Category Archives: Photography

Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

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Perfect Gifts For Your Photographer Friend

Due to how Christmas has developed over the years, the holiday has become more about giving presents than anything else. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – you can easily show how much someone means to you with a thoughtful and meaningful gift. You don’t have to spend millions; a smaller budget can actually make you think more about the meaning behind the gift that you’re giving.

It’s also a great opportunity to slyly slip forward your wish list for gifts that you hope will turn into reality. And for people with slightly more expensive hobbies, like photography, it can be a rare chance to get something you really really really want. Like some of the following:

Lens:

A lens can cost anywhere between fifty and five hundred dollars easily. And it really depends on the camera you have, the quality of the lens you want, and the type of lens you’re after. If you ask for a lens, maybe ask for a case for one, too. You wouldn’t want any breaks to happen immediately after you get your gift!

Cases:

Speaking of cases, a new case could really change the game for you. You might need a waterproof one, and that might just be for the camera while in use or for storage. You can get a branded case, which is designed to fit your particular camera or a generic one which is designed to house a range of sizes.

Tripods:

Ranging from large and traditional to small and versatile, a tripod is a great way to take your photography to the next level. Plus, they aren’t that expensive. Most tripods can fit a bunch of different cameras, so you don’t have to get the branded one. If you’re going to be shooting off in the wild, you might want to look a bit deeper into the specs before choosing.

Camera:

And then, there’s an actual camera. We all know how costly a good camera can be, and it’s likely that you’ve been saving for a while so you can get one yourself. Rather than asking one person to get you one this Christmas, why not ask it of multiple people? It will spread the cost, and it’ll be more likely that you can get the one you’d really like. Or you can always offer to go halfsies.

When looking for the camera you’d like, don’t just go for the flashiest model. Think about what you actually want the camera to do. Are you shooting outside or in? Will you be using a tripod more than going free hand? Do you need the best low light camera or the best portrait camera? Or even one that’s decent at doing both? There are many things to consider, and if you’re just starting out, it’s worth getting one that covers a lot of different options. As your skills develop, you’ll know exactly what kind you need when you get around to upgrading. Maybe next Christmas?

Featured Image By: Pexels

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Have Some Pictures! AnkhorRed’s First Annual Bloggers Conference Edition

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Have Some Pictures! AnkhorRed’s First Annual Bloggers Conference Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to some photo spam of yours truly compliments of my trip to Manhattan, New York for AnkhorRed’s Bloggers Conference with Kate from Ankhor You. I have to admit, I am usually not one for taking pictures. I was once before, but not so much anymore. We can blame that on my self esteem that seems to dwindle lower every day. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT, because I can finally shower you guys with all of the pics of me and we’ll call it square for the next year or so. Cool? Cool! Take a look:

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^^^ Special thanks to my expert iPhone photographer, Kate, for taking such lovely pictures!!! ❤

Where have you traveled to this year? Which locations are on your travel bucket list? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Eastern State Penitentiary

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Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Eastern State Penitentiary

Hello one and all and happy Friday! This is the second to last post of my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series compliments of Les, who you might recognize as the author and photographer behind the post about Dreamland Park on my page. Once again, you can check out more of Les’s work at Photojournal Of Corker2. Now, sit back and enjoy his tale of a spooky tour through the infamous Eastern State Penitentiary:

Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Eastern State Penitentiary

The Eastern State Penitentiary, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the older prisons in the state. Built in the early 1900’s, it was made to keep prisoners in solitary confinement to reflect on the law breaking deed that they had committed. Each prisoner was kept in a single cell and locked up for twenty-three hours a day. There was no running water, no air conditioning, no books to read, nothing at all! There are four cell blocks, with each one consisting of two levels of eight feet long by six feet wide cells with no windows to let light in.
The Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) has been known to be haunted for many years. Featured on Ghost Hunters, the film crew stayed there and caught some very strange things. There have been documented reports of voices from nowhere and ghostly figures that have no explanation at all.
I had been informed of this disturbing place, so I thought I’d give it a visit. The penitentiary is huge. I was allowed to walk through the entire prison with my camera in tow. It was also quite hot that day, with temperatures up in the high 90’s. I could only imagine what it must have been like to be locked up there for so many years. The famous gangster, Al Capone, was also an inmate at this prison for a number of years. He had his own fancy cell, not like all of the others. It was much better. It had a desk, furniture, table lamps, and a bed. The story goes that he was haunted in his cell by one of the men that he killed in the St. Valentines Day Massacre, even though he was not there when it happened. On a few occasions, Al Capone, would be screaming “Leave me alone!” in his cell and there was no one there.
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Here, we are looking down one of the four cell blocks in the prison. Each cell had a sliding metal door that you could not see out of. No talking was allowed back in the early days. The door at the far end leads to the outside. There are twelve cells on each side of the block.

