April 19, 2012

Mercedes {Class of 2012}

This shoot was so much fun!  Mercedes for basic portraits and some pictures with her dog Abby.  Mercedes' mom asked for some black and white images.  I asked if she was ok with water.  And guess what?  Check, check, and check!  She brought along her brother Andrew to watch the dog so I brought my brother Nathanael who is friends with Andrew.  And... you guessed it!  Mercedes and Andrew are also from our homeschool co-op. :-)

 Abby is 91 dog years old, so it was nice that we were able to get some pictures with her!

Everything flowed very naturally on this shoot and she was completely fine with getting soaking wet and a little sandy toward the end. :-)  I asked her to pretend she was in Florida.

Mercedes is one of the people who will give that great dramatic face and then burst in laughter at the drop of a hat.  She was so easy to work with that way. 

Andrew is her only sibling, we grabbed some fun sibling shots while we were at it. 

Andrew is showing some Hallstrom team spirit with his FIRE basketball shirt. :-)

I love the cool tones and creamy light in this shoot.  It was lots of fun to edit.  The sun was playing peek-a-boo the whole time so I was freaking out about my white balance at the time, but then I would just talk to her and get her next pose until another cloud rolled over.

Check out those eyes!  They are SOOOO blue.  I was dying.  The eyes are my favorite part of the face.

Park bench love.

Stunning, just stunning. 

Congrats Mercedes!  

April 18, 2012

Andrea {Class of 2012}

 Meet Andrea!  I only met her at the beginning of last school year, she is quickly becoming a good friend.  Her family was new to our homeschool co-op and she was in my drama class.  I think everyone is drawn to her.  She has such a contagious laugh and beautiful smile.  She is the oldest in her family and has only one sister, so she brought her along and we got some pictures of them together.

I took my little sister along since her sister Rose was coming and I think they had fun following us around. :-)  We went to Jarrett Prairie Nature Preserve for her pictures.  I hadn't been there before, so I was a little on the fly for locations, but it worked out beautifully.  There was one ravine/gully area (behind Andrea in the first photo) that was absolutely stunning.  I'm planing to do more there in the future.  It was so dramatic looking.  

It had been sunny and warm all week until today.  It was cloudy, cool, and extremely windy.  Even though it threatened rain we decided to go for it.  I'm so glad we did!  The cloud cover was perfect and the wind gave us some beautiful hair action, even if it was really annoying at times.

Andrea was such a good sport the whole time!  We climbed through wild raspberry bushes (which have thorns, in case you were wondering), fields, and walked quite a deal.  Oh, and she went numb is various places. :-)  In between practically every shot she threw on a warm fleece sweater.

I loved all of her outfits too.  Great styling!  Oh, and I love her hair too.  ;-)  I'm probably going to get mine cut in a couple of weeks so I'm keeping this in mind.

It was so hard to pick out which ones to post on the blog.  I'm sorry if I post way to many.  I try to upload smaller photos so they load quicker.

Drea, you are gorgeous!

So classic.  I love black and white.

Congrats Andrea!  I had so much fun taking your pictures!

April 15, 2012

Mercedes ❘ Preview

In remembrance

Exactly 100 years ago.
April 15, 1912 at 2:20am

the Titanic sank.

Today I heard someone tell how the radio man on the titanic was informed about the iceberg.     He was overwhelmed with personal messages for passengers and when a voice came on the radio saying "beware, ice in the water ahead." The man simply snapped:

"Shut up, I'm busy."

Shut up, I'm busy...and hundreds of people die.  Shut up, I'm busy...and hundreds are swept into eternity.

It is so sad.  Yet how often do we say or think the same thing to our conscience or the Holy Spirit.  We are urged to share the gospel.  To help that old lady out, pick up the bottle that the mom of three toddlers just dropped, smile at the homeless person downtown, to hold a door open for someone who is exhausted, give up your seat for a pregnant lady may not save them from dying, but it will show the love of Christ and maybe change that persons day.  Come on, is it really that hard to relay the message of the cross?  Or are we to busy with personal messages and life.  Our actions scream "shut up, I'm busy."  And they are heard.  They are heard.  What are the consequences?  

At dinner tonight with some friends I learned a new term.  YOLO.  I'm sure all my hip blog readers already know what this means, but for those who have their noses stuck in books like me and don't know the latest lingo, it means "You only live once."  It is being used as an excuse to do silly stuff.  You know, like hailing a taxi and then walking away.  Yolo!  It was described to me as an excuse for people who aren't dumb to still do dumb things.  ANYWAY, that is what it means: "You only live once."  

