Senior Prom Night {Amelia Island Photographer} {Amelia Island Event Photographer}

Spring is in the air, and for the Northeast Florida area schools, that means it's time for prom!  I have never experienced a prom as an attendee (I grew up in another country that doesn't have things like dances) or as a parent (my children are 6 and 9.)  When a dear friend asked me if I could record the preparations for her daughter's Senior Prom, I jumped at the chance.  

The group pre-prom

The group pre-prom

I have worked with Maci, who is one of my favorite young people, a few times previously.  We had a couple of fun photo shoots on Talbot Island's Blackrock Beach for Senior Photos, as well as a "girlfriends" shoot here on Amelia Island.  I always enjoy working with her and her lovely friends, they are wonderful examples to us all.  It was truly an honor to capture a slice of her special event, which began at her friend's house:

The fun continued at a local golf course, where a large group of Seniors and their dates met up for one of the largest photo ops I have ever seen.  It was so amazing to see the proud parents and family members with their soon-to-be-graduates, looking so very grown up in their formal attire. It was an astoundingly windy day, but that only added to the giddy exuberance of the atmosphere.

These young ladies are classic beauties, inside and out.  

Good luck, class of 2016!

 

 

Project 365(6) Wrap Up: February 8 - 14, 2016

This was most definitely not my most creative week.  I came down with a bug on Tuesday evening that has taken the desire to do anything but sleep for the last 6 days.  Unfortunately, parents don't really get sick days, so I was unable to really get any rest until this weekend.  And even now, I am still. sick.  

Taking a new photo every day was a struggle, and while I did think about accessing some archives, I felt it defeated the purpose of the entire exercise.  My commitment was to take a new photo every day, preferably with my DSLR, so I stuck with it.  This resulted in a very uninspired week.

In which I experience zero creativity.

In which I experience zero creativity.

Week 7: February 8 - 14, 2016

1.  This lovely candid portrait was captured at a rehearsal at a local theater - they put on an opera night every now and again, and I was there to photograph it.  Theater photography is one of my earliest loves, so it is no surprise that images from those sessions are typically favorites.  I thought it set a nice tone for the rest of the week, as well.
2.  My sassy (though exhausted - look under his eyes) younger son.  He was getting ready for bed when I asked him to help me with some new lighting I was playing with.  His pose is just so...HIM.  As are the camouflage PJs.  
3.  Here is where my creativity took a nose dive.  This photo of my older son is perfunctory, I think with a single light source, and is not my best work.  I just wanted to snap it and get it done.  Still, he's such a sweet kid - this was the first day I was feeling ill, and he kept checking on me to see if I needed anything, putting his hand on my forehead to see if I had a fever, giving me hugs, etc.  He and his brother were mildly ill, but thankfully nothing like me (or my poor husband.)  Regardless, this was a day I should have rested, but instead made about 60 cake pops, which exhausted me to much that I went to bed at 8:30, achy and shivering.  
4.  By this point, the kids were over posing for my boring portraits, and my husband was as sick as me.  So of course I hauled the doodles in front of the backdrops.  Poor dogs, they were clearly so not pleased - especially Oscar, the one on the right.  He's so obedient, though, he will do whatever I ask him to.  They were both handsomely rewarded for their cooperation. "
5.  Running out of ideas,  I turned to the three remaining (infamous) cake pops from Day 3.  I think this is the 6th or 7th year in a row I have made these as the Valentine treats for my kids' celebrations at school - a tradition they refuse to give up, even when I present them with new, less labor-intensive ideas.  Back in 2009 or 2010, started off making them very carefully.  Over the years, this has devloved into throwing them together as quickly as possible.  It did not help that I was not feeling well this year, either.  Result: super wonky cake pops.  The kids don't care, of course.  They just love how they taste.  
6.  A Saturday night spent in bed... what a glamorous life I lead.  This is one of the rare occasions I have pulled out my iPhone.  I was feeling so horribly that I did not want to get out of bed.  I had two options at this point: selfie or surroundings.  Quickly ruling out the first, I settled on the fourth memoir I intended to start in as many days.  (I'm a fast reader.)  I ended up putting Wise Guy on hold in favor of a third Scientology expose, which turned out to be fascinating.  I've started my fourth, I can't get enough.  (In case you are wondering, the first memoir I read was Teresa Giudice's new book about her time in Federal Prison.  I HAD to.  I'm a RHONJ fan and I'm not sorry.  #Dontjudge
7.  Yet another day down, and another day of me being OVER IT (I am rarely ill.)  My sweet husband did a donut run for the boys as a little treat, and brought me an enormous coffee - which I could barely taste, but hell, it was hot and soothing on my throat.  I managed to sneak a photo before one of my kids devoured it.  

