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Tag Archives: Photography
I come from a very talented and creative family. They never cease to impress and amaze me with their individual skills and ability to create. My dad is a wiz with cars and does body work plus he can pretty much build or fix anything. My step dad is a medical illustrator. My brother is a chef. My other brother takes after my dad and is also a car wiz. And my mom, she’s a sculptor.
Recently it seams that her sculptures are getting larger and larger. She’s always done life size stuff but larger than life seems to be the trend lately. And when she told me she was going to be sculpting a 15 foot tiger for Grambling State University I said, “That’s awesome! But I’m pretty sure that’s not going to fit in the studio.”
After a whole lot of searching and hunting she finally found a warehouse space for rent. There were tons of trials to overcome with this project which you can read on her very well documented blog about the whole process here http://gramblingtiger.blogspot.com/. But after everything was sculpted and before cutting the whole thing apart to take it into the mold making stage I suggested we take some photos of her and the piece. So we did!
The above photo is one of my favorite shots from the day. The size of this thing is almost overwhelming. And it should be noted that there are another three feet of rocks that go under it, so that back foot will be on a rock, not on the ground. I’m incredibly impressed with how she executed the stripes. Truthfully, I’m incredibly impressed with the whole thing. I can’t wait to see it in bronze! But it will be a few more weeks until that happens. They’ve already cut it up and started the mold making process, from there the molds get shipped to the foundry. The foundry pours waxes, makes more molds, pours the metal, puts everything back together and then finishes it off with a patina. Then it’s off to Grambling.
It was especially fun to watch the process of this sculpture. It was also really great to be able to capture some photos of my mom with the Tiger. And of course I had my little assistant there with me.
Sometimes I’m asked to photograph really weird things. And while my first love is custom portrait photography, I do love a photographic challenge and a change of subject matter always tends to inspire me in some way. So a few weeks ago I got a text message from Mike de la Flor of MD Communications that read, “I need some meat pictures for 3D textures, can you shoot them?” I said sure. The next text was probably my favorite of all texts I’ve ever received, “Do you know where I can get a whole beef heart?”
With that meet my meat model, a whole beef heart. Some of you are probably totally grossed out right about now.
Please don’t freak out, you have a heart too, and it looks a lot like that.
I’m actually totally into this sort of thing. I loved dissection day in science class in school. I’m a huge fan of the Body Worlds exhibits and have spent hours sketching at them. With a fine art background it makes sense to study and understand the skeletal and muscle structures of the body when you’re going to paint, sculpt or draw them correctly. Plus the fact that we live and breathe every day and our body’s systems just know what to do is completely fascinating to me. To boot, I’m a tactile visual learner so seeing and touching a heart, the ventricles, all that, makes the info stick in my brain much better than if I just saw a picture in a book or read a paragraph describing it.
So I shot a heart. The goal, capture as much detail as possible with as little reflection spots as possible. (The above image was just shot with my iphone for instagram purposes.) Mike then took the images I shot and used them to texture a 3D model of a human heart. Apparently human hearts and cow hearts are pretty similar, cow hearts are just much larger.
Mike then took his heart model to Guadalajara, Mexico to the PanAmerican University where he gave lectures and workshops on biomedical illustration and visualization. In the main workshop he walked the students through the process of modeling, sculpting, and texturing a human heart in 3ds Max and Mudbox.
Mike is a cool guy.
It was great to collaborate with another artist, learn a little bit about the heart, shoot something totally different from my norm, and know that what I shot was used in education (I’m a big fan of education). So thanks Mike, it was fun. Next time you need some shots of meat, I’m your gal.
…sung to the tune of Where Have All the Cowboys Gone, by Paula Cole…”where is my John Wayne, where is my prairie song, where is my happy ending, where have all the cowboys gone”. I digress.
Oddly enough there is a line in that song, “I will raise the children if you pay all the bills”, which is really pertinent to life right now. I think she’s volunteering for the hard job there. Raising a kid (much less kids) I’m learning is a really difficult, full time, overtime, crazy, stressful job. I keep telling Bill how nice it must be to get an 8 hour break from the babe and go to work (he protests this every time I mention it). And as I type that it sounds really really terrible. Don’t get me wrong I love…LOVE my baby. There are times when she’s in my arms and I look down at her and I think “holy cow who are we to receive such a gift from heaven”. Or there are times when she wakes up in the morning next to me or in her bassinet at the foot of our bed (it depends on the day and how the night went) and her eyes are open and wondering and she sees my face and she instantly smiles and it melts my heart. But there are other times when she’s screaming for hours, or wet, again, or hungry again or bored again and I can’t remember the last time I showered or put on makeup and I think “wow, this is my life now”. It’s exhausting. And on top of it all I’m trying to run a business which is like another baby, equally as needy.
