Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The light painting project is taking shape.

It's been almost a year and a half since I have been able to see, much less get to, one half of my garage and yet, with great excitement & glee I have finally been able to get it emptied out! Why all the excitement for me? Besides being able to finally find that long lost box of our favorite DVD's? LOL! Well, it's so I can convert the space into a mini studio! It's been way to long since I've had a studio space in my home and now that I've got the chance to have one again, I find myself hardly being able to focus on anything else! (The kids can feed them selves from now on, right?!?! LOL!)

In all seriousness though, the poll-swimming days of summer have sadly come to an end, and so now I am on to the next project that can keep my busy during the long winter days ahead. I figured this would be the PERFECT time for me to start some painting with light imagery!

What is painting with light you ask? (PWL) It's a type of photography that is shot in the dark (like pitch black dark!) and while the camera's shutter is left open in the dark you 'paint' in front of the lens with a light source ... or two or three ... or more! The choices for light tools is endless, especially when you consider the possibility of getting garage-ghetto and creating some of your own!

Here's a few quick test runs so far that I've created. These were all done mostly so that I could test out some ideas and get some color themes hammered out as I prep to take on the challenge of incorporating actual models in the shots! Too fun! Be sure to follow this blog and watch where these PWL test shots take me. And don't worry, I'll be posting some behind the scenes videos soon just so you can see what it is that I'm actually doing to create these colorful images. Until then, please feel free to leave me a comment if ya like ... :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Another great shoot in the water

Fall might be knocking at our doors but that doesn't mean that I can't squeak in a few more underwater sessions! Especially since this time we are in one of my models heated pool! Talk about an awesome experience! She had that baby cranked up to 92* and it was WONDERFUL! I sooooo need to get a heater installed in our pool at home!

But, I digress ... on to the shoot. This photoshoot let me work with one of my favorite galls, Amanda Pierce, who is less than two weeks away from jetting off to China with her mother for two years. YEARS!!! How am I gonna live without my favorite girl!?!?!?! I'm not sure how yet, but at least I got one more chance to work with her and this time she introduced me to her lovely friend Ms Clara Simkins! Double yay!!!!

Here a glance at the behind the scenes of our shoot.

Ok, and now for some of the final image! Talk about some stunning shots! And my Ms Amanda gets stronger and stronger every time we work together in the water! LOVE it!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My next adventure ... Painting with Light

As summer is winding down I find myself running out days to be able to shoot in the pool. While this is a saddening realization for me, it also is a great time to ponder my next set of crazy ideas! And so, out of all the fun photography ideas out there, which one did I decide to tackle you might ask? ...
Painting with Light!!!!!

This is not a new technique by any stretch, and it's honestly not new to me either but it has been like 10 years since I visited this craft! What exactly is PwL? Well, it's basically a super long exposure taken in the dark (either a blackened room or during the late midnight hours) and the subject matter is then 'painted' with light by something like a flashlight, glow stick, or even with the pop of flash in the dark. The end result can be quite dramatic as the different lights hit the cameras naked sensor.

Here's a few examples that I played with in my home with the help of my kiddos. (Please keep the laughter on the subject matter down to a minimum as it was only by some massive amount of begging that I got the kiddos to help me at all! .. and some bribery with Oreos always helps!)

Pretty cool right??  What made this technique pop in my head was my last few visits to Kansas City's Comic Con convention. Watching all the cosplayers walking around (that's folks dressed up in their favorite anime or Marvel costume for all you cosplay newbies!) and seeing them pose for all the cameras! ... Mine included! Then, when I got home and began to see photos of those costumers posted on line, some with photoshop edits, some without, I started to envision all kinds of crazy awesome things and I began to ask myself questions.

Questions like, How can we shoot these people to look more like the comics they were portraying? Would it be possible to create some stop action motion to replicate the energy in anime in addition to the neon looking stripes. How can I do this in my typical style of little to no post production work?

