Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Narrowing Down the Choices

The sweet and fabulous Lauren is back from last week to share even more about selecting the right DSLR for you. If choosing a new camera is as hard for you as it was for me than this post is going to seriously help you! 

Thank you Lauren for sharing all your incredible knowledge with us!

Hello, readers of Passion, Pink and Pearls! I'm Lauren, owner of Lauren Werkheiser Photography. Veronica and I thought it would be fun to turn my last post into a sort of mini series, in hopes that it will make choosing camera gear a little bit easier! When I last guest posted here, I shared a few questions that you should ask yourself, when picking out a DSLR camera. Today I'll be talking about lenses. There are so many to choose from and my hope is that todays post will help you narrow down your choices and choose the best camera lens for you!

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When picking out a DSLR camera, you will more than likely have the option to buy the camera body on it's own, or the camera body and a "kit lens". But which should you do? Most of the same questions that you asked yourself when choosing a camera can be applied here as well, and it's definitely worth asking yourself those questions again, as well as a few others. This time, though, you need to consider both - the camera and the lenses.

If you've been looking to buy a DSLR, my guess is that it's probably for personal use. Maybe you just want to take nicer pictures for your blog or of your children, or maybe you want to push yourself to learn something new.

Ask yourself: Am I buying this for personal use, professional use, or something in between?

To zoom or not to zoom?

There are two types of lenses; those that zoom and those that don't. The lenses that do not zoom are called prime lenses. With those, you will have to move closer to / further from the subject using your feet. A zoom lens, on the other hand, is not only a more versatile option (allowing close ups and wide angles without the need to change out your lenses), but it also gives you the option of not having to move much, which many may find more convenient.

Aperture

One of the benefits of prime lenses is that the aperture can reach a lower number such as 1.2, 1.4 or 1.8. This is important for those of you that shoot in manual mode (or aperture priority for those of you that haven't mastered manual, yet) because it lets in more light and creates more bokeh (beautiful, blurry backgrounds) in your image.

If you're buying a camera for personal use, you'll find that two of the most common lenses that come with a basic DSLR camera are the 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 and the 55-250mm 4.0-5.6. Sometimes you can even buy a kit that includes both of these lenses. But what do those numbers mean? It means that the largest aperture (lowest f-stop number) possible for the 18-55mm is 3.5 (at 18mm) and the lowest possible f-stop number for the 55-250mm is 4.0 (at 55mm). While you can still achieve blurry backgrounds with these apertures, they are also not the largest aperture (smallest f-stop number) possible. However, you have to remember that with these lenses, you do have the option to zoom out to either 55mm or 250mm.

Ask yourself: Do I want a zoom or prime lens? Which is more important to me: the ability to zoom, or a larger aperture (smaller f-stop number)?

When picking out a camera lens, you definitely need to consider your price point. If your budget is $600 total, you have a choice: you can spend it all on the camera body and lens (assuming you don't want to buy insurance for your camera or other accessories such as a camera bag, etc) or you can spend, say, $500 of that on a camera body and the other $100 on a lens such as the nifty fifty.

Ask yourself: What is my price point?

Most lenses are not interchangeable. For example, you cannot use Nikon lenses on Canon camera bodies. However, there are some third party companies, such as Tamron or Sigma, that make lenses compatible with your Canon/Nikon/etcetera camera. This is a great option for those of you that want to save a little bit of money (depending on the lens - some may be higher priced and others may be lower priced) or if you're looking for a certain type of lens that is not made by the makers of your camera, etc. 

Ask yourself: Does the brand matter?  Am I willing to look at third party lenses?

As always, it's a good idea to see the lens for yourself before you buy it. If you're able to, I suggest going to a local store that sells electronics so you can see/feel the lens to make sure you like it. If you have a camera body already picked out, ask if you can see them together to make sure you like that combination. 

Ask yourself: Have I done my research?

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I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I would love to help you out :)


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Monday, March 24, 2014

On My Heart





//pictures from our engagement session with Anna//

Lately, I've found my heart full of sweet dreams, new lessons and encouraged thoughts that I've just been itching to write about it. To say that I'm ready for this season of studying to be over is quite an understatement. It is nearly the end of March and yet I feel that April is still so far away. But  April and it's weeks of final cramming, stressed moments, and test taking will be here before I can even blink my eyes.

