Friday, July 30, 2010

the curse continues!

A few years back, I was attempting to photograph the stars someplace where there was limited light pollution. We saw fireflies and I was so excited. I was all set to capture the perfect shot with the twinkling of the fireflies and the stars when a wild boar decided that our shoot was over. I remember pulling my tripod into the car and slamming the door, mid-exposure. I got a great story out of the night, but I certainly did not get a good shot.

The last time I tried to photograph a meteor shower, the part of my tripod that holds the head steady broke and I didn't get a shot. I saw three of the most beautiful meteors but had nothing to show for it.

Last night was an overlap of two meteor showers and I was so excited. I was all set to drive far enough west that there wasn't much of anything, set up my tripod, and click away. I had just finished adjusting all the settings and was about to take my first shot when Doug went "Brenda..." and I froze. He heard the boar before I did and wanted to alert me without attracting its attention. We didn't stick around to get a shot of the boar; I dragged my tripod into the car and we sped off.

I snapped this shot as we turned off the dirt road and got close enough to civilization that I felt safe.
dusty road escape

We stopped off at Sonic for some "I'm sorry your night got ruined by a boar again" root beers and then continued on towards the beach.
late night Sonic run

Unfortunately, we could not find any place dark enough to shoot the meteor shower that we could actually get to safely and legally.
A1A drive

Maybe one day I'll get to actually shoot a meteor shower or star trails without something happening.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

sorbet makes for sweet shots

A few days ago, I saw a tutorial over at I Heart Faces and decided to experiment just a little. Since I like vintage and color and rainbows so much, the "just a little" turned into 11 different colors. Of course, being the kind of girl I am, I couldn't resist naming them after fruit sorbets and saving them to my personal actions collections.
vintage sorbet sample
I cannot wait to use these more.

Monday, July 26, 2010

purple pinwheel [i heart faces]

As soon as it was announced that this week's theme over at is purple, I knew I had to do a self-portrait.

purple pinwheel

texture from Dying Beauty Stock

Saturday, July 24, 2010

the sparklers were burning a hole in my imagination

Seth and Lexa got me sparklers a few weeks ago. Even though we used up the nice ones playing atop the city, I still had fifteen or so left in my room. Every time I saw them, I wanted to play with them. But it's no fun to play alone. Tonight I dragged Doug outside to play with me.

We had to get the obligatory 'laugh like sparklers' shot. I'm obsessed.
laugh like sparklers
Once we got that out of the way, I told Doug he could draw whatever he wanted. He decided to draw me a cupcake (because I'm his cupcake).
cupcake sparkler
And a goldfish, because he "loves me like a fish". (Don't ask.)
sparkler goldfish
He also was cute enough to write out I heart Brenda but unfortunately my camera was set to a 2 second exposure at the time so I didn't capture part of it. Sorry!

And then, in true Doug fashion, he decided to issue me a challenge:
spell casting
composite of three shots
camera set to bulb mode
f/8 aperture, ISO 200
light trail made with flash set to second curtain, 12 sec exposure

Doug actually asked if we could make something like this. I wasn't quite sure I could do it because there's no way to make a long exposure exactly like a shorter exposure with a huge burst of flash. I know I did not do the best job assembling the composite. I am too tired to spend 4 hours meticulously masking out the differences in tone between the asphalt illuminated by flash and the asphalt illuminated by ambient light. I still think it is super awesome and I cannot wait to do more of these.

I already have a few ideas.

Monday, July 19, 2010

hoot hoot ow!

So I uh... tripped going down the stairs, setting my camera for this shot. But it was totally worth it. This is the same owl as last night. He does have a wife, but I couldn't get a decent shot of her in focus (in the dark).
Dobby owl
Shot at f/5, 1/60sec, 40mm, ISO 1600, flash fired, on tripod. Cropped to square format.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

hoot hoot

I was sitting in my room when I heard my uncle asking if I had a minute. The next thing I knew, I was outside, spoon in hand, staring at a cute little owl. He'd been waiting all summer to catch both the owl and I home on the same night. Of course, I dashed upstairs and grabbed my camera. I didn't have time to set up my tripod. I boosted the ISO up to 1600, set Marjorie to RAW, and hoped for the best.

Shot at f/3.5, 1/6sec, 18mm, ISO 1600 handheld. Cropped to square format.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

we stood atop the city and created light

After sitting through a movie that turned our minds inside-out and sideways, we needed a release. I packed sparklers and my tripod for just such an emergency. I grabbed them out of the car and ran up four flights of stairs to the top of the parking garage. But it just wasn't high enough; I wanted to be able to see all of the city unfolding below me. So I rattled my way up the stairs of the fire escape, still gripping my tripod for dear life. And there, atop the city, I opened my tripod and shot the lights unfolding beneath me.
view from the top of the city

Then I climbed down and set up my tripod once again. We passed out sparklers and took turns in front of the camera, painting with light.

