Project [abitazione]

“So we are looking at this area, and this guy comes out with a machete and a bowl of cereal.”

“What? I thought it was just a bowl of cereal.”

“Nope – he also had a machete.” And thus goes the story of how we met our first contact.

  • Location of Interest: a property simply known as “Joe Joe’s Camp” on Google maps 
  • Project Goal: create a living room setting outdoors
  • Estimated Duration: three days
  • Anticipated Cost: $300

COUCH ProjectButterfly BreakThree weeks later, I stood under the trees with my guy friends. Armed with yellow gloves and pink for myself, we stared at the tires, shopping carts, candy wrappers and Bratz dolls littering  the ground. Clearly, this had meant home to somebody and the thought of it was disheartening.

The further we got, though- the darker items became. Bio hazardous waste, stolen goods, records of criminal activity and the worst-  a graphic message  written on two halves of paper with the words “Dear visitor, please read”…

CleanUp CrewWe piled as much as we could away from the center; there weren’t enough bags to scoop it up, there wasn’t enough daylight to try. Thankfully, the spot where I wanted to set up was void of rubbish. The rest of it we would just have to deal with… at five forty-five in the morning.

At that time, various living room props were brought and set up at Joe Joe’s camp. They’d been acquired from all sorts of different places. The first was a vintage television collected from a neighbor’s yard. It was this item that I’d centered the vision for Project [abitazione]. The boat, lamp and memory box were borrowed from friends’ storage units. The couch and typewriter came from the local RE:Live Thrift.
Couch (1280x954)

We met up with our model later that morning. She prepared for the shoot on location with a floor length mirror  we’d provided. Originally there would have been a professional hair and makeup person available but do to a miscommunication, the model and I did our best to recreate the look ourselves. There were a couple issues trying to reflect light into the space, but after bit, we kinda figured it out. Lacking the 5 in 1 reflector, we used  the  mirror instead.

IMG_0207bWe tried to portray two story lines within the project, the first being a pensive  writer  and the latter being more of an army wife longing to hear from her loved one. I incorporated the writing theme due to the model being a creative story writer herself. We actually met during a screenwriting class and I felt that adding her personality into the shoot really brought the images to life.

After the shoot, the most important props were gathered. I started putting up crime scene tape around the furniture but was reprimanded by one of the assistants. Ended up stuffing it in the memory box which was hidden next to the TV. My point with the tape was supposed to ward off people from messing up the set. Anyways, we were gone for a few hours and upon returning – the memory box was gone. The rest of the set remained untouched.

There were more people available for the second half of the project. A local business was using the set for an advertisement project. They ran electricity through and having a working living room lamp to challenge the night was the coolest thing ever! The rest of the evening was a blitz of filming for the advertisement and doing doughnuts in the dirt lot.
Butterfly BreakThe final day, furniture was returned to storage units and thrift store. Afterwords, the guys and I stared at the mess as it dared us. We spent several more hours loading bags, tires and broken things onto the truck. These were turned in at a local dump.

In the end, one of the locals came by. He explained that our first contact was no longer in the area. We also found out more information about those who used to live where we’d just cleaned up. It was a relief to find out that there where no children involved despite the toys that had been left behind. Our second contact and his dog moved in that afternoon.

Couch Project (3)

Later that day my dad asked  “was it worth it?”  It took a while before I could say “I’m not sure”. For a long time, I was under the impression that the project had failed. Didn’t even edit the photos until months later when the model asked to use them as Christmas pictures. It’s it’s been over a year now; enough time to reflect on the outcome.

Initially, the project was supposed to kill two or three birds with one stone, so to speak.  Not only was it creative portraiture but also a set for the local business’ advertisement and a community service with the clean up and all. It was not an overzealous goal but I was disappointed that our efforts where not as organized and impactful as desired. The final cost totaled several hundred dollars. The rental of the U-Haul  alone was enough to enduce a mini heart attack. Although the project was mostly sponsored, I’m troubled over the costs involved and whether or not the pictures alone where worth that amount. An investment of some sort would have have been nice but I haven’t figured out how to do that sort of thing yet.

The editing process did bring bit of contentment. The images are not bad at all but they left me wanting more; a series of pictures depicting, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed room in the great outdoors. They also left me wondering how it could be done again in a more productive and organized matter.

-sigh-

 

Photography by:
JACQUIE ROBINSON
Model:
Victoria Shavlik
Onsite Assistance:
Erwin Ferguson
Paul Marovitch
–Special Thanks to —
PC Place & Re:Live Thrift for the set design.
Onsite Contacts: Keith & Justin
and
Hannah Kahrs, Brisa Ibarra & Leroy Lima for their time spent on this project.
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Faces of Omar

Met up with Omar at a local coffee shop downtown. It was nerve-racking because this was my first time meeting up with a stranger at a public venue. We’d been initially introduced via phone by a mutual friend, so it wasn’t completely random… but still a first.IMG_2267

Our friend wanted us to met up because Omar needed head shots and I wanted to learn more about Middle Eastern culture. Having lived in various of these countries, Omar provided me with insight that one could seldom find online.

Then it was picture time

 

Since Omar needed to evoke various emotions within the head shots, I used a technique from film school. Essentially,  the model is thrown into a mental scenario and their emotional response is captured on camera. Interactions with the model depend on what kinds of results are needed. Depending on how much is known about the subject or how they feel about certain things, situations can be mentioned to trigger the required mindset. For example, if the photographer knows that the model is dying to visit Hawaii, the photographer needs to describe  sun, sand, waves…. and have the model imagen themselves sun bathing, surfing, ect. This would trigger the model to appear genuinely content during the next couple shots.

However, it is important that the model understands what the photographer is doing. Once, I needed a somber expression and the model was not cutting it. I pretended to receive a text from the model’s sibling that their dog had runaway and been hit by a car. Let’s just say that although the shots turned out, they refused to speak to me for the rest of the week.

Anyways, I explained my technique to Omar after he told me what kinds of photos were required. After a couple shots, we would compare facial expressions and converse over the emotion that these may convey to the audience.

Though it came naturally to him, Omar was very much aware of his facial positioning throughout the shoot. Because of this project, I have come to pay closer attention to models expressons and what these convay.

Set Fire to the Brain

OriginalTheir comments flow freely through the feeds of many photographers. These being thoughts and critiques from those who believe that photography’s brilliance is limited to it’s original exposure; straight  from the camera if you will. They say that an image is otherwise ruined when it no longer represents the truth of the situation in which the photograph was taken. Essentially that the image is a fib… a misrepresentation of reality, thus defeating the purpose of capturing a moment.

Photography is an art in which everyone has the right to defend their preferences, and within this post, I will defend mine.

This is the thing; I’m an artist. My art is a reflection of me, my feelings, imagination and innovation. It’s a self prescribed therapy, more beneficial to the artist than the viewer. A chance to explore areas that cannot be audibly spoken.

When taking a picture, I don’t just see what’s before me. There’s always potential for mood change; different lighting, maybe even a different time of day. I love manipulating sun flares, dotting the sky with stars, and these are just a few of my favorite things. Sometimes one can also get carried away with butterfly wings and dragon spells. It’s all part of the adventure.

To that individual who claims to appreciate my photographic skill but also spends ample time criticizing technique if they find that the photo of their interest has been post processed – maybe you should look into finding other photographers that suit your visual needs.

I will set my creativity in a roaring fire and it will burn for as long as I desire. Set Fire to the Brain

Blog Signiture

Ode to Mami

(Featuring pictures I took for Mother’s Day)

Mami

Hands soft with a touch so tender,

head held high with a sunrise gaze,

of another woman, I couldn’t be fonder,

for it is her who leads me through the haze.

Dress Up

Dressup.jpgShe needed to get her portraits done and when her mom gave me the liberty to choose a theme, my little cousin and I went to the drawing board. Being a tomboy, she automatically went for the gun and camo theme. Although at least an evening was spent deciding on the type of combat boots and belt – we ultimately decided to go with the ‘white dress’ idea.

That’s where everyone started getting carried away. Now we weren’t just tossing options from our closets into a pile of ‘maybes’ in the corner. My little cousin and I were literally running down the aisles of thrift stores in gossamer wedding gowns, testing to see which would flow better in the wind.

Location of choice? That was another problem. We started with Joshua tree and were suddenly plotting to sneak out of state.
IMG_20151023_141517“So, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Zion, Vegas and then back home – all in one weekend?” the fifteen-year-old texted.

“Do you think we can do it?”

It was a mess. A hot mess. My cousin and I had spent the majority of an afternoon coming up with an insane road trip adventure. Four states, three national parks and one night at the Entertainment Capital of the World. All we had to do was convince the driver and our parents that it was a plausible itinerary.  But even when there was success with the driver and somewhat with the parents –  we had yet to convince ourselves that the planning and financials of the trip where sound. In the end, we stuck with the original plan of going to Joshua tree.

Joshua Tree

So, how did that go? Well, I spent the majority of my Friday evening laying on rocks, watching the stars graze the earth and wondering where my little cousin was. She, meanwhile was in Big Bear with the second half of the group. They didn’t arrive until the sun peeked over the horizon.

Breakfast was sizzling back at camp when the girls and I snuck away. We walked by families still sleeping in their tents, crossed past rock climbers adjusting their harnesses and even came upon a camp with a lingering sent of cannibals. The repulsively large clown statue in the center of their encampment encouraged us on our way until there was nothing left but an empty desert field.

This was the result:

Lighting was a bit of a challenge, but with a reflector in hand, the images came out decently.

Butterfly Break

After the pictures, my friends and I went climbing, and on to enjoy the rest of the park.11028351_10205817098690534_7699403564599388923_nBlog Signiture

Memories of Last Year’s San Diego Fashion Week

Hours were spent at the mall trying to find the perfect outfits… and finally it was paying off. Karen and I were headed to FWSD! Anticipation was building; this was my first non-REVO runway event.

Once there, Karen and I met up with fashionista Heidi and photographer Samantha Lyn. S.Lyn and I compared lenses and cameras. Even though we carried different brands, they were comparable in format. This was a relief to us both since the other photographers at the event seemed to prefer telephotos and heftier models.

(From left to right: Samantha, Karen, Me and Heidi)

SDFW Group PicsWe walked through the booths before the show. The variety presented at the event was a bit surprising for my inexperienced self. Of course, I was looking forward to meeting designers, maybe even getting makeovers… but admiring an art gallery, then glancing at lingerie was something I hadn’t expected.

How similar to a REVO show it was all was after all; the booths, activities, drinks and everything inbetween.
SDFW

AND THEN, THE SHOW BEGUN:

1 2 3 4 6S.Lyn and I avoided the press box from the start. It was crowded with zealous photographers shoving  massive equipment onto each other. Instead we opt to capture the outfits from a slight angle. I wasn’t able to capture every single design, but over all it was a fun experience.

