Photo 52.2: Creative Complexity: Subject Separation {Week 42}

This is week 42 of Photo 52.2 and we are looking at Subject Separation. We are exploring different ways of emphasizing the subjects of our images, making sure that they stand out sufficiently from the background to communicate our intention to the viewer. There are a variety of methods to achieve this aim. Keeping the background free of distracting elements is a most basic approach, which can be further enhanced with other techniques: shallow depth of field, selective focus, careful placement of light (such as rim light from back or side lighting), or a pop of color are just a few examples. In a busier scene with a number of elements, calling attention to the main subject is all the more important and challenging. The same techniques are relevant but others, such as framing the subject or having the subject break a pattern, are also options. One effective technique is to have physical separation between the subject and other people or objects, also making sure that there is space between the background elements as well. 

Here is my choice for this week. Click HERE to see all the images together in one grid.

Letters to our Daughters {July 2014}

This is my part of my monthly "Letters to our Daughters" photography blog circle. After reading my letter, please see what my sweet friend Kami had to say to her two daughters HERE.

Hi girls,

We are in the middle of our summer of adventures. We've spent a week on Cape Cod, about 10 days in Madison and we will be heading back to Cape Cod, NYC for a week and onto Africa yet again. This month's letter is more for me than it is for you, but I thought it might be helpful for you to read as well one day. Beginning today, Momma has to learn to let you two be yourselves. It will be very hard at times, but I know in the bottom of my heart, you both have strong personalities and it's more important for you to explore at your own pace then for me or your Dad to tell you or encourage you to do something you aren't ready for yet. Drew, you are a beautiful, stubborn, shy, hilarious, inquisitive, sharp little girl and while we want you to take risks and we want you to try every sport and go on every fun ride, I know you will do it all on your own time. You are a beautiful, strong girl and we love you to pieces.  And, Harper you are our wild child and we often wonder where your crazy personality comes from. One minute you are in the fetal position on my lap and the next minute you are running around like a wild hyena! We love you to death and know this is just a phase (let's all hope) but I will let you be who you want to be and I know you will turn out just fine in the end :) You are a very beautiful, strong girl and we love you to pieces as well! You are both so unique and so special and we want you to be who you want to be, as long as you are both healthy, strong and full of love.

Here are some shots we took one night in Wisconsin in a restored prairie full of wildflowers. While the shoot did not go as planned and you both, along with your cousin were done before we began, I was able to capture a few nice shots from our evening in this very special place.

Love, Momma

Photo 52.2: Creative Complexity: Filling the Frame {Week 41}

This is week 41 of Photo 52.2. While the setting is often important in a photograph, sometimes our artistic intention is to draw full attention to our subject. Filling the frame edge to edge by moving closer, zooming in, or cropping the image in post-processing eliminates background distractions and forces the viewer to examine the subject in close detail. The technique can be used to great effect with a single subject occupying the entire frame, but we might also fill the composition with multiple elements, ensuring that there is a minimum of unused space within the borders. In a portrait, filling the frame with the subject—particularly close-ups of the face—can capture personality or mood that would get lost at more of a distance. Non-human subjects also benefit from this close inspection of all or part of the object, and filling the frame is often used in macro photography to isolate important details. While filling the frame is a compositional technique in itself, combining it with other techniques, such as repetition or rule of thirds, can lend even more impact to the image. Click HERE to see all the images together.

Photo 52.2: Classic Portraiture (Groupings) [Week 38]

This is week 38 of our Photo 52.2 and this week we are focusing on groupings. Photographing groups of people can be an especially challenging and rewarding exercise in creative composition. A modern approach to a posed group portrait might focus on subjects physically touching and emotionally connecting with each other. Something more old-fashioned might recall the formal poses of classical painters, where subjects are often rigid, carefully posed and emotionally restrained. With the resurgence of film and the popularity of post-processing techniques that emulate film, this old-school approach to posing groups of people is especially trendy right now.

A lifestyle approach to group portraiture is similar to street and travel photography (and other types of photography that recall a photojournalistic style) in that it is is often more candid and seemingly spontaneous than a carefully posed portrait. Using this approach, a photographer must often exert deliberate patience in order to capture what Cartier-Bresson famously called "the decisive moment". The effective use of depth and subject separation in this candid style of group portraiture can make for a very powerful image.

