Monday, May 31, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

People: Rockin' lullabies

My sister and I had fun playing with little Camden tonight for this photo shoot. I had the idea to put him swaddled into one of his Dad's old guitar cases, and it worked out beautifully! Despite how fussy he was being...hence the pacifier.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

People: Secure

While Matt is hanging out in Africa with the lions and the penguins, I'm visiting my sister, who just recently birthed this precious little boy. He'll probably be featured a lot this weekend. :)

People: Glance

I hung out with little Wheeler tonight, my friend Jan's little boy. These boys cheeks are preciously and adorably chubby. His eyes are breathtaking and bore right into my soul.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Theme: the unifying subject or idea of a visual work

Remember when I actually used my blog to write? Hence, "Nama Writes"? Perhaps I should change it to "Nama Shoots", but that might give people the wrong impression of what it is I actually do.

So, here I am. Writing. About what?


May is nearly over, and I'm not going to lie; I'm looking forward to a new month. While I think my people shooting skills have improved, I'm looking forward to a new subject. One that I have more control over and can manipulate easily in a photo. And here's where all of you guys come in.

What should my next theme be for June? I've received great suggestions for subjects and themes and have compiled a list of future/potential themes. Here's what I've collected so far and my thoughts on each ---

  • Self-portraits - I'm not looking forward to this one, and I think since I'm in the process of completing a month's worth of people shots, I'd rather do something non-people related next month. But eventually, I will have a month dedicated entirely to me. Thrilling.
  • Doors & Windows - If you've seen any of my travel photos, you know how much I love shooting doors and, to a lesser extent, windows. Especially brightly colored ones. However, with architectural pictures so recent in my challenge past, perhaps I should space these two out a bit more?
  • Christmas - This one is obviously on hold until December. A whole month of Christmasy photos! I can't wait. On a side note, I LOVE the idea of doing a Fall-themed month. Unfortunately, I live in a city where Fall happens randomly, without warning, and usually not in the months that we commonly think of as "Fall". So that one's really out of the question.
  • Night shots - Yes, a month of nothing but dark, moody shots. This will require a good tripod, which I don't have yet, and probably a time change so that there's more darkness in a day. On hold until the "Fall".
  • Black & White - I love the idea of doing a themed month focused more so on an editing process than the subject. I know others have mentioned textures, but I'm not going to lie. I am not a huge fan of artificial texture overlays. In a world of photoshopped pictures (not that this is a bad thing at all), I think the goal of the photographer should be to make your photos be about the photos themselves, and not about the editing. And in my opinion, adding textures to your photos does exactly this (for the most part - I do occasionally see texturized photos I actually like. They're usually incredibly subtle, however.) The photo becomes all about the fact that there's a "vintage" inspired texture covering the entire photo and not about the artistic nature of the photo itself that, on it's own, is still a great shot. So, in conclusion, no offense to other photographers out there, but I don't think I'll venture more, if at all, into the texture world. But does anybody have any more editing "themes" I could do?
  • Food - This might be a top contender for me for June. Maybe. I'd have to ramp up my cooking so I have a steady supply of subjects. And baking in June in Houston sounds like a terrible idea. Thoughts?
  • Colors? - Recently, I came up with the idea of doing a month based solely on one color, like red, for example. Reds always pop in photos. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which could be an interesting challenge. Is this a crazy idea? What other colors would work well?
And yes, I'm expecting answers and input from all of you. :) Help a sister out! Please feel free to share any and all thoughts about anything. And everything. Even if it's not related. Comment away!

And on an unrelated note, remember that time we went to Scotland? At Christmas? Five months ago?

Well, I finally started going through the pictures recently. I have a lot more time on my hands since Matt has gone off to South Africa. That's right. He's in freaking Africa. And will be for another week and a half. So, here's a taste of the fruits of me being lonely:

I'm about a third of the way through all of our photos. Perhaps I will finish them before Matt returns home? We shall see...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

People: Bursting

This shot is from a session I did this morning with an adorable family. It was great!

Friday, May 21, 2010

People: Strokes

Stormy weather

The other night, just as I arrived home, a huge storm cell began developing right over us.

The clouds were simply amazing.

And I couldn't help but pull out my camera to capture the ever-changing, billowing clouds as they passed overhead.

And the sun was beginning to set.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

People: Trickling time

As several people have showed interest in exactly how I edit my photos, I thought I'd use today to post before and after photos with a basic explanation of how the before became the after.

Here's the photo I took today around 1:30pm today:

I've used this fountain before as a subject and rather like its photographability, so I've been trying (several times now) to capture somebody candidly sitting by the fountain, wasting the day away. Or something. I loved this girl's sitting position and how at ease she looked sitting in the shading of the trees, perhaps listing to the waters flow, reading an article of some kind.

I took several shots, changing up both the angle and the exposure. Ultimately, I liked this angle the best and how it captured the flowing waters of the fountain. I also loved the reflection of the tree in the lower left hand corner. Perfect.

Well, not really. The photo, as you can tell, was under exposed and rather dull looking.

Using Photoshop Elements, I increased the exposure by a little and the brightness. I also upped the contrast just slightly. I then created a sepia layer which entirely toned down the photo to a brown mess, which is why I changed the opacity of this layer to about 65% resulting in a nice brown warmth to the photo and toned down, but not completely missing, color.

But I wasn't finished there.

I used an action to both sharpen and define all of the photo's details, and then blasted it with contrast and saturation. This was the result:

I love the muted green and the details of the water that came out under enhancement. What do you think?

Was this whole explanation too much? Or too little? Or just plain boring?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

People: Blustery

Recently, I downloaded Pioneer Woman's Photoshop actions. And I'm in love. With the hundreds of features on Photoshop, it's quite easy to feel overwhelmed and to spend hours upon hours working on one photo. It's exhausting.

And now, with the click of a (mouse) button, I can add an action layer to my photos and create an effect that would take me hours to figure out! What's even more awesome is that I can see everything Photoshop is doing to create the action, meaning I can play with all of the layers, adjust each one and its opacity, add my own adjustments, etc. Which means that I can now get a better handle on the wonder that is Photoshop.

This action is wonderful, and I'm absolutely in love with it. It desaturates the colors, and then brings out the red tones. I especially love how the blues and greens turn out. I also sharpened this photo to bring out the wonderful details.

Thanks, PW. My photos thank you, too.

P.S. Don't forget about the Nama Sessions! Contact me if you're interested!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

People: Obviously powerful

By popular demand, more of Matt. And his magnificent feet.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

People: Eye correction

More awesome photos of Matt...

Friday, May 14, 2010

People: Pub fare

Love good pub food? Visit Firken & Phoenix on Westheimer. Their fish & chips will deliciously clog your arteries.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

People: Collegiate home

Rice graduation is this Saturday. It's been quite an experience watching the stage go up and all of the long held Rice traditions fall into place.

Today, I caught the colleges practicing their individual processions with flags in tow.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

People: Racked

Last week, Matt asked me if I was "feeling" this month's new theme. I told him I was struggling and not 100% happy with any of my photos yet. His response to fix this problem was to spend the whole month taking "really awesome photos of me."

He does make a good subject, don't you think?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

People: Cry, cry baby; People: Sisters

What's that? I didn't post a photo yesterday?!

It's true. And not only did I not post a photo, but I also did not take any photos yesterday. I blame this new purchase for distracting me...

Seriously, my life is amazingly better with this new machine. Congratulations, Steve Jobs. You've completely sold me on your products.

So, to make up for yesterday, here's another photo. I actually took this last Sunday.

Aren't they adorable? I love the age difference of these two little girls, and even though they have their moments, mostly, they're just the best of friends.

Friday, May 07, 2010

People: Lick of love

Matt turns into a little kid when dogs are around. It's cute.

P.S. Be sure to see my post below! And email me if you're interested!

Practice makes not-as-bad

Shooting people is hard.

(With a camera, of course. Do I need to make that distinction?)

It's been an interesting and difficult week for me, photographically speaking. Here's what I've learned so far:

(1) Strangers think you, the one with the camera that's pointed in their direction, are the strange one. Please step away.

(2) This wouldn't be such a big problem if I had a better lens. Does somebody want to buy me an 18-200mm lens? I'm sure some sort of gift-giving holiday is approaching to make that appropriate.

(3) What I actually want to get comfortable doing (shooting [with a camera!] people) is not being accomplished. Photographing strangers versus people who actually (a) know I'm taking their picture because (b) they want me to are two very different sets of circumstances. I want the experience and practice of the latter much much more.

Conclusion: Place an advert on my blog for willing couples, families, children, babies, yetis , etc.

Yes, you read correctly. I want to shoot you! And you! (With a camera!!) Interested? Here are the deets:

The Nama Sessions

Who? If you fall into the people category, you qualify.

When? Anytime this month, especially, but I'm very willing (and excited) to keep this offer going throughout the summer. I specifically want to photograph you this month, though, to share your beautiful self on my blog (that is, if you're comfortable with that). As far as timing goes, I'm free in the evenings & on the weekends.

Where? Anywhere! Your home, a park, downtown, etc. Whatever works for you. Obviously, it must be in the Houston area. I will be in Utah for a week in June if any old friends up there are interested. Just let me know.

How much? $30 gets you the full session and a CD of all of your edited photos. That's a steal! We can talk prints if you're interested.

Please contact me if this at all interests you or if you have any questions. You can contact me through Facebook or click on my Blogger profile where you will find an email link.

Some of you are interested, right? Right?!?

Seriously, I won't disappoint. Or, at least, I'll try not to. :)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

People: In the shadows

Inspired & Grateful

Life is difficult. We all know this. Everyone has their own set of trials and challenges to face that will bring them personally closer to God and make them stronger and better.

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway"

Have you read The NieNie Dialogues? I find Stephanie and her faith incredibly inspiring. It's often too easy to complain about aspects of your life that, in the long run, don't carry much weight. Stephanie reminds me often of the things that really should matter in my life.

Watch this:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

This message reminded me of Elder Holland's talk "Broken Things to Mend". Read it for more inspiration.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Saturday, May 01, 2010