Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Workday (Interesting People in Their Environment)

Primitive Wood Carver - Costa Rica
I haven't done a 'Wednesday Workday' for awhile, so it's about time.  As I was choosing a photo for this post I began reflecting on something another photographer said that made a great impression on me.  He had spent 10 years photographing waterfalls, sunsets, barns, flowers, lighthouses, mountains, etc., and then one day realized something was missing and he was bored.   He wasn't being challenged anymore because he had mastered his camera, understood exposure, lighting, composition, etc., and pretty much knew exactly how his images would turn out.  He became tired of producing yet another glorious sunset.  He realized what was missing...the human element.  When photographing people there are always challenges, surprises, and varied outcomes.  When he started doing character studies, his skills improved because he had to go way beyond just the technical aspects of taking a properly exposed picture.  He had to overcome fear and reach out to people.  He had to become a communicator.  He learned to be genuinely interested in the people he photographed, and in turn they, allowed him into their world.  Then he had to compose a picture that not only reflected the personality of his subject, but would tell the viewer a story about the person as well.  (In other words, no sneaking candids with a telephoto lens!)  I don't have anything against landscapes and still life (you can tell that by many of my posts), but I think he is right.  Several years ago I began to force myself to go out of my comfort zone to met interesting people, build rapport by being genuinely interested, and hopefully gain trust so I feel comfortable asking if I could take their picture.  It has been so rewarding and I love the photos I have taken where I feel I've done a good job of capturing a bit of a person's life.  We stopped at this man's little roadside stand in Costa Rica.  He was very proud of his work, and was especially proud that 'someone' had discovered his talent and had some of his pieces in a little art gallery in southern California.  He took out a very worn out and torn newspaper article someone had written about him and was so pleased when we took the time to read it.  He talked about how he became a wood carver and his life style in Costa Rica.  He was proud of how well he spoke English.  He very graciously said I could photograph him.  I was really proud of myself for not just pulling out my camera and taking a quick snapshot.  I kept my wits about me and asked if I could take a picture of him actually carving wood.  He even moved as I directed him, so that I could show his work as part of the background.   Meeting and photographing the interesting people who cross your path will stretch your abilities and skills as a photographer and you will be richly rewarded in the process!     

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday

Deep Thoughts About Photography
Well.....maybe not too deep, but a few thoughts anyway.  The digital/computer age has changed the face of photography forever.  Most of us have embraced this brave, new world, but I still run into some who insist that 'real' photographers shoot film and avoid the computer like the plague.  Others have grudgingly switched to digital but insist that any type of computer manipulation is cheating.  They inspect fellow photographers' work with a fine tooth comb for any hint of special post editing, although most will hesitantly accept a crop or exposure adjustment, or of course B&W or sepia.  In the old days, even though there was dodging, burning, retouching, and other editing, it was difficult and time consuming and kept to a minimum.  Now, with the click of a mouse, not only is traditional photo editing done in seconds, but there is a whole new world of textures, actions, effects, plugins, programs, readily available to all who wish to learn and use.  Where a photograph used to pretty much start and end as a photograph, now an artist can use a photograph as a starting point, and end with a beautiful work of art that may or may not look anything like the original photograph.  And that is O.K. !!! Artists, if they wish, can now use cameras, computers and a mouse or wacom tablet in place of easels, brushes and paints.  Photography is art and is represented as the artist sees it, whether realistically, surrealistically, abstractly, impressionistically, (is that a word???), etc.  Most of us love the freedom, creativity and fun this new age of photography has brought us,  (and is there a wedding photographer alive who hasn't thanked his lucky stars on occasion when she was able to retrieve that ruined, once in a lifetime shot, with the help of Photoshop or some other computer program!)   So, when people ask me if I have 'Photoshopped' my photos, I readily say "Yes, all of them, (except those taken for photo journalistic purposes.)   Some are edited just a little, and some a lot!"  It's all a matter of preference........
            A little sharpening and exposure correction

Heavy vignette and more sharpening

Red channel B&W & several textures

And my favorite..... several textures, slight vignette, sharpen, vibrance

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lights Peas....I mean Please!

