This is who I am

Still Looking

I have always been a photographer, even before I knew it. (Well, maybe I was always an artist and the camera was the pair of glasses that helped me see the world the way I pictured it in my mind.) Whether I am taking photos, singing, writing poetry, or attempting to play the guitar, all of that is who I am as a person. I don’t try to be someone else, I only know how to be me and I will always find a way to express myself.

Over the past several months I have finally started to realize how important photography is to me in my life.  I love it so much that I want to share what I know with others so that they can create beautiful memories to show their friends, families, children, grand-children, etc. I love it so much that I am incredibly broke because I am trying to make it a full-time job (and I cringe when I realize that it is probably not a realistic endeavor at the moment).  I want to be inspired, creative, and hopeful all at the same time.

Will I be able to do all of this? I think so, but I know that I’m not at my best quite yet. Tell a little kid to draw a picture and they basically are opening up a door to their little world. Sometimes I feel like I’m that little kid, and my photos are telling a story about my life … and right now my life is like a Lensbaby at f/2.8.

But that won’t stop me … I won’t slow down now & I’m only picking up speed. Come along for the ride if you like, but hold on tight!  And don’t even think about getting in my way.

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SLC Mini’lypse

SLC Collage

A week ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with some wonderful people and taking part in a contributor-organized iStockphoto event in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The event was fun, energetic, and a crazy weekend of non-stop photography.  I decided to bite-the-bullet and rent some gear (a Nikon D700 and 14-4 f/2.8) and I am sooo glad that I did. I have a few photos posted on my Flickr page,  and there is also an official iStockphoto lightbox that will slowly be filled with images from the event … check it out here.

For those of you not familiar with this type of event, a “Mini”-lypse is a scaled-down “unofficial” version of an iStockalypse (which is an official iStockphoto event held a few times each year throughout the world).  With that being said, I don’t think that this event could be called “mini” … it was more of a “Macro’lypse”, IMO. ;)  Todd and Renee did a very impressive job of setting this up from start-to-finish and went way beyond what was expected!

Also, keep on the look-out next month for a few videos of the event.  Because I rented a different camera, it left my D200 free to sit on a tripod and do some timelapse shots. I’m still in the process of piecing it together (and still need to get some more footage while I’m in SLC again next week) but I’ll be posting it here as soon as it’s ready.  There were also some videographers who volunteered their time to interview and document the event from start-to-finish.  More on that when it’s available.

I want to give a huge thanks to Todd & Renee for putting this event together, and it was also great to see again and meet up with all the other awesomely talented photographers, models, makeup-artists, designers, and everyone else who took part in the event.  All of this would not have been possible if not for everyone involved … I feel very blessed to be a part of such an enthusastic, open and caring community of people. :)

Photo Critique

This is a critique for the website ScottsCritiques.com. Scott invited his readers to take part and do our own critique of a photo, so this is what I came up with:

Photo by S. Mamdani

My original thought when I saw this photo was that I really like it. It has a great “eerie” feel to it with the fog, and nice leading lines with the road curving off to the left.  But I decided to have some fun with it and see what I could come up with.

Because of the way the trees are leaning it makes the image look crooked. So I rotated it a bit and also did some cropping because I didn’t like that big patch of white at the top center/left.  I also cropped off the tree on the right that is leaning out of the image – we want the viewers to follow the curve in the road and not be distracted by anything going “off the page”.

I also did some adjustments in Photoshop.  First I cloned out the white poles on the left side of the road, and then did a basic tonal adjustment-layer using Levels.  Next I added a “Black & White” adjustment-layer, changed the blend-mode to “soft light”, and reduced the opacity of the layer.  (That gave the image a little bit more “pop”.)  The last thing I did was to add a slight vignette using the “Lens Correction” filter in Photoshop.

It sounds like a lot of work for one photo, but all of this took less than four minutes.