Thursday, October 10, 2013

a change is in the air

I've been sick much of the past week. Missed some work. Missed doing some fun things. Have fallen behind on other things. I owe people stuff. But today I just needed to get out. Outside. With my boy. And walk in the quiet woods. Slowly. He's still not quite right from the Lyme's disease. And I'm still huffing and puffing and coughing as soon as I exert myself even a little bit. But we just needed a quiet walk. And tomorrow I'll get back to normal. But today was nice. Seeing the hint of autumn in the woods. Feeling it in the air. Nice. The change feels good.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

with autumn closing in....

I love learning about photography. Some of it is very technical, things like "light fall off" and focal planes...I start hearing this stuff and think, "can't I just take a pretty picture of a flower??" And yes, I can. I know that stuff is out there to be learned. Someday. But for now I'm sort of trial-and-erroring my way through. And that's fine, too! In the end, a pleasing picture is a pleasing picture, no matter how you got there.

But I definitely love to give myself challenges and...assignments. That's how *I* learn - by doing. By making mistakes and trying again a different way. Lather, rinse, repeat. Until I achieve the look I was going for. 

For last week's shoot, I had a theme - The End of Summer. In my mind I was loosely imagining Mother Nature a little somber at seeing her magnificent summer come to an end. Sometimes themes come across a lot better in my mind's eye than they do through the lens of my camera! I think this kelly green dress, which seemed very Mother Naturey to me back at my apartment, was far too contrasty with the muted hues of the sand and ocean. I'd wanted the model to almost disappear into her surroundings and instead she really stood out. So, I learned to pay more attention to colors in wardrobe and their relation to their surroundings. I'll hold onto the dress for the time being and maybe use it again in a forest shoot, where it's closer in color to the environment. 

In an effort to subdue some of the images, I used texture overlays, a process I've not used much. Someone that has been really inspirational to me is Brooke Shaden, a fine art photographer who does amazing work using compositing and  texture overlays. I'm still pretty tentative with my use of them, but I'm challenging myself to experiment and go a little further each time. What do you think of my overlay images?

I also played around with long exposure shooting, trying to create a ghostlike effect with the model walking back and forth in front of the camera set to very slow shutter speeds. I still need to work on that! *I* know that's the model in the green dress, but it probably just looks like a green blur to all of you. 

So in the end, do you think my pictures give a sense of the ending of summer? Why or why not? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

by the lake, part II

Since I'm stuck living back on Long Island for the time being, I thought it might be nice to really explore it while I'm here. I've lived on LI since I was 9 years old (read: many many years) and there are still *so* many places I've never been to. I'd even lived in the town of Lake Ronkonkoma for awhile when my ex-husband and I first moved in together, and I had never actually been to The Lake. There was a restaurant there, The Bavarian Inn, which I knew to now be abandoned and all grafittied-up (bettye-ism), a setting which is much to my liking. Sadly, when we got there that day we discovered that the restaurant was newly fenced-in (urgh) and not in a "oh, *I* can get in THERE" way, but...yeah. We were not shooting there. So we moved to Part II: The Lake.

My thought for the lake portion of the shoot had been a) capturing backlit and sun flare-y photos and b) evoking soft femininity in this vintage nightgown. It was a big fail on the sun shots (!) as I miscalculated our time, AND had been unaware of the tall trees around the lake, which knocked off 15 minutes of our sun-time. Live and learn! I should download one of those sunset time apps! It's amazing how much earlier every day the sun sets. I always sort of thought it set one minute earlier each day...but it's more like ten! So the difference from one week to the next is pretty drastic.

I like the softness of the water and sand shots...and so enhanced their paleness and fragility in post-processing. The images with the trees in the background, however, were a little more contrasty so I edited them with stronger tones. What do you think?

Even though we didn't have the sun directly, it was *such* beautiful light that evening, even after the sun dropped down below the trees, its glow lit the model's face so nicely. 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

by the lake, part I

I'm so glad I'm finally getting back to doing personal photography projects. I try to have a little something in mind to learn, a technique or camera feature...and then create a styled shoot around it. This part of the shoot, up the hill from a lake, I was shooting in a bit of a challenging situation - lots of dappled light - which meant lots of camera adjustments.

It's funny, I still get nervous during shoots with other people...I fumble around with my camera, and I get self-conscious about directing and posing. Then driving home afterward I'm always like, oh that was awful, they must think I'm such a beginner, I've wasted everyone's time...and then I get home and start playing with the images and find I have some really lovely photos. Yay.

I love soft focus, hazy photos...sun flare, backlighting, sort of a dreamy ethereal look...don't you?

It's nice, in-between doing photographs for other people, to allow yourself the freedom to photograph *your* vision, to nurture your own sense of creativity. I think it's important to spend time on creating your own style. It's what will set you apart from other photographers. 

Stay tuned for Part II...down on the beach.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

getting back to normal

My boy has been out of commission for awhile. Lyme disease. Anaplasmosis. Yucky things caused by ticks. Pain. Depression. Trembling. Lots of laying around moaning, unable to get up and down easily. This is my BOY. It was breaking my heart.

But the meds have been working wonders and he's almost at the end of the first 28-day cycle. A good friend has suggested he do another round as 56 days is better than 28. So yeah. I'll talk to the vet this week about that. In the meantime, yesterday was our first real outing in about a month. He was perky, in spirit mostly, but still.

He made a couple doggy friends and tried to keep up with them for a stride or two, but couldn't go much more than that. Mostly we just did a rambly walk through a nearby preserve, stopping when he was tired or I wanted to snap a shot of something suggesting autumn is actually on its way.

In all, a good afternoon.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekend Wrapup

What are you up to this weekend? With the clock ticking towards the real end of summer (I refuse to accept Labor Day as "the end of summer"), I'm trying to squeeze in as many beach days as I can before it truly gets too cool, permitting, I have two long days of sun, sand, reading, floating, and negative ions ahead of me.

Here are some things I've wanted to share with you...

Cute lil lamb. I can't.

Jumping Leaping for Joy!

Pinterest come to life

Why you shouldn't date a photographer

Cute lil lamb again. Cuz...come on. You know you want to.

Thinking of adopting a rescue dog? This should put you over the fence.

Okay. That's enough. The beach is calling meeeeee.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Birthday Girl

Today, she is my birthday. Which means...I can do anything I want! And I just want to share some favorite photos from near and far and long ago and yesterday...

This is my puffy man, Madison.

I loved this day, spent with a special friend. He took me to a place I never would have found by myself and it was so serene.

This is *long* ago, like 35 years ago. Me and my girlfriend being silly on the ponies. I don't know why I'm making the goofy face (photo left), but our times at the barn were always fun.

Me and my first horse, Elmer J. Fudd (Millionaire. He owned a mansion and a yacht).

Me and my baby. And donuts. 

Nice glasses, Bettye from the past. Nice. Giant. Glasses.

Me and a llama :-)

My mother and me when I was just a wee one.

My boy, just in from a blizzard, with his most sincere face.

My beautiful baby.


My baby Katie, Leroy, Robbie (aka The Boy-os), and my ex-husband. When he had big hair.

Fleurs on my desk at work.

Tiny Jane in the packing peanuts. She loved diving in and swimming through them. 

She kinda looks like one of those blow-up alien dolls, right??

My best girl and my best boy.

Sweet Katie 

Mommy & Daddy

Spring at Planting Fields Arboretum

My beautiful New York City

All photos by me. Unless I'm in them. And then I don't know.

Happy Birthday to me. I'm off to have a fun day.