July 25, 2013

Baby Face

A couple weeks ago I was afforded the great privilege of meeting the newest little member of my boyfriend's family. What a precious thing, to hold something so tender... I'd never held a newborn before, and I was sure I'd hurt the little guy just by putting my arms around him.

It's a funny thing about babies -- they possess this overpowering innocence that makes all the hate in the world seem to just fall away. The love you feel for their purity extends outward in every direction, and suddenly every single living thing around you becomes fascinating.

If words don't suffice to explain it, hopefully you'll enjoy the photos...





















If there was one thing I learned from this photography session, it's that inspiration moves fast. You have to click-click-click as soon as something catches your eye -- sometimes even before you're sure something's coming.

Because one moment it's there


and the next, it's gone.


July 18, 2013

Whence First I Found my Sea Legs: Port Townsend

I don't feel I can progress much further into Photography month without completing this post, which I've been sitting on for about a month and a half.

At the beginning of June, I took an early morning ferry ride to Port Townsend to visit my friend, Miss K. (I ask you: Is there anything more thrilling than waking up before everyone else on a weekend? And then driving your car onto a seafaring device that will ford you to a different town? Not to mention reuniting with one of your best friends after so long a time? I don't think anything excites me more than the prospect of travel. Simple, sweet inertia.)



Goodbye, sad city of grey-washed gloom!

My inertia carried me over an island, along a freeway, 10 miles in the opposite direction along the same freeway, 10 miles back in the direction I'd originally traveled, over a windy bridge, and through almost every street in Chimacum. When I picked up K, we were rearin' for adventure. And adventure we found!

Port Townsend, WA is about 2 hours from Seattle, whichever route you take. It's on the north end of our peninsula, and you must cross an island called Bainbridge to get there (at least on this route.) Because it's a port town, it hasn't lost much of its original culture -- there's lighthouses, taffy and ice cream shops (I don't know what is inherently ocean-y about these sweets, but you always find them in coastal towns -- salt, perhaps?), old docks, nautical-themed shops, and architecture like this:

photo courtesy of Sequim Daily Photo

I fell in love with this structure, called The Hastings Building. K and I went so far as to ask to the Birkenstock store underneath it if we could get upstairs. No luck -- it was being renovated. I'd be totally thrilled to tour this place!




K and I started our day with catch-up and a cup of coffee at Tyler Street Cafe. Before this, she took me over to the lovely ivy-covered building which houses the local Leader newspaper, for which K works.



The cafe had a really great art deco feel, to complement the Victorian architecture.


Then it was lunch time at the amazing Waterfront Pizza. This was definitely in the ranks of one of the top pizzas I've tasted in my life. Just seeing the photo makes my mouth water in memory.

It seems no matter where I travel, I am certain to find an adorable bike begging me to take its picture.

Somewhere around here, my phone died, and K gladly obliged snapping anything and everything I asked her to. As a result, many of the photos you'll see hereafter are a joint effort -- her framing and my editing!






K showed me this boutique she loves -- Conservatory Coastal Home -- and I immediately fell hard as well. It's like a nautical version of Anthropolgie, except not so obnoxiously scented or expensive. We both loved how they arranged their inventory in color clusters. K was drawn to the orange/pink section, while I kept finding myself in the blues and greens. 





I couldn't convince K into this cheesy diner, which was decked out in full 50s fare; she said it was a total tourist trap. Instead, she took me down the street to her favorite, Elevated Ice Cream Co.



After this, we decided it was high time to walk off our snacks. We shopped up and down the main row, seeing everything from bead shops to cooking stores, antique to steampunk shops, earrings to anchor-print pashminas. By the time we reached the west end of the main drag, we both found ourselves quite thirsty. So we found some of these:


We briefly considered grabbing margaritas as well, but then we found out about Gallery Walk: this amazing phenomenon where you can wander through all the art galleries after hours and enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks -- whatever they choose to offer.

We stumbled into the first place we saw and were offered a local beer straight from a keg.
At the next gallery we found miniature eclairs, salted mixed nuts, and two kinds of wine.
At an eastern-themed furniture store there were two trays piled high with chocolate-covered candied ginger.
The fanciest gallery served champagne and those truffles with liquor inside -- the kind you have to stuff straight in your mouth, or risk certain dribbling.

It was like trick-or-treating for grownups.

In the midst of the gallery walk we ran into these guys:



And after all that, it was time for me to head home. The ride back was brilliant -- I saw so many colors to play with on the Sherwin Williams app, I didn't know what to do with myself. It was quite trying to focus on the freeway when stuff like this was passing me by:



My brother was going to throw away these glasses ?!? - I ask you!

What a lovely way to spend the day! I wish every week brought adventures like these. It's hard resisting the urge to spend every penny I have on car rides, train rides, airplanes, and visits to friends. But in the end, I notice, it's always worth it.

The photo team, in a shameless bathroom shot.

July 16, 2013

Beach Days

These photos are from a few weeks ago, on an unexpected evening off. Golden Gardens is one of the more beautiful spots in Seattle; an excellent location to practice with J's beautiful Nikon -- between games of Ladders and slices of salami with our good friends, B n' B. Enjoy!