Given that I am starting the week off still ill, I don't have a lot of ideas for a theme.  As with last week, I will probably just take it one day at a time and hopefully be able to get out more.  I need to be inspired.  

Until next week...

Project 366(6) Wrap Up: February 1 - 7, 2016

As with Macro Week in week 5, I discovered my theme for this week by chance.  I was scrolling through Instagram and saw some interesting double exposure images.  As it happens often with Instagram, one thing led to another, and before long, I was deep into double exposure images.  I love how the images evolve as your eyes see new components.  They are so multi-dimensional and interesting.  I decided to try my hand at a few this week, both in-camera and utilizing Photoshop.  My only rule was that each component of the image created for that day had to have been taken on the same day.  

Week 6: February 1 - 7, 2016

In which I discover an unexpected love of multiple exposures.

In which I discover an unexpected love of multiple exposures.

1. My first attempt at digital in-camera double exposure was with my younger son, while his brother was at a piano lesson.  We took a quick drive over to a local park, where I successfully captured him in silhouette form, and then used the next frame of palm trees to "fill in" the dark portions of the first frame.  I love how this came out.  I received several comments that the image reminded people of an album cover.  
2.  We had a very rainy day, so getting a properly lit silhouette was difficult.  Photoshop saves the day, though the look was more in-camera.  This is a self-portrait and the texture portion is a throw pillow I've always loved.
3.  This one was my first attempt with recreating the trendy surreal double exposures that are all over Instagram.  My poor dog posed for me, you can tell by his expression that he was thrilled - but he's sweet and obedient, and he patiently waited for me to finish.  The foliage is a vine wall in my neighborhood that I have always loved.  In retrospect, I should have worked a bit more on this to extend the vines out a bit, but I didn't think this was bad for a first try.
4.  I ruminated on all of the errors I made with the dog/vine image for most of the day and decided to try again.  A wonderful, obliging friend stopped by in the middle of a torrential downpour to pose for a portrait, and I had taken the image of the branches from my front porch earlier in the day.  I played around for a bit, and decided to colorize the branches for an interesting look.  I am very pleased with how this came out. 
5.  I had an idea of incorporating text from a book with an inanimate object.  These beautiful silk orchids seemed like the perfect fit - the result is very subtle, you really have to squint to see the text.  However, I am still quite pleased with how this image turned out - I photographed the orchids on a green screen, and was successful in isolating the flowers to make them look like they were floating.  It's a very dreamy image, and I love it.
6.  A dear friend's daughter was getting ready for her annual Father-Daughter dance, so I popped by to take a few photos of her.  We got some lovely images, but I really wanted to incorporate something special about the event with a portrait of her.  Her father gave her lovely pink roses for the occasion, so I simply combined an image of her with the roses.  I adore this image. 
7.  I wanted to do one more in-camera double exposure, and took the opportunity to do that with one of my sisters, who was visiting today.  We happened to be at the beach, so I grabbed a few images of her in silhouette and near-silhouette, which I then overlayed with an image of the beach and ocean.  It reminds me of something from the 70s, pretty gorgeous!

Takeways:
As with last week, I found that having a theme worked quite well.  Not only was I able to try something new, I was able to take the time to work on new skills.  Who knows if I would have tried the Photoshop version if double exposure was just a one time thing?  And if I had, I doubt I would try it again several more times.  Having themes helps me to think even more creatively - not only do I need to come up with a concept to photograph, I need to do it for seven days and do it in a way to keep everything fresh and interesting.  

