Farewell to the class of 2014

I find inspiration in working with young people; exciting lives ahead of them using the gifts they have been blessed with. Best wishes to the class of 2014 and thanks for the memories…

 

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It’s all about the energy

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle

I love life.  Life is up… life is down…  Images can reflect that emotion with a little planning.

Moyer-7598popdmvhpshcr2Long beautiful hair lends itself to the movement of the image above as does the fun, playful personality of the subject.  I focus on the subject, subject turns to the back, swings hair forward and just feel the fun.  I played with the cropping until I decided that this was the most pleasing angle.  Focus is tricky and the shutter was as fast as my flash sync would allow – 1/200. If using a darker background I back light the hair to show separation and depth. 5.6 ~ 1/200 ~ Canon 5d mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens

VanD-6796wwdmvhpshcrBack light from the sun gives extra “spark” to the image as does the athletic pose of a volleyball player.  2.8 ~ 1/1000  ~ Canon 5d mark2 ~ 70-200 L lens

You don’t choose your life… you live it.

~The Way

Another phase of my life goes by… taking a career break from traditional portraiture.

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This has been in the planning stages for the past 4 months and I was going to wait until mid October to announce my future plans, but I guess now is as good a time as any.

It’s been 16 years of growth and transformation, starting with 35mm and medium format film, darkroom processing and now the digital age with Lightroom and Photoshop. It is time to move on, so I will be closing the traditional portrait studio as of October 15, 2013.  All sessions scheduled up to that point will go on as planned and the current website will be up until May 1, 2014 to facilitate senior orders.  After that, I’ll start working on a new website reflecting the art of both Randy and myself.  The studio will then be transformed into Randy’s painting studio and workshop.  It’s his turn now.

I still love photography and hope to continue learning and exploring new, unusual techniques and push for a more and more creative style. Maybe even try an impressionistic painting style of photography.  I also plan to continue showing art work in galleries, promote the arts,  and hope to find time to put together other products using images.  (Greeting card line?)  I may ask to borrow some of your kids if I get an idea for some prairie photography because, after all, southwest Minnesota/Eastern South Dakota is a great place to raise children and that is a theme near and dear to my heart.

I will not be twiddling my thumbs and eating bonbons by the truck load, as I move into this phase of my life.  I’ll need to complete this year’s photo orders, try to be Randy’s farm hand/gopher, occasionally Granny Nanny (Grandkid #2 is expected in March 2014), clean/organize/paint inside the house and sheds (long overdue), continue involvement with community and art organizations, garden and go back to the classroom environment as a substitute teacher – look out, G-D!

Then, in my spare time, I’ll learn Spanish, how to knit/crochet, bike/hike or maybe even jog, work on songs with Randy (maybe my sister will dust off her accordion and we can hit the nursing home circuit!), read the books I haven’t had time to read and travel / hike anywhere I can, as well as visit friends and relatives.  Yep, lots to do.

Don’t worry, I’ll still blog about whatever trail I’m on or something that wanders through my mind and conjure up some “thought for the day” to amuse myself and the world from time to time.  Hey, I may even bring back “Photo Friday” with educational topics.

Thank you to all who have been on this journey with me…  It’s been a good ride.

It’s Photo Friday ~ Seniors…the art and the card

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Lately it seems like most of the hours of my days have been spent designing high school graduation announcements/cards for my class of 2013. I know they aren’t my kids but I have spent some quality time getting to know them through their sessions and I try to follow their sports and academic accomplishments. The graduation card is the grand finale of this process. I don’t know if I just get the best seniors around or if this class of 2013 is one to be proud of. I’d like to think it’s both.

I confess to be somewhat attention deficit in how I conduct my life ( I blame it on my years teaching kindergarten ~ if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em!) but this does not seem to be a detriment during the card design process. Or, is it? I try to make each card unique and approach it as though it is a work of art. I know this is not a good business practice as far as making the most money. I should offer a handful of designs and take it or leave it, or else charge five times more than I do. I’ve been a parent with bills and now I’m on the other side trying to make a living with this photography gig. I struggle with this balance and hopefully will find a happy medium at some point. I have a feeling that I’m not the only photographer struggling with this balance of making a living versus creating art.

Hidden Treasures in Southwestern Minnesota

Our eyes were opened due to the talents that spring up from our prairie roots at the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council 2012 Celebration at Milan, Minnesota on October 28, 2012. The community welcomed us with open arms as we toured their city, shops and art studios within the main street and the two former school buildings which are now used to provide art opportunities and studio space for local artists.  I was amazed at the diverse talent that prevails in this little prairie village.  Pottery, weaving, fiber arts, silversmithing, blacksmithing, photography, mixed media, framing and painting which also includes rosemal, a decorative Norwegian painting style (I apologize if I’ve left an art form out.) may be found within this quaint community.  Milan Village Arts School is a tremendous asset to their community and surrounding areas.

We found the museum on main street especially interesting as it is the passion of one man for his community. The old photographs with their unique frames of depth with inside lighting added a unique twist for the viewer. Walk through a doorway from the museum and you will find a quaint little shop called Billy Maple Tree  that sells items made by local artists as well as handmade items from around the world through the  SERRV project.  SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

Outside the building we found the ArtOrg 2012 project which involved learning about the printmaking process using a steamroller method. The images below are from this “hands on” experience.  We can’t turn down an opportunity to learn by doing!

The final result – Tah – Dah!!!

Throughout the afternoon and evening we were were able to listen to local area musicians and take folk dancing lessons thanks to Tamarack Dance from Duluth, MN. A special performance by visual artist and musician,  Malena Handeen, who was presented the Prairie Star Award at the evening banquet was icing on the cake, so to speak.  Who would have thought an accordian could be so cool with a blend of gutsy blues, hip hop(?), ballads and folk. I’ve just added attending a Maleena Handeen concert to my bucket list and I’m putting a Malena Handeen album purchase on my Christmas Wish List.

A big “thank you”  to Milan Village Arts School, Milan, MN and the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council for a wonderful Sunday.  Kudos to all of you!

It’s Photo Friday!! Photo Etiquette 101

Looking for tips to stay within photography etiquette guidelines when traveling.  I love exploring cultures with my camera, including my own rural environment, but don’t want to be offensive at the same time.  Often times I find that we are “same but different” in many aspects and appreciate the uniqueness of experiences.  I have found that purchasing or tipping generously will often provide plenty of photo opportunities, but my experience with a variety of cultures is limited.

I’m reaching out to others in the world that have travel photography experience to offer suggestions to best document the experiences but be within the realm of common courtesy.  Which cultures are particularly difficult or easygoing to document?

Who needs toys when you have mud.

There is something magical about mud.   It squishes between your fingers and toes and you can move it all around while the puddles add extra fun with the splish-splash of waves.  Oh, to be a child and be mesmerized by mud.