30 Days of Photos – Day 16 Memories

Sometimes you just need to stop and photograph the things that make you happy. The things that bring back the memories.

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Day 16 – Memories

I drive by here almost every day. The place has not chanced much in the past 20 years but I know that someday it will. Someday the barn that I played in as a little girl and have fond memories of will be gone. The grain bins that I helped clean out with somewhat fond memories may still be here, but there could be more added to the mix. This is the barn where my first cow had her calf. It is where the milk cow would come each morning and night to be milked. It is the place where we grind feed and stack hay in the loft. It’s the memories that bring this picture to life. For not every picture speaks to everyone, but not everyone has the memories that go with the picture.

Canon Rebel T5i
1/3200s
f/9.0
ISO:800

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

 

30 Days of Photos – Day 13 Explore

Nothing better than a beautiful day and a little boy full of imagination and the desire to explore.

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Day 13 – Explore

Today we visited with family. We had a great meal and the kids took to the outdoors for a friendly game of touch football. It was almost 2:00 in the afternoon and if you have followed my pictures for very long, you know that shooting in the middle of the day in the full sun is not something I tend to do. The light and shadows are harsh. Individuals squint their eyes and my pictures never come out the way I want them too, but I am challenging myself to not only take pictures every day this month, but to also explore in my picture-taking. Be that exploring a new location or exploring the use of my camera, I am challenging myself to do more. Sometimes all of the wrong things make for a fun and interesting picture. My nephew and I both went exploring this afternoon and saw things in a new and different light.

Canon Rebel T5i
1/640s
f/7.1
ISO:200

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

30 Days of Photos – Day 8 Harvest

The simple things in life are what matter. Like simply diving into a pile of corn.

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Day 8 – Harvest

Like with today’s election, I had multiple choices to use for my picture today. I had the choice of a picture of my farmer father standing on the steps of the combine with his I Voted sticker proudly on his chest. I had another picture of our 13-year-old son proudly standing on the tractor he loves to drive in the field. Then I had this picture. A picture of our daughter playing in a pile of corn without a care in the world and I knew, as great as the other pictures are, this one says so much. For me it says that no matter what this day brings, it is a good day because we are here together and we are doing the things that we love to do. One only needs to choose to put a smile on their face and dive into whatever opportunity may come their way. Maybe even a pile of corn.

Canon Rebel T5i
1/250s
f/5.6
ISO:400

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

30 Days of Photos – Day 7 Perspective

Sometimes one just needs to look up…

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Day 7 – Perspective

My goal with this challenge to is to take pictures everyday and choose one to post for my challenge. Today was a bit more difficult in getting out with my camera, but at about 4:15 this afternoon ran out to take some pictures for our insurance agent and while doing that I looked up and saw a new perspective on this grain bin. In three quick shots, I knew I would have the picture I wanted. All I had to do was look up.

Canon Rebel T5i
1/200s
f/7.1
ISO:800

Blessings to you, 
Laurie – Country Link

30 Days of Photos – Day 5 Focus

Sometimes as a mom my focus is spot on, sometimes it is completely off focus, and then other times you get this…

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Day 5 – Focus

During the golden hour the spider webs were catching all of the sun rays and the barbwire really stood out to me. I like to play with focus and by using my f-stop, have things behind what I am shooting to be in focus or not. This mama cow chose the perfect time to walk past the fence I was shooting at and therefore my focus was complete.

Canon Rebel 5ti
1/400s
f/10
ISO:800

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

30 Days of Photos – Day 3 Cattle

Again, making the rules up as I go along…Today I knew that we would be working cattle, thus I decided that today’s photo would be Cattle. The challenge here was to find a new perspective and to keep the images under 15. I had 25 images today.

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Day 3 – Cattle

This calf is in the working chute with a few of his buddies. I was not interested in getting all of them in my frame, I just wanted one. One in the right spot that I could catch its face, its expression. You see I watch the cows. Every day I see them walking behind the house to go out to pasture or come in for water. Seeing them calms me. At the end of a busy day or at the start of what will be a crazy day, I stand at my back door and look out and watch the cows. Sometimes I go to the fence and just watch and listen or get on the Gator and drive out to see them and check on them. To me they are calming. To me they are a wonder and a beauty to behold.

