Thursday, August 28, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 233 - 239)

Thursday, I had a request from an upcoming wedding to do some cool photos using sparklers.  I wanted to make sure I had ballpark camera settings ready, so I borrowed Nick for a quick test drive.  It's hard to remain perfectly still and draw a heart in the air, so it isn't perfect, but it's still fun :)

Friday, I made a big mistake.  I took a 30-min "nap" around 5pm.  And that was it.  I was out for the count until the next morning.  Except for around 1:45 when I woke up, looked at the clock, and thought, "Oh no! my photo!".  This is officially the first "make up" photo I've had to do so far.  Missed it by just under 2 hours!

Saturday was day one of a multi-day wedding I was shooting.  I found out last minute that I wouldn't be second shooting, but actually leading.  I was a little nervous, but it was a TON of fun.  I became good buddies with my second shooter and we've been texting all week about photo stuff.

It also helps that the bride was ridiculously pretty!

Sunday was day two of the wedding.  It started around noon and went until midnight, though I had arranged to leave at 10pm because of work the next morning.  The others weren't so fortunate!  I have a lot of favourites from the day - including one where I had about 3 minutes to get set up for a fireworks shot that I didn't know about.  All that practicing this summer paid off and I JUST made it before they launched them.  I officially chose the sparkler heart as my "daily", but included a few more here for fun.  There's even more on my client page if you're interested.

Monday I broke down (despite my firm affirmations at the beginning of the year that I would not!) and took an iPhone photo as my daily.  I did go home afterwards and pull out my big camera, but the sky had already changed so much on the drive back from my students' that I just kept this one.  I'm only slightly regretting caving.

Tuesday, Nick and I were missing each other as we've been on opposite weddings all weekend (and will be again this weekend) and keeping opposite schedules.  We took a break from work around 8pm and just crashed together catching up internet browsing and watching some Netflix.

Wednesday, Nick got up and made us breakfast to go before we rushed off to work.  It got a bit smokey as we were multitasking, but instead of being concerned it went a little something like this:

Nick:  The house looks cool full of smoke!
Me (coming around the corner to see):  Great, now I'm going to be late for work!  (Goes off to fetch camera).  

Wednesday evening I met up with two friends in New West back-to-back and Nick went out to the valley to do dinner and a movie with his brother.

Tonight I have a bit of teaching (in 5 minutes so I better get off of here), and Nick's stuck in meetings until late.  Later, I shall relax, work on my computer, and ice my poor, poor foot that is thinking about re-fracturing after being on it so much all last weekend.  It must stay in one piece until AFTER this weekend's two-day wedding!  It must!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Day 232 - Summer's End)

It's still August.  It's still Summer.  But it's changing.  The light is disappearing noticeably faster each day.  It's taking on its Autumn-gold tinge too early.  I swear I saw my first red leaf yesterday boldly announcing that school buses will soon be retracing familiar paths and Pumpkin Spice Lattes will be gracing office desks.  

The air seeping into my room at night from the open window has a fresh feel to it.  The muggy nights of feet dangling out from under the covers and sticky legs protesting their separation from the cool leather couch are at an end.  

September is around the corner and some idiots on Facebook (no offence, idiots) are actually counting down the weekends until Christmas.  Human beings are funny creatures.  We love change and eagerly look for signs announcing its arrival, but at the same time we cling to tradition like it's our identity and reminisce over what once was.  The real art, I suppose, is being fully aware and fully alive in the present.  Thus, I continue my 365 project.  Each day looking forward to the future moment when I will freeze the present in a photograph so that I can look back at it with fondness as it becomes my past.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 223 - 231)

I'm not going to lie, it's getting tough to keep up with a photo for every single day.  I still haven't missed or had to make up any, but I'm really glad we're 231 done and only 134 to go!  I love shooting, and I love this project, but boy is it time consuming to think of new ideas and edit/upload these all.  Not to mention it's just "one more thing" on the back of my mind every day.  

