Friday, December 4, 2015

Sunset Photography Tips (Fall Leaves Photo-Shoot)

**The first few paragraphs are uninteresting tidbits of my life.  If you'd like to see photography tips, scroll down to the pictures.

I always expect to be in this enlightened state of joy whenever I finish my finals at school.  But, in reality, every single time I've reached that milestone, I am overcome with a feeling of anticlimactic letdown.  I ingest so much information every quarter that I am entirely lost once I spew it back up onto those last few tests.  My life foresees no purpose now.  It is a free moving entity, entirely lost and without direction.

I was never good at being melodramatic.  IT'S CHRISTMASTIME!  That's what I'm good at.  And while there's a hint of truth in the dismally disheartening paragraph above, I'm so thrilled right now to be done and out.  My fabulous brother and I are going to a small town theater today to see two movies we've been dying to watch since we saw their trailers in October.

I cannot believe I'm going to watch two movies in a day.  I am so excited.

In other news, I took these pictures before Thanksgiving and am now posting them for all of you on the 4th of December.

The sunset was already in full swing when I started this photo shoot.  Notice how I placed the doll to the left of the sun.  Bright light is coming behind her from the right corner.  If I had placed the doll directly in front of the sun while it was still this high, the whole photo would have been washed out. 

Here I had to reposition the dolls to the left of the sun so that I could get the best lighting (the light moves so quickly at sunset!)

This is one of my favorite photos.  The colors were so warm, and the leaves created the perfect floor.  I love working with rim lighting.  Notice how Maryellen has that glow around the left side of the back of her head?  She's facing away from the sun, with it being to the left of her.  Once I had her set up,  I used a reflector to bounce the light of the sun back into her face.  If I hadn't done this, you would only see her rim-lit hair and a dark grey Maryellen.  

By the way.  My mom made the rakes.  I have always wanted doll rakes so that I could do this very photo shoot, and one day I came home from school to these adorable things!  They're perfect. 

I love this picture so much, but if you look closely, you can see that it's out of focus.  I always use manual vs. autofocus when I'm taking pictures, and while I love how much control that option gives me over my pictures, sometimes it results in a dud.  There are three things I always look for in a good photo:  lighting, focus, and framing

If you can hit all three of these marks, you're an ace.  Unfortunately my Grace turned out a bit fuzzy.  Tip for focusing manually:  I always zoom in and make sure her eyebrows are crisp and in focus before I take the photo.  If they look good, your picture will usually turn out great. 

I love this picture, but I'm put off by the framing.  The doll foot in the left corner looks a little odd to me, and since I was trying to make the doll centered, I should have placed her a smidge more to the left.  As of right now, the framing doesn't really look like it had a solid direction.  

I'm ending with one of my favorites.  I took this at the end of the photo shoot, and the sun was low enough so that you could really see it, not just a shaft of light, in the picture.  It's subdued, but gives the picture a warm, glowey element.

This is also a good example of doll placement.  Willa, in the left corner, is quite washed out because of her being placed so close to the sun.  Grace, on the far right, is a little too far away, and has some harsh shadows/bright spots.  Maryellen is in the middle and is covered fairly evenly with the light from my reflector.  She's the main point of attention in the picture, and she looks the best of the three.

I so hope you enjoyed this "how-to" on dealing with sunset lighting!  It took me awhile to get the hang of it, and I'm definitely still learning.  But once you've figured out how to take photos at sunrise/sunset, or "magic hour" as they're known, you'll be blown away by how much more depth and texture your pictures have!

Enjoy your December,

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Fashion

It's November, the time has changed, and leaves are decaying and emitting that sweet, musty smell.  There's something Arcadian about firey papery things floating through the air.  I can still see eight-year-old me running up ahead on the puddled road, sprinting and jumping to catch one lucky leaf.  Mittens.  Sweaters.  Fuzzy hats that-look-terrible-on-me.  They all play some part in this time of year.  Today I wore a pair of burgundy penny loafers and a plaid scarf.
Then again, sometimes November likes to play tricks and spring a warm, rainy on you--just as if it was the end of summer all over again.

Gypsie had to celebrate the weather with her new dress from Little Gloriana.  

This gold sweater from QTPie doll clothing, along with a Clarisse's Closet hat, complemented the dress perfectly.

Yep.  Gypsie and I are loving this fall.  What about you?  What are you favorite things to wear this time of year? 


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Last night was filled with blustery falling leaves, glowing pumpkins, and vintage movies that use to scare me when I was six.  Meanwhile, Maggie and Molly decided to trick-or-treat as twin hula dancers.

How was your Halloween?


Monday, October 19, 2015

A World of Octobers

I haven't been taking many photos lately because school has consumed my life, but I managed these two a few days ago.  To get me in the autumn mood, my mom surprised me with both of these Pleasant Company Addy outfits!  They've been on my wish list for ages, and I'm completely smitten with the adorableness.  I love the 1850s/60s because of my experience as a historical re-enactor, and so any time I add dresses from that era to my collection I go giddy.

Maggie and Ginny take after me and love playing dress-up. 

Golden hour never fails.  I adore twilight photography!

