lynda naranjo | simple things: Is it Spring yet? … and some photography tips

Yesterday the sun was shining and the temperatures soared to almost 50°  – and today, it looks like this …

A late Winter storm is dumping a whole lot of snow outside.  Talk about going from one extreme to the other!  A perfect day to stay inside and catch up a little.


Last week, I discovered a swollen lymph node on my neck.  I called my oncologist and he took me in right away.  My CA125 was up last month (remember that lovely 888 reading I had?) to over 5200.  He took it again last week and it was over 5700.  So it’s possible that the cancer is becoming active.  He moved my scan up to the end of this month so we can see what’s going on.  As he says, the scan trumps everything so we’ll wait to see what it says before we make any decisions.  I took a few days off to rest and not do much of anything.  I’m still feeling great; I have lots of energy, my weight is up (apparently that’s a good thing!) so we’ll just wait and see.  Worst case scenario is that it’s time for more treatment.  Considering that I was supposed to start treatment again last August, I’m hoping that it still won’t be needed yet.  I know I don’t have to ask, but if you could say an extra prayer, I’d appreciate it! 

Now back to some fun stuff!  I bought these cute wellies yesterday.  They are such a departure from what I’d normally buy – something neutral and probably black.  Can’t you just imagine splashing about in the Spring rain in these?  I’m keeping them by the front door so I can jump into them as soon as this snow melts away.  Just looking at them makes me smile.  (Isn’t the rabbit sweet?  I bought it for the garden.)

More primroses.  Our local garden centre holds a farmer’s market every Saturday from January until Easter and last week they gave every customer a free primrose.  I chose another yellow one just because I can’t seem to get enough of that colour.  This one has the most wonderful fragrance!  Almost like freesias.  They don’t normally have much of a scent so I was very surprised at how intense this one is.  Nice though.


A few readers have been asking me about how I take and edit my photos so I thought I’d share my process with you.  I’m splitting this into two posts because it’s just too long to go through my camera equipment, settings and editing all in one.  Today, I’m just going to talk about my equipment and what settings I normally use.

I’m a Canon girl – always have been, always will be.  I have a 7D and absolutely love it.  The best camera I’ve ever had.  When it came time to upgrade from my Rebel xsi (which I still use now and again), I was torn between the 7D and the 5D Mark III.  Why I chose the 7D is a personal one, even though at the time “everyone” was buying the 5D.  I liked the way the 7D felt in my hands so much better than the 5D.  The 5D was heavier, clunkier (to me) and I didn’t like it.  At all.  I’m telling you this because you might feel pressured to buy what other people are buying but what you really need is the camera that’s the best for you.

My favourite lens is my 50mm 1.8.  It’s probably the best of the cheap lenses out there.  I’ve had it since the day I got my first dslr and I still use it.  When I’m taking photos indoors, I always, always, always use a tripod.  And a remote.  My other must have piece of equipment?  A white foam core board from the dollar store.  It makes a great reflector.  See?  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on equipment.  🙂

The settings I use vary depending on what I’m photographing and the light that’s available.  I never use flash.  It’s off permanently and I highly recommend you do the same.  When indoors, I usually use Aperature Priority (Av on the Canon) because the only thing I might change is the aperature (please, please, please! don’t use auto to take your photos).  If I’m using my 50mm lens, I like shooting “wide open” at 1.8.  I sometimes go smaller but not usually below 3.5.  (Learning aperatures and shutter speeds took me years but once I did, it was like a light bulb going off.  It made everything so much easier.)  Most of the time I set me lens to automatic focus because it does a better job at focussing than I do.  I play with my exposure compensation depending on the available light but at this time of year, I usually use 1 (or higher).  And indoors, I prefer using the automatic white balance setting just because, on my camera, it gives me the best result.  ISO ranges between 200 to 400; mostly 400 this time of year.  The higher you go with your ISO, the more “noise” you’ll have in your photo.

Are you nodding off yet?  🙂

The best advice I can give you if you want to improve your photography is to read your camera manual and practice, practice, practice!  The manual has all the information you need.  Learn the rules.  Then break them.  🙂  Photograph your coffee mug, your shoes, your table.  Whatever.  You don’t have to show them to anyone.  Just play with your settings until you know your camera inside out.  I’m still learning about mine and I’ve had it over 2 years.

I hope this is somewhat helpful.  If you have any questions or something isn’t clear, ask away!  Leave your questions in the comments and I’ll answer them there so everyone can see them.  Or you can send me an email if you prefer. Next post, I’ll go through my editing process.


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