I don’t know when I’ll have another chance to visit a fashion show, but hopefully that will be sometime soon!

Trading Game

Photoshoots aren’t always in exchange for green dollar bills. Sometimes the trade is model’s time for prints.  Other times, my photo buddies trade photoshoots. It’s a ‘you shoot me, I shoot you’ sort of a deal. We both get our pictures taken, everyone is content. Social media gets spammed. Then there are occasions where it’s far more unique.

One time I traded headshots for a plane ride. He was a pilot who pursued acting on the side. I think this was by far my best trade – but it’s also one that never got fulfilled due to stormy weather. Another one that didn’t get sealed was a dinner at a fancy restaurant in St. Helena. I was hospitalized the week we were supposed to do it. That person now lives in a foreign country.

Lunch are dinner are actually fairly common in addition to the monetary amount. Sometimes it’s ice cream from à la minute, other times a picnic or dinner at an Indian restaurant. It’s fun to hang out with the people who become subjects in future projects. It’s great to get to know them and plan on who their personalities will shine best on film… fine… maybe Facebook.

There have been trips too. One to Napa, and another for a camping trip in Mexico which gave me a pretty awesome cover photo. May not have been the most glamourous ordeal, but it was definitely a lot of fun.

Sometimes the agreement involves props onset. Typewriter borrowed from a thrift store in exchange for exposure. A U-haul truck and furniture for a customized film shoot after pictures were taken. A flower crown that would have otherwise cost $78… the list goes on.ContrastIn a recent photoshoot, I asked the model if he could help me with Arabic. After the pictures were taken, we sat around a library table. He provided the Arabic book he had learned on as well as journal pages from a stay in Egypt.

After he had gone, a fellow patron asked if the model was a French tutor.

“No,” I responded, “he was actually helping me with Arabic. We both just happen to speak French.”

Butterfly Break

You just never know what kinds of cool things you might end up acquiring as a photographer.

Blog Signiture

Royalty on the Staircase

Some time ago, Abbee asked me to do her Senior portraits. I was thrilled, especially after learning that she would be wearing a traditional Pakistani outfit for part of the session! IMG_8980aThe original location of choice was an archway overgrown with vines. Unfortunately, lighting made it almost impossible to find the right moment to take the pictures there. Obviously the sun was too strong in the morning and by golden hour, the foliage covered archway was absolutely bleak.

We decided to try another time and for that, Abbee chose a classy library downtown. We met up an hour or so before sunset and caught the rays of light peeking through the arches. There was a bit of shuffling around to avoid a motorist and various library patrons. Overall, these were minor conflicts and did not obstruct the general composition of the images.

As the sun slipped over the horizon, we tiptoed towards the police station to investigate a staircase. It was truly by curiosity that we wound up there, and in the end, it turned out to be a blessing.
IMG_9080aI’d like to add one of the images from the session to my ‘Once Upon a Fairytail‘ album, but I don’t know which one! The cover image with Abbee walking through the archway looks like it could go for ‘Jasmine’ while this one of her laying on the staircase suits ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

IMG_9104aIt may not have been a conventional ‘Senior Session’, but hey, we got some pretty awesome shots, didn’t we?

Wind Storm

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. – Dolly Parton

This is one of the pictures taken during that top secret scouting trip a couple months ago. I’ve since been teased endlessly for wearing a wedding dress… for questionable purposes.

Wind (1024x683)It’s not like I’m in such desperate need of a marriage ceremony that I must carry proper attire should the opportunity present it’s self. No, it’s just that the dress makes for epic pictures. It’s a great reason, right? This is probably the third dress. The way fabric flows seemingly without gravity is delightful. I’ve always wanted to replicate the look from my Pinterest board but wasn’t sure how until now.

How we got the shot:

My friends and I left home in the wee hours before the sun kissed the earth. Eventually, we reached an area known as ‘Olancha’. At the time, the weather was so bipolar that we’d experienced snow, rain, sun and scorching heat all in one morning.

At Olancha, the wind blew our vehicle back and forth across the road. We were almost stupid for getting out of the car. Our bodies were slapped around like reeds and the reflector was useless, least someone go parasailing with it. Tripods for a self portraits were also out of the question, even with sandbags, the whole contraption would have been knocked over. For a couple minutes, I ran up and down the road like a nut house escapee until we were satisfied with the shots. Then it was time to go; we weren’t really interested in joining the approaching tumble weed convention.

In case you haven’t seen the other pictures from that day, the dress’ train isn’t actually as long as conveyed through the image. In the original (not shown) the dress actually blew up past my ankles, exposing black leggings. I extended the fabric in Photoshop by adding segments of the dress from other pictures taken with the same lighting conditions.

Then ta ta! I’m actually excited about this one, it’s a Pinterest success!

Contrasto en Haute Couture

While normal portraits are always in, sometimes it’s fun to contort the angles and play with lighting. That’s what high fashion photography is all about; dramatic lighting, strong facial expressions and unique body compositions. Might have even made up a new phrase to describe such images in black and white. Just kidding – but really though… ‘Contrasto en Haute Couture’ is a mixture of two languages. ‘Contrasto’ is Italian for ‘contrast’ while ‘haute couture’ is French for ‘high fashion’. Voila, the exact phrase to describe these images.

I remember the first time figuring it out. My friend’s mom kept a collection of fashion magazines and during a beach trip, she brought them out for Anastasia and I to gaze.

“It’s abnormal,” Anastasia started, “here they look stunning, but if we were to do this, it would look weird.”

At the time, it seemed like a logical recipe achieving the high fashion look.
Contrasto

This is Bronsen.
International traveler, Professor, aspiring model.

We met up a couple weeks ago for a quick shoot in the middle of the day. While midday photography is usually a no-no, the lighting works quite well for dramatic effect. I barely even used a reflector.

Bronsen wore mostly black that day which contrasted quite nicely against the backgrounds used. The images were transformed into black and white during post production. It added to the drama and removed any distractions caused by ambient color.

Blog Signiture 

Downtown City Stroll

City Boy  (1)City Boy  (3)Here are a couple of my favorite shots from a downtown photoshoot a couple summers ago. We shot twice that day with locations ranging from a court, an alley and the top floor of a parking structure. Though the shots from the latter didn’t come out to my liking, going up there was probably the highlight of the project. The view from the tops of buildings is always the best part, especially around sunset.

City Boy  (2)A combo of natural lighting and reflector were used to achieve illumination throughout each shot. Since I was working alone, a tripod held the reflector in place. This worked pretty well until it tipped over and attempted to roll down the street.

Ah well, never a dull moment 🙂

Cat and Mouse

Cat (1)IMG_9574 (683x1024)At first there was just a couple droplets on the windshield but by the time we’d arrived, the sky was crying at a steady pace. Serena and I got out of the car. It was either now or in some uncertain future moment. We chose to go ahead with the plan.

It’d been forever since we’d worked on a photoshoot together.

We tried to shelter ourselves from the rain in an old greenhouse, but the lock on the door refused to budge. Well, that’s ok. As it turn out, the plants lingering around the glass structure were greener anyways. Cat

The picture taking process went relatively well. Originally, lighting had been a concern  but thankfully the cloudy sky provided us with even lighting. Of course, due to my 50mm lens, space was limited. At one point, Serena climbed over a fence so we had more room. Taking pictures against the glass was easier there.

Within fifteen minutes, it was time to run. Hopefully, we get to work on another project soon 🙂

Cowgirl Up

Let’s rewind about a year to the first photoshoot I worked on after moving back from France.

During the first couple weeks of summer, a photographer specializing in cosplay asked if she could shadow me. Of course, that was fine, but since our subject matter differed, I wondered how that would work out.

Within a couple days, we started sharing our progress on personal projects and eventually decided to work together on a Western editorial. Planning was a most frantic affair as everything had to fall into place at just the right time. In addition to models and a horse, an abandoned building was also on the wish list. There were a few dead end leads on properties but in the end, we settled on a ranch that our friend Erwin had found while hiking. It was supposed to have bats and everything!

The day of the photoshoot, we meet up with our friend Jonathan, Caitlin who’d won the title of Sheriff’s Rodeo Queen several years in a row and a horse named Bella. The thing about Bella is that she’d been washed and groomed to perfection; she was ready for the show. Our crew was not big enough to appease her yearning for cheering rodeo fans. Although Bella didn’t kick anyone or try to gallop off, she became increasing difficult to work with. I felt bad but there was nothing we could do about it.

Other than that, the photoshoot went well and we stayed out till the last rays of light touched the earth. Getting ourselves and equipment back to our vehicles proved to be quite a trek though. That’s ok – we got good shots, it was worth it.

*Pictures in collaboration  with Juntsu Photography.

  • Models: Caitlin and Johnathan
  • Location Scout: Erwin
  • Horse help: Caitlin’s Dad

Primera Pasarela :D

The last time I attended a REVO Fashion show, it was from behind a bush and with a telephoto lens. This time, Veronica asked if I wanted to be in it. Of course, such opportunity could not be missed.

Dress fittings, alterations, song choosing practices…preparation was much like that of a wedding. Even in the hours before the event, the girls lounged in sweatpants and make up, much like brides maids on the day of the wedding.

Make up by VanessaFinally, when everyone’s nails were dry and every curl was in place, the girls tipped toed across the campus. Backstage we got dressed and in the larger of the rooms, practiced once more.

Music came on and the models peeked through the newspaper covered windows in attempt to see. The runway was a little different than we’d been lead to believe. We had to try again with the new setup in mind.

La Sierra Revo Then at last, it was our turn to walk the walk.

There were only two other lines after ours. I ran out to the back to see if there was the opportunity for a good shot. Only got one. The rest were the result of the wrong shutter speed.La Sierra RevoWhile being a part of the show was wonderfully experienced, a part of me still longed to hold a camera. Guess sometimes a choice must be made.

This time I’m glad to have been a part of the action 😀

Maybe Viking?

It was the result of bad planing: the camera was forgotten at school, the model wasn’t contacted on time and I wanted to take a nap and forget about the time that a certain snowboarding trip had ended in tears. Nevertheless, Hannah agreed to be in the pictures. Since we had yet to see her in a dress, everyone was more than excited to carry on with plans.

After dropping off the snowboarders, Hannah and I found ourselves hiking through the snow in dresses. While funny at first, the feat proved rather unfortunate as I fell and caused the entire crew to slide down the mountainside. Those observing from the warmth of their cars laughed nervously, most certainly judging our choice of attire.

