Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Season of Headshots

'Tis the season to get yourself a new headshot. I'm running a special right now for a 15 minute session to include a 5 x 7 print and a digital image for $65. We can do it inside or out and you will get at least 15 images to choose from.  Call me at 845 527-7608.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

When in DC...Be sure to check out the Newseum

Perhaps it's because I spent a lot of years in the newspaper industry, but I just HAD to check out the six-floor, jam-packed NEWSEUM in Washington, DC. Located at 555 Pennsylvnia Avenue, smack dab in the middle of everything that is cool to see in DC, the Newseum is an interactive museum dedicated to journalism, photojournalism, how we approach the news, who has given their lives in pursuit of telling the truth, and what events have rocked our world.

We started our tour with a look at actualy pieces of the Berlin Wall.  We had been to Berlin and seen remnants of the wall, that only came down in 1989 - a short 25 years ago - and got to read and hear about the influence that that wall had had on the German people. The wall separated family and friends for 29 years - those living on the East side were under a strict communist regime and were forbidden any contact with the outside world. Many died trying to get from the East side to the West. Mind boggling to see scenes of Ronald Reagan saying "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down this wall!" and to see the tall checkpoints that were erected to keep people from emigrating.

There were several rooms with movies playing, telling us about how to explore the museum, how the first amendment rights have been upheld, and how the news is determined in an editorial session.

We took a glass elevator up to the sixth floor and enjoyed a view of DC with the Capitol Building to the north, the famous art museums directly across the street and saw glimpses of the Smithstonian, Treasury Buildings and more.

It was inspiring to see photos of so many who gave their lives trying to get the story in anguished areas.

One of the most impressive sights was the tangled cell tower from the top of the World Trade Center. There was a place to put your thoughts down on what September 11, 2001 meant to you and your handwritten thoughts were projected onto a large wall. It was a very quiet, yet impactful place to reflect.

We ended our tour watching a 4 D movie where we watched the Colonial soldiers shoot at us (and felt air puff and the chair rock back). We saw the story of Nellie Bly, the first woman undercover reporter who gained access to the newsroom by entering a Women's Insane Asylum, one that had horrid conditions, starving the patients, making them live with rats and basically making them insane if they weren't already.  

If you do get a chance to visit this museum, make sure you plan a whole day for it - there is so much to see and do when you are there. Naturally, Washington has a ton of other free museums, so, make a week of it if you can. Try to take public transportation because driving is horrible and it's not easy to park. But definitely do yourself a favor and try to get to this great museum!

And, as always, have fun shooting!
Smithstonian Museum, Washington, DC

Monday, July 7, 2014

Watch What You Wish For

Why is it I always seem to learn the hard way? I thought it would be awesome to have my photographs up at a hip coffeeshop, so I inquired how to make that happen.  Strange Brew is a really cool venue for music, food, relaxing and getting some computing done, so it should be a nice place to show my landscape images, right?

Well, yes and no. The venue has two very large rooms and my photos actually look very small there.

And there are always people working away at their computers, so it is a bit uncomfortable to wander up and down the rooms to see my 35 images.
And many of my images look lost in these two large rooms I was offered. I should have printed them as large as I could, but I wasn't sure how they would all fit.

And it's a very ecclectic collection, with images from New York, New England 
and a lot of newer images from Austin, Texas. 

 So, I started this blog a few weeks ago to invite my friends to see the show, and then I started feeling that it wasn't that "perfect enough."  As an artist, you suddenly find yourself becoming a perfectionist and wanting everything to be just as perfect as you can make it. 

I met my friend Marybeth at the exhibit yesterday. She had already purchased an image of the NYC skyline and wanted to visit it (she'll have it for herself on Aug. 1st). As we were looking at the images on the wall (and I was re-straightening them for the umpteenth time), a patron said, "Are these yours? They are awesome! I've been studying here all week and listening to all of the wonderful comments and enjoying them myself."  

Wow - it's amazing what a little positive feedback can do for the soul!

