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Well it’s that time of the year again, the time where the summer air is drifting in, the birds are chirping, and school is coming to an end once again for the summer vacation. This year, different from ever other of the past 13, I am not coming back to school in September for a new start. I will be graduating June 8th and going on a journey to new places, experiences, and schooling at the higher level. I will be attending Carrington College for a 9 month dental assisting program. Although I did not choose a career directly related to photography, I still hope to keep my passion for it burning. I may be doing side assignments of family portraits for friends for a little extra money, or possibly some artistic photos to sell on the side. Either way photography will still be a huge part of my life till I am no longer to take pictures. With that being said I would like to give a sincere thank you to my photography teacher who has taught me so much the past 3 years, put up with me when I was being a pain, and had to deal with me in SkillsUSA. I would have never became the photographer I am without his words of wisdom, constructive criticism, and sarcastic remarks. Thanks Twitchell!

Now to the final. Similar to the last few finals I have had in photography, we were told to pick a theme to go around and incorporate your pictures in it. We were also given a few photos we have to take such as a studio portrait, a slow shutter speed, and a large depth of field image. The rest were our choice just as long as we have a total of 10 including those 3. Also he wanted us to make a portfolio of our 10 best images from over the years. We were to choose wisely what we think is our pride and joy, then write why we like it, what makes it so amazing, how it makes us feel, etc. If you want to read the full assignment post the link is here.

Obviously I have been around for this theme a few times and I have had music, vintage, and death as my themes in the past. It’s hard coming around a 4th time because choosing a theme is always difficult, especially when you have done it 3 times already. I decided I definitely wanted to shed some light on this final because it is a happy time in the year to be coming to the end and summer sun is coming in. I did death as my last final and some people thought it was not necessarily the happiest of endings, therefore this time I will do an opposite of death, life!

I came to the conclusion that there are so many different things that you can do for the final of life, therefore there is so many possibilities with my photos. I needed to narrow it down a little bit to make it less broad. Thinking, thinking, and thinking…I finally realized who better of a life to do then my own. Graduation is coming, the time is ending, and you readers out there may not even know me. I will for my final be doing my life as I know it. I will be taking pictures of the things that make my life livable, how I get through the days.

I had a wide range of inspiration for these pictures because I had so many different things I wanted to work with. One inspiration was Michael Ray who primarily works on food photography. So many of his pictures really stuck out to me. In each of them it is not just the main food but the little things in the background that really make the picture. Just sometimes adding a cup in the background or a little plate of salad really makes his pictures. His attention to detail is what really gets me because you can tell he puts all his effort into arranging the main course and sides on the plate so that they are just perfect. I noticed that in most of his pictures put the food on a white plate, I’m just going out on a wim here and guessing that was maybe so he could be sure that colors or designs on the plate do not take away from the main focus on the food. Here is that website if you want to take a look, I wanted to do my favorite food and drink therefore that inspiration was a lot of help. Another part of my final was a lot of still life photography. Many of the things I captured were favorite objects of mine. When working with the objects you have to be sure to get the right lighting as well as the right angle to make the object shine at it’s best. I wanted to see some great examples of still life photography to give me a few ideas. I found a blog called The Photo Argus which had a lot of pictures from different photographers that were amazing. A few of them really stuck out to me such as the image of the pomegranate. Not only did the photographer take a picture of the subject, but he also added in a nice background and decorations such as the fork to make the image more life like. He had a lighting that was perfect as well! Another one I liked was the bear on the berries. I love the contrasting colors the image has and the way it is such a simple picture but yet there is enough going on to keep you interested. Lastly, I had to do a couple portraits of the people who mean most to me in my life. For that inspiration I used my favorite photographer Brady Campbell. I know that I used him on just my last project and I have many times before, but sometimes when you find your favorite and you are so inspired you can’t think of anybody else to inspire you. I know there is much more out there, but I honestly just haven’t found anybody I like as much as Brady Campbell. His style is so close to mine that it’s perfect. I looked around at his pictures and got ideas of poses, places, and lighting that I really liked.

For my portfolio it was extremely difficult to pick out ten images. At first I had a hard time because there was so many images that I am in love with that I didn’t want to just pick ten. I picked about fifteen and then narrowed it down to ten. That was even harder because I had to look at the flaws in my pictures and decide why one must stay or go over another that I really loved. It was difficult, but I somehow managed to complete the task. So here is my best, well at least I think so. They are not in any sort of order from favorite to least favorite.

This picture was used on my death final last semester if you can recall. I chose this one for my portfolio because it quite possibly may be my favorite photo up to now that I have taken. I love the peaceful, elegant, and simple look to the photo. It is not something you just glance at then walk away. Everybody I have chosen to show this to has taken a second look and pondered on the photo for a few minutes. It rises so many questions in peoples’ minds. Why is she drowning? Why does she have clothes on? Is she dead? What does this picture mean? My answer is yes. Just as my wise photo teacher has taught me less is sometimes more. Sometimes in life you have to figure out the pictures on your own and if I don’t tell you what I think you will instead make your own thoughts on the picture and it will hopefully mean more to you then a picture I fully explained. I love the way this picture arises a lot of questions. I also took this picture with me to regionals for SkillsUSA and it had a part in helping me win gold.

This photo was used this time last year on my Vintage final. The thing I like most about it is the view that I got on it. I used it as my creative viewpoint photo because the view is not one you would normally see unless you are laying on the ground as I was taking this picture. I love the joy this picture holds of my model having a good time on the bike she loves. Back in the days where vintage was in there was not much to do aside from playing outside. Riding bikes was a pure joy of anybody and you can see it in the face of my model. I also love the lighting and lighting effect that I put on it because it is not too harsh, but not too soft. The path she is on and the trees really make the picture pop as well.

I used this picture last year on a spring flowers post. I love it and since have used it to compete, to hang up in the photo room at school, and for a fundraiser. I love most that this picture because unlike a lot of flower pictures it is not just a simple flower, but it also doesn’t have too much going on. The way I captured it with the first bleeding heart in focus then it slowly leading back to no focus and the flowers in the background not focused was pure excellence. I love that the background has a different branch of flowers that are not in focus because it makes it to wear it is not plain.

