Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Woman So Timeless and Beautiful

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this today. It might be a couple of posts throughout the week as I process everything.

Today, my beautiful Great Nana passed away.

When dad told me, it hit me like a brick. My mind starts racing with thoughts.

"Why like this?'
"Why didn't I visit more often?"
"Why do I not see my family more often when they're all so close."

This whole month has been absolutely horrendous. It's been one thing on top of another and I didn't think I could handle one more thing and then it all ends with this.

I'm just not emotionally prepared to deal with this right now. I absolutely hate seeing people that I love so much so sad.

Parts of me are sad that she's gone, she was a wonderful, wonderful woman. Besides my own mother and my Nana, she's seriously one of the most beautiful people on the planet. She just radiates warmth, compassion and gentleness. Her marriage to my Great Papa has been and will always be an example of loyalty and true love. She lived a long and rich life though and for that I am very grateful, and I'm so thankful that she was such a huge part of my life.

The family was recently all pulled together for the celebration of Great Nana and Great Papa's 70th wedding anniversary. It was one of the most beautiful and meaningful days of my life. Looking around and seeing all of these people that they had an impact on was truly a profound thing. All of these people essentially existed because of these two wonderful people. I was completely moved by the whole day and so glad that I could be there to share in that day.

Most of me is sad because people that I love have lost someone so dear. My Great Papa has lost his best friend, my Nana has lost her mom, my dad and his siblings and cousins have lost their Nana, and me and countless other cousins and second cousins have lost their Great Nana, and even for some, a great great grandma.

I'm just not ready to deal with the sadness of the funeral. I know that we will be celebrating such a beautiful life, but there's still a loss.

It's times like these where I just want to embrace the people that I love and never let go but then I regret that it's situations like these that encourage me to remind the people I love how much I love them. It really puts a lot of things into perspective.

I know that this is a photography blog and this has nothing to do with photography, but I needed a place to go. I think I've changed my plans for my next assignment but I won't reveal what it is until it's done.

Great Nana, you will be missed so much.

I'm ending this for now with what she wrote to me a few years ago at my wedding shower.

"Dear Audrey!

Kiss him in the morning! Cuddle at night! Keep "God" as your best Friend!- Great Nana Helen Singer"

I will Nana, I will.

Love you.

(thanks to Gina for this beautiful picture)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ree are brilliant.

After downloading the Pioneer Woman Photoshop Actions, I feel like I just can't stop editing photos. She has made photo editing so simple by creating these lovely filters. If only the lab at school was open all night long. 

A girl can dream.

For now, I'll just continue to oogle over the awesomeness of this amazing find. Thanks Pioneer Woman.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Then Lightning Struck

Our current photography assignment might be my favorite but most challenging assignment yet. It requires us to really think outside of the box. The assignment is "Self Portraits" but the challenge is to not include your face in the picture. The assignment is supposed to be 8 cohesive photos that express some aspect of yourself. Something in each photo needs to have a unifying theme.

Well, I am so awesome, which part of myself do I pick??

My gorgeous looks, my awesome body, my charm, my wit???

Enough, enough.

No really. It's tough. What part of me do I feel I can share in a series of pictures? Something that's intriguing enough and creative enough that when expressed in photos it is appealing to the human eye.

I'm loving and cherish friendships, but I was afraid going around and taking pictures of people in love or people with their friends was just too generic.

Then lightning struck. Exploring. Travel. Adventure.

I found an old suitcase at an antique mall and it is traveling all around with me. I find something inspiring and grab the suitcase and put it in the frame. I wanted to find things around St. Louis that have some sort of sentimental value or connection to places I have been or will be going hopefully in my life.

I just started yesterday but snapped a few pictures with the ole suitcase. Now these aren't the final edited versions of the pictures, just what I could pull together here at home.

Tonight we had a beautiful lightning storm. St. Louis hasn't really seen rain in awhile so it was quite welcomed. I decided to try my hand at capturing lightning, which in and of itself is very challenging. When it's so dark outside you really have to have the lowest aperture, mine was at a 3.5, the lowest it can go, and then you need a really slow shutter speed so you can allow whatever light there is in to the camera. The tricky thing about lightning is that it moves so dang fast so what would be ideal is to have a super super low aperture and a higher shutter speed, something like 1/400th of a second, rather than 1/3 of a second like I was shooting at. The only problem is that my camera only has so much potential at the moment. So I worked with what I could. I still caught some beautiful photos and can't complain about the nice evening I had out on the deck.

I love this photo in particular because it was actually relatively dark at the time I took this. I just love the soft glow of all of the street lights and the remaining sunlight in the sky.

See the lightning in the corner? GO ME!

I like it when lightning strikes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Challenges of Portrait Photography

As much as I love being around people I'm not quite sure how I feel about taking pictures of them. It's quite the challenge. I was also working against time and light in this most recent assignment and I feel like the other elements won.

A barn in a grassy field doesn't mind how long you take photographing it. A leaf floating in a body of water has as much time in the world as it takes to disappear out of the frame of your camera. With people you have to deal with distractions, movement, and time. I don't want to waste people's time. And as gracious as all of my models were for this assignment it was a struggle to feel natural doing a staged "photoshoot".

Half of my images printed and turned in were taken in very low light situations and I refused to use an on camera flash with the images. I wanted to learn how to manipulate the controls on my camera to get the correct exposure and work with the lighting I had.

I wanted environments that were appealing to the eye and compositions that weren't your standard 3/4 body shot portrait. I took pictures of two friends down on a dark city street with the only lighting being from the street lights, lights from bars and restaurants, and cars passing by. I took pictures of a newborn baby in the comforts of his own home. He was a wonderful model, (thank you Flint and Bizzy), but you can't expect a newborn baby to lay still. So having the low light and the movement of a baby definitely posed a challenge.

Also with my schedule, I had a hard time arranging to meet up with people for things so I couldn't quite be as creative as I had hoped. I definitely want to keep tackling portrait photography, but it's definitely been the most challenging thing to learn so far.

Here are a few of my images from the assignment. Some of them have been edited in Photoshop and some have just been edited with Picasa, because sadly that's all I have at home.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Your friends, they are jewels, twice as beautiful and few

Contrary to my husband, (I love you Josh), I love weddings. There's something about them that just reminds me of why love is so absolutely grand in the first place. Seeing that there's all of these unique people out there who happen to find their counterpart, just like a perfectly fitting puzzle piece. There's just something so fulfilling about witnessing the union of two best friends.

Ahhh. I love love.

Ashley, you made such a beautiful bride. Really, just so stunning. Timothy, I'm glad that you have Ashley and that she has you. Have lots of fun with her and eat french fries for breakfast often.

To all of my other wonderful friends that I share my life with...thank you for being so great.

And Amber, thanks for the "adult juice box". We'll have to do it again sometime.

You are all jewels, twice as beautiful and few.