Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ybor Portraits

  Last week I had the chance to photograph this beautiful girl in Ybor City. Most of these photos were taken with the Canon 580 flash shooting through a soft box. This first photo is my absolute favorite. It was in inspired by a video I watched on where Scott Kelby walked around Venice Beach, Ca with celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart.  He had his model lay down on a strip of metal stretching across the ground and got some really interesting shots. I have photographed people by the railroad tracks in Ybor several times but was looking for something different to do and this idea popped in my head. I really love the combination of the rocks and the wood for a background. it was not easy standing in just the right place to get the best angle here but I am really happy with this shot!

  This one was taken in an ally. I just like the soft nature of it and her natural smile. Sometimes getting models to relax and look natural is half the battle in getting good portraits.

  Here she has a very different look, confident and maybe even fierce? I love trying for a wide variety 'looks' during a single session. Never stops amazing how different people can look from one moment to the next depending on their mood and facial expression.

  I also really like this photo. It is a rooftop photo with the city of Tampa in the background. Her dress and the lighting just screamed "Make me black and White"!  She really is glowing here.

  We were running out of time after it got dark but I wanted to try to take a few shots with my new Gary Fong Powersnoot.  It enables you to create some pretty dramatic lighting. This photo was taken on a street in Ybor, I intentionally made the background totally dark.  I am eager to practice some more with this and a beauty dish I recently purchased.  Tomorrow I am headed over to the Photo Shop World Expo in Orlando where there some of the top photographers in the business will be teaching classes, will blog about my experiences there in a few days!  Stephanie

Monday, March 28, 2011

Clearwater Pet Festival

  Saturday I drove to Clearwater, FL to check out their Pet Festival. This event was not as large as the on I attended a few weeks ago but there were still many amazing dogs there with their people. This first picture was taken at the Siberian Husky Rescue booth.  This sweet one has one blue eye and one brown eye. As usual I wanted to take them all home, these animals radiate nothing but love.

  Entertainment was provided by Twig the Skateboarding Dog. Twig seems to really enjoy this!

  It is amazing what these pets can be trained to do! Also amazing is what they can be trained to wear apparently:

  This was not the only dog I saw wearing goggles. I am guessing they are to protect their eyes from the harsh sun but I am amazed they are okay with wearing them! My family's dog I am sure would have no part of these!

  I just love how the spunky personalities of these dogs show through on these photographs!

  I especially liked this last dog who was having a lot of fun with a tennis ball. He seemed like a super fun one and I really hope someone takes him home soon and plays ball with him all day!

  I am looking for some unique/well behaved dogs to photograph in order to expand my pet portfolio. I enjoy photographing them running and playing as well as 'posing' them and am also looking to use some off camera lighting for some more creative images. Contact me if you or anyone you know have a dog they would like professional photos

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome to our World...Ava Brielle!

"A Babe in the House is a Well-spring of pleasure, a Messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men"  Martin Fraquhur

  Ava Brielle was born on 2-22-11 to her parents, Laura and Charlie which makes her a very lucky baby as they are two of the nicest and kindest people I have ever met!  These photos were taken when she was 2 1/2 weeks old.

  Every photo shoot I do is a learning experience, this one even more so as it is the first time I have photographed a new born baby! I know my passion for photography will never wain as there is an endless amount to learn and I will never get to a point where I can no longer improve on my work. Every subject is a different sort of challenge, be it an adult, a pet, a child, a baby or even a flower.  

  Babies this small cannot yet sit up or express as much emotion as they will in the very near future. Part of my challenge was to capture some photos of Ava with her eyes wide open. The photo leading off this post is actually my favorite. I took many photos of her laying on the pink blanket in order to get this one where she one arm around her bear, one up to her ear like she is on a little cell phone, AND she has her eyes open looking in my direction.  I love the moment where I look at the back of the camera and see that YES I finally got the shot I was looking for!

These are also pretty cute.

  Certain photos seem destined for this sepia old photo look. I love this shot of her yawning with the flower headband being held on to her by her mom.

