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Is 8 really enough?

Apparently not… but that will make more sense in just a bit.  Another question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately… Is it worth it? Especially after each new bruise I acquire (more on that later, too).

THE INVENTORY

Just a few of the supplies ~ tidied up for a photo. 9 times I out of 10 I cannot find what I need when I need it.

Let me start at the beginning.  It’s been a busy couple weeks of preparation for next Saturday’s Ambler Arts Fest (be sure to note that on your calendar).  After my last arts fest, I realized much more inventory was needed in order to look, well, more professional.

Step 1:  The images, choosing which ones and getting them ready to print.  I love that kid in the toy store feeling… when you see that image come out of the printer and get so excited because it is better than you imagined.  But then the hard part begins.  I like to re-purpose and cut costs wherever I can.  But often the image just does not fit a so-called “Standard format.”  So it’s time to break out the mat cutter.

First ever attempt making a mat with three openings…

Step 2:  Printing & matting & framing all the images, making all those note cards, and other small items to fill the booth.  Not the most fun, and usually mostly frustrating because, of course, I almost always run out of something…  Oh, how I hate when it’s the ink.

THE SET UP

I’m not leaving anything to chance.  A new venue,  just me and my helper daughter, a tent that recently underwent repair, and wanting to be sure I have enough to fill the space, I did a 100% trial run.  This is a labor intensive setup, mostly due to the ridiculously heavy and unwieldy grid walls (and the cause of the previously mentioned bruises).  As you can see, I took lots of pictures and notes as helpful reminders.  And decided 8 new images is definitely not enough.

So with a week to go and three more pieces (at least) in the pipeline… and still asking myself is it worth it, I have finally come to this conclusion: Yes!  Because it is that sense of accomplishment, that butterflies in the stomach feeling I get knowing that something I created is giving someone a sense of joy, or maybe remembrance, or is the perfect accompaniment to their decor.  It’s one thing to create an image, a piece of art… it’s something really special to share it.

It pays to do a recon mission, especially first thing Sunday morning before anyone is up.

Kudos to all those artists that do the festival circuit all season/all year long.  There is really so much that goes into it… the artwork, the supplies, the travel, the set up/take down… and god forbid it rains.   So please support the arts, your local artists, and remember to shop small and shop local.

Hope to see you Saturday!

 

The art of self-promotion

I don’t think I’ll ever really master it.   It’s still feels a bit awkward… more like being in front of the camera rather than behind it.  But apparently it is what you have to do to get noticed among the social media masses.  So here it goes…

Good news!

Etsy has lifted having visitors register to be able to peruse the shops. So stop by my Etsy shop StudioMDigitalArt take a look around and if you like what you see don’t forget to click on the FAVORITE SHOP button 😉   As a special THANK YOU ( and for putting up with this shameless plug) if you leave a comment with an email or another way I can contact to you, either here on the blog or the Etsy shop, or like my Facebook page I’ll send you a 25% off coupon code to keep for yourself or to share with friends & family just for stopping by.   Psst, Father’s Day is coming up and there’s still time…

Do you have a FB page, blog/website, or store site? Be sure to include a link and I’ll be more than happy to return the favor.

Thanks!

This is Spring!

Stealing a few minutes to capture the cherry trees in full bloom.

Has it really been a month since my last post?!?   Well, that’s spring… projects getting started, spring cleaning, and thinking ahead to all that summer will bring; and I’m just talking about all things photography.  Add the day job, etc. to the mix and I guess it’s not so surprising after all.

Just one of the projects I have going on is right here.  I’m in the process of consolidating my website and blog into ONE.  Of course, there’s a learning curve for this do-it-yourselfer, so it is taking me a little longer than planned to get things looking just right.  So if things start to look a little different or a bit wonky, not to worry… I’m working on it.  Oh, and comments, thumbs up/thumbs down are welcome.

Until next time (and fingers crossed with a new look),
Maria

One Personal Item – A DIY

I’m really excited about today’s post!  What I thought would be a pretty easy DIY, turned out to take a little more time and thought than I ever anticipated, but I am so happy with the end result.  For you fellas out there, this post may seem geared a little more towards the ladies, but I assure you the same could be applied to anyone who wants to protect their gear but not break the bank… 

This all came about because of an upcoming trip and those stiffer airline restrictions, but also something I have been wanting to do for a very long time.  I confess, when I first started out in photography, I purchased one of those pricey “women’s” camera bags.  The problem: All it held was the camera and a couple of lenses (which I quickly outgrew), little to no room for anything else… even a wallet… and, oh yeah, ridiculously expensive!  I’ll also admit to one more thing, I tend to over pack, whether for a week-long vacation, a weekend get-a-way, or just a local outing… what can I say, I like to be prepared.  So I’m not anticipating this upcoming trip will be any different and I have to get everything to fit in my carry-on and that ONE personal item which is the catalyst for today’s DIY.

One Personal Item

I started with the size restrictions and went from there.

Love that it comes in purple, but it also comes in black and camo.

Now knowing what I had to work with I made a list of what I wanted/needed: First and foremost to securely/safely hold my gear.  After scouring the web and reading countless reviews, etc… I chose the TENBA 10 (As a side note: When getting the link, I noticed it’s already gone up $10 since I purchased mine, so be sure to shop around.)

