Thursday, September 4, 2014

New and New and New!

I want to tell you about three new things that I am very excited about! The first two are new Lensbaby products.  Last Spring I had the pleasure of beta testing the new Lensbaby Sweet 50 optic and it quickly became my favorite optic! It has the 50mm focal length of the Double Glass optic, combined with the 12 blade adjustable aperture found on the Sweet 35. I have been using it with the Composer Pro lens, and am really enjoying the sharpness and ease of aperture selections. Here are a few image samples:

The other new Lensbaby product I have been having a ball with is the new LM-10 lens for the iPhone. Having a Lensbaby with me all the time is providing so much fun! Here are some photos from my phone:

You can also shoot video with the Lensbaby LM-10, here is my first one:

The last news I want to share is a new online Mentoring program I will be starting in November.  If you want to advance your skills, get feedback on your work, refine your vision, get yourself out of a photography rut or move through a block, this is the perfect place for you.

You will need to have taken my online class for the subject you want to focus on for our month together. For example, if you'll be shooting with a Lenbaby, you need to first learn the basics in my Lensbaby Magic  class. Students who want to focus on Flower Photography will ned to have taken my Capturing the Beauty of Flowers class.

Topics are totally up to the student but can include both shooting and post-processing techniques. I will send a questionnaire before we begin so that I have a clear understanding of what you would like to work on.

The price for 4 weeks is $250 and includes:

~ 8 images critiqued per week via e-mail, phone or video (student choice)

~ unlimited questions answered and support via e-mail.

Contact me for more info.

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's All About the Light

"My first thought is always of light."
                                  ~Galen Rowell

 I got my start in photography shooting sunrises from my front lawn back in 2003. Though my subject and location were limited, they taught me much about the qualities of light and how quickly they change. A gentle hint from Bryan Peterson (I was taking his online Understanding Exposure class) that there were other things to shoot besides sunrises got me off the lawn and where I am today. Here are a couple from that first year:

 As photographers, we need to pay close attention to light- we need to study it's direction, temperature, quality, intensity and how it is affecting our subjects. After all, as photographers we are painting with light.

Sometimes when I am out shooting, it's the light that actually becomes my subject. Great light on a landscape, flower, building, person, anything really, can take my breath away. At those times it's the light that grabs my attention and makes me want to photograph the subject, and often it's nothing I had planned as my subject.

I shot these two images from my deck last week as the sun was going down, really the last bit of light on the bay. I literally ran for my camera both times! Within minutes, the light was gone, but I had my shots.

Here are a few other images where the light is what caught my eye and really became my subject.

Pay close attention to light. Watch as it changes. Study it. See how it can sometimes make a subject glow or stand out, how it really draws your eye. Watch for backlighting, see how side lighting can enhance texture, how soft lighting can flatter, and how light can become your main subject too.

Happy Shooting!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Working It!

Spring is finally coming to the coast of Maine, though very slowly! I'm seeing bits of color, which is wonderful because I have been starving for it! I've photographed the flowers popping up in my yard, but have been feeling like making photos of something beyond daffodils and crocuses. On a trip to the hardware store last week, a woman walked by me with a gorgeous Anemone in her cart which made me head straight to the garden area to see what I could find. I bought a purple Anemone, with one flower in bloom and 4 buds. I kept it inside for 2 days and two of the buds opened quickly. Here's the plant:

Planting season is still at least a month away in my area, but one of the things I love to do is to buy potted plants and photograph them before I put them in my gardens. This gives me the ability to move them to different locations for a variety of lighting and background choices, and I can even shoot them inside when the weather outside doesn't cooperate!  I can also shoot the flowers in various stages from buds to full glory.

Often my students will tell me that they can hear my voice in their head reminding them to "Work It!" when they are out photographing, and that's a good thing because working it works! And one of the easiest ways to work a flower subject is to shoot it with different backgrounds in different places where you have control of the lighting, and I can do that with a potted plant.  Of course I can do this with cut flowers too, but a plant will last longer and I can enjoy it in my garden as well.

