Saturday, October 30, 2010

EJ and Anne: Marietta Engagement Session

This morning I met EJ and Anne for their sunrise engagement portrait session at the Marietta Square. They also brought along a special four legged guest to have his portrait made as well. I have to say, this was one of the most fun sessions I've ever had. We had a great time running around the area finding neat places to make photos. They had a special request to get a shot with the train rushing past in the background, but naturally the train wouldn't come until we were more than a block away from the tracks. When we heard the horn blow, we had to turn and run back to get the shot. It was a good thing we had rehearsed the pose already, because there was no way to talk over the sound of the train coming by. But EJ and Anne were troopers and nailed the pose right away so all I needed to do was concentrate on my camera to get the variations on the shot that I needed. Then, after the mad sprint for the train shot, the ice was broken and we got busy making some awesome photos. I really want to thank you guys for a great morning! Congratulations on your engagement. You are a beautiful couple.

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As always, gentle reader, I want to thank you for looking at my blog.

Magic the Dog: Cumming Pet Portrait

I'd like to introduce you to Magic the Dog. Magic is a really sweet dog, one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. I actually took her photos quite a while ago, but I've been holding them back because they were part of a birthday surprise that I didn't want to spoil. See, Magic is Paul's dog. And Paul's wife Laura decided to surprise him this year by having Magic's portrait made. So one day while Paul was at work, I visited with Laura and Magic to make photography... uh.. magic. The tricky part wasn't that Magic is a black dog, which is pretty darn hard to photograph. The hard part of this was that Magic is kinda scared of stuff. Actually, Magic is a lot scared of a lot of stuff. But, with a lot of bacon and cheese flavored bribery, and my nice long zoom lens, we were able to get some pretty darn cute pictures of her.

So, this week was Paul's birthday and Laura surprised him with a nice, big, super awesome acrylic print of this first photo. And let me tell you, it made a beautiful acrylic print.

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Here's a few more of my favorites from the session. This next one is a particular favorite. I really love dog grins. I'm convinced that they know they're doing it and do it on purpose to amuse us, not because they understand that we think it's a smile, but because they know we'll give them more treats if they do it.

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I hope you've enjoyed your visit with Magic. And Happy Birthday Paul!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's That Time Again: December 4, 2010

I will be volunteering again this year with Help Portrait. I encourage everyone to find a way to give something back to their community this year. If you would like to learn more about Help Portrait, you can visit their website by clicking this link. If you'd like to read about my family's experience volunteering with the local Help Portrait project last year, you can click this link to read my blog post from last December.

Participating in Help Portrait was an experience that I will never forget, and I intend to not only continue working with them each year, but I have actively sought out other organizations since to work with to help bring assistance to fellow humans in need. I think it's important for everyone to realize that we all have something to give, and that we can all make a difference if we try.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Dog Ate My Homework. (Or why I have no pictures for you today.)

It's not like I didn't know it was a problem. I mean, it's been making a funny noise for over a week now. And there were the crashes on startup. But did I take precautions? Yes. And no. Some. But not enough. Bad me.

The day started so innocently. This morning I commuted in to the office like always. Traffic was a little rough. I got hung up at the top of the stairs in a bit of a traffic jam when the dogs couldn't decide if I was going back to bed or to the office and ran into each other three times. But I was able to get through that without spilling my coffee, so I consider that a successful commute. It seemed like an ordinary morning.

And that's when it all went wrong... duh duh duhhhhh....

I pushed the power button on the computer. It made all the usual whirring and tweeting noises. I waited. Nothing. I waited. Nothing. No picture. No little apple. So I did a hard shut down and restarted it.




Noises and fans, but no picture. Already suspecting what was wrong, I did three more hard restarts. Still nothing. Rats. Rats. Rats. The video card is D.E.A.D. Again.

Here's the thing. At my house, we love our Macs. All five of them. I love my Blueberry iBook from 1999. It still works, though I never use it. I love my MacBook. Jessie loves her MacBook. The kids love their iMac. And I love my gracefully aging G5. I drank the Apple Mac Kool-Aid big time. I've been using Macs since waaay before they were cool (pre-iPod!), and I've never had a complaint. Until Aperture. It's a video card serial killer. This was the second video card I've lost to it.

But that's not really what my panic attack was about. They'll replace the card. It's still somewhat under warranty. I panicked when I realized that, despite the fact that we are in a house with one Mac per human occupant, I have no real contingency plan for the (apparently not all that) unlikely event that my primary photo processing computer kicks the bucket.

That's not to say that things aren't backed up. I'm the Kah-weeen of backups. Especially the photos. Every photo I have taken, all 40,000 this year, is backed up four (4) (FOUR) (4!) ways. I take no chances with the photos.

But what I realized that I don't have is a second computer ready to take over on the spot should my main computer fail. You know, like it did today.

Aw, crap.

Now, here's the happy ending. I took the dead video card out of the computer and replaced it with an old card that I had kept around. Yes, yes, I am a smart girl. It fired right up with no problems. After contacting the vendor and making arrangements to replace the failed card, I got right to work making my laptop a carbon copy of my desktop. Every. Single. Thing.

