July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry #9 Fay/Lala

This will be the next to the last entry for this challenge and I present you with my own portrait.

I found this challenge to be just that… a challenge in so many ways. I made a list of the things that make me who I am. Uh oh… way too many choices so I pare the list down to the quirky things that make me who I am. Still a bit too many but decided I would cram them all in. This was not necessarily the wisest choice but then again, perhaps that too says something about who I am.

I shot my portrait three times and still was not satisfied but said… it will do. Hmmmm… bad attitude. Need to hang around Lorraine more! Wish I had used her lighting set up!

I started with a piece of black foam core for my background. The background color has significance. You see, my dog and I dress in the color black much of the time. Actually my little pug Mollie Sue always wears black and sometimes I will wear an accent color.

The computer key board says so much about where I spend my time in retirement connecting with friends as well as with my photography. The book about the CWPC is in honor of all you crazy women who have kept me laughing in my retirement… a new beginning to my life.

My day begins with toast in one form or another and I do love ginger jam on my toast. And what is life without cheese… especially “stinky” cheese! And then there are the lime-a-ritas… noooooo… not for breakfast!!! The plate and decorative knife represent my vast collection of table top accessories that I am now using in my quest to improve my food photography and styling.

And what was I thinking putting black on black? Much too difficult to shoot but the gorilla mask represents my love for doing surprise “Gorilla-Grams” for birthdays.

The stethoscope represents my 45 years as a critical care nurse and those years definitely made me who I am today in so many ways.

The obituary column and scissors is all about my collection of obituaries that I have gathered over the years. I have 18 books and more to be logged in. Some will bring you to tears, some are funny, and most will teach you about life and what is truly important in life… like cherishing the here and now. And isn’t that what we do as photographers. Living in the moment!
See… it’s all making sense!

And then there is “the hand”. That’s Lucy’s hand! How could I ever do my portrait without including Lucy? For those who do not know, she is my mannequin who I have been taking out to meet and greet people in the Dallas metroplex. She is such a fun companion. Too bad she broke her wrist feeding the ducks and geese at White Rock Lake!

And on her wrist are my two favorite silver bracelets that I wear every day of my life… grapes on one and barbed wire for the other.
The rat in the trap represents my collection of rubber rats. Don’t even ask!
I have no idea why… it just happened. See… I told you I was crazy!

My license plate is at the bottom of the photo. “Lala”… that’s what my grandchildren call me as well as some of you and some of the doctors at the hospital… thanks a lot Tess! Everyone sees me coming down the road in the “lalamobile” sporting a bunch of my favorite bumperstickers. Simply my way of speaking out after 45 years of not doing so in honor and respect to my patients and their families. It was the right thing to do professionally. But please know, I am non-confrontational and believe we all have a vote and we all have the right to believe as we choose… and all I ask is the same respect in return for my respect of you.

Top right corner are Barnum and Mollie Sue, the pugs. What a funny pair they are. Barnum is blind and deaf in his old age. Mollie Sue is my best friend.

And would you believe in the first shot of my portrait, I forgot to include a camera? Pretty dumb of me! So that is my first digital camera, the Canon Rebel which changed my relationship to photography and made it a focal point in my life when I could share photos around the world, get feedback about my photography and meet new friends all at the same time. Powerful!

And next to my camera is a little ringed rock that I carry with me each time I go out to shoot. It was given to me years ago by a photographer friend who said it would bring good luck. Someday, I would like to pass this on to a favorite photographer.

Portrait of Fay/Lala (Photo by Fay)

Portrait of Fay/Lala
(Photo by Fay)


July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry #8 Debbie

Thank you Debbie for your submission to the portrait challenge!

“I have been working on this challenge for awhile. It didn’t appear as I had hoped. It is a little blurry but this was the best out of several shots. When I first told my husband, Gary about this challenge I mentioned that I needed a photo looking down. He looked at me and said “does this involve climbing”? So to say the least, he stood beside me while I was standing on a chair taking this photo. As some of you know, I’m not the most gracefully person in the world.