That said, I have no theme identified for Week 7 yet.  It might end up being a wing-it kind of week, but we shall see.

Until next week!

Project 365(6) Week 5 Wrap Up: January 25 - 31, 2016

It's hard to believe we have completed 31 days in the new year, and even harder to believe I actually managed to stick to my goal of posting one picture every day.  It is one of those rare times I've actually stuck with a goal.  

This week, I took a different approach to my Project 365(6) by giving myself a challenge to expand my macro skills.  In other words, the goal this week was to take extreme close up images of small items.  It's actually quite a bit trickier than it looks, and I learned some interesting things and definitely sharpened a few skills along the way.

Week 5: January 25 - 31, 2016

In which I learn that I love macro photography.  And that practice makes perfect.

In which I learn that I love macro photography.  And that practice makes perfect.

1. This image is what started my challenge.  I had not set out with a goal for the week, just to continue finding the most interesting part of the day and recording it.  While waiting for my son to finish his piano lesson, I noticed this plant outside of the studio and thought the flower was lovely.  I happened to have my macro lens (105mm) on my camera, so I took this image. My focus was on one of the flowers itself, which put everything else out of focus - depth of field tends to be quite shallow with macro work.  In retrospect, I should have closed down the aperture a bit more to sharpen focus, but the light was waning and I did not have my speedlight with me.  Lesson learned.  However, it's still an interesting image and got my brain wondering how else I might be able to use the lens.  Hence, the macro challenge was born.
2.  Pyramid salt on vintage blue milk glass.  Very very tricky to focus properly, even with the salt all on the same plane - there is just too much depth in each of those little pyramids to be able to focus on more than one small point on each.  I tried various apertures, but this one still looked the best.  My favorite part is the reflection of each little pyramid on the blue milk glass.  I used an LED ring on my lens to light this.
3.  We had a lot of wind and rain this day, which brought down lots of little branches from all the oak trees in our development.  I've always admired the little micro plants that grow on these branches, and thought this would be an interesting medium to photograph.  I brought one home and liked the spiny little shrubs the most, so I focused on those.  I purposely kept the depth of field shallow because it really shows off the lines of these little plants and gave the rest of the image a dreamy quality.  I used my LED ring light once again here.
4.  Oh, this image.  There is a story there for sure.  I had seen a photographer share a similar image the week prior, and thought this week would be a great opportunity to attempt replicating the technique.  On day 3 (Wednesday) I spent a good two hours setting up backdrop, getting the water to drip just right, managing focus, getting the lighting to work, etc. and then took over 200 images until I felt I understood what I was doing.  I did get a few lovelies, but the backdrop colors were not my favorite and I still felt that I could improve upon the focus.  So I set everything else up again when I knew I could take the time to do it, fully expecting it to take forever like it had the day before.  Took me 3 minutes.  I was floored!  Not to mention happy :)  The backdrop here is a traditional Turkish scarf called a yemeni, which I describe in further detail below.  This was lit with a bare speedlight.  
5.  This is a detail image of the handmade lace edge of the traditional Turkish yemeni scarf.  The lace is called oya and is traditionally handmade with a small needle or crochet hook and sewn on the scarf.  There are machine-made versions of oya as well, but I have always preferred the handmade versions because they are so unique.  I loved how this image showed how one section could vary from another.  Lit with my LED ring light.
6.  This is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry - a handmade pendant filled with dried flowers and set in resin.  I've always loved it and thought a closeup of its contents would be a wonderful challenge.  I purposely kept the depth of field quite shallow to focus on only the bottom portion of the pendant and let the rest fall off into creamy, dreamyland.  Lit with my LED ring light, you can see a reflection of it on the very bottom top of the pendant.  It bothered me at first, but then I decided it added visual interest and dimension, so I didn't try to do a different image.
7.  The last image of macro week - a reflection of sheet music (actually, it's just scrapbook paper) on the convex side of a spoon.  This is a common type of image in macro photography, and one I wanted to see if I could replicate.  I chose the sheet music look because I felt the leading lines would work beautifully.  I adore this image so much, it's so visually interesting, has some wonderful lines, and the lighting worked out pretty well. I do see a reflection of my LED ring light on the spoon, but again, I felt it provided some depth and visual interest, so I did not let it bother me.  

