Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Experiments Vol. II

If you call failures experiments, you can put them in your resume and claim them as achievements.
- Mason Cooley

For those who tried some experiments this week, there is no such thing as failure. Success was had in the trying! Here are those experiments with commentary from the photographer...

Experiment {first time freelensing} | Chelsea Marie Photography

Bokeh experiment | Photography by Andrea Lindsay
experiment |from Lori Dozier Photography

I didn't get any camera gear from Santa, so I treated myself to a sweet 35, which arrived today. Voila! Experiment! This was my favorite of the day-I find it eerie, then sweet, as soon as I recognize the body language of my 3 y/o daughter behind the mask.

You all amaze me with your courageousness and talent!
 Keep sharing your latest experiments!
 We'll post some more next week on Wednesday! -Julie 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Featured Friday with Melissa Stissi of Photography by Melissa

  • Melissa was the winner of the "lines"  challenge.

    1. Please tell us about yourself...

    I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend, and a lover of beauty.  I have a love of gardening and of horses. I am grateful to be a stay at home mom.

    2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

    No.  I feel that I am constantly evolving and experimenting.

    3. What sparked your passion for photography?

    My love of beauty sparked my passion for photography.  I embarked upon a journey to capture  beautiful moments in my life, whether it be the sunlight in my sons hair or the enchantment of a snowfall.  It became my passion to learn the craft, so as to do justice to what my eye sees and how my imagination would like to render it.

    4. What's in your camera bag right now

     I have 2 camera bodies, a Canon 6D and a Rebel T2i. There is a small assortment of prime lenses, a 50mm (f1.8), a 35mm (f2.0), an 85m (f1.8,) a Sigma105 macro, a 70-200mm (f2.8, my favorite), a 28-75mm, and two yongnuo speedlights.

    5. What is your dream shoot or project?

    I would love to try my hand at a stylized session, one based on a fairytale theme, complete with a makeup artist and a hair stylist!

    6. What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?  

  • I thought it would be a lot easier! lol. Starting out, I had no idea how much skill goes into getting a great shot.  I have so much respect for the masters of this craft.  And I know that I have a lot of learning ahead of me.

    7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

    Find your cheerleaders. Whether they be friends, family, or like-minded souls you may meet in a fb photography group. Sometimes in the beginning you need affirmation that you are heading in the right direction. That affirmation may also keep you going when you hit a creative rut. Most importantly, enjoy your photography journey. There is an Andy Warhol quote that I love:   "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” ― Andy Warhol

     Too see more of Melissa's stunning imagery, you can visit her here...


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This Week in Experiments

The true method of knowledge is experiment. 

- William Blake

Without the natural human need to experiment, growth and change would never occur. This is as apparent in teaching,  politics,  and medicine, as it is in photography. We try new things; if we like it, we try to master it, and if we don't, we leave it alone. Both paths are part of the journey to discovery and self-improvement. Both paths lead to knowledge. 

We chose not to host a theme this week or next so that our admin and guest judges can enjoy their holidays, but we asked you to share any experiments you have been working on. Here are a few that we really loved, in no particular order, with commentary from the photographer. 

A Rock and a Soft Place: I asked my four year old to spray water in front of the little one during breakfast, with morning sun pouring in through the windows.

Arrow Creek PhotographyFree-lensing experiment- nighttime traffic (from the passenger seat!).

Cynthis Dawson Photography: Experiment {free lensing}

Jen Dale PhotographyMy experiment for today - try to get a reflection of a flower in a water drop. Didn't really get the reflection of the flower, so that was a fail, but I got some lovely drops, so that was a win!

Sarah Landa PhotographyExperiment ~ summer image with winter texture

I enjoyed seeing what you've been working on, and found some inspiration for myself. Keep sharing your latest experiments! We'll post some more next week! 



Tuesday, December 17, 2013


 The submissions for this week's "lines" challenge were so good! They really gave our guest judge some hard decisions to make!



Where do I start with this one. The lines from the escalator, the conveyor, the windows and the conversion are all amazing. I also love the human element in this image too. Such a visually appealing image. 


Jasmine Keath Photography

  The lines in this image is crazy!! The lines really does a great job at making sure you "see" the entire image. My eyes were popping back and forth! 


