2014 is coming to an end and its coming to be time to welcome 2015 here. Looking back on 2014 it was definitely an interesting year for me artistically. I had a lot of highlights and I had some lowlights. I started the year out with the goal to complete a 52 week project, which after a few months, I decided to close down. At the beginning it felt like a great challenge for me to take on and a good way to force myself to make sure that I shot at least once a week. The project started out great the first few weeks but over time it made my art suffer and I wasn’t producing the quality work I could achieve. I made the decision to shut the project down so I could refresh and become satisfied again with my work. I found myself in a rut that was a long time coming. I couldn’t think of any solid ideas, indecisive, and just unhappy with what I was executing. Which for an artist, is the worst thing you can feel. I then proceeded to take a short hiatus. I needed to walk away from photography completely for awhile. I needed to miss my craft and develop a hunger again for it. I remember the hunger I had to create and create and create and how many ideas I had exploding out from my mind to produce when I first started to explore conceptual photography. I was longing to have that agian.

Even though these were some lowlights for my artistically this year, I am so grateful for them because they taught me a lot that I will carry with me forever. It taught me that its ok to take the time you need to create an image that you are proud of and in love with. I feel like with all the different photographers you can follow out there all doing 365 day, 52 week, or any other sort of project of the like, it made me think that I need to need produce quanity over quality becuase I was watching others release new images out of the wood works. I felt like if I wasn’t doing that I was doing something negative with my work and releasing images. But, what good is it to try to keep up with that mind set if your work was suffering becuase of it? I had to remind myself that its better to take the time I needed to make that image the best it could be so I could produce something I am happy with and excited to share with you all. I started to practice shooting techniques, editing techniques before I shot the frames to make the image whole. I have made a new routine of sleeping on a image before I finalize the edit and release it. I slowed down and it has done so much good. Its so nice to be able to take a step back and really make sure my work is the very best it could be. I even have gone back and touched up old images from 2013 that I wasn’t 100% happy with to make them the best that I could.

Even though I had a little bump in the road I climbed over this year, there were quite a few great things that happen with my photography/art as well. I have further explored and developed my post processing skills with new things I learned. I have expierimented with some awesome shooting techniques that have resulted in some awesome composites that brought concepts to life in ways beyond what I have imagined. I was featured in two amazing shows this year. I shot and was featured on my very first CD cover. I was asked to have art featured on my very first book cover. I had some amazing features on websites, blogs, and other online networks. I feel so grateful also to have developed such an amazing support and following on my social networks as well.

I have a ongoing list of things I want to accomplish in 2015. Here are a few I already have thought about:

  1. I want to continue to grow my knowledge of photoshop and different editing techniques I can practice with new images.
  2. I want to shoot in an indoor, actual structure location(s) like somewhere abandoned or a place to get into to shoot photography.
  3. I want to travel more to new places and places I have been before but never got the chance to have a proper shoot at. I want to explore.
  4. I want to start working with different models more with my concepts.
  5. I want to explore and discover different shooting techniques. (lighting, composite frames, etc.)
  6. I want to work more towards getting my work featured on more different publications.
  7. I want to have many in-the-water and underwater shoots in natural locations.
  8. I want to do lots of milk bath shoots.
  9. I want to do shoots with the spider web material you can get at Halloween.
  10. I want to use a smoke bomb in shoots for that awesome foggy effect.
  11. I want to use flour in shoots,
  12. I want to overcome the fear of letting anything hold me back from shooting my pieces. That means no letting any people passing by, near by, getting sketched out about where I am shooting, anything that has held me back before from shooting completely.
  13. I want to work with and collaborate with other photographers. So bad.
  14. I want to continue to grow a community with my work I share with the world.
  15. I want to create a book featuring my art.
  16. I want to do print giveaways.
  17. I want to bring every solid concept I think of to life this year.
  18. I want to grow more and more as an aritst
  19. I am going to make every single of these ‘I wants’ into I am going to‘s.

There is so much I want to accomplish that I can’t even formulate all of them into words and sentences. Thank you to everyone that has made this an memorable year and for their amazing support. I love creating and love sharing it all with you. I hope every single one of you has an amazing 2015 filled with lots of love, happiness, health, positivity, and all creativity you can ever wish for. I cannot wait to see whats in store for the new year to take the journey through it with all of you.

Do any of you have a favorite image you created? What are you all most looking forward to?