Let’s just say it’s been a rough week. She’s going through a growth spurt (I think) which makes her extra hungry and extra cranky and it means the schedule we finally nailed down is all going to change again. We’re also coming off the whirlwind of senior season which has been incredibly fulfilling artistically and humbling as I still can not believe so many people want me to photograph their families. I still blush a little when people compliment my work. I can not express my thanks enough to my clients, because without them I’d be doing a job somewhere that I hate and would not be fulfilled by, and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to stay home during the day with Issa and get to experience things like her first laugh or being projectile vomited on, missing my mouth by mere inches.
In this new life my attention and time is divided. Most of it goes towards Issa, the rest goes towards producing the best images I can and working with clients to make sure those images get shown in the best possible way in their homes and on cards and products (I’d hate to spend time making art and have it sit on a hard drive forever). And as much as I detest it, and the marketing/advertising person in me is cringing, things like blogging, and updating websites, and facebook have kind of gone to the back burner over the last 11 weeks. And while I’m feeling incredibly unbalanced, it’s ok because the thing is, the important things are getting done; making art, keeping diapers clean, creating happy clients, bonding with my kid. I’m just trying to smudge out the part of me that goes crazy that I have several shoots that have not been posted on facebook or my blog, that the photos on the website haven’t been updated in a year, and that there is a never ending pile of laundry on the floor of my bedroom.
Still I have hope that balance will one day return. I know it will never be like it was because now I have a tiny sweet baby girl that relies on me to live. But we will make adjustments and changes and my other baby, the business will change shape and morph, as it should.
So where have all the blog posts gone? Well they’re with all the other things I’ve deemed less important, hanging out on the back burner, waiting patiently in line to be picked up again as I slowly find balance in this ever changing new life called parenthood.
I can’t remember what shoot I was on where I finally said to myself, “I can’t do this successfully alone.” I want to say it was back in 2009, in Tulsa at a wedding I was shooting. I could have the dates wrong, but I’m pretty sure it was right around that time. I immediately started day dreaming of having an photography assistant.
I thought about hiring an intern, but that would mean I’d have to raise my prices to pay them. I have a really hard time asking any intern to work for free, though there was a time where I did and I learned a lot. But still, I wanted to keep my prices reasonable (also why we have a home office and not a store front studio yet), but I also needed help. About 3 months later I was at an Imaging USA convention and I heard Jeff and Julia Woods speak (they’re an amazing husband and wife wedding photography team). It was then I remembered I had an assistant, a life long assistant, my husband Bill. And
after much pleading and coercion and begging because he loves me Bill agreed to assist me on shoots.
There was a slight learning curve at first. He definitely blindly agreed to help, I’m certain he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. If he had I’m positive he would have said no, or at least thought about it a little harder. But I taught him about light and light manipulation and angles. He was already pretty good at hauling equipment and props around. He picked everything up rather quickly (he’s smart like that) and soon he started mentioning little posing and location ideas and thoughts during shoots that were pure genius. I stopped having to ask him to shade certain things or pop light here or there because he just saw it and knew.
Then there were the children. I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to see Bill with children, other than briefly with his niece and nephew in Philadelphia. I had been told by different folks that he was great with kids. But it wasn’t until he started assisting me on family and kid shoots that I realized how truly fabulous he is with them. And they absolutely love him to boot! And sometimes while shooting the parents, or a different combo of kids, I turn and I see this…
…and then I melt a little. Cause it isn’t just that he acts goofy to get them to laugh or smile, but he plays with them and entertains them while I’m working with other members of their family. And seriously they love him. (This little one said she’d like to come home with us.)
I have tons of these kinds of pictures of Bill being awesome at what he does floating among client photos, but the photo above is from a more recent shoot and it absolutely kills me. Maybe it’s pregnancy hormones. Maybe it’s that in three short months he’ll be holding our little girl. I’m not entirely sure. But what I am sure of is that he is going to be a fantastic dad and I couldn’t ask for a better photography assistant.
As I’ve shared before in the last 5 things post, we did an extended vacation to visit family in the northeast. One of our stops was at Niagara Falls because Bill had never seen it in the summer (it’s a completely different experience in the winter). I always take vacations as a time to play with different photography shots. Luckily it was sunset which was a great time of day for some interesting shots with incredible lighting. So this is what we came up with…
Can I please make an announcement, people still go over the falls and die, about 20-25 people per year. If you haven’t been there you’d imagine that every dangerous area is kept from people by railings and signs and guards. The thing is, it isn’t. If you walk over the bridge (the top photo on the right) onto Goat Island there are all kinds of wooded areas and trails that just lead right to the edge of the water just before the falls (seen in the bottom photo on the right). Niagara Falls are actually made of three separate waterfalls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Canadian (or Horseshoe) Falls and you can go over any of them quite easily.
