Photo Fixation

Photo Fixation: Vintage Photographs.

Last week I wasn’t able to post because my grandfather had passed away earlier in the week and we were making all the preparations for family members to join us in town as well as the planning and execution of his funeral. It was emotionally and physically draining, but spiritually uplifting to be surrounded by people who love you and who are experiencing the same pain. I am thankful to have been so close to my grandfather and have experienced his personality so fully. He was an incredible man.

As we were preparing all the different items that we wanted to share at the viewing and the funeral, we came across a few photographs of my grandpa and his first wife, my grandma, as well as some of him and his buddies. Most of the photos of my grandfather and his family are stored away at my aunts home and we are hoping one day to be able to get them all scanned to share with the family. They are truly “buried treasure” at this point! ;) But it made me realize how much I long for the history that old photos provide.

When I browse antique stores (a favorite pass-time of mine) and see old family photos for sale, I wonder how they got there. Where are the family members of these people? Do they even know that their history is here, to be sold to whomever happens by the booth? It makes me sad, but also a little bit curious to make up my own “family history” to go with each image. I found some wonderful photographs online to share with you today…
(click on each image for the link to the original image site)

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Another fun vintage photo that is getting alot of attention these days is the Polaroid. It makes some very creative and fun images, as well as some nostalgia for people who grew up in the ’70′s and ’80′s like I did. I think my favorite parts of the Polaroid images are the fun little frames as well as the unique coloration that an old Polaroid provides.

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There are lots of fun options when decorating and scrapping with vintage photos. Some of my favorite LO’s feature this type of photo:

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One of my all-time favorite LO’s that I’ve created was this one of my husband’s uncles. They have passed down a heritage that is wonderful and memorable! I love that I was able to document these two cowboys.

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…and aren’t I lucky that my own childhood photos are “vintage” now?

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It’s also fun to use vintage photographs to decorate your home with. Just today I found this darling idea to use for Halloween! I couldn’t pass it up. (Make copies of your photos first!)

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A few more ideas for displaying vintage photos:

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There are lots of awesome actions that will make your own photos look vintage, and even ones that give you that Polaroid look. I found too many to list them all, but these few seemed like a good place to start!

Polaroid and Vintage actions from hypergurl
Multiple vintage looks and a Polaroid from Smashing Magazine
Old Toy Camera found on flickr
Another Polaroid from Addicted to Design
Multiple vintage actions from Coffee Shop

I hope that you have a chance to check out some vintage photos in your free time this week. And that you have found some inspiration for your own photography! Lately I have been drawn to the antique shops more and more as I try to find unique things to use in my home, my photography and my layouts. I am excited to use vintage photographs in all of these aspects of my creative side!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Bokeh.

Well…it’s Saturday! Time for more Photo Fixation again, this week we are talking about that awesome photographic quality called BOKEH. (pronounced bo-kuh) Wikipedia describes bokeh as (derived from Japanese, a noun boke 暈け, meaning “blur” or “haze”) a photographic term referring to the æsthetic quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field.

It’s that really cool blur (good, intentional blur) that you see in lots of photos these days, and it is easily created with a digital SLR camera and an inexpensive lens: (Nikon, Canon)! For example, I took this over the summer by my husband’s family’s ranch during our family reunion:

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I love the look and drama that bokeh creates in a photo. (It’s also helpful when you have a “less than desirable” background…) I looked around at flickr to find some samples for you of different kinds of bokeh:

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(You can see the original location of these images by clicking on them.)

So how do you create bokeh? The simplest way to do it is using a lens with a very large aperture. The lens that I use that most easily creates bokeh is a Canon 50mm fixed with a largest f-stop of 1.8. It is great for portraits because it has excellent clarity and has a wide range of apertures. And the best part is…it’s SUPER affordable!! (We all love that, right?)

Here are some samples of images that I took to demonstrate the different levels of bokeh that are created by the different f-stops. You can see on the right-hand side of each image, the settings of my camera at the time that I took that image.