Here are some of the photos I made this week, experimenting with different locations in my yard and moving in closer and closer, with different lenses and apertures too:

Here are a few others I've made from potted plants:

Happy Shooting!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Photographers often talk about vision when describing their work, ideas and images, but what does that really mean? For me, vision is about how I see the world, combined with my imagination. I see photos everywhere, whether I have my camera with me or not. I notice light and color and shapes, patterns and lines everywhere I go.  Vision is a continual area of growth,  I welcome new ideas, concepts and techniques along the way. The challenge is translating that vision to the camera, but that's also part of the joy.

One of my recent goals is to photograph more people. I do love making portraits, and have been educating myself about lighting, posing and props. I am gaining more confidence in this type of work, and it's so rewarding when the clients rave about the photos they receive.

A few weeks ago, I saw a child's dress advertised, and immediately, I envisioned that dress on my two little granddaughters, ages one and nearly three. I could just see soft, high key type photos of the girls in the dresses, complete with crowns of flowers.  I ordered the dresses, and did some web searches on making flower crowns, which turned out to be a very simple process. I bought some green wired jute, a bunch of silk flowers and a hot glue gun and made 3 crowns in about an hour. All you need to do is to measure your subject's head, and cut 3 pieces of the jute to that length plus a couple of extra inches for fastening the ends together. I braided the  pieces together and twisted the ends to form a circle. I removed the flowers from their stems and glued them around the jute circle. So quick and easy!

The dresses arrived, the crowns were finished, so it was time to set up for the shoot. I set up my backdrop stand and attached a large piece of mauve colored fabric for the background. Natural lighting was from two large glass doors in my studio, and I had my reflectors ready to add more if needed. I bought real flowers as an extra prop too.

I had a ball photographing the girls, and was so pleased to create the images I envisioned. The photos were just what I had in mind, they matched my vision perfectly. I loved the process, and these photos are also a legacy to my family.

Here's a short video with a few of my favorites from the shoot:

Haylie and Olivia

This morning I found more dresses for a future shoot with the girls,  this time my vision involves a beach, warmth and sand. Stay tuned!

Happy Shooting!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Right Place, Right Time

As a Nature Photographer, I need do quite a bit of planning. I check sunrise times, tide charts and weather forecasts. I need to know when fog or rain is expected, when I can access low tide areas of the beach, when Arctic sea smoke is predicted, when the light with be soft for photographing flowers and how much time I have to race the setting sun to photograph it's beautiful warm light.

But sometimes, what it really takes to make a photograph that makes my heart sing is to be in just the right place at just the right time. That's what happened to me last weekend after a 2 day snowstorm here in Maine. The snow was the soft, fluffy kind with huge flakes that cling beautifully to everything they land on. I have a few favorite places to shoot in my home town, and I was anxious to see them covered with a fresh blanket of snow.

My first stop was a local field with some amazing trees. As I approached the area, I could see that the sky was getting better and better. It was a gorgeous color of blue, with wonderful clouds, a great landscape sky.  I pulled over and I grabbed my camera with my 70-200 f/2.8 lens and started shooting the trees. Light was a little flat, but I loved the color of the sky against the fresh snow.

Suddenly, the clouds parted just enough to flood the field with light, the effect was so beautiful that it literally made me gasp.The tree was glowing and the sky was much more intense. Luckily I was all set up and had my composition so I quickly fired off a few shots.  I could barely breathe, I knew I had gotten my shot, and that's such an amazing feeling. Definitely a Happy Dance moment! Just as quickly as the light came, it was gone.

I moved to a different area of the field and was blessed with another fleeting gift of light, and then it was gone. I did get a few more shots, but the first one remains my favorite image of the day, probably of this whole winter season. Here are a few other photos I made that day:

So, planning is great, we all need to do it, but sometimes being in the right place at the right time is what delivers the shot! If you are not out there with your camera, it's not going to happen. No guarantees that you'll find images that make your heart sing on any given day, but when you do, it's magic!