Monday, August 11th, it was a really hot summer night.  I wasn't sure what to shoot, so I wandered out on the deck.  I don't know why I feel more comfortable looking for subjects after the sun has set.  Maybe it's because I leave this project until last minute most days so I'm just used to it!  This is the view from the side of our deck looking towards the city centre.  

Tuesday, August 12th, I got smart and threw my camera in my bag to take to work.  I grabbed this on the skytrain coming home from a hospital that I don't usually work out of, but happened to be at for the day.  You would think I would bring my camera with me more often for inspiration, as I always find some when I bother to!

Wednesday, popsicles were on sale.

Nick (coming up to me in the cashier line and peering into the basket):  "You bought THREE boxes?!"
Me:  "Yes, they're 50% off."
Nick:  "50% off?  I'm getting three more!"

Wednesday was also date night - i.e. we didn't work in the evening, and we watched a movie together.  We also made some semblance of a dinner.  Then I promptly fell asleep at 9pm.  I rock at date nights....

Thursday, I set up and tested the flash modifier I had picked up on the way home the previous day.  It's been on my "to buy" list for over a year now.  I finally HAD to get one since I was doing head shots for a client the next night and didn't have access to a studio.  Once I had dismantled our living room, turned it into a makeshift studio, and got the light the way I liked it, I called it a night and instructed Nick to not touch anything.  I'm pretty sure he had to climb over a couch to get into the office that night.

Friday, a friend came over and we chatted for about an hour and a half before getting down to work.  She is teaching a music school this Fall and they required professional head shots for their website.   I was more than happy to help out!  She is absolutely gorgeous:

Saturday, I had so many little things I wanted to do, but I did none of them.  I ate food.  I watched Netflix.  I slept.  I got hit with the BIGGEST migraine of my life.  I was so thankful to still have T-3s in the pantry from when I had my wisdom teeth out the year prior.  Didn't need to take them for the teeth.  Definitely took the maximum dose for the headache!

Sunday, we quickly drove out to a local farm to grab a flat of blueberries.  However, I'm really kind of picky about blueberries.  If they're even the tiniest bit soft, I won't eat them.  Thus, we got a little way-laid running out to the fields to pick our own.  The entire bucket was less than $8.00 and we probably ate at least 1/3rd of a bucket while picking.  Mmmmm....  We're already half done the pail and it's only Tuesday, though :(

Monday night we lounged around and watched t.v. after I finished teaching and Nick wrapped up an edit.  And of course, we worked on our massive haul of popsicles.  I think we... okay, "I", have consumed almost 4 boxes already.  What?  I was home all day on Saturday.  Nick left me alone in the house with them.  It couldn't be helped.  They're real fruit... Don't judge me!

Tuesday, today, I've been home alone all evening.  Nick is out gaming with some guys, and I only had one student due to my other one calling in sick right before her lesson.  I've managed to catch up on my 365 and the blog world.  I've also managed to half clean the fish tank - which I started doing about 1.5 hours ago.  Time to go finish the job I suppose....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 217 - 222)

Tuesday, August 5th, I was looking back through my photos from this project so far and feeling pleased that, as a whole, they really do seem to represent our lives in 2014.  This was always my intent - to have a daily photo journal of the year.  I found a picture of Bacon from back at the beginning of the year and realized that I didn't have one of his replacement - Firefly.  Who doesn't want to document how many fish she goes through in a one-year period, right?!

Wednesday, after work we had dinner with old coworkers and friends of ours and I shot this on the trip home.  I'm enjoying having Wednesdays off in the evenings, but am excited to have my students return come September as well.

Thursday, I just had one piano student and then headed over to set up some head shots for a client.  Nick was my stand-in to get my lighting right while I waited for him to show up.

Friday, I didn't have any piano students so, after work, I edited the head shots from the previous day and then headed over to meet a friend at the Night Market.  We ate weird stuff like BBQ squid and I bought socks because they were only $1 a pair.  (I'm uninteresting and practical light that at any sort of flea market).  Her daughter Haillie came along with us, and was a trooper :)

Saturday, instead of getting to sleep in, I was off to a wedding with Nick.  I wasn't shooting as I was hired to help with logistics and paperwork instead that day, but it was actually a relaxing change!

