Saturday, January 30, 2010

experiments and adventure

In the interest of full disclosure, my absolute favorite moon shot(s) of the year were taken the day before yesterday and my 'wolf moon' shots were disappointing due to an odd circle of clouds.

low moon caught diptych
I just love watching the moon rise.

I've been wandering around, shooting a little bit more since I no longer have to edit Ohio pictures. Wait, don't I owe you more snow pictures from the trip? uh... um... yeah, I'll get right on that. In the mean time, I went to the pier yesterday twice: once at lunchtime and once for sunset. I absolutely love the Juno Beach pier and would probably spend more time there if it didn't offend my "must keep salt and sand off my camera" sensibilities. But while I was there, I decided to take a few pictures for a specific Photoshop experiment: high-dynamic range imaging. Yes, I know a lot of people think it's kitschy or overdone and downright tacky but I wanted to try it. So I did.
Juno Beach pier HDR
Juno Beach pier HDR 2
Whether you think they're garish, amazing, or just more photos from my adventures, I can cross it off my list of things I want to try. Since I was being silly anyway, I also decided to play with the tilt-shift action I made a while back.
tilt shift seagull
tilt shift Juno Beach pier
The vintage coloring shows up again too. But this is what happens when I'm shooting for myself: I have fun and do whatever I feel like and then sort of haphazardly throw together words and photos to tell you what I did.

And then there were the jellyfish... I cannot speak for anyone else in my life but I find Portuguese man-o-war jellies to be beautiful and squishy and generally photogenic.
man-o-war cinq
I think it helps that they look like purple and blue balloons, since I like those too.

I'm kicking myself at the moment for somehow leaving the I[heart]faces button off my contest entry post because I'd like to think I would have been featured if I had it. Time to facepalm and move on. I'll never get any adventuring done otherwise.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I was dreaming of a white Christmas... [trip part four]

...but it didn't snow those days.

Previous installments of snowy Ohio adventures can be found here, here, and here.

On December 23rd, the night before the night before Christmas, the entire extended family piled into a limo to see the amazing display in Wheeling, West Virginia. (It was a pretty surreal experience.)

This panorama is made from 4 shots, all taken from the moving vehicle. It wasn't easy, but I had a ton of fun doing it.

We're not going to mention how I uh... was walking around in just a long-sleeve shirt and jeans, in the cold, to get the previous shot and the next two. Those tulip lights were so beautiful that I almost forgot that I was cold. Almost. By the end, I had Grandpa Butch's hat and was hugging him and Grandma Linda for the body heat.

Christmas Eve, everyone is allowed to open one present. Cassie opened the hat I knit her and immediately decided to imitate a kitty. Maybe putting jingle bells in the pompoms is the equivalent of giving her catnip.

Christmas morning was hysterical. Being a nice Jewish girl, I've never really done the wake-up-early-and-wake-the-entire-house-so-I-can-open-presents thing. But this year, I had a stocking and presents under a tree.

The only things missing were mistletoe and snow.

adventure is always worth writing home about [trip part three]

For those of you just tuning in, especially the visitors from I [heart] faces, this is part three of my trip to Ohio. The last two posts can be found here and here, respectively. I feel the need to remind you that these photos are being linked from Facebook and therefore may not be quite as awesome quality as the ones from flickr, but I really has no desire to host them twice. Moving on...

In the last post, I covered my introduction to snow. The day after the hike through the woods on the farm, I went exploring via van with Grandpa Butch and Mr. Andy. But first, we needed to pick out a Christmas tree.

Once Cassie picked out the perfect tree, we dropped off everyone else and went exploring.

Our first stop was a neighboring farm because they had sheep. In case my previous post with my plush sleep didn't give it away, I kind of like them. Of course, these sheep had to be all aloof and 'baaaah' at me from a distance.

Luckily, their guard donkey was slightly more friendly.

From there, we went to the cemetery for a history lesson. I love the old tombstones in the snow.

We just drove around, talking about history and letting me take pictures for an hour or so...

...until the cows decided to block the road.

Moo-ve it! (What, not punny?)

The next day, we drove into New Philadelphia for coffee and internet access at the Daily Grind. This is what Grandma Linda and Grandpa Butch do to relax, even when they don't have a house full of people. However, I was much more interested in exploring the street that the cafe was on.

The best part of adventuring in Ohio might just be the icicles.

I know this post doesn't really convey the storytelling and the history and the laughter associated with these photos, but it's difficult to explain to someone who was not there what it was like to have these experiences. But hey, you're getting pretty pictures, right?

Monday, January 25, 2010

I [heart] faces and textures

I've been lurking around I [heart] faces for a few weeks now, waiting for there to be a challenge that I felt confident I could participate in. I'm trying to put myself out there a little more and work outside my comfort zone and that means trying to participate in two contests a month. (Please don't quote me on that. Life sometimes interferes with ambition.)

This week's theme is textures, so I decided to use a self-portrait I took recently.
f/4, 1/60 sec, iso 200, 18mm on 18-55 kit lens, Canon Rebel XT, pop-up flash
stock from dying beauty stock (my beloved Clara, whom I wholeheartedly endorse)

I don't usually wear makeup or have my hair down or go without my glasses so it's kind of difficult to recognize myself in this photo. I may need to do this more often though, as my Facebook friends seem to like it.

" Life is not a play/it's what we make of the people we love"

This is Richard.

We like to listen to the Format together and dance around. Last Friday, we had a hipster-themed party. It was pretty great. I processed all the photos to look like they were taken with toy cameras, expired film, or were cross-processed.