I submit to you that since we only live once we should use the fleeting vapor of a life that we have for the things that really matter.  Yeah, be silly, have fun with your friends because that is going to build relationships, but while you're doing that remember others.  Go out of your way to be kind and share a little of what Jesus gave you with others.  Yolo.  And guess what, that person you just helped only lives once too and they might not live very much longer.  Their lives might be about to end because somebody was "busy."  So in remembrance of that great tragedy that happened 100 years ago, lets not get caught up with nothings, let's remember why we're here, who we serve, and how great he is!

April 13, 2012

Andrea ❘ Preview

Stay tuned for the rest of Andrea's blustery and beautiful senior shoot!

Graduation Dress [The Plan]

I ended up completely changing my plan three times with 2 different color palletes.  I guess the plan is made to be deviated from, n'est-ce pas?  All of my sketches were great ideas, but they would take LOTS of time and money, so they were scrapped.  I only have a month, so here is what is planned now.

 I will be using Butterick 6467 for my dress. View c with a modified neckline is the plan and a straight waist seam.  Fabric allowing, I am also going to widen the width at the bottom so there is more twirl and running room.  :-)  I am also changing my original inspiration color palette.  I really love grey, but it is a hard color to find and perhaps a bit more dressy/mature than I want to be for graduation.  Plus, I might be able to wear the same dress to our Spring Banquet for co-op which is Titanic themed.  Anyway, my color now is a grayish purple similar to the Anniversary cruise dress but more grey.  Look up Purple Mountain's Majesty in Crayola crayon colors. :-)

I bought 2 yards of Joann Fabric's Project runway ruched sort of knit.  I was originally thinking ruffled fabric like this steel orchid from ruffledfabric.com but it cost a ton + shipping and was 40-50 in wide, which means I have to buy more.  At Joann's the fabric I got was 50% off, I didn't have to pay shipping and it was wider (57")!  Cost for 2 yards was $18.

I was a little apprehensive about putting a knit on the bottom because it stretches and might not be dressy enough etc. So I "talk myself in, talk myself out, I get all worked up and then I let myself down..." ok, thanks Michel Buble.  Anyway, I decided that the awesome color and texture (which adds a bit of dull shine) was dressy looking enough and it would be SUPER comfortable.  If I have to wear that black robe and crazy cap (that really limits up-do hair possibilities) I can at least be comfortable and elegant.  So, the knit won.  Here are some pictures in different lights.

For the bodice I plan to use a coordinating silk polyester shantung.  I might dress up the bodice with some beading too.  We shall see.  That is the plan!

April 9, 2012

Perspective ❘ Personal

Does life seem to run circles around you sometimes?  I feel like the world wants me to spin in circles and perform; to always look toward the next thing or even better, look to something that isn't real.  Our culture is so music, movies, TV, work, image, driven that it doesn't realize what it's missing.  Then one day they wake up and realize that they don't have any time left to do the things that really matter.

But It Was Summer I Wanted - by a 14 year old girl
"It was spring but it was summer I wanted
the warm days and the great outdoors,

It was summer but it was fall I wanted;
the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.

It was fall but it was winter I wanted;
the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.

It was now winter but it was spring I wanted;
the warmth and the blossoming of nature.

I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted;
the freedom and respect.

I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted;
to be mature and sophisticated.

I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted;
the youth and the free spirit.

I was retired but it was middle-age I wanted;
the presence of mind without limitations.

My life was over but I never got 
what I wanted."

As a high school senior I have been doing a lot of thinking about what happens next.  Do I know what I want?  Maybe a better question would be that of "Do I know what the Lord wants me to do?"  People tell me I'm talented all the time and they expect me to go places.  What place am I trying to reach though?  Over the last 17 years of my life I have learned to love to learn.  School was FUN.  I can't tell you how much that helped me throughout highschool.  Even in the longest driest assignments I could find a little some that was interesting and all I had to do was follow my curiosity to enjoyment.  

Since I loved school I did well.  The more curious I was + how competitive I was feeling that day = my grade on the assignment.  I've gotten As for as long as I can remember...until the second semester last year.  I was taking British Literature with the hardest teacher at our homeschool co-op and it was definitely a college prep course.  Lots of reading, outlines, papers, vocabulary, and worksheets due every week.  Last year was the year I learned that that thing called discipline actually was important and that procrastination was your worst enemy.  That doesn't mean I was diligent or didn't procrastinate. It means I learned some things the hard way.  I got a B in the class and was pretty beat up over it.  (I've got a pride issue with that you see).  Anyways, that was the most stressful semester of my life so far.  Why?  No it wasn't the enormous amount of school work, or lack of sleep.  

