Love In California
My sister recently got married to her life partner of several years now. The wedding was at a nice cabin in Lake Tahoe, California. (Lake Tahoe area is beautiful; I recently posted some iPhone 6 photographs of that area.)
I wasn’t the “official” photographer and really haven’t photographed a wedding whatsoever since like 2009; (that’s kinda my past road and my current interests are food/street/travel). Since I am her sister, I was “in” the intimate wedding, less than 20 people total (wonderful!), not “hired” as a photographer. I didn’t even have what would be my usual wedding gear. Just a single dSLR and zoom lens.
Anyway, she decided to simply have everyone take smartphone photographs and share them via Instagram or/and Facebook. I did post a few on my Instagram, but also made a few with my dSLR, including the ones above. It was a lovely wedding. (Great cake too!)
I post processed these photographs in Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC 2014. Seamless process and I am really in love with Lightroom 5 OMFG. I just feel silly that I waited so long to switch over from Aperture 3.
Wishing my sister the absolute best and happiness forever. ❤
Gorgeous Wedding Cake
My sister recently got married in the beautiful Lake Tahoe, which I shared iPhone 6 photographs of recently. Her cake was so beautiful. But that’s not all. it actually tasted good. An actually good tasting wedding cake. This…has been rare in my experience. The top cake was a rum cake. The bottom was vanilla bean. Perfection!
iPhone 6 + Lake Tahoe
I recently visited Lake Tahoe for a first time with family. One of my sisters got married there. It’s as beautiful as you would imagine from a Google search of images.
I brought my iPhone 6 with me. I do like the rear camera and felt pleased with the photographs that I posted on Instagram; some of them above. (My FaceTime camera is defective from shipping; ugh; a new phone is supposedly on the way from slow ass T-Mobile; but my rear camera works).
I did shoot with my dSLR as well. However for only a second time in my life I had memory card failure. I was devastated. I tried everything possible to recover the images lost. Tried FOUR recovery programs. Nothing. Anyway, at least the few photographs that I took at her wedding (I was not the hired gun; she’s my sister so I was in the wedding) are okay.
So in essence, it’s GREAT that I had an iPhone 6 with me or I would have no photographs of the actual lake and woods at all!
First Photographs With The iPhone 6
I upgraded from my iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6. I decided not to get the iPhone 6 Plus, despite its slightly better camera than the 6, because of the size. I simply do not want a phone that big. I have an iPad Mini with Retina Display and the iPhone 6 Plus just gets too close to that size.
When I first started playing with the camera a couple of days ago, I didn’t like my outdoor shots, so I will retest tomorrow. I dunno what was going on. Anyway, last night I decided to do some test shots indoors. Since my makeup kit and jewelry were nearby, I used those. Placed the items on copy paper, house lamp, shot in HDR mode on iPhone 6, post processed in VSCO Cam® for iPhone. I only used Photoshop CC 2014 to add my logo for the blog, not for editing. These photographs are also on my Instagram profile in a smaller resolution.
Verdict? I like the iPhone 6 camera indoors. Again, I have to play with it outdoors and see how I feel about it. I will also do some indoor food photography (my primary interest, though my portfolio is a mixture of iPhone and dSLR photographs) with natural light with the iPhone 6 and see how I like those.
Though I am pissed about iOS8 being so buggy and ridiculous (though the announcement had me hopeful a few months ago), I ADORE the iPhone 6 design. It is the perfect size. It is gorgeous. I got a gold one with 64GB of memory, a huge upgrade for me from 16GB on the 5s.
So far I am pleased, but more testing to do and fun to have!
The camera does not matter; it is only a tool. What is important is the ability to transform an instance, a moment into a meaningful, expressive, and profound statement, some of which a personal, someone which have a symbolic and universal meaning.Earlie Hudnall
7 Steps for Photographers on Editing Video in Adobe Photoshop CC
This Scott Kelby video is great. I…have never edited video in Photoshop, like ever. It didn’t even cross my mind to bother since I haven’t moved into video education completely yet with Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Final Cut Pro X, but edited small video projects in Aperture 3 before I switched to Lightroom 5 recently.
In this video, he imports the video clips as layers, make them a single video file, trims each clip, adds text, adds music, adds fade in/transition effects and even applied Photoshop editing tools used for still photographs to the video clips. This last part is huge since in Aperture 3 (as I have not done any video in Lightroom 5 yet) all I could do was use their effects and had very limited creative control over video compared to still photographs.
This is too awesome. Great tutorial that I will try in the future!
