I am sooooo proud!

I’m not even going to try to pretend that this is a small thing for me – I just can’t believe there’s a whole episode of the pod Drinking from the toilet with my voice in it! And I’m saying some good stuff! I have decided that my accent is charming and not annoying at all and that I’m actually doing a decent job – with a lot of help from Hannah – trying to explain my Swedish thoughts in English.

DRINKING-9-2-408x408

We talk about what makes a good photo, a few tips on what to think about when you want to photograph your own pup, a bit about why I feel strongly that no photo is worth a sad dog, and about the training of a good Top Dog Model.

There’s no photo worth a sad dog! There just isn’t!

And it’s free to listen to. Let my (not so) soothing voice join you in your next car ride (that’s the time in my life when I listen to podcasts), train ride, or dog walk. I hope you get some new ideas!

Advertisements

Studio work

Winter is coming, and I’m trespassing on my husband’s garage…Why? Because it’s nice and warm – and has room for a (very simple but still) studio!

Yep! I’m all set for winter. It’s not a lot of fancy stuff, most of it is second hand, but it works! Two large softboxes with continuous light. Some backgrounds. A fake-floor. Some cheap props.

I’m having so much fun!

My own dog is really easy to photograph, a trained model who loves to work with whatever I bring home.

Do you want to train your own dog to be a Top Dog Model? There’s an online course in the making right now… Just saying… 😉

I’m learning about studio lights, fixing the background in post, trying to get that personality showing.

Nelly grid w

It’s really fascinating. And I get to work with different kind of breeds, colors, and furs.

I just love finding the right ways to combine training and photography. It’s all about happy dogs!

So…All set for winter! And one step closer to my dream 🙂

Exercise in creativity

A few weeks ago I purchased Eric Kim’s “eternal return to creative every day”. It’s a fun little booklet with creative ideas and exercises, and I finally printed it and started with the first task yesterday.

Photograph everything that interests you during one day. Go through the images, see what you like.

I did. These are the ones I chose (from a trip to Copenhagen):

web-0664web-0666web-0676web-0680web-0681web-0682web-0687web-0689web-0696web-0697web-0702web-0705web-0707web-0708

I am pleased with the result, Every one of the photos tells a story – at least to me. From the moment we left (Midori says “Huh! You leaving?”) to waiting in traffic five minutes from home at a roadblock.

Easy like sunday morning

It’s 5.30 Sunday morning. Husband is asleep, I am awake because the sheep started baaa-ing for food and we have neighbors. Dogs are with me. It’s cloudy but warm, all is quiet (as soon as the sheep are fed).

Instead of going back to bed, I fetch my camera and my Lensbaby velvet 56. This morning I feel like photographing slowly, look for compositions and details, and just fill my head with here and now.

The dogs find their spots in the grass and watch me move slowly, looking at flowers, grass, bushes, anything that catches my eye. When I get more than ten meters away, they get up and find a new spot a bit closer. We are a family. Families stick together.

I forget about the time and take about 50 photos of a rosehip bush. And then 50 more of some raspberries. And so on. My Lensbaby forces me to go slow, set focus manually, really look at my mage before I shoot. It’s really relaxing.

So, these photos are just for me. Full of Sunday morning, summer, dogs by my side, and doing what I love.

Christina and Fant the Fant-astic!

I’ ve known Christina on the web since she took one of my online classes, and I’ve admired her work. She and her beautiful cocker Fant lives in Paris at the moment (enjoy her insta! ), and as they were passing by Sweden she asked for a private session. Some new ideas on street photography, and how to pose Fant in order to not make him look posed, was on the wish list.

We met in Västra Hamnen in Malmö (a beautiful part of the city, do not miss when passing by!). I know the area fairly well, and as Christina wanted to work with the composition of lines and shapes with her 16mm wide-angle, I added the idea “dog goes on an adventure in town” to give a bit of backstory.