I took this picture for my best friend for her engagement portraits. I love that as soon as I look at this picture I get an instant “Aww” moment in my head. This picture really portrays the happiness and love they have for one another. The sweet kiss on the cheek with her true smile are breath taking. I remember trying this picture in color and in sepia and the sepia just works. It gives even more of a warming touch to the picture.

I took this picture of my niece, Annabelle, last year for my sister’s family portraits. I love the happiness that you can see in her eyes and the huge smile on her face as she was laughing. I love that you can tell it is not a staged picture. The lighting that day was perfect and made the picture that much better. It has a warm, sunny look to the picture which makes everybody happy. I really like the background too. I know many people may not look at the background but it is very important it looks good just incase. The bridge really adds to the picture and gives that picture different textures with the wood.

I took this picture of my friend Lexy for her senior portraits. I love the angle that I got at and the way I had her positioned on the bench. One thing with doing portraits is you never want to take one that makes the model look bad. The last thing a client wants is to look fat in a picture they want to look back at one day. In this picture the downward angle enhances her features and makes her look gorgeous.

This picture was also in the pictures I took for my sister and her family. That is my brother-in-law  with my niece. My favorite thing about this picture is the love and laughter that it shows. You can see that Annabelle loves her daddy and she has so much fun with him. This is a picture that one day when he is gone she will look back and see that the love she and him had for each other was precious. I love the background as well because it contrasts the dark colors both of them are wearing.

I took this picture for my vintage final last year. I used it as my natural framing photo. The natural framing aspect is definitely the best part of this picture because the way that I captured the model in the mirror and you can see the blurred back of her is perfect. The look to the picture has a simple elegance to it and makes me want to jump back into the 50s. This picture for me and I hope many viewers gives the makes the thought of going back in time and getting ready for a night out on the town or a special dance. Too many of the elder generation I hope it would bring a sense of memory as well as a sense of joy to thoughts. I love the lighting of this picture as well because it looks like it was professionally done in a studio while in reality I just used a natural lighting in the kitchen.

I took this picture for my friend Lexy for her senior pictures as well. I love the angle I shot down at because as I said earlier it is a more flattering view. Props are one thing that can make a picture thats good, great! That is exactly how I felt about this random chair we found in an alley way. Instead of sitting on the ground or standing it gave us an alternative and made the shoot a little more fun. I love the position I put my model in and the lighting and editing that I did.

This picture I took for my sister’s family portraits as well. My niece Abigail decided she was cold and wanted to wear her daddy’s big air force coat. I love the way the coat makes a sort of frame around her face. I also love the lighting of the picture. It is light enough that you can see all of her features yet dark inside the hood.

So that wraps up my portfolio for my final. Now to the actual final pictures 🙂

Studio Portrait: For one of my ten images I have to take for the final, my photo teacher wanted a nice, clean studio portrait. For mine I used a model and the studio at the school. I went over and set up an umbrella to the left of my model that was only about a foot away from her. I then placed a reflected on the other side so that the light would not be so split on her and the other half of her face would be lit as well. I put a separation light in the back right corner to light up the background and the back of her. Finally I put a gel light in so that the back drop got a little color to it to make the picture more exciting. I did little editing on this picture because the point of the studio portrait was to see that you could use the studio correctly and get results that up to par. Editing the picture and changing the lighting a lot would defeat the purpose of showing that you can take the portrait correctly in the first place. I did retouching editing though to enhance the model by making her teeth whiter, a few spot corrections, and sharpening of the eyes.

Large Depth of Field: Another image we were assigned to take was an image with large depth of field. For those of you who may not know what that is, essentially it means that from the foreground to the background everything you see is clear. It’s the exact opposite of a macro image. For my large depth of field I decided to take a picture of the beach in Coeur d’Alene. It goes well with my theme of life because it is one thing that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. Throughout my childhood I went to that beach so many times I can’t even count. Without that beach my past and future wouldn’t be the same.

Slow Shutter Speed: One more assigned picture was one of slow shutter speed. I love the city lights at night. I happened to go to Seattle for a long weekend and got an excellent picture atop the space needle. I had a very slow shutter speed so I could catch all the lights without a blur.

Music: I chose to take a picture incorporating music because it is one thing that I would not be able to live without. Whether I am happy, sad, mad, or just indifferent there is always a song to describe how I feel or to make me feel the way I want to. Music is my anti-drug that I use to cope with difficult situations. A break up for instance, instead of crying for days and days, I turn on some Taylor Swift because I know she probably has a song about a boy that relates to my boy troubles, never fails 🙂

White Dalmatian, Oh Yess: I recently discovered my new favorite drink from Starbucks. I was on pinterest and found a Starbucks secret menu. On it I found some interesting drinks. The one I thought sounded the best is called a White Dalmatian. This is a White Chocolate Mocha blended with Java Chips and Chocolate Chips. This creation is heavenly on my taste buds. I went to Starbucks and ordered this delicious creation then snapped a shot while I was sitting down in Starbucks. It is actually a nice place for pictures because during the day they have a lot of natural light coming in from all the windows. I had a few people looking at me weirdly as I snapped pictures of my drink, but it sort of comes with the job sometimes. I got the drink at an angle with a slight tilt on it to make the photo more appealing to the eye. I feel sometimes just a straight on shot at an image and no tilt is a little boring.

Pure Delight: One indulgence I cant help go after is Coconut Clouds. These are a cake cookie that are made with coconut flakes. They are delicious, easy to make, they cook fast, and they bring a smile to each and every person who has tried them. For this photo I didn’t want to do the norm of taking the after picture so instead I took a picture while they were baking in the oven. The lighting inside of an oven of course isn’t ideal, but sometimes in photography you have to work with what you got. Doing food photography is hard because everything has to be so perfect to look tasty. I must have redone this picture with different amounts and sizes of cookies a hundred times. It’s worth it though because I got the picture I wanted in the end. I did it at a side shot angle so it is not just straight on and captures attention a little better. It also has better focus on it from the front to back cookies that the straight on shot did.

Seattle, WA: I went on a quick trip over the weekend to Seattle, WA. It is my favorite place that I have ever been to. When in Seattle my boyfriend and I did an assortment of things such as the Aquarium, Pikes Place Market, and the Space Needle.

