That’s a Wrap

Blog

The Christmas decorations are up and the shopping is done…   And now a little free time to catch up here on the blog; my favorite way to spend Sunday mornings.

Although I have not had the camera in my hand as much as I would like in 2018, there has been a pen and paper at the ready to sketch new composite ideas, and tutorials, such as on You Tube and Creative Live, to check out.  And it turns out reading, no, not necessarily photography related material,  but a novel or two; is a great way to work on visualization skills and get those creative ideas flowing.

As part of the never-ending learning process in this photographic journey, it’s finally sinking in that it’s not about the quantity of photos taken or the number of outings/shoots packed into a year…  There has been a steady decline over the last two years or so of photos that I’ve taken with my DSLR and this year even less.  But! There have been more “keepers.”  Because now it is about getting the shot I want – not just snapping away and hoping for the best. It’s being able to visualize the image and compose it in camera; whether it’s a piece to a composite, a landscape, or a portrait.   And this year, those were the images that got more attention than I could have ever imagined!

This too has brought a boost in confidence, especially with the composites, within the photo community and arts community alike.  And I celebrated this ever-developing photo-artistic direction by submitting images for the December issue of Living the Photo Artistic Life! It’s an amazing feeling to have two images among the many photo artists that have inspired me for so long.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season and New Year filled with Love, Joy

and Inspiration whatever your passion!

 

 

 

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The Eleventh Hour

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Good Sunday Morning!  It feels good to be spending this cool, sunny last day of September morning enjoying a cup of coffee and rambling on about this hobby of mine.

Let’s talk about exhibits?  Do you enter your photography in juried exhibits/competitions?  Why… or… why not?

An idea board and “rough drafts” to keep track of my first series

Over the course of this blog, I’ve entered a number of exhibits/competitions.  I’ve been rejected and have won first place.  But whatever the outcome, the weeks, days, or with just an hour or two to spare leading up to the deadline are always the same…  Working and reworking an image, looking for the tiniest of details that might have been missed to making sure the title is just right, and always, always, thinking I could have, should have done this or that differently.  Then I hit the send button… and wait.

The call for entries for the 2018 Transformations Exhibit last week was no different.  Transformations is an exhibit where photography and the imagination meet, an exhibit where “Photoshopped” is not a bad word, and an exhibit that is all about what I love to do.  So why do I get so worked up? Partly because it is a competition, all the work and effort that goes into an image, and most importantly that my vision just might not come through.  When it comes to judging there’s the technical, but then there is always the subjective… maybe the judge is partial to portraits than landscapes, more straight forward images than obscure ones, or maybe the judge has their own vision when putting the show together and your image(s) just might not fit.  Even knowing the logic and not so logical behind competitions, there are two emotions I seem to have no control over… the excitement of being chosen and the disappointment of not making the cut; which when combined equals that anxious feeling that sticks with me until the results are in.

Tapping into my darker side at Pennhurst Asylum.

So why do I do enter?  It’s simple really… because with each and every one, I learn and grow a little more as an artist and photographer.

Well, the results should be in sometime this coming week and regardless the outcome, I will be very glad to say goodbye to this gnawing anxious feeling… until the next exhibit/competition I enter.

With fingers crossed,

Did someone say…

Blog, Photography

Christmas!

Noooooo! Can it really only be only 45 , 44, 43 days away?  You know who will be here before we know it!

By this time last year, I would have stashed away a present or two.  And in less than two weeks the family converges here and me with no menu.  Okay so turkey, I know but that’s about as far as I got.  So much to do and all I can think about are the composites I’m working on, getting out somewhere (anywhere) to take photos, and putting some more time in at the shop (ETSY) for all those earlybird holiday shoppers out there.

Much of this wanting to photograph & create stems from the inspiration that fills up the Facebook groups and Instagram feeds I follow.  But with that, also comes a feeling of falling behind…  {sigh} and now like nothing is getting accomplished  on any front (home, work, or photographically).  This is not a good way to head into such a hectic season.  So I’m nipping this in the butt right now.   It’s time for a real plan…    So here it is: Sunday mornings for blogging (√), at least three evenings set aside for creating,  and at least one, hopefully, two outings a week with camera in hand.   And somewhere in there, we’ll squeeze in some Christmas shopping, holiday baking, and (ugh) the housework…

Here’s wishing your holiday countdown goes smoothly.

