Monday, November 26, 2012
Let me just start this off by saying, everyone edits their pictures differently and I sure as heck don't think I edit the best. It is just interesting to see how much my editing style has changed. I am really on the "clean" editing bandwagon. I love the look of natural photographs, the ones that look like barely anything has been changed. I am huge on enhancing natural colors and features. For example, I just did a newborn photo shoot and my mantra during the editing process was clean, clean, clean. I wanted her to look like a newborn baby, with pink lips and pink skin. Some people really love the "vintage" look, but I have really fallen for the less is more look.
Now if this was one year ago I would be swearing up and down with my allegiance to the "vintage" look. But as I have come to try many, many different edits I have traveled miles away from it. If I'm being honest, I really don't edit with photoshop anymore. I still seldom use some of my tried and true action sets (like these), but I basically only edit with VSCO film edits.
With all of the above pictures I basically edited them the same. I try to nail the picture in the camera first, so when I edit them I am just running a film edit or two on them that brightens the highlights and darkens the shadows. Then I will give them each a mid-tone boost, and some times I will add a vignette. Then I usually raise the exposure and that's about it. I strive to make them look like an enhanced version of the original but not so it is a drastic change. Since I have started editing this way my process has cut down immensely. It used to take me hours to edit a photo session, I kid you not, and now I am done in about a half an hour. It's amazing, and I really feel like my photographs look a ton better.
Do I love how far my editing has come? Of course! Everyone out there knows how difficult it is to edit pictures in an aesthetically pleasing way. And, it's even more difficult to find a style and a niche that makes your pictures "yours". I finally feel like I am really come into my own with my editing process, and I really hope that is being conveyed through my pictures.
It's that time of year again! Yes, we went a picked a beautiful Norwegian Spruce to accompany us this wonderful Christmas season. We went to our usual spot, the lovely and family owned Kavett Tree Farm. As per usual, I was completely enamored with all of the wonderful antiques spread across the acres of land. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures (besides this old, rusted van how cool) because we tagged our tree and left, it was absolutely freezing outside! I had on earmuffs, gloves, my long winter coat, Uggs (yes, I believe in wearing them when necessary). We couldn't decide between our Norwegian Spruce or a Blue Spruce, but in the end we went for change since we usually always go Blue.
Looking at the picture of our tree makes it look so small, scrawny, and missing half of its needles but it's actually huge! Our living room has two-story ceilings so the sky is the limit when it comes to the height of our tree. This year we kept it pretty modest with a 14-footer. I digress, however, that to me a 14-foot tree is enormous since growing up we could only have 6 to 7-foot trees. Because the tree farm is only a few minutes away the owner cuts it down for us and then delivers it to our house! It's so nice, that's a big reason why I love where we live it has that small town feel. I can't wait to show you our tree in the house, all decorated and lit up!
Monday, November 19, 2012
First and foremost, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot really express to you how kind and thoughtful all of your sweet words were. Let me tell you, in a time of sadness other's thoughtfulness keeps you going. Things are much, much better. Life has presumably gone back to "normal" for us in Monmouth County which feels really good. Of course I don't think all of this devastation and change will really register with me until the summertime comes, and then I'll see how different things are.
About a week after Sandy we had that super snowstorm/nor'easter Athena. Nature, kicking a state while it's down is not so nice. Let me tell you, that storm was a nasty one. We got 13.1 inches of snow! At one point the lights flickered, the power turned off and my heart just sank. It was like being teased, you know? Yet miraculously the power turned back on. Let me just say I don't think I've been so happy in a while.
At this point right now, I can't really watch or read anything about Sandy. It's like putting salt in a wound; it hurts, it brings me pain and far too much sadness. In a way it reminded me of 9/11, watching things on the TV about us and where we live and people we know. It's shocking, earth-shattering- time stands still for a little bit. It helps to know how everyone is doing their part in helping, and let me tell you we will rebuild and be back better then ever.
On a lighter note, we had so much fun playing in the snow. Pete and I made a snowman at his house with a green mohawk, chocolate chip bow tie, and oreos for eyes. I can honestly say I haven't done that in years and it felt so good to be silly for a little bit. *(I know you all like my college sweatpants and burberry rain boots look!) I can also say that I am crazily obsessed with my kitty, she is just so darn cute! I also went to HQ in AC to see Afrojack and that was easily one of the best nights I have had in SO long. It was amazing to just dance and feel music radiate through my bones. It feels good to slowly be getting back into the swing of things.
I really don't know how to say thank you, but I really mean it when I say all of your words mean so much to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Again, it makes me so grateful for this wonderful blogging community.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
I can't help but cry as I write this, but let me just say what a strange week it has been. We just got power back last night, after almost six days of not having it. I am so thankful that our biggest problem was losing power, unlike those who lost everything. Since just regaining power, we have all pretty much been in the dark as what has happened after Sandy. It it the strangest thing watching the President of the United States talk about your state, your home, your area and the damage and ruins it is now in. The only word that describes what I am feeling is strange. Strange in that I have a weird feeling in my stomach, a lump in my throat, and an aching heart. My beloved home state is vastly devastated. I never, in a million years, thought I would be watching the news and reading the paper about where I live. Places that I go to daily, places I have made beautiful memories in, places that are no more. It is so weird to see that being written. So much of our lives here in New Jersey are centered around the shore, and our shoreline is forever changed.
