Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Feeling WIGgy and Loving It!

I have been quietly contemplating a project for the past two weeks, ever since an idea popped into my head.  I have spent many of my waking hours pondering the project: Will this work?  How would I xyz? Does it have merit?  Why should ‘I’ do this and not someone else?  Is this as CRAZY as it seems? Etc., etc., etc.!  I am a passionate person and I do often find myself going full steam ahead when I get an idea, but this one has me feeling such a myriad of things that it’s hard to narrow down if A) I’m super excited and really believe I’m the perfect person to do this or B) if it really is a ridiculous notion that should never be spoken of again?! 

As often happens when you need a little direction, enlightenment, or encouragement it will present itself and today was no different! This morning I was blessed with two truly remarkable and inspiring notions that seemingly closed the chasm between the cheering and the mocking in my head.

Today’s first inspiration was presented as a post on Facebook; my good friend and all-around AMAZING woman, Candace W., shared the following quote by Albert Einstein:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Wow!  I can’t imagine that this quote wouldn’t resonate with every individual on earth…we are all unique and worthy and capable of pursuing a path that was quite possibly specifically designed for us!  It is so easy to believe the criticisms, including those that are indirect, veiled or invented by us and our fears, and forget that we have characteristics, abilities, experiences, inherent traits, and talents that combine to make us the perfect, and perhaps only, person able to conceive of a particular idea (especially those that seem outrageous) and then make it happen!

A little later in the morning, Oprah emailed me (we’re tight! :) ) within which was included a link to an article by Martha Beck.  The title of the article is Dream Big: Why You Need Wildly Improbable Goals”.  Beck speaks of these dreams as WIGs and says that they are flashes that pop into our heads unexpectedly.  She says that when we have one of these flashes we must listen - when our inner selves speak to us, it is all too easy to dismiss the idea as too crazy, too impossible, too unlikely, but if we let it resonate we just might discover our life’s path!  The other critical component is that we nurture our spirits so that we are healthy enough to pursue what might appear crazy to others (and potentially, especially in the early going, to us too!).  Beck writes, “Just as a run-down body may be unable to conceive a healthy new life, a run-down soul can't support the healthy development of the life you were meant to have.”

And so...I had the flash, I’ve battled the urge to dismiss the idea outright, I’ve already taken steps toward achieving my WIG, and I am feeling ALIVE and EXCITED and, shhhh, a little nervous!

Due to the nature of the idea I don’t feel that describing it here and now is wise nor necessary; I do however hope that one day, in the next year or two, I will write another blog post on this subject telling you all about my impossible goal and it's completion!  For now, let us go forward with each of us paying particular attention to those random thoughts that come out of nowhere, and which may very likely change our lives, whilst reminding ourselves how incredibly unique, talented, and wonderful we each are!  Pursue your dreams and don't let anyone, especially yourself, get in the way!


Life is good!



You may read Martha Beck’s full article here: http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Wildly-Improbable-Goals/1

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An apple: simple, right?

On Friday I shot a product line for a friend and entrepreneur...it was my first foray into shooting commercial products and, just like anything, it was fun AND had its challenges!

My friend's company, Virescence - Becoming Green (www.becominggreen.ca), sells handmade, organic products for babies.  Her mission is to provide earth-friendly products that: leave the least harmful environmental footprint, support the Canadian economy (she chooses Canadian products in her business wherever possible), and are safe for our babies.  I've had the pleasure of using a few of her offerings on newborn shoots and I LOVE THEM!

One of the images she wanted was of a green, ceramic apple.  The apple has served as one of the inspirations for her company branding, colours, and logo; it is also a perfect pairing for what her company is aiming to provide - natural products that are clean and safe for our little ones!

So, shooting a lone apple on a white backdrop should be relatively simple, right?  I WISH!  I actually knew that it would be a little challenging and it didn't let me down!  The biggest issue was with reflection...this is the first shot in the series; taken so that I might visualize what the camera would record:

I've added notes identifying where some of the reflections were coming from.  Clearly I was going to have to find a way of diminishing everything that was being reflected off the apple.  I was shooting on top of a piece of white Plexiglas with a white seamless paper backdrop.  The key light was a large softbox on camera right and there was another strobe lighting the backdrop with an umbrella as the diffuser.  It occurred to me that if I 'stole' the white Plexiglas from the tabletop I could use it as a second diffuser to the softbox light and it would double-duty as a clean reflection point for the apple.  Of course this was only going to diminish the one reflection, but what about everything else that was visible from the room?  Together with my friend/client/assistant!, we used 2x4 pieces of foam core to surround the remaining three sides of the apple; leaving only the top and a 'witch's hat' portion on the front open to the room.  Below you can see the improvement and also the need for further work:

The above image is the one I chose to work on in post-production (Photoshop CS4).  I brightened the image using the selective colour tool, I augmented the green using selective colour, I used the patch tool and the healing brushes to eliminate/lessen the final reflections/hot spots and did some other minor touch ups.  The final image is below (although I did crop it to square when I posted it to Facebook):

I am really happy with the final image and it was a good lessen in being prepared for these types of shoots...I could have purchased a light tent ahead of time, I might have used a polarizing filter to diminish the reflections (had I thought of it in the moment!), and I should probably add some clamps and white gaffer's tape to my bag!

The end result is that I feel like my client has images she can now use to market her products on her website and I have one more experience under my belt!  You may visit Bella Faccia's Facebook page to see a few more images from this shoot at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.225462277508110.59012.104046832982989&type=1.

I was lucky that my 'first time' was with a friend and really warm-hearted person - this trait never goes unnoticed by me and makes life and business so much better!  Her easy-going demeanour allowed me the freedom and comfort to spend the extra time on the 'apple shot'!  So, go forward without fear and do your best...good advice in all aspects of photography and life!

Life is good!