From Here to Walla Walla

Downtown Seattle has so many charms. I love the blue trees residing at Westlake Plaza and for Christmas, Macy’s lit up the corner. It snowed exactly one day, which was awesome.

downtown ferris wheel

We spent Christmas 2013 in Walla Walla visiting with Honeybee’s family and as usual we had an absolute blast. This time, as opposed to our last trip’s white knuckle driving experience, the journey itself was quite marvelous. And we were baffled and befuddled with brilliant view after brilliant friggin view.

landscape mountain pass mountain view tree silhouette frozen forest green old growth in the clouds covered bridge viewpoint

The Wrays and Shays get together at Uncle Ron’s farm. Look at all his awards for horseback riding.

uncle ron's awards uncle ron's grandma jo and brandon Grandma Jo Papa Shawn

It’s not Christmas unless Grandma Jo and Papa Shawn are playing music for us. What I didn’t know was the neighbors across the street have llama. LLAMA!

LLAMA

Everything was frosty as we made our way home. We had to pull over and admire it up close.

Frost Frozen Cattails Vinyard Fields of Wine Frozen Paradise Pocket Fog Rolling Hills

And last but definitely not least, Jared with his camera and monster lens. Did I mention I love taking pictures of photographers with their cameras?

Jared and His Camera

Thanks for letting me share our journey out east. We’re looking forward to much more travel and adventure in 2014! Can’t wait!

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New Photography!

An update! I’ve still been having fun with my camera. Here are a few new shots. I feel like I’m getting better in terms of composition for artistic photos, but the ones for my recent projects were a bit blurry. Like this one and this one. More to work on, yes, but peep this progress.

flowers at the front door

These are growing right outside our front door. Just hanging out being lovely. All by themselves. They’re white already, but I thought b/w was appropriate to draw out the contrasting shadows. Cause I’m hella profesh.

pinboard at lighthouse coffee

Another black and white. I stopped in at Lighthouse and couldn’t help snapping a picture of their bulletin board. I love when they get used by the community and I love how the symbols of each business card the catch the eye. Sexy!

sway lights

Okay, this is where it gets artistic. I couldn’t resist playing up the blues in the background. It looks like the inside of an Edison bulb got loose in Greenwood. The washy tree silhouettes make my soul take a deep breath.

pulse

I call this one Pulse. I reminds me of the zoomed-in images of music when Honeybee is editing. Of course the twelve-year-old boy version of me would say huh, looks like a sun sperm.

blaze

Oh, the subtle wash. The looping ribbons of red. I can’t help but love this one, too. I call it Blaze. I’ve been practicing with form and composition, yes, but this one was definitely an accident. I saw that my shutter speed wasn’t what I wanted after I’d already snapped. Realizing my error, I went for the artistic light show. I had no idea it would move me. This feels like something that could only happen with traditional cameras, but it came to life via DSLR. Cool.

heart

I made a heart! But I made it upside down. Switching the orientation made the skyline appear to be a reflection. That’s deep, yo.

home

Home, get it, it’s where the heart is. Eh? Corny? Shut up.

And finally, because I know you missed her, Pokie:

pokie mama

My darling kitty. She’s so damn cute. Right now, she’s in a similar position, but totally passed out. I swear, I put on the Simpsons and it’s nap time in kittyland.

Well, there you have it, y’all. Am I working it? Would you buy a print of any of these?

XO,

SUNSHINE

progress 2 [photography]

In continuing on with beginner’s photography I studied a few books on composition as well as just generally experimenting on my own.  I think I’ve made some [more] progress!

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Product Photography: My Ghetto Lightbox

Learning about photography sure is awesome when you have a dope camera! I’ve discovered that DSLRs are the key to making Seattleites behave extra sweet like southerners. For real! There’s a giant stereotype that we can be aloof, even gasp standoffish. You’ve heard of this, yes? Well, strap a DSLR on it and boom everyone has an experience to share. I made it down my block and around the corner before the first person asked what I was going to shoot. What’s even more surprising is that I had an answer for that. I was going to shoot one of my favorite views of the Space Needle. [Show you soon!] Around the corner again, and a guy comes up to the bus stop and just basically tells me his life story. The conversation began, sweet camera, I’ve got a D500 at home… On the bus, two stops from home a cool lookin’ fella gets on and beelines toward the seat beside me. His wife is a professional photographer and he plays in a band. What a coincidence! So do I, I say. It’s like friends fall out of the sky when I’ve got this thing on! Dope.

My Needle shot notwithstanding, I actually procured this beast for the purpose of shooting my paintings and products. Very soon I’ll be adding an Etsy shop to everything else going on and I’ll need things to be well photographed so they best sell themselves. Well, easier said than done. Honeybee and I share a dimly lit basement. Eek! So properly lighting anything is gonna be a challenge.

A challenge I gladly accept.

Here’s my first attempt at a lightbox. It’s way smaller than any of my paintings, but I had to start somewhere. I used brown paper [’cause it was free] instead of the customary white. I also couldn’t find my other [appropriate] lamp, so I ended up using Butterfly’s Big Bird lamp propped up on Honeybee’s weight. I decided to shoot my new boots. They’re L.L. Bean [from Value Village for $12, booyah!] and they fit like a dream. There’s also some shots of Ghost Man and the sleeping statue carved by Honeybee himself. Here’s a slideshow of everything so you can see!

