Capturing Daily Life

Capture the Moment

It may be common knowledge that everyday life has its own beauty. But capturing that beauty through photographs is another matter. It takes a keen eye to recognize everyday beauty and, it seems, expertise as a photographer to transfer that beauty to photo paper.

Sarah Wilkerson, CEO of Clickin Moms, has put together one of the most beautiful books meant to solve this dilemma. Every page bears a lovely photo of everyday life taken by one of the photographers of Clickin Moms. And alongside each photo is a short bit of advice for capturing similar photos. This lovely little volume is beautiful enough to be a coffee table book yet simple enough for the beginning photographer.

Divided into sections according to various photography needs (natural light, composition, storytelling, fine art, etc.), this book takes beginning photographers on a journey toward advanced photographic storytelling.  One of my favorite features in this book–and one that other beginning photographers will appreciate–is the list of “Creativity Exercises” that comes after each chapter of the book and offers practical, immediate ideas for implementing the tips presented in that chapter. In addition, the very end of the book contains a short glossary of photography terms. What truly amateur photographer, after all, understands the meaning of “DSLR,” “ISO,” or “Spot Metering”?

I recommend this book for any new photographer…and anyone who simply wants a beautiful and highly interesting book for her coffee table.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Stepping into a Desktop Background Photo

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Photography

The desktop of my laptop switches frequently from one nature scene to another. Thus, when I opened John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Photography, I felt that I had a treasury of beautiful desktop backgrounds. Though Shaw’s book is not necessarily intended as a coffee table book, it most certainly is gorgeous–and sophisticated–enough to function as one. It is by no means a photo album (it has its full share of text), but nearly every page bears a gorgeous example of Shaw’s work.

Though I am no professional photographer myself, I have taken a few photos of which I am not ashamed, and I have a perpetual desire to improve any artistic abilities I possess. Shaw’s work covers the basics necessary to improving from amateur nature photographer to professional nature photographer. In fact, an entire chapter is dedicated simply to “Getting Started” as a photographer of the great outdoors. From filters to tripods, flash to ISO, Shaw covers practically every topic that a beginner needs to understand.

I recommend this book to readers of Me Ra Koh’s books, lovers of nature photography, and photographers of all sorts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.

A quick lesson in patience

As a college student, I usually have several packages funneling through the mail to my mailbox. Whether those packages contain textbooks or letters or books from the Blogging for Books program, receiving them has the power to make any day feel like a birthday.

But when packages are supposed to arrive soon…or were supposed to come two days ago…or must have gotten lost in the shuffle of mail…the disappointment is obvious.

I am waiting on one of those packages. While the estimated time of arrival was posted as February 28 at the latest, March 11 has yet to see the manifestation of the package.

Because I believe that even my attitude about small things like delayed packages matters to God, I think that He is using even this relatively insignificant circumstance to teach me a lesson. Patience, a fruit of the Holy Spirit largely ignored in our modern culture of immediacy, holds eternal value. What better way to teach me this valuable virtue than through something that I value highly: a package?

While I wait for this package to finally arrive, then, I also work on the formation of Christ-like character. Whether waiting for a package or waiting for the return of Christ Jesus (which is far more important than any package), I need to exercise patience.

And the Almighty God can use even a small package to teach that great virtue.

Slow-Cooking Like Royalty

I know of a woman who spends her free time reading cookbooks. For fun. But she is one of a very few in our busy world who actually have time to cook extravagant home meals. The rest of us, while we secretly wish for delicious home-cooked meals, simply wonder how we can skip a few steps.

This is where a book that I recently read comes in handy. If you are a busy mom who has little time for preparing meals (or are a busy dad who loves to cook), then look no farther than The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book. With 500 recipes, this cookbook is a treasure trove. Not only does it contain recipes for soups and other common slow-cooked meals, it also branches out into the uncommon—foods like Whole-Grain Pork Lettuce Wraps and Beet Tabouleh and desserts like White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. (Who knew that cheesecake could be baked in a slow cooker?!?)

My favorite part of this cookbook is its inclusion of “Tester’s Notes” after each recipe. Every cook has, at some point, simply wanted to hear another cook’s tricks, tips, and comments for a particular recipe. This cookbook meets that desire…in every single recipe.

Based on my read-through of this book, I believe that any busy home chef will find it helpful and delightful. At least I thought so when my mouth was salivating over the photographs of Warm Potato and Green Bean Salad and Chicken and Cashew “Stir-Fry.” If I had the opportunity to change any aspect of this book, the only adjustment I would make would be to include more pictures. The photograph insert in the middle of the book hardly covers the majority of the recipes. However, the individual recipes themselves include so much information that there is hardly room for complaint.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.