Learning my new language

If you put a google search in for “sepia rose”, you will get 100 other images like this one I took today. This is actually a close crop of an experiment that I am not sure if I liked or not. When Im not sure I like something, I will edit the heck out of it for hours on end. In doing so, I learn not only the software better, but I begin to train my eye on what looks better or worse. This awareness translates directly into the lens I have found. What I don’t do? Look at other photos. Unless you spend time actively studying other photography, you can’t possibly build any appreciation for whats being done. If you have no appreciation, then how can you possibly learn to grow and expand. Art is, after all, about expansion. Isn’t that the heart of what we do? If something is created, doesn’t it also expand?

…I digress…

Even knowing that this photo is cliche as all get-out (…), I can’t help but like it. And I think what I love even more, is the fact that all I did to the photo, was crop, convert to grey scale and adjust the sepia. I wonder how this would look printed on salt paper. Or taken with wet collidion.

But its still cliche…

So now I puzzle, how do I take an emotional image of a rose, in monotone, that is not cliche? How do I use formal elements to create an image that no one has seen before. Something to make people stop and linger, and ponder over it. I want it to look like more than a piece of commercial art that you get on discount in Ross.

I end my thoughts this evening with this lovely tract


My own studio *le sigh*

I fully enjoyed working on these photos and I can’t wait to work on the rest. Even though I am half crippled at the moment, I took over 800 shots, in probably 9 differant lighting arrangements before getting what I really liked. I was incrediably grateful to my assisstants, even though some of them ran off early, as young ones often do. Thats alright.

I so enjoyed getting up close and personal with my horses. Naturally, I already “know” them all, and thier personalities. But this was so much differant. More intimate. In a controlled setting, but I allowed enough freedom for the horses to react on thier own. It was up to me to be able to see those moments when the perfect light, and the perfect reflection, and the perfect body position and the perfect expression converge into one moment in time. And when I would see those near perfect moments, I would often gasp. Oh! Thats Beautiful! I would exclaim. Not to anyone in the room, but to myself. I forget that there are others there, helping me out. Something happens though, when I step behind that lens. At this point, I can’t tell you what it is, but I do know I enter a differant world and all else falls away outside of my subject and myself.

There were alot of techincal/set type of frustrations though, such as the backdrop not being completely smooth (which didn’t matter in the end) or big enough to cover the small area I had to work with. My lights, reflectors and diffusers work well enough for now, but I would love to play with some gels at some point. And just having more room to move.

Yes, I would like to have a studio. Big enough for a large horse, but in a manner that I could use it for dancing also if I wished. I already see in my mind how I would like my lighting and backdrops to be setup, safely.

Yes, this is where I see myself going in the next 5 years.

Spiritus Equus

One of my classes this semester is  “color and light”. I was really excited to take this class, as I felt this is an area I needed work on. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that most of my 3D modeling knowledge comes into play, in the way that light and color works off various objects. But I digress…

My final project for this class is a body of work revolving around my miniature horses. I will be creating the set in that I will have them in a stall with a backdrop (firmly placed) and artificially light the area making use of a 3 point lighting set up, with the third specular light to be either above or below the horse. (note to self, draw out lighting grid) What I hope to accomplish is an ethereal feeling, that the horse you are seeing in the photograph is from another world or plane of existence. I will find out this weekend if I am going to be successful or not, and decide how to adjust if I am not.

Looking through various paintings, drawings and photographs; searching for inspiration, I am suddenly made to realize that horses have been a part of mans evolution since the beginning of time. These noble creatures, perhaps more than any other, without question will trust us if we prove ourselves worthy. There is something so magical and divine about these animals, that it defies definition. All we can do, as artists, is attempt to show the viewer what we see when we gaze up these fae creatures. That is the key to my project, and any piece I photograph, regardless of subject….being aware, and lucky, enough to capture that glimpse of emotion, that instant when all their true thoughts are revealed on their expressions.

