Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Brings New Possibilities

Warm weather and sunshine showed up this week after a month of rain, and it brought with it some beauties! I'm fortunate. My husband loves to garden and plant me some wild varieties of flowers and they are all so pretty and exciting after the winter we just had.
On top of flowers, nature is popping:
And we're getting outside more:
And we're finding a larger variety of thing to photograph:
My 2.5 year old nephew is FAST! Most of all, though, is that it's a fabulous time of year to get out and make pictures. Weekend time is here.  Happy shooting!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Playing with a new toy

As I mentioned last week, I purchased an Orbis Ring Flash in an effort to get more dramatic portraits and also discovered that it's an excellent tool for lighting macro photography as well. My friend Amy was a willing subject this week.  She allowed me to experiment with my new flash modifier.  An artist, Amy invited me into her studio and I set up my Nikon SB 800 on a stand and shot it through a white umbrella as my main light. Then I played with the ring flash, holding it up on my left and putting it around the lens, so I could see what the results would be like.
Her dog played a willing subject as well.

Amy is an amazing jewelry designer and I enjoyed trying to capture some of her designs.
I like the dramatic look on Amy in the photo below. Think I'm going to really enjoy the Ring Flash.

Happy Easter, friends.  Have a great weekend shooting!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Following the Light

"Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”        - George Eastman

Photography itself means writing with light, and those of us consumed by photography are hell bent on an endless quest of finding or creating the perfect light. In that quest, I wake up at ungodly early morning hours to find the magic light for a landscape and I try and study the Masters for how to utilize flashes and modifiers to create a beautiful light when the ambient alone isn't enough. 

Went to Photo NorthEast Convention two weeks ago and got inspired by several good speakers  - all whom made me painfully aware that I need to market, set firm prices despite "friendships", and get a better handle on how to light my subject. 

Got up early on a bitter cold Sunday morning to go out on a sunrise shoot. It being the last weekend of March, the world was still mighty brown and ugly and unfortunately I got separated from the leader, so never learned what he might have offered to the landscape. This was my best effort.
At least I've learned to find some light.

Learning how to light your subject was reinforced and focused on at the Flashbus Tour last Thursday in NYC which was AWESOME!!! I felt like I was at a Rock Concert, watching two of my favorite photojournalists talk a mile a minute about the different ways to enhance the image of the person you are shooting by using 1 or 2 speedlights. David "The Strobist" Hobby has been a total source of inspiration to me over the past few years, as he writes a daily blog and freely shares tips and techniques to lighting a subject.  A former Baltimore Sun photographer, David, like me, likes the story behind the photo and likes to present each photo in "a different light," which is to say that you have to determine what you are trying to say with the image and determine how best to light it. He showed an image of a female opera singer he took recently, singing in the shower, fully dressed with the water pouring down on her. He wanted to show her singing in the shower but still show her as a dignified, talented woman and he discussed how he got her to "get wet." And how he set up his lights to best capture that.  Really cool!!!

I lunched with a very nice couple from NJ who are totally getting into better lighting because they had their first granddaughter. I can relate to that! Really nice people and he was as crazy about reading Hobby and McNally's blogs and books and trying to figure out new scenarios for lighting.

Then, the dessert of the day was having Joe McNally talk all afternoon, while showing how he determines the lighting in similar situations. Joe comes with a crew who pose for him and hold his lights and generally just help him show himself off with a lot of fun. I've loved Joe for years. He is an incredible photographer, having shot covers and centerfolds for Life, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated, as well as a terrific writer and a humble, sweet human being. Once again he impressed me and taught me and entertained me - and a slew of other folks. At the end, both Hobby and McNally sat in chairs up front and took questions. Really an incredible day! Catch the FlashBus if it's coming your way.

Now I'm psyched. Bought myself a ring flash and Pocket Wizards and I'm dying to get out and find some folks to shoot.  Stay tuned!

Happy shooting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Family Time

While decorating for my oldest daughter's baby shower recently, my younger daughter asked me "did you bring a camera?" REALLY? Do I ever go anywhere without a camera? At any rate, I never get to socialize as much as I'd like to, but I do get to collect memories of the fun events we have in life. I had a WONDERFUL time at the baby shower (except for looking at some of the photos that included me) - we were so blessed to have so many people pitch in and help - my sisters and my Mom made the delicious and beautiful cookies that we gave out as a "Thanks for coming" gift.
My daughter Kiryn spent a day with me making some magical owls and birds as decorations.
 All of the guests decorated some onesies I purchased, and they all did a BEAUTIFUL job.  But, best of all was the fabulous cake made by Nova's dear friend Meg Murphy Grabar that not only looked wonderful, but was the best tasting cake ever!!!! And she made matching cupcakes to help us celebrate a couple of birthdays, as well.
We were blessed with a wonderful crowd of family, friends and great food. Thanks to Longobardi's in Wappingers Falls and to everyone who made it (especially the Jaeger girls coming up from North and South Carolina!) And, despite my not liking to have my picture taken, I LOVE being with my girls!