Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Booloo Bags: Keeping it cool in Duxbury, MA

The first time I walked by the stack of Booloo Bags at Depot Street market in Duxbury, they stopped me in my tracks with their fun colors and screen-printed beach designs.  This April, I got one for my birthday and it became a permanent resident in my car for grocery store runs, days on the beach and then a savior during hurricane Irene...everything in the cooler stayed cool for 4 days! These coolers are not only beautiful looking, but they keep things cold (or hot) for twice as long. Even more exciting, this summer, Leslie, asked me to photograph her new bags for the website. Even my dog enjoyed the shoot...you'll see her happily perched next to a pile of bags in the sand. That night, I returned to the beach with some bribed friends in dresses to photograph the bags in use (we brought the wine). You can read this very gracious post by Leslie about our shoot below. Thank you for having me to photograph your bags, Leslie, I am enjoying giving these as gifts to my friends and family. They all love them!!

Read about our photo shoot here: Leslie writes about our photo shoot

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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seeing the Light with Zack Arias

Somewhere between ZZ Top and a big teddy bear stood our muse for the weekend in NYC, the talented Zack Arias. Zack is well known for his music photography and now, with his national sold-out OneLight workshop tour, he’s mastering a new title by guiding others to see and to make the light.

On the first day of the workshop, which was hosted in the super cavernously-cool Bond Street Studio in Brooklyn, twelve curious and/or confused light-minded subjects, including my co-goer photographer-friend, Carolyn Aeschilman, met Zack and his team in the morning for bagels and coffee (from Starbucks by request – thank you Zack). If you’ve seen the OneLight trailer, you know that Zack will go for as long as it takes to answer everyone’s questions even if it’s until 2am, but because we were limited to cutting the lights at midnight, he wasted no time launching into the fundamentals so that we could get our cameras out and begin shooting. And sprinkled in between strobes, umbrellas, soft boxes, grid spots, radio triggers, exposure, inverse square laws and light fall off were some equally, if not more important, messages. One that stopped me in my tracks was that “many people will choose photography, but not everyone will be chosen by photography.”

Damn it Zack, couldn’t you have just let me bask in my euphoria with a long wish list of the hottest new gear that would change my life? I chose photography because I love it and feel that I might perish without it, but would I be chosen? It made too much sense. Who wouldn’t like to become a photographer? Who wouldn’t want to gear up, explore and capture the beautiful world around them? Creativity is limitless, learning is endless, camaraderie among photographers is magical and getting that perfectly-lit, composed shot can be as exhilarating as the first time you shimmied up to the top of the tire swing with your parents clapping down below. Ecstasy and magic aside, he’s right; to take photography beyond the hobby, you have to embrace and master many things: technology, patience, people of all kinds, faith (in yourself and beyond), knowledge of what truly moves you, discipline, resistance to buy too many $2k lenses (or to be your own accountant) and the list goes on. I have great admiration for my fellow photographers because I now know what goes on behind the picture. At one point, I might have believed that it just took passion, creativity and a pile of gear to choose photography as a career. But, I now know that it’s so much more than seeing and making the light in your pictures. Let’s just call it seeing the light beyond them. So along with a number of stars aligning, I’m out for now to work on making that happen.

Thank you to Zack for revealing more than just strobe light and peace to all of you photographers who give and share so generously to help others find their way.

{To see more of Zack’s work or attend/purchase the OneLight DVD: www.zackarias.com www.onelightworkshop.com or read his blog http://www.zarias.com/}

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thank a Thief

There are some places where people will ask you what you do and others where it’s more natural to ask, “what do you like to do?” But no matter where you live, it’s a noble exercise to dig deep, pull out your authentic self and sing loud enough for the world to hear.

Paulo Coelho, in his beautiful book, The Alchemist, wrote, “when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true.” And in some cases, the conspiracy may come when you’re least expecting it. Such is the case with Seventh Room, a band of four who ripped through the stages of Boston hard-rockin’ it for seven golden years in the mid 90s. Those boys lived their dream until the what-do-you-do duty called. So they hung it up and became professional craftsmen and engineers until one day they found their old recording studio pilfered, their music pirated and their past uploaded to My Space by a group thieving fans.

That Stone Age whack-over-the-head sent them back to the stage with new material and a fresh sense of purpose. After all, who could ignore such a sign? Leading the quartet is songwriter-guitarist, Rob Foley accompanied by guitarist Paul Mangiaratti, base player Ian Cariolo and drummer, Mike Dwyer. Their sounds err on the modern hard rock side with a 70s twist. To dish it straight, they just rock , as muscians and as people. No worries if you missed them at Copperfields, Church of Boston or Gillette Stadium this spring, the boys of Seventh Room will come back out of their recording hiatus to bang out freshly-recorded tunes in the fall. Stay tuned for upcoming shows at www.seventhroom.com Cds are still available for purchase on their website.