Sunday, in an ideal world, would have been sleep-catch-up day.  Instead, we both got up for the early church service as Nick had to train a new video camera operator and I was meeting with a friend.  We were supposed to go home and nap after the last service, but instead we ordered pizza and chicken wings, lounged around, and generally felt exhausted.  We also both wrapped up some video and photo projects that we had outstanding.  Next weekend.  I will sleep next weekend.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 215 - 216: Island Adventures)

Last week Nick offhandedly mentioned that the summer camp we both worked at together ages ago asked him to go over and spend a couple days shooting a video for them, and they offered that I could come along as well.  Since Nick works Saturdays and I had used up all my holidays at work until Christmas, that left this past weekend as the only option where we could both go before summer ended as Monday was a statutory holiday.  Thus, we headed over on an impromptu trip to the Island!

We caught the mid-afternoon ferry on Sunday and enjoyed an expensed dinner on the boat and some time in the sun.  Obviously we are incapable of not dragging our laptops around with us everywhere we go ;).

We pulled in just after dinner and said our hello's to people that we still recognized even though it's been over 6 years since I've been there.  It was very odd to be there and have nothing to do.  If anyone has ever been staff at a summer camp before, they'll know what I mean.

After dumping our stuff in our room, we took a trip into the small town nearby and grabbed some snacks.  It was getting dark by the time we returned so we went down to the water and set up a camera.  We sat by the ocean and waited for the last remnants of daylight to dissipate.  We also waited for our "find the North Star" app to be downloaded.  (I don't think that's its actual name).

Since it was out-of-bounds to be on the dock at night (yes, I relished the opportunity to be exempt from the rules), we felt fairly safe leaving our gear there for a while.  We spent some time trying to frame for the North Star to get a full circular motion in the picture and took a test shot:

Once we were satisfied, we trudged back up to the lodge to spend some time in our room hot spotting our computer to watch Netflix.  Nick eventually dozed off, but I forced myself to stay up reading until almost 1:30am so I could get an almost 3-hour long shot.  Then I set off back to the beach to collect the gear.  It was sooooo dark out.  With the naked eye, it looked almost like this:

But with a 2-minute exposure on the camera, we could bring out colours like this:

I retrieved the gear, and almost fell over on the dock spitting out a word that was not "camp friendly" when a large animal suddenly started to thrash around in the pitch-black water right beside me.  (Apparently they have otters, or sea lions, or something).  Remember, the photo above is what the camera could see.  I could see very little of anything!

The next day, I combined all 85 files into the finished product.  Normally I would have taken 43 four-minute shots, but Nick wanted them shorter so that he could also use them for video, so we compromised at 2 minutes.

This beach, back in 2008, was the location of many moonlit walks, watching Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy on the sand while the tide was out, playing with sparklers and phosphorescence in the water, and maybe even our first real kiss under those trees on the left despite the "6-inch rule" staff have....  It holds a lot of memories, and it was fun to go back and capture it in a timeless way.  

The next day I slept in and met up with Nick around lunch.  I followed him around the camp to various filming locations and discovered some cool areas.

We took off at 6pm to try and catch a ferry home before the last sailing.  Since it was the end of a long weekend, all the reservations were taken, so we just aimed to be a couple hours early.  While we waited, Nick blew up the air mattress in the back of the car for me and I took advantage of the ferry terminal's wifi to write this blog post.  I know it will mean a late night again, but, as usual, it was totally worth it!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 212 - 214: Star Gazing)

Thursday, around 8pm, we packed up the car with some snacks, an air mattress, camera gear, and a computer pre-loaded with a movie to watch.  I took Friday off work, so I knew we could stay out late.  We headed West to drive along the ocean to find a good location to see the stars.  We had a general idea from looking online where we needed to be in order to escape most of the light pollution from the city, but had no specific spot in mind.  We had about an hour of daylight after hitting the coast to explore various private roads, turn-offs, and look-out points.  We found one we were going to settle for, but suddenly saw a dirt road leading off the highway and tried it out as a last-ditch attempt to find something better.  Let me tell you, we scored the best location I have ever seen!  

