agt_spooky: (Bird in rainbow clouds)

It's mornings like these that I don't mind being at work before the sun rises. Because then I get to see this outside my office window:

agt_spooky: (Bird in rainbow clouds)

Sometimes it's worth starting work before dawn, because then you get to see a sunrise like this…

agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
I mentioned the other day that the hubby and I stopped by a new bakery and picked up some cupcakes. I loved the colors in mine so much I thought I'd take a few photos of it. I really love food photography and need to start doing more of it.

agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))

….or maybe just the employees in my office. :-)

So several months after winning first and second place in my company's photography contest, our HR department finally hung up the photos yesterday. They were supposed to be displayed on either the 3rd or 4th floor, but instead they put them all in our lobby. Which I guess is even better, because now a lot more people will see them, since there are other companies on the 1st and 2nd floors.

Here's what it looks like:

And a close up of my two. Each photo has the employee's name on a brass plate.

It's kinda nice to walk into the lobby every morning and see my photos. :-)

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agt_spooky: (Pumpkin)

Got a little creative last night and made a new LJ layout to celebrate the beautiful colors of the fall season.

[ profile] agt_spooky [ profile] agt_spooky [ profile] agt_spooky

And to go along with my new theme, here are a few fall pictures I took last weekend:

What about you guys? Have any fall pictures to share from where you live?

Hope everyone has a nice weekend. [ profile] charityflint and I are off to another glass blowing class, this time to make pumpkins!

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agt_spooky: (SN-Sam (Awesome!))

Couple quick things this morning -

• We got an unexpected $500 bonus at work today for outstanding sales in the second quarter! Woot! Couldn't have worked out better since I just dropped $300 on the new iPhone 5 on Wednesday. :-)

• I get to have [ profile] lausbub0402's husband in my city this weekend! He's on his way from Germany to Toronto for work business and had to change planes in Chicago. So he took an extra day and John and I going to show him around tonight and tomorrow. I'm so excited to see him again! Only wish he could have stuffed [ profile] lausbub0402 in his suitcase. :-)

• Regarding the SPN ratings posts - thanks to all of you who voted in my poll. Saturday was the overwhelming winner, but I think I'm going to do a compromise. Post just SPN's ratings on Thursday morning, then the entire week's worth of CW shows on Saturday morning.

• Remember all that nonsense surrounding the photography contest at work? How they wanted me to be a judge and then that didn't work out then they tried to ban me from entering, etc? In the end I did get to enter two photos and the winners were announced just a few minutes ago. I WON! TWICE! Yep, they picked BOTH of mine. SWEET! There were 62 entries and they picked six winners. My photos will be displayed in our new office building that we'll be moving into next month, with a gold plaque underneath it with my name. Can't wait to see them on the walls! However - there was supposed to be prize money, but when I won twice they decided it wasn't fair that I get two gift cards, so they did away with the prizes all together. Give me a freaking break! I knew they'd end up screwing me somehow.

• Last but not least - I found out that at least one of those winning photos will be in our company calendar next year, too. Now that is freaking awesome. One of my photos IN PRINT! I'm gonna need like, a dozen copies. :-)

Gotta run - have a great weekend everyone!

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agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
I come to you, dear flist, to help me with a decision. It's about the photography contest at work. We can enter two photographs. I've already entered this one:[Poll #1866812]
agt_spooky: (Bird in rainbow clouds)

Our company newsletter came out today and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they picked a few of my photos:

I was stopped in the hallway by our CFO and he told me how much he liked my photos. :-)

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agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
I'm getting ready for another juried art show at the park district museum and today's the day to drop off my photographs.

Since this is a multi-media show, I decided to decorate the frames on two of my pictures, to give them a little pizazz. :-)

Here are my entries:

First up is "A rose is a rose…" with some ivy and cloth flowers on the frame.

Next is "Reflections of Cantigny". I normally don't like HDR work, but since anything goes in this show I gave it a go.

And last but not least is "Washed, Dried and Fluffed". Those are actual sticks I've glued to the frame along with a few feathers from the craft store.

I'll know on Friday if any of my pieces have been accepted into the show, so keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck!
agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
There's an type of photography that I love to look at but have never tried myself because I didn't have a proper set up at home, and that's food photography.

Last weekend a new food truck came around that sells nothing but cupcakes. I got a couple and not only were they delicious, they were also very pretty. It finally inspired me to get a small studio area set up at the house with a backdrop, lighting, diffusers, etc. so I'd be prepared when the food truck came back this past weekend.