My photo is a portrait of me with a Texas Rangers cap because I love baseball and the Rangers and try to watch every game on TV during the season and also attend as many as I can. The x-ray marker is for my husband, Gary. He is an x-ray tech and without him in my life I couldn’t do some of the things I love. He is very supportive of me. Next is my Iphone with a picture of three out of five grandsons. I would be totally lost without my Iphone and my grandsons are my whole world. The wine glass is because I love a good glass of wine in the evening after a busy day at work. The coffee cup is because I love red and always need a cup of coffee in the morning and finally but not least is a picture of my 4 year old dachshund, Sienna. She is the sweetest dog and gives me unconditional love.”

Portrait of Debbie (Photo by Debbie)

Portrait of Debbie
(Photo by Debbie)

July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry #7 Lorraine

As you all know by now… I look forward to the adventures of crazy woman Lorraine as she captures her challenge images and she too was thinking out of the box on this one.

Her initial e-mail said:
“I knew this was going to be a difficult challenge for me as I have a very hard time creating still life photos. Trying to figure out what to do and how to do it was often on my mind. I came up with some pretty crazy ideas and realized each time that it probably wouldn’t work. When I was thinking about what was important to me I struggled to find a way to show this. I decided the only way I could do this seemed to be with just using words. I included a couple of items, but for the most part I found it difficult to use items to represent the things that are most important to me.”

So here is the latest:
“O.K…..here is what the crazy woman did to get her photo. (Ha Ha)

I set up a card table in the living room. I then borrowed a backdrop stand from Mike. I placed it behind the table. I took a black fleece throw and hung it from the backdrop stand and let it fall onto and cover the card table. I placed my scrabble board on this black throw. I had Mike help me set up one of his light stands and attach a bright utility light to it. I had this light fairly high and aimed it down at my board. I used my tripod and set it so my camera was aimed down onto the board. I played around with the light, adjusting it to different angles and heights so the light would be brightest in the spot I wanted it to be. I turned off all the other lights in the room. I played around with the framing and different angles of light. I used a remote shutter release to take the photos. I used aperture priority and adjusted my f-stops and played around with my exposure compensation. I took quite a few photos and then put them on the computer and realized I had framing issues and my shots were a little underexposed.
Back up on the step ladder I went. I had better luck the second time around.

When I uploaded the photos to the computer, I noticed a little of the black fleece showing through in a spot towards the front. I increased the contrast just a little to fix this. I cropped it to an 8×10 and purposely framed it so that the board was more in the lower left hand corner.”

Click on the photo to better read Lorraine’s portrait!

A Self Portrait with Words (Photo by Lorraine)

A Self Portrait with Words
(Photo by Lorraine)

“I was at work last night and Mike sent me a text message that said that he had just edited a photo of me taking my self portrait. I quickly texted back….What? When did you do that??? His reply was, he did it while I was “focused” on my self portrait. This helps to show what I did to get this photo.”
The Elusive Photographer (Photo by Mike)

The Elusive Photographer
(Photo by Mike)

With a special thanks to Mike, Lorraine’s husband, for getting this shot of the crazy woman in action!

We interrupt this challenge for a birthday greeting…

OK… so this is embarrassing!

Tessie sent me an e-mail and a silly photo yesterday and pleaded with me to post it today. I thought it to be quite foolish to do so as I do not get any delight out of turning older. After all, I’m the oldest one here but then again the other option is not very appealing either. And then I figured if I did not post it, Tess might try to get even with me and send a glut of huge images to my e-mail thus clogging the works for good!

So it is with humble thanks to Tessie that I post this today.
Perhaps I can start counting backwards rather than forwards!

It’s been a fun year with all you crazies and all I ask is that you keep me laughing! Oh… and don’t forget the Blue Bell ice cream!

Happy Birthday Lala (Photo by Tess)

Happy Birthday Lala
(Photo by Tess)

July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry # 6 Merrie

Uh oh! Merrie has done “a Tess” and sent me a couple photos of her portrait. Doesn’t she know I have difficulty choosing, but I could tell she had some issues getting kitty to hold still, and I chose the photo with three guitars and this was her response.

“Yes, I liked the one with the three guitars better. I don’t know if you can tell, but the background is purple. With the cat, he wouldn’t cooperate and pose for me. I used catnip to entice him but then couldn’t get him to look at me long enough to get the picture.