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Here is Cell Block C. It is pretty much the same set up as all of the other blocks. It was here that I had a rather strange happening, which I can’t explain.

The ESP has had a reputation of electronic equipment not working right for one reason or another. Batteries fail or the camera just doesn’t work. With this in mind, I made sure that my camera was in excellent working order before I left for my visit. While walking around in the cell blocks, I had taken a number of images and my Pentax K100D was working just fine. Nothing was wrong and the pictures came out great.
Then, I entered Cell Block C and decided to shoot the picture that you see above. For some reason, I pressed the shutter and nothing happened. Weird. So I tried it again.  Nothing. Looked at the camera settings and they were all okay. Tried again. Nothing!  What the heck? So, I went down the block to the open door, stepped outside and pressed the shutter again. Worked just fine! I stood there for a few seconds and wondered why it worked out there but not inside. I gathered my bearings and decided to try one more time. I walked back to where I was before, focused on the shot, and pressed the button.  It worked! Now, what went wrong? Nothing that I could tell.

With that, I finished my tour and took a few more pictures with no problem. It was getting unbearably hot and I was eager to get into the air conditioning of my car. On the way back home, I was thinking of what could have gone wrong. The only thing that I could come up with was that a spirit from the past interfered with the camera in some way. Did it? I will never know.
The Eastern State Penitentiary has ghost hunts during the evening hours that you can sign up for and pay a small fee. If you want to learn more, just type in “Eastern State Penitentiary” and a complete story of this place will show up.
^^^ Thank you so much to Les for relaying his story of stepping foot into the Eastern State Penitentiary for an eerie tour through the past. Glad you made it out alive to tell the tale! Are there any “haunted” locations in your area? What is something that scares you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Dreamland Park

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Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Dreamland Park
Hi everyone and happy Monday! This special post in my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series is brought to you by my friend, Les, over at PhotoJournal Of Corker2. This is actually one of my favorite posts that has graced my page in a long while, because I am a horror junkie. I love the literature, the films, the haunted attractions and, of course, a good old fashioned ghost story. Obviously, this guest post is right up my alley and I can’t thank Les enough for it. Take a look and don’t get too scared! 😉

Stories & Snapshots Of “Haunted” Dreamland Park

Back in the middle 60’s there was a place called Dreamland Park. It was located not far from me on a two lane back country road. This small amusement park was once the place to be on a Friday and Saturday night. It was not a very big park, but at the time it offered what us kids wanted. It had a main building where you could play bingo and pinball machines. It also had a jukebox to dance to and a picnic area. There was a Band Shell, a Ferris Wheel, and a French Fry Stand where you could buy hot dogs, hamburgers, and candy. It was a nice place for that time. Since I was only there once, I still remember it.
The place was doing quite well. Then, sometime in 1969, a murder took place there and it was never the same again. The story goes, that one evening a couple was up on Skyline Drive, a popular “parking” area that overlooked the city up on top of Neversink Mountain. They were a teenage couple, like most of us. I forget the guy’s name, but the girl was Marilyn. While parked up there, three members of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang stopped at the parked car and started abusing the couple. They took them for a ride around the countryside, traveling the back roads during which time they raped, beat the girl, and then shot her. They beat the boy unconscious and then shot him, too. The Gang ended up in Dreamland Park where they buried both of them in a shallow grave and covered it with leaves.
In the days that followed, the law found out who committed such an atrocious act, and all three were arrested for first degree murder and then sentenced to jail for I don’t know how long. They did recover the bodies of the two teenagers and gave them a proper burial. The name of one member of the Pagan Gang was John Elways. The other two I don’t recall.
After all of this happened, the park gradually started to decline. Profits fell and sometime later, Dreamland Park closed for good, never to reopen again.
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Pictured above is all that remains of the French Fry Stand.

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This is what is left of the main building. It was around here that I had a strange encounter. Notice the small “white” area where my watermark is placed. It’s not the camera. What is that? I could not get rid of it.

What used to be the Carousel Building.

Here stands what used to be the carousel building. For 25 cents you could ride the carousel and try to catch the magic golden ring. Now gone to history, all that remains is the outside frame. It was just behind this, that the couple was found.

