It's springtime in my garden...
When we moved in, this little tree was so small that its two pronged trunk had to be held together with garden tape. Now those trunks are each thick and strong as the tree has reached its full maturity. So pretty in the spring.
I love these pretty little purple flowers, the first to bloom every year. They've been awfully confused this weird winter and popped up early, but are hearty so this week's cold weather didn't hurt them.
Phlox flowers are so tiny and numerous, I had to dispense with the shallow depth of field technique that I've been using so often with the Fuji and close down to get good overall focus. The Fuji, known for capturing color well, did a great job on these and our pretty redbud.
I posted a photo of our tabby, Henry, on my Facebook site and it got the most "reach" of any of the photos I've ever posted. So funny. Honestly, I'm a crazy cat lady and I never get tired of looking at cat photos and watching cat videos on the internet. The weather hasn't been great, so my cats are easy accessible subjects in my warm house. We enjoy their company very much and I am glad you do too.
My mom & dad
My in-laws- my husband Chris's parents
I take photos every day, and at work I take photos of people all the time, but rarely do I take photos of my family. It's partially because I love being with my parents and in laws, and spending time with them, and I want to be in the moment. Taking pictures is my job, and so it's nice to leave the tools of my trade in their toolbox when I'm not working.
Our moms are like me- I don't love photos of myself these days and society is hard on women- no one wants to see themselves looking older or less than model perfect. But come on now, all of us are real, genuine folks, and the heck with model perfect. These are the people who made me, who raised me, who infused my childhood with art and love and helped me build the very foundation of who I am.
Chris's folks wanted to see my new camera, so I brought it to the restaurant where we took his mom out for dinner and I took a few photos of each set of parents with it.
I liked these because our moms are laughing in them. Both of our moms are the chattier ones in their unions- our dads are both pretty quiet. My mom loves hanging out with everyone and she likes talking to us and my in-laws, and Chris's mom is also chatty and likes joking around. Chris jokes around just like his mom. It's fun watching what personality traits carry on down the line.
So here's a little photo tribute to our families. Glad they live close and we are so lucky that our folks like each other so much that they sometimes get together without us!
My husband Chris. My co-pilot, fun time companion, my partner, my friend and my love.
My fellow shutterbug friend Tim shot his glasses for this one and I liked the idea so ran with it also. Everyone in my family wears glasses, so they become a part of your identity in this aspect.
I am also now in my 40s, and my vision is ever changing, which affects my photography. I find the large LCD screen on the back of my Fuji to be useful for both composing photos and also checking to make sure they are in focus. I have always relied on autofocus in my work, but nice to have even more tools as I age.
Cold beer to go from our friends' brewery, Mile Wide. My husband and I stopped by this evening to have a couple pints and we got this big crowler to go for another night. Our friend Matt and his partners have been working hard for over a year to open their operation. We're excited that it's not far from our house. Cold beer makes a heart warm.
Dark beers are my favorite, though I like their scavenger IPAs too! Check it out.
Week 1: Resolution
I kept a paper day planner from college until several years ago when digital technology and smart phones took over.
I've never liked the calendar on the iPhone, and I don't like Google calendar either. We use Outlook at work, and I live by that there, but I like to keep my personal calendar separate.
I was going to look back on what I did in 2016, and the dates I put on my iPhone calendar from the early part of the year had vanished. They are probably in the back up I have on my computer, but it's an iMac and I'm not always home to consult it, plus it's getting old and I wanted something I could look at easily.
Hello, pretty little paper planner.
I found this on Amazon, and it's perfect. It's small, but not so small that it's hard to write in. It's nicely designed, which is a requirement for me. It takes a bit of set up- it comes blank so you have to fill in the months and dates, but it's worth the trouble. There's a monthly view and a weekly view, so plenty of room to keep track of everything. There's even a two page spread yearly view at the beginning so you can keep your eye on the big picture. I used this area to write down important birthdays. As the year progresses, I'll write down any trips I will be going on, and anything else big.
I resolve to keep this little planner up to date so that this time next year, I will have a better record of 2017.
This is part of my 52 week photo challenge. See whole list of prompts here.
It's cold outside, so I haven't been motivated to go on a photo walk. Maybe later... or maybe in spring, when it's warmer!
Meanwhile, my cats are always nice subjects.
This same shallow depth of field technique works on people too. The trick is to make sure their eyes are sharp.
It helps to know and love your subject when you photograph them. You can capture their personality as you take the photograph.
Hallie is skittish, shy, distrustful of most and is very much a cat who likes things on her own terms. She loves me, though, and she's the first pet we got as our own. We've had her almost eleven years, and in that time I've perfected my black cat photography, which isn't easy. Here, I've captured her in black and white, with some of the vulnerability in her eyes.
Henry is a friendly, silly cat. He's always engaged, always wanting attention, always purring. So I captured his bright eyes and made him a warm sepia.
My California friends sent me a box of tangerines from the tree in their backyard for the holidays. I had fun photographing a couple of them before I ate them.
