Thursday, January 31, 2013
Couples who finish each others' sentences or speak in unison warm my heart. When they do it recounting the details of the events leading up to their first date after 10 years of marriage, it is inspiring. For a couple in love, those details don't fade over time. It is possibly because, like most married couples, they are asked to tell it over and over again to new friends, to children, at family get-togethers. It is not so much what is said. It is the way the tale is told. Warm glances and smiles exchanged, leaning into each other just so that the height discrepancies melt away and they are equals. Add into the mix the perfectly natural way they hold hands walking between shooting spots and I was in photography heaven. Congratulations on a decade of marriage, and may you celebrate many more decades to come!
Saturday, January 12, 2013
I am a shade/cloud cover junkie. There. I admitted it. When I go out to a session on overcast days, I rejoice, for there is just enough light filtering in through the grayish skies to give me that perfectly delicious, even lighting that I adore. When the sun is out in all of its glory, I test the strength of the rays with my hand and make a mental note to seek shade ASAP. I work with the conditions I am given, but I don’t fully embrace it like I should.
During my hiatus, I have been resolute in my mission to capture the everyday goings-on of my home, my children, my life. Inside the sanctuary of our house, with the beautiful light pouring in through the windows diffused by the white paper blinds, it is easy to find and use the light. Outside is the battle. I have had something of a phobia of outside light in El Paso. 45 minutes before sunset and about an hour after sunrise, I have no issues. Those are the golden hours, after all, a photographer’s best friend when it comes to achieving delicious golden, diffused light. But when it came to the hours approaching or just beyond noon, I balk. Harsh midday light is a challenge in the best of locations, so photographing in the El Paso desert with the sun beaming off of every reflective surface seemed to me especially daunting. So I avoided it. At zoos and parks, I sought refuge in the dark corners, or took backlit portraits to avoid dreaded hotspots. I did not want blown out skin and harsh shadows, so I shot what I knew.
And then my son decided he wanted to play outside with his aunt on one of her last days visiting us before she had to shuttle off back to school, and I realized we hadn’t taken park photos in a while. So I ended up facing my biggest fear: A playground in the middle of an open field. In El Paso. At noon. The results were unexpected, to say the least.
I realize something now that I suppose I have known all along, but didn’t feel I possessed the proper skills to attest to: The sun is not an enemy to our art. The sun gives us the framework for our craft, and asks nothing in return. It is (arguably) the best lighting system and (factually) the cheapest to use. There is no need to feel anxious about it or hide from it. One just needs to know how to use it. I’m learning more and more everyday about the ways to use different sources of light, and I am glad that I no longer view the sun as an adversary. It’s one hot piece of photo gear (Hardy har har).
**Please note that these are snapshots. They are not edited, not posed, and definitely not great pieces of art. They are merely a means of illustrating the core message of this post: It's not about working in the right light; it's about making the light work for you.
I don't have many words for this day. It was the beginning of January. It snowed. In El Paso. And it stuck around for two days. Beyond those facts, I'm a little speechless.