Sunday, June 26, 2011

Aria Elizabeth

Welcome home, Aria Elizabeth! I took a break from processing pictures today to meet my niece and take some more pictures. I'm so happy that my brother and sister-in-law have a healthy and happy baby girl and that James is a big brother!

And now back to processing pictures...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Black and White Film Experiment

 How fun are these film canister flash drives? Find them here.

I definitely had a plan for this roll of film. With the exception of the picture of my nephew, I just HAD to take a picture of him on film, I decided I was going to go around town and take some shots of things from my childhood that were no longer being used. It's somewhat disturbing that there are so many old, broken down buildings in Milford that have stood vacant for years. I thought it would be interesting to capture the ugliness of it all.

I finished the 36 frames over the course of two days and stuck to shooting with my 85mm prime lens, again, with the exception of James' picture. I like to challenge myself by only bringing one lens with me to force me to frame things differently. It helps me think about my shots.

The roll of black and white film I shot was a roll of Kodak T400CN. I still have rolls of true black and white, but I figured I'd stick with a C-41 processable roll in case the film was too old. It's less expensive and takes less time to process. Again, I pushed the film to 800, so the results have a bit of grain, but I'm fond of that in black and white shots.

Sign for the old Showcase Cinemas in Milford.

James goofing around for the fish eye lens. As soon as the picture was taken, he insisted I show him the result. I tried to explain to him that this was a different kind of camera and he had to wait to see the pictures. Frustrated, the three and a half year old demanded I go get the camera where he could see the pictures!

Old busted down shack.

Window detail.

Sign for Paul's that is still standing.

Leaf stuck to my car.

I was really excited to take pictures of the dead tulips. I think I like this one more than the color picture of the same flowers while they were in full bloom.

Lilies of the Valley, round two. You can really see how delicate they are next to the drops of rain on the leaves.

After the film was shot, I was struck with the hardest decision of all: what to do with it. I used to process my own pictures and make a set of 4x6 prints out of them, but I wasn't sure if anything was going to even come out. What would be the point of having prints made up? I'd just have to scan the prints to be able to share them, so I had the film scanned to CD.

I was really happy with the results. I noticed that I was taking the time to look at things again. Not just look, but really see. I think that all photographers could benefit from that. We've gotten so used to instant gratification, knowing the second after we've shot something whether it's a keeper or not. It felt good to unplug for a while.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Caturday!

Another lovely macro test shot of Addy. 

I haven't been posting much because my computer was giving me all sorts of grief last week. I'm back up and running and finally able to start processing wedding pictures.

Just to test out my happy USB connections, I scanned a photo from the newspaper that caught my eye. Me thinks somebody at the Connecticut Post is an Eels fan...

That's a photo kicker that I would've written!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Cheer Up Keanu Day!

Sad Keanu made an appearance at the company softball game a couple years ago, but we haven't seen him since. I poked around the interwebs and found out why...


It warms the heart to see the little guy having a good day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It's still amazing to me that my body has gone from the top image to the bottom in less than two years. The macro lens was having a hard time even focusing on my scar! I just got back from my two year visit with my surgeon and he was thrilled with my ACL. He said my x-rays looked good, my graft tunnels hadn't expanded at all, the scar was incredible, the knee was strong. I do have a little more work to do to get my hamstring stronger, but I couldn't be happier.

Oh, and did you check out Google today? You can play guitar!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Camera Test

How much in love am I right now with the 5D Mark II and 100/2.8 Macro I rented from Borrow Lenses? Oh my God, I'm going to try to work as little as possible tomorrow and play!

I absolutely adore Addy's look of disgust in this picture. Doesn't she look like she's about to tell me to get lost?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

11 New Things

I don't often write To Do Lists, but when I do, they tend to be ridiculous like the above image. I wrote that the day before I moved out of my studio apartment in Seymour, and yes, I still have it sitting on my desk. My knee surgery was a mere three days away and a lot of confusing things were going on in my life. That list is classic, sarcastic Audra. I keep it nearby to remind me that no matter how bad things may seem, I can get through it.