The 50 mm fits perfectly under the flash.  That’s right I even got my flash in there 🙂

It comes with lots of dividers so you can personalize to all your needs.  I actually removed a couple.  This TENBA is deep enough to hold my camera with a 24-70 attached, a 70-300 lens on one side and a 50 mm and SB800 flash on the other.  A wee-bit snug, but remember I tend to over pack.  For traveling/airline purposes… perfect.

The Bag

Next, finding the bag and an impossible checklist:  Must meet personal item size restrictions but big enough to hold the TENBA and then some (clutch/wallet, personal items, water bottle…  have carry handles AND a cross strap (preferably adjustable)  have a secure closure (surprisingly most women’s tote-size bags do not have a zipper) be durable (ideally waxed canvas or leather)  be practical and, yes, fashionable enough to use solely has a handbag  and fit the budget $$$.  The search was on….

The TENBA and I went shopping.  In order to increase the chances of success, our first stop was Philadelphia Premium Outlets.  And just like Goldilocks, I had to try out a lot of bags… too big, too small, too hard, too soft, before coming up with one that was just right.  Just about to run out of stores, I finally found it:  Size ♥  roomy and with lots of pockets to spare ♥, handles & strap ♥♥, secure with zipper ♥, durable ♥, practical & fashionable ♥♥, and budget friendly !♥!  Whoo-hoo… a home run!
fully loaded, zipped and ready to go!

Now I have TWO bags for the price of one, coming in at…wait for it… less than $80!

And now the real test… can I carry it?   Weighing in at 12.5 lbs, I realized an extra plus of those carry handles, I can now attach it to the rolling carrying on handle and breeze through the airport.

I can’t wait for this trip!  A long overdue visit to see a very dear friend ~ Val, if your reading this, can’t wait to see you!  While putting together this DIY, I did ask myself why not just travel light and leave the camera gear at home?  Heck, all the photos you see in this DIY were taken with my Samsung Note 5.  Answer:  Because, the photographer in me would regret it the minute I stepped out the door and headed to the airport… Like I said, I like to be prepared and even more so…  I love having options!

Happy travels & until next time,
Maria

Make It Your Own

sky-light-orchid
A basket of orchids hanging from the ceiling like a grand chandelier surrounded by lots of wonderful symmetry. The tilt screen on the D750 made getting a different perspective a whole lot easier… my neck was very grateful.

A frigid day outside, but as soon as you step into the conservatory of beautiful Longwood Gardens, you are greeted with tropical temperatures and an explosion of color and beauty and, oh yeah, fellow photographers and spectators everywhere.  So how does one take a subject, such as flowers,  especially those that have been poised and arranged ever so meticulously (like those found at the “Orchid Extravaganza”), and take a photograph that is unique and all your own.  Not an easy task… I Googled it.  There are pages of orchid photographs… many just from this event! And of course this is not just limited to flowers; how about all those scenic wonders around the world or even closer to home… just like Longwood.

hanging-orchids
An amazing sight! A curtain of orchids. But there’s just so much going on. I found myself wishing I had a model (although not allowed), wishing I was a few inches taller, wishing this and that…
Those hanging orchids via reflection. I love all the lines and distortion, but the orchids (as tiny as they are) lost detail and color. In post, I stumbled across this stained-glass like effect. I liked how it added back color everywhere, which in that big room of hanging orchids was just what you see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we can always hope or keep our fingers crossed that something special will occur, a beautiful rainbow perhaps, a grand and glowing light source, etc., etc…  Okay, chances are that’s not going to happen.  Instead, if you’re like me, there are always some limitations and restrictions… time restrictions, rules of use, the weather, and those pesky no trespassing signs. So knowing your equipment and more importantly how to see is key to getting the best image possible… at least for me.

Yes, I sometimes do a lot in post, but I strive for the best  possible image right out of the camera. Because it is at that time that the image begins… regardless of its transformation in post.   There are two points in particular that have really impacted how I see.  The first…   what is behind, around, or in front of the subject and how it can be incorporated into the composition.  And the second… giving the image a title as you compose it in the camera.  These words of wisdom actually came from Henry Rowan. (Of note, I’m paraphrasing here, and I am sure Henry said it so much better.) These two practices have become a routine part of my composing… and how I see the image in its entirety.

two-of-a-kind-copy
Of course the orchids are beautiful and perfectly poised on their own, but placing them in the frame with the green palm with its lines and symmetry completely changed this image.

Take for instance, this next group of orchids, which I thought took on a very pontiff-like quality.  So much so, I used the the foggy windows and the window frames to help create a more shall we say spiritual composition… and a Papal Orchid.

papal-orchid
Papal Orchid. That title is what popped into my head while composing the shot and guided me in post… Topaz Adjust & Textures just to help accentuate the vision.
royal-court-orchids
A variation of a pontiff-like setting… The Royal Court

 

A bright sunny day really helped shooting in the conservatory. Before long I changed from a 24-70 mm, ditched the tripod, and began shooting handheld with a 60 mm macro.  Handheld, for me, is about the only way to incorporate the background that I want… or don’t want… and find that perfect angle.

queen-of-orchids-copy
This was a challenge. Again, if only I were just a bit taller. It took some doing…standing on tip-toes and a good stretch to frame these orchids where I wanted them with the iron scroll work in the background. I came close… I think.

In my bag on this outing:  Nikon D750, Nikon 60 mm macro, and Tamron 24-70.

I hope you enjoyed this abbreviated tour of the “Orchid Extravaganza”.

Until next time,
Maria