Now, back to where we started in doing what you like to do. We all either pursue it, quietly hope for it or just stumble upon it. It’s a luxury, a gift, sometimes a way. In the case of Seventh Room, it’s the only way. So believe in thy bad self, spot the signs, have some faith even if you have to thank a thief who cracked your code.

{Rock on boys – thank you for letting me shoot you in all of your glory}

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baring It All


Hmm, let's see. White polo with khakis? Uh, too roasted-marshmallow. Blue Gingham with a touch of navy? Not until he goes to Harvard. Denim overalls with white socks? Whoa, we’re way too far north for that. Fisherman knit? Not bad, but it’s too hot. Red Sox shirt? Oh, please no. Crew neck? Button down? Onesie? Pjs? What else we got? As we pored through Shane’s clothes, he sat there with his big, blue eyes, cherub-rounded cheeks, perfect folds, pooches, dimples. There it was staring us in the face, just Shane baring it all. We (he) had it all along. So, not to leave a fold unturned, we even took off the diaper. For those long, naked hours, he cooed, rolled, smiled, scooched, chewed as we clicked and ga-gaaed at him. We came away with some images almost as perfect as little Shane, but more importantly, the reminder to simply show the true you, to bare it all. You dig? Right on. Now give me some skin.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Mother at Rest

Stravin Family 2009
Originally uploaded by Elena Gormley
Oh Trisha, O Trisha
What can I say?
How do you do it?
Can you show me the way?

Your girls are so precious, all pink and aglow,
Let the photos tell that story, but there’s a secret I have to know.

There’s some magic hidden within this motherly nest,
It’s not in those photos, the smiles or the pink dress.

To witness it up close is a picture of awe,
And you don’t need a camera to see what I saw.

With grace, a calm heart and a nice gentle stride,
You’re a mother at rest, deep down inside.

And I thank you for sharing not only your girls, who take from you the fair skin, a freckle and some curls.

But today what I took was a lesson for me.
If I had to name it, I’d call it “just be.”

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day with the Thorns

Thorn Family 2009
Originally uploaded by Elena Gormley
Camera? Check. Lenses? Check. Fresh batteries? Check. Blankets, flower petals, silly props just in case? Check. Sun? Not going to happen. Woo? Got it.

Of course, because I was on a mission last Saturday morning to see the Thorn Sisters for the first time since our photo shoot last summer on the beach. With all signs pointing to go - quivering bottom lips in, new-girl-in-the-house-with-camera accepted and sun (finally) pouring through the windows - we hunted for treasures room by room and surfaced with more gems than expected along with a new definition of the color blue. I could have stared those eyes all day. Forget it Crayola, that color's taken, but feel free to enjoy it in the images below.

Thank you to the lovely Thorn family for a wonderful Saturday morning.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Sun is Setting

When I was about ten years old, I was out on an adventure with three of my best friends, Compton, Beth and Muffy. We had woven our way up hills, through creeks, into backyards, under trees, but it was late and we were all standing on the top of steep hill panicked as we looked up at the sky. We must have been at least a mile away from Compton’s house where we had to be by dinner time. Those were really the days. We could wander aimlessly for hours anywhere – no cell phones, watches or fenced in yards. Rules were pretty simple – be back before dark. But if you couldn’t follow that simple rule, you know…it just wasn’t good.

We had two bikes and there were four of us. We stared into the sky and concocted our plan. My designated spot was on the handle bars and my answer was, “no way.” The last time I rode with Compton, it was on a ride-on tractor and she rode us up a tree flipping the tractor (thanks Compton). For the next hour, all I can remember was, “Elena, the sun is setting!” Compton was shaking her arm up to the sky, Beth way lying on the ground knowing I wasn’t going to budge. They all stomped, waved and yelled, “The sun is setting, Elena,” but true to character, I didn’t budge.

We all walked home that day and we all got into major trouble. Lucky for me, they are still my best friends.

So at the last photography meeting when our group leader asked for those of us who didn’t have a blog to raise our hands and then asked, just out of curiosity, “why not?” I watched her mouth the words, but all I heard was, “Elena, the sun is setting!” Before I could uncross my arms and exclaim, “I’m not riding on the handle bars!” I realized there was no reason to resist anymore, that I just needed to climb on and take a spin.

So welcome to my blog. I’m now a blogger. I’ll be blogging about photography, nonsense, life, inspiration, stuff I think you need, who knows, but for now, I’ve got to go, the sun is setting.