I have spent my whole day sitting here at this desk essentially cloning my main computer. Well, ok, I had to spend 3 hours picking Hannah up from school and driving her downtown to the doctor, but other than that, I've been here with this project. Who knew how much vitally important junk could be on one computer? I'm backing some stuff up to new locations just to be safe, but mostly, I'm just getting things shuffled around so that if one computer ever fails, I can just simply unplug the army of external drives and connect them to the other computer and be up and running again in minutes without even wasting one single precious baby photo editing minute. 'Cause that's what this is all about in the end. Y'all want to see some more cute photos of li'l Ashwin getting christened, right?

Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Veronica's Birthday Session: Lawrenceville Teen Portrait

Hello again Internet! It's nice to see you again. Today I want to introduce you to Veronica. It's her birthday next week! Be sure to take a close look and check out her eyes, because she has the most amazing eyes. There's no Photoshop magic going on, those are her real eyes. How amazing is that? So take a look at her photos and leave her some cool birthday wishes either here or on Facebook. Thanks for looking! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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After we'd been playing around for a little while, I got out my 'Amazing Lens', aka my 50mm lens, and I said, "Show me the eyes that you make when your parents have busted your for something and you really want to get out of trouble." This is the look I got after a few giggles. I don't think anyone could say no to THOSE puppy dog eyes.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Savannah Christening and First Birthday

This past Saturday, family and friends celebrated the christening and first birthday of Ashwin Michael. It was a perfect October day for a celebration, and everyone had a wonderful time. Plus, I got two pieces of cake. Happy first birthday Ashwin! I even got up and took some sunrise photos. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day.

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Thanks for visiting! I've got some more neat stuff coming soon, and a whole lot of exciting news to share with you. It's been a crazy week so far!

Keep smiling!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If I Had To Pick Just One

In a strange way, photographs are a bit like children. I know, I know, that's a stretch, but if you stick with me, I swear I can make this make sense. For example, if you ask a mother to pick a favorite child, she will tell you they are all her favorites and she simply can't pick just one. If you are a stinker and you press a little harder and ask, "Well who's your favorite today?", she might crack just a little and say that, while there's no FAVORITES, today so-and-so is being super perfect and well behaved. And that's how I feel when someone asks me to pick my favorite photo. Because I have so many and I love them all for so many different reasons. Each one you've seen so far has been part of my process of learning and growing, as well as a documentation of someone's day or moment or event, and so they're all important and meaningful and how can I choose just one?

But after thinking about it a little while, I realized I am a bad mother, because I do have a favorite photograph. And what's interesting about this photo is that it's one of the first photos I ever took. In fact, I took this photo with a Canon AE-1 film camera with a 50mm lens, using 35mm film (Ilford HP-5 to be exact). And then I developed the film myself in a developing tank at the lab. And then I went into the darkroom and printed an 8x10 of it that I still have. But, while all that is neat, it's not why it's my favorite photo. This photo is much better than that. When I look at this photo, I am aware that it has technical issues, like the focus is a little soft, and the composition of it is a little stale. I had to spend a little time in the darkroom burning in the left side because I blew out my highlights so that I could be sure to have detail in the shadow side of her face. It's not a technically perfect photo, but it's still, in my opinion, one of my best photos, and certainly one of my best portraits.

The photo I'm talking about is the photo below. It's a photo I took of my grandmother on Thanksgiving 1993. I've shown it to you before, but I wanted to talk about it again today. I have applied to be an intern with a local studio (keep your fingers crossed for me), and they asked me to tell them about my favorite photo, and since I had a 5 hour drive last night back from Savannah, I had a lot of time to think about the importance of photos in our life. In the post before this one, the lead photo is of the groom's grandfather, who's glance I just happened to be lucky enough to catch during the ceremony. This photo is now a favorite photo of the groom and his sister, and several other members of their family. It's not a whiz-bang photo with lots of photographic tricks and techniques all piled onto it. It's just a well timed photo that was captured during an emotional moment. This photo is one of nearly 1000 photos that I processed for this event, and many of those photos were whiz-bang cool photos, but this one is the one that stands out, not only to family members, but to many of you as well. It's a photo that is direct and honest and real.

And that is why the photo of my grandmother is my favorite photo I've ever taken. My portfolio has a ton of technically 'perfect' photos in it, but it's the ones that combine skill with the good luck and timing of being in just the right place at just the right moment that become so much more than just a bunch pixels on a monitor. This photo is the physical embodiment of a real memory of mine. I can still remember the moment it was taken and all the details of that moment, even though it was 17 years ago. And the expression on her face is not posed or forced, it's just her looking at me the way she usually looked at me. It's a photo that's honest and real. And the next thing that happened.... she told me to quit it so she could finish the dishes.


As always, thanks for reading my ramblings and taking a look at my work. And as a thank you for allowing me to share this with you, next week I will post some really adorable baby photos from the christening that I photographed in Savannah this weekend. And, wow, are they cute too! Also, if you are interested in seeing my second favorite photo I've ever taken, click on this link and take a look at the leading photo on this post.