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Introduction to a new series: “How to take self-portraits”

I have finally decided to start a series of posts about how to take self-portraits. btw, this post is long, so please grab a coffee/tea and enjoy! I was writing it for almost 3 days!!! 

I am not a pro. I do not claim I am one. I am still learning and I hope to learn even more by doing this series.

The 365 Self-Portrait Project has taught me how to overcome a few obstacles that many people come across when they want to start taking self-portraits:

–          Lack of remote

–          Not having a tripod (I have one but believe me, in 366 days of 2012 I used it less than 10 times)

–          Having two kids around all the time

–          Low self-esteem/Shyness

–          Posing

–          Creativity (lack of it, I meant)

–          Boring life

–          Lack of time (how can you have a boring life and a lack of time at the same time?)

I could think off a few more things but as for now those are the biggest problems I remember I encountered at the beginning. I still have some issues with those things, believe me. I do struggle with focus, what probably will force me to get a remote in a few weeks (I already found one that I would want to get). I do struggle with creativity and my posing sucks; I do have a funny story to tell about it, though.   

Having taken on this project (365 Self-Portraits in one year), in a very difficult time of my life has given me something than many self-portrait artists don’t have to go through while creating their portraits.

This past year was terribly hectic. I was pregnant, and then I wasn’t. I was mother of one child, then all of a sudden I had two of them. I was ok with my pregnant body and I really enjoyed to take photographs of pregnant me, but after the baby was born, immediately, I got very aware of my post-pregnant shapes, and jumping in front of the camera was the last thing I wanted to do.

With two little kids, where one is a “never wanting to let off the booby” kind, it was even harder to get creative or be on my own, in peace and quiet, having all the free time, trying this or that, until I am happy with the shot. I actually had limited time, limited opportunities, and limited energy (VERY limited energy). Many pictures were taken “on the run”, literally. My camera was always around and I would take it every single place we went. I just couldn’t afford to lose a good opportunity to take a self-portrait while doing…, well, while doing anything.

As a family we do not have very active social life so we are not in many situations that other people would take a photo of us and our kids together FOR us. Even if … I am always not very happy with pictures that strangers take for us while we are out and about. I hate that most people do not know how to handle a DSLR set on MANUAL. My camera is always on MANUAL, so if I forget to change it or at least explain a few things to the person it means that most of the pictures we are going to be on are overexposed or underexposed, and that somebody will be out of focus, read WE, the family, will be out of focus (and I know it from my personal experience). The outcome is predictable: those pictures are always deleted, what makes my husband really mad. And don’t you agree that those pictures always look the same. Boring. Flat. They look just like any other family portrait taken by a stranger where the only difference is the background (and outfits).

Do those pictures look boring:

what about these:

 

ok, the last example is not the best. I have to admit I did a poor job encouraging my husband to get into the picture in this project. I will have to change that this year. 

Anyway, when it is you who is in charge of taking pictures as well as posing in them you can control EVERYTHING! Don’t like it? Do it again. Something is out of focus? Re-focus and shot again. The picture is overexposed? Change the settings and DO IT AGAIN. Don’t like the perspective/angle? Move the camera, refocus, check the settings, and take a few more pictures. You can repeat the process until you’re happy with at least one photo. Sometimes it takes time but the more you do it the better you get in doing it right in less time. At the end it is you and only you who decide how much of you people are going to see.

The thing is, if you do it on your own, in your own time frame, surrounded by things you like, and maybe listening to a favorite music, you will feel more comfortable to just be yourself in front of the camera. To make a goofy face, to have a natural smile, to be more playful, or romantic, etc. The sky’s the limit.

 

Being honest with you, I do not have the entire plan for this series lined up in front of me. It’s not like I already have done the creative thinking and I have written all the topics and dates for them. NO. To make a good and informative post with a few examples and explanations I need time – sometimes I don’t have it (time), that’s why I don’t promise to publish “one post a week” with a new topic on how to take self-portraits. I will try to do my best, though. I think, it probably will be one post a month.

I enjoy doing it and I do it because I want to do it, not because I must do it. I want it to stay that way. I want to keep it healthy. Healthy for me. I had been through a period where blogging, getting comments and new followers would take over my personal life, my mood. I based my happiness on the number of comments and visitors to my blog. So no, I will not allow myself to slip into the same situation again.