Takeaways:
Beauty and interest can be found in even the smallest of spaces, you just need to know where to look.  I have a long (and ever expanding) list of subjects I would like to photograph, so another macro week will probably be coming up soon!  

Until next week...

Project 365(6) Week 4 Wrap Up: January 18 - 24, 2016

Last week was a bit of a struggle - it was one of those strange weeks that started off with great plans for organization and efficiency, but the implementation of those plans just never transpired.  It left me feeling lethargic and uninspired.  There were a couple of days where I really felt like I was only going through the motions, and that included my photographs for this project.  That said, I did capture a few gems.
 

Week 4: January 18 - 24, 2016

In which I had to really search to find a worthy image for the day.

In which I had to really search to find a worthy image for the day.

1.  As I have mentioned previously, one of my dogs is in a local production of Camelot.  I volunteer at the theater as a photographer for cast/crew photos and dress rehearsals, but I have never been backstage.  For Monday's dress rehearsal, I got to be in the thick of it - it was so neat to see the other side of things at one of my favorite venues.  This image is from a backstage meeting to change a few things for an upcoming scene.  35mm lens used here.
2.  This production has some incredible costumes.  When I saw this tunic, I had to photograph it.  It is one of a few that an entire team of ladies knit and painted to resemble chain mail.  I cannot even begin to describe the intricacy in the piece.  It really does look like actual armor when on an actor.  I adored the combination of color and texture in the photo.  I chose to use my 105mm macro for this, as I really wanted to capture the detail of the knit.
3.  I had a photo shoot that day for an actor from the same theater (sense a theme here?)  He came by to do a series of head shots, and this is one of my favorite images I just had to edit right away.  I'm very into the high-key look lately, and I have recently discovered that my style of head shots and portraits is similar to that of Peter Hurley.  I was drawn to his work and have been using his tutorials and photographs to fine tune what I had already been doing.  I am always looking for willing subjects for this type of portraiture, and Mark, pictured here, is very confident in front of the camera and game to try various poses.  85mm lens used here.
4.  This is my 6.5 year old son, Nico.  He's a very theatrical kid, and highly amusing.  During the previous day's photo shoot with Mark, he kept lurking and watching from around the corner.  The next morning, he was dressed a bit more nice than typical for school, i.e. not in sweatpants or something super casual.  I asked him to hop in front of the backdrop that was still set up, and he asked me if I was going to do a "fancy" picture of him like I had done for Mark.  As I was setting up the softboxes, he started hamming it up and pretending to be a clothing model, so I had to stop what I was doing and take the picture.  That's why the lighting is a bit off, but I adore his expression, his toothlessness, his face.  It's just so HIM.  Technically imperfect but so perfectly Nico.  Taken with my 85mm.
5.  This was one of those days I was feeling terribly uninspired....a Friday.  I took my older son to his karate class, and when I saw Lexie, I had to take her photo.  I have known her since she was born and adore this kid.  Here, she is sprawled out in one of the viewing rooms, playing Minecraft on my phone.  She was a willing subject to show an example of what the kids do when their siblings are in class.  85 mm used here one again.  
6.  The week would never be complete without a photo of at least one of the doodles.  This is Oscar at the end of the day, upset that it's too cold out to do anything fun.  His face was basically how we were all feeling - while areas north of us were pounded by the snowstorm, we had icy, biting wind and even a few flurries.  It was one of those days where you just wanted to stay warm under blankets, have some soup, and be lazy.  The dogs were pretty much in this state of mind until it was time for Oscar to go to the theater for his few minutes on stage as Horrid.  He perked up quite a bit then!  Taken with my 85 mm.
7.  Another day of hiding inside.  It was still cold out, but sunny....but we were feeling terribly lazy once again.  Even a two hour loss of power did not make us want to leave the house.  This is my 9 year old son, Alex, working on a project I forced him to finish yesterday.  It's not due until Friday, but the week gets so busy that I knew it would be thrown together poorly if we waited.  His project is on Teddy Roosevelt, and we enjoyed researching some facts about him and finding photos for his presentation board.  I'm happy to say the substantive piece is done, and all he has to do is decorate.  Taken covertly with my 105 mm, as this child does not like to be photographed.  