  Here she is being held up in the air by her father. Love those eyes!

  I call this my modern art shot. What I really like is the reflection in her eye-the trees and me I believe. Would be fun to do a shoot capturing the reflections in peoples eyes sometime!

  We had the idea to try putting her in an Easter basket. Lets just say this was easier said then done she was not happy about it so we did not try for long but this is still pretty cute!

  This is the family dog, Wiggles being held up next to Ava I am sure they will be great friends! Wiggles does not look too thrilled here though I must admit!

  This photo is one of my favorites, taken at the end of the shoot with Ava in her car seat. I do not do this selective color treatment very often but I think it works well here with the little bear's bow tie matching Ava's head band. It is also very cute that the bear appears to be waving :)

  Finally here is their family portrait! Wiggles was very cooperative looking towards the camera every time I said his name. Thank you Laura and Charlie for giving me the honor of photographing little Ava, I look forward to seeing her grow into an amazing little girl!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot Center

  Yesterday I visited Disney's Epcot center. I have been there many times but never during their International Flower and Garden Festival. I think from now on this will be THE time I will visit in years to come! I was amazed by the volume and beauty of the flowers and character shaped topiaries on display! I visited this time with my parents, we arrived around 4:30 and the weather was perfect. Epcot is so large and there was so much to see it was dark before we know it. I hope to get there again before the festival ends with my tripod so I can take my time and get some more great photos. Here are more of the character topiaries:

  So beautiful! And there are still more!

  It is hard to comprehend the amount of time and effort put into making these topiaries and gardens possible. As usual Disney has done a fabulous job. Beauty and wonder around every corner.

I LOVE the colors in the background here!

  The above photo was taken in the Canadian section of the park. I would love to live in a stone cottage like this!

  My favorite moment of the evening was finding a few ducks wandering in a large batch of geraniums.

  I can take photos of ducks anytime but not surrounded by flowers like this! It was getting darker at this point so I did not have ideal light on them but I still loved taking these shots. There is so much to see at Epcot, not only the flowers but it is of course an ideal place to people watch. With all the negativity in the media about the current state of the things here and world wide the park was packed, hard to imagine it being more so when things are booming! I love just wandering around observing all the sites and sounds it is always wonderful to be in a place where everyone seems so happy and you are surrounded by beauty! The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival runs through May 15th.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Flowers

"Flowers are the sweetest thing God ever made, and forgot
to put a soul into."
Henry Beecher, 'Life Thoughts' 1858


  I have had the opportunity to visit two beautiful estates and gardens in Central Florida this week. Leu Gardens near Orlando and Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales which is a bit of a drive from Orlando or Tampa but is well worth it.  Spring is in full bloom here and both places are breathtakingly beautiful. It was pretty breezy at Bok Tower which makes taking close up flower photos pretty difficult though! Bok Tower is surrounded by groves of orange trees which are all blossoming right now-the scent was positively intoxicating! I am going to have to find some candles that smell like orange blossoms, just heaven! I did manage to get a few photos I like of course.

  Growing up, one of my favorite books was The Secret Garden, and I feel like I have stumbled upon my own secret garden when I visit these kinds of places. Especially at Bok Tower, there are 'secret' paths, and a stone semi circle with a small pond in the center where cut little frogs live. It is truly a magical place.

  I am also very fond of plants with lacy little leaves like this. So delicate and beautiful!

  This is a beautiful blossom that had already fallen to the ground. Flowers truly fascinate me, the variety, the colors, and the scents. I wish that the blooming trees would blossom year round but then again maybe we would not appreciate them as much.

  Love the colors and design of this flower!  

  Once again I have saved my favorite photos for last. I spotted this straw flower at Leu Gardens and spent a good deal of time experimenting with settings and compositions-I decided putting it in the bottom of the frame was a little unusual and loved the green/blue background which is a natural gradient-I just pumped up the vibrancy on it. I hope you like it as much as I do!