February Challenge: Entry #8… Crazy Love

This will be the final entry in our “Love” challenge. I must admit that I had never expected so much diversity as I have seen in this challenge and I find it all quite fascinating as we branch out in different directions to shoot a theme. I “love” how it has made you think and perhaps shoot something you would have otherwise not considered shooting.

Like Tess, I came up with several ideas for the challenge and the final contenders were the one I am submitting or a still life. I decided on this one as it is a bit different and a shot that I stumbled upon quite by accident.

A friend of mine had asked me to shoot a Sweet 16 Birthday Party for a friend of hers. Well… this is not what I do nor am I a professional. Evidently a friend had seen a couple portraits I had done of my friend’s daughters and requested I shoot the party. Once again I stressed that I have limited experience in this but they still wanted me to do it and would pay me money. YIKES! A paying gig. OK, so that convinced me!

The rest of the story… what I thought would be a simple birthday party turned out to be in a hotel ballroom with 150 guests. Now what have I gotten myself into? So… with the help of a trusted photog friend, I set my camera on manual with some preliminary settings, attached the flash in hopes that the ceiling would be low enough to bounce the light, had plenty of spare batteries and set off to shoot the party… as in, shoot lots of photos as someone may blink, turn away, or who knows what.

It was actually great fun to shoot until it came time for dancing. How do I retain the ambient light yet catch the dancers without totally being blurred? Now this is still a bit of a dilemma to me, so at one point I gave up trying and started shooting the lights on the dance floor and that is how I got this image. When I made CD’s for the family, I used this photo with text for the outside of the CD case. And in my mind, it symbolizes their love for her as she matures into a beautiful young woman.

As with anything in photography, there is a big learning curve and shooting this event was one of them, but when I lost 250 edited photos in Lightroom (culled from over 600), I became a CrAzY woman! I could see them but every photo said it was missing! Quick… call 911! Trusted photog to the rescue! I never did figure out how to retrieve the edited images but was able to get the raw images back and re-edit. So at this point, I assume my hourly wage was perhaps 50¢ an hour. Not good.. but I doubt I am the first or last person to learn the hard way. Photography is a lot of trial and error and a sharing of our shortcomings and learning from our mentors.

Crazy Love (Photo by Lala)

Crazy Love
(Photo by Lala)

February Challenge: Entry #7… Reveal

Tess sends us the next “Love” challenge, so let me share with you what she wrote…

“The first time this love challenge was out, I got something in my mind right away…my dogs, my love. Easy challenge right? Love. As usual I was WRONG. Well I have three huge doggies. I bought some roses, and tried different ways to arrange them with both the flower and at least a dog on a picture but was not satisfied with the result. I tried putting a flower in the mouth of my broad-headed Labrador Hunter (he is the most calm one) but he ended up ripping the beautiful flower. Grrrr!

I gave up the dog idea and tried different subjects from flowers, to mirrors, to sunsets, and to silhouettes but end up frustrated. This is probably the challenge that I had the highest number of pictures and subjects.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I and our three doggies went to San Antonio. When we looked around for places to visit, we stumbled upon the advertisement about “Aphrodite” the goddess of Love exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Arts. This exhibit was all about Aphrodite but they just borrowed the exhibit from the Boston Museum of Arts. I was so excited because this is the ultimate “Love” subject. When we were at the door of the special Aphrodite exhibit, the guard told us “no cameras allowed inside”. What? Oh no! This adds up to another frustration.

One day last week, I was thinking of Self Portrait Photography. Huh? Why not? I went back to the flower idea, bought a cheap red lipstick and nail polish, painted my nails and lips then explored Self Portrait Photography. This is even more difficult. I have gotten into a big trouble. SPP is so difficult due to many factors like uncentered pictures, wrong DOF, unfocused, under or over exposed and so many more. I did not give up, tried different positions and end up with this picture.”

“Do not give up… discover, unearth, explore, and REVEAL.”

Reveal (Photo by Tess)

Reveal
(Photo by Tess)

February Challenge: Entry #6… Romance by the Lake

OK, so I must admit, I was a little afraid to see what Lorraine had sent me when I read her title… “Romance by the Lake”. We all know how Lorraine goes above and beyond to get her shot, so I am thinking… what has she done now?

“This is my story………….. I had several ideas for this challenge but kept coming back to the idea of finding a carving in a tree or a picnic table that expressed or declared love. I looked around at various trees and picnic tables near the lake before I came across this one that I really liked. Besides having the heart carving, it appealed to me for several reasons.

I like the orientation of the picnic table with the background being the lake. It just seemed like a nice romantic spot to spend some time. Maybe even to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It was an overcast day with a threat of rain. The sun kept peeking out as the clouds kept passing in front of it. After multiple attempts, I learned that by using a certain angle I could really use the light to my advantage. I have to pause and wonder how Mike and Rosa’s romance has turned out!”

So here is the picnic table and carving that Lorraine captured.

Romance by the Lake (Photo by Lorraine)

Romance by the Lake
(Photo by Lorraine)

But wait… there is MORE!

“In case you didn’t know or recognize it, I wanted to send you a picture of where MY picnic table is located. You are welcome to sit and rest at
MY picnic table when you visit YOUR tree!

