Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Portraits of a Little Lady

I love watching kids grow up. Just a few months apart makes the changes more discernible. I have been photographing Allessandra since she was born, and she has become quite the little charmer. Here she is pretty in pink.

This black and white photo hints at what she may look like when she gets older which is the perfect combination of Mom and Dad. She was photographed using old fashioned tungsten hot lights... which produces a different look in my opinion. Plus, they can heat a room on a cold day.

It is obvious that she loves her Daddy. I like how their faces are so close here.

She is getting taller than Pops (as long as he is sitting on the ground).

There is no such thing as a subtle smile at 4, as you can see here with Mom and Dad.

It was dreary outside but a little flash trickery made it look like a lovely Spring day with Mom.

I'm sure the neighbors did not mind me using their azaleas as a backdrop.

I noticed on the way back inside that the red door would make a great background for her blue polka dotted dress. A moment later she leaned against the unlatched door and tumbled backwards. She was unhurt, but the look on her face was utter surprise. What a trooper!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hidden Garden Get Away in Asheville, North Carolina

For our eighth anniversary, my wife and I drove to Asheville, North Carolina for a fun filled weekend during the Fourth of July celebration. If you have never been to that town... put it on your list. Asheville is surrounded by rolling mountains which makes it a beautiful place to explore.

The pedestrian friendly town invites you to sight-see, shop, eat, drink and loaf about. There are tons of gluten-free and vegetarian options if you are into that. The food alone is worth the drive. The people are very laid back and friendly with several locals chatting us up for no other reason than to be neighborly.... and I thought Atlanta had the market cornered on Southern hospitality!

The night before we left, I packed a pile of camera gear to take with me including all types of lenses and flashes.  At the last minute, I decided to leave it all behind and take my iPhone and a Canon S100 which is a tiny point-and-shoot. 

Normally trips = photo safaris, but this time I wanted to spend time with Jenny. She was the whole reason for me being there and I wanted to concentrate on us having fun. 

Instead of staying in an holiday-priced hotel, Jenny found us a micro house which was amazing... and half the cost. The host's house can be seen to the right for size comparison.

A micro house can be many things, but in this case it was a wonderful one room modern bungalow surrounded by a lush garden. 

This was one of the coolest places we have ever stayed including swanky hotels in big cities.

The structures and garden were the result of many years of work by the owner who is a home remodeler and a landscaper. He is also a heck of a nice guy welcoming us with warmth and kindness.

We spent a few hours exploring in the gardens and seeing different things. Below is an old stucco shed that had be refaced with bamboo and reclaimed corrugated metal siding.

The location used to be a stone quarry and evidence of that can be seen in the sheer rock faces that surround 3 sides of the garden.

Much of the rock has foliage growing over it and the walls have cascading icicles in the winter.

So many details can be discovered in the garden. 

Some of the plants were throw-aways from other people's yards. They found a new life here.

Bamboo gardens rustled in the mountain breezes, which was incredibly peaceful. Sunlight seemed to turn green as it filtered through the leaves...

Bamboo was used as a recurring theme throughout the garden and structures.

Spike the cat will greet you and make you feel like a welcome guest.

Since I had a point-and-shoot, we just had fun taking photos. If something did not turn out right... who cares? We were were on vacation. 

For once it was nice to just be in the moment and not worry about the technical side of things... just capture the snapshot and keep going.

Our favorite activity (besides stuffing our faces) was exploring the vast arts district full of fantastic old warehouses.  It was an incredible trip and one we plan on repeating in the future.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Dog With Aerodynamic Ears

Sometimes my wife and I babysit for her coworkers. The child that we watch is the 4-legged variety, which means no diaper changing... thank goodness. The little sweetheart's name is Spooner and he is a 10 year old Boston Terrier with a gentle personality.

Boston Terriers are a dear to us because that is our canine breed of choice, having had 4 of them. All had large pointed ears which stood up straight giving them the appearance of strange bunnies or bats. Below, Zack is sneaking a kiss to the chagrin of Spooner... (wish the focus was better).

Spooner on the other hand, has aerodynamically streamlined ears that seem to be located on the back of his melon-shaped head. Below, it looks like he stuck his noggin out of a car window.

This physical characteristic was not something that I really noticed until I tried to take a photograph of him in a makeshift studio in my kitchen. Where did his ears go?

When making dog portraits, I use an old muslin backdrop because seamless paper is easily punctured by dog claws. To see his ears, I had to shoot at a very high "over the head" angle.

Probably my favorite photo shows him as he really is... stubby ears and all. The "S" on his chest could also stand for "Super" because that is what Spooner is.