Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time for Senior Portraits

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Where did the winter go? I literally blinked and it was spring all of a sudden. And since this is Texas, it means summer is just a short week away! The heat will be sweltering in no time.

But because it is spring, it means Lisa on Location has been swamped with calls lately. Weddings need to be booked for the summer and senior portraits need to be booked for, like, right now. I shot a handsome senior the other day I wanted to share with you. Ryan was a natural. He needed very little direction from me and he was so easy going. It was hard to take a bad picture of him. I could have shot him for hours, but unfortunately we were fighting the setting sun. He wanted some shots at a beautiful dam near his home but the main road was closed. That didn't deter this guy. We loaded up in his pick-up truck and went off-road for a while to get to his favorite waterway, racing to beat that sun that was just about to dip below the horizon. It was a lot of fun!

I'm also working on a beach day for next month. I'll tell you a little more about that later!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Project 365 -- sort of

Blog Thisweb
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
There's a new project that those of us in photography are all abuzz about. It's called Project 365. I know a lot of people who have jumped on the wagon and started shooting the mundane and the normal. The concept is pretty simple and anyone can do it. You don't have to be a photo buff to do it. You don't need a fancy camera. You don't need an idea or a gimmick. The concept is basically to record your life. Every single day of it. Take at least one photo a day. Of anything. Shoot your dog, your kids, your stuff -- whatever.

It's not a hard project for me. I'm shooting all the time. But I do confess that there are days I spend shooting hundreds of photos for other people and I don't shoot a single image for me, just for me. That's going to change. Hopefully.

The other day I took out my camera and put on my fancy, expensive lens and shot some pictures of my boy eating fish sticks. The detail in the ketchup as it drips from the end of his fish stick is so amazing. I enjoyed the experience. The photo I'm sharing today is a section of the junk on my refrigerator door. Fascinating isn't it. I look at this junk every day, but 30 years from now I'll look back at this and think -- "Oh yeah, I forgot about that magnet." This is part of my life, a small part, yet it deserves to be preserved. I also got some images of my son's Wow Wow Wubbzy toy and the cat licking herself in the window. I'm telling you it's golden!

So that's my goal. I'll be pulling out that camera every day even if it's just to shoot the dirty socks my daughter pulled off her feet and threw on the couch. Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rediscovering an Old Love Affair

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Looking at that title and then seeing the picture I chose to share today, you're thinking something morbid about some past love who's buried in my basement. Don't notify the authorities just yet! The past love to which I am referring is not the guy in the picture, it is in fact the Nifty Fifty -- 50mm F1.8 lens that I am shooting the guy with. This guy is in fact a long dead explorer found under the remains of sunken ship and now on display at the Bob Bullock museum in Austin. (He's actually got a non-fatal crushed skull, a broken nose, and an abscessed tooth and was found with a pint of brandy and one shoe so my guess is he wasn't much of a looker before he died).*** My old love was able to capture this guy in such amazing detail in very low light conditions without the use of a flash because it's just that awesome a lens.

I used to use the Nifty Fifty (as it's known in the crowd I run with) all the time back in the film days. I knew what it was capable of and I always knew the kind of results I was getting during a time when you couldn't check the back of your screen to see how you're doing. I got away from it with the purchase of my wonderful Tamron 28-75 F2.8 and then fell even further away from it with the purchase of my newest love, the Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS that I know you've all heard be talk about. Getting spoiled by the ease of my zoom lenses, makes one forget how wonderful the image quality in an old reliable prime lens can be. I know it's laziness on my part. With the zooms I can stand where I want to stand and zoom in and out. With the primes I have to pick my rear up and move to compose the image I want, but the results are so worth it.

Now, here's the part where I thought I'd go into a little tirade about the fact that moments after I shot this I was so rudely informed that photography is not allowed in the Bob Bullock museum. I thought I'd give my little speech about how the lack of a flash is not in any way harming the exhibits and that this is America land of the free yada yada yada but I decided to not go there. Instead I just opted to not purchase the souvenir spoon that I usually collect on all my museum tours. I'll keep that extra $5.95 thank you very much.

***special thanks to France for the loan of this exhibit to the museum.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breastfeeding Art Once More

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Okay this is going to really throw my regular readers for a loop! I'm blogging again! Twice in one week is rare let alone twice in one day! But I had two blog-worthy sessions last weekend and I couldn't choose between them so I'm going to make a blog for each.

This is Amira. I did a pregnancy session with her last summer and we decided at that time that I would do another session with her as a breastfeeding mom once the baby was born. That baby was born a few months ago and we intended to do this sooner, but life just gets in the way. Some of you may remember Amira's belly from my Beauty of Motherhood series. Some of the photos I shot of her also appeared in New Beginnings -- that magazine that did a spread about my little series on breastfeeding photography.

This baby is just too cute for words. She was so sweet and gave me so many smiles and sweet expressions. She's at the age where everything around her fascinates her so it was a challenge to get her to actually nurse for some of the photos, but we did manage to get a few. The favorite I've chosen to share here is one of those moments when she'd rather not nurse, but look up at Mom and giggle. That's okay too. It makes for a really sweet image that Mommies everywhere can relate to -- whether they breastfed or not.

I was going for mother nature -- breastfeeding out in the woods. We met up at the Botanical Garden but forgot that they close at 5 p.m. and the light doesn't get nice until after that time. But that was okay, there are plenty of nice nature surroundings in the parking area of the gardens. We draped Amira in Flowing earthy fabrics and set her up in a nice area only to be visited twice by employees and a security guard coming out to make sure we weren't hooligans up to no good. I'm afraid we horribly embarrassed him, however, by the way he quickly turned away and high-tailed it out of there once he realized that Amira was -- gasp-- breastfeeding! He ran quickly away shouting something like "take all the time you need -- there's no problem -- you're welcome to stay as long as you'd like." It was so nice of him to be so supportive.