To see all the groupings together, click HERE

The beautiful Donohue/Anderson/Walker Family

The beautiful Donohue/Anderson/Walker Family

Photo 52.2/Framed: Classic Portraiture (Full Body): Week 37

This is week 37 of our Photo 52.2 blog circle. As we continue to explore classic portraiture, this week we are delving into composition for full body portraits. Like the three-quarter shot we explored last week, full body composition offers clues and context about the subject being portrayed. In many instances, the photographer will stand a considerable distance from the subject, getting a a wide shot that reveals rich and detailed information about the subject's life and personality. This kind of shot is excellent for storytelling, although the photographer must take care to ensure the subject is well-composed within the frame so they do not get lost in a busy background or otherwise compete for the viewer's attention .In other cases, a photographer may direct their subject to get into a variety of body positions (sitting, kneeling, or even lying down) in order to achieve a medium shot, which can be more intimate while still offering a narrative glimpse into the subject's life. 

This is my choice for this week. This sweet little one was waiting inside the church for her little brother to come in and enjoy his baptism and baby naming.

Click here to see all the images from our group in one grid.

Photo 52.2: Classic Portraiture: Half-Body (Week 36)

This is week 36 of our Photo 52.2. As we continue our month-long study of classical portraiture, this week we explore the three-quarter profile portrait. This is the common pose of classic artists - think of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa or the portraits of Botticelli and other artists of the Renaissance. The three-quarter pose can tells us more than a headshot: it reveals the story and character of the subject through his or her clothing, status and surroundings.

Here is my choice for this week. Click HERE to see all of the three-quarter portraits.

Photo 52.2: Classic Portraiture: Headshot (Week 35)


This is Week 35. This week we begin our month-long compositional study of classic portraiture. We begin with one of the most classic portraits of all time – the headshot. A headshot typically comprises the head to shoulder area. Making a good headshot portrait is very important and practical, as many people rely on them for business purposes, framed portraits, online profiles, and as their first visual introduction to the world. To the photographer, the portrait is a challenge and extends far beyond the technicalities as we strive to capture the personality, spirit and essence of the person. You can often see how the subject feels by looking at their eyes. As the saying goes, the eyes are the key to the soul.

Our year-long collaborative blog project is dedicated to composition and artistry.

Click HERE to see all the portraits together in one grid. Below is my choice for this week.



Photo 52.2: Color Theory: Creative Use of Color (Week 34)

Welcome to week 34 of p52.2 : Framed. This week we conclude our month-long study of color. This week we are playing with the creative use of color. It was each photographer’s choice as to how they interpreted creative color. After looking at the mosaic, please feel free to like or comment. We appreciate your feedback!

Our year-long collaborative blog project is dedicated to composition and artistry. Please click HERE to see all of the images together. The gallery mosaic is randomly sorted every time you load the page, so please refresh the page in your browser to see a different view. Please click on the individual images to see a larger version on the artist’s website and, in some cases, a series of related images.

Here is my choice for this week. I went with complementary color schemes again. This week I had a lot of fun playing with some artistic shots. I tried freelensing and made a macro lens by turning my 50 mm backwards.

Letters to Our Daughters | May 2014

This is part of my monthly blog circle with my other wonderful photographer Moms. After reading my letter, please click HERE to see what Jenn Valluzzo had to say to her darling daughter.


Dearest Drew,

You are something else. It's hard to believe you only have about 6 weeks of first grade left. You started out as a strong, confident, yet shy and sweet 6 year old. Now that we are getting closer to finishing the year, I can truly see how much you have grown - not just physically, but emotionally as well. You still adore your sister beyond words and would do just about anything to make her happy or cheer her up (unless you are taunting her) and at other times you are really wanting your own personal space and ask your sister to stay out of your room. I get that. You keep asking for your own desk in your room and we will certainly make sure that happens. You adore reading and pick up a book at any chance you can get.  One of your favorite things to do is to look up all the other titles in your current favorite series. Right now we are loving Nate the Great. Instead of bringing home one book a day from your bin at school, you typically bring home 5 or 6. You are so proud of how far you have come this year and so are we! You love to sing songs, especially in Spanish. And yes, you even sing parts of the Frozen soundtrack in Spanish! While I do love to hear you, when it's time to go to bed, it's really time to go to bed and not sing my dear :) 

