Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaming up with Fairy Dog Parents

You may have seen the NBC Nightly News Making a Difference segment tonight which featured Kingston, MA-based Fairy Dog Parents and founder, Marlo Manning, who raise money for pets who are threatened to be given up by their owners due to financial strain.

I was honored to team up with Fairy Dog Parents this December for a Christmas fundraiser in Boston. Bostonians and their pets enjoyed a fantastic party and lined up to have their photos taken; it was exciting to see the holiday spirit in both the two-legged and four-legged guests.

Featured here are some of the attendees. We hope that you will reach out to Fairy Dog Parents to support them in their efforts to keep pet owners from having to surrender their pets in this tough economic time.

Peace, health and happiness to you all,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The PG: Lightening the Load with LR3

I’ve always felt a like an outsider when people joked about Catholic guilt. What does that exactly mean? No one has ever really explained it to me. Lucky for me, I’ve stumbled upon a brand new flavor of guilt, Photographer’s Guilt (what I call The PG) which is equally elusive to those that have not yet fallen into the black hole of digital photography.

I’m not being competitive here, but I’m going to speculate that that, if tested, The PG could hold its own against Catholic version. And to be fair, I’ll give you a taste. The PG comes in two basic flavors, one of which can be found on a credit card statement, and another, much more sour flavor, comes from the intangible, those endless hours at the computer while children, husband, dogs and friends wait for you to finally complete your editing. Well, here’s a small secret – it never ends, so you can do one of two things: book yourself some therapy or get out that credit card again buy some faster software, for me that would be the new Lightroom3.

It was yesterday at the Boston Lightroom3 Live Tour where I spent the day with host and Photoshop guru, Matt Klowskowski, who guided us through all of the latest and greatest LR3 features. I felt like I already knew Matt from spending so many hours on Kelby Training with him, but seeing him in person was a big treat – he’s a fantastic teacher with a great sense of humor. You, too, can have Matt guide you through Lightroom from his portal Lightroom Killer Tips http://lightroomkillertips.com

So, back to The PG and how LR3 will help you spice things up and, more importantly, shake off some of that weight you are carrying around. Here’s what I heard that convinced me to upgrade:

1. In library mode you can view and move folders on every device, computer & drive all in one panel so you can avoid the can’t-find-your-files question mark.

2. Sharpening is much stronger than LR2

3. Noise reduction is more powerful which is key if you’re pushing your ISO over its limits

4. Watermarking is easy and intuitive (No more mogrifying or going into PS for me)

5. Lens correction tools are much more robust and automated with lens profiles

6. New templates for web and print modules so that you can export to your website, directly to flickr

7. Slideshows an now be exported as video files to share with clients and friends (yahoo)

8. Instantly import images as you shoot them into LR with tethered shooting (Matt’s specialty)

9. Film grain simulation sliders for all of us who miss the look of film

If you’re not using Lightroom yet and want to get started, go to http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/ Also, before you make the purchase, consider becoming a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) to receive discounts on software, dvds, books, Apple products and gear.

Thank you Matt for making the show so much fun – now I know why Scott has you as his right-hand man and thank you to George and Gail Lucozzi of ASA Photographic www.asaphotographic.com for being the ringleaders and motivating me to go.

That’s all for now. I have to pack for the beach or I may be facing The PG in a much bigger way when the people proclaim that I’m no fun anymore.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Inspire Boston 2010

This February, I attended the first Inspire Boston conference thanks to Enna and Matt Grazier, the super-talented and generous Boston wedding photographers, who assembled and launched the first retreat-style conference designed to bring together, refresh and inspire photographers from all over New England. Co-hosting was our beloved Lens Pro To Go www.lensprotogo.com who opened their doors (as always) hosting seminars and a fabulous wrap party the final evening. For two full days we toggled between the Colonial Inn and Lens Pro in seminars, live shoots, mentoring sessions with 90 other local photographers, now friends. I signed up simply to learn a few things and meet some new friends not knowing how special those two days would be.

Eric Laurits presented on personal vision – not his own, but those of others. He could have talked about himself, but he dug deeper by interviewing people from all walks of life and treated us to their truths. He urged us to seek our personal vision by reinterpreting life, by simply embarking without worrying where we’d end up and to strive to reach ourselves instead striving to reach success. As I listened to him speak, I could only think of one word: PURE. That’s him. His message was beautiful and I so thank you Eric for everything that you gave of yourself that day. To see more on Eric, go to www.ericlaurits.com

Matt Grazier put together an adventurous live shoot recruiting a makeup artist, florist, designer and client to model for us. Our model, Holly, was stunning. We all gathered around Matt as he took us through his approach a shoot, seeking the details, angles and light (for him that also means keeping it light). What I love about Matt is that you can just take a deep breath around him. He has a way of putting you at ease while simultaneously making images that will bring you to your knees. And as if I needed to feel luckier, I sat down with Matt for a mentoring session hoping to reboot myself before my busy season started. Thank you Matt for all of your thoughts, ideas, care and pushing up the deadline:) I’m in full-throttle now. Go to Matt & Enna’s world here: http://www.grazierphotography.com

Richard Esposito was teaching and practicing fusion simultaneously. He’s the guy that you wish sat next to you in math or English or history or anything because if anyone knows the answer and is willing to help you find it, it’s him. He’s a guru on fusion and powered out a fun piece highlighting our two days together at Inspire Boston. You can see it and read more about the talented Richard Esposito here: http://www.photographer-re.info/announcements/inspire-boston/ Thank you Richard!

