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Shooting in 2011

December 6, 2011

This year has been a tough year for me, photographically speaking.  I’ve taken a lot less photos compared to previous years (though I’ve taken a ton of iPhone photos so maybe they balance out) just because I feel “it” is gone – it being any sort of vision or feeling or reason to shoot.  I’ve spent weeks being frustrated with what I’ve shot, I’ve deleted tons of photos from various trips, and I’ve spent weeks not touching anything.  In fact, it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve even opened up Lightroom and processed anything, as evidenced by my lack of updates over on Flickr.

I know a lot of photographers go through this. In fact, I’ve read some inspiring blog posts from some photographers that I really admire, and to know I’m not the only one who feels this way is helpful. But at the same time, I’m not quite sure how to regain that feeling that I’ve lost. I’m not sure how to stop feeling that what I shoot isn’t a bunch of crap. I’ve had so many ideas about blog posts to do here and they’re sort of just… fizzled out. I don’t have the motivation.

I wonder if I just need to suck it up and take pictures, process pictures, and see if that changes anything. It’s probably the best strategy I have for now. Any other ideas appreciated!

Textured Trees

October 5, 2011

As I’ve mentioned a couple times in the past, I’ve really gotten into iPhone photography over the last year.  It’s easy because it’s always with me and the limitations of the iPhone actually allow me to be more creative in some respects.  I also feel that I allow myself (subconsciously) more freedom in terms of editing when it comes to my iPhone photos.  I think it’s so easy with so many photography apps at my disposal, and I almost feel like I can do anything with the photo because it’s “just” an iPhone photo.  And I don’t mean that to diminish the work coming out of mobile phones – which is amazing in its own right – but just how I feel for my own stuff.

One of things I like to do is to add textures to photos to turn them more into drawings or paintings rather than a view of the actual scene.  Here are some of my favorites trees at a local park through my phone!

In the Jungle

September 22, 2011

While on vacation in Kerala, India, last year, we spent 2 days in Munnar.  We visited a cloud forest (whose name I just can’t recall anymore) with the idea of seeing elephants.  Unfortunately, that never worked out, because a few days earlier, an elephant had killed a man in the area, and the local guides said they would be unpredictable and it was too dangerous.  Instead we did a mini-adventure, with fishing and a bootleg “zipline” – and I got attacked by leeches.

That actually sounds more dramatic than it really was (as I can look back a year later with some perspective) – but I hate leeches.  Thankfully (I guess) these were super tiny ones, not like the ones from Anaconda 2 (ha, that’s my reference point).

Other than leeches, the jungle was absolutely beautiful. It was full of mist and had a mysterious, and slightly creepy, air about it.

Italy from an iPhone – A Preview

September 15, 2011

A few weeks ago, I embarked on an awesome trip to Italy, one with stops in several cities, including Venice, Florence, Rome, and Pisa.  It was 10 days but still felt short, as 2-3 days in each city is just not enough.  But it was a great preview and now I know which places I would love to return to.

I tried to travel (fairly) light in terms of my camera gear, which included my DSLR with only 3 lenses (I ended up using only 1 of them the whole time), my G11, and of course, the iPhone.  Actually, I used 2 iPhones, if you want to get technical.  I have the 3Gs so I used that half the time, along with my father-in-law’s iPhone 4.  The picture quality is much better in the 4 than in the 3Gs, and I’m eagerly awaiting the latest version so I can finally upgrade my phone as well.  I took over 1k pictures between the 2 phones so that’s gonna be a fun time sorting through them.  However, here are a couple of shots that I’m digging at the moment.

Welcome to Venezia! I was awestruck at first view.

Of course, we had a stop in Pisa

Neptune’s chillin’ in Florence

View from our hotel balcony in Florence

Not creepy at all!

Amalfi umbrella

Vesuvius in the Clouds

Please see my Flickr for more Italy photos.  And I hope to post a few mini series posts here soon as well.  *fingers crossed*

Zen Blue

August 11, 2011

I – or, more accurately, Malhar – found this cairn at the top of a rock on Sentinel Dome in Yosemite.  It was just a perfect scene to capture after the admittedly short, but still a bit strenuous for me, hike to the top.

The hike itself is under 2.5 miles, I believe, but there was still snow at the top so climbing our way through the super slushy and slippery dirty wet stuff was not fun.  I almost considered not doing it because I didn’t even have proper hiking boots on at the time (a bit dumb, I know) but then I went for it anyway.  And I’m glad I did! The views from up there was great – it was a 360° vista of everything.  I took a bunch of photos but, as with most of the time we were in Yosemite, this was during the middle of the day, with harsh light, so most of the shots will probably not see the light (heh) of day.

Tufas in Blue

August 10, 2011

I’ve seen some amazing photos of the tufas at Mono Lake (Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve).  They are usually taken during sunrise or sunset – basically times when the light is doing something special and not just… there.  Unfortunately, the way the timing worked out for us, we were there right when the sun was blazing in the sky, projecting harsh light onto the scene.  Of course, that didn’t stop me from grabbing a bunch of shots (I still shoot somewhat indiscriminately, something that I probably need to work on).  Basically, I wasn’t going to get another chance to be there for a while so I had to make do.

In the scene above, the tufa towers in the middle of the lake looked like people to me from far away.  My first thought was, how the hell are people standing in the middle of such an alkaline, salty lake? Then I realized it wasn’t people. Heh. 🙂  I messed around with the shot in Lightroom till I got to what you see above.  What I love is all the layers that emerge in the water, as well as the outlines of the mountains in the back.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to go back and get a shot closer to this!

