2016?

I'll be visiting these lovely communities... join along...  Song-ography, and Little Things Thursday

Life Thru the Lens 49/52.... It's Christmas cookie time

Because of our big transition in life, we have moved in with my mother-in-law for a bit. Which, we are super grateful for. However, the light in her house is not especially grand for still life photography. I know I am not the only person who struggles with this issue, so I thought I'd give you a few tips on what I learned through my first photo session since moving. 

I started this shoot in a tiny little corner of the kitchen by the back door, with a light background. It wasn't enough room; I spilled my entire jar of milk trying to hold my diffuser over the shot so that the cake plate would not have so many highlights reflected on it. And, the light was not what I was looking for, especially with the light background. I changed the set up to a dark and moody shot, but still was not pleased with the end result. 

1/60 at f3.2 ISO 400 with a 50mm

Things I like about the shot...

~Front to back composition. 

~The colors and the props.

~The disheveled look.

Things I do not like...

~The lighting, there is no interest in the lighting.

~It's missing something, prop wise.

So, I moved the entire shot to the dinning room table. The problem with the dinning room table is that the light comes in at an angle from the hall window, which is not accessible because the stairs run under it. The light also tends to be harsh, and casts dramatic shadows. If I could defuse the light from the window it would not be an issue, but since I cannot reach it I have to work with what I have. I set up a dark and moody backdrop with part of the light from the window cut off from my subject to emphasis the harsh shadows. 

1/100 at f3.5 (exposure compensation one stop underexposed) ISO 280 with a 50mm

Things I like about the shot...

~ The lighting. I really like how the shadows created interest in the props. 

~ I added more props, including a small cutting board propped up on my background. Which brought depth to the shot and takes your eye all the way through the shot. 

~ I also added a stack of plates and took the mixing bowl out. I think this is a better use of my props, and allows for the focus to be more centered on the cookie cutters, and the cookies on the plate stand. 

Things I do not like...

~ I love the lightening, but I do know that it is a little harsh, and could cause some clipping if it were to be printed. 

So, I rearranged my tripod, and camera, for a top down shot. 

1/200 at F4.0 (exposure compensation one stop underexposed) ISO 1100 with a 50mm

What I love about the shot... everything!  Photography is all about working with what you have... equipment, light, props, workspace, knowledge. Use what you have, (plus) build on what you know, (equals) growth in your abilities. 

 I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens Monday, Image-in-ing,  Our World TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday,  Wednesday Around the World, Little Things Thursday, and Friday Photo Journal

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.


Life Thru the Lens 38/52... let's continue the berry fun.

Last week, I share a few shots of the berry session I did while I was on my break. The first three shots were more for fun; although, that spoon levitation shot took me about an hour. The last three were my favorites of the dark and moody shots I took, but my favorites overall were the following. 

There is something about the bright berries on the wood background that sings summer to my heart.  Dark and moody are the "go to" shots in the food industry right now. I love that look. Matte of fact, that is the avenue I use most when shooting still life. But, these berries beckoned me to find the light to make them look airy and fresh. 

A few tricks when shooting still life....

~double-sided tape... I used it to make my hanky have movement in these shots. 

~props, especially smaller linens, and spoons (or scoops) of all shapes and sizes. I am currently working on building my collection. 

~toothpicks, and silly putty... both of which work terrifically when trying to prop something up. I actually did not have putty when I shot that levitation spoon shot, so I improvised and used gum. 

~a reflector of some sort to bounce light back into your subject. I have one, but I often use a plain piece of white board, or poster paper when shooting. 

~a defuser for your winder... sometimes when you are shooting your light can be too bright. I created a defuser with a piece of dowel rod, some cheese cloth draped over it, and string tied on either side that I can hang on a hook over my backdoor. 

~be creative, and think outside of the box. You do not always need those expensive, fancy photography tools to shoot. Often, there are ways to "hack" something to make it work perfectly fine. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along...Texture Twist, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your han

Life Thru the Lens 37:52... berry fun

While I was on my break, I did manage to shoot some still life photos. I shared some of my shots on Instagram, but these are a few I did not share. 

My favorite shots were these...

Thank you all fro sticking with me through my transition. I really appreciate you all so much. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along...Texture Twist, and Sweet Shot Tuesday..  

What has your Life Thru the Lens looked like? 

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 24:52... a food photography series

I am working on a new series in still life. I am focusing on filling my image fully from back to front. Which is not as easy as it looks. Well, not for me anyway. I'm also trying to cultivate the habit of viewing the image through a different perspective. I often find myself caught up in a photo shoot, so excited about whatI I have captured, that I prematurely pack up my items thinking I have the shot I want. Then I cull and edit my shots and I find myself wishing I would have taken the image form a different perspective. I can most definitely see the benefit of having my camera toggled to a laptop so that I can "see" what I am shooting immediately. And, a dedicated studio to shoot in would be nice as well. That way I could leave my set up out until I knew I had the shot. 

Someday I will have all of that. I think photographers, or any hobbyist for that matter, always dream of the perfect set-up with the perfect equipment. But, let's be honest and remember...

