Open Thread Thursday!

The way it works is you just post any question you have in a comment and other readers can comment with an answer to your question or post one of their can be about parenting, photography, or just whatever you feel like throwing out there!

So, what’s on your mind?

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Open Thread Thursday! Since it worked pretty well last time, I'm going to make it a regular feature! The way it works is...
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Open Thread Thursday! The way it works is you just post any question you have in a comment and other readers can comment...
Open Thread Thursday! The way it works is you just post any question you have in a comment and other readers can comment...
Beth47 says:

Anybody want to recommend a photoshop program. Adobe Photoshop CS5? Adobe Lightroom? I am a new to this and had a Lightroom Beta that expired. It was pretty complicated and I feel like I never really had a chance to learn much.

Lindsay says:

Beth – Also, I don’t think that the difference is that great between the xsi and the xs. So if your debate is between those two, I’d probably recommend the xs and put the extra money towards getting lenses. (That’s what comparison reviews that I saw online said too) Oh, and I wish I’d bought the body only. The kit lens is horrible! :)

Lindsay says:

Beth, I have the Canon Rebel xs. I got it about 8 months ago and it’s a great camera.

However, when I got it I only wanted something that would take better pictures then my point and shoot and allow me to play with depth of field. Since getting it I’ve fallen in love with photography and as I’ve learned more I feel like I’ve outgrown the XS. If I had known that I would have gotten a better model (I love the Mark ii) to start with. Now my husband doesn’t want to upgrade my camera because I haven’t had it that long. :( And I guess I can’t blame him, although waiting to upgrade is killing me!

My sister in law also has the Rebel xs and unlike me, she is content shooting in auto and doesn’t need or want to ever upgrade. So I guess you should take into consideration how deeply you want to delve into photography and what camera will fit your needs.

Stacey says:

Beth, As someone who just purchased my first slr, I can give you my perspective. First, I agree with you. I love to post pictures (through a blog – primarily for my mom and sister who live far away) of my son and started to get frustrated with the pictures from my point and shoot. I think if you are primarily going to shoot in Auto (sometimes venturing into manual) but want better pictures, get the entry level of canon (as your friend suggested). If you really want to shoot in manual, if photography is something you could really get into (learn more about), and if you have the extra money, perhaps getting the next step up for you may be worth it. This is the route I took. I purchased a Nikon D90 – which I think I could have for a very long time. I don’t know if I will ever have a need for a full frame as ariana did, so I went with a camera that I could learn with but not outgrow. In other words, I didn’t want to get the D3000 when I knew I would probably a better camera in a couple of years. And I am ok with the D90 because I may never need the next step up from this. By the way, I am getting my first lens – a 50mm 1.4 – soon!

Sandra says:

Beth – As a beginner in photography myself, I bought the Canon XSi in march – and I LOVE it! I found it easy to figure out, was pleasantly surprised with the high ISO performance and it’s relatively light and easy to carry around compared to the mid-range cameras I´ve tested, which I think is a big plus for a beginner. Somehow it made me a bit self conscious lugging a big camera around – like I was pretending to be some big shot photographer when I had actually NO IDEA what I was doing! Hope this helps!

danielle says:

i would love some advice on how you actually take the paci away. my son will be two in august and he is an addict. the only trouble is that we are expecting a baby in 6 weeks or so and i’m afraid to do it now. is that crazy. and i don’t think i can go cold turkey. help!

lelu says:

Pam, we recently took away my sons pacifier and it has been horrible. He is my fifth child. It was NOT this traumatic with the other four. I don’t know if it’s because we waited later with him (he turned two in April, the others didn’t have it past 18 months). And the crazy thing is that he only had the pacifier when he was in the bed, but now he is whiny all day. And bed time is no fun. Maybe he’s cranky because he’s not sleeping as soundly? I hope Miles gets happy soon, until then maybe you can take comfort knowing you’re not alone.:0) And I would welcome any advice!

