Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Black and White Portrait Photography

When my first child was born almost 10 years ago a friend gave me the advice to be sure to take pictures with a roll of black and white film before the baby grew up. I was reminded of that advice when I ran across a book at the library called Mom's Little Book of Photo Tips, by Lisa Bearnson. The book was published in 1999, when my husband and I still used film. The book suggests that black and white film evens out skin tone and gives a "timeless" aspect to your photos. Also, for best results be sure to use natural light.

This is a photo that I took with a roll of black and white film and a simple point and shoot camera.

This photo was taken with a roll of black and white film and my father-in-law's old SLR camera - which I used here for the very first time. I was very happy with the results. These are some of my very favorite photos that I have of when my daughter was small!

Finally, if you're like me and have switched to all digital photography, why not try converting some of your photos in your photo software and experiment with which photos look the best in black and white! Here's one that was taken with my digital point and shoot just last week when we were at the beach with Grandma and PaPa, and converted using iphoto when we got home.

Another fun tip for us amateur photographers who record our family's "life stories" is to take photographs without faces showing. I love the natural look of these photos!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Virtue Bracelets

Hubby and I try hard to teach the virtues to our children by acknowledging when they either display the characteristics of a particular virtue or we see the opportunity to practice a virtue. Patience is one that I must always remind myself to practice. Right? One night, as I was being called in to the girl's bedroom room for the hundredth time because they were arguing when they were supposed to be going to sleep, I was so very tempted to behave in a way that I would not want my children to behave. Luckily, this time I reminded myself that I have all the patience that is necessary to respond to these children who are still learning an appropriate way to deal with conflict. I thought to myself, if I can use this time to model the behavior I want them to display (patience, discussion, peace, compromise, understanding, etc.) then perhaps they will be just that much closer to modeling the behavior themselves next time. What if I wore a sweet reminder, a virtue bracelet with a symbol that reminds me of patience, to support me in this journey of practicing this virtue so that I don't "forget" and practice "impatience"? Well out comes my waxed linen cord that I use for my bookbinding and jewelry making, Tibetan silver charms are obtained that are symbols of different virtues I want to practice myself, or virtues that I admire in others, and these adjustable bracelets were born!

To be honest, I still haven't made one for the virtue of patience because I haven't found a symbol that I could put on a cord. The symbols for patience seem to be donkey, ox, fir tree - to name three - and I just haven't found a source for those. I will keep researching! I do have the symbols and virtue bracelets for Faith, Hope, Love, Perseverance, Loyalty, Peace, and Courage in my Etsy Shop right now! More to come as I recognize these virtues in others and the need for a reminder to practice them in my own life. Am I especially feeling the need to have courage or faith today? I will don that bracelet as a reminder and a comfort that I have access to that virtue by grace. And for that I am happy and grateful!