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Myrtle Beach Unedited:Lens: 55-200mm (kit lens) @ 82 mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO:360

Photo Challenge – Sunset ft. 85 mm

-8/7/17-

 

This weeks photo challenge has challenged me to capture some of the beautiful sunsets that we are so honored to see almost every evening. These photos, most likely, do not do these sunsets justice. As we all know, there is nothing like actually witnessing a sunset. So therefore, there really isn’t that much that I can bring to the table here…except bringing them to your computer screen through the eye of my lenses.

Also, referring to the “ft. 85mm” in the caption, I rented an 85 mm 1.8 lens for my Nikon D3200 body. I currently use a 50 mm 1.4, that I own, to shoot most of my materials. I wanted to try and get the most out of the 85 mm lens while I had it for rent and to get a feel for what kind of lens I would like to buy next.

**Also, if you would like to know my thoughts about the 85 mm 1.8, stick around till the end of this article, so I can show you some examples with each lens (at around the same time of day) and how they compare and contrast. **

One of my favorite things to try and capture during the sunset are silhouettes. These silhouettes can be of people or random objects, but id prefer people (as I do in all of my photos). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good photo that reveals my subjects loud and clear so that you can see their faces, but I also admire the mysteriousness of a silhouette. The sunsets also give you colors that you cannot get anywhere else (well unless you create those colors manually which takes the beauty out of it in my opinion).

Here are my sunset photos: I hope you can enjoy!

Myrtle Beach Unedited:Lens: 55-200mm (kit lens) @ 82 mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO:360
Lens: 55-200mm (kit lens) @ 82 mm, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO:360
Friend Sarala 2015: Lens: 55-200mm @ 90mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400
Friend Sarala 2015: Lens: 55-200mm @ 90mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400
Friend Katja 2016: Lens: 50mm, 1/60 sec, f/1.4, ISO 450
Friend Katja 2016: Lens: 50mm, 1/60 sec, f/1.4, ISO 450
Edited version of above w/ same criteria
Edited version of above w/ same criteria
Ohio 2017: Lens: 50 mm, 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400
Ohio 2017: Lens: 50 mm, 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400
Friend Katija 2016: Lens: 50mm, 1/1600 sec, f/2.0, ISO 400
Friend Katija 2016: Lens: 50mm, 1/1600 sec, f/2.0, ISO 400
Friend Catie on a rooftop: Lens: 85 mm, 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200
Friend Catie on a rooftop: Lens: 85 mm, 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200
Friend Paige: Lens 18-55mm @ 24mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320
Friend Paige: Lens 18-55mm @ 24mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320
Little Brother Album Cover: Lens: 18-55mm @ 35mm, 1/640 sec, f/13, ISO 100
Little Brother Album Cover: Lens: 18-55mm @ 35mm, 1/640 sec, f/13, ISO 100

Let me know which one is your favorite(s)!

**My thoughts on the 85mm 1.8 lens: I think that the 85mm lens is a wonderful lens that gives you great quality photos and I was able to create really nice art with it. However, I thought that the 50 mm lens was not versatile and quite restrictive (in terms of what settings your taking pictures in: a small room, a large group of people (3 or more people). The 85 mm is much more restrictive than the 50 (obviously), but I say this because you dont really know until you take action and that lens is actually on your camera. You think you have to back up from your subject quite a bit while using the 50?…Just wait until you put that 85 lens on your camera. You physically cannot get enough space between you and your subject.

(Excerpt: for those who are into portrait photography or just dealing with people in your photoshoots: the 85 mm gives you distance from your subject that could help alleviate some tension or discomfort that your model(s) may have because you are allowing more space between.)

