Thursday, December 8, 2011

Models: Editing & Making The Most Of A Poor Quality Photo

Sometimes an image you take is bad for whatever reason.  Though it takes up a great amount of storage space, I don't delete bad captures.  I tuck them away and once in a while, I'll go through a batch, pick one and see what I can do with it.  

So, with a desire to explore my editing skills or lack there of in some cases, I pulled out the below photo of a model I worked with.  It was underexposed, slightly out of focus and outright fuzzy.  There were also an enormous amount of shoe prints on the floor.  While that's relatively easy to remove, I found it a challenge to do so while maintaining her shadow.  I sharpened her facial features and softened the harsh shadows on her torso.  I added a bit of grain to balance the fuzziness.  I'm still working out what I'm going to do about the area around her knees and the top of her feet.  There's something about the shadows and the fuzziness that just look kind of funky.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall, Nature & Editing

Like a lot of people I love fall foliage.  I love seeing the trees turn various shades of red, orange, yellow and brown.  Of course I had to take my camera out and capture a few images.  I pulled the images off my card and went into processing mode.  I like nature in color but I'm becoming more and more fascinated with nature in black and white.  Therein lies my problem.  I am still perfecting the art of black and white nature without making it look flat and dull.  In addition to playing around with the black and white, I have to reign in my latest processing addiction, copper toning!  There's something about that particular rich toning that I like ... it just feels so warm.

The above photo was taken late Summer/early Fall and as you can see, the trees were still rather green.  I was exploring the park with my camera, looked up and saw that guy meditating.  He was obviously very good at meditating as there were some children playing rather loudly on the rock right behind him.  

When I first took the photo, I saw it in black and white.  I couldn't see it any other way.  Then, I turned it black and white.  I added contrast, I took away contrast, I tinkered with shadows, highlights and toning.  In the end a photo I thought would turn out lovely, just doesn't do anything for me in color or black and white.  Perhaps I'll re-visit it with fresh eyes down the line.

The above two photos and their edits caused me a dilemma.  I love the color but I also love the copper toning and contrast of the black and white versions.  I still can't decide which one I like best.  

The above is another photo I thought would be great in black and white.  But, I just can't get it right!  I think part of my lack of satisfaction is that it's not composed the way I want it.  I know you're thinking, "well, silly woman, why didn't you compose it the way you wanted?"  Good question!  There were obstructions so I tried to get as close to the angle I wanted as possible.  This photo will drive me crazy and I'll be forced to tinker with it until I find an edit that makes me happy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Concert Photography: The Broadcast

I went to see The Broadcast down at Mercury Lounge earlier this month.  I hadn't done any photography in dark clubs for a few months so I was a bit rusty.  All of the things you know you need to do to photograph in venues with lighting issues came back pretty quickly.  But, at times I felt like what was in my head just wasn't translating to my vision or my camera.  That being said, I had a great deal of fun, heard some great music and captured a couple of photos I enjoy.

More photos HERE

The above photo I think captures the spirit and fun of the show.  Front-woman Caitlin Krisko and percussionist Tyler Housholder boogie together on-stage.

Early into the set, I noticed Krisko's flying hair and decided I had to have a motion shot of her hair.  I got several good hair in motion shots but, what I really wanted was her face in focus while her hair was in motion.  That was a little harder to manage in low and or changing lighting without flash.   

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Concert Photography: The Audience

I don't often take photos of the audience when I'm photographing a concert.  It's not my thing and I don't much care for the shots I get of people who aren't on stage.  I'm working on that though.  In the above photo, I was watching the crowd as they were being rather lively.  The band that was playing was Gogol Bordello.  I decided to scan the crowd with my camera to my eye for a bit and saw this guy shaking his head, dreads flying.  Yes, there's motion blur but it's just one of those photos that I like.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nature: Butterfly Bush

I love the color of the bushes flowers.  But, I was curious to see what the photo would look like in b&w.  I think I prefer the color version but the b&w version isn't bad either.