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I changed my f-stop between each photo to show the difference it makes. The other numbers were changed to compensate for the light lost because as I changed the f-stop it creates a smaller opening allowing the light to reach the sensor in my camera. But the important part of these images that I want you to notice is the change in blur from the first photo to the last photo. This is the bokeh effect.

I have been able to create bokeh with my f/4 24-105mm lens that came with my Canon 5D as well. I just keep my aperture large (in this case, at 4) and get close to my subject:

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f/4, 1/200, ISO 400, 105mm

I love the way this effect makes you focus mainly on this little guy’s eyes. It softens the portrait and looks wonderful!

Some of you may be saying…I don’t have a DSLR! Does this apply to me? And I say YES!! You bet it does! Understanding what “makes” bokeh is important, even if you have a point and shoot! My friend zb started our photo-a-day project over a year ago with just a point and shoot. Her camera happened to have the option of using manual settings! And while it wasn’t the same as using a DSLR, she still did amazing things with it! Take this photo for example:

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Can you believe she shot this with her point and shoot in manual settings?? She’s a superstar, I tell you! And she learned all about manual with her point and shoot before she got her DSLR. So I say GO FOR IT! You can take the principles you’ve learned here about bokeh and make it work for you! Play, play, play and see what you come up with! :)

I hope that you learned a little something about the infamous bokeh today and that you are able to play with the settings of whatever camera you have to see if you can make your camera work for you! And I’d love to see what you figure out…feel free to leave a comment~ I’d love to see your stuff!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Inspiration from Layouts.

It’s that time again! :) One Happy Mama here, back with another installment of Photo Fixation.

Last week we talked about warming up our images and I sent you over to Pioneer Woman’s site for some free actions that are fabulous, if I do say so myself…
This week I thought I would highlight a few layouts that I felt had some photo treatments that really helped showcase the image as well as make it work really well within the layout…many of the looks of these images could be replicated using actions. Let’s get started! (All images are linked, feel free to click on them to see credits and leave some love!)

First up is a LO by lizzyfizzy, xoxo has a black and white treatment on the images. The contrast is quite high, making the image really pop even though there isn’t any color. I love the way it makes your eye start with the photos and then move on to the other cuteness on the page!

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Next is Enjoy the Journey by gracielou. LOVE the “seventies” feel to these photos~ the colors have just enough muted bliss to make them feel nostalgic! I love that they blend so well with the colors in the layout too. Fabulous!!

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Fly on Fairy Wings by scarletsierra is so ethereal! I love the muted colors in the photographs and how they blend into the layout without getting lost. So very beautiful and fairy-like! Perfect for the feel of the page.

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Next up is the delightfully simple “Go Ahead. Fall Down.” by Peppermint. In a word: AMAZING! Love the sepia tint to the photo that adds such a wonderfully antique feel to the image. She also made the photo feel even older with the fold and tear across the top. The image takes center stage and is clearly the focus of this LO.

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This is one of my favorite LO’s I’ve seen this week! LOVE LOVE LOVE by Nettio has a very graphic feel while still looking so realistic and funky! All the different patterns used in the vibrant colors for the letters is wonderful! And the photo doesn’t get lost because it is very bright and pops as well. That crop is so very interesting and forces the image to hold it’s own. Love it!

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When I saw this LO, I was floored. The gorgeous bright colors of her bathing suit matching so very perfectly with the papers and elements in croatia by Karina are just stunning. I am a big fan of bright, happy colors in photos and these do not disappoint!!

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One of the most inspiring scrappers for me, Juliet, created this lovely LO: To be a Child. Having the image slightly muted and adding all the texture makes this photo even more incredible than it started out! I love how you almost miss where the embellishments end and the photo begins…and of course that wonderful distressed frame just adds the last bit of perfection for a vintage feel.

