adventuring in the woods

the swimming hole // blog-action // natalie kafader

hope you had a awesome 4th of july and enjoyed that long weekend! i celebrated by heading out to go camping and hiking around the area with my camera. so here are a few shots!

the road is always open // blog-action // natalie kafader
little bridge // blog-action // natalie kafader
the wanderers // blog-action // natalie kafader
on the trail // blog-action // natalie kafader
finding the forest in the trees // blog-action // natalie kafader
hello // blog-action // natalie kafader
the big dipper // blog-action // natalie kafader

out to adventure

photo adventure supplies // blog-action

i'm getting all my camera stuff packed up and ready to go on our next adventure! on friday  i (and the boy, plus my brother and his lady) are driving out to the desert to backpack through paria canyon. i'm really excited to be braking out my old nikon again! i don't think i've used it since i went to south africa a few years ago! 

i am really hoping to get some good shots, and maybe do a whole photo series of canyon photos. plus i love using film for the anticipation of not knowing really what you have until you get home and get it developed. call me old fashioned but i just love film, whatever. it's a little more work (ok a lot) but i feel like the pictures i get with that film camera really come out better than with the DSLR, maybe because you just have to be more conscious of what you are doing.

anyways i am still going to bring my phone for some digital pics too, i wouldn't want to miss out on all that color! i definitely only bought black and white film, because, dude black and white is my jam!

have an awesome rest of the week, and a wonderful next week too!

purple haze

heres a little photo series i did, you've probably seen a few of these photos already. i just thought they were too cool not to use in other stuff! my idea for this series was kind of a magical looking wilderness, forest that look almost real but with a little extra sparkle... or something.

black and white

black and white cliffside with prink frame // blog-action

this is a little preview of a project that i've been working on. its a personal project that i've actually had in the back of my brain for the last 5 years and its finally starting to come together. making moves! i love black and white photography as well as film, and i've got an old nikon film camera that actually used to be my main camera for a lot of years before i got a DSLR. that means i have a ton of prints, from back in the day when you used to get film developed! man that makes me feel a little old haha. but i've had a few idea on what to do with all these prints and i'm excited to finally be executing on one!

black and white cliffside 2 yellow frame // blog-action
black and white golden gate bridge green frame // blog-action

i'll be posting more details as this project comes together, but for now i'm just keep plugging away at it, but i wanted to share just a little snippet!

happy friday!

making moves


i have always loved new years resolutions, firstly because i love making lists, and in past years i've always had a laundry list of things i want to accomplish, but those lists always end up so long and outrageous that i never do get any of them done. so this year i'm trying to keep it simple.

make moves is something thats become kind of a mantra to me lately. i always have 1000 different ideas swirling around in my head at any given point, but a lot of times i find it hard to act on one. so rather than just talking about and thinking about things, ideas, projects i want to do, i want to make moves, i want to make them happen. 

i think of it kind of like a game of chess (which i am terrible at by the way), but to get your pieces  from where they are to where they need to be, you have to make moves.  and some times its small moves, one space at a time, but other times you are set up for a big move and you can get all the way across the board.

this also applies to pretty much every aspect of my life, nothing gets done with out making moves. there are trips i want to take so my first move is to plan, and research, it makes it a lot easier to execute the bigger steps later, or if the bank has charged me a bogus fee, its not going to just go way, i actually have to call and do something about it. i have to to be the one to make these moves, because no one else is going to move for me.

so this year i will make moves, i will follow through on ideas i've had for years, i will do the things that need to be done even if they are hard and i don't want to do them, i will make the things i want to happen, happen.

the new year

sorry, but holy shit! it's practically 2015! like less than 24 hours!

this year has been... interesting? good? amazing? mediocre? honestly i feel like this year had a lot of ups and down in all aspects of life, from work to personal but everything is evening out at pretty ok. is that bad of me to say? work and my job are great and i've gotten to move up and do and learn a lot of things this year, but at the same time none of that came with out some stress, anxiety, and lets face it, fear. as far as my personal life it hasn't been the roller coaster that other years have been, but it has also had plenty of great and shitty.

all in all i'm pretty satisfied with 2014

i think i said this at the beginning of the year, on the old blog format, if anyone remember that (coincidentally all those post magically disappeared when i switched from worpress to square space, kinda a bummer huh?) but i digress, i said something along the lines of :: that "this year would be a 'building year'". yeah like in sports... but i think i worked my ass off and things are setting up to come together in 2015 and i'm pretty stoked for it!

so bring it on 2015, i'm ready for ya! and to show ya heres a new calendar, you can down load and print, it's sized to print on 11x17 paper and trimmed down.


down load the PDF here!

and have a happy and wonderful new years!