First Doug.

Then Seth and Lexa.

Then myself.

We twirled and danced and got caught up in the magic. The breeze threatened to blow out our sparklers but still we played, far above a city that takes itself too seriously. It was magical and wonderful. And the view was absolutely breathtaking.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

magic light

There's something about that late afternoon sunlight that is just so magical. It goes beyond just being the 'golden hour' sometimes; it's like the entire world is coated in gold dust.
golden tree flare
And sometimes, when I catch the light just right, there are even rainbows.
rainbow sun flare
The golden light molds and sculpts even the most mundane things until they look like works of art created solely to be appreciated in these brief moments.
slash pine
The Little Prince was certainly on to something; sunsets make life that much more wonderful.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

new project: song of myself

song of myself
I've been contemplating this project for a long time. When I was in high school, a teacher friend of mine lent me a copy of Leaves of Grass. Back then, I had not yet realized that photography was my love and so I threw myself into poetry. I fell in love with the words of Walt Whitman, especially "Song of Myself". Time passed and I moved on to a love affair with photography but I still read voraciously. When I got my hands on a copy of Paper Towns and saw the way Margo left clues using lines from Whitman, my love was reignited. I've been scouring thrift stores and used book stores for years, looking for a leather-bound copy of Leaves of Grass and I finally found one. In rereading "Song of Myself", I found myself associating photographs with lines from the poem. My goal is to make a book combining my photographs--both those I've already taken and those I have yet to take--with Whitman's words.

Once before, I did a "Song of Myself" project but it was on a much smaller scale. I made two cards with the last two stanzas, one for myself and one for a friend.
Whitman cards

Monday, July 5, 2010

waiting on a break in the clouds

I don't really like to have two posts up on the same day but it's raining and I have photos. I also owe an apology to those of your readers who can remember when my posts were wordier. I don't know why I've not writing as much as I used to and I'll try to remedy that.

At the moment it is raining outside and Doug is chilling out next to me. If the rain lets up a little, I may toss on my rain boots (since my sneakers are still wet from last night) and grab Marjorie and see if we can go blaze a trail.
In the mean time, I wanted to be a little silly and share some photos I took made of Doug yesterday. It was raining then too and I was anxiously awaiting a break in the clouds so we could head out for fireworks. I put my nifty fifty on Marjorie and tried my hardest to capture Doug the way I see him when there's absolutely nothing going on. When he's playing on the computer or watching something intriguing, he looks so intently. When he closes his eyelashes, he just looks so calm. And of course, he likes to hide under the covers and peek out at me.

A lot of times, I feel like I'm jumping from activity to activity; I seem to always have something to do or somewhere to be. Sometimes it's nice to just stop and observe--to really see--the way things fall into place. When I showed these pictures to Doug, he commented on how he liked the way they came out. When things are this calm and I can get close enough to look carefully, you can see the freckles. I think I needed these moments to be able to really see what's around me, rather than just what's around the bend.

laugh like sparklers

"We laughed the way people laugh on the edge of dark and dangerous times, like little sparklers out in the night"
-the Raw Shark Texts

Last night was a crazy, rainy fourth of July. I spent the night standing in the rain with Doug holding an umbrella over my camera so I could shoot the fireworks. It was so worth it.

fourth of July
This shot was probably one of the coolest shots of the night. I used the technique found here and gradually rotated the manual focus from infinity downwards until the shutter closed.

We stood atop the parking garage at FAU in the pouring rain to watch the fireworks. I was cold, wet, and couldn't stop laughing. Can you even tell it was raining?
fourth of July 2
fourth of July 3
fourth of July 4
fourth of July 5
fourth of July 6
fourth of July 7
fourth of July 8
The grand finale!
fourth of July 9

Ever time the shutter closed, I'd hit my remote and open it again. Unfortunately, sometimes I'd capture part of a firework in the frame and that would be it. After stacking those exposures using Startrails, I ended up with this.
fourth of July 10 composite

I was laughing like a sparkler, even though it was far too rainy to light my sparklers. On another, darker night, I will.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"God is in the rain"

Whether or not that quote from V For Vendetta is true, what I know is that there is something special about the rain. A gentle rain like today, under a softbox sky, is often what I need to help me clear my mind.

God is in the rain
rainy bird bath
yard decor
baby plants
Sadly, not all of my babies were doing well. Two of my pines died of shock.