The explorer in me loves revisiting a location and finding new places to photograph. The changes in the season truly provides a gorgeous back drop, and for this a recent summer mini-session portrait experience it made it more exciting seek out those spots to photograph. My lovely client has quiet sweet beauty about her that she was a breeze to photograph. Her classic beauty reminds me those portraits of my parent's generation.
Last year, I got a chance to experience and film the Mclean Bible Church Fuel Single's community in action as they engaged in thoughtful conversations on the Ocean City boardwalk. This was my first time trying out a rented camera with video capabilities. I was also excited to try out the newly learned filming techniques I acquired from CreativeLive courses. After a number of initial edits, I just didn't feel the video was just right, so I didn't touch editing it for months.
One morning in Fuel I got to hear the presentation and goals for this year's conversations on the beach. They wanted incorporate the creative ways they to reach out to the community that they learned from last year. And I kept thinking the video would be perfect way to communicate and to show what was done lat year. So it spurred me to revisit the video.
Music really sets the tone of a video is the soundtrack, up until then the track I used just didn't fit. After listening to tracks for hours online from The Music Bed a music licensing site, I found a few cinematic songs. I would get more excited each time I replayed these songs over the video to decide what soundtrack to use. I finally kept coming back to this one aptly titled, "The Father's Heart." The music perfectly synched to the progression of the mood of the cuts and in the end it leaves you with a hopeful upbeat mood. When I finally obtained the music and replaced the original soundtrack, I knew it was done.
Most of all this video made me excited for this upcoming beach retreat, and all the simple ways our community can share and engage in thoughtful conversations about the gospel.
Hope you enjoy!
Today's torrential shower made me long for the beautiful day trip I had out to Longwood Gardens, http://longwoodgardens.org, in PA last week. I had heard great things about the Gardens and was excited to see it for myself. Thanks to an offer of other fellow photographers we headed out there on a crisp Monday morning. The grounds and the conservatory are amazingly stunning with flowers, plants and blooms of all colors. It's hard to take it all in and figure out what to photograph because there was so much to choose. We were given limited time in the conservatory with our tripods and so it was important for me to survey what I wanted to photograph. It's like going to a restaurant where you find the dishes you like but want to branch out and try something new. And a constant challenge I try to pose to myself is to look at the flowers differently.
One of the first striking flowers were these 4-5 ft tall "Tower of Jewels" from the Canary Islands. I had never seen them before, with the spikey foliages and tiny blooms nestled in between them. I wanted to photograph them with the back lighting to show the fuzziness of the curled up leaves.
In the photography, there's a term called "chimping" which refers to the sound that people make when they review their images from the back of their cameras. I was chimping even before I picked up my camera. And I must give it to the planners of the gardens on their excellent use of color. The sunny yellow calla lily among the walkway of blue hydrangeas immediately caught my eyes.
An increasing favorite flower of mine is the ranunculus, and carpeting the aisle are these delightful hot pink Asian Buttercup varieties. I wanted to show the pillowly layers of the petals.
In the kids garden there were small fairy irises along the paths. Even though we were inside the slightest breeze through the conservatory gave this image the nice dreamy blurred effect.
I was really surprised how much I am beginning to like cactuses as plants. They have such defined and strong patterns to them that I am attracted to them.
The agave plants dusty pale green color contrasted by their pointed barbs.
Photographing in bright daylight is always a challenge, but I enjoy trying to see how to use the strong contrasting light in my compositions. This was one of my favorites how the light sculpts it's pattern on the leaves.
As well because of the light you can see how on a cactus the little water droplet is the focus of this image and how important water is to these cactuses.
Speaking of water, the fountains in the conservatory are so soothing and amusing, like this lotus fountain. I love freezing the action of the water sparkles and splashes. I have so many more images from the trip that I may just end this post with this one.
I am so glad that spring is finally here, but this drop in temperature reminded me of a stroll I took with my friend Theresa and her mom. Before this winter she had not seen her mom for three years after she left Egypt. I remember meeting her mom for the first time at Silver Diner one evening, and wanted to photograph them. So one Monday, we met up and walked around Old Town Alexandria. The warm sun was much welcomed given this long harsh winter we've had. I just wanted to casually take their portraits especially with the language barrier, it was really difficult to connect with her mom. She was so tiny and even with the sun, it was still a chilly day. After looking through all my images from that day, I was surprised to notice her wave at me - I got an expression after all! So this was one of my favorites. Next to the smile, a wave is universal.
Usually birds fly south to warmer climates, for these two love birds they flew north to visit their family in Maryland and a decided to sneak in a quick engagement portrait session on their weekend visit. Amy, a sister of my close friend, and her fiancé William met me at the Busboys & Poets cafe in Hyattsville for a pre-session chat to break the ice. Since I found out that they love food, I thought it would be a great venue to take a few snaps in the cafe to represent one of their shared passions.
It's those simple moments like an adoring gazes that I always hope to catch when I photograph an engaged couple.
Or the peck on the check that makes this couple so adorable!
Amy wanting to show her fiancé her alma mater we heading down the street to the campus of the University of Maryland College Park campus. In the center of the campus is a long reflecting fountain, which on this frigid morning was frozen over. This shot was the first one snapped as we got to the fountain really shows the ominous clouds.
It is always a pleasure to have a couple who can be playful with each other. William insisted on this image of them kicking back their legs. For two Florida residents, they were great sports as they were not accustomed to this polar freeze we had experienced.
I love looking that things a little differently, so I took a portrait of the couple from the other side of the fountain. This is long view standing on the fountain as their legs dangled over the water caught them in a sweet moment. I'm sure William was wishing the sun would come out again.
The great part of the campus are the tucked away benches, that provided a nice shelter for the couple to get warmed up in the afternoon sun. And to their delight, the weather did reach the high 40's. This image is certainly of my favorite shots of the day.
Over the Christmas holiday I got to travel back to Texas for my niece's engagement ceremony. The ceremony's symbolism and intention is rooted in honoring the bride's family. It is very similar to wedding tea ceremony in its elements of bringing gifts and serving the teas to the relatives.
The most favorite moment of the ceremony as an auntie was when my sister guided my niece to the families. To me this was the moment I feel that my sister presented her over to the future-in-laws.
Since both families are Christian, the key emphasis is introducing both families, getting their blessing of the engagement and the promise that the families would pray for the couple and their marriage.
I'm so glad that my niece and her fiance were able to honor her parents wishes, and especially have the setting to see both families be introduced to one another. And especially I am so proud how God honoring and prayerful both have been in their courtship and relationship. So happy for them, and look forward to seeing them get married.
Gratitous Product Shots
All spring I have been researching the types of products I want to offer my clients as part of my Portrait Collections. And I have found these gorgeous presentation folio boxes. Keeping with my muted color theme, I choose the satin textured Cafe Au Latte cover with white trim for my 11x14 presentation box. So thrilled how they turned out.
The presentation box pictured here shows an 8x10 print in relation to the 11x14 box. The horizontal print inside of the box and standing vertical are 11x14 prints, which gives you a sense of size of these impressive images.
A ribbon inside the box allows for ease of lifting the images up out of the box without harming the prints. The longevity of the prints are lengthened with this added touch.
Here's a close up of the luscious textured satin Cafe Au Latte fabric.