slide show

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Shooting in the snow

So did I tell you I went to a photography workshop? 
In the snow? 
I'm a desert rat so don't underestimate how huge this was for me. Snow and cold and all. 
Well, if I didn't tell you before, I'm telling you now that I did. And it was amazing! I try to attend a couple workshops a year, cause meeting folks in person and honing your craft alongside others value as much as you do is an wonderful thing. This particular workshop is more like a reunion, and we met up in Salt Lake City this year under the tutelage of Blue Lily Photography

On a side note, Blue Lily travels world wide, and if you're looking for family photographs, I'd recommend them. So there's a chance that they are coming to a city near you, even if you live in Singapore or Banff. And they are also AMAZING! Like really moist bunt cake with a drizzle of lemon glaze on the top. Wait... I'm getting sidetracked again. 

So just in case you've never been here's what goes on at a photography workshop... 
We do lots of sitting around talking, listening, note taking, camera adjusting. 
We also do our fair share of goofing off and enjoying one another's company. (Thanks goes to Kathleen of PicsbyKathleen.com for this pic of me and her and our fabulous friend Heather!) 

Did I mention the snow? Ya, there was snow. And not surprisingly Salt Lake City had lots of it, and was getting even more of it as the weekend progressed. Step off a trail and you'd find yourself thigh-high deep. Kathleen and I rescued each other quite a bit.
But all that glorious snow made for beautiful images. Forgive me while I show off the gorgeous people of Salt Lake City.
And this gorgeous little family. There's some serious sweetness going on here! 
And did you see those cute, little, baby teeth poking through? Most often I have no idea if I'm capturing good images or not when I'm shooting. I just shoot, hope for the best, and only when I download them on the computer do I know for sure. But every once in a while I see it through my view finder as I'm taking the pics. And seeing it, always chokes me up, and I get butterflies in my stomach. That happened with the smiles on this frame and those bitty teeth. I saw them through the view finder, and.. I started to cry. I'm not ashamed. I'm just crazy that way. Bitty baby teeth poking through a gorgeous, happy smile with his mama beaming at him, those are the memories that I'm so honored to capture.
And this gorgeous family too. There's something about boys, just so pure and fun and amazing. 
Get out of town with those eyes, gorgeous Eli! You're killing me! He had me at hello. 
I kinda wanted to steal sweet little Otto above and add him to our AZ crazy back home. His mama and papa probably wouldn't have liked me very much after that though. 
And then on our second shoot, the snow started to come down. Like big ol' flakes. 
Nobody blinked. 
Nobody canceled. 
Nobody said Hey maybe we should postpone this to tomorrow or go inside. 
The enthusiastic creation of beautiful images continued anyway, snow or no snow. 
Don't let what our models wearing fool you. Personally I was wearing ski pants, a sweater, beanie, scarf, shooting gloves, long underwear, borrowed snow boots, and a ski jacket. Our sweet (and gorgeous) models were soaked by the time we were done. Which wasn't long by the way, 'cause did I mention it was snowing?! It was snowing. Really snowing hard. So hard they closed the road during our shoot. 
So a you can see it was a weekend filled with amazing. And if it wasn't enough, I am lucky enough that I'm off to another photography workshop this weekend. This time it's with my Ordinary Miracles photography students and in warm SanDiego! We're going from snow to beach in a few clicks of the shutter. And seriously, how lucky is that?

Another ordinary blessing that I get to do what fills my soul. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My father, my teacher, and the history of the photograph


My father is a teacher.

Actually he was and is many things. A firefighter. A father. A son. A brother. An amazing grandfather. A Volkswagen lover. A collector of many fine things. A husband. A 67-year-old cliff diver when he hangs out with The Man Child. A tamale maker at Christmas time. (those old pics from that post are killing me!) A photographer.

And a teacher.

Here.
Here.
And countless other times. This is in the very essence of who my father is. He's always teaching something. Teaching me something. Teaching my children something. Teaching most anyone that will listen something. It's part of him and who he is, this natural teacher, passing on the past and knowledge, stuff that should not be forgotten lest we forget who we are are where we came from. Teaching the crazy important stuff.
My father, otherwise known as Papa to me and GrandPapa to the progeny, was asked to do a little speaking to our local museum on the history of photography as it related to our community. He did. When I mentioned that he collected things, one of these many things are old photographs. Except they really aren't photographs yet because the photograph as we know it hadn't been invented yet. So we're talking pre-photogrpahs. Tintypes, dageurreotypes, opalotypes, ambrotypes and wet-plate collodion negatives... Ya, that last one is a mouth full. Lots of funky pre-photogrphy type words that are kinda obscure to this photography enthusiast. I should explain that we don't know any of the folks in any of these images. I wish we did. I wish they were my relatives. But they're not. But they are someone's relatives, and I can only image stories about the lives that these people lived. 
Another thing about my Papa is that he never ever ever shows up empty handed. Ever. He always has some type of food to share, and usually props, or rather teaching tools. On this occasion he was sharing with Livy about his recent speaking engagement at the local museum. She got the one-on-one version. I mean, how amazing is that! We're so lucky to have him as our personal teacher rather than having to share him with an auditorium of people.
This one below is the wet-plate collodion negative on glass, introduced in 1851 and most popular in1860-1890's. If I'm understanding it right, this was one of the first times someone could make multiple prints from a single negative, but it was "soft" and not really detailed. If you're really into this kinda of stuff I found this short video that talks more about collodion prints. I'm pretty geeky when it comes to photography so I liked it!
This next image of this fabulous woman is a dageurreotype. The first dageurrotypes were in the 1839 and they did not have a negative. The details of the image are sharp, crisp and amazing! Can you image seeing images in photo form for the first time if all you have seem before this were paintings?! I can only image that folks would be amazed at the process. What you can't tell at this from my photo below is that this image is on a mirrored surface. you kinda have to tilt it just so to actually see it right and see the details.
This one is an ambrotype from the 1860's. They were little pictures printed directly on glass. The amazing part is that it's actually a negative. And when it's put against a black background, it appears as a possessive image. Pretty cool, hu?!
Did you notice his pink cheeks? That was painted on the glass after the image was made. 

