Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's next?

I'm getting things wrapped up with the senior photo shoot. My client Sally asked me for some business cards and that made me very happy but I only have my old cards. And the reason for that is I want to put my website (not blog) url on the card, and my website isn't ready yet. So, those are two things I want to do next. Also today I got an email from Texas Tech Univ. about another possible video job making an instructional tutorial. At this point, it is just a possiblity so I'll just have to wait and see.

This weekend, I planned a fun photoshoot with my Chinese friend Cici. I still don't have a clear concept at this time and it is sort of getting on my nerves. After Cici's shoot, I think I'll I'm going to stop and think,  before I schedule another shoot. What are my long term plans?  What kind of life and career do I want to create for myself?  How can I include others into my journey?

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Senior Pix

Since the shoot, I've been in photoshop land. I've noticed that while I love editing video footage, I don't care too much about photoshop. Too many tools, too many functions...... But how can I complain, it goes with having a camera.
I've seen some senior pictures with the scratchy background and I sort of liked it. After some research, I was able to figure out how it was achieved! 

Okay, this one looks pretty bad  and I just did it for fun. An homage to Twilight with a pear. Does Jackson look like Robert Pattinson?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Senior shoot with Jackson & Sally

Handsome Jackson 

Jackson on Tree
What a day!
 Our crew was me, Jackson, Sally (Jackson's mom), and my friend / day helper Tammy and we trooped all over town.  I was pretty nervous about my first client shoot, but I think I got some decent pictures. On the other hand, I took over 500 pics and there were a lot more busts than keepers. More improvement is needed.

So here we have two very different styles. The top one is the more traditional senior style, and the bottom pic is a bit more experimental (Jackson said he likes climbing trees). I did some vignetting on the top one and put a crispy touch on the bottom one.  I want to do some research on different background effects that are popular among senior portraits so we can have some variety and keep with the trend.

Thanks Sally and Jackson for spending half a day posing, and Tammy for holding the reflector in the strong wind and never just standing around!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My thoughts on Senior Portraits

From TinyWater Photography (
My friend Sally Kennedy took a huge leap in faith, and commissioned me to take senior portraits of her son Jackson. I'm really pumped and a little nervous about it. We shoot tomorrow.
So all week long, I've been doing location hunts, watching how to videos, and looking at thousands of
senior portraits.

In Korea where I grew up, there's no senior portraits. Just a photographer who came to shoot yearbook pictures. So, this idea of a senior portrait is sort of new to me.

Honestly, I think there are some pretty corny senior portraits out there. The ones that I don't care for, I found, are the ones in which the subjects don't look like themselves. Some girls just look ultra tarty. I'm not one who's against looking sexy by baring some skin and loading 5 coats of mascara, but you can sure do it with some class!

Since my research, I'm also discovering many photographers describing themselves as a master photographer. Is this funny or what? I think if you're a real master, you wont have to tell everyone that you are one.

Finding the Self of a person through the camera is a skill and talent. I found this image on google image search. I like the over exposed look and I like how natural this girl looks. I think this shoot involved strobes. Among the Lubbock senior portraits, I like this place the best. See for yourselves.

Will I be able to do a good job? Stay tuned for Jackson's pictures tomorrow.

Master Photographer Amy

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I signed up for Kelby Training

I signed up for Kelby Training today. $ 179/year. It's an online photography learning site. I became familiar with Scott Kelby when I first got my Canon 60 D a couple months ago. David du Chemin, a photographer that I am following recommended one of his books for beginners The Digital Photography Book 1. I really liked the book. It's easy to read, funny and informative. Then, I got his photoshop book for CS5. It was also easy to read, funny, and informative. Along the way, I subscribed to his blog and ordered The Digital Photography Book 2 & 3. Now, I signed up for his online training course and I already picked up a couple tricks that I can use for our upcoming senior shoot.
From what I can tell, Kelby training is a mini empire of photography. Scott seems to know everyone. He is also the head of Photoshop User Magazine. He also seems like a very personable guy and very sharp business person. Every Wed. his blog features a guest blog. Maybe I can be that guest one day!