Vikings (3)

With fur, a husky, knife and the texture of Hannah’s hair, the theme developed somewhat of a Viking undertone. Gretchen, our stylist also had her try on a white snow coat, but it was decided that the coat did not match Hannah’s personality.

While the rays of light touched the earth, Erwin reflected them onto the characters. We raced from one location to another as the sun danced between the trees. When it was finally gone, the ISO was adjusted to compensate for the lack of light.

In post production, blues were accented in order to add to the coolness of the pseudo Norse winter. I also did some research to see if the images at all resembled the assumed appearance of a viking girl. The trees didn’t even make the cut. The Nordic forest lacks the bushiness displaced by Californian evergreens. Then there is the matter of the dog which looks a tad bit Americanized. Well… it’s not historically accurate, but hey, close enough right?

After the photoshoot, we headed to the slopes for some night skiing/snowboarding.  While Hannah was totally conquering the steepest drops, people had a hard time believing that I’d ever skied down the Alps. Yes, it was that bad.

For the record, the ALPS are amazing!

Don’t Get Carried Away

If you want to do a photoshoot from an aerial perspective do you:

A. Use a drone

B. Take images from a helicopter

C. Have entire crew jump from a plane and capture the shot mid air

ƸӜƷ

For the traveler, airports are the worst but for a photographer, they are an ideal playground. Whether it’s sticking a DSLR out the window or sneaking onto the runway, there is so much potential in everything that deals with flight.

IMG_0308People don’t realize how much I enjoy doing photoshoots in which planes are involved. My first official fashion shoot took place at an airport and I’ve done three others since. The thought of working on a fifth project is just as exhilarating as the previous ones have been.

Runaway Gypsy Child

This past weekend, I found myself on an air strip in the mountains, bouncing ideas with friends.

  • Work with a male model, since the previous four shoots have been with females.
  • Have the plane in a grassy field with a group of friends picnicking in the foreground.
  • A father with a child who dreams of becoming a pilot.

The whole grassy field thing would be amazing, but it seems like something that might be difficult to pull off, at least in California. I have yet to get past photographing aircraft in their parking spots.

By the time we finally made it into the office, the airport was already closed.  Thankfully, we did get the chance to talk with a pilot from a helicopter tour company. One of my friends asked if it were possible to go up for the specific purpose of taking pictures. To our surprise,  the pilot said he could remove the door so we could  get better quality images. In addition, he said that if we wanted to photograph a specific location, he could fly us over at the same rate as the tours. AWESOME!  Minds went traveling wild.

“We could totally put a model in a long dress on a peek and have him fly over.”

“Hey, that’s what I was thinking.”

Thus for the rest of the day we talked and talked and talked about how cool it would be to do such a thing. IMG_9922On the way home, I was like “Wait, we don’t need a helicopter; we could just use a drone.”

There were a couple disheartened sighs until someone brought up the possibility of the drone falling on the model and thus injuring and damaging all. Though such an incident would be anything but funny, there were certainly  laughs to go around.

“Ok, so back to the helicopter?”

Judging from that picture I took while flying a Cessna, there are definitely some other concerns besides cameras and things falling on people. Like what if the model looks like an ant and when the pilot agrees to descend, the she falls due to wind force?

When I told my parents later that day, my Dad suggested that I don’t push for the idea unless it’s of monetary value. After all, as a whole, this project would be more expensive than the rock climbing idea from last week. While I still think the experience is worth it, my Dad does have a point.

Well, it’s ok to reach for the stars. Only time will tell what opportunities might come up. As I found out yesterday, this group proved it’s possible to do a photoshoot in mid air 😀

Glamping

For a long time, I knelt on the floor of the cage recounting the sandbags with the professor. The numbers were always different but there never seemed to be enough of them. We walked around the set, but again, there was nothing. The scenario in which a crew member had walked out with the sandbag as a purse was highly unlikely. Equipment check-ins, camera checkouts, tears, the missing sandbag, broken headphones, low audio levels, otherwise successful production, a student loosing privileges and me without a job. That was more or less the summery of the day.

“Of course, you will be working for the rest of the year.” The professor stated.

I looked up in disbelief, especially after everything she’d said earlier. As a film TA, my only fault had been to arrange so that  students would have access to cameras for their final projects. As she put it, this had cost me my job because making sure the cameras were available was not in the best interest of the department.

Oh really? Here I was, thinking that students made up the department. Not entirely sure how hindering final projects could be considered beneficial. Good thing school was out for an entire week, because I didn’t plan on sticking around for much longer.

My friends picking me up that night. Within twenty four hours, we were so far removed from civilization that even cell service was extinct. Thus began a new series of projects; mixing camping and fashion photography. The first trip was so loosely organized that everything kind of happened spontaneously. Behind the Photos (1)While most stayed in tents, a couple of us slept under the moon and stars. In the mornings, we’d wake up to the guys cooking breakfast with machetes. Throughout the day, some would go swimming while others ventured to climb rock formations. It was that kind of blissful atmosphere in which time and date didn’t exist. Everyone could pretty much do whatever they pleased.

It wasn’t till the afternoon before the last day that we realized that the photoshoot had yet to be done. Panic swept across the group. We stumbled into the van and set off to chase the light. Except for the driver, no one was quite sure where we were going. Those who couldn’t make it were left at camp.

PhotoBackstage (2)In the van, the girls curled their hair and retouched makeup. None of us had ever heard of using a curling iron in the car. Thankfully everyone survived without a burn.

We ended up on a desolate path and hopped into action. The first couple shots didn’t work out very well because the girls had nothing to do. The van was scavenged for any items that could potentially be used.  We found a knife, a walkie-talkie and a flashlight.   Cave dwellers? Search and rescue? Something like that.

Behind the Photos (3)

Given the limited amount of time, its surprising that we were able to do a total of three different locations. By the the sun finally slipped under the horizon, we’d gotten our fill of shots. It would be up to post process to finish up the job.

Here is one of the mock runway shots. From left to right: Original, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Photoshop.

Mexican Sun (3)

Although the girls wanted the shots right away, I no longer feel comfortable with with giving away SOOC. Too many times I’ve allowed others to edit their own images only to be credited with the lousy results. Also, sometimes they use these before I get around to posting them.

Currently, I’m trying to come up with a workflow that will satisfy both myself and those in the pictures. So far, I’ve been using the following:

  1. [Photoshoot]
  2. Sort images into folders.
  3. Go through folders and delete unwanted shots.
  4. Crop, color correct and adjust lighting. Cloning or other details if absolutely needed.
  5. Choose favorites and edit RAW files on photoshop.
  6. Upload favorites to Facebook.
  7. Dropbox client/model/friend.
  8. Create post for WordPress.
  9. [Do it again]

Going through the images will only take a couple hours, but finding the time to do it takes forever.
PhotoBackstage (4)

Growing Up

It started because of a misunderstanding.  Someone suggested that we do a photoshoot Downtown Los Angeles, near Skid Row. These’s a catch; it had to be around midnight and we could bring tents and ‘camp on the street’.

“Hey girls, just wanted your opinions in regards to something that came up…”  I asked of those who shared my previous record of sleeping in caves and climbing up cranes.

“I would go if there would be other street smart sturdy big people, especially if it was a “safe” neighborhood. I’d be most comfortable going if I had a personal connection to someone in/from the area who would be there,” came the first response. The other agreed with a ten if conditions during the campout matched the stated description. Fair enough.

Unfortunately, due to distance, cave dwelling buddies wouldn’t be able to make it. Never the less, two of my local friends were down. We spent hours plotting the perfect street light campout. Week one would be location scouting before the real deal. Everything was going to be perfect.

Skid Row (5)As weekdays were checked off the calendar, certain flaws became more evident. Most specifically, my fourteen year old cousin’s excitement surpassed the rest of us. Problem was, her parents didn’t know about it. In order for her to come, we would have to say the right combination of words … no lies of course, but definitely nothing about sleeping on the street in the most dangerous part of town.

Because of a prior commitment, my cousin was unable to make it to the location scouting. Instead, I messaged Pallas on the way to LA. She was totally up for it.

“Don’t wear makeup,” I told her “you need to be as under dressed as possible”.

Funny thing is, no matter how badly we’d tried to dress down, it wasn’t enough. Our guy friend, the one who drove us, was much better fitted for the occasion. He lent us t-shirts and beanies to further the effect.

“Do I look bad?” I asked Pallas.

“No, you look like a bank robber.”

“Great.”

We watched boys ride across the street on low riders, women walking dogs and men bouncing basketballs. They all seemed to know their ground and were confident in what they did. The didn’t glare or threaten but instead went about their business. As we opened the doors, the fear that we would get swarmed like the characters in World War Z faded away.

We strolled up, down the streets and among their residents. Eye contact was avoided with the locals but I did smile at a few of the dog walkers. The first smiled back but after a while, I realized that many were weary because of how I was dressed. It was our cheery attitudes that gave our true identity away. Interestingly enough, this was only spotted by those we tried so hard to impersonate. The others didn’t see it because to them, we – the unfortunate, were all the same.

Skid Row (3)The three of us returned after dark out of curiosity, just to see if the ambiance would change. This time, it was the rodents that gave us away. They roamed the sidewalks like cattle on the range. Normally, I’d take a rat over a hamster, but these were no ordinary creatures. I almost tripped in my attempt to stop. Pallas screamed. The furry things seemed unfazed as they continued scampering across the concrete jungle. From then on, we were very aware of where the rodents were.

Skid Row (4)Some exploring and a couple pictures later, we were back on the freeway, facing the red and white streaks. Overall, Pallas and I decided that the streets weren’t as scary as they’d been painted. In fact, the worse thing we’d encountered was a menacing character stenciled into a wall.

 Our friend said that although we’d survived this adventure without incident,  it wasn’t guaranteed that we’d have the same luck the next time around. We concluded that perhaps the rainy weather had contributed to the lack of violence on the streets.

We were indeed lucky. The next day, police shot a man five times near one of the spots we had visited. It was infuriating. Five times is  rather excessive force, especially when a man can be killed through a single bullet. The threat hadn’t been felt the day before. The people had been peaceful then. Now an unrest grew among the crowd. It would not be wise to spend the night.

The day after the shooting, I met up with the person who had suggested Skid Row. He was very concerned that I’d gone in with such a small group.

“You need to take guys, lots of guys with you.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t supposed to be for a photoshoot but rather for filming a humanitarian project in which people could choose to camp out among the homeless.

Ooops. Well, guess that actually makes more sense.Skid Row (1)

The friend who drove us down to LA got in huge trouble as soon as his parents found out. I too was scolded in regards to wanting my fourteen year old cousin to come along.

“You know that she is better suited to stay out there than me,” I protested.

