~ New Website ~

Hello!  Thanks for stopping by my blog!
I've created an all new website which includes my photography along with DIY tutorials, cooking & baking, and all of the rest of life's shinanigans!

Find me at bellacarina.com!

We're also on Facebook!


It's amazing what eight months will do...

I am always blown away when I see how much babies change in just the first year of their life!  Here's a couple side-by-sides (or a top-to-bottoms, whichever way you look at it) of my cutie nephew Zach...he's getting so big and has such a great personality!  The top was from his newborn shoot and the bottom is from his 8 month shoot.  Can you believe it's the same baby!?


~Zachary 8 months old~

When I went home to California this March to visit family, I took the opportunity to do a mini photo shoot with my cutie nephew, Zachary. :)  He makes me so happy inside!  Here are some of the pictures from that day.

I am usually a fan of black and white pictures more than color for their classic look, but with this little boy's baby blue eyes, color is the way to go!

Love his cute little vans!

This little boy loves his mama (she's holding him in this next picture).

And now for my most favorite picture of the shoot that makes me giggle every time I look at it.  I call it "Grumpy Old Baby"

~Sneak Peek~ Oliver's Baptism 02.13.2011

Dane and I made the trip to Minnesota for his nephew's baptism in February.  Here's a sneak peak of some of the photos I took of Julie and Julian's sweet boy's baptism. 

The set of pictures below is all of Oliver's family giving him blessings and getting baptized.  The church was beautiful!

Dane was the godfather and Julie's sister, Karen, was the godmother.

Love his sweet little face!

Julie's mom handmade Oliver's outfit.


Oliver's shoes used to be his Grandpa Jerry's!  They looked brand new!


The sweet boy all tuckered out after his big day...he looks like an angel!

A big thank you to Julie and Julian for letting me take pictures!  Love you guys! XOXO


~Erica's Baby Bump~

When my sister called to tell me she was pregnant I literally cried with happiness!  I love my sister, well, like a sister and I was so excited for her and her husband.  These posts are slightly out of order because I already posted the pictures of my cutie nephew Zachary, but these photos are worth sharing.

Had my sister not gotten pregnant, I may not have made the choice to purchase my Nikon.  She was my inspiration to start experimenting with portrait and photo journalism style photography.

There is something so beautiful about a pregnant woman.  I loved being able to capture this beauty in my sister.

The next group of pictures are titled, "The Bump"  :).

No baby bump shoot can be complete without a sneak peek of the nursery.  Erica, her husband Matt, my dad and I put some good ol' DIY work into this one so it's worth showing off!

And since, as we all know, it takes two to make a baby, here are some final shots that include daddy.  ;)


Icy Wonderland!

Unless you are hiding under a rock, you have probably heard that the midwest experienced some radical weather this week!  Prior to our power going out, massive damage to trees, power lines, and homes, (basically the end of the world), and subsequently moving ourselves and our pup to a friend's house who actually had heat, Dane and I found some time to go out and take a walk with the pup and take some pictures.  This California, beach-lovin' girl had never seen anything like an ice storm before so I was in awe of how beautiful plants covered in ice could be!  Especially since the sharp contrast of the vibrant leaves of Ohio's fall and the stark twigs of Ohio's winter was a bit of a depressing shock to me.  So, seeing some beauty in winter was very welcomed!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to discuss the fact that I am an amateur photographer and would like to share of bit of my journey of becoming somewhat less of an amateur and somewhat more of a professional.  I read recently that it is okay to use auto focus!  Shocking, I know.  Some people seem to think that you aren't a real photographer unless you are moving the focus around yourself, but I have found that I have been able to get some pretty awesome shots with a good camera (my beloved Nikon D90) and good ol' auto focus!
I started in my backyard where this bush (which is actually our neighbor's that hangs over our fence) was the very last tree in the yard to lose its leaves in the fall.  I loved the color of the small berries and with the help of my favorite (and rather affordable, I might add) editing software, Lightroom 3, I was able to really pull out the beauty of the colors.