Husband is at the church this morning running graphics for the services today, sacrificing his time to give to our amazing church. But I? I began today wondering about how I will accomplish all I've put on my list for today. I poured my bowl of cereal with intention of sitting my buns on the sofa and watch some frivolous television show before I had to face that list. Instead I chose to put Christ first, and spend some time learning more about Him and sat at my dining table for my Bible study.

And now, I just finished watching church online, appropriate since I've not left my home since I came home on Friday from work, and for those of you wondering, yes I'm wearing the same yoga pants, t-shirt and sweatshirt since yesterday. Sometimes watching church online is the lazy decision for me, but sometimes, like today, it's the best decision. Singing worship songs in my lounge clothes, cozied up in a blanket, Paisley curled up sleeping at my feet, doing communion with a goldfish and water, and the sunshine pouring in my home, it just fills my heart in a different way than being physically present in my church. I'm thankful for these spontaneous Sundays of church at home.

After this week's message from Pastor Adam, I'm ready to hit the ground running for the day and weeks ahead, Bible in hand. My heart is grateful for this day, this list and my outlook is brighter than it wasjust 45 minutes ago. Whatever you're facing, cherish each moment and fill it with the truth from the divinely spoken Word of God, instead of talk from earthly people. His Word equips, protects and guides.

"Chains be broken, lives be healed, hearts be opened, Christ is revealed"
Hillsong United- You'll Come

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

So you're buying a DSLR...

Not too long ago Kevin and I made an investment in our collection of technologies and purchase a DSLR, much to my dismay. I have to say, that decision process was incredibly tedious, difficult and just plain confusing. There are SO many options and SO many price points.
I wished I had talk to Lauren when we were going through that process then but lucky for you, she's going to be here on the blog sharing with you everything about DSLRs. She has definitely done her research and will be sharing some wonderful advice and tips. I'm so excited to have her here! 
You may have noticed her button on the side bar recently. Lauren used to have her own blog but she's since made some changes and now has a professional photography site. Go check her out! She's got some awesome photos and does wonderful work. If you're in the northeast area call her up!
Enough from me though, let's hear from Lauren! Take it away girl!
Hi, everyone! I'm Lauren, owner of Lauren Werkheiser Photography, and I'm so honored that Veronica asked me to guest post on her blog. When she asked me if I could write a post about tips for choosing your first DSLR camera, I knew exactly what to share since these are questions I've asked myself more than once. With so many different cameras out there, and new models being put out continuously, it can be difficult choosing the right DSLR for you. Before going out and purchasing a new camera, there are a few questions that you should ask yourself.





What is my price point?
A good place to start, when it comes to choosing the best DSLR for you, is setting a budget. The price range for camera bodies, and photography gear in general, can go from low (you can buy a very nice quality DSLR camera for under $500) to very high (aka: thousands). When setting your price point, keep in mind that you may want to buy other accessories such as lenses, a camera bag to protect your gear, insurance for your camera, etcetera. That means if your budget is $600 total, don't spend all of it on a camera body. 

What do I need in a camera?
Decide what your camera will mainly be used for. Is for personal or professional use? Do you want a beginner model, something professional, or something in between? This is definitely something you should consider and will help greatly in picking out models to compare.

Does the brand matter?
There are some photographers out there who are die hard Nikon / Canon fans and think only that one brand is the right choice. I disagree. I use Canon. It's what I started with and I love it. Am I going to tell you it's better than Nikon? No. They each have their own attributes and the brand you pick is really just based on personal preference. I think if you stick with one of the two, you will be fine. It's important to keep in mind that the brand of the camera you choose doesn't have much to do with the quality of the images you take - that is all about the person taking the photos!

Have I done my research?
Make sure you do your research before you purchase your camera. For a lot of people, picking the right DSLR is a big decision and you want to make sure you're getting the right one. Once you have narrowed down your choices, go online and check the reviews to make sure it's what you want and to see how other people like them. Some reviews you'll have to take with a grain of salt, but it gives you an idea of what to expect. Compare the models you have picked out, to see which fits you best. I would also suggest walking into a store so you can actually pick up the model and make sure you are comfortable with it. 

