Week 3 - Got Me Seeing Red. by Trelina Anderson

Hello Friends!

So week 3 of the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Photography Challenge was "Artistic: Red" and I was shocked at how difficult it ended up being! 

I had initially conceived of doing something with apples. I love apples, my kids love apples, my husband thinks apples are pretty groovy, too, so it seemed like the most natural composition for our family. I went to the market and bought a ton of red apples - I think they were all Red Delicious - in as uniform a size as possible. I also bought an orange and a grapefruit, because I couldn't decide between the two.

My thought was to have the red apples all arranged in formation, with the citrus fruit (one or the other, I still hadn't decided) somewhere in the mix.  Sadly, once I got home, I saw that someone else had also used apples, and had done so beautifully. 

Back to the drawing board.... It's a good thing we like apples!

Luckily, it was still somewhat early in the week, so I had time to brainstorm. Unfortunately, for some reason, the only thing I could think about was my abandoned apples. Oh whoa was me!

However, after discussing it with my good friend, Angela, I came up with an idea.  

Every girl needs a good red lipstick in her purse...or three.

Those who know me know that I am a make-up junkie! This is only a small sampling of the shades I currently own and use, but I didn't want to overwhelm anyone. Red is a powerful color, after all!

Another attempt that I ultimately decided not to use, for various reasons. 

I wanted this image to have the look and feel of a 1970s print ad, the kind I would see in my mother's beauty and fashion magazines when I was a little girl, so I polished up the tubes, used two bare flashes, and aimed the flashes directly (mostly) at the tubes - with one flash set at a higher power than the other. I also kept the image a bit "cool" in post-processing, and gave it the tiniest bit of a matte effect. I am really happy with how this turned out!

I liked this challenge a lot, and even though I stumbled a bit with it, it ended up being a lot fun. I really enjoy collaborating on projects, and brainstorming with another photography friend did not disappoint. Thanks again, for your help, Angela! 

Check back next week for Portrait: Head Shot!

Week 2 - The Barren Wasteland of Freezing Cold and Ice by Trelina Anderson

My title may be a bit of an exaggeration; brace yourself for more of that.

Week 2 of the Dogwood Photography 52-Week Photography Challenge was Landscape: Traditional Landscape. Now you may remember that I mentioned in my previous post that I am no good at landscapes, and that I would probably go bald from the frustration of it, and this first landscape lived up to my every expectation, as predicted. Which is not to say that I entirely hated the experience...

...I didn't love it, either. 

This challenge happened to fall on the same week that we had a social engagement to attend (that sounds very fancy, I think I'll start using that term from now on) on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore is littered with sweeping farmland, brightly painted farm buildings, streams and trees. On top of that, the timing would work out perfectly with the "golden hour" (Don't know what that is? Google it! You won't be sorry.), so of course I decided to wait until that day to make my landscape image. 

Did I mention this was also the last day of week 2?

We left our house at around noon - it takes almost 2 hours to get to the part of the shore that our event was at - and it began to snow almost immediately. Not big, fluffy snow, it was pretty tiny, but there was a good amount of it. Enough that it stuck to the branches and grass, but melted off of the street and sidewalks. My husband likes to refer to this as "perfect snow," because it looks pretty, but it doesn't cause backups on the roads. Meanwhile, I was distressed. I did not want to shoot in the snow, I didn't want to be cold, I didn't want to worry about condensation or fog or any of that nonsense. 

Not even 10 minutes into our trip, and I could feel my hair turning gray.

Once we crossed over the Bay Bridge, and actually got onto the Eastern Shore, I started to realize how pretty the snow was. Those sweeping farmland scenes I described were transformed into quaint, and rather romantic visions of loveliness. The contrast of the brightly painted farm buildings against the stark white of the snow was beautiful. The trees and streams, sprinkled with sparkling white glitter conjured up images of a bygone and highly romanticized era. Suddenly, I was excited to make this image! I began scouting for my location, found three different spots I wanted, and marked them. I couldn't wait to get it!

Ahem....

Our social event concluded at around 4 P.M., the sun would be setting at around 5 P.M. This was perfect! After loading ourselves and our coats into the car, we set out on our trip home, with the understanding that my husband would pull over when we hit the spots I had marked earlier, so that I could get out and make my landscape images. And that's when I realized - I HAD SCOUTED THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!

That's right, I had done all of my scouting from the passenger side of the car (that's the right side, for all of you left side of the road drivers), and had naturally only looked out of my own window, only to be on the opposite side of the road when it actually counted. With no way to get back over to the side I had originally planned to shoot, I attempted to find a new scene to capture.

My hair began turning gray again.