“Yes, but she can’t legally choose for herself,” came the reply “If her parents are ok with it, fine, but you should not be encouraging this behavior.”

I agree, but now that is the problem. My little cousin knows me as a friend, not a mentor. She knows how I respond through the lack of authority and in a concerning way, she looks up to me.

“What are your goals?” I asked her, thinking that maybe I could encourage my cousin in the right direction.

“Break into somewhere, not someone’s house (but) explore an abandoned building, for pictures.”

Her other goal of entering college by the age of sixteen or seventeen was much more appropriate.  She sure knows how to get me, though! Regardless, I hope to be a better influence on her in the future. If anything, I want my little cousin to be better than me 🙂 

Now You See them, Now You Don’t

We were lured towards the Mexican/US boarder with the promise of hot springs. For weeks, that’s all I could think about; swimming, warm water, no school. We arrived at the campground much too late for a dip, but the next day, we were all there. The lighting inside the pool housing could not be ignored. I ran back to grab the 5D and a reflector.

As any improve shoot, we had to work with the elements present. Of course there were other people at the pool during the time the pictures were taken. At first, this wasn’t a problem. We tried to stay out of their way as much as they stayed out of ours. Unfortunately, towards the end, we attracted the attention of some older men. One specifically came up to us and started offering tips. We smiled polity until he grabbed the reflector and  shone it at one of the bikini clad assistants.

He was probably just trying to be helpful, but we got a little creeped out. This isn’t the first time something like that has happened. I’ll probably have to come up with a way to keep non crew members from getting involved.

Anyways, the first set of images came out something like this:Agua Caliente (1024x391)

Cute girls by the pool just wasn’t cutting it. I ran back to the campsite and scavenged through my things. A scarf from Switzerland,  cowgirl hat for attending rodeos in Mexico and sunglasses made it back to the pool.IMG_9794 (1024x683)

Yes props, that was it! They added dept to Pallas and Karen’s characters. We didn’t learn the lesson soon enough. The next time I needed to fetch props, we were out in the middle of the desert. Knives and flashlights were the only thing in the car. The machete the guys used to cook breakfast would have been much more epic!

Straying from the Truth

They say that one should not lie because more lies will be created to cover. I have never understood this as well as last Saturday. Eventually, I will have to explain to my parents. Las Vegas + wedding dress? What a scandal.

It started when Erwin suggested that we drive to Death Valley to check the venue for an upcoming camping trip. He told four others. Anastasia thought it was cute but impossible. Hannah is underage. Gretchen was appalled. Pallas understood, she agreed to go and I just wanted to get away.

Glendale, Ca -4:28am

Parents thought I was at school. Classmates assumed I was going home. Took advantage of the confusion and left before the sun rose. Later, Pallas and I saw rays of cream through charcoal atmosphere.

Inyo, Ca – 10:04am

Wind, Maybe SnowThe sky turned so blue that it made the scenery pop out of a postcard. Pictures were mandatory; I threw on the white dress. The wind wrestled with the fabric, pushed me up on my toes and hassled the others.

Stovepipe Wells, Ca – 11:12am

“Inquiring Minds would like to know if you are going hiking.” Erwin’s Mom texted. She thought he was in LA visiting Lindsay.

“I won’t be able to make it.”

There was a pause, then “I greeted Lindsay, she is at church today…?”

Salt Creek, Ca – 12:09pm

Salt Creek“Jacquie isn’t  here either,” Gretchen texted, “It’s so pretty here, you are missing out…”

Badwaters Rd – 3:40pm

The car drifted off the road. “Why are you stopping?”

I turned around and saw the lights. Pallas looked out and saw the uniform.

“Do you have any weapons?”

“Yes,” but we didn’t list them all.

CA 190, Near Zabriskie Point – 5:30pm

“Did it bother you to invite two girls younger than yourself and tell them to not to tell?”

Erwin laughed, “Sounds so wrong when you put it that way.”  It would have looked worse if he’d told the ranger about the machetes in the trunk.

Las Vegas, Nv – 8:00pm

Las Vegas at Night

“You’ll fit right in,” they said, so I kept the dress. We strolled down the strip but even the lights couldn’t compare to infinite sparkle splattered above the desert.

Somewhere – 11:45pm

“We heard you talking with a guy.”  I scrolled down to see when my mom had called.

“Oh, just went out for a walk.”

La Sierra – 3:01am

Finally made it home after 813 miles in less than 24 hours. Perhaps it was immature for us to go scouting unbeknownst to the other campers. I didn’t necessary lie about what was going on – but I said things that lead people from the truth. Even worse, as a group – we started creating an elaborate cover story in case we got caught. Seriously? It’s easier to be honest.

The campout is in a week. We shall see what happens between now and then. Normally my parents would understand, but me wearing a wedding dress in Vegas?

Ending note: My mom dreamt that I went to Death Valley without her, yikes!

UP

My roommate and I walked into Starbucks on a quiet evening. As we walked up to order, one of the guys studying waved hello. He’d bulled the heck out of me during a previous class and I’d chosen to remain aggravated. Nevertheless, a polite nod was returned in acknowledgement. We ordered, sat down and I started drawing in my sketchbook.

All of the sudden, the young man was standing by my side.

“How dare you come in and not say hi!!?”

My roommate and I stared back up in confusion. Some more loud interactions and a couple expletives later both of them where somehow discussing Pixar’s “UP”.

“I  (insert explicit language here) hate UP!” he said.

“What!? You are a horrible human being!” she retorted.

The rest of Starbucks glanced at the developing drama with a little more than mere annoyance. The young man grabbed my sketchbook .

“What is this? You draw in it like everyday.” He  leafed through it. “You must have so much (insert explicit language here) time.”

“I get bored.”

“See that’s what happens when you (insert explicit language here) study something like film. You have too much (insert explicit language here) time.”

“Common’ don’t you get bored in class or church?

“I don’t really go to church.”

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

 A couple weeks, several more interactions insulting my major (and what my Austrian friend called ‘a bold confession of interest’) later – I sat in worship with with fellow students. Topic of discussion was tough; does God answer prayer and if so, why doesn’t he always intervene? Towards the end, we watched a short film involving a car accident and a pastor talking about the matter. The idea of human loss hung in a cloud over my head for the rest of the day.

Church didn’t help much either. Eyes widened as I entered through the double doors. Balloons. So many Balloons!  Enough to question whether the design team had recycled all the red ones from  Carl’s home in UP.  For some reason, probably due to all the references, there was an whelming feeling that death ‘was near’.  Foreshadowing (a film technique), seriously!

In an attempt to comfort, I responded by drawing :Drawing Up

Unfortunately, during the announcements fears were confirmed as we were informed that someone was being treated in ICU after being pulled from an intense car accident.

And then… this … utter shock and disbelief. A young woman from a nearby congregation passed away during the birth of her child a some hours earlier!

To make matters worse, the pastor’s sermon happened to also be themed on death. Normally it would have been funny – but saying something along the lines of:

Which story line would you prefer?… a young couple married, they had kids… then they died. Or a woman liked a man but he got married to a different girl… then they died. (Inset more scenarios in which everyone dies).

Everybody dies! *nerves chuckling*. “

It was not funny. I closed my sketchbook in absolute horror and even considered the possibility of returning to my room for a nap. It was (and I will say this honestly) lust that kept me through the rest of the service. Lust over the hundreds of red little balloons.

True to my expectations, at the end of the service the children ran up to the stage and received balloons in bunches of ones, twos and threes.

“Are you trying to get rid of all of them?”

“Yes, did you want them?”

I explained a sudden revelation for a  photoshoot. Fortunately, they decided not to give me the rest of the balloons. I walked out with about thirty while surely hundreds continued swirl around the interior of the building. Thirty was enough, it was an amusing struggle to get them back into the dorm!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

 Eyes fluttered open. The room was dark. (wanted to insert explicit language here). I stumbled over to check for any new messages but there were none.

Ooops!

At least an hour later my model and I ran outside. She had also fallen asleep. TG for ‘days of rest’ though!

There was not a speck of heavenly light on the horizon. We walked nervously towards the nearest source of light. My tripod has been missing for a few weeks. It was gonna be hand held or nothing. That kinda worked. Those first couple of images exposed some serious shake. Eventually, we leaned the camera on the ground and that did the trick.

UP.And that is how this photoshoot came about. Weird huh? A beautiful result to a spontaneous decision.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

With a heavy heart, I’d like to note that baby Lennon, passed away earlier this week. He’s story is one that has reached many homes in America and across the globe. The Huffington PostBuzzfeed, the UK’s DailyMail (just to name a few) have all featured it. Even though I can’t specifically remember meeting them, the news has deeply touched me. My heart goes out to his family as they go through this rough time.

When Modest is Hottest

So… A couple days ago, I was meeting up with some people regarding a film project. They were looking for my photography page so I told them to look it up on Facebook.

Whaaaa? These are your photos!?”

I scooted over to take a peek. The surprise was certainly more enjoyable for them than it ever would be for me. First results page – pictures everywhere… Especially a dramatically enlarged image of my girlfriends and I dressed in either onesies, boxers or swimwear.

“Are these your bikini caroling pictures, Jacquie!?”

The Santa hat on one of the girls’ heads confirmed it. What the heck Facebook!? Did you seriously need to bring up slightly inappropriate images from like two years ago on the front page of a search result? The answer is NO, you most definitely should not be doing that.

Had to go online later on to figure out where and why those images had appeared in such unsolicited manner.

I’d like to believe that fashion is a form of art and self expression, but sometimes one has to plan beyond personal preference. Sometimes modest is hottest. Especially when you don’t want professors, dad, future/present boss, stalkers or otherwise sketch individuals staring at pictures of you in a bikini.

Yes, that is a definite no, no.

The next day, I self consciously covered up from collar bones to the tippy tips of my toes. The air was a bit chill before morning light. Ah, yes – sweater weather and the perfect opportunity for a selfie. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to focus with a 50mm lens. My roommate was asked to take the picture instead.  Guess it can’t be called a self portrait any more!
Modest is HottestFor editing, the image’s original color was replaced with a more blueish purple tone. This adds a more nightly/early morning feeling. The picture was then cropped using the rule of thirds. Justification; truly centered images are rarely more interesting. In addition, the light and door frame needed to be removed. I also tried to remove the sweater’s excessive bagginess but it came out a little unnatural in the final result (Notice how the armpits are lopsided) .

This image was taken from what I believe is a neutral angle. The future calls for experimenting with lower angels. It’s very interesting how different lenses and camera angels modify the subject. You can never see a perfect refection, not even in a bathroom mirror.

