Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cloak and Crown

What a kingly young man.

Didn't consider for a minute stamping out the staples and glue lines, so don't ask.

Nico was playing outside with his sword, fighting bad guys who might happen upon our front lawn, when I decided to drop the laundry and head out to play with him. I grabbed his red cloak; crown; a purple bag, which houses his brother's compass and such; and, of course, my camera.

My little king was immediately willing to alter his play, don the cloak and crown and play a new role for my camera. We headed to the woods.

Love this!!
Love the intertwined fingers.

I posed him a few times, but once I had those few must have shots, I let him decide on poses and postures by just playing the role. He seems to know what he's doing.

Hard to choose a favorite. Glad I don't have to.

I'm posting this on Simple Things Sunday.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Favorite Photo for March

I've been saving this one.

The boys and I spent a very sunny Saturday late-morning early in the month at Station Square. It used to be the train hub for Pittsburgh and now is a gorgeous tourist attraction/late-night hot spot/shopping district.  A lot of the train station architecture and history remains in tact, which, of course, is what makes it so interesting.

The day was very bright like I said, so challenges were present. But, I got a handful of shots that made it worthwhile for me. We went to Moe's for lunch afterward, which made it worthwhile for them.

This, my favorite shot, was taken out of view of all of the finery and attraction of the place. Three utilitarian doors, which looked like they probably house maintenance equipment or the like. I love the urban, well-used feel of the backdrop, the boys' poses and the way the window balances the third door with the occupancy of other two.

I'm posting this as my favorite photo for March over at Click It Up a Notch.

Click It Up A Notch

Thursday, March 29, 2012

P52/Week 13: "Nature"

I've committed myself to participating in a photography project called Project 52, where each week there's a challenge to take a photo with a particular theme and enter it on the group Flickr site.

I'm reading an awesome photography book. It's called, "Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision" by David duChemin.  I'm not even done with it and I want to read it again. I want to mark it all over with highlighter and stuff it full of bookmarks. It's made me cry with it's inspiration and sometime it's ability to kindly point out how much I've merely been "babbling passionately" (his words) rather than telling a story.

But, there's hope for me yet. And that hope is these photos:

P52/Week 13: "Nature"

But, now I think I should have entered this one. Oh well.

I took these photos last week. The wigwam was made by the boys, their friend, Ben, and their 'Wilderness Survival' instructor, Ryan. They chopped dead branches, collected bark pieces from fallen trees, made rope from a plant called dog bane (and used some twine) to create it.  They were so excited to have it finished and to finally climb in.

I had a look-see, too, and it was quite nice in there. It was cool and smelled of the pine branches they used. Here's my view from inside... Nico looking so proud:

So, let me back up a bit.

In his book, duChemin suggests that to discover your photographic vision, you must narrow down what you love about photography. I am definitely all about people. I know that much. This photography journey of mine started, after all, in an effort to document my children's lives. My interest has widened, in both the direction of other people and into trying out landscapes and even artistic creations, but my heart is definitely with people.

So, when I was tasked with this week's theme of nature, I had a million ideas, as I'm sure every participate did. A stand of trees with the sun breaking through, a bird, a flower...lots of flowers, bugs, dogs, sunsets... someone stop me....

It's such a sweeping topic, with not a bad option in the mix, especially with spring burgeoning, but how to I make it interesting? and how do I make it mine? As I was walking around the conservancy today for the boys' Wilderness Survival class, camera in hand, I asked myself, what is it I see in this place that makes it so wonderful? Because it is wonderful. My immediate answer was the feeling that it's wild, yet the hand of man is apparent everywhere. That's what gives it the story that compels me to take the picture.

It was this photo where it really struck me:

I love the way it looks so nestled deep into the woods, (I used my telephoto to create that compressed look, as duChemin also taught me), yet it says, "Somebody's been here and spent time and energy on this."

My initial idea was to use this photo for my 'Nature' shot. But, then I went back to look at some of the pics I took last week, when the wigwam was newly completed and the boys were trying it out. That addition of the boots sticking out and Enzo crawling in made it even more magical to me and tells a bit more of the story that I'm compelled to tell.

So, there's my hope. I took those photos last week (oops, just realized I used a week old photo for this week's challenge), but, it was before I had read the book when I saw and manged to capture that magic.  Maybe my vision is there somewhere just waiting for me to name it so it can capture and create photos which speak to me and hopefully others.

Being able to put words to it and identify what makes it so special, will maybe (pleeease?) allow me to do it more often in the future. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

P52/Week 12: "Sparkle"

I've committed myself to participating in a photography project called Project 52, where each week there's a challenge to take a photo with a particular theme and enter it on the group Flickr site.

It was a tough week to get photo-things done. The week ended with an out of town trip, so lots of photos were taken, but, not much was done with them.

So, I'm playing catch up. This week's theme was 'Sparkle'.  I took this photo in the hotel room after I noticed Enzo sitting on the little refrigerator in a beautiful light by the window, loving his Teddy.

P52/Week 12: "Sparkle"

The sparkle is in the Teddy's eyes from being loved so much.

By the way, this is top secret information. That bear is actually Darth Vader, stripped of his uniform. He doesn't like it to be known that he enjoys cuddles, so each night he sets down his light sabre, steps out of the menacing costume and snuggles with Enzo as they fall asleep.  But, that's just between you and me.. I wouldn't want the wrath of Vader on my shoulders. 

I did manage to get this onto the Flickr site for the group in time, but just not tell the story here. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Banjo in the Opera House

We spent the weekend in Springfield, Ohio attending the 29th annual Midwinter Banjorama. Every March for the last 8 years or so, ever since we entered the world of the 4-string banjo, we've made the journey and it's such a wonderful event.

One of the activities on the agenda each year is to go to the Clifton Opera House, where they've been entertaining their small, rural, but lively community for over 100 years. Many of the players, which come from all over the country, convene there and put on a show of favorite banjo tunes. Alabama Jubilee, Shanty in Old Shanty Town, Beer Barrel Polka... you get the idea.

I went up to the balcony to get some shots of the whole group and met up with another photographer there. She told me that she knew of a shot that a pro photog had taken from the foyer recently. "It looked like a Toulouse Lautrec painting," she intrigued.

"Show me!" I said as I ran down the stairs in front of her.  All I could think of was adding to my very fledgling (just born, really) collection of copying the masters shots.

So, after turning out the lights on the attendants, much fiddling with the curtains and my settings, and, yes, I'll admit, quite a bit of Photoshop work, here it is:

I had a general idea of Toulouse Lautrec, but foremost in my mind were his Moulin Rouge works, like this, which were, I think mostly people dancing, or prominent public figures, so I just went with what she told me.  A little research after the fact, and I'm still not sure exactly what was Toulouse Latrec about it. The deep colors and the idea of active socializing based around music are there, a grand theater, for sure, but, I don't know if that's enough to make it a copy of his style.

But, my on-line search led me to this:

It was done by Illustrator Lucius Rossi and, I think fits the look I ended up with, whether or not that was what she was trying to coax out of me, I don't know.  But, there it is, a copy of an illustrator I had never heard of before now. I love where my photography leads me.

I'm entering this for my Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Sweet Shot Day