Now, fast forward to present time.
I had almost forgotten about Dreamland Park until I got word of it from a friend that told me it was haunted. I decided to take my camera and go check it out. I was not told that it was now private property, so I just went right in and started walking around. I could still remember what and where things were from long ago.
The weather was in the high 50s, but sunny. No one was here, except for me and my Pentax K100D. There was a slight breeze that moved the bushes and trees, but the chill was far from unbearable. While walking through the slicker bushes, weeds, and small trees, I started to get this feeling that someone or something was behind me. I must have turned around at least six times, thinking that I was being watched. I didn’t feel threatened. It was more of a “creepy” feeling that’s hard to describe. Still, there was no one there.
I kept walking around and stopping here and there to see if anyone was “lurking” around. Nothing. After about an hour, I decided to take my exit from Dreamland Park.
To this day, I still wonder if “something” was there. Was it the ghosts of the murdered couple? Was it just my imagination? I don’t know. I have not gone back to Dreamland Park since then. By now, there is not much left of what once was. There is also a book out about what happened there called Dark In The Park. It probably gives a much better description of what went on, if you are interested.
^^^ Wasn’t that fantastic?! Once again, a million thanks to the man behind the camera who shared his pictures and story with us. Les runs an excellent blog and I can’t recommend it enough, so do check it out! Are there any haunted attractions in your neck of the woods? What is something that you’re afraid of? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Spur Your Creativity With A Photography Hobby: Here’s How

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Spur Your Creativity With A Photography Hobby: Here’s How

In an effort to become a more wholesome and interesting person in the world around you, it’s likely that you’ll find the need to be creative as high on the list of new things to try. One of the most popular and easy to begin methods of doing so is to pick up a photography hobby. This is a discipline that is totally easy to begin, but incredibly difficult to master. What’s more is that because the art is so subjective in terms of what makes a good photograph, that learning more can be difficult and frustrating. But much like creative disciplines, such as writing, there is a “good” and a “bad” way to go about your practice. If you wish to write but can’t write in a way in which the people around you can interpret it, your years as a professional writer are likely numbered, if not nonexistent.

Luckily, there does exist solid methods for overcoming these difficulties relating to photography. Remember, beginning a creative discipline never demands that you are a master of the art. It simply demands that you try, keep pushing your comfort zone, and also attempt things that help you feel happy and sustained within the hobby. Because if you can’t do that, then why bother picking it up in the first place? The following tips will help you continue your newly found passion with a sense of interest and progression:

Anyone Can Start: Many people think that in order to begin photography you need to make a huge financial investment in the equipment. This is simply not true. Smartphones these days often have cameras capable of taking pictures in 4K and also come loaded with compositional lenses built into the software of the camera.

Of course, this is no substitute to a quality SLR camera with actual lenses, but it can help you start and get an idea for framing well. Taking pictures, no matter the device which is used is more of a matter of personal taste and ambition than what lenses you use. The effect is all that matters. It’s unlikely that while attending a photography gallery you’ll hear people complimenting the use of lenses. It’s usually the achieved effect which is the most important, so don’t feel stifled by a lack of equipment just yet, especially in the early days.

Study Skilled Photographers: Skilled photographers are a dime a dozen, so it’s worth looking at people who have managed to make it their career or working passion. For example, artists such as Peter Lik have crafted an interesting niche for themselves by taking stunning landscape photography, selling his work for millions. It’s important to understand just how great and motivational this can be. You should never be in photography for the profit motive, as you’re likely to be disappointed until you can truly call yourself a master of the craft. However, seeing the best examples around can help you feel inspired to truly dare to take the best shots awaiting you. See your life through the lens as these folks do, and you may even train your eye to take in the world around you much more perceptively.

A budding photographer worthy of fame and recognition may wait inside of you. But you’ll only know if you’re willing to practice and fail. Good luck!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Selfie Secrets

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Selfie Secrets
Hi everyone and TGIF! The day that selfies became a thing was the day that the internet changed forever. I bet you any money that you can’t scroll down the newsfeed of any of your preferred social media mediums without seeing at least one selfie in the process. And taking selfies? It’s a process. The selfie: AKA taking twenty minimum one hundred max pictures that, for all intensive purposes, look exactly the same yet so SO remarkably different.
Everyone has had those days when they’re really feeling themselves (ayyy!) but can’t take a good selfie to save their lives (booo!). It’s cruel and unusual and I’m just not going to stand for it. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of pro tips to keep your selfie game on point. No more bad selfie days for all!