How to Scare Off a Cowboy (or Any Guy)

Scaring off cowboys is a backbreaking activity because it requires an enormous amount of time, dedication and insanity to complete the desired effect. Cowgirls or not, many are willing to sacrifice their reputation in order to win the affections of a dashing gentleman. Little do they know what a challenge it is to catch a cowboy’s wink. It is much more entertaining to scare him through strategic manipulation. The cowboy is sure to notice the girl … and keep a distance.

To frighten a cowboy, a girl must begin by appearing at locations that he frequently visits. It is important for him to know who she is. Even better, he must know her by name.  Cowboys are close-knit with their friends and family. For this reason a girl does not have to interact with him directly. Instead she can mingle within his social circle so his closest companions can become comfortable in her presence. Most importantly, the girl must become close enough to the cowboy’s family that she is invited for dinner. This is an excellent place to start. A kick here and a kick there, pretty soon she might have a full-fledged game of footsies under the table cloth.

While attending the many events surrounding a western lifestyle, a girl will find that a pink lasso can be her most amusing companion. Girls not familiar with the art of roping must have the desire to learn the techniques. For best results, she can ask her target cowboy for assistance. He will gladly hold her hand as she twirls the rope. Learning to swing the lasso is frustrating. Being able to rope the cowboy’s feet makes the effort worthwhile.  At first, most cowboys will find this gesture cute. With time, they will grow weary of being tripped. In anger he might question the purpose of her teasing. The girl can simply say that she is practicing what the cowboy himself has thought her. In the future, the young man will disregard her attempts to tighten a rope around his ankles.

During these roping events, the girl must take the opportunity to photograph her cowboy. Cowboys love to have their pictures taken, especially if they are on the job. The girl needs to make sure that the pictures are clear and enjoyable. Another approach is to have a friend photograph the cowboy then upload the pictures. Either way, once the pictures are online, the girl must have her friends comment on them. She must be generous with her own comments as well; often mentioning how handsome the cowboy is. Her posts might become mushy. This will only add to the desired attempt to scare off the young man.

By this stage, if the girl doesn’t already know where the cowboy lives, it is important that she finds out immediately. She might even discover that he lives nearby. If this is the case, she can take advantage and obtain pictures of his house from the comfort of her rooftop*.   For best results, when he asks to see his roping pictures, the girl is obligated to lend him her camera. She might want to have another camera at hand. In this way she can capture his reaction when he recognizes his home among her photography collection. The girl may admit to taking the pictures or she may act surprised that he discovered them. The cowboy will take a good long stare at the girl and he will never think of her in the same way again.

Next, the girl must create a web page directed especially towards the cowboy. She must include pictures of him and even Photoshop herself into some of the shots. The webpage will be all the more appealing if it includes poetry and love quotes. The girl might choose to use the webpage as some sort of diary where she can express feelings towards the cowboy. When page appears to have an adequate amount of mushiness, the girl must make sure the targeted young man (or his friends) ‘accidentally’ get a link. Most likely, the cowboy will be appalled when he discovers the online tribute.

To further the effect, the girl must get her friends involved. On a lovely afternoon she can direct them to create hordes of posters. Each poster must include: the cowboy’s name, hearts, and most of all, glitter. Pictures of him may be included but are not necessary. In the dark hours of the night, the girls must sneak into the young man’s property. The posters can be used to decorate the exterior of the home.  If the home itself is unreachable, then the posters may hang from the fence, gate, trees or shrubs. What a surprise when the cowboy wakes up in the morning!

Most girls may choose to stop at this point. However, it is possible to become friends with the county sheriff and asked for permission to steal the cowboy’s horse. If he grants permission, the girl must also share her intentions with the horse’s legal owner (provided that the legal owner of the horse is not her cowboy). After formulating the perfect plan, the girl is welcome to carry it out. The best time to steal a horse is on the day of a roping event. The girl can remove the horse form its stall and transport it to the event before the cowboy has the chance to notice the horse missing. This of course, is a suggestion that might be carried out by any girl who is desperate to scare off a cowboy.Playing With Color (2)

Another thing a girl can do is to spread rumors. She can say that she is so infatuated with the cowboy that she intends to kidnap him.  For better results, she must include spine chilling details; the use of chloroform, a stolen vehicle, some desolate ranch, etc. Obviously by now the young man will be horrified by her conduct and will go out of his way to keep a distance.Playing With Color (3)

After the girl realizes the extent of her inappropriate behavior, she will be ashamed of her actions. Embarrassment may cause her avoid any contact with the cowboy. The young man will miss the previously unwanted attention. He may only see the girl through nightmares. He will question her absence and become curious enough to look for her.  Needless to say, it’s hard to rope the heart of a cowboy, but with constant pestering, a girl is sure to be on his mind daily!*

*Option only available under certain circumstances.

*All examples taken from real life experiences, thankfully not my own.

*Pictures in collaboration with Juntsu Photography.

  • Models: Caitlin and Johnathan
  • Location Scout: Erwin
  • Horse help: Caitlin’s Dad

Take Me to Africa

Like I’ve previously said, I’ve always wanted to travel to Africa. But sometimes, when one can’t go to Africa, it’s ok to bring Africa to wherever you are.

Africa (1)Meet Leila, my lovely and very wise roommate. Also the first person to gladly teach me how to tie head scarves the right way. When I told her about my 9 countries, 9 photo shoots, 9 months project she was willing to help out. Obviously, I was way to excited about the whole scarf tying thing. Told her she had to wear one for the pictures!

Originally, this was supposed to be the photoshoot for ‘France’ but boy does it look geographically incorrect! Where are we? Perhaps in a Francophone? Could it be somewhere in Africa?

Yes, for the sake of this project and my current failing status – I should probably just say yes. A little quick internet search for an African country with similar landscape. Uganda? Not a Francophone but sure. Now what about this cow? It does not look very Africanized! Ok, we shall just say that it’s an imported English cow.

Done. Just like that. We are in Africa.
Africa (3)Now, how did we really end up with this shot? Well, you see, the mountain behind our school supports several herds of cattle… and I’ve always also wanted to do a photoshoot involving cows.

One sunny afternoon we set off to conquer the mountain! Unfortunately, when we got to the top, the air was chilly and the sun played hide and seek behind the clouds. Cows were easy to spot. All of them wore Swiss little bells that clinged and clanged with every step. We tracked them down and set up for the shoot. The reflector was useless. The sun was really gone.

And then the cows got a little tricky to handle. They were getting a little grumpy, looking at us funny and even doing a little stomping. Thankfully, Sarah was there as cow wrangler. She stated that she disliked hows, but she did a better job with them than either Leila or I could have done.

Africa (2)Here we are, a blotched attempt at a group picture. Nobody was dressed appropriately for the sudden temperature decrease. We ended sooner than expected and ran down the mountain, shivering as we went.

Oh well! Some good pictures were taken!

Now that my nine months abroad are are almost done I only have four of the nine photos needed for the project. USA, France, Belgium and Monaco.  Switzerland is just a 25 minute walk from my room so that’s easy. Mexico might be a thing before the summer is over. But the rest? What if I pretended the models were in diffrent countries. What if this one was in Uganda and I did another photoshoot for France? Might be a thing. I don’t just want to give up.

Pianos in Abandoned Buildings

While we were location scouting for group production projects, we found an abandoned building.  I’m not sure what it was supposed to be.  Inside we found a school chair and desk, a working radio, the back seat of a car and best of all, a piano.  There were several trailers just outside filled with random things. It was all very bizarre.

After filming one day, Ben invited Serena and I to help him out with a photoshoot. It was funny because that was the day Serena and I had run off to go swimming in the lake. As we chattered in the water, Ben asked us what his model should wear. I said elegant. Long elegant dresses. On the way home, we all agreed to do a rebellious theme instead. Long dresses were a little difficult to come by, apparently.

That night Ben drove the girls and I out to the photoshoot location. Place of choice: Abandoned building with an abandoned piano.  He set up three point lighting with blue filters. It was the coolest set up I’ve ever seen.

Abandoned Houses (1) (1024x669)I walked back to the truck to fetch my camera. It was a mess. Shirts, skirts, dresses, makeup, hair products and even a bra or two. Victoria may have been the model, but Serena and I were also dressed up. Oh what a mess we all made!

Rap, hip-hop, reggeton –the girls and I turned up the music. It was really hard not to break out in dance. Ben was not happy with his assistants, lol.

Abandoned Houses (2) (1024x662)Everyone was in such a hurry to get back before curfew that the location was left with all the equipment set out. Just before midnight, Victoria, Serena and I ran to our separate dorm buildings. Given our interesting choice of attire- everyone was wondering what we had been up too. Well, now you know.

This past summer, Victoria helped me with a photoshoot within hours of returning from her summer job in China. We realized that I have yet to shoot her… but after moving to France, I found a random picture(top) that I took of her during Ben’s photoshoot.

Came out ok, don’t ya think?

Like me on FACEBOOK 😀

Gargoyles in Space

Project 9 countries, 9 photo shoots, 9 months… how is that going? Well it’s definitely not a thing to randomly walk up to some stranger that does not speak the same language and demand to take their picture. Does it count if the model looks like they are in another country? Is that a thing? I have many pictures that look like they were taken in Africa!

Brussels (1024x683)Well this one was definitely not taken in Africa but obviously somewhere in Europe. Where? Belgium of course! We arrived in Bruxelles expecting rain.  Indeed, the clouds hung heavy over our heads but thankfully only a drizzle came down.

We headed straight to the church. The doors closed soon after our arrival.  We lingered outside by the steps. Josué tried to teach me how to do a handstand. It didn’t work out very well.

He climbed on to the railing and waited for me to adjust the settings on my camera.  The town’s square was beautifully lit behind him. I captured the moment in black and white – couldn’t tell if he was a gargoyle or a super hero. The full color RAW file was used to edit the final image.

Brussels

When the camera was ready, Josué stood on his hands and walked down the railing. Grace went around and took this picture from a different angle. She loves taking pictures of people taking pictures. Pictureception!

Note: The image at the very top, taken from the side is also by Grace Romstad 🙂

Bare Feet, Snow and the Pre-Alps

Walking on Snow (1024x683)

Of course, everyone in California is bundling up for the cold. By cold, I should probably specify that they are experiencing temperatures in the 70s… But when the sun shown over the French Pre-Alps and the temperature rose up to 43◦, we grabbed black dresses and ran barefoot across the snow.

Again, I borrowed Grace’s camera because mine is broken. Unfortunately, it ran out of battery. Ankle length silk dress, tea mug in hand, Sarah went to get a fresh one. She was seen running down the mountain side by a very confused French woman.  (Sarah was later seen in a red dress lugging a boulder… this girl! XD )

Anyway, the final image was a composite of four different images. The first was of the landscape. Afterwords, Sarah, Kaelibeth and I took turns in front of the camera.  Camille lighted us individually to make sure that we would pop out in the image.

