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May Photoshoot Teasers

Worked with Creative Images By Eric this weekend.  He got in touch with an up-and-coming Houston designer Sophia Clark and invited me and Jon to the shoot.  Although we started shooting around 9am, you could feel the temperature climbing.  By 2pm, it was around 100 degrees — at least that’s what the thermometer read.  Factoring in humidity, we were baking.  Fortunately there was lots of water and ice and we all made sure everyone took breaks to cool down. 

Sophia Clark is amazingly talented.  I really loved her choice of colors and fabrics.  During the shoot she really made sure the models were comfortable and well-hydrated.  Despite the heat the models were troopers.   Here’s are a few teasers from the shoot:

Fashion Designer:  Sophia Clark

Model: Anna

Make-up Artist:  Danielle Tiara

anna1

 

Fashion Designer:  Sophia Clark

Model:  Sara

Make-up Artist:  Danielle Tiara

sara2

 

sara3

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My Bus Driver is a Linchpin

Lots of people don’t necessarily enjoy their work and merely go through the motions day to day. There is no joy nor art to their job. It is what it is. Work you get paid for, but not necessarily work you love.

That isn’t the case with my bus driver. When I board the bus in the morning he doesn’t stare ahead waiting for the bus to be filled nor does he just nod his head as I go by. He makes eye contact. He smiles. He welcomes me aboard, “Well hello neighbor! Glad to see you today!” Some mornings, especially when I haven’t had my first cup of coffee I can hardly believe that anyone can be that cheerful.

The other day a lady just missed the bus that leaves before mine. She was angry and ready to take it out on someone, anyone, and she did. You could guess who she took it out on. When the bus driver responded to her complaint he explained that he understood how she felt and he brought to light both sides of the situation. He managed to pacify her anger and calm her irritation. After he talked with her for ten minutes she was in a much better mood. When I worked customer service I took lots of angry calls. Not everyone is easy to pacify, and in the bus driver’s case she was there, barely three feet away from him displacing her anger. I was rather impressed by how he turned that situation around.

On a daily basis the bus driver approaches his job by being creative and positive. He doesn’t come in to just go through the motions. He doesn’t turn on the recorded message when we arrive downtown. Instead he announces to everyone “Welcome to Houston everybody, please don’t forget your bags, cell phones, lunches, and other goodies.” It’s different, it’s refreshing, it’s a positive start to my day. It’s a gift. The bus driver is an artist at his job. “Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does (Godin 83). Reading Linchpin, I realized that you can bring art to your work and art is not limited to a painting, picture, or song. Art is interaction. Art is connecting. Art can change people.

You can’t really define a linchpin by merely listing characteristics. Rather, a linchpin is defined by attitude and actions.

I received a book from John Waire , an amazing photographer with a lot of heart. You should check out his website and blog. Thank you John for the gift.

I’d like to share this book. John wrote a wonderful inscription inside and I hope to pass it on with an inscription from me to the next reader. If you’re interested in this book, please send me a message on twitter.

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Upcoming Glamour Shoot

I have an upcoming shoot with Jon and a few other creatives in April similar to one we did last year. A little different, a little edgy. Looking forward to it!

glamour shoot

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99 Ranch Market in Houston

I was curious about the store that replaced the big Fiesta off of I-10. No one could mistake that Fiesta. It had a sign that looked like it used a billion gigawatts of electricity. It could have belonged on the Vegas strip. Now that it’s gone I almost wish I took a video or at least a picture of it at night.

We went to visit 99 Ranch Market on a Sunday afternoon. It’s an Asian food market chain that started on the west coast. The lot was almost full and the placed was PACKED.

IMG_99RanchMarket
99 Ranch Market replaces the former Fiesta (Blalock and Katy Freeway)

There are aisles upon aisles of produce, but there’s also a jewelry store, a liquor store, an optometrist, and the beginnings of a food court. Notably, there is a bakery called Desir. Scrumptious pastries. Trays of freshly baked goods were eagerly welcomed by shoppers. Trays were emptied as fast as they came out. You basically pile on your choice of pastries on a cafeteria tray and wait in line to check out. The line was long, but it moved fast.

IMG_NomNom
Cakes served by the slice are among the items found in the bakery Desir at 99 Ranch Market

Scanning the line, almost everyone had at least one “cup cake” on their tray. They were $1 a piece. I asked the lady behind me in line who had three “cup cakes” on her tray. The “cup cake” was not what you would traditionally think of: a muffin-size cake with frosting. No, instead, it looked like angel food. Butter-colored, light and fluffy. She told me it was a sponge cake and very delicious. She only took home one the last time she was there and this time around she was taking three. She assured me that the cake was not sugary at all. I was going to buy a coffee cake, but instead, I decided on her recommendation. I was very surprised. This “cup cake” was delicious. Lightly sweet and very airy. Jon said it would have been perfect with a fruit compote. The fresh pastries are definitely worth the trip.

I have yet to try out the food at the food court, but there looks to be some potential.

IMG_FoodCourt

The parking situation can be a deterrent, especially during peak times on a weekend; however, if you’re looking for some variety and foods not limited to one aisle such as at a Krogers or Randalls, then 99 Ranch Market is the place to go.

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2009 Photography in Review

My first love is still life and food. I really do love food photography and partly because I love baking, and also due to having married a foodie. Also, who doesn’t look at the food magazines when you’re checking out at the grocery store? Therefore #10 and #9 are on my list appropriately and reflect my favorite part of a meal: dessert.

