An adventure…

Some lovely ladies asked that I work with them on creating images inspired by a theme. All of us create our own versions of the theme independent from one another and wait for the results. I must say this has been an amazing experience for me as it really shows how creative each of our minds truly are.

Please check them out:

Miranda with Pixel Perfect Memory  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pixelperfectmemory   Website:http://www.pixelperfectmemory.com

and

Stephanie with Stephanie Petra Photography   Facebook: Stephanie Petra Photography    Website: http://www.stephaniepetra.com/blog/

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Legacy

I think that more than anything, what drives my mind is the constant swarm of thoughts. While the majority of the issue is probably my extreme aversion for being like everyone else, it is also from a life long battle with feeling like I was different. Part of me wanted to fit in, but there was and still is that little fire that burns inside that told me no. It may have been from growing up watching all of my friends with their normal lives, or what I perceived as normal, while mine was anything but. Perhaps my aversion developed as my mind’s way of saying F*ck it….

I have this grossly fairytale mindset of what life is suppose to be like. You grow up… you get married, you have kids. Mom is in the kitchen baking cookies… the kids are watching the black and white TV while dad sits on the couch reading the newspaper. That is what I try to provide for my own kids. Normalcy. While we have had a lot of set backs in our tiny little family and life events have kicked us in the teeth numerous times, if anything, we have always provided a united front for our kids. Our kids know the life isn’t fair, that at times it even sucks. It sucks so bad sometimes that you just want to throw in the towel. Give up. Cease to exist. But, we always dust ourselves off, get up and move forward. Our kids have watched us fall, then get back up again. Through it all though, they have also had what I would call “normal.” There is no abuse in our home, no lack of love or support. While we may not be able to provide them with the latest and greatest, it makes me feel good to hear them complain about something as dull as a cell phone. Or ask why all their friends have the latest game console and they don’t. Why? Because they aren’t afraid to come home. They aren’t afraid of either of their parents. They don’t lock themselves in their bedrooms at night and cry themselves to sleep asking why this was happening to them. Their ambitions aren’t hindered. Their social and spiritual growth has not been tampered with. They are everything I couldn’t be and that makes me happy. Happier than one could ever explain.

My latest set of images are almost a release of emotion from myself. My kids are happy to pose for the images and often just say “oh cool” and head back to their video games or tv shows. That sloughing off of mom’s “art” feels good to me. It tells me they don’t know, they don’t get it and I am happy to say I hope they never do. It means I’m doing a damn good job and they will succeed where I failed. If there is anything I can leave behind its the knowledge that I did it. I stopped the freight train.

 

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It all started with a chair…

I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this later. I had intended to use this chair for a selfie based upon my idea of what insanity must feel like. The quintessential crazy lady tied to the chair. I found an old handmade purple dress at my local salvation army for $2 and shockingly it fit! Well, you won’t see those pics. lol I’ve noticed its hard to get a good picture of myself. I now understand why so many models are super thin! When you’re curvy, your curves tend to multiply on film. I know this may sound like some sort of excuse, but it really isn’t. I am perfectly fine with my lady bits. If you think about it, your protruding parts are closer to the camera so therefore they look bigger. I happen to be very curvy and my parts were PROTRUDING. Not something I wanted published on FB. This isn’t some sort of self confidence post so let’s move on…

I decided to grab my daughter who was Thrilled to put on the flowing purple dress and sit in momma’s new chair. Yes, I have a bit of a chair fetish. I can’t help it. They are so beautiful!!! One of my favorite finds being one made from reclaimed boat wood. Another is a late 1800’s rocking chair I found at a steal that sits in my bedroom to be looked at…not sat in. This one is a victorian age chair whose companion is sitting at the antique store calling my name, but it will have to wait. My daughter fit into it far better than me. I guess people really were smaller back then.

So… after downloading an old NIN album that I used to listen to during my dark eyeliner days… I came up with these. I do hope you enjoy <3

 

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Beneath the stains of time…..

 

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“The Rainmaker”

 

 

Getting it right in camera…what is that anyway?

I’m a post it then forget it type of girl. I’ll sometimes post images on the photo pages, but really after I post I’m usually done and over it. I’ll sometimes look back and see how far I’ve come but really, what I’m doing now, in this moment, is what usually has my attention. Even with that said, I still know where my weaknesses are and I try to push myself harder and harder each time I shoot. One of those areas is getting it right the first time around…

Get the image right IN camera.

I always thought that meant nailing each and every detail perfectly. Now I’m not so sure. I no longer linger over images that are not perfectly in focus, nor do I fret over blown highlights or something that is underexposed. I do shoot in RAW all the time so that helps if I do need to tweak anything. However, I am no longer wasting my precious time worrying about the little stuff. I had somewhat of an epiphany during my latest shoot. I really just wanted to get out and shoot some pics of kids other than mine. I planned on shooting in the rain but the weather…actually cooperated to my distain lol While I was shooting, I noticed that I was thinking about each shot before I clicked it. I framed them as I would have wanted them in the end and watched my backgrounds. I made sure I was exposing to my liking and found something strange happening. I was doing it without really thinking.

