Saturday, June 30, 2007

My teeny tiny world

There is a lens called a Tilt-Shift that is used by architectural photographers. They use it to get the lines of convergence right - or to make the building look like it's supposed to instead of looking giant on the bottom and little on top. Or like it's curving. (There's lots of math involved too and to be honest, it's kind of making my brain hurt.) Canon describes it thusly:

"These lenses expand photographic possibilities. Tilt movements allow you to obtain a wide depth of field even at the maximum aperture and still keep the entire subject in focus. Shift movements correct the trapezoidal effect seen in pictures taken of tall objects, so as not to distort the subject."

They say it much better than I ever could.

Unfortunately, these tilt-shift lenses are pretty expensive. And while it's nice to have good glass in your arsenal, I'm still a year or so away from paying off the gear I just bought. So, I'm going to have to stick with renting or ... Photoshop Magic.

Photographers have found a neat byproduct of the tilt-shift lenses. It's the optical illusion in the depth of field that tends to have a "miniaturization" effect. When the technique is applied to aerial photos of cityscapes, for example, it takes on the look and feel of the mockup of a tiny city. I love this effect and have spent some time this last week finding tutorials on how to "fake it".

A couple years ago I took a trip to Manhattan and took the tour up the Empire State building. The photos of the city below me were alright, but I thought they would be perfect candidates to try out my new trick. I'll include a couple of the originals and "mini'd" versions so you can judge for yourself if I acheived the intended effect.





Here's a couple more that I played with:

I must have an affinity for itty bitty things... It makes me long for the days of
Micro Machines....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Something to warm the cold cockles of your heart (part II)

The first day of my brothers visit, we just hung out. The kids played, the adults gabbed and caught up and I took a bazillion pictures between the two. Also in attendance was my grandmother who was able to fly down from Portland on a day's notice. Huzzah!

I always enjoy a full house. At my own home, I like a bit of peace and quiet every now and then and get irritable when I don't get that time to myself. But on family occasions - birthdays, holidays, barbecues - I adopt "the more the merrier" approach. It reminds me of growing up with my brothers and all their friends - always someone to talk to or play with. It's the way holidays are supposed to be.

Anyway, on the last day the baby was blessed and since both extended families were together, we got a chance to take some formal shots. I'll spare you most of those, but damn! Babies are cute.

I absolutely love this one! It reminds me that kids all have their own personalities and when they're done - they're done!



My mom has a way with all kids - they all gravitate to her - and her own grandkids are no exception. I only hope I'll be as good a mom to my kids as she's been to me and my brothers. It looks like Jackson already knows this about her.

Maternal Grandmother

Love this one too - it's better bigger.

Can you believe she's a quarter Mexican?

My favorite shot of Jackson.

I've never photographed newborns before, but I've been wanting to for a while. I didn't have any fancy backdrops or anything, so we laid my brother's black suit jacket on the couch. We're so McGyver.

Hope you've enjoyed being a part of the most recent family affair!

Something to warm the cold cockles of your heart (part I)

My little brother brought his family and came to visit a couple weeks ago. It was a treat since I only get to see him once a year - usually around Christmas time. When I was a kid, if someone had told me I would only get to see my brothers once a year, I'd have laughed... and then probably kicked them in the shins. (I was mean like that.) I was always fiercely protective of my brothers, honing my "mother hen" skills at a young age. My brothers grew tired of me bossing them around - and then they grew bigger than me and pretty much put an end to me telling them what to do. But in spite of that, we've always been close and the distance that is currently between us is sometimes hard to bear.

So Jared came in to town, family in tow. The reason for the out-of-season get-together was a new nephew - his 2 week old son, Jackson. I was so happy to meet him and got the opportunity to pretty much document the whole weekend. There are a lot of pictures, so I'll probably make this a two-part series.

I apologise in advance for all the rugrats shots. Don't OD on the cuteness, okay?

Brand new parents... for the 2nd time....

...also high school sweethearts.

Big sister

Trying to figure out the whole bubble thing...

...Dad steps in until he realizes the whole thing is just foam anyway.

Stay tuned for part II...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Getting acclimated, but hopefully not losing my edge.

I assisted on my third wedding last weekend. On a side note, I was also in the doghouse as Father's Day was Sunday and so was the wedding and I have tragically not figured out how to be in two places at once. Nor have I realized I should definitely check the calendar before I commit to things.

So, back to the wedding. For the second time, the wedding was located at Ponte Winery. While the winery's grounds are beautiful and I would be happy just to hang out at such an attractive spot, their "intimate" reception room is a barrel room. Not just a clever name, mind you. It's a room with high ceilings and three out of four walls lined top to bottom with giant wine barrels. The entry way on the fourth wall is a massive door - a fancy, heavy wood affair that is reminiscent of something in a medieval castle. I open the door and find myself disappointed that there is no moat.

The room itself is nice, but with all the barrels and lack of windows - it's downright dark in there. Keep in mind that when getting your picture taken, the best kind of light is natural light. Artificial light - aka flash - is the worst kind of light. Ugghh. What's worse is that I really have no idea what I'm doing with it.

But, besides that drawback, the wedding was very nice. Once again, the couple was happy, in love, and very laidback - making my job very easy indeed. Since I'm the backup photographer, I usually have a little more leeway in regards to my subject matter. This particular wedding featured a few kids that definitely stole the show. Enjoy the photos!

To appease the Shoe Gods, of course

Can the light here get any more heavenly??

Love this one - is very "Secret Garden-ish" to me

I love all the motion in this one!

I know these are a little more conventional than the last wedding shots I posted. Don't think I'm going soft on you, now. Just trying to keep you on your toes.

Monday, June 04, 2007

"Goin' to the Chapel and I'm gonna get maaaa-ried!"

NO! Not me sillies!

I have tentatively ventured out of the realm of comfortable, small, intimate, portrait shoots and into the crazy, exhausting, but somewhat rewarding realm of wedding photography. I've only assisted on a couple, but I've had fun as a second shooter, assisting an established photographer. It's been nice to be able to add something new to my portfolio - this year is all about experimentation and finding out what works, I think. Anyway, I thought I would share a few from the second wedding I helped cover:

I took many, many pictures at this wedding - 8 hours worth. I even had to borrow a couple CF cards from the photographer I was assisting because I ran out. How embarassing!

Anyway, since I started this photography gig, everyone asks if I'm going to get into the wedding business. I hear it's good money and you can really make a name for yourself that way. But I'm starting to experience some of the pitfalls: (mostly) crazy bridezillas, family that doesn't get along, horrible lighting conditions, and a lot of stress due to blink-and-you-miss-it moments. There are no do-overs when the couple says "I do." You either get the shot or you don't. And if you don't... well, heaven help you when you have to tell the bride that her daddy/daughter dance didn't turn out.

I really am finding that I prefer the intimacy a regular portrait shoot provides. It's a much more manageable hour or two and I really get to know the small group of people that I'm photographing.
But I'm glad for this experience. It's really opened my eyes to a new venue and given me a taste of something else that's out there. I'm not completely ruling it out, but let's just say it's not my new favorite.

Next up on the agenda: Band Photography!