At the end of the day Grace edited the pictures to make sure we all fit together.

I’m now recovering from a cold… but I already had it when this picture was taken.

 

Moroccan Vagabond

At the end of Freshman year, Ben asked to exchange a plane ride for headshots.  I was worried because I’d never done pictures for a guy before.  Turns out that should have been the least of worries. Yes, it was easy to take nice pictures, but during that photoshoot, I found out that I had no idea how to use my camera. Didn’t know how to adjust the settings for the proper exposure . . . didn’t know how to white balance accordingly…Etc. Thankfully Ben liked the pictures, but it was so embarrassing! It wasn’t until February of the next year that someone took the time and patience to stay after work and show me how F-stops, exposure and depth of field worked together. (No wonder I’ve had Cs in photography!!!) Morrocan Vagabond (1)During sophomore year, Ben changed majors from aviation to film. We’ve since collaborated on a ton of projects for both film and photography.  These pictures were taken during production for his brother’s film project. Morrocan Vagabond (2)It was funny because throughout the project, I’d be like ‘Wait, OMG! Photoshoot!!!’ and pop out the reflector.  These images show the striking improvement within a year. Especially since they were taken on the go rather than carefully thought out. The pictures were uploaded to Flickr under the names ‘Vagabond’ , ‘Le Long Voyage’ and ‘Morocco’… hence the name of this post.

Literally Posted on My Wall

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Soon after arriving at my new room, I walked down the hall to my friend Grace’s room. She had decorated one of her walls with pictures from last year. I gasped in surprise as I noticed a particular image of myself,  guy friends  on either side, all eyes crossed, spoons hanging from our noses. Hadn’t seen that one before!

Grace reminded me that the day that image was taken, she had promised not to post it on her wall. Her Facebook wall, but that she liked the image so much that she had literally posted it on her bedroom wall.

I tried to go without pictures. Really did… but after two weeks in my new room – I had to get it decorated.  So I went down to Geneva and got my favorites printed. Ha ha ha. For future reference, NEVER print out pictures in foreign countries if you can avoid it. It cost me three times the price of having them done in the US.

Grace helped me put them up.  The room is a lot brighter with all the pretty colors.

“Punk Rock” and “Glamour”

IMG_0125a (683x1024)A few years ago, during a road trip around the US, I realized that it would be amazing to do fashion oriented photoshoots around the world.

Project Idea:  9 countries, 9 photo shoots, 9 months.

I’m not sure if this will work out, because so far it’s not going so good…   but at with least one photoshoot per country I visit during my school year in France would be something, wouldn’t it?

So, even if I don’t get to all 9 photoshoots, at least it’s worth a try.

Country of and Place Origin: California, USA.

I’d made a deal with someone that if they got access to the local airport, I’d shoot for free. As it turns out, I was able to get permission myself.  Unfortunately, neither of my original models were able to make it.

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After contacting my assistant, Amanda, we decided to use [Sarah] as our model.  During the actual photo shoot, Amanda became second photographer. She was also in charge of video/photo documenting the event. If this project succeeds, I might create a mini documentary, it worked very well with my [last project.]  Amanda’s sister, Lisa, helped Sarah get ready and stuff.

My friend Bryan, who had just arrived from a year in Guyana, was our onset pilot/flight instructor.  He made sure that we didn’t do anything dangerous. He was also there in case anybody had any questions and needed to talk to someone official.  His younger brother Mark was in charge of the reflector.

Victoria who had just arrived from a summer in China, watched or stuff during the photoshoot.

The first couple of shots were supposed be that of an artist about to go on tour.  As the photoshoot went on, I decided that it wasn’t the best combo. Pictures still came out pretty good though.

Sarah changed and Bryan lead us down the airport. As we were taking pictures by a small helicopter, a gocart pulled up. Roger told us come by his helicopter and he would set it up for us to use.

It was so cool! They opened it up for us and everything!

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An airport is a good start for this project. Airports always lead to adventure and world travel.

I’m looking forward to working on these photoshoots. It’s gonna be a challenge. In the USA, I have access to just about everyone and everything I need for my photoshoot. In Europe… I’m not even sure how to find people willing to model. It’s not always easy talking to strangers.

Dream’n by the RailWay as the Sun Slips Away

IMG_8603aThe first time someone directly mention these images, they described them as “girls by the train”. Of course, I was super confused… I hadn’t taken any pictures near any train of any kind. Or had I?

IMG_8542aAfter looking at the pictures again, I realized that the background did look like a train! It was so weird! In reality the structure was actually an old shed standing near a hiking trail.

IMG_8583I’m surprised that the girls where able to get up there, given that they chose to walk up in heels. IMG_8598One of the biggest challenges was reflecting the light onto the girl’s faces. Not only was the sun behind them, on the other side of the shed, but it was also sinking lower and lower by the second.   I tried to balance a reflector on the tripod.  That worked for a little while, until it was time to move further away from the shed.

IMG_8697aFor this image here, I actually used photoshop to blur the background and add a flux ray of light. I like this picture very much because it makes Anaida look like a doll.

IMG_8652aWe also took this one with the sun behind her. Anaida asked me to edit it for her but I couldn’t really change much except for the saturation. Well, her bra straps where also removed from the final composition.

I definitely had a lot of fun working around the lighting conditions through out this project. This is probably one of my best photoshoots so far. It can only get better. I look forward to working on similar project in the future.

All Dressed in Sunday Best

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The title of this post makes me laugh because Anastasia and I actually go to church on Saturdays instead of Sundays.

When we were younger, Anastasia and I would sneak out of church to do photoshoots.  One time we climbed over a fence to take pictures in a playground. On another occasion, we walked to the firehouse and dressed up as firemen.  This time we decided we were too old and mature to be doing that kind of stuff… so we attended church and scheduled the photoshoot for a Wednesday morning.

Russian We picked out our finest dresses and headed downtown to the library. I found it amusing how people reacted to us taking pictures.  We encouraged them to go ahead and walk through but most would go around or turn the other way. Still there were others who stood at a distance and stared.

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We had plenty a good time and learned a few lessons about photography and modeling.  Afterwords we headed to Anastasia’s house to go over the pictures.  I edited some of them for her right then and there. Others I saved till I got home.

I’m a little upset; my power chord ended up at school so I’ve had no access to photoshop since the summer began.

Chillin’ in Vintage America

IMG_8398bOh, you know, chillin’ on the porch sipping ice cold lemonade.  “It’s like the life people wish they had.” Anastasia said about the pictures we were taking.

We had just finished up with a photoshoot downtown.  We walked back to Anastacia’s house and decided we wanted a couple more shots on her front porch. Complete with the American flag and our outfits, we felt that we looked like typical American housewives (from several decades back), living the American dream.
Sipping Lemonade

For a finishing touch, we used lemon concentrate to pose as lemonade.  Unfortunately, the heat caused us to drink down most of our prop before we could add sugar to it!

We were able to take the pictures using the new remote control I had purchased the night before.  The remote’s inability to respond promptly caused us to look distressed in some of the pictures. Especially if the shutter was not being pressed as the photo was taking!

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UnderWater Dreaming

Underwater Dreamin 026aIn my portrait photography class, we were assigned to take wedding or engagement pictures. I had asked our professor if the wedding pictures could be done underwater, but he disagreed, saying that the bride’s dress would be ruined.
My friend Ivy decided to give it a try anyway. He invited me to come along.
I was super happy to help out with the photoshoot, since I’ve always wanted to do one underwater. It was a lot harder than we thought! I definitely have more respect for photographers such as Elena Kalis.
Since we traded the camera on and off, I’m not for sure who took which pictures. I did take this one though, and I’m very happy with the results.

Might be getting some snorkeling gear for the next one though!

 

Rocking the Cat Walk, You See?

Sad story. I’ve designed my own cloths since like forever. Some of them get made, some of them don’t.  After attending the REVO fashion show last year, I wanted the opportunity to design something for it this year.

Well, they didn’t let me do it. So what did I do instead? I filmed for my group production project, took pictures for a photobooth, felt sick, took a nap then ran to the fashion show.

I arrived just in time to see the start. The runway stretched out over the the fountain. The crowd surrounded the area with no possible way to get in. I got out a telephoto lens and took the images from the stairs oh so far away. The first could images didn’t come out so well because the camera wasn’t set yet.

Several people asked why I wasn’t part of the show. With a shrug, I said I tried. Gotta say that I’m still upset, but recognize that not designing for the fashion show has given me time to work on film. It’s ok, some lady asked me to model for her project in San Francisco this summer. Humm, we shall see. That sounds kinda sketch.

Anyways, here are the best shots I captured of the night:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8If you would like to see the images individually, please visit:

REVO Fashion Show ’13

La Sirenita

Mermaid Time 225Ok, so remember how I said in my ‘About Me’ that my career choice as a kid was ‘mermaid’?  Well my parents made me a mermaid tail for Christmas! I didn’t get to try it out till a couple of weeks ago.  The tail is super heavy underwater, and the fact that I can barely swim doesn’t help either. I feel that the other mermaid tail I had was much easier to swim in.

PicMonkey CollageMy friends and I got to go to Dillon beach a couple weeks ago. Queenie, Cassi and I snuck away so I could get some pictures with my new mermaid tail. We only took a couple; I was a little too self conscious – people were staring.  The pictures were pretty good but I decided to edit them to make them better. It’s almost magical to see the image transform.

A Photoshoot with Ariel

Mermaid Girl

In my digital photo editing class, we were supposed to choose a fairy tale and recreate an image using photoshop.

I choose ‘The Little Mermaid’ because I wanted to try out my new mermaid tail on someone. The problem was finding Ariel.

Well that wasn’t too hard – I ran into Cassi during breakfast and even though I didn’t know her at the time, I asked if she was available later in the day to take the pictures. Thankfully she was willing to do it.

Cassi  ended up coming to the studio early because my photography professor did not approve of a different photoshoot I was supposed to be working on. I needed an excuse to be in the studio!

With the help of the professor and two  guy friends, we were able to create the proper lighting, angles and wind effect for Cassi. Afterwards I set to work on photoshop, transporting Cassi from the studio to the beach.

In order to make her look even more like Ariel, I had to change the color and texture of the mermaid tail as well as her top. Sebastian was also  added to the picture.  Looks a lot more like Ariel, doesn’t it?

Mermaid Photoshoot

Faceless Reflections

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Over spring break Zach, Kelanie and I found a magical field of grass. We spent the afternoon running up and down the hillside.