You are such a deep, thoughtful, creative little girl and through your drawings and writings, we learn so much about you. I know there is so much going on inside that little of yours and must be so frustrating at times to not know how to express those feelings. I just want you to know that I love your more than anything and will strive to give you your independence and give you ways of expressing yourself. I keep saying that I want to find your "thing" - be it skiing, gymnastics, an instrument, art. You like so many things and maybe you will never have a favorite and that's ok. We'll just keep trying everything. You do tell tennis will be your sport and I know you are saying that to make me happy which is so sweet. If that's your sport, then awesome. But I'm ok if it isn't as well. You are going to be who you want to be and do what you want (within reason I hope). For now, lets explore the world together. Just like the ocean, you are beautiful and endless. Let's keep dreaming together. I love you, Drew.

Love forever,


Photo 52.2: Color Theory: Achromatic Colors {Week 33}

Welcome to week 33 of p52.2 : Framed. This week we continue our month-long study of color as we play with achromatic colors. By definition, achromatic means, “free from, or without color.”

An achromatic color scheme is one without color. Any color scheme that possesses no hue is said to be achromatic; these color schemes often involve black and white, with various values of gray. Achromatic colors are often used in kitchens or bathrooms-especially in modern or contemporary interiors.

Click HERE to see all of our images together. Below, please find my choice for achromatic colors.

Photo 52.2: Color Theory: Complimentary Colors {Week 32}

Welcome to week 32 of p52.2 : Framed. This week we continue our month-long study of color with complimentary colors. Complimentary color schemes are a great place to start with color theory, as they are easy to understand and fun to use. They help create cohesive and pleasing compositions.

Complimentary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue-orange, violet-yellow, or red-green. They work well in straightforward compositions where vivid and vibrant color combinations can create interest and contrast. Differences in brightness can also create contrast, such as a dark blue and a light orange or black and white. More subdued hues may also be used, such as pastels or a lighter toned combination, such as teal-orange. We can also use split complimentary colors where two of the three colors are adjacent to one of the colors that is opposite, such as blue, yellow-orange and red-orange. Flowers, sunsets, and holiday decorations are just a few examples of where we might find complimentary colors.

Here is my choice for this week. Click HERE to see all the images together in one matrix.

Photo 52.2: Color Theory: Monochromatic or Analogous Color Scheme {Week 31}

Welcome to week 31 of p52.2 : Framed. This week we start our month-long study of color. An artist’s color wheel is the basic tool for combining colors to design pleasing color combinations. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with designing the first circular color diagram. The circle of colors starts with the primary colors of red, yellow and blue placed an equidistant from each other and is bridged by secondary and tertiary colors. Secondary colors (green, orange, purple) are a combination of two primary colors. Tertiary colors (blue-green, yellow-orange, etc.) are a combination of a primary or secondary colors. Color theory is complex and includes the study of color and its affect on our mood and feelings. We are going to have a lot of fun playing with color this month! We begin this week by playing with analogous and monochrome color combinations.

Analogous colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. They are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Red-Orange-Yellow combinations are considered warm colors. They are often vivid and energetic and tend to advance in a photograph. Green-Blue-Violet combinations are cool colors and are considered peaceful and calming. Who hasn’t been soothed by looking at an ocean or forest scene?

Monochrome schemes consist of a single color or hue with variation in tint, tone and shade. We can alter the hue, saturation and luminance by adding black, white and gray to the single color. The color can also be neutralized by adding its complement to lower the intensity of the color. A monochrome scheme includes all forms of black and white photography.

Our year-long collaborative blog project is dedicated to composition and artistry. Please click HERE to see all of this week's images in one gallery mosaic. The gallery mosaic is randomly sorted every time you load the page, so please refresh the page in your browser to see a different view. Please click on the individual images to see a larger version on the artist’s website and, in some cases, a series of related images.

Here are my choices for this week.

