Saturday, January 31, 2009

31/365 List


This started out as a shot of a paper clip on my desk. The shot looked a little boring so I decided to add some paper to spice it up and got deliberate with the composition. I added the note in photoshop as an afterthought, but I like it. I think it works.

I love the colorful bokeh that comes from shooting macro and having a colorful background.

Lesson: Become a thinker when shooting. What's your subject? Have you simplified the image and cleaned up the extraneous things that might distract? Did you utilize the rule of thirds? If not, does it work anyway? Just a few of the many questions you can ask yourself when composing a shot.

Tomorrow: People! Really!

Friday, January 30, 2009

30/365 City


I almost made it! Totally missed yesterday. I just could not get out of bed and I'm still trying to shake a stomach bug of some kind. Too much information, I know!

Today we hung out with a group of kids who all got together to plan and build a city. It was so cool to see the different design ideas they all came up with and how well they worked together. Of course you can't have a city without Toys R Us.

Lesson: Kids can do the most amazing things if they are presented with the opportunities.

Tomorrow: House stuff.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

28/365 King


This image is more of a political statement. It was shot a few minutes after I realized I didn't have anything to post tonight.

We're learning about the American Revolution and using Michael Badnarick's book "Good To Be King" as one of the texts. Badnarick reminds his readers that each person is sovereign, a king (or queen) if you will! We were all born with rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution was created to protect those inalienable rights. If you've ever been confused about the U.S. Constitution, Badnarick's book is a great primer.

Lesson: Freedom isn't free.

Tomorrow: This week, I'll just be open to whatever moves me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

27/365 blur


Ah...home again!

We spent a quick weekend doing something we both love! Nope, not that :-) Learning! I am married to an avid reader who enjoys lively debates. He's a male me! It's so cool to hang out with someone with whom I have so much in common.

I wasn't able to post, but I was snapping pics as we traveled by car to TN. I much prefer flying, but I actually suggested that we drive. It was nice though, we got to talk the whole way there and back. I'll share a few images from the road trip, just to keep up with the 365 project.

26/365 fire

We just happened to come upon this burning car as we drove past a local grocery store.

25/365 night haze

Something you don't normally see, a cityscape in black and white. I made the image a little more hazy than it needed to be and lightened so you can see more of the detail in the highlights. I did it just because.

24/365 It's Good to be King

One of my heroes.

23/365 Sleep

I can be a control freak, especially when it comes to traveling. I read reviews on hotels and look at all of the available pictures of the inside and outside of a potential hotel. This was the first time I EVER just picked a spot as I drove past it and agreed to lay my head on the bed without checking it out beforehand. It wasn't that bad and somewhat freeing!

Lesson: Life is good! Relax and enjoy the ride. :-)

Tomorrow: We'll see!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

22/365 Bowling Anyone?


This is how we spent our day so I didn't get a chance to really focus on people as I had planned. This was our first day of league bowling and I had to be more hands on than I expected. After today I can sit back and enjoy my marketing books. Yay! Nothing too exciting, but I did try to capture some of the action and a detail shot.

Lesson: Life is to be enjoyed. Be fully present.

Tomorrow: Street scene

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

21/365 Water


When I awakened this morning the first thing that caught my eye was the glass of water on my night stand. I could see the shape of the cordless phone which stood behind the glass, and the odd shape caused by the water made me smile. I had my "water" idea for the day!

I tried a couple of different glasses before settling on this one. I placed the flower behind the glass and shot with a macro lens. Even though the room was filled with beautiful morning light, the background went totally black except for the flicker of light you see camera right. I cloned some of it out, but opted to keep just a bit of it. Can you see the flower petals in the stem of the glass?

Lesson: Don't be afraid to experiment. You may just love the results you get when just playing around.

Tomorrow: People pictures. Capturing life as it happens.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

20/365 Goggles and Gloves


This is how I spent most of my day! Cutting wood and finally laying a floor in one of our bedrooms. It's much easier than I thought it would be, but it's not something I look forward to doing again anytime too soon.

Hubby handled dinner! A fabulous surprise gift to top off the evening! I'll sleep well tonight and life is good!

Lesson: When composing an image, keep it simple. The goggles were suppose to be the subject here, but I did not place them in a way that would make them stand out significantly from the gloves, so the title went from "Gloves" to Gloves and Goggles. It's important to have those details (how to feature the subject) worked out before you shoot. It makes the job easier.

