Photo 52.2: Photographer's Choice {Week 52}

Wow. This is it. The final week of Framed. The end of our second year of a collaborative photography project. Over the course of this year we studied composition ranging from geometric framing to lines, perspectives and patterns and so much more. We grew as photographers and nurtured our individual and group stories. We appreciate all the support from our followers, and suggest you keep your eyes out for our next steps!

Please click HERE to see all the final week images - either a new creative composition or a favorite image from the year.

This is one of my favorite shots of the year. This was taken on our trip to Africa in August. This was in Deadvlei, a white clay pan near the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, insde the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia. The trees died, as there no longer was enough water to survive. There are some species of plants remaining, adapted to surviving off the morning mist and very rare rainfall. The remaining skeletons of the trees, which are believed to be about 900 years old, are now black because the intense sun has scorched them. Though not petrified, the wood does not decompose because it is so dry.

We visited in the early morning when it was still quite cool out and there were a lot of sand storms, which can be seen here. We are all bundled up and covered our heads in wraps to avoid any sand in our eyes.


Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 37: Diffused Light)

This is week 37 and our third week of diffused light. We have had a lot of overcast and rainy days lately and Saturday we made the trip to New Jersey to spend time with our family. Big sister and older cousin dressed up Harper complete with hair and makeup and I was swooning over the soft light coming in from the huge windows.  

Please follow along the circle and see what Lisa Rigazio chose for her photo this week HERE

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 26: Artificial Source of Light)

This is officially the half-way mark for our Photo 52 bog circle: Week 26! Wow, can't believe it. This month, we are focusing on artificial sources of light. That means, light that is not natural sun light. This can include a range of light sources including house lamps, flash on your camera or off your camera, street lamps, ipads, candles, flashlights, etc. This is going to be a fun month. I took a nighttime/long exposure class in Central Park over the weekend and while I really need to keep practicing, it was fun to play around. Here are some of my favorites, using street lamps and other city lights as my main source of light. To continue along the circle, please click HERE to see what my friend Lisa Rigazio chose as her artificial source of light.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 25: Seeing Light in Black and White)

Week 25 of our Play on Light circle. I was inspired by a few "snow princess" photos I came across with little girls dressed up and outside in the snow. Unfortunately it was freezing on Cape Cod and my little shoot only lasted a few minutes, but Harper was super excited about the idea of wearing a tiara and being a "snow princess." She put on her flower girl dress from the summer and I wrapped her up and was happy to have captured a few shots. Here is our Snow Princess:

Snow Princess

Princess and her loyal dog

Please continue along the circle and see what my talented friend and Brooklynite Kelly R. Patton of K. Rox Photography chose for her take on black and white HERE

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 23: Seeing Light in Black & White)

This is week 23 of our play on light and our second week focusing on seeing light in black and white. I have to admit that I have been envisioning a photo like this since the beginning of winter and have been waiting for there to be enough snow to make it right. Today was the day! After 11.4 inches fell in Central Park and before I took the kids out for sledding, snowman-building, hot chocolate, lunch and a manicure, I snuck out and spent some time in Central Park alone. I recently purchased a creative lens called a Lensbaby, which is a selective focus lens with a ball and socket configuration so I can choose what I want to focus on with the rest of the image in a blur so to speak. This was actually the first shot I took with the lens and one of my favorites of the day. I envisioned this in black and white long before I took it.

Poet's Walk, Central Park

Now, please take a look at what my talented friend and mother of four beautiful boys, Kennedy Tinsley chose for this week HERE

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 22: Seeing Light in Black and White)

This is week 22 of our play on light blog circle and this week we are focusing on "seeing" light in black and white when we shoot.  Color plays an important role in how we perceive the world around us. However, color can also be terribly distracting in some images and can take the focus away from the subject. But when you decide to shoot a photograph in black and white, it drastically changes what’s in front of the lens. Taking color out of an image can let the subject speak for themselves. In portraits, landscapes and street photography for example, the photo becomes more raw and stripped down. It's more honest and allows the true person or scene to show through without color distracting them.

Being able to 'see' how your final shot will look is a key skill that I am trying to work on. A few key tips I have learned to make better black and white photos is to focus on       1) contrast shape and form: it's important to look for subjects that feature simple, strong lines and shapes. Shadows define shape and form so it's also important to look for areas of darkness as well as light ; 2) tone: B&W photos include a range of greys which add subtlety to images. Looking for subjects that will translate into a range of tones from black to white is advised but you can also get good results from subjects that are mostly light or dark. Try to get your subject to stand out (lighter or darker than the background). You need to look for contrast. What is perfect for a colored photograph, can often have a negative impact on a black and white landscape; 3) texture and detail: fine details (wrinkles on a very old man or woman), strong textures (foliage, clouds, antiques) and other elements (air and water) can give nice depth and interest. Strong side lighting also helps bring out textures in a subject.; 4) light, as always makes or breaks the photo and when you have light and shadows, you also have contrast and different tones. Directional light (light hitting the subject at an angle) will give your image greater depth.