Then after a slip on our ice rink of a driveway (luckily I didn't actually fall), we began our walk around the neighborhood.  The salted roads weren't anywhere near as slippery as our driveway as long as you walked towards the middle and that wasn't a problem seeing as most people didn't have to go into work or school and weren't driving on the roads.

This next photo was taken just around the block from our house while Dane and Roman walked ahead of me.  Once again, on auto focus.  This shot would have been impossible to get on manual save me laying on my stomach on the icy roads (not gonna happen) which shows how useful auto focus can be.  Now for a word on editing.  Since I bought Lightroom, I have only really used it for editing photos of people which is waaaaay different than editing these nature shots.  I have found that there is no real science to editing; you just keep experimenting and changing levels until you get the look you want.  In Lightroom there are two settings named clarity and sharpness and when editing photos of people, I like these to be a little on the low side, but with these shots, I turned the clarity and sharpness all the way up to really bring out every detail.

This photo is another tree in our backyard.  I love the simplicity of the crazy mess of branches and ice.

I took this photo because I loved the fact that it was such an everyday thing which has now become a work of art because of ice.  With the help of Lightroom, I was really able to make the red color of the mail flags pop.  Once again, I upped the clarity and sharpness levels to make the grain of the wood and the icicles really stand out.

This photo required almost no touch ups because I just liked the way it was in all of its natural glory.

These frozen blue berries were a neat sight to see and turned out to be Dane's favorite of the shoot.

This tree's branches were hanging super low under the weight of all the ice and reminded me of little fireworks.

Another example of how auto focus can help you take a cool shot at a strange angle.

I will finish this post with one of my favorite shots of the day.  Can you believe this pretty little stream is right around the corner from my house?  There are some things about Ohio that I might be able to get used to.  Now, if only we could get our power turned back on!

~What are your thoughts on using auto focus?  Have some favorite photo editing software?



This baby girl has the sweetest little face!  Just last weekend, I had the pleasure of taking some newborn pictures of our friends' baby, little Sophia.  Her name is just as adorable as she is!  We were lucky enough to have some real life sunlight here in Dayton, Ohio which is not all that common so it was a good day.  Sophia's nursery has some awesome jungle animals that her dad hand painted on the walls for her...my favorite was the monkey.  :)  Here's just a sneak peek of some of the photos I took...Thanks Aaron and Meghan!


~Zachary Matthew~

Ahhh...babies!  Gotta love them!  This past summer, I was blessed to become an aunt!  I was lucky enough to still be living in California when Zach was born and was able to take these pictures when he was only 12 days old!  He just melts my heart!  Looking at these six months after the fact is so strange because he's a totally different baby now.  They just grow up too fast!

A little background on the monkey...my Grandma and Grandpa on my Dad's side gave my sister and I each a monkey when we were little.  Rickie's monkey is next to Zach in this pic.  Love it!

Here's a little sneak peak of the shoot...



Nothing like a Hawaiian Sunrise...

I'm not talking about some kind of yummy tropical drink, although that would also be nice.  :)  From my last post, speaking of photography capturing memories, here is one of my favorite photos that I have taken. It was the first morning that I was in Kauai with my good friend, Cara.  It was before my body had adjusted to the time change so waking up before dawn actually seemed like a good idea at the time.  That's saying a lot for this girl who LOVES to sleep in.  I woke up and walked down to the beach to find an amazing sunrise which got even prettier as it continued to come up over the mountains.  I think one of the biggest differences between sunrises and sunsets is the stillness that sunrise brings.  At sunset, the hustle and bustle of the day is already in full swing and it is hard to find yourself alone.  At sunrise, I was all by myself...just me, the sun, the beach, and my camera.  Ahhhh.... :)

This photo not only helps me remember that sunrise, but the entire trip to Kauai which was awesome and amazing and wonderful...can't wait to go back.



The Beginning...

I love photography.  I love how it can capture a moment in time in all of its beauty.  I love that photography helps you remember all the good times.  Photography makes me smile.  :)

This is the beginning of my blog which I am excited to use to share my work.  Enjoy!