Tomorrow: Water!

Monday, January 19, 2009

19/365 Green apple


I thought about not posting and just skipping day 19, however, it's more important to keep my word to me. Unless something major comes up, I will finish! Today I was not feeling very much like picking up my camera.

This idea came to me while I was eating a quick meal for myself after a yoga class. The class really did help to put me in a more relaxed frame of mind. What a day...

Lesson: When life throws you lemons make lemonade!

Tomorrow: Water

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

18/365 Home


Not my home, but one I saw as I came around a curve headed to a local grocery store. It's located on a little side street and you don't see it until you come around this little curve. It has always intrigued me, but this cold and rainy morning it really captured my attention. I shot it through the windshield of my car, so it's grainy. Sometimes grainy is okay.

I wanted a dark image and I'm okay without the details in the shadows. The house and car were then dodged to pull the eye.

Lesson: Shoot from the heart.

Tomorrow: Something that starts with "G".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

17/365 Flower I


I spent most of the day in the kitchen. Making bread, homemade cereal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I tuned the radio to NPR and got an ear-full of culture while mixing ingredients for this or that. Car Talk with Click and Clack; followed by an opera; then an interview with a playwright and finally musicians sharing their original compositions on Prairie Home Companion. When I am immersed in the arts it causes me to want to do more/be more, kwim? All of these folks were good in their respective fields and those skills most likely did not develop overnight. Although I realized that they had to practice diligently to get where they all are now, I had the grand idea that I would create something great my first time out with a macro lens.

I backlit the flower and that means you can't see the beautiful green in the very center. It took me several minutes just to figure out the logistics (how far the flower should be from the background and then how far I needed to be from it). After setting up the background stand and loading it with paper and then pulling out the tripod I was not about to set up a reflector, nor did I want to hunt down my flash in order to use it to fill. Before it was over, I had spent close to 2 hours shooting these two flowers. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but it was so cathartic for me. Just doing my thing--alone.

So this is my first attempt. Not bad, but not where I want to be. This week I'll try different backgrounds, angles and alter the direction of the light.

Lesson: Proper planning prevents poor performance. Have all of your gear at hand when you shoot. You never know what you may need. It's better to have it and not need it....

Tomorrow: People pictures or Plan B: More macro

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Friday, January 16, 2009

16/365 Leading Lines


I will not take a picture of A. N. O. T. H. E. R. dead TREE!

I wasn't home today to set up my photojournalistic shot. I have a story in my head and I wanted to get it out today, but I had too many other things going on. My Plan B? Shoot whatever you see that's sort of interesting and make it VERY interesting.

Here it is: My leading lines shot! This is one of those shots that you see after you get home. I wanted to take a shot of these huge concrete blocks that were outside of a cement mixing plant. I tried to get just the right angle, but I just couldn't find one that felt compelling. I decided to post it anyway. While playing around in photoshop I realized that the the blocks and the shadows of the blocks lead to that wonderful dead tree in the background. I added a funky blue tint, burned the edges and there you have it: ART! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Lesson: Inanimate objects are tough for me! I now truly see what a gift it is to be able to shoot these kind of things and make the image interesting. You can' t just point and shoot! Who knew?

Tomorrow: Macro

Thursday, January 15, 2009

15/365 Dreaming


"How do you know? Have you ever driven one?"

About 8 years ago I was having a conversation with my fil and I told him about this car that I would love to have some day and that was his response. How do you know? So, I made plans after that to get brochures so that I could study the features of this particular automobile. Shortly after that I scheduled a test drive. As it turned out, the car was not as great as I thought it would be and I promptly crossed it off of my dream list. I discovered that cars really aren't a big deal to me at all.

Currently we are planning to move to a home that we've dreamed about and talked about for approximately 7 years. We haven't found it yet, but we know it's out there somewhere! We'll recognize it immediately because we've been collecting pictures and putting them in a dream book for years. We even have a wonderful builder lined up in case we don't find what we want.

This is one of the places where I often come to dream. Because of the slow economy it's been vacant now for several months. I love going inside of newly built homes to get ideas about the things I want in our next home. One of the things I want is an open kitchen. It needs to be large with hardwood floors and lots of counter space. Similar to the one I photographed today, but slightly larger.

Lesson: Never let go of your dreams and always dream in color!