  • the best camera you have is the one in your hand. 
  • work with what you have
  • learn how to use what you have to obtain the shot you want

... if we could remember those three items regularly a ton of our photography covetousness would simply slither away into the shadows. 

My prompt from my class was gather (well, that was a while ago) and a human touch (current) so I thought I would combine the two. These are just the first few photos I have worked on, but I have a few more set ups I want to try. It's a good thing I have people who can help me out with this. Trying to be your own human touch in a photo is difficult at best. 

And these are my favorites... do you see the 3-D effect?

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Our World Tuesday Texture Twist,  and Sweet Shot Tuesday..  

If you are Instagram will you leave your link in the comments. I would love to follow you there.

What does you Life Thru the Lens look like???

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Visit our Pinterest board to see who has been featured.... I have not updated this in a while... I will soon, I promise. 

Friday Randomness... a little lemoncello

~ Lisa from Peripheral Perspectives challenged me to play along with the 5 Photos, 5 Stories prompt... I thought it might be fun to do so over at Instagram. So, you'll have to head over there to find the story behind these photos. 

~ I am working on a couple other things as well, that I hope to announce soon... one in particular. 

~ The bottle is my Friday Find... along with the books and hanky that I recently purchased at a local antique/junk store. I really love items that have a story behind them; they mean way more to me than an item bought off the superstore shelf.

~ Today is my 21st anniversary. I am super excited to celebrate it with The Thinker this year, since last year he was away for our anniversary. 

~ Dreamer and Blue Eyes are almost done with school for the year. I sit back and look at my almost Senior and Junior and wonder how in the world did they morph from those tiny infants to grown people so quickly?

~ I am hoping to share a little of our Italy travels next Wednesday; it is high time I edited those photos. 

Community is one thing I adore about blogging... my little Life Thru the Lens community rocks, and I love connecting with other communities like....  Little Things ThursdayFriday Photo Journal, Friday Finds

Life Thru the Lens 17:52... One Thing

A recent prompt for my online photography class was One Thing. I made you all guess what the theme was last week. I kind of figured you would all lean toward time. I actually almost put time on the photo because it fit so well. 

I'll admit, at first, I was pretty challenged by this prompt. First of all I had no clue what I wanted to shoot for that long, and second I had no idea how I would change each look up. I also felt like the photos should have some other common denominator, besides the watches, to tie them together... enter the yellow flower in a jar. 

I acquired these watches several years ago; they belonged to our grandfathers. They mean the world to us as we have very little left of our grandparents that are no longer with us. 

The purpose of the prompt was to shoot one thing over several days, or weeks, in different environments and light. I shot these photos in my front door on an overcast day in the morning, in my bedroom in the evening, and in the kitchen in late afternoon. 

This last shot is my favorite one. It is not a perfect shot. You can see where the backdrop is not over far enough, and the folds are not perfect. The flower is a little dark. But, this is the money shot for me. This shot screams interest and a little bit of a disheveled-ness that makes me want to know more about the story.  I have realized, this is the kind of photography I want to be producing every time I shoot something. I want the picture captured to evoke a response of longing to know more. 


I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Texture TuesdayTexture Twist, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.


Ack! You all are so awesome, our little community is growing so much. Can you feel my heart exploding with joy. I will be updating the Pinterest Board with all the features this week, so be sure to check over there. 

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Visit our Pinterest board to see who has been featured. 

Friday Randomness... Let's Eat Yellow, or Not

~I realized I had more yellow photos to share with you. I was so excited about making my video that I had forgotten to edit these. 

~They all were edited in Lightroom, with mainly Presets, and a few tweaks; since I really loved the SOOCs, I did not have to do much to them. I actually really love the challenge of capturing a shot straight out of the camera (SOOC) and then editing to enhance an already perfect shot. There is nothing like the feeling of being happy with your creation. 

~I found those two forks and the hand embroidered doily, along with some other little treasures, at a local antique/junk store. I love digging through stores like that because you never know what treasures you will find. 

~I calibrated my monitor this week. I was so nervous to do so, but knew that it was a step further I needed to take to open my store on my site here, and to also venture into the stock photography world. I'm laughing now at my anxiety, it was super simple

~ Those shots are dreamy... I mean, I know it is tooting my own horn, but boy oh boy I just love how they turned out. 

~ I know what you are thinking! I told you I would showcase more of the pocket watch shots today. And, I made you guess what the theme was. Time was the popular answer; I knew you'd choose that. But, actually it was One Thing. I had to shoot one thing, over several days, in different environments, and light. I really was stumped on what I wanted to shoot. What would I want to make into a series? And then, I saw them sitting there by the front door as I bent to snap a shot of my yellow flower. I knew it had to be these pocket watches, they mean the world to me because they belonged to special people in our lives. On Monday, at Life Through the Lens I will show you the rest, I really love how they turned out. Until then...

And a special gift to you for this Mother's Day weekend... if you would like to download the full resolution photo simply click on it. Happy Mother's Day. 

Linking with... Friday Finds