That is a miniature guitar. I was going to put the other three guitars I have in the picture too, but didn’t have enough of a purple background for that. And, I haven’t had any luck taking indoor pictures with low light. I had to use my flash.

As far as the story for the photo goes, there is not much to it other than, I love classical guitar, both playing and listening to classical guitar music and also have a collection of them. I’m down to six now as I have gotten rid of a few of them due to lack of space.”

Portrait of Merrie (Photo by Merrie)

Portrait of Merrie
(Photo by Merrie)

And then… I find Merrie doing “a Tess” again as she sends me another photo but this one she has cropped vertically and used some software to give it an abstract look.
She said… “I liked this abstract guitar picture so much that I had it put on canvas to hang in my house. Just not sure where to put it.”
Classical Guitars (Photo by Merrie)

Classical Guitars
(Photo by Merrie)

What a cool interpretation of her original photo! When I asked her what she used to do the conversion she said the program she used is called Serif Photo Plus and came with a scanner she had bought. Though I have never used this program… you can download a free one and then upgrade if desired for a price.

Serif Photo Plus:

And here is the free starter download if you want to try it:

July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry #5 rebeKah

So… just last night I got this submission from rebeKah but I will let her tell you about it in her own words…

“I’m so embarrassed and sorry this is late and incomplete but wanting to participate and liking this assignment I’m sending my idea/intentions as is because time has passed and at this point, “is no more” and deadlines should be honored and consequences reaped. I won’t even be able to see what’s posted for another week.

As a Christian I wanted to proclaim Christ and Him crucified because without Him we are nothing and because of His death, burial and resurrection we have everything. On that foundation one of my favorite all time activities is singing and reflecting on the hymns of the faith.

Currently I have pickleball and photography hobbies that have been a source of inspiration/blessing immensely this past year. I’m so grateful to Fay for her leadership and guidance in this creative outlet of CWPC. And I’m thankful for all the members who contribute to making CWPC possible and that is why I want to do my part even in this limited capacity right now.
Another photography group I enjoy participating with is http://www.CaptureDallas.com and recommend it for any photographer.

Of course, a major part of my life, and probably for all the members, is the computer but I do not have the time to adequately expound on that part of my world but I’m certain most of you will understand the inclusion.

I confess my head is spinning on just what/how exactly to detail my portrait. In 2 hours I’m on the road for a week and I’m unable to concentrate and put forth an organized, cohesive script and I’m resigning to that fact and submitting as is my partial portrait in hopes of getting back on track soon.”

Portrait of rebeKah (Photo by rebeKah)

Portrait of rebeKah
(Photo by rebeKah)

July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry #4 Donna

My Still Life Self Portrait 2013

1. The self portrait takes place on the deck in our backyard, our sanctuary!
2. The beach towel because I love the sun, swimming pools and the beach!
3. I love the Texas weather and my motto is “Tank Tops & Flip Flops!”
4. A COACH purse which completes any ensemble.
5. The Iphone should speak for itself!
6. My love of jewelry and Jesus in one.
7. A stethoscope to represent one of the best life decisions, to become a nurse!
8. A travel guide to help me travel around this beautiful world!
9. A nursing book – a found journey through teaching and school.
10. Fresh flowers and gardening them!
11. Sisterchick Book and Glasses- a special group of friends and love for
12. An old photograph book, a fondness for old things and scrapbooking.
13. A camera lens to see new things, make new friends and memories.
14. A music CD, a long term love affair with rock n’ roll!
15. A good cup of coffee!
16. The unconditional LOVE of family!

Portrait of Donna (Photo by Donna)

Portrait of Donna
(Photo by Donna)

July Challenge: A Portrait of You… Entry #3 Linda, “Simply Me”

Linda has taken a very different direction in this challenge and I do believe her love of writing and writing with emotions and deep feelings attached is most evident. I am pleased that this challenge is making you think and perhaps taking meaningful photos that you might not have otherwise taken.

“Determined to submit to this difficult challenge, I devised an elaborate plan to create a collage of everything I am—wife, mother, grandma, gardener, poet, etc., etc., etc., then realized that was just too much.

Question: Who Am I?
Answer: Simply Me, first and foremost my mother’s daughter.

