Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shameless self promotion time

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Well my goal for this summer is to build my photography business through word of mouth. I hope that by this fall I can be busy enough with my photography to see a steady stream of revenue, which I will then turn around and put back into the business by making major equipment purchases and advertising. I took a huge step on that road by joining a stock photography program. I really hope it turns into a success for me. My specialty has always been people, but most of the stock photography I hope to sell will be places, architecture and animals. I'm hoping it will give me that little steady stream of income that will allow me to do more of the things I love to do -- like people!

Word of mouth can't work, however, without your help! If you like what you see on my site, tell others. If you don't like it, well, I hope you'll keep that part to yourself ;-)

Today I also wanted to share a photo I took at the missions that's part of an experiment -- because I really like to share some things that I learn! I've been fascinated lately with HDR photography. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which is a method of combining several photographs in various stages of exposure to get a final print that has high definition in the shadow areas as well as high definition in the highlighted areas. It can be done by combining three of the exact same photos together through various photo editing programs. I have made the attempt several times through Adobe Bridge's create HDR function but haven't been happy. So I tried to fake it with this photo of the Mission San Jose. I opened it in RAW three times and each time I adjusted the exposure by one full stop. I then opened each saved image and added it as a layer to one final image. I erased the areas of each layer that I didn't want to show through and left only those sections of each layer that had the detail and the colors I liked. It's not perfect -- actually it's far from perfect -- but I think I'm on the right track. I'll be trying more of this technique in the future and I hope to share more of what I create here as I get better at it.

Along that line

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our annual Missions trip

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Every year we like to take a trip to the San Antonio missions. It's one of our favorite places to take pictures and the kids love to pretend they live in the little houses. We chose the wrong day of the weekend, however. It had been pleasant and kind of cool Saturday and Sunday but that was replaced by blistering heat on Monday -- Memorial Day. We had to cut our excursion short because the kids just got too hot and tired really fast.

I did get some nice shots of the kids and Jayme had a good time playing with his infrared lens again. We also spent some time checking out graveyards in San Antonio. That sounds morbid, I know, but I'm planning a photo shoot with a model that requires a creepy cemetery. I found some sufficiently creepy areas of the city's public cemeteries.

I'll let you know when that shoot comes up. I should get some interesting stuff from that one.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flashback to the world of dial up

Something's wrong with my high speed internet access. I can tell something is wrong because my service suddenly slowed down to a crawl. Remember way back in the days of pre-high speed when you would click on a link and then get up from the computer to use the bathroom or get a drink and come back just in time for that link to finally be loaded. If you saw another link you wanted to see you'd have to repeat the scenario -- click, wait, wait, wait. Those days are back the past couple of days. AT&T says the line is clear so the problem must be here in my house. The help desk has a couple of ideas so we'll have to try those out today and see if we can find the problem. Until then I can't upload any pictures or do much work on my site. It's too tedious.

Today I have offered to help a friend of ours who is an excellent glamour photographer in San Antonio. The photographs he produces are on par with some of the greatest fashion and glamour photographers in the country, in my opinion, and he's offered to let me help him with a shoot this morning to get a peak inside his studio to see how he does it. I'm excited about it.

I'm also looking forward to the long holiday weekend. I don't have any sessions scheduled so I intend to hang out with the family.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Belated Mother's Day show off

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I was really swamped with photo sessions last weekend so I didn't get a chance to share with you the project I worked on before Mother's Day. This is one of several photos along this same theme. I found overalls at a thrift store and splashed them with paint. Then my little subjects dressed up in them, played with a paint brush and then had a little fun with the paints themselves. I got each child to give me a handprint and then I combined the photos with the print and voila. The kids had fun, I had fun, the moms loved them. Everybody wins!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My new hobby!

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I've been having some fun with these pictures I took of Sarah the other day. Sarah is my bride in the inner tube if you'll remember. She was so easy going that she agreed to go along with me while I did some experimenting. I asked her to act like a fairy, which she did beautifully. Then I started playing with Photoshop. It took several practice pictures before I finally found my groove. This is the latest and I think it's my best. Sarah decided she had so much fun that she wants to do it again. We'll be coordinating again for a future fairy shoot and I have tons of ideas. I'm excited about offering this to my clients. I think a lot of people will love it.

New pregnancy shots

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
This is one of several I put up last night from a shoot I had last weekend. This beautiful lady is 8 months pregnant. In this shot I tried to bring the focus of your attention to her belly by leaving most of her in the dark. I don't know if it works or not, we'll just see what others think.

I have another busy weekend planned but only one photo session. The rest of the weekend will be taken up with various family activities. Once again, the hours will be packed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More engagement shots

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I wanted to post another of my cousin's engagement shots and talk a little bit about it. It's a selective color shot of the happy couple near a sidewalk cafe. I was trying to think of a way to make the couple stand out. I used several different techniques in some of the other shots including the slow shutter speed while the couple stood perfectly still. Take a look two blogs down to see that example. There are other techniques I used in other shots including, wide aperture to blur the background and another where I actually did some "burning" of the happy couple to make them brighter than their surroundings. But this picture really pops I think. It's a technique that some photographers consider cheesy and overdone, but you know, it works! What do you think?

I had a rare day off today so I got to work with some more Trash the Dress photos I needed to process and I finally put up that special gallery for just those types of pictures. I was able to pull them out of the Bridal gallery and feature them on their own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trash that dress!

