good intentions and happy accidents. (part 1)

hello again.  it is sunday.  and sundays are for blogging.  at least, that is what i’ve told myself today.  (i’m attempting to convince myself that i CAN have some sort of schedule.  this may not work.  however, it may, as i believe myself pretty easily.)

so, myself and my little family have been sick this week.  (i’m currently drinking tea, in case you wanted to have a “sick” visual.  you’re welcome.) due to the sickies, i’ve been spending more time on the business-ish aspect of this bizness, as opposed to the fun and creative side that takes me on shoots.  in any case, this blog is about photography, so, instead of just waiting until i have another shoot to share with you, i’ve decided to share some of my favorite photos i’ve had the pleasure of taking in the past couple of years.  i’ll tell you why they’re my favorites and, because i’ve been asked to do so, i’ll share some of the more technical jargon having to do with the photos…composition, lighting, lenses, etc.  i am not good at speaking about that side of things, so please bear with me.

let’s begin.

in no particular order, numero uno…

have i said i love ridiculous?  this was a school assignment.  portraiture class.  i don’t remember what the assignment was exactly, but i remember thinking that my brother would be perfect for it.

ladies and gentlemen, my brother.  no, he does not have a prosthetic leg, nor a prosthetic hand, but my class sure thought he did.  that was pretty great.  taken with a canon 5D, 10-22mm, using one strobe for lighting.
composition-wise, i wanted to get the entire leg in the shot, plus the velvet-crying-baby portrait, plus the guitars behind him – therefore, the wide-angle.  the crazy little cymbal-playin’ monkey was actually more to the left on the wall, but, i felt he needed to be in the shot, so i photoshopped him further to the right in this photo.  i hate photoshopping, i really do.  but, it wasn’t so bad for this.

anyhow, this photo was just the right amount of ridiculous for me.


another school assignment.  this one was for photojournalism.  we were supposed to document someone in the professional world, essentially.  i decided to follow my dear friend and medical student, alex, around for a little bit.  this photo just sorta creeps me out.  i think that’s why i like it so much.  you don’t even need his face in it – the gloves are the focus, and it plays with your nerves a little bit.  at least, it does with me.  all i can think is “uh-oh…on goes the gloves…”
maybe it’s just me.  🙂
taken with canon 20D, 24-70mm lens, natural lighting.

number three…

again, a school assignment.  this one was for photo design…one of my first classes in photo school.  frankly, i love the composition of this.  i love the cropping, the texture, the lines (especially the perfect shadow line).  it comes to mind always as one of my favorite portraits i’ve done…even if she is missing an eye.
taken with canon 20D, 24-70mm, natural lighting.

okay, this is what i like to call a happy accident.  this was another school assignment…again, in portraiture class.  this was our “masters of portraiture” assignment, in which we were supposed to mimic the style of one of our favorite photographers.  my choice: the brilliant arnold newman.  the man did some AMAZING environmental portraiture, always conveying so well who his subject was and telling a story about them.  so, that is what i set out to do here.
my intention to use: canon 5D, 24-70mm, and one, maybe two, strobes.
my happy accident: i forgot to pack a sync cord…i also didn’t have a radio slave.  (technical babble translation: there was no way my camera was going to sync up with the lights so that they would flash when i pressed the shutter.)
i had a very UH-OH moment, as i needed to do this shoot that particular evening and wasn’t sure what i was going to do if i didn’t get it.  my boyfriend even tried syncing up with my brain and manually flashing the light for me right as i pressed the shutter – yeah, don’t try this.  it doesn’t work.  but, he was super sweet for attempting it.
so, how did the shoot end up working out and being one of my favorites?  i simply used the modeling light.  (technical babble translation: a modeling light is built into the strobe as a constant light that can be used to assess highlight and shadow areas that will be created when subsequently exposing the digital sensor in the brighter light of the flash. it also provides enough light to permit focusing.) the modeling light is not usually what anyone wants to use for shooting, but, i had no choice here.  because it didn’t provide a lot of light, i ended up with more grain (technical babble translation:  grain are (tiny) points which appear in the image. they are actually gaps between the silver grains which form the image. the more grain in a photograph, the less definition it has), than i had intended.   long story short: I LOVE THE GRAIN.  and so did my professor.
p.s. for other shots on this particular shoot, i ended up shooting by the light of the film projector that is pictured in the image.  those were pretty cool, too, but not quite like this one.
p.p.s the quality of this photo on here is nothing similar to how it looks in real life.  i have a print of this in my livingroom and it’s beautiful.  this file does it no justice.  just sayin…

and, next…
okay, this was another portraiture class assignment.  this was the last one (i think).  our instructor decided that he was going to assign us a particular style of portrait that we had to shoot…corporate, family, couples, etc… well, after my shoot with my brother and his bogus prosthetic leg, along with some other semi-ridiculous shoots i did for that class, my instructor’s brilliant idea for a theme/style to assign me?  humor.  that’s right, humor.  someone was now TELLING ME TO BE FUNNY.  that was so weird.  instantly i balked at the idea.  that was instant and verbal, i must add.  i basically told my instructor: “you can’t MAKE me be funny!  that’s never going to work!” all of the shoots before then that had turned out ridiculous and funny turned out such a way organically, for lack of a better word.  so, now the pressure was on.
good thing i have funny friends that are willing to be a little bit insane with me.  i immediately employed the help of jamey, here, who has the ability of making any photo look both beautiful and hilarious at the same time.
don’t ask me how we came about the setup here…i believe it consisted of us just adding dumb stuff to this tray and going from there.  🙂  oh, i also did jamey’s makeup.
taken with: canon 5D mark II, 10-22mm, one strobe.  and myself on a stool.