Takeaways
More than anything, I am finding I might have to find new ways in which to challenge myself for this project.  The first few weeks presented many opportunities to take photos of the everyday, which is in and of itself a challenge.  Since my focus is lifestyle photography, I want to continue to make this a priority.  However, I feel like there are a few new things I would like to try.  I am going to try to incorporate those self-challenges, even if it is only one day a week or every other week, to try to push myself a bit more.

Until next week...

Project 365(6) Week 3 Wrap Up: January 11 - 17, 2016

I have started to look forward to writing these wrap up posts.  I like reflecting back on the week by reviewing each photo I posted and recalling what made that moment the one I wanted to share.  

Week 3: January 11 - 17, 2016

In which I discover how to find the extraordinary.  

In which I discover how to find the extraordinary.  

1.  Monday morning came with my phone lighting up with news alerts regarding the passing of David Bowie.  While I typically do not take to social media to react to the deaths of public figures, I was truly saddened by the news and felt the need to express that.  I've long been a fan of David Bowie, and when I was dressing for the day, I thought it appropriate to wear this shirt, which has been a favorite for years.  A self portrait for my Project 366 photo seemed like the thing to do.  Still working on being less awkward with my poses.  Taken with my Nikon D750.
2. One of my dogs is in a local production of Camelot, and Tuesday was his first rehearsal.  I frequently take photos during these rehearsals, I love capturing the actors on stage in the middle of their performances.  This is a scene between Guinevere and Pellinore.  I had my dog's leash in my other hand... Taken with Nikon D750, 35 mm lens.
3.  My favorite photo from the week - a completely stealth capture of my husband.  We were out to dinner with his parents and some visiting friends, and I realized I had not yet taken my photo for the day.  I pulled out my camera and took a few images across the table, and then started to put my camera away.  At the last second, I turned the lens toward my husband, who was sitting to my left, and this was the result.  I love it, and it got incredible reactions by anyone who saw it - but he does not like how he looks in it.  It makes me sad, because all I see is my handsome husband.  Taken with my Nikon D750, 35mm lens.
4.  I made a cute new friend when I stopped by a local boutique...a 10-week-old French bulldog puppy named Lilly.  Such a lovey little ball of energy, sharp puppy teeth, and sooo curious.  She kept jumping up into the lens, I had little nose marks all over it!  I had to share her little face with the world. Taken with my Nikon D750, I think it had my 35 mm lens on it because there was a fair amount of distortion I had to get rid of in post.
5.  It was pouring that morning, and I love the beach when the weather is like that.  I stopped by on my way home from my son's school, parked on the sand (we can drive out on the beach in certain areas,) and just watched for a few minutes.  It was insanely windy and the waves were angry and crashing, but it was just so beautiful.  Funny, the weather cleared up not long after this and turned sunny.  I took this from inside my car with my Nikon D750 and 35 mm lens.  
6.   I had a family/lifestyle/maternity session that day, which took place at my in-laws' home.  The family visiting them has two young boys who are ridiculously adorable and amusing, and they are expecting a baby girl quite soon.  We had a fun time playing around and I was able to get the parents and boys interacting in my in-laws' living room.  I love sessions like these so much more than the standard posed family setups.  They are so much more real, so much more natural.  The mom and I did a few images of her to document her pregnancy, and this was one of my favorite captures.  Taken with my Nikon D750 and 85 mm lens.
7.  We woke up to torrential downpour and dark skies, which was rather perfect for a Sunday morning. I'd been out with girlfriends the night before and loved the opportunity to snuggle in bed and not have to be anywhere.  By the time I finally dragged myself up and out of bed, I found my kids like this.  Evidently, my older son was perfecting his space station in Minecraft - he gave me a tour later, and it is pretty spectacular.  Right after the shutter clicked, said son looked up with a disgusted expression, and then raised the iPad to cover his face so I could not get any more shots.  My younger one did not even glance up through all of this.  Taken with Nikon D750 and 85 mm lens.  Thank goodness for the stellar low light performance of this camera - moments like these do not allow for any external lighting setup.    