I've got a busy week ahead of me, with the opportunity to cross off another item from my 11 New Things List. I was so excited about that, I scrolled through my blog to copy and paste the list and do some some of that cool crossing out. That's when I realized, I never posted it. Here we are in June, the year half over, and I completely forgot to do it. I dug out my notebooks and found the list I had written back in November of last year. My inspiration for this list came from a photography blog I absolutely love, Melissa Jill.  Melissa shares so much, her work is beautiful and I truly hope to some day be as successful as she is. She compiles a much more impressive list, her 101 in 1001. She lists 101 goals that she hopes to accomplish in 1001 days. Check out her post here.

I decided to start much more modestly. Since it was 2011, I figured why not try for 11 New Things. So here we go!

1. Start a blog.
  •  Success! I mean, you're reading this, so obviously it happened. But back when I wrote it, I never would've thought that I could start a blog and post on a regular basis. I hope that the people reading it find it entertaining, informative and inspirational. After one year of blogging under my belt, I plan to link it to my actual website.
2. Tackle Photo Junction.
  •  This has yet to happen. Photo Junction is a program a lot of photographers use to design albums. I'm generally good with programs, but I just haven't taken the time with this one. At all. Man, I need to stop being so lazy.
3. Always carry a camera.
  • I bought a high end digital point and shoot last year to not have an excuse for missing photos. I'd say I'm about 50/50 on this one. At the beginning of the year, I had the lofty aspiration to do a photo a day for the entire year. That fizzled out after a few weeks, but maybe it's something to shoot for for next year.
4. Read more.
  • Eeks, not doing so good with this one either. I've only read one book this year. I watch too much TV, I listen to a lot of music and I write, but reading hasn't been a high priority. Then again, I have half the year left, so maybe this isn't a total loss.
5. Track spending.
  • Audra and money do not get along. I thought it was funny that I didn't use the word budget, as it sends shivers down my spine. I don't know why, it's just something I'm horrible at. I figured if I at least kept track of what I spent money on, I'd be taking one step closer at being responsible with my money. I have been doing this, but I don't look at it. That's my next step.
6. Take a vacation where I leave the state.
  • Unexpectedly, this has happened. I went to see the Video Game Orchestra back in April. I took a day off from work and drove to Massachusetts. My last vacation where I left the state, and I'm not counting visits to see my family in New York, was Mario and Vanessa's wedding in Hawaii, I think almost 5 years ago. I'm really bad about taking time off from work. The first vacation I took after that Hawaii trip was the week I took off from work to recover from my knee surgery. I'm a wild one, I tell ya!
7. Do a pull up.
  • I've never once in my life been able to do a pull up. I can do a flexed arm hang, but still no pull up. I've even written this on the goal board at the gym to try to light some fire under my butt, still, it hasn't happened yet. But it will!
8. Break up with my orthopedic surgeon.
  • It's not what you think. The road to recovery was a long one, and my first physical therapist, Tom, coined this phrase. He saw me through the first month of my recovery, which was probably the hardest and most painful. I trusted him when he told me to do exercises that I thought I was not prepared for, like peddling a bike one week after surgery and jumping on a bosu ball four weeks after. Tom got a better job and left the practice I was using, and he joked that it was just one of the many break ups I'd experience along my journey. As I approach the two year mark of my surgery, I have one more visit with my orthopedic surgeon, to make sure everything is still attached and functioning properly. I feel great, so I know it will not be an issue. I'm really excited to not have to see Dr. Schacter ever again. (Hopefully)
9. Be craftier.
  • I love handmade things. I love being creative. There are so many blogs that I follow, which I will list in an upcoming post, that inspire me to do more. I want to make my own wrapping paper with cute rubber stamp designs. I want to learn how to sew. And knit. I want to come up with some fantastic room design for when I have my own house. I've got a long way to go on this.
10. Visit Andrew in DC.
  • Again, there's a lot of time left in the year, so I'm not worried yet. Andrew is one of my best friends from high school who's a big time lawyer these days. Our schedules are both pretty hectic, but I'm determined to get down to DC and visit him.
11. Write in my journal again.
  • Sigh. This is a huge one for me. I write a lot, but it's what I like to call "Fun Writing". My brother's friends used to tease me about it in high school. I write stories, don't ask to see them because I never share, but I've always got a notebook and pen with me. I've got a thing for pens and paper, but that's another blog entry. I don't write in my journal any more. I haven't in almost three years. I have a beautiful, massive leather journal. I looked for weeks until I found one I loved as much as my last one. And it's been sitting, collecting dust for a long time.  I remember when I stopped and those wounds haven't healed yet. I feel like I'm closer, but I still can't sit down and do it. 

