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Swing Batter Batter…

I love it when a family of one of my kittens suggests a theme and it is my job to find the props and make the idea come to life! This was a quick session done in a hurry to help surprise this little feller’s new dad with a birthday gift!  This is more a gallery posting, then a behind the scenes post like I normally do…but I thought I would post it anyway! My model is a 5 weeks old Lykoi kitten who is just beginning to “wolf out”. That is the joking term we use for when the Lykoi molt their coat and grow that patchy hair back in that is reminiscent of the old werewolf movies.

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For my photography friends, this was shot using two Alien Bees (a B800 and a B400 both with softboxes). I used wood backdrops from Lemondrop Stop. I used clear plexiglass to cover the bottom drop. I purposely left the scuffs on the baseball equipment….so yes, I could have clean the gear up in PS, but chose not to. My camera is now the Sony A7rII. I used the new Sony 24-70/2.8 GM lens at varying focal lengths. The settings were ISO 100, SS 1/200, F/7.1.

Blooper shot….Not suitable for work 😉


Lomography Petzval 85

I want to start this post by stating that this is not a fancy gear review. I simply think this is a very interesting lens and I wanted to share some images and my thoughts during my time I rented it. I was also dealing with a neck injury during the rental time, so I wasn’t able to use it as much as I hoped.

First, isn’t it such a pretty lens? Photo by Lomography…


There is nothing scientific about these images, and yes, I shot handheld. I wanted to use this lens like I do my others with my everyday shooting, or how I would use it when I toss it in my purse on my way out the door to the park. Yes, if I had it longer I would have done more with a tripod as I am not an expert at manual focusing and it has been years since I have shot all manual. Funny side story, when I was a newbie, I read in a forum where several photographers said that anyone who uses auto focus was not a real photographer and had no idea what they were doing. Not having any professional photographer friends at the time to tell me differently, I only used manual focusing for quite some time. Trying to photograph kittens and kids using manual focus is a very interesting challenge to say the least! Anyway, back to the Petzval lens…

These are shots using different aperture plates from f/2.2 to f/16. They have not have noise reduction, sharpening, or any correction for vignette. And yes, a tripod would have been handy…but honestly if you are a pet, wildlife, or child photographer, you model isn’t going to be exactly the same each frame either…well, other then the times I photograph my own fat cat ;). At f/2.2 it is very hard to nail focus even using Sony’s very handy “Focus Assist” feature for manual focusing.

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Now I thought I would post a couple of before and after images that I have edited…since in the real world the finished image and how happy we are with it is really the main goal!

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A few more photos I haven’t had a chance to edit other then basic adjustments, but thought they showed the how the len’s swirl effect depends on the distance from the subject, as well as the distance from the subject to the background…

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And just for fun I wanted to try comparing the Petzval 85 to the Canon 85 1.2 II shooting wide open with a somewhat more calm model. The Petzal 85 is the first image. Both images are unedited.

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So to sum it up, this lens was a lot of fun to use! I have read in other reviews that it is not an “everyday” lens, but part of me feels that is exactly what it is. Would I use this for an entire session with a client? Absolutely not! Would I pull it out at the end of a session for a couple of unique images? Yes! And I bet if your client is the artsy fartsy type, they would love it! I have to admit that I am obsessed with sharpness. I love for my images to be so sharp straight out of my camera that I could cut myself on them…this is definitely not a cracking sharp lens. But I found myself smiling and wanting to keep playing with it. I read recently in a forum where a film photographer said they would switch to digital only when a camera with a soul was created. I laughed. But while using this lens I found myself wanting to coax it to give me exactly what I wanted. It is definitely a lens with character! Keep in mind the images above are not my best work by a long shot! As I said I was dealing with a neck injury and my hands were not as steady as they normally are. I nearly purchased this lens and actually had it in my cart three times….but in the end I decided to go with the Lomography 58mm. I really love my Canon 85 1.2 II, so I decided the 58mm with Bokeh Control would fit my needs (or wants..haha) better. It arrives this afternoon and I am beginning to feel like a creeper from stalking my Fedex guy.