You have to be aware; this is different from just taking a self-portrait and posting it here with a few words describing the photo. This series is my next challenge. Normally photography is a very intuitional process to me. Here, in order to explain things I’ll try to go into more technical parts of this process: f-stops, ISO, light, post-processing, lenses.

It is going to be a self-educating process. If there is one person out there who will learn something from it as well, I’ll be thrilled.

So please, if you don’t understand something I am going to talk about, just be patient and ask questions. It doesn’t hurt to ask and it could teach both sides (me and you) something new. I appreciate all the questions. I do want to help women to get out of the closet and be comfortable with their own images, no matter what age and shapes.  

To stay updated with each post from this series you can simply follow this blog, my Facebook page or Twitter, but being honest with you, I am not a Twitter person. I tweet rarely, and mostly those are updates from my posts, nothing else. The best way to stay in touch is to follow my Facebook Page.

I will not be giving any assignments or self-portrait themes, and I am not going to create link-ups. If some of my posts inspire you to go out there and to experiment with self-portraits, I encourage you to come back to my blog and leave a link to your post with self-portraits in the comments section of the most recent post from this series.

To check which is the latest post from this series if you just mouse over the button where is says “Self-Portraits”. Do not click on it. A small list will show up. 

screenshot 1

Now there is only one thing:  “365+1 Self-Portrait Project”. Clicking on it will take you to the whole year of my self portraits. Post after post. 

After this post is published I’m going to add one more option: “How to take self-portraits”. Clicking on it will take you to posts from this series ONLY. 

screenshot 2

 

My next post, actually first in which I give some real advice, not just plain talk, about “how to” take self-portraits is almost ready and will be up on the blog next week. I am going to talk about achieving reasonable good focus without using the remote, as well as how to do it all without a tripod. 

 So lets the fun begin! 

 

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Simply me!

Last Saturday I’d decided to pass on Elena’s Seflie Saturday. Her topic is “Backyard” and I do not have one.

Anyway sometime between Saturday and Sunday I had changed my mind. 🙂

Non of them are backyard photos. They were taken in my kitchen and in a bathroom. Some of them are headless. Of course! I lost my patience trying to fix it. At the same time my daughter was done eating and she didn’t want to sit in her chair anymore, and I didn’t want to take those pictures without her. Had to go with what I had taken and call it good. I’m not very upset about it, though. I think they look pretty interesting.

On the other hand I focused only on my head shooting in the darkness of my bathroom. The light was only from two candles, so most of my shots were too dark to fix them… (i don’t shoot in RAW! I used to). My ISO was 800 and I didn’t want to go any higher. 800 was almost too high anyway.

Those few I’ve chosen were good enough to make something from it. I made them all black and white not because the original color was bad but because it looks much better that way.

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes.  But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!  ~Ted Grant

The picture below is pretty funny. I actually had no idea that my camera is so close, almost in a reaching distance, from my daughter’s sticky and dirty hands.

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

different edition of this photo is here. It seems like I do not have that picture anywhere on my computer. Can’t find it!!!! Grrr…

AND MY FAVORITE ONE

I love everything in this photo. Light, lines, and the texture(s)! I know this is not technically perfect. It’s blurry and grainy, but those two things make it so interesting and attractive, I think. I even used one texture to add more grains to this photo, and one from Kim called “Aurora”.


kimklassencafe
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Lao Tzu

Quotography at {My}Perspective<Photobucket

My little alien caught red handed

… because my last post didn’t have any pictures… actually (not saying about the links)…

… here you go!

My daughter looking a little like an alien 🙂 but having so much fun on the floor chasing me and my camera, trying to touch the lens… ouch… that would hurt if he did touch it…

The same day a few hours later:

I’d been waiting for and expecting that moment to come for a long time. She tried a few times to go inside the crate but the entrance was (is not anymore) to high for her… Now, you can see on the pictures above, how she manages to get in and out… 🙂

Look how proud she was when she finally got inside!!! YeaY!!! One of  her first little successes!!! More to come – pretty soon I would guess! 😉

My blah, blah, blah about facebook, breastfeeding, baby formula

… etc.

I’ve been feeling kind of under the weather for the last few months but when it comes to taking pictures nothing can stop me!
This time picture of me, and my poor lip.