When I first moved into my new four walled world, I was excited about the plants and trees on the property.  I saw the butterfly bush and thought, oh how pretty.  Well, I'm not all that excited about that blasted bush now.  Oh sure, it's lovely with all of it pretty purple blooms.  But, the previous owners planted the damned thing right by the back gate.  Yes, it looks pretty draped over the back fence but it interferes with walking!  Whenever you walk in or out the back gate, you have to duck down low, really low to avoid it and that's after pruning.  It gets even worse when it rains as the rain weighs it down.  So, beautiful bush, you're less attractive to me now but you make for a lovely picture. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nature: Fog & Spiders

As hurricane Irene loomed, it seemed like a good idea to take a photo or two.  Seeing as I'm not into the whole risk getting blown away for the sake of art thing, the front porch seemed like a good place for a quick documentation.  It had been raining off and on.  It was foggy.  The wind had yet to make any major visit at this point.  As I looked through my camera I thought to myself, wonder how this will look in black and white?  When I started processing it, I immediately realized that I have not perfected the art of shooting fog!  At any rate, I wanted it to look somewhat like an old postcard.  I'm into this type of look/processing at the moment.  

The above fella was bracing for the storm.  We have lots of spiders and webs in our yard and I've been saying I was going to capture some of the webs.  That's easier said than done.  Apparently there's great skill to the art of taking photos of spider webs!  I don't have that skill it seems.  No matter what I seem to do, the web doesn't show well.  Without the processing, you can barely see the web. Oh well.  But, since we have five hundred billion spiders constantly making webs in the yard, I'll be able to get plenty of practice and figure out what I'm doing wrong... eventually!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Newport Folk Festival: Earl Scruggs

Earl Scruggs at the Newport Folk Festival, July 30, 2011
One of the things I like about the Newport Folk Festival is you get to see legends as well as the younger artists.  This year, I got a kick out of seeing banjo legend Earl Scruggs perform.  I mentioned to a person I was chatting with right before his set that one of my favorite live albums is Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall.  They looked at me oddly.  Apparently, I didn't look the type to them!  Of course, I looked at that person oddly when they declared that the "Ballad of Jed Clampett" was their favorite and would be disappointed if it wasn't played.  I might have rolled my eyes.  Don't get me wrong, it's a fine enough song and I'll watch a Beverly Hillbillies repeat in a heartbeat but, I wouldn't have been disappointed if it hadn't been played, there are too many classics I'd pick over that.  Thankfully, my fellow festival goer wasn't disappointed as the song was played and more than a few people sang along.

Mr. Scruggs and his band, which featured sons Randy and Gary, kicked things off with "Salty Dog Blues."  I was, for lack of a better word, giddy over that and nearly forgot to take photos because I was too busy singing along.  I went up to the roof of the fort to take photos during the set which is an amazing spot to listen to music.  At some point while I was up there, they ripped into "Orange Blossom Special."  I might have kinda, sorta danced up on the roof; it was impossible not to!  

The view from the fort roof during Mr. Scruggs' set

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Favorite Images: Delta Spirit

Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit at the Newport Folk Festival, July 30, 2011
(More Photos HERE

Some photographs you just like.  There isn't some profound reason as to why you like it; you just like it.  I look at this image and just like it.  Matt Vasquez led Delta Spirit through one hell of a set at the Newport Folk Festival this year.  "THE PEOPLE," who flocked to the Quad Stage to see the band, showed them insane amounts of love.   

Vasquez is an expressive and energetic performer.  So, I suppose it could be considered odd that of all of the photos I took of him during his Delta Spirit set, and his performance the following day with his other band Middle Brother, that this would end up being my favorite.  Hey, I'm quirky that way!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Favorite Images: Ambrose Akinmusire

Ambrose Akinmusire at the Newport Jazz Festival, August 6, 2011

I spent this past Saturday roaming around Fort Adams State Park taking in the sounds of the Newport Jazz Festival.  Of course I had my camera!  I wondered over to the Harbor Stage to catch some of Ambrose Akinmusire's set.  I knew before I took the photo, that even though I was taking it in color, it would be a black and white photo.  Some images you just like.  This is one of those that I quite simply, just like.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Favorite Images: Brown Bird

David Lamb of Brown Bird at the Newport Folk Festival

This past Sunday, I was at the Newport Folk Festival.  One of the bands performing that day was Brown Bird.  I was sitting on my knees, on the hard dirt that was sprinkled with worn patches of dried grass, in front of the stage, listening to their warm blend of spirited stomp and clap music while trying to capture a few photos of them.  As I sat there, I was drawn to David Lamb's hand while he was playing the banjo.  My inner voice kept telling me I needed to get a shot of his hand.  I pondered what my inner voice was telling me before realizing why the urge was incessant.  What was that realization?  His hand was three letters short of displaying the word that Brown Bird made their audience feel, welcome.   

