Friday, January 28, 2011

And life resumes its order...

..or at least that's how the saying goes...We'll see about that!

I began school Monday afternoon. In some ways I was excited, but in others I was a bit worried, as any student is on the first day of a new semester. I was mostly wondering if schedules would work, if teachers would be cool, and if there would be many friends in the classes I had chosen.
Well, yes, to all of the above!

This 1st semester, of Junior year, I am taking :
  1. Studio II, with my favorite teacher at Columbia, and it seems like this will be a rockin' class!
  2. Photojournalism I - with Steve Liss, former staff photographer at TIME, with an awesome 43 covers, over the time he worked there! *Wow*
  3. Photo History II- with Carol Elhers, a Chicago gallery owner
  4. Nutrition - with Dr. Anthony Sikora, a private practice chiropractor and RN at Mercy Hospital
  5. Honors: Vietnam War Literature - well, this class is interesting, a history class and literature class combined, both teachers are nice and qualified - Mine, the literature teacher, is pretty cool and he was a Marine, so yeah, qualified.
So, if I haven't mentioned this before, Columbia only employs working industry professionals. I will forever sing Columbia's praises for this, because frankly, it is what makes it such an awesome school. This fact is one which really pushed me into studying here, not to mention the film into digital background(a whole 3-4 semesters) which they require and the positions which many of the college's grads hold (Sr Vice President of CNN, Oscar Winning Cinematographer(for Avatar), and a pulitzer prize winning photographer, just to name a few, thanks Forbes..)
No matter the annoying, hoity toity, holier than thou treatment we often get from the staff, especially in the photo dept, I am very proud that I chose Columbia.

Also, I am very optimistic about this semester and all of its potential. With the excitement of the Gonzalez Gorman tasting still fresh in my mind, I have already started thinking about my Studio final. This is a huge step for me, because I don't like to get ahead of myself with school, but as the idea continues to formulate, you all will hear more. For now, all I will say is, "vintage!"

I received the WPPI preview edition of Rangefinder, yesterday, and I'm just itching to go! Of course, that's not possible with school, but it is definitely a goal of mine in the near future. I would so love to really become active in the Chicago wedding photographer network, but so far have not been brave enough to attend a PUG (Pictage User Group) meeting or any events here. Eventually, I know I'll work up the guts, I am just afraid that because of my age and not yet knowing any Chicago wedding photogs that I'll be shunned, or something. Totally my imagination, I'm sure, but still..

Updates: I am still working on images from the tasting for the Oprah bride. I am so pleased with the turn out of all the images and the amount of positive feedback I have received. I cannot tell you how awesome and inspiring that whole experience was for me. It was amazing! These are some more artistic, "for me" images from the tasting, below:

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me this week and reading! Hopefully, my babbling made some sense :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gonzalez Gorman Tasting Part 2

So, here it is - Part 2 of the Gonzalez Gorman tasting. Of course, all tastings are about the food(ahem, and the wine)! Both of which were of plenty Sunday afternoon. So today, my post may be image heavy, but I had just so many favorite food images! And what are photoblogs for anyway, right?

When it comes to food, Pure Kitchen Catering does it right! Completely ecofriendly, using only local, fresh, in-season ingredients - their food is pure bliss! Believe me, because after I shot it, I got to eat it. OH My! I was stopped in my tracks, more than once, just to "ooh" and "ahh" at the flavors! I could tell, above all, Chef Derrick is really passionate about his food.

Even the Pinot Nior is organic!

Each dish was almost sculptural: little pieces of art, and they were even more delicious than they looked!

As I said earlier, there was a lot of laughing.

Isn't Elena gorgeous and just glowing!
And planning..

So this concludes the Gonzalez Gorman Tasting. I cannot thank everyone enough! Pure Kitchen Catering, Art of Imagination, CaterBid, Heather Ever Present, Kitchen Chicago and most of all Elena and Tom for giving us the opportunity to get together and create something beautiful for you! You all are an amazing group! Thanks so much for a wonderfully inspiring Sunday afternoon!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gonzalez Gorman Tasting Part 1

So remember in my last post I showed my new event cards, and said I'd explain later? Well, here it is! Yesterday, I had the great privilege to photograph a tasting for Elena and Thomas, hosted by Pure Kitchen Catering. I was invited to be the photographer by one of my good friends from college, Kyren, who works for Joshua at Pure Kitchen. I'm forever grateful to her, because she believes in me so much and refers me for job after job - LOVE YOU, Kyren!!