Here's another ambrotype, but this one doesn't have the black background any more. When you hold it up to the light and look through it you can easily see that it's a negative. 
But hold it against a black background and voilà! You've got yourself a positive!
I can only imagine that a single photo of your child was treasured far beyond what we can imagine today.
This next one is a tintype, meaning the image was printed on a thin sheet iron, used in the 1860's and through the civil war. Some tintypes were put in little cases like this one, or often were put in cards like the one of the woman below. 
This tiny tintype is called a "little gem." It's a tintype in a little greeting card. Little gems were the smallest of the tintypes and were about the size of a postage stamp. I did a little research and found that one could get about a dozen little gems for about 25 cents. I can't imagine what it much have been like for a common person, one who wasn't wealthy to have access to a photograph of himself of the ones he loved. 
I love love love the young woman in the tintype below. I have all sorts of questions for her. Was she well to do? A student? Married? What did she want to be? What were her dreams? Where did she come from? Was she not so different from me? Or are we worlds apart?
This next one is an albumin print, invented in 1850 which actually used the albumin from eggs to print the image on paper, and it became the most popular type of photography by the late 1800's because it was relatively cheap and easy to produce. Here's another short video that talks more about albumin prints. 
So you see in part where not only my love of photography comes from but my love of teaching. My father has never owned a digital camera or edited a digital image. He never will. He's a purist and loves film and the darkroom. But he does love passing on what he knows. And that is a thing we definitely have in common. 

And I love him so much for that. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fall in the Winter (Video!)


I got to thinking... Liv, who is 19 now, has been watching me blog for a long while now, almost 10 years to be specific. Since she was 9 years old! That's a lot of blog posts for a little girl to see as she grows up. For me blogging has been a way to express myself among other things.

Well I think my big girl has discovered her own way to express herself.



As you can see, winter in the AZ desert is a strange combination of fall leaves, spring grass, and not much winter at all. It's such an amazing place and it's this time of year when everyone here finds themselves so grateful that they live in this desert that has weather that pretty close to perfection 8-9 months of the year.

Jude would like to tell you that that is not his pink bike that he is rinding. His bike has a flat tire so he was riding his sister's bike.

Livy would like me to tell you that this is the first time that Jude has ridden a bike since his surgery. Go Super Jude!

I would like to tell you that The Man Child is required to wear a shirt and that it is an extremely rare that we find him without one... but that would be a lie. That's just what I like to tell you.

Livy has been doing a lot of this video making lately, and more times that I prefer I'm finding myself at my wrong end of the lens! Oh well. It's fair play after all. I adore her finished product.

Art comes in many forms, but it seems our inspiration comes from a similar place! Family!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

She loves...


She loves being with her brothers and sisters.
She loves all things pink, girly, twirly and glittery.
She loves Pretty Ponies and dress up.
She loves learning to read.
She loves to give kisses and snuggles with those who love her.
She loves that her birthday is getting closer every day.
She loves her Arfie still.
She loves her Papa to the moon and back.
She loves hair bows, necklaces and knee socks.

And she loves loves loves chocolate. Lots and lots and lots of chocolate. The chocolate-ier the better.
And we love every little thing about her!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Photo Gallery (Strawberry in Macro)


First, I wanna tell you that registration for my Composition 101 class is currently underway. This class does not have any prerequisites other than being enthusiastic about photography and wanting to know why some photos take our breath away while others are just ho hum. We'll have lessons, discussions and assignments so you can practice making your own photos more interesting. I do anticipate that this class will sell out, so if you do decide that you'd like to take the class, please don't miss out by waiting too long to register, cause once it's full I will not add additional seats, so I can give all students individual attention and feedback. Click HERE for the details.

For those of you into the stats, this was shot with my 100mm macro lens @ f/2.8, ISO 10,000, 1/100th of a second. If you don't know what all those numbers mean but you want to learn, check out my next Manual 'n More class that will start in June.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dog Sledding


When you have teenagers you often find it necessary to fly by the seat of your pants.

These 2 were up to something.
And that something was dog sledding.

Except as they later found out the dog didn't necessarily want to go sledding.

This is Hawkeye.
He's one of our 2 family dogs in the crazy house. He's kinda more like Liv's dog, but he's a family dog too. And he's crazy so he fits right in with the rest of us. I often call him The Teenager cause that's just what I needed, another teenager under our roof, but in dog form. When each of the littles were bitty they couldn't pronounce his name so they called him Hot Guy, which is kinda insanely adorable so we just let them call him that. But they've gotten older, and now they just call him by his real name, Hawkeye. And that makes me sad. So sometimes I call him Hot Guy or The Teenager or Hawkeye, and then folks get all confused about what his name is. But I'm crazy like that, always trying to keep random strangers on their toes about what our dog's name is, so whatever.

Liv and Boo decided that The Dog With Many Names wanted to go sledding. He likes the snow, and in not so many words had shown an interest going sledding. At least that's what the bigs told me.
But when it actually came time to get on the sled and go down the hill, Hawkeye didn't really care for sledding anymore.
Abort! Abort! Abort!
Ya, despite what the dog supposedly told them, it didn't quite work out the way they planned. 
Evidently Hawkeye is more of a run around in the snow like a crazy hot guy after all!

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