Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts on Still Life, White Space and Light Room

I am taking and enjoying Kim Klassen's Be Still 52 photography course. This week, one of the ideas was to focus on creating a still life photograph with lots of white space. Long time blog readers know that I struggle with this concept. But, this week, I took a few deep breaths and managed to make peace with the concept in these photographs of an old Brownie camera that Clara's track coach gave me as a gift.
I am finding that I really enjoy setting up Still Life photographs . . . thinking through what props to use, what type of background, fiddling with my camera settings (so far, I've been using my fixed 50mm lens exclusively), finding the right angle, looking for the best light. 
For me, the missing element is still post-processing. I used to have PSE on my computer and a serviceable handle on how to use it. But that computer is long dead, along with (I fear) those brain cells. It seems like Light Room might be the best way to go these days, and I am slowly resigning myself to learning how to use it. I figure that the class is 52 weeks, so I have plenty of time to learn it.  Because I think all three of these photographs, but especially the last two, could be improved tremendously with some added texture. 
Thoughts on still life, white space and light room really appreciated - as well as feedback on these photographs.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Be Still 52 Week #2: In Search of Quiet

It's awfully hard for me to find a quiet moment in my house. I'm loud. My daughter's loud. My husband always seems to have the television on for background noise. I'm currently obsessed with listening to the podcast "Serial."
And then there's the puppy, who barks and plays and requires verbal correction. 
Often.
So, I had to put on my thinking cap and work hard to address this week's prompt in the Be Still 52 Class on Finding Quiet.
I looked about the house for items which symbolized quiet and thought through a color story to fit the mood. 
I managed a few photographs that I liked before all hell broke loose again in my house of noise. I'm really enjoying this still life practice and welcome all feedback on my photographs . . . it can be as simple as which one you like best or as complex as suggestions for better angles or crops. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pairs #3: B&W and Living Color

I spent some time recently taking photographs of the dogs with my iphone. I took a cute portrait of Luna and then turned it to black and white using instagram. I thought these two photographs would make a good entry for Helena's pairs photography meme. I'm afraid there will be many Luna entries in this meme this year. I hope you don't mind.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Be Still 52 - Week #1: Beginning Thoughts

I signed up for Kim Klassen's Still Life Photography class called "Be Still 52." I really enjoyed learning about Still Life photography last year in Cheryl McCain's Frugal Still Life Photography class and decided I wanted to continue that journey. Kim Klassen's class is a year long! I usually have trouble sticking with a project that long, but I'm going to give it a try.
I have enjoyed classes taught by Kim before and follow her blog. As she describes in the class registration link posted above, one of the reasons she started a still life photography practice was because it helped her through the life-altering experience of having a husband diagnosed with lymphoma and going through treatment with him. As long time blog readers know, that resonates hugely with me having "been there, done that" with Paul. (Yes, you get to be a bit irreverent when you've lived the experience).
So, for the first photograph for the course, I decided to honor our common journey and photograph the rosary which I brought to the hospital with me during Paul's treatment. I'm a pretty badly lapsed Catholic, but during certain moments, sitting in the hospital, seeking peace, I felt the need to pray. And to say the prayers of my childhood. So, I dug out this rosary that I had inherited from my Aunt Vera. And brought it with me to the hospital. 
I still keep it in my purse. The links have broken a bit and I rarely pull it out to pray. But I still feel its power to calm me, to bring stillness and peace when I need it. So I continue to carry it with me, recognizing the importance of peace and stillness in my life.
And, now, I am glad to have captured its essence and its story in words and pictures. Thank you Kim. I'm looking forward to what comes next . . . 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sketching: Hitting my Stride

I'm making it a priority this month to make time to sketch, in hopes of deciding whether sketching is an art form I want to continue with or give up on. I'm working with 31 prompts posted by Athena (you can see them in the left side bar on my blog).  I managed four more sketches this week (see my sketches from last week here).
The sketch up top is my favorite. After sketching lightly in pencil, I added black and brown stabilo-all pencil before water coloring. I really like the finished effect. 
I was also pretty happy with these two sketches:
For all of these, I let go of the idea of trying to create an exact replica and instead focused on creating art which looks more like an illustration. That made me happy. For the caydanlik, I added my own color and pattern to a tea pot with the requisite shape.
My least favorite sketch for this week was based on the prompt for a recently received gift:
I love the watch Henry gave me for Christmas, just not my rendition of it. I'm glad I'm undertaking this sketch challenge. I feel like I am developing my sketching style. I also like the way I photographed my sketches this week. So glad to be using my big camera more regularly this year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pairs #2: Diagonal Views

Over the weekend, I looked up and captured this beautiful  sky with my iphone camera. And then I turned around and looked down to see this:
I call this photographic pair, "diagonal views" and am linking up with Helena's Pairs meme.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Me on Monday: Polka-dots and Shadows

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt Item #11: Polka-dots
Monday morning, sitting at the kitchen table in my comfy robe, pajamas and Uggs (which I wear as slippers). Joining in with Sian's "Me on Monday" meme.
How was my weekend? For me it was a:
Paul visiting L.A., so just me and my girl (plus all the animals) weekend;
a teaching the pup to walk on a leash
Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt Item #18: Shadow
Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt Item #18: Shadow
and giving the pup her first bath (plus brushing and nail clipping) kind of weekend:
Also, a starting a new eating plan, grading exams and doing laundry kind of weekend.
How was your weekend?