Friday, March 28, 2008

Barack Obama!

Alright, so I know this is a photography blog and NOT a politics blog, so I'll try not to go TOO crazy, but I do love politics, or at least the idea of them. I was one of those people growing up who just didn't care at all, didn't try to know anything, but then I got to college and majored in sociology and realized how much our government affects every single aspect of our lives, and then it just became something that I felt was necessary to know about and be involved in.
So imagine my utter joy when I was able to snag tickets to see Barack Obama talk at Plainfield High School, which is my alma mater! Seeing the potential president of the United States speak in your high school gym is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am SO glad I got to go.
You guys, I loved it. Obviously. But I won't tell you how to vote, but I will reiterate that it's important TO vote. So get on that, would you? :)
Okay, you've been tortured long enough. On to the pictures. These were taken with my malfunctioning camera before I returned it (so in manual mode), and they looked best in black and white but I got kind of bored with that so you'll probably notice some tone changes (sepia, blue to varying degrees)--just so you know that you're not going insane. I always like to know that.
Here's The Man (but let's not damn him, what do you say?) when he first came out. I made this shot sepia because it looks so classically presidential, and I don't think you can really go buck wild with presidential candidates (unless they're Bill Clinton--woo! Off-color!). But my favorite thing about this pic is the hand waving back to him in the foreground--it just makes me feel connected to the scene.

Even though a lot of these pictures that I picked out showed him smiling, Barack really didn't smile a WHOLE lot, since he was pretty serious about answering questions from the audience, and let's face it--war isn't really a topic to smile about, no matter who you are.

This one looks like he's looking at me, but if you zoom it, he's not.

Oh, what's this? Sarah finally turned her camera vertical? Yeah, that's right, but cut me some slack! We were CRAMMED in there. Still, we had incredible seats. And I LOVED this picture--it looks so presidential.

And this is just a nice one to end on. :) He was smiling at a man in the audience who had a question but prefaced it by telling Barack that his son was a straight-A student who had Barack's book and basically wanted to be him. Who wouldn't smile at that?

That's it for me until at least early next week. I'll be out of town this weekend, so if you need to get in touch with me and it takes me an extra day or two to get back with you, please be patient! I promise I won't forget about you. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Erin & James: Wedding!

Here it is, the moment we've all been waiting for! The kick-off of wedding season! I have posted entirely too many pictures here, but I figure since it's the first one, I'm just going to do it and live a little. It's totally like people that have a zillion pictures of their first kid (that was me!) and then just a couple of the highlights of the second kid. But seriously, I'm excited to be underway! Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a barrage of engagement sessions!

Okay, so the (totally not) funny thing about this wedding is that my brand new camera malfunctioned right as we got started. Hello, TERRIBLE TIMING. I think I freaked everyone out a little during the formal pics, but thankfully it was nothing too major and I could still use it, but for the geeks out there, I like shooting in aperture priority mode, especially on the group shots (makes it go quicker) and, without giving a long technical explanation, that mode was SO not working. I ended up doing the entire wedding in Manual Mode, which was no biggie, but meant I had to think a little harder! All in all, though, I think it went really well, and it was nice to have to exercise my brain muscles (and yes, that is a real thing), and in case you were wondering, the always fantastic Roberts did switch out my camera and made it as hassle-free as possible for me. I love those guys!

Alright, now on to the main event!

Erin and James went the "seeing each other before" route, and here is where they met up.

One of the things about this wedding was that the food was totally gorgeous, and there was a lot of Asian flavor (pun!) to it. I don't think I've included even close to all the pictures I took of food, but I did pick this one specifically because this is almost exactly how this shot came out of the camera, with the most minor tweaking you can imagine. I just could not find a way to improve on the color. So even though my camera made my life a little difficult that day, I still LOVE it and am so happy with it.

The back of Erin's pretty hairpiece, and bouquets in the background.

The violinist warming up. I like to get pictures of the musicians and stuff while they're practicing so I can totally get in their faces, since I figure when people are at a wedding, they want to see, oh, I don't know, the WEDDING, and not my butt.

Oh, this one! This is Matt, one of the guestbook attendants. I love the light on his face! I know it doesn't look "natural sunlight" colored, as the rules dictate, but I love it anyway and changing it to black and white made it really lose something for me. Plus, he is all GQ posed here and I loved his outfit, and I think that vests on boys might be my new favorite thing.

By the time Erin had me arrive, she was pretty much ready to go. Thankfully, though, she had to take the skirt part of her dress off to be able to sit down, so I was able to get this shot of her sister getting her back into it. Seriously, people do not know the kind of pain and inconvenience that brides go through.

And this picture totally explains why--they always look so happy and radiant that you don't think about how many pounds of satin they're lugging around. :)

I loved this one of Erin and her dad on their way in. I know it's a little blurry, but life is like that sometimes, and it doesn't take away the moment. :)

You guys would totally make fun of me if you knew (and now you do) how proud of myself I was for remembering to take a picture of the church ceiling. I know it sounds weird, but I always see all these gorgeous pictures of ceremonies that include the ceiling (often the most beautiful part of a sanctuary, if you ask me), and I really wanted to get one. And I did!

Me and Billy both "awwww"ed this picture for different reasons--he thinks little kids in glasses are always cute, and I think kids double-fisting food is always hilarious. Well, I actually think that anyone double-fisting food (or drinks) is funny, but kids just seem to pull it off so well.

Who doesn't love a good hug after a toast? Toasts are some of my favorite pictures to take because the facial expressions during them are always so great.

