Happy Independence Day!

Happy 236th Birthday to the United States!

I’m celebrating the 4th of July this year with my husband and in-laws down in Coronado. I went to the 4th of July celebration in Coronado last year with my parents-in-law (is that a real term?) and some family friends. I’m excited because, this year, my husband isn’t in Afghanistan AND my brother-in-law is in town from Hong Kong for the week! Parties all around!

In honor of the holiday, I used this recipe to make these amazing baked oatmeal cups with mixed berries to create the red and blue coloring. :) Some are plain; some have strawberries; the rest have an assortment combination of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. These muffins are absolutely delicious so you should really drop what you’re doing right now and go make some! Thank me later! ;)

I hope y’all have a wonderful 4th of July with your family and friends!


Spencer Family Reunion – Texas Hill Country

I was so excited to be able to go back home to Texas for a family reunion that my mom’s side of the family had last month! We all met up at the Mo Ranch conference center in Hunt, Texas. The Mo is situated on the Guadalupe River in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, about 90 minutes from San Antonio. I love going to the Mo because you can swim, fish, canoe, sit, or chill in the Guadalupe during the hottest part of the day, and relax on the banks of the river when it cools off at night. There’s tons of land to explore on a hike, and, did I mention the Guadalupe? ;)

We started the weekend with a little meet-n-greet, which was awesome since there were cousins and great aunts and uncles there that I hadn’t seen in a long while. Then we set up an area to take some fun photos, and held a contest for the goofiest photo! I’ll post the winning image here but you’ll have to guess which one it is. :)

At the end of the day one evening, I stole my gorgeous older sister out for a quick photo session. What do you think? Not too bad for only 5 minutes, right? Especially since we had both been swimming in the river just an hour or two before this.. ;)

I had a great trip and my only regret was that I came back to California too soon! I hope y’all are all having a wonderful summer so far!


The Transit of Venus

If you’re sitting inside right now, get up, grab your favorite pair of solar eclipse glasses, and head outside right this second!

The Transit of Venus is happening right now and it’s really cool! Here’s the description from Wikipedia:

A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving across the face of the Sun. The duration of such transits is usually measured in hours (the transit of 2004 lasted six hours). A transit is similar to a solar eclipse by the Moon. While the diameter of Venus is more than 3 times that of the Moon, Venus appears smaller, and travels more slowly across the face of the Sun, because it is much farther away from Earth.

Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena. They occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The periodicity is a reflection of the fact that the orbital periods of Earth and Venus are close to 8:13 and 243:395 commensurabilities.

The next transit of Venus will occur on 5 and 6 June 2012, and will be the last Venus transit this century; the prior transit took place on 8 June 2004. The previous pair of transits were in December 1874 and December 1882. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will be in December 2117 and December 2125.

Venus transits are historically of great scientific importance as they were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the Solar System. Observations of the 1639 transit, combined with the principle of parallax, provided an estimate of the distance between the Sun and the Earth that was more accurate than any other up to that time. In addition, the June 2012 transit will provide scientists with a number of other research opportunities, particularly in the refinement of techniques to be used in the search for exoplanets. A transit of Venus can be safely observed by taking the same precautions used to observe the partial phases of a solar eclipse. Staring at the Sun without appropriate eye protection can quickly cause serious and often permanent eye damage.

SAFETY NOTE: Do NOT attempt to look directly at the sun OR try to photograph the sun without proper equipment! Your eyes need special protection and so does your camera! I had made a special filter using aluminized mylar to photograph the solar eclipse last month, which is what I used to photograph the Transit of Venus today. If you look at the sun or try to photograph it without protection, your eyes and your camera will suffer irreversible damage! Just trust me on this one. Stay away unless you’re protected!

Pretty cool, huh?

(Yes, Venus is the little dot at the top, right side of the sun. You’re seeing it!)

Info for Photographers: The first image is straight from the camera (no editing except to add my logo). The second one is more purple because I was playing around with manual vs. auto focus, and it didn’t focus properly. The purple glow is due to the mylar filter I was using. I think it looks fun! :) I added a little contract to this one in Lightroom because you really can’t see Venus all that well. ;)


As seen in… Military Spouse Magazine!

I am so SO excited to finally be able to share this with you!!

I was contacted several months ago by one of the editors of Military Spouse Magazine, because they wanted to interview me for an upcoming story! I spoke with Cachet Prescott, an Air Force spouse, who was putting together an article about photography and wanted my input about starting a photography business as well as some creative tips for taking photos. I submitted my information and some images to be published, and tried my best to forget about the whole thing! :) I knew the article would be published in the June issue, and there was just too much time to sit and dwell on it!

I became even more stoked about the issue when I found out that the Military Spouse of the Year, who is the feature for the June issue, is a HE for 2012! That’s right: the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year is Jeremy Hilton, spouse of Air Force Lt. Col. Renae Hilton. I was excited by this because, I feel that the term “military spouse” is all too often mistaken as being synonymous with “military wife,” and the male spouses among us seem to be forgotten. I am just overjoyed that the MSOY organization is starting to recognize all military spouses–not just us wives. :)

So, after constantly checking the magazine racks at both the commissary and exchange here at Camp Pendleton, I was (finally!) able to get my hands on a copy of the magazine today! I am featured in the “Picture Perfect” article that starts on page 68, along with fellow military spouses Melissa Englehart Calhoun and Karen Ortiz.

Here are some images of the cover and the article.

Now it’s your turn to go run out and grab yourself a copy of the June 2012 issue of Military Spouse Magazine! You’ll be glad you did! :)


Photo Walk – Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach

One thing you may have noticed about me is that I love getting out and photographing with local photo friends! Over the weekend, I met up with a group of photographers from the Pacific Photographic Society to do a photo walk along Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach. It was fun to get out and have fun! Here are some of the shots I captured on our journey.