Finding the extraordinary
This week really solidified that this exercise helps me to find the extraordinary moments in my ordinary day.  No mater how routine or mundane, there is at least one moment that stands out - and that is worth capturing, preserving, and reflecting upon.  Looking forward to finding the extraordinary this week!

#findtheextraordinary

Project 365(6) Week 2 Wrap Up: January 4 - 10, 2016

Happy Monday to you all!  This wrap up covers week 2 of 2016, encompassing January 4-10.  

After a somewhat uninspired first week, I decided to really make an effort to look for opportunities to photograph every day life in a new way.  In other words, I wanted to stay away from the food images as much as possible, because I felt like that was taking the easy way out.  Because I continued the "no theme" theme, I tried to look for moments that would be the most interesting thing that happened to me that day.  As I work from home and have a pretty typical schedule of wake up early, take kids to school, work, shuttle kids to activities, cook, work out, and fall into bed, it's easy to fall into the mundane and not see one item of note in the day.  Turns out, they are everywhere.

Week 2: January 4 - 10, 2016

In which I learn that my every day life may not be as mundane as I thought.

In which I learn that my every day life may not be as mundane as I thought.

1.  One of my goldendoodles, Oscar, getting some love from an actor at one of our local community theaters.  Oscar will be "playing" the role of Horrid, companion to the knight Pellinore, in an upcoming production of Camelot. I volunteer as a photographer at the theater, and we did cast photos on this day.  Oscar came along for his photo call, and he was a hit - he was showered with attention, and while he seemed to become overwhelmed at times, he still loved it.  Captured with my Nikon D750, I believe I had my 20-35 mm lens on since I'd just done wide angle images of the entire stage.
2.  My younger son, Nico, practicing piano after his karate class one evening (he's still in uniform.)  He just started taking piano lessons - his first class was the day prior.  The instructor likes to challenge her students to do a "practice chain" every January, and Nico was excited to participate.  His 9 year old older brother has been taking lessons for 5 years now, and Nico had never shown an interest until over the holidays.  I'm happy to see him enjoying this new endeavor. Captured with my Niko D750 and 105 mm lens.
3. This is an iPhone photo of the Shave bridge, connecting Talbot Island to Amelia Island.  It crosses over the Intracoastal Waterway, which spills out into the Atlantic Ocean on the right side of the photo.  It was a drizzly, rainy, and somewhat cool day.  My husband was driving me back from a test where I had been sedated, so the rest of my day was spent in a fog...
4. My two goldendoodles, under a built-in corner desk in my kitchen.  The one on the right, Ginger, sleeps under it at night and spends a good amount of time during the day there as well.  Oscar will sometimes chill with her in there - a moment before I got this shot, Ginger had had head on top of Oscar.  It was that image I had been tying to capture, but instead I got the death stare.  Taken with my Nikon D750, 105 mm lens.
5.  I picked up these beans at the market - had never seen them before, they are called Orca Beans.  The black & white color and patterns on the beans were just begging to be photographed, so I thought it might be a nice opportunity to practice with my macro lens.  I love how this came out.  Taken with my Nikon D750 with 105mm lens.
6.  This is where my younger son, Nico, spent the majority of his day - in my and my husband's bed.  He had a high fever, and is thankfully now on the mend.  His father and brother went to a party, and I stayed home with him - we had soup and snuggled, and of course watched The Muppets Treasure Island.  I've never seen the poor kid so miserable and out of it, so I'm glad he was willing to rest and take it easy for once.  He was back to his usual self the next day.  Taken with my Niko D750, 35 mm lens.
7.  My older son, Alex, taking a (forced) reading break from his day of electronics.  He did not get a lot of attention this weekend, one where I had promised him he and I would do something special together, because of how ill his brother was.  He was such a good sport about it and didn't complain.  The way he is sitting and the expression on his face are so "him," and so familiar to me.  I really love this photo.  