Sunsets: A sunset is one of my favorite things to see. I like to think that sunsets show that each day ends on a happy site and that no matter what happens in life there is always some sort of beauty to look forward to.

Photography, of course: Well it’s obvious that photography is a huge part of my life. On days where I am mad, sad, or indifferent I sometimes take the camera and just drive somewhere and take pictures. It is something I do that relaxes me. I love photography and without it I wouldn’t be able to capture the moments and memories that I adore. For my picture I decided to take pictures of some camera equipment since that is a main component of photography, who knew? 😉 I sadly am still working to build my photography equipment collect therefore I don’t have much. My photo teacher though has A LOT of photography equipment, old and new. I asked nicely if I could borrow some of the ones I like most and take them to the studio for some nice studio pictures of them. I had to make sure to get the right set up as well as the right lighting for this picture. I shot at an upward angle for two reasons. One; because it is more appealing then shooting at a straight on angle. And two; because it makes the cameras look bigger and more important to me. When I photograph things at an upward angle they always seem to be more powerful to me. That explains perfectly how photography is to me, powerful.

Flowers of Life: I took this picture of one of my favorite flowers, a Fushia. I used a rule of thirds approach because I like the off centered look and that you can see that beautiful background in it. I edited it in lightroom using a direct positive preset that made the colors pop even more than they already do. This picture to me has a double meaning. The obvious meaning is that I do love flowers. They are so pretty, elegant, and beautiful to capture an image of. Also though I wanted to get the double meaning that it’s sometimes the little things in life that matter. Some people take flowers for granted when they see them on the side of the road or when they pop up in the bushes. They just think “Oh, cool,” but they don’t truly appreciate them and think of what life would be without them. That is sadly how society views a lot of different things. As the expression goes I think people need to stop and smell the roses metaphorically and physically. Life is too short and we shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Well that wraps up my final. I hope that many of you got a little insight into my life as well as a little lesson there at the end. I want to thank all of the people who read my blog for being inspired by me or just liking my photography. I do plan to keep this blog going outside of high school because photography will always be a huge part of my life and I want to share it with others. Although the posts may not be as often, I will be sure to try to post one AT LEAST once a month 🙂


A few weeks ago I went to The Distinguished Young Women pageant in St. Maries to watch a friend compete. If you don’t know what that is, it is like a beauty pageant. You compete in poise, talent, fitness, interview, and it is based on your GPA as well. I was there and the photographer on the second night bailed so they asked me to take pictures for them. I of course had my camera on me, but I didn’t have the lens I would have preferred. I also didn’t have great lighting to do it in. Usually I would have liked to know sooner then the night of the show, but sometimes in life there is a spur of the moment thing you just have to work with. I was assigned to take pictures of the distinguished young woman and her family.

I took the picture all with the best lighting my camera could do then came back to the school and edited them up a little bit. In editing I fixed the lightings, I reduced the noise some, and I tried to fix the yellows as best as I could. Again the lighting was horrible to begin with so it was definitely a fixing process in photoshop and lightroom.

I didn’t necessarily have an inspiration because the assignment was not planned until the night of about an hour before. I put my mind set though to a thought of what would Brady Campbell do? It is know secret that I definitely aspire to be as good of a photographer as him. I hae used him as inspiration many times before, but incase you missed it here is the link to Brady Campbell’s cite.

This past couple weeks we given an interesting assignment. Our assignment was Idioms. I know if anyone reading this is like me you are probably thinking what the heck is that? An idiom is something that is not a meaning, we have just developed common ones over time that people say and most people understand what people mean by them. An example might be if you say somebody just kicked the bucket, it usually means a person has passed away. It of course is not something I would suggest saying at a funeral. People usually say it to bring humor to a tragic situation. It doesn’t literally mean though that the person you are speaking of just kicked an actual bucket. For our assignment we were suppose to take the literal meanings and make pictures out of them.

I knew of many different idioms off the top of my head but I also decided to search through a site of idiom saying I could try to make some good pictures out of. The site had so many different saying to choose from. I jotted down some of that I instantly thought  could pictures out of. My inspiration came from this idiom site.

I used photoshop to put some of the pictures together that I had to use layers with. I haven’t done layers in a while so it was fun working with them again. I at first was a little slow and had to remember how to do stuff again, but then I sped up pretty quick. I all in all enjoyed this project and it was fun to take an edit the pictures. Hope you have fun looking at them.

I’ve got you in the palm of my hand: The expression typically means that somebody is doing whatever you say and you are basically controlling them. I took the literal meaning and took a picture of my friend with her hand out then a picture of my dog. I put the pictures together in photoshop using layers.

Bend over backwards: Usually means that you will do whatever it takes to help. You are willing to do anything even bend over backwards for somebody. I took the literal meaning and had my friend bend over backwards. I really don’t like the lighting in my kitchen and wish I would have done it somewhere else.

The apple of my eye: Someone who is cherished above all others. Usually this person is somebody you may dream of or be infatuated with. I put the apple right next to my friends eye and had her gazing at it so it’s literally the apple of her eye. I tired with her in focus and with the apple in focus and I liked the one of her in focus better because she is so infatuated with this apple and the expression shows it well.

Finger lickin’ good: A very tasty meal or food. I thought having her just licking her finger would be good. I now think though that I should have put some sauce on her finger or made a little sauce mess on her face. Hmm oh well.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch: Don’t rely on something or get your hopes up unless you know for sure it will happen. I decided a good way to do this is put number on the eggs as if I was counting them up. I really didn’t mean to get the pen I numbered them with in the background, but I actually like it because it shows a little more that I literally took the time to count eggs and number them with a pen.

Bite your tongue: Meaning to avoid taking. Somebody may say they bite their tongue to keep something out that they want to say, but shouldn’t. I tried this one a couple different ways and I liked it best super close up. The others just looked like her tongue was just sticking out.

Cracking Up: Meaning that you are laughing at something really funny. I took it literally and blended in an image of concrete with cracks in it and turned down the opacity so it looked like her skin was cracking. I tried making her laugh and making her serious and I liked it better laughing because it still has a little bit of the idiom meaning and the literal meaning.