And then we got to work. For me, one of the keys is to really “work through” an area. Different angles, compositions distances, poses…Little by little that makes me realise what I want from this scene, and I often end up with something completely different than my original idea. So that’s what I had Christina doing.

_DSF7220-w

Fant is a very well trained model, and seemed to really enjoy himself! Lots of treats were involved 🙂

We deliberately chose poses that did NOT involve looking into the camera. The idea was to capture Fant’s view of the town – how would a dog explore? If he was a bit adventurous, and more about seeing than sniffing (I know, it’s not super realistic, but the images get better…)?

_DSF7237-w

This part of town has lots of big windows, and that means lots of reflections. So much fun to play with!

Of course, a dog visiting Malmö would want to look at the sea and the bridge to Copenhagen. We got him to look in the right direction with a little help from some strategically arranged treats.

I really liked the idea of him lying almost like a statue, overlooking the city with the Turning Torso behind him. Him – not so much…But hey, anything for Mom!

_DSF7246-w

And my last one of a very warm and tired Fant. He did not actually seek that shadow by himself, we put him there. It still tells the story 🙂

_DSF7251-w

My shots are a bit haphazard, I wasn’t there to shoot but to teach and give feedback and suggestions. I know Christina got some really good ones, and can’t wait to see them!

So. Lesson learned:

  • What’s the story?
  • Try, try, try!
  • Change something in every shot
  • Leading lines
  • Diagonals
  • Rule of thirds
  • Play with reflections
  • Avoid poses that look posed
  • Work with the light, make the subject stand out
  • Don’t be afraid to go close
  • Don’t be afraid to back up
  • Keep the dog happy!

And to finish: keep your eyes open. What happens around you?

_DSF7201-w_DSF7248-w

Play is good for you!

My lensbaby has not left my camera, I’m mesmerized. It’s so different from “normal” photographing. The combination of mastering the manual focus (hard!), the special soft qualities of the lens, the fact that I’m spoilt with the perfect technical quality of Fujinon lenses (they just deliver without any thought process from me), makes me feel like a beginner.

And I like it! I’m learning to see things differently, to use my camera differently. The images, of course, come out differently, and I edit them differently – realism is boring. Sane is boring.

I guess it’s a phase that gets old soon, but some of it will linger in my future work – that I’m sure of. But for now I experiment like crazy.

Click on the images to see a bigger size

My camera join me at every walk. I find Little things to try to focus on. I try different apertures, and play with light and colors.

_DSF7925-w_DSF7956-w

My husbands birthday tulips in front of my window. The short dof is interesting to work with, and the fact that the edges will be unsharp is an invitation to compose differently.

Click on the images to see a bigger size

Playing with shapes and structure. This session, the sweet spot of the lens was at f/4. I find that it varies with the light.

_DSF7992-w

Love the falling snow in this one…

_DSF8019-w

And with a smaller aperture (this one f/5,6) it’s really sharp – when I get the focus where I want it.

_DSF8029-w

I love the soft effect, but not in every shot. In this one…perfect!

_DSF8065-w_DSF8067-w

Is I mentioned, the editing of these photos sometimes gets a little…different. I love the matte retro-effect, and I allow myself to play as much as I like 🙂

web-8022web-8023

And I look at photos from other lensbaby-photographers, especially with the velvet 56, and OMG, the beautiful images! This lens will probably live on my camera for a few more weeks, Before I feel that I kind of master it.

I even tried some action shots…Interesting with only manual focus!

I think a slightly smaller aperture will be better…:D The photos are sharp, but the soft glow is a bit much.

So. I’ll continue to reject your reality and substitute my own! At least until it gets boring 😉

Halloween is closing in!

I love to do theme-photos. Halloween is extra fun because there are no limits! Inspired by a favourite book this is my Halloween contribution for this year. I hope you like it!

_DSF3541-w_DSF3594-w_DSF3605-2-w

It’s a bit obvious, I know, but it was a lot of fun! Happy Halloween everybody!