Chasing Tydes

I'm in love with this image, I wish it was my image of one of my babies . Love the lines in the sand dunes, as well as the footprints (knee/handprints) made by the baby. Great conversion and light too. 


Linsey Wilt Photography

I love how the lines seem to move in the direction of the wind blowing her hair. Great use of light, lines, and movement. 


Liz Godfrey Photography

The mood and fog are fantastic, so are the lines leading to the subject. I wonder what her story is and where she's off too. This is really great. 


Megan Evans Photography

The lines are amazing in this image! The lines of the shore, water, sand, docks, sky, and overpass and I'm sure if I look closer I'd see more. The colors and textures are equally stunning. This is really a visually interesting image.


Melissa Pizzalato Photography

The conversion is amazing and I love how the lines of the rows of seats leads to the subject. Great use of light too. I really want to go out and try this now!


 Lori Frederick Photography

There is so many great things going on in this image…WOW! I love the shadows and lines from the light and of course the sweet girl, her friends and the party they're having although she doesn't look too impressed. I love how the light and shadow frames her eyes. Then there is also the lines from the floor leading right to the subject! So perfect! 


Jess C. Photography

I really like the mood of this image. The lines from the road, the snow, fog and the fence are all fantastic.


Arrow Creek Photography

I just love silhouettes. This is a fun use of lines and shadows of the kid looking out at the water. I wonder what he's thinking and what he sees.


The winner of this week's line challenge is...

Photography by Melissa

Wow, lines are just everywhere! I love the rows of plants hanging, the ones on the floor, and even the architectural lines from the greenhouse. This image is visually interesting to me, plus you added in a cute little boy. This image is looks like so much fun. I think it's great the the flowers are not popped as yet, because I think it shows the rows better and helps the subject to stand out even more.


Thanks go out to Indira of Indira Klotzer Photography for awesome job as guest judge this week!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Meet This Week's Judge: Indira Klotzer

Our guest judge this week is the fabulously talented Indira Klotzer. Her bold, crisp colors, and intense monochromatic work are inspirational to many, as is her big heart. We gave her a tough job this week: your "lines" submissions are absolutely amazing! But while we wait for the announcement of winners, please enjoy reading about Indira, and about what drives her passion behind the lens. 

1. Tell us about yourself... I was born in Trinidad and moved to the US when I was 17 years old. I married the best man ever and we are blessed with 2 incredible, beautiful kids and a sweet puppy, an 85 lbs golden retriever.   I'm a stay at home mommy, who is NEVER home.  We love to spend our days outside at the beach, park, woods or sometimes we stay home to dig in the dirt or ride bikes :)   Besides photography, I love laughing, reading, coca cola, and dark chocolate.  I almost never sleep, I think that is partly because I secretly enjoy the quietness of the wee hours :)

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?
I've always enjoyed photography.  I've had Polaroid cameras, film cameras, point & shoots, and a digital camera.  I told myself that I would learn how to use it, but never did until my second kid was about a yr old.  My kids are my muses and they are the ones that fuel this obsession.  But my own personal goals and dreams of being a better photographer play an equal part in driving this passion.

3. What's in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?
I finally upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III about 3 months ago, but before that I used a Canon 60D.  I have three lens: a 50mm 1.4, an 85mm 1.8 and a 100mm (which I should use more).   I use my 50mm the most, but I'm dreaming about a wider lens.

4. What's your dream project or shoot? 
Sometimes I think it would be fun to shoot a project with a team of people, some in charge of lights, makeup, and wardrobe.  Use a location that has a lot of natural character, like the woods, mountains, cliffs, creeks, beaches and possibly a combination of all.  I would like it to be a glamour, stylized type of project.  Whatever it is, I want it to be fun for all parties involved :)

Another dream project is one that involves my family (including me).  I'd like it to be a dreamy, stylized session including the environment that we "play" in everyday.  But, since this is a "dream" I'd also like it to be lifestyle too :) 

5. What are the biggest challenges you face as a photographer?
I have a lot of challenges right now in my journey.  I'm a very new photographer and not very creative, so I have a lot of self-doubt.  It's really hard to figure out where I really shine, but does that really matter, as long as I'm having fun?  I still like to shoot any and everything and I edit based on the light and my mood, so I'm not consistent.  I like to say that PS and I are still on a first date…lol so I definitely need to learn this tool better.  The balance between being a mom and a photographer can be difficult.  Oh and the balance between sleep and editing images is the most challenging EVER! lol.