Canon Rebel T5i
1/250s
f/5.6
ISO:800

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

30 Days of Photos – Day 2 Light

I am still making up the rules for this challenge as I go along, but one thing I do know is that I want to challenge myself with this project and to help others as they go about working on their own photography journey.

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Day 2 – Light

Light is my favorite tool to use when I photograph. I am always trying to lean more about the light and how it affects my pictures. Like today’s photograph. Kendall is setting on her bed looking out her window which faces east. The day is over cast, but there is enough light coming through her window that she is illuminated. I did set my camera to a higher ISO to get the added grain in the picture. I also used the built-in filter in the camera and took this in monochrome. For her not to be feeling well, I feel the light helped to capture her and her youthful innocence.

Canon Rebel T5i
50 mm lens
1/200s
f/5.0
ISO:1600

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

30 Days of Photos – Day 1 Family

Welcome to my first 30 day blog challenge! Who am I challenging? Well, myself of course. I have put this little blog on the back burner and decided today that it was time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to it. So here we go!

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Day 1 – Family

We are still harvesting corn and soybeans, but the end is in sight. Today was a good day in the field; perfect weather wise, no break downs and I got to spend a little time in the combine. For the past few years I have tried to make sure that we have a picture of all five of us in the field together. As Seth was hopping out of the combine to run to a neighbors, I sat up the tripod, set the timer on the camera and hit the button. The results I feel turned out pretty good!

Canon Rebel T5i
1/800s
f/5.0
ISO:400

Blessings to you, 
Laurie – Country Link

Picking Photos for a Contest – tips and suggestions

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When deciding what pictures to enter in a contest, any contest, I first look through my images and pick out what I consider my favorites. They could be my favorite just because one of the kids are the main focus, or it could be a favorite because of the lighting or the angle at which it was taken. What ever the reason, start with your favorites.

Next, I look for if the image tells a story or not. This is where you begin to really look at the images you have taken and ask yourself if someone else looked at this, would they, #1 know what was happening, #2 be able to make a connection to it, and #3 appreciate the feeling that it gave them. Example: A pair of rain boots running through a mud puddle brings back memories and happy feelings for most individuals. What the image lacks is context to why the puddle is there and who is wearing the rain boots. A little girl in rain boots, running though puddles in a muddy driveway, with rain clouds in the distance, towards her daddy who is shutting a gate or getting off of a tractor, tells you more of a story and you can gather from the picture what has happened. (I wish I had an image just like this!) The individual looking at it will, #1 know that the rain had just come through by seeing the clouds in the distance, #2 make a connection in that they used to run through puddles or they still do, #3 leave with a feeling they will appreciate, be it the joy of childhood or the love between a father and daughter.

After you have determined if the image tells a story, look and see what the image NEEDS. Does it need to be cropped down a little so that you no longer see an old pile of rusty junk? Maybe the cat’s tail is seen in the bottom corner? What ever the case, crop and crop with a purpose! Some pictures can have too much sky or too much ground. Start by finding a balance and then come in closer to your focal area if you need to.

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Cropped Original

Most contests for amateurs ask that only minimal edits be done. Besides cropping, I suggest sticking to contrast, color, saturation and highlights. All these can be done with using basic online programs like Picasa, Pixlr or PicMonkey. (Picasa is my favorite to use.) Any one of these basic edits only enhance what you have already captured in your image. Changing the scale for contrast can deepen the colors and add more depth to your picture. Increasing highlights can lighten certain areas just enough to give the photo more light, which can lead to more detail being seen.

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The picture on the left is the cropped untouched/out of the camera photo. Using the Highlights, Shadows and Color Temperature scales, I was able to make slight changes so that the colors stand out a little more and the temperature of the picture is warmer. Can you tell there is a difference?

When it comes to what pictures to put in what contest categories, then I suggest this; adhere to what the description say. If the category is “Faces of the Farm”, have a face in the photo. Be it a face of a new-born baby calf, faces of a young farm family or the faces of a grandfather and grandson working side by side, make sure you can see their faces. Now there is room for interpretation in all instances. Just be mindful of what they are looking for and if your image fits that. On occasion I have had a photo that I feel fits more than one category. In that case I just go with my “gut” and put it where I feel it fits the best for me. (Or you can ask family and friends for their suggestions.)