While walking one of the trails we saw this man and his young son IN THE WATER! They were picking up change that people had thrown into the water in probably the calmest area right before the falls (the picture on the right was taken just a few feet from where these people were in the water). There are signs posted everywhere about being fined for getting in the water but these people didn’t care. The mother was just standing there watching them. They spoke very little English but when we said THEY WILL DIE she quickly collected her family. Amazing.
And that was Niagara Falls.
I was pulling together a few photos from Vermont for a friend and stumbled upon this one. I realize I was supposed to share more from my Vermont Trip this February, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m sorry. I’ve failed.
When I ran across this image, as I was digitally shuffling through so many of them, I was instantly reminded of the peacefulness I felt in Vermont. Since I got back from that trip I’ve been going non-stop with photo sessions, graphic design work, etsy sales, events for family and friends, birthdays, anniversaries, more photo shoots, travel, and just life. It’s gotten really really busy. And I’m not complaining at all, I enjoy it, but I’d lost sight of the clarity I found in Vermont.
We’ve got a few more trips planned in the coming weeks and I’m hoping to find that clarity again, to escape for a bit and refocus. To breathe again.
Also, I want to do a photo session in the snow. It’s on the bucket list.
1. Raw Milk- I spent all of last Thursday on Gramen Farm in Tomball, Texas, starting the work on a brand new project. A cow licked my arm. Their tongues are HUGE. I learned tons and tons about raw milk and farming. I met some really amazing folks who I think will become fast friends. Best of all I came home with a trunk full of delicious raw milk, kefir grains, soap nuts, local honey, and farm made soap. It was a good day.
2. Ten- Ten is the number of photo sessions I did in April. (Also, how the heck is it already May? When did that happen?) For a lot of studios 10 is a measly number, it may be the number of sessions they do in a day. But considering I’m a 1.45984 man operation boutique photography studio (Bill helps out when he can, which is reason for the decimal) and I spend at least 2 hours prepping for a shoot, 2+ hours on the shoot, 4+ hours editing, 2+ hours putting together custom artwork, not to mention client meetings, answering e-mail, and actually placing orders to our vendors as well as all the other stuff that goes with running a business, it’s been a crazy busy month. The thing is I LOVE IT.
3. Yard Work- When I was not working I’ve been outside. We’ve spent a lot of time working on the yard. At dinner Bill and I planned out our dream back yard, I even sketched it out. Our vegetable garden is flourishing and we had an influx of plants after the Plant Swap on Saturday. Bill makes fun of me because I just go out there and stare at it. But it’s relaxing and it makes me smile.
4. Youth Group- Our youth group is growing. Oh yeah, Bill and I lead a small in home youth group (it’s hosted by another family). It was an opportunity based out of a desire of a few kids that sort of just fell into our laps. We’ve been doing it for almost a year and last night we had 23 students. In a living room. Twenty-three. What? Yes. 23. It’s blowing my mind that A. that many kids want to listen and have discussions with us. and B. See reason A. I’m amazed.
5. Puerto Rican Food- My best friend is Puerto Rican and we have some very good friends here in Houston who are also Puerto Rican. And they have been teaching me how to make Puerto Rican food, which is delicious and makes me happy in a way I can’t describe. So a few weeks ago I took on the task of feeding 12 people with what I’d learned from my friends. The verdict was I succeeded. Rice, beans, flat steak and Tostones (twice fried plantains). My next task, Mofongo!
When Jaclyn e-mailed me and said she wanted to to her senior photo session at her horse stables I was a tad giddy. I love horses. My uncle shoed them for a living when I was little and he had a horse named Major and I would go with my uncle to the stables and ride. And then he would let me clean Major’s stall. I was quite proud of myself every time I looked into the stall after I had cleaned it. Little did I know I was doing an unwanted chore. And I’m about 99% sure my uncle had to go back into the stall and redo everything because quite frankly I was little and poop is heavy. And thus my love for horses was born.
Bill wasn’t quite sure about the horses. He’s from Philadelphia and I guess in that city horses aren’t as natural an occurrence as they are here in Houston and the surrounding areas. When we met Jaclyn’s horse I walked right over and pet his head. Bill stood back and stated quite frankly, “wow, that’s a big animal, I’ve never been this close to a horse.” He eventually warmed up to them and both of us stood in awe as Jaclyn maneuvered her horse and went soaring through the air as they jumped over a fence we had placed in the middle of the field.