Our county was effected pretty badly as far as power lines go. Our entire county, or 99.8 something percent of it was without power since Monday. All of our stores, gas stations, street lights, traffic lights were out. There has seen been a driving curfew instated because of all of the trees and lines that are scattered throughout the roads. Because of this power outage, gas is becoming increasingly harder to find. I'm just thankful we don't have to worry about finding gas for our generator now, I can live without driving my car. Now, we are rationing gas and have been assigned days that we are allowed to buy gas depending on our license plate number. The grocery stores are without perishables, which makes finding any food near impossible. The lines just to drive into a grocery store go for miles. There are police officers at every gas station that is open, so as to monitor the lines. Most lines are about three hours long, while there is a separate "standing only" line for those filling up cans.
I can only describe where I live as eery. We are so fortunate to have not had the flooding like many towns just ten minutes away had, but being out and seeing no lights and barely any other cars is quite odd. It is scary how ugly people can get in times of need. I have seen fights break out over food in the grocery store as well as cutting lines at a gas station. I think the hardest part of this is all is the feeling of loss and unknown. I have yet to really grasp what has happened here. It feels stagnant almost, life has been on hold. No one can work, no one can get into the city, no one can find gas, no one can drive past 7:00, no one can get to many places- it's confining. Everything I know about our state is basically gone, and where I live is still basically shut down. Isn't that so weird? I see devastation happen all the time, on the news and on TV, but to experience it first hand it really hard to get a handle on. Like I said before though, I am thankful and fortunate that these are my biggest problems.
My favorite beach to go to is Avon-by-the-sea. My favorite place to spend a weekend by the shore is LBI. My favorite place to get ice cream is Hoffman's in Point Pleasant. My favorite bars to go to are in Belmar, Asbury Park, and Point Pleasant. One my favorite memories is in Bayhead/Mantoloking. My favorite learning experience was fishing in Sandy Hook. All of my favorites are gone, these beloved beaches are severely damaged. Avon and Belmar, which are side-by-side, no longer have boardwalks. The sand from the beaches are blocks into the town, while the ocean is still flowing through the streets. Point Pleasant, a wonderful boardwalk with bars, games, candy stores, and many memories is now gone. One part of the pier is completely gone. Bayhead and Mantoloking, which are right next to Point Pleasant and each other were effected pretty severely. Mantoloking is closed indefinitely, and is now unreachable. The ocean met the bay, which created new channels, forever reshaping the coastline and basically disintegrating an entire town. LBI, or Long Beach Island, is basically gone. I have a hard time watching the news about this all because it hurts, but I know LBI was deeply effected by Sandy. Everything we are in the summer, everything we love is so badly damaged.
I didn't mean for this to become about all of the things we no longer have, but it's pretty hard to not feel that way. Like I said, I am thankful and so blessed that I am okay and that I have a house and my family with me because many people weren't as fortunate as I. This has made me realize that everything you know can be gone in an instant. I just want to say, don't take anything for granted- please. I keep thinking to myself how many things I should've seen just one more time, or been to one last time before it would all be different. I am thankful that I have memories and pictures of these beloved places, that will soon be built back up. I think we're all looking forward to the building up, getting back what we lost. It's amazing to see all of the help and volunteers working together to get our shores back. I know that me and much of my friends and family are looking forward to volunteering. Thank you for letting me say my emotions out loud and just know that we're doing okay in this little, but populous state.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Add me to list of people who love fall. I mean, I thoroughly love the fall especially on the east coat. Is it me or is this fall foliage just going on forever? Please, foliage gods keep it coming. I wish the colors, the falling leaves, the crisp autumn air would just last a lifetime. I love watching the summer plants slowly turn brown, while the winter plants suddenly liven up. As per the usual, I found some pretty plants around my backyard that have descended into summer's past. My favorite? That beautifully, gorgeous rust colored plant.
Speaking of fall, my little Gracie has earned the nickname "halloween cat". Realistically her list of nicknames grows everyday, but as soon as people see her they all say the same thing: "oh my gosh, she's a halloween cat!". I am enamored with my little (although not so little, anymore) black-and-copper-eyed kitty.
Monday, October 22, 2012
I took some time to step back from this blog. It became too much, too time consuming- I felt like I was living more in my computer than in my life. So I stopped, and it's been almost two months. The thing is, though, I've missed this. Not at first you see. This little space gave me inspiration, it gave me a reason to pick up my camera, it gave me a place to share my little thoughts and I've missed being able to do that. So I'm back. I'm not sure the direction in which I see myself going here. I have made the decision to have this blog be more about photography and my inspiration than a type of diary.