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*Using this picture as an example, here is how I determine what the story of the photo is and where it would fit into a photo contest. Context: It is fall harvest time. Connection: The truck, the standing corn in the background and the shelled corn stalks in the foreground. Feeling: Joy in the fact that the older generation is teaching the younger generation. Category: Farmer’s Life

The last tip I am going to give you deals with naming your photos. I find this the hardest part of picking and submitting photos! (I really do!) What help I can offer is to keep them short and sweet and to the point. For the above photo I have titled it, “Teaching the Next Generation”. Simple, yes. Very imaginative, not really. Does it do the trick and help to bring the story of the picture full circle, you bet ya!

I do hope this helps those of you who are going to be entering photo contests. There are several contests out there and I encourage everyone who reads this to submit a photo or two. What better way to show-case not only your talent, but your passions as well. Agriculture happens to be a passion of mine and it is my goal that who ever sees my photographs knows that above all else.

If you have any questions or if you want me to cover something else, please let me know by leaving a comment below. I always like hearing from readers and hope that you can make a connection to the things that you read here.

Blessings to you and best of luck,

Laurie – Country Link

*Disclaimer time: Let’s face it, I am just one person who happens to have an opinion on this subject. I am sure you can find others with a different opinion and they would be just as right or wrong as I am.

Country DIY Canvas Project

Country DIY Canvas Project

We have a blank wall in our bedroom.  This wall has been bare for five years.  FIVE YEARS!  It is my fault, really it is.  I could not decide what I wanted to put on it.  I knew that as soon as I did decide there would be no going back.  So I waited…………………………………………………………………..and today the wait ended!  YEA!

With a bit of time and very little money, I made my own pictures on canvas.  I first got the idea from Pinterest and have done this before.  My first project I used 8×10 pictures and canvas.  I also used an old window to then frame the canvas pictures that I made.  Very cute and easy!

This project was basically the same, expect I did not have a window big enough for the blank wall I have been looking at for five years.  After combing through all of the pictures I have taken the past couple years, and that was a LOT of pictures, I settled on eight that I wanted to use.  From there the rest is easy.

Country Linked Canvas DIYSupplies needed:

  • 11×14 in. Stretched Canvas
  • Mod Podge
  • Brown Acrylic paint (your choice of color)
  • Foam brushes (a 1 and a 4 in brush)
  • Ruler
  • Cutter or scissors
  • 8 11×14 pictures (these were my favorites and ones I knew I would love seeing every day)

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Step one:  After gathering all of my supplies, I found a large flat clean surface to work on. First I painted the edges of the canvas.  I chose brown because all of my pictures are sepia color.  I made sure that I came over the edge and on to the front of the canvas.  This is just in case the photograph is smaller than your canvas.

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Step two:  While the paint was drying I got the picture I wanted to use and cut it to fit the canvas.  All of my 11×14 photos were just a bit bigger than the canvas.

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Step three:  Apply Mod Podge to the front of your painted canvas.  This acts also as a glue and will adhere your photo to the canvas.  Place your picture and press down. This is where painting over the edge helps.  If you were just a little off on your cutting, it will not be seen because of the paint.  Once you have the picture in place, apply the Mod Podge all across the front and sides of the canvas.  Don’t be worried that it has a milky look.  Once it dries it will be clear.  I used a 4 in. foam brush to apply the Mod Podge and I applied two coats to each canvas.  Be sure that the first coat is dry before you apply the second.

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Step four:  Once everything is dry, decide on an eye appealing arrangement.  I laid the pictures down on the living room floor to make my arrangement.  It took a bit to get the pictures in the right order.

Country Link DIY the finished look.  www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

Step five:  Hang and Enjoy!  There are many ways to hang your canvas.  I chose to use metal hangers on the back of mine and then place them on the wall with a nail.  If I had the chance to run to town, I probably would have used the 3M command strip products.  I use those for many things.

What do you think?  Fun, right!  Easy, right!  Since I did have eight to do, this project did take most of an afternoon to do, but the results were so worth the time!  (All of the photos used for this DIY project were taken by me.) 

Have fun making your own canvas!

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

*Check out the link that inspired this project, it is fantastic! http://www.literallyinspired.com/2012/02/picture-perfect.html

*By typing in “Make your own canvas picture” in Pinterest, several links were found.

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