August 29, 2011 § 4 Comments
My brain went on intermission. It did so amidst a 3-part post. You’ll have to give it pardon. It’s a mind of its own. Its carefree desires could not be abated by the warm weather and summer sun and by life’s unexpected turns. From time to time, my brain hurtles at a pace I cannot always control and of subjects I oft wish to ignore (or, like, bury; as in topics that I command to “Go hang out with Id and make yourselves scarce” type of repression). This is quite contrary to what I recently said here in my culling of creative ideas (I may have actually written that post to avert my mind from going on holiday).
Well, believing I have every trick to control my mind, I gave it a free pass to do whatever it wants. My brain checked out, “Sucker!”. It chose to think nothing of D-I-Y for the month of August. Perhaps for good reasons.
ONE: My second attempt at MSLO
Back in May, I mentioned my bizarre fateful experience in New York wherein a dysfunctional GPS led me to an inexistent gas station, in which place was Martha Stewart Living. I mused over my lofty dreams of being a Crafts Associate at MSLO and my first unanswered application in 2009. Well, quite coincidentally, a crafts position opened in June, less than three weeks after my NYC experience. I applied, having waited for this opportunity for two years, all along rejoicing “It’s fate, it’s fate, it’s faaaaaate!”. Well, the anticlimax: nothing happened. Other than I held my breath for a good 6 weeks (right about the time my brain checked out). To no avail and a bit to my sorrow.
These images are my portfolio samples of how NOT TO get hired by Martha. In hindsight, I can presume they are actually not looking for an obvious “crafts” portfolio. Perhaps my submission was too transparent. I will certainly try again with a much different approach. This attempt is not my last.
TWO: My job
This is a subject that is out of bounds for this blog, though I mentioned my frustrations in one recent post. For now, my job consumes a lot of mental effort, primarily because I am learning everything as I go and secondly because I worry about the direction of my career. But I discovered you can’t really plan life (not entirely)…
I did craft something this month. I made a small 22-page photo journal in memory of my dear friend’s father who passed very unexpectedly this month. Designing and making a hand-bound photobook may be an uncomplicated task, but it was the most difficult thing I’ve crafted for anyone. Even more difficult was the moment I handed the finished book to my dear friend, and the subsequent moments she wept at the turn of every page, laugh-crying at the funny memories he left us of his magnificent life. Truly, it is the small things that make the bigger gestures in life. We have every ability to give love and joy and to lift away sadness and pain (even if it’s in small doses).
D-I-Y engagement photos: part 2 of 3 — napa valley, california
August 6, 2011 § 8 Comments
Here’s the second installment of our self-taken engagement photos, this time in the verdant vineyards of Napa Valley!
Just like the first set of photos, these were taken with a camera on a tripod and softened with a heavy dose of photo editing, all of which I will explain with more depth in the next and final post of this three-part series.
If you missed the first set, please have a lookie here for part 1. I admit I am a lot partial to that previous set now that the pictures are up for comparison. They express much more dramatic flair than this set, what with the tall brown grass on the knolls of Ed Levin Park, and the wind blowing through my curled hair and chiffon dress. The sheer effort of hiking up hills in a dress as my curls fought for their survival is, in my mind, the clearer winner. However, O.T. is not fond of days when I actually make an effort (a lot of it) to look made-up. This seems to be true for most men. They prefer women in jeans, hair undone, without the slightest trace of powder, and maybe just a smidge of lip gloss. So, these here pictures — a version more plain and less panache — are for O.T.
Though both sets of pictures display props I’ve made to highlight our long distance love, I do favor these airplane props in this set over the red tin can telephones in the previous. For one thing, as most of you have already read, our fateful love story began at an airport and in an airplane. Secondly, I used the logo I designed for this blog (with a few changes in theme). Third, I wanted to make use of paper, I am obsessed with paper afterall.
We went into Napa without a single plan of what to see. Neither being wine drinkers (a cardinal sin in Napa), we knew we were visiting to take pictures. From downtown Napa, we drove up and down the Silverado Trail searching for the perfect spot. There are plenty of beautiful spots, though not what we were seeking. Most vineyards are fenced in and close at four o’clock in the afternoon.
We diverted out of the Silverado Trail and headed southwest to Carneros and discovered a beautiful spot right at the entrance of Cuvaison Estates. We had gotten there well past 6 pm. Despite the gates being closed, we were able to walk through rows of unfenced vineyards to take our shots. The gates were far from the main road, so we drove further in to discover a pond waiting to be photographed.
Other cars had driven in, one driver paused a while to watch us take our pictures as we made our poses in front of the camera and tripod. He waited around after we finished one set (we were doing pictures in threes) and gave us the thumbs up from his seat. He drove past us on his way out, rolled down the window, and asked if we needed his help taking the pictures. We thanked him for his thoughtful offer but happily explained that we had undertaken the exercise to conduct our own engagement session. He smiled, puzzled, and disappeared past the vines.
I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them! Feel free to click on each set for a larger resolution. Up next: D-I-Y engagement photos part 3 of 3: beyond the camera and tripod. Stay tuned!
D-I-Y engagement photos: part 1 of 3 — ed levin park, california
August 4, 2011 § 10 Comments
I’m back from sunny California with sets of photos I couldn’t wait to show you — our very own engagement session!
For my pocket’s sake, I never considered engagement photos. Not until my inner frugalista decided it would be a great DIY project to tackle on this blog. Yes, believe it or not, all these quasi-pseudo-professional-ish photos shown here were taken by us, the way self-portraits are best taken: with a seemingly ordinary pocket-size digital camera on a tripod. And, well, without denial, a lot of post-processing.
I admit, it was a wee bit of an exhaustive ordeal to acquire these shots. First, the convincing. When I broached the subject of taking our own engagement photos (and I had never once broached the subject of wanting any engagement photos to begin with), O.T. thought my DIY streak was out of control. I understand, there are certain things left to professionals. When I told him how much wedding photographers cost, he happily conceded.
As I talked (and talked) about all the DIY details, such as props and shots I planned for these DIY photos, he became more excited (he’s a fantastic listener, can you tell?). I talk. He listens. It’s perfect. We are on the same page.
He, in fact, conjured up a lot of the frames and I gave no resistance (as much to his credit as mine). He truly has a lot of creative input and, yes, I do my share of listening, too!
I will talk more about the inspiration to undertake this project and the behind-the-scenes details including a photo editing tutorial, but I will wait until part 3 of this three-part series (I did mention exhaustive ordeal, didn’t I?).
We took these shots on the magnificent hills of Ed Levin County Park in Milpitas, California. We had visited this park two years ago, taken some beautiful shots during our hike, and were familiar with the scenery. In fact, when I decided we would do our own engagement session, my first and only thought was Ed Levin.
We made sure to come in the late afternoon when the sun was low. We arrived at 6:00 pm and fumbled along as we posed shot after shot. After much fumbling and retakes, we had well over 200 shots, during which time the sun had waned in the distance.
There were brief moments of frustration (entirely due to our inadequate understanding of photography and light, and consequential thump of reality that this stuff isn’t as easy as we thought), but we had much more fun than we ever imagined. So much so that we decided to take more pictures later that weekend, in a different scene — the vineyards — with different props. Up next: DIY engagement photos part 2 of 3: Napa Valley, California. Stay tuned!!
I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them! Feel free to click on each set to zoom in for a larger resolution. If you missed our fateful love story and the wonderful way he proposed, you can find that right here.