I have a feeling I'm going to be taking a lot of food photos with my Fuji during the winter months. It's not too cold today, would be a good day for a photo walk, or I could just stay indoors. Ahh..,
Love, love this 35mm lens!
Stay warm, my friends.
Lucked out and found the Fuji F2 gently used at Murphy's Camera yesterday! It's compact and light.
Since it's cold outside and I'm a crazy cat lady, I tested it out on my cats. I got Henry to lounge briefly in our sunny foyer, and his fur is lighter, so I got him at ISO 400, F2, 1/60. Hallie was in the living room, and having light absorbent fur, I photographed her at the same f-stop and shutter, but had to shoot at ISO 1000. Still, lovely effect.
I love this little Fuji camera. I like the lens I got with it, the 18-135, but it's a pretty big lens. The 35mm on the camera makes it nice and compact. This will be a great hiking and vacation camera. It does amazingly well in low light too. It came with a little flash, which I don't care for just straight on, but with some experimentation, it might produce good effects too.
I want to be more spontaneous with my photography, and that's another reason why I invested in this camera. It has wifi built in, so that adds another level of technology. I like being able to shoot with it, transfer images to my iPhone with the Fuji app, and then run them through Lightroom Mobile and post. I am writing this post on the Squarespace app, so all of this was done without a computer. Pretty amazing considering 20 years ago when I first started studying photography, I would shoot a roll of film, develop it, wait for it to dry, and print images one by one in the darkroom, a process which took hours!
I've been mining the photos I shot with the Fuji last weekend ever since. I'll pull a few at a time off of the camera, process them with Lightroom on my iPhone and post online. The flow from camera to phone is so seamless.
I have an eyefi card in it. Getting that working with my tablet is next. I had a newsletter job I needed to get done, and now I have another newsletter job to get done, so the tablet has been busy. I'm a Mac user, but my tablet is a Surface. I love how lightweight and powerful it is, just like this camera.
I want to take the camera on another shoot, though. Need more photos to mine.
I got a new camera- the Fuji XT-1 with 18-135 lens. I took it to Cherokee Park this weekend and got some nice photos with it.
It's lightweight and has built in wifi, so I'll be able to be more spontaneous when I shoot, and can share my photos online easier.
I'm hoping it will make me post here more too. It's always fun to have a new camera to get to know.
The root of the word photography is Greek, I believe- photo meaning light and graph meaning writing. Writing with light. Well, no wonder I like it so much. I was a writer long before I was a photographer. I was an artist before I was a writer, but photography is really where I was able to bring those two passions together. Photography is, literally, painting with light, and photography tells a story, doesn’t it?
Sometimes the story is boring. Here is this bland office architectural interior. Here is this person lecturing at a podium. Here is this thing I’m gonna sell on eBay. But me, being the keen observer of people that I am- I see the stories in a lot of what I shoot. I take lots and lots of head shots. All of the women are self conscious and self deprecating. I’m not passing judgment- I am the same way when I see pictures of myself. I hate nearly all of them. And yet I wish I could say something to these women: we are all beautiful. Ah, but I know and understand so well. The men are not as self conscious, but some are. I photograph everyone from the very top of my company to the rank and file. Some of those at the top are self conscious too. Some strategically avoid me and my camera. As I edit the head shots, each individual blown up to the size of my Mac’s large monitor, I think about them a little. They are moms, dads. They have hopes, dreams. I brush their stray hairs, wrinkles and dark under eye circles away.
Most of the events I shoot at work are typical events, but some manifest unexpected emotion. The last “Town Hall” for someone whose worked at my company for 27 years. 27 years ago, I was fourteen. This person was loved. They threw him a retirement party and I was there too. I found it interesting that when folks had the opportunity to voice well wishes in front of the group, they were all too shy. I work in PR. If my group were in the same situation, they’d all be clamoring for the mic. Even I would say something, and I know my other introvert colleague would too. These folks were behind the scenes people. Quiet, reserved.
Earlier this week I was asked to photograph a kids clinic hosted by my work, the local soccer team and the Boys & Girls Club. Not being a sports person, I wasn’t sure what I’d be photographing. That’s the thing when you’re an event photographer- you get the assignment and you add it to the other assignments on your calendar and you’re usually too busy to get more details. You just show up, ready for anything.
There were tons of kids at this event. It was so hot. I was smart and dressed to sweat and boy, I did. I keep sunscreen in my office at work and was glad I thought to put some on before I went to go stand a couple of hours in the hot, bright setting sun.
There were a few guys from the local soccer team teaching the kids some moves and getting them to run their little hearts out. I spent the first part of the evening shooting the fray, and then there was a water break and a pause and several kids noticed me.
When you are the photographer at an event, part of the point is that you need people to ignore you so they’ll relax and you can get good candid shots. But you also have to get in the middle of the action or down in front and adults know to ignore you.
