photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “black and white photography

Black Days are Here Again

It’s been so long since I’ve been into my (almost) daily groove of writing. Usually, I’m in a end-of-year funk that lasts until February, roughly. It doesn’t have anything to do with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because I love rain, snow, the cold, and bleak days. But usually, it begins to creep in just before Thanksgiving and lasts into the New Year and every year I’m just so glad when it’s all over. (I know I’m not alone in how I feel.)

I really thought that I’d be loving my time away from school, but the truth is, I love the pressure cooker! I love the grind and the deadlines and the small goals that I check off to feel like I’m accomplishing stuff. Lately, I’ve barely taken any pics or have done anything significant or worthwhile, and I’ve been extremely depressed. I’ve taken my anger out on Josh and that’s just not o.k. God knows I’ve had/studied enough psychology to know how to fix things, and so I’ve taken out my camera, and have decided to practice my “Photo Therapy”, once again.

Usually, when I’m depressed (which isn’t often), it’s because I’ve been looking through a twisted perspective. Anger or sorrow bends the truth in matters and leaves me with a shattered view of how things truly are. But they’re not really like that. It’s just my damaged filter. And so, I know that I need to change my perspective- both emotionally and literally. First, I like to change up my environment. If the house is semi-trashed; I’ll go on a cleaning spree and do some deep-cleaning and disinfecting, etc. I like things super clean, but I don’t have any problem with allowing things be a bit “lived in” too.

After that, I break out my gear (camera, multiple lenses, etc.) and try to learn something new regarding photography. I’m aching to get back to my roots: black and white; and I’m tempted to put my camera in my monochrome setting and leave it there for an entire year. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for the longest time- but I always back out of it after a few weeks. I always tell myself that I’ll rob myself of hundreds of beautiful colored shots and wimp out. But I know that unless I stick to it, I’m never going to grow as a black and white photographer! So, I’m going to do my very best to do just that: throw my camera into monochrome- and leave it there for a whole year (starting yesterday). Not everybody sees everyday life in black and white (and is able to do that even without a camera), but I’m one of those people who can. Also, when you shoot in black and white, you’re not basing your shot on colour and colour schemes, you’re basing it on tones, lines, textures, and lighting. It changes everything. 

I picked up an old Sigma 21-35 film lens that I’ve been itching to take for a spin. maybe I’ll do that this week. Josh and I had a bit of Pecan Pie moonshine last night and went for a late night trip to the waterfront down at the Ohio River.

Sigma 21-35/handheld/ISO 1600/1/25 sh. sp.

ohioriver

The shot would have been SO much better with a tripod, and perhaps a few shots less of moonshine, alas, for handheld using a a tank of a lens; it’s perhaps not too shabby.

Regarding my health, I’m happy to report that I’m no longer a migraine sufferer. I no longer get migraines- at all. Not even that rare once-a-month one. I’ve just begun to experience the beginning stages of perimenopause (which is a bucket of fun, let me tell you), and I suspect that that too is contributing to my depression, but perhaps it’s contributing to y lack of migraines as well, and that’s a trade I’m willing to make.

No matter what, when I do begin to experience depression, I know what to do to change things. So, today I’ll clean the house and prepare to go on a photoshoot in the rain with my camera’s new rain coat. 🙂 Although I really don’t have much to say, I’m a firm believer in journaling, and even if I’m just farting around and writing about my toenails, I’m still writing; and that helps too.

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My Final Day

And it’s called that because it’s my last day of my bachelor’s (in Psychology) program today, and I’m taking my last final exam in the morning. I can’t believe I’ve made it through! As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be graduating with honours and I’ve finally been fully inducted into the Society of Leadership and Success.

I’m so excited to be getting my life back. Everything feels SO GOOD right now and I’m beyond ecstatic. There’s a certain feeling a woman has after giving birth. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a feeling of indescribable triumph. As if she made it through death itself and escaped with her life.

Well that’s how I feel. 🙂

Anyway, I didn’t want to go on about all of that again. Just had to jot these feelings down while they’re here, because God knows that those dark clouds are just over the hill and they’ll be rolling in soon enough.

But today, it was beautiful. The sun was shining down and there was a golden-grey glow covering everything in sight, despite the cool rain falling down and splashing on me…

Lensbaby Composer/ f/ 5.6-Spring Mill Park
MJ

 


Spring Mill in Black and White

Everything looks better in black and white. 🙂 (I know a few hundred people who’d agree.)