Spring break is the time of the year I usually look forward to most because of the fact that it is a well deserved break away from school during the middle of the second semester. I always go on a vacation during Spring break whether it’s to somewhere fun and exotic or like last year, middle of boring Montana. This year my sister and her husband got re-stationed to Vandenberg AFB, CA. It just so happened that they were moving during my spring break. I had never been to California so my sister asked if I wanted to ride down with her so I could help with the kids, and have some time away from Idaho.

To my surprise the trip there wasn’t as bad as I thought. I thought that driving 21 hours would be horrible, but we broke it up into three different drives. The first stop was in Bend, OR, the second was in Sacramento, CA, and the final stop was our destination of Vandenberg AFB, CA.  I took most of my pictures at my destination because all the rest along the rode I kind of forgot about my camera and used my phone mostly so I could send pictures to my friends and family.

For my inspiration I couldn’t think of much that would help as far as documentation of Spring Break. My only inspiration was my teacher who told us to. I just went ahead and look up some good outdoor lighting tips. Take a read because it shows some really good techniques and things you may not have thought of.

I thought that California, or at least the parts I was in, was beautiful. Let me share with you some of the things that I saw 🙂

My niece was peering out into the ocean as her first time seeing the big wide open pacific. Although it was quite foggy so she couldn’t see too far. I thought the expression on her face was one to capture. It looked like she was really thinking hard about how it works, how the waves come to you, and how all you can see is the foggy mist over he open pacific. I took the picture pretty quick to make sure to capture so I did minor lighting edits to fix my not so perfect settings since I was in a hurry. Being as it was foggy it was also hard to get the right exposure.

I was trying in this picture to get my other nieces expression as she looked down at the seashells on the ground at her feet. I love how you can see her, then the waves crashing up in the background. Although I wish I could have got the right exposure on her face but it was hard to get it to look just right with her face as well as the misty waves. I tried hard in lightroom though.

We went into Santa Barbara when I was down there and went to the Santa Barbara Zoo. I have been to my fair share of zoos and it was actually a really good one. It had a good variety of animals, nice grounds, and fun things to do for the kiddos. In the zoo they had a special caged area you enter in through a door that they had an assortment of cool birds in. I saw this one and was in awe. The beauty of it amazes me. It is so big, colorful, and beautiful.

I love this shot because of the way that I set it up with the leopard a little off center and you can see it perfectly through the cage. I wish it was a little closer though. With this picture, as well as most the others, I did just minor lighting edits and a slight vignette so you center in on the main focal point.

This bird was so obsessed with some bug that was down below it and wouldn’t look at me for the life of it. I still thought though that I could get a nice picture of it’s obsession.

A little after seeing the bird before this one I stumbled across this exact same bird in the a different place. This one liked me and wanted the attention. As it was walking toward me I got the perfect picture of it stepping forward and tilting it’s head a bit. I felt like the bird was interested in me. The bird really looks like it has expression to it.

My nieces wanted me to take a picture of this “Chubby Bunny” as they called it. They really want a bunny for their house as a pet, but apparently they are not allowed on base where my brother-in-law and sister live. My niece actually told me she wants to come live with me because then she could have a bunny. I was thinking I could print this out and give to her for inspiration for when she gets older and in a new house off base maybe she can finally have one. Until then a picture and maybe a stuffed animal will have to do.

My sister loves the palm trees in California so I took a quick family shot of my brother-in law, sister, and two nieces in front of a big palm tree.

I was bored while my nieces were looking forever at these monkeys dancing around so I went ahead and did some macro shots of some pretty flowers.

I really like this flower and the derail inside of it. For some reason it reminded me of a butterfly. I think it is the look of it. I don’t like the bark background of this though. I couldn’t move the flower though so I had to work with it.

Once we got to the giraffes a lady asked if we would like to pay $6 for the girls to each feed a piece of lettuce to a giraffe. Of course they were all sorts of excited so they had to. I bet the zoo makes a ton just off of that over priced piece of lettuce. While on this platform I snapped a picture of the girls with the giraffe. Abigail was sort of scared because she thought the giraffe behind her was going to eat her hair. uckily she made away with all her hair.

After feeding the giraffe it was obviously still hungry as I quickly got a picture of it sticking it’s tongue out. My nieces got a kick out of that. The overcast sky cause this picture to have not the best exposure. I tried as best as I could to fix it, but their is only so much you can do.

Getting  a little off track I think I loaded these pictures wrong, let’s take a detour to the drive to California. On the way right before the town of Weed, CA there was a famous Volcano, Mt. Shasta. I thought to myself “Hey, that looks important, maybe I should take a picture.” The lighting was horrible and I was in a car going 60+ miles per hour so I had to hang my camera out the window since my sister wouldn’t stop, and hope for the best. I think it turned out pretty good given the circumstances.

I was told by many people while in California I had to go to a In-N-Out. Of course me being the easily persuaded person I am decided to give it a try. Definitely the best burger joint I have ever been to. You have to fin the secret menu online before order though because it is ten times better that way! I wanted to take a picture including the palm trees so I got this picture. I thought the sky looked cool as well.

While in Santa Barbara we went to the Ty Warner Sea Center. I was pretty spendy for the little amount of stuff they had if you ask me. The girls loved it though because they had this tank that had all sorts of different kinds of starfish that you get to touch and hold. This is shown in the picture above.

Also at the Ty Warner Sea center they have an entire room full of tanks with Jellyfish of all different kinds in them. The room was a dark room with black lights as the lighting so you could see the glow of the Jellyfish. I thought it looked really cool the way they moved so I shot this Jellyfish while it was moving. This particular Jellyfish interested me because it looked different then the normally thought of ones such as below.

I changed this Jellyfish picture to black and white because you could see the details inside a little bit better. I love that you can see the insides so contrasted from the outside.

And now back to the zoo. I took this picture because it looked like the monkeys were kissing. I think that it’s just the way they have moved, but it looks cute. I wish I could have gotten a little bit closer but their of course was a fence. I took it with the tree’s in the edges on purpose to add a natural framing effect that draws your eyes into the monkey since they are further away.

I love Meercats, I think that they are so cool. I got this Meercat to come right up to the window. While I was taking pictures it was looking right at me then as soon as I bring out the camera it turns to the side. Maybe it just wanted me to get it’s good side? Haha.