Selfie Secrets

1) Find The Light: Okay, yeah I know I sound like Tyra Banks circa ANTM cycles 1-1 million but it’s so true. Half of the selfie struggle is finding good lighting and using it appropriately. That’s why I prefer to take a majority of my selfies outside or in a room where a lot of sunlight filters in.
So you’ve found the light – but are you really finding it? Lol, that sounds like some fake psychology mumbo jumbo but it’s a legitimate question. Finding the light isn’t just about taking a picture in good lighting. It’s more about angling your face so that the sunlight is smacking you right on your cheeks. While you’re having a selfie photo shoot, move your face in small motions until the lighting is just right (And I promise that you will know when that is.), and snap away you selfie queen.
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2) Chin Up: I can guarantee that a majority of the selfies that people take are deleted due to the illusion of a double chin. No one likes double chins. Okay, some people probably do. But, for the most part, a double chin is a major selfie faux pas. A killer selfie is all about the long, pretty neck, which can be easily achieved if you tilt your chin slightly upwards when you’re taking pictures. It’s going to feel unnatural, but your double chin days will be a thing of the past when you’re showing off your swan neck. Now, remember, chin up, shoulders back, and WERK. 
3) Smize: Okay, yeah I know I sound like Tyra Banks circa ANTM cycles 1-1 million but it’s so true. Dead eyes are a selfie no no. So, I want you to do an exercise with me. Go to the mirror and take a good hard look at yourself. Now, think about something happy and slightly sexy for that perfect “I have a secret” look in your eyes. A day in bed with Johnny Depp, perhaps? Hello! You should notice a visible difference in your face thanks to the newly found alertness and mischievous twinkle in your eyes. Thank you, Johnny Depp day dream!
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4) Quirky Cool: All selfies look the same. No matter who you are, from a super model to your average blogger (like me). It’s literally a picture of the camera on the flipped mode taking a shot of your mug. Cool. Now it’s up to you to make your pic unique so you don’t look like everyone else. When selfies first made their internet debut, a normal picture was just fine. But, now, standard selfies just don’t cut it anymore and absolutely nothing is worse than snapping a selfie only to have it be lost in the void of social media because it didn’t stand out.

Nowadays, selfies are more about fashion, quirk, and unlikely scenarios. Throw on a sassy Panama hat, tilt your sunglasses down your nose, and work like your life depends on it. And, bear in mind, that cool backgrounds are a must. What makes a background cool, you might ask? It literally could be anything – you just have to sell it. Take a selfie in front of a garbage can, label it with #ME, and watch the likes pour in. Be silly, be serious, be anything that you want, but for the love of all that is holy – be DIFFERENT.

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^^^ Being on top of the world is a pretty sweet background!

5) Give Me Face: Every selfie star has those little quirks that they do when they’re taking pics. Whether it be laughing out loud or giving duck face for days, find what expression works for your face and own it. I, personally, love an angular look. When I snap pictures I bite down on my jaw to give a more defined line. I also slightly suck in my cheeks to give the illusion of cheek bones to cut glass – but shh don’t tell! It’s a selfie secret! 😉
If you’re not keen on edgy cool but love a boho glow, inhale when the camera snaps for a “you just caught me picking flowers from the forbidden garden” face. Sounds silly? It is. But once you find that little quirk that works for you, your selfie game is about to change infinitely. Now, give me face, mother!
With these pro tips compliments of Lil Red, your next selfies are going to be so Instagram worthy that you’re not even going to be able to handle it. Just imagine what your followers are going to think! I taught you how to give face, but now, let Aura Frames teach you some tech savvy ways to up your selfie game even more in this infographic. Snap some gorgeous pics and snag yourself one of Aura Frame’s Digital Picture Frames for the perfect gift for your SO/parent/sister/friend or anyone else that likes looking at you!

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What are your tips and tricks for taking the perfect selfie? What is your preferred form of social media? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Bonus Tip: Always, ALWAYS include dogs in your selfies if you can!! My featured image photo can attest to that! 😉 ❤

Backyard Beauty

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Backyard Beauty

Hello everyone and happy Thursday!! As you all know, I don’t care for summer in the slightest. And by that I mean that I friggen hate it. But the one thing that I actually do like about it (Other than my birthday!), is my glorious backyard. Saying that my beloved father has a green thumb is a severe understatement. Over the years, he has nurtured our back as well as front yards into an outdoor garden fit for a king. This year’s bounty has been particularly beautiful and I just had to share some pictures with all of you. It brightens my day whenever I see the fruits of my dad’s hard work and I’m sure that all of the lovely flowers seen below will do the same for you!

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What are your likes and dislikes about summer? What is your favorite flower? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah