Objects of My Reflection

After getting my nails done and picking up lunch, I decided to play outside with my new light reflector for a little while to see how it could help me in natural light:

Photo Feb 28, 8 27 06 PM
The hardest part of using this thing is getting it back into its bag.

The first time I took it out of its carrying case Friday night, it uncoiled and popped me in the face. It was not an auspicious beginning. However, upon taking it outside and playing around with the different surfaces, I discovered it was pretty easy to use. The reflector has five different colors – black to block harsh light, white to lightly reflect it onto the subject, silver for stronger cool light, gold for warm light, and translucent to soften it; the reflector itself is translucent, and there is a reversible cover that zips over it, with two colors per side. The only downsides to this one are that it’s difficult to maneuver without assistance, and the gold surface is on the same side as the white one. I’d much rather have the silver and white on the same side as those are the two I will use most frequently; as it is I have to unzip the cover and flip it over every time I want to switch from silver to white. Since this one was only $17, I may just buy another one that only has white and silver to make that easier. Can’t hurt to have two anyway.

Instead of going into the backyard and shooting in front of the same old plant, I took the camera (with my new 50mm lens attached) into our atrium and shot against the brick wall there. I know, I really jazzed things up this time, didn’t I? And true to my resolution in yesterday’s post, I didn’t get all dolled up for reflector testing; I just went outside in my plain old clothes with my plain old face and my plain old hair. For most of the shots I didn’t even remove my glasses. It felt weird, but it sure was easy.

In this first collage, I took a portrait with no reflectors for the left panel. Then on the ride side, I am holding the translucent surface over my head, to soften and direct the sunlight. The atrium is pretty shaded and although it was blue and sunny outside there were a lot of clouds passing over, so I wasn’t in constant direct sunlight, and there were a lot of shadows:

reflectorcollage3
I am incapable of taking the same pose twice, so there are always variations in how I’m standing, which ruins the comparison a bit. But you get the idea.

Also true to form for me, I was switching around what surface I used to reflect light, and then occasionally taking pictures without a reflector for comparison, but since I didn’t keep track of when I used what I couldn’t remember what I was using in the shots when I processed them later. So I’m basically guessing. You know me, always a stickler for details! Anyway, I made my best guesses for this next collage:

reflectorcollage1
You’ve probably noticed that’s the same “no reflector” shot from the previous collage. Yep.

I’d read that most photographers don’t care for the uber-warmth of a gold reflector and don’t use it often, if at all, which is why I wish mine wasn’t attached to the white surface. But I can see where it could come in handy. Also, in these shots, I was holding the reflector a little too close to my face which made the light a little too bright – especially noticeable in the gold one. Oh, and I processed these shots using as little editing as possible; they are practically SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera), which is NOT likely to happen again anytime soon, so drink it in people.

My last collage was using the white reflector, which is my favorite as the light is softer than the silver, and I held it at different angles just for the hell of it:

reflectorcollage2

Man, without all my usual makeup and hair on, I gotta say, I am really looking my age. It’s not a bad thing to look 45, it’s just…different. I still don’t look in the mirror and think hey, that right there is a 45-year-old woman, but I’m getting there (I’m also not a 45-year-old woman, I’m 44,  but I always tell myself and other people that I’m a year older – that way when I really am a year older and tempted to feel depressed about it, I can remind myself that I’m just now the age I’ve been telling everyone I was all year. Trust me, in my mind this makes perfect sense). And dammit my hair is flat. Wait – isn’t this post supposed to be about reflectors? Let’s get back to it then:

reftest9_Snapseed
This photo is not SOOC. Deal with it.

I think in that one I’m using the white reflector, but it could have been the silver; unfortunately I can’t remember. Mostly I liked how my hair looked, so vanity compelled me to process the shot. I also liked my hair in the next one, which was one of the photos taken with no reflector, so I converted it to black and white to make up for it.

reftest8_Snapseed
So basically this photo has nothing to do with reflectors, except that I took it at the same time I took all the other pictures shared here that used reflectors. Moving on.

Shooting in the atrium also provided me a nice green leafy background to test out bokeh on the 50mm when I turned the camera in the other direction, which went swimmingly when combined with whatever reflector I was using in this pic (white? silver? who can say.):

reftest10_Snapseed

I posted this picture on Facebook and everyone went bonkers, mostly because they’ve never seen a truly normal photo of me. Very few people had the slightest idea what my new, longer hair even looked like. Turns out that after so long of constantly presenting one’s self in bizarre makeup and wigs, the most radical thing you can do is show up somewhere looking normal – a lesson Lady Gaga seems to have kinda learned lately, but without taking the arrogance and self-importance down a notch or two to complete the transformation. And no, that shot is so not SOOC either. Thanks Photoshop for ridding me of my under-eye wrinkles.