Beth says:

I’m still checking back (see comment #16) if anyone has anyone has other suggestions for a very very very new beginner. :) Thanks for the input so far!

chantal says:

Joelle – Annora’s 2nd birthday party is about 10 days away and I invited “friends” of hers from various playgroups we’ve attended, as well as my family (I have very little family though) and our close circle of friends, which includes a few kids close to her in age. I think people get more annoyed about not coming to a first birthday than a second, since the first seems to be a bigger deal. Hope that helps!

ariana says:

Kari – I did feel like I outgrew my rebel. Most of that had to do with the noisiness at anything above 400 ISO. When I first got my mark II I could not BELIEVE the hish ISO performance! Since then I have actually noticed some bizarre deteriating of the noise handling and I am aparantly not the only one, canon doesn’t know why or have a fix or explanation. It’s very odd.

I also really wanted a full frame camera, partly because I knew I would go pro/full frame camera eventually and didn’t want an arsenal of lenses that would be either incompatible or have the focal length change with the upgrade to full frame.

I don’t regret my decision at all, but if I was in a situation to wait, I would wait for the Mark III (late 2010/early 2011??) – or else get the nikon d700 which I still beleive is a superior camera to the mark II.

As far as buying/selling used equipment, I’ve always done that on the trade/sell forum, but you need to have at least 50 posts to post there.

Other than that I’m not sure – for selling, craigslist. Buying would be ok too I guess if you could test the equipment out first.

Joelle, we kind of invite everyone.. but we don’t have that many friends with children in the area – most have moved away :(

Joelle says:

On the subject of birthdays how do you handle invites. I’m trying to think of who to invite to my 2-year-olds party in a few months (how is it that soon?). Do I need to invite the kids who have invited her to their party or do you normally invite just your friends who have kids and your family?

For her 1 year party we only had a few very close friends and family members…which didn’t go over well with others :)

kari says:

your bday party schedule sounds perfect!

random question – kind of a followup to MichelLouise… regarding “outgrowing” a camera… i hear this all the time. ari – i know you upgraded your camera body and some lenses this year because you started a business. did you feel like you ‘outgrew’ your old camera? would you have upgraded had you not started a business?

– outgrowing photo equipment
– best places to buy and sell used equipment

Beth, it’s really tough to tell someone which camera they should get. Any of the entry level models from Canon or Nikon will work just fine and the differences between them are not really something a new photographer will care about (you will care later and want to upgrade but you can’t get there without buying something to start). Your friend is right though that lenses are the place to invest your money long term, always. The question really is, do you want a body that you might outgrow in a year or one that you can stick with for 3 years (and that isn’t the xs vs the xsi, that is more any rebel vs a used mid range body). Have you played with both Canon and Nikon at the store to see which one you felt better using?

Beth says:

Ok, I am going to take advantage of OTT for the first time and ask a question I’m sure you {Ariana} get asked ALLLL the time (which is why I have refrained from asking it until now!): What kind of camera should I get as a total beginner? I like to blog, but I never do anymore because I hate posting crappy pictures… and besides blogging, I hate taking crappy pictures in general!

My friend suggested the Rebel XS as a good beginning camera that I’ll be able to work with for a long time. She said that it’s ok to get a cheaper “base” and that lenses are where you should invest. She has the XSi, but said if she had it to do over again she’d buy an XS because of the price difference. Now, keep in mind that I have NO idea what I’m talking about. But we’re talking about a several-hundred-dollar purchase here, and I’d like know what you think before I commit to anything. :)

The problem is, ultimately, that everyone has a different opinion, so it’s hard to know what to do. And here I am opening myself up to MORE opinions! But that’s a good thing, I think. :) I want to make an educated decision!

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone has….

ariana says:

Shane, speaking as someone who has a non-drop side crib I think you are short changing them :-) I have had both and I LOVE the non drop side so much more! The side is shorter so it’s not like you are lifting them up as high as the drop side. I actually found that the noise of the drop side would wake jasper up whereas putting him in the fixed side crib was never a problem.

I agree focus first, while keeping an eye on composition at least when you look at the images after you take them so you can work on being a little more conscious about it when shooting the next time.

Shane says:

Why can’t crib manufacturers produce a safe drop side crib? Are we the only ones that Really like the feature of a drop side crib? Lowering a sleeping toddler into a crib w/o waking is near impossible if you have to lift OVER a full side rail.

They could start making the hardware more durable by making them from metal instead of cheap plastic!! Instead the CPSC is voting to ban them!