What did I learn this week?  My biggest takeaway is solidifying that I really love lifestyle photography and am going to try to work on developing that as much as possible.  I love preserving those little "moments" that may not seem significant at the time.  I may not document milestones, but what I am able to see as a fly on the wall is so much more interesting to me.  Second, and somewhat related to the first point, I realized my days are not as boring and mundane as I thought.  After all, one of my goals in life is to enjoy it and enjoy my time with my family.  Even with the everyday duties and seemingly-endless parenting-related tasks, I find moments that make me smile.  (I also find moments that make me want to tear my hair out, so don't think I'm only seeing the good!)  I think my point is that I don't necessarily need to go on a big trip or throw a lavish party or something along those lines to show my family I love them.  It's in the very day, and capturing those little pieces has reminded me of that.  I am grateful.

Enjoy your week, and please share if you are doing a photo-a-day project in the comments below.  

2016 Project 365(6): Intro and Week 1 Wrap Up

In 2016, I've decided to challenge myself as a photographer.  I have decided to do a Project 365 - or a Project 366 since this is a Leap Year - for 2016.   I do not want to to become too comfortable with my shooting style and would like to build my creativity by trying to see things in a different way.  One may argue that having a consistent style is important for a professional photographer, and I do not disagree.  However, a photographer should always evolve, and I believe this project will help me with that endeavor.  My clients will continue to see the same style from my work, but with some tweaks as I learn new skills.

The premise of  Project 365(6) is simple: Take one photo a day for a full year.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Seems like it would be: I have a camera on me at all times.  If not my DSLR or film camera, I have my iPhone.  However, when I look back over my photos from the last few years, I have not taken at least one per day.  I think that when you are living your daily life, moments that are "photo-worthy" may not always present themselves.  I am often rushing through the hours and trying to get things done, and do not take a moment to appreciate that even the mundane may be worth a photo.  My goal with this Project 365(6) is to change that.  

Many who take on this project will give themselves themes - either weekly or daily.  Others may aim to focus on certain types of photography - landscapes, portraits, even specific types of light.  As I am not much of a planner, I decided to start without a set list.  As the days and weeks go by, I might amend this, depending on how I feel about the images I am capturing and what I would like to learn.  For the time being, each image will be a glimpse into my daily life.  I kind of like this, because I would like to journal or scrapbook, but can never really find the time.  This project will help me look back on 2016 and remember what I experienced, even if it's just a small slice of the pie.  I plan on posting daily to Instagram and will do a weekly wrap up post for the previous week's images with a bit more detail on each here on the blog.  Images will be captured with my Nikon D750 or iPhone.  Please follow along and do share if you are doing any kind of photo a day/photo a week project.  I'd love to follow your project as well.

Here's to a great 2016!

Week 1: January 1-3, 2016

A rather uninspired first few days.

A rather uninspired first few days.

This week was a short one, since the first of the year fell on a Friday.  It was also not my most creative.  

1.  This image was taken with my iPhone of the Spaghetti alla Carbonara I made for dinner.  I had a serious craving for it, had all of the ingredients for this simple dish handy, and was able to drag myself into the kitchen at 5 pm to be able to make it.  I'm lucky I got even one photo.  The day, for me, was spent in my bed.  To put it mildly, the party I attended the night before was one of the rare instances I let my hair down and had *too* much fun.  At 37, I just can't recover like I used to in my 20s, or even 5 years ago... Ah well, lesson learned.  Oh, and eat dinner before going out to a New Year's Eve party.  Another lesson learned: carbonara is the ultimate hangover cure.  
2.  By Saturday, I had recovered enough to spend my day reorganizing and redecorating.  I have a lovely collection of vintage milk glass, and have a stack of plates I'd like to hang on a wall in my former dining room.  I just cannot commit to the layout.  This image is a snippet from one of the layouts I created.  Still haven't hung them.  Taken with Nikon D750.
3.  Another rather boring food picture, but the day was spent on laundry - wash/fold/iron, cleaning up the house, grocery shopping, shuttling kids around, etc.  By the time dinner rolled around, I was beat.  Our typical Sunday night meal will be a cut up roasted chicken, this one was on a bed of lemons, onions, and thyme.  It looked lovely when it came out of the oven, and was really the most worthy event for a photo for the day.  Taken with Niko D750.

