Fresh Start

I signed up for a six-week online course this year to give my photography a fresh start. That was the name of the course given by Matt Kloskowski, a very talented photographer and instructor. Although not all of the weekly sessions were right on for me, the majority was and it got me out of my comfort zone. I would like to share some of what I discovered during the six weeks, and hope that you can find a way to challenge yourself as well.

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The first week was not only fun but also tasty. We were challenged to take photos of food. I haven’t done much of that and I found it interesting to create the space inside my home to take photos. I bought some black matte wrapping paper to use as a backdrop and moved around various windows until I found a couple of spots where I could feature the food. I used some glassware and dishes from my various trips to Russia to create moody images that I liked.

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I experimented with different lenses, but found that my Lensbaby Velvet 85 was the one I liked the best. It compresses the background while focusing on the subject. I added a texture to the one above to create a different backdrop. The worst part of the first week was that I was left with some very tasty chocolate and cookies to consume. Oh well, what we do for art.

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Another week we were tasked with photographing our hobbies. Since most of my free time is spent on my photography, I reached out to one of my friends and asked if I could photograph her painting. One thing that I learned from this week was a quick trick to brighten my photos in Lightroom using the auto function in the basic slider. It is an easy way to start and then adjust the highlights and shadows from there.

The next session we focused on eliminating distractions in our photos in Photoshop. Matt encouraged us to take some animal shots to experiment with, so I dug deep into my files and found some images from Woodland Park Zoo to use. Here is the original shot of a giraffe I took.

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Although this image is fun, using Matt’s instruction to edit in Photoshop, I filled in the background with black and then added a texture to create what I think is a more impactful image.

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I took one of a penguin that wasn’t bad to start with, but playing with shadows and highlights I was able to create a more mysterious mood in the second image.

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The last week was about framing the subjects when we capture them in camera. It was a good refresher and I found that I generally do think of framing when taking an image. Here are a couple examples that I shared with the group.

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I found the course was inspiring, especially since the weather wasn’t very inviting to go outside. I am eager to take other courses this year to jump start my creative juices. It is a great way to affirm your skills and learn new ones. I love hearing from you, so comment below, post on my Facebook page, or send me an email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com.

If you would like to receive my blog posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

Snow Walking - A Lensbaby Blog Circle Post

I live in Seattle and we rarely get much snow in the winter, but this February we had over two weeks of it! Not just a few inches, but at least a foot on my hill and much more in the outlining areas. I don’t drive when it snows, so I was on foot a lot. To make the most of it, I took my Burnside 35 and Sol45 out on several of my walks to capture the snow scenes.

Capturing the Needle - Sol45

Capturing the Needle - Sol45

Although I took my regular route around the hill, the snow transformed everything into a different place.

Through the neighborhood - Sol45

Through the neighborhood - Sol45

My favorite tree - my dancing tree - looked even more beautiful with snow on its limbs.

Dancing tree - Burnside35

Dancing tree - Burnside35

The western viewpoint from Queen Anne, was full of surprises.

Overlooking Puget Sound - Sol45

Overlooking Puget Sound - Sol45

Plenty of seats to see the view - Sol45

Plenty of seats to see the view - Sol45

Up close - Sol45

Up close - Sol45

Few walkers along the way - Sol45

Few walkers along the way - Sol45

I loved capturing the houses along my walk. This one called out to me with its red trim.

Snow house - Sol45

Snow house - Sol45

I must admit that although the snow was beautiful, it took a lot of work to make my way around the hill. After weathering our third snowstorm in a week, I was happy to see the sun come out and temperatures rise. But while the snow was here, the Burnside 35 and Sol45 were great lenses to capture images.

I love hearing from you, so please comment below, post on my Facebook page, or send me an email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com.

About Lensbaby Blog Circle: Once a month photographers who use Lensbaby lenses post their photos and comments in a blog from around the world. Take a moment and read Seonaid Teal’s blog. It is a great read and you can keep following the Lensbaby Blog Circle.

If you would like to receive my blog posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

A Waterfront Walk - A Lensbaby Blog Circle Post

The other day I went on a walk along Seattle’s waterfront. We are fortunate to have a park that is accessible by a footbridge across a busy street. The park is nestled between a train yard and the waterfront.

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The light and sky weren’t great that morning, but with my Lensbaby Edge 50 I was able to capture some interesting shots.

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I love seeing the ships come in to load with grain. They add to an already diverse waterfront.

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We decided to leave the park and walk along the commercial section of the waterfront. First up was the Edgewater Hotel made famous when the Beatles stayed there many decades ago. I used Topaz’s Impression software to add a more painterly look.

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What started out as a perhaps not too interesting photo walk, turned out to be a wonderful surprise. I enjoyed using the Edge 50 to capture the mood despite the lack of an interesting sky and lackluster light.

I love hearing from you, so please comment below, post on my Facebook page, or send me an email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com.

About Lensbaby Blog Circle: Once a month photographers from all over the world who use Lensbaby lenses post their photos and comments in a blog. Take a moment and read Janet Broughton’s blog. It is a great read and you can keep following the Lensbaby Blog Circle.

If you would like to receive my blog posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

The Beauty of Winter - A Lensbaby Blog Circle Post

It was a warm beginning to winter, but when January arrived we were greeted by colder weather (no snow so I shouldn’t complain), rain, and wind. It is the kind of weather that makes you want to stay home, but this weekend I ventured out with my Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens and Canon 6D to see what I could capture at one of our local lakes.

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Green Lake, located in Seattle, WA, is a popular place for people to walk, ride bikes, and catch up with friends. Although it was cold and windy, I loved the winter scenes that I saw.

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There is a small island in the middle of the lake and it was fun capturing images of it as I made my way around.

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We were expecting the possibility of rain, however, the sun started to peek through the clouds, which was welcomed.

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Green Lake is very popular year round. Kids jump off the docks, swim in the lake, and families rent boats to enjoy the lake.  During the winter, however, the docks are generally clear making it easier to capture images without distractions. 

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I loved taking these winter images as the light changed. Although I normally go farther than a three-mile walk, this winter morning with its crisp wind and cold temperatures made me glad that it was time to go get a latte. 

I love hearing from you, so please comment below, post on my Facebook page, or send me an email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com.

About Lensbaby Blog Circle: Once a month I participate in a Lensbaby Blog Circle. Photographers from all over the world who use Lensbaby lenses post their photos and comments in a blog. Take a moment and read Birgit Franik’s blog. It is a great read and you can keep following the Lensbaby Blog Circle.

If you would like to receive my blog posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.

Have a Creative Holiday Season

This time of year is perfect for expressing our creativity. Many make gifts - I enjoy doing that with my photos - and I reach for a lens that helps me capture the magic of the season.

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That lens is my Lensbaby Creative Bokeh optic. It has a set of magnetic disks that are cut out in different shapes and transforms lights into hearts, birds, and stars for example. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had so much fun walking around my neighborhood capturing the lights.

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I was able to capture some fun images of the cityscape with this lens as well. The stars were out early in the morning.

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And the sidewalks on my neighborhood of Queen Anne were full of stars as well.

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I plan on using this lens more regularly, playing with the different aperture disks, because I enjoyed transforming my subjects into magical images. It helped me capture a bit of the spirit of the season.

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I hope you have a joyous holiday season, and find ways to embrace your creativity this month. I love hearing from you, so comment below, post on our Facebook page, or send me an email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com.

If you would like to receive my blog posts please send me your name and email at carol(at)carolvipperman.com. I would be happy to add you to my list of followers.