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Newport Folk Festival: Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples at the Newport Folk Festival, July 30, 2011

Legendary vocalist Mavis Staples took the Quad stage this past Saturday at this years Newport Folk Festival.  Staples, who looked to be having a lot of fun onstage, had the crowd dancing and singing along.  She brought The Decemberists' frontman, Colin Meloy out to join her for the second song of the set, "The Weight," before he headed over to the main stage for his own set to close the festival's first day.  She and her band performed a rousing version of "I'll Take You There" that turned into a soul clap sing-a-long.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Central Park: The Beauty Of Trees

Earlier this year, I was in Central Park with my camera.  Spring buds were blooming, the weather was perfect ... not too cold, not to hot.  I had spent a good portion of my time photographing flowers.  But, there were a few trees that caught my eyes.  From a vantage point across the park, I saw a line of beautiful flowering trees.  I made my way to were they were and went about trying to capture them.  As I made my way around a curve to capture them from another angle, I noticed people in one of the trees.  I found it fascinating that the branches left a gap where the person were standing.  The tree quite simply looked like a living picture frame and thus reason this image is one of my favorites.

I find something very beautiful about bare trees.  Their limbs tend to take on the the look of long beautiful arms preparing to do a Woodstock era hippie dance.  I'm also fascinated by tree grids.  Without their blooms and leaves the lines can be seen unhindered ... the trees all lined up and perfectly spaced.  Of course, the lines are beautiful with leaves as well.  I just don't see the same dancing imagery.  I know, it's a weird thing to be fascinated by but, to see these grids at work in large areas is magnificent to me. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Models: Experiments With Selective Color

Early last month, I participated in another workshop involving models.  This time out, instead of designer clothes, it was a lingerie.  I'm still horrible at directing models but the two young ladies that modeled for us were so fun and easy to work with that even a horrible director such as myself could manage some halfway decent work.

One of the models reminded me of an old school pin-up model.  The minute I saw her and the pieces she was wearing, I knew that most of her photos would likely end up in black and white.  I've been slowly but surely editing the photos and I was correct, most of her images have ended up in black and white.  But, I've been having fun experimenting as well.  I share with you today, my experiments with selective coloring.

The above image was my first attempt at using selective coloring.  I also think it's my best attempt to date.  This has turned out to be one of my favorite images.  When I took the photo, I remember commenting to a fellow photographer that I felt awkward standing over her to get the shot.  Maybe it's just me, but, it feels weird standing over someone while they're lying on the floor.  Awkwardness aside, I think the shot turned out nicely if I do say so myself.

My original desire for the above photo was for her lips and the space in front of her to remain red while the space behind her was left without color.  At some point during my experimenting, I decided I liked the look of the red bleeding through in back of her.  It just dawned on me that I never did an edit carrying out my original plan for the image.

Above, I've left the background color while taking the color from the model.  Something about the finished image makes it look like she has been inserted into the photo. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Coney Island Mermaid Parade: Happy Pairs & Warrior Women?

Last month, June 18 to be exact, I ventured out to Coney Island for the annual Mermaid Parade.  It's the perfect place to capture images of people in costumes.  

As you may know, I feel that portrait photography isn't my strong point.  But, I knew moments after I started taking photos that sunny Saturday, that the majority of my photos were going to be portraits.  What I hadn't envisioned was that I would create a black and white series.  The colorful costumes are wonderful sights but when I started editing I kept seeing them sans color!

More photos HERE

In keeping with the water theme, the above images capture a couple of striking Viking ladies.

Above, the first couple were a part of the parade ... a sailor and his bride, again keeping with the water theme of the parade.  The second couple apparently got married on the beach after the parade.

I didn't turn all of the photos black and white.  Color images can be found HERE.

Summer: Coney Island

About a month ago, I was out on Coney Island.  Of course, I had my camera with me!

Parachute Jump, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

I took about a half dozen images of the Parachute Jump trying to translate what I saw in my head to my camera.  I didn't want a wide shot that captured the whole structure nor did want just the top portion.  I couldn't put into words then what I wanted, I just knew I'd know when I found the right angle.  Now I realize that I wanted to give the feeling that I might be climbing up the structure.  Originally, I envisioned the image as black and white.  However, when I sat down to start editing, the image told me it didn't want to lose its color.  I went about trying to figure out what the image wanted and ended up with a high contrast "retro" type image.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

When I took the above image, I knew based on the skull, that I wanted the image to be rather dark and gloomy looking.  I wanted it to look ominous.  I wanted to give the feeling that if you got into one of those buckets, you would mysteriously vanish.  I don't know how well I captured that but that's what I was after.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

