Day 9 – Shoes


Day 9: Shoes

These are a pair of shoes I have that I wish I could wear.  I tried once.  I could hardly hobble to the taxi from my house.

They are beautiful, sexy, tall, copy-designer shoes.  I bought them, thinking I could learn to walk in them.  My friend Casey said, “Those are everyday heels for me.”

Six-inch heels are NOT everyday shoes, Casey.

Day 7 – self portrait

Day 7: Self-portrait

Taking a self portrait is the worst.  You can’t see yourself through the viewfinder.  You can’t see your hair out of place, the shine on your face, the clutter in the background, or focus on your own eyes.  *sigh*  I’m a photographer because I like being BEHIND the camera.

I was going to set up my laptop, hooked to my Canon 5D Mark II, and use a software so that I could see in real-time exactly what I looked like.

It got late; I got tired.

So I took the easy way out and took a self-portrait with my iPhone.  I used Instagram to spruce it up a tiny bit.  I hate the clutter in the background, but if I crop it out it makes my face look too big.  I don’t have makeup on.  I’m wearing my glasses even though I NEVER wear my glasses.  (I’m wearing them because I have an appointment Friday to see if I am eligible for LASIK so I may never have to wear them again!) But it’s me.


Day 6 – Breakfast

Day 6: Breakfast

I’m just going to be honest here.  Lots of days breakfast is a latte.  I now need caffeine to function after a little man wakes me up at 5 AM, even if he does let me go back to sleep for a little while before we actually get up.  This is my new favorite mug from Suzy.


Day 5 – Your handwriting

Day 5: Your handwriting

I don’t write many things out anymore.  Lists are the main thing.  Even then, often those go in my iPhone.

Some friends are leaving Shanghai and moving back to Germany.  In lieu of gifts, they requested money be donated so they could give it to two of their favorite charities.  I wanted to make them a heartfelt card so they knew we cared!

Day 3 – What You’re Reading

Day 3:  What You’re Reading

I read most things on my Kindle now (unless I’ve swapped books with someone) and a lot of my books are baby books!  I used Claire’s light box to take this photo.

Day 2 – Your Closet

I wasn’t excited about the theme today – who wants to take photos of wire hangers and clothes crammed into a small space?

Then I realized my jewelery closet would be perfect.  Many women here have custom made jewelery closets.  Mine is about 6 feet tall, with 22 hooks on the doors for necklaces and 10 shelves inside, with hundreds of velvet-lined dividers for earrings and bracelets.  (No, it’s not full.  Yet.) I chose all of the hardware and the finish.

Day 2: Your Closet


30 Day Photo Challenge – Day 1

Some of my friends were doing a 30-day photo challenge last month.  This month is a new one, so I decided to join in.  Originally this blog was started as a 365-day photography challenge… I only made it a few months.  I think I have a much better chance of completing 30 days, even if I may not get the photo posted on time.  I love the theme of the challenge – Documenting the Details.  Right now, there are hundreds of things I want to take photos of in Shanghai, just to remember the way our life was here.

I really like the way being forced to take a photo of a certain subject makes you look at the subject a different way.

Today’s theme was “Where You Sleep.”  I don’t think I have a beautiful bed.  I considered taking a photo of the two fake “memory foam” toppers we are sleeping on in an attempt to make our Chinese mattress bearable.  I don’t particularly like the Chinese-y design on my bedspread.  I do however, love macro photos, texture, and my beautiful silk pillowcase that is guaranteed to keep my skin wrinkle-free.

Day 1: Where You Sleep

Shoot in RAW – Photo Tip Tuesday

My photo tip for today is to shoot in RAW if your camera supports it.  (All DSLRs can do this.)  I resisted for a really long time because I didn’t know how easy it was to do post-processing.  After someone I met told me how easy it was, I finally tried it.  Now, I regret all of the photos I didn’t take in RAW!  I could have saved myself loads of work in PhotoShop and gotten much better results in many cases.

I have a Canon 5D Mark II camera so I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software that came with the camera. (It was the same software bundled with the Canon Rebel XT too.)

Basically, a RAW file doesn’t throw away any information, so you can easily change the white balance, or lighten or darken or change the contrast or tones without make it look weird.  This photo is SOOC (Straight out of the camera).  Terrible lighting, which is what happens when you shoot at 5 PM inside.

Here I clicked on the white in the skunk’s tail to set the white balance.  Then I cropped.  (It took 5 clicks of my mouse to get the photo to this point.)

Next I warmed up the color tones by using the slider and clicked up the sharpness by a few notches.  I also reduced the noise in the photo.  (Those three steps are my favorite ones that are only available on RAW photos, not when using the software to process JPGs.)

Last, I stepped up the brightness.  I really should have used a white blanket for a background instead of a cream-colored one.  (I need to buy a white one!)

Overall, it’s not an award-winning photo, but I like the look on Jackson’s face and his sweater, although it makes him look really round!

Leave me a comment if you are interested in learning more about RAW and I can explain a bit more about my workflow next Tuesday.  I have a baby (AKA not a lot of free time).  I tend to take the easy (AKA fast) way when it comes to processing my photos.