I hope you found this post helpful! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions - I would love to help you out :)

Website // Twitter

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Snippets of a Vintage-Rustic-Chic Wedding Shower

Well the weeks between me and the first portion of my big exam are closing in. I have practicing to do, note cards to read through, and nerves to soothe. I've practiced saying no to "extra" events while I studied, January through April, but this one, I absolutely couldn't say no to. 

This sweet couple has been in our life group for I think a year now. You may remember our attempted engagement photo shoot for them, and the GORGEOUS invitations that Tiny Prints & 450West graciously helped me put together. The invites were displayed and I used even more of the materials in from the package with 450West to decorate the place.

 Our whole group has been so excited for them and we all agreed that we just had to throw them a wedding shower. Their wedding is in May, it will be the day before our second anniversary, so the shower was scheduled for this past Friday. 

It was a blast!

I just adored having people in our home, blessing a couple with a party, and enjoying all the company of the sweet friends we've made through this group. God sure has been good to us. The couple felt so loved and of course that made it that much more of a blessing. 

Thank you to all the ladies who made this whole party come to life! We each split up the load so there's wasn't a ton on one person's shoulder. We have two ladies working on food, another on games and cake, another on plates/etc, two ladies on favors, a couple on decorations, me on invitations, and the men helping us finalize it on the day of. The whole party was truly a gift from the group to the couple.

The theme was vintage-rustic-chic which fits them SO well. 

Here are some snippets of the evening:























 

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Everything You do to the Glory of the ONE Who Made You


the husband and I took a trip to the Home Depot this Sunday, as you might have seen on instagram...can't wait to write about what we have in mind!

making : homemade kitkat bars for the shower, not as easy as it looks.
cooking : healthier meals.
reading : The Power of a Praying Wife and really, really enjoying it! Also, my NCIDQ study book, and trying to soak in every word as much as possible...ugh
watching: The Bachelor and grateful it's done. #overjuan What do we think of the new bachelorette friends?
lookingat my sweet home and appreciating it more and more.
playingwith the cutest puppy girl I know. She's always so joyful.
sewing: or already sewed  this banner for the wedding shower happening tonight! Can't wait to snap some pics of it all set up!
wishing: work goes by quickly today, and it usually does #halfdayfriday
waiting: for my littlest sister to be here in Oklahoma! I'm sensing a trip to Waffle Champion, Blu, Syrup and who knows where else?!
liking: the pretty, pretty invites for the shower, and all the flowers in my home for the shower right now.
wonderinghow I'm going to get through all these projects at work. I'm used to having a lot of projects on my plate but usually they aren't all in the exact same phase, yikes!
listening: to this Steven Curtis Chapman hit, the ever growing popular Oceans song, and Divergent on CD in the car. Also, my fun FIL on the radio with the Tune-In app.
thanking: my sweet Jesus for the church He's rooted me in.
going: to work today and home at NOON!
lovingthat the wedding shower is TONIGHT! Can't wait to see the couples faces light up. They're adorable!
hoping: to be able to discipline myself tomorrow to take a practice exam
marvelingat God's work in my life. I see it more with every day.
smelling: my sweat, gross. Tome to go shower!
wearingwork-out capris and a long sleeve shirt from our run this morning...
followingthe devo plan my church created for 40 days with my church family. #loveJourneyChurch
noticing: my husby's sweet love for me daily.
knowingGod sees me, God loves me, God has me
thinking: about the NCIDQ and hoping I'm going to pass.
pinning: plans for some floating shelves on our tv wall and a homemade table for our  backyard.
praying: for a city to be transformed one city at a time
gigglingwith my husband in the evenings, I married one silly man. I've recenrtly decided that my husband is an interesting combo of Cory Matthews and Phil Dunphy...and that's seriously not an exaggeration!
feelingmore energized after working out most mornings this week.

Some pictures around our home lately:




 thanks Kiki LaRu for making my state necklace dream come true! #sale

 Paisley is LOVING the days we get a little warmer weather...her favorite place is in the sun...and the white stuff is now snow, nope it's a pillow she destroyed.



