Friday, April 26, 2013

Flowers In An Exhibition

I always love this time of year because so many of the things I like about the area occur in the Spring. One of my favorites is the St. Augustine Garden Show. This year they had several themes that seemed to really  inspire exhibitors and as a result had some breathtaking displays.

I took loads of  pictures and could not bring myself to exclude anything. And so, I did the next best thing, which was a video where I could include a sizable number of the displays and plants!

I think after viewing the video, you too will realize why I love this time of year. Prepare to be amazed...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stumbled Upon Surprises

I'm always pleasantly surprised when I go out to take photos and discover something that really peaks my interest and turns out to be even better than the normal street scene! Jacksonville was hosting it's first ever "One Spark" inventor and creator festival. I carried my smaller camera expecting to take photos but once on site discovered there was such vibrant activity that video was a better way to capture it, and I did not have my HD camera. But, no matter, I was still able to capture the fun atmosphere of the event.

The rules of the competition were that each presenter had a number and if you liked their project then you could vote for them to win the competition in various categories. That said, I decide to let you see who I voted for and also provide a chance to relive the event through each video. As usual, click each photo or video for a better view. 

I first encountered the group Elestical Sound and thought they were great. They played everything from New Age type to music you would expect to hear on Smooth Jazz radio, all under this wonderfully funky canopy. My video of them was not that great so I decided to include a photo of them in a video along with various sights of the festival and use their music as background.

Next came the Cel Project, an environmental group that uses containers to build schools, nurseries, and housing in under developed countries. The presenter was very personable and loaded with information. Each time I watch her on the video I have to smile because she is so passionate and bubbly!

I could not resist this guy because he had the novel idea of renting and providing bike valet service.He was into the fun of the event and had all kind of bikes for anyone tired of trying to walk the different venues.

The Jacksonville Zoo was also a competitor and was seeking votes for its new Tiger Trails, which would provide ranging room for a new tiger habitat. They wanted votes and were nicely hunting down people to get them.

Another competitor I fell in love with was the very inventive number 767.  they was seeking funds to place murals around the city. I thought their bill board high above the festival was a great marketing idea. And, I have to give them props for having the chops to back up their very high profile.

Their mural speaks for itself! I love the way the frog is holding a fisherman in his hands after swallowing his line!

But the absolute hit of the festival was the group Fathom Sphere and one of it's performers AJ! This group was amazing in putting together their own promo videos and then presenting one of the most engaging performances of the festival. I watched their performance and could not resist thinking that I had had the pleasure of viewing an up and coming buzz band. Others seem to have thought the same because Fathom Sphere won first prize in the music category. Just a hint of things to come for this group! Take a listen and you will understand why... 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Photography Is Light!

I've mentioned before that I joined a photography group and I am really enjoying all the things I'm learning. One of the main things that has been so wonderfully illustrated to me is that "photography is light." I will admit I considered light as I went about taking pictures, but the group has demonstrated to me what an amazingly powerful thing it is and how it can be used to make good pictures better. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

The group recently attended a light studio to learn how to create your own light sources for things like light boxes, overhead lighting, and even how to use everyday items to make light work for you.

I was really taken with the light circle above because it accomplishes so much and yet there is a subtle simplicity to it. The instructor explained that he simply bought plywood, cut it into a circle, and then attached light sockets to create the perfect lighting for portraits. It made all the difference as we watched his model move closer and then further away from the light, and watched how her features softened at a certain distance. 

This was my first chance to work with a model and the other thing that really struck me is that the camera really does add pounds. I say that because this particular model was the thinnest person I had ever seen, and yet looks almost a normal size in the picture. 

I won't give away all their tricks but there were a few I know you will appreciate. First, was the mixing bowl converted into a light reflector. Here are two of the same type only one has been painted and the other left clear. All that was required was to cut out a portion of the back and put in a small pizza dish to reflect the light back into the converted reflector. Neat idea huh?

Next, a simple method to create a light box. A similar process applies of cutting out a portion in the back to insert your light and have it amplified in the foil covered inside to shine on your subject. Again, simple and yet elegant to inexpensively work with light.For those who want to spend their money on a good camera but don't have the finances to cover all the other expensive items it can be a life saver!

And finally, if you don't want to wrestle with filters, you can set the tone with lights and something as simple as a Japanese lantern. For this scene you almost expect to see a Jazz singer lounging on the couch, the mood has been set so perfectly.

I really enjoyed the event and learned a great deal that I will incorporate into both my photography and the short film I am putting the finishing touches on (yes, what works for photography is pretty much the same in film). Lights, camera... action!