I love the outcome of my pictures with the 85 mm, but what I realized when I switched back to my 50 mm after using the 85 for a while is that the only thing your really getting from the 85 that the 50 cant give you as much of, is the bokeh. In reality, the 50mm gives off a great bokeh. Sure, it isn’t as creamy or nice as it COULD be, but in my opinion, it gives me what I need when I need it. By renting the 85 mm, it helped me realize that my 50 mm lens is exactly what I need for right now. The 85 mm would be excellent for weddings and ceremonies so you can have that distance between you and your subject(s) without being a sore thumb to the audience and still get a quality and more personal photograph. **

 

If you have never rented any camera gear before I would highly suggest it, especially if you are trying to decide which lens or camera body to purchase next. I live in the Raleigh, NC area and rented from a store called Southeastern Camera. They also have a store in Wilmington, NC (which I have rented from as well). They are both quality camera studios and are more than willing to help you find or try what you are looking for.  Visit them here. 

If you have had any experience between 50 mm and 85 mm, please leave some advice or your opinion in the comments below. I would love to know which you like better or if you own both of these lenses, which you use most and why you use them when you do.

BSL - Home dock

Photo Challenge – “Childhood Memories”

-6/29/17-

Todays photo challenge encourages me to capture something that reminds me of my childhood.

My (our) childhood is something that I hold very near and dear to my heart. This is the time in my life that doesn’t seem like it should feel that far away, but in reality, in does feel that far away. It is actually a feeling that scares me. This “scared” feeling comes from wanting to be back in that place, be back in that state of mind, be back where everyone was together and the worries were little.

I was fortunate to grow up with two brothers and dozens of cousins around my age. The memories are undeniable and unforgettable. I can’t imagine my childhood without any of these people. My brothers and my cousins are still a vital part of my life today and provide me with protection and reassurance.

Pile of cousins circa '97
Pile of cousins circa ’97

The moments that my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents chose to capture through camera will always be a blessing to me. I can remember my Dad always sticking a camcorder in our faces. It wasn’t until my early teens that this became so “uncool” to me. Haha. But when I was around 4/5 (like my age in the picture above) I didn’t really notice my parents having those objects up to their faces to capture such special moments of my childhood.

We have dozens and dozens of home videos and pictures from film to look back on! I can vividly remember my Moms film camera from back then. I didn’t realize, until I started getting into photography, that we, these newer generations, have digital cameras that we can take all the pictures that we want, delete when we want and not HAVE to print the pictures out if we dont want to. Man, do we have it good. Too good….haha…we are spoiled.

If it weren’t for these parental figures in my life taking the time to pick up the camera and capture these precious moments in our life, there would be a vague memory that we could only share through memory….that eventually fades (unfortunately).

My parents seemed to have a good system going where my Mom would take the pictures and my Dad would video record…or vice versa. Sometimes, I am sure there might have been one parent doing both jobs because the other was taking care of us crazy ones. Either way, they still managed to do a great job of keeping up with us while having the camera lens up to their eye as well.

The photos that I am going to share with you are ones that I have taken with my personal camera that remind me of my childhood. These photographs might not mean a lot to you…but they have an interesting perspective and are some that all photographers (and onlookers) can respect and admire.

If you would like to share a photo that you have taken that reminds you of your childhood, please do not hesitate to do so!

Enjoy!