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The last layout I have to share today is Impressions of Change 4 by Vanilla Designz. The monochromatic feel with the black and white photo and the gray background with the white writing is very dramatic. Adding the light touches of color with the flower softens the layout without losing the impact. Of course that baby is darling and can’t be missed!!

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I hope that you enjoyed seeing the different ways that unique photo treatments can improve the look of your layouts and make your images really stand out! I had so much fun looking for LO’s with images that stood out to me and love getting inspiration from galleries. I hope that you get a chance to try out something new with your layouts this week…maybe it’s a photo treatment! Have a great one!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Warming Up!

One Happy Mama here again, to let you in on a little secret: the warming filter!

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Sometimes a photo takes on a blue, cool hue. Especially when shot in the shade. Warming it up is simple and makes a huge impact!

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There are a few ways to do this. One way is using the camera raw settings in Adobe Bridge. If you open your image (I double click on the image in Bridge) you will see the image open in this window:

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I am using CS3 on a Mac. You can see in the top right hand side of the window, the temperature slider. This can make an image cooler or warmer. You can see how my picture looked before and then after with just a little bit of warming. (Your image can be a jpeg and still be able to be changed in this window, it just needs to be in Bridge to do so, you will just need to “save image” when you are finished to create a new jpeg.)

Another way to warm up your image is with the warming filter.

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On my computer, the warming filter can be found under “Image” then “Adjustments” and then “Photo Filter”. Once you open the photo filter you see this menu:

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Which has a drop-down menu for different filters as well as a slider for density. SO SIMPLE!

One last way to warm your images is with a warming action. Pioneer Woman has free actions on her site and included in “Set 2″ is a warming action that works quite well. It can be adjusted in your layers by changing the opacity of the layer to make it less warm if needed.

You can see the three looks here:

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I hope that you are able to play around with the warming filters as well as the other options for warming up your photos. It makes a world of difference in your images to have them be the right “temperature”.

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Some LOVE for today!

***WARNING*** Viewing these images may bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart! Proceed at your own risk…

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Tomorrow is a very special day for my DH and myself…we will celebrate 12 years of marriage!! In my book, it’s quite an accomplishment to be married to the same person for this long! :) I feel so blessed to be married to my best friend and to have him by my side through the best as well as the worst! So I was thinking of different images that mean LOVE to me…and this is what I have found in my personal stash.

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(I had to include this one. THIS is one thing that means love to me…when my DH puts toothpaste on my toothbrush for me when he is getting ready for bed before I am. It’s nice to know that he’s thinking about me…)

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After doing a flickr search, I found TONS of inspiration that I had to share, these images were just too wonderful to not put here. (Each image is linked so you can click and see other shots by these same photogs.)

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My challenge to you is this: What says love to you? Take some photographs of it. Maybe use them for a layout or for art on your wall. Everyone could use a little more love!

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with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Project 365.

It’s Saturday again and time for more Photo Fixation! Has everyone already heard of Project 365? It’s a wonderful idea of taking a photo each day. It’s lots of fun and even more than that…it’s a great way to improve your photography! Remember the old saying…Practice makes perfect? Well it’s true!! :)

Last year, my bff and I started a photo-a-day blog together. The improvements in our skills since we started are staggering! While we don’t post everyday (we take weekends off), it’s a great way to make yourself get the camera out and take pictures! Which is a big part of getting better at this…
I follow a few photo-a-day blogs that I thought I would share with you.
Jenn Woodbury
5 under 5
Heather Ann Melzer

I also went hunting through the archives and found some awesome LO’s that are centered around project 365. I thought you might like to see the talent that these people are improving!

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Week 1 by debsterchen I love the simple, graphic design she has going as well as the bits of journaling to remember about the photos.

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365 (Jul 20-26) by jacinda Those sweet hearts and the scraps of colored paper at the bottom really make this LO pop!

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365 (Jul 27 – Aug 2) also by jacinda The randomness of the placement of these photos along with the color scheme make it a favorite for me!