Geo Triangles Nature // Blog-Action

so i have a ton of other work i should be doing, but i find myself going through pictures, opening them up and drawing on the. i really love geometric shapes, and specifically triangles, i even have a triangle tattoo! remind me and i'll show you some time. 

i also love jessica hische's idea of procrastiworking. if you are unfamiliar, the idea that the weird little passion projects you do while you are putting off the thing you really should be doing are ideas worth pursuing. now i don't think anyone is every really going to care, let alone pay me draw pictures on pictures (hey a girl can dream can't she?) but its fun, it keeps my brain in focus and i think looks cool. 

Geo Triangles Blossoms // Blog-Action
Geo Triangles Conservatory of Flowers // Blog-Action

a few things that have been keeping me busy

life lately

1. Life at the workshop has been buzzing along with the holiday season fast aproaching it some times seems like there aren't enough hours in the day. But I always manage to take some time to try out our new stamps!

2. In any spare moment I have at home I've been working on a few side projects (I'll be sharing some of those soon hopefully!). That usually means working curled up in bed with Milly. 

3. Last weekend I went camping in Yosemite and we hiked North Dome, the mountain directly across from the famous Half Dome, so the views were spectacular needless to say. Also it rained and since we were so high up on the mountain it actually snowed!  it was quite beautiful once I got past the fact that I was cold and wet.

4. Which leads to the last bit, my car broke down in Yosemite and had to be towed out which was a fun adventure all in itself. Ugh! But it's all fixed up now thank goodness. 


Have a happy weekend! 

photoshooting & nearly impossible

nearly impossible conference

i had the awesome opportunity to work with Laure Joliet this past weekend as her photo assistant at the Nearly Impossible Conference, it just so happened to take place at Heath Ceramics which is an awesome spot, with huge windows and beautiful light, not to mention amazing pottery. Nearly Impossible was basically about small product based businesses coming together and learning from each other how to grow and be successful.

nearly impossible - speaker

we mostly were concerned with photographing the space, which included the  main lecture hall where all the speakers, err spoke, and the back "boiler room" where they held the expert lab - one on ones with makers, designers, and other awesome entrepreneurs.

photographing - expert lab

its a bummer my sad little iphone camera couldn't really capture the awesomeness of this room and the beautiful huge windows and light coming in (luckily the 6 is on its way to me!)

nearly impossible - set ups

it was an awesome day and i was lucky enough to catch a couple speakers in between shooting and Laure was seriously the sweetest person ever! the conference will be in new york in october and if you get the chance i would totally recommend checking it out!


man nature is pretty awesome! the colors and shapes out there that just come about naturally are really the best. heres a few more from my camping trip a few weeks ago. no editing, all natural (ha!)

night time and long exposures

its been a while, i know... i was taking a much needed vacation, camping with my brother and friend in southern california. 

i took my camera along (duh) and had the opportunity to do some fun stuff, experimenting with long exposures at night for some pretty rad effects.

these first ones were taken on the lowest shutter speed setting of my camera, with out a tripod, so one is a little blurry. you have no idea how hard i was trying to stand still and hold the camera steady to get these shots! for these two good one i've got a bunch of really bad blurry shots!

remember that awesome super moon? if you missed it, enjoy!

super moon long exposure

i remember seeing an ad a couple years ago where people where drawing with light, so we had the brilliant idea to light sticks on fire, blow them out to get an ember and draw with those. for this i set the camera on a sturdy surface (again because i didn't have a tripod) which ended up being my camp cooking pot upside down. then holding down the shutter until the drawing was done, so anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds if i remember correctly.

ember drawings - long exposure

one of my favorite parts of the trip was we spent 2 days backpacking. it was so nice and refreshing to get away from the sounds of cars and other people for a little bit. not to mention the beautiful sky! for these if found what i dubbed the "tripod rock" a triangular rock which i propped the camera up on to get a good view of the sky, because again, no tripod, i just didn't think i'd need it when i was packing. then held the shutter for 10-20 seconds, the tricking part here was that it was so dark i had a hard time focusing the camera because i really couldn't see anything with out my flashlight, and even then it was difficult to see if i was in focus. and forget auto focus, it was much to dark for that, cameras are smart but not that smart.

stars - long exposure

this was one was a lot of fun and i am still a little amazed how awesome these came out! setting the camera on a rock for stability i held the shutter while someone flashed the flash light at the other person posing then they'd do another pose and we'd flash the flashlight again, and so on for how ever many poses we felt like.

ghosted images - long exposure

i'll be post more pictures from my trip i'm sure, i took so many!

it was a good trip but i'm glad to be back in the city, and i'm feeling full of ideas after my mental break!

tree art

while running around in golden gate park the other day i found this awesome tree, and it not just awesome because its huge and magnificent but because of whimsical little touches someone put on it!

i'm sorry, i just think that those face are hilarious and awesome! anyways, happy weekend!

