Thursday, February 26, 2015

Self Portrait Week 8: Put on a Happy Face

Even when I've got the winter blues, I can pull out the polka dots, grab a Cheetos smile, and shine.

How 'bout you?


Photo Lessons I Learned:

Forcing myself to do a creative project will often ease me out of depression. The process of being present to what I'm doing and solving problems takes me away from the kinds of thoughts that feed a depressive cycle.

This week I created the backdrop in my living room by cutting circles from construction paper and taping them to the wall. I took the photo in the afternoon without great light. So I used a fill flash, bouncing the light off the ceiling. I used a remote wireless shutter with my Canon 60D. 

My model needs to learn how to pose, though. I took about 50 shots before I got one I liked. It's hard to keep a twinkle in one's eye while keeping track of all the technical parts of taking your own picture. 

F5 ... 1/15 sec ... ISO 800 ... 42mm

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Self Portrait Week 7: Let Me Speak

It took me a long time to find my voice. I take exception to being silenced.

With endless gratitude to my classmate Kim Barnes who, through word and example, reminded me that my story is sacred.

And to the guy in a bear suit who is my inspiration.


Here's a sillier photo from the session that expresses my rebellion:


Photo Lessons I Learned:

I used my Canon EOS 60D with the camera's self-timer and a remote shutter. I used a combination of natural sunlight and some indoor flood lights, both to the left. 

It took a bit of trial and error to get the light to fall mainly on the filthy zipper. The photo was very noisy, so I removed some of it in editing. I sort of like the noise that is left because it adds to the mood of the photo. 

I placed myself in the lower lefthand corner of the photo with the brick background to add a feeling of being suppressed. The dark clothing is a throwback to my childhood when some of the nuns were pretty strict about talking in class. (The nuns I know and love now are much more fun).

The zipper is held in place with some glue dots. I'm wearing a black t-shirt. The hood is a black scarf. It took some manipulation and pins to get it to cover my head without blocking the light on my face.

F1.8 ... 1/125 sec ... ISO 6400 ... 50mm

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Self Portrait Week 6: Meditation

Meditation is becoming more and more important in my life. So much so, in fact, that we've converted one room in our home for the practices of meditation and massage. I spend about an hour in this room each day doing a bit of yoga, some meditation, and writing in my gratitude journal. These practices help me keep emotionally centered - and easier to live with!


Photo Lessons I Learned:

This photo was taken in our meditation room in very low light, primarily lit by the candles in the photo and a small light to the right of the camera.

I used the camera's self timer, manual focus, and a remote shutter button (hidden under my hand in the photo) ... then stayed VERY still! I deleted some of the noise in editing.

I took some test shots while wearing a dark shirt. I realized I was getting lost in the dark, so switched to a brighter shirt for the final photo.

F 5.6 ... ISO 6400 ... 1/2 sec shutter speed ... 25mm

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Self Portrait Week 5: The Needlewoman

Depression slithered under the door last week and is sucking at my ankles like a primordial ooze. It's all I can do to keep from allowing it to pull me under.

When thoughts go sour and energy sinks, it's a good time for this needlewoman to pull out her crochet hook and soothing colors of yarn, creating a river where I can drift on calm waters. A meditation of movement, the rhythm of stitches and color change rearranges the pattern in my brain.

I tread in steady beats, waiting for light to break through.


Photo Lessons I Learned:

A portrait does not necessarily require a face in the photo. This picture tells a bit about me with only a bit of me in the picture. It shows I'm left-handed. I'm married (ring). I know how to crochet. I like to surround myself with vibrant colors.

It actually took quite a bit of finesse to set up this shot so that there was enough light on the afghan that individual stitches could be seen. I had to hold my phone's camera over my right shoulder with my right hand while holding the crochet in place with my left hand and knee. It also took quite a bit of fiddling to get the afghan to flow in ripples across the shot. I also had to keep the background from being too distracting by moving furniture out of the frame.

I learned to use a voice command to have the camera activate the shutter.