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Week 18 by juliemomof4 I am totally loving these colors as well as the title work! Just darling!

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Week 26 by Carinspixels The grungy texture and brushes used are so great~ I love the grouping of photos too.

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365 week 25 by Tracyfish PERFECTION! I love the journaling tag, the colors, the design, it’s all so fabulous!

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Another by Tracyfish, 365 week 26 I am so impressed with Tracy’s inspiration on this project. She has tons of wonderful 365 LO’s (as well as others) here.

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This is the entire month of April by rmcabana I love the idea of composing an entire month of photos on one LO. It looks amazing and what a great legacy to leave behind of what a typical month looks like right now.

Another spot for inspiration is on Flickr. I searched Project 365 and found some really amazing photos! I love seeing how others view their surroundings.

If you are already involved in project 365, I hope you are enjoying it. If you haven’t started, I highly recommend it. Start today! :) If you are interested in scrapping your 365 journey, there are tons of products out there. Our own Tangie has some awesome templates to help you get going. She’s also got Journal Plates, That is the Point, as well as Point it Out specifically designed for Project 365.

If nothing else, start pulling out the camera and taking photos everyday! Not only will your skills improve, but you’ll have even more pictures to work with when you are ready to scrap!
Happy 365!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Garage Photo Studio.

Happy Saturday, everyone! One of my favorite ways to photograph is in my Garage Photo Studio. The lighting is great, and you can’t even tell that it’s in my garage!!

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When I started doing a garage studio setup, I used a clothesline. I tied it up and then clothes-pinned my background to it. :) It worked just fine, but I eventually purchased one of these so that I could move it around to the best light as well as take it with me to client’s homes. I also purchased heavy duty clamps from the local hardware store to secure the fabric to the stand.

My first background was $1/yard black fabric from WalMart. I still use it and it washes up great. I like black because there is hardly ever a glare from it. It looks clean and practically disappears during editing. The only drawback is for dark-haired individuals. They tend to get lost!

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You can see the setup that I use here. Last November I was preparing for my Christmas Children’s Mini-Sessions here in my garage and I asked my DH to please build me a floor. He had been working on a remodel of a home and saved the wood floor for me. It’s very heavy and I must have him move it for me, but it gives me lots of flexibility as far as backgrounds because they don’t have to come out on the ground.

I like to have my subject face the light, so I have my studio set up this way. You can also use the reflector and turn your studio if need be. You can’t beat the lighting in a setup like this.

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There are times of day where the studio is flooded with direct light. My home faces east, so the light pours in in the morning. My niece came over this week for me to do some maternity shots. We started at 7:30 in the morning, trying to beat the heat, so the light was coming right in. To block it I simply closed the garage door until I had the desired amount of light coming in and reflecting off the cement floor. You can see how well it worked for us:

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I can’t tell you how simple it is to create something like this in your own home. If you have a room with large windows, you could locate it inside. My home is very dark, so the large, open garage is my only option. You could do it on a patio, or even a large, covered entryway. Wherever you try it out, just be sure that you are getting lots of indirect light.

Many different fabrics will work for a background. I like decorator fabrics because of their weight. They tend to hang best. I found this fabric (below) at a discount home decorator store for right around $3/yard. It wasn’t too expensive to buy enough for my background because I already had the floor taken care of and it is quite wide, so I only had to purchase about 6 yards.

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Really anything will work. I used a quilt at Easter time:

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Wrapping paper at Christmas:

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And a fence panel at Halloween…

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All of these photos were taken just in my garage. It’s not much to look at when you can see the bigger picture, but it works GREAT and I encourage you to try it!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Inspiration from Layouts.

Well, here in Arizona, we are in FULL SWING with summer heat! With temperatures well over 100 degrees F, the only thing that can take the edge off is a dip in some nice cool(ish) water! So I decided for this week’s inspiration, I would find layouts that had photos with water. I’m feeling cooler already, aren’t you? :)
Here we go!