Of all the people I love and who love me in return, she is the one most similar to me. She has been gone for over 19 years and I’ve missed her every minute of every day, so this picture is my homage to Mother, who shaped me into the person I am, although she must have despaired at times.

Of all the things I love to do, I love gardening most of all. It is the one thing I’m finding more and more difficult to do as I grow older. My mother loved gardening and growing beautiful flowers, which she was able to do almost up to the time of her death. When she died, I took this hat off the wall of her enclosed back porch, and I cherish my memories of her wearing it, back bent, hands in the soil, the way I do now.”

Simply Me (Photo by Linda)

Simply Me
(Photo by Linda)

July Challenge… A Portrait of You: Entry #2 Robin

So this entry is from “the other” Robin…

“I quickly conjured a vision of what I wanted to do with this image. I wanted to represent the highest highlights, and the most important people, contributing to me being me. I started with a list of items, struck some, added some, gathered items and arranged them, again struck and added. I wanted to arrange my items to suggest the human form.

I went to Competitive and got a roll of photo background paper, and I was set. Well, not really… I set this shoot up twice and got nothing I would show anyone. I was shooting indoors, which seemed the only choice, but I had problems. First, I wanted to shoot the 50mm prime lens, but on my small format sensor, that’s about a 72mm equivalent telephoto, and I couldn’t get far enough away from the subject. I resolved that by using a zoom which goes down to 18mm. So it won’t be as sharp but it should still be okay.

The larger problem was lighting. I learned I haven’t illumination sufficient for this shot, no umbrellas, soft boxes, diffusers, or even a reflector. I had terrible harsh shadows where I wanted soft hints of shadow. All the while I was using an ISO higher than I prefer. So, I decided on an outdoors shoot, on the patio away from direct sunshine, nice diffused natural light.

Next morning was last Sunday, you know, rainy Sunday. It looks like it’s going to rain until deadline, so I set up a third shoot, arranged my lighting in a fashion to best minimize shadows, and by ‘minimize’, I mean the least harsh I could do with my minimal equipment and skill. I used my built-in flash for the first time. It works! It actually helped diffuse the harshness of shadows. So, I submit, for your critique, a study in how not to shoot this challenge.”

Portrait of Robin (Photo by Robin)

Portrait of Robin
(Photo by Robin)

Happy Birthday Vickie… Entry #1: A Portrait of You!

Before I start to post photos of the July challenge, please wish Vickie a Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Vickie!

Happy Birthday Vickie!

And now let me feature Vickie’s “portrait”!

This is her story:
“The first item that I picked out to include was a picture of my family, as they are the most important people in my life and they are who have shaped who I am today.

I decided on 3 coffee mugs, not only to show that I love coffee but the mugs symbolize three different things…the black one with the saying that “we do not remember days….we remember moments..” is a favorite saying of mine, going back many years. The Mensa mug symbolizes the fact that I consider myself a fairly intelligent woman….I initially qualified for Mensa in the 8th grade and then re-qualified when I took my LSAT Test. The 3rd mug has my first attorney business card on it and was a present from one of my first legal assistants with the address of my first real office!!

I included my passport to indicate my love for travel and my stethoscope to symbolize the fact that I have been a RN since 1977.

The serenity prayer plaque was added after the first session I shot when I realized that something to symbolize my faith was missing and it is my very favorite prayer and I say it every day and on many days…many times!

Had to include my first real camera and a flower of course!!

The other plaque is my favorite Dr. Seuss quote and the older I get, the more meaningful to me it is.

My ipad is included to symbolize that I love technology and it has been my favorite piece of technology for over two years. It also has my rescue dog, Gwen as my screen saver and I like the fact that you can see her and my shadow of taking the picture on the screen.

The last item is a pretty glass perfume bottle to symbolize that I like nice things, what you may have trouble seeing, is that I put my wedding ring on the top of the bottle to symbolize the most important person in my life….my husband.

As I mentioned, this was my second shoot for this challenge…the first was too cluttered and included too much height. I need to pair down and then examine my pictures and then I decided to replace a couple of items.

I shot this outside, on my back patio in the morning sun and since I am leaving for Belize…there will not be a third re-shoot!!”

Portrait of Vickie (Photo by Vickie)

Portrait of Vickie
(Photo by Vickie)

Have a good vacation Vickie, and Happy Birthday!