I have J to thank for these beautiful boat shots, which edited gorgeously. Whilst he created art, I was busy trash-talking his ladder game.







If photos had soundtracks, this one would have the Beach Boys written all over it.
True. Essential. Summer.

July 15, 2013

Instagram Filter DIY

Well, Mr. JM, light of my life, has generously provided his Nikon camera for me to practice with this month, but I keep forgetting to grab the memory card to upload the photos! On that memory card are babies and beaches and ball games that I'm eager to share with you, but for now it's out of reach.

I've been trying to snap at least one Instagram a day, and just this afternoon a project idea for them came into my mind. You know how Instagram has all those lovely filters to choose from? The kind that make every poor man's latte look like some artisan gourmet thing from France? The kind that inject 500 Days of Summer-y vibes into your photos of that unassumingly grungy skyscraper? The kind that turn shoegazing into some kind of modern art? Oh yeah, you know.

Well, I've always been curious to know exactly how Instagram's filters work -- what exactly they're coded to lighten and darken, fade and flare? How do I reproduce these effects in the rest of my photography? I decided I would take these recent shots, apply a desirable Insta-filter to them, then see how close I could get to recreating that filter on iPhoto's humble editing software. Not a bad way to learn the art of photo enhancement, eh? Eh? Humor me.

So, to make up for 1 week of no posting, here are 7 photos, 7 filters, and 7 breakdowns by me:

1) Two Macaroons (Elephant Delicatessen - Portland, OR)
Original
Instagram
Self-Edit
Goal: Amp color to effectively capture deliciousness; minimize cookie's undershadow; soften overall, yet maintain sharpness of sprinkle texture and paper bag.

Instagram Filter Solution: Amaro

Recreation Recipe: Square crop, increase exposure to 1.23, bring contrast down -4, take saturation to 39%, increase highlights 15%, de-noise 14%, bring the temperature -4 colder, tint 3 toward green, Edge Blur Effect +3.


2) Looking Up (9th & Pike St. - Seattle, WA)
Original
Instagram
Self-Edit
Goal: Amp color and crop to feature contrast between brick and bright blue of sky; make streetlight disappear.

Instagram Filter Solution: Hefe

Recreation Recipe: Amp contrast about 85%, saturate 57%, Color Boost +2.


3) Le Maison d'Oiaseaux (Anthropologie Window - Portland, OR)
Original
Instagram
Self-Edit
 Goal: Pop colorful birdhouses from background; fade reflection while enhancing sun rays across glass.

Instagram Filter Solution: Lo-Fi

Recreation Recipe: Increase exposure 0.68, boost contrast to 100%, saturate 57%, increase sharpness to 9, Color Boost +1, Color Fade +1.


4) Skyway (somewhere on Wall St. - Seattle, WA)
Origianl
Instagram
Self-Edit
Goal: Draw focus to skyline using geometry/lines of composition; center "Hotel" sign, for focus; capture look & feel of vintage New York City photos.

Instagram Filter Solution: Inkwell

Recreation Recipe: Turn on Black & White, Increase exposure to 0.78, boost contrast to 100%, bring upper level control to 94% and mid level control down about a quarter.


5) Say Cheese (University District - Seattle, WA)
Original
Instagram
Self-Edit
Goal: Decrease ruddiness in face and circles under eyes; make Cheeto pop from face; make face pop from background.

Instagram Filter Solution: Valencia

Recreation Recipe: Increase saturation 69%, Decrease shadows to 36, bring temperature toward blue -20, bring tint toward red -25, bring lower level control up to 9%, Antique Effect +1.


6) Diamond in the Sky (Paramount Theater - Seattle, WA)
Original

Instagram
Self-Edit
Goal: Showcase the chandelier; give the effect of ghostly/haunted background -- something like Titanic under the sea; SHADOWS!

Instagram Filter Solution: Sutro

Recreation Recipe: Increase exposure to 0.9, increase contrast to 30, increase highlights to 19 and shadows to 8, bring temp toward blue -48, bring tint toward red -42, bring lower level control up to 5%, Antique Effect +1.


 7) Roseshadow (My Bedside Table)
Original
Instagram
Self-Edit
Goal: Lighten flower petals for translucence; accentuate monochrome against rose colors; 

Instagram Filter Solution: Sierra

Recreation Recipe: Increase exposure to 0.36, decrease saturation to 33, increase definition to 12, increase highlights to 5 and shadows to 15, edge temp toward yellow +1, bring tint toward red -4, bring mid level control a fifth of the way down.


Whew! I'm really pleased with how most of these turned out, but it's clear where Instagram has the upper hand on my cruddy editing program: COLOR. Compare the Insta Cheeto to the latter one. Also the chandelier pic that I couldn't quite get purple enough, no matter how much I messed around with tint and temperature. It may be that I just lack basic color-creation knowledge, but considering I've been obsessed with palettes for the past 5 years, I would find that surprising.

How do you colorize your photos? Do you have any tips or tricks for me? Please leave them below!

More soon,

-R