Wednesday, March 27, 2013

You've Reached Your Quota...

I am allowed 1 photo a day with or of Andrew. Sometimes 1 a week if it's been a bad week. That is my daily quota. I don't know how Andrew got scarred from being in photos, but he makes it entirely clear that I am "the paparazzi" and he does not like it. Fair enough. 

Now I do it more to annoy him;) So naturally, for this week's assignment, I chose Andrew as my subject for portraiture. 

For someone who doesn't like his picture taken, I'd say they turned out pretty well! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cocktails & Dreams

I was a Cocktails virgin until last night. Before jumping on couches and getting into the whole scientology weirdo realm, I have to say that Tom Cruise looked pretty good back in the day, and could pull off the role of Brian Flannigan with charm, enthusiasm, and invigorating passion for following his dreams.  This movie falls in line with exactly the kind of thinking I've been having.

What do you want to do? 

This seemingly simplistic question has been fogging my brain and encompassing me in every place I go - I can completely relate to Tom Cruise's character.  You want to make the big bucks and have fun doing it.  Easier said than done. But what is it that I want to do? Photography? Photographers are faced with different challenges dependent on their intent - what are you trying to achieve in your shots.  This became the theme of last week's class on discussing composition and black & white photos.  The objective being to make compositional sense of the world.  Assigned with landscape photography and the chaos of nature, I chose the Pell Bridge that connects Jamestown Island to Aquidneck Island and Newport.  In this image I found both chaos in the man made and structure in the bridge itself.

I'll go ahead and throw a little vulnerability in the mix - last week I also got "rejected" from a job I was really hoping to get - it wasn't just a job, it was the start of a career in the marina industry and I completely envisioned making something of myself there while also having the flexibility to continue to live a few weeks in duffles.  My dad, the man of few words, but many inspirational words when the time is right said..."You may think of this as a rejection - I see it as an opportunity to do more of what you want to do.  Refocus, relax, breathe, dream again, refocus and make your list..."  I know he has a point, but man is it hard to just let it go and not dwell on the fact that I am again, jobless.

So now, this week I am faced with the task of refocusing and figuring out what I want to do.  A photographer? Own a sailing school? Teach? Go into real estate? Work for Sail Caribbean? Work in the marina industry?  Get a yacht club job? etc etc etc.  I learned a few things from Cocktails last night that might help for this week's challenge:

  • An idea is separate from a vision - you have to have a vision in order to make the idea a reality. 
  • In the wise words of writer Claudia Barriga-Larriviere, "The ability to visualize and articulate an end result and bring people around it is what takes a vision from seed to success."
  • Sometimes you realize that the people in your life trump everything else. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Bubbles

I have a fascination with the way bubbles look - in champagne, bubble baths, a bottle of bubbles, bubble wrap, scuba tank bubbles, etc.  I am always reminded of the poor fish in Finding Nemo whose excitement for the day is when the treasure chest opens and "my bubbles" come out.  Gives me a good laugh each time.

This week's photography assignment focused on composition of our pictures and again, exposure and lighting. I chose bubbles. And here's what I got.

I learned through this assignment that sometimes simpler is better and that trying to capture actual bubbles from a bottle on your camera is like being a 4 year old playing t-ball...most of the times you miss, but out of nowhere you get a lucky hit. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


About a month ago I decided I needed to expand upon my skill set. At 26 years old I have achieved one of my life goals - to become a charter captain.  Check. Now it feels like the perfect time to start a new life goal - become a photographer.  Before college I actually wanted to pursue a degree in photo journalism. With some guidance and practical thinking I graduated with honors and a degree in business instead.  Great degree and experience, but now it's time to pursue what I originally wanted in the first place.  So, I signed up for my first photography class at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island.

Eric's tennis feet
Last night was my first class and the topic of discussion was exposure.  For the first assignment I chose to focus on feet.
                Weird subject? Absolutely.
But when you think about it, a person's feet can tell you a lot about that person.  What they do, where they go, and how they take care of themselves. It also gave me a creative outlet for this seemingly simplistic topic.

Cousin Carol's pilates stance
At first I was getting a bit frustrated with setting my exposure settings: ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. What do these numbers mean? How can I get the lighting just right?                 Is there a special formula to make it easier?

No. I have come to learn from this exercise that it is all about problem solving. You don't have to be the most technical photographer to get the perfect shot. We forget that composition is more important and that you will get the right "formula" if you keep experimenting.  Although people have told me I have "the eye", I have doubted myself. As a perfectionist, I want great results yesterday. I expect myself to be good at something right away.

"I got my toes in the sand"...

I came to realize last night after class that exposure is how we learn new skills. I didn't become a charter captain after only obtaining my captain's license...I spent 6 summers in the BVI improving my skills, learning lessons the hard way, and exposing myself to new situations. And this can be true with anything else in life - I became a good swimmer after 8 practices a day and then some for 10 years and a college graduate after 4.5 years of exposure to lectures, travel abroad, and hard work. In the words of Lisa Freeman, "It's a marathon, not a sprint".

Exposure. This is how I'm going to be a great photographer one day.

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