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It’s cold. I never knew Cold before. Now, I know Cold. I don’t know it as well as others, but I know it better.
I have always loved colors and textures but now since I know Cold, I have a great problem on my hands-an expensive problem. I need to get dressed up to greet Cold. I need to be bundled in several layers to be comfortable around Cold. I get to invest in things that never had much meaning to me… words like wool, and down and such. Those words have changed my life and have introduced me to warmth when I am around Cold. I’m grateful for the things I learn each day, each new chapter in my life. This, my new growing friendship with Cold, I am grateful for and I am grateful for warmth-that I can find it when I need it.
Today was a sad day for me… I sold the three kayaks I own.
I bought one and convinced my other half that I needed more so I could bring friends along on my adventures and maybe even someday him. I got good use in Arizona-the driest of all places. Several of us, including others with kayak ownership or borrowship, would casually experience different parts of the Salt River. I was determined to bring them up here, to Washington, the wettest of all places. I just knew I could use those kayaks-and again, I would bring others along my journey.
Eighteen months have passed and they sit… cobwebs and all. They have never visited the waters here in Washington and Guilt started to set. It was a moment when he could say, “I told you so, ” since he did try and convince me to sell them before our big move. It was time to say good-bye. I am one who does not hold on to stuff! If it isn’t being used, out with it!
I love to try different things, learn new things. I often think this will be the THING that lasts forever. But, then I realize that it isn’t. and I sell it and move on to the next new thing.
I have been preparing for 2012 and that means clearing out, backing up and deleting (the old of course). I came across a picture I took over the summer at Pike Market in Seattle and it sent me to a dreamy place. I miss the fresh fruit, the hustle and bustle, the sun and the temperatures of the summer. Can I get fresh cherries in winter? Ummmm, no, I don’t think so? Our summer lasted aproximately 2.3 weeks, which clearly isn’t long enough for a desert rat! So, I will continue to glance at my market pictures and my dreamy place with anticipation of next summer, which by the way starts in about August here. I have a long road ahead of me… but wait until you see what I bought to survive the winters! It’s good!
Oh… today is my birthday and I’m flying to AZ. Happy Birthday to me. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s go to do!
It’s the Christmas season… some would say that it doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving ends. For me, that typically rings true but this year is a little different! We ordered our holiday cards, sealed, addressed, stamped and then looked at the calendar and it read, “November 17.” Not cool. I couldn’t possibly send the cards out BEFORE Thanksgiving. It is bad enough that Costco starts stocking their Christmas gifts right after Halloween and sometimes before. I didn’t want to add to the push and pressure so I held them in the car, in a box, and waited. AND WAITED. I considered putting them in the drop box at the post office on Thanksgiving morning just to get those dang things out of my car but I waited. The morning of Friday, November 25th, you can only imagine where we headed?! Phew, to get those things away from me. Staying ahead of the to do list actually added more to-do’s…. keep them until it is appropriate to send them. Both are now checked off and I feel much better!
I have an aunt who happens to be a talented trumpist (is that the formal word for one who plays the trumpet? I should go look it up… I’ll be back).
I have an aunt who happens to be a talented trumpeter and she connected me with her band, Arizona Winds Concert Band. They were looking to update their website and Facebook page, among other materials, and hired me to take their pictures. Now, this isn’t a typical shoot for me since the families I photograph usually leave their tuxedos at home. It was truly a most perfect morning in Phoenix, AZ and we headed out to a mountain preserve where I met up with the group all dressed in their fancy concert attire. The clouds scarcely covered the sun, providing some beautiful diffused light. The band was facing the east and prior to the morning, I was worried that the 60+ members would be squinting at the sun. You can imagine how pleased I was with an slightly overcast morning (something I am used to up here in the Pacific Northwest). I loved their location it was so appropriate for an AZ band! With a little hill to climb to get started, I enjoyed seeing them come one by one with their instruments in hand, ready to shoot! Each group of instruments took some formal pictures and then had fun with some unusual and unexpected pictures (just my type). The morning went smoothly and I’m anxious to see what they do with their site! Here are a few from our perfect Phoenix morning together…
I signed my life away to get this shot. Oh what I won’t do for a little color. : )
I visited Agua Verde with some fellow camera lovers on Saturday and glanced out their window to see a very large stash of kayaks. You see, they also rent kayaks. (AND, I am a kayak lover.) I suppose that could be why they are named Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club? Anyhow, I knew I wanted some sort of shot-I could feel it in my bones. I finished my lovely lunch (a VERY lovely lunch) and headed down to the kayaks. I was gingerly walking toward the pier and was stopped by a big STOP sign. I was redirected to the rental counter and was told that I couldn’t get down there unless I was renting a kayak, was wearing a life jacket and had signed a waiver. Believe it or not, I was ok with their answer but they must have liked my blue camera bag because a manager of some type said it would be ok if I signed the waiver. I signed the waiver… then wished I had more equipment to REALLY get the shot (the vision I had in my head).