To make matters worse, it had not only stopped snowing, but the snow was MELTING! Now, instead of dreamy, ethereal winter scenes, everything just looked gray, muddy, and blah. It was a pretty crushing blow. Still, I was determined to make the best of it.

I found a spot I liked and screamed at my husband to pull over, which he did, 1/4 of a mile down the road. (This may be another exaggeration, but really, who can tell?) I hopped out of the car, it was freezing and muddy, and proceeded to trek back to the scene. I wonder what the drivers and passengers in the vehicles whizzing by me thought as they traveled down that very busy highway. At any rate, I was able to get a number of good shots and angles out of that one location, including some with a stream. By the time I started back toward the car, my hands, feet and legs were numb from the cold, and my shoes were soaking wet! 

"How'd it go?" my husband asked me. "That was terrifying!" I responded. Being so close to traffic was...life affirming! 

I am actually pretty happy with the image I captured, but this experience has reaffirmed for me a.) that I really dislike the process of making landscapes and b.) that I actually DO really want to improve in this area. 

I call this - BARREN

There are a couple of morals to this story, dear readers. The first is, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Scout your location early, find one or two back-up locations, check the weather in advance, and take note of the time of day you intend to shoot. Then make a back-up plan for all of that.

The second moral is, wear appropriate shoes!

Stay tuned next week for the theme ARTISTIC: RED. 

 

Week 1 - My New Photo Project, My One New Year's Resolution, and 40. by Trelina Anderson

Let me start by saying that I hope your 2015 was so full of awesome! I know mine was. Never one to rest on my laurels though, I've taken on a project for 2016 -  The Dogwood Photography 52 Week Photography Challenge! This is a fun and challenging year long photo project with a different theme for every week. Some weeks are easier than others - I'm not going to lie, pretty much every landscape week is going to be a threat to my sanity. 

I started the first week, not on January 1st, but on January 3rd, so my weeks are running from Monday to Sunday, not necessarily with the weeks of the year. I tell you this, dear reader, so as not to be confused as the year progresses. 

WEEK 1 (January 3 - January 11): PORTRAIT: SELF-PORTRAIT

I've talked about making a self-portrait before, you might remember. If not, that post can be found here: The Instagram Challenge. In that post, I explained the trial-and-error process that is self-portraiture. This time around was no different in that regard, only this time I decided to add an additional element, a flash! 

I've used flash before, but it's a skill I'm still working on honing. I love using flash in my photography for a variety of reasons, and at least one of those reasons is that it's a new skill to learn and master. I love learning new techniques, I love trying out those new techniques first hand, and I even love failing at those techniques, because it means revising the process and trying again...and again...and again. 

That said, I don't love self-portraits. 

I really, really don't love self-portraits. 

Did I mention I don't like making self-portraits?

OK, I'll stop whining for a minute or two and get to the rest of my story. 

So I spent the whole week trying to decide what type of portrait I wanted to make. Did I want a moody black-and-white? A high-key or low-key image? Indoor or outdoor? Did I want something artsy, or traditional, or glamorous, or sexy? Did I want to pose, or did I want something more "life style"?  In the end, I decided on an outdoor, traditional, posed portrait, with natural hair and make-up and clothes, and only the barest minimum of processing. It all sounds pretty straightforward, right?

Well, I spent over an hour on my make-up to achieve a "natural" make-up look. Not a "no make-up" look, mind you, but I wanted the make-up to be what I typically wear when I wear make-up. However, understanding how cosmetics look in person versus on camera, it was no easy feat to achieve the look. 

I didn't even do my hair. 

After setting up my equipment, I set about to posing...WHAT? Posing yourself is so hard!!!! Do I look this way, or that way? If I tilt my head like this, am I going to get a double - or worse, a triple! - chin? Is my hair - that I did absolutely nothing with - getting in the way of anything vital? Do I look respectable? And why is it so ridiculously cold outside? Oh right, it's January.

In the end, I got a few photos of myself that I thought were not too bad. I asked my husband which one he liked the best, and that's the photo I ultimately went with for this challenge. Looking at it, I would never ever pose a client like that, or light her in that manner, but I was working under some limitations that couldn't be helped. (The size and shape of my deck, the weather, and some very heavy, wooden deck furniture, for example.) All in all, I don't hate it. 

This is the face of 40, ladies and gentlemen! 

I also decided to wait until my birthday for my portrait, even though it was at the end of the week. 

Oh yeah, did I mention that I turned 40 on the 9th? I hear it's a pretty big milestone in the life cycle of us humans, but to be honest, when I woke up on my birthday, I felt exactly the same as I did the day before. Which is to say that I felt pretty awesome!

Which leads me to my next item of discussion - and this will be short - New Year's Resolutions. Do you make them, or are you not about that life? I make exactly one resolution, and it's the same resolution every year. It's a resolution that I feel is completely attainable by everyone, and therefore is a realistic goal to strive for.