They had different flavors this time, so I selected a red velvet and a chocolate/vanilla one, brought them home and told my husband NOT to eat them. At least not for about an hour. :-)

While my first foray into food photography isn't spectacular, I thought they turned out pretty decent and has made be eager to try again, with either more cupcakes or maybe fruit or whatever else I've got in the fridge. *g*

What do you guys think?

agt_spooky: (Rainbow flower)

Hey all! Happy Monday!

How was everyone's weekend?

Mine was busy but non-eventful. Got my hair cut on Saturday then worked on decorating the frames for my photos for the museum show. Yes, I'm entering another contest at the Park District museum. This one is multi-media so I decided to embellish the frames. I'll see if I can snap some pics of the finished frames tonight and post tomorrow. Two turned out good, not happy with the third but it’s too late. No time to do it over. I have to turn them in on Wednesday.

Ran errands on Sunday and then I made three t-shirts for my photo ops for DragonCon that's coming up in THREE DAYS. Yikes!

It rained pretty much all day on Sunday, but when it started to let up and was only lightly raining I went outside and got a few photos of the flowers in my yard, some with raindrops.

The next three days will be busy for me, getting ready for DragonCon plus dealing with the museum stuff. Too much going on at once! Ack!

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agt_spooky: (Rainbow flower)

Morning, everyone! Did you all have a nice weekend?

Spent Saturday morning relaxing at home, then the hubby and I went to see Total Recall. I only saw the original once, back when it first came out, so I didn't really remember much to compare it to. I liked the new one. Colin Farrell was smokin' hot *g*. And it was a very fast paced movie, just under 2 hours long.

Sunday was fun. [ profile] charityflint came over and we spent the whole day and evening together. We haven't seen each other in probably 2 months. First she was traveling in Florida, then I was gone to Europe, then she was gone to Toronto. So we had lots to catch up on, souvenirs to give, lots and lots of photos to share. We went out to lunch at our favorite Indian buffet, then grabbed cupcakes from the cupcake truck that was in town (salted caramel and orange dreamcicle!). Yum!

Then we headed off to a photography walk at Cantigny Park, that we had signed up for a few weeks ago. One of the staff garden photographers takes you around and gives you tips on what to shoot, about lighting, etc. I didn't really learn much, but since I'm entering their photography contest the more time I spend in the gardens taking pictures the better.

The absolute best part was when we saw a red-tailed hawk! He just swooped down and landed in a tree right where we were all standing. I managed to get a couple of really good shots of him.

It was a beautiful night, very still, so I was able to get some nice reflection shots in the ponds as well.

All in all a nice weekend!

Want to see more flowers, birds and a sunset? They're back here! )

agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
[ profile] el1ie asked me yesterday, in regards to my nature photography, what kind of camera/lenses I use.

For the last three years I've been using a Canon EOS Rebel T1i with an 18-200 mm Canon lens. I usually always have a polarizing filter on and if I'm out in bright sunlight, a lens hood as well.

For my macro shots, because I'm not independently wealthy and can't afford several fixed-focal length lenses, I use a set of fairly inexpensive extension tubes. I highly recommend these if you're going to do macro work. That and a good tripod. I recently got a pistol-grip, ball mount tripod that I love to death.

Another good thing to have, that I also use, is a collapsible light reflector/diffuser. There's nothing worse than bright sunlight hitting your subject giving you dark shadows and/or washed out areas. The reflector/diffuser does wonders for evening out lighting.

If you're looking for a great online photography store I recommend I've purchased many things from them and have been very satisfied.

If you've got any other questions about my photography don't hesitate to ask! It's a subject I love talking about!
agt_spooky: (Rainbow flower)
So yesterday I mentioned that over the weekend myself and [ profile] charityflint took a digital photography workshop. While the class turned out to be a little basic for me, Charity learned a lot and I did pick up a few pointers. But hey, any excuse to get out and take photos is fine with me!

The class was held at a hotel, in one of the meeting rooms and when they took us outside to start shooting, it ended up to be a very limited area surrounding the outdoor pool. I didn't think there would be much to photograph, but I surprised myself by taking over 100 pictures!

Below the cut are some of my favorites. And as a reminder, if you're looking for larger, higher quality versions, please visit my deviantART page.


Oooh, look at the pretty flowers and plants! )
agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
Morning, all!

