Week 39: Muted Tones

I’m so thankful for days off.  Before I started classes, my advisor told me that working while taking six classes would be an overwhelming work load.  I, in my naivety, laughed it off, thinking to myself, “if I can deal with (enter hellish former employer name here) and go to school full-time, I can totally handle this!”  Well, while I am handling it, and doing well might I add, I’m up to my neck in work, and gasping for free time.

So to my surprise as I was looking through the academic calendar a little while ago, we get a fall break.  Rather, we had a fall break — it was two weekends ago, but it was amazing.  Apparently this is a pretty normal thing, though I’ve never heard of a school doing it before.  Either way, I’m grateful, and even more grateful for the fact that I got to spend part of it at the beach.  So watch out!  Here come the beach pictures again 🙂 Don’t worry, they’re not all the same!

Even with all my busyness, I’m trying to keep up this blog!  I’m really happy that I started this little project, and I hope you enjoy it too.  It’s hard to believe I’m working on week 39, and that’s a few weeks behind!

Getting down to business now, week 39, yikes.  The theme for this week is “muted tones”, which I really had fun doing during my little post production process.  Kind of like the cyanotype and black and white beach photos I’ve mentioned before, there’s something incredibly charming when I take photographs of the beach and make them a little different than one may expect.  You all know I love the ocean — sunsets, sunrises, and all the pretty views you can imagine.  What I’m starting to like more and more is when they’re muted or monochromatic, either with another process, or just shot in black and white.

While fishing with my family that weekend, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take some pictures to use for this theme.  Fishing, though we’ve always enjoyed doing this on occasion ever since I was little, is something I’m a little on the fence about.  It’s fun hanging out and having a “competition” to see who catches the most or the biggest, but I always feel a little guilty about it.  I know, I might be a little bit of a sissy, but I never liked hurting the fish!  I try not to think about it too much, and I suppose the fact that my dad and brother constantly tease me about not baiting my own hook makes it a little easier.  It brings out my competitive side, but there is logic to my apparent sissyness.  I mean, I can’t touch a dead fish while I’m going to be multitasking fishing with photography, right?  We’ll just say that was my excuse for nearly my entire life… 🙂

So with that being said, here are a few pictures from the most recent family fishing excursion.  As you can see, my brother caught a monster stargazer fish, which we had to reasearch, since none of us had ever caught one before.  And yes, I caught some fish too —  1 1/2 to  be exact!  The 1/2 fish is because just as the fish was coming out of the water at the surf, it got away. I say I caught two, since everyone saw it, but I’ll take the credit of a “1/2 fish”, as the debate on what constitutes as a caught fish was quite extensive.  Oh well, I had to try.  Enjoy!

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Earth, Wind, Fire, Water

With your powers combined…..!!!

I can’t be the only one who thinks of Captain Planet when you start naming off the elements, can I?  Every time.  🙂  I’m only missing heart, but that’s besides the point.

I had such a nice break in this crazy schedule a few days ago.  I cut my hours at my second job — let’s just be real, I was going crazy.  Although with my previous job I was used to long work weeks followed by evening and online classes, the workload here is something else.  Getting up at 6:00 to drive for about an hour, then being on campus for about 12-14 hours a day in a combination of work and school, only to be followed by “days off” which consist of me working at my, what I’ll call, primary job.  There was zero time for me, and what was the only actually stressor was that there was no time for my school work.  I noticed that I was giving classes such as sculpture and art history precedence over my photography classes.  Those are the reasons that I’m here!  Something had to be changed to remedy this, and with that, I am now able to be a free and normal person on Wednesday afternoons.  It was glorious — I parked in the no parking zone in font of work, ran in there, talked it out, and I was on my way home, sun shining and wind blowing in my hair and all.

Though the point of that is not to be “free”, per sey, rather, to have some daylight so I can focus more on my photography work, and not feel like I have to cram everything in at night/inside (I hate the dark inside part) or all on Sundays, rain or shine.  So I picked up a coffee, enjoyed the end of my ride, picked up my camera and got to work.  Luckily for me, my friend and now model because of projects was working from home, so she was also free, and able to help me not only with the school projects I had, but with this 52 week challenge!  It’s very exciting.  As I’m sure you’ve notice, and I’ve mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot of twofers in regards to this challenge by combining these themes with the work that I’m doing for class.  There have been some successful images, I’m not salty about it, but I also have all these other ideas scrambling around in my head that I just haven’t had the chance to create.

Remember what seems like a million weeks ago when there was a Natural Elements theme?  I do!  I began thinking that I would do a somewhat similar interpretation to what I showed you previously, which is basically my normal flower/nature pictures.  Then I started thinking of how tired I’ve become of seeing those — not that I don’t like them, but it was becoming a little redundant.  So I started hashing out ideas about how I could handle these differently.  After some searches, I realized that “natural elements” was talking about the more simplified, earth elements, and not nature itself.  So the idea of doing the elements as a still life set up came to mind.  I still like the idea, but it posed some challenges, like how to display wind on a typical black-background still life set up, and I couldn’t work it out.  Back to the drawing board.  Then this idea came to me –why not use someone and have them embody the elements?  Enter unwilling-model-friend/friend-who-secretly-loves-helping-in-these projects.  Off to her house I went, on the literal first free second I have had in weeks!