Lastly, I sat in on an album workflow presentation given by Lara & Kate from Studio Nouveau. The duo design uber-custom albums that truly reflect the style of their brides. Their designs are downright gorgeous. They revealed their approach along with interesting design elements that I plan to use this season. Thank you girls for your inspiration. To read more about Studio Nouveau, go to http://www.thestudionouveau.com/

And as if it wasn’t enough to have some of the most talented event photographers guiding us through those two days, Jim Collins, CEO of Pictage made a guest appearance connecting and celebrating with all of us. He not only sponsored the event, but he stayed up late with us swapping stories and encouraging us all to have fun. Yes, he’s a very cool guy – Pictage is lucky to have him as their leader. It was such a treat to meet you Jim!

I couldn’t make it to all of the seminars, but others included a live shoot with Carla Ten Eyke, Off-camera lighting with James Federico and Tony Yu, Color Management with Mark Higgins, Pricing with Anne Ruthmann, Digital Asset Management with Paul McNerney, Lightroom/PS Techniques with Tommy Colbert and Brian Malloy along with Connecting with Clients taught by Melissa Tirado. The learning is never ending. Take a deep breath now.

After those two days, I not only felt inspired, but connected to a very special family of photographers. Thank you Enna & Matt for getting us together, inspiring us and making us feel like we were home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ava's Diva Dance Party

Favorite color? pink
Toy of choice? princesses
Best threads? a dress
And shoes? the sparkly ones

So, what's a mom to do when her daughter is turning three? Easy. Schedule a Diva Dance Party, invite her most favorite girlie girls and prepare to be surrounded in pink, fluff, makeup, dance tunes and mirrors. And so it was. They spun, sparkled and twirled but most importantly, they celebrated as special friends and expressed their girliest selves. And here's how it went........

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nana's Birthday, Always in August

Every year we travel to our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia to celebrate my mom's birthday - we eat, drink, play and just do our thing. I kept my camera close, maybe too close. And this Christmas Eve, we watched our slideshow together for the first time: arms locked and tears dripping.

Oh and it's long and full of John Denver who bounced off our walls before we could walk. So, please watch with a full glass of wine.

Abrazos fuertes, Elena

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Promises, Promises

Sometimes, I’ll do just about anything to quell a crying child. And this fall between the hours of 6:30 and 6:45pm, while on the phone with my weeping girls, I promised to take them apple picking, to make a pie, that I’d arrive home in five minutes with an ice cream cake and then read four books each at bedtime. This phenomenon is very similar to the spewing that someone does just before they are about to get shot in the movies.

And later in the week, while doing a Farewell to Boston shoot with the Novack Family, I saw a pattern as I told little Henry that a purple butterfly would come out of my lens, to get on the big duck sculpture before he waddled away…. I stopped myself just before I promised that he would be accepted to Harvard if he gave me one last smile.

I made some mental notes: not all children are as gullible as my own, some remember promises however small and some, like Henry, are way too sharp to follow a silly photographer’s antics. So we just relaxed, absorbed the sun, wandered, fed the ducks, read a book on the bench, kicked back in the grass, chatted with a policeman on horseback, got chased by some geese and ran around in circles. It was just my kind of day.

Thank you Novack family for spending the day with me. I wish you a wonderful new life in Miami and hope that these images will help you remember this nice chapter in your life.

So that’s all for now. We’re heading out to go apple picking. Really, we are. I promise. Next year.

Not Waking Up

To a fault, I’m a dreamer, even when it comes to photo shoots. Once I pencil in a shoot, I quickly begin to imagine the possibilities…big rays of sunlight streaming through trees and landing softly diffused onto faces, relaxed, natural expressions (an invisible camera), treasure hunts for little creatures that we actually find, wide-eyes waving me into little worlds. Oh, please you sound ridiculous. It’s not that I ever expect to accomplish any of this, it’s just that when I drive to each shoot, I’m pumped with the adrenaline of what could be (I can’t help it). And that is what I was daydreaming about on my way to visit the Ruttger family who I hadn’t seen in one year since our last shoot on Duxbury beach.

We reconnected quickly and warmed ourselves up with some tame, sunroom photos and then took the party outside to find a new spot. When I heard about their hammock in the woods, we quickly aborted the grassy lawn and bushwhacked our way along the path to find streams of light pouring through the trees and a hammock located in a small clearing. Score. Jackpot. Score. Okay, calm down. Big brother, Griffin, now my new BFF, was all about climbing in and listening to the trees creak. We considered the possibility that the noises were monkeys and if we were still, we could hear them. That’s when the shutter started to click madly and I found myself straddling a small pine tree. We nuzzled 3-month old Nolan in who was so comfortable that he continued his nap in the crook of Griffin’s arm. Soon enough, it was the whole family suspended quietly in the hammock below the creaking trees. I don’t care how silly I look on this pine tree; I’m taking more.

Back inside, our next mission was to get a few shots of baby Nolan in all of his folded baby glory. He was so relaxed and easy that we decided to play with some props, an antique French bread bowl and some hand-knitted hats and blankets. Just as we were getting comfortable snapping the baby-in-the-bread-bowl shots, mommy Trish and I both dodged a fountain of you-guessed-it that went arcing straight up into the air missing the camera and us by fractions. You really know nothing about boys. After laughing off our near miss, we took the queue and called it quits.

And so logs a new entry into the Daydreaming Photographers Field Guide and all thanks to the lovely Ruttger Family. Dream on.