BE MORE AWESOME THAN LAST YEAR!

And with that dear friends, I wish you all an AWESOME 2016!

 

The Senior Experience by Trelina Anderson

Way back in 1997, we moved to Maryland after being stationed in South Korea, and one of the first friends I made when got here was a woman named Michelle. Michelle and Russ had both gone through language school together in the Air Force, so they had known each other for a few years by then. Through a series of rather hilarious events that I may share at a later date, Michelle and I became best friends, and believe me, shenanigans have ensued in the years since. 

Michelle has two daughters, both of whom are beautiful, smart, hilarious, and very, very good people. The eldest, Lauren, graduated from high school in the spring, and I was given the honor of making her senior portraits. 

So we headed down to an area near my house that has train tracks, a bridge, and a river. It was pretty late in the day, only maybe an hour away from sunset, so we didn't have a lot of time, but we were able to get some really great shots anyway.

Now, before anyone freaks out, at that time I didn't know that you could be fined for shooting on tracks. Since discovering the legalities of shooting on active tracks, I have stopped offering them as a location. That said, tracks make a really great compositional element, and those are all my favorite shots. 

We didn't spend a lot of time on the tracks, though. We made a few shots, and then moved on. There was this huge pile of wood stacked up next to the tracks, and I liked the texture of the wood, as well as the color, so we moved over there for one or two more shots before her outfit change.

I love this image because it reminds me of an 80's punk band album cover. 

I love this image because it reminds me of an 80's punk band album cover. 

Lauren has since graduated from high school, and has moved on to college, and from all accounts, is having the time of her life. I couldn't be more proud of her.


The Instagram Challenge by Trelina Anderson

I follow many photographers, and photography pages, all over the internet. I am a fan of photography! I love looking at other photographer's work, and marveling at the perfect compositions, the gorgeous light, the processing, all of it. Mostly, I love learning from people who also love the art and science of photography as much as I do. 

One of my favorites is http://photorec.tv - known around the internet as PhotoRec Toby. Toby, and his fantastically talented partner, Christina (http://christinabernales.com/) offer great advice on gear and techniques, give helpful photo critiques, and are always ready with an encouraging word. They also put out a live video podcast every week on YouTube, which is a lot of fun, especially if you're able to participate in the live chat that is hosted on YouTube at the same time. 

Every week, they issue a photography challenge for Instagram users. Both Toby and Christina choose a winner (2 winners total), and 2, or sometimes 3, honorable mentions. It's fun, and it's a great creative exercise - thinking about the challenge theme, how to compose the shot for the square format, telling your story, editing, executing, all of it. It can also be very, very challenging!

Recently, the theme was "portraits." As you well know, I am a portrait photographer, so I immediately started going through all of my portraits, and then started thinking of new portraits to take, and eventually I came to the conclusion that what I needed to do was take a self-portrait. You know, like a selfie, but the hard way - because why take the easy route when you can give yourself a migraine taking the single most complicated route available? HAHA! 

After A LOT of trial and error, and trial and error, and trial and error, and more trial and error, I eventually got a shot I was okay with. 

My photo wasn't chosen, but that's okay because I learned A LOT from the experience and it was fun trying different poses. Next time though, I'll  get another photographer to make my portrait, because self-portraiture is hard! 

Patience, Deep Breathing, and Crazy Yoga Poses. by Trelina Anderson

When I was a little girl, my father was constantly taking pictures. He had an old Minolta film  SLR that was always, always, always hanging around his neck, to the point where he seemed not quite dressed if he didn't have it on him. He did all kinds of neat things with that camera, like cool double exposures, gorgeous landscapes, and dramatic portraits. He loved photography, and was active in photography until he died in 2012.

I never understood the time and effort he had to put into making all of those photos, until I started attempting to make my own. Patience, deep breathing, and crazy yoga poses were just a few of the things I found myself doing to get the shot I saw in my head. 

In 2012, my father died suddenly, and unexpectedly. While preparing for his services, my siblings and I sorted through old photos with the intention of making a tribute to him. We all realized that there were very few photos of any of us with him, partly because he was always behind the camera, and partly because none of us had realized the importance of such things until he was gone. That was when I decided to learn photography, not just wing it. 

Luckily for me, I have two adorable little girls who are mostly happy to be my models. Which is good because I find it hard not to take, and make, photos. If I go a day where I don't take a picture, I get antsy. 

Thank you, Daddy, for passing on your love for photography.

One of the many fun effects my father liked to play with in his photography.  We were always his models, even if we'd rather be playing.  HAHA!

One of the many fun effects my father liked to play with in his photography.  We were always his models, even if we'd rather be playing.  HAHA!