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?

In Response to Reality Reframed

May 13, 2014

When it comes to blogging (or almost anything else for that matter) you never know when something you put out there might resonate with people. Beauty, joy, excitement, adventure? Resources, contacts, discounts, giveaways? Lessons, insights, advice, inspiration? Different things speak to different people. There’s no telling what exactly might catch someone’s eye, spark action, or deeply move someone but I can say (from experience) that authenticity is a good start. Brené Brown says that “Authenticity…is about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” (From The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are) And this is exactly what made me choose to share my first Reality Reframed post with words AND pictures. I just wanted to tell/show the truth.

So, if it’s about truth, then why not just show the reality? Why bother with the reframed? For me, the reframed is just as true and authentic as the reality because it captures how I choose to see my life and then use my camera lens to transform something that might seem unsightly into something beautiful. It’s a process that has become a practice and it keeps me hopeful and grateful. So, in a way, I can’t really show one without the other.

But, even with the reframe, hitting publish wasn’t/isn’t exactly easy. It’s never easy to share, let alone publish, something that makes you feel vulnerable. Admitting my clutter trouble here and there has been pretty  liberating, but it still doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with feeling overly-exposed. Never the less, the response I’ve gotten from sharing my reality and my reframe has been so positive (encouraging, comforting, kind, supportive) it is actually helping diminish the shame I’ve carried around with all my other “stuff”. I hope that by continuing to be honest, I might help others feel free to do the same. When it comes to this crazy, messy, cluttered (aka authentic) life, it’s always nice to know we’re not alone.

Reality Reframed boxed to beauty

Reality Reframed a tipping point

Reality Reframed table top tray


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel to share (post links, pictures, etc). Here’s to more truth telling!

Elevate the Everyday in Any Language

May 5, 2014

Elevate the Everyday Foreign Editions Available

Yesterday I got a package in the mail from my publisher.  What a wonderful surprise! Needless to say, I’m over the moon about seeing my book Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood is now available in several different languages. Here’s the list of the languages/editions that the book is being offered in so far:

English (US / Canada)
Simplified Chinese
English (UK / ANZ )
Elevate the Everyday Foreign Editions
Is it just me, or is this super-exciting and totally cool? My family and I pored over each issue last night and had so much fun rediscovering the book in so many languages.
Fun Fact: The word “blog” in most languages is still “blog”, with the occasional “bloga” or “blogu”.  That fascinates me.
And while I’ve got you here, hypnotized by the intrigue of distant lands and exotic languages, might I remind you that Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood
(in ANY language) would make a fabulous Mother’s Day Gift. Available at Amazon or your local bookstore (Barnes and Noble for instance). And if you are by chance looking for a foreign edition, please leave comment here or email me and I can try to help you find what you’re looking for.

The Beauty of Being Unplugged

April 25, 2014

Button Shell Necklace and The Beauty of Being Unplugged

Each year, we spend our Spring Break in a very remote part of Baja, Mexico. In the past we’ve had some internet access, albeit totally unreliable and unpredictable. Never the less, if I HAD to get online, I could if I was patient and persistent. This year was a different story. The day before we flew out I was told there would be no internet access AT ALL. For 6 days.

I’m not sure if I’ve actually ever been offline for 6 days since like, the invention of the internet, but I was actually (surprisingly) excited by the news. What happened in those 6 days without internet access far-surpassed anything that could have happened with internet access.

And I’ve got the photos to prove it.

Sitting on the beach in Mexico

Happy to Be Unplugged

Making a Shell Strand

Girl with Shell Strand in Ocean

Father Daughter Moment

BW family in Baja

Feet with Found Heart in Baja

It’s Not Easy Being Teen

September 26, 2013


Sometimes I just cannot believe I have a teenager. I’ve always kind of felt like being a parent in general was surreal but, as time passes, the feeling only intensifies. I often find myself wondering how the heck I got here, how does time move so fast and how it’s possible that my child will soon be off to college. It just doesn’t seem real. And yet, here I am. Here we are.

With all the scary messages out there about how horrible, trying, difficult teenagers can be, I guess I was expecting the worst. I feel fortunate that it really hasn’t been much like what I had heard (knocking on wood). That’s not to say parenting at this stage doesn’t have challenges. But still, it’s not what I was anticipating. In fact, it’s way cooler than I ever thought it would be. And, I think my daughter feels the same way about her teenage years. Sure there’s the quintessential “issues” that are somewhat Universal to the teen experience, but I think she’s putting those into a healthy perspective as she pans out to the bigger picture of  her life’s journey. Not an easy thing to do for anyone, let along a teenager. I give her major props for that!

Last night, at yet another back to school night, my husband and I traipsed around her high school stomping grounds getting the scoop on what is her daily life. It was the 3rd time we’ve attended as my daughter is a junior now (see? I have no idea how that happened) but even as high school veterans, it still totally amazes/bewilders/eludes me. Tracing her steps from building to building, walking the paths, passing through the architecture, sitting in the seats and staring at the walls of her life outside of home is never lost on me. As I listened to each teacher’s jam-packed presentation, tried to keep up with the power points, and took notes of anything I felt like might be of importance for future reference, I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be to be in high school now. With so much academic pressure, so many extra-curricular expectations , and so much  responsibility to keep it all together. They are having to live in the present while focusing on the future, all the time. And that’s not even mentioning the social pressures. We all remember that. From navigating friends to communicating with teachers to hyper-active hormones, it just can’t be easy.

It’s really no wonder then that things can get dicey at home. I get stressed out just watching my teen live her life. True, I might be a little more involved than I have to be (my husband tries to remind me to take a step back for my sake and hers) but even still, I can hardly keep up with her and everything that she’s got to squeeze in every day,  and it’s not even my life. I know that she’s exhausted and often pushed over-capacity. I know that when I get frustrated with her for forgetting things, staying up late, waking up late, wasting her time, it doesn’t help. At all. I know she is doing the best she can under overwhelming expectations.  Which is why that even when I’m fuming mad at 11pm waiting for her to get released from musical theater rehearsal, I try to remember that she needs me. When she calls in the middle of the day in a panic that she forgot her homework on the printer, she needs me. When wakes me, home late from an evening with friends and she wants to tell me all about it over tea, she needs me. For help, for support, for understanding, for guidance, for companionship, for unconditional love. And no matter how fast the time passes, no matter where her wings take her, no matter how grown up she gets,  I am so hoping she will keep needing me for all of that. Today, tomorrow and for always.

I recently shared a story and a project on my Babble Voices blog Reframed that relates to the subject of my daughter and how hard I know it is growing up and being a teenager. If I can continually repeat the uplifting, inspiring and encouraging messages I believe she needs to hear, then I know I’m being the best advocate I can be for her. Plus, I know (and she knows) that these messages ring true even when I’m unable to keep my cool on the tough days. Thankfully, the Rhonna Designs app offers all of these amazing messages and more. It’s a photo app dream come true and helped me say the things I always want to say to my daughter. The collection of cards I made for her (and the ‘how-to” part) can be found at Babble. I also made cards for her that are OF her. using pictures of her that I love, paired with words that I know fit her to a T. These few probably mean the most to her. And to me. Sniff sniff.