I am open and willing to share-just ask! I get a couple of emails throughout the week asking about a location or a process. I feel like there is this unwritten rule that you can’t ask other photographers their so called secrets. We all have our own styles, we are all working on our own styles. I am flattered that you would be interested in my work and want to know more about it. Please feel free to ask, leave comments or continue emailing me. Either way, I will provide the answers! In my humble opinion, I think it is crazy when people won’t answer questions or keep locations as a secret. That’s all I will say about that (trying really hard to keep my fingers from typing and typing and typing on this subject).
1. Where is the junkyard located? The junkyard that I like to visit is on the southwest corner of Ray and Higley in Gilbert, AZ. BUT, the last time I was there, there owner was not pleased. I did get permission 2 days in advance but the one to give permission (who is always there and barely speaks English) is not the owner. Apparently, the gentleman who tends the lot allows anybody to walk on and that has caused some damage and some loss. I chatted with her and she was understanding of my goals. If you anticipate shooting there, please ask a few days in advance. Please be courteous of private property. Don’t ruin it for those who do take precaution and use respect. You would hate to be in the middle of a photoshoot and be asked to leave. The place to park is on the side street which is west of the junkyard and across the street from Joe’s Farm Grill. One more word to the wise… get a liability waiver signed if you will be shooting there. There is too many opportunities for something to happen. There is barbed wire, broken glass, sharp metal, protruding nails, etc. It is a great place with textures, colors, grunge, and creative bliss. BUT, be careful.
2. How do you get your colors to pop? What actions do you use? I’m not an action girl… I like fast processes but I don’t like to pay for actions that work for everybody else. I like a simple color pop and usually the steps I do give me the look I like so I have created some of my own actions and they go something like this; 1. unsharp mask (portraits are at about 75, 2, 3 and other type images are at 15, 45, 5 and I tweak as needed). 2. curves layer (pulling down my darks just a tad and bringing up my highlights just a tad to increase contrast). You can adjust the opacity of your curves layer if it adds too much. That’s it. Well, generally speaking that is it. If skin needs to be touched up, I do that. Sometimes I run my own version of a vignette. AND sometimes I make a copy of the current layer and change it to be a soft light or screen layer (depending on what I need) and reduce the opacity to be around 20%. I used to run a Kubota action that I learned from Melissa Jill blogsite but I haven’t gone that route in a while. It was the KevX-process combo (not sure if that was the exact one that she was using) and I would then reduce the opacity to about 20% but it made the images too “cool” for me. (ha, cool meaning color). So, I suppose you could say my style is pretty simple. I love color. I like contrast. I don’t do any wicked processing on my images-it doesn’t represent me or my style. I’m not saying that I never will-but at this point in my journey I’m not. : )
3. Do you use Lightroom? Well, yes I do. I would never refer to myself as the LR master but I like what it can do for me-how’s that for selfishness? (I recommend following Jared Platt on Twitter if you are interested in learning more tidbits each day). I am obsessed with organization and LR gives me just that-control and organization. 1. load to lightroom and copy as DNG. 2. gently boost contrast 3. reduce clarity a bit on portraits 4. change camera calibration to camera standard on portraits (I don’t remember where I learned this but I like what I see with this simple change) 5. sharpen a bit 6. check color and exposure 7. sync them 8. review them individually to check for any spots, blemishes, etc. 9. move to PS to do the things mentioned above. I think that is what I do-I’m trying to step through it using my memory. : ) I am teaching a webinar on Lightroom in May. If you are new to LR or deciding if you want to use LR, come join me! Use this link to go to the registration.
Photo A Day is going strong! Here’s the Flickr page.
I looked around the room and quickly determined that I was the minority… I was under the age of 50 AND I was female. (Which by the way, I get the same feeling when I walk into Tempe Camera in Tempe, AZ where most employees and customers are sporting grey facial hair and a scarce amount on their heads.) I embraced our differences and picked a seat squished between two grey goatees (or something like that, I was too focused on the show that was about to begin). I chose the closest empty seat and asked if it was available. Lucky me, it was. Then, I became aware of the chitter chatter surrounding my existence regarding how many years in the field, what type of work was being created, what contests were won and what famous photographers were their heroes. I felt like those around me were fluffing up their feathers, determining who was the alpha. I kept to myself, anxious to learn all that I could because I wanted to be the only one who knew that clearly I was not a flash diva, not even a lamp lover. I was there to learn and soak up, like a sponge, all the information I could hold, retain and use. Hence my reason for signing up the minute I saw promotions for The Flash Bus!
