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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

A Camera Right For You - Step 3

Monday, February 29, 2016

How do you find the camera that is right for you? 

The first two posts in this series about DSLR cameras are

You are now ready for the third post about how to find a camera right for you.
Mostly words, only a few pretty pictures, which is ironic since the topic is photography. 

✯ 3... Research brands and models. 

Once you have begun to narrow your search to a few brands and models, 
visit camera manufacturers' websites to see all the models currently available. 
Keep your research notebook handy; 
facts, figures, and options are about to sweep you away. 
Numbers used with camera and lens options will be similar, but with big differences. 


The PINTEREST, blogger, and photography sites you read 
may contain information that is outdated. 
Cameras may no longer be available. 
Newer models with better features may exist. 
Older models may still be available, 
but they may be near the end of being supported by the manufacturer. 
Models may also have had design flaws 
that have been corrected in newer versions of that model. 

Camera manufacturers' websites will have the 
most up-to-date information with suggested retail prices, 
warranty information, and a list of authorized sellers. 

A few brands to consider are Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Samsung. 
(In alphabetical order)


Caution:  The warranty for some cameras is only valid 
when bought from an authorized seller in the United States. 

eBay or other third-party sellers may or may not be 
selling cameras and lenses with valid warranties
even if the camera is still in the original box and unused.    

Photo taken in Kenya using a 35 mm camera in the days of FILM


After visiting camera manufacturers' websites, 
check out the online sellers listed as authorized sellers for different brands. 

Visit online camera stores and sites like Amazon 
to compare their prices and special offers. 
Just type in the brand name of the camera into your web browser,
and go the sites that are listed.

Many sites offer more than one combination of a camera model 
bundled with different lenses and other accessories. 
One bundle may be a better option for your needs than others offered. 
The camera on which I narrowed my search comes with different lens bundles. 

#1:  18-55 mm lens 
#2:  18-135 mm lens
#3:  18-55 mm lens AND 55-250 mm lens 


Read the specification charts for the cameras and lenses 
to get the most accurate information about close-up and zoom ranges. 
Make notes in your notebook. 


Remember to check the compatibility of the camera with your 
existing computer's operating system. 
Does your computer have enough hard-drive memory to install the software? 
Is your computer's operating system supported by the camera's software? 
Will you need to upgrade either your computer's memory and/or operating system? 
Include new memory and software into the total cost. 

If you do not see the information on the manufacturer's website, 
research by typing into your browser something like, 
"Canon Rebel T6i and Mac operating system." 
Replace the camera model and computer model with 
camera and computer that YOU are researching.


Read customer reviews to learn about the likes and dislikes of a camera 
as well as information about problems with either the camera or the seller. 

A camera I am considering had a problem with its sensor 
in the first ones made which I discovered in customer reviews. 
The problem has been corrected, but the reviewers alerted readers 
to be sure not to buy a camera that began with certain serial numbers. 
Very important information especially if you are thinking about 
buying a used camera from eBay or Craigslist.  


Before buying from either the camera manufacturers' website 
or any other authorized online seller, see the camera in person. 

Visit a local camera store to see an actual camera you are considering. 
See what actually comes in the box/bundle/kit. 
Holding the camera with its lens attached gives you a much better 
sense of how big the camera is and how much it weighs than 
just reading the dimensions and weights in listed specifications. 
You also get a better idea of how well the camera is made. 

Pictures (online) may be worth a thousand words, 
but nothing compares to seeing the real thing in person. 

 Research up front may save you headaches and frustrations later,  
especially about warranties and computer system compatibilities. 

More to come in how to find a camera right for YOU. 
Upcoming topics include...
deciding WHERE to buy,
choosing WHICH accessories,
locating sources for HOW to use.

Do you have any tips for readers about how to research brands and models? 


Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



Ivy Topiary Love

Friday, February 26, 2016

Between the Spring flowers and Christmas decorations there is a period 
when the house seems empty, missing something. 

While putting away the holiday decorations does give the house 
a lighter feeling with the kitchen counters bare, 
there is a longing for something green and fresh...  
in the quiet dead days of winter. 

A longing that is filled with a fresh green ivy ball topiary... 

Topiaries have a way of providing just the right amount of needed greenery 
with a flair that says, "I can stand alone, nothing else needed." 
Of course, a beautiful pot in which to stand regally does add to the ivy. 

Yes, ivy topiary love for a bare winter kitchen adds life to the house.  

And gives promises for coming Spring 
filled with trees, shrubs, grass, and flowers 
budding with new life.

Callie loves plants of all kinds, not just ivy topiaries. 
Looking for a way to add some freshness to your home this winter? 
Try a little topiary love. 

Then when the weather warms, move the topiary to your outside deck. 

See more ways for topiary love at my house. 


Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



A Camera Right For You - Step 2

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This series on searching for a camera came from what
I discovered when I was searching for a camera right for me.

How do you find the camera that is right for you? 

Have you analyzed the kinds of photos you take or want to take?

Then you may want to read the last post in this series,

A Camera Right For You - Step 1

✯ 1...  Analyze how you will use the camera. 

for suggestions on how to begin your search.

Then come back here for this post,

✯ 2... Read about cameras from a variety of sources. 

As you read about cameras make notes in your notebook about the ones that
appear to have the features for the kinds of photos you want to take.


You probably are not surprised that PINTEREST is
a great source for photography tips.
There are many PINS about comparing Canon and Nikon cameras
that neatly summarize lists of features for the two brands.
Some other useful PINs are for "cheat sheets", how-to posts,
and comparisons of accessories.

Botanic Bleu Photography Tips PINTEREST Board

Recently I created a new PINTEREST board, Photography Tips,
to help me research DSLR cameras and how to use them
with plans to visit and revisit the sites over the coming months
as I learn how to use whatever camera is right for me.