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marnel’s beach photos in this LO are just gorgeous. I love the one she blended into the background in the corner.

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Denise’s photos are so bright. I love her extraction. Such excitement!

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Could this be cuter by Britt? Seriously loving the “vintage” photos. I tend to forget the happy feel “older” photos lend to a LO.

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This summer snapshot by RatherBScrappin is wonderful! The bits of color in conjunction with the white makes the photo the center of attention!

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The water, the lighting, the pure joy in this series of photos is fabulous! And the simplistic LO by Tater Tot is just perfect. These photos shine!

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This photo makes me want to get married again to my DH! What a warm, happy image! The colors of the LO by stampin_rachel blend perfectly with this joyful photo.

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duniascrap got it right with this one! That smile is the perfect expression of “that summer feeling” if you ask me!! :) The combination of the b/w elements along with the bright colors in the photo is awesome.

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Our last LO today, is Trip to the Harbor by KrYsTaL. I love the color treatment she used on the pictures. Everything is darling and it all goes together perfectly!

Thank you ladies, for your awesome photographic inspiration in your LO’s. So much beautiful photography out there for us to enjoy and imitate. Hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Portraits.

Are you ready for another installment of Photo Fixation?? One Happy Mama here again to talk shop! I am in no way a professional photographer. I am learning as I go along. :) I’m completely amateur but I love it and I am lucky enough to have people who are willing to let me learn on them too! Today I wanted to share some things that I have figured out about taking Portraits.

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There are a few things to think about when taking a portrait.

First you must find the light! I prefer natural light for photos. I don’t even have a flash on my camera anymore!! So find a place indoors or out where you can get enough sunlight. In my house we have one spot for that~ the french doors in our family room.

Second, think about the background! I set up my backdrop next to the best light. I found some fabric for $3/yard at a home fabric outlet. I love the colors. And it was inexpensive, which is always a plus! I hung it on the cupboards by the windows.

Then I placed my subject (my daughter, Sweet G) next to the window as close as possible to get her in the best light. I made sure that I would be able to get the correct angle with the light as well as the background.

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I also purchased a piece of foam core from JoAnn’s Craft Store for $2.99. I placed it opposite the window on the side of Sweet G to reflect some of the light onto the “dark side” of her face. This helps to cut down on the line of exposure you can get down the face when you are next to the light source instead of facing it.

I shot for a couple of minutes. I made sure to use some tricks to get different expressions. Some things that will work for older kids are asking if there is a booger in my nose or talking about their boy/girlfriend. Sometimes all I have to do is laugh and I will get a response. For little kids you can always make animal noises or play peek-a-boo. Also sometimes I tell them that there is a birdie or a butterfly in my camera.

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I made sure to be generous in the amount of pictures I shot. Don’t worry about how many…this is the digital age! No need to “save” when you are doing a portrait session. You just want to keep shooting so that you will be able to have lots of different expressions to choose from.

The light moved after a few minutes (I was shooting at 4:30pm) so I needed to have Sweet G change positions. This time I knew I was going to be pulling in really tight around her face. So I wasn’t worried as much about the background. I had her stand directly next to the windows.

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I stood closely to Sweet G and I held the foam core with my other hand. I also had my small assistant (my other daughter, Little L) hold up a lid to a Rubbermaid tub to create a little bit more light.

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You can see the difference here in these two shots. Both of these are straight out of the camera. But when I hold the reflector up it creates a balance in the exposure of her face. It’s really amazing the change in the look of her photos.

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One more thing I wanted to address is catch light. This is the bright spot of light in someone’s eye that makes them seem more alive and animated. The photo above has almost no catch light. If you look at this photo below (taken a year ago of Sweet G) there is a tremendous catch light.

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You can almost even see my reflection in her eyes. In this photo she was facing directly into the light source, which made the catch lights much more noticeable. This is something to be thinking of when you are taking portraits. Especially if you are cropping in closely.