My grandparents barn. My Dad lived in the house (behind me in picture) while he was growing up. We spent much time here as kids as well.
My grandparents barn. My Dad lived in the house (behind me in picture) while he was growing up. We spent much time here as kids as well.
This treehouse sits in the tree beside the barn (picture above this one) and the house I was referring to in background. My Nanny and Papas (my Dads parents) house outside of Southport, NC.My Dad and his brothers built this house as older kids and we were still able to play (carefully in it as kids as well)
This treehouse sits in the tree beside the barn (picture above this one) and the house I was referring to in background. My Nanny and Papas (my Dads parents) house outside of Southport, NC. My Dad and his brothers built this house as older kids and we were still able to play (carefully in it as kids as well)
Waterfront at Southport, NC. I was born and raised here and my parents did as well. This is a site that I (we) have been fortunate to grow up with. Great seashells to find under here too!
Waterfront at Southport, NC. I was born and raised here and my parents did as well. This is a site that I (we) have been fortunate to grow up with. Great seashells to find under here too!
Southport Waterfront, NC. Told you, you could find great seashells under here! Featuring my beautiful friend, Kirsten!
Southport Waterfront, NC. Told you, you could find great seashells under here! Featuring my beautiful friend, Kirsten!
My younger brother, Mason, with my cat, Windsor, that I had since I was in the 1st grade (passed away during my senior year of college). Mason grew up with Windsor and this is a site that was seen ever too clearly and more often than not.
My younger brother, Mason, with my cat, Windsor, that I had since I was in the 1st grade (passed away during my senior year of college). Mason grew up with Windsor and this is a site that was seen ever too clearly and more often than not.
This is the same lake (Boiling Spring Lake) that is in the feature picture, just more slightly to the right than the featured photo. We moved to this location when I was 2, so this is a beautiful site that I was fortunate enough to see daily.
This is the same lake (Boiling Spring Lake) that is in the feature picture, just more slightly to the right than the featured photo. We moved to this location when I was 2, so this is a beautiful site that I was fortunate enough to see daily.
If you aren't familiar with the item in this photo, I sincerely apologize for your loss. We have had an annual oyster roast since I can remember. (It is always such a treasure to find a little crab!!) Featuring my Dads hands:)
If you aren’t familiar with the item in this photo, I sincerely apologize for your loss. We have had an annual oyster roast since I can remember. (It is always such a treasure to find a little crab!!) Featuring my Dads hands:)
This picture more describes my teenage years (but that part of my life now is described as childhood!! haha) Featuring my friend, Shauna Lane!
This picture more describes my teenage years (but that part of my life now is described as childhood!! haha) Featuring my friend, Shauna Lane!
My mothers coconut cake for most holidays. You cant beat it. It will always be there to tempt you.
My mothers coconut cake for most holidays. You cant beat it. It will always be there to tempt you.
Whoever didn't spend as much time in the woods as we did when we were kids, again, I apologize.
Whoever didn’t spend as much time in the woods as we did when we were kids, again, I apologize.
Even people who know us would barely recognize that it's us. But this is US. Me and my beloved cousin, Ryan. Best friends since birth. Thanks Mom and Aunt Vern for birthing us so close together, I am sure you two are forever grateful of this friendship.
Even people who know us would barely recognize that it’s us. But this is US. Me and my beloved cousin, Ryan. Best friends since birth. Thanks Mom and Aunt Vern for birthing us so close together, I am sure you two are forever grateful of this friendship.
No, we are not too young to know what having a record player around is like....
No, we are not too young to know what having a record player around is like….
Sand between the toes. I grew up at the beach and this is still a vital part of my life. I NEED the sandy beach. This is what I consider home. Oh, and my Moms feet are home too...of course.
Sand between the toes. I grew up at the beach and this is still a vital part of my life. I NEED the sandy beach. This is what I consider home. Oh, and my Moms feet are home too…of course.
No, they aren't sisters. My mother (right) and her sister in law (left). These two are what gave us the childhood we remember so vividly. We couldn't thank you enough.
No, they aren’t sisters. My mother (right) and her sister in law (left). These two are what gave us the childhood we remember so vividly. We couldn’t thank you enough.

 

 

There are, obviously, so many more pictures that I could add, but these are just a glimpse into what my childhood looked like (we are all older now) but you know what I mean!

I was using my kit lens 18-55 in all of these pictures.

I hope that you enjoyed my photos. Let me know what you think.

Photo Challenge – “Black and White”

-6/22/17-

Todays photo challenge is to capture a moment and edit it to black and white.

Man how I wish I had a film camera to shoot with

Turning photos to black and white is a simple and efficient idea when editing pictures…in my opinion anyway. I love the way that B&W photos turn out and this certain sense of nostalgia that a photo gives off.