Here are a few of our favorites from her photo shoot.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the shoot! Leave us a comment.
Melissa and I worked together to style her senior photo session. The goal was dreamy and whimsical with a touch of mystery. She has a great eye for fashion and picked out all her clothes. This was actually the same location we did the photo session with Tiffany and her girls, but to our surprise all the the tall grass had been mowed which completely changed the landscape of the location. It also revealed a plethora of blackberry vines which Melissa, Bill and I ate from throughout the shoot. Oddly enough, Melissa eats blackberries every morning and so it made the session even more “her”.
This lady is a fantastic woman. There is so much about her that reminds me of myself at that age. She’s beautiful and thoughtful and just all around awesome. And I’m in love with her photos…
(Because I take a feet shot of every client. It’s kinda my thing.)
(This one was an artistic experiment, I’m still not sure if it works.)
And that is Melissa.
PS. I’d love to hear your feedback on these images; which is your favorite, likes, don’t like, etc. Just leave it in the comments.
1. Galveston- Just after Easter Bill and I went to Galveston, TX to shoot Riann’s one year photos and decided to use the time there (since we had to get a hotel anyway) as a mini anniversary getaway. Our 3rd anniversary was actually this past Tuesday but Bill is in Atlanta for work so we thought it was appropriate to celebrate a little early. We stayed at the San Luis Resort and I highly recommend it. All the rooms have a balcony view of the ocean, they’re huge, and the pool has a swim up bar. Awesome. We spent a lot of time exploring the island, looking for shoot locations and trying out the local fare. I always forget how great Galveston is, I spent a lot of summers there as a kid, and it’s a stones throw from our house (or like an hour’s drive). I need to take advantage of that more.
1. Our feet in the sand (I need a pedicure, don’t judge). 2. The view from our room at the San Luis Resort. 3. A DELISH shrimp Po-Boy from Shrimp N’ Stuff, go there, it’s AMAZING. 4. Breakfast at ShyKatz Deli, adorable little place, great food, great atmosphere. 5. Bill drinking a giant orange juice at Easter breakfast with mom before heading out to Galveston. 6. The new Pleasure Pier, opening soon!!
2. Busyness – In high school I went to a church by myself, not that my parents didn’t go to church I just really liked this one church so they let me go there. It was them allowing me to define my own path and faith. Anywho, on father’s day they gave all the dads this book called The Man in the Mirror. Somehow I ended up taking one home and since I read just about everything back then I thought hey, why not. One of the main things it mentioned was that it was ok to be busy but you had to be busy and balanced. It’s something I’ve always strived for but I think the busy has been outweighing the balanced lately and I’m working on that.
3. I am a photographer. – When there is a desire deeply rooted in your heart it becomes the thing you question the most about yourself. It’s personal and it’s tied to you. I constantly have to remind myself that I am a photographer. When people ask me what I do and I say it out loud I always sound silly to myself, or like I’m faking them out. But I really am a photographer (along with a lot of other things: wife, counselor, graphic designer, christian, daughter, gardener…), and sometimes it surprises me. For example I did a photo session with Tiffany and her two adorable girls and I don’t know if it was their beauty, or the location, or that it was the magic hour or a combination of all of those things but when I finally got the photos on my computer a few of the images made me gasp. I questioned if I actually took them. I don’t mean to sound conceited or anything but they blew my mind a bit, I surprised myself. This both frightens me and excites me, because I think it may mean I actually am a photographer. (You can see more images from their session here.)
4. My Garden Is Growing – We planted our veggie garden a few weeks ago and it’s doing VERY well. I’ll actually be picking our first banana pepper sometime this week. My parsley, cilantro, cucumber, and basil that I planted from seed all came up. I worked in the rain on Sunday putting weed block (that black plastic stuff) all around the outside of the raised beds so I can eventually build little pathways around them. The whole thing makes me SO happy that I just sit out there and stare at my plants. (This picture is actually from two weeks ago.)
5. I Have a Fabric Addiction – I bought more fabric recently from Five Monkey Fabrics on etsy, from Paper Thread Fabrics and Joanne’s. I have about 5 or six sewing projects going all at once. The quilt for the living room, a second quilt (though it’s just in the planning stages), the fabric rose tree skirt, reusable swiffer dusters, a vintage half apron, and this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess. I have SEVERAL others in the hopper too (top of the list is this burp cloth tutorial from Made for all my friends who are about to pop out kiddos). Basically my pinterest has been filled with sewing ideas and fabric swatches.