The photographic explorations of a former film student.


Woods and Abstract

I think fall was the last time I did something like this. After my last couple of posts, I just need to get used to shooting out in the woods again before the spring flowers come.


Ever feel like something is watching you?



I shot and split toned the above two thinking of them more like rock formations than broken off trees.


Next Time: More Nature or Archive

Black on Black Part 2

Last week, I shot profiles of two black shoes on black. These are straight, catalog-type shots, done primarily for practice purposes. Sometimes, it is good just to do a technical challenge. Just one thing, then go back and combine it with more artistic work.




Next Time: Still Life or Nature

I hope it’s nature, but the weather isn’t too promising.

Black on Black Part 1: Shoe Toes

I need to work on my black on black, so for some silly reason, I started with a tough subject: patent leather shoes with fabric bows and gold ornaments. The basic strategy is to use black velvet for a background, get the subject as far from the background as possible, and set the subject on a smaller elevated surface so you can keep as much light as possible off the black velvet. Not always easy.

First, I tried a more side on view. I’m pretty happy with the lighting (though I did touch-up in Photoshop). The angle, however, was not the best.


I had a little more trouble lighting the 3/4 view, but overall, I like it better.


Next Time: Archive or Black on Black

A Taste of Summer

I decided to escape the harsh winter with its dastardly polar vortex by travelling to Milwaukee’s Mitchell Domes. The sheer joy of heat, humidity, and plants in the tropical dome was well worth the visit. The show dome was a bit less impressive (in my opinion anyway), but I still enjoyed the cute model trains. It didn’t seem like the kind of establishment that would bless the presence of my bulky old “made in West Germany” tripod that was actually made for smaller motion-picture cameras, so I shot with a high ISO and fairly open apeture.

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Next Time: Still Life or Black on Black

Selfies? Well, Maybe I Do.

I’ve always been a little critical of selfies. Not in the rabid outspoken you are evil if you take selfies way some people are, but a bit critical none the less. I often think: Do we have to see a picture of you WITH that object? Won’t a picture of the thing itself do? I can believe you were there if you just post pictures of the location. That photo of you looks terrible! Seriously, how do you think you can take a good photo of yourself? However, I remind myself that most of these people aren’t serious photographers, and even I have on occasion just taken photos for the record. In fact, now that I think of it, I’ve been taking selfies of various kinds for years.

In the beginning, they were more what you would think of as selfies. Thanks to the lack of Facebook in my high school days and my quite personality, the photos of my weekly Saturday hair creations never made it past my photo albums. They were taken with my little old film point-and-shoot, hand-held at first, then later with self-timer and the camera sitting on furniture. They were also quickly covered with my hand when showing old photos to my sister’s boyfriend. (Oops, sorry I forgot about those. )

My first serious “selfies” were taken for a self-portrait assignment my sophomore year of college. A year later, I redid the project just to see if I could do better. I did. Since I was not as pretty as  many other young women in my major, people did not ask to use me as a model, nor did I think it appropriate to ask. So I also took pictures of myself for artist statement and online profile purposes. After college, I had some trouble getting other people to photograph, so I took to photographing and retouching myself for practice. Of course, I use tripod, a DSLR, and flash for all of these photos, as well as retouching in Photoshop. Do they actually look like me? Some more than others. What is the quality? Better than your average selfie, although focus can be an issue. Below are two of my more recent selfies.

This is more of a commercial style shot of me as a nerd girl. It was intended for stock, and actually accepted by one site before I heard of people having trouble after images of them were used for sensitive subjects and pulled it from my portfolio. My aim was to present a more realistic nerd girl, not a model in funny glasses making a stupid face. (I actually never had the glasses in the photo. They were just cheap reading glasses that “read” nerd but didn’t look ridiculous.) In hindsight, some of the retouch may have made it too stylistic.


This one was taken last fall for a LinkedIn profile photo. It is more realistic, taken to be an honest, post new glasses, photo of myself where I looked more like a creative person than an accountant, but hopefully still professional and grown-up. I’m sure I’ll probably upgrade my idea of what it should be and replace it in the next few months, now that I finally retouched it and posted it this week.


Next Time: Indoor Gardens or Black on Black is Back


Frozen Waterfalls

A couple of weeks ago, I was part of a small expedition from the local photo club that journeyed to a state park known for steep climbs and impressive waterfalls. Needless to say, the trails were difficult in the ice. This is one of the better footholds.


The falls, however, were worth it. Here are two different long shots of the first and largest fall we visited.



I also shot some closer shots of some smaller ice formations to the sides of the falls.




Up close, the ice on the falls looked like some kind of vintage floral pattern.


After lunch, we hiked a short trail to a smaller fall.



This is what the ice looked like from behind the fall. I increased the saturation and tweaked the color a little, but yes, it was close to this color.


Heavy Winter Snow Photos

Winter has been cold and snowy for the most part. Last weekend, I braved the icy roads and took a few snow photos at a local park.

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Next Time: Frozen Waterfalls


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