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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Day Date

Have you seen the movie Holiday in the Sun? It's an Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen classic. In other words go watch it now. To tell the truth, I don't remember much about that movie other than a very specific line. The girls' dad, in the movie. begins telling about their family activity plans for the day and one of them says, "but dad, I have a day date." Just the way she said it made me laugh, and I can still hear it today, I've not seen that movie in years!

Well, the point to all that was Kevin and I got to have a day date last week on a regular work day and it was so much fun! I had decided to buy a table from a lady who lived close to where I work in OKC. Everyone I felt comfortable asking to go with me weren't available so I asked my sweet man, he doesn't work tuesdays, if he would meet me in OKC at lunch time to pick it up. He wasn't thrilled. 

Well, rather than just make it a chore for him, I suggested we get lunch at a place we'd been itching to try, Waffle Champion, and suddenly it wasn't such a chore anymore to come up. We opted to make it day date!

That time was so sweet. Just me and my sweet husband in the middle of an otherwise plain-jane-work-day. We tried some new food, and it was awesome, and took some pictures, picked up a table, laughed, hugged, sneaked in some kisses and just really savored that one hour break together. I missed it the minute it was over. 








We worked so close to each other when I worked at OU and hardly ever had lunch together, today made me wish I had taken more advantage of that time of our life. 



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Monday, March 10, 2014

Small Group 101: How to Balance It All

After the first post in this series I got an awesome question that I really  thought would best be answered in a blog post. I think it's a great question and concern many of us face when considering adding something else to our ever busy calendars.

Her question:
This sounds awesome. We have small groups at my church as well. I've never started one though because I think I'm already involved in so many things it can be overwhelming. How do you balance the group with everything else? -Neisha

I love this question! Mostly because busyness is something I wrestle with, hence this post. Busyness can be a serious crutch we lean on. It's our excuse when we don't feel like stepping out on a limb and trusting our God. It's our default when we're not sure we want to put another thing into our schedules, even when it's something God is tugging on our hearts to do.

So my first suggestion is simple,  stop the excuse. 

My second suggestion, figure out your priorities. Do you have a group of people you fellowship with already? People that know your heart, people you discuss what you're learning, people who know your prayer requests? If not, then make it a priority. God calls us to be with people. He gave us people to commune with, to share life with. People are a gift from the sweet Jesus, He created friendships for a reason! 

So let's do it- full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps His word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big DAY approaching. - Hebrews 10:25 (the message)

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 21:17

Therefore encourage one another, and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thess. 5:11

"For where to or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" - Matt. 18:20



Thirdly, keep it simple. Starting up a small group doesn't mean you're all of a sudden going to be the most awesome "Sunday school" teacher. Realize your role. Your role is to lead a group of people into fellowship with one another. That doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to take up a lot of time. And you don't have to write your own lessons. Unless you feel called to that then certainly by all means, go for it. There are tons of great studies already written for you to use! They're full of readings, video messages, discussion questions... and they're super easy for you to lead from. It takes a lot of pressure off of you if you allow someone else, the author of the study, to do the primary teaching. From there you ask questions,  most often given, and discussion thrives from there. And realize, God's got you! He'll give you the words to say, if you give him your heart and trust.

Finally, schedule accordingly. Adding another requirement to your week can be overwhelming at first.  I totally get that.  So schedule accordingly. Is there a certain week night that is better fit for your family than the traditional Wednesday night? Or do you even need to meet every week? Our group meets every other week, on Friday nights at 8pm. This has worked well for us for many reasons. Everyone is ready for the weekend by then and are often relaxed, and less likely to miss it. 

Doing every other week has allowed for us to have "breaks" for other events or for traveling as well. The off weeks also allow for fun events for our group. They've done game nights often together on those off nights or we plan other activities. But those off weeks are generally planned by someone else in the group which takes some work off of us. Figuring out the day of the week and the time is huge, and really the hardest part. Bite your lip, pick a date and give it a try! You can adjust as you learn the people in your group and see what does and doesn't work.

For us, doing it every other week is what saves us. Kevin and I volunteer at the college ministry every Tuesday night. For our life right now, it's best for us to have one weekly requirement and a separate biweekly requirement on our schedules. 



Bottom line,
How do you balance a group with everything else?
you make it a priority.


*Photos in the post by the wonderful Anna from Birds&Coffee 


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