We spent most of our time taking pictures. While the sun was high in the sky, we used reflectors to light each other. As golden hour rolled in, we used the reflectors as props.

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I ran out of card space and Kelanie forgot her camera, so we took most of the pictures with Zach’s 6D.   This type of thing is a common occurrence. Sometimes my friends and I have to mix and match each other’s batteries, SD Cards or Cameras so that we have at least one working picture taking device.

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Both this and the picture above were taken by Kelanie. All three of us have copies of the images and we each edited them our own way.

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I can’t really decide what category to fit these images in. They are obviously portraits,  they are fashionable, artistic and arguably conceptual.
Oh well, whatever, they were fun to create 😀

Lady with an Ermine

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For my portraiture class, we were supposed to recreate a well-known image.

I chose to do Lady with an Ermine. I asked Amanda to help me out with the project. She is usually helping me behind the camera, but this time she would be in the spotlight.

After doing a little research, I found out that a lot of people mistook the ermine for a ferret. That gave me an idea. I asked my teacher, Amy, if I could borrow Phoebe for the project. She agreed 😀

Lady with an Ermine

I researched and looked at other recreations for inspiration. Some of them were closer than others to the original image.

IMG_0271Brandon and Sam came in to help with the photoshoot.

It took a little while into coaxing Phoebe into modeling for us, but once she was ready, we got some really good shots.
This was definitely a fun one.

Mud Caving & High Key Lighting

The way I was able to get these shots has to do with mud caving,PicMonkey Collage1Meeting new friends & hanging out

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Rides in the back of Ben’s truck and discovering extraordinary modeling talent

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So we scheduled a photoshoot. I took pictures of Manny. Chloe took pictures of Larissa.

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This was actually the biggest studio project I have ever worked on. It lasted from 8pm till almost 1am. We had two photographers,three models,Kelanie was documenting, Shyana was doing hair and makeup, Amanda was assisting, Neil let us borrow his scooter,  Zach connected the camera to the tv and Ben brought guns.

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Actually – Ben brought the fan too and while I wanted to achieve the same effect from the tuck ride it was Ben’s idea to use the fan on fabric. Flowy Fabric and Guns-158c

That totally worked for recreating pictures in the style of Barbara Morgan. I used Maya as my model because she really knows how to work her body. I worked with her the most through out the photoshoot and we got a bunch of great shots. I put several of them together and Voila!

You know, Barbara Morgan’s models portrayed a lot of motion and emotion as they danced. Here Motion is portrayed in the way that the three images of Maya are put together. She was happy, she was full of confidence, she was spinning in blissful joy.

To view more images visit:

High Key XD

Sunset Shore

These are the results of my first ever on location photoshoot with studio lighting. 

Chloe and I had this crazy assignment for portrait photography. We needed to shoot on location with a lighting kit. Now this might sound easy but for a first, it was not so much. Especially since the kit was large and pretty heavy.
Chloe drove myself and our two models Sarah and Melissa out to Lake Hennessey. Once there, we tried to set up our equipment on the dock. We got the lights set, but the wind picked and threatened knock them  into the water. Thus we decided to shoot on paved ground, just in case. The wind refused to stop. It just kept acting up, pushing the lights this way and that. It was so bad that someone had to hold on to the lights at all times to make sure they wouldn’t tip over.
The wind was not our only concern though! Chloe and I had no idea which camera would connect to the light kit – we  brought multiple cameras (like five of them!) Thankfully one of them was able to connect, otherwise our project would have been a disaster.
Although we were in a hurry, we had a wonderful time on the shore of the lake. The boaters and tourists probably thought we were crazy. There was way too much equipment spread everywhere.
I really wanted to get a picture of Melissa from another side of the shore. We debated taking the lighting kit but decided against doing so.  Best choice ever made because the path to the specific location was super muddy and rocky! Oh well I still got some pretty shots 🙂
To view more of them please visit Sunset Shore.

Making Dreams in Film and Digital


I recruited my roommate Cheyenne to help me out with a film/digital project. In between studying, I did her hair and makeup. The carnival inspired eyeliner and hair bow made her look like a little kid. Had her dress in a pretty blue dress, got some baloons and we were ready to go!

The point of the photoshoot was to capture angel lighting on film, but I decided to take advantage of the situation and capture some images on Digital that could later be manipulated.  The Result: 
I call this one “Underwater Dreaming”

Within it, Cheyenne’s reflection can be seen, as if she was resting right beneath the water’s surface.

This one is “The Fairy Tale Dream”
It’s the happily-ever-after she is dreaming.
I am super glad that Cheyenne’s boyfriend, Boris was able to dress up and come help! He actually held the reflectors so we could light up Cheyenne’s face. On the account that it was their 6th month anniversary, I took an extra series of pictures just for them. They looked so cute!

This last one is titled “The Nightmare”
It’s when she wakes up form her beautiful dream.

During the photoshoot, one of the balloons accidentally popped.  Chey immediately made a sadface and I was like “Hold it, this is perfect!”  I later had to alter the image digitally in order to get her and the grass in different degrees of light.

A few days after the  photoshoot, I went in to develop the images captured in film pictures. I have to admit, this was my worst experience in developing film ever!
To being with, I was worried about something else and was not focused on what I was doing. Halfway through the process, I absentmindedly opened the canister,  freaked out then closed it as soon as I realized what had happened.

Soon after, I spilled fixer all over my shirt and had to take it off and let it dry in the ‘film drying closet’. While the film it’self was drying off, Kelsie came over and we took pictures in the studio just for fun. Unfortunally, and because I was wearing my hoodie, I forgot about my shirt drying…
OMG – what if someone came in and just saw it chillin’ there!? Ahhhh the embarrassment! I ran to the film and television department up stairs and explained my situation.  “Do you mean to tell me that you are not wearing your blouse under the sweater!?” Sho asked.  Thankfully he had a master key that opened the door!

Out of the pictures developed, this one was the best. A little over exposed but still cute, is it not?
To view more of my work, click here 🙂

Film in Black and White

Last year I had such a hard time with film. Film didn’t like me and I didn’t like film. There was even an incident in which I spent 8 hours in and out of the darkroom >.< That was traumatic.

So I stayed away from film for nearly a year.

Then all of the sudden I got to thinking on how I’ve been taking all of my pictures on digital . That’s kind of boring … all the excitement of seeing the pictures develop just doesn’t exist on digital.

And that’s why I decided to give film a second chance. (That and because I don’t want to fail my portrait photography class.)
I actually processed the film from the pictures you see here. It was so scary to have to do it again after a whole year!  What if the wrong amount of developer went in?  What if I accidently put in the stop bath too soon? So many things could have gone wrong.
I’m glad they didn’t. The pictures came out fine 🙂 This second print, I processed only once because it had come out so perfectly on the contact sheet.  With the first print,  the luck ran out. I ended up having to go back to the enlarger three times to make sure I had the best print possible.
Thanks to Sharla and Maureen for helping me out on such a short notice!

Girl Time!

This weekend, I was going to work on a portrait photography assignment – and then I realized that I had to use my film camera, which wasn’t working >.<
Well the girls and I were all ready to go, we weren’t gonna let a little film problem stop us from having fun!

With two DSLRs we set out the a ledge at the edge of our school and jumped right in.  I took individual pictures of three of the girls, Sharla, Regina and Jazmine.

Afterwords, the girls including myself and Jenny sat on the ledge while our friends Patrick and Queenie snapped a few shots.

After a while, Jenny decided that she would prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. She joined Queenie with the picture taking while Patrick sat off to the side.

The girls and I had so much fun messing around and we enjoyed the rest of the evening thoroughly… well that is until we decided to jump into the fountain, but that is a whole other story!

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Ferns and Flowers

Last week I got to take pictures of three beautiful young ladies.

Abena, who is visiting from Moscow Russia asked for the favor.  Her sister and her cousin who are both named Adwoa were also there.

In Ghana, the country from which the girls are originally from, Adwoa means ‘girl born on Tuesday’.

I had a lot of fun editing the pictures the next day, especially this one with the cute jaguar kitten.

The picture that took the longest to edit was this one with the parrots. It took like six hours!

I made other versions of this picture but Abena did not like them! She did not want to have wings or any ‘weird mess’ like that, lol. Inspiration to add jungle animals  came because the day we shot was very, very hot! It was nearly 107 degrees that day and the humidity was just awful. Thankfully we all managed to survive. Well, almost; I stubbed my toe during the photoshoot  and couldn’t walk for a bit. Still hurts but at least it’s not swollen and purple anymore.

Throughout the shoot, whoever was not modeling helped me with the reflectors and other things. Abena’s sister was willing to do the girl’s makeup as well, so that worked out nicely.

Here we all are after an evening of taking pictures in the summer heat.  From left to right: Me, Abena’s cousin Adwoa, Abena’s sister Adwoa, Abena’s little cousin and finally Abena herself.  Abena’s little cousin was not happy to be there at all! He was really upset that we had picked him up from school to bring him to the photoshoot.

(From left to right:  Adwoa, Abena, me, Awoa and Ama- second row.)

Here is another picture taken last year when Abena came to visit from Russia.  The girl on the bottom is Amma. She is Adwoa’s little sister. I’ll be doing her senior pictures sometime soon.


I really love the traditional African style and hope to do an African themed photoshoot in the future. I feel like the Ferns and Flowers photoshoot had more of a South American feel to it. So international!
To view the rest of the pictures please visit:

Ferns and Flowers

Butterfly Girl

Recently I was inspired to create this new profile picture for my photography:

Inspiration was from one of Nina Pak’s picture’s featuring a woman with a blue butterfly on her face. Unfortunately, the exact image has been removed from wordpress due to people posting it on their sites and crediting me as the photographer.

I feel like my own picture needs to be cropped and darkened on the lower right corner. It does look cool in black and white too… but I think I like the color version better.

Belle Comes to Life at 15

Meet Belle. Well actually her real name is Ingrid although she has been known for dressing up as belle during various important events throughout her life.


Recently Ingrid asked me to take her Quinceanera  pictures.  She wanted her pictures to be different from the traditional portraits  hanging from living room walls. That particular photoshoot was one of my stranger ones though. It started at 11pm – right after my camping trip and just a few hours before my return trip to the US. We had to rearrange her whole room to make it studio/camera friendly. We also had to hook up extra lights and all sorts of stuff. I didn’t get home till like 2am!

I’m still working on editing to create a portrait worthy of  of hanging from her family’s living room. This is my progress so far…

 Although I still have to change the background. Ingrid requested a nature looking one – and so I’ll probably have to go out and take more pictures in order to find the perfect one. That, and I should probably add her  bouquet to the picture.
Here is another picture of Ingrid’s that I’ve messed around with… I made her look vintage !