Stellar Weekend

Blog, Photography

THE ASSIGNMENT

There are many reasons I love this hobby of mine.  On the top of that list is that there’s always something new to learn… something to explore.  Once a year, in September, we visit a little valley in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.  It’s a weekend filled with long walks and paddling around a pond during the day, and sitting around the bonfire and star gazing at night.  Oh, and of course, spending time with the family ~priceless!   I have been documenting this weekend for over 16 years and as my technical skills grow, so do my photo projects/challenges… from macro to light painting to family portraits.  So this year, with the help of some new gear, I wanted to take on universe.

This is what I learned about astro/night photography.  1) It really helps to be prepared.  Um, should have thought of this before I got to the land of no cell service.   With what little cell service there was, I was able to Google “how to photograph star trails,” and got some very basic settings.  2) Patience.  I’m not sure why I thought 4 minute exposure would be enough (it’s not) to capture good trails.  The above shot is 15 minutes.  I’m guessing 30 might have done it… but I was running out of patience, standing in the dark, just outside the woods, alone, where I am sure creepy things await (at least, that’s what was going through my head as the timer seemed to take forever). 3)  There’s a lot more light out there than you think.  I always thought this would be the perfect place to do night photography, the center of Pennsylvania, where there’s nothing around for miles.  Maybe that’s just what it feels like given the rustic setting, but in reality State College is only about 30 min to the North and Huntington, another college town, is just to the South.  Of course they are not metropolises by any stretch, but apparently big (and bright) enough for the camera to capture their light on the horizons. 4) Wait for the world to go to sleep.  This may have worked better had the cabin lights been turned off, the bonfire burned out… (neither of which I could see from where I stood, but the camera could) and the towns in the distance dimming some of their lights too. But, I’m not a night owl…

The Unexpected

Moving on from the star trails, when I turned around, I saw the cabin light had lit of row of trees.  It was like “light painting” without all the work.  So I took some shots based on a nighttime landscaping setting I found by DPS.   Satisfied after a quick check on the display, I packed it in for the night.  While enjoying the bonfire and reviewing my images more closely, I got one heck of a surprise! I actually captured the Milky Way (you know, like in those Nat Geo kind of shots).  I could see it looking straight up overhead; it just didn’t occur to me that it reached across the sky… and I never dreamed it would turn up in the shot.

So there you have it.  With a little guidance on the post-processing, I have my first ever shot of the Milky Way.  Okay, so maybe there are some way, way more amazing photographs of this amazing astronomical wonder out there, but there are none quite like this one… because this one is mine.

I can’t wait to see what next year’s stellar weekend brings,

Feeling a little blue…

Blog, Photography

… there is nothing like getting out in the garden with the camera to fix that.

The garden is also where I head when I’m feeling a little artistically and photographically stuck (which also makes me feel a bit blue).  The natural beauty, perfect palate of color, and ever so soft flow and movement in a single bloom is simply…breathtaking.  Capturing all of that is such a delight and a good exercise for tackling a rut.

Even as the season wears on, when the blooms are a bit more scarce, and their the petals a bit faded and weary,  capturing the beauty that remains by creating a still life is another great exercise to reignite that creativity.

I’m a bit obsessed (there I said it) with learning all sorts of new techniques… and there’s a lot out there!  So much so, I tend to skip around a lot, never really feeling like I mastered one before I move onto another, and this can lead to a very big pile of… frustration… and a rut.  So dialing it back a bit, choosing a simpler subject (simpler in that it is not moving, travel is not required, and it is ready when you are) and using a familiar platform to practice techniques that are still a little unrefined or experiment with new ones… is key and starts by returning to the garden.

Tech Tip

New techniques used in the images above Curves!  I never used this before, honestly because I had no idea how it really worked.   But now that I do, I use it to boost/change color, lighten/darken ~ all over or just by selecting the most minute areas.  Curves has moved to the top of favorite tools!  Who knows maybe I’ll try a curves how-to video post… uh-oh, there I go again.  On second thought, maybe it would be better if I just go find a good one to share with you 🙂