6.  If you had $500 to spend on photography...
How should you spend it?
On a lens and girly camera bag :)

How do you wish you could spend it? On a lens and a camera bag, since I actually don't have one.  Of course, I'd need a lot more than $500! 

How would you really spend it? Probably on the lens.

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey? Practice, practice, practice….Everyday!  I shoot everyday for me and even if I do shoot for someone else, I always make sure that I get a couple of images for just Me.   I think that shooting everyday is the fastest way to learn and to understand what speaks to me and what doesn't! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Featured Friday with Cynthia Dawson of Cynthia Dawson Photography

Cynthia is the winner of the "faceless"  challenge. Since she has a been a guest judge recently and already did an interview feature, we'd thought we'd share something a little different with you all today. Cynthia tells us in words and images about the session surrounding her winning "faceless" image.

It had been cold and rainy for days.  My daughter was bored and I missed light.  

We decided to look at the rain against the window one afternoon. 

After pulling open the curtains, we noticed how the water was glistening on the glass and my daughter was mesmerized.

The light was dramatic which led me to portray a little mystery in these images.  

I decided to underexpose these to enhance the play between light and dark and the gloomy fleeing of the weather outside.

I also added a blur in post to intensify that mysterious feeling I felt while capturing these.

Shot with a 24-85 2.8 at 24mm and a 35 1.4.

Cynthia is an on-location lifestyle photographer serving the Austin, Fort Hood, and Central Texas area. She enjoys telling stories through her photography, has a penchant for black and white imagery.  Her work is dreamy, ethereal, and sentimental.  Her daughter is her muse and often a subject of her photographs.  Cynthia also serves on the Board of Directors for The Gold Hope Project – a Non-Profit Organization that provides free portrait sessions to children who currently have, or have successfully survived, childhood cancer."   

To see more of Cynthia's imagery, you can catch up with her here...


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I feel that there is such universal, mysterious emotion in a photo where the face is not seen. The emotion is often left up to interpretation by the viewer.  It was not easy to choose only 11 images from a succession of so many amazing submissions. The eleven I chose pulled me 
in at first

sight then kept me engaged
Each began to tell a story that took twists, there was more behind them than what met my eye. It was then very hard for me to decide on a winner, because they have each captured my heart and to me are unforgettable works of art. Thank you for having me as your guest judge this week.

These are in no particular order:

There is haunting mystery in this image. It seems like an ordinary scene, a little girl on the floor in her kitchen, but the motion and blur leave me with an unsettled feeling, which leads me to a story and I love that! 


I feel like I am right there behind this little girl, a summer's day, hair wet from the pool, that tangled damp feel of the ponytail... It brings me back to my childhood. It is a sensory experience - photography is a powerful thing!


I love the dark/sweet combination, the focus, shadows, clarity & blur... It feels both hyper-real and surreal at the same time. 

I love the texture and movement of this image. I feel like the story appears obvious at first in this image, but then the longer I look at it something different develops.

This little human, one with nature, a leaf as a mask, as a toy... The blur creates a surreal feeling and I feel motion... a fleeting second of being unseen and unable to see...

Oh my goodness, visual candy... Bokeh! Blur! Backlit! Lens flare! Lines!  And this image just draws up so much emotion, I am repeatedly drawn in to the possible stories.


The darkness and the emotion. It is just so powerful. I feel this. It is again real and surreal and universal.


I was so drawn into the motion and lines and blur of this. So many stories are coming to mind.

 This just reminds me so much of motherhood... How we feel so part of it all and yet, we are a separate being. It is around this age that as a mom I really knew my child was becoming independent. I look at this image and it makes me feel both happy and sad. I adore it.

I first stopped to admire the light and shadows in this image, her skin is so real and the capture so crisp. I stayed and saw a little girl having a quiet intimate moment, an experience all her own, exploring the texture of her tulle tutu.


 And the winner of the "faceless" challenge is...

I  was instantly smitten with this photograph and it has become unforgettable for me. I feel emotional looking at it. I love the motion, the light, the shadow, the blur... It's riveting. I would hang this up in my home and love it forever, it's stories are endless.

Thank you to our amazing judge this week,
Jennifer Tippett-Tedesco!

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