I spent the entire day on Saturday with my best buddy, [ profile] charityflint, at a digital photography workshop. I'll post more about the class tomorrow, along with some of the pictures I took. For today I had to share the pic that Charity captured of me, hard at work trying to get that perfect shot. :-)

agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
It's something of a running joke with my husband and I about all the wildlife he sees around the house while I'm at work, yet fails to document for me. "Oh you should have seen the opossum!" -  "That raccoon was looking straight at me from the tree!" - "A deer was crossing in front of the house!"  - "You can't believe how cute that fox was!" - "There were three bunnies on the front lawn!"

Now I'm a photographer. I have multiple cameras in the house. You'd think the man would pick one up! Geez!

So imagine my surprise when he calls me at work to tell me he finally caught something on camera. He wouldn't tell me what it was, just that he nearly fell off the ladder while trimming back tree branches and screamed like a little girl. My first thought was that it was a giant raccoon. I couldn't have been more wrong, but it was giant. Check it out:

Isn't that gorgeous?? There's no way to judge scale from this, but John said the wing span was as big as his entire hand. He'd never seen a dragonfly that big. Hence the screaming like a little girl when he turned and it landed right next to him. :-) I'm so impressed that he got down off the ladder, fetched my big camera, climbed back up and got this great shot, despite the manual settings I had the camera on previously. Not bad for a novice! Aren't those wings beautiful? I don't think I've ever seen coloring like that before.

He was all proud of himself, but little does he know, I expect him to do this all the time now. :-)
agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))

I keep forgetting to mention, but if you're interested in any of my photographs I have an account at deviantART: AgtSpooky's Page

The photos there are much larger and a better resolution than the ones I post here on LJ and I believe I have them all set up so that they can be downloaded.

I also have some of my Supernatural art there, too.

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agt_spooky: (Bird in rainbow clouds)

Can someone explain to me why the weekends go so fast, but the work week drags on and on and on? So unfair.

The hubby and I went out again on Saturday (three weeks in a row! Boy are we pushing our luck!) and had a lovely day. The weather was absolutely perfect. This time we headed for the Morton Arboretum.

I don't think I've been there in 10 years, and I was a bit disappointed compared to last weekend's outing at Cantigny Gardens. There just wasn't a whole lot blooming at Morton. But I did snap pictures of what was. But the grounds are massive and we walked around a couple of the lakes and down some trails and took a leisurely drive through the rest of the arboretum. I was able to get some photos of a couple of birds, a frog and a bunch of turtles sunning themselves on a big rock. :-)

This way to the flowers and the animals! )

After we left the Arborteum we went to Willowbrook Wildlife Center. This place has been around since I was a kid. It's an animal rehabilitation and education center that's been doing wonderful work saving countless numbers of animals every year. The larger animals that can't be released back into the wild are kept at the facility on the grounds that you can walk around and see. And then inside the building are the smaller animals and birds and reptiles.

We saw some beautiful birds, including a sandhill crane. And an adorable woodchuck, not to mention this glorious owl:

This way to the birds! )

So what did YOU do over the weekend?

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agt_spooky: (SN-Jensen (camera))
Well, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is over and now it's back to work. [sigh]

The 3-day weekend was busy, but fun, too. One of the things that John and I did was go see Battleship. Liam Neeson in Navy dress whites. Need I say more?

What? Don't judge me. :-)

It was actually a pretty good movie with a kick-ass soundtrack, even if it didn't resemble the board game of my childhood in the slightest. *g*  But on a more serious note, it did make me think about the military, since it was Memorial Day, and give thanks to all of those who gave their life in service to our country.

Something else we did was go to Cantigny Park, which has acres and acres of trails that lead through beautiful gardens. Everything was in bloom and was so, so pretty. Of course I had my camera with me...


This way to the pretty flowers! )

While I was there I found out they're having a photography contest. Entries aren't due until November, so I plan on going back several more times, especially in the fall with all the beautiful colors.

Hmm, what else did we do? Had breakfast one morning at a cute little cafe that we'd never been to before (delicious!) and went back to the French Farmers Market. This time we brought a cooler with and concentrated on buying all sorts of pastries and breads. John was in heaven. :-)

It was so unbearably hot on Sunday that we pretty much stayed indoors, but that gave me a chance to finish one book and start another.

So yeah, it was a relaxing three days. How was YOUR holiday?
agt_spooky: (Bird in rainbow clouds)

Look at the gorgeous sight that greeted me as I pulled into the parking lot at work this morning:

Not a bad way to start off the day, eh? :-)

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