I've been fascinated by retro imagery for a while now.  I gave it a try with a Holga and well, that experiment didn't turn out well at all!  So, I've settled on using editing software to make my digital images look old.  I of course need some practice.  I envisioned this image as an old postcard.  A part of me wants to flip it over and read about Aunt Birdie's Coney Island wish you were here vacation.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

I love black and white photography.  But, I often find it difficult to take the color away from scenic images.  Flowers, landscapes, water, etc. always feel right in color.  As I was preparing a number of images for a black and white series, I decided to give this beach shot a go.  I've found that as much as I like it in color, I now like it more in black and white.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Street Photography: Coney Island

Last Saturday, June 18, I went out to Coney Island for the annual Mermaid Parade. Events such as this one are the perfect opportunities to take photos of strangers.  They're in attention grabbing costumes and are in general, happy to have their photos taken.  I got plenty of photos of costumed people and I'll share some of those a bit later, once I've sorted and edited!

A friend and I were walking along, looking for a friend of hers who had provided Amazing Race quality clues as to his location.  It was kind of like looking for buried treasure which I suppose would have been appropriate since she was dressed as a saucy pirate.  Anyway, as we were walking, I spotted a couple of things that caught my eye and grabbed some shots.  Interestingly enough, it wasn't anyone in a costume!

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011
Of all the photos I took that day, I think the above shot might well be my favorite.  He was perfectly positioned so that it looked like the pointing lady in the painting was referring to him.  I immediately saw the photo as black and white in my head.  Even though that's how I saw the image in my head when I raised the camera to my eye, in editing, I debated over whether to leave it in color.  The colors in the painting are so vivid I wasn't sure I wanted to take them away.  In the end, I decided to go with what my original vision was.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011
Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011
The above two images were also vividly colored.  But I liked the way they felt in black and white.  I've come to realize, that I prefer street photography dark and desaturated or in black and white.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Concert Photography: Kate Young & Chad Taylor

Chad Taylor & Kate Young performing with Adam Taylor
More photos HERE 
Tuesday night, I went down to Mercury Lounge to catch Adam Taylor and his band play.  It was a fun show.  It however was a horrible night of photography for me.  But hey, we all have off days.  As I was processing the images seeing what I could salvage, I realized that a good deal of my issues arose from the overbearing red lighting.  This particular venue is notorious for its red lighting but on Tuesday, it was worse than usual.  It didn't just make things red, it made things a glowing red so at times faces looked iridescent and other times an overblown, pinkish/red radioactive color!  Normally, when things get too red, you can do the common fix of turning it black and white.  That fix didn't work on many of the images!  

Anyway, after walking away thinking everything would be dreadful, I found the fun shot above in the mist of things.  I'm bummed that I didn't get a similar shot of the brothers Taylor though!  I think this happy looking shot reflects how much fun we were all having.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Concert Photography: Terror In A Western Town

Wednesday night, I was down on the LES at Pianos.  One of the bands on the line-up for the evening was Terror In A Western Town.  I'd never heard of them so I hadn't a clue as to what they would sound like.  I learned that they were good!  Leader Matt Witte is tattooed and my camera was drawn to his arm.  Normally, I don't pay much attention to tattoos when I'm photographing concerts.  But for some reason, my eye kept finding my way back to that sleeve.  A part of me wanted to get on the stage and capture it up-close.  So, from my position in front of the stage, I proceeded to attempt to capture his arm, just his arm.  This is my result.
Matt Witte of Terror In A Western Town
(more photos HERE)


Monday, June 6, 2011

Jewelry: Mickey Lynn Jewelry

Southern Designer Collections Showcase: May 25 @ Openhouse Gallery, New York, NY
In this piece, we're featuring Mickey Lynn Jewelry.
Since I'm drawn to jewelry, the first table that caught my eye was that of Atlanta based jeweler Mickey Lynn
I walked in and there at the table to my left was a whole table of sparkly pretties!  The collection on display that day was jewelry mainly made of mineral stones and some adorable charms.  Lynn's pieces were all very feminine and a bit flirty.  The pieces work dressed up (that all important little black dress) or dressed down (jeans and tee-shirt) and are a must for the fashion chic flirty gal.  But, they're also perfect for a bohemian chic sort of gal who likes natural materials.  I love versatility!
Not being a wearer of big dangly earrings, I sadly had to pass up most of that side of the collection.  But, I did happen upon a small set of drop earrings made of agate and (if I'm remembering what Lynn's partner Seth Shindeldecker told me correctly) reclaimed gold. They're comfortable, lightweight and very easy to wear.  They're the kind of earring that you put in and forget you're wearing because of their comfort; you forget until someone mentions how pretty your earrings are! 
If you're in New York, Mickey Lynn Jewelry can be found at Arcadia and Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan and at Catbird in Brooklyn.  Check their website for locations in other parts of New York and the rest of the country.