I'm hoping that I will find some more interesting opportunities to document this week.  Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and comment on this post if you have a project of your own.  Alerts for new blog posts will be up on Facebook, you can like the page to keep up to date as well.  Until next Monday!

Years in the making...

My recently unearthed old friend...it's time to get reacquainted.

I was bitten by the photography bug when I was about 15 or 16.  My father handed me an old Canon AE-1 that belonged to either my grandfather or uncle and told me to start taking photos.  I loved that camera, it made me feel so professional.  Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!  Looking back at photos from that time, there are many (many!) that were overexposed, some with the most confounding composition, and lots of motion blur.  There was even an incident at the Alhambra palace in Spain, where I evidently did not load the film in the camera correctly, and therefore had no photos of the beautiful space. I had a lot to learn and admit that I still do.  

One thing, however, stands out every time I take that trip down memory lane: the candid shots of people.  No matter how many technical problems those photos had, they always told a story.  Every time I look at them, something inside me awakens.  I remember things, little details that would be long forgotten without the little spark I feel when viewing each picture.  There is one of a bus driver we had during my high school years - he drove one of the school bus routes, but also took me and my classmates on longer hauls, such as a trip to visit universities in Istanbul.  He was as much a part of these little excursions as we were.  This particular image is of him in Assos (on the West coast of Turkey,) where he had taken a busload of families on a weekend tour.  He isn't doing anything special, just crouching on a stoop in the village, having a glass of tea. But the photo is more than that to me: every time I look at it, I remember him, and all of the places he safely delivered us.  How he used to joke with all of the students.  How he used to pretend he was strict, while his mischievous eyes betrayed his amusement with our antics.  I also remember the trip and how insolent I was (at 17!) because I was forced to go with my family even though I did not want to.  I remember the views of the Aegean from the cafe where we all sat to have lunch.  I remember how it was a crisp day in early spring.  I remember I was wearing a scarf around my neck made of silk.  I remember that I had long hair and bangs that I had just dyed red against school regulations.  I remember I was in the aftermath of a breakup that felt so painful to me, I thought the world was gong to end.  And so much more.....

THIS is why I finally decided to take the leap and turn my love of photographing life into a business.  Posed family photos are truly wonderful - I work with some extremely talented photographers once or twice a year to document my own family, and I love the results and display them in my home.  But it's time to step back from perfection, embrace the unglamorous bedhead and the mismatched socks, put away the makeup.  It's time to remember ourselves as we really are, every day, in real life.  

Join me.  Let's capture LIFE as it happens.

Why m.bee?

05 FAVICON BEE BLUE.png

Rather than using my full name, I opted to do a play on my initials: MB. I have a very long name, so I frequently sign correspondence with just those two letters.  Some friends just call me MelB.  The m. is self-explanatory, and the bee portion represents not only the first initial of my last name, but the meaning of my first name, Melissa, which is Greek for honey bee.  The name has roots in ancient Greek mythology, where Melissa was one of the nymphs who cared for the infant Zeus by feeding him, appropriately, honey.  

Bees are also associated with regeneration/resurrection, social organization, hard work, the arts, and were even used in reference to the priestess of ancient Ephesus.  Ephesus is not far from where I grew up in Turkey, and is one of the first places I photographed.  It remains one of my very favorite locations.  

It has long since been a goal of mine to establish a photography business, but has taken quite some time to come to fruition. Using a bee as the logo is a wonderful way to tie in the meaning behind my name, the road it took to get here, and the history of the region in which I grew up.  It is the best symbol I could have chosen.