Capturing Every Day Life by Jane Goodrich

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capturing every day life

Jane Goodrich is a NYC-based newborn and child photographer. And a dang good one at that. She has written this guide to capturing photos of kids in every day life situations. The tag line is “the no-nonsense, cheese-free, read-while-they-nap, easy-as-pie guide to taking top-notch, world class photos of your kids.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

It’s a great first book for anyone who is interested in learning to take his/her camera off automatic mode and harness the full creative power that DSLR cameras offer. Jane shares simple definitions to complex terms and really explains the basics in an unintimidating way. She also gives practical suggestions for making the most of a photo shoot or just capturing the moment at hand.

The book is awesome. Several months ago, I started taking photography classes and often walked away more confused than I had been when I went into the class. Of course, good photography requires lots of practice. But, ahem, in order to practice, you must understand some basic concepts. Photography is all about capturing light – and you can do that several ways – via the available light, the shutter speed, the ISO, the aperture, and flash.

Did I lose you? Then pick up Jane’s book. You’ll understand the terms and will be able to apply them to taking your own great pictures. She gives the best explanation of ISO that I’ve ever heard (that’s on page 15).

Jane also has a fantastic blog where she shares lots of interesting articles and tips. You can find that here.

When I received the request to review Jane’s book, I wrote to her and told her how excited I was to read it and explained that I am a complete novice budding photographer. She wrote back and said, “if you have any questions, just let me know.”

So, I did. And she helped me understand what was happening differently when I took these two pictures and how to avoid it from happening again. As you can see, the first picture is hazy and the crab nearly gets lost. What? You didn’t see a crab – look at photo 2.

13_08_08_sunrise and pepper_EllenWeeren_0227

 Ah, there he is…13_08_08_sunrise and pepper_EllenWeeren_0324

She also gave me permission to just claim the first photograph was a result of artistic interpretation. Yes, you can see why I love her already.

Jane also has a new book out called “Where is Charlie’s Nose.” (I haven’t read this one yet, but if it’s anything like Capturing Every Day Life, it’s bound to be really good.)

where is charlie's nose

I thoroughly enjoyed Capturing Every Day Life by Jane Goodrich and highly recommend it to anyone who is intimidated by that knob at the top of his/her camera.

The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life by Nava Atlas…….

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“But through it all, they wrote.” 

That line is the opening sentence on the book trailer for YouTube and that is the beauty of the stories in The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life by Nava Atlas.

This book captures why women have continued to write against tremendous odds for centuries. It is a celebration of the way 12 amazing women captured words with a pen, pencil, or quill and poetically spread them across pages.

The authors spotlighted are…

Lousia May Alcott
Jane Austen
Charlotte Brontë
Willa Cather
Enda Ferber
Madeleine L’Engle
L.M. Montgomery
Anaïs Nin
George Sand
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Edith Wharton
Virginia Woolf

The author is not only fabulous with her own words and insights, but she is an amazing illustrator as well. The pages spill over with wonderful stories decorated with amazing art. It is clear that a lot of research went into getting this book right – the stories are drawn from diaries, journals, memoirs, and good old-fashioned letters. They give us the gift of so many lessons – struggling but not giving up, doubting and not doubting, and exceeding our own expectations.

I will end this review by simply saying that I love this book so much that I have already purchased it as a gift for a friend. And she loves it too!

The Wayward Life and Times of Dipsy Doodle Dandy by John Peaker…….

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(There is always the chance that a any book discussion might reveal too much about an unread story – if you haven’t read the book and want to, you might want to wait to read what is written here – just in case.)

I read this book some time ago and I have been avoiding writing this review. No, that doesn’t sound so good, does it?

From reading his stories, you can tell that John Peaker had a fun time growing up in the “golden age” of riding bikes without helmets and drinking water straight from the hose. He seems quite impressed with his own antics. But really, to me, the stories were riddled with a bunch of bravado. Reading this book was not unlike sitting next to drunk guy in a bar who was stumbling down memory lane – telling stories that are likely embellished and probably much more interesting in the retelling than the actual happening.

If you know someone who is older and loves to tell bawdy stories, this book might be a good gift. I think the hilarity would be lost on younger generations (some of the stories would simply be bad examples for teenage boys) – which is probably John’s point – we have gotten too far away from the ability to enjoy life without being plugged in to one gadget or another. Kids don’t always pick physical play outside in the fresh air over thumb wrestling with a game controller in dark and dusty basements.

The book is an easy read – it’s just  a series of short essays – even the print is larger than normal.

What I did take away from this book is that we should all turn off the tv or the xbox and take the time to share our stories with each other and maybe even go so far as to write them down.