Earrings by Mickey Lynn Jewelry (press image)

Necklaces by Mickey Lynn Jewelry (stock image)

Bracelets by Mickey Lynn Jewelry (press image) 

Though I didn't come home with one of these bracelets, I'd love to add one and the blow ring to my collection!

Ring by Mickey Lynn Jewelry

Bracelets by Mickey Lynn Jewelry

Monday, May 30, 2011

Concert Photography: Bob Schneider

So, I went to see Bob Schneider last night.  My little corner of the internet is full of love for Bob.  I had a grueling debate with myself over whether I wanted to take my camera or not.  I mean sometimes a chick just wants to get down with her bad self and not think about a camera.  In the end my camera yelled from its bag, "you better take me, I wanna see Bob too!"  Okay, maybe that didn't happen but I took the camera anyway!

I sang along loudly and proudly and I danced like some sort of deranged lunatic.  Neither of these are conducive to photography.  That being said, I did get a few decent shots.  And I suppose I'm glad I took my camera.  Though, I'm currently not on speaking terms with it for making me look atrocious in the photo I took with one Mr. Bob Schneider...I'll be cropping me out of that!  Anyway, for your viewing pleasure and so you can feel the Bob love, a non-blurry shot from last night's show.

Bob Schneider at Bowery Ballroom, May 29, 2011
 (more photos HERE)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jewelry: Amy Bubes Jewelry

Southern Designer Collections Showcase: May 25 @ Openhouse Gallery, New York, NY

In this piece, we're featuring Amy Bubes Jewelry.

Atlanta based designer Amy Bubes launched her line of jewelry in early 2009.  In that time she has produced some distinctive, classic, fun and easy to wear pieces.

Bubes uses Argentium silver, a silver that's more pure and more tarnish resistant than sterling.  Her line caught my eye because it was bold, but not overwhelming or bulky, yet still manages to maintain elegant simplicity.

I'm a big fan of rings and keep one on my finger at all times.  And, Bubes' rings caught my eyes.  I tried on a couple to see how they felt.  They were lightweight but not in a chintzy way.  You can definitely feel the silver on your hand.  I fell in love with one ring in particular, the 5 band stacked ribbon ring.  The ring consists of five twisted silver bands soldered together.  As a big ring lover, one of the first things that runs through my mind when I see a ring of size is, "will it be comfortable?"  Being a rather humid day, my hands were a bit puffy as they tend to be in the summer months.  I admit, I'm one of those people who has summer rings and winter rings.  I slid the ring on which, happened to be a perfect fit and it was extremely comfortable!  It didn't rub against my other fingers in that weird annoying way (as big rings often do) that makes you wish for some sort of cushion between it and your other fingers. It's also not something that's going to get in the way of reaching your hand into the pocket of your extra tight skinny jeans.  It is simply, a fun and easy ring to wear.

While I'm a fan of big rings, I don't generally like big earrings.  They're either too heavy, move too much and or annoy me by banging against my neck.  But, Amy Bubes may well have converted me!  Her silver ribbon hoop earrings are terrific!  They're light, but not so light that you're constantly checking your ear to see if you've lost them.  I spent the day wearing a pair.  Movement is minimal and not once did they bang against my neck.  Needless to say, I'm very pleasantly surprised to have found a pair of larger size hoop earrings that I can comfortably wear.

This is a line for people who like simple, pretty, elegant and classic pieces that are easy to wear.  They are pieces that work dressed up or dressed down.  Yes, they're high fashion, but this isn't a flavor of the month line that you'll toss aside when the next flavor comes along.  You'll find yourself returning to these pieces for years to come.

New Yorkers can find Amy Bubes Jewelry at Fragments in Soho.  Check the Amy Bubes Jewelry website for locations near you.

Necklaces with diamond accents by Amy Bubes Jewelry

Bracelets by Amy Bubes Jewelry

Rings by Amy Bubes Jewelry

Necklace with diamond bands by Amy Bubes Jewelry

Oxidized silver bangle bracelets by Amy Bubes Jewelry

Five band stacked ribbon ring by Amy Bubes Jewelry (press image)