Photography Series #3

All right, now that we've got the basics of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture down lets get a little more into in what it all means (and if you need a little refresher check it out here!).

So lets start out with EXPOSURE, what exactly does that mean?
Exposure literally mean how much light gets exposed on to the film in the camera, and aperture, shutter speed and ISO all determine that. So a good exposure is when all the elements are working together for the look you are going for.

Depth of field is what is in focus when looking through the lens of your camera. Is the foreground in focus? Is the background in focus? is everything in focus? Depth of field refers to what is sharp and what is blurred. A deep depth of field is when both foreground and background are in focus, and a shallow depth of field refers to on a portion of the frame being in focus.
Your aperture setting can affect your depth of field, the smaller the f/stop the shallower the depth of field (remember from lesson 2?), and the larger the f/stop the more will be in focus.


I've realized I've talked a lot about what is in focus, what is not, what tools to use to get what you want in focus, but I haven't yet talked about focus and what it is. So lets touch on that now. Focus refers to the sharpness and clearness of an image. When I say something is "out of focus" what I'm really saying is that its blurry, and when it is "in focus" the lines are sharp and crisp and clear. On the lens of your DSLR you will notice a little  A | M with a switch. That switch is to go between auto focus and manual focus. Mess around with it on manual to get your desired look.

Our eyes can adjust to tell what is the color white, our camera though are not so sophisticated. Coming back to that issue of light, light can change what we perceive as white to be yellow-y orange or blue-ish. Light is often referred to as either "hot" or "cool" and I bet you guessed it, when light is hot it turns whites yellow-y and when its cool it comes off as blue-ish. With out getting too complicated you can actually go into your setting on manual and under "shooting menu" you can set the white balance for the kind of light you are shooting in. everything from florescent lighting to cloudy day light, your pictures will never have a weird color tinge to them again!

time-lapse drawings

have you ever watched a time lapse of, well anything? its pretty cool, my friend Evah Fan turned me on to Lapse It an app for your iphone or android that allows you to make time lapse videos! you can set the frequency of frames it takes to either slow down or speed up action and then you can post to the interwebs!

so i've been messing around with it of coarse!

wise words {8} sorta...

have you ever had one of those weeks where everything seems like an emotional roller coaster? The good is really good, and the bad is really bad? yeah, i've been doing that for the past two weeks really, but here's to getting back on track and back to work!

i'm feeling ready for the rest of the week!

Photography Series #2


The time has come to switch to manual, all those presets are fun and all but its even more fun to control the whole process!

In this installment we are going over the numbers: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

This is the part of the camera that lets light into the camera through the lens. More specifically it refers to the size of the opening that is letting light into the camera. The aperture size refers to the size of that opening, and is measured in 'F/Stops'. The F/Stops can range from 1.2 through 25, the smaller the number the bigger the opening and there for the more light is comes through the lens, and as the numbers go up the smaller that opening gets. Typical F/stops, or Full Stop, are the basic and standard F/Stops a camera will have, they are: F/4, F/5.6, F/8, F/11, F/16, F22. If you have more in between and beyond those ones they are called 1/2 Stops, and 1/3 Stops, and thats awesome because it gives you even more choices for controlling how much light you let in!

The shutter speed refers to how fast the shutter is opening and closing to expose light to the image sensor. Remember that diagram of the mirror bouncing the image to the view finder, and then uses the reflex mechanism to let that same image into the sensor?  The shutter sits behind the mirror and right in front of the sensor. Shutter speed is measured in  fractions of a second, that how long the shutter is opening for to let the light and image into the image sensor. Speeds range from 1 sec. to 1/4000 of a sec, sooo, faster shutter speed =  smaller fraction; this means motion will freeze in the your image. A slower shutter speed (larger fraction) will blur motion. To get a clear image you will want to use a faster shutter speed for subjects in motion, and you can go with a slower speed for subjects that are slow moving or still. 

*Side note: when using shutter speeds slower than 1/60 you are going to want a tripod to stabilize your camera.

**Side note: using a shutter speed of 1 second or more is going to give you that time-lapse-y look, you know those pictures where the stars streak across the sky? Those are pretty awesome! but remember you will definitely need a tripod for that to work, because your camera will pick up every little movement from you body if you hand hold it..