It lead behind a huge boulder/hillside that blocked all the highway traffic and was remote and bumpy enough that no one came down it at all the entire evening, save one car that immediately turned around when they saw us parked there.  It was a memorial site for a teen that had died in an accident 10 years earlier, and there were solar lanterns and steps carved into a hillside.  We hiked up the steps to find a memorial bench about three feet from a huge drop-off to the ocean.  Nick was fine, but my stomach lurched every time he shifted his weight on the bench as the tripod was just sitting in front of me and was one good knock away from toast - along with over $3,000 in gear attached to it.

The view from sitting on the bench:

After getting VERY frustrated with my camera settings (and myself for not remembering how to do this), I finally got it all hooked up to take a time-lapse.  I waited for the moon to set, turned it on, and was very thankful for the flashlight I brought as I navigated back down the hillside steps to the car.  There was only one way up to the bench, so I knew I could leave my gear there and not worry about it as we were parked at the entrance.  Meanwhile, Nick had flattened the backseats and blown up the air mattress for us.  We climbed in the hatchback and watched a movie for a couple hours.  After the movie was over, I ran back up the hill to retrieve the gear in order to leave.  This is what my camera did in the span of one movie :)

Right as I was packing the last of the stuff into the car, I looked up and saw the Milky Way.  I didn't have much time to play with this as Nick was super tired, but I grabbed a quick shot overhead before jumping in the front seat.  That is the top of the hillside that separated us from the highway.  Our car was parked in almost a little valley of sorts between this hill and the one opposite it with the bench on top overlooking the ocean.

Friday, I had the day off shooting dailies as my star time lapse technically finished at 12:22am of August 1st ;).  But I couldn't resist a quick shot of my man making us breakfast (yes, I know the clock reveals it's actually past noon, but we were out all night!):

Lastly, to bring me FULLY up to date!  Saturday, (aka, today) Nick went off to do a wedding and I have spent the entire glorious day at home working on catching up on editing my personal stuff, blogging, etc.  I can't believe I've been doing this for over 6 hours already.  I'm never falling this behind again!  Here's to lounging around on my bed with the fan blowing in this summer heat, listening to Netflix, and eating whatever I find in the fridge while I get back to doing what I love because I love it and not because it's my job :)  Cheers!

Photography 365 Project: (Day 211: Festival of Lights)

Ever since I moved down to the coast just over 5 years ago, we have had a summer tradition of going to  one night of the Festival of Lights, which is an international fireworks competition held in our city.  We did miss last year due to the craziness, but we're back on track this year again.  Some people that live here don't want to go because of the insane crowds, but we've got a system fully in place now to deal with the 250,000 people that cram onto the beach each night.  

We arrive right after work around 5pm.  We go to one of the Wednesday night competitions as one of us is usually working on the Saturday night ones.  We stake out our territory early with a blanket, and one of us runs to get some food.  Now, this is the mistake most rookies make - a mere blanket is not enough.  People will walk on it.  They will move it.  They will crowd you.  We go and find a nice log which takes care of behind us.  But we still have three open sides.  Not a problem.  We drive into the city, but we park our car about 20 minutes away and pull our bikes out of the back.  Then we use our bikes to form a barricade on two of the remaining open sides.  Now we just have one opening.  We pile our bags and set up a tripod on the last open side.  Gear is hard to walk on, too, and we can watch it best if it's right in front of us.  And tada!  We have a little island of solitude in the midst of the masses :)  Also, biking is the fastest way to get back out when the crowd disperses :)

It's still early.  All those open sandy spots will be gone in another hour:

Within a few minutes, the sky was filled with smoke from the breeze and all clean shots were hopeless.  I grabbed a few more creative ones, and then turned the camera off to enjoy the last 20 minutes leaning up against my husband :)