Monochromatic colors

Analogous Colors

Photo 52.2: Framed (Split Tone) {Week 30}

This is week 30 of our Photo 52.2 and we are exploring split tones. This week expect some variety as we each explore mixing tones in creative ways. Some of us will reintroduce dramatic contrasts to our compositions by combining different tones. Some may toy with the expected mood conveyed by tone, for example with a serious expression from a subject in a light, airy high-key photo. Others will play with tone in post-processing, perhaps with split toning of black and white photos, a technique that goes back to the days of the darkroom.  The “split” part of the technique introduces a color cast that can be isolated to highlights without affecting the mid-tones or shadows, or vice versa.  The result is a cross-processed look or a duotone effect that can give a little extra punch to a monochromatic image.

To see all the images in a grid, please click HERE  


Letters to Our Daughters | April 2014

This is the second year I am writing a letter to my daughters every month, along with several other wonderful photographers. After reading my letter and seeing my photos that accompany, please follow along in our circle by reading our newest member, Delania Worley Waddells, letter HERE

It's another month and another Wixon adventure behind our belt. This time we traveled back to Africa (our favorite stomping grounds) and spent a wonderful two weeks on Lake Malawi. First on a beach on the Mozambique side of the lake where we were the only guests and enjoyed s'mores on the beach, a pirate adventure, monkeys in our room in the morning and other adventures and another week on the Malawi side where we spent a week playing on the beach with the local kids, with other new friends from London and lot of snorkeling and fun in the water.

Dear Drew and Harper,

By now, you are both pro-travellers. The three of us flew out to Johannesburg alone a few weeks ago where we met Daddy at the airport. We had no issues and you remain champion sleepers on the overnight flights. It's nice to know that we can fly just about anywhere.

Our first week in Mozambique, we took a boat to visit a school in a local village to introduce ourselves and give the kids an opportunity to ask us questions and for you both to see what it would be like to be a child in Mozambique. Drew, you couldn't have been more shy - hiding behind me and Daddy and not wanting to ask any questions ( even though, you didn't miss a beat and kept tabs on everything going on). The kids would come up to us and just pat our skin and touch our hair and the girls especially loved my pink nail polish. Any form of makeup is extremely rare for these girls. Harper, you were very open to the kids talking to you and at one point, when two of the older girls took us to "nature's bathroom", both the girls immediately swept you off your feet and held you and looked at you and touched your hair. You had a look a freight at first, but when I asked your favorite part of the experience that day, it was when the girls picked you up.

If only I taught Miles how to focus on my camera...

During our second week in Malawi, the local village kids became our friends. The beaches are all public and most of the families use the lake to wash their pots and pans and wash themselves and the kids use it to play. The lake is crystal clear and perfectly clean. It's a wonderful source. We slowly noticed different groups of kids waiting outside our house in the morning and soon we got to know the kids by name and we let them borrow our masks so they could see "fish!" and played ball and other games with them and I of course took a ton of photos. We were able to communicate in basic English as the kids are learning our language in school. The kids all screamed after I took a picture of them and loved it when I showed them their photos on the back of my camera. If only you two had the same reaction :) I wish I could have printed out photos for the while I was there. 

While we love to travel and take adventures, we also love for both of you girls to have experiences that you wouldn't normally have. It was lovely to see your compassion for these kids and realize how much we truly have. You begged us to give the kids books or clothes or anything we had, but we explained that we would be leaving books and pencils for their schools. It was heartbreaking when one girl in particular, Christina, would ask us daily "give me vegetables, give me clothes, give me books" and we had to tell you that it wouldn't be fair if we gave her some things but not the rest of her friends. In the end, you insisted that she get something so you picked out one of your t-shirt that she thought she would like and also drew her a picture and she wrote you a note back thanking us and wishing us a wonderful journey. While we will never see her again, I know that the memories of our trip and your experience with Christina and the rest of the village kids will remain. 

I love you, my world travelers.

xoxox, Mommy

Photo 52.2: Framed (Photographer's Choice {Week 26}

This is week 26 and it marks the halfway point in our exploration of composition and the theme is “Photographer’s Choice.” Some images will be a personal favorite and others will continue our month-long exploration of patterns and contrast. All images will be a reflection of where we are in our photographic journey. To see all the images together, click HERE   

Here is my choice for this week. I can hardly wait for more days with no jackets and short sleeves!

