Friday, February 27, 2009

Photographing Yo Yo Ma. . .

Last night, I had the privilege of listening to Yo Yo Ma and his cello seranade me with beautiful J.S. Bach songs for an hour and a half before the post-concert reception put on by PCA Great Performances at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. The concert itself was transcendent. I had been quite nervous before I got to the auditorium, hoping that I would be able to take good pictures, but the concert was such a meditative, blissful experience, that I was very calm by the end of it and ready to take some great pictures. The next two pictures were actually taken by my friend Kate Boughton-Hummel, the graphic designer for PCA Great Performances, and the first one (at the heading of the post) was taken with my camera, but by Suzanne Nance, the wonderful host of MPBN's morning classical show. She's pictured below in the first of the two pictures. This isn't the most flattering picture of me, but not many ever are, and I wanted to show myself actually talking to the man, the myth, the legend: Yo Yo Ma. He really is such a sweet, kind and congenial man. He instantly puts people (including myself) at ease.
I have a bunch of other, better pictures, but as Portland Magazine will be using 5 of them in the upcoming April issue, I can't share them until April 1st, after the magazine has been published. But I will definitely share them at that point! Thanks for looking, Cindy

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Croissants and Jam--Or How I ate my subjects

I love Rosemont Market Croissants. They're all good, mind you. They have ham and cheese croissants sometimes, and often an almond paste filled or chocolate filled croissants grace their bakery shelves. But the plain butter croissants will always be my favorite. Light and flaky, they break apart to reveal soft, creamy pastry layers inside that are just perfect smeared with Bonne Maman's four-berry jam, which you can see pictured here.

These were taken using my trusty Pentax K20D and the light of Old Sol himself on my frigid front porch, so I could mimic the cozy feeling of sitting at a table in an outdoor cafe and noshing on delights just such as these. the first shot was taken at 1/400 sec, ISO 200 in Dynamic-Range 200% mode, in sunny white balance, handheld. The second picture is virtually the same except for being only 1/125 sec.

I'd love to hear what you have to say about any of my photography and I'd love to add more followers at any time, so if you are inclined, scroll down on the right side of my blog to the Followers sign and click to add yourself! Thanks for looking, Cindy

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday's Fruit Shoot

Yesterday, before I found out about the cover image in Portland Magazine, I was busy working on some new studio images of fruits and vegetables. These tomatoes, above, are my favorite. They look good enough to eat!

I bought these Red Delicious Apples for Maya's apple habit yesterday at the grocery store and thought including a Granny Smith outside the bowl might look like an interesting counterpoint to the bright red in the bowl. And the strawberries looked really nice in their blue willow type bowl, although I was a little disappointed in the dry leaves--they're clearly winter berries, not the fresh, dewy beauties we get in Maine every June.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My picture is on the cover of Portland Magazine's Feb/Mar issue!

Well, I'm pleased to be able to announce that my picture of Seafood Paella, taken during one intense week of food photography in December 2008 is gracing the cover of Portland Magazine's Feb/Mar 2009 issue! AND I'm sharing the cover with none other than Patrick Dempsey! Wish I'd been the one to photograph THAT article! ;-) The photo below is the original photo I took:
I am not sure when I'll be able to post the other photos I took that week, as Portland Magazine has first rights refusal on them, and I would risk never getting called by them again if I published them before THEY did! So, you'll all have to wait to see the rest of them until some future date unfortunately. I have a bunch of images on the back burner that I can't wait to share, but need to wait for some of them to go into the magazine before publishing them here, so suffice it to say that at some point there will be some interesting blog posts about former shoots done for the magazine!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Portrait Mayhem: An Adventure in Low-Key Lighting

I've recently been reading a great book called Existing Light: Techniques for Wedding and Portrait Photography by Bill Hurter. Here's the link on Amazon for anyone who might be interested enough to purchase the book: Maya was kind enough once again to be my test model so I got out the camera and my trusty flash to try a new technique. I really liked one of the pictures in Bill's book (p.35) done with low-key lighting. I'm pretty happy with the results I'm showing in this post.
I took the color photos in RAW as I always do, and then opened them up in Photoshop CS2 to work on them. Then, I used a wonderful plugin called Imagenomic Portraiture which smoothes out skin tones and imperfections. From there, I used another plugin in Imagenomic called Realgrain, which simulates everything from the look of different types of film grain to various photo processing film emulsions. The one I've used here is called Kallitype at 50% strength, which I like, as it gives a really old-style look to these low-key portraits, making them look as moody as I wanted them to.
In most of them I had the flash positioned so that it lit the upper half of her face more than the bottom half, and in a couple, I positioned the camera and flash so that only the right side of her face was lit. Next time, I want to try using the flash away from the camera and set up to only truly sidelight her face to put the other side in complete shadow. I had a lot of fun as you can see. Hope you enjoy the pictures! Cindy


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