Peaceful Silence

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)

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The weather was simply too beautiful to stay inside today, so I took my camera out to a local park to photograph, just for the sheer joy of capturing the image. As I sat near the small lake, my eye was drawn to the reflections of the columns in the water; I then noticed that the ripples of the water are projected onto the columns, creating a double reflection. The symmetry of the lines and curves and the muted brown and grey tones brought to mind this line from the poem Desiderata (“essential things”).

Photographing a Newborn

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I jumped at the opportunity to practice newborn photography on a friend’s granddaughter; because I’m new at this genre of photography, I did the shoot for no charge.

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In preparation, I spent a considerable amount of time reading articles and blogs and watching videos. I also scoured local stores for inexpensive props after searching online and finding that those clever and cute baskets, headbands, and backdrops cost a fortune. I took these pictures with a minimum of props: a wicker basket, a gauze wrap, and a few furry blankets.

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On the day of the shoot, I loaded my CRV with my portable studio consisting of backdrop and backdrop stands, light stands, SpeedLites and umbrellas, cameras, tripod, and lenses, and a large suitcase of blankets and pillows. When I arrived at their house, I was delighted to find a large window that provided plenty of light and I was able to use ambient light rather than strobe. I love the effect of soft light and shadows on the baby’s face.

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I’ve studied the 517 images I shot that afternoon, analyzing what I did right and where I need to improve; I am now ready to slowly build inventory and I look forward to my first paying newborn client.

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A Mother and Her Children

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I loved my time with Meghan and her son, capturing these extraordinary moments of anticipation and love.

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She likes the dark images with the focus on her baby and her son.

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She did not put on makeup, thinking she would show only the child within and the toddler without, not realizing that she herself, the mother, is the strength, the beauty, and the power of the family.

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A few moments of relaxed play

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My favorite … I love her expression

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Majestic Canyon Lights

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I took a friend from Shanghai to photograph our state’s treasure, The Grand Canyon. I was disappointed that I could not “give” her one of Arizona’s fabulous sunsets which would paint the canyon in a riot of colors and hues. When I viewed my images later, I realized that what we had captured might be as good as, or better than, the typical sunset photograph that is ubiquitous throughout the gift shops in Arizona and on the Internet.

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We had waited patiently for sunset, just sure that the clouds would shift ever so slightly to allow the sun to give us a show. We watched the rain as it moved around the butte to form a soft curtain which made its path steadily toward us.

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I’m sure that we looked absurd when we donned rain ponchos and held umbrellas above our cameras as we stubbornly stayed to capture the last bit of light and shadow in The Grand Canyon (and before the last shuttle departed).

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Throughout the day, I had wished for a break in the clouds for the dance of light in the canyon. We got a few glorious moments.

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Another First: Newborn Photography

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It seems that my blog has evolved into a journal about my journey toward becoming a professional photographer. Recently I’ve posted images representing my small successes. In the past, I had tended to discuss my mistakes and failures, but I’ve now decided to focus on my steps forward.

Most of what I know about photography has been self-taught through participating in workshops, reading books, blogs, and articles, watching videos, studying the work of other photographers, assisting some photographers, practicing on friends and family, making mistakes, learning from them, and practicing some more.

Saturday afternoon, I was headed out to photograph a party when a family friend called, asking if I would photograph their newborn (I had begged them several months ago to let me use their baby for practice). I was elated…and scared.

After I finished the party, I got on the Internet and read everything I could find and watched every YouTube video posted about photographing newborns. I learned that it is a daunting task.

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After spending a few hours with this precious little one and her parents, I also learned that I love taking pictures of babies.

Now I need to find some deals on those cutsey props and backdrops.

My First Portrait Session

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This blog has been about my rambling journey as a photographer which began when I purchased my first DSLR four years ago.  In the past year, after retiring from teaching, I have focused on developing my skills and artistry while learning how to run a business (of one currently). Photography is my passion…my frustrating, rewarding, exhausting, invigorating, inspiring, fun and all-consuming passion.

I recently landed my first job taking head shots. I prepared by setting up my portable lighting studio in my home, bribing friends with meals to sit for me (I got two takers), and resorting to shooting myself in order to figure out how best to set up the lights. I was nervous because lighting has been one of my greatest weaknesses.IMG_9059-Edit-Edit

These two young women were perfect for my first portrait gig because they were simply FUN.

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Now I just need to learn how to market myself. 

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