Sunday, February 7

Seeing the Light

The phrase "seeing the light" has many different meanings.  As a photographer, seeing the light means really studying the source, direction, temperature, the effect on  your scene.


2016 for me is the year of the "new" me.  For a long time now I have been in a dark place in my life and it hasn't been very nice.  I've pretty much isolated myself and stayed inside, both figuratively and literally.....cut myself off from people who care about me.   The word "no" pretty much became my vocabulary.  I didn't realize it at the time, but it was dragging me deeper and deeper into the darkness.  This has been reflected in my work which has been dark and moody for a while now.  There is nothing wrong with dark and moody and I'm proud of the work I've been producing.  I just wondered if I'd ever do light and airy again.

I made myself a promise that this new year was going to be the start of a new me, in a lot of ways.  I'm not making promises that I know I won't be able to keep.  Every year I do that to myself and I realize now that it was just keeping me in the dark.  So this year, no resolutions to lose weight or any of that.  This year my resolution is to bring myself into the light.  And I'm doing that making baby steps.  My first baby step is to not have an excuse when my sisters or mom ask me to do things with them.  We used to go every weekend and discover new things to do but we've all had health issues over the last 18 months that have slowed us down.  In my case, I took the easy way out and began the isolation.  So I guess my actual first baby step was recognizing that I take the easy way out and trying to change that.

I was invited to my sister's to play cards last night and I actually went!  Baby step.  A step into the light................


It was an awesome evening.  We laughed and got caught up on "stuff" and it was wonderful.  I want to thank my sister Brenda, my best friend, for not giving up on me.   Even though I would say no or have an excuse, she never gave up asking.  And my mom......you are THE best mom in the world.  I don't know what I'd do without you.   My daughter, Bre......you and Landon know what you mean to me...there are no words.


So, today is a good day.  The sun is shining (for now *grins*) and the Mountaineers won their basketball game and I feel good!




I would love to hear from you about where you are in life, or your photography, or just anything in general.  Have a breathtaking Sunday everyone and enjoy life!



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Sunday, January 17

Hello 2016

Well hello to 2016. It's a new year and it's a new beginning for me. I am hoping to make 2016 my best year yet and I'm doing it by getting healthy and staying healthy...both physically and mentally. I have developed such a habit of thinking that everything is my fault and that I should have done better. Well, that stops now. Just as I cannot take credit for others successes, I shouldn't take credit for failures either. Thus begins the "taking care of me" phase of my life.

 One way I am doing that is allowing myself time to photograph without the guilt. I always tell myself "I should be cleaning, or doing laundry or something constructive" rather than taking pictures. In the past I couldn't really fully enjoy photography, especially still life photography, because of the feelings of guilt. I've been doing a lot of thinking and I've realized that it's ok. The time I spend on photographing my pretties is time I allow myself to be free and not worry about anything...I am taking care of me!

In 2015, the best thing I did for myself was to join Kim Klassen's The Studio. I've made some friends and found some kindred spirits. I've learned a lot about still life photography and in 2016 I'm looking forward to learning a lot more.

This morning is a cold grey day.  We are expecting rain/snow later.  My beloved Steelers are playing in the playoffs this afternoon and I plan on snuggling under a blanket to watch the game.  BUT...this morning I took time to play with a new pretty I got this week.  I got these beautiful hydranges and the jug from Save-on-Crafts here and here,  The light is not very pretty but I worked with what I had.  I also lean toward dark and moody....





I am obsessed with up close and personal photography so every time I shoot, I make sure to get some extreme close-ups.  This is my favorite way to shoot.






Any Thoughts?

I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have.  How are you getting healthy in the new year?  I love and appreciate your comments and I read them all.





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Sunday, November 29

Aaahhhhh Nuts!

Just sitting here today thinking about decorating for Christmas.  I happened to remember buying a bag of mixed nuts at the store the other day and thought I'd get them out and play.  I'll start decorating tomorrow  *grins*.









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Saturday, November 7

Anatomy of a Still Life

There are tons of photos available on the internet and a lot of photographers generously share their method of processing the photos.  I love to get insights into how others edit to the specific mood of their photo.  The basic processing may be quite similar but the creative touches a photographer adds to the photo speaks to that specific mood.

I started with this photo shot with a Nikon D90 and 35mm lens and settings of 1/125th of a second at f/1.8 and ISO 200.  There are many different programs with which to edit a photo and my program of choice is Lightroom.  I import photos into Lightroom with a basic preset that I made which adds a bit of noise reduction and sharpening to the photo, applies a basic lens correction specific to the lens I used for the shot, and sets the camera calibration to "camera neutral".  This gives a beginning point for my photos...my straight out of camera.



My next step is to apply edits specific to the "mood" I'm going for in my photo.  This one was shot on a rainy, cold day and that was what I was looking for in the photo.  To accomplish this I shot it about 2 stops underexposed to increase the shadows.  I wanted it in closer so my first step was to crop the photo.   With my still life shots, I'm preferring the square crop.



Next I applied a tone curve which would bring down the highlights and darken shadows even more, as well as apply just a touch of haze.



Next I adjusted the tint a tad to remove some of the red reflection of the napkin on the bowl.  A little clarity to for contrast and I played with the vibrance and saturation until I was satisfied.



Once I'm satisfied with the photo, I export it to a folder on my hard drive.  I created an export preset which resizes my photo specifically for the blog, reduces the resolution, adds my copyright info and watermark.  Here is the final image.



There are many many ways to process and image and I'm not saying that mine is the only way or the best way.  I'm merely providing an insight to my thought process when editing a photo.  I hope that seeing my process was interesting and maybe thought-provoking.





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Wednesday, November 4

Acorns

I discovered these cute little felted acorns at NatureKnit on Etsy and fell in love with them.



 I absolutely love shooting wide  open and up close, changing focus points as I go.  These were all shot at 1/250 of a second @ f/2.5 aperture and ISO 200.




Then, by adding a few other props, you can change the entire look without changing too much at all.  You can keep it really simple or you can fill up your space.  It all depends on your mood and the look you are going for.  Also, the processing can change the mood too.  These were all processed with kk_EveningLight from the Kim Klassen Studio Set which has fast become my favorite preset for my still life photos.




 My props included pine cones and leaves from my yard, The rusty bucket, the star, and the burlap ribbon are all from Factory Direct.



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