Photo 52.2: Framed (Conceptual Contrast) {Week 25}

This is week 25 of our year-long study of composition in Photo 52.2: Framed. Last week, we examined contrast in its traditional sense in photography: light versus dark. Contrast of opposite elements can be interpreted much more broadly, however. This week, we explore a more creative and potentially playful take on “conceptual contrast”. In composing our photos, we might experiment with contrasts between big and small, old and new, light and dark… really, the possibilities are limitless. For my take this week, I chose this cool art structure in Riverside Park along the Hudson River titled Ringo” by Japanese artist Reina Kubota.  I also included a few other photos in the series below.

Please check out all the images in my wonderful group together HERE

Photo 52.2: Framed (Pattern & Contrast : Light v Dark) {Week 24}

This is week Week 24 of our year-long study on composition. In weeks 22 and 23 on patterns, we looked for repeated similar elements in our compositions. For the rest of March, we shift our focus to contrast. A broad definition of contrast in art is the juxtaposition of opposite elements. Contrast between adjacent elements intensifies the properties of each and adds dynamism or drama to a work of art. The most well-known application of contrast in photography is the degree of difference between dark and light elements. This week, our photographs employ contrast in this traditional sense as the foundation of our compositions. Please see all the photos in my group together HERE

Letters to Our Daughters | March 2014

This is my second year writing a letter a month to my two girls. If you'd like to read some of my other friends' letters, please follow our circle and see what my dear friend Kami had to say to her two adorable little girls' this month HERE

Hi girls,

It's almost Spring. It's hard to believe but we actually had a day today that reached 60 degrees and we didn't need to wear jackets! This has been the longest winter in history and too bad, the low tomorrow is 20. Spring is right around the corner…we hope! While we are on the topic of warmer weather, I wanted to write a quick note as I reminisced about our last trip in February to Senegal. You guys are pro travelers now and are officially awesome travel buddies. We had a heck of time even getting to Senegal with a 20 hour delay (thanks to Delta Airlines) and sleeping on the floor of the airport. Or you and your Dad did while I just sat in a chair. I don't do well sleeping outside of a real bed. I should be better by now, but I'm just not :) Anyway, as soon as we got to our little hotel and we got some sleep, it was as if we had been in Senegal for a week. You both decided you want to live there permanently and didn't want to go back home. You had brought your favorite toys and books of the month, you had warm weather, a pool, lots of dogs and horses and goats to play with, but most importantly you had each other. And honestly, that was all that mattered the whole time. You are only 19.5 months apart and you two couldn't be any different when it comes to size, height, personality, likes, hair, and more. But, at the end of the day, you have each other and it doesn't matter where we are in the world, what time zone we are in, or which Frozen song is your favorite to sing. Yes, you do argue and fight, but I don't know what you would do without one another. Love outweighs the rest. And you two love each other like none other. I love you both and wanted to include some snaps of the two of you at the beach in Senegal- care fee and loving the cold water. It's nice to look at these and imagine what summer might feel like again. You both look so tiny in this huge ocean. Drew, you are getting braver and braver and walking out past the break. Harper, you go out a little ways, but always run back to your Mama for safety. Analogies for the types of little people you both are these days.

I can't wait to see what lies in store for our next adventure.



Photo 52.2: Framed (Pattern & Contrast : Broken Patterns) {Week 23}

This is week 23 of Photo 52.2: Framed. Lastweek, we sought patterns to bring a sense of rhythm and harmony to our photos. However, patterns on their own can feel somewhat lacking – patterns can set a scene, but do not really create a point of interest to hold the viewer’s gaze. Breaking the pattern in an unexpected way can add the tension and vitality that transforms a scene from interesting to captivating. Our attention is riveted to an object or person that disturbs the pattern, and the properties of the pattern itself are accentuatedby the interruption.

Please click HERE to see all the mages together.


Photo 52.2: Framed (Pattern & Contrast : Isolating Patterns in the Environment) {Week 22}

This week we begin a month-long study of patterns and contrasts. Patterns are defined loosely here as similar elements that are repeated numerous times. Patterns are all around us, but we may not notice them at a casual glance. Our goal this week is to train our eyes to spot patterns in the environment that can create visually interesting, harmonious backgrounds for our subjects. The patterns may be geometric or non-geometric; each may impart a different effect in our photographs. The photos we post from this exercise may simply be of the patterns themselves. Or, we may already incorporate subject placement as well.

Here is my take for this week. Please click here to see all the images in one place.

week 22-3.jpg