Luke’s parents said their vows 39 years ago on Valentines Day. To celebrate another year full of love, we went out to eat at a fabulous, fancy place called The Manor in West Orange, NJ, where there is a huge buffet on weekends containing fresh steamed lobster! Unfortunately Lisa & the babies were sick so they couldn’t make it out, but it was a really nice evening. At one point Luke and I slipped away to check out some of the cool things in the building, including a candle-lit wine cellar and some gorgeous decor.
Archive: ‘365 Photo Blog’
I still have my first camera… I unpacked it from a box my parents sent me from Minnesota and Luke jokingly told me I should frame it. I have albums and boxes full of pictures I shot- funny I didn’t recognize this passion earlier! I was so focused on art, thinking the only way I could make a living as an artist was to go into graphic design. How wrong I was! I occasionally do traditional design work, but most of my time now is spent with photography, video/editing, and web.
At the beginning of college in 2003, I got my first digital camera- a little 3.2MP Sony cyber-shot. That thing got me through many college parties, and I even took it with me on my 2006 study abroad trip to Italy. There, my roommate was a photographer, and I have to admit I was majorly inspired by her work. My work isn’t anything like Kamila‘s, but it made me think photography was something I could really get into.
Later on in 2006 during my senior year of college, I purchased the Sony DSC-R1 – my first experience shooting a manual digital camera. I was officially hooked, and learned everything I could with the fabulous camera. While working at iDream, I had the opportunity to shoot with my boss’ Nikon (not sure what model), and started shooting photos at events. I actually learned about the Google Reader while shooting video at a teacher’s conference, and when I got home, I immediately signed up and started subscribing to photography blogs, to which I owe props for much of my technical photography education!
When I moved to New Jersey and started working at Coyne PR in the fall of 2008, I began shooting portraits, products, and events with the house Nikon D300. I was ready for an upgrade of my own, so in the summer of 2009 I purchased the Nikon D90- my current baby. Then of course, I spent 2010 working on the craft through the 365 photo blog!
Now, I am saving my pennies for a new MacBook Pro, a fast wide angle lens, and the Nikon D3s… this is getting serious! I am feeling more confident than ever in my shooting ability, at least with the subjects I am used to shooting. I read a bazillion photography blogs and feel pleased that I am no longer confused by the technical jargon. I am also just starting to feel like I have a style. I will probably never stop trying new techniques and styles, but I find that my favorite shots generally have lovely natural light, short depth-of-field, and are simple and clear. Also, my favorite subjects are animals!
Many thanks to everyone who has supported me through all this- most especially my parents who have been there all along, and my wonderful fiancé who has posed for countless photos and been the biggest fan of my photos!
Day 101: 04-11-10 Micro Dandilion
Day 296: 10-23-10 Honor the Photographer
Day 360: 12-26-10 Jilly’s First Teeth!
Day 171: 06-23-10 Dogs
Day 137: 05-17-10 Emerald the Tiny Turtle
Day 171: 06-23-10 Water Droplets on Flower
Day 265: 9-25-10 Renaissance Faire
Ten wasn’t enough for me… there are a lot more memories that I’d like to re-hash. It was an amazing year, after all. I’ll post a few more times with a few photos that stood out for me from the year!
I actually shot this photo in a previous photo shoot with Luke, but I was in the mood to create an image digitally. I think this one actually turned out pretty great!
This is the best bug macro I’ve gotten so far. I will keep trying once bugs are back in the spring, of course, but considering my angle and the fast-moving little guy I think I did a pretty good job capturing the details.
I actually love a lot of the photos that I shot on my trip to visit Liz in Washington D.C., but I think that this is the most poignant. Click on the post title to view the original blog post or check out the whole D.C. album on Flickr.
I can’t tell you how unbelievably hard it was for me to narrow this down to ten photos… I was absolutely ruthless. The truth is my whole 365 album contains 643 photos (I definitely didn’t stick to the 1-photo-per-day thing), and I am in love with about 1/4 of them. Some of them I find aesthetically pleasing and are technically strong, others bring up fantastic memories from the year. For my top ten, I chose a combination. I’m linking the titles to the original posts, and I’ll tell you why I chose them… Here they are!
PS I know some of the numbers don’t match up… I screwed up somewhere along the way and had to count backwards at the end! Grr.
I never knew why women were obsessed with the idea of getting married, and why they craved diamonds, until I realized that there was nobody I’d rather spend my life with than Luke. I wanted to know that he felt the same way, and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. The most special moment in my life was when Luke put the ring on my finger. The ring is a symbol that shows the world that I belong to him, and that he wants to spend his life with me.
