This year started out wonderfully! I camped over the holiday and it was perfect weather for it too. I had a photo shoot which my son Tommy Owen assisted me; a repeat family I had taken portraits for a couple of years ago. Getting to work with my son is the best!
It was a great time of renewing and refreshing from the busy holiday season, and I got out and photographed some nature. Being out in the Big Cypress and the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk this gives my mind a break and my eyes as they seem to always either be on my phone or my computer when at home. I tried to disconnect as much as possible, just to free myself. Please enjoy the slideshow.
I really have been negligent with my blog. I can only attribute it to pure laziness. I must get out of that mindset and really buckle down. I tell myself it’s because I don’t have any content, which really isn’t true, I have the content, I’m just lazy.
So here goes a new post, and hopefully this will spurn me into doing more writing and shooting.
This past weekend I took a much needed break and went camping. I got to hang out with my youngest son Tommy and we tried some night photography work, but the clouds wouldn’t cooperate so I really didn’t get much. We hung out with a giant snake and I took photos of Tom and he of me.
I also scheduled a portrait photo shoot with one of my favorite little girls. I really don’t take portraits of children often, because they wear me out, mentally & physically, but this little lady is so very special. I have had the privilege of taking photographs of her since she was about six months old and have every 6 months to a year since. She is on the cusp of turning four (December) and honestly you would think as a toddler, she would be all over the place, however around the age of two, I had her complete attention. I alway allow her to dictate when our session is finished (and she has), but she has always given me one hundred percent. I have asked her to pose a certain way and have shown her and she does it…..without question. This weekend was different. I still showed her what I was wanting, but I took it a step further and asked her how she wanted to pose; what I got was just incredible. This child micro-moves like a model. She also uses her eyes, and I just love that about her. Here are a few of her photographs showing her sass and Superhero self!
A cute Super Hero
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Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took some much needed time off. After a full summer and a busy start to our concert season along with weddings, portraits and other work, I was ready to unplug and get back to nature.
My go to place as I’ve posted in the past is in the Everglades. I love to camp and I took four full days to step out of the digital world and relax. I did do some posting to Facebook, but instead of worrying about my status, I took camera in hand and stepped out into the swamp.
Because of the cooler temperatures (great for camping), the alligators were in abundance along the road of Jane’s Scenic Drive in the Fakahatchee Strand, and on the trails my son and I walked, (check out his website: Phloridaphoto.us He even decided to get a bit more up close and personal with a gator lying on the path we were walking.
I stopped and photographed him, photographing the alligator. I just could not bring myself to be that close to something that large with huge teeth. As my son walked past him, Mr. Gator lifted his head and rumbled that deep throaty sound as a warning to let him know he may be a bit too close. I had the same experience as I hung out the car door to get a rather large alligator hanging out on the road we were driving.
We also went out two nights in a row to capture the Milky Way, however during the hours we were there, the sky have cloud cover in the general vicinity. We did capture the sky at night and this photograph shows Miami glowing in the distance as the International Space Station does a fly over (I have an app on my phone called Sky Guide that allows me to track this).
Overall it was a wonderful relaxing long weekend, with friends, family and my camera.
I love to experiment with my photography. And if you follow my blog you know one of my favorite spots to spend my down time is in the beautiful Florida Everglades; so why not combine the two? I was there over Memorial Day weekend and invited my camera buddies down, however I know this place isn’t for the faint of heart, the elements (hot & humid) and the bugs (mosquitoes) are voracious. The ones who showed up are not fearful of the elements and wanted to learn something new, as this adventure is definitely not for those who are intimidated by the outdoors. We met up around 7pm and took off down a very long dusty road within the Big Cypress National Preserve. The temperature was quite warm and humid due to the rain earlier in the afternoon, however the sky was clear unlike earlier in the day when I had scouted out the area.
We arrived at our destination, and proceeded to set up “shop” with tripods, remote triggers and this wonderful object called a Thermacell! The Thermacell was our lifesaver when it came to being basically mosquito free for the entire night.
As the sun set and the stars began making their first appearances, those who had never seen this site were in awe of the majesty it provided. Then came the Lightning Bugs; in a few of my photos you can see them skittering across the grasses.
We knew the direction of the rising Milky Way Galaxy because someone in our party had an app which told us when and where; of course this is why we were there, to photograph the Milky Way in complete darkness. We almost accomplished that feat except it’s rising in the south, south west sky and Miami was throwing off quite a bit of ambient light.
While waiting for the galaxy to rise, we did a bit of light painting and my photographer son Tommy Owen wanted me to photograph him with a really bright flashlight and we came up with this Star Wars type image.
I’m not entirely sure what that yellow streak is toward the left of the photo, possibly a plane heading for Miami International Airport. The orange glow is the aforementioned Miami.
I learned a lot as did my photographer friends. None of us had ever attempted astrophotography and we found it quite a challenge. We found in the dark we really needed a red gel flashlight to see our settings and we need to find a way to turn off our backlit screen. We also found that too long of an exposure (over 30 seconds) would create the beginning of star trails, and make our stars appear more blurry. We all did concur in the end that it didn’t feel as if we were out there for four hours and we all want to return in the fall/winter when the humidity will not require us to wipe down our lenses every few minutes and the sky will be crystal clear. It was a fun evening and we were able to come up with some usable images, but will still need a bit more practice.
My take away on all this is to keep growing and practicing and learning new techniques. It will keep your mind active and improve your creativity and it’s FUN.
Thanks for stopping by!
I sometimes get so busy I forget to actually take time for myself and refresh. I decided to take a weekend away and go camping, something I truly love to do and yes I do it by myself because I don’t have anyone to enjoy it with me. If I didn’t do things because I’m alone, life would be boring, would it be more fun with a companion? Yes of course as long as the companion enjoyed it as much as I do. I hike and trudge through some of nature’s finest swamps and wild lands without really thinking about the dangers that could lurk there. God created the natural world for us to enjoy and after being really busy and feeling the “stress” of daily life seeing green for a few days is exactly what the doctor ordered. My mind clears, I get more creative and I am able to bring that creativity back to my day-to-day photography. I spent the weekend at a private campground, in a very private area, which was nice because they were having a festival of Grateful Dead music called “Skunkin Grateful”, so this actually allowed me to be away from the craziness. The attendees were well behaved and the atmosphere was incredible. I sat back and simply enjoyed the music, the fire dancing and the huge bon fire. I lasted until about 1:00am and understand it went on until about 3:30am or so, by that time I was fast asleep bundled up in my tent because even though the temperature was in the high 80’s during the day the night-time was still in the low 60’s and being a Florida girl that’s cold! It was so beautiful, between looking at the million stars through the roof of my tent, hearing the distant sound of music wafting through the air and the occasional hoot of an owl lulled me to sleep.
During these away times I look back at what I’m doing and what I have done and wonder how I can be better. I rely on my intuition to guide me through the lens of my camera and try not to be so technical. I find when I really let go and listen to my heart instead of my head, my images are 100% better; too bad I don’t do this with my personal life. I feel the image instead of simply seeing it.
It was a wonderful weekend and not sure when I will get the opportunity to do it again, but if I feel myself being pulled in too many directions I simply may disappear again for a couple of days.
Click on the link to check out my photos My Weekend