If you are able, stop by Strange Brew any time in the month of July and let me know what you think. It's very vulnerable being in the public's eye, but very rewarding when someone stops to say, "Hey, I like that!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In Search of an Iconic Background

So, I had fun providing headshots for the women in a band called Miss Jones and the Furrballs a few weeks ago. They market themselves as a "hilarious musical show band guaranteed to entertain," and they are an absolute hoot! They have each taken on persona and it takes them a sincere amount of time to get made up into their different characters.


They were wonderful models, as they are naturals for posing. We did some group shots but, unfortunately, one of their band members dropped out and they needed a group shot ASAP since they need posters for an upcoming performance.

Cry Baby

I suggested an outdoor shoot since the weather (and lighting) were perfect and they jumped on the idea to try and pose in an iconic Austin setting.  Now, our challenge was, it was a Saturday night and we had to deal with Austin traffic and a parking challenge.  That said, I believe we found a few good locations.

First, we found a nice retro background outside of an office building. Simple, geometric and it didn't distract from the group.  They even had fun doing their own rendition of Abbey Road....they called it "Tabby Road."

We then moved on to a cool old bus outside of the restaurant El Arroyo on 5th.  This made a wonderful setting and got the ladies a lot of attention on the street. They were able to pass out a lot of cards to folks who were curious about what we were doing.

Miss Jones and the Furrballs

We shot some in front of a stone lion and in front of two giant, metal Mexican musicians and then hopped in the car to try and get the Austin skyline.  As it turned out, there was no parking to be had anywhere and the skyline itself is actually kind of messy right now with giant cranes and scaffolding.
So, onto the Capitol building!

I don't know what was more fun, shooting the pictures, watching passer-byers expressions or hearing Cry Baby call hi to everyone as we drove through the streets.  If you have a chance, go see a Furrball concert (I believe there is one coming up soon at Baby A's). 

And if you love photography, keep finding great places and people to shoot! And, have fun y'all!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What's A Gospel Brunch?

My daughter suggested I'd love to try a Gospel Brunch. I envisioned large, robed ladies belting out traditional Baptist hymns while I tried to swallow down a buffet of breakfast, lunch and dinner (that's NY style) and everyone getting up and swinging ans swaying yelling Halleluia!

Wrong.  Well, maybe there is one like that somewhere, but Gospel Brunch at Strange Brew in South Austin was a lovely, relaxed, Sunday spiritual experience.  The Purgatory Players perform every Sunday from 11-1. The setting is a darkened coffee house where they have a large selection of coffees and teas, milk choices (Hemp milk, anyone?), breakfast tacos, pastries and an amazing sandwich menu. 

Jeff Plackenhorn explained that the regular Purgatory Players were down three members on the particular Sunday that I was there - one was on the road, one was sick and one was playing elsewhere - so they had guests Stan Smith (pictured on the right, who sounds a lot like Dylan and plays on Tues and Wed. at the Elephant Room) and Dave Scher (on the left) who had the voice of an angel and finger picking that was utterly amazing.

The group played a mixture of Bluegrass and folk and, as Stan put it, "old hippie music."  I would have never been able to have figured out that they didn't play regularly together. Everyone got their solo time and there was even some guest performers from the audience. I finally got to see a performance "the Austin way" with popular artists who stopped by to see the show, joining in the fun.

The show benefits the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and Jackie, a representative from the Food Bank got up and shared how every dollar donated is matched by local companies and becomes $5. in essence.  She related how the Food Bank feeds folks from 21 different counties and that one in every four are children.  They are always looking for volunteers. 

The Gospel Brunch takes place every Sunday morning from 11-1 at Strange Brew. This show benefits the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. Give it a try and I believe you'll be glad you did. 

PS Photos were shot with natural light 1/60, f2.8 at 6400 ISO.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Shooting a Birthday With Some Challenges

I have to say, I have the best job in the world - getting to shoot all kinds of fun events where people are happy and celebrating and generally looking their best.  A five year old birthday party at the brand new Austin Aquarium  sounded, at first, like the perfect gig.  Brooklyn is a beautiful young lady who I had photographed before so I really looked forward to her party.  The only problem was, the Aquarium was dark, over crowded, and the children were far more interested at looking at the fish tanks than my camera, leaving me with only their backs to photograph.