I had both my cameras around my neck, one with wide lens, one with long and they were enthralled. They wanted to see the cameras. They wanted to look through the viewfinder. Most of them didn’t know about the viewfinder at first, being accustomed to smart phones and cameras with LCD screens. They liked the big telephoto lens a lot. They wanted to take pictures. They wanted to see them after they’d taken them. They wanted to see the photos I’d taken earlier. I’ve taught photo workshops for kids lots of times, but it’s been awhile. I forgot about being surrounded by kids wanting to know more about my DSLR.
I let them see. I didn’t take either camera off of my neck- this is work’s fairly expensive equipment after all- but I crouched down and pulled them close and held onto the camera with them. They were SO excited. I had to kind of fend them off after a little bit. In addition to photos of the game playing, I got some neat portraits of them. Lots of cute photos of them goofing around, but some candids too. Some of the photos they took of each other turned out too. I’m going to edit them and share with my work, but I hope the Boys & Girls Club uses them too. Some of them really capture the benefit of community play, the joy of being a kid. When you are a kid, everything is magical, and as we age, somewhere along the way we lose that. Those kids can be an example for us.
One of the many hats I wear is corporate photographer for Humana. I love corporate photography because it suits my style so well. I'm a no fuss, quick turn photographer. I use Photoshop almost every day, and all of my photos are edited with it, but I deploy minimal editing techniques. I don't want to spend hours retouching, using actions, all that stuff. I like to schedule, shoot, download, edit, crop, turn and file.
Humana is a large company based in Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown. There are over 10,000 people who work for Humana in Louisville, and I've taken more than 100 of their head shots.
I take other photos for Humana, too. Some are typical corporate shots- meetings, town halls. We do a lot of employee events, and I've taken photos of our walks and other celebration events. This week, I photographed a beloved leader's retirement party. That was fun. Next week, I'm photographing a Kids Clinic affiliated with Louisville City Soccer team. A month or two ago, I got to go on the field and photograph an actual LCFC game- the first soccer game I've ever been to.
I like doing head shots because I meet a whole bunch of people I've never met before. It's really made me see what a huge variety of professionals a big company employs. I've photographed our CEO, our Chief of Human Resources, our Chief Information Officer, our CFO. I've photographed many doctors we have on staff. People who work in sales. People who work with doctors and hospitals. Many people who work with our customers. People who work in finance, in marketing, in IT. Researchers with PhDs. There are a lot of real humans powering the corporation I work for and that's good to see.
Photography is just one of the things I do at Humana, though. I wasn't hired to be the corporate photographer- I was hired as a contractor to feed content to a web site. Once it became known that I was a photographer and graphic designer, I got more and more work until I eventually got hired full time. Because photo jobs are often one of several items on my to do list, I forget sometimes how special it is. It's definitely my favorite duty- it's really not a "duty" at all- it's a pleasure!
Seeing if posting from the mobile app works!
Before I took up photography, I was a writer. When I was in high school and college, I wrote all the time. I wrote bad poetry. I wrote some good poetry. I wrote lots and lots of stories I never finished. I wrote papers for college. I wrote long, long emails and letters to friends. I got a BA in English so I could investigate writing for a living, but I got a BA in Art too, concentrating in photography. I wanted to make sure I had some hopes for job prospects.
I stuck with photography. I went to graduate school, and have worked creative jobs ever since, and they all included photography in some ways. In 2005, I started a freelance company, and it lived for a little while on this site. I still have that freelance company, but I don't take on as much work as I used to because I have a full time job.
I want to revive this site. I need to spend more time on my own art, my own writing, my own enterprise. I have been writing, but privately. I've been a photographer as a career long enough that from time to time people ask me about photography, about how to infuse creativity into their careers, or how to have a creative career in the first place. I meet with people, and on a few occasions I give online lectures at work, but I haven't captured what I tell people anywhere. This might be a good place to do that.
It's easy to get lazy with creativity in this digital age too. I take photos nearly every single day, but usually with my iPhone. Is that cheating? I don't think so, but yesterday I went on a photo walk with some friends at work and we showed an intern around the 21C hotel. I just took a few quick photos, but I had a bit of time when I got back to my desk, so I downloaded them to my computer and I played with a few of them in Photoshop. That was fun. I almost never do that anymore. So here, maybe this is also my own kick in the pants to do that more.
It's not that I don't pick up the camera. Quite the contrary. I take photos nearly every day at work as a part of my job. That is very, very cool and I know how lucky I am that I get to do that. It's not just luck, though- it's years of hard work and muscling in. Maybe I should share those stories. I've never been hired as a photographer as a day job, and yet I take photos nearly every day for work. I do it because I volunteer to do it. I volunteered to do it enough that now I am asked to do it, and I have equipment that work allowed me to purchase. So I use work's cameras all the time. But my own camera sits in a cabinet, iPhone getting all the love. That's today's photography conundrum, yeah? The best camera is the one that you have with you. But if you are into this business, it's not about just one camera, one vision. It's about so many things.
So here's my start. I'll give an infusion to my writing practice, and put some of my photography and creative life thoughts out into the world to see what happens.