Photo 52: A Play on Light {The End}

One full year! We have officially made it to the end of Photo 52 and our exploration of light. I am so excited to say that I have not missed a week in this journey. Congratulations to my wonderful friends who have traveled with me on this journey. I think we have all come a long ways, but the photography is only secondary to the supportive friendships cemented over the course of this year of learning.

I had planned to use this final week to pick a favorite from the prior 51 weeks, but I got derailed by some new and very different favorites that I love and have to share. I had the honor of photographing an incredible dancer, choreographer and dear, dear friend: Catherine Cabeen. We met in elementary school and she is one of the few people I know who has successfully pursued and achieved her childhood dreams. I admire her more than she will likely ever know. And now you get to admire her too, because she is stunning and she makes magic with her graceful limbs. 

I will also note her patience: in honor of our light-inspired journey, I used her shoot to make my first foray into the world of off-camera flash. Always something new to learn.

Stay tuned for P52's next project which will debut in October. But before you go, please take a final spin around the circle, starting with my exceptional photographer and friend, Lisa Rigazio.  You can check out the very beginnings of the project here.

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Photo 52: A Play on Light {51}

In our final week on creative settings, I am back home and far from the lovely nature that dominated my shots this month.

While perhaps rather less beautiful, there is something I can't resist about shooting the city streets in the dark. And so, here are a few moments taken during a great night out with some of my fellow blog circle participants on the Lower East Side this week. I had to push my settings (a little grain, anyone?) and look for alternative light sources to give life to the image. 

We are in the final weeks of our P52 before we take a bit of a hiatus and prepare to launch a new project we have had in the works for a few months now. Be sure to take a spin, starting with the always incredible work by my friend Lisa Rigazio

Photo 52: A Play on Light {48}

We are down to the final month of our 52 week exploration of light. Discussions are already underway as to where we go next, but in the meantime, we are spending this final month engaging in a bit of a creative twist. We are using creative settings, or simply our own creativity, to play up the light in an image. Call it an exploration of our inner light, as it were.


Please continue around the circle to my incredibly talented friend up in Harlem, Sarah Roemer Davis.   

Photo 52: A Play on Light {46}

In this week's color study, my P52 circle focused on yellow and orange hues. While this would have been the perfect time for some golden hour images, small guy and I went in search of shelter from the scorching heat wave instead. In his first visit to a movie theater as a "big kid", we found some yellow lighting among the heavenly air conditioning. There was far less visible light in the theater than these images indicate - to get these shots, I had to push my camera settings and manually focus in the dark.  Fun to play, even if they aren't beautifully crisp. 

Next up, please check out the beautiful work of my friend, photographer and architect  Lisa Rigazio in Maryland. Her creativity this month has been inspiring and I can't wait to see what she and the rest of the circle come up with. Please take a spin!

Photo 52: A Play On Light {44}

We are in the home stretch of our P52 and this month's focus is on the color of light. This is a bit of a tricky topic, because the wavelengths that make up visible light cover the entire color spectrum - the colors we "see" are the end result of an object absorbing or reflecting certain wavelengths and not others, not the color of the light itself.  

Another facet of this concept is when we choose to set white balance using Kelvin. The Kelvin scale essentially measures the temperature of light - whether it is cooler (blues/greens) or warmer (reds/yellows) and tells our cameras how to interpret that light. So, for example, a cool Kelvin setting is useful when shooting indoors because the blues in the setting counteract the yellows in fluorescent lights.  

For our first week, we were on the hunt for blue. I found a blue twilight and a bright blue playground, then couldn't put my camera down once I started playing with sunlight reflected in turquoise waters. I had way too much fun standing in the pool with my camera, finding ways to capture ripples and reflections of sun and clouds in the water and the bubbles. So please forgive the excessive share but there are fun details to be found if you look closely. And when you are done, please travel onwards to my dear, dear friend Kami Chaudhery. In fact, the water shots were taken in her parents' pool while we swam to celebrate her birthday on the 4th of July. Please leave her some belated greetings as you check out her gorgeous work! 


Photo 52: A Play on Light {42}

Week four of directional light is something of a Hail Mary and I'm still not sure whether I came away with a touchdown or a disaster. But here goes nothing.

I didn't take a ton of images I felt worked well with our theme this week and had been debating what to use for today's post. Then, this afternoon, I found myself photographing an impromptu peewee football game in the sweltering heat and in one of the most challenging kinds of directional light: dappled. In the dreaded dappled light, you expose for the shade, and the sunlit patches are blown out. You expose for the bright spots and the rest of the image is extremely dark and there are harsh shadows on faces.  Added to my woes was my lens, a slower, longer focal length than I usually use, and an extremely fast, dirty and sweaty crew of much beloved children. Photography chaos, I tell you.

