5 Shots with my Favorite 50mm Compact Macro Lens

June 27, 2014

Of all the questions that I get asked about my photography, perhaps the most common is what camera equipment I’d recommend. Although I’m not all that concerned or particular about camera bodies (I use an original version of the Canon 5D- pre-Mark variety),  I am VERY partial to my lens of choice. With that I’d like to share with you 5 shots I’ve taken over the years with my favorite lens on the planet: The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens.

Honey Bee by Tracey Clarkshot with Canon 50mm Compact Macro Lens

Ice Cream Sandwiches by Tracey Clark shot with Canon 50mm Compact Macro Lens

Dandelion by Tracey Clark shot with Canon 50mm Compact Macro Lens

Wind blown hair by Tracey Clark shot with Canon 50mm Compact Macro Lens

Raft by Tracey Clark shot with Canon 50mm Compact Macro Lens

I’ve been shooting and talking so much about Mobile Photography, sometimes it’s nice to get back to the DSLR for a nice change of creative pace and for a little photography spark! And when I use my DSLR, this lens is on my camera 90% of the time. If you’re ever looking for an awesome, versatile, affordable lens, I can’t think of an better option than this baby. More versatile than the standard 50mm because of it’s macro (get in super-close) capability. She’s a dreamboat! And, the perfect transition from your kit lens, if you’re still shooting with that. It’ll be a game-changer, I promise.

And, right now through July 5, B&H Photo is offering a $30 mail in rebate. That means this lens would only cost you $269. A serious steal!  If you shoot a Nikon, I think this AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Macro Autofocus Lens might be a good alternative although I can only really speak for the Canon.

So, what’s your favorite go-to lens?


A Story about the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

June 23, 2014

On the eve of my departure for the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road event in Phoenix, I thought I’d post a little Disney Story featuring some highlights from the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in April at Disneyland.

Needless to say, there were some magical memories made!


I’m looking forward to more moments filled with magic over the next few days in Phoenix where I’ll have the honor of sharing some photography tips and tricks with the attendees (squeeeee!).  I can’t wait!

Wanna create your own Story? Download the free Disney Story photo app. It’s super easy and so fun!


On Growing Up

June 16, 2014

Sisters

I have started a million posts lately and have yet to finish even one and yet, because I so desperately want to get something down, I will at least start with this image. It’s one that takes my breath away. And it prompted me to at least try to share my thoughts.

June is always a challenging month; busier than the holiday and more emotionally charged. June means transitions, milestones, and endings. June brings a change in weather, attitude, and outlook. June is the start of summer and at the same time is the end of all that the other seasons brought. It’s the end of quantities known and the beginning of so much unknown. June is excitement and reluctance, anticipation and hesitation, exhaling and holding our breath. I suppose it’s no wonder that it’s been difficult to write about it. And because this June brings an end of an era (my baby is promoting out of Elementary School and into Middle School) it makes it feel even bigger than usual.

With each passing year I feel the intensity of what I call the push and pull get stronger. I see my girls both wanting to grow up and become more independent while at the same time both looking over their shoulders, making sure they don’t get too far ahead. Making sure I’m still in sight. They push me away, I want to pull them back. I push them along, they pull me back.  Sometimes I am filled with happiness about it all. Other times I feel so heartbroken. And so it has gone since they were babies.

I came across this quote thought of no better way to express the emotion of it all. Leave it to The Wonder Years to say it better than I ever could.

“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves… for growing up.”

*sob*


Photo Fun at Disneyland and #DisneySMMoms

June 3, 2014

It’s no secret that I’m a Disney fan. In fact, it runs in the family. But, you probably knew that already. What’s been so much fun is that it seems now more than ever so many of our many Disney paths are coming together. I can’t help but envision the Hub at Disneyland. In case you don’t know that story, all roads within Disneyland lead to the hub. Yep. It feels kinda like that. Disney people, places, events, opportunities have been popping up like hidden Mickeys. It feels, in a word, magical.

For one thing, I’m really looking forward to getting to share my passion for photography at the soon-coming Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Celebration in Phoenix.  I honestly can’t think of two things that go together any better than photography and Disney. Which got me thinking. What is it about Disney (more specifically the Disney Parks) that makes it so much fun to get ridiculously snap happy? Let’s see…the key word here has got to be happy. The Disney Parks are quite simply, my family’s happy place.