I absolutely love penguins! They are my definite favorite of all living creatures. I think that they just look so classy always rocking the penguin suit. Not to mention their adorable waddle that they have. If you read up on them they also have some interesting facts. This particular type of Penguin is a Humboldt Penguin. That is why it looks slightly different then the “normal” thought of penguins looks. These penguins are warm weather penguins that normally live in Chile or Peru. The zoo adopted these because Santa Barbara has a year around climate that these type of penguins like.

I love this picture because the penguin was laying down on it’s stomach in a cute way. It just kept looking around at everybody soaking up the attention of everybody.

Back to the pier. After the Ty Warner Sea Center we walked along one of the piers in Santa Barbara. It had a few restaurants, a port for water taxi’s and Whale watching cruises, and multiple cute tourist shops. I liked this angle because you could see the pier, palm tree, the coast, and the edge of Santa Barbara. I also love the little boat in the water. I think it added something to the picture. Sometimes it’s the little details that make a picture.

One more from the zoo. So I love flamingos but they confuse me. They must have some sort of wonderful balance. Standing on one leg must get exhausting. I don’t get why if they have another leg, they don’t stand on it?

My cousin called me up last week and wanted to know if I was interested in making some money and taking her family portraits. I of course accepted since I’m a broke teenager. And I always love some family portraits 🙂 I figured going down to Tubbs hill would be a good spot because there is a ton of different  spots. We did some down by the water, some in the woods, and some against rocks. They also are both very natural people and loved the outdoorsy feeling of the portraits.

I wanted to get some inspiration on how to pose them so I went ahead and looked at Brady Campbell’s website because he is one of my favorite photographers. He has all kinds of pictures of couples or families that are outdoors and have the feeling that I was going for.

I also went to the good ole’ Digital Photography School. Everybody should always go there because they have amazing types on basically any photography idea! I really enjoy going through their tips. I especially liked the one about having the family all close there eyes then open them at the 3, 2, 1. It assures that nobody is blinking and makes it much easier on me when editing the pictures so I don’t have to take eyes out of another picture.

All of these have only extremely minor edits with lighting and a few healing spot edits. They made sure to tell me they didn’t want much edited other then lighting because they don’t like the over-editing look where you can’t even tell at times who the person is because their face is completely different. It made it to where I didn’t have as much work too which was bitter sweet.

For the first post of the new semester I was given the assignment by my photography teacher to do public service announcements. For those who don’t know what that is, I definitely didn’t at first, a public service announcement, or PSA, is a type of advertisement featured on television, radio, print or other media. A PSA is intended to change the public interest, by raising awareness of an issue, affecting public attitudes, and potentially stimulating action. The most common example for these that I thought of immediately are the above the influence billboards that show the effects or problems concerning drugs, especially meth.

As the above the influence campaigns were the first thing that popped in my head I went ahead and went with it. I thought that alcoholism and drugs are what I would target because I do know a numerous amount of current or recovering addicts to alcohol or drugs. It is something that I feel strongly against. To explain myself, this is not against recreational use of alcohol because I have heard complaints that drinking is not that bad. No, drinking is not bad, unless you misuse or abuse the ability of the use. My stand against is it for the alcoholics who have no money to feed their children, but still manage to dig in the cracks of the couch for some money for booze. This is for the people that waste away everyday and don’t realize that they are not only affecting their life, but everybody who cares about them as well. I have no problem with the occasional recreational use of alcohol to loosen up and have some fun. Everyday all day though, is a lifestyle not a recreation.

For my inspiration I had multiple sources. The first thing as I said before that popped in my head was the Above the Influence campaign. They have an amazing website that can help many addicted teens and adults. Another inspirational source was a set by Ryan Hansen that were from his photography class’s assignment “Photos for a Cause”. He had a lot of different example of different issues. There was one that was the above the influence idea that I thought was really cool. It said “I get high in a different way” and showed a guy getting some good air on his skateboard. It was good for showing what you can do instead. I wanted to take some pictures like that, but I never got around to it. I might try this assignment again some time and try that.

Since I was going for the above the influence campaign look I decided to use an up arrow like they do and put there name and website on each of my photos just incase somebody comes across these in a google image search or something and actually wants to see the website.

Now to the photos! 🙂

This obviously was used as an anti-alcoholism campaign photo. I set my model up on the couch next to my window because I was really liking the natural light coming in on her. I set the bottle on my coffee table and tried a few different angles and focuses. I tried focusing on the bottle with her blurred in the background, but I decided that in that one she looked to much like a blob in the background. I changed the picture to black and white because I felt like it looked more serious and had a better look to it.

This one is a mix between suicide and drug overdose. I was going more for drug overdose though. I again tried different angles and focuses on the pills and the model. I liked it best with focus on the pills in the middle. I made it black and white because it looked better since the pills we all different colors. It also made the photo more serious. When people see this  I want them to see the consequence of taking pills, you can overdose. I know a few people who just thought it was fun to pop pills, till they overdosed and almost died. The tricky part about pills is that they may not always effect you the same way and the same amount may be horrible one time and do nothing the next. You could take 5 pills one time and just be loopy and then 5 pills the next and it’s too much and your overdosed.

This is another one for anti-alcoholism. When I thought in my mind of how I wanted this picture I knew that I was a model who looked just worn out that wanted to drink away her problems. I wanted her to look like nothing but that glass could help her. I made her look at the glass with deep thought as if that glass is her best friend and she could only have it solve her problems. I put the saying of the best friend because when your an alcoholic drinking is your favorite thing and oftentimes people may lose the ones they love and care about and only be left with that glass or bottle. I wanted to focus on the glass and bottle and have the model be blurred, but I couldn’t get it exactly to look as I wanted. I do have the model a little bit blurred, but not as much as I hoped.

I did this one in photoshop for anti-smoking. I was going to actually use smoke that I took a picture of, but instead I decided to use my resources and download a set of free real smoke brushes. In the real world with ad campaigns the people in charge may not have time to take an actual picture of smoke so they use the internet most likely to download brushes as did I. I wanted a radial gradient to add to the picture and make it more appealing. I wanted it to lead you from the smoke to the above the influence logo.