I'd like to acknowledge that the two photos of me dancing around like a nut were taken by Richard. It's very hard to get photos of yourself being a total spaz when you are having a love/hate relationship with your vintage tripod.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

small victories are big steps

I finally finished the Ohio photos! And that just makes me want to blog about them even less. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the photos and the stories and the memories. I just need some time to think about something else and enjoy shooting projects entirely for myself. It's a small victory that is requiring me to take a big step.

I'm pushing for more work for the University Press so I can have a paid position. Once again, small victory that is requiring me to up the stress level in my life.

So yesterday, I took my somewhat deflated balloons from the glow party and showed them my favorite places to be. The light wasn't golden and perfect, which suits me just fine. I have a cooler colored temperament sometimes. I just want to be chill.
balloon journey triptych
balloon journey diptych
I have been experimenting with different means of mimicking using my old (film) cameras and expired film. This shoot had a somewhat nostalgic feel--especially with the peace sign in the cement--and I just could not resist going to town.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

...we interrupt the regularly scheduled content...

I'm still going through the Ohio photos but I could not resist bringing a little color and flair to you.

Program Board has an coffeehouse music series every spring called Java and Jams in Jupiter which I'm hopefully going to cover for University Press. I covered the 'preview' show in November and had an amazing time with Tad Dreis (who got his own post here) so I knew I could not miss last night's show.

The first show of the season was Abi Cook. I can only hope the other musicians live up to the standard she set. She is soulful, quirky, and a huge sweetheart. When Austin and I spoke to her before the show, she was actually interested in my photography. And her only request was that I post the photos on Facebook and tag her in them so she could see them. I wish more musicians were that nice about my camera. In exchange, I tried not to blind her too much with my rediculous flash of doom (which I am still getting used to).

I wish photos could convey her presence. She just sings from the heart and the entire room feels warmer and more inviting.
Abi Cook

Now, let's just hope that retroactively telling UP that Austin and I covered the show works out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

my introduction to snow [trip part two]

read part one here first

We started driving up to Ohio around 5 in the morning on December 18th. The drive went on and on and on... The drive from Crestview into Alabama didn't take too long but once we were in Alabama, it seemed like we'd never get out. Part of the problem was that the highway was randomly closed with no detour signs so we sort of drove around for a while, attempting to make our way far enough that we felt we could get back on. Tennessee was pretty nice. But by the time we got to Kentucky, I was ready to be out of the car. The temperature was 35 and taunted me so. It started dropped further as we approached the Ohio state line and hit 32 as we officially crossed into the state. By the time we got to the gas station, it had started to flurry.
So, in typical Brenda fashion, I stood there in the middle of the gas station in my pajamas and a hoodie, taking pictures of the snowflakes twirling in the breeze.

The next morning, I pried myself out from under the covers and bundled up for my first day playing in the snow. My feet sunk right in.

Rather than building a snow man, Doug and Cassie decided to make a snow dinosaur.

Then, we headed out to Doug's grandparents' farm, where I became properly acquainted with the wonders of winter.

This is Dusty. He is warm and lovable and in charge of adventures.

That early morning hike through the woods was everything I expected this trip to be. It was cold and beautiful and slippery.

Grandma Linda took this photo of Doug and I. His sense of wonder and my dopey grin say it all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

it may be Florida but I'm far from home [trip part one]

I'm still working on the photos from my adventures to and in Ohio but I figured I should probably address them home and at least attempt a cohesive narrative. I'm linking the photos from Facebook, so they may not be the best quality.

My trip began December 13th at 4:30 in the morning, when we woke up to begin the drive up to Crestview. As we drove and the sun began to rise, we actually drove into fog. The fog did not lift and actually got thicker and thinner as we went, which was absolutely photogenic but made driving slightly less pleasurable for Doug.

I also discovered that Northern Florida has hills.

The next day, I launched right into adventure mode and went to Pensacola to see my best friend from preschool. Layla had us meet her at a pizza place in the morgue of the old Sacred Heart hospital.

Being the kind of brave explorers we are, we climbed the well-lit stairs but made Doug go first anywhere that was dark and remotely creepy.

Since she had our undivided attention for a few hours, we decided to explore St. Michael's cemetery (the first of many cemeteries on this trip.)

Coming from South Florida, I really was not used to hills and history dating back more than 100 years. Say what you will but the area where I live was swamp until the early to middle twentieth century, depending on which definition of 'home base' I'm going by.

Strange as it sounds, I loved photographing the history of Pensacola and Crestview but the highlight of my stay was the people.
Seeing Layla in the flesh after being internet-only for five years felt fabulous, although I was caught slightly off guard by how much more beautiful she's gotten as she's grown into herself. Nineteen years of friendship later and we still cannot help but giggle when we're together.
Doug's immediate family also count as a highlight, although I truthfully had no idea how much they meant to me when I first met them. I'm not going to lie, there aren't that many photos of anyone except Doug and Cassie. But I spent those days getting to know Ms. Sherry and Mr. Andy, since I knew right away that they're family. I didn't really see too much of Kaitlyn, but that's to be expected since she's sixteen and has a social life. But Cassie... I bonded right away with his baby sister, Cassie.

Cassie totally appreciates my dorkiness.
I also fell in love with Doug's puppies.

We stayed in Crestview for four days, which felt like so long when we were discussing the trip but flew by while I was actually there. As soon as I got used to waking up next to Doug's three furry children, it was time to wake up early to drive to Ohio to begin our actual vacation.