Here is my take for this week. We had just come home from Capezio buying Harper her first ever ballet shoes and leotard/tutu in preparation for her first pre-ballet class in a few days. She wore the shoes home from the store and was on cloud nine:

Brand new ballet shoes

Please visit my talented friend Kelly Roth Patton's take on seeing light in black and white HERE .

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 21: Indoor Natural Light)

Our final week of indoor natural light and week 21 of our play on light circle. Harper takes a class at the American Museum of Natural History almost every week throughout the year, focusing on a different topic every week and the kids go on a safari though the museum with their flashlights and vests on and come back to the classroom to participate in a project focused on the topic of the week. We studied the Earth this week :) I have been thinking about taking some photos in this hallway of glass on the second floor for awhile now and was happy to finally have some extra time to play in it. Here is my take on our final week of indoor natural light:

Please continue through our blog circle and check out my friend, Jill Cassara's beautiful take of indoor natural light this week HERE. Her images are so delightful and full of love and joy.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 20: Indoor Natural Light)

After I showed Drew my submission from last week, she told me she would like a photo just like Harper's. So, before I had to return my borrowed macro lens, I snapped this one of Drew. It was a ton of fun to practice with a macro. Maybe someday I'll get to buy one, but for now I can just dream.  Here is my take for week 20 of indoor natural light. Please follow along the circle to see what image my friend, Julie Kiernan, mother of four from Minnesota chose this week HERE.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 19: Indoor Natural Light)

Week 18 of our blog circle. I borrowed a Macro lens this week to take photos of my best friend's precious newborn baby (photos to come later) and I took the opportunity to practice on some still life shots (per my 365) and of the girls. I snapped this one of Harper by the window in our dining room looking out at the city around 3:30 pm. Macro lenses are best used in manual focus which takes some getting used to and I have learned it's important to have your aperture very narrow in order to get everything you want in focus. Macro lenses need a ton of light to work properly and it's hard to nail focus, but when you do, photos can be magical. When I saw this photo, I was really pleased with it. It's bittersweet for me as Harper is looking older and I think I can really see what she is going to look like when she's a teenager. She'll be beautiful no doubt, but won't be a little girl anymore. Here is my take for this week:

Up next in our blog circle is my lovely and dear friend Justine Knight. Please click HERE to see what her take is on indoor natural light. She never disappoints!

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 18: Indoor Natural Light)

This is our 18th week of our blog circle focusing on various lighting techniques and this month we are focusing natural indoor light. It's January so we will be spending a lot more time indoors this month so we picked a theme that we could really push ourselves to explore and that is finding light inside the home (be it our home or other places where we live or visit). In NYC apartments, in can be tough to find light but it's recommended to spend a day observing the light in your home to see how it falls during different times of the day. Oftentimes your bathroom or kitchen can get the nicest light and these are places often overlooked for great photographs. This week, I attended a bris of my good friend's baby son. The light inside the building was fantastic so I took the opportunity to take some shots of Harper and this was one of my favorites from the day.

Please follow along the blog circle and check out my Seattle friend Kami Chaudhery's take on indoor light and see if either of her darling girls where photographed this week HERE.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 17: 2012 Favorite)

This is week 17 of our Play on Light blog circle and to cap off the year 2012 we have decided to post a favorite photo of 2012.  We have all grown so much over the past year and I am so honored to have found this talented and supportive group of mom photographers - now all dear friends - from around the world. They inspire me daily with their skills and knowledge and have pushed me to improve my photography more than I could ever imagine and most importantly encouraged me when I have lost confidence. This post is for them. I am so excited to begin a new year with all of these ladies and look forward to sharing more on this blog with all of my "fans" - you know who you are :)

I have taken more photos this year than I could have ever imagined possible, so I have many favorites from 2012, however if I had to choose one, the following is my favorite photo of the year as it captures Drew and Harper's personalities and laughter so well. I started photographing my girls to capture moments like this. I like to be able to see a photo that makes me smile and I love it when I can almost hear their laughter - like in this one. Many have seen this before, but here it is one last time to cap off 2012!

Last day of summer 2012

Please follow along the circle to see what my Brooklyn friend Kelly Patton of K. Rox Photography chose as her favorite image HERE and see what her darling family (a.k.a. The Brooklyn Pattons) have been up to while you are on her page.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 16: Holiday Edition)

This is our fourth holiday edition. It's Christmas Eve and the girls couldn't be more excited. We took a trip on the Polar Express yesterday and Drew gave the elves quite a hard time about who they were, why they were just wearing chefs outfits serving hot cocoa 5 minutes earlier, noting that elves are not supposed to be that tall and questioning why Santa didn't know her name. It's going to be a long few years ahead. Nevertheless, the magic is still here and tomorrow will ultimately be the most favorite day of the year as we wait and watch for Santa's arrival. Here is my take on this week's holiday edition:

Up next in our blog circle is my friend Kennedy Tinsley, of Tinsley House Photography, a fantastic photographer that captures emotion so well through her children and others. Click HERE to see her take.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 15: Holiday Edition)

This is our 15th week of our play on light blog circle and our third holiday edition. I know we have all been grieving following Friday's tragedy. I will be devastated for months I am sure. I can't stop looking at my girls and kissing them and realizing just how lucky I am to have them here and safe. It's hard for me not to think of all the families that won't have their little ones with them tonight. As President Obama said tonight, this tragedy has helped to remind us what matters. I do believe that is true, as hard as it is to find something good in something so tragic. When choosing a photo for this week, I kept coming back to this shot I took earlier in the week- before any of this madness happened. I look at this - our celebration of Hanukkah and Christmas (or Christmakuh) and these lights take on a new meaning now to me.  I am beyond thankful to have my two girls, my husband and our families to celebrate with this year. To Sandy Hook Elementary, you will forever be in our thoughts.

Now head on over to the lovely Kim Dupree's blog to see her gorgeous taking on holiday lights this week HERE. They will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. 

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 14: Holiday Edition)

It's always exciting when the Nutcrackers come out every year. The girls love playing with them and pretending to be Clara in the Nutcracker, dancing around the apartment.  Lucky for us, we will be seeing the Nutcracker on stage this week! The ballet is a highlight of the holiday season and was always one of my favorite stories as a child. It has been wonderful to share this excitement with my two girls. Here is my take for this week's holiday edition of our play on light. 

"Clara" in front of our tree

Up next in our blog circle is our newest addition to our circle, my friend Cheryl Chriss Sawyer. Please click HERE to check out her wonderful take on this week's holiday edition.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 13: Holiday Edition)

It is certainly beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (and the winter holidays). Our neighborhood is dazzling with snowflakes and little white and colored lights, Lincoln Center and Rockefeller Center both had their official tree lighting, we bought our annual Christmas tree and our Elf on the Shelf is back on duty. This is week 13 of our play on light and for the rest of the month, we will be focusing on a special holiday edition. For this week, I focused on holiday bokeh. Bokeh describes the rendition of out-of-focus points of light. Bokeh is different from sharpness. Sharpness is what happens at the point of best focus. Bokeh is what happens away from the point of best focus. Bokeh is really fun to play with and with all the holiday lights, there are endless ways to shoot it. Here is my take on this week's inaugural holiday edition:


Up next in our blog circle is mother of two from the DC area, Lisa Rigazio. Please click HERE to check out her stunning work.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 12: Hard Light)

This is our final week on hard light and our 12th week of our blog circle. Can't believe it has been three months since we started this fun project.  This week I have taken a different approach to hard light and instead of having my subjects in the direct sun, I decided to silhouette them and kept the hard light source (the sun) behind them.  I love that I can see Drew's little features as she is lauging trying to kick her Daddy on the swing :) This was from our playground rest point on the drive up to Cape Cod for Thanksgiving.


Up next in our blog circle is my friend and uber talented NYC photographer Sarah Roemer Davis. Click HERE  to check our creative her play on light.

Photo 52: A Play on Light (Week 11: Hard Light)

This is week 11 and our third week on hard light.  As mentioned before, hard light is light that creates well-defined, high contrast images resulting in shadows with sharp or negligible transition from light to dark. One example of hard light is the sun. While the sun is not a small light source, when it is direct and undiffused by clouds, harsh and sharp lines are seen in the shadows  Daddy doesn't typically like to have his photo taken, but I managed to get this in in the park with the girls.  Here is my take for this week:

Up next in our blog circle is my friend and NYC street photographer-extraordinaire, Stacey Vukelj.  Please take a moment to check our her creative take on hard light HERE