So a few test shots later on that idea, and I came up with these images that I captured all by myself  ...

Talk about totally-wicked awesome! And remember, these are all straight out of the camera! No photoshop was used at all! They were done in the dark with long 30 second exposures as I 'painted' myself with a flashlight and small strobe. (I'm thinking I need to find a way to shoot some videos to capture how these images are done!) After playing around with this for a bit and enjoying the results, my imagination began to kick into overdrive! So much so that I have created a folder in my computer full of ideas, inspirations and character drawings. I think this could be fun and the list of possibilities is only limited by my imagination ... and of course light painting tools! That being said, I'm going to spend the next few weeks to start gathering light painting tools &  ideas so that I can start seriously play around! Of course, once I get the tools I will only need two more things ... some amazeballs cosplayers and killer locations to shoot at night! 

This is going to be fun!!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Ready to learn about photography?

Are you ready to learn about photography? Well, I am most definitely ready to teach ya! After a long hiatus from teaching, I have decided to once again start hosting my natural lighting workshops!

 Crazy, right!?!?! I can't believe it's been almost two years since I've hosted one of these events. Time sure did pass by me! But, after hearing from so many people lately that they'd love to take a walk with me and learn some of my trade tips, I decided that it was time to have another class.

During these classes I go over the basics of outdoor lighting, how to find the light, how to 'see' it and most importantly how to manipulate it, Too many times I see newby photographers starting off by ruining a potentially great shot simply because they simply didn't recognize the lighting situation. That being said, I'll be the first to admit that I too had no clue how to see the light, much less how to successfully shoot it on location. I had to learn how to see the light the hard way by spending hours and hours on the web or in the library absorbing all that I could find on the elusive subject of natural lighting. All during those times I found myself silently wishing someone could just walk me through the basics face to face.

So, I began to attend workshops and lectures about lighting and photography and now, after almost 15 years+ of shooting, I find myself giving back by sharing with others what I know. Nothing gets held back, all my secrets are revealed ... ALL of them!

If you live near the Blue Springs, MO area I invite you to SIGN UP for this event and come join us! Can't make it? Then be sure to like & follow me on my Facebook Fan Page where I post tips & tricks, photography articles and behind the scenes videos often! No matter how you find me, I hope you stick around and as always, keep on seeing that light! And don't forget to come back here because you know I'll be sharing images from the workshop!

Monday, June 13, 2016

My camera in the water!!!!

Yes, I have taken the plunge ... literally! After coming back from my super awesome vacation to Hawaii with my husband I decided to take advantage of the underwater housing that I purchased for that trip and put it to use in our pool! Wait, what!?!??!

How crazy awesome is that!?!? Here's what the camera bag looks like ... and yes, it was a little nerve racking to put it in the water for the first time with your camera in it, but everything went well! We all survived! LOL!

Now, onto the research part of this endeavor. I ain't even gonna lie to ya, I had to sit down and do some serious research on just how to go about shooting people in the water and I gotta tell you, the video selection on Youtube is not all I was hoping it could be. The selection of how-to's on the subject of underwater shooting was dismal at best so I ended up rewatching the vidoes that I thought might be worth my time and started to study the things that was being DONE and not so much of what was being said. Heck, I even watched a few videos in a few foreign languages just so I could at least 'see' some tips & tricks. (True story!)

And so, after a few long hours on the internet I bit the bullet and had a few folks come over and play with me. For my first several sessions I will be using my 50mm prime lens, or more like I'm stuck using it because my wide angle died on me last month, so for now I'm limited to doing close up, portrait style shots. But trust me, that's a small feat on it's own especially when you consider that since I'm up close and personal with my models, their faces have to be perfectly relaxed and not looking as if they are holding their breath. Easier said than done!

Here's a few snap shots taken on the two days that I got to play in the water.

For the image above you can see where I had to have my subject held underwater (safely!). Actually, I was having her be held just under the waters' surface so that I could try and capture her reflection on the waters' surface. Here's what the final images from that session looked like of the lovely Amanda Pierce.