same shoot, we just included my friend and jamey’s husband, ash.  who looked the perfect part in his chest hair and denim overalls attire.
i love everything about this photo…the colors, the jack-o-lantern on the wall behind (which i think we moved in order to end up there), the expression on ash’s face, the light hitting jamey’s face as she downed some booze, the elephant sitting oh-so-happily on the tray…etc.
taken with: canon 5D mark II, 24-70mm, two strobes – the right of which decided to only work occasionally for me…this photo was one of the times it did not sync up, but, the shading turned out fine with me.  another happy accident.  🙂

okay, i hope you enjoyed those, at least.  i’m coughing and sniffling and want to drink more tea and nap under a blanket.  so, i shall make this a part 1, and share the rest with you later.  tomorrow?  sure.  possibly then.
happy sunday! (unless you’re reading this an entirely different day…in that case, happy day!)

alana 🙂

p.s. do leave feedback/questions for me, if you will…it really helps to know what you guys are thinking.  it’s totally weird when i can see that my blog gets however many views but i have no idea who you are that are reading it.  it’s the nature of the blog, i suppose.  but, i love communicating with you, so,  say hello!

this. is. a blog.

did i ever think i’d do a blog?
nope.  when i first heard of the word “blog”, it sounded like an alien.  like “alf’s friend, blog.”  or something i had surely heard on mork & mindy. i didn’t get it.  i may still not get it, but i shall do it.  because i am WITH THE TIMES, man.

so, i take photos.  for some reason, i still have a hard time calling myself a photographer/artist/etc., legitimately.  i don’t know what it will take for me to someday be supremely comfortable with saying that….i’m sure it will come.  in any case, the photos i take, and the time i enjoy taking those photos, will be the reason for this blog, ultimately.  i will share these things with you…and quite possibly share with you what i was thinking while capturing those photos, if you care to know.  which, often, i can pretty much guarantee you, will be absurd.

initially, i’ll just tell you a bit about me.  i am creeping up on age 35.  i don’t care that women aren’t supposed to tell their age…whatever…i’m almost 35, and i’m okay with it.  it’s a pretty good time in my life.  i have an amazing, beautiful, smart, witty, hilarious daughter who is 12.  sometimes i still cannot believe that i am the mom of a pre-teen.  it’s pretty weird.  i also have a 16mo old son who is adorable and getting funnier and funnier every day.  i also have a super supportive, loving, incredibly decent man (and the father of my son) in my life.  i am thankful for these three humans every single second of every day. they’re the coolest.

why photography for me?
well, i’ve wanted to be a photographer ever since my grandfather put a camera in my hands at the age of five…
nope.  that’s not true.
i feel like everyone has some story like that, but, that’s not mine.  it hasn’t been something i’ve somehow always desired to do.  i actually had not a clue what i wanted to do as a career for what feels like forever.  brief history: i got married at 19.  that was a bad idea that i stuck with and tried to make work for ten years.  my awesome daughter came from that, so, not all was lost.  but, the majority of my childhood + the majority of my marriage = not happy.  i didn’t have pursuits.  i didn’t have the motivation to have any pursuits of my own.  i just was stagnant.  people kind of had my life mapped out for me and i just was living it.  annnnnnyway, i got divorced almost five years ago.  guess what?  i started taking lots of photos five years ago.  i was finding myself.  i was enjoying my life.  and, apparently, when i am in a happy place, i love to take photos.  THAT, my friends, is what started this.  finding myself as a struggling single parent who was not so keen on the idea of working in coffee shops and doing makeup for the rest of my years to support us…that’s what then kicked this all in motion.  i started thinking about attending college…i didn’t know for what…it ended up being a pretty big epiphany the day that i realized that i could go to school for photography and quite possibly support my daughter and i through that.  there really was a “whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!” moment that i went through. it was a pretty good moment.

in any case, here i am.  photography makes me happy.  it gives me a very natural high that i absolutely love.  i even love the editing process, which is kind of weird.
the main thing about myself and capturing photos: if you, as the viewer, do not end up feeling something or being told a story through them, i’m doing something wrong.  that is my ultimate goal.  to tell a story.  to show emotion through photos.  hopefully, i can always achieve that.  if not, i need to reevaluate the shoots that i am spending my time and energy on.

so, yeah.  i’ll be posting photos of upcoming shoots.  i likely will not have another super long write-up like this one, unless you have questions you care to ask.  if so, ask away.

thanks for reading.  i feel like i just wrote some weird diary page for you.

here are those people i was telling you about…

daughter. weirdo. just like her mom. (this is not the best quality photo i’ve taken of her, but it’s pretty accurate…)

son. told you…adorable.

man. supportive AND handsome. ❤

myself…in a nutshell.

myself with my current hair.
i obviously do not take quality self-portraits. sorry ’bout that.