Reading your favorite bloggers' posts about the cameras they use
will give you ideas about cameras that may meet your needs also.
Ann of On Sutton Place wrote a very helpful post,
10 Photography Lessons Learned

Photos, including using a collage, inspired by other bloggers...  

Some bloggers share pictures that inspire me to take photos like theirs.
Seeing beautiful photos brightens my life and gives me ideas
for how to arrange things in my home.
I want to be that kind of blogger... one that inspires others.

Part of me is driven always to do the best I can.
Credit my dad... and mother.
One of Daddy's phrases was, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well."
He didn't say it had to be perfect,
but he did say it needed to be done well.
More than once in my childhood either Daddy or Mother had me
redo something I had done because it was not a very good job the first time.
Now there were times a job was not perfect, but
they did not make me redo it.

The size of photos, the placement on the post, the composition of the
items in the photo, the text written on the image, the clarity of the photo,
and the watermark of the blogger are all things that catch my attention.

Therefore, I read what they have to say about their camera choices.

Search the archives of favorite blog sites for the word camera or photography.
Read the blog sites that appeal to YOU and that have posts about the same topics as YOU.
Is it any surprise that my blog reading list for cameras below
includes blog writers with a French twist?

Below are just some of the blog sites that I read for camera/photography information.
There were other sites I read also, but the posts were not about DSLR cameras.
Some of my favorite bloggers have never shared
information I could find about their cameras.
All the posts below refer to DSLR cameras.

Essential Photography Tips for Your Blog by Janet @ Shabbyfufu

What Camera Should I Buy by Anita @ Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Photography - Keep It Simple by Courtney @ French Country Cottage

A side note... :) 
I was a high school math teacher and have a master's degree in mathematics 
which means...  
I understand the math equation that befuddled Courtney  
in French Country Cottage's post, 
and had to smile when I read her comments.  
Even with an advanced degree in mathematics, 
I still want photography explanations about ISO, f-stop, etc... 
that are simple to understand. 
Yes, please keep it simple.

Botanic Bleu Photo Styling PINTEREST Board

See another one of my PINTEREST boards, Photo Styling,
for a collection of photos that I found worthy of studying
for ideas on eye-catching photo compositions.


Read websites specifically written about photography.
Many sites include reviews of cameras and accessories
with a list of pros and cons for different brands.
An example of a photography site review is 

Source: bestreviews

This is just one of thousands of sites that review cameras.
Read several to get a balanced overall review.


Manufacturers' websites have so much information they get an entire post of their own.
Next time, A Camera Right For You - Step 3, is

✯ 3... Research brands and models.

Until then, remember to update your notes in your notebook
about your search on PINTEREST, blogger sites, and photography sites
while searching for a camera right for you.
Include the date, source, and address for each note so
you can find the information later.

You may already have enough information to cross
some cameras and/or lenses off your search list.

Do you have a favorite source about
cameras/photography that you recommend others read?


Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined



Five Ways to Use Birds, Eggs, & Nests in Spring

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Each Spring new bird's nests appear in the trees
 in the woods surrounding my house in the country... 
described as "living in the sticks" by a friend just last week, 
lovingly said with a smile, and true. 

Spring is just a few weeks away, and 
now is a good time to create easy-to-make projects 
for little touches of Spring all over the house. 

The woods outside inspire me to use birds, eggs, and bird's nests
to bring a little bit of nature and a few sticks inside five ways. 

1.  Chippy ladder used as wall shelves with 

a twiggy nest and egg print 

Using a rustic ladder is a great way to bring a little country Springtime and nature 
into a laundry room, mud room, half bath, or hallway where space is tight. 
Love, love, love those twigs (sticks) in the rustic man-made nest. 
The broken egg shell was an accident that turned into a realistic touch  
as though the shell had been left by a new baby bird. 
It is easy to make an egg print on burlap using free prints from The Graphics Fairy  
and instructions at Burlap Canvas Egg Prints

2.  Botanical bird's nest in table settings 

Another fast and easy project to make is botanical bird's nests for Spring table settings. 
Just embellish store-bought small grapevine wreaths with dried flowers, moss, 
lichen, and natural excelsior for a natural look that is enhanced by rustic clay pots. 
As one of my all-time favorite ways to display the beautiful blue clay eggs, 
I move the little nests all around the house all during the year. 

3.  Vintage bird prints on dictionary pages on the mantel 

Making bird prints on vintage dictionary pages is another quick and easy project, 
once again thanks to The Graphics Fairy that offers hundreds of free bird images.

Prints are not just beautiful on walls, they can also be used 
in bookcases, in table settings, and on mantels. 

Robins are a symbol for Spring for many people, 
especially in the northern United States. 
For northerners, the sighting of the first robin 
often marks the official beginning of Spring for them, 
regardless of the date on the calendar. 
It may be March 18 or April 3 or March 21, 
but it is not Spring until the first robin appears. 

4.  Bowl of eggs on the kitchen counter for Easter 

Purple is the color of Easter for me, but BLUE SPECKLED EGGS in bowls 
on the counter remind me of Easter egg hunts from childhood. 
This is one of the absolute easiest ways to bring 
bird's eggs in Spring into the kitchen.  
No project, just add some shredded paper grass to a bowl 
on which to nestle the eggs, and you are finished.  

5.  A cluster of blue eggs in a clear vase 

Could there be anything easier or more beautiful than displaying a cluster of blue eggs 
in a clear flower vase tied with a blue Paris-stamped handmade ribbon? 
Equally beautiful as part of a table centerpiece or by themselves on a side table, 
the eggs in a vase may be the simplest way of all to use eggs in Spring. 

Do you have a favorite way to decorate with birds, eggs, or nests? 


Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined