Merry Christmas

Photography, professional

Who doesn’t love a Spritz and an oyster? I love the way even the food at Christmastime seems to glisten and glimmer alongside the holiday spirit. I think food exemplifies a mood and a culture, and we accompanied this food with smiles, stories, and lots of laughs.

I grew up on a pretty sophisticated diet: lots of fish, lots of vegetables, and lots of smelly Italian lunches. However, it has made me a more understanding eater, and a more adventurous eater. Interestingly enough though, last Christmas was the first time I tried a raw oyster. Since then, I tried tripe, pate, raw shrimp, and who even knows what else during my travels. This time of year I think about the new things I want to experience in the new year: new food, new places, and new attitudes. What will be my next oyster?

New Photography

Personal, Photography

In my photography portfolio (seen here) I chose to include only photos from my semester in Italy. Now, since my job requires me to use my camera more and more, I found a new hobby in photography. Why deny yourself the joy of what you personally find visually pleasing? The following photos are from the last few months.

When I returned from Florence, I thought that I would never be able to assimilate back into my old life. I thrived in Italy, and discovered passions for cooking, photography, and language. So it was a real bummer to return home, having to complete one of the most challenging semesters of my college career, and encountering some unexpected roadblocks on the way. When I began my Fall semester I was at a less-than-satisfactory internship, and I did something that I never thought I would ever do. I walked away. I acknowledged that even interns (let alone “one of the best interns”-not my words) should be treated better. I fell into sadness when I heard about my great-grandma passing away, a woman who meant so much to me. I fell into anger, and pain when I heard about someĀ otherĀ less than satisfactory occurrences. All I thought was “maybe I should’ve stayed in Italy.” Sometimes I still think that, but more so because I miss drinking an Aperol spritz in a piazza at sunset.

Why am I telling you this? Growth is important. Longing, and sadness and, anger are important to facilitate that growth. I look back on photos of myself from Freshman year and I thank whatever power above that I look and feel different. It shows that I experienced life that changed me, inside and out, and it was clearly for the better.

So here are some photos of experiences in the past few months, post-Italy, that have reminded me that getting out of bed is important.

A musician’s guide to photography

Photography

Recently my job has required me to take photos and with my amateur abilities and desire to improve my skills, I did not hesitate to undertake the task.

I photograph musicians. Unfortunately, in my photography class I recognized that portrait photography was not my strength. Give me an open field or an array of architecture and I’m in heaven, but give me a model and they’ll look their worst. I am also a musician and am often the subject of less than flattering stage photography.

The room I photograph in, a beautiful, light-wood recital hall, is also difficult to photograph in so here are my few tips about taking and editing these kinds of pictures.

First, I either keep my camera on it’s portrait setting (a low aperture and low shutter speed with a varying ISO) or I keep the shutter speed high to at least maintain sharpness and edit colors and exposure after.

Angles are an obstacle. It’s distracting to walk around, especially during a performance for a smaller audience. I abused the zoom and tried to get some early shots during tuning to get the best close-up shots of the musicians.

When editing the photos, cropping and adjusting the exposure are options that exist to enhance the photos. If you’re just snapping pictures rapidly, sometimes you can’t properly frame the photo. I tried to keep the “temperature” of the photos consistent throughout by balancing the orange-ness of the room with cooler tones on photoshop.

Understanding the basics of Photoshop photo editing can be useful to people like me who are suckered into a pseudo photographer position while working primarily with marketing and social media. I use the Curves feature to balance the temperature of the photo, the Levels feature to adjust the contrast, and the Brightness feature to bring out darker features (especially when everyone is wearing black). Inverting masks, cropping to focus, and gradient tools are also useful, but I recommend playing around with Photoshop to figure out your preferred method and style of photo editing.