Take a look at Amira's session here. And give me a call if you'd like images like this of you and your precious baby.

A Typical Sunday Afternoon

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
So I had a really cool session Sunday afternoon -- I know most photographers don't work on Sundays but I'm not most photographers. Morgan wants to be a model so she asked me to help her get some photos that will make her portfolio stand out. I decided to try something wild with an old costume I had. I had made this for myself years ago to wear to the Renaissance Festival -- before I started having children and lost my tiny tummy, of course. A warrior woman costume complete with bows and arrows, daggers, and of course, war paint. We added my favorite leather lace up boots and there we had it. The results of that session can be seen here. I think they turned out great.

I had also been planning on a trash the dress session. Morgan needed variety and I'm always up for a good trashing of the dress. I grabbed one of my many spare bridal gowns -- yes I'm fierce at hitting the thrift stores and freecycle for used bridal gowns. I had planned on having her wear the dress while traipsing through the creek bottom where we shot the warrior princess series but then it hit me, literally as I was pulling out of the driveway to go to the session. We were meeting at the creek next to the Little League fields -- baseball fields! I put the van in park, jumped out and dragged out my daughter's softball bag. So here we have the results of that series! I was stoked -- and I never use that word -- it sounds too Sk8erboi -- but I truly was stoked. The images were just creating themselves. Morgan was great at coming up with poses and expressions and we really worked well together to create these images.

Thanks for a great session Morgan! I'm so glad you called me!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Chicken Ranch Revisited

What you're looking at is what's left of the famous Chicken Ranch in LaGrange, TX. If you grew up in Texas you most likely know exactly what that was. If not, I'll have to mention the fictional version of this place -- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

This place was once a busy "boarding house" with clientele ranging from poor farm boys to wealthy and prestigious politicians. More than a few notable figures in Texas history graced the halls of this place and probably many of the people you know (if you were raised in Texas).

It's sad that this is what has become of this place. At the least I think it deserves an historical marker.

Jayme and I have been busily researching this place and talking to dozens upon dozens of notable figures in its rich history. Sadly, many of them are growing old and dying. Last spring we traveled by plane to a secret location to interview the last surviving madam -- a perky and sassy elderly lady who smoked like a chimney and cursed like a sailor. But with such a spark of humor that we were won over by her charm. She's on our Christmas card list now.

We've been chewed out by some of La Grange's resident busy-bodies and received more than a few very interesting phone calls and e-mails. This book is shaping up to be a page-turner.

I've been working on getting a gallery put together of the Chicken Ranch ruins. It's still a work in progress. We are thrilled to have the blessing of the current owner of this property and I hope to have more images up in the near future. Take a look at what I have so far. Obviously, it is missing the famous front parlor area, which was detached and moved to Dallas for a restaurant. That section has since been razed and destroyed. The remaining section doesn't have much time itself, before it totally collapses and becomes part of the earth once more. I'm thankful to be able to have these images before that happens.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Beauty in Your Own Backyard

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I had a rare weekend off last weekend -- well off from photography that is. I didn't schedule any sessions or appointments so that I could spend time with the family. It was my son's 4th birthday and we put on a grand shindig for him at Chuck E. Cheese -- that in itself is worthy of a blog that I will stay clear of lest I lose all respectability in your eyes! The next day we went to my mom's house to spend the day with my family. It was two years ago today that I lost my dad to cancer and this weekend will always be a weekend off and spent with the family in his honor.

But I just can't spend a weekend without picking up the camera. I'm hopelessly incapable of putting it down for more than a few hours at a time. With no people to shoot and a good 4 hours until the start of the mayhem that was my son's birthday party, I decided to head out to the backyard to shoot. Now what to shoot -- the Siamese cat was licking herself on the sandbox, snap snap; the bees were buzzing around the plum tree, which was in full bloom, snap snap; the first wildflowers of spring were starting to pop up out of the weeds, snap snap; a metal watering can that was left outside all winter was starting to rust and develop an interesting color, snap snap. My little adventure in the backyard proved to be a lot of fun. I'm sharing one of the photos I took of the plum blooms.

The plum trees were in full bloom the day my daddy died. He had a premonition about that a few months before, waking from a dream and announcing that he would die while the plum trees were in bloom. I'm sharing this photo in honor of him and in hopes that maybe the next time you see a plum tree in bloom, you too will think of how precious the time you have here on earth is. And that you too will look for the beauty in your own backyard.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You can't go wrong with newborns

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Remember that beautiful pregnant belly I shot last month -- scroll down on my blog and you'll see her. Well I got to meet the little baby within the belly the other day and she was a sweetie! I had the honor of shooting the little princess when she was 6 days old. I just love all the little baby sounds they make and the cute little expressions and seeing that total devotion from a new mom and dad. Their whole world changed in the course of a week and they are different people now. Having a baby changes a person for the better. Take a look at the little sweetie here!

In personal news I am currently underway planning the social event of the season that is the 4-year-old's Chuck E. Cheese Birthday Party. It's shaping up to be a squealfest. I can hardly wait for the lovely migraine. I just can't believe we got the boy potty trained before the big event! Check back this weekend to see what's sure to be some lovely photos of the big Rat chasing my terrified 4-year-old under the table.