Jun 13, 2016

My Love for Macro

In 2014 I decided to do a macro challenge and host it on Instagram. I was trying to use my mobile macro lens for my camera more. So I did the entire #MacroMay challenge with my phone. It was fun, but the images were mediocre, at best.

In 2015 I hosted the challenge again, but this time using my regular DSLR and my beloved Tamron SP 90mm macro with VC. THe image qualtiy was better, but I still needed/wanted to practice more.
Man, it was good to shoot macro every day. So therapeutic!

This past May I realized that while I love doing it, hosting the challenge on my business Instagram profile may not be the best idea. I decided not to start a personal Instagram account because I barely keep up with the social media on the business, let alone adding to that a personal account. So I did the challenge on my personal Facebook account and invited friends to share if they were inclined. #MacroMay proved once again to be the therapy I needed.

I love shooting macro. While I am no expert, I love shooting and sharing my work. You can only get better if you practice, right? You can learn from your shortcomings in your images. I am still feeling like there is a magical element missing and I cannot seem to find it just yet, but that isn't stopping me.

I bought my Tamron SP90mm macro with VC about two years ago. I absolutely love this lens. While I share that I use this lens on my images, I have not really shared my love for it with y'all.

If you are in the market for a macro lens, I cannot recommend this enough. The SP is Tamron's professional level line. Think of it as the equivalent of the L series in Canon. The VC in that name stands for Vibration Control. It helps! Trust me! I shoot handheld for all of my macro. That VC is a life saver!

So this is just me sharing without any ulterior motive or incentive. I love camera gear. I love talking camera gear. I love sharing about camera gear. And I absolutely love my Tamron SP 90mm macro so much that i wanted to share it with you. Do yourself a favor and at least research the Tamron before buying the Canon 100L or Nikon 105. I think of all of you as friends, and I have told all of my friends this lens is fantastic.

I honestly feel the auto focus works faster on the Tamron. It hunts less often for me. I have switched to primarily using manual focus for my macro work, but don't let the macro capabilities fool you. This focal length makes a great portrait lens, too! I cannot tell you how many times the Canon L left me frustrated.

Here are a few shots I took last month with it. While I shot every day, I don't want to bore you with all 31 of my images. So these are some of my favorites. ;)

If you ever have any questions about this lens or any of the other ones I won (I have quite a few Tamron lenses), please feel free to ask me. I used the money I saved buying the Tamron 24-70 with VC over the Canon version and bought this macro lens with it. Two lenses for the price of one. You can't beat that!

Jun 11, 2016

Golden Hour Tee Shirt

I am a very plain Jane kind of gal when it comes to clothes. I usually wear a black top and jeans. Honestly, all of my tops are black except for a navy one. I am a wild child, I know. 

So when I saw the new Golden Hour t-shirt over at the Click&Co. Store I was surprised by how much I liked it. You see, it isn’t black. It has graphics and wording on it. But I like it! 

Click&Co. sent me one of the blue ones. I have had it for a while now. I wanted to wait to see how it held up to use, washing, and the daily grind that is my life. 

Here is a photo one of my kids snapped with my phone of me wearing the shirt. This is after having it for a month and frequent washings. It looks great still!! I have to tell you that this shirt is soooooo soft. With each wash it just gets more and more comfy. 

I have a size Medium. I am an average sized woman, not skinny and not large. Let’s face it, I could be thinner, but I don’t feel like it (I am lazy, I admit it). The shirt runs very true to size. I have not had any issues with shrinking from the washes, either. 
Since the shirt is a unisex style, it isn’t fitted and snug against your curves. This hides my sides muffin top very well. 

This is a photo from the Click&Co. website of the tee. It also comes in gray with white lettering. 

I highly recommend this top. Not only is it comfortable, but it is also very cute. I have had people ask e about golden hour at the stores, too. It is a great opportunity to mention that I am a photographer and talk about my business. Of course I then switch focus to my bag, but if you take clients for your photography business this could be a great icebreaker. 

Want one of these t-shirts for yourself? Of course you do! The awesome ladies over at Click&Co. have given you a coupon code to use. 

Jan 30, 2015

What is a Teleconverter?

I recently shared a photo on our Instagram account of my new teleconverter. Questions were asked and even more questions came in through messages and emails.  So I thought I would share a little bit about it, in case you were wondering yourself.

I bought a 2x teleconverter. There is also a 1.4x teleconverter.  As you can guess the 2x doubles the focal length and the 1.4x adds 40% to the focal length.  I went with the Tamron SP AF 2x teleconverter. Canon, Nikon, and other third party lens companies make them, too.  Since I own a few Tamron SP lenses (their professional quality line), it seemed only natural to match up my teleconverter with my lenses. You can easily use a Canon on a Tamron lens, or a Tamron on a Canon lens.