B&W photos can hide a multitude of “sins” in a picture as well. It can help direct the light to make more contrast on your subject(s), help in making your subject look more creamy/soft (especially when your subject is a person) and help bring the whole picture together in a unified feel. B&W is flat out mesmerizing.

After shooting with a 35 mm film camera that i had borrowed from a friend and seeing how the pictures turned out (after waiting like a month or more to get them back from being developed) I have been amazed ever since. The photos that we took (almost 4 years ago now) are still hanging up all over the walls in my living area because I  absolutely loved the way they came out. – I will have to post those sometime after scanning them into my computer-

In one of my graphic design classes, one of our assignments was to restore a black and white photograph using Photoshop. This was by far one of my favorite assignments in the class because the restoration process in Photoshop worked so well (I will post this below along with the other B&W photos).

I hope that you all enjoy some of the photos that I decided to turn into black and white! Let me know what you think and maybe how some of the photos make you feel (including the featured image at the top!)

Before: Mom
Before: Mom
Before: Bevel Family
Before: Bevel Family
After: Bevel Family
After: Bevel Family
Before: Baby Haymitch
Before: Baby Haymitch
After: Baby Haymitch
After: Baby Haymitch
Before: Lannis
Before: Lannis
After: Lannis
After: Lannis
Before: Maura
Before: Maura
After: Maura
After: Maura
Cant find original photograph: Me
Cant find original photograph: Me
Before: Graphics Assignment for school -Restoration project-
Before: Graphics Assignment for school -Restoration project-
After: Graphics Design project -Restoration project-
After: Graphics Design project -Restoration project-

 

Thanks for reading!

Peace, Love and B&W

Photo Challenge – “Eyes”

– 6/21/17 –

Todays photo challenge is all about the eyes, the mirror of the soul, the lenses of imagination and teller of all truths.

My heart was in my eyes when I saw this beauty, Miss Anna the cat, sitting there gracefully on the railing of my brothers back porch. Isn’t she a mystical creature of sorts?

To me, the eyes are the most intriguing thing about our bodies, human or animal. I graduated college with a Interpersonal communications degree and studied quite a bit of Psychology (which I should have minored in but didn’t…stupid young gal). This gave me even more of an insight into the human cognition and nonverbal communication. I really enjoy people…for the most part haha. But sincerely enjoy learning about people, the relationships that they tend to keep, emotions, attractions, why they do what they do or why they act the way that they act.

And the crazy thing is, in my opinion, their eyes are the key to opening all of that.

When you are in public, do you ever pass people and accidentally make eye contact? Some people might say, ” Wow, that was really awkward.” or ” I really dont like making eye contact with random strangers.” Why is this such a personal thing? Has making eye contact with strangers or everyday people become taboo because of social media or because we are always looking down at our phones?

When I was growing up I used to make eye contact with random people because it exhilarated and yet, frightened me. It was kind of like that feeling when you go on roller coasters. I liked the fact that I didn’t know that person from Adam. I would even try to see if I couldn’t hold, and not break, eye contact the entire time I was walking past that random person. Super strange, I know…but it gave me a sense of confidence and mysteriousness. I dont really do this anymore, like I said this was in my growing years, but it does happen every once in a while because it is, honestly, inevitable.

Aside from my silly, immature days, the older that you get, the more important it is to make steady, ongoing, eye contact with people. In job interviews it is highly critical that you make direct eye contact with the person that is interviewing you. By maintaining eye contact through the duration of your interview it can help show, through nonverbal communication, that you are personable, likable, skilled, qualified, competent, valuable, confident, honest, sincere and emotionally stable. All of these qualities are ones that employers are looking for in their candidates.

These same qualities are ones that family, friends and colleagues are looking for you to embody as well.

 

This video helps show how personal that staring into a strangers eyes really is. I enjoy their music and especially enjoyed this video because it really encompasses this idea of eye contact and how powerful it actually is:       Music Video – Eye contact

Try this out for yourself. Try making those deep connections, especially with those whom you love most.

