Out & About

Yosemite in Winter

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Matt bought me a 35mm f/2 Nikkor lens for Christmas – I’ve wanted this lens for a long time so he was kind enough to get it for me.   We spent a few days in the Yosemite National Park area over the Christmas break, so I couldn’t wait to try it out. 

We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge at the southern entrance which was all decked out for the holidays, and one day that was filled with blue skies we drove into the National Park where we walked all around in our snow boots through the woods. 

winter branches in yosemite park

 

The 35mm Nikkor f/2 lens is another fixed focal length lens like the 50mm I’ve mentioned and it has a low aperture setting for shallow depth of field for getting that cool “bokeh” or blurry effect in the background or foreground.  The aperture on this lens dials all the way up to f/22 for getting some really deep focus too! 

I took this lens with me for the day to see what it could do – here are a few images that I shot on that beautiful winter day.  Anyone who’s ever visited Yosemite Valley knows of the famous Ahwahnee Hotel at the base of a granite cliff – visually stunning anytime of year, but breathtaking in winter.  I love this image, I feel like I could crawl right into it just like you can in their giant walk-in fireplace inside the hotel.   

ahwahnee hotel yosemite winter

 

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Behind the Scenes with Ballard Designs

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

I’ve been receiving the Ballard Designs catalog for a decade and shopping their online store for the same amount of time.  The new catalog comes in the mail five times a year and I savor the new and the classic furnishings and accessories inside the pages. 

I really love their style, European inspired but always fresh, not too stodgy or too grandma.  Just about every room in my house has something  from their collection.  Their mirrored Savon Tray Table sits in my master bathroom and I use it daily! 

kate master bathroom

 

I absolutely adore the Bellasol Mirror in our powder room.

kates powder bathroom after

 

And just recently we hung their Grand Claire chandelier in our bedroom.

master bedroom centsational girl

 

Their Mariestad chandy (no longer available) and Couture chairs sit in my dining room, and a painted a trio of their Grand Palais mirrors are hung in our family room to mimic a window.  So it goes without saying, I’m a big fan! 

I was invited to attend a behind-the-scenes glimpse at their company last week and a peek into the process of creating the products and photographing the catalog, and I was very excited!  I spent a day learning about the products that start as a “twinkle in the eye” of their team and end photographed in the final rooms depicted inside the lovely spreads inside the catalog.

ballard cover

 

The event started with a tour of the corporate facility and a peek at the upcoming Jan/Feb and Spring catalogs.  Forgive the mediocre pictures, I brought my fancy camera but not a memory card (doh) so I had to rely on my iPhone for images.

The main headquarters is in Atlanta and there all the decisions for the company are made.  Headquarters has less than 80 employees, not including fulfillment centers and the phone and online order center.   For having such a national presence, I was  surprised by the small amount of employees they rely on to make the Ballard magic happen and so impressed at their willingness to open their doors to the bloggers they invited inside.  

We spent the morning touring the main office, meeting the employees, and seeing how they pull together inspiration for upcoming collections.  They use mood boards and pin inspiration all around the office!

ballard memo

 

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