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NAPP Photowalk 2011 in Lessburg VA

I decided to go to the Leesburg photowalk again this year even though  the Winchester walk was closer because I like to see old friends again. Maybe next year I’ll do the Winchester walk. I was going to do both but the rain and the cold got to me in Leesburg. Right now I’m waiting for the pics I took to download so I can take a better look at them (and warming up). The real fun part is editing them and turning them into something magical.

This year I took my son with me and let him us my old Canon 20D. He’s taking a photography class in high school and may get extra credit for participating. I was surprised at the natural eye for composition he has. I can’t wait to see what he got. I hope the experience inspires him to come along with old mom more often.  The download is almost done. I’ll have to edit the wedding I shot last night at The McFarland House first, but I am going to take a quick peep and see if I got anything really good.

Ghost Pictures I Took At HorrorFind Weekend

After going to the Spiritual Investigations seminar put on by The International Museum of Spiritual Investigations at the con, I decided I wanted to capture some images of ghosts for myself. Here was the first image I got of an apparition on our way to the theater to watch horror flicks. Keep in mind, none of these images were photoshopped in any way.

He was moving the opposite direction and looked quite menacing as he passed by us.

Later I caught this images of a ghost sitting in a chair.

You can see this ghost clearly. I guess the dead have cellphones too.

Our hallway on the 5th floor of the hotel was extremely haunted. First I caught this image of a pumpkin headed ghost trying to scare us.

  Then the cellphone ghost from the lobby appeared to us again along with a shadowy ghost to the right of him. The shadow ghost was quire scary and kept me up all night.

Gettysburg is truly a haunted place to visit. I can’t wait to go there again.

I Don’t Understand Why Photographers Want To Limit Themselves

I know a lot of the other photographers in the area. I’ve met them at bridal shows, photographer meetings, and other ways. I’ve never been much of a talker so I listen a lot and I’m surprised at how anti they are to some photography equipment and options. I’m not sure why a photographer would want to limit themselves, at least that’s how I see it. I know now your like, “What is she talking about?” so let me explain.

Lets start with tripods and monopods. I use tripods and monopods a lot, but I’ve heard other photographers say how they hate them and would never use one. When I hear this I raise my eyebrow in confusion but stay silent. No need to stir the beehive. At weddings I use tripods all the time. I like to try to keep my iso to no higher than 400 as much as possible, especially with the posed family shots. So I put my camera on a tripod and use a slower shutter speed with my flash color gelled to match the location lighting and on a light stand. If other photographers aren’t using a tripod I wonder how they are showing the backgrounds of dark churches? I guess they could bump their iso up to 1600, 3200, even 6400, but I’ve found when your album designing and you have to crop in close to something, that those high iso numbers introduce a lot of grain I don’t want. I use a tripod during the ceremony when I’m not allowed to use flash (some churches restrict flash use). Again for the same reason as above, I don’t want to use high iso numbers, plus the images are so much clearer when you shoot them on a tripod.

The image above was shot in a very, very dark castle with only one flash on a light stand at a slow shutter speed, 1/15 I think. If I had hand-held this the stairs would have been dark or I would have had to use iso 3200 making it grainy. I shot this at iso 400 making so I can crop all the way to her face with no quality loss.

I’ve also heard photographers say they hate using brackets. For those who don’t know what a bracket is, it’s a device that holds your camera and flash and makes it so you can always position your flash on top of your camera even when you are shooting vertical. Here’s a picture of one.

I love my strobo frame. I love that I can flip my flash to the top in a second. I’ve shot with my flash mounted directly into the hotshoe of my camera before and when I turn the camera vertical I get an ugly side shadow that I don’t want. I’ve tried bouncing the flash from ceilings and walls to eliminate the side shadow and sometimes it works, but having the flash directly above the camera while shooting vertical works even better. Maybe the photographers shooting vertical directly in their camera hotshoes know a secret I don’t to eliminate the side shadow. Please feel free to leave a comment about it if you do. I’d love to try your technique out, but until then I’ll stick with my strobo frame.

I recently read a thread on facebook between some photographers who said they hated a bunch of different types of special effects like white vignettes, black and white with color, faded look, and overlays etc. I guess that’s why the brides are coming to me because I do all of those effects and more. You might think a white vignette is old and outdated, but a brides mom who had an image like that of herself loves to have one of her daughter too. If a photographer chooses not to do those effects, that’s fine, but I think you are missing out on some sales you could be making. Why limit your potential. Just about every couple and their parents I meet with love vignette shots and selective color shots. Remember, it’s not about what the photographer likes. It’s about what your client likes.

That’s my two cents on the matter. I feel every time I hear a photographer say they don’t like to use something or do something they are limiting their photography world and potential sales they could be making.

Meetings, Family, and Cleaning Oh My!

Today I’m cleaning the house because family may come over later and I also have a meeting for December 3. I wish I had more time to clean  but I only have a half hour til my clients arrive. I’m also charging lots and lots of double A batteries for my wedding this weekend. I need them for my 580 ex2 flash that I use off camera. I use pocket wizards to trigger the flash wirelessly even though  I have a 7D that has built-in wireless control.  The flash and wizard eat rechargeable batteries for breakfast.

Not sure when my family from South Carolina will come over or if they will just go to my parents house. My Aunt and Uncle are bringing my nana and pap’s ashes up to be placed where they will stay (I forget the word for it, intern I think) in Maryland. No party or service. They will just give them the ashes. I still have the flowers from the funeral. I put them in my windows and am trying very hard to remember to water them. I tend to kill plants in my care, even bamboo which is supposed to be unkillable.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the rehearsal for the wedding which will be at the Berkeley Springs Castle. I hope I remember the way to get there. It’s been a while since I’ve gone to Berkeley Springs. But that’s why I always go to my wedding locations the night before, even if they don’t have a rehearsal, better to get lost the day before than the day of.

I tried to ride my bike this morning to the mail box but when I sat on the seat I noticed the tires were flat. I found the air pump but I couldn’t figure out how to do it right. Who knew putting air in your bike tires could be so difficult. The pump seemed to just let the air out and not put any in. I’ll have to get my husband to do it when he gets home.

I want to ride around on my bike with my camera and take pictures of scenery to use as stock photos. Save gas and get pictures and exercise at the same time. If anyone wants to get together and ride around on bikes taking pics let me know. I’d love company. It gets lonely being a photographer. You’ll have to put up with me stopping a few minutes to take pictures.


My meeting is over now. They seemed like a very nice couple. They had three boys. My poor son missed out. Logan loves to play with the kids that come over for meetings, which is a good thing. Wedding consultations can be pretty boring for the average child. They didn’t book yet but it seems promising. It would be nice to have maybe two December weddings, and two in Jan, Feb etc. Those are the slow months and I’d rather have weddings than pick up hours at my part-time job for the winter.