Spring Mill Park- Mitchell, Indiana – a warm day in February, on a day trip with Josh and Brianna- very little editing/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6
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Sailing the Savage Seas of Suck

I don’t remember a crazier time in my life than the past 6 months.

I’ve been dealing with a dying family member, the hospitalization of one of my children, an ongoing legal situation that has drawn on for more than 3 years, and 9 months of freezing cold “Arctic showers”, thanks to a rickety old water heater.

Believe me when I say, those cold showers are no joke. I’m not at liberty to expound on any of the (aforementioned) scenarios- save the water heater- but suffice to say, this year has already damn near killed me.

But, you know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger bitter as hell! 🙂

Just kidding.
(Sort of.)

But really, thankfully, we’ve finally been able to replace the water heater and are at long last taking scalding hot showers once again. The legal situation seems to be coming to an end, my child has made a miraculous recovery, and life seems to be slowly stabilizing once again, making me believe that it just might be doable. What’s made everything particularly challenging is the fact that I’ve battled through all of these things tackling 5 classes as well. The 5 classes alone are enough to take someone down, but combined with everything else, it’s really tested me to the fullest.

As long as I can come through it all with some compassion left in my heart and serenity in my soul- I really can’t ask for more than that. Understandably, I blew an exam in one of my Psych. classes- (unacceptable!)- but still have 4 strong A’s in my remaining 4 classes, so I’ll be working extra hard to repair my grade in my Psychology of Personality course. My GPA is still right at 3.6, but I’m working hard to try and boost that up to a 3.8 before applying to grad. school over the next few weeks.

I’ve been working hard trying to complete all of my requirements (on the side) for the Society of Leadership and Success, and I’m 3 small projects away from being fully inducted. Afterwards, I’ll be able to take advantage of most of the Society’s scholarships. I’m racing against so many deadlines! I’ll be graduating in May, so I’m continually racing against this merciless clock- and the world seems to be spinning so fast. The days are just flying by.

I’m so busy that I haven’t been able to go out on a proper photo shoot, except for the picnic at Spring Mill Park last weekend that Josh and I were able to take with Brianna. She’s been staying with us for the past week and I’ve been so happy to have my little girl back, if even for a few days. Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences is going remarkably well; I can’t believe I have an A in the class still. On that note, I can’t believe I’m still making the Dean’s List so far this semester. I’m almost at the halfway point: I just have to keep hanging in there. I nabbed a shot of a few (mock) soldiers out at the Pioneer Village on Saturday; it would have been better if the modern-day cars weren’t included in the shot, but I don’t have time to clone them out right now. Still, it’s a cool shot. And that super furry dude isn’t Wild Bill Hickok, it’s Josh, with his winter beard that I love.

The last of the snow- taken last week
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Josh, overlooking the Ohio River at a restaurant called “The Overlook”
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View of the Ohio River at the Overlook
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Spring Mill Park/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6- manual- Feb. 20- Pioneers
Pioneers
Note to self: clone out those cars!
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Josh and Brianna on our picnic
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Josh, in the Weaver’s House- Pioneer Village
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One of my favourite pics of Josh ever- love that BG.
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Taking Flight

Taken yesterday. Lensbaby Composer f/4.

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The obligatory selfie/taken yesterday/Lensbaby Composer
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The Fine Art of Outrunning the Law

This is the sunset that almost got me arrested yesterday:

Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI + golden hour lighting

HarvestSun

Josh and I were out driving through the beautiful country of Starlight, Indiana. We’d had a glass of Apple Spice wine from the orchard and were enjoying the sunshine. I glanced over through the trees and saw the sun beaming through and knew I had to get that shot (shown above). I didn’t alter any colours in it: it’s SOOTC (Straight Out Of the Camera). What you see is how it looked in person. It was incredibly beautiful.

So I parked the car a quarter of a mile down on the side of the road, and as I tiptoed through the field (barefooted, naturally), I happened to notice there was a man standing on the road directly to my left. He didn’t speak, he just watched me. If I could count the times strange people just showed up to watch me shoot. Grrr.

I took my cue to go, and as I was going, he said, “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”

That translates to, “I live right down the road and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take a picture of this here field.”

I showed him the shot and let him know I was harmlessly taking a pic, and skidaddled off to our Rodeo Isuzu. Not even 45 seconds later, we passed a cop car going in the direction of where we had just come. Jimbob had called the law.