Be sure to change your angle as you are photographing. If you tend to take lots of horizontal photos, try out some vertical ones. Also try some angles to create a little bit of edge in your shots.

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Keep your focus on their eyes, if you need to recenter after you focus your camera you can do this by pushing down your shutter release part way while focusing on their eyes, then moving to create the scene you want before depressing it the rest of the way. You should also keep in mind to bring your camera at your subject’s waist if they are standing to avoid distortion.

In review:
Find your light.
Think about a background.
Position your subject.
Make adjustments to light as needed.
Be generous with the amount of photos you take.
Move yourself and your subject to create more interest and to adjust for changing light.

I hope that you learned a few tricks. I really love doing birthday portrait sessions of each of my children, and I save tons of money by doing it at home!! It’s a great way to practice using the reflector and play with light. Can’t wait to see all the LO’s with everyone’s portraits! ;) Happy Shooting!

with love, onehm

Photo Fixation: Get Sharp on the Unsharp Mask II

Welcome back for the second of two Photo Fixation posts about the Unsharp Mask!

First, I must apologize – I am a blogger dunce. I have been playing with the spacing all day & am not getting anywhere. Please forgive me for the awful spacing in the middle & at the end of this tutorial.

Last week we looked at the name “unsharp mask” to see what it is & how it works to sharpen our photos. We concluded that even though the unsharp mask is a great tool to make our pictures better it is absolutely not a substitute for good technique & photography equipment. The key is to take a good photo & make it better!

Today we’ll look at how to use it. The screen shots are taken in PSE6, so if you’re using something else, you may need to hunt around for it a bit. But the parameters should be the same.

1. Open up your photo. Do all editing you normally do – crop, color, lighting. The unsharp mask should always be used LAST! With all our editing completed, let’s get to some sharpening.

2. Choose Enhance in your toolbar. Scroll down for Unsharp Mask.

This is where we get to have some fun. First a quick rundown of our three parameters:

- Amount: The amount of contrast to be applied. If this is too high, your image can become grainy. Too low & no sharpening occurs.

- Radius: Remember back to last week – we spoke of a copy of the photo being blurred. The radius is what determines how much the copy is blurred. So a low radius means a small blur & a small sharpening edge. Larger radius is a larger blur with a larger sharpening edge.

- Threshold: Again, think back to last week. We had two images – one positive & one negative(blurred) that were merged together. Using this image & the original negative, threshold looks at the values between the pixels & determines if any sharpening actually needs to occur. Be careful, if you set this too low, a smooth area in your photo will look splotchy.

I’ve played & played with the unsharp mask & I’ll give you the values I like to start with. Then I play until I get something I like. All photos are different, so you will also need to play with the sliders to get the best image possible for your photo. Let’s continue.

3. I started with my levels at: Amount=400; Radius=2; Threshold=0. Notice it’s not so pretty, but we’ll play with these to make it look nice.

4. Let’s start playing. Radius first – increase until you see bright, white halos, then back off a bit.

Here is an overshoot on the radius (notice the halos), and what I’ve settled on for my radius(0.8). (Don’t mind that I moved the photo in the preview window – I was checking other details.)

5. Now play with the amount. You want to find where it gets grainy looking. I find that you are more likely to find the perfect value if you are looking for the graininess in the PREVIEW window at 50%. My image already looks grainy at 400, so I’m going to back it down. Stop while it’s still a little grainy, but not a lot. As you can see, I had a long way to go – down to 90. Chances are you will too.

6. This is our last step!! Slide threshold until you see the low-contrast area’s graininess smooth out. Keep an eye out for the fine details, because if you go too far you’ll lose them.

Finally we have our before & after photos!!

Remember, your parameters will be different for each photo – so keep playing. Have fun with it!

I hope you all have enjoyed learning about the Unsharp Mask & how to use it! Have a stupendous Saturday!

Some photography resources for the Unsharp Mask:
Earthbound Light
Cambridge In Colour

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