It was the expectations.

I learned to love to learn, so when I did my school I was doing it to learn, do you follow?  I did it because I wanted to, I was curious and the grades didn't matter (especially because I am homeschooled).  Now I had performed so well that people thought I was this really smart kid and I could feel little kids and parents looking up at me.  Teachers looking straight at me and most peers looking down at me.  They were expecting the best, which is good because I would give my best then. But the grades started scaring me.  

     What it I didn't get and A?  I started performing and it was terrible.  Instead of enjoying a book and writing what I thought I would freak out and tell myself "I don't have any opinions!  How can I write this?"  It took all the fun out of school.  It became routine instead of a new body of knowledge. I missed a lot because of my perspective.  I didn't retain nearly as much information and you know what that means, having to study a lot for tests instead of just writing in the answers because this is what you taught and you remembered it because you truly learned it.  Uggh.  Anyway...

     The reason I got into all of this is because it relates to my perspective on photos recently.  I love photography.  Not so much the mechanics, but the end product.  When you see a good image it makes you feel something, it tells a story, and it makes you remember.  When I first picked up a camera it was "Oh cool!  Take pictures! then I started to fall in love with certain images because the colors and/or focus just made me happy or the thing the picture was of made me happy.  Then I took classes and got all technical.  I would see and image and think "Wow.  That composition is perfect; the white balance is stunning.  Look at that pose!"  Then my eye grew and my heart grew and I started to see that a perfect picture of a pair of shoes just wasn't cutting it.  Those images that really made you laugh and dance and cry were the good images.  Pictures were no longer photos of things but images that captured emotions and let them go inside the person who saw the photo.  That is what I wanted to do.

     Then I started shooting people for tips.  Don't get me wrong it is still great, I love the practice.  I'm still getting "As" as it were, but my perspective got whacked out.  I'm charging these people anything, but I felt like if I messed up at all I wasn't even worth tips and that I'd be letting them down.  Well, the pressure didn't help my performance at all.  To this day, the photos I took on those shoots where I had the spur-of-the-moment idea and had fun setting it up are still my favorite and probably best executed shots.  Sometimes I would get home and just flop on the couch and *hope* I got something I could give the client.  Come on already, I took at least 30 amazing photos and probably 60 good ones.  Even so, I would get them in lightroom and say to myself "at least the eyes are sharp."  All around the shoots were fun but they were stressful and I was SO worried about what others thought that I would put the camera down when I got home and not use it for probably a week.  I got so wrapped up in taking the "perfect" photo that I wouldn't even try when there was a possibility that they would be "normal."

     So much for practice.  Recently I have been going through all our old photos to make a board of my life so far for graduation and the lousiest photos of my siblings and I make me happier than all the photos I had taken in the past couple months.  There is a problem with that. I didn't have any pictures of our life.  I'd lost my resolve to capture those moments and emotions, especially in my own family!  How are we going to remember this time?  The year Emily learned to read?  The first time Hudson was hired to play his cello?  Jamie turns 20? My Mom starts her pilates business? Nope.  We're going to see photos of some kids in my graduating class. 

     I can just see us in  20 years.  "Hey!  Remember when we etched our glasses with the Hebrew Alphabet so we wouldn't keep confusing them and use like 20 glasses a day?  Oh yeah, I forgot about that! I think I have a picture somewhere....um, no, but I see this kid.  Do you know this kid?  Oh yeah, wasn't that a friend of Joanna's?"

Have no worries, I've photographed the glasses. :-)

I'm not going to wait till school is over to do what means something now.  I'm not going to procrastinate my life away and succeed at the things that don't really matter.  I want to live my life to God's glory and in his will.  I'm changing my perspective tonight.  I'm going to start being curious again.  I have been so inspired by Becky Earl.  She has such touching posts and photos about her family.  Or Annette Wilson.  Both of these ladies shoot film and shoot their everyday lives.  

I love Digital Photography, but I think it would be totally worth it to learn to shoot film.  There is more work involved and you are forced to shoot with purpose.  I also love Madey and Anntonette's blogs.  They shoot everyday life and turn the most mundane things into art as well as shoot the meaningful things beautiful.  

If all you have to show for a career in photography is a portfolio full of photoshopped people you don't even know I think there is a problem and that is not the kind of photographer I want to be.  In honor of all you amazing film photographers who get real with life, here is a shoot set of pictures I grabbed of my little sister zonked out on my parents bed just before dinner.  It was SO dark.  So I shot at ISO 3200 and embraced the grain.  These images are straight out of the Camera (SOOC).