Thanks, Jimbob.

Not that we were doing anything wrong. But out in redneck country, you’re either going to get shot at, or have to outrun the police like we did. And so began our hurried exit, snaking through every jijagged turn we could make, and flying back to the city. Believe me when I say, photography is not a boring hobby! “Dealing” with the cops is part of the package.

Alas, it was worth it. 🙂

And a few more from the day:

Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI

Harvest

SOOTCtreeoutsideoldWoodsabandonedLensbabyMJ

And last, but not least, my partners in crime!

JandCh


Slamming Coffee at 1:00 a.m.

Life is whirling by way too fast these days!

Josh and I just returned from a late steak dinner (or early, depending on which end of the clock you’re watching) and I probably shouldn’t have had almost 3 cups of coffee this late. I’ve been working at a frenzied pace, finishing up my semester, and taking on side projects as well, for others, mostly. I have to say, life is pretty sweet these days. 🙂

I want to get back to my art, but that too will be on hold for another 6 months or so. I’m salivating at the thought of taking a year off for my art and music before beginning work on my Master’s degree. There just aren’t enough arms on my body or hours in the day.

I’m dabbling with the idea of opening a semi-organic lollipop shop; it’s still just a thought as an embryonic idea, but I could see it growing over the next few years. And then there’s my children’s book. (Sigh.) I really wanted to move that around a bit but I’ve been so busy with school- it’s practically consumed my life for five years.

I think five years in is a good time to take a break, however. After next (spring) semester, I’ll be able to take some down time, relax, and just make art. Josh, being the genius that he is, modified my Lensbaby (as if a Lensbaby needs any more modification) adding a disc-shaped cardboard cutout- replicating a pinhole a bit, causing the edges of the frame to be less exaggerated but heavier on the in-cam blur.

The result is a dreamy, romantic quality to the sides of the frames, such as seen in this river pic from last week:

River

Time for late night cuddles with my baby. ♥
(7:00 a.m. comes way too early.)


It’s Back! Lensbaby Composer

Josh and I are running out the door for an impromptu photoshoot with my Lensbaby. I’ll be bringing back a round of shots later after we hit up an abandoned factory and several old farmhouses. The Lensbaby is an amazing lens that has built-in capabilities to stretch the sides of the frame in a range from slightly skewed and blurred effects to mega-wild stretching.

I’ve been without my Lensbaby for more than a year so this is cause for major celebration (which will probably include a shot or two of blackberry whiskey).

I’m off to go hunting!

Lensbaby Composer f/4- Moses Josh- lost in thought, taken this morning
J


White Noise: The Blistering Silence

And lots and lots of rain. Taken today through my window: Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon (film) 35/2.4
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Pressure Cooker Squared

I’ve got until Sunday to cover 400 pages- midterms. [Insert scream here!]

Midterms (and finals) are always so much freaking pressure! I’m still at a B+ in Behavioral Neuroscience and a strong A in Cognitive Psychology, but any ole way you slice it- midterms are crazy. I find myself using straight up avoidance (which is actually worse than denial, because at least with denial, you’re not always aware that you’re in denial, but with avoidance, it’s sort of like knowing you’re in denial and choosing to do so anyway- and yes, I’m aware that I’m starting to sound like a psychologist!) and so it’s Friday night and I’m down to the wire.

What am I doing? Installing Still Life II. I actually get to be the detective and the abducted person who’s trapped in the psycho serial killer’s booby trap-laden house (think : “Saw”).

Avoidance. Utter, blatant avoidance.

But fun! 🙂

And this is for you, Gav. I know you’ve been down lately, and you’re not feeling much inspired, but I want you to know just how much you inspire me. I have so much respect for you because over the past 8 years or so that I’ve known you (originally from Redbubble) but here too these past few years, you go out – day after day- and shoot nothing but black and white/monochrome. Street scenes, people- life. And, you have a prominent talent with shadows and lighting- which I love. I’ve only shared this with one other person, but I’ve decided to devote an entire year- all of 2015- to solely black and white/monochromatic photography. No colour allowed! For an entire year. it’s going to be great. 🙂 So, while you feel “blah” lately, please know that your work and talent continues to inspire others. This is for you:

Semi-pano/old military factory in my town- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.5 film- FRIGID COLD- love ya, buddy! x p.s. Congratz on your show/exhibition last month!
panoforGav