For this one I did the same thing with the smoking brush and the radial gradient. I wanted to try it with a different color that made more sense such as brown. I still like the blue one though.

For this picture I stood on top of my bathroom counter and shot down at the model. I decided to to put some old pictures that I have copies of in the toilet so my model is wasting away her past, memories, and pride. I edited this the picture in lightroom by changing the preset to a a low contrast black and white look with a slight vignette. I then turned to photoshop to add the text and logos. I was going to edit out minor details such as the bra straps, but odds are if you really are wasted you aren’t gonna look perfect, and bra straps will probably be falling out if not down your arms.

My photography class at school is now at an end for the semester. We all know what this means; cramming for finals, celebrating that your halfway done with the year, and making new goals for a new semester where you can start over fresh. For my photography class my teacher gave us basically complete freedom. The only thing he asked of us was to pick a theme, which I do on all my posts, and incorporate the theme in all images. He did give us a list that we could take an idea off of, or we could present our own idea and get it approved. I was torn between a few that stuck out to me, and a few that I had in my own mind. It came down to between the theme of love and the theme of death. Kind of an oxymoron that it came down to those two since they are mainly opposite of each other with how you feel about each subject, but I do have a semi-weird thought process in my head 🙂

The theme I finally decided on that I couldn’t get my mind off of was death. I was intrigued by the idea of the depth I can get in my photos. Most people wouldn’t probably be intrigued by such a deep subject. A lot of people don’t like to think about death and the sadness that surrounds it. I, on the other hand, think that there is so much that I can portray in my pictures that others will be drawn to. Photography, in my opinion, is most of the time at it’s best when you push the limits. I want to make people get out of there bright colors and happiness cliche of “normal” photography. I want my pictures to be remembered, and if I push the limits, it will stick in their heads. At least that is what I am going for.

I decided to map out what I was going to do before I did it. It worked so much better then randomly taking pictures. I had an idea of exactly how I wanted to do each and every picture that I did. I wrote down a list of my ideas, then once finalized made them happen. I tried my best to go with my first instinct and take the pictures exactly as I envisioned them. There were a couple that I took the picture and then it dawned on me if I got at a different angle it could possibly be 10x better. On those couple I went ahead and put both angles up so I can get the opinion of others as well.

Inspiration for this set was definitely hard to find. Apparently other photographers are not as intrigued by the idea of photographing death and deathlike symbols as I am. I looked next to everywhere on google and was not finding much. Instead I decided to be not so precise on searching for exactly death. I decided that maybe a good think do do would get some inspiration on how to do the lighting for my pictures and such. Digital photography school, one of my favorite places on the internet, was my main source of inspiration on my indoor light techniques. They gave some great tips about where to set my shutter speed and aperture for the best quality picture. I chose to listen and I think it made my pictures look better.

I chose to do some pictures in the bathtub of my friend “Drowning” I had a few different ideas in my head. This picture was my first vision that I thought of. I was standing on the edge of the bathtub above her (May I add I almost fell in at one point.) I though that it would be a good downward angle and you could really see the hair flowing in the water. I wanted people to look at this and feel like she was at peace and that she was comfortable. I used the lighting preset beach bliss in photoshop because it gave the picture an almost vintage tone that match well with her shirt, as well as it made the calming feeling more intense for me.

After doing my first image I thought to myself that it would be god to get another angle just to see how it looks. I also thought that the bathtub looked a little plain and maybe adding something would make it better. Just as a burred image in front that is subtle and there. I thought that flowers would be fun, but the only ones I could find were this stem with some fake flowers on it that my mom had in a vase for some reason. I thought at first that they were too distracting and I was not very fond of this picture, but I have now decided I really like it. I think that it does exactly what I was thinking by adding a little something to the picture. It is almost as if somebody found her dead and laid flowers to rest with her. I was going for a feel of sorrow and despair in this one, but then you realize the peaceful beauty of death.

It is only appropriate that I should include a picture that she is legitimately drowning. Nobody really dies on top of water. I tried a few image where she was fully submerged, and then ones such as the one above where part of her head was out. I thought that it was more realistic that she would have part of her head floated above water.

I am definitely not the most fond of this one, but I do really like the quote that I used on it. I found the quote on google and it was on a TV such as this one. It makes sense on a TV being as you watch a TV just as you would watch your life fly by. I know that my photo teacher told me on a blog how to make my reflection show, but not thinking I forgot and then not till I was editing this picture on the last day did I realize it probably doesn’t look so good that you can see my reflection and my room in the reflection. If I could go back I would have followed my photo teacher’s advice and cut out a poster board or some other object that you would have focused on instead. I am not super happy with the turnout of this picture, but live and learn 🙂

When thinking of death one thing that immediately popped in my head was a gravestone. I wanted one that was coming out of the ground with some flowers in front. I went down to the huge cemetery downtown and the search was on. I am not going to lie being in the graveyard was not very flattering. There was almost a feeling of despair while I was there. I am hoping that seeing this picture the viewers will feel the same way that I did while I was taking the pictures. I wanted to get an angle that was appealing as well as showed the entire grave and flowers in front. I think that the snow being there actually helped because it really added to my picture.

I’m not sure if I quoted somebody by saying that, but I definitely just came up with it in my mind. I thought that putting a clock that is running out of time would be good. I was going to stay up will it was almost midnight so it would be more appropriate that the time is almost out, but I just couldn’t stay up that late with finals week. It is out though, only four hours left.

This and the photo below only have slight difference such as the one above her eyes are open (most people don’t die with their eyes closed) therefore it is more realistic. And the lighting filters of course. I can’t decide which one I like more, but I think it is the top one for sure, it just seems more real and the lighting is better.

I thought to myself that a dead rose would definitely represent death because at a funeral there are usually flowers such as roses, and plus the rose is dead. I didn’t know what kind of background I would like to have. I really wanted to do a sort of death in life thing where I put the dead rose on the live grass, but being as most grass is covered in snow that doesn’t work. I did try digging down to the grass, but it’s dead underneath so that idea didn’t work. I was taking a picture you will see further down that required a book. Then was when the idea of placing the rose in the novel came to me.

This was another gravestone that I saw that stuck out to me. I liked the quote that was on top of it as well as the heart shape to the gravestone. I changed it to black and white because I didn’t think that the alive trees in the background looked good and I didn’t want the colorful background to distract from the gray gravestone.

