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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Using a Reflector

Since it's raining, I have decided to be fun.

I'm going to give you a little behind the scenes info about my last photo shoot.  Specifically the first picture of Rebecca and Grace in the center of the road.

My favorite lighting for any photo shoot is around a half hour after sunrise, which is roughly 6:30 am or so where I live.  At this time, the shadows are very translucent, and the harsh sun hasn't been established.  Every object looks as if it has been whitewashed, and there's no harsh light (ideal when capturing vinyl on camera).

Facing your dolls towards the sun is generally not a good idea because the light won't be evenly distributed on your girl.  I normally place my dolls' backs to any given light source to avoid this.  However, when doing this, their faces become dark, so I use a (fabulous five-in-one) reflector to get some sparkle back into the image.  It's a giantly round, collapsable gismo that reflects the sun's light and bounces it back onto your subject, all the while defusing the harshness.  This is probably confusing.

Allow me to show you with two pictures:

See the light patch on the right side of Grace's face?  It indicates that the sun is come from that direction.  I intentionally placed the dolls there because I loved the background and I didn't want the sun's harshness directly on them.  Still, you can see that their faces are dark and in an unwanted shadow.




As you can tell in this one, I've positioned the reflector to their left (by leaning it against the incredibly stylish stepladder).  This allows the sun to bounce off of it and hit the girls' faces, lighting them both up evenly.
So life is grand.  I have smooth, even lighting, two dolls in front of a great background, and a big black reflector being held up with a stepladder.  How quaint.  What happens next?

Once I took the photos, I sent them off to my brother who merged the two together (in photoshop) and provided me with the final product:




These reflectors are incredibly inexpensive.  I received mine a little over a year ago and I now can't do a photo shoot without it.  You can find them on amazon here.

If you have any questions, I'd love to answer them.  Once you get a reflector, it'll give you the chance to take pictures any time of the day in any place without worrying if the sky is too cloudy or sunny.  Unless it's raining...which is why I'm stuck indoors on a Saturday afternoon.  What uncanny luck I seem to have.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Summer's Face

Okay, so I'm not depressed anymore.

In fact, my life has gradually become more livable ever since winter quarter ended in March.  I have three more weeks of school, and then I'll be able to bask in the sun for hours on end without contemplating whether or not I should be studying seemingly random facts about the Mongols invading Russia.

Summer's almost visible face made itself known to me a few days ago at six in the morning.
The lighting was lovely.










How many more days of school do you have left?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

College's Stressful Week

Last week was awful.

I was going through the stress of life and really experiencing college as so many have before me.  Three looming exams on Friday, studying, headaches, frustration, tears--all of it engulfed me in one merciless wave.  Unfortunately, I'm a perfectionist, and though that quality may help me in some ways, this quarter it's been a nitpicking curse.  I'm always kicking myself for not pushing my brain further.

Needless to say, I had a nervous breakdown.  Several, actually.  And I kept telling myself to hold back and allow life to happen without my additional worries.  Anxiety has always plagued me.  A few weeks ago, during my last math exam, I realized I didn't have enough time to finish all the problems.  As I quickly wrote down whatever answer came to mind in the last few seconds, I began to feel that horrid sting of tears trying to push their way down my face.  It was that ominous feeling of gut wrenching, encumbering dread overtaking me.  I commanded myself to block out the memory and say it didn't matter--that it wouldn't matter in a life so full of other, more important and interesting things.

Still, I allowed a friend to see me cry.  At first, I was so ashamed.  For pete's sake, I'm in college.  I'm suppose to be grown up.  But now when I remember the situation, I think that it's okay.  Everyone should let a friend see their tears.

It's funny, because I ended up getting a 100% on that exam.  Let's just hope last week's three weathered the storm so gracefully.  And if they didn't, oh well.  Life's wave will wash that little speck of discouragement onto its shore, where it will get lost among all the other specks of sand-ish disappointments.  Err, something.
See, this is me trying to be all sentimental and deep.  Why don't I stop now.

I went for a hike yesterday and my brother took a picture of my face.


This is my "I dare you to take a good picture of me" face.  It can also be perceived as my "life is good" face.  Or my "just take the picture" face.  I guess the interpretation is up to you.  Just know that if you think you did horribly on a test and you're completely berserk about the outcome, I'm right there with you.  That probably doesn't help at all, but hey, maybe you'll end up with a 100%.  And if I'm still not helping, buy your math professor donuts.  That probably will.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Unexpected Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day can be depressing.  I have no boyfriend.  I had to eat my heart shaped pizza alone.
However, all was not lost.  I have a brother.

A few days ago, I shot an idea I had for a photo story.  However cute I thought it would be, I had no idea my brother was going to make it into the sweetest animation.  I beg of you, watch this video.  Not only did he write the music, but he animated every photograph so that each flowed into a little movie.