But this is where being an experienced photographer comes in handy.  I was prepared with the proper lighting set up - my flash on a bracket to give plenty of light and prevent red-eye - and a battery pack on my hip so that the flash would fire continuously.  I was able to get to the opposite side of the tanks most of the time, to try and capture the awe of seeing these bizarre sea creatures.

The Aquarium provided opportunities where the kids could speak to an expert and even get to touch and feed some of the critters.

But, best of all is capturing the reason why everyone was assembled - to celebrate Brooklyn's turning 5. So, I was able to get shots with her Mom and with her friends, which, after all, was the most important part.

Brooklyn had a "Frozen" themed party and her group of friends were all happy to be there and enjoy the pizza and cupcakes and birthday fun.  Knowing my lighting and being ready for the most important moments help me capture the special memories at Brooklyn's birthday party.  These treasured moments go so fast - it is so important to catch them and reminisce with them.

I am available to shoot all kinds of events. Please remember me when you are celebrating something - a retirement, engagement, birthday, First Communion, Anniversary.....any of life's precious moments.  See more of my work at chriscina.net.

 Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if YOU have any photographic challenges!

Monday, January 6, 2014

What I Learned From Doing a 365

First of all, I learned that not everyone know what "doing a 365" is. It is posting a Photo a Day for 365 days, generally started at the beginning of a year by faithfully shooting a worthwhile image every single day and getting it posted somewhere for people to follow. I had planned to post it in this blog...I discovered Facebook was an easier avenue and provided me daily feedback. And I am so grateful to my loyal fans. Thank God for that feedback!!!! I was often surprised at which photos got a lot of "likes" and which ones seemed to get very little response.  One of my biggest challenges is always "selecting" what is worthwhile and what is not.  For example, I had a lot of fun with bubbles last year, but even today could not select which of these is my favorite bubble image.

Doing the 365 made me explore new avenues to get creative. I played with smoke and fire and drips – things I had always thought about but never before had made the effort.  

I spent a lot of time with my macro lens and learned about macro tubes which are inexpensive and really allow you to get in close to your subject. I learned that putting a flower on a black background makes it pop and showing the detail on intricate flowers is difficult to capture but a lot of fun to master. However, flowers seemed to get the fewest "likes."


Passion Flower

 What did get an enormous amount of "likes" was these doors. Evidently, doors really speak to people.

I was blessed to have my grandchildren every Wednesday, who provided me with the perfect models, but showed me that children are not easy to capture.

The always entertaining Charlotte.

Mr Nate, also known around here as "BamBam"

I didn't have Walt every Wed. but I couldn't leave him out of 2013's favorite captures.

And I managed to get some new favorites of my own,the one below that I shot 50 miles north of NYC on a crystal clear but bruttaly cold day.  I like the dichotomy of the sun bleached chairs in the foreground, the fierce waves in the middle, and the magical city in the background. I also have a wonderful memory of my mother, brother and sister braving the cold with me in the spot, understanding that I simply needed to get a "photo of the day."

Other favorites include figuring out how to get the bokeh right behind Santa, light painting with my husband in our backyard ("hurry up - I need a picure!"),  and the headlight on an old-fashioned car after the rain in the early morning, "just because."  Some pictures just speak to you for no known reason.  Others because of the time and emotions that were going on when it was captured. But all photographs evoke emotions for me.

Looking over the images I posted each day in 2013, I am reminded of the wonderful friends and family who posed for me, the moments shared, the experiences I encountered. It really was a great experience. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled not to have to download and edit when I came home from a shoot last night, in order to have something to post.  But I do see how I grew as a photographer and how I have all sorts of new images to show with pride and all kinds of new memories of another pretty good year behind me. 

One of my very favorite images from last year was of this guy, who helps me find my picture, supports me in the endeavor and sits patiently waiting while I chase my dream.

If you'd like to see the entire year's postings, go to: Photo A Day

PS My New Year's Resolution after writing this post is to get more organized and name images more clearly so that they are easier to locate!