When people look at this I want them to think to themselves, “Why?” Nobody knows why she is upset and nobody knows what happened. It leaves you wondering. I got an up close upward angle so you could see that her make-up is running and he has been obviously crying. The black and white filter I used made her eyes even more black which usually I wouldn’t be fond of, but I like that you can’t really see her eyes. Generally when people cry they don’t want people to see.

Again I had a picture that I used two different filters on that I could not decided between. The black and white on is more cliche of the death photos where as the almost purple tint is more bold and appealing. I like the way that I focused on the pills, but not the girl. She is just a background blur. That was purposeful because the pills really stress the drug overdose.

I wanted an angle of the girl crying where you can see her body as well. Her uncomfortable sorrow you can tell just by her body formation. Again you can tell she has been crying because of the running make-up. I made this a cream tone in light room because it was quite black and white and it looked good with the picture.

This is a photo that I used once last year on a macro photo series, therefore I am kind of double dipping. I wanted a picture toward the end for any of you who were so disturbed that you can’t function without a light at the end of the tunnel. Being as it is winter, it is hard to do very bright and colorful pictures. So I just chose a photo I took in the spring and added a cute quote to it for the hopefuls out there. It sets in perfectly with my series because it is telling you to live you life like you will die tomorrow.

I just plain and simply wanted to sum up the end in a photo. The end of first semester, the end of this photo series, or the end of life. I thought that getting the end at an angle and a little tilted would look the best and get the most attention for such a simple picture. Adding a vignette also made the end pop more.

Well that’s all for now. Second semester of senior year here I come 🙂

These past two weeks I decided to do something a little bit different then the usual. I decided to try something I am not as well with and don’t know very much about. I am, in my opinion, pretty good with editing photos in photoshop. I really don’t know much about the graphic design concepts that it has though. I have seen people make some really cool graphics from using photoshop so I thought what the heck why don’t I give it a try and I can maybe learn some techniques I can add to my photos. It gives me an opportunity to expand my knowledge of photoshop and show my creativity. It also works out great because I am trying to design the background of Alyssa and I’s promotional bulletin board for SkillsUSA.

I obviously don’t know much about the graphic design concepts of photoshop so I decided I would do some cool tutorials. Mine don’t look exact with the tutorial pictures I didn’t really want to make them look exact unless I really like the exact one such as I did do on one of them. I tried to add my own spin. I knew that for our SkillsUSA board we wanted something that was every colorful and stands out because since it is a promotional item we want it to stick out to people. I did one that doesn’t have as much color but it still sticks out because of the distorted deign and brightness.

The website and inspiration I used was I looked through a lot of websites, but I felt as if this one was the most helpful and had he coolest tutorials. It went step by step on each tutorial and included pictures and tips to help you out. I recommend this site for first time graphic designers, but there are a ton of others out there. I decided to pick three that stood out to me as well as that were not too complicated.

Now to the designs!

The first one I did was a fun tutorial. It has lots of colors and the bubbles add a little more to the design. The original one from the tutorial had some funky lights streak think going through it and I did try it, but I just though that was too much going on. If we use this one for our promo board I am sure it would catch the eyes of wanderers in the hallways.

I really liked this one because it doesn’t have so much going on that if we used it it wouldn’t distract the viewer of the board from the main purpose being SkillsUSA, yet it does still grab your attention because how bursting and attracting it is. It looks basically the same as the tutorial aside from the fact that this doesn’t have a light burst logo like that one did. I didn’t want to add a light burst text because if we used this it would just be a background not the main part.

This is my favorite of the three! Regardless of what I said before about too much going on that you don’t focus on the main SkillsUSA part I think this one is awesome. I loved the design and this is the on;y one that I followed exactly. I even put all the bubbles in the exact same spots because it looked so awesome I didn’t want to alter it at all. I tried doing less or more but the way they had it in the tutorial was the best. This was also the one that took me the longest to complete of all of them. It took a long tie because all the steps and getting it just so with the tutorial picture. I think this is the one I would vote for to use as the background, but I still have to talk to my partner.

If I could redo something as I was doing these I would have taken screen captures along the way to include in here. It would have shown how many steps and how long the process is to making graphic designs. Although I suppose if you really want to know you can just do the tutorial for yourself 🙂

This is my favorite time of the year. The snow is falling (more or less lately), the bells are ringing, and there are pretty Christmas decorations everywhere. We decorate my tree as soon as Thanksgiving is done. I love the tree decorating, it’s one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I was looking at my tree the other day and I got an idea to take picture of some of the cool ornaments we have and edit them up and show the world.

I got my inspiration from truly myself because I thought of the idea. I went to some sights though to get some tips. Digital Photography School had some good tips for any type of Christmas photography. I decided I may extend this and do another post on it from my Holiday vacation. I’m not sure yet though. I used a lot of the tips that the digital photography school had to give me. I really want to try doing the time lapse like the article was talking about, I think that it would be so fun! It would definitely make for some good pictures.

I also was on google and came across a blog by Scott Photographics. Some of the pictures in the beginning aren’t going to open if you are using a computer through the school, but if your at home the will come up. There are some pictures toward the bottom that still come up. I love the angles that the photographer of the blog gets at.

All of the following pictures were only edited a little bit in photoshop, lightroom, and a program I have on my laptop called iPhoto. It isn’t the best compared to photoshop or lightroom, but it is at least something and actually does minor lighting edits pretty well.

I like this picture a lot and I think it is definitely one of my favorites. I used the rule of thirds on this one so that way you could see the pretty ornament as well as a chunk of the tree. I love how you can actually see me taking the picture in the ball. It’s almost like a natural framing, but maybe not so much.

I love how colorful this one is. I used a lighting effect from lightroom called Old Polar to give the colors an extra ummph.  Yes, that is a word 🙂 I thought that using the effect would make the Christmas colors pop and catch attention.

I don’t know if it is just me, but this picture looks a little blurry to me. It’s really hard because when I used auto focus on my camera, it would freak out and not know what to focus on. When I used manual focus, it looked to me like things were perfectly clear then I loaded them and I was thinking not so much. So blurry or no? I can’t tell my eyes are disgracing me.