I get it now.

Getting it right IN camera doesn’t have to mean perfect shots. It can mean perfect for YOU. You know what you want, so why not go shoot it. After time you begin to do it without thinking, it becomes second nature.

Here are a few of the images I took. All of these were only tweaked in ACR and converted to black and white using my own ACR preset.

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Adding Skies…

I think one of the most difficult parts of basic composition is adding skies. There are several ways you can add the sky but one of the hardest parts is getting them to look natural. You don’t want your viewer looking at your sky first….and then the subject. In the video I’ll talk about how to add them,but also what to pay attention to BEFORE you add them. So let’s go…

Here are a few natural skies on SOOC images:

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Shallow DOF… Blurry Clouds

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Deeper DOF but clouds are still not perfectly in focus. Also note the types of clouds and color.

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Look at the direction of the clouds and the direction of light. Also note here the clouds are only slightly in focus.

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Shallow DOF and very bright drenching sunlight. Clouds would not be visible.

 

Notice how the skies are not perfectly in focus. Also pay attention to how they flow with the background. The ones with my subject closer to the camera and with a deeper DOF has the blurriest clouds. The closer you are and the deeper your DOF the blurrier your clouds need to be. Another thing to pay attention to is the time of day your clouds are for. Sunset clouds will not look right on a middle of the day image nor will daytime blue skies and white puffy clouds look right on a sunset image. Pay attention to direction of light and the direction the light is reflecting off the clouds. The image with the sun low in the sky and the light filtering all over, would not look right with a cloud overlay.

 

Remember:

Focus (whether or not they’d be in focus)

Color (blue puffy white cloud sky on an orange dusky image…um no)

Light (where is the light coming from)

Blur (is the background in need of clouds and do they need to be blurred)


 

And now for the fun part….blending that damn sky into a blurry background with f-ing trees….

Best rule of thumb…if you’ve added clouds and THAT’S what you see first….either remove them, or go back and try again. Nobody is gonna tell you it looks bad because nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. So you are going to have to rely on your best judgement or find a really honest friend. :D

Retaliation Reporting

A lot is being said about the over-reporting of images lately. It has been covered in the media such as Fox and Friends, The View and even Good Morning America. Some speculate the reports are from jealous followers, over zealous religious groups or just a group of people who are “trolling.” Babies bottoms, baby nipples and kids in bathing-suits being the favorites to report. Many of the reports are targeting very specific people. Some of these I speculate are “retaliation reports.” People are accusing each other left and right and some are even posting their “report” page from their Facebook to prove their innocence. Some people have multiple profiles, one or more to serve as a backup for their business page. A few even go so far as to create a fake profile with a fake name, but make the mistake of using images of their own children to make it look legitimate and report from these or even report themselves from these fake profiles.

Here is the problem though, you can delete your reports! 

I purposely reported an image just to be able to show this. Obviously it didn’t show anything bad and it wasn’t removed.  Once a person reports an image and receives the results, they can DELETE this from their Support Dashboard. So yes, anyone who is actually reporting, can “prove” they aren’t. Here is the other scary part, you see the second arrow? The one reporting a profile using MY name? It wasn’t removed. I have a VERY unique name (as you can see my current ‘name’ is not my own, I did that as part of an inside joke lol). The really funny part is after I mentioned this publicly, the profile disappeared. This led me to believe that someone created the profile to try to cause problems for others using my name. You can also see I had reported a page that I felt was harassing people, it also was not removed. Why? Probably because as Americans we are granted rights under the first amendment.

 

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 Is this a growing trend? I hope not.

Retaliation Reporting

Retaliation Reporting is the purposeful reporting of people’s images in an attempt to either get their page removed or as payback for an assumed “slight.” Not long ago, I was accused of reporting a person’s profile pic. Soon after the person laid out the accusation, I had 2 public images reported and removed of cats. (Granted they were funny pics of male cats that were NOT neutered lol)  Can I prove it was them? No, but I also don’t believe in coincidence. People have all sorts of reasons for behaving the way they do. Some lash out because they are hurt while others might lash out because they feel they are being gossip’d about. Others are just down right crazy and have nothing better to do. I often tell these people to take up knitting, or wood working…..

I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. One of the things that truly gets under my skin is being lied about. Usually I find out and instead of publicly calling the person out, I resort to sarcasm as my way of dealing with it. Some people report images, but they don’t realize the damage this is doing to the person being reported. Fan pages are also a lot of people’s business pages. When you spend YEARS building up your fan page, it can destroy you to have it removed. This not only affects you personally, but it can affect your family and their well being.

So I propose this:

Instead of reporting the images why not…GO OUTSIDE. If you’re having an issue with someone …. REACH OUT. Nine times out of ten, you can resolve your issues with people. Sometimes, it’s just best to walk away. Stop following the person or persons annoying you and remove their page from your feed. It’s much easier not to see what offends you than it is to sit around letting it bother you. Hopefully we can work together to put a stop to this trend and make it a thing of the past.   <3   <3