Cutting the cake! I loved James in this one, since he's usually a pretty reserved guy, but something about cake just really brought out the joy on his face. :)

This is the cake topper, which I thought was amazing. One of their friends made it for them (I'm not sure out of what, but it was pretty delicate), and look at it! It's a replica of Erin's dress! That made my crafty little heart so happy!

Also, funny napkins! Anyone know the movie that the quote is from? (I'll tell you at the bottom.)

Oh, now this one. There has been much discussion about this picture, because I am going to say something about it that I totally shouldn't say. But this was my favorite picture of the day, and you may wonder why I shouldn't say that, but it's because ... BILLY TOOK IT! This was his first wedding being turned loose with a camera and he did an amazing job.

More food! I couldn't resist this one. First of all, the colors are so pretty, but also, I loved the idea of the slabs of granite--very unusual!

Also, on a related note, we will always appreciate it if you give us permission to eat something. Erin graciously gave me some cake and told me that she was a Mennonite woman and she knows how to eat (although it sure as heck doesn't show!) and that I should go for it. I couldn't pass up an offer like that, so I had some delicious cake. Thank you again for being such a good hostess with so much other stuff going on, Erin!

And last, but SO not least, is a picture Billy took of James' grandma. Oh my gosh, I LOVE it. She looks so happy and cute.

So there you have it (the tip of the iceberg, that is!). Speaking of Billy as a budding photographer, I still can't guarantee him as a second shooter (or charge clients like he's a second shooter), and he insists that he only wants to take "bonus" pictures and not be responsible for anything he deems important, but I was so impressed with him! My favorite part came at the end of the night, when I saw that he had fully embraced what it meant to be a photographer and was willing to get in people's way to get the shot. That's my boy!

Thank you again, Erin and James, for such a nice start to the wedding season!

(Oops!  I'm editing to add the movie quote answer, which I totally forgot--it's When Harry Met Sally!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shawna: Senior Pictures!

I think that I would describe myself as an undercover perfectionist. I feel like I project a laid-back, go-with-the-flow persona, but secretly, I am really high-strung. It's kind of nice that photography gives me something to focus the obsession on, but I also have to acknowledge to myself that I could fuss with things from now until the end of time and still find things to tweak, so at some point, you just have to take a step back and say, you know what? This is good, and I like it, and it's time to let it go.

Part of what's taken me so long with Shawna's pictures is that there were so many really good ones. She was really a dream to work with--an amazing artist herself, who came with good ideas and was open to knew ones, and a natural model who required almost no direction from me. It was really a fun, creative, satisfying day for me, and hopefully for her too.
So anyway ... I didn't name this blog pictures and a thousand words (emphasis on the latter) for nothing, so let's get to it, shall we?

I really ended up liking how this one turned out. In the original, her face was too dark to really be usable, and I was starting to think it was a lost cause. Sometimes my lost cause pictures come out really fun, though, because I'm more willing to experiment, and in this case, I loved what happened when I went contrast crazy and really explored the full extent of Camera Raw's vignetting. It does a shockingly better job than the regular Photoshop vignette tool. And you know I love my shadow pictures, so I was glad to not have to scrap one.

Okay, now this one looks considerably different from my mac to my PC, so you'll just have to take my word for it that if she looks totally purple, she's not supposed to. This is another one that wasn't really working for me but that I really liked, so I added a significant amount of grain to it. And the grain is in color, which I would say is sort of "frowned upon" (if you care about that sort of thing), but it just wasn't happening in black and white. Anyway, I liked the effect and the end result, kind of dramatic and moody, but with a smile.

I can't decide which, but I feel like this picture totally belongs in a catalog or a magazine or something. And I know you can't tell, but this dress is a thin little thing, and she's totally leaning on the snow with nothing else to protect her. That's commitment! And, sidenote on the dog houses, there were SO MANY ANIMALS at their house! Every time I turned around, there was a new one. It was total heaven for an animal lover like myself. :)

I feel like this one is the best example of Shawna's love of Marc Jacobs current ads. I was having trouble imagining standing straight on toward the camera and looking at it working this well, but it really did and it was all her. There's an "outtake" of this shot that shows how freezing she was, but we had a lot of fun with the snow, and to her mom's credit, she just went with the flow. My own mom would have been freaking out (because she's the woman who claims you have to wear socks in months that have an R in them, "because that's the rule").

Awwww, this one. I loved the dramatic light, and she had a really neat room. And thankfully, she let me clear off her window ledge to put her in it. I don't think it's very clear, but the book she's reading in Cinderella, and that seems totally appropriate for this kind of picture.

Oh, now we're getting down to the last three, and these were my favorites! This one is Shawna laying on a snowy bench (I am just now realizing how much abuse I put her through!), and OMG. The eyelashes. The cheekbones. Wow. This girl was blessed with some amazing features. And I think this is the perfect time to add that I don't think she was wearing one spot of makeup in any of these--she's just naturally gorgeous.

Oh, and I loved this one too. It just seems like another total magazine shot. Be prepared to see that one on the website (one of these days).

And my last and most favorite! I added grain to this one as well, but I don't think it shows up so well in the blog (plus, it was a HUGE file, so I had to cut down on the resolution). Anyway, I loved this wall in Shawna's room and this picture really thrills my rock 'n' roll heart, and it feels so timeless, even with the records, like ... yeah, that's kind of what being a teenager was like.

Hey, also, I know I say this all the time, but please be encouraged to leave comments and suggestions and general thoughts about the pictures! I'm starting to get more into the senior picture thing (and I LOVE it, let me tell you!), and so feedback is really appreciated. The next senior is scheduled for March 22, so maybe when I post that one, I'll share the story of my disastrous senior pictures with you all! Seriously, THE HUMANITY.