This list will pop up again, near the end of the year for a final run down on what was accomplished. Keep your fingers crossed for my FINAL knee check up this week, then I'm off to shoot Jeff and Sarah's wedding. I can't wait!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Color Film Experiment

Every now and then, I feel the pangs of nostalgia. I started my career in photography on film, and I used to process pictures at Milford Camera Shop. Over the past few months, I'd talked to a few friends about shooting some film. I figured it would be a fun little experiment and since I still had rolls of film lying around my house, I went ahead with it. Granted, the film was purchased when I still worked at MCS, which has been closed for 10 years now, so I didn't know what I would get as a result. 

It has been close to 10 years since I've shot film, so my first instinct was to grab my fish eye and go to town. I don't have a full frame digital camera, yet!, and I missed the funky point of view. I mean, if I was going to shoot film, I might as well make it look different than something I'd get with my regular digital cameras.

The first thing I noticed was how slow my film camera is. It fights with the focus. It sounds like a beast. As soon as I framed my first shot and clicked the shutter, I looked at the back of my camera out of habit. This happened the entire first roll of film. It's amazing how spoiled I've gotten with instant gratification where pictures are concerned. Every time I caught myself peeking at the lovely blank back of my camera, I laughed.

It took me a while to get back into the swing of things. I have to say, the roll of color film was shot just like I would have shot any event. I wasn't entirely fond of not seeing my results and I felt like the 36 frames lasted forever. I guess I was hesitating on whether or not the images I was seeing were worthy of me capturing them on film. I remember when I first started working at the newspaper and taking on photo assignments, my editor told me what I was getting was good. He liked my compositions, for the most part I exposed my shots properly, but I didn't take enough pictures. "Shoot the shit out of it!" became his mantra whenever he gave me another assignment. It's interesting how quickly I reverted back to my old shot selection.

Enough of the yapping, get to the pictures! Below are some results I got with a roll of Fuji NPS. The ISO was 160, which I pushed to 320 because I was concerned that the film wouldn't have enough oompf left in it since it was 7 years expired. There was a little bit of grain as a result, but I didn't mind it. I had the roll of film processed normally and scanned to CD. I did not adjust the pictures, I just resized them for the web.

My hat from the Kentucky Derby party.


Addy in her window seat around sunset.

Something about color film always draws me to flowers.

This was the first year I was able to attend a friend's Kentucky Derby party, so I thought it would be a great place to shoot. There was an extensive bidding process for all the Derby horses which took three times as long as the actual race.

Another angle of the bidding from the back of the crowd. I liked the contrast of the house against the sky.

This little pup was extremely camera shy. I love how his ears perked right up at the sound of my LOUD camera and how tiny he is in comparison to all the legs around him.

This is the stump of our old cherry tree. Even though we only got cherries from it one year, stupid birds always got to them before we could pick them, and the tree did nothing but drop sap on our cars in the driveway, I was still sad to see it get cut down. I took inspiration from the song I'm A Hummingbird in my playlist over to the right. "The sapling roots were new and sprouting through the ground."


Lilies of the Valley along the side of my house. They are such a tiny, delicate flower and only last for a couple weeks. My old negs are currently buried in the crawl space of my house, but I have a fantastic shot with a close up filter of the flowers.

Look for my post on black and white film next weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Addy Finally Likes Her Cat Post

We've had this particular cat post for two years now and Addy has never once used it. My oldest brother was very generous and built it for her. I originally thought the half circle was a bit too narrow for Addy, so I cut some of it off. I think Addy was just a bit confused how to get onto it, so when I moved it across the room and put it next to her taller cat post, she realized she could step into the other. It looks like a pretty comfy spot and some day, we'll be able to set it up in front of a window for some kitty TV.

My cat's not spoiled much, is she? And yeah, my jade plant is getting a little out of control.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Eels Tour Kicks Off

I'm going to geek out for a minute and say how stoked I am that the Eels begin their world tour tonight. I've got my tickets for the end of July in New York and I can't wait. From what I just read, the tour is going to be different than the last round, and that makes me really excited. Don't get me wrong, I dug the rock show. I just like the fact that each tour, they change it up. At least that's what the rumor mill is saying!