And as always, I’ve got to share a Pixlr-ed shot.

reftest11_Snapseed_pxr

More light shots

After playing around with the Medusa wig Saturday, I decided to try out these Halloween gloves I got on sale from my grocery store last November. They are battery powered, and have light bulbs underneath each fingernail that blink and change colors, and I thought they might make for some more interesting long exposure portraits. So, I shut off the lights, put the gloves on, and set to work.

This was one of the first shots I took, and it was mostly me just screwing around, but I liked how it made my eyes look red and evil:

fingers7

I ended up with a ton of cool shots, and as usual I’ve only had a bit of time to process them. This next shot was done with the shutter open for about six seconds, and I started the shot by holding the gloves down low and slowly moving my hands up while wiggling my fingers. I realize that is such a technical description you probably can’t follow it, but that’s what you get when dealing with an expert like me. (/sarcasm).

fingers1

I really liked how doing this made it look like I was playing with fire, so I did several using this movement.

fingers6

I did also have my external flash (Canon Speedlite 600-EX-RT) attached to the camera and was using it as a master to my old 430-EX II which was set up off to my right side so the shot wouldn’t be completely in darkness. I had to be careful to keep my body as still as possible aside from moving my hands around so I wouldn’t be too blurry.

fingers2

Behind me is the same backdrop, a plastic shower curtain, that I had hung up for the Medusa shots, and at some point I got the idea to stand behind it and wave my fingers around in front of my face with the camera still set to a long exposure, and the results of that were pretty cool too – although it’s hard to tell exactly what the hell is going on:

fingers3

fingers4

Overall I’m having fun editing these; the Medusa shots were, as I predicted, pretty literal, and while the ones I processed are fun, there’s only so many shots of me dressed as Medusa a person needs to see (although I do have a few more I can share later), so I’m glad I played around with this stuff as well as it’s given me tons of unique shots to work with. More from this shoot to come!

Oh, and it seems that right now posting every other day is working better for me than posting daily, so that’s probably the way it’s going to go for now.

More light

Busy day Sunday; busy day Monday. Enjoy some more light pics. I’d like to try this again, now that I’ve done it once and have an idea what I like and how it works. Initially I was thrilled with these but in looking them back over I’m only meh. Still, it was fun to do something different. Between this shoot and taking shots of the school it’s definitely been a week of stretching myself photographically. But now I’m itching to get back into the drag makeup again!

collage3

7/13/2013: Errands!

If that title doesn’t draw you in I don’t know what will.

After yesterday’s post about balance, Friday I decided to take care of some items on that lengthy to-do list I’ve got going. I went to get my car inspected since it was due last month, but there wasn’t one photo opportunity in that auto shop that I could find. However, I got more photo opportunities at the Firestone dealer I had to visit when my car failed inspection due to four worn-out tires (I knew they were bad, but I didn’t think they were fail-car-inspection bad). This place provided a few interesting shots (very few), so I thought I’d share them.

car
They said I needed four, but I’m a rebel so I only got three

This Firestone dealer is in a little old building off of what at one time was a small-town main drag, so it’s all homey and nice, with French doors everywhere, and a wraparound porch with rocking chairs. Of course I didn’t take any photos of that stuff, because I was too busy being fascinated by the bathroom, which was the HUGEST auto shop waiting room bathroom I have ever seen. I tried to get some pics that would accurately represent its scale, but they kinda don’t and they’re boring so I’m not going to post those. But I did get this cool pic of its glass brick window; I love how the light shone through just enough to create that contrast with the wall.:

window
Those fragrance sticks had no scent left whatsoever. Still, pretty window.

And I liked the pics I took of the overhead fixture in there too – the tungsten light gave the shot a nice warm glow, and I didn’t have to edit it to get this tone (although I did edit a bit, I didn’t change the tone of original):

light
I know it’s just a light fixture, but in my defense, tires are expensive so my mind was elsewhere

That’s all I got really. Except that I did also listen to a few sessions of a lecture series on treating anxiety that I signed up for back in June and never accessed. Hopefully I learned something I can use tomorrow when I pick up my car and get the bill.

A Healing Art – Poem

A Healing Art

A girlfriend found one in her breast
while still in college. One day
a woman read her palm and tarot cards,
pressed a hand against her chest,
another to her back, applied white light
and made it disappear. One night

my fingers touch my skin to prove
I am still here, and here, and here –
to forgive a body less than loved or trusted.
I find I cannot keep my hand away, slip my fingers
between lace and blouse, seeking proof
of what I own. I want to take hands

and press them close, say:
here is truth of what I’ve been.
I want to feel white light, the warm remedy
of touch against the poison of my skin.
Instead the surgeon snips me open,

allows the wound to spill like sugar
from a packet, instead the surgeon tells me
that my scars will heal, rubs his hands together
like a cartoon villain on the verge of stealing,
says: I want to warm my hands before
I touch you
, and smiles, assuming humor,

pressing palm against my chest.
I want to hold him there, the weight
compressing tape and flesh, say:
I’ve given you nothing. Say:
I only let you take
what I no longer wanted.

For the We Write Poems weekly prompt.