Beverly Hills and Los Angeles
So these photographs above of Beverly Hills (considered its own city separate from Los Angeles) and a few more of LA wrap up my photographs from my recent California trip. I previously shared a link to my iPhone photographs throughout the trip on Instagram and photoblogs of Oakland, downtown San Francisco and others of Los Angeles. (Unless otherwise specified, my photographs on my blog are shot dSLR; since June, Instagram has been iPhone-only.)
For me, Beverly Hills felt kinda overrated just like Los Angeles did. I liked San Francisco (which I’ve been to before many times though Los Angeles was a new part of my Cali trip) and Oakland more!
Beverly HIlls reminds me of the Town of Palm Beach for opulence and Jupiter Island for wealth; both are in my home state Florida. Add in the palm trees and it was like being in Florida. For other visitors it seemed like a big deal. For me? I was like “oh okay.” I still had fun with my sister though; usually I am alone or with my best friend while photographing and traveling. This was my first time taking a trip with a family member.
My next adventure will be to simply focus on moving. As I explained on my womanist blog, been through a lot and needed these trips to de-stress somewhat. Once I’ve moved and safe (so to speak) and settled, I hope to find a good Orbitz (not business affiliated with them, I just use them) deal to visit NYC. It’s one of the few major cities I have not been to before.
Overall, my trip to California was great! Met some awesome Twitter buddies, had good rest, had fun with one of my sisters, enjoyed Beyonce’s concert a second time, and had an interesting time photographing!
As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality. It is a way of life.
I love this quote.
Downtown and Greater Los Angeles
As I mentioned in my previous photoblog of downtown San Francisco, I recently visited California (and my personal iPhone photographs from the trip in its entirety are on Instagram), which included Oakland as well. These photographs above are of Los Angeles.
I was mostly…underwhelmed. I have never been to Los Angeles prior, unlike San Francisco, which I’ve been to many times. I had fun now, any photographic opportunity is fun for me and I spent fun time with one of my sisters. But overall, even seeing some of the most historic spots I’ve heard about via pop culture references, like “go go,” comedy houses and Sunset Blvd. was cool but still not “WOW.” I dunno. (Side note: I did eat at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles; THE Roscoe’s; now that was glorious and spiritual experience.)
I did take some photographs in downtown LA at night, which was kinda terrifying. I am used to sketchy downtown areas in my state. LA felt totally different and not even remotely safe. I do like the night photographs I made though; I post processed them with a cross process filter to give them that grimy cinematic look that I like so much.
Thus, while I had fun photographing, in all honestly, my staycation in Miami—which is in my home state Florida—felt like better, more eventful photographs to me. I dunno.
Anyway, my next post from this trip will be photographs from Beverly Hills and more of Los Angeles!
Revisiting San Francisco
As I mentioned in my previous photoblog about Oakland, I recently visited California for some rest (desperately needed), fun and photography (and my personal iPhone photographs from the total trip are on Instagram).
During this trip, I also visited downtown San Francisco. Since I photographed The Golden Gate Bridge in 2008 and 2010, and Chinatown in 2010 (and a few photographs of this are in my posts from months ago on Instagram) this time I photographed around the downtown area, which the photographs above are of. There’s a lot of great shoppes and tall skyscrapers, like any other downtown area. However, the mood, while very busy, was still a lot calmer than major cities on the East Coast.
I had a good time walking around, just me and my dSLR (and well, my iPhone too; even made a selfie of my photowalking; kinda meta).
My next post will be of photographs of Los Angeles, because I visited there too.
First Extended Visit To Oakland
I recently vacationed (and visited my sister) in California for some rest, photography and some fun after what’s been an incredibly trying and stressful year. (Kinda why I also took a staycation in June in Miami and photographed there.) I lived in California for a short while in 2010 and 2011, so some of it I have photographed before (and are in past month’s posts on my Instagram page); some I have not.
Though I have been to Oakland before, it was only at night and for evening events, so this trip was the first time I got to create any photographs in Oakland. I did some walking around and took the BART train. Naturally, getting off at Fruitvale Station was difficult. Thought of Oscar Grant. Thought of the consistent state of extrajudicial killing and other racist State violence, some of the things that I write about on Gradient Lair. It was a sobering moment.
I also visited a great barber shop where I got my hair lined up. Very cool place. Saw some cool art and a neat classic sign. Saw Lake Merritt. For these photographs, I used my Canon dSLR and post-processed in Lightroom 5. I recently switched to the latter and I am in love. I am like…"Aperture who?" now.
On this same trip, I also re-visited San Francisco (didn’t photograph The Golden Gate Bridge this time, but there are photos of it on my Instagram page) and I visited Los Angeles for a first time. These aforementioned photographs will be shared in future posts and I’ll tag them all “Cali vacation.” (My iPhone photographs from my entire vacation are on my Instagram page.)
One of the troubling ideas that I see among photographers is that somehow when they are engaged in street photography, they have a “neutral gaze” where they simply “observe” and do not impact the surroundings. This myth is borrowed from colonialist mentality where the White Gaze is deemed a “neutral” one that can “observe” cultures through consumption, appropriation and exploitation, but that Gaze has no impact since they are not a part of the culture in question and thereby are “objective.” Such an “objectivity” rests on the illogical notion that one is “rational” if one is less informed and less experienced with the culture one gazes at. (It also rests upon a false notion that emotions and logic are completely divergent and raced/gendered.) It blatantly ignores the structural power that Whiteness affords. (In fact, see this great thread of people speaking on the colonialist gaze and Steve McCurry’s photograph of “Afghan Girl.”)
There is no neutral gaze. Our identities, privileges/oppressions, appearances and behaviors as photographers affect our experiences as photographers and as subjects. It affects how we interact with subjects and how subjects interact with us, period.
I’ve been out doing street photography and caught the eye of a White male photographer doing the same. We of course exchange the knowing photographer slight grin and keep moving. But let him walk by a group of men and ask to photograph them. The level of respect given to him and enthusiasm those men have is much different from those same men street harassing me if I don’t ask to photograph them or them assuming I have some sort of sexual interest in them if I do ask to photograph them.
There is no neutral gaze because there are no neutral identities. The idea that there is a neutral one rests upon White supremacy and how that creates the idea that White is “normal,” because of racism non-White is “not normal” and because of anti-Blackness Black is “not human.” And these particular politics cannot be ignored no matter how much complacency and ignorance some photographers have about people…yet they want to photograph people.
The fact that primarily cishet White male photographers give street photography “advice” to photographers yet never address how Black male photographers could experience police harassment or how women photographers, especially Black women, could experience street harassment, remains a problem. But let a cop harass a White male photographer, a man who would NEVER be harassed otherwise, and that’s the central focus of photography and harassment while doing street photography. Right.
There is no neutral gaze. There are no neutral experiences. There is no neutral identity.
Related Posts: 8 Good Reads On Black Women and Photography, As Photographers and/or Subjects, The Clients Who Didn’t Want A Black Woman As Their Photographer, Not All Street Photographers Are Treated The Same, Respect Subjects of Photojournalism and Street Photography, White Privilege and The Photography Industry
Staycation In Miami - Part V
This post contains the remainder of my Miami staycation photographs (though the more personal ones shot via iPhone 5s I posted to Instagram; all of the ones from my trip that are on my blog are Canon dSLR). I am in love with my first photo; the shade the unseen palm tree makes and the solitude of the chair screams peace and relaxation to me. I also was glad to capture more architecture and had to get at least one camera/photo store; I always do when I travel.
So these travel photographs (ones shared and ones not) are my first full set of photographs that I post-processed with Lightroom, as I mentioned that I switched from Aperture to Lightroom recently. It has been truly amazing and for me, lightyears ahead of Aperture. So far I have zero complaints about Lightroom 5.
Overall it was a great staycation. I need the rest badly. Badly! I also enjoyed the time on the Big Bus Tour shooting from a different perspective than I usually do (sitting on top of a double decker bus is a great vantage point), and I enjoyed some time alone for photowalks.
I’m going to San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and L.A. in a couple of weeks, possibly NY in September and Lake Tahoe in October, so I really look forward to my next travel photography experiences. (Also, I have tons of old travel photos—local, domestic and international, most pre-recession—further back in my Instagram feed.)
I really should write a book on "how to travel when broke but you use Orbitz and get good deals or know someone in the destination who will let you stay at their house versus going to a hotel because you need the change of scenery and rest for health purposes, let alone for photography."
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.
Love this quote; took a while before I photographed what I wanted, how I wanted and didn’t do so for other photographers’ or viewers’ approval. Difficult to skip over when you are a consumer photographer (wedding, portraits, events etc.) admittedly, as I was before. But now in recent years with a different direction and interest, I’ve reignited that deep joy that I have for photography and that feeling is everything.
I’ll be busy making art.