Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Blog! I finally changed my name. :)

I'm sure you've all been waiting for it! (I sure have)

I finally decided that I just needed to do it. Months of tearing out my hair trying to decide on a design are now put to rest by this extreemely simple design that seems to fit me just fine! I'm not done my website, I'm not committing to a logo, but I AM chilling out and enjoying my blog. Nice!

I figure this design will just allow my photos and illustrations to shine like they're meant to :D. My biggest hurdle was trying to figure out how all the ridiculous directions my creating takes me would ever look good together. I couldn't pick a colour palette...I couldn't pick a specific style...I felt like I was trying to put myself in a box. So I got rid of it! And this is what I ended up with. The type design of my name was the only thing I confidently loved day after day, so I stuck with it and decided everything else would work itself out.

(as you may notice I've imported my old blog posts: they look bad in the new wider format, but hey, they're a part of me! Can't leave them behind!)

Hope you like it :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Remember that foggy morning?

Remember reading about fog and frozen fingers? Well, now that christmas has passed and gifts have been given, I'm excited to share the mini session I did with the Barrs. Jasmine wanted to surprise her mom with a photo of "the kids" for christmas, so we met at the bird sanctuary to capture a few. Linden the dog was by far the most willing participant (not!) but he definitely made things interesting! He even stopped moving for a few shots! I love the last shot, which is the only one I have of Linden looking at the camera. I love these guys!! and I love these photos :D

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Let Me DeBrief! My day with Joe McNally

I'll start by saying this probably won't be a brief debrief.

My head is just spinning with all I've learned and excitement to put some of it to use! Or maybe its the Tim's double-double I just chugged on the drive home. My body has been crying out for coffee all day, ever since the first one I bought got left behind in my car when I switched to the work vehicle. Oooops...Ha!

But wow. That workshop was awesome! Joe McNally is a blow-your-mind amazing photographer with years of experience and an incredible portfolio to prove it. He is well-known for his years of work for National Geographic, among other huge clients. I've been in awe of him since I first discovered his work almost 2 years ago, and it was basically a dream come true to learn from him live. We even shared a moment, a little smile and then an awkward moment that should have been where I told him how much I admired his work and his instruction - but instead I lost all ability to communicate and magneted my eyes to the carpet. Yeah...its not really a secret that I'm not the best with strangers. When you heap on a fair amount of celebrity onto that stranger my social skills are basically non-existent.

However, for a day where I shared very little human interaction (which, for a "blue" personality like me is basically a write-off) while surrounded by strangers, I had an incredible time! I learned a lot and laughed a lot, as Joe is a pretty good entertainer on top of his other skills. The fun thing about live demonstration is that things can and will go wrong, wonky, or crazy, and laughing about it with a room full of people is pretty heart-warming. I came in at the last minute and had to sit in the front row (on the side), which ended up being where the models and crew sat, so I felt very close to the action. And sometimes like I should be holding a tri-grip and not sitting on my butt lol!

But lets get serious. I learned a lot by watching Joe work about how to put my equipement to better use. It was really encouraging to realize that I actually posses enough to re-create some pretty cool set-ups. I don't have a lot, but what I do have can definitely be enough!

The most valuable thing I learned though, was about confidence. Watching everything happened I realized that I get it. I am starting to really feel like I understand how lighting works. Flash photography is a beast that can't be fully tamed, but gaining confidence in how to work with it is invaluable! I feel like realizing that a complicated lighting set-up is not scary has opened up a new world for me. Because I get it, and because I know I can begin to use it to really be in control of my photographs, I feel like the next time I stand before a model I can leave some of my second-guessing behind. Its hard to describe, but I feel much more capable of being confident in a shoot. Seeing Joe McNally finagle lights and set-ups and model poses made me realize that I don't have to come to the table and know exactly what I'm doing. I just need to ACT like I do, ha! But it does mean a lot to know that the pro's aren't magical beings who produce only gold with their cameras. And I feel that much closer to being able to produce a few bits of gold with my own camera! Even though I shoot with a lowly D7000. Ha!

Be sure to check out some of Joe's Work (all photo's from joemcnally.com):

Thanks Joe! I am so grateful that you make it a point to teach and pass on your experience!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another year ends...in Whistler

I just realized that I've spent the last week of almost every year of my life, in Whistler. Hokey dinah I'm lucky! 

Someday, I'm told, when the cabin passes from my grandparents hands, we'll have to sell it on account of the property taxes. Its unthinkable to me that my kids won't grow up driving the sea-to-sky and sleeping in the loft every available school holiday! That "cabin" as we call it, has been my second home and probably holds half my heart. Ok maybe not quite half, but...

It squats contentedly on Drifter Way, dwarfed by the new huge chalets that have sprung up over the past 5 years. It used to be just one of many its size, but every year it looks smaller and more retro. A few of our neighbours have managed to hold out as well, and I feel a kind of comradarie with the other little slope-peaked cabins on the block.

My times at the cabin in the winter follow a particular pattern. We're usually not the only ones there - Christmas is family time, and rarely is it rented out - there are always at least a few Griffioen families filling up the living space. The unmarried folk (kids) and junior marrieds who lack seniority pack into the loft and make our beds out of stacked foam mattresses. The senior couples get the bedrooms or semi-private basement floor. We wake up every morning to grandma and grandpa shuffling about below until we hear grandpa practically hollar "Whats that mum?" as they make their breakfast. Still, we stay in bed until its really not possible to pretend to sleep any longer...that or we smell the bacon. 

Days are spent lounging and reading, playing passionate games of Settlers of Catan or scrabble, walking in the snow (with my camera of course!), visiting the village to pretend we have money to spend, and relaxing in the hot tub. In the past couple of years my uncle has brought up a TV and my grandparents ordered in the internet (both for hosting during the Olympics), but we still resist the draw of technology - for the most part. If the snow is good, we'll drag the (antique) cross-country skis out of the closet and ski around Lost Lake in the dark. Or go sledding. Neither of those things happened this year, even though we did get some fresh white stuff. Oh and of course, at least one family ski day up the mountain, which always begins with "so...Whistler or Blackcomb?" And then a debate about the merits of taking the peak-to-peak (since its been built anyway) half way through the day in order to ski BOTH mountains. 

The end of my trips follows a pattern too. I stuff my clothes in my bag (these days, I stuff while Dwayne folds and carefully packs) and pull out the vaccum cleaner. We Griffioen descendants are intimately familiar with the cabin cleaning routine. Dad asks "are both bathrooms done?"
"upstairs vaccumed?"
"fridge wiped out?"
"ok, everyone go to the bathroom one last time!"
and then we're off, back into the vehicles and down the road, waving goodbye to another fantastic year-end at the cabin. Ahh nastalgia. Whistler, Je t'aime. 

(walking through meadow park by the River of Golden Dreams, gazing up at both Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains).