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!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Midday Light

Do you put your camera away from 10AM-2PM? Lighting too harsh? Many photographers never shoot at midday. It is true that if you are shooting landscapes and grand scenic vistas in full sun, this is not the best time of day to do it. Colors will be washed out, lighting will be harsh, shadows will be strong. Those scenes are best shot early in the morning, or later in the day, when the light is warm, lower and much softer. But you don’t have to put your camera away in the middle of the day, you just need to think about ways to work around the light, and maybe some different subject choices. There’s no such thing as bad light, you just need to look at it in new ways.

“Wherever there is light, one can photograph.” Alfred Stieglitz

Things to try:

Watch for a passing cloud and shoot while it blocks the sun.

Shoot macros, this is a great time to move in close, eliminate the sky and focus on details in areas that have the best light, and you can use a diffuser or even your own body to block the harsh light from your subject. I love to shoot flowers with a diffuser shading the flower only, letting the brighter light fill the background.

Work in the shade. Shoot in the woods, behind buildings, under trees, somewhere out of the sun. You can always use flash if you need to even out unwanted contrast extremes, or reflectors to add light to your subject.

Use the bright sun for backlighting. This is a great time of day for shooting backlit leaves in trees, especially during foliage season!

Look for reflections to shoot in bodies of water, puddles, windows...

An overcast day is great for shooting at midday, the overcast sky works as a giant diffuser, makes colors pop and there will be no harsh shadows anywhere!

All of the following images were shot at midday in the last few weeks: 

So, the next time you find yourself out with your camera at midday, consider trying some of these options to keep making photos. Work with what you have, make that midday light work for you!

Happy Shooting!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Georgia On My Mind

Where do you find photography inspiration? That is a question I am asked often. For me, inspiration is everywhere! Though I love looking at really strong photographs, I also am inspired by artists who work in different mediums.  I have been a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings for years. Her use of color fascinates me, and I love the strong lines and curves in her paintings. These are elements that attract me when choosing subjects to photograph, especially when I shoot flowers. When I found out there was  currently a show of her paintings at the Hyde Museum in Glen's Falls , NY, I knew I'd be making a road trip. I spent last Tuesday afternoon there, and was overwhelmed at the beauty of her paintings. It was a privilege to be in the same room with them, a truly magical and emotional experience for me.

I came home from the exhibit so inspired, I could not wait to make photos! The next morning I was in a dahlia garden at 6:30 AM, thinking about the colors and compositions I had seen in Georgia's paintings. I made 170 photos,  and got some that really expressed how I felt about my visit to the exhibit.

Here are some of the photos, all taken with my Lensbaby Muse:

What inspires you? Start thinking about that and use it to make your work stronger and more personal.

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creating a Slideshow

I made my first slideshow last week and was amazed just how easy it was!  I used Adobe Lightroom 4 to make mine, but there are lots of other software choices you could use to make one. Here are a few tips on getting your photos ready for a slideshow.

First- gather the images you want in the show and create a folder for them. You can choose images with a common theme, photos from a particular time period, season, or event, whatever you want to showcase as a set. I made mine with flower images I'd made over the last year. I sized my images to around 1200px on the long side, and arranged them in a sequence I found pleasing, being sure that the colors, shapes and types of flowers were varied in the sequence. I numbered the photos to be sure the order would be saved.

I made a title slide, and an end slide too.

Next, I needed to choose the music for my show. There are lots of Royalty Free Music sites where you can license and download music for your show. I wanted my slideshow to be between 4-5 minutes long, so that was one of the factors I considered when choosing music to purchase. I also wanted music that went well with the type of images in my show. In this case, the entire show was going to be flower photographs so I wanted music that was soft, and simple in nature.

Once I had the music selected and my images ready to go, I imported them to Lightroom 4. Here's a great tutorial from Adobe on the rest of the process:  Slideshows in Lightroom 4

And here is my finished slideshow on YouTube:  2013 Flowers by Kathleen Clemons

I hope you'll make one too!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Photographing Arctic Sea Smoke

      Temperatures have been -10 to +10 degrees F here on the coast of Maine the last two days.  Though these low temps are bitterly cold, I always look forward to this type of cold snap because it usually means I can photograph Arctic sea smoke. Sea smoke is caused by moisture in the air which is colder than the water temperature below it and it is suspended over the surface of the water like fog. The wind whips the wispy mist across the water and it's absolutely mystical and beautiful. Though I shoot it on the ocean, it can also be seen on ponds, lakes or rivers as long as the air temperature is colder than the water. Current water temps are around 42 degrees here. 

Low, early morning light really shows sea smoke in all it's beauty, so as soon as I heard the forecast I knew I'd be up before sunrise. When it's that cold, skin coverage and lots of layers are a must, I was bundled up from head to toe. My hands always get cold first, so I wore thin wool gloves and added a  second heavy wool fingerless glove/mitten over those to cover my fingers between shots. I always keep some Hot Hands packs in my pocket too. Really cold weather can drain your camera battery pretty quickly too, so I am always sure to bring an extra.

Brett Weston said, "Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic." Though I normally don't believe that's necessarily true, when it's this cold I agree wholeheartedly! This morning I started out shooting from our pier, we still have some of our fishing boats in the water and they made great subjects. As beautiful as the sea smoke is, I think a focal point in the mist makes compositions stronger. I shot some wide angle photos, as well as images with longer focal lengths. I also tried a few with my Infrared converted camera just to see what the infrared effect would look like on the sea smoke.

After a quick warmup, I took a drive to the end of our peninsula and did more shooting. As I was getting back in the car, I spotted a fishing boat emerging from the sea smoke so I grabbed my camera and ran back to the beach. As cold as I was, I was happy I wasn't working on a boat!

 I drove to several other locations around town over the next hour until the sea smoke had dissipated as the sun warmed the air slightly. I was lucky enough to find two scallop boats dragging for scallops and took lots and lots of photos of them too.

The forecast for sunrise tomorrow is -5 degrees, so you know where I'll be!

Happy shooting!