Happy holidays and a happy new year! xx

Hear the Little Birds Sing eg final

Creating Of: “Hear the Caged Bird Sing”

Shooting the Image: I found a new location to explore. To create the image as a whole, I had to think of it as a puzzle. I shot each image as a layer to what would make the concept come to life. I shot this image a little bit after four ( I think?). I highly reccomend downloading the Magic Hour app on your phone if you can to help better gage when to take advantage of the light that occurs during magic hour. I know I for sure have trouble with timing the light right during the shorter days and a fellow photog on twitter suggested I download and it has truly been a life saver for me. The three basic frames, except for the composite images to create the blank image to build off of, that made up the concept.

IMG_0017 IMG_0019 IMG_0021

Post Processing: Post processing this image was a bit more challenging. This was a new challenge for me to creatively take on. The idea, while thinking it prelimarly, it seemed like a straight forward and simple process to achieve. All in all, it really wasn’t too difficult to accomplish. The only real difficult part to figure out while I was editing was how to get the bird cage to match up with my ‘mock’ bird cage I shot blank in my subject frame. After fiddling around with differernt ways in post to achieve this realistic composite, I was able to convey it in the way I imagined.

Most recently this past year I have really started to practice allowing a fresh eye to view the image to make sure it is edited the way I want it to be before I release it and end up having to update the edit after I have released the image with new works of mine. When I first started editing the image I was having trouble processing the image the way I like to edit my images period. I started to fear that the image was going to have to be put back on the drawing board after I was excited with how well the shoot went. After walking away from the image for a few hours, I was browsing around Phlearn.com, I discovered a photoshop trick, that in the end result, solved all of my problems. I used the color lookup adjustment as part of my editing routine the second time and have absolutely fallen in love with the tool. I used my usual combination of multiple curves layers, black and white filter, photo adjustment layer, and color balance as well to edit.

Here is an example of my first edit (right) that didn't work next to my final edit

Here is an example of my first edit (right) that didn’t work next to my final edit

before and after of my post processing

before and after of my post processing

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Creating Of: “Find the Light”

Find the Light eg final small

Creating the Concept: 

This is a concept that I had been thinking for awhile about creating. I shot this image at one of my favorite local locations. Luckily, I had the whole area to myself so I was able to really concentrate on shooting it how I wanted to without worrying about having people passing by interupting it. I originally thought about getting a lantern prop to use in it, but, after pondering it, I decided that an orb like light would be better for the concept.

Shooting the Image: 

The weather was perfect for this shoot, minus the freezing cold. The mountians were covered with fog and the cloudy day made it perfect to adventure out to shoot. I went an hour before magic hour because I knew once magic hour began the light would be even more less than it would without cloud cover. I got my subject shot in one frame, which made me really excited because that never happens for me. I’m usually capturing at least 10 frames before I get the right frame that suits the concept. I also over-shot my composite so I could see in post how much of the setting I wanted to include.

I really loved how this frame was captured even though I didn't end up using it in my composite.

I really loved how this frame was captured even though I didn’t end up using it in my composite.

The subject frame

The subject frame

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 8.31.49 PM

Post Processing the Image:

I used my usual combination of curves, color balance, and photo filter to create the image. Any questions you have about the post processing of the image, please feel free to leave me a comment! I just don’t want to bore anyone with same speech about it when there wasn’t anything too extensive I did to edit the image. xx

Before and After: 

in the woods eg before and after

Detail of the Orb:

Find the Light eg final crop 1

Creating Of: ‘Message in a Bottle’

message in a bottle eg small

Creating the Concept

The little bottle in the image is acutally what inspired me to create this concept. I recently turned 21 and in turn for my birthday, recieved a few shooters from friends, so when I saw this bottle it immeadiately thought of it reminded me of a message in a bottle. In my mind, I thought about making it appear that I was dragging the message to shore, however, I had to keep in mind that there might be some wiggle room to how I portray the bottle in the image. In the end, after shooting the stock for the bottle to composite in, in post processing I found that it was more reasonable to have the bottle on shore already instead of dragging it in from the water.

Shooting the Image:

I shot this image during the evening, at about 6 o’clock. The weather is what really made the shoot work perfect at that time. I like to shoot in diffused, evening light when the sun in setting. However, since it was cloudy and stormy out when I shot this, the clouds diffused the light for me enough to be able to shoot and get the right light. I shot (what I like to call) the subject frame (the frame with the myself acting to hold the rope) and then went on to shoot the composite shots to make up the whole image. When I was shooting my composite, I made sure to get more frames than what I know I needed in the composite to ensure that I had every frame needed to stitch the whole composite together sucessfully. There have been many times before I got into this habit, where I have messed up composites because I didn’t have the frames to make that one little area composite in sucessfully. I always say its best to have the extra frames than what you need than to not have the frames that you need. After I shot the subject frame and the composite frames, I shot my bottle and rope stock right on location to ensure I had the same light. I shoot all my stock myself currently.


