Monday, July 11, 2011

Let Yourself Be Inspired ~ Mono Monday!

"A Melody In Her Smile"
(1/200 sec.@ F2.5, 50mm prime, ISO 125, late day shade, handheld)

Sometimes I have to break away from my routine and find an example of something inspiring to try out for myself. I usually end up learning something in the process too, which is a delightfully fulfilling bonus. Like the time I was inspired to take up soccer back in the late eighties and discovered not only is it an effective form of exercise if you stay upright, but that I have a natural propensity for falling in molehills when doing drills running backwards. That cast on my arm and I were inseparable for about eight weeks. Ah, good times.

But back to 2011. This weekend I went looking through other blogs that I find inspiring, just to see if I could find something to motivate me to break out of my routine. I thoroughly enjoy a blog called The Pioneer Woman (and no, she doesn't know I'm making mention of her site here but if you haven't heard of her, you have a lot of enjoyable catching up to do) and she tackles the subject of photography along with other various life skills... and I have always loved her laid back approach to photographing people, especially her kids. Needless to say, I've been trying to be a little more laid back myself lately, and also trying to widen my love for portraiture. Let's face it, architecture and nature will be my first loves (er, first and second loves... or tied for first loves...) but there's something to be said for being able to know how to take engaging photos of your family and have fun at the same time, and I'll be honest, portraits (candid or otherwise) usually stressed me out in the past. I noticed how spontaneous and lovely the pics were on the PW blog and decided I needed to practice that more.

So, without having to find a fantastical location or set up any lighting, heck, without having to put shoes on for that matter, I asked my daughter if she had a few minutes to stand around and do nothing outside. And being that she's a teenager and they seem to naturally love to stand about doing nothing, she said sure. So I proceeded to take her out back and shoot her! Hahahaaa... small photographer's joke there folks, relax.

A shot like this is just this simple... I stood on the deck above (interesting vantage point, photography 101) and she stood below with the massive clematis climbing the fence behind her. And I told her that I was just testing some aperture choices with my handy dandy portrait lens so just to bear with me. And as I tweaked my exposure she'd make silly faces (of which she has banned me from showing to the blogging world) and I'd be aghast which in turn would make her laugh... and voila. I ended up with fifty or so very natural candids, fresh looking and still of a professional quality with a shallow depth of field that emphasized her eyes and softened the rest. And many of them make really nice B&W's. A delightful bonus to be sure.

Are you inspired by others in your field? Do you have blogs that not only teach you but change your mind or attitude towards other aspects of whatever you pursue? Break away from the norm, you might just find a love for something new!
Thanks for the Monday ramble folks! Have a good one!

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