Being So Cal natives (yes, 99% of my family and extended family lives here) certainly works to our advantage when it comes to visiting the Disney Parks. Which means, we’re there a lot. And we’re taking more pictures than we know what to do with. And why not? Nothing could be more fun to capture than magic and make-believe! Am I right?

To celebrate the kick-off of the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Events this summer, I thought I’d share a few of my Favorite Phone Photographs from Disneyland, plus a few words on the shots that might inspire you to shoot more on your next visit! Bonus: Over at Disney Sisters, we’re sharing phone photos captured at Disney California Adventure. Just because, we love both parks so much!

The Iconic Shot

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland

True, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle has been photographed a gazillion times but you gotta get the shot! I have noticed that shooting it almost every visit, there are always external variables that change the way it looks. In this case, I was lucky to have some interesting clouds to add some drama. Capturing it from inside of Fantasy Land (instead of from Main Street) brings a little something unique.

On a Ride

Autopia Ride at Disneyland

It’s not always easy to capture a moving target. In other words, ride shots aren’t always that easy. In this case, we pulled up at the end of riding Autopia, waiting in the traffic (it is So Cal afterall) and as the car began a slight curve, I was able to call to my daughter so she’d peek her head out. The cars were still so I could capture a prefect moment of her very first solo-ride on Autopia. Focusing on her happy face turned what could have been a regular snapshot into something a little more special.

Sweet Treats

Dole Whip at Disneyland Park

After all these years of visiting Disneyland, I can’t recall ever getting a Dole Whip. That was, until recently. Now, I’m hooked.  When it comes to capturing a shot like this, I wanted the main focus to be the treat itself (which it is because of the cropping) but my favorite part of the shot is my daughter’s smirk. So began our Dole Whip love affair.

Timeless

Main Street Disneyland

Rarely would you consider processing pictures from a trip to Disneyland into Black & White but in this case, the monochromatic pallet made for some good old fashioned Disney magic. My daughter’s high tops against the texture of the Main Street grate helped up the classic factor.

 

Night Shots

King Arthur Carrousel at Disneyland Park

Disneyland at night is fill of wonder.  The way the park is lit up at night will make anyone a believer. I have such good luck shooting night shots with my iPhone, I never hesitate trying my hand at capturing a magical glow. From the glow of dusk to the darkness of late night, photos of Disneyland at night are some of my all time favorites. In this case, I choose to blur the lights with the selective focus tool in Instagram. It gave it just the effect I was after.

Giveaway time:

Phone Photography Project givaway

Now for some more fun! All you need to do is leave a comment here on this post, sharing your favorite Disney photo subject  (could be anything) and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win a spot in the online summer photo class The Phone Photography Project and a copy of Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Motherhood. If you love taking pictures as much as I do, you will LOVE the class and the book.

You have until Sunday 6/8 midnight PT to enter. I’ll announce winner on Monday. YAY!

I did mention that Disney Sisters are sharing photos too, right? Go check them out. They’re rad. My sisters and their pictures!

 

Updated 6/10: Congratulations Stephanie! You won the spot in class and a copy of Elevate the Everyday!


Another Bird Story

May 26, 2014

Western Bluebird Babies

Last year, about this time, I was enjoying keeping tabs on a hummingbird nest in our backyard. It became a highlight of my season for so many reasons. Although once the babies flew (or more like burst) the coop, the nest deteriorated and has not been rebuilt or re-inhabited, we have had a new species appear. For the first time since we’ve lived in this house, a family of Western Bluebirds have moved in. A birdhouse that has hung vacant for over 10 years is now being put to good use.

Meet mama:

Mama Bluebird

Meet papa:
Papa Bluebird
Both parents are working tireless around the clock to keep the family nurtured and nourished and are very protective (hence the daily dive-bombings from Papa aimed at our dogs and even us, depending on how close we get).  From what I can tell, there’s at least 3 small mouths to feed, maybe more.

I think I’ll be treating myself to another lens rental again for the joyous occasion. That said, I’m pretty sure there will be more photos to follow.