Last attack of plugged ducts ended up with noticeable lost of my milk supply 😦 Sorry if I bother talking about it. At least I’m not taking (and posting) pictures of breastfeeding myself with my entire boob popped out… like some women like to do. I’m not against it… but hm… what for!?! I don’t like the whole situation with facebook taking breatfeeding women pictures down because it’s obscene! What the hell!? I even joined the group Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook).
Breastfeeding is natural and very beautiful. THAT IS WHY WOMEN HAVE BOOBS!!! It’s not for the purpose of flashig it in front of a guy’s eyes (even if they think differently), but for the purpose of feeding the baby. We are mammals. We might originate from Adam and Eve but still – they were mammals, too!

I understand nursing in public but cover yourself a little! You can do whatever you want at home. Walk naked, feed naked, sleep naked, eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner naked, but why you do have to take a picture of it and post it where ever you get the chance!
Sex is a beautiful thing too. Beacuse of sex we can make babies, right?! It’s beautiful, and NATURAL. But do we go to the park or any public places to have intercurse?! Are we dogs?! Pooping and peeing is NATURAL, too! SO WHAT! Would anybody let me poop on his/her front yard because it’s TOTALLY NATURAL!?
I know that breastfeeding helps us to celebrate our motherhood, our bonding time with the little ones… But this kind of bonding and celebrating I’d prefere to keep as private as possible.
I know that sometimes it’s not possible, but when it’s not it still doesn’t have to be with full breast exposed!

That’s why we are called Homo sapiens – wise men. We, the human beings should know what’s the difference between breastfeeding and breastfeeding, or sex and sex. That’s why we have highly developed brains to know where the litmit is.

=========
Ok, I totally let myself loose.

After one cold sore and plugged ducts I thought that finally I’ll get the chance to enjoy a painless day. Nope! It didn’t happen. Instead I woke up with my lip looking like I was punch in the mouth with a baseball bat. It hurts as hell. Somebody told me it might be another cold sore, somebody else that it’s an infection. I was told that it might be allergy, also. Whatevery that is… I don’t like it. I think I’ve got a big vitamins deficit, and I know it for sure, but may that be a reason of all of this…?!?!

The next thing I’m not happy about is that it seems like the days of breastfeeding came to an end. For the last few days I’ve been trying to inroduce formula to our daughter diet but it seems that she hates it!!! The only thing I’d heard from Mister She’ll Get Use To It was “she’ll get use to it”! grrr… but it wasn’t him who had to deal with hungry baby and it wasn’t him who was worrying that she is not getting enough of the vitamins and everything what she was getting from me!!!

I didn’t know what to do, and how to make her drink it. She was hungry but there was no way she would drink that formula.

Totally angry or maybe exausted of thinking about it I poured some almond milk to her bottle and gave it to her. BOOM!!! A bell ringer!!! Yeay!!!

She drank it all and asked for more 😉 and look how happy she was after all… Ufff…
Another lesson from the school of parenting learned.

Don’t talk to me until my second cup…

… of coffee!!!

Finlay I got a coffee maker with all bunch of extra stuff. Happy Happy Happy mamma!
I’m not afraid of very early mornings and sleepless nights, anymore! No, No, No! I’m ready and prepared!

My Lovely Husband despite of the argument that he had with Gevalia’s employee on the phone decided to get me a coffee set that I found on promotion for a few bucks.
I mean I’ve decided that I want it. He decided that no matter what he’s going to get it for me. Too bad he got so upset with them while ordering it.

I’ve never had Gevalia before, so I’m eager to try it. I’m not very picky when it comes to coffee. I like it black, and strong. No sugar. For the entire period of my pregnancy I hadn’t been drinking coffee, not because I didn’t want to but because I’d stopped liking it. My body just said NO NO NO to coffee… Just like that. Some day I woke up made myself a cup of coffee took one sip and right away I knew something is wrong. I thought that maybe my coffee is old, or I did something wrong while brewing it… I didn’t know, and I didn’t have my coffee that day. The next day was the same and the day after that.
Few days after…. Surprise!!! “We are going to have a baby!”

So, after our Little Poopy Pants was born I hadn’t been drinking because I just didn’t want the coffeen to get to hers body but after months of sleepless nights I’d decided that one cup is not gonna hurt anybody, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to feel bad about it. I mean about drinking one cup of coffee… Some women drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes while breastfeeding… I do not do any of that stuff. So why not a small cup of coffee… ?!?


Mom’s head hurts SO BAD!!!