I've never had such a pretty October.  I live in the Seattle area, and usually we're drenched, flooded, and hung out to drip by now, but we've had only a couple days of rain so far and the sun's been shining scads more than usual.  We haven't even had a frost (which is yay because I can still graze in the garden)!

How's your autumn been?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maggie's Pet Walking Disaster (Photo Story)

Maggie wanted to start a pet walking business.  I did not stop her.  I was under the impression that her "pets" would be dogs.  Erm, no.

Maggie thought that this would be a good idea.  Apparently the rabbits, chickens, and cows in the world aren't represented in the pet walking service nearly enough.  She reached out to the minority-- she was being a good citizen.  

Woah, Maggie!  Watch out for the wayward leashes!  And next time you walk your "pets," maybe leave the roller skates at home.

Oh well. 

At least it's kinda fun having a cow-powered wheelchair.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unboxing of Maryellen! (Video)

I gotta clean my room because it's scattered with the miscellaneous items of a single doll that has taken over everything.

Revenge of the Maryellen.

I present you with this stunning beauty.  More photos to come!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Maryellen's Autumn Jumper

With Maryellen's release just around the bend and all the leaks that have been happening, I've gotten a pretty good idea of what her collection will be like.
Let me tell you folks, she ain't gonna have a white Christmas.  
Since she lives in Florida, AG made the assumption that colder-climate-clothes are completely unnecessary.  I, however, think that this is no excuse to own something that at least looks like autumn.  No one can stay in pastels forever.  Those colors start looking tired really quickly.
So I took it into my own hands to make a fall-ish jumper and blouse for Maryellen once she arrives at my little homestead.  Rebecca volunteered to try it on, and since the sunrise's orange coordinated perfectly with the outfit's color palette, I took photos of the two of them together. 

Honestly, I'm surprised by the way it came out.  I am not an experienced seamstress, and I really haven't turned on my machine in years.  This outfit had to be taken apart and sewn back together too many times.  

Aren't the little brown buttons darling?  I'm also really pleased with how happy my pleats look on the front of the blouse, too.

Maryellen will go to school in this and she will be grateful, even if she sweats the whole way.  

What are you most excited to see in her release?  I'm just thrilled for American Girl to finally sell a 1950s girl!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Chores with Friends

I never minded cleaning up when my friends were around.  That is to say, my true friends: those who would pitch in and do their share because they had made just as big of a mess as I had.  We'd pretend we were orphans, digging through the streets of 1920s New York, looking for a place to spend the night.  Or perhaps we were pioneers, gathering our belongings for our trek west to the greener side of the fence.  Whatever the case, our brains as one to create a unified imagination, and we had a marvelous time.

Chores are funny like that.  At home, all alone, I hate them.  With friends, they're a kick.  Except when the job is really nasty, like cleaning out a moldy gutter.

I recently entered this picture into a photo contest, and with the rest of my pictures from the shoot, I thought it'd be fun to capture the giddy pleasure of chores with friends.

I shot these at twilight during two separate days.  The golden light perfectly accented my desired tone.

See?  Even Jack can does laundry.  Now that's a boy I'd like to have around.

Gypsie began soaking the dirty clothes as Maggie pinned up the freshly washed ones.

Even Grace pretended to help.

I'd say this week's washday was a success.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

An 1850s Sunset

In the past I have mentioned my occupation as a historical re-enactor at an 1850s fur trading fort.  It's been a while since I've brought up this fascinating hobby, and I thought it was high time for an update.  I've not met many people who have experienced the thrill of acting out a part of history outside of my little community, and I'd be thrilled to answer any questions you may have on the subject.
Earlier this summer, I helped at the fort's camp for junior high students.  For the most part, the campers learned how to forge their own steel, make fires from that steel and flint, cook over their open fire, discover the history of the area, dress up in period clothing, and spend the night within the fort's walls.
In my experience, nothing can beat the overnight.  Especially when the sky is crystal clear and the moon is nearly full.  I brought my very un-period-correct camera along to document our lovely time, and now I'm here to share these photos with all of you.  Usually a lone fiddler or two will be playing their instruments across the fort while a few of the trappers discuss their business by the flagpole, coffee mugs in hand.  A few kids will have run up into the bastion to get a better view of the buildings and spy on the occasional onlooker, and my friends and I will finally be able to sit down on the factor's house veranda and take in the sweet evening air, still tinged with the scent of smoke from our supper.
It's so, so lovely.

As I took photos, all I could think about was the beauty of this place--the magic of twilight in this slice of preserved history.  Even though we have no photos, I can only imagine that their sunsets, 150 years ago, were just as stunning.  Isn't that incredible?  

Behind our blacksmith shop there's an old wooden canoe.  The little kids who come and visit love to sit inside and pretend their rowing up a river.  

After a little persuading, a friend of mine posed for a picture.  

This is one of my best friend (right) and I (left) in front of our woodshed.  The sun was just beginning to sink.

Here you're able to see a clear view of the bastion.

One of our fantastically talented fiddler. 

I laugh whenever I look at this picture because, as you can see, he still has his "Hello, my name is" badge on.  The height of Victorian fashion, didn't you know?

Here are the campers getting ready to learn The Virginia Reel.

One of our dance instructors.  

I often wonder if all the people who lived here so long ago experienced nights like this.  It's interesting to ponder the similarities and differences.