Thursday, October 29, 2009

Photostory Friday: Photoshop Philosophy

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

(Forgive me if I'm looking at things a little philosophically these days. When you're stuck vacillating between debilitating pessimism and cautious optimism, philosophy keeps you sane.)

I recently discovered the wonders of Photoshop Light Room 2.

A few nights ago, as I sat in front of my computer, ruminating about the uncertain future and playing with a throw away image from a bridal shoot I did last Fall, I had a revelation. Of sorts.

When I took this picture, I imagined it totally different than the way it turned out. But it was born in adversity -- I shot it in the dark, without a flash and at a VERY high ISO. These are not ideal circumstances, and really this shot had very little chance of succeeding.

But, then I started giving it a little more attention. I found its strengths and I enhanced them. I nurtured it, I softened the edges and listened to the story it had to tell.

When is the last time you listened to a photograph?

It's still the same picture -- the information recorded on the SD card is the same. It was all there, it just needed to be coaxed out. It needed to be believed in. It needed someone to come along with the tools and the time to help it become what it was meant to be. The photo overcame it's circumstances, and became the picture that I knew it was supposed to be.

There's a lesson here somewhere...

(I told you I was in a philosophical mood)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

365: Week 43

Day 296

October 22: This isn't much of a picture -- it's one of those stick the camera out of the window while you're driving, because you have forgotten to take a picture today shots.
Actually, it makes a nice book end for the Wednesday shot this week.

Day 297

October 23: This is the main fountain at our local amusement park. They stay open through the end of October with special Halloween themeing.

Day 298

October 24: This is a shot I like to call "Bananas at 11:50 pm"

Day 299

October 25: If you take a six year old who can't keep her teeth in her head, and add her older brother's shirt, his cub scout neckerchief, her mother's belt, and her father's "Mask of Zorro" replica sword, you'll have yourself a buccaneer.

Day 300

October 26: THIS is my 300th shot of the year?! I should pay closer attention.

Day 301

October 27: Somedays you take the picture, somedays the picture takes you. Which really doesn't mean anything, nor does it begin to explain why I took a picture of this soup can....

Day 302

October 28: Remember clear back on shot number 300, where I said I should pay closer attention? Well that goes double for this shot...I had no idea I was driving into oncoming traffic...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Photostory Friday: Contrast

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Kelli

Life is funny sometimes, isn't it?

And by "funny" I mean twisted and outrageous and very decidedly NOT funny.

Actually, that's not what I mean at all -- because life is sweet and beautiful and stunning and so amazing that it leaves you breathless.

Hmmmm.....maybe it's both.

Life is hard and soft, and it's hot and cold. Life is the light and it is the darkness. Life, like photography, is all about contrast. It's about how the light shines on us and where the shadows fall. Contrast is the texture of our lives.

I lost my job this week. Well, to be precise, I will no longer have a job after next week. I don't know what I'm going to do. I've had a headache for days. I worry about all the things you imagine I would -- income, insurance, my mortgage, the lack of jobs, my lack of employable skills, and on and on. It threatens to engulf me in the shadows....but it happened this week.

In Utah, this is the most beautiful week of the year. This is the week that Autumn is in full bloom. The scarlet and the lemon, the rust and the green, blaze down the mountain sides and into the valleys, like a patchwork quilt of magnificent decay. The weather is still warm enough to stroll through the neighborhoods in a light jacket, and the leaves have not yet fallen from the trees. This year the colors seem more vibrant than normal, and the light of the afternoon Autumn sun warms my face and penetrates through the darkness.

The contrast of these two events puts my life into perspective. The very existence of shadows is evidence of the strength of the light.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

365: Week 42

Day 289

October 15: As a photographer, you are attracted to light. You notice how things are lit -- especially if the lighting is dramatic. On Wednesday morning, as I was cleaning in the warehouse, I kept noticing this beat up old trash can that I had sitting in the open doorway, as the early morning sun shone on it.

I really have no other explanation as to why I took this picture. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It's a good thing this year is almost up...

Day 290

October 16: Farmington Pond. I was scouting locations for Saturday, when I would be taking engagement pictures for my brother-in-law, and his soon-to-be-fiance.

Which brings us to...

Day 291

October 17: Andrew and Michelle.

I took this shot on Main Street in Bountiful, Utah. It's the side of an old, abandoned welding building. We could see this door from several blocks away. I love the character of the wall surrounding the doorway, and the contrast of the red door against the stark white wall.

Actually, from a distance, it looked like there were steps in front of the door. Once we got there however, we realized that not only were there no steps, but the doorway was about four feet off the ground, with a ledge of about four inches to stand on. But Andrew and Michelle are troopers (not to mention YOUNG), and hopped right up.

I love this shot.

Day 292

October 18: The Bountiful Utah, LDS Temple.