What I learned at this conference was something so simple yet so difficult. There is not ONE way to do light. Light is light. Some have a tactical approach, some have a faithful approach. The tactical approach describes David Hobby, who is a light master, has a fabulous blog, Strobist, where you can learn every about using flash and more and he has years and years of experience. His new approach to photography and blogging is very unique and inspirational. I yearn to know what he knows and think like he thinks. The faithful approach is Joe McNally. I was immediately at ease with Joe. See that, like we are friends… JOE. Anyhow, I never felt like Joe was trying to earn his superiority (is that a word). We all know him and respect him and he too has many years in the field. He was a photographer for Life Magazine so he obviously is qualified. : ) Part of my love for Joe came when he told us that he says, “Let’s see what happens,” several times during his shoots (all while keeping his assistants wondering why he hasn’t figured it out after 35 years) . He has faith that it will be something cool based on his vision and then tweaks it if it didn’t work out. Joe McNally blog is a fun way to see his latest leaps of faith. : ) Joe inspired me to stop trying to get it perfect-just go for it. I have a tendency to over study and over research. I need to put it in action now and tweak it as I go. I loved the different approaches, I loved the different schools of thought, I loved the inspiration and I loved their passion for getting the light right! I also loved the open question session at the end where we were able to put our minds at ease, learn more about them and feel like we got our money’s worth. :)
As I am typing this out, it leads me to my next thought and possible post… natural light vs. other light. Hmmmm…
I mentioned THE headshots. Here is the 8 minute “studio” session involving 4 ladies that wanted headshots. Incredible, huh? I am grateful to call these ladies friends and I certainly look forward to learning from them. Come along, down the road of an 8 minute headshot session for 4 ladies (the fourth was me).
Meet Brianne Hall. Brianne and I met the first night I arrived… she was a roommate. Isn’t it funny how you can be friends but not really be friends? I had never met Brianne but knew her from a photography forum. What I learned about Brianne is that she is a solid, determined girl! She is a wedding photographer and dedicated to doing things right! When she stood up, I was surprised by her height. She is a stunning, awesome six feet tall. I have always been short-I envy those that are not vertically challenged. She is one of sweetest girls and always ready for good time! She woke up every morning ready for a new day, a new class and a new opportunity. On our day of headshots, she did not disappoint with her darling dress, cardigan and pearls. She walked the sassy walk for us just as we would have our kids, seniors or fashion models do. (do those all even belong in the same category?) She never stopped wanting to do better, learn more and achieve whatever is possible. It was a privilege to get to know her. She was a fabulous roommate and she is an excellent photographer! I loved how Brianne was ready to go at any given time and yet so independent. She was there for the right reasons! Thank you for being a great example Brianne!
Meet Kelli France. I met Kelli for a few brief moments in October while I was in AZ for some Queen Creek mini sessions. I had known Kelli for what seemed like a million years although I completed the business mentoring through Francypants Academy just last year and loved her ever since. I am passionate about business and can’t turn that business brain off. Well, I think Kelli may be a match in that area! She is always forward thinking with her business. Anyhow, we joined up at the airport and proceeded to laugh our way from gate to baggage to MGM. Kelli is a whirlwind of laughter and an excellent teacher. She is the entertainment at a midnight PJ party and up for some dancing even in those plaid PJ’s. Her style is adorable and she is an excellent photographer from bellies to babies and tots to teens (Kelli, did I just get your tagline right?) Kelli was another roommate and kept us tossing business ideas and sharing thoughts. What a great way to spend our time at WPPI! I loved the way she was asking for commitments before we left our conference-committment for growth, for change, for improvements. She is a leader! Thanks for helping me sort and commit to change Kelli!
Meet Jaclyn Davis. Jaclyn impressed me from the get-go with story of the accidental flight to Reno (instead of Las Vegas) while keeping a smile. She brushed it off like another day in the life. She was easy to be around and humble and talented. Her personality was a treasure and she was friendly to all those who came in contact with her. Jaclyn was also a roommate and although we were “friends” on the forum, it was a gift to get to know her. Jaclyn was a bucket of knowledge and was ready to share with everyone. She loved her McDonald’s mornings and often lost her shoes in our tiny room. She was fun, giggly and driven. I loved her bright colors and her simple style. I loved how Jaclyn never got her feathers ruffled. I love how she can take a horrible experience (flying to Reno and taxied to the supposed MGM before realizing she wasn’t in Vegas) and turn it into a great story that brings a room together in laughter and fun… we were laughing WITH her not at her. ; ) Thanks for being so fun and light-hearted Jaclyn. You are darling! (and I am happy to say that I finally learned how to spell your name)
Meet Katie Kulzer. I must admit that Katie was nearly a stranger but that didn’t stop me from loving her right away. I could see her spunk and friendliness from the moment I met her. I love me some spunk! Her fashion was edgy and she had a bright smile. I wish I had more pictures of this adorable photographer BUT with 4 others in your way and only 8 minutes, it is difficult to get more shots. She rocks the sassy dress and short hair. I can’t wait to get to know her better! Katie, thanks for being so kind and friendly to a stranger! I hope to see more of you on that fabulous forum! : )
What a lucky girl I am, to rub shoulders with these ladies, to know they are friends but to now KNOW they are my friends. I love sharing-sharing ideas, challenges, talent and thoughts. It was truly a fantastic conference and was not short of fabulous people. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend WPPI 2011!