So it wouldn't be fall without orange...

fall senior picture

In the deserts of Southern California there are no fall colors.  We have to wait til spring to see the orange poppies cover the hillsides. So to create a fall senior portrait we use fall colors in clothing and props.

My new favorite spot is a lake dug in the 1800's for water usage wit native drought resistance trees and plants.  Very natural and the light is amazing...just 5 minutes from my house and with so much variety for backgrounds in a small area.

Alicia is wearing a vintage orange overdyed 70's blazer for fall color.  This girl is my senior rep for this year and is an amazing girl.  She is the primary caretaker for her father who has advanced parkinsons...her mother visits on occasion.  She considers it a privilege to take care of the man who has been her sole provider. She handles bills, taxes, running the house and his health care. Alicia is beautiful inside and out!
You can see more fall images featuring orange at Iheartfaces.com!iheartfaces button to use for challenges


So Wanna Be Chic...

...well at least be the "go to" photographer of the chic.  I think our clients are pretty special.  They often have lots of different fashionable changes of clothing whether it's a maternity session or getting ready for their wedding!  They are chic because they sparkle with the happiness of whatever they want to capture in fine art photography.  They love deeply and share their joy of life with friends and family and me!   What a privilege to have this job! 

This photograph really shows what I do.  I scouted the location the week before planning for the best light, I made the floral hair wreath all based on this couples relationship and the guitar he wanted to bring that he often plays and sings just for his lovely wife who is expecting their first child.  They wanted a mountain setting and were happy that a meadow was included as well.

I am entering this in a forum for photographers called chic critique.  They have a wonderful magazine and many talented celebrity photographers to learn from and I would love to be a finalist in their Photography Idol competition.  Check it out!...chiccritiqueforum.com/

So I'm learning from the best!

This year I signed up for a 52 week mentoring program to improve my photography skills as well as learn the business with a wonderful photographer (Don Giannatti of lightingessentials.com) who writes books, teaches workshops and gives of himself to anyone who wants to join his regular Project 52 with weekly assignments, critiques and a supportive flickr group...project52.org

I went to a workshop in his studio in Phoenix in the middle of the year and wat fun it was to photograph his muse and favorite model...Brianna.  She usually does the hot babe pics male photographers favor in workshops although Don does some great lifestyle stuff with her too.  I really wanted to do something in my style.  I picked up something softer for her to wear at Target with a lantern and she had a great handband for her beautiful long hair.  She is the best model, you give her instructions on what you are looking for and she runs with it.

I added some textures to this one so it  would look like a painting.  I love it.  I learned lots about lighting, finally got the "rope trick" he is famous for.  I really want to share all I've learned and blog regularly again.  2 assignments a week along with running the business makes for a busy schedule.  


Sweet Hearts...Behind the Scenes

My daughter's best friend Carol is getting married and we gave them an engagement session as their engagement gift.  We created a story for this session "Falling in love for life and finding Home".  We created a story for the stop motion (that you can see HERE)that accompanies our engagement sessions.  Samantha has to take about 1,000 images or more to create the stop motion as well as taking the portraits they will use as framed photographs at their wedding sign and give to family and friends.  (These will appear on her website soon... vintagemodernphotography.com)
My job is to create the story from the theme Samantha gives me, write a "script" of how we will proceed with the locations and props as well as provide and set up the props.  I also take the wide angle and behind the scenes images.  I love working with her and it's always so much fun to create the props.  I cut out the country print hearts and strung them on an old rope to go with the theme of Carol and Ethan's upcoming country wedding inspired by the old quilt on the table.
This fits in with Iheartfaces theme this week of "Hearts".    You can see more heart themed images from many talented photographers HERE!


By the Book...Father of the Bride

We are trying to catch up from two daughters getting married last year.  Part of that is editing and scrapbooking the photographs taken.  This is a photograph Samantha took of her father preparing to give the wedding ceremony the next day.   He is going over his notes and the scriptural references in his well used bible. The wedding dress is hanging on the left.  If you would like to see how this beautiful 1930's Southern Tea Party wedding under autumn trees turned out, watch the amazing video by madeulook photography... Samantha & Joshua get married
Photograph by Samantha Smith 

It is a perfect entry for this weeks challenge "By the book" at Iheartfaces.  You can see many other wonderful entries here!


So what's my best of 2011?

I took lots of portraits last year...it was my focus to improve my skills in capturing my subjects in a variety of settings.  I also shot my youngest daughters engagement in Joshua National Park, my newest grandson and my middle daughter's engagement in an old fashioned small town main street.  Since I could never choose between children and grandchildren, I am choosing this maternity session of a friends daughter.
Cameron and Cherelle are young parents to be, but not like the reality television version.  Becoming parents made them reflect on life, they looked forward to welcoming their baby with love for him and each other.  They are eager to learn how to be better parents despite any difficulty in their own childhoods.  I wanted to capture the innocence in them that isn't easily apparent.  I wanted to capture the joy they were feeling as this baby grew unseen in his mama's belly.
Rolling up their pants to splash in a pool in the summer heat was initially uncomfortable for them but once they got into the fun of just enjoying each other...being "cool" didn't matter.  This is the last photograph from that day, they were amazed at their image, that they could be "country" and love it so much.

There are so many photographers out there who want to be noticed, some just moms who take pictures for fun.  No matter why they take pictures, they also have favorites entered into Iheartfaces.com best of 2011 challenge.  See them here!


51/52 Lighting Essentials Project 52

Project 52 Book

I came in late on a 52 week project with the Lighting Essentials group on flickr and wish I had been there for the whole 52.  GOOD NEWS!  It is starting over again in 2012.  This project was started by a photographer who writes books and teaches highly rated lighting workshops, Don Giannatti.  If you want to improve your photography and learn more about the photography business, I suggest you join us!  

You can learn more about this online workshop project at http://project52.org/ and see some of the assignments that were done in 2011 as well as what's upcoming.  The online workshop includes live weekly critiquing.  You will improve your photography, interact with many talented photographers and have lots of fun.  If you need to be talked into it, check this out!  

This final assignment for 2011 is a book cover.  It really is a journal idea for the next year's assignments going forward.  My blog is kind of a journal of my photography efforts.  It's going to be a busy year!   
Project 52 Book - Inside Pages


1/365 Paella

Yeah, finally getting around to doing a 365 project.  I want to see how much I improve over the year.

Now I know what you're thinking...365 days of posting?  365 days of what?

Isn't this supposed to be about photography.  YES!  EXACTLY!  But guess what? My recently married daughter, the last one to leave thereby giving me a new lease on life TOOK MY CARD READER!  So I will be taking photogaphs for a 365 but when they will be posted is a different matter altogether.  I would buy a new one, they are certainly inexpensive enough...but I spent my last money on the meal I photographed for the first image of my 365 project.

$200.00 of beautiful mussels, clams and shrimp on a saffron scented bed of fluffy rice made flavorful with handmade andouille sausage (filling in for spanish chorizo) and garlicky chicken served with a beautiful salad and a fruity, lush sangria for 16.  I spent every last penny of my  last paycheck on this gorgeous meal that you can only imagine until I get my memory card reader back or buy a new one with the next paycheck on friday.  Do you think I can get away with a description only on the recipe blog?

Edited!  Here is the Paella photograph.  I can see some things I could have done to improve the photograph.  There are too many empty glasses in the picture.  I should have moved them out and maybe moved a couple of full glasses of Sangria in as well as a basket of bread.  Food photography is a little harder when you have hungry people waiting to eat it!