On that note, I am ashamed to say I've barely picked up my camera. It is a little crazy to me, and also a little bit freeing. I needed some time to get back into it. Then just like that I fell in love with it all over again. I became too obsessed with wanting my work to look different, better, more professional- it took everything out of me. Until I realized, I should never want me or my work to be anything other than myself. Slowly I'm getting back into it. I have been using VSCO film edits in Lightroom 4- talk about amazing. It's completely changed my outlook on everything. I find that photoshop and photoshop actions tend to be too edited and unrealistic, and VSCO edits are completely opposite of that. They are completely understated, absolutely fine tuned, and most of all they make pictures look unbelievably authentic. I'm hooked, I am definitely hooked. These images are just a little look into life lately, all edited with VSCO. I really have no idea what I'm doing yet, I just got Lightroom and VSCO yesterday but I do not mind learning at all.
Monday, September 3, 2012
I grew up with my Mom owning an art studio. I mean, my entire life (up until I was about 16), I spent every day at the studio. I lived, breathed, and ate art. I think I kind of took advantage of it. I knew I could draw and paint, I knew I could use colored pencils and charcoal pencils. Without sounding snobby, I really thought I could do it all. And after a while, art made me sick. I couldn't do it anymore. I hated picking up a pencil and drawing things. So I stopped, just like that. And I moved on, I found other newer things that I loved.
Eventually, I found myself in nursing school just drowning and I didn't know why. I knew it wasn't because of the schoolwork or because I couldn't handle the blood. It was something that I couldn't put my finger on. All I knew is that I was suffocating. So I stopped, just like that. What I thought then was I had made a huge mistake. What the heck was I doing? But in this down time I began finding a love for photography. Soon enough creativity flowed back into my world. And just like that I was breathing.
Here I am today, utterly inspired. I remember being in seventh grade and just obsessed with creating handwritten fonts. I have notebooks filled up with alphabets of different typefaces that I spent days creating and perfecting. I never knew what it was called, or that people even did calligraphy for a living. And now I am completely interested in starting a small paper/design studio. I guess it all stemmed from me doing some designs for my little photography business. Which then turned into me designing cards, save the dates, invitations- I mean I could go on.
I honestly feel like I am going through a renaissance period. What is happening to me, as in doing things that truly make my heart explode, is the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. I can't wait to see where life takes me. I wholeheartedly believe that everything happens for a reason, because if I didn't do one thing I wouldn't have found another thing and I wouldn't be here. I am utterly fulfilled. Today I made a card with gouache, card stock, and some brushes. The calligraphy was inspired by this font. The flower is a mum. And I; I am officially letting my creativity lead the way.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I never quite understood the phrase curiosity killed the cat until I had a little kitty of my own. Ever walk into your kitchen and find a little animal sitting on your counters giving you the excuse me, you're interrupting me face? Ever brush your teeth before bed while your kit watches you from the corner of the counter? Ever bring home groceries and find your little Gracie inside the bag? Ever find your cat sprawled out in your dogs bed, with them in it too? Ever have a kit so fascinated with dirt, she sleeps in plants?
Man, oh man, has this little kitty brought so much happiness into our lives. I mean, we're over the moon. We gush like parents, screaming Oh my gosh, did you see her? See how she jumping around like a bunny? Oh my goodness, she is so smart! She's funny, fiercely independent, and gives intoxicating cuddles. She may or may not have bred us into crazy cat people, I mean really she is just infectious. Oh, the life and times of our little Gracie.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before but my family has an amazing little tradition; we make our own sauce. Once a year in August we buy about 10 bushels of tomatoes, each 60 pounds, and spend one day making our sauce. It's grueling, intense, and some of the hardest work I have ever done. Ever heard of blood, sweat, and tears? Yes, I'm pretty sure that directly covers sauce making.
It is my most cherished family tradition, I live for that one hot, sticky day in August. Our sauce represents family, old traditions being kept alive in a different country. It means not forgetting our roots. It also is just about the best sauce around, and that isn't an exaggeration. I love telling people about our process, showing them the fruits of our labor, having them taste this tradition. This day is coming up on Sunday, and while I am physically preparing myself for the hard work, I am getting excited just typing this out.
Homemade sauce, results in homemade pizza. Which is what went on this Sunday. We usually make about 350 jars of sauce every year, which presumably lasts through the year. Pete has also gotten involved in this tradition, which he absolutely loves (hi, this is me falling even harder for this man). We cooked the pizzas on the barbeque, it was so easy and really delicious. I also took my favorite black and white, ever probably, while Pete was kneading the dough out. The picture was ridiculously underexposed yet I somehow didn't delete it. When I was editing these photographs, that ridiculously-under-exposed-mistake of a photograph quickly became one of my most cherished. Between traditions and my ever growing love of photography, I am infinitely inspired this week.