Click HERE to read more about the Lomography Petzval 85. To see more reviews and information about ordering please check with B&H or Lomography. I personally used the Canon mount on my Sony a7R II with a Metabones Adapter.

A final image and thanks for reading my ramblings!


Beauty in Death

Right now it is a pretty ugly time of the year. Everything is dead or dying. The vibrant greens of summer foliage is gone, and all the flowering bushes are dormant. But if you live in an area like mine, stop for a minute. Look around…how many shades of brown do you see? Can you even count them? What about all the yellow and gold tones? The bits of green here and there are a deep rich hue. There is still beauty…you just have to look at things differently!  For a photographer and artist…this is also a time to get creative with editing to bring out some of these shades even more brilliantly. I got asked to share some behind the scenes info about this session, so here we go! Also, I get no benefits for the places that I link. I am simply sharing what things work for me, I am nto advertising for anyone. Let’s start with my two “locations” (they are cell pictures and meant to be informative, not pretty. LOL). The first is just some dead grass around some chopped and left behind firewood….


The second is a large tree that a storm ripped out of the ground and dropped on top of my favorite flowering photo tree (which had to be chopped up and hauled away). But after getting over my original upset, I told my husband that the fallen tree had to stay…after all, it makes a pretty great photo prop! LOL!


I used my Nikon D810 and Sigma 85 1.4 lens. My setting pretty much stayed the same- F/1.4, ISO-64 (which was too low, I should have bumped it up a bit), and SS 1/640. These are all natural light, on a very over cast day (which is my favorite kind of day for photographing!).

I did hand edits on several of these images, but then I did have fun playing around with some different actions since this was meant to be a more creative session. Keep in mind these are not quick fix filters. These are tools! When you run an action, be sure to open the folder, turn off all the options and then slowly turn them back on and adjust to your liking. Check out Nikki Harrison’s Youtube channel for tips on hand edits and using actions. I see actions being marketed as a way to speed up workflow, but often they slow me down simple because I like to go back and forth and paint bits off my subject. Like a painter that enjoys playing with mixing different colored paints. This first is a kind of blooper shot, but made me laugh. I did hand edits and then used an action called  “Romancing The Stone”.


The next images I played with an action called “Anthony & Cleopatra”. I rarely use it…but for the images I do need it for….Wow! Talk about a pop!

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For the following image I used an action called “Amanda” .


I use Chasing Light Actions the most, but I do own quite a few other sets. This one was edited using the Editorial Collection by Greater Than Gatsby.


These were edited using a mix of actions (mainly Chasing Light and Greater Than Gatsby)-

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Notice those last two have sun flares. Those were added in Photoshop. Remember it was a completely overcast day, so I wanted to improvise to show off all those beautiful tones. You can find sunbeams and sun flares on Etsy and many different websites. HERE is a tutorial that is pretty easy to follow for those that are new to this :). It starts around the three minute mark! She also sells a nice set of sun flares.

Okay, so now a before and after of my favorite from this session! The top is the image prior to any editing (other then small adjustments for example to exposure since I should have kicked up my ISO a bit). I shoot in RAW, so my images are very boring SOOC (straight out of camera), and I have to edit them to make them appear as they do to the human eye…or how I imagine the world around me in my head 😉

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Hope that was somehow helpful to someone! Have a lovely weekend!




A Favorite Backdrop

Sometimes I have a backdrop that I have to resist using because it just becomes a favorite! I have already posted this one recently, but since my little model Pharrell the Lykoi was so adorable that I decided to turn it into a post anyway! 🙂

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Settings- Nikon D810 & Sigma 35 1.4 Art Lens. Shutter Speed 1/125, ISO- 100, F/8. The backdrop is sold HERE.