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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sammy-J at the beach

It's rare when I get the chance to take SJ away from the rest of the family and enjoy some one-on-one time with her. One evening, we decided to ditch the rest of the crew and take a mommy-and-me trip to the beach. Oh, the fun we had! I was shooting some images for school, and SJ was playing in the sand. We got to the beach about 30 minutes before dusk, and enjoyed the peaceful shoreline.

Not far away from us was a large family who were also enjoying the shoreline. They had an arsenal of fireworks (it was the 4th of July), and were having a blast lighting them. Before I knew it, SJ had successfully crashed their party with her charming personality and was lighting bottle rockets with a little boy about her age. The scene was just too cute, but I had this frightful image that the moment was a foreshadowing of 10 years from now. I won't have too long with her before she ditches ALL of the family (including me), and finds some summer romance at the seashore. I guess I'll just have to hold on to her as long as I can until that happens, right?

Here are some snapshots of the evening. Enjoy!

SJ wanted me to take a picture of the seagull.

SJ's toys for the evening... that is, before she crashed a beach party.
She is just so at ease on the shoreline. You would think she lived on a tropical island or something.
In hindsight, I think this is a photograph of her planning her attack. It wasn't long after this shot that she was making friends and shooting off fireworks.
Her little friend was showing her how to do it safely. That line is the firework shooting up into the air.

Fireworks farther down the beach. A hotel was shooting these off.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My New Blog

I have started another blog. I am stupid-busy with finals, but wanted to push this out because some of you have emailed me, asking when it would happen. It is still simple, and there is only one post on it as of right now, but it is there! Be sure to check it out, follow it, and drop a comment or two in there so I feel special and know that people are reading my stuff. :)


Friday, May 18, 2012

Donation for AIDS Action Coalition in Huntsville, Alabama

I have been invited to donate a piece of my works to a fundraiser that benefits the AIDS Action Coalition in Huntsville, Alabama. Every year, this wonderful organization benefits from a fundraiser called Dining With Friends. While dining on delicious culinary creations, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction. In past years, over 700 tickets were sold to this event. This is one of the largest fundraiser events in the southeast!

I was introduced to this wonderful event by the amazing Denise Onwere, a local artist who simply won't allow me to wait another moment before I put my name out there in the artistic world. I'm incredibly grateful for her support, motivation, and can-do attitude about getting started. She has opened countless doors for me in the local area, and inspired me to do some wonderful things with my camera. To say the least, Denise has been nothing short of a blessing my world.

After running the idea of my participation in the event by my instructor, Jill Mott, I decided to take the leap into the professional world of photography. I highly value Instructor Mott's professional opinions, and trust her guidance. She is a great source of inspiration, encouragement, and challenge for me. I am a better photographer after studying under her, and I can only hope to have the honor of learning more from her in the future.

After showing Instructor Mott my portfolio, and discussing the event, I decided to donate two pieces for the silent auction this year. Each image is an 8x10 print, double matted and framed to an 11x14 piece. Here is a picture of each final piece just before I donated them.

"Providence At Night"

"Tree Swing"

I obtained two tickets to the event, and permission to bring my camera and take pictures. The silent auction begins at 7pm on Saturday, May 19th. I hope to bring back some great pictures of my first professional appearance!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photo Shoot Sunday: Shoot an Event

This weekend's assignment for my photography class was to shoot an event. It could be anything, really, but it had to be an official event. So I decided to drag my gear out to Josh's soccer game. I had a blast, and the guys have decided that I only need to pay them each a royalty of $5 per picture. I told them I'd send the check as soon as I get one. Ha ha.

I love this team Josh plays on. Most of the guys seem to have been playing together since high school... and some of the guys are old enough to remember watching the first episode of Sesame Street. Just kidding, guys! While they do focus on scoring goals, talk on the sidelines was less about who should play what position, and more about who brought which kind of beer for the after-game recovery and rehydration session.

These pictures are by no means professional grade, but I'm still pretty impressed with some of them. Not sure how I feel about sports photography just yet.  It's hard... they keep moving! I couldn't slow the shutter speed down too much because they would run so fast. I see lots of practice in my future. And as usual, enjoy.
Being the keeper can be lonely at times...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shutter Speeds and Apertures

My classes this session are Color Theory for Web and Multimedia Devices, and Principles of Digital Photography. It seems the first couple of weeks in class are always the toughest for me. I am learning new instructor preferences (some prefer to be called Instructor and their last name, others don't want to be that formal and require that I call them by first name), reading more chapters in a day than I did in a month before I went back to school, and learning more about my new equipment. I'm having a blast through all of this stress, and the girls seem to enjoy having a Photography Student for a mama right now.

In my Photography class, we have been learning about shutter speeds and apertures. You know those pictures of something really close up, and the entire background is blurry? That was done by changing the aperture. Doing shots like that takes practice because you have to also fidget with your shutter speeds and ISO so the picture doesn't come out over or underexposed. I'm not terribly perfect at it yet, but here are a few pictures that I'm pretty proud of.

Notice how this picture is mostly focused? Depth is only shown in the diminishing lines of the toppings dispensers. 
A quick fidgeting with the aperture and shutter speeds on your camera, and you'll get a lovely sense of depth with a small amount of the picture focused. Fun, huh?

Check out the GMC in the background. Kind of focused... right?
Fuzzy now, which brings the frogurt cup and cherry stems star to the focal point. 
The next thing we learned this week was how to play with the shutter speeds. So far, I have learned about two kinds of movement in photography: frozen movement, and action shots. These can be manipulated by fidgeting with the shutter speeds. Again, you can't just fidget with shutter speeds and not mess with aperture. Your picture will come out discolored (too dark or too light).

Moving water shows movement very well! This is frozen movement. You notice the water drops, the air between the parts of the water, etc. This was done with a fast shutter speed. It froze a moment in time for you.
Slow down the shutter speed, and the water drops become a sheet of water moving in the fountain. Be careful, though. The shutter stays open longer, and will pick up any movements you make. Use of a tripod is highly recommended.

If you set your camera just right, you can combine the two and get an overall effect that is fun. And it just wouldn't be a good blog post without a picture of the girls!

Frozen movement with a blurry background to show depth. 
For a side assignment this week, we had to compose a still life photo shoot. We weren't allowed to use any flashes; just lights that are already in the house and/or the sun. I decided to do a family portrait without the family. Enjoy!

Your mama wears cowboy boots, and your daddy wears combat boots! Wait, that may not be an insult...
Maybe it was the boots, maybe it was the severe lack of sleep I've been working with, but the boots seemed to take on a personality all their own during the shoot.
The family, lined up and ready to go!

So many sappy metaphors, not enough time...

So that's what I've been learning this session. Whatcha think?