Happy Shooting,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Time to Shine

I had one of the best weeks of my life last August! My friend Donna Eaton joined me for what became a most memorable week and a tremendous adventure!  The adventure began when I was given the opportunity to participate in photographer Sue Bryce's project about women who are 50+ and Fabulous. (If you have never checked out Sue's work, stop reading now and check her website, she is amazing!) Donna and I flew to Seattle for the shoot and spent our first day exploring the area. We walked the city, made photos, visited Pike Place Market and even took a Duck Boat Tour!

           I had never seen so many cut flowers in one location as there were at
 Pike Place Market! Heavenly!

The morning of Day 2 found me nervous but so excited to be at Sue's studio. I am not usually comfortable being on the subject end of a camera, but Sue and Nikki Closser helped me to relax and the shoot was a blast! Thanks to Kendra Springer and Christine Carbone, my hair and make up never looked better and who knew how much fun false eyelashes could be! I was also lucky enough to share the experience with another fabulous woman, Robin Hill is gorgeous and we had so much fun together!

I was back at Sue's studio for Day 3 and my photo reveal.  Turning around to see 20 printed images of myself all together on Sue's Reveal Wall was a moment I will never forget, a very emotional experience for sure. I saw myself in a new way, and will be forever grateful to Sue for her kindness, grace,  generosity and amazing talent.  She gave me such a gift!

The next day, Donna and I headed to Portland, Oregon. We met our friends and fellow PPSOP instructors Ron Goldman and Chris Hurtt for dinner that night, always great to see Ron and wonderful to meet Chris in person after all these years!

When I found out I would be only a few hours away from my friends at Lensbaby there was no way I was going home without meeting them in person so Day 5 was Lensbaby Day!  We began with a tour of Lensbaby Worldwide Headquarters, and there were flowers throughout the building in my honor! Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Kirsten!  It was so much fun to meet everyone in person and see where my favorite lenses are produced. After lunch we headed for a field trip to Swan's Island Dahlias in Canby, where there are over 40 acres of Dahlias! Imagine my delight! Donna and I had so much fun being with Craig, Kirsten, Keri and Sika and the dahlias were gorgeous! Bright sun and 88 degrees made shooting a little tricky but we managed to diffuse or block the light as needed. I made lots of images that I love, what a day!

Sika filmed a fantastic video of our garden visit, you can see it here:

  Lensbaby Field Trip With Kathleen Clemons

I think you can tell how excited I was! What an honor and opportunity! I loved every minute of that experience and the video is a fantastic keepsake of that day for me.

Lensbaby is also offering a Macro Magic Bundle to celebrate the visit, and you can get 20% off the bundle using my code, macrospecial.

After the Dahlia shoot Keri and Kirsten showed us some of the gorgeous Portland area landscape, and we visited several amazing gorges and had a fabulous dinner outside close to one of the gorges.  So much fun but tough to say goodbye, I definitely want to go back for more fun with them!

For the last day of our adventure, Donna and I drove back to Seattle via the Pacific coastline. I was surprised how much of the coast looked so similar to Maine! One of the things I really wanted to do was to put my toes in the Pacific Ocean, and we found a beautiful beach and did just that! It was a great drive with lots of laugh and fun stops and I only got lost once. ;)

I learned so much on this adventure, pushed myself in ways I never had before and that paid off beyond my wildest dreams. I am deeply grateful to everyone that made this trip so amazing for me.

Special thanks to Donna Eaton for accompanying me and for her support, encouragement and all the laughs!

I'm heading back to Seattle next month for another photo shoot with Sue Bryce, I cannot wait to see what she has in mind for me this time! I am so enjoying this time in my life, wishing you all a time to shine as well!