 

Here are a few photos of my own that I would like to share that I think bring out the flavor and embodiment of eye contact:

Maura eyes
Maura eyes
Catie Flower Child "Eyes"
Catie Flower Child “Eyes”
Sav "Eyes"
Sav “Eyes”
Me "Eyes"
Me “Eyes”

 

Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

Photo Challenge – “Inspirational”

– 6/20/17 –

Todays photo challenge is something that is inspirational to me.

To be inspired is one of the best feelings and has a vast effect over us when we get such an emotion. Being inspired can help us have the motivation to do something that we didn’t have the motivation to do before.

But what is it that inspires us and why aren’t we inspired more often? Why dont we have this motivating feeling everyday? We get down on ourselves and start to think that we are not as creative, useful, interesting or as good as we really are. Like I have said in a previous post, we are our own worst critique. We look at other people and think that they have it all; “The grass is always greener on the other side” right?

No, that isn’t correct at all. What we have to offer is all that we need. We are all imperfectly perfect just the way we are. Everyone has their faults and difficulties in life. Some might not be as apparent as others, but none of us are perfect.  We are all silently struggling in our own way.

So when we are inspired and we do actually FEEL inspired, it can almost make you feel like you could fly. A feeling that we wish wouldn’t go away as easily as it does.       Moreover, the feeling of being inspired, most times, comes from other people. I say this because the people that come into our lives are there for a reason. People may comment on some of your work, they may choose to share your work because they were inspired by your work. This all, in turn, then inspires you to keep up the hard work and creativity. It all goes hand in hand and these people surrounding you will help you in your journey to inspiration and success.

The picture that is the featured image (above) of this post is a collage I put together, displaying (not contrasting), my photography (right) and an artists’ replication of my photography (left).

Keep in mind that I have never met the artist that sketched this wonderful reflection of my photography. The girl in the photo is, Katja, a flow hoop dancer (which I will talk about in another post and is very interesting) is friends with this drawing artist and sent the sketch to me in a text message. I put together this collage and shared in on social media. By sharing this on social media, Katja shared the photo post and tagged her drawing artist in the photo, which then led me to connect with the drawing artist!

Social media can be a really cool thing, has become a great outlet for most people and helps with artists and many others inspiration! I was so humbled that this artist, chose my photography to replicate and draw! I could not explain the feeling of excitement that my photography was being used by another artist. The fact that my photography inspired her, as an artist, to take the time to draw and replicate MY image is still such a monumental feeling.

All of you beautiful people reading this, the grass is the most green on your side of the fence. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Everything you do, whether you think so or not, is an inspiration to others and will (in time) be an inspiration to your future self. Keep doing what your doing and stay inspired!

 

Featured artists:

Katja:  Website  ,    Instagram

Photo Challenge – “Someone I Love”

-6/16/17-

Todays photo challenge encourages me to capture someone that I love.

I have much love for many, many people and especially enjoy taking and editing pictures of those that I love the most. It makes me really happy to show my “models”, if you would, their picture after it is all said and done. However, most times people dont want a camera in their face or think that they dont look good enough to have their picture taken.

 

In a world that is so shallow and entirely too cruel on people and their appearances, it is our job to build each other up in love and support. You never know what other people are going through, never know how other people perceive themselves…and mostly, we are our own worst critic.

Being a photographer or simply someone who enjoys being behind the camera, it is important to know that people ARE going to feel VERY uncomfortable being in front of the lense. Some actually get even more uneasy about being in front of a nice lense or camera because they feel that they are not good enough and dont want all of their blemishes captured. With this being said, even when you are told “dont take a picture of me!” or “get that camera out of here!”, compliment them and tell them that “this is for me and my photography skills”, that you want to learn more and could use their help, even if they just simply stand there.