Tomorrow: Photojournalism. I will have a plan B for this one!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

14/365 Curve


Still trying to capture something abstract! I think this is better than my last complementary color abstract, but still not what I'm after... Perhaps I will discover that abstracts will be one of the subject's that eludes me. I'll try again next month, but for now, here is my try at bringing red and green together.

Lesson: Shoot something even when you don't really feel like it. Keep your commitments even when the commitment is between you

Tomorrow: A free day. No assignment.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

13/365 Lonely


We went to the big city today and that's always cool! I really enjoy the diversity in the downtown and the outer-laying artsy areas. You just never know what or who you'll see, sort of like what I recall Greenwich Village being like, but on a smaller scale.

I saw this sculpture that I had not seen before in one of the parks. A sculpture of a huge chess set and all around were people with their chess boards pulled out--young and old all mixed in together. I would have loved to get an interesting shot of that, but I couldn't find a good place to park and I had little people in tow, so parking far away and hiking back was not an option today.

I was still scouting around for some other interesting street scenes when we stopped at a light. I looked out the window and there was this guy asleep in front of this vacant building. I rolled the window down and got off two shots before the light changed.

Because the sun was so bright where he was, I opted to convert to a harsh black and white. I wanted the scene to be high contrast (whites white, blacks black) to go along with the lonely-in-the-city vibe that I got when I looked at him. I opted to put him in the corner of the frame so that I could juxtapose him with the empty building. Two kinds of lonely--empty building, homeless and alone. Now, I don't know if he's lonely or not, but that's the story I decided to tell with the light!

Lesson: Always remain open when you're scouting for images. You never know when an opportunity will arise, so be ready! Already know what kind of light you're dealing with and set the camera early so that all you will need to do is point and shoot before the moment passes.

Tomorrow: Abstract. I'm really going to try harder to get something interesting!

Monday, January 12, 2009

12/365 Being Real


I've shared before about my grandfather being a photographer... Well one of the things he did that I never understood until recently was to fill his home with art. All over the walls he hung art--photography and paintings. He moved two times in the past 9 years, once to downsize, and then once to assisted living. Each time he got situated in his new home, he instructed us to be sure to hang his art work for him. I didn't fully understand just how important that was until I hung my own images in December. I've been seriously into photography for a little under 4 years and I've NEVER hung any images on my walls--not my own, not any others. My walls have been bare wherever I've lived!

When I hung the few images you see here, it was an AHA! moment for me. As silly as it may sound, it wasn't until I saw my work hanging in my own home that I realized I was really a photographer and I'm actually not that bad:-)! It was the catalyst I needed to get serious about what I do--to pursue my business (and all my passions) with abandon. Without fear of failure or rejection!

Here you see a slice of my day. The only quiet part that I will have until probably 9 p.m. or so. The children have just finished one of their lessons and have gone off to play before we settle down for lunch. There is clutter around because I needed a place to store their things while I lay down new floors. Lots to do today and it feels good to be able to post an image early. Life is good!

Lesson: Live life to the fullest each day and live without regrets!

Tomorrow: A street scene

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11/365 Ode to Rock Stars and Stairs


It can be fun to look for interesting patterns when I'm out and about. Today I went scouting for a new location for an upcoming session. I noticed these stairs outside of a row of brownstones and stopped to compose. I chose the tree to the left to anchor the shot and to serve as an entry point for your eye. It leads you into the frame while the rows of stairs pull you down the path until you get to the stop sign right at the very end. Hopefully your eye circles back again and lingers for a bit before you move totally out of the frame.

I'm reading this really interesting book called Composition in Art and I'm trying to consciously implement the lessons when I shoot. If I do I am hoping I will create more pieces of art and not just a photograph. We'll see...

Because the buildings were beautiful colors, I chose to convert to black and white. That way the color is not competing with what I really want you to notice. I cropped in really close to make sure your eye has no choice but to see the patterns.

I'm noticing that I really like my black and white images dark. Perhaps because it's so dreary out lately and the darkness sort of matches the weather.

This next shot was a funny concept that I wanted to try out. I wanted to do a parody the shots you see of rock bands on CD covers. What do you think?

In the first shot, I shot from a low perspective (into the "sun") and put the band members on a "hill" so that the group looks strong. In the bottom right image, the leader is featured and the other guys are there, but out of focus. The other two are just silly shots. Well it's all silly!


Lesson: Love what you do and it will show in your images. Never stop learning and challenging yourself to grow.

Tomorrow: A slice of my day

Saturday, January 10, 2009

10/365 Rocky Horror


I couldn't think of another title. I've never seen the RHPS and I may be dating myself by even mentioning it! Oh well!

Abstract complimentary colors was the theme for today! This is not the abstract I had in mind and that's not the color green that one typically sees with red, but in a pinch this will work! These are two of the newest LEGO creatures. The Rock Raiders were first introduced in 1999 and have recently resurfaced. I saw them laying out on the floor and grabbed them when I realized I wasn't coming up with anything else.

Lesson: Abstracts are not something that I can come up with easily. It's a wonderful thing when you realize the subject matter that you love to shoot. I love meeting, talking to, and photographing people, but I'm willing to keep trying my hand at other things. This project is causing me to stretch in a variety of ways and that's a good thing.

Tomorrow: Patterns

Friday, January 9, 2009

9/365 Environmental Portrait


My goal today was to photograph a stranger and I had a specific type of person in mind. I headed to our local international market which is often filled with exotic looking people from all over the world. Today of all days, I didn't see anyone who really struck me, so I headed back towards home trying to come up with my Plan B when one of my kids suggested I go to the local dry cleaners to photograph a guy we'd seen the day before. Well, this older gentleman with a wonderful face and gorgeous smile wasn't at work today! My youngest son had another idea and encouraged me not to give up. He even cheered for me when I began to approach my next potential subject! He knew I was somewhat nervous.

I found this lovely lady hard at work at a local restaurant. I showed her my business cards (my moo cards) and asked if I could take her picture. After taking a moment to think, she said yes! I wanted to show her in her environment and to pull in part of the background while making sure she was the featured one. I accomplished that by using a shallow DOF. When she faced me the light from the door reflected in her glasses, so I shot this one when she looked away briefly. This image would have been stronger--I think--if she made eye contact with the camera. However, I was shooting on the fly and snapped when I saw something that would give me the goal for the day. I photographed a stranger. Thanks Ms. I.

Lesson: If you respectfully approach strangers most are open to being photographed. Be sure to get them to sign a release and offer to send them a print! If you're after an environmental portrait find a creative way to pull in the environment. This is not the most creative shot, but I'll do better next time!

Tomorrow:Abstract complementary colors

Thursday, January 8, 2009

8/365 Trees


I didn't really see anything interesting today. So, I challenged myself to choose one thing along the street that led to my destination and to shoot it and create a work of art once I got home.

I saw a group of trees along the side of the road and I was attracted to the arches that three of them made. There was lots of clutter around--telephone poles and wires, street signs. They all had to be cloned out. I converted it to black and white, burned the edges and there you have it. I love texture, but I didn't add it this time. I don't want all of the images to look just alike! Is this art? That's relative and I would say no! However, it's better than it was and I'm okay with that!

Lesson: You can create an interesting image without traveling too far from home. If you know you work better with some sort of plan in mind, make a plan, sketch the idea! It's okay to have notes on hand when you're out shooting!

Tomorrow: Portrait of a stranger.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

7/365 The Mechanic


My grandfather was a pretty good photographer. He died a couple of months ago and one of the things he left behind were mounds of pictures he had taken over the years. Images of places he'd seen and people he'd met over the years. He had pictures hanging all over his home and 3 of his favorites were 3 Rockwell prints.

As a children's photographer I have access, thankfully, to lots of cute kids! Here's a little 7 year old who agreed to help me out today. Thanks Little D. My image today is a tribute of sorts to my grandfather and his love of art, specifically of Norman Rockwell's work.

Lesson: Cherish family and live each day being fully present. The photography lesson: Pay attention to details. I wanted the little boys backwards baseball cap to show up more, but he was cold so I didn't want to keep trying to get a perfect shot. I could have climbed higher on the ladder, but I didn't think of that at the time! I was cold too! :-)

Tomorrow: Hmm??? I'm not sure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It was a really overcast day today and the weather folks have issued a tornado warning. Perfect clouds and beautiful color. I wanted to photograph some of the interesting buildings in the little square near our small city. When shooting a building up close you need to consider perspective. If you don't the building will appear to tilt. I did not remember this until I started editing and saw all of the shots of a building that appeared to be falling over! I was thankful that I had a couple of shots of just the top portion of the bluish/purple building. I shot the top of the building in order to pull in part of the sky.