So, with that lengthy preface, here is a little glimpse into our afternoon in the park. But don't forget to continue on to my amazingly talented friend Jill Cassara when you're done!

Also, the priceless (and over-priced) group shot with a goat: 

Photo 52: A Play on Light {39}

Directional Light, Week One

I closed out last month with a portrait of our small guy, while bemoaning the chilly temperatures we were experiencing at the time. Apparently my displeasure was noted, because this week's similarly-composed portrait was taken in scorching 90F temperatures and pounding sun. Any chance we could just get a nice, comfortable 75F with a light breeze?

Directional light can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. I think of it as using a strong light source and shadows to accentuate a subject, but unlike our month on hard light, this is more about creating dimension or interest using the direction of a light source, so backlight or a softer side light would work as well. My fellow circle members are often a bit more articulate about the monthly description so I recommend taking a peek at what they have to say about it, in addition to their beautiful imagery.  

Here, my light source is midday sun and I loved the little "freckles" on his face created by the shadow of the hat, as well as the incredible light reflecting off the bright scene into his eyes. 

Next, please check out the work of my dear and talented friend, Cheryl Sawyer. She has also been a hot child in the city this week, so please take a peek to see what she found to kick off this new month and continue around the circle!

Photo 52: A Play on Light {38}

Welcome to week 4 of Photo 52's month of diffuse light. The weather this Memorial Day weekend ran the gamut and on Saturday, we kicked off the weekend with a celebratory indoor barbecue in order to avoid the downpour outside. Because nothing says "summer is coming" like corn on the cob and 40 degree temperatures. However, the window light was quite lovely and the corn matched my sister's kitchen chairs most conveniently.

Please continue around the blog circle and see what other lovely light my friends have found this week, starting in Indiana with my talented friend and mother of five, Erica Collins

Photo 52: A Play on Light {37}

It's week 3 of diffuse light in the Photo 52 blog circle. And yes, it's more vacation photos from me. This time, Prague. Our weather there was a little less desirable than in Berlin, but rainy skies meant I had no shortage of diffuse light. 

For anyone new to the blog circle, my introductory post can be found here. Please continue along to see what my fellow participants have found this week, beginning north of the border, with my friend Kennedy Tinsley. 

Photo 52: A Play on Light {36}

Allo from Berlin! We have had some beautifully warm, hazy Spring days on our trip so far, resulting in diffuse light galore. This has its pros and cons but on this particular afternoon we had fun playing in the flat light on our visit to the Berlin Dom.

Please continue around the blog circle, starting with my talented friend and fellow New Yorker, Sarah Davis.

Photo 52: A Play on Light {35}

It's a new month and a new topic for Photo 52. Throughout May we will be focusing on  diffuse light. The soft nature of diffuse light can make an image feel very flat, but it can also add texture and mood. This image was taken during a rainy, hazy night and the moisture in the atmosphere turned the harsher glare of the street lights into something resembling watercolors. 

Please continue around the blog circle starting with my dear friend Kami Chaudhery, who is all too familiar with diffuse light after a year under the grey skies of Seattle.

Photo 52: A Play on Light {34} - Night Light

In our final week of April, Photo 52 members are focusing on night light. I love shooting at night so for our focus week I decided to attempt it with a lens that I don't quite love. It's a little too slow and a little too long for me to shoot the way I normally do on the crowded streets. But it was fun to try and allowed me to focus in on the details. I'm guessing the irony was lost on this particular individual, but I found this visual amusing. 

Please continue around the circle to my friend Jill Cassara in Ann Arbor. She has undertaken a light study on a local sculpture and her images for morning, afternoon and evening have been very unique and beautiful. I can't wait to see what she has in store at night. 

Photo 52: A Play on Light {33} - Evening Light

Spring has finally come to New York and for this week's edition of Photo 52, I found the blooms of the cherry blossoms impossible to resist. Central Park is stunning right now, and my opportunity to photograph in evening light presented itself earlier this week as I took a walk through the park with some old friends who picked the perfect time to come through town. I tinkered with the processing in these images in an effort to try and match the visual textures to the feeling of the mild but gritty breeze blowing that evening. 

Please continue around the blog circle to enjoy the evening hour with my fellow participants, starting with the incredibly talented Sarah Romer Davis up in Harlem.