10. Berripop

berripop

9.  Cupcakes and Sprinkles

cupcakes and sprinkles

#8 is one of my favorite captures from a nature walk with Kathy Adams Clark and her husband Gary Clark at Mercer Arboreum in Spring, TX. What an amazing couple who compliment each other well. Click here for their website. Kathy Adams Clark teaches photography and her husband writes the weekly “Wonders of Nature” column for the Houston Chronicle. You can visit the rest of the pictures from this set here.

8.  Butterfly Among Flowers

Butterfly Among Flowers

#7 “In Color!” is a capture from a performance at Discovery Green in Houston from Strange Fruit, a Melbourne based performing arts company. I try to pay attention more to what’s going on locally; however, I probably would have missed the show if Houston Photowalks didn’t add it to their events.

7. In Color!

In Color!

#5 & #6 was from another photowalk with Houston Photowalks at Glenwood Cemetary. The cemetary was very serene and an interesting place to take photos.

6. Angel and Rainbow

Angel and Rainbow

5. Prayer

Prayer

#4 “Artists’ Tools” was taken at Via Colori, a street painting festival in Houston. Loved how the pavement was transformed into works of art.

4. Artists’ Tools

Artists' Tools

#3 “Food Chain” is one of my favorite captures from a meetup at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I followed a link to the HMNS flickr discussion board that I found via Assignment Houston. It was a really well-organized event and a real privilege to be able to photograph some wonderful exhibits. “Food Chain was actually one of my last photos of the night. Thank you Assignment Houston for keeping us in the loop and Houston Museum of Natural Science for your hospitality!

3. Food Chain
Food Chain

#2, “Fountains & Bird in Flight” is one of my faves from 2009 that was inspired by Assignment Houston’s August 2009 assignment “Fountains” shot with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. For 2010 I plan on getting some B&W film and using the Yashica FX-3 camera my mom let me have. It was the camera she toted around taking pictures of me as a kid. There’s a 50mm in my mom’s camera bag that I found and I could shoot with that lens all day.

2. Fountains & Bird in Flight

Fountains & Bird in Flight

#1 “Empress Josephine Tiara” was another capture from the flickr meetup at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. My favorite exhibit was the Faberge exhibit. LOVED it.

This actually was a long exposure shot. I went to one of the meetups for the Houston Photography Group earlier in 2009 and learned about night photography and long exposure from photographer Dan Zientek. I’ve taken a camera basics class at the Houston Center for Photography a while back which helped me to learn ISO, Aperture, and shutterspeed, which I think is very helpful when you start out. Dan Zientek’s lecture gave me a very hands-on approach to low light/night photography. It was very straightforward, clear, concise, and he had lots of examples from his own work. I was able to apply these techniques to this long exposure shot taken with a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.

1. Empress Josephine Tiara

Empress Josephine Tiara

For 2010 I do want to move more into portraits and event photography while doing some creative projects on the side, but I do plan to still go on going photowalks, whether in my free time or with the Houston or Katy photography groups. As much as I would love to be able to make a living out of the craft, I think what drives me to try to shoot almost every day is the learning experience. I take lunch breaks and just walk around taking photos, but since participating in local photography groups and Scott Kelby’s 2009 Worldwide Photowalk, I enjoy being part of the photography community in Houston and Katy as well. For this Chicago girl, Houston has become more like home.

  

 

 

 

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New Adventure: Portraits

I’ve been slowly editing pictures from the Forbidden Gardens shoot.  There were lots of things to photograph; however, the best part for me was when a fellow shutterbug brought a couple models with him.  I was really intrigued.

I asked if I could shadow him, and to my delight they let me join in their shoot.  Let me tell you, not only was it fun, I felt creatively charged.

During this shoot everything I’ve learned so far about painting with light came together…by all means, that is not a lot…I have so much to learn, but I felt positive about this experience, and this felt like a good starting point for my portrait photography.

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Forbidden Gardens

I filled an 8 gig sd card taking pictures at Forbidden Gardens…well, added more pictures that filled a card that probably was 1/3 full.  Luckily I had another card on hand after the camera indicated the card was full.  I hate having to scroll through photos on a full card, then hastily delete images to clear up memory space.  This time I was prepared.

Although I did not prepare myself as well as I could have.  I got the basics down.  Batteries charged.  Check.  Camera cleaning tools.  Check.    Tripod.  Check.  Lenses.  Check…however, it could of been a rainy day and I did not bring plastic bags (these were among the recommended items for Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk) nor anything that would have helped to keep my camera dry.  Secondly, I did not bring bug spray.  Needless to say, I suffered a lot of mosquito bites.

Yet, I did enjoy myself on this shoot.  At least 11 other photographers came to shoot at that location.  Nothing like camaraderie with fellow shutterbugs.

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Learning and Sense of Community

Since purchasing my first dslr last year in October, I’ve been striving to get better at photography.   It’s been quite a learning curve, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

I’ve been following several photographers’ blogs these last few months. Among my favorites include Scott Kelby, Jasmine Star, and David DuChemin.

I find the content of their blogs inspiring, not to mention that their photography skills are amazing.

In addition to following photographers through their online blogs, I have been able to meet up with local photographers for photoshoots and it really has been helpful.  Not only do I get to practice the craft, I’ve met some really amazing people with tremendous talent.  It’s given me a sense of community, and as much as I like to go on photowalks by myself, it’s a good way to socialize and learn from other people.  I’m still trying to learn how to take better photos while developing my style of photography…and hopefully, with practice, I will get better at this craft.

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