Can’t stand it anymore!
It’s been more than 2 months of suffering from plugged ducts. It comes and goes, and it seems like it’s been forever. Can’t remember a day without some kind of pain. It has to be in this world something that could help me to stop it without cutting my breasts off. Seriously! It’s that bad!!! I’ve been crying like crazy for the last few days… Couldn’t help myself. In addition a terrible headache came along!

Yesterday I slept whenever I got the chance. It didn’t help with my headache. With anything…
I couldn’t sleep at night, so today I don’t remember when and how I got up when my daughter woke up. I remember that she didn’t want to eat anything I’d been trying to feed her. Whatever I would fix she simply refused… and she cried, and cried, and cried. I’m sorry to say that, but I had enough.
J. woke up, saw me strugling with her, said that he will take care of her so I can go back to bed, and after that… hm… he went to take a 20 minutes long shower. After the shower he didn’t remember what he said 20 minutes ago. It didn’t matter anyway because me and her were ready for a nap… I’m bitching here, I know… but that’s how I feel right now!!!

Sometimes I wish guys would think a little bit different… I don’t know, more like… hm.. women… maybe… 😉

My head was killing me (still is). I got up took some pain killers and tried to fall asleep again. It did happen very quickly.
The afternoon we’d spent playing, feeding ourselfs, and just being lazy. My headache didn’t go away. I just couldn’t stand it anymore. So I treated it with frozen veggies!!!

When Little Turtle was born I got a great gift from Joanna. Warm, soft, and very cozy. Today’s freaking cold. Inside, outside. Everywhere.
Little Turtle (not so little anymore), as usually on the floor looking for some cables or newspapares so she could get into them…

Iron Chef on TV:
Michael Symon and Anne Burrell
vs.
Cat Cora and Robert Irvine

I was trying to be as lazy as it’s possible… just to avoid any movement… remember… everything hurts me really bad!!!
Actually I’m getting more and more depressed… and frustrated with everything and everyone… not many things and people around to be frustrated with, though.
Oh, how I’m longing for a day when I would sleep a night through, get up at 10am and see everybody fed, playing and happy, or just simply not here… Day without annoying sound of PlaySatation3, and withouth having to ask over and over and over again: “Please, turn it down.” Day that I would spent in bed with my book, drinking HOT green tea or coffee.

Right now whatever I make by the time I get the chance to drink it it’s freaking cold.

I feel like a shadow of myslef… and it’s not a nice feeling.
Oh… MOTHERHOOD!!! How sweet that sounds, NOT!
Ok, Time to stop this before I go too far!!!

Cute when smilling, and cute when looking serious

Our daughter is growing as a very happy girl. She loves to smile. It makes her face glow! She loves the camera, and the camer loves her. It’s been so hard lately to get a decent shot of her because in our place is very dark, and my camera does not like that AT ALL.
It’s been too cold to go out to the park, and stay there long enough to take some good shots of her.

Finally, two days ago the sun came out and brightened the living room:

Ewelina is everywhere right now. Whatever door is open she goes there. If it’s closed she pushes and tries to open it. We are in a big trouble… Even bigger on the horizon…
This time she was all about our front door trying to sneak out…

Sparkling year of 2011

Too all my Dear and Dearest Friends:

Happy New Year!

I want to share with you an amazing qoute:

Magic Happens. Somewhere out there something wonderful is unfolding. This is as true for this very moment as it is for any other. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not there to see it; but rest assured there will be more perfect moments to be found than you can fit in a lifetime (…) Your best chance of finding something unique is to give something unigue a better chance of finding you.
Guy Tal

This particular quote is referring to the nature (landscape) photography, but I’ve found it very likely to use in everyday life…

I wish you all of it!

I wish you magical moments, and wonderful experiences.

I wish you the strenght and patience to go and look for uniqueness.

I wish you luck and good timing for the uniguenss to find you 🙂

So,
I wish you very magical 2011.
Just remember: MAGIC HAPPENS! 🙂
and you really don’t have to look very far to find it!

Quiet night time in front of our tree

Our Little Three Teeth, and Fourth On Its Way went to bed a few hours ago. I’m getting more, and more exhausted waiting for Jay to get tired too. Meanwhile… “wait, I’ve got an idea for a picture!”

I just can’t get bored with my camera 🙂

Quiet quality time with my feet,
Quiet quality time with my tree,
Quiet quality time with myself.

It just can’t get any better! 🙂

Goodnight!!!