Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Photo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Actually Letting Your Work Flow

Getting new equipment usually makes me do the happy dance. Last Thursday I left a big box store with my brand new 2T external drive tucked lovingly between my arm and breast. I knew this was the answer to my recent storage issues. I even took the drive out of the packaging as soon as I got home and gave it a space on my desk.

And there it sat for the next three and a half days.

The reality of copying and checking and double-checking and then moving or outright deleting files made me want to curl up in the fetal position and wish it all away. I didn't even allow myself to think of defragmenting or reassigning opening programs. But I started.

About halfway through, my best friend gave me a pep talk saying that this set up would be much safer and efficient anyway.
And it is. It's about 27 hours since I initially started and all is well. Everything is set up much more efficiently and the external drive (which I think now I must name) has a comforting little glow and hum to it.

I think I need to take my camera out and shoot just so I can go with my new flow...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comely Attractions...

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens kicked off their Orchid Spectacular this past weekend. I thought this might help scare away the last dingy vestiges of the snow. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Profiling Your Personality

I taught a "photography for jewelers" workshop at Beadlush this past weekend. It's specifically designed for people who are just getting started as a business to be able to shoot decent images of their work for Etsy and other online venues.

At the end of the workshop, we all used one of the most popular networking phrases around right now ---- "I'll 'friend' you on Facebook." It really can be more convenient than handing out a stack of business cards... It can save money and trees. However, it can lead to confusion if you're shy about posting an image of your face as your profile picture. Or if you're trying to be cute/current/hip/whatever. I had to go in and change mine so people could find me since I had changed my image to a picture of my feet in the snow.
Not a very efficient way for new acquaintances to get to know me.

But it got me thinking --- why are people so obsessed with withholding their image?
Are they insecure about their looks? Are they in WITSEC? Or is there maybe an unconscious adherence to the belief by some cultures that having your image captured actually captures a part of your soul?

I tend to go with the vanity option. I am one of those photographers who hates having their photo taken. For me, it's a control thing. I became a proponent of self-portraiture when I figured out that I could dictate exactly how my image would ultimately be displayed. Maybe it's a little BDD, but it is a way of showing people what I think of myself rather than just what might be captured in a random image.

Of course, this is probably a little hypocritical since I shoot to capture a person's essence and personality rather than make them look airbrushed and fake. (For the record, I do not edit my own images to make me look 20 years younger, thinner and cuter! I just get rid of stray corkscrewy hairs and skin blemishes. While I don't like my wrinkles, I have earned each one honestly so they're staying in the pictures!)

I would much rather see a profile picture of someone taking their own picture with their cellphone in a mirror or holding the camera at arms' length than a shot of an inanimate object that never gets changed. After all, I think people are much more beautiful and interesting than they give themselves credit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On the Warpath

I just saw a photograph of a friend of mine in a publication. She's a beautiful woman. Accomplished. Smart. Sexy.

But in this photograph, someone apparently thought she needed to be retouched within an inch of her life. And that makes my blood boil. It's as if the publishers thought she was almost good enough... but not quite. So they threw some Photoshop actions at her image and the result is a kind of homogenized, not fully "her" depiction.
Maybe it's just the result of a refinisher not knowing when to stop. Retouching should take out the blemishes, but not totally obliterate the soul of the photograph.
I have photographed quite a few women. I have retouched many of those images. But I firmly believe that the true beauty of each woman is similar to the beauty of the flowers I photograph ---- it is the slight variances from the "norm" that reveals the soul beauty of each living being.

I think I feel an new project coming on...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day

I'm still kind of amazed at the fact that we've gotten snow twice already here in Charlotte, NC this winter. We normally only get ice.
That ice has already started wreaking havoc... but we did have some pretty pretty snow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow-Mageddon 2011

We don't usually get much snow here in Charlotte, NC. If we get anything, it's either usually just ice (not fun!) or it only happens once per season. Today, we got our second snow of the winter... a nice, fluffy, pretty snow.
I'm not usually a fan of snow. I think that comes from working in TV news for almost 14 years and having to go in to work during inclement weather. I usually do an internal eye-roll when people ask if I'm going out to take pictures of the snow... Did I mention I'm not a big fan of snow?
But today, I hit the ground with my camera and a Lensbaby and captured some snowy scenes. I don't think they're my best work. Maybe that's because of the subject matter. But I figure someone else might enjoy them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When Technology Attacks...

... Or Why HD May Not Always Be the Best Option.

I'm a bit of a techno geek. How could I not be? Both my brother and one of my grandfathers were radio engineers. But I'm not always sold on the idea that the latest technology is always the greatest technology... for every situation.
I worked for almost 14 years in TV news at the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, NC. It was common to walk through the halls and see all the engineers gathered around a piece of new equipment. You could gauge how important and truly useful the technology was by the looks on their faces.
One day my big boss, the VP of Operations & Engineering, saw me and waved me over saying, "You've gotta see this!" It was a hockey game shown in HD... High Definition. It was truly impressive. Cameras that were 50 yards and farther away from the action were capturing images that were unbelievably sharp. If there had only been beer vendors in that room, it would've been as good as actually being at the game.

As the technology became the standard, the HD cameras moved from the sports arenas into the news studios. The distance from the camera to the subject shrunk from 50+ yards to sometimes 10 feet or less. On-air talent were understandably nervous. There was talk of people possibly losing their jobs because they didn't have "HD ready faces."
No one has an HD ready face.
When you look at another human being, especially one that you have an emotional attachment to, your brain factors in the sentient with the visual. Physical characteristics that, according to people who consider themselves experts on human attractiveness, are not considered appealing can become markers that let you know you are gazing upon a loved one. It's your internal filter.

So the next time someone derides you for not having the most advanced piece of image-making equipment, smile and invite them to join you in a photo duel using only an oatmeal box and a can of black spray paint. If they aren't humbled, they may just walk away in confusion.