A Chorus Line of Peas
I went out to pick peas early this morning, and the sun was shinning just perfectly to light up these sweet little peas in their pods.   Sure made it easy to spot them!  Now if only I could think of something profound to go with this photo. about.......   "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."  Nope, too corny.  (I bet Stacey Dawn would have the perfect quote!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Phriday Phun

I think as a 'group,' we photographers tend to be more observant of our surroundings.  We often see details and beauty that others miss.  We are always looking for something beautiful, unique, funny, noteworthy, etc. to capture and preserve.  When I photograph landscapes and nature I have a greater appreciation and reverence for this beautiful world, our divine Creator, and all his amazing creations.....flora, fauna, human, etc.  When I photograph people, I am really focused and in the moment, and so I gain greater insights into peoples' personalities, uniqueness, and have greater empathy and understanding for their life circumstances.  Being a photographer has taught me to be more grateful, more observant, and to take the time to find beauty each day.  Which brings me to this picture.  These are weeds growing right by the curb on a vacant lot on my street.  This spring I've watched the weeds get taller and taller, and would think it will sure be nice when someone builds a house there so that vacant lot wouldn't be such an eyesore.  Then a couple days ago, on my way rushing to an appointment, I saw this flash of magenta color out of the corner of my eye.  I stopped for just a minute to discover the 'flowers' of these weeds had popped open and they were interesting and, yes, 'beautiful'.  I impatiently waited until early the next morning when the light was right, to capture their beauty.  While I was doing so, several of my neighbors who were rushing off to work, drove by, and I'm sure they thought I was nuts standing in a bunch of scraggly looking weeds with my camera.  But I bet if they saw these photographs, they would have no idea this is what they were driving by every day!!!  When I downloaded these photos and saw how 'beautiful' they were.......that was PHUN!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Bit Edgy???

Sooooo, as I'm composing a photo, I'm always on the lookout for something that will cause one to take a second look and hold their attention a bit longer.  Awhile back, Chad gave me the greatest compliment when he said that he often goes back to look at a particular photo of mine.  (Thank you, Chad, that just made my day!)  When I'm out and about, I'm always looking for unique settings to use for portrait photography.  Currently, where I live, there is major construction on the roads, and stockpiled right off a freeway on ramp were these huge cement pipes and cubes - I guess for a drainage system.  After we did the more traditional engagement shots last weekend, I told my son and his fiancee, I wanted to do something different.  They decided to change their clothing, and their monochrome outfits looked perfect for what I had in mind.  We pulled off the highway, and immediately saw a sign that said, 'no through traffic, no public parking'.  My son said this was just a 'suggestion' and didn't exactly say, 'no trespassing' or 'if you enter and take photographs here you will be carted off to jail', so we took our chances.  By now it was totally dark, so my off camera lighting was my car headlights.  Kind of edgy, kind of editorial, kind of high fashion?  I don't know exactly what the right adjective is to describe these shots, but I really like them.  But the real question is,  do they make you want to take a closer look????? 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sometimes It All Comes Together!

Tyler & Emily
I've been busy this month with family weddings and all the excitement that goes with these wonderful events.  This past weekend was my son Tyler and his fiancee Emily's turn for engagement photos.   We took a ton of photos in numerous locations and ended up with lots that I love, but sometimes it all comes together perfectly for one that stands out above the rest.  This one is my favorite.  I love the colors, the composition and especially the background and setting that are so complimentary.  Love the pop of the color in the poppies that match Emily's blouse, love the out of focus background that matches Tyler's shirt (it's sagebrush), love the 'lacy' foliage and love the off camera lighting.  This was taken at dusk, 1/60 sec, f4.5, off camera flash on manual.  (The only thing that is irritating, is often when I upload to blogger it washes out my photos.  When I resized for the WEB I had to really reduce the exposure and even doing that, this photo does not have nearly the pop that the high resolution original has.  Does anyone else have this problem?)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset


Last Friday we got together for dinner with our friends to make plans for this years Lake Powell trip and to reminisce about the fun of last years trip.  It is wonderful to anticipate fun vacations with family and friends, especially when we have so many memories of this place.  So I thought it would be appropriate to post this photo for Scott's  Sunset Sunday posts.  It was taken from our houseboat, but the secret is, this is really a sunrise, not a sunset.  (Hope that doesn't break the rules, Scott!)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Unexpected Insight

When we look at the world around us in the same old way, we have the same old impressions, the same views, the same perspectives, etc.  In photography, we often try to find a different angle or a unique view, to make a picture more interesting by revealing or emphasizing hidden or not often seen details.  Isn't this true in life?  When we take a different path on our daily walk, we see a fresh view of our own little world.  When we try to resolve a problem by a method not used before, we get a surprising result.  When we really strive to understand another person's differing opinion, our capacity to love and be loved grows.  It's a beautiful weekend, (at least in my neck of the woods), so take your camera and find something you commonly see, then look for a new perspective and a different view!  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Phriday Phun

The Many Faces of Sawyer
(AKA... Soybean, Soysauce, Soyboy, DinoSawyer, TyranoSawyer Rex)

Actually the PHUN was yesterday when I took these photos.  He is such a little character and I got so many cute shots with so many phunny expressions that it was hard to choose which ones to post.  Grandma LOVES you Sawyer!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sneak Previews

Daniel and Kenzie
I've not been posting this past week because I've been busy with wonderful family events.  Here is a sneak preview of Daniel (nephew), and MacKenzie's wedding.  They wanted a 'country/vintage' wedding and it was beautiful.  The reception was held in a barn on a historic farm.  The tables were decorated with antic bottles, yellow wildflowers and lemon drops.  There was lots of laughter and dancing.  It was a wonderful celebration!

Michael and Diana
Then we had a double bridal shower for my nephew's fiancee Diana, and my son Tyler's fiancee, Emily.   Several days later I took engagement photos for Michael and Diana, and I'll take engagement photos for Tyler and Emily this weekend.  And today I get to take one year portrait photos for my grandson Sawyer. 
Nothing is more satisfying for me than using my hobby to preserve memories for family and friends.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Phriday Phun

For those of you not familiar with Las Vegas, this is in the old part of town, where they have completely enclosed a street and made a huge screen/light show overhead that goes for several blocks.  If anyone wants to remember their wild past of LSD and the psychedelic subculture, (I hope not...), but if so, this would be the place to do it.  And judging by the characters we saw here around midnight, I'm sure there were some living in the past and in the present.  We only stayed long enough to see this light show, and it was amazing!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Casto Canyon
We took a quick trip to St. George last weekend for a 'reunion' with 2 former business partners of mine.  Of course we brought the RZRs, and on the way home we took a detour to get in a quick ride.  We ended up seeing some of the most spectacular redrock we have seen to date.....absolutely breathtaking! What makes redrock even more beautiful for me, and not as common, is to have the contrast of pine trees and other spring green trees.  And even though, yet again, I was shooting in mid afternoon, the reds, oranges, greens, and blues were just vibrant.  I could never have gotten these shots without using a polarizer and being careful with the angles and directions I was shooting in relation to the sun. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sawyer is ONE!

Not only was this a Happy Birthday celebration, it was a 'Hurray, I'm Not Allergic to Milk' celebration.  Sawyer's big brother Gavin, (our angel in Heaven), was allergic to milk and eggs so we celebrated his first birthday with rice krispie squares.  Michelle had not given Sawyer any milk or egg products until last week.  Then tentatively, she started introducing a few items with minimal milk and eggs.  Finally she gave him a tiny bit of cake and frosting.  But the big test was his birthday cake, and WOOHOO, whether in his tummy, in his eyes, or smeared all over his hair and face, his birthday cake liked him as much as he liked it!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday

