Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Here! {Jose Villa's new photo book}

Before finishing off some of my last photo classes at Emily Carr, one of the things our profs kept insisting upon was the fact that we would miss our 'crits' (in-class critiques that are de rigueur for art students) once we'd left art school. I was somewhat skeptical as I'd spent five years cringing as professors and peers alike picked apart my work. Five years of biting my lip and hoping that the crit would be over fast...somewhat in the fashion of pulling off a Band-Aid if you do it the way I do...rrrippp! But critiques if anything, are not fast in nature, and whole DAYS could be spent reviewing the work of an entire class. Yeah, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to miss those goodies.

*Just a note: I don't think any of us were downright mean to each other in critiquing our work...it's just that artwork comes from someplace deep and personal (unless you threw something together at the last minute which I'm pretty sure we were all guilty of at one time or another) and I found any criticism to be a bit of a blow, even if I knew it was well-meant and dead-on.

Anyway, a year or so after graduating (so, 2008) I found myself craving a good critique. Being self-employed wasn't easy and not having a community of artists to bounce ideas off of was a downright bummer. As I've spent the last several years in a somewhat transient state, finding that sort of community has not been as high on my priority list as I would have liked. Even less so has been seeking out seminars and workshops to attend within my chosen field.

(Okay, I know I'm starting to sound like a total downer, but just wait, it gets better. MUCH better).

So I started collecting books. Books written by photographers who are really, truly making it and not compromising their artistry. Of course now that I'm finally settled I have started building a community of photographers to network with, have found some GREAT photography blogs to follow, and have big plans to attend the 2012 WPPI event in Las Vegas.

But I still collect books. And today, just released and just arrived on MY doorstep was Jose Villa's new book "Fine Art Wedding Photography". It is gorgeous, chock full of great advice, and everything that old, stodgy wedding photography is NOT. {Cue the Hallelujah Chorus right about NOW}.

I was so mesmerized by the book, I totally forgot that I had steelhead fillets baking in the oven for a late lunch. Thankfully I saved them before they dried out. Anyway, back to class critiques and how they got me to this place...the advice of both seasoned professionals and peers is a thing to be treasured, no matter how painful it might be. And while nowadays I'd have to pay Jose Villa a pretty penny to review my work, I only had to pay $19.99 for 159 pages of the man's advice! Not to mention a collection of his glorious images to boot.

If you're a photographer, bride, member of a wedding party, a part of the wedding industry, or just a sentimental schmuck like me, I highly recommend ordering a copy of "Fine Art Wedding Photography" by Jose Villa & Jeff Kent. But especially if you're a wedding photographer...because here's a guy who's proven to be overwhelmingly successful in a very tough market, yet still maintains a beautiful sense of artistry, design, and timelessness. And that is something each of us in the business should seriously take to heart.

Have you checked out Villa's new book? Leave your thoughts below!

On Friday I