In the image above, the person holding the pole is my son and he's actually holding me down into the water as I was floating up to the top to quickly and I knew that I needed to be under my subject. Also, if you look in the water under her you will see a kinda grey thing on the ground. That's actually my reflector that I threw in the water because, just as if I was shooting on the dry land, lighting is lighting is lighting, and I needed some fill light on her face. So to solve my dark dilemma, I placed my reflector on the ground right below her with the silver side up and since the sun was almost shooting straight down on us, I was able to bounce light perfectly into her face even through the water. Easy peasy!!!
Here's the shot from that ... notice the beautiful light under her jawline? She almost glows!

On my second shoot day I was thrilled to be introduced to and work with a male subject, Adal Munguia, and let me tell you, this man was a fish!!! He could stay in the water for what felt like hours! There were a few times that in the middle of shooting him, I came up for air and went back down to keep shooting because he was still posing for me! It was crazy awesome! Here's a few more images from that shoot and I'm supper stoked that I'll be playing again this week, TWICE and yes, I will be back to share more behind the scenes from those sessions as well as what I continue to learn as I shoot!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Alice in Wonderland

"Say what?!?!!? Heck yeah! I'm down for that!"
Those are the exact words I said to myself when I found out that there was a group of artists putting together this themed shoot! Now normally i don't pay to be a part of a photo shoot, but as the moneys went to help pay for the makeup  props and the fact that I could have free reign to shoot what ever I wanted, HOWEVER I wanted was all I needed for motivation to jump right in!

The entire time I was shooting I was telling the models that my images were going to be over the top with in camera bending, posing and of course color! After all, this was a shoot based after a dream themed story line!


Here's a few of my faves from that day! Hope you love them as much as I loved taking them. And please be sure to come back becasue rummor has it that there is a Circus themed shoot in the works real soon!!!!! Yippieeeeeeee!!!!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

It's ABC time again!

Yes, I must be totally nuts because I want to do another round of the ABC challenge again! For those of you that are not familiar with this challenge, let me explain. I ran across this project many years ago on line in part of an online photographer’s forum. There were several of us fellow togs that jumped in to participate in the month long challenge. While I haven’t been on that forum in many years, (although I do continue to chat with several of the togs on Facebook to this day!) I never have forgotten my ABCs!

The concept is simple, everyday shoot something that represents a letter in the alphabet starting with the letter A. The next day do the next letter and so on until you have a collection of 26 images. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, yes and no.
Some letters are easier to come up with an idea than others. Think about it, there are many counltess words that start with T or S for example, but not so many W's or Y's!

 What I have also come to learn is that in many cases it might be easy to come up with a letter, but coming up with how to shoot said letter is an entirely different matter altogether! And for extra fun I try to pick a theme for all my letters so that I have a common thread amongst the images … that adds for a level of difficulty as well. I did one challenge shooting with nothing but my Lensbaby. That was fun, especially when I was trying to shoot moving objects. Another challenge was that I forced myself to shoot the entire thing in one day, at one location! That’s a lot harder that you might think, not to mention exhausting!

All that being said, I am here again, contemplating yet another sell imposed challenge! I must be crazy! Why do I keep doing this to myself? Oh, I know ... I keep doing these types of things to keep my creativity fresh and sharp and to push me and my camera in other directions than I normally might go to, all in the name of fun and art! 

So, earlier this week I posted on my Facebook about this challenge and asked for suggestions on what to pick as my topic again and one of my fellow students (and participants!) suggested Black and White and possible nature with that. I think I’m diggin’ the B&W theme because I know that one will be a hard one for me as my imagery is focused on bright and vibrant colors. Shooting B&W while will force me to be more mindful of shape and form. Not to mention that it is very easy to try and shoot B&W but only come up with mediocre muddy grey images. Yes, this could be a very good challenge indeed for me!