Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas to all!  I am spending Christmas in Orlando with my family. Wanted to just share a few photos of our dogs who love Christmas too! Elly and Nutmeg both love opening their presents and want to snoop in everyone else's as well!

These first 2 are of Elly, my brothers dog. She is very mild mannered and was nice about me dressing her in the santa hat and collar. She knows what Christmas is and periodically wandered by the tree looking to see if her gifts were there yet but they were kept out of reach until the last minute!

Nutmeg lives with my parents but I consider her to be my dog too. I picked her out from her brothers and sisters when we got her she is very fun and sweet! She removes the squeaker from all toys as fast as she can while Elly is more gentle and her toys last a long time.

I love this photo it looks like she just got back from a busy evening of delivering toys and is ready to sleep! :)
I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Cards from Ybor City

  One week until Christmas! It has actually felt like Christmas here in Tampa the last few weeks, especially at night!  Yesterday I took a walk around Ybor city to take a few photos of the decorations there. Next week I hope to be visiting Disney World who goes all out in everything they do. Really looking forward to that!  I love living in Florida but Christmas doesn't have the same feel as it to me living up north. I am actually glad for some cold nights to better capture that Christmas feeling!

  I think I could use this image as a card if I filled in the window of the door with white and wrote a message on it.  I love greenery like this but like it better of course when it is real!  You tend to see more real pine used  up north and I miss that!  Still I love looking at Christmas decorations, whatever they are made of!

  I really like this photo, I was able to capture the Christmas Tree, the sign and even a bit of palm tree so you can tell this is Florida!

  I gave this one the old fashioned treatment!  Taking photos of the decorated buildings in Ybor is difficult as many have lamp posts and/or palm trees blocking the view! I like this one anyway, even if that light post is blocking the sign!

  Now this one really says Florida Christmas!  Poinsettias and a palm tree!  I also like the shadow cast on the wall by the palm tree across the street.  I hope to have some more fun Christmas themed photos to share with you over the next two weeks! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

International Friends Profile-Jeffrey from New Jersey and Frances from Hong Kong!

  A few weeks ago on a beautiful afternoon and evening here in Tampa I had the privilege of photographing Jeffrey and Frances for my latest International Friends profile. As a reminder International Friends is a Meetup group I belong to made up of people who have moved to Tampa from all over the world and/or who are interesting in traveling and learning about other cultures.

  We chose to do this shoot in Ybor City. I have photographed people here before but this time wandered down a few blocks to an area I had not yet used. We found an old building and courtyard area which is home to the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant and the office of the Creative Loafing newspaper.  This area proved to be a lot of fun. Despite perfect weather no one was eating outside at the restaurant so we had tables with red check table clothes and upturned chairs to use as a background in a few shots as well as some cool old wooden steps leading to a covered porch on the building across the way.


  Jeff is from New Jersey and graduated from Tulane University where he learned about the civil law legal system.  Jeff is an attorney whose law practice is primarily focused on helping families plan for their loved ones.   His clients run the gamut from seniors to young families who are interested in protecting their children.  He works with his clients in designing estate planning strategies and implementing estate tax strategies that are tailored to each family’s unique needs.  In addition to planning for families, Jeff’s law practice also has a corporate litigation department that represents large corporations in financial litigation.

  Jeff and Frances have been married for over 10 years.  They currently live in Boca Raton but go to Tampa at least once a month for Jeff’s law practice.  They love the Tampa Bay area and are planning to move there 
full time.


  They are members of the International Friends Group and go to events every time they are in Tampa.  Frances was born in Hong Kong where she grew up.  She has an MBA from the University of San Diego and manages Jeff’s corporate practice.  She speaks Mandarin and Cantonese as well as English.   Her parents met in Chicago while attending college. 

  Jeff is from New Jersey and graduated from Tulane University where he learned about the civil law legal system

  The above photos also include their much loved pet Bella!  She is so cute!  As it got later into the evening we had a wardrobe change and walked back to near the railroad tracks.  Ybor seems to have a never ending supply of great backdrops!

  I enjoy finding at least one photo in every session that looks good cropped square like this one!  I had a lot of fun photographing Jeff, Frances and Bella they were a pleasure to work with!  



Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Day at the Races

  Today I am excited to present some photos taken on the opening day of horse racing season at Tampa Bay Downs. I went with my brother who enjoys betting on the horses. For me of course it is all about photos! I did not plan the above photo but the next time I go I will be looking to improve on it. I love how you basically get 3 views of the same moment in one photo! You may need to click on it so you can see what I am talking about on the bigger version. On the top of the viewing screen there is a head on view of the horses coming out of the gate as well as a view from above.
   It was a strange weather day here in Tampa. Completely overcast and in the upper 50s when we arrived. Then in the last 90 minutes or so we were there the sun came out and blew ALL of the clouds away. It was a very crowded day also as this was the first race day of the season. 

  There are so many photographic opportunities here! You can capture the horses in the stall, being led around and of course running! The above may be my favorite from the day and I especially like it with this Sephia treatment. There are two elements that really make me love it. One is that the horse is sticking out his tongue, the other is the American flag blurred in the background.

  Check out those teeth!  Here the horses are getting ready for their race!

  I love the eye in this photo.

  Here are some photos of some of the jockeys. 

  Almost time to race!

  This one was taken after the sun came out and was in a wonderful position throwing beautiful light onto these horses!

  And.... their off!!

  I have gone to this track several times and can see my photos improving each time.  I used only 2 different lenses on this day, my Canon 70-300mm and my Canon 24-105mm f 4.  I started out at 1/500 of a second for the racing shots but ended up getting the best shots at 1/1000 when the sun came out.  I want to continue to experiment with aperture, most of these were taken at 7.1-8 because I wanted detail throughout the horse and was letting the camera pick what area to focus on in burst mode. The next time I will take my 50mm 1.4 and see how things go shooting super fast wide open with it.
  Tampa Bay Downs is a fun place to check out whether you are taking photos, a fan of horse racing, or just horses themselves. You can check out their schedule for live racing on the site I linked and it is free to get in during the wee and just $3 on the weekends! Clubhouse admission is $3. Races take place about every 15-20 minutes and there is seating inside and out.
  To larger versions of these photos check out the gallery on my main site here:
:) Stephanie

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Disney's Animal Kingdom Part 2

  I am back with some more photos from my trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Here we have a sleepy Kangaroo.  He/She was startled by an unexpected sound then paused for a moment here before laying back down to sleep. So cute!

  And now my gallery of gorillas. I took these towards the end of my visit. I now want to go back as many times as I must for some more unique shots of these guys as well as the other animals. I was lucky that I was able to get these only hanging around for about 20 minutes.  They sure do not look very happy. They are not in cages. It is really amazing how Disney has landscaped this park to keep it as natural as possible. The fact that they own such a vast expanse of land does not hurt.

  I really like this one, with the shadow from some plants falling across the scene.  Also seems like you can see just a little bit of one tooth.

    Wow look at those arms! Really looking right at me too!

  I made this one look like an old photo. I think the one on the left had his eyes closed. Love that I was able to get 2 of them looking my direction at once!

  It was funny when this one crossed his arms, he sort of seemed like, okay go ahead take my photo.

  Not sure what he was looking at here, but again looking pretty mean!  I will end this post with a happier shot of a flower :)

  I am loving the bokah/background on this one!  Hope you have enjoyed my latest animal photos, I sure love taking them!