Some may call me a reticent landscaper, but I prefer to believe that a little bit of wild growth at the edge of the mowedlawn is good for nature, and attracts lots of pretty visitors. After all, I live in a rural residential area, surrounded by fields and trees, with a small marsh at the side of my lot. I think sometimes letting nature just “be” is good for us all. Today I had a visit from an orange butterfly (which I have not identified, but I’m sure one of you will!). It was almost as if he was a professional model- turning around as I sat nearby with my camera, so that I could get a good view from all angles! It was also very fashionable of him to sit on a vibrant purple thistle- a nice contrast to his bright orange wings.
While I had my camera out practicing some off-camera flash techniques with still life subjects, my pets were curious, and so they became my practice subjects. This is my sweet dog, an almost-four- year-old Golden Retriever-German Shepherd cross.
These images are straight out of camera, taken with a cluttery background in my kitchen, just using the flash to overpower the normal household lighting. (in the last image I darkened the blacks slightly using levels, just in one corner). I love how creative I can get with lighting!
The following photos were taken within about a 15 minute window- just in the few golden moments at the start of a sunset. There were some changes in light as I went along, but most of the differences between these photos are the result of changing exposure in-camera, and adding off-camera flash. I made very few modifications in photoshop- I cropped slightly, cloned out an ugly electrical line, and added a bit of saturation to enhance the sunset, but otherwise the lighting differences are Straight-out-of-camera.
In the photo above, however, the couple isn’t well lit, so I added an off-camera flash for a different look. You can still see the cyans of the ocean, but the bride & groom are more the focus of the image.
Adding off-camera flash in a gazebo with a white ceiling, perfect for reflecting the light, creates an image with focus on the bride & groom, but also allows the definition and colour of the sunset behind them.
I love the creative freedom that comes from changing light!
Do you have a lighting preference among these images?
This woman approached me while we were walking through a village and pointed to my hat, which had a Canadian flag. She gave me a hug and started speaking quickly in Spanish. Since I speak only a few words of Spanish, and she spoke only a few words of English, I smiled and said “no hablo Espanol” she smiled and said “you try? I try”. We had an unusual but friendly conversation- I think it was about my children and her grandchildren, and that she loves Canada and I love Cuba… and finally I said she was beautiful and asked to take her picture. A few hugs and kisses later, and I was left with an image that will always remind me of the beauty, strength and open hearts of the people I met in Cuba.
I recently had the pleasure of working with a bride and groom who were excited about letting me do some fun lighting! I am really happy with the images I got, and SO glad that I invested in a creative lighting photography workshop with Christina Craft from Funky Town Photography. I learned so much, and putting what I learned into practice is crazy fun!
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I’ve lost focus for a moment or two (get it… focus… in a photography blog??? lol)
BUT, as my friends often say, I have ADOS (Attention Defecit… OH! shinything…)
I think that part of understanding why I love photographing such diverse subject matter, is really in understanding who I am as a person- I find so many things fascinating, and funny, and I really enjoy connecting with new people. (especially those who also find me funny) I love learning new things, and I love travel.
So… today I’m going to go back to November 2011 and share some pictures I took on a trip to London with my friend Chris. He’s an event planner for a Queen’s University school of Policy Studies, so I had an opportunity to go along with a group of British and Canadian Diplomats and Professors for a deeply discounted trip in exchange for some photography at a couple of official dinners. It was an amazing trip- I ate with former High Commissioners, and dined at the home of the Lord Mayor of London.
Added to that was lots of sightseeing, I could (and might) do several blogs showing the beautiful buildings, the streets, the lights… but for this blog, I’m showing you some of the funky, strange and artistic stuff we did with photos.
Chris and I took the same photography course in highschool (that was a long time ago- when we had fully manual cameras, and developed our own film and prints in the school darkroom.) One of the course projects was to create a photo collage- which, back then, was MUCH harder because we literally had to piece together real photos. (and with film, you couldn’t flip back on an LCD screen to make sure you got all the proper views as you were going) Now, with digital, you can nudge, and enlarge, and do all kinds of cool things to make it work. One of the important things to remember is to anchor the collage in some way- one way is by showing your feet to reference your position in the scene, another technique we used was to start by showing another person as the photographer in the scene. Here are a few collages from both of us. Because they are so wide, it is worth clicking on them to see them full screen.
Which brings me to our visit to the Tate Modern.
I love art galleries. Even when I don’t understand all of the art contained therein, I always enjoy being in the presence of creative energy. At the Tate though, I have to admit that BOTH of us were a little… well…unsophisticated in our behaviour. In our defence, we were tired and a bit punchy from several days of busy touristing. I LOVED the Matisse, and the Picasso, and even several other artists I hadn’t previously heard of, but enjoyed nonetheless. It was some of the installations that I didn’t understand. The slight giggling began at an Ai WeiWei exhibit which was a pile of lovely ceramic handpainted sunflower seeds. The display was supposed to be sensory and interactive- that visitors could touch the seeds- that sounded quite interesting actually. BUT, the gallery decided instead of letting us touch them (someone might steal a seed) that they would sweep them into a pile in the centre of the room, rope them off, and then talk in a very serious and sombre tone about it. The laughter got worse at an exhibit that resembled piles of poo, and there was a sculpture nearby that we interpreted as MANY things, but I think turned out to represent a goat. I didn’t see it at all. Finally, we absolutely lost it at a large exhibit about families and genetics. There were actually some VERY lovely photographs of generations and different cultures- I was enjoying them, but then there was also frame upon frame upon frame of families of bunnies. Of course bunnies wouldn’t sit still, so they were all photographed sitting under plexiglass enclosures. In our delirious and tired mental state… we couldn’t stop laughing about the poor boxed bunnies. (OK, art is supposed to solicit a reaction… don’t judge our reaction!!!) I think you have to see it to understand:
This led to a discussion between the two of us about what Modern Art is, and then the BRILLIANT idea to create some of our own. We went over to a nearby white wall and took several photographs of each other, with the intent that we would use the photos to create our own photographic modern art. Yes, we got VERY silly, but it was actually one of the most memorable moments from the trip (well, that, and the time I woke him up at 2 am to tell him that I thought I heard horses outside the window of that beautiful royal bedroom in the collage above)
We both found GREAT inspiration from the boxed bunnies, as you will see. Photos taken of me were artistically rendered by Chris, and photos of Chris were transformed by myself. You’ll have to click on the first two to fully appreciate the details….
Many many thanks to Chris Cornish, one of my oldest and dearest friends for sharing the art with me….
Disclaimer: We didn’t intend to have our “modern art” taken too seriously- it was just a fun project for the flight home- and don’t yell at me for hating on the modern artists in the Tate. I LOVE art, I just don’t always understand it- and I laugh really easily.
I have a friend named Maddi who is 13. She is absolutely gorgeous,and very photogenic. I did a creative modelling photoshoot with her older sister Erika a little over a year ago, and a photosession with the whole family last fall. Since then, we’ve been talking about doing a creative collaboration together, and a couple […]
I’m not sure what it is with me and Celebrity Look-Alike babies these days… As soon as I set up this shot of baby Olivia, I knew it reminded me of an iconic image… My first thought was Ella Fitzgerald, but when I googled some images, I realized that she was really more of a Billie Holiday baby!
Here’s a full-sized colour version of the photo I got:
Sometimes you don’t need to see detail to see joy! I love this spontaneous image I captured of my friend with her little boy by the pool.