Image from Tamron’s website

So a little bit about the teleconverter. I have already told you that it doubles the focal length, but you should know it also doubles the aperture you are capable of. So if you want to use it on your 70-200 f/2.8 lens, it can become a 140-400 lens at f/5.6. I have heard many women say that has been a deal breaker for them in the past because they don’t like losing the f-stops. I can understand that.

Sigma and Tamron both have a lens that is 150-600mm. They both start at f/5.6. They are high quality lenses and very sought after for wildlife photographers, so they aren’t the equivalent of a kit lens at all.  Canon’s 100-400mm or even its 400mm is an f/4.  So you aren’t going to find a “fast lens” at these focal lengths on the market.

Without getting into the specifics of math of depth of field, I do want to tell you that bokeh and compression of a shot at 400mm and f/5.6 can still be amazing. It is all about how you position your subject in the setting, just like any other shot. The greater distance between your subject and the background, the better blur. The greater distance between you and your subject, the better background blur. 

Here is an example:


This is one of my kid’s banks. Yes, it is an armadillo. I am a {misplaced} Texan and my family sends Texas stuff to my kids all of the time. ;) So I placed this bank on my fence to take a photo. I am standing 15 feet away form it.  The trees in the background are 20 feet away.  This was shot with my Tamron 70-200 lens.  Settings are: 200mm, f/2.8, 1/160, ISO 320.  This shot has not been cropped or edited. I shot it in RAW and then converted to jpeg and saved as a web optimized image in Photoshop. That is it.


Here is the same bank in the same spot. I did not take a single step. I simply added the teleconverter onto the camera and attached the lens. The settings for this shot are: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO 1250. Once again no cropping, no editing. I simply converted from RAW to web optimized jpeg in Photoshop.

As you can see from the settings, I had to bump up my ISO to get the same exposure because of the loss of f-stops. But you can also see how much closer I was able to get without even moving. My max zoom capability of 200mm was now 400mm.  I think the bokeh/background blur is fantastic. So the added f-stop was not as affected because of the added zoom created the same effect.

Teleconverters do have autofocus, but to be able to utilize the autofocus feature you have to be within certain guidelines. The focal length needs to be 90mm or longer.  The lens needs an f-stop of f/2.8 or lower. So you can definitely add a teleconverter to a 100-400mm f/4 lens, but you will be using manual focus. Many, many photographers choose this to get that increased focal length.

You can add a teleconverter to your macro lens.  I have taken the last four Mystery Macro Monday shots with my telecovnerter added to my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens.  With that increase in focal length you can get a closer shot without having to be closer.  I was able to capture this snowflake before it melted with my 90mm with teleconverter (making it a 180mm). I shot it at f/5.6 and was so close to it that the entire snowflake barely made it into the depth of field. The snowflake was about 1.5mm. It could have fit on the head of a pin.


If you have any questions about a telelconverter, please feel free to ask. I am by no means an expert, but I will do my best to help. If you have been thinking about getting one, but not sure about it, why don’t you rent one for the weekend and see if it fits your needs. I bought my 2x telelconverter new from a reputable store for $250.  There are less expensive ones on the market and by Tamron, but I chose to get the SP one because I knew I wanted the top of the line glass with it.

Jul 30, 2014

ClickAway Photography Conference Giveaway!



What is more fun than a photography conference? Um, going to the conference with a friend, of course!!  So I am giving away two conference passes to ClickAway! One for you and one for a friend! Did I use enough exclamation points? I am pretty excited about this.

So the giveaway will be held on our Facebook page and on Instagram.  The giveaway is not affiliated or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.

Here are the details:

  • Giveaway is for two free conference passes only. Transportation, hotel, food, etc. are not included.
  • To enter simply tag a friend you would like to attend the conference with in a comment on the designated photos on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Only one friend tagged per comment. Your comment is the entry and the commenter and tagged person will be the winners. But comment as many times as you would like. So 10 different friends? Comment 10 times with one friend in each comment. ;)
  • Giveaway will end at 11:59 PST on Saturday, August 9th. 
  • All Facebook comments will be numbered in the order they were posted (oldest comments first). After Facebook comments are numbered, Instagram comments will be numbered sequentially after that (also in order in which they were posted). Each comment counts as one entry.  Odds of winning are based on the number of your entries and number of total entries.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at info@shutterbagusa.com

I will be at ClickAway and hope to meet you there! GOOD LUCK!!!


Jul 15, 2014

My Most Versatile Lens

Last week I shared how much I LOVE my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 with VC.  I love this lens so much that I decided to buy the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 with VC, too.  I have always been a prime girl. My 50mm has been known to spend months on my camera without ever being taken off. Well that has all changed.

My 24-70mm lens has become a major staple in my camera bag. On my crop sensor or on my full frame, this lens is awesome!  I can go wide or shoot at a more appropriate focal length for portraits. I can shoot at my precious 50mm focal length, too.

Don’t get me wrong, the f/2.8 widest aperture is not as big as f/1.4 or f/1.8 like most primes. But many times when photographing your kids, you may not get the shot if you have to move forwards and backwards with a prime.  Sometimes you want that candid moment that a zoom can get you.  Sometimes your kids only stay in place for one or two clicks of the shutter, so trying to compose with a prime may be harder.

