The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Friday, July 30, 2010

From the Barefoot Files...

Yesterday was my birthday.  I found this old photo a few months ago and was saving it for my birthday old photo post.  This photo was taken at my great grandfather's house -- the house is now underwater.  My great grandparent's and grandparent's houses were on the land purchased through an eminent domain event to provide space for the reservoir in their county.  I have a lot of fond memories of that property.  This house is a part of many of them.  

To the right of this photo was the way to the kitchen.  There was a large old stove there that was powered by wood.  I remember watching my grandmother lift the latch and see the fire in its belly.  I took baths in the kitchen sink.  When there were baby chicks in the hen house -- I would bring one or two into the house to play with and let them run around the kitchen until my grandmother made me "get them out where they belong."

To the left of this photo was my great grandparents' bedroom.  I don't remember my great grandmother -- but I do remember my great grandfather.  He was bedridden and I would go to the room to sit on the bed and spend time with him.  Sometimes I would bring a kitten in to run around on the bed.

In the photo there is a doorway on the left; through this is the living room.  It is also on the other side of the window where the fan is.  In that living room was a huge (at least to me) wood stove for heat.  I would play in this room.  I remember being in this room at Easter waiting for the adults to hide eggs.  We had a box of rabbits in the room to play with while we waited.  Previously on the blog I had a photo of me with my cousins and another great grandmother taken on the couch in this room.

The room where this photo was taken was a place to play at times as well.  I have a memory of bringing a jar full of dirt and earthworms into the house and asking my grandmother to let me dump it so I could see the worms and count them.  She brought me to this room and gave me a piece of newspaper to dump it on.  

I was about 7 years old when the moved from this house.  It was a fun place and I am glad we have photos of times there.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Three Years Done

Three years ago today I began this blog.  The direction has changed a bit here and there and the frequency also changes.  But I hope anyone stumbling upon it has learned a little or at least thought a bit about things because of what they read here.

Since this is an anniversary day -- here is a quick little list of some notable posts.
Since today is a vintage photo day -- and yesterday was my grandmother's birthday -- here is one of her as a child in school.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pictures of You

Many of us have (or will have at some point) a less than flattering photo floating around on the internet.  It happens.  The most annoying thing of being a photographer is knowing when someone is taking a photo of you that will look bad -- or that you never see until everyone has seen it.  

Many photographers -- especially the designated "family photographer" takes on that job because they are most at ease behind the camera rather than in front of it. This is fine -- but before you know it there are tons of fun photos showing everyone -- except the person who always takes the pictures! Learning to take a photo or to have a photo taken of you is a skill.  I know of a few people who must have practiced their "look" in front of a mirror to get it just right.  Every shot of them that I see -- there they are with the same exact smile and tilt of the head.  It is funny.  Sure they look great -- but it gets to be funny.  

I try to be extra careful with the photos I put out there of other people -- making sure that they are flattering.  If I am shooting someone candidly I keep my camera on continuous shooting to make sure I get a flattering image and not one with eyes closed, mouth in an odd shape, or -- well -- worse.  The most flattering way to take a portrait shot is to sit below the photographer -- OK shoot down on someone's face.  Also make sure the subject is not tense and pulling his chin in toward his neck.  Push your chin out (but don't look like it is exaggerated).  This stretches out the chin and neck area and is flattering to everyone.

Watch the lighting -- harsh light is not good.  If you do need to shoot or be shot is bright, harsh light; use a fill flash to counter any weird shadows created by the light.  If you are taking photos of someone outside on a bright day -- use that fill flash.  A subject in a cap will need that for sure to light the area under the bill of the cap.  If you don't their eyes will be in shadow.

The photos above was taken at a photo show -- the background is less than perfect.  Since it was at a photo show this is OK.  But that line going through my head does big me a little.  I did crop it down to just me -- my photo was high above my head.  The room was dark -- so lighting was an issue and this was a flash photo.  All in all -- not bad.  My friend Carla, the director of the show, took the photo.  The best thing to do when someone is going to take your photo -- relax.

Beware of flash in a low light condition.  This can bring out the red eyes.  If someone is in low light, their pupil is dilated and this contributes to the red, glowing eyes seen in many photos.  The red eye reduction flash counters this by flashing once prior to the shutter release to cause the pupil of their eye to contract.  Also turning on a light behind the photographer can help.  When the subject looks toward the photographer, they look to the light and their pupil contracts. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

From the Barefoot Files...

This dog has been on the blog before.  He was in the photo with my Aunt Anna.  This is Aunt Anna's husband, Ben.  He was also my great grandfather's brother -- and Aunt Anna was my great grandmother's sister; brothers married sisters.

I like this photo -- it looks like he is heading out to hunt or finished.  The dog reminds me of Sadie a little -- the body type -- not so much the coloring.

There is some good light (sunshine?) on the subjects in this photo.  You can see the shadow on the door.  What also tells me there is good light is that all of the dark areas -- his clothes and the markings of the dog -- show detail.  If it was too dark the folds in the clothing and the body lines of the dog would be completely in shadow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Serendipitous Snake

The 365 Project presents challenges and rewards.  Before taking it on I did take photos often -- but not daily.  I did not carry my camera with me often -- now I do.  I have always jumped at the serendipitous opportunity as presented below.  This has become one of my favorite 'out of the blue' photos that I have had the chance to take.  