One Flake

Sometimes, there just isn’t much to say…so I’ll let this image speak for me.

I’ve made the cross over…

ImageAround 1 am, the moon had moved over the trees so I started to play with it. A 30 sec exposure coupled by a very small aperture and I was able to create these gorgeous star bursts around the moon. It was then though that i made the realization that I am no longer a photo editor, but a photographer in the true sense of the word.

30 seconds doesn’t seem like a long time. But for someone like me, who is always busy, always thinking…30 seconds can feel like an eternity. In the past, when I had to wait for a long exposure, it was all I could do to keep still, to keep from pushing buttons to make the process faster. I wanted it done so I could take my photos and start editing. It was that part of the creative process that I loved (and still do) and was familiar. I have always know how to edit.

But this night, this magical evening with the moon so bright and the expanse of the skies stretching before me, I realized the transformation. I set my exposure and sat down next to my tripod and just “was”. I was in that moment, and I realized it was this part, the actual creation of the photo, the experimenting with the settings, the sitting quiet with an inner stillness during the exposure….. that is what I love more than anything. I hope it shows..

Appreciation for the Rules

I didn’t realize how easily i sailed through undergraduate school until I started on my graduate studies. But its more than that. I am truly having a deep appreciation for the things we are being taught. Everyone has those moments when they feel like their work is fine as it is, and doesn’t need improvement. Or maybe we just get lazy, or complacent, or any other number of excuses. I know I have had many thoughts to the effect of “my works good enough, I’m not going to study this stuff”….Until I find a photograph that I truly admire. Such as tonight, I was admiring a gorgeous photo of some azalea flowers. I just kind of let go and let myself fall into the photo. Pretty soon my appreciation deepened as I began to notice many of this things I have been learning, as well as a good deal of things I already knew from 3D modeling. How cool is that? I at times feared my game design degree would be worthless….

Having this realization that just knowing the rules of design sub-consciously will only increase the effectiveness of my own photos. I can still shoot the same way I always have; meaning the style and subject matter that I have tended to employ through minimalism and use of equivocal spaces. What a great relief this realization is. I still have no idea what I am going to do for my finals, but at least I can go in knowing that it will be true to who I am. And I have got to get my astrology project off the ground. I feel like that is going to be a vital step in moving forward from where I am now.


So many things happening lately that its hard to keep up with it all, or write about it! I have lots to tell, but it will have to come gradually as I sort through other things. I did want to talk about something really exciting though. Those that know me, know I love tattoos and I have a few of my own. My first tat was when I was 16, and unfortunately back then I was just a guinea pig for my ex to practice on. Slowly over the years I’ve had most of these rather horrid and meaningless tattoos replaced by those that have a deeper meaning for me.

Two years ago I had this dragonfly done on my lower back. I had had the design for Gods only know how long, and I really felt transformed after it was done. The dragonfly goes through an incredible and painful transformation from nymph to adult, and at that point in my life thats how I felt. I was emerging from my old skin and stepping out into the world in my new one. And since then, I continue to grow and evolve in all areas of my life.

This is the drawing for my new tattoo which i will be going in to have done next week. I am so excited, as this is another one of those deeply symbolic tattoos. It will go between my shoulder blades, from neck base to mid back. I had wanted something with a peacock forever, but couldn’t seem to come up with anything, or find anything that felt right. I ran across a bronze venetian mask that struck me, and this was it. The peacock is a symbol of pride, beauty and strength. The mask reminds me that I need to stop hiding and come forth and embrace my true self and the beauty both within and without (the peacock). The rose will be replaced with an azalea, which symbolizes womanhood, passion and temperance; all traits I seek to embrace on the next part of my journey. The Ohm on the forehead of the mask symbolizes the spiritual whole that I must keep in balance. The butterfly over the eyes of the mask represent my souls transformation and growth as I look out in the world. I’ve selected Josh from Cin City in Billings to do this piece. His work is amazing and I know he will be able to capture exactly what I envision.