(I haven't done a Tech Talk Tuesday for awhile, so thought it was time.) 
Usually bright mid day sun is our enemy.  For landscape photographers, it produces harsh, flat light.  For portrait photographers, it produces harsh, flat light.  If we are shooting on a bright, sunny day, we use a lens hood, polarizer, neutral density filter, whatever we can, to tone down the light.  Sometimes, however, it's good to think outside of the box.   Including the sun or lens flare from the sun, can become part of your composition.  In the above photos, I've used lens flare to emphasize, or give weight to the main subject of the photo.  It's fun to experiment and see how you can use the sun to change the mood and feel of a photo.  I've discovered, however, that using lens flare as a composition element is a very individual thing.  Some people love it, and others hate it, but it's worth a might be surprised with the results!   

Monday, June 7, 2010


Thanks to Rick, for giving me my laugh for the day.  First of all, if you haven't already done so, check out my most recent Phriday Phun post.  If you notice, Rick made an interesting comment.  Since then we've exchanged a couple of emails, where he informed me that when he hovers his mouse over each photo, the file name appears in the bottom left corner of his screen.  Sure enough, when I tried it, the file name appears in a bar in the bottom left corner of my screen.  And, of course, the file names are what the photos are about!!!  HaHa  My guessing game should have been about who is the most observant, including me!  I told Rick, instead of pointing this out to me, he just should have 'guessed' them all correctly, and we all would have been SO impressed.  Anyway, thanks Rick for making my day!!
P.S.  Just in case this doesn't work for everyone, here are the answers:
1.   edge of pizza cutter
2.   plastic scotch tape dispenser
3.   tomato slice
4.   electrical outlet cover plate
5.   candle wick
6.  edge of soda cracker
Now that you know, they're obvious....right???

Exotic Flower #8

Are you tired of exotic and unusual yet???
I have more, but I think it's time for a change before we all get bored!  Tomorrow....... something different, and because I'm such a fickle fotographer,  even I'll be surprised!!  

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Phriday Phun


This really is a PHUN PHRIDAY for me.  I 'retired' from being a real estate agent a year or so ago, but still have a few clients and sales to wrap up.  One of those sales closed Tuesday.   I received my commission check Thursday, and immediately began ticking off all the photography equipment I could buy!  But after a few wonderful fantasy minutes,  I came back to reality and decided to be more sensible: 10% to my church; 70% to savings; AND, 20% ON PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT!  WOOHOO!!  In between the day's errands, appointments, work, and birthday party for my grandson, I found time to buy the macro lens I've wanted.  (Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS)  After everything quieted down last night, I had to try it out even though it was late and I was tired.  I took these snaps at about 11:30 pm, inside, no flash and no tripod, so they are noisey and blurry, plus the fact that I have no idea how to use a macro lens!!!  Now about the above photos.  I did this once before on a Phun Phriday, and lots of people guessed them all, so I'm wondering if I'll trick anyone this time.  They are all common household items.  WHAT ARE THEY????
(P.S.  Still a few more exotic flowers to come!)   

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Exotic Flower #6

Is it a CONE or a FLOWER??
I sure don't know, but it was unusual and beautiful.  The top part looks like a cone, but the bright red color, and the strange egg shaped white centers looked more like a flower.  I love the details, especially the petals (?) edged in white.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Exotic Flower #5

Oh, So Beautiful!
(Remember to let me know if you know the name of this flower)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Desktop Image

Here is my June Desktop Image for you to use, share and enjoy.  Several years ago, at this time, my husband took me to Belize to celebrate my birthday.  (Nice present!)  We went with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  It was a beautiful, beautiful, primitive place.  We stayed in a little beach shack right on the Caribbean, and yes, the water was this green and the sky, this blue.  We had the beach all to ourselves as far as we could see.  Just click HERE to download, then right click to set at your desktop image.  It should not be pixilated or blurry.  If you have trouble, let me know.

Exotic Flower #4

These were very large & tall, and were used as a table centerpiece.  (See previous 3 posts)