ISO is the digital version of film speed, which measures the camera's sensitivity to light. It sets the amount of light needed to get a good exposure. ISO usually ranges from 100 to 3200 with the lower numbers needing more light, so in a dark setting you'd want to capture more light and have the ISO set at the higher end, while the low numbers need less light, like in bright sunlight. A good thing to remember too is that when you double the ISO (like going from 200 to 400) you will only need half the amount of light to get the same the same exposure. So when you adjust the ISO you need to adjust shutter speed and/or aperture accordingly. ISO also has to do with how much 'noise' is showing up in your image. Noise is that grainy look you can get when photographing in low light. You tend to get that noise look with the higher ISO numbers, so to avoid that I usually stick to the lower setting and adjust for more light with aperture and shutter speed.


So as you can see taking pictures has everything to do with light and how much you have and are letting into the camera. By controlling how much light you are letting into your camera you are in control of how dark or bright your pictures turn out. And while like anything it takes some practice to get the hang of, I hope this is helpful in explaining some of what is going on. So get out there and get some awesome shots and below is a little cheat sheet with everything on it, because I know I'm no good at remembering numbers.


Photography Series #1


So you just got a new fancy camera, awesome! Now how to use it? You know to get great pictures you need to be using a good camera, a little point and shoot, or your phone will only get you so far, so now we are on the right track.

In this series I'm going to go through what some of the things on a DSLR camera means, the settings, and how to use them to get awesome picutures. I have a Nikon D3200, which I'll be using for reference, but the concepts are the same across the board for all brands.

So first, what does DSLR mean?

Digital Single Lens Reflex

A single reflex lens is the mechanism that allows the photographer to look through the view finder and see exactly what the lens sees. The mechanism uses a mirror to bounce the image from the lens to the view finder. Unlike a point and shoot where you have a view finder on top that just looks strait through the camera, not through the lens. In the old days of film, the film strip would sit just behind the mirror so when you took a picture the mirror would swing shut closing off the view finder and exposing the film. That's why you got that momentary blackness with the click sound. Since moving into the digital age we don't need to expose film but the image sensors are still behind that mirror so that what the lens sees, and what we see is captured.


Alright so now that we know how the camera is working, we can get to the good stuff. That little nob, usually on the top of the camera, has got some icons on it, what do they do? What they all mean? 
These are different modes you can put your camera in, like if you are shooting at soccer game you'd probably go for sport mode. Each one has got all the settings for that specific occasion or subject already programed in and set up for the best exposure.


It's a lot of fun to try out all the different modes, and see which one you like the best for what you typically photograph. I usually go for the 'auto no flash' because I like natural lighting. The 'close up' is a lot of fun too, I love seeing things in extreme close up almost to the point that they don't look real!

So before you go out and start shooting away, there are a couple setting you should check out in the menu screen.
After you've hit the menu button you should be able to choose from 4 or 5 different categories,  under 'Shooting Menu' I like to keep my Image Quality as NORMAL, and Image Size as SMALL. The photos I take usually end up getting sized for web anyways so I like to keep the files as small as possible, plus if you know you are going to be shooting something thats going to be printed and blown up huge you can always go in and change it. The next thing to take a look at is in the 'Setup Menu', make sure that the 'Info Display' is turned ON. This means that you will be able to see what mode you are in on the screen, it should also tell you what settings your aperture, shutter speed and ISO are at (but more on those later). And last in the 'Playback Menu' you will want the 'Image Review' setting to be ON, that way you can take a peek at the picture you just took to make sure everything is looking good.

So thats all for today, I hope this is helpful. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks coming soon!

Photography Series

the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else.

i have always love photography, there is something about being able to capture an image or a moment that just fascinates me. when i was a kid i was obsessed with my little point and shoot film camera, and one summer i got the chance to go to 'photography camp' and my uncle graciously lent me his nikon, i felt so legit. little did he know the picture monster i was becoming and that he would never get the camera back (sorry!). i took photography in high school still using that same nikon, getting to develop my own pictures was so cool and was the highlight of my senior year. when i left for college i took that same nikon with me and would take 'picture adventures' with friends all around the northern california coast. 


Last year i got a brand new fancy digital nikon, the D3200 to be exact. and for the last year i've taken tons of pictures with it, but i was really going on trial and error for what setting would work for that situation, its been a long time since that high school photography class. so i thought in an attempt to relearn how to use a camera i should teach someone the basics of taking pictures with a DSLR.

so in the next few weeks i'll be posting 'lessons' on some basic camera stuff, that is hopefully more interesting and helpful than reading a manual.  

wise words {1}

liz taylor quote

i definitely have those moments when i have to take a step back and a deep breathe to be able to collect myself and realize that everything is going to be ok. i love this quote because its so blunt in its reminder that you are a lot stronger that you think and even if you let the fear or anxiety creep in that you are the only one who can pull yourself out.