I shot this with my 50mm and the pop-up flash, the ring perched on the cork from our bottle of celebratory champagne. I love how crisp and sparkly it turned out.
I was in a very inspired phase, and wanted to do some full-blown photo shoots. Luke and I had been talking about shooting some photos with his watch or his guns, we went for both. We had fun shooting these photos, and I played around in Photoshop to get the high-contrast, dangerous look I wanted.
Over Spring Break my family, Luke, and I took a vacation to Cozumel, Mexico. It was basically a week of drinking, volleyball, and eating, plus a couple walks into town and a trip to Chichen Itza. At the end of the week LIz, Tony and Honor gathered for some family photos around the resort. Honor was just starting to look like a little lady, her hair long and feathery. I snapped this photo while Honor and I were waiting for her parents, it is absolutely one of my favorites!
In the early spring before the crowds control the beach, Luke and I headed down to hang out with Dave, Karen and some other friends for a night. Luke and I got up early the next day to take a walk down the debris-filled sand. We saw all kinds of crazy things… I only had my little pocket camera with me but it did a great job. There was ample light, and this was one of those situations where a long depth of field is beneficial. I love how the shell and tumbleweed in the foreground frame Luke looking for shells in the back.
I don’t have a really good reason for this one. I love fire and smoke, and I was practicing a technique- off-camera lighting to capture curls of smoke. I had tried candles before but the smoke was gone too quickly. I figured incense would be a good alternative – and they were – however, I made the house really smelly and smoky in the process… oops!
Day 157: 06-06-10 Jillian Alexandra – 5 Days Young
I seem to be completely missing the post for these photos! I have no idea what could have happened to it!
On the day Jilly Bean was born I went to the hospital to meet her, but I came straight from work and didn’t have a camera. Luckily the next weekend Luke’s family all got together so I got to see her again, camera and macro lens in tow. I always thought babies looked like aliens, but I am coming around. Seeing Jillian right after she was born and then after less than a week was amazing to me… I had never seen a baby that young before in person.
I love the natural bokeh and sparkling light in this photo- there was no editing or planning in this photo, the light was just shining on the perfect spot at the perfect moment and somehow I was able to find it. A magical moment!
In July/August Luke and I went on a trip with Luke’s family to the Dominican Republic (I know, we got lucky with the vacations in 2010!). We wanted to do some “engagement” photos, so on the last day I dragged Luke out of bed and down to the beach. I set the camera up and held the remote trigger, then we had ourselves a sunrise romance. I got just the look I was going for… it was definitely worth losing some sleep!
I love the animals, and cat eyes always fascinated me. I took many photos of the cats over the course of the year, but then suddenly I had a new thought… the cats’ eyes are just as interesting from the side as from the front! As Martigan was gazing out the window I captured this view- I am proud of how perfectly I had it focused, and I think it’s really cool how you can see the spherical reflections in his eyes.
In October we went to this big fundraiser event for the Filipino-American Community, and it gave me a great opportunity to practice low-light event photography. I think most of my shots turned out pretty good, but I especially liked this one.
There are a ton more photos I would have liked to include… Maybe I’ll have to do another post like this haha.
For me, 2010 was an amazing, busy, hectic, wonderful, beautiful year. Besides the multitude of obligations I had, I completed a 365 photo blog. I made a point to pick up my camera every day of the year, with a goal in mind to improve my technical skills and my creativity through completely dedicating myself to the project. It was a lot harder than I anticipated… At first, I posted my photos along with their exposure information every day. It wasn’t long before I would shoot all week then organize, upload and blog on weekends or whenever I had some time. I confess there were a few times I didn’t shoot anything for whatever reason, and had to make up for it. For the most part I was really good about it though, but the project was much more time consuming than I had anticipated.
I also went into the project with a lot of ambition- I wanted to plan out shots and stylize them, set up shoots with “models” (a.k.a. family members/friends), and try new techniques. I did all of these things, but only a few times each. My only regret is that I didn’t have the time that I needed!
On the plus side, I came out with an incredible photographic record of my year. As I glance through the year in photos, I remember shooting each one of them, how I was feeling that day, what I was doing. The saying really is true… there is at least one person in every photo, even if it’s just the photographer.
Without further ado, I’d like to present my own list of tips to survive a 365 photo project:
- Make sure you always have a camera with you! It could be a fancy DSLR, a pocket camera or a phone, but if you don’t have a camera then you will miss a moment. Also, if life gets crazy and you don’t get home in time to shoot a photo, then you will have missed a day!