Post Processing the Image:

It took me about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to post process this image. I used a combination of about 4 different curves layers, color balance, photo filter,and a black and white filter. I changed the color of the bottle cap and my skirt using the hue and saturation tool. I composited in the crow sitting on the bottle and some cloud texture in post as well. When I am masking out different elements of my image, for example in this image, the bottle onto the shore line, I like to a soft brush with a hardness of about 50% to give it a smooth cut-out, the edges won’t be too feathered or too sharp. I like to use the soft brush with a 0% hardness when I am masking out the lines from compositing all the frames together. I made the gif above to show you each layer of my post processing. I edited the image on Photoshop CS6.

message in a bottle eg before and after

before and after detail of the image. Edited on Adobe Photoshop CS6

message in a bottle eg crop 1

detail shot of the bottle

message in a bottle eg crop 2

detail shot of the subject frame

message in a bottle eg crop 3

detail of the blank composition with no composites, post processed


You Give Me Butterflies EG final small

Creating: “You Give Me Butterflies”

I like to think of this as my come back piece. I have taken a short hiatus away from my photography. I have been dreaming about this concept for about a year now. I knew this was going to be a piece that I wanted to take every measure to ensure that I shot just as I imagined or even better. 

When I first started to think about how I wanted to execute the piece, I had originally thought about making butterflies fly out of my open stomach, but knowing that would take quite a bit of expierimenting and processing to achieve that realistically, I let piece sit aside until everything that would make up the image came together. I recently came across the image below and it completely changed how I viewed executing the image. Everything came together and I was ready to finally bring this piece to life. 

*This is not my image. This image is being used as refrence for inspiration *

*This is not my image. This image is being used as refrence for inspiration *

My gear for this shoot was very simple. I had my DSLR, my wireless remote and reciever, my tripod, and then my fake butterfly props. I shot at my favorite time of day, right at sunset when the light was most diffused. I have been working on not letting people around where I am shooting interfere with me shooting at all. Its always something that has caused me anxiety about shooting. So, as I was shooting this I noticed that there was someone fishing across the lake directly from me. I can say it was quite refreshing to not let that minor fact bother me while shooting, however, I can only imagine what he was thinking if saw any part of my shooting process. 

The image in a whole consisted of one large composite. The setting was a composite of about 9 frames, my subject shot, and then compositing in the butterflies flying out from my mouth. 

You Give Me Butterflies EG final crop 1

detail of the image

Before and After of the post processing of "You Give Me Butterflies". Edited on Adobe Photoshop CS6

Before and After of the post processing of “You Give Me Butterflies”. Edited on Adobe Photoshop CS6

Creating: “Escaping the Forrest”

050114 composite eg final medium

Since I have ended the 52 week project, it has been so lovely being able to concentrate on images without any pressure at all. I found this amazing spot at one of my favorite locations I shoot at often. A lot of the nature has been either destroyed or greatly changed by the floods we had last September. A lot of the places I would explore before that were lost. It has been and is hard to find little knooks to shoot in again.

I saw this place while walking around finding a little place to shoot in. I saw it and then I would walk away and then I just kept coming back to it. My friend who tagged along and so graciously helped me shoot this, gave me the final push to just hop in this area and begin creating.

I was quite surprised to see that this image only took me a little over a hour to edit from point A to point B. When I got an idea of how many frames I would end up using to compose this whole image, I was expecting it to take me at least a few hours to edit. The area was everything I dream of for being the perfect location to shoot at. I ended up being really happy that I landed on this spot.

I created a behind the scenes and a speed edit video for you all to see the entire process of this image. Shooting behind the scenes is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time now. I can shoot video simutaneously on my 60D, but, for fear of completely messing up my images while trying to film, its taking me a little bit longer to finally introduce a BTS video!  This image is the very first of what will be many to come. It’s not the best quality- but in time as I learn more and more about filming behind the scenes, they will get better. I hope all of my viewers enjoy these videos and find them well.

050114 composite eg crop 2 050114 composite eg final crop 1