I'm getting more and more hooked on photography than video even though video is why I bought my camera. I think I like the small crew environment and the instant gratification that comes with each shot.

Btw- my friend Orada is getting one of her plays professionally produced into a dance in Milwaukee. Congratulations Orada! I'm actually a little jealous.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On Direction

Gas Station Postcard?: f/22. 1/30, iso 100, 24-105@45mm
I've been on a mini-hiatus since returning from Colorado. It seems to me that I need a little more direction in what I want to do next. I have two more photoshoots lined up and a couple more possibilites but nothing long term at this point.

Thesedays, my life is comfortable; Phisically, emotionally, and to some extent financially I am comfortable. It's probably the most comfortable that I've ever been ever. So, although I haven't accomplished fame and success, I've been thinking that I should stop and think about some of my values.

While in Colorado, I've sort of made up my mind that I want to be somewhat more activist on some social issues in general, but particularly in environmental issues. I really think public will around the globe is too weak for politicians to care much about ecological problems. I really think we need more stringent eco regulations and policies. I'd like to do a theme for that.

Another  theme that's been lingering in my head is that of building a community. I'm sort of a privite kind of gal, but I think this notions is community is very important not only for networking and success, but for mental health and well being. I am even thinking that that's why humanity exists. I have no idea how to build a community. I usually follow those that are already built. For instance, I want to have a team of creatives that can do stuff together.  However, I am a memebr of some very fine communites; my Sunday school, and and theology book club. Maybe I can learn how to build a community too but I don't want to read another how-to book.

I took this one somewhere along I-70 on the way to Denver. Does this look like a gas station postcard or what? Actually, there's a 7/ll and Subway right outside this frame.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

At the U.S. Airforce Academy: Lines and Lights

Spires: f/4, 1/1250, iso 100, 24mm

Chapel Inside 1: f/2.8, 1/40, iso 800, 16mm 

Chapel with tourists (grumble): f/2.8, 1/40, iso 800, 16mm 
This place was a good practice in photographing architecture. Notice all the lines, and how geometric this whole building looks. It was a challenge to find an interesting angle.

I thought this building looked pretty cool from the outside and spent over half an hour trying this and that angle. The one I posted is my favorite. In a perfect world, there would be a jet flying by. It was again freezing, so I went inside. Holy Cow. I had no idea that it would so marvelous like this. Among all the numerous historic churches I've visited, this place is definitely the most interesting. Don't the lights look like a bar or club??

In fact, all the building at the academy looked very austere like this. The light in the chapel was amazing and it the colors changed constantly as the light moved. I was in this sanctuary for a couple hours, because Norman was meeting his publisher in Colorado Springs. This would be a cool place to try time lapse. I even talked a little with the manager guy, who was super nice and let me inside the roped areas of the church.

This building houses four religions. The protestant chapel occupies most of the structure. I thought it was funny that the Academy put the rest of the "miscellaneous" religions ( Buddhism, Judaism, Catholic, and generic worship area) in the basement.

Notice also the use of the f/2.8 wide angle lens!! I couldn't have got any of the interior shots with my f/4 lens. It was just perfect for this place!

I was sure this place was shot to death by many. I tried to put a little bit of my own spin on it.

Sadly, I didn't encounter any hot cadets.

Anyways, Norman and I are back on the flat now. I was sad to return to the brownery.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Amy's best CO pics (so far)

toy  village of Silverton, CO: f/16, 1/40, 55mm (applied miniature effect in canon 60d), iso 100

