Saturday, December 20, 2014

Telling Stories

Most of you know me as a flower photographer. I do love making flower portraits, nature subjects make my heart sing. But I also love to photograph people, especially my 7 grandchildren. When Madison, my newest granddaughter arrived in September, I could not wait to photograph her. But I had a new idea that I wanted to try, a story that I wanted to tell. I had offered to help bring her two big sisters to the hospital to meet her for the first time and I wanted to tell that story in a series of photos, not just one portrait. I wanted to record those moments as a slideshow with a group of images. I had certain photos in mind, but with two toddlers I really had to just wing it and just go with them being themselves, which was adorable.

When I got home I processed the photos and converted them to black and white to lessen any color distractions from the hospital room, I wanted to simplify the images in my story. I made my slideshow video with Animoto, which makes it a very simple process and allows me to license music for my shows so that I can share them. I found a song that fit perfectly for the story I was telling.

Here is my video:

So, in this Holiday season, think about the stories you can tell with your photos. Photograph Holiday traditions and parties, family get-togethers, tell a story with a collection of images and create a forever keepsake for your family and friends. I know my family will treasure this video always.

Happy Shooting!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fun with Instagram!

I recently started posting on Instagram and I am having so much fun with it! If you are unfamiliar with Instagram, you can learn more here. I find that it pushes me to take more photos with my iPhone, and since that is the camera I have with me most often, encouragement to use it more can only be a good thing. The emphasis of Instagram is sharing through photos, what a wonderful way to see the world through lots of different eyes! You can choose people to follow, or just explore images uploaded from all over the world. Tapping twice on an image adds a "like" to it so you can let the photographer know that you saw and liked a photo. You can process your images right in the App, the editing feature is very simple to use. You can also add images taken or processed with other Apps, as well as short videos. Here are some of my recent posts:

Some people share images taken with their cameras, I choose to just share my iPhone shots. To push myself to shoot even more with my phone, I am going to start a 365 day project on January 1, 2015. I will post a photo each day for 2015. I figure if I announce it here and invite others to join me, the odds of me sticking with the project are much better! So, who's with me on this project? You don't need to have taken the image that day, just post something daily.  Making Art every day can only be good for your creative soul! You can find and follow me on Instagram as @kathleenclemons, hope to see you there!

Happy Shooting!

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,