THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘photographer’

Weekly Photo #36

Here’s photo 36, a close-up of some public art at Town Center, with an abstract pattern backdrop of the various buildings and windows. Taken with my iPhone.


Weekly Photo #33

I hope you all had a great weekend. Here’s weekly photo #33…. A self- portrait of sorts. I was trail running, was admiring the view, and noticed my shadow. I was feeling one with nature at the moment, so this photo seemed appropriate. Taken with the iPhone.


Weekly Photo #32

Good morning, let’s start out early this week…here is weekly photo #32. This was taken during a visit to Manteo, NC on the Outer Banks. Taken with the iPhone. Looks inviting, doesn’t it?


500px vs Zenfolio

Like many photographers, I’m always on the lookout for new photography sites for either displaying my photography or for learning more about the craft. Although it’s not exactly a new site, 500px is new for me. I recently signed up for an account at, which is a site that displays some pretty awesome photography. In fact, if you purchase the upgraded account for 500px, you are considered “Awesome”, with the word displayed on your gravatar. When one signs up, they are automatically “Awesome” for a 14 day trial period. So, I am currently in this state of Awesomeness and checking out the site community. I already have a Zenfolio account, which beautifully displays my portfolio, however the user community doesn’t seem as active as the 500px community. Mere moments after nervously uploading my first batch of photos to the 500px site, I started receiving votes and favorable comments (although constructive criticism is welcome also). Zenfolio has its benefits, however I’ve never received comments from other photographers and this is my second year using them. On the other hand, 500px seems to be meant for critiques, commentary, voting, learning, and the whole social aspect of photography. I also like that there’s an easy way to share or Pin each photo. I will provide an update in the future about how 500px plays out for me, however, my initial feedback is that it’s, well, awesome! Check it out here…

If any photographers out there with experience with 500px and/or Zenfolio care to share their opinions of either site, please do!

Mini Review of the Think Tank Retrospective 5 Camera Bag

The reason that this is a “mini” review is that I’ve already reviewed its big brother, the Retrospective 10, here.
After traveling with the 10 version, I decided to trade it in for the smaller 5. This trade-in worked well for me. I found the Retrospective 5 to have all of the good features of the 10 (sturdiness, ruggedness, not being a prime target for thieves), while being more compact and easy to travel with. After an 11 day trip to Barcelona (sometimes dubbed the pickpocket capital of the world) and staying right on Las Ramblas (pick pocketing central), I was able to safely transport this bag comfortably with no attention from thieves. The Pinestone color camera bag just looked like a messenger bag, which I carried across my shoulder. In the evenings, this also doubled as a large purse, carrying my iPhone and travel essentials. The shoulder strap was comfortable and I had no issues carrying this for long walks, hikes, and Metro rides. I even hiked up a steep trail in the Pyranees with it on.

This bag would only be useful for you, though, if you were traveling with minimum photographic equipment. I carried my Canon 5D Mkii with one lens on it, with a few small accessories (memory cards, USB cable, battery charger, and lens brush). If you need something to transport more than 2 lenses, I would go with big bro Retrospective 10.

Weekly Photo #22

Well, I caught up on some sleep and am getting back into my routine. As promised, here is Weekly Photo #22, also taken in Barcelona. This is a dusk shot of the Port Vell area, after the lights came on and the evening crowds started developing for a night of entertainment. Taken with my iPhone.

Once I sort through all of my Canon 5D photos, I’ll be posting some of those too. Enjoy!


Weekly Photo #15

Here’s my weekly photo #15, another one I managed to get out the car window with my iPhone. It was a lovely foggy morning, and as I was crossing over a bridge, I liked how the row of round shrubs was set against the fog. Photo was cropped to look like a panorama and “awesomized” in the Camera Awesome phone app.


Weekly Photo #14

It’s been a great week, and here’s my weekly photo number 14. This is once again taken at my workplace (yes, I think I spend too much time here). There are some lovely trees here on base and the beauty really comes out on lovely Spring days. Taken with my iPhone and minor editing done in PS Express.


A Traveller’s Review of Think Tank Retrospective 10 Camera Bag

I had the opportunity to travel to central Florida for a long weekend. This was my first time using my new Think Tank Retrospective 10 Camera Bag (Pinestone color). I thought I’d give my opinion of this bag in a review, from the perspective of a vacationing travel photographer. This is a wonderful bag that travels well and can satisfy the needs of the serious amateur, as well as the professional.