On the Road to Yosemite

July 15, 2011

To get to Yosemite National Park, we flew into San Francisco, rented a car, and drove the approximately 3.5-4 hours. The drive afforded me some cool photo taking opportunities. Thankfully, my husband usually likes to drive and doesn’t mind if I spend most of my time in the passenger seat snapping away. Usually I’m snapping out of the sunroof or through my window, but occasionally he has to put up with me trying to shoot through his side. (With safety in mind, of course!) I bet he could go on and on about the antics he puts up with. 🙂

For most of the road trip, I had my trusty Canon G11 out to snap photos. Here is what I captured.

Getting off the San Mateo Bridge, I saw this water collected and the reflections of the towers caught my eye.

Yellow and blue is a great combo! These hills were full of photos. I took more with my DSLR on the way back, which I’ll post at a later point. (Hopefully!)

Gnarled up trees. I thought this worked best in b+w because it brings out the spooky quality of the trees.

Driving through farmland

One of my favorites.

I took over driving for a while as Malhar passed out on the passenger seat. We’d been up since 3am and he hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane. After me driving for about an hour or so, we got off the highway and started driving through way more interesting views. I was salivating over the missed photo opps and he took pity on me and took over driving again. What a guy!

This one is technically on the road back, but same difference! The day we left Yosemite, the skies were actually interesting – full of clouds and not just the straight blue skies we’d experienced while we were there. (Though I’m thankful for no rain, for the most part!)

I love this one! The palm trees are not perfectly focused and I wish I’d taken it with my DSLR, but it’s one of my favorites nonetheless. This shot involved a bit of maneuvering because the trees were on the driver’s side, so I was all up in my husband’s face to try to get the best view. I just love all the layers and colors in this.

Next I will slowly start to go through my DSLR shots and pick out some of the gems. If there are any!

Hidden in the Sunlight

July 8, 2011

I went through a -third- or -fourth- pass through some of my Yosemite photos and I think I’m happy with this one.

As we were waiting to get on the shuttle in Mariposa Grove, we walked around the parking lot to get our first glimpses of the giant sequoias.  It was a cloudy day with the sun peeking out occasionally and I caught this little grove with the sequoia and other trees just as the sun came out and lit it up.  If there ever was a time to realize how important light is in photography, it was on this trip.

I’ve Been Scarce

July 5, 2011

I haven’t blogged on here in a long time, and I’ve been pretty scarce over on Flickr, as well as Twitter. The truth is I haven’t even really touched most of my photos in a very long time.  Last week, I was in Yosemite National Park, which was a mind-blowing experience. The park is absolutely amazing – it’s so vast, I feel like you can’t even fit it into your brain.

Of course, I took tons of photos.  But once I got back and started sorting through them, I was just so disgusted with everything. I don’t know if it’s just something I’m going through and maybe if I look at them again in a week or two, they’ll be much better looking to me than my first pass, or if truly, they’re all a bunch of crap.  I’m leaning towards the latter, but hoping for the former.

Within this week, I’ve said a bunch of times to myself and a couple times to others, that maybe I’m not cut out for this photography stuff.  I don’t know.  I’m experiencing so much self-doubt right now.  Thankfully, I’ve learned, through friends on Twitter, that it’s not just me going through this and that (hopefully) I’ll get through it soon and get back to normal shooting.

But at the same time, I think I need to figure out a couple things.  Need to figure out what kind of photographer I am, need to maybe figure out what I’m actually good at and focus on that.  Or not.  Mostly I think I need to think things through.

Here’s hoping I’ll be back on the photo train by next week!
(I may maybe post some of my iPhone photos from Yosemite – I’m actually happier with them than I am with my DSLR photography!)

Kermit Ruffins in NYC!

May 20, 2011

I love New Orleans and it follows that I would love New Orleans jazz.  In the last couple of months especially, I’ve really gotten into the music that comes out of NOLA.  One of my favorite jazz musicians is Kermit Ruffins. I recently became a fan of his on Facebook. It must have been serendipity because he was playing this week in NYC and I was able to get tickets!

The show was at the Highline  Ballroom in the Meatpacking District.  Unfortunately, it was a weeknight (sigh, work) and we had to leave early – early being a misnomer because we left at 11pm to slog back to NJ and the show had just hit intermission! It was an amazing performance nonetheless!  I took along my G11, not wanting to lug around the big DSLR. All the images were shot at ISO 3200 and were super noisy but I tried to fix them up as much as possible with Lightroom‘s Noise Reduction feature.

They serve dinner there which, while expensive, was actually tasty (vegan sliders FTW!)

We arrived early just in case. Thankfully it didn’t get super packed at any point.

The show opened with Henry Butler, an amazing blue pianist. He performed for almost an hour and a half!

Feel It

In between sets. Here I must mention that I was in love with the lighting at the venue. I could probably sit and just take photos of an empty stage with all the various lighting they employ.

Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers take the stage!
(On another note, I really hated that stupid mic in front of the stage, which was there for no reason as no one used it, except to mess up my photos. Alas.)

Jerry Anderson on drums

Emile Vinette on piano (our favorite of the three!)

Kevin Morris on bass

Mykia Jovan
, a jazz/blues/soul singer, also performed at the show and I just loved her voice!

Trumpet Your Heart Out

I heard the rest of the performance was amazing and I’m still sad that we missed it. This means we’ll definitely have to head back to NOLA soon and catch him there!