Welcoming 2015

It is late on January 1, 2015 and I cannot help but think I was last year at this time, and how my 2014 started.

You see, my 2014 started with a Polar Plunge in Antarctic waters.

Polar Plunge in Antarctica
January 1, 2014
Photo: Pam Le Noury, Quark Expeditions

While this New Year's Day was much different, namely in that I was pretty cozy all day and the closest I got to cold water was drinking it out of a glass, I am so happy that I have this memory to cherish.

While I know that the way to move forward is not to look back, I cannot help but look back on how 2014 started. My trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica has occupied my mind since I got back last January and has changed my perspective of the world we live in. This is a place that I have fallen in love with and want to share as much as possible in order to raise awareness of the importance of the polar regions.

I am still in the goal planning phase for 2015. I had some great experiences in 2014, and am planning some great things for my photography in 2015.

Lessons from Dad

My dad has taught me a lot of things that will stick with me throughout my life, but perhaps the best thing he could have taught me is to see through a lens. As an avid photographer his whole life (like converting a portion of his parents' garage into a darkroom as a teenager), he always encouraged me to pick up a camera and experiment. As you can see, this started at an early age:

Taking "pictures" of my maternal and paternal grandfathers, while my paternal grandmother, aunt and mom look on. This camera probably had no film in it.

Taking "pictures" of my maternal and paternal grandfathers, while my paternal grandmother, aunt and mom look on. This camera probably had no film in it.

As I have grown up, he has always encouraged me to see things a little differently, and was always willing to give up his camera to me if I saw something I just had to capture.

When I could afford my own DSLR, we both gained a camera buddy. It is really great to be in a beautiful place and to be able to create images with my dad. it's amazing how we will be in the same spot, but see things differently.

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah. August 2011  Photo by Joanna Jacob

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah. August 2011

Photo by Joanna Jacob

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah. August 2011  Photo by Joanna Jacob

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah. August 2011

Photo by Joanna Jacob

My dad is my #1 fan, and is always excited to see what images I have created. He was willing to sit through every single image that I created in the Antarctic in order to help me flag the best ones. And when I have an editing question (Which way do you like this cropped? Like this or like this?) he is always ready and willing with his opinion.

Thanks dad for giving me the gift of seeing the world a little bit differently through a lens, and for willingly giving your camera up to me on our family trips all of those years.

Happy Father's Day! I love you!

Getty Villa, 2011

Getty Villa, 2011

When the moment strikes

Boy am I happy that I a) had my iPhone camera with me and that b) I made this image when I did: Broken

Edited in the iPhone 3GS using Photogene and Best Camera apps. Ambient lighting only.

I walked by this image while running some errands one weekend. Something about it spoke to me, and for a split-second I thought, "Oh I'll grab it on the way back to my car." But then I dropped my shopping bag, took out my iPhone --This image screamed best Camera App-- and grabbed a shot or two.

On my way back to my car, the shopping center security guard had two teenage (or tweenage) skateboarders off to the side of the low wall the broken skateboard was sitting on, and my subject --gasp!-- on the ground.

This image reminds me to stop saying, "I'll get that later". There might not be a later, no matter the subject matter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Which do you like better?

It was recently suggested to me to rotate an image from the 3rd Annual Scott Kelby Photo Walk at the Venice Canals, CA. My response was, "But I like it this way better." However, I thought about it again and rotated it. Now leave it up to you, my faithful readers, to tell me which image you like better and why.

The original image:


And its rotation:

Venice-1 Rotation


8 Tips for Photography Beginners

I got my first dSLR about 3 years ago, and although I had been interested in/surrounded by and dabbled in photography throughout my life, it turns out that I didn’t know squat. Instead of putting the camera on the little green box setting, I took it as an opportunity to learn everything I could about photography and my camera. I dove head first into photography, and found that I actually have a passion for photography, and cannot see myself without a camera. EVER. Since that fateful day, I have upgraded my camera, and am constantly working on developing my eye.

That being said, I have had those just getting into photography approach me with questions, and I have found some common themes. I have put together this list to help new photographers that may be a bit overwhelmed, and having been there not that long ago, I hope drawing from my experience will help the newbies.

8 Tips for Photography Beginners

  1. Read the manual. I know, you would rather watch paint dry. At least skim it. You need to know how to change the aperture and shutter   speed (Whatever those are). A lot of questions that you have are answered in that little book that came with the camera. You have the key.
  2. Learn the basics. Check your local camera store for basic camera classes (some are free), as well as local community colleges for a more drawn out course. However, if you don’t have the time or cash to do that, there are a ton of free resources on the Internet.
  3. Just shoot. Practice, practice, practice! Get the dial off of that little green box and learn about how each setting affects the photo you take. Know what what an aperture is and how to change it on your camera model, as for shutter speed and ISO.
  4. One of my camera's first outings, this tree root was photographed multiple times: Tree root system

  5. Go shooting with other people. No matter the skill level, you can learn from someone else. You may find than you know more than you think you did by teaching someone else, and will learn something new by observing others.
  6. Get more than one memory card and battery. You need multiple cards. They are so reasonably priced, you can’t afford not to. batteries for your camera can be a bit pricier, but it is worth it to have an extra one when you really need it.
  7. Look at LOTS of other photos. There are so many options with the Internet, look at photos and decide why you like them. What makes them work for you? Is it the colors? The depth of field? The composition? Look at the famous photographers, and learn from their techniques.
  8. The Internet has a plethora of information. No matter what your views are on social media like Twitter and Facebook, there are many reputable photographers involved who have a wealth of knowledge they love to share.
  9. Use a photo editing software. Most dSLR’s come with some sort of photo editing/managing software. Personally, I wish that I had used Adobe Lightroom from the moment I downloaded my first photo, but hindsight is 20/20. There are also free photo editing software companies available that you can check into. However, DO NOT rely on the photo editing software to fix your mistakes, you must learn how to make a photograph in the camera. The importance of the software is in the metadata, or information about your photo. The digital age is a great time to learn photography, because you can shoot your images, download them 2 minutes later, and see where you went wrong. It is better to do this on the monitor than your little LCD so you can actually see your image.

I hope these tips are useful, and please feel free to add to this list on your own as you go along in your own photographic journey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Adding stuff...

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am experimenting with my blog. One of the things you may have noticed is a newer page called "Resources". This particular page will constantly be added to, as I am always finding information about photography that I would love to share with you, my wonderful readers. I am also working on some things to change up the blog a little bit. I'll be putting up polls on occasion for some reader reactions and opinions.

Of course you can always leave comments for me, or contact me directly.

Oh, and here is today's project365 photo #50, which just happens to be more flowers:


Camera: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Exposure: 0.05 sec (1/20) Aperture: f/3.2 Focal Length: 5.9 mm ISO Speed: 200

These little flowers were picked by my co-worker, and they made her happy (It was sort of a glum day in SoCal, and these little flowers perked everyone up--actually, taking photos of them perked me right up).

Taken at my desk. The back lighting from the window wasn't helping my little point and shoot do its macro thing, so I borrowed a lamp from another desk to throw in some more light on the cute little flowers.

Thanks for stopping by!