On our way back from viewing the Autumn colors up Meuller Park Canyon, we passed by the temple, and I shot it against the sinking sun. I like the way the building is in silhouette, but the statue on the spire is lit up (I told you photographers like dramatic lighting.)

Day 293

October 19: I caught this image on the front steps late Monday night. What do you suppose it is?

Day 294

October 20: State Street, Farmington, Utah. Autumn.

Day 295

October 21: Unknown marshy weeds, on the drive home.

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I included a good weed shot.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Photostory Friday: Worth

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

It's been one of those weeks.

You know the kind. Every negative seems magnified, every day seems endless.

I won't bore you with the details, let's just say I've spent a lot of time worrying about things that really are not worth worrying about.

I've mentioned before that Thoreau can drive me up a wall, but the problem is sometimes he just explains things so darn succinctly:

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."

This week I've exchanged far more life on certain things than they were worth.


After I took some ibuprofen, and brought my blood pressure back down, I found plenty of things that are worth every breath of my life:




And, of course, this:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

365: Week 41

The week I apparently forgot that I have two other children...

Day 282

October 8: Did you say you weren't sure where Emma wanted you? Let her clarify.

Day 283

October 9: It seems like I'm having one of these "I forgot to take a picture, hurry and shoot the sunset" days at least once a week lately. Luckily the Utah Autumn sky usually obliges.

Day 284

October 10: Popeye, the Pumpkin Man.

We broke out the Halloween Decorations Saturday. This little guys stares at me all October long, with that one good eye -- and he creeps me out.

Day 285

October 11: My brother-in-law, Andrew, rocking my son's face off with his mad Guitar Hero skills.

Day 286

October 12: Learning to read.

Day 287

October 13: Leaving love letters for mommy, on the driveway.

Day 288

October 14: This is a fair description of the kind of day I had today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Photostory Friday: Telling it like it is

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Angie

Emma is my straight shooter.

Emma is all about results.

For instance: when cleaning her room (after all the whining, and stalling; when she accepts the unalterable reality that she WILL be cleaning her room) Emma does a much quicker and better job than her older brother and sister. She understands that results are what matter.

Another instance: when she's upset with her older brother, Emma knows just where to kick him to get the best results. She sees no reason for preliminary ritual, she solves the problem, and moves on.

(We're working on this problem, and hopefully we have it conquered and we'll be able to carry on the family name through my one, and only, son. Incidentally Emma would have a simple solution too -- just tell Matt to stop making her mad. Problem solved).

My other children are passive. They absorb life, and go with the flow. Emma chases life down, kicks it where she'll get the best results, takes it's lunch money, and follows it home to ask its mother for a cookie.

As you can guess, she speaks her mind, blunt and to the point -- no matter who she's talking to:

Sunday was my 37th birthday, and that evening I was laying on Emma's bed with her, trying to figure out how old I would be, when she turned 37 (my basic math is going with my age)...

Me: Let's see Emma, when you turn thirty-seven, I'll be...........

Emma: Dead.

(Actually 68, thank you very much!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

365: Week 40

Day 275

October 1: Red meat and fire. That's all a man really needs.


Day 276

October 2: I did it. In the Billiard Room. With the wrench.

(By the way, have you ever seen the movie? It's hilarious -- I'll crawl over broken glass to watch Madeline Kahn in anything).

Day 277

October 3: It was cold. And getting colder -- that's why Matthew is wearing nine layers of clothing on the third day of October.

Matt may not be the fastest kid on the soccer field, but he's a pretty good keeper. He saved the goal right here -- I was hoping to catch the ball going into his arms, but I haven't quite gotten the hang of these sports action shots.

Day 278

October 4: This is what 37 birthday candles, fighting for space, looks like.

It was an inferno.

Oh the humanity.

Day 279

October 5: These are Emma's idea of an appropriate birthday present.

Mine too!

Day 280

October 6: This is our very ornate hummingbird feeder.

It fed not a single hummingbird this summer. So, I thought I'd get SOME use out of it, and try a little psychedelia.

All the hummingbirds will want to drink from it next year (assuming we get the right mixture of sugar and water next time).

Day 281

October 7: A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy, he hath borne me on his back a thousand times...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Getting in the spirit of the season

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Photostory Friday: *Sigh*

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Linds

Once upon a time there was a photographer who was supremely confident in his abilities. He had been shooting a picture a day for the entire year, and felt he had really captured some great images.

Along came Photostory Friday, and he found that he had no story. Undaunted, he pressed forward, certain that just browsing through his photo files would yield idea after idea. In fact, he was so confident that he would be successful in this endeavor that he set his screen saver to slide show and vowed -- before the entire Universe -- that he would take the tenth picture that appeared, and write a story about it.


This is a really close up shot of a 7-up can.


The end.

(After writing this story, the photographer noticed that he currently has 10, 786 photos in iPhoto. He decided that it's time for a little declutterization.)