The Good:

  • I love the Pinestone color. Why should all camera bags be black and scream “I hold thousands of dollars worth of equipment! Steal me!”?? This gray pinestone color gives the bag the inconspicuous look of a more casual messenger bag. Will it prevent your camera from being stolen while out on the streets? That remains to be seen (I hope not!). But it doesn’t stand out as a camera bag in a crowd. It gets big bonus points from me for that.
  • The materials are very sturdy and high quality. I feel like this bag could fall off the roof of a building and get run over by a car, yet still remain in great condtion. The material is very thick, the strap is very sturdy and slip-proof, and the configurable dividers are also well made. I have not used the zipper long enough to know if it stands the test of time, but I will guess that it would.
  • I like that it comes with a rain cover. Yes, the cover does take up some valuable space in the bag. But if you don’t think you’ll need it (if the weather forecast looks clear or you’ll be inside), this cover can be taken out and left at home or your hotel. I did not have a reason to actually use the cover, but I’ll assume that it does aid in protecting your camera from the elements if used properly.
  • It holds quite a lot. For me, it safely holds my 5D Mark II with an attached 24-105 lens. It also held a zoom lens and a prime lens. In addition, it held the battery charger and numerous memory cards. Since I was flying, I also used the 2 outside pockets (one zippered) for a small book, my cellphone, flight intinerary/boarding passes, and earbuds. I even stuffed a small pair of shoes in it that didn’t fit in my overnight bag!
  • It was small enough to count as a personal item on my flights. Onboard I carried an overnight bag as my carry-on item and this camera bag as my personal item. It stowed underneath the airplane seat quite nicely.
  • There is ample padding in and around this bag. I was not worried about damage to my equipment, as long as the items were in the bag.
  • The bag was fairly comfortable to wear across my shoulder. I feel that if travelling to a foreign area known for pickpocketers, it is safer to carry the bag in front where I can see it and use my arm to protect it, rather than on my back (I don’t have eyes in the back of my head)

The Not-So-Good:

  • When the bag arrived in the mail, it was larger and bulkier than I had envisioned. Although it holds a lot, it is a little more cumbersome than I wanted. I like a bag that is as mobile and trouble-free as I am when traveling. I have a fairly small female frame and this was a bit too awkward for my size. My back started to hurt a little after carrying this for an afternoon. For others, this might be the perfect size, but for me it was just a bit too big.
  • Some may not like that there’s only Velcro holding the main compartment of the bag together. If the Velcro silencers are used, there’s really nothing but gravity keeping the bag closed. I myself didn’t have a problem with this, as I like easy quick access to the equipment, but I could see how others may not care for this aspect.

This is a wonderful high-quality bag, but is a little bigger than what I wanted. The solution? I’m going to trade in the Retrospective 10 for the smaller Retrospective 5! I’ll definitely stick with Think Tank, though! Upon my suggestion, my husband even purchased a Think Tank laptop bag for his travels and he loves it!

10 Tips For Photographing Your Oil Paintings

10 tips for photographing your artwork:

I recently had an issue with a photograph of one of my paintings. The photograph was originally taken and uploaded in 2006 – 5 years ago – and it was too blurry and unable to produce a poster size high quality print. This reminded me of how much about photography I have learned in the last few years. I also can’t help but wonder if 5 years from now, I will look back and be surprised with how much I’ve learned in these 5 years. It is certainly a continual learning process. Here are 10 tips that I’ve learned about photographing artwork (particularly oil paintings):

1. Photographing artwork out on a deck or porch, generally provides the best overall natural light, unless you have heavy woods or trees that cause irregular shadows.

2. A generally cloudy or hazy day is actually better for photographing artwork on your porch or deck – it causes less glare and shadows than bright sunshine and the resulting shadows.

3. Direct lights/lamps on the artwork almost never work for me. They always seem to add shine and glare on the oil paints, which can misleadingly show up as a white area on the painting, even if it is actually a dark colored area of the artwork.

4. It may take some trial and error at the exact positioning of the artwork, to reduce glare off of oil paints (especially if you tend to paint with a lot of medium or have already varnished the painting). You also need to make sure there are no shadows affecting the surface of the painting.

5. Unless you are trying to show what kind of frame you’ve used, try to photograph the artwork without its frame. Photographs for show entries, print reproductions, etc, just need the artwork itself, not the frame used on the original. Also, the inclusion of a frame, even if cropped out of the final picture, will probably produce a shadow on the painting itself. It can take some time to properly remove (dodge) these shadows using Photoshop. Additionally, the accuracy of the photograph from the original will be reduced.

6. In my experience, no matter how hard you try, your photograph of a 2 dimensional artwork will never be completely squared to the photo. In the near future, I plan to write a post showing the step-by-step process I use in Photoshop to make the artwork look square in my photographs.

7. Do not use flash – once again, there will be problems with glare and incorrect coloring in the photograph.

8. Always use a tripod. The issue I had with that photo taken in 2006 was probably because of not using a tripod and the photo will be too blurry.

9. To reduce camera shake even further, use the camera’s self-timer or use a remote switch (either wired or wireless) to reduce the slight shake caused by pressing the shutter button.

10. Use a camera setting that has multiple focal points, such as Landscape or A-DEP settings, or adjust the F-stop to a higher number. You want the whole painting to be in focus, not just a portion of the painting.

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