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I love how warm and mostly crisp [give or take an amateur photographer, ha!] they are. My next one will be bigger and better. I’ll even gets some proper lights, but I’ll have to wait until the bathroom construction is done and the studio is set up. Yay! More things to be excited about. 😀

❤ Sunshine

Camera Upgrade

Thanks to a lovely and truly colourful friend, our camera situation has been upgraded! Before I used a Canon PowerShot point-n-shoot dealie bobber and now I’m winking behind a Nikon D70 DSLR camera. This thing is serious. Jessie called it her big girl camera and I’m inclined to agree. There you have it! Seattle transformation complete! You can expect the pictures featured at Sunshine Press to raise in quality effective immediately. Like, right now.

My new camera as photographed by the old. [note the blurry, fuzzy lettering and washed out flash action]

 

My old camera as photographed by the new. [see? there you can read everything and only what’s important is focused]

 

I’ve spent the afternoon reading manuals and watching instructional videos. And taking lots of test shots. Here’s a sampling, including my first ever [the gargoyle] which was surprisingly affective. None of these have been adjusted in any other way besides on the camera.

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How to Learn Stuff: Photography Part II

Step two: download free trial of Photoshop.

Check.

Of the photos I took before, I picked the garlic to experiment with. I lightened things up a bit and brought up the greens. I also blurred the background to make it more backgroundy.

Before:

After:

How to Learn Stuff: Photography

Blog: How to Learn Stuff

 

 

 

I can’t tell you how many amazing photographer lady and gentlefriends I have. Amateur photographers and professional photographers. Film photographers and digital photographers. Wedding photographers and landscape photographers. I couldn’t say. Some delve into graphic design and marketing. One’s a cake decorator. Some work with movie directors, shooting stills. Others are at the scene of the crime, or the courthouse or the red carpet trying to catch a troublemaker making trouble. They come in all shapes and sizes, these picture-takers, but they each have one thing in common: they are all [too damn] busy.

 

Seriously, they’re about to become an urban legend in my mind.

 

If I could find one of these elusive creatures I would ask them about the basics of their craft. I say their craft because photography is not my craft. I don’t know anything about it aside from there being pictures I like to look at and pictures I don’t like to look at. I don’t know what aperture is and frankly it boggles my mind that someone got the bright idea to even invent the things. I mean, if somebody handed you a box and some glass and a battery, how long would it take you to hand them a Polaroid?

 

For-fucking-ever, right?

 

But there are cameras all around us all the time. They’re just overhead of traffic lights checking your plates, etc. At this point they’re essentially standard on new cell phones. Cell phones with dual camera systems with megapixels so high you’re like, wait–this camera’s a phone, too?! There’s always somebody around with a little iPhone action. Flip on that Instragram…aaaaand scene! All done! This event has been catalogued in the easiest, coolest fashion. You’ve been tagged. No need for me to break out my little blue Canon point-n-shoot at all, which is fine. Totally works out for social gatherings but what about the practical applications of photography for me as an artist? How’s a lady s’posed to build a portfolio around here? It’s been months and months since I spent some time asking for all the help and I could get and so far I’ve gotten none.

 

Granted, my schedule hasn’t been the easiest to work with. I spent about a year working two jobs and more than half of that time in school with a full course load. And my band, Super Plaid, practices usually weekly. So okay. Whatever. I was busy! In that time a lot of my business pursuits went unanswered, some events went unattended. [Missed you!] Sure, I completed a series of paintings, A Touch of Whimsy, but I just couldn’t find the free time to really work at marketing them which, at the end of the day-week-month-semester-season, left my artistic side cold and pouting in metaphorical rain. So that’s it, I gotta change. I’m no longer working that creativity-stifling second job and school’s out for the summer.

 

The time has come to set in place new standards and practices that make it easier to keep this thing going when school’s back in session for fall. Because you can do anything you set your mind to. Because, really, I have to keep making stuff or I’ll just burst. Just ‘splode, I will.

 

Step one is learning the basics of photography, with my little blue point-n-shoot without getting down about my little point-n-shoot. Sure there are better cameras, but if you handed me one, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. If I have to start somewhere I may as well start with where I am. Step one is Google It! Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation. Ooh! Step one is research. Aperture, also known as an aperture stop, is an opening, usually circular, that limits the quantity of light that can enter an optical instrument. Alright. That’s gotta be the little hole thingie that clicks closed with the snap of the button. Okay. Alright. Look at me, I’m moving right along!

 

I realize steps two-through-professional-photographer all involve more research, probably a class. I know I have a long way to go, but every blog I’ve read slash instructional video I’ve watched says the real deal is taking pictures [makes sense] and paying attention to what you like about them [also makes sense]. Okay, here’s some I shot today.

 

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I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my pursuits if you promise to give me advice and opinions and hugs! [Let’s face it, you were going to hug me anyway, weren’t you?]

 

[Weren’t you?!]