I really wanted to stay away from making these picture black and white since it is Christmas time and  want to portray all the Christmas colors. However, I did think this one just looked better in black and white because the ornament is originally a white color. With the way the window light is hitting it, I think it looks better black and white.

I used the rule of thirds again on this one so that way you didn’t just have a boring straight on shoot of a centered image that is so ordinary. I changed the effect on this one to Bleach Bypass to give it an extra touch and then I contrasted it a little bit. I like the way it turned out although again I’m struggling with if it is blurry or not.

I decided to change the lighting effect on this one to aged photo to make it pop a little bit. I think I have figured out with white ornaments, they just look better with different lighting effects. I think it is because the way the Christmas tree lights pop of them it looks weird in normal color.

I may have done a bit too much on this one, yeah? I just really wanted to go bold here.

I love the way the colors bounce off the glass in this one. All I did to this was a little contrasting and sharpening, but for the most part it  it was awesome the way it was. I love how you can see through the glass and capture a lot of the tree and lights.

There is something about this picture that I really like, and something that just bothers me. I can’t put my finger on either though!

I of course had to incorporate in a ornament that actually said Merry Christmas. Although I do have a problem with the words, they are sort of blurry. Oops.

Again with the rule of thirds to make the picture more interesting. I like the way you can see me in the bal again like the first picture I posted on here.

Tigger! I love this ornament because I got it so long ago from my grandma and it’s so cute! It’s one of my favorite because of the sentimental value behind it. I like the angle I got at, but I wish the window lighting wasn’t so light on it.

This ornament is so stinking cute. I love how sharp I got this one. It’s one of the favorites for sure and I didn’t do any editing except bumping the exposure a little bit.

Last, but definitely not least. I LOVE this picture because it is just a picture of blurred lights. It’s beautiful and definitely puts Christmas in my mind 🙂

I went to a basketball game at Coeur D’ Alene high school to get some pictures for yearbook as well as watch some friends play. I always thought “Oh, that would be awesome to shoot sports photography!” I think this because you get those awesome candid shots of action that look amazing. I was intrigued by the idea of shooting sports. After the first five minutes I knew it was not for me. Although I did keep shooting just for the practice and hopefulness of a few good ones.

In sports photography you have to know where the ball is going next. You have to basically always know the next step to get the best picture. You also have to know a lot about about your shutter speed and aperture so you have the really fast shutter speed to shoot the action picture in the right time that you don’t have a blurry picture. Along with it though you have to have the right aperture so the light is right. It’s also hard for the white balance because the gym is so yellow with the lighting in there and I think the hardwood floors doesn’t really help. I ended up doing the best I could and fixed minor things in lightroom or photoshop.

I got my inspiration for Jerry Lodriguss. This guy has a great blog about sports photography tips and techniques. He has some awesome pictures on there as well as written tips that I followed for the most part. Use your vision was definitely the one I found the most relevant along side with the timing one. Using your vision basically explains itself. Always being looking at what going on and even in your peripherals make sure to catch something that might be happening. Timing basically says what I said earlier about always knowing what is going to happen next.  The guys says and I quote, “You have to anticipate what is going to happen. If you wait until you see it, it is over and you have missed it.” It’s very true and I definitely learned the harsh way. I was messing around with my camera and trying to focus on something and right at the moment if I would have been watching I would have noticed a Coeur D’ Alene player got the ball had a lead down the court on everybody and made a slam dunk in the basket, and I missed it! Very sad moment right there. I was so mad at myself because that would have been awesome to capture.

For my first time shooting sports I think I did pretty good so please don’t be too harsh 🙂

This picture has great action and is very focused. It’s definitely a potential for the yearbook I think.

I like this picture as well because you can see the CHS player’s face and tell who she is unlike some other pictures I have.

This picture was taken during a free throw. I thought it was a good moment to capture the stillness.

I really wish for this one that I wouldn’t have cut out some of the CHS player’s hand. If my camera would have just been a little bit to the left I would have got the rest of her hand. I get frustrated when that kind of thing happens.

This is a good block from a CHS player, but I do think that the St. Maries player is a little burry. I could have focused my camera a little better on that one.

I like this shot of the players reaching for the ball that is about to come down. I don’t like that you can’t see the players’ faces. For me I personally like to know who is playing not just by their number. Still I like the picture though.

CHS player 22 is blocking the ball from being passed. CHS player 22, again, is not very personal to me. For a yearbook shot I think it would have been better if I got the CHS player’s face instead of the St. Maries’ player.

This is not our player so I know it won’t go in the yearbook, but it is a nice shot of the St. Maries player. I really was getting upset that people kept walking in front of me or sitting in front of me. This picture would be 10x better if that head was not there covering some of his foot.

I’m not sure if some of the pictures I got are legal for the game. Are you allowed to be grabbing the other players arm? I am not really sure on the technicalities of basketball. I have another picture that was blurry so I didn’t include where there is some definite fowling going on.

I like this nice, crisp shot of the boy attempting a free throw. I don’t remember if he made it or not, but he sure does look concentrated.

If I was on the other side of this picture I would have gotten an amazing shot. This is proof that you should always be moving around in sports photography because staying in the same spot doesn’t benefit you at all times.

I love how you can see the referee in this one pressed up against the wall in the background. It really makes the shot in my opinion.

I like this picture on the St. Maries player in midair trying to make a shot but I do wish I wouldn’t have cut out his toes on accident. I should have zoomed out a little bit more.

This guy is definitely concentrating on making that free throw. He made it if I remember correctly. I wish I would have cropped this more because you can see some of one of the St. Maries player.

One of the CHS players taking a breather. This picture looked really yellow to me when I first opened it in photoshop, therefor I tried to take down the yellows. It did do a lot, but I wish I did just a smidgen more.

I like that you have the first two with the ball in the foreground and two others in the background a little blurred out. I think this is a potential yearbook photo.

This is definitely one of my favorites, if not the favorite. I love how there is so much action going on and you can see the ball being thrown up for a potential basket. I feel like somebody could have gotten hurt in this picture. If I had to change one thing I would have got more of their feet down below, but oh well I still like it.

So that’s it for now. Good? Yes? No? I think yes for my first sports photography shoot 🙂