A photo that tells a story

The more I look at photos and create my own, the more I appreciate photos that tell a story. Sometimes they are a little bit harder to “get” at first, it’s easier to appreciate a beautifully lit portrait, but to me, they are the photos that I return to and look at time and time again.

It’s hard to know what makes that kind of photo. It’s hard because it’s all about how I associate, what memories and feeling I get, and that depends on my past experiences and what I personally like and dislike. I can get totally stuck on a photo that no one else likes. And I can find photos that get a million likes totally uninteresting to look at. Photos, images, are a personal experience.

Yesterday I met a friend and her dog for a session. They always make me smile because they really and truly enjoy being together. They have a strong friendship, and it always shows. They have fun together.

When everything was done and we headed for the cars, she looked at her trousers that were muddy and her shoes that were wet and asked me for one more photo. One that shows what it’s all about when you are out having fun with your best friend. So I took this, and I absolutely love it:

webb-2470

This makes me think of their joy together, and how they never care about dirt or water – they are all about the great outdoor adventure. A tracking line and a toy tell what they have been doing together. A whole story in one photo.

It also brings me back to my own walks in the woods with my friends, working together, training, och just hanging out. What it feels like when we are…you know…connected with nature? I can see that it may sound a little weird, but that’s how it feels! Me and my dog, in the forest, doing fun stuff.

I think this photo requires that you have those experiences (or similar). Otherwise, it’s just dirty feet and paws, and a toy. Or maybe I’m wrong?

As you can tell, I’m a bit fascinated with how images speak to people in different ways. I’m curious – does this one speak to you?

Behind the scenes: create photo art with a piece of cheap fabric

I still have two photos left in the Content Creation Challenge, and this weekend I got some beautiful fabric that gave me an idea for “time”.

Yesterday I worked at school all day, and I felt totally empty when I got home. I love my students, and I give all I have…

So, a perfect time to do something that requires a whole different mindset than teaching! The dogs followed me, curious about what I would do. I really liked this sky, but soon saw that the light didn’t work at all.

So I moved, and soon learned that horses are 1. very curious, and 2. easily scared.

But I got some shots to use, the light was perfect, and I liked the sky even better!

Now, I wanted some extra shots of the fabric and moved to an area with shorter grass. I was careful to use the same angle, to get the same light.

It was windy, and that means I would have to flip the photo later to get the flowy fabric on both sides. Not a problem. Much harder to get the fabric to cooperate! I have 50 shots of me holding fabric in the wind…

And the final photo looks like this:

_DSF1114-print-2

I am really pleased, this is almost exactly the image in my head 🙂

So to make this photo you need:

  • Two dogs as company (absolutely necessary for the creative process)
  • Two skittish horses (optional)
  • A piece of fabric, about 100 kronor (10 dollars)
  • Patience
  • A tripod for your camera
  • Remote (I use my phone and Fujis app)
  • More patience and stubbornness
  • A few hours in Photoshop (three, I think it took me)

 

Challenge (almost) completed!

Today is day 15, and I have done my last photo. Well…almost…I’m still two days short, and I will do them. Some day 😉

I have really pushed myself, done things I have never done before, and learned a LOT!

Some photos I’m really proud over. Some not so much. Live and learn 🙂

Here they are, in order!

2017-08-16_0001

And the challenges:

  1. Rebirth – enclosed space (inside my mind)
  2. Emotion – no face (fear)
  3. Endings – door
  4. Beauty – my idea
  5. Spellbound – warm light
  6. Potential – open space
  7. Breaking – shattered (my self esteem)
  8. Curiosity – new location
  9. Being alive – rope
  10. Pressure – water
  11. Forgotten – paper
  12. Flight – wings (mine are made of light)
  13. Growth – myself

Some of these are very emotional to me, and I have put a little (or a lot) of myself in every one of them (visible or not).

What have I learned?

Apart from the technical stuff (thank you, youtube!) I have started THINKING differently. And that is always interesting! Let’s see where it leads…:)