Live, Love, TRAVEL

Bust a gut – photo challenge

This week’s theme is “Bust A Gut.”  No little grins here – in this photo the little man is laughing with that big toothless mouth!  He has a high-pitched squeal of delight.  I’d dressed him up in the Hawaiian shirt Mike and Casey got him in Hawaii before it got too small for him and ended up get some good laughs!

Photo Tip Tuesday – Baby Shots

 A few weeks ago, I went to a Bumps and Babes meeting about photography.  The photographer suggested putting baby on a blanket, face the window, and take photos!  Really, it’s so simple to get great photos. (Well, as long as baby cooperates.)

Here’s my setup.

It’s easy to get at eye level if you put the baby on the bed!  I pile some pillows behind him and throw the sheet over the top to create a make-shift “seamless backdrop.”

Also, with babies a spit-rag to mop up the drool between photos is essential. (As pictured to the left.)

My back is to the window and he’s looking into the light (notice the nice catch-lights in his eyes.)

Move the camera close to baby, set at a low F-stop and focus on the eyes.

That’s it!

Live, Love, TRAVEL

Silk Duvet Shot

I’ve spent almost all of my non-Jackson time working on a Holiday Shopping website for Shopping Tours Shanghai the last couple weeks.  I did it all, from taking the product shots to setting up the shopping cart with PayPal.  This is my favorite shot though!

and then, she {snapped}

Jackson – Four Months

Last week I went to a Bumps and Babes meeting where a photographer spoke about taking photos of kids.  It inspired me to grab a blanket, put a hoodie on Jackson to help bring the focus to his eyes, and shoot away!  I’m entering it in this week’s “I Heart Faces” contest with the theme of “Let them be little.”

More from Jackson’s photoshoot

Here are three of my top choices from Sunday’s photoshoot!

Favorite Instagrams

Instagram photos

I’ve been loving Instagram!!  I try to send daily photo updates to the grandparents (and Jon at work) daily.  Here are a bunch of Jackson photos!

Makeshift polarizing filter

Unfortunately, my good lens had a slight malfunction so it’s in the repair shop so I had to use another lens – one without a polarizing filter!  My sunglasses working surprisingly well but I put them one after most all of the lightning had passed.  I’ve learned you really need a filter to cut down on the sky brightness when photographing lightning (especially when it is afternoon), or the bolts hardly show up.

Lightning hitting the Bottle Opener (SWFC)


I am obsessed with catching lightning.  I got about 20 bolts today in about 1,000 frames.

Flowers at Mutianyu

Textures at Mutianyu


These shoes were lined up in the window of a big house in the botanical gardens in Kunming.  It looked like a lot of workers lived there.  A lot of the gardens themselves were very dry and not in bloom, but I think this photo made the trip out there worth it!

52 Weeks, 52 Streets – Anhua Lu

This year I am going to do a photography book.  It will be “52 Weeks, 52 Streets.” (or something similar.)  Each week, I’m going to take photos of a small street in Shanghai.  I just went out and did Anhua Lu.  Next will be Anfu Lu or Anren Lu.  I’ll go down the alphabet and concentrate on streets in the Jing’An, Old Town and French Concession areas.  At the end of the year I should have a nice coffee-table book!

Crappy construction

The day Dan left for Australia, we agreed to meet for a burger and milkshake.  I figured he wouldn’t be done packing, so I headed to his place.  He thought we were meeting at Johnny Moo’s…  so I waited for a while until he came back to his apartment.  I amused myself by taking some photos.  The “quality” of jobs here is just amazing. They just slop the paint everywhere (like on the electric boxes and window sills) and just left a paint brush in a bucket of paint (now dried.)  My dad would have been very upset at me if I’d done that….

IMG_4640I did take one semi-creative self-portrait though!

The new best lightning photo

I thought it was special to get lightning shots before, but it’s actually not that hard.  Basically, you keep the shutter open and hope a bolt appears in at least a few photos.


This one hit really close.  This photo is not Photoshopped (well, basic levels and cloning out some dust.)

huge bolt zoom

Close up, lightning looks just awesome!  You can see little white particles of energy all around in the air.

More lightning strikes

Last week it poured rain every afternoon.  Along with the rain came a few huge lightning storms!  I took a couple hundred photos, and captured about eight different strikes.

pearl bolt

Who said lightning never strikes in the same place twice?  I have two photos of it hitting the Pearl TV Tower now, and saw it happen close-up another time.

lightning_smaller_bolts copy2

This is a composite of five different photos.


You can see that each one is hitting a building!

More lightning photos to be posted tomorrow.


Yes, this is really Emily’s Escapades!

I’ve moved my blog to WordPress.  It is supposed to be a much more robust program.  I think I’ll like it!

Please check back in a couple days. I don’t have everything moved over and linked correctly and formatted how I want it just yet.  Do let me know if you like the new look though!

Jon’s photos from Hangzhou

Jon is a pretty good photographer too! He has learned a lot about composition and tricks to get good photos with his point and shoot. All of these photos are his.

Jon and Emily together in photos!

It was nice to have Mr. Fan take some photos of us together… we almost never have photos together! We’re too busy taking photos ourselves.

Blooming Lotus Flowers

More pretty flowers from Sweden


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