Opposite Ralph Lauren's Ranch near Telluride: f/18, 1/100,  11-16@ 16mm, iso 100
Aspen woods near Telluride: f/13, 1/100., 11-16@16, iso 100
 I haven't been bloggin this week because it felt like too much work during vacation.  Today, Norman and I are in Denver taking it a bit easy. Here are my favorite pictures from the trip so far. Actually, there are a couple more favorites. hehe.
I took the top picture in Silverton nestled deep in the mountains. It's a summer town, I learned, so most of the town was hibernating. The town looked like mr. Rodger's neighborhood. I tried applying the miniature effect from my camera to enhance the toy feeling. Sort of cute. Me thinks.
The second picture is from a famous scenic spot in the Telluride area. The B&B owner guy said that it's opposite Ralph Lauren's ranch and in the fall photographers  are all over the road with their tripods to get pictures there. I used my wide angle ( rental ) lens for this shot. This is really nothing compared to the real vista; in real life, the mountains look a lot more closer and go around almost 360 degree!! It was truly breathtaking.
Aspen woods was also near Ralph's ranch. I also used a wide angle lens for this. These trees are so beautiful.
The scenery here is so wonderful. I love traveling America.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rocky Road

little guy: f/4.5, 1/60, 105mm
road to Durango: f/16, 1/160, 105mm

So, Norman and I are in Colorado!!! I must say, this is the all American experience!

It started off somewhat roughly. In Santa Rosa, NM Norman discovered that the tire had a nail in it and was slowly leaking. Thank god, we found a tire shop open on Sunday. The little guy in the first picture
came out and checked out me and my camera very inquisitively. His daddy worked at the shop. Every time I pointed the camera toward him, he would run to his daddy and then soon after turn his head toward me and check me out again.

We stayed at a place called Walsenburg last night and for the love of god I could not get my photoshop to work. Highly frustrating.  Today we were on highway 160 all day long, visited Great Sand Dune National Park, and settled in Durango. On the way, I dropped my rental polarizer filter(big sigh) and scratched it real good. MEGA SIGH.

Durango seems to be a grungy little ski town. Pretty cool, I must say.
Miraculously, photoshop is working here. I think it only works in select geographic locations.

I rented a super wide 11-16mm Tonika lens and polarizer from a website called LensProToGo.
So far, all my wide angle shots suck. Hope to improve more during this trip.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yoga with Orada!

Spring Yoga: f/8, 1/320, iso100, 24-105 @82 mm
amazing bending: f/4, 1/60, iso 200, 24-105 @32 mm
amazing bending: f/6.3, 1/125, iso 100, 24-105 @32 mm

7 hours and over 400 snaps.
Orada and I had a lot of fun today and worked real hard. I'm getting more and more pleased with my ability to control exposure, and since my last outdoor shoot with Brooke, I figured out how to make the camera focus exactly where I want it to.  Composition was very difficult with this yoga shoot, because of all the unusual poses.
All these pictures were taken at St. John's UMC. They kindly let us use the church garden room. The first picture is probably my favorite of 'em all. I think I have better pictures than the second one, but I posted this one to show you what Orada can do. Amazing.
Norman and I head to Colorado for spring break tomorrow. Hope to get some interesting pix again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New light stands and the money

The doorbell rang around 5:00 pm and I knew it was the UPS guy!
My load of stuff came from B&H today. For my friends who aren't familiar with B&H, it's like
the for cameras. They have everything. They have a gigantic store in NYC too.
That's like the Disney World for photographers.
Amongst all the things, probably my most anticipated item were the 3 Manfrotto light stands and Wescott reflector arm. I got the less cheaper ones, and they are so sturdy it's making me wonder if it was over kill. Mounted on the light stand is my LED mini light panel.
To be honest, I feel a bit intimidated by my own gear as I yet have figured out how to use the reflector arm (seems like I need to get some clamps). However, I truly anticipate these tools to help me expand my creative horizon. Next, I'm planning to get some strobes.
When I first thought about doing video a couple years ago, it came to my attention that I would need at least ten grand to get the bare minimum of equiptment. No way, I thought. And it made me very sad. So, I started looking for jobs that could pay. A couple years that include several unsatisfying jobs and lots of counseling, I am finding myself acquiring close to ten grand worth of gear which is really the bare minimum. My ten grand is coming from years of savings, years of tax returns, and some unemployment benefits that I'm getting from working on True Grit. Very little credit card debt.

If there is someone out there who is also thinking "no way" just because of money, I think I can tell you there is a way. It may not be immediate, but a way seemed to exist for me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Eye and I: Prepping my next project: Yoga with Orada

The Eye and I: Prepping my next project: Yoga with Orada: "Norm on Hill (Matador): f/4.5 , 1/125, iso 160, 24mm round hay things = bales: f/16, 1/200, iso 125 research for our yoga shoot..."

Prepping my next project: Yoga with Orada

Norm on Hill (Matador): f/4.5 , 1/125, iso 160, 24mm
round hay things = bales: f/16, 1/200, iso 125

research for our yoga shoot: beautiful Thai yoga poses
My Thai friend / yogi Orada sent me information about a photo competition in Yoga Journal.
We're going to try some shoots this weekend. So, I've been trying to do some research on how to go about doing this. Orada sent me some pictures from her Thai yoga book which I think are beautiful.
The biggest challenge is the location. We don't have time to go out far, so it will have to be some place in Lubbock that's not brown, or just completely make peace with the fact that everything is brown around here this time. 
There's Norman on one of the strange hills in Matador. We took this one at sunset. You can see some of the burn. That's really nothing. Don't know how those hills became. That area used to have a fence around it, but it was all burned so we just walked up the hill. It was freezing.
The hay bales are also from Matador. I always  wanted to take a picture of one of those. On this one,  I practiced how to use a small aperture on this one so I could get lots of depth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Landscape Experience in Matador part 2 (HDR practice)

little T: f/4, 1/60, iso 125 24-105@ 24
whole lot of nothing: bracketed exposure, iso 125
Okay, so we went to Matador which is about a two hour drive from Lubbock. I did what my books told me to do. Went out at sunset to get the, duh, sun setting across the land, then got up at 6:00 am to take photos at the "golden hour" of sunrise. The weather was okay in the evening, but truly friggin cold early in the morning and I couldn't function well.
The burnt landscape was quite dramatic, but as I expected, it was truly hard to get the picture of its entirety.  I got a very compelling shot of a wild pig that died in the fire. It's truly very compelling. It tells a story. But I think it falls into the objectionable category (so gross), so I don't know quite what to do with it.
Today, I tried what is called HDR (high dynamic range) processing. It's a technique that is popular for landscape these days, and one achieves the effect by manipulating exposure. Anyways, I tried it. I don't know if I'm such a huge fan of such trendy effects but I wouldn't even know this if I didn't try 'em!  It does make the landscape look sort of freaky and eerie though. I'm pleased with the composition of little T: it has a foreground, middle ground, and background just like my books suggested. Little T was not actually shot in HDR because I didn't know how to bracket then. Whole Lot of Nothing was shot in exposure brackets. It only took 5 minutes to learn how to do that.
All in all, I don't think I can ever be a landscape phtographer. I like lifestyle and fashion a lot more, and people. Also, I hate getting up that early all the time. Still, I think I can do better in landscape with more practice. enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Matador, TX 1

electric post near Plainview: f/9, 1/250. iso 100, 24-105@24mm

the ever dependable Allsup's in Matador: f/7.1 (?), iso 250, shutter speed 0.8, 24-105@24

After hearing all the news about the wild fire in Matador, Norman and I decided to check it out.
I'm so used to this West Texas area now, it's really hard to find something fresh. Nevertheless, I tried.
I think this Allsup's shoot came out cool: I set my camera to aperture priority mode, placed it on a tripod and used the shutter release for minimal shaking. I like the ghosty motion blur of the two truck guys.
More on my landscape experience tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Santa Fe Women

wonderful coat: f/6.3, iso 100, 1/80

reading woman: f/5, iso 100,  1/80, 24-105@ 105

smoking: f/8, iso 100, 1/100 24-105@105

In Santa Fe it's all about the fabric. Next time I go there, I want to sit outside and just take pictures of women in their fabulous drapy clothes. The default footwear seems to be clogs. And of course, you need some sterling silver bling.

It's very challenging to walk the fine line between sticking a camera into someone's face and taking a shot from far far away. I ended up getting a lot of back and side shots this time. More zen is needed.

Blog Archive