In all respect, I kept my camera off YOUR tree, so Mike shot this! (Ha! Ha!)”

It seems that husband Mike, from the CWPC men’s auxillary is causing a bit of havoc too!

Lorraine's Table by MY Tree (Photo by Crazy Man Mike)

Lorraine’s Table by MY Tree
(Photo by Crazy Man Mike)

Lorraine goes on to say…
“This picnic table just happened to be the best one I found. The best tree at the lake near the best picnic table.
What more could crazy women want????”

February Challenge: Entry #5… Red Rose

Merrie has decided to enter a rose for the challenge.

“When I think of “love”, I think of Valentine’s Day and red roses.
This is a picture I took with my iphone a while back and thought it would be good for the “love challenge”. I call it “red rose”.”

Red Rose (Photo by Merrie)

Red Rose
(Photo by Merrie)

OK… so Merrie gets three for the price of one! I am going to use Merrie’s rose to teach an important lesson.

First things first…  this is a beautiful rose, a beautiful shade of red and I love the way Merrie cropped in close; thereby, showing the layers of petals.  Normally I post the largest size possible on the blog.

But as you can see… there is a problem. There is a problem with the resolution. As the image gets smaller, the quality of the image appears to improve.

And why is that?

Red Rose (Photo by Merrie)

Red Rose
(Photo by Merrie)

The resolution, or sharpness, of a picture is determined by the number of pixels it has. For example, more pixels improves the resolution of a picture, which allows you to make a larger print without reducing visual quality. Keep in mind, however, that the more pixels a picture has, the larger its file size will be and that is why it is important to resize your photos prior to e-mailing.

Poor resolutions will also happen if you crop the original image too much. Always best to crop in camera and only use minimal cropping after the fact to prevent loss of pixels and image quality.

So by making the image smaller, we are able to visually improve the looks of the image. I’m sure if Merrie had taken this photo with her camera as opposed to her cell phone, the larger image would look sharp and worthy of printing. If shooting a low resolution photo, it is fine for quick use, for instance on facebook but cannot be enlarged without losing quality.

Red Rose(Photo by Merrie)

Red Rose
(Photo by Merrie)

I think we should use as high a resolution as possible allowed by our cameras but be aware, the higher the resolution the more information that will be recorded and the more space that will be taken up on your card… the same way that a raw image will take up more card space than a jpeg.

Merrie… I think this is an important learning point and I hope you don’t mind that I point this out using your photo. You can only push an image so far before there is loss of quality. If you are sending a photo to be printed, sometimes you will get the message that the resolution is too low to print, so maybe you could print a 4×6 inch photo but not an 8×10 inch photo or larger. This is what they are talking about.

I didn’t feel it was fair to only print a tiny image of Merrie’s rose and then have her wonder why I did that when other photos are larger on the blog. So now perhaps we can all understand a little better what is happening to our images.  And I appreciate her telling us that the photo was taken with her phone.

I am not a tech guru by any means and if I have spoken incorrectly, I would appreciate any correction, but this is my understanding of the issue.

February Challenge: Entry #4… Endless LOVE

This next photo was submitted by Donna and this is what she says…
“I have recently returned from a Caribbean Cruise that Mom and I attend with our Church Family! While on the cruise I took many pictures (of course)! In spending time together, we shared stories, memories and had great fun!

At dinner one night I knew that when I shot this couple kissing, it was going to be my entry for the February Challenge!”

Here is their story…
This is Henley and Sam. They are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in 2013.
They are seasoned travelers, have lived many interesting places and shared many wonderful stories; however, watching their love was the best.
A very sweet couple, whose love endures the effects of aging (memory loss, dependence, and personality changes)!

Endless Love (Photo by Donna)

Endless Love
(Photo by Donna)

February Challenge: Entry #3… My Favorite Valentine

Grandmothers are special and so are grandchildren, so I thought it would be nice to follow Lily’s entry with Debbie’s entry for the “Love” challenge.

“This is my three year old grandson – Lyndon. He is very active and doesn’t really like having his picture taken so I have to catch him when I can. This picture was taken in our backyard. He was running around the yard and finally stopped with his Valentine pillow in front of our storage building.

I found that with trying to photograph kids, especially ones that don’t want their picture taken, it takes a lot of patience but can be very worthwhile.”

My Valentine (Photo by Debbie)

My Valentine
(Photo by Debbie)

February Challenge: Entry #2… Innocent Kiss

I was thrilled to hear from Lily as it has been a while since she has entered a challenge. Evidently she has been very busy as she has a photography show coming up.

Next Friday on March 1st there is going to be an Opening Art Night at Creative Art Studio in Denton. Lily is the artist of the month, for March,  and will display about 20 of her photos. Congratulations Lily!
To read more about her exhibit please go to:
http://acreativeartstudio.com/pages/events.php

Be sure to check out Lily’s website… Lily’s Photo Art, on the right side of the blog under Favorite Photo Sites.

Now… for the “Love” challenge, Lily has entered a very special photo and this is what she says…   “This is a photo of my twins, my grandchildren, Ben and Kate. I took this last year when they were 3 years old.”

Innocent Kiss (Photo by Lily)

Innocent Kiss
(Photo by Lily)