Anyway, back to the tasting! The gorgeous Elena is an Oprah bride, how fab is that?! So, I needless to say, I was very excited to be the photographer on hand! Elena and Tom's wedding is in June, so they came out to Kitchen Chicago to be wowed by Pure Kitchen. And let me tell you, I heard a lot of wow's! Everyone enjoying great food, lots of laughs in the air - This was my favorite type of shoot! I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When I imported the images later that night, I continued to be overwhelmed by beauty, as I had all day long. Of course, with all the wonderful imagery of which I was bestowed yesterday, I had to break up my posts -I had just too many favorites! So I'll share my second round of favorites on Wednesday, along with a link to the remaining images! Hope you'll stay tuned!

Today's post is all about design and details!
When I arrived at Kitchen Chicago, I met the lovely Deborah Weisenhaus of Art of Imagination, the designer who put together the amazing decor.
I was so impressed by the simple and elegant table scape and warm lighting - she brought us the warmth of summer while snow was falling out the window.

The bar was stocked with summery drinks too! and Oh, the colors!

and Oh, the colors!

Come back Wednesday for installment number 2: The Food! I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bare Truths: Embracing the Process

Totally appreciated Julia's post, on Justin and Mary's blog Monday afternoon. So much so, that I commented( yes, sadly, i too am a blog lurker...*blush*).

My comment:
I often have those grey days.. mostly because I am still a student and I have so much more to learn, I look back at all the work I've done and try to compare them to the work of people like J&M and continue to fall short. Thanks for reminding me that better days!! are yet to come, this too shall pass, and letting me know I'm not the only one (i need that reminder, often). Congrats on the feature! You deserve it!
This is something I need to work on this year. I need to have more confidence in myself and my capabilities. Jessica Strickland started the work in her comment on my last Bare Truths post. Her reassurance was received at one of the most pivotal moments in my year. It was mid-semester and I was at that mid-sem breaking point, where I feel like all my professors think my work is safe and insignificant... yeah.. What I appreciated most about Jess's comment was that she leveled with me and told me that she has been there. This is the point where I think blogs (and the teachers!!!) these days are lacking.

Maybe I am just one to talk because I admit I don't read blogs as often as I used to, but so often, I feel like I read about this "great wedding" and that "amazing shoot", and about the "OMG! I've been featured in [Insert High End Wedding Magazine Here]!" While I love to hear these stories because they confirm that these photographers I follow are actually recognized for the talent that even I can see they have, there are those days where, forgive me, but I totally hate reading them because they make me feel inferior. They almost alienate those of us who aren't there yet, who aren't important enough yet. Though I guess that happens mostly on those "grey days" that Julia was talking about, still, I'd like to know that these people I follow are still just as human as I am.

I believe that, while our blogs are about(and should be about) our successes, they should also be about our doubts and failures because, after all, we are only human.

So, I guess I've stumbled upon another 2011 resolution... Embracing the process.

I began to understand this concept during the CreativeLive Jasmine Star workshop this summer. I've only learned more and more about it in the months since, and I am now beginning to embrace the process of becoming great. I know I have a long way to go, but I am seeing progress, like that of my last post, and that is probably the most encouraging thing that I could ever have done. Just in the re-examination and re-edit of the Felty's photos, I noticed at least 8 errors, 7 errors of which I have already improved and only within a year's time! The last one, aperture control, will resolve itself with practice and growth of my artistic aesthetic. All this is a major encouragement to me, because I know that I'm on my way to being pretty good at what I do.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Revamp and Re-Release: Lisa and Ivan

This week I realized that one of my wedding couples just had their 1st year anniversary! Shout out to Lisa and Ivan Felty, Happy Anniversary! So I decided to try something new. I don't usually go back and re-edit images, because I feel like they mark a certain period in my life. Well, I decided that this particular set of images, Lisa and Ivan's wedding, had really been done a disservice, because, as a student, I was not exactly an expert editor at the time of their wedding.

So many things have changed since January 1st of 2009, one major thing being the release of Lightroom3 - my Godsend. Lisa and Ivan's wedding was set in low light, a beautiful characteristic for a romantic ambiance, but not exactly a budding wedding photographer's best friend. I left the wedding with some great images, many of which suffered from high ISO noise. I edited the best I could, but I have to say that my editing was pretty lack luster with the lowly tools Lightroom 2.6 offered. So I decided to give their images a second look, after all, Lightroom 3 has an awesome noise reduction tool, built right in!

This weekend I've been putting in long hours to revamp these images, and I must say, they are so much clearer, cleaner, sharper, 100% better color corrected... I could go ON and ON... Let's just say, "Thank God for Advanced Color and Digital 2 at Columbia! " I have "digital chops" as my Dig2 professor, Peter Thompson, would say. :) Man, even after the boot camp he put us through, I still think he's one AWESOME teacher for all the wisdom he imparted to us this semester. *Thanks, Peter!*

Now that I have rambled on, here some of the new photos:

Can you see the difference between the photos above and the photos posted on H|Photography's Facebook page?