this is a page for

Category: Ramblings

Bubble Bath Time!

I love doing kitten mini sessions for my families before their new little additions go home. One of my requests this week was “bubbles”. This adorable girl is going home to Calley P. next week :). I also did a video which I have posted at the end.¬†I apologize for the terrible video quality :(. I had to use my cell to record since I need my pro camera to shoot with. If videos of behind the scenes with the kittens in the studio (with camera settings, and whatever “tips” pop into my mind), kitten playtime (random videos in our house), as well as Q&A type of things (cameras, Lykoi, genetics, etc) is something that our followers would like me to try and post more of, then I am willing to get better equipment for videos. I don’t really enjoy being in front of the camera, I prefer being behind it! But I have made many friends because of the Lykoi (as well as my pet photography), so I am willing to stop hiding and start letting you guys meet my nutty self (and to the friends that already know I am a nut, you would get to see more. Hahaha!). We have also welcomed two baby fox into our family (legally…not captured from the wild) and I could share more about them as well…after all I think most of our subscribers love baby animals of all kinds! Let me know what you guys think in the comments below, or a FB comment as to whether you want more videos (better quality too! LOL!), or should I stick to rare videos and lots of photos like normal ;).

Anyway, all the photos below were shot during that video (I didn’t go back and photograph more after clicking off the video). Isn’t she a cutie pie?

Bubble-1 Bubbles-5 Bubbles-4 Bubbles-3 Bubble-2Bubble-6

Two corrections from the video…I switched my ISO to 100…I had accidently set it to 50. I never shoot at ISO 50. The second thing is the reason I tap alternate lights is to get the cats to look where I want. I often turn one light up a bit higher and that helps me to get more dramatic shadows, or to light their face better so that when I add a fairy/glowing light/sunbeam to the image I have the correct lighting on the face…this makes it more realistic ūüôā

The toys used were from Ceylon’s Wand-erland. The backdrops used were from ¬†Lemondrop Stop.

The Magic of Editing

BA-1

Yes, this is a silly blog title! But it really does sum up what editing is for me…magic! Different photographers have different things they hope to achieve in their images. Some want to document the moment exactly as it is (like a new image), others want to create images that bring out an old world romantic¬†feeling in their images. For me, I like things to be happy and playful. I like to surround myself with little things that make me smile….glitter, kittens, rainbows, smiling sushi kitchen towels (yes, they exist), kittens, sunshine, hot pink shirts and of course kittens. So for me photography is my way to capture or create a happy place with some of the things I love. I am happy that it seems I have some fans that enjoy my work (shout out to my fans…You two rock!), but I create for myself first to get away from the stresses, drama and sadness of the “real world”. I am sure there will be some that that see these before and afters, and prefer the before images, and that is cool. Some photographers may look at these and say they aren’t pure since I did so much editing, and that is fine too. But I wouldn’t change it. These are for me. Also sometimes I am bad about wishing for perfect lighting, perfect backgrounds, etc….so for me editing helped me to achieve the things I wished for.

All the images below were shot with my Sony A7rII and either my Canon 85 1.2II or my Zeiss 135 1.8. In these first images I used Chasing Light Action’s new Floral Overlays¬†to add some color to the backgrounds of these images. I am having issues uploading images since WordPress’ new update and had to greatly reduce the size of these images, so I apologize for quality.

BA-3 BA-5 BA-6 BA-22
BA-3

For these other images I didn’t use overlays, just typical editing. They were also taken with either the Canon 85 or Zeiss 135 lenses.¬†BA-2 BA-4 BA-2

These two were taken with the new Sony 24-70 2.8 GM.

BA BA-10

I did a lot of hand edits on these in Photoshop. As always the actions used were mainly from Chasing Light… I am addicted to them all!

The Light Overlays in many of the images were from Paint The Moon. I also used the Greater Than Gatsby Editorial actions.

The collar shown on my Dobie is from Sexy Beast.

Once again I apologize for rambling as well as for the image quality. Feel free to ask any questions! ūüôā

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…

petzval_lens_quarter2_4_1

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.

DSC01857 DSC01859 DSC01860 DSC01861 DSC01862

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!

sooc5 ry3 sooc ry

sooc4 ry1

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…

sooc10 sooc9 sooc8 sooc7 sooc2 sooc1

DSC01317 DSC01347

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.

DSC01574 DSC01581-2

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!

purple

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….

20151210_100957

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!

tree

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”.

Lykoi7

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!

Lykoi6 Lykoi5 Lykoi4

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

Lykoi10

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.

Lykoi3

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

Lykoi8 Lykoi2 Lykoi

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 ūüėČ

SOOC Lykoi

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

Lykoi11