The Bear Bulletin Vol. 3

This is part of an ongoing series in which I round up a week’s worth of bear photos along with some thoughts on my photography.  You can find previous bear bulletins here and here.

We’ve had a rough two weeks and the bears pulled their weight in snuggles.  Unfortunately I didn’t do as many photo shoots as in the previous bulletins, but perhaps that’s a good sign that I was taking the time to be present, and stay in the snuggle.  Photography-wise, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with aperture since the last Bear Bulletin.  This is due in part to product photography I did for sleep&sparkle and realizing that when the aperture number is low, the image I get looks like garbage when I try to clean it in photoshop.

In my first attempt, I used my 56mm prime lens and you can see that the scarf looks great at the exact point of focus but once I cut the image out in photoshop to lay it on a white background it looked like poorly done plastic surgery because of the blurriness of the rest of the object.  (I also did a bit of editing to color correct the scarf due to wonky lighting.)

First effort: Fujifilm X-T20 with 56.0mm at f/1.2 (ISO 1600, 1/500).

Once I realized what was going on, I switched to my zoom lens (because I can be closer to the product) and increased the aperture.

Second effort: Fujifilm X-T20 with 18.0mm at f/5.6 (ISO 1600, 1/45).

It’s nice to finish the week feeling like I have an understanding for one of the parameters in the camera.  I need to fidget with every single thing in isolation so that I get a deep understanding for what is happening, otherwise I feel like a monkey with a rocket ship.  I’ve started playing with the ISO and next week’s photos will talk a bit about that.  If you have favorite exercises you did to get a grasp on aperture, let me know in the comments. Now that I have an idea of what’s happening, I’m ready to practice for hours so that I can commit it to memory.

And now on to the bears!

And some shots from my phone for good measure…

Wishing you a fabulous Caturday and a great rest of the weekend!
-Michelle, Misty Bear, and Nimbus

The Bear Bulletin Vol. 2

Presenting Volume 2 of The Bear Bulletin! Please enjoy this first series titled “Bears on a Bed”, followed by the exuberantly colorful “Nimbus on a Chair.”


What do you think about the second series?  I played around with the saturation on the blanket and pillow quite a bit and in hindsight I think I overdid it.

My two favorite photos from this bear bulletin are the super alert Misty Bear, and Nimbus on her side looking straight at the camera. I love the composition, the color, the focus, just everything.

An exploration in post production. Or a pizza place review.

I take my camera with me everywhere these days. Even to the bathroom. I know, it’s weird. But she’s my girl and we have a lot of things to do and to learn, and no time to waste.

On Monday D and I went to a new-to-us pizza place called The Clydesdale Pub and Grill in Port Chester. Let’s get the “review” part out of the way: this place has the best thin crust pizza I’ve had maybe ever. It was so freakin’ crispy and bouncy (not soggy and oily, ya know what I mean?) I could eat it forever. I got a Hawaiian Pizza which I secretly love and NEVER eat because I don’t know anyone who likes and will share a Hawaiian Pizza with me. It was AMAZING. We also ordered the “Port Chester” Pizza which had sausage, pepperoni, and hot peppers. Also delicious! Bottom line: eat there. Molto bene!

What this place had in pizza quality it did NOT have in lighting. I took a quadrillion photos with the plan to experiment with post production, a process that I view as being cloaked in mystery and akin to high wizardry.  I’ve learned a little bit about setting the white point and I’ll admit that part of my intimidation with post production stems from the fact that the iPhotos app (on my new and updated MacBook Pro) has a faulty white point identification system that made me think I was doing everything wrong.  I splurged on an Adobe Lightroom subscription and now things are starting to make more sense.

Below is one of the photos, pre-production.  It is blindingly red/purple and headache-inducing, and I was 100% sure that it was a trash photo.


But THEN, I adjusted the white point, filtered out a lot of red (what is this called? I moved the red saturation to “-32”), and VOILA!

What would you have done differently? Do you have a favorite post-production editing tutorial that would make my life easier? I’m still figuring out what my shooting and editing “style” is but if pushed to answer that question I would say that it is to get as many in-focus shots as possible.  Start with the basics, right?

One Year of curious sparkle dirt

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Flashback to January 2017. I knew I wanted to start a blog and I knew that my first post was going to be about “Hidden Figures.” What I didn’t know was EVERYTHING ELSE.


I hadn’t been diagnosed with narcolepsy but I knew my grad school situation was untenable. I couldn’t hold down a 9-5 job 5 days/week so I took up substitute teaching and hoped that plus a record of my writing would be “good enough” for a future employer if I ever sorted out my health issues.

I had no idea that I would share my mental health history with the entire internet, post style files for all to see, and publicly embrace my maker personality and love of fashion in the form of a freakin’ accessories brand. OH! And go to Capitol Hill. This time last year I was at rock bottom. I thought things couldn’t get any worse so why not just put all of me out there? Because if one person read my blog, got a sleep study, and found an answer sooner than I did, it would all be worth it. (Sleep posts here.) I could never have guessed in a million years that 2017 would be the best year of my life. (Aside from that year I met my husband!)

Thank you for coming along for the ride! And for putting up with these gratitude recap posts every month because every month last year was a major milestone for me and I’m still processing!


The Narcolepsy Princess