My mom always told/tells me, “A picture without people (or animals, for us animal people) wont be worth looking at in the long run and that you/others will appreciate having people in your pictures.” She nor I am not saying that all of your photographs have to have people in them. Hell, being a photographer requires you to take prop pictures (rings and flowers at a wedding and ect.). What she is saying though, is that by having people in your pictures will give you more memories in the long run, to obviously see how people change and even “see” or remember them when their gone.

In the scope of things, I want to express, mainly to photographers, do not get discouraged and do not set down your camera at group functions, family gatherings, ect. because this is how you get those candid photos that everyone is wanting. They wont even know you are taking a picture of them laughing during a conversation with someone! When you send that picture to them later, they might use it on social medias and elsewhere because they actually ended up liking that picture of themselves.

Whala! You now have photos to edit, share and reminisce upon and everyone is happy…except for those who are still too hard on themselves and rarely like a picture that they are in. Haha. You can never go wrong with any picture you take, even a blurry or dark picture can be called art or edited and made into a masterpiece.

Enjoy yourselves. Enjoy and feel blessed to be who you are and look the way that you look. Enjoy your time behind the camera and show other people how much that you enjoy it. Be kind to others and help them enjoy their passions too, just like you want them to do with your photography.

Here are some photos of just a few that I love very much:

Katja in Gatlinburg TN
Katja in Gatlinburg TN
Morgan, my cousin, on OKI 2016
Morgan, my cousin, on OKI 2016
Cousin, Asher at 2 years
Cousin, Asher at 2 years

 

Teegy, my baby, Christmas 15'
Teegy, my baby, Christmas 15′
Shauna, my best friend, in NYC, her new home away from home 16'
Shauna, my best friend, in NYC, her new home away from home 16′
My Brother, Mitchell, and his wife, Brooke, at Christmas 16'
My Brother, Mitchell, and his wife, Brooke, at Christmas 16′
Morgan
Morgan
Brooke and Mitchell
Brooke and Mitchell
Friend, Leigh Ann, on Snow Day 16'
Friend, Leigh Ann, on Snow Day 16′

Photo Challenge – “Close Up”

-6/15/17-

Todays photo challenge is to get close up. This isn’t that much of a problem for me because my 50 mm lense already makes it to where I have to get pretty close to my subject (thats kind of what this lense is for and is so great at!)

This is my family’s new puppy, Mia! This photo was taken in our camper on the way back from getting the young girl from Ohio. I was really playing around with the manual settings here (ISO, Aperture, shutter speed, ect.) I also edited this picture in Lightroom. I do use Lightroom to edit most all of my pictures (if they even need editing). I have been trying to learn how to get pictures how I like them to look “in camera”. This has been pretty difficult for me because I have been used to shooting in “no flash” mode, but figured it was time to move on and really learn the depths of what my camera can do.

Mia in the camper on the way home from Ohio
Mia in the camper on the way home from Ohio
Christmas 16' Self shot
Christmas 16′ Self shot
Gatlinburg, TN hair
Gatlinburg, TN hair

 

Photo Challenge – “After Dark”

-6/14/17

I am here to start my first official and more personal blog. I am a photographer, along with other tricks and trades, but learning to shoot quality photography over the past 3/4 years. I have been working on a photo challenge lately, to help me work on my photography skills, creativity and getting me/my camera out of our comfort zone. I am excited to start this blog, because I enjoy to write and feel like this will keep me accountable for my writing skills and other creative motives.

I will go ahead and start the first day of my photo challenge here in this blog: “After Dark”. These can sometimes be very challenging photos to capture. I am using a Nikon Camera D3200. I typically leave on my 50mm lense with 1.4 aperture. This is actually the first professional lense that I have bought, aside from my kit lenses and a cheap fish eye lense (off of Amazon!). It is a dream of mine to acquire new (and better quality) lenses over time, but for now this super powered macro lense is perfect for where my creativity, eye and…..well, money….is at right now.

2 of these photos were shot with long exposure. Can you tell which ones I am referring to?

Please, enjoy!

 

IMG_1290

DSC_0284

DSC_0292