A few days ago, July 7 to be exact, my husband was walking out of the back door to run an errand.  I was in the kitchen on the phone with Kathryn Kolb with the Serenbe Photography Center.  He came back in the kitchen door and said, "Come here, and get your camera."  I asked Kathryn if I could call her back in a moment and she said yes.

Before I grabbed the camera, I poked my head out of the back door to see what was there.  The beautiful little (ok, not so little) garter snake was just as it is above.  So I did hurry to grab my camera.  The snake was about five feet from the doorway.  I did my normal approach of shoot and step closer, shoot and step closer, etc. until I thought if I got any closer the snake would move and get away.  So I stopped about halfway to the snake and continued to shoot.  Then I zoomed in closer to the head and got down low to catch different levels.  When I was sure I had enough -- I did move closer and lower.

I like the full shot best.  To be able to see the whole snake -- the little curves of the tail -- I think it makes a better photo.  But this whole set up looks like a set up -- and it is not.  The snake shows well with the color of the concrete.  The white splotches are from my daughter's bike lube (good ol' White Lightning!).  I have been telling her to not get it all over the garage -- but now I am glad she did.  The full shot shows a nice arc of the splotches in the lower right corner.   That double Rose of Sharon bush is a mess and needs pruning -- plus the dead blossoms always need raking up.  I am glad they were there for the shot also.  That subtle bit of purple is a nice compliment to the subtle green of the snake.  The colors in the photo work well; muted and subdued.  I did process this photo with Color Efex using the cross processing filter to tint it ever so slightly.  But it is pretty darn close to as shot and as seen.

The shooting took just a few minutes.  After I was finished I took the broom by the back door and shooed the snake away.  It left in a hurry, scooting off under the Rose of Sharon and has not been seen since.  I have weeding to do in the backyard and around the pond and now I am hesitant to do that thinking this snake is hanging around there lunching on toads and skinks -- hopefully not fish.  I quickly called Kathryn back and emailed her a photo of the snake later that day.

Sometimes you have to stop what you are doing and take advantage of the opportunity presented.  If nothing else it will become the "photo of the day."

Friday, July 9, 2010

From the Barefoot Files...

On Fridays I take my dog Sadie to the local dog park to run, play, and have some fun.  She loves it.  As soon as we get home, I have to give her a bath because she gets very dirty at the park.  This morning she played with an Australian Shepherd puppy for a long time and had fun.  The little Aussie reminds me of our Rosebud.

I have always liked dogs.  I have had cats -- and have one now -- but I think I like dogs much more than cats.  I remember the many dogs I have had over the years.  We had dogs at home and there were always dogs at my grandmother's house.  One year my husband and I gave my granddaddy a pair from the shelter -- they looked like a cross between a golden retriever and an Irish setter.  Not long after I was married I adopted Daisy from a shelter -- she was a poodle-Maltese mix and very prissy.  

This photo is a picture of me with our dog Cindy.  Cindy was a cocker spaniel.  She was a good dog.  My father brought her home one day.  She had puppies and I remember they knocked over a can of paint in the basement -- there were little pink paw prints all over the place that day.  Cindy was a good dog -- she would let me dress her up in hats and scarves to take her photo.  She was one of my first 'dog models.'  I need to find those photos of her wearing my old stuff.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peachtree Road Race

Yesterday I walked the Peachtree.  For those of you who do not live in Atlanta -- it is "the" July 4 activity just behind attending fireworks.  I walked -- mainly because there is no way I could run 6.2 miles and because I wanted to shoot photos along the way.  Above is one of my favorites.  Using storefront windows for reflections I catch myself shooting and my husband just ahead of me.  Our kids were along but on the other sides of us so you really don't see them here without some searching.

There were lots of people there -- not just the participants -- but those who were helping to make it a well-run event.  Taken from the Atlanta Journal's list of interesting facts:
  • 32 percent of the runners were in it for the first time
  • runners from 48 states and D.C. registered
  • 3400 volunteers
  • 700 portable toilets
  • 550,000 cups used
I can believe it about the cups -- the photo above does not do justice to the mounds of cups we saw along the route.  

Occasionally there were sprays of water that many found cooling.  In this photo, my daughter is heading toward the next one.  We had fun and probably will do this again.  It was a great opportunity for some cool photos.  I don't know if I would even take it so seriously to try to make a great time.  

Friday, July 2, 2010

From the Barefoot Files...

How many of us spent a few minutes in a photo booth?

To the right is a couple shots of me in a booth.  I am guessing that I am about three years old in this photo.  Looking at my clothes and my tanned arm -- it must be summer.

Summer is a great time for fun photos.  You can do something similar to this with a digital camera and create the "strip" effect with photo editing software.  The way to get the click, click, click shot sequence is with the continuous shooting mode on your camera.  I used continuous often when I am shooting handheld to be sure I can keep some sharp focus.  Using continuous also gives you the frame by frame by frame look that you got with a photo booth.

This holiday weekend is a good time to play around with continuous shooting.  

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