She’s a great sport, really.  I’ve had a lot of weird ideas that I’ve incorporated her in, and though a little off put at first, she started striking poses, and getting ideas — it’s great.  So with a crazy minimal backdrop and some home-made lighting, we got to work, putting the “elements” all over her face.  I’m happy with the way they turned out, though she was opposed to the water one most of all, and I would have liked to have seen even more droplets that what appears in the images.  I would have to say the wind is my favorite though — loving it!  Enjoy!

Week 38: Bird’s Eye View

Luckily for me, even with all the art-filled craziness which is now my life, I’ve still been trying to keep this project in mind while shooting for other things.  Gotta love a two-fer when I can get one now a days.  So when my digital photography professor decided that we were doing still life set ups for the next couple weeks, I was in luck.

Not only did he have bags of incredibly interesting and whimsical things, which I really enjoyed photographing, but he also had a ladder.  Thanks to that, I was able to snap a few pictures for my “bird’s-eye view” theme for this week.  Though a bird wouldn’t be in a photo studio, per sey, the object of the theme is to take pictures of an object or objects from a view directly above them.  So we’ll just imagine that this was a really large studio…or a really small bird…or neither, whatever!

To start, I’ll share some of the non-bird’s-eye-view photos with you, because like I said, the stuff he had was just great.  When I think of still life set ups for in class exercises, I think of boring things like vases, and flowers, and all the typical things that you would see in Renaissance paintings that don’t always make the best photographs.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those painting, but I think I love them more for their artistry, and not for the actual items that are in the work.  So, much like how I underestimated his first-day-of-class outdoor project, I underestimated this.  I suppose I need to more frequently remind myself that I’m dealing with actual artists, and a college which has a great deal of things at its disposal, not a community college, or a high school, or some place that really doesn’t have a regard for making art.

So as he starting pulling out these wonderful items, and reflectors, and lights from the department, the wheels started turning.  Myself and a few classmates made this lovely little whimsical set up of butterflies, antique keys, and bottles.  As you can see, we weren’t the only ones who liked these things, because as I went around the room to a couple other set ups, they had a lot of the same thing going on.

Once we were working on these for a little while, that’s when the ladder came about.  I suppose the fact that these are not true bird’s-eye view photos is most likely a good things.  My subconscious/semi-conscious fear of heights would have probably kicked in had I ventured to the top of a building somewhere, and that would be all kinds of bad.  Do you ever have those dreams where you’re in a weird, really high place, and you can’t walk and start to get all dizzy?  Yes?  No?  Well, either way, that’s what happens to me.  And while I haven’t been afraid in any real-life situations, the subconscious side of the fear pops up, and as soon as I elevate in any way I start to feel the hinting of vertigo.  The fact that I’m incredibly sleep deprived probably does not help that at all; I practically fell out of my chair – wide awake, mind you — when I got to class that day.  So although the ladder was a great addition to the still life thing and let us get some additional points of view, I started feeling dizzy only two steps up.  Don’t worry, I’m still in one piece, and trekked all the way down the two steps back to safety.  Even though there are less of these, enjoy!  I’m happy about them!  I mean, how could you not be happy about butterflies and antique stuff?

Week 37: Leading Lines

Oh, what terrible neglect I’ve been showing you!  So sorry!  When people said that I was going to be busy with school I thought, “well, it can’t be worse than what I was doing before”.  When my advisor told me that taking six classes and working on top of that was going to be a lot to manage, I thought, “I’ve done it before, how hard can it be?”  Hard.  Real hard.  I’ve had only blinks of sleep over the past few weeks and have been constantly working on things —  papers, photos, sculptures, videos, readings, discussion posts, essays.  You name it, I’ve done a million things over the last month, and it’s been crazy!

Still, even with all the craziness, I’m happy.  When things start to get a little hectic and overwhelming, I just have to remind myself of all the things I would have been doing had I not left my previous job.  My friend, and fellow escapee, have a saying when we’re complaining over something that’s not worth complaining over:  “at least it’s not (enter former employer name here)!”  And with that thought, I’m not only back on track, but I’m snickering to myself as if I’m getting away with something.

I am

…and it’s great.

So with that, let’s get on topic, shall we?

“Leading Lines” is the theme for….well, was the theme for a few weeks ago.  Thankfully, I had the foresight to check the outline of what all the weekly topics were.  Though I didn’t get a chance to think of or work with any conceptual ideas, I did do something that’s a little out of the ordinary for me.  I tried to just snap some photos of “everyday lines” as I saw them throughout my daily routines.  Even though I’m in an art school, and am surrounded by artists every day, it’s still a little weird just pulling out my camera and taking pictures of whatever random person or thing I see that’s interesting.  I need to get over it, I know, I’m trying.  I also need to have my camera on me pretty much at all times; some of these were taken with my phone, simply because of that.  So as I went though my days over the past few weeks, I tried to keep my eyes peeled for interesting lines.

I think I did a fair job of seeking out lines, considering the fact that I barely had a chance to breathe.  I’m happy with the fact that I was able to have this thought in mind (for much longer than I should have), and just saw things that would apply without directly searching for them.  I suppose walking around in new places and doing new things certainly helped in this — I’m much more analytical of new places than of familiar ones when I’m thinking of photographic ideas.  On the other hand, I did snap a shot or two at home that applied to this theme, so that’s another positive.  Trying new things, and evaluating old ones to see them from a different perspective.  So enjoy the photos!