Lesson: If you are shooting a subject that you don't normally shoot, take some time to study and prepare. Make sure you have the right equipment or be sure you know just what adjustments you'll need to make in order to get the image you need. A lens that helps with perspective would have been perfect for shooting a building straight on, but I don't own a perspective lens! Backing way up and shooting is the other option, but the street was narrow and I couldn't back away as far as I needed to. So I had to change things a bit and just shoot up and hope for the best! I still had to use the perspective tool in photoshop.

Tomorrow: Editorial photography

Monday, January 5, 2009

4/365 Textured Ab


I didn't leave the house today, so finding something abstract was harder than I thought it would be; again I had to go to my plan B. The vision in my head for Plan A did not translate well to paper, but the process of coming up with the idea was fun.

This Plan B shot started out totally centered in the frame. It was okay, but not as interesting as when I spliced it in half, converted it to black and white and added texture. Now it's a little more interesting, but still not what I planned.

Lesson: Do your best with whatever you have in front of you.

Tomorrow: Architecture.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

4/365 Late Night

4/365 late night

My intention was to post a portrait tonight, but my portrait session was pushed back and we started much later than we originally planned. I did not want to take more time in uploading images, working on them and posting a portrait, so I went to my Plan B--a night scene.

I wanted to have the lights from the cars help to paint the scene, so I slowed the shutter way down. The mistake: I hand held at a slow shutter while also balancing a somewhat long (and heavy) lens. There was no way this image was going to be sharp, but here it is as my Day 4 entry. I had my tripod in the car from the days session, but I felt uncomfortable being out late at night alone, so I didn't set up properly. I shot the scene and then picked up a cup of coffee to help me stay awake as I work a few hours tonight for my clients.

I make a commitment to myself to aim to post only my best work (even if it's uninteresting); My goal is to improve daily, step by step.

Lesson Learned: Aim for perfect exposure and perfect focus every time. Always show your best.

Tomorrow: Shoot an abstract object

Saturday, January 3, 2009

3/365 Eggilicious


I don't buy white eggs. I love these brown free range eggs from an Amish farm. I didn't recall that when I said I'd photograph a white egg. Here was an opportunity to quickly come up with a plan B.

Lesson Learned: Try to have a plan B ready to go.

Tomorrow: A portrait

Friday, January 2, 2009

2 of 365


I decide to do a triptych today. In the first image I shot down on the flowers and showed a bit of white to give some depth to the image. Image two I wanted to play stylist! I should definitely keep my day job--styling takes skills that I don't possess. Image 3, I put the flowers in my shower and wanted to blow out the background to get rid of the shower walls. I slowed the shutter and I got the blown effect I wanted. The image is not so sharp because of the long lens and the slow shutter.

Lesson: Have an idea in mind before you shoot. This one was not fully thought out. Sketching an idea out before hand would have been a good idea. Change your custom white balance when you change lighting conditions. Forgot to do that and ended up having to add a filter in PS to get rid of the yellow tungsten light. THe goal is to use PS minimally.

Tomorrow: Photograph a correctly exposed egg in an unusual way.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Things I Love

Well, here's my first entry. I made a commitment to myself that I would not describe my images as lame--even if they are! This is harder than I thought it would be. Sometimes I'll add commentary and sometimes not.

I decided that I would try a product shot today, so I set up things that I love and tried to remember what I learned in school. My subjects: my favorite coffee cup from Switzerland, and my favorite organic coffee beans. I knew I wanted to shoot outside and I wanted trees in the background. The sun was setting and the woods behind my home were lit. I did not want the contrast in the background, I wanted shade behind my subject, but I chose not to scout out another location and accepted what I got!

I actually like the painterly effect I got as a result of shooting with a telephoto--my new toy from Canon! I shot with a low ap and that gave me the blurry Monet like background.

Lessons learned: Pay attention to the light. You have to consider how the light is falling on all of the elements and you need to know if you're okay with how the light effects each element BEORE you press the shutter. When setting up a shot, take your time and get it right *in camera*, so you're not doing too many changes with editing software. I now have a better understanding of how the lens/aperture combination will effect my background.

Tomorrow: I will photograph a flower from 4 perspectives and post a mosaic.