Yes, I own Shutterbag and try to run this business to be successful, but I am a mom before that.  My job is to raise humans to be good men and women.  I want to capture and preserve that journey for me and for them.  So having the right tools is always helpful. As the title says, this is my most versatile lens and the one I go to when I am unsure of how things are going to go or what lens I will need. This lens is my Swiss Army Knife of my camera bag.

In June I participated in #clickaday photo challenge with Courtney (from Click It Up a Notch) and only used my DSLR along with my 70-200 and 24-70. Here are some photos I took with my 24-70. If you want to see the 70-200 you can see them here.

Charley in the covers

Daddy love bw

Posing for me

Charley at the window

Monkeys in the pool

Cole Jumping

Diesel dog



I really love this lens and am so happy I spent my money on it.  Because let’s face it…I don’t get to buy camera gear that often and when I do it had better be worth the investment.  This lens definitely is.

Just in case you couldn’t tell in this post, I bought this lens myself. I am sharing just because I love this lens and get asked often if it is as good as the Canon/Nikon version.  I am so glad I bought this one for almost half the price of the Canon version. I highly recommend this lens if you are looking for a 24-70 or just a high quality versatile lens!

*Please note, these are daily photos I did for a personal challenge. These are not portfolio photos. I am not claiming to be the world’s best photographer. I am just sharing with friends.*

If you have questions about this lens or anything else, please feel free to email me or comment. I am always ready to help if I can, plus I love talking photography!.


Jul 10, 2014

My Favorite Lens

That is kind of a bold statement, huh? Favorite lens. But I love this lens so much that I will never give it up. I told my husband it will have to be pried out of my cold, dead hands. Which lens is it? It is the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 with VC. *sigh*

It is just dreamy. Don’t get me wrong, it is a heavy lens that can be a pain to carry around. But it is soooo worth it.  It is sharp and fast to focus. The lens compression is awesome and makes bokeh come to life.

None of this is new because I have told you before how much I love this lens. But I did want to do a follow up because the entire month of June I took photos with only my Tamron 70-200mm lens and Tamron 24-70mm lens. Courtney (from Click It Up a Notch) and I did an Instagram challenge called #clickaday and challenged people to take a photo each day of the month. I tweaked my personal goal to make myself only shoot with my DSLR.

Here are all of the photos I took in June with my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 with VC lens.  Warning, this is going to be a lot of photos.  :P

       Alert Diesel        Diesel Dog


       Baylor        Bunny


 Goose    Cat tails


Soccer ball    Squirrel


Dirty feet    Mushroom


Watercolor flower     Woodpecker


Diesel       Weed in the light


Charley with flare      Flower and sun peek


Berries   Mr Frog


Cat-tails  Dragonfly


morning-bokeh     orange-blooms


rain-on-honeysuckle   Lily-flower-bw

So there are a ton of photos I took with this lens. I get asked daily (literally daily) how I like this lens, if I would recommend it, and if I wished I had the Canon version?

As you now know, this is my favorite lens. I HIGHLY recommend the Tamron version of this lens. It is reliable, performs splendidly, and I cannot tell a difference between this lens and the Canon and Nikon versions I have rented so many times. At a fraction of the cost of the others, you cannot go wrong with this lens at all. It is A-MA-ZING!!!

I will share photos I have taken with my Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 with VC soon, too.

*Please note, these are daily photos I did for a personal challenge. These are not portfolio photos. I am not claiming to be the world’s best photographer. I am just sharing with friends.*

You can always email me with any questions you may have. I am here to help however I can. I love talking photography, so ask away.  :)



Jun 12, 2014

Name It & Win It Contest

When we debuted a new bag in the Spring, I had a hard time coming up with a name.  So I decided to do a naming contest for the bag. The feedback and entries were simply amazing and out of your suggested names I found the perfect name. That is how the Journey bag was named.

Well now I have another new design. While I do have a few names I like, I thought it would be so much fun to have a naming contest again. I always value your feedback for design features, colors, and now names so why not continue it?

We are all family after all, so let’s name the new bag together!


The rules are simple:

1. Suggest a name for the bag.

2. One name suggestion per comment. This makes it much less confusing to read for me. Winking smile

3. If your name is chosen as the winning name and you were the first person to suggest the name, you win the bag you just named!


The bag does come with a long strap (with a slip resistant, padded shoulder pad) and a lens cap pouch.

Head over to our Facebook page to enter the contest. Not on Facebook? Don’t worry. You can leave a comment below (just be sure to include your contact email address when filling out the comment section because that is how you will be notified).

Contest ends June 30th at 11:59 pm PST.

This is not a giveaway or a game of chance. The name will be chosen by me based on names submitted through this contest. This contest is open worldwide. You are responsible for any customs, duties, taxes if you win.