I am in love with how this turned out, but I'm especially in love with my brother and this incredible gesture of talent.  Here are some of the photos from the story if you don't wish to go through all the effort of clicking on the link (but I suggest you do because it would make me incurably happy).












Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope yours was as full of love as mine. 

Sydney 

P.S.  I received my own card in the mail today from a "secret admirer" with a $25 American Girl gift card enclosed.  Today was unexpected.  It was a special kind of happy.





Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Superbowl for a Doll?

Oh good, it's football time.

Let us all gather around the television and watch men in tights lunge after a ball while the people we love scream and yell.  I think this is such a splendid, intelligent notion.

Yes.

In years past, I have retreated up to my room to hide under the covers with Netflix or book.  However, today I will not be so lucky.  You see, my father tactfully bribed me to sit through the entirety of the game.  If I watch--and the Seahawks win--he will buy me a new American Girl doll.

At first I thought he was joking.  A doll = a football game?  How could I possibly say no!  Perhaps the Seahawks may not win, but what if they did and I let this fantastic chance merely slip through my fingers because I didn't wish to watch men run across the screen?  I can like men if I have to.

I'll let you know if I survive.

In other news, here are some photographs of Jack.


Yeah, see what a real man looks like?  You wouldn't find him wearing tights! 


Nah, he's good with simply wearing tight jeans.  They're so much groovier and you don't feel obligated to hurl yourself at a ball (or other men) while wearing them. 


I'd even go so far to say that he's a stud in his new outfit.  Yeah, don't let it go to your head, Jack. 



Let's have everyone root for the Seahawks so I get my doll, because this is a good plan.  Otherwise all of my watching will be for not. 


Monday, December 29, 2014

First Boy Custom: Jack and His Twin Sister, Gypsie

All through adolescence, I never experienced the "hating boys" phase.  Until I was seven, my best friend was a boy.  He then went through his "hating girls" phase and that was the end.  I stayed loyal and true to the thought of us going on our adventures after this temporary set back, but unfortunately, as he began to gradually rise from this needless repelling of the opposite sex, he moved far away--and that was the end.

Can I stop talking about boys now?  I was trying to be clever and tie this story into my photographs, but it kinda dissolved into a miserable parking lot puddle of memories.  Let's not go back.  Nay, let us look at the present moment: this is Jack, and he is a boy who would never hate girls or move away.  What a gentleman.


Formerly a Nellie, I scalped him mercilessly, stuffed him under a bed, and awaited the arrival of a wig from Monique.  This took a while.  I then put it on his head.  Ta-da!  A boy.  A boy who looks like a boy (as opposed to a boy who looks like a girl).   This was the ultimate goal. 



And here he is looking all studly in his button up shirt with the sleeves strategically rolled to make him appear handsomer.


Oh, and did I mention?  He has a twin. 


Gypsie, his sister, was created with a Marie Grace and Ruthie Wig.  I wanted them to look alike, but still have a different face mold.  







Double the trouble?  Double the cuteness?  They sure didn't double my bank account.  That's okay.  I kinda like them anyway. 




Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Return With the Next Installment!

Was my cliffhanger suspenseful enough?  Did I manage to drive you all to madness while I sat here behind the scenes laughing at my little scheme?

That's as good as an apology gets, folks.

Before we get into why I haven't posted in four months, let me ease your dying suspicion.

Part 2: Gypsie's Grandfather 

 On her mysterious adventure, Gypsie was toting her Radio Flyer full of American pride to her great grandfather's grave.  


He died during WWII




While you should be debating if all this time between blogging ventures was worth the second installment, please don't.  Logic will rule in your favor and out of mine.

So, let's count my excuses according to month:

In July I worked at two summer camps, plus my father's birthday landed somewhere in the mix.  I auditioned and joined a lindy hop dance team, and I had a sleepover with a friend, which totally took up all my time and creative effort.  

Of course in August I didn't have much of anything going on besides rehearsals and the beginning of swim lessons.  I got this fantastic notion of becoming a lifeguard and I was positive I could do it in a month.  Evidently self confidence isn't the only component needed.  

September welcomed me with an impromptu Chemistry course along with our pretentious state fair. 
However, no matter how it big may think it is for its britches, the fair did invite my brother and I to class up the joint with our snazzy singing duo.  We performed thrice on an unknown stage in the middle of the building everyone avoids.  

But at least we tried. 

At the end of the fair I started my first quarter of college.  And now, with it being November, I'm still working on my first quarter of college.  You don't have to be Sherlock to figure out my life in October.  I think Mrs. Hudson has even a fair shot at guessing.

And thus are the conclusionary tales of me.  Now go outside and rake the lawn!  Your decomposing leaves await you.