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I've been trying to find a willing bride to throw into the Comal river for a while now and then Sarah came along. She was great! This was one of the most fun photo shoots I've done and I think it shows. We had to make it to Hinman Island Park early in the morning to beat the swarm of tubers that were sure to hit. This park is packed on a Saturday in mid May and it's unbearable during the summer months. We were lucky to have this section of the river to ourselves. I'm adding these shots to the Bridal section of my page and I'm considering making a whole new gallery with just "Trash the Dress" shots. I seem to have a ton of those and they keep on coming in.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I thought weekends were for taking it easy!

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
This past weekend was so packed with activity I didn't have a chance to stop moving long enough to do any computer work at all. I sat down this morning with a backlog from 3 photo sessions plus enough family snapshots to fill an album.

First off, the photo I'm sharing with you today is one taken from my cousin's engagement session Saturday night. She was so good about letting me try different and experimental things. This is one I'm really happy with. I wanted to demonstrate this couple's love by showing them standing still and into each other while the world around them is bustling with activity. I used a really slow shutter speed and had my cousin and her fiance stand perfectly still. The tricky part was getting people to pass by us at their normal pace. Everyone wanted to stand back and be polite by not getting into the picture. They couldn't understand why I would WANT them to walk into the frame.

I have hours and hours of processing time ahead of me still. I hope to give my cousin at least 100 pictures to choose from and I took hundreds of shots.

Another session I had Saturday was tons of fun. We threw a bride into an inner tube and had her float the Comal river a little ways. I love what I've seen so far from that session and can't wait to process some of those shots and get them up.

Last of all, yesterday was Mother's Day as I'm sure you'll remember. After a very late night Saturday getting in from Austin (for my cousin's session) I was looking forward to sleeping late. That was thwarted by my darling daughter who decided to bring me breakfast in bed at the crack of dawn. It was their school assignment to prepare a menu for mom and then surprise her in bed. I wonder how many other second graders in my neighborhood got the same lovely surprise!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rare day off!

I couldn't believe my luck today but it turned out I had a rare day off. Wow! I hardly knew what to do with myself. I managed to keep busy, however, and am now shocked that the day is almost over. Where did it go?! I ended up spending a few hours online this morning doing some website edits and creating some postcards for publicity. I sent those off to the printer and should have them in a couple of weeks. My dear neighbor and friend has generously offered to take some postcards to her OB's office when they come in. I'm starting a massive (well massive for me) advertising campaign and am hoping to reach out to the pregnant crowd. I started offering a "Baby's First Year" package that will include six photo sessions from pre-natal all the way up to baby's first birthday. I love pregnancy and nursing photos -- as is evident from past blogs as well as my Beauty of Motherhood gallery.

The Blaschke family had some trauma and some rejoicing the past 24 hours. Last night it seems our mischievious but oh-so-adorable Siamese kitten kocked over the finch cage and ate one of my daughter's three birds. There were many teardrops and tender moments of consolation. Daddy vacuumed up a plethora of feathers and put the naughty kitten in the garage for the night. This afternoon, however, my daughter was picking up her room and came across a scared, but very much alive, little finch huddled in the corner behind her dresser. This time we saw tears of joy as she scooped the little bird up and returned her to her cage with her family. Daddy, was of course baffled -- he had assumed the bird gone into the tummy of naughty kitten since there were very many feathers and signs of destruction all around and of course one missing finch.

On another note, the swine flu scare has run its course and the Comal ISD has announced that school will resume tomorrow instead of next Monday. It seems the swine flu has turned out to not be as bad as everyone feared and there have been no more cases confirmed since the initial two last week. I'm very happy that this bug is not going to be the killer we had feared. I'm also glad the girls will have school once again -- they were getting a bit bored and we were all getting stir crazy staying in the house. I took them to Chik Fil A for lunch today to celebrate our return to society. But we certainly sanitized our hands afterwards.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lost data, a trip to stonehenge and more family portraits

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
This past weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind for the family. Last week was sad and dark. We didn't know what would happen with this Swine Flu scare, we were nervous about that plus we had a personal loss in the household. The weekend, however, picked up for us with a family roadtrip to Stonehenge II near Kerrville. I had been wanting to see it for a while but it seems we just could never fit it into our schedule. With the Swine Flu forcing all kinds of cancellations, we finally had a moment. On the way out we stopped at the Cave Without a Name -- which we had also been trying to make it to for a long time. We got a personal tour of the cave because nobody else showed up at that time. We couldn't have asked for a more peaceful trip.

I've been processing photos from that trip all weekend and had a really great family photo session yesterday with some neighbors of mine -- look for their portraits on the Family page in my gallery. Just when I thought things were looking up -- SMASH -- literally. My darling husband accidentally kicked over the harddrive in the middle of a download. Uh-oh. Now it's making a strange whirring sound when we turn it on and of course the computer is not recognizing it. The nice folks who helped us recover some lost data on the desktop computer a while back had some grim news for us. They can't recover it. It may be possible to recover them in a clean room at a cost of about $700. Ouch. Fortunately for me I'm anal about backing up and had multiple copies of most of my finished photographs on various online galleries. But unfortunately for me I hadn't burned any discs recently so I lost all the original raw files of a lot of photographs. Raw is like a digital negative of a print. I shoot in RAW and then I make magic in Photoshop and save the prints in JPEG format for publication and print making. I still have all the JPEGs, but the RAW files are gone. But what's really tragic for me is that I had some home videos on that hard drive that had not been backed up yet. I'm sick about the loss of those. But I haven't given up yet. It still may be possible to save them. We're looking into it. I did learn some valuable lessons to this. Back-up. Not just once, not just every now and then. But back-up fast and back-up often.

My poor husband lost a lot more than me in the accident. Years and years of writing. He hadn't learned the back-up thing yet. Or actually he did, just not as well as me. Wish us luck and if anyone has any ideas for us on how to save our files, let me know.