- If you see a great photo op, don’t wait! A frog will jump off its perch, the dog will wake up, the sun will set, the light will change… capture the moment while it exists!
- Keep a list of all your photos. It will help you keep track of what number you are on and the date, and it is especially helpful if you fall behind. Then you can name and edit a bunch of photos and upload them all at once (not that I’m advocating for falling behind, but editing and uploading every day takes a lot of time and it might not always be possible!)
- Snap on a lens and leave it on all week. You can have a 50mm week or a macro week, then every day shoot something different. Explore what your lens can do! Use your lens in an unusual way, really dive in!
- Complete assignments. You can make up your own, or follow Pioneer Woman, Digital Photography School, or any number of photography blogs that have contests and assignments. It will spark your creativity and give you a platform to show off your work!
- Share your work. Get on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr- anywhere you can post. That way when it gets tough, you can remember that there are people that look forward to seeing your work! You can also ask for feedback to help you improve.
- Use your daily life as inspiration. You probably won’t be able to create something unique, perfect, exceptional every day. Sometimes you can just use whatever is going on around you – however mundane – and shoot documentary style. Just try to make it a little interesting!
- Open your eyes… literally and figuratively. You might not be able to get away from your desk some days, but look around and view things in a new way. How about a macro shot of the holes in your speakers? Maybe the steam coming off your coffee cup, or the curled corner of a piece of paper? They all have potential to make an interesting shot. Maybe not groundbreaking, but sometimes you just need to shoot a photo!
- Try something new at least once a month. You need to punctuate the times you don’t try as hard with some times where you really give it your all, or you won’t feel like you are growing. On a weekend when you have more time, set up a photo shoot with a friend. Build a cheap light box and shoot some products or food. Visit a local park and shoot vegetation or wildlife. Flip through a magazine and try to copy a photo that you see.
- Don’t give up. It can be tough to not only do something every single day for an entire year, but also to share it with the world, but it will be worth it. You will learn a lot, and probably more people will pay attention than you anticipated. You will come out a better photographer both technically and creatively.
I changed the way that I blogged this project a couple times this year. I started off with a Blogger blog, to which I uploaded my photos directly, then I started uploading to Flickr and embedding the photos. I find that when uploading to Flickr, I can get more feedback and not only do my photos get more views, but as a part of the community I can look at and be inspired by others’ photos.
These photos are not all necessarily my personal favorites, but they got the most comments and/or “favorites” on Flickr!
Day 222: 08-13-10 Rockaway River @ Gracelord Park – Boonton, NJ
Day 115: 04-27-10 Frog Treading Water
Day 279: 10-9-10 Puppy Dog Eyes
Day 319: 11-18-10 Bouquet
Day 306: 11-05-10 Betty – 7 Months
Day 359: 12-25-10 Sugar Glider
Day 198: 07-20-10 Baby Bullfrog
Day 285: 10-15-10 Blaze, the Pumpkin Patch
Day 100: 04-12-10 Depth of Field Flower
Day 333: 12-2-10 Cut Glass
I had big plans to end this 365 project with a bang and some amazing photography, but instead I got caught up with spending quality time with my family. These photos would have been better if my strobe actually worked properly… I think half my equipment is falling apart!!!
I will have a couple re-cap posts coming soon, but for now here are a few pictures of my family!
Hanging out with my family was a treat. When I visit my family in Minnesota, there is nothing I’m thinking about that I have to do and I can completely clear my mind and relax. My parents are going on some exciting trips in the near future, so my mom gave my dad a Nikon 3100 DSLR with a couple nice VR zoom lenses so he could do some photography. He shot with a film SLR back in the day and really enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to seeing the pictures he shoots with his new toy in Panama! Liz had her Nikon D5000, so between the three of us we are a Nikon family! We were just playing around and shooting pictures… Tony gave Liz a Lensbaby Muse for Christmas and I was shooting some photos with that as well, but all those pictures are on Liz’s camera. OOn my camera I got these ones of my mom and Honor wearing Christmas socks- not the best photography in the world, but a precious memory!
On Wednesday morning I woke up excessively early with a list of things to do running through my brain. I tried to fall back asleep but at 6:30am I finally gave up and started my day. Laundry, packing, work, etc… After work we took off for the airport and despite the weather, we were only delayed 45 minutes or so. We arrived safe and sound in Minnesota around midnight, and it was actually raining. It was nice to see my parents though, and Mom even surprised us with Jimmy John’s, which we housed on the way home!
If you look closely, you can see that Luke is looking at my blog on his phone!