Friday, April 25, 2014

Portraits of Another Style

Okay, so I'm still not totally comfortable looking through the lens, and found this to be especially so in taking portraits.  I LOVE portraits.  That is, to draw and paint them.  Taking photo portraits was a little difficult for me.  I tried to think of how I like a composition set up for a drawing, and that didn't really work.  I like snapshots, and I like closeups; unfortunately, they are hard to get at the same time.
These first photos were taken at Oasis Union Ministry where my Art Therapy class was doing a mandala mural project.

I then took some playful shots of Rudd at work.  I love how this first one came out.

Vito in his truck.  I liked the grittier look, so when I edited I tried to enhance that feel.

Finally, training and resting at the Home Depot.

Good practice for when I one day I have time to do more drawing.  I would definitely like to do more original compositions.  
Next project: Series!  I am excited for this one.  Potentially heading back to the Gardens!

Friday, April 18, 2014

From There to Here

So I just read through all of my previous posts, as I have always done every so often with all of my different blogs, journals, on back to diary entries as a kid.  It has never failed to amuse me how my focus changes over time.  Not very drastically for the most part, but enough to make me sometimes wonder "what was I thinking?!"  I am still bummed that the For Your Service project crashed and burned the way it did.  To explain in completely, I'll start from the beginning.
For a while, I had been running a Free Monthly Portrait contest.  At one point, I got this idea that it should be bigger than it was, and should mean more.  I created a Facebook page, then proceeded to reach out to other military pages to help spread the work.  That first day, US ArmyWTF Moments shared my inquiry and within hours I had over 500 "likes."  I was super stoked, and got to work on a Kickstarter page and set up the details.  People started posting photos and showing support.  Unfortunately, it soon became clear and extremely frustrating that most people don't really read or pay attention to posts.  I didn't want to hurt feelings or come across as negative in any way, but I had specific ideas for what the project encompassed and what I was looking for in subjects.  I n=know I went about it wrong in some aspects, as it took off before I really had it all planned out. I got ahead of myself, then it was at a standstill.
On top of it all, when my next semester started, I had almost no time for anything outside of work and school.  I dropped the project mainly because I didn't know how to revive it properly; and getting people to not only pay attention and participate, but understand what the project even consisted of was beyond frustrating.  It's like being a fan of a book you've never read or a movie you've never seen- people blindly clicked "like," half read posts at best, then promptly forgot any of it ever existed.  If I ever try it again, it will most likely not include any sort of Facebook campaigning.


I know I will continue to stumble onto inspiration and take off on crazy new projects, but at least now I have a better idea what will work out and what will not.  I have gotten much better at turning down commissions that are outside of my skill set (which is unfortunately most of them) but I'd rather do something I do well and enjoy than make promises and turn out something I am disappointed in.  I have always spent so much time on a piece, that even when it came out mediocre, I settled for it.  I am working on my scrap bin, where I am keeping all of my rejects from the world.  Just like Island of Misfit Toys, there may be nothing wrong with them per say, but they are just not quite right.  I think of pieces of mine that I settled for, and I cringe at the thought that it is out there.

I have even created a short tutorial to explain what I accept in a submission.  It makes it easier to reject something if I have specific guidelines.

 It's basic, but gets the main points across.

For now, I am sticking with portraits.  I have really come to love silverpoint, and have done several portraits with it over the last few months.  Taking drawing and watercolor classes have really expanded my range, but I always go back to portraits.

Current work in progress:


A Day at the Beach

Back to back posts.  yes, I'm catching up.  This next group was done over a couple of weeks.  I spent one day at Fort Monroe with Mike and his Labrador Rose.  It was one of those fluke Sundays with 70 degree and sunny weather- then turned around and snowed the next day.  Once again, my luck prevailed.  The assignment here was Depth of Field.

 There were lots more that didn't make the cut, but these were the final images turned in for class.

A couple of weekends later my parents came down and we toured around the Historical Triangle.  Most shots I got here didn't fit the assignment, so I only turned in a couple.

The man fishing was my absolute favorite.  He had been camped there relaxing all day, and the sun was just setting behind him.

I found that the shallow depth worked wonderfully for botanical shots.  I took several pictures in the greenhouse at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Yes, I like to put my subjects in corners :/

My final shot came from a session I tried in the grow room ( aka garage) with Brenda's African Violets.  She has mentioned how difficult it is capturing the true colors of petals, especially blues.  I didn't have any luck with it, either.  I tried every white balance setting to no avail, and Photoshop made them awful.  While the colors weren't spot on, they were all still very pretty.

This one didn't make the cut for class, but I like it, so I'm gonna share it here anyway!  If you ever find yourself in Hampton Roads, the historic Jamestown settlement is great for a nice relaxing day of walking and history!

A Sense of Motion

While learning how to take motion photographs was fun, it was definitely challenging. (I suck at panning.)  We had 3 different methods, to include panning, frozen, and blur images.  My schedule is jam packed between work, school, duty, and the daily must-do stuff around the house.  I did manage to make it to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens (I was there for a TAVS meeting anyway, so I got lucky)






Capturing the water droplets was definitely the most challenging and time consuming.  If I ever try this one again, I will definitely use a solid color background instead.  I figured the pattern would be a bit more blurry- especially considering the aperture was set at 1.8.  Lesson learned.  Before this class, I never realized just how much time went into photography, as in when you have something specific you want to shoot and a particular look you want.