If you want to take better photos…

Ricky Tims is taking sign-ups now for the 2018 Photo Challenge class. I took this class 3 years ago and learned so much! I’m not only a better photographer now, I have learned to see the world around me better.

If you want to take better photos, learn how to use Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, and get better acquainted with your camera, this is the best way I know to do it. The class is broken up into two 26-week sessions. Ricky is offering a very good discount right now.

  • November 9 – 30 Registration is 75% off, at $149
  • December 1 – 18, Registration is 50% off at $299.
  • After December 18, Full price, $599

I’ve been part of the follow-up Critique group since finishing the first year of classes. This week’s challenge was ‘self portrait’. It happens every year and this time I finally got a photo that looks like me!


Steve and I will be NYC visiting Jeff all this week. Watch for my photos of the big city here, on instagram, and on facebook.

Can you take a better picture?

Do you remember when photos were printed on paper, from film that had to be developed by someone that was not you? Opening the package of prints was always a surprise — often not a happy one. On my best days, 1 print out of 10 might be good. The rest never did match my memory of the moment.

Fast forward to now. Digital photography has advanced to the point that we take pictures all day long. The results are immediately available and we can see if the picture is good, or not. But here’s a question: Do you apply a critical eye to your photos? Are you taking the best photo that you could?

Three years ago I signed up for Ricky Tims’ 52-Week Photo Challenge Class. I had no idea how much I didn’t know! The dials and buttons on the camera are no longer a mystery. I’ve quit relying on autofocus!

I’ve learned to pay more attention to the image before I actually take the photo. What needs to be in the photo, and what does not? Every photo gives you the chance to play with light, color, and scale — and the relationships between them. Happily, the same rules of design apply to quilting!

Much of the class is about image editing. Ricky teaches how to use both Lightroom and Photoshop, both of which are powerful editing tools. I had never used Lightroom and now can’t image working on photos without it.

After I finished the 52-week class, I signed up for the Critique class. Even when I’m busy, I do my best to take my weekly photo. Maybe that’s why it feels like a gift! Taking time to do something that makes you happy is the best gift you can give yourself.

Ricky is starting his 4th 52-Week Photo Class. If it sounds good to you, click here and sign up. You will be glad you did!

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Here are a few of my photos…

Taken near the Hudson River, NYC. This was a quick photo, lightly edited.

Taken near the Hudson River, NYC. This was a quick photo, lightly edited.

My granddaughter offerred to help out by posing which was very nice.

My granddaughter offerred to help out by posing for my Wonderland photo assignment which was very nice.

For the Mirror Mirror challenge.

For the Mirror Mirror challenge.

The 52 Week Photo Challenge…

I’ve written about Ricky Tims’ photography class in previous posts. I’ve been in the class since January 1 and it truly is the best present I’ve given myself in a long time. I have learned so much and have become a much more confident photographer. Even my iPhone photos are better!

Ricky has begun the registration for next year’s class and there is a significant savings if you sign up before December 10. Click here for more info. This is not a class for quilters only—it’s a class for anyone interested in photography.


If you want to get the most from the class, it does require an investment of time. And if you don’t have a good digital camera and Photoshop, you’ll need those as well. But if you are interested in becoming a better photographer this is an excellent opportunity.

Autumn photo challenge…

My friend, Catherine, and I are both taking Ricky’s 52 Week Photo Challenge. This week the challenge is ‘autumn’. What a great excuse to go to the Dallas Arboretum! Let me just say, they have the most amazing array of pumpkins, gourds, and autumn flowers on display. Every year, it gets better.

Catherine took this photo of me :-).

Catherine took this photo of me :-).

For me, the photography challenge was to choose the correct aperture and to manually focus. I had to cull many photos, but there were a surprising number of good ones in the group. We also learned some new editing tricks in Lightroom this week that I am very happy to know.

Of the 209 photos I took, I think these are my best choices. Of these, I have several favorites. I’d love it if you let me know which photo you think says ‘Autumn’ AND is also a good photo—in focus, framed well, overall just a nice composition. I thank you in advance the time you spend doing this :-).

FYI: Click on the photo galleries to see bigger photos. Look for the right and left arrows to scroll through the gallery.

I took a lot of street-scene-with-pumpkin photos. We went on mother and baby/little kid day. The children were decked out to be photographed with the pumpkins and adults were snapping away like crazy. There were also a lot of adults without children in tow (like us) who were there to soak up a beautiful day.

This is a yearly display at the Arboretum. Right now the pumpkins are firm and looking good. As they sit out in the sun, and later, after we begin to get overnight freezes, they get soft and tired. The display ends at Thanksgiving, but by then they are well past their prime. If you are nearby, now is definitely the time to go!

Which do you prefer?


I’ve written before about the 52 Week Photo Challenge online class that I’m taking from Ricky Tims. Best class ever! This week’s assignment is how to add a text overlay to a photo.—yet another cool thing that you can do in Photoshop that I had no idea existed.

I’ve taken 3 photos (Splish is one of them) and I like them all. If you have a bit of time, please do click here and then leave a comment on this post telling me which one you like the best.

Choosing the word(s) was the hardest part of this photo challenge. The same thing is true when you add words to a quilt, as I wrote about in this post. Text is powerful. It draws the eye and, no matter how big or small it is, what you say can dominate a design. The quilt that I made after that post is called Say Something (below), which is in The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color.

The words take up a small percentage of the space on the quilt, but they are the focal point, dominating the design. This is good to remember when you want to make what may be a simple quilt into a more complex statement.

Update: Thank you all for your comments! I’ve decided to submit the car photo because I like it as is. After reading your comments, I think I need to make the word “splish” more legible in the water photo and I don’t have time today to do that. So, the car photo it is and I can mark that off the list. Thanks!

From Princeville to Lihue…

Last night we walked to an overlook. It was pretty!


I took pictures of what we saw on my phone and instagrammed them. With my big camera I took pictures of Amanda and Steve. The other didn’t really turn out.



Today we drove to Lihue and stopped at the Kiluea Lighthouse—it was closed! FYI: don’t go on Monday.


We could still see the lighthouse, and maybe it’s better from this angle. The guys looked at birds… the red-footed booby if I remember correctly. There were a lot of them.



I noticed this little flower. It has a very nice design, one that would be good for applique.


We stopped at the Na Aina Kai botanic garden which was also closed, except for the gift shop. But I did get to visit this stand of trees. I was taken on a tour of this garden before and I loved these same trees then.


We stopped at Larry’s Music in Kapa’a where Amanda had a quick ukulele lesson from Sam. I took pictures.

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And it’s possible that I have my photo lesson for the week. The assignment is ‘silhouette’. I love them both for their simple yet expressive lines.


Tomorrow we are hiking the Alakai Swamp trail. Should be fun!