Does anyone know of a source for after-market drop side rail hardware?

shae says:

Jill – Focus first for sure! The rest of it you kind of have to do all at the same time I think. I still get out of focus pictures b/c sometimes I can’t move the red dot in time to catch my two year old in motion!

ariana says:

Thanks Kimberly :)

So for anyone who thinks their kids will NEVER wean themselves, seems like around 19 months is a pretty natural time for them to self wean!

Kimberly says:

Ari, I think a 3:00 party with 5:00 dinner is fine… we are doing James’ party from 3-6 also with food. :)

Re: weaning, I was wondering the same as Molly! You should never feel uncomfortable about your choices as a Mommy, especially when it comes to feeding your child. Your success at breastfeeding was HARD WON and no one has a right to judge how long you choose to do it. I fielded a lot of questions, as well… especially from family. But, my kid, my boobs, my choice, thankyouverymuch!

James self-weaned around 19 months as well… just sort of stopped asking, or he would start to nurse a little and then ask for a sippy of whole milk. I do think it had something to do with my pregnancy changing the flavor or something about my milk, but I think he was also just kind of ready to move on and like you, it was pretty much how I’d hoped for it to happen, and just about the right timing! (except for the pregnancy part… like you, Molly, I wanted to have my body to myself for a little while… oops!)

pam says:

I just wanted to thank everyone last week (or the week before, I can’t remember) who told me to set my focus on AI Servo. My pictures have been coming out much better. Now I’m just waiting to order my Speedlite so I can take more pictures inside. :)

Parenting-wise – did anyone take away the pacifiers and notice a change in their child’s demeanor? It’s been 12 days, and Miles has turned into a cranky demon. I really hope it passes.

ariana says:

Hi Molly, I’m glad you asked because I never blogged about it – so many people in my life gave me a hard time about the “extended” breastfeeding it unfortunately made me uncomfortable posting about it.. but I am soooo happy with the way it worked out!

I think it was around 19 months we were still doing morning at waking and before bed that he just sort of stopped asking for the bedtime milk. I KNEW then that it was just a matter of time before he would do the same with the morning and I was right. It took another month or so and he just stopped asking for it. It was JUST how I hoped it would happen – totally self led weaning, no trauma, no drama. I didn’t “know” my last nursing session was my last so I didn’t have to dwell on it, or get sad or nostalgic.. it just kind of happened! I highly recommend it :)

Molly says:

Hi Ariana – My question of the day, if you are comfortable discussing: maybe I missed it in your posts, but how did Jasper finally stop breastfeeding? did you start refusing him or did he lose interest? My son is 18 months and I’m still bf’ing once or twice a day (though I think he gets less than an oz.). I hate to think of telling him no when it seems to bring him such comfort, but I’m also starting to think about #2 and would like to have my body to myself for a couple of months =).

ariana says:

ML, yeah -if it’s on topic, definitely investigate :)

Jill, my advice is to work on focus first – there’s noting that can recover an out of focus image later! Otherwise, I think it’s sort of a constant process of trying to work on all things together.. sometimes focusing on one more than the other. In my case I did manual first, focus second and composition last.. but I had a LOT of early OOF picture!

Jill says:

I definitely don’t think 5 is too early for dinner — especially for 2-year-olds. :)

Here’s my question for the day…. I’m really trying to improve my photography skills. I feel like I have the knowledge to do it (I understand exposure, DOF, etc.), but I need to work on applying the knowledge. My problem is that I don’t know what to work on first. Nailing the focus? Shooting in manual? Composition? Where do I start?

Well it’s photography related, which works for me so I guess I can find out more about it. :)

ariana says:

Hi Michele, yes I do! I just ignore them if they are way off base. Otherwise I try to get back to them, but I’m SOOO busy sometimes it slips through the cracks :(

Do you ever get emails from random companies asking to post/advertise on your blog? How do you handle those? I got my first yesterday and I am not sure what to do with it!

About the party, I would rather have dinner too early than feed people too late. I hate sitting around a party hungry!

ariana says:

If we have Jasper’s party at 3PM and then serving an early pizza dinner at 5pm followed by cake, does that sound OK or is that dinner too early?