Group Shots XD

These are some group pictures that I’ve edited.  Just randomly found them today and decided I’d post them up 🙂

This one is from Prom my senior year of highschool.

This is from a friend’s 18th birthday and promise celebration.

This is from another friend’s surprise birthday dinner.

Sprinkles and Droplets

This weekend I got to go camping in a place called La Concha, Durango.

I had Silvia snap the picture above.  The original includes a wider shot of the falls as well as a cotton specked blue sky. I cropped it in search of a more artistic look.  I’ve been told that it looks more like snowy pines than a waterfall!  This picture is ‘color selected’ although the original color isn’t much different.

Here is another picture. I really liked the sprinkles of color made by all the pool toys.  The water was so unbelievably warm! Especially the one that came from the various waterfalls.

I really liked the armaments of these floats but I can’t seem to edit the coloring of the picture quite right. Oh well 🙂

All of the Lights

This week I had the chance of photographing Sarah.  We spreed it out on two different day with four different outfits.

Here is a picture of my assistant/apprentice Amanda.  I asked her to bring her own equipment so that  could take her own pictures as well. I got to say that Amanda is super creative! She helped out a lot with the artistic aspect of this photoshoot.

On the first day, we started off a bit late.  The three of us girls hiked up some nearby hills and the photoshoot began. Though rays of light still peeked from behind the mountains, the sun was soon gone.

Even in the dark, we kept going.  Amanda and I experimented with anything we could come up with. In this picture for example, Amanda used flash from the left while I took the picture with extended exposure.  The result is a weird mixture. The sky is light as day, the city lights glow and Sarah is split  lit.

The next time we meet up, we were able to catch the sun a little earlier.

And instead of hiking, Sarah drove us up. It was a plus, especially since neither Sarah or I were wearing the right shoes.

Unfortunately, the setting sun made all of the pictures very warm.
But we still got some good ones 🙂 I tried adding some blue to the pictures in order to even them out and also in the attempt to add a vintage look.

We did walk down the hill to take some pictures by an old structure.

Sarah walked down in 3in heels and managed to survive!  We had to hurry back up the hill in attempt to catch some light for Sarah’s last change.

Most of the natural light was gone, but we still found ways of lighting her up.

Overall, we had lots of fun. Can’t wait for the next photoshoot 🙂

To view more pictures not shown here, please visit:

All of the Lights

An Afternoon With Koda

I redited some pictures that I had taken for my Digital Photography Class during winter quarter.  My first WordPress post actually has two of these images as I had turned them in to the teacher.

During the photoshoot, I got to work with Erica and her horse Koda.  It was the first time Erica had ever ridden bareback. We had a lot of fun, but almost had an accident when a biker scared Koda. He began bucking. Luckily Erica was able to jump off in time. Anyways here are some of the edited and redited shots 🙂

From left to right: Original, Edited for class, Redited.

From left to right: Original, Edited for class, Redited.
I was able to remove the second horse and have several versions of it in both color and black and white.

From left to right:  Edited for class, Redited, Original with saturated colors.

To view the rest of the images, visit:

La Belle Rouge

All quarter I have been freaking out about my Intro to  TV Production excerpt.

Well today I saw Rachel and I was like – Hey she is dressed like one of my characters!  And so I asked if she was willing to help me out.

Thankfully, she agreed! Not only help me with my excerpt, but she also allowed me to take a few shots.

I couldn’t wait to get back to my computer to edit!


But first…. there was the Intro to Flight final to get out of the way :/

To view the rest of the shots in this photo shoot go to: La Belle Rouge

Jouer Avec la Lumière

Je me suis un peu ennuyé, j’ai donc décidé de jouer avec la lumière. Avec un petit montage, c’est le résultat. Je dois cesser de se coucher tard. Il n’est pas bon pour moi depuis que je suis à l’école. Cette photo a été prise il ya quelques jours à 3 heures du matin.

Dreaming About Flying Away

Originally Published in March.

Gotta say, I really love going to airports and after viewing some awesome  Jim Jordan Photography, I was inspired to do this shoot.

Originally, the desired effect was to have the model floating.  Unfortunately, in most of the takes where she was floating, she appeared in front of the airplane which totally threw the whole picture off balance.

Here in the last image, the model glances at the privet airplane in the distance.
The day we shoot these was kinda cloudy and kinda rainy, but I think I did a good job for my first ‘real’ fashion photoshoot 🙂
The only thing that annoys me is the very white washed sky in the second image. Oh well, it what I get for editing it on the wrong software :/

The Creatures

In high school – we photography students were often sent out of class to capture the perfect image for Mrs. McAllister.

Gezelle was my photo buddy – and for the sake of our pictures we did a bunch of crazy things; climbed fences, trees and even took the classroom outside.

On this portraiture assignment – I decided that I needed a backdrop. I had my friends Ryan and Leah hold a fabric behind Gezelle. Unfortunately the fabric became translucent and they appeared in the shoot.

But well that’s ok – I worked around it and came up with this:

It gives this image it’s title ; “the creatures” – and it was certainly one of my favorite shots from high school.

Evolution of my Little Bo Peep Facebook Picture!

I had the pleasure of helping out with the True Beauty Retreat for 7th and 8th grade girls this weekend.It was soo much fun – and everyone got to dress up all fancy!

Although I helped out in the kitchen for a bit – I wore this green prom dress and a beautiful apron that Amanda’s Grandma had given her. Little Bo Peep, don’t you think?

Anyways…the original unedited picture looked like this:

I did not like how short the dress was for this specific event.  So I decided that if I cut off the lower body, the image would look more childlike. The first time I posted this picture of Facebook, it looked like this:

However, Brian, a Photographer from my hometown suggested that I make the picture vertical and remove more of the column.

This actually made a really big difference in the shot, take a look:

In the future I will need to pay closer attention in how I use space within portraits. Too much or to little can make a big difference!
In the mean time, I need to go find my sheep 🙂

Blue Belle

For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a Bohemian styled photo shoot. Immediately I asked Becky, Micheal and Sharla to participate. Every so often, I discussed photo shoot ideas with Micheal.

On the day of the shoot, Sharla did Becky’s makeup. She did such an amazing crazy job! We were running out of time so Jazmine  stepped in to help with Becky’s hair. Originally we had planed waterfall braid. When that didn’t work, we improvised. Jazmine curled her hair, Sharla braided it and together we placed flowers in Becky’s hair. Finally we fitted her into a long blue dress and a tan vest.

Time was short since the sun was sinking behind the mountain tops – but we still managed some good shots.

To view the other pictures please visit: Blue Belle

Runaway Gypsy Child

For the longest time I’ve had a this suspicious looking suitcase in my dorm. I actually used it to make a short for my film class. But after the project was over, I forgot about the suitcase. You can image my horror when I opened it and found  a large bloody looking knife inside!

So anyway, I was supposed to return the suitcase to the prop room, but I thought I would do a photo shoot fist.

Thankfully, Audrey was willing to help me out 🙂  So where Brandon and Keslie who agreed to hold up the reflector. This was the first time I’ve ever use a reflector in my photography.

The reflector made the images so much better! Especially since a lot of the pictures where taken with the sun behind Audrey.

We took the first half of the pictures at our school’s airport, but for the last half…well…

Earlier that day, my friend Jose had taken me flower picking at a field near the airport. There were so many flowers that the ground was white! As the sun began to set, we all ran to the field of flowers barely making it.

The sun sank into the hillside and we rushed to get back to school. It was important that we get back by 8pm so we could attend Vespers. (At our school it is mandatory.)

Upon our return to the airport, our friends Ben and Zach let us ride to Vespers in the back of their truck. (We had fun hiding from security!)  It was a productive day 🙂

To view the full set of photos, visit: Runaway Gypsy Child

Water Flips and Linda Falls

This past weekend I had the chance to shoot with one of my friends:Kara.
(Inspired by my personal dream of swimming at the Devil’s Pool in Victoria Falls, Africa.)

We hiked up to the waterfalls and went into the water right away. For such a hot day, it felt really good!

We shot in three different locations and had two dress changes.  I am happy that Kara was willing to help me out since the task proved to be quite difficult! Not only were we both stumbling on slippery rocks but she waited patiently as I struggled with both the reflector and camera.

The worst part came towards the end. Kara knelt beneath the waterfall and while I was trying to capture the image, my camera became soaked in the spray.

(Pictured below is Kara bravely sitting at the edge of the fall… it was below this fall that the water spray incident occurred.)

Thankfully we both survived the day 🙂 Including our barefoot hike back to our school’s campus!
To view the full set of pictures, visit my photography page at: Water Flips and Linda Falls

Wading at the Creek

Remmy wanted some pictures, and I thought a walk in the woods would do the trick.  At first she felt uncomfortable, but after a while she couldn’t help but admire the nature around her. Here are some of the interesting shots we got 🙂

Self portraits

When I was younger, people used to make fun of me a lot. I wasn’t white enough, I wasn’t black enough, my hair was too dark, too long, curly and the list goes on.
Other than owning my own digital camera at a young age, that’s probably another reason why I got into photography. I wanted to show people that even if they didn’t think I was pretty, at least they could see pretty pictures of me.

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I got kinda good at it, don’t you think? This particular picture was taken last year in my dorm room. My roomate was gone for the weekend so I used the wall by her bed as a background. I was actually wearing a bikini in the original image but decided I didn’t want people seeing me so under dressed. A few other things where also altered within this image. The wings for example, are not part of my roomate’s wall.

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When I was younger, I turned our guest bathroom into my personal photo studio. It had a white wall (the rest of the house was pink) so I could take pictures of myself there without showing the sinks or toilet. And unlike other people, I made sure that none of these ended up in my final image!
24596_1280032364784_8148287_nBut it wasn’t satisfactory to just take random pictures and post them. They needed to be edited first.  I learned to change a lot of things within the images themselves. I could do color selection, change eye and hair color among other things.The funny thing is, I didn’t know how to use photoshop. The truth is – I still don’t!  As a child, I had learned how to edit pictures on a program called “Soap”… and when that program was no longer available to me, I used Paint. But seriously, paint is such a difficult program to use for editing pictures! I tried some online programs but it was supper annoying how they killed the resolution on the pictures. Then I found one that worked. Do you guys remember Picnik.com? OMG how I miss that site!

Peacock Chains

I given this peacock necklace (Worn here by my wonderful friend Queenie) for my 19 birthday.  It was handmade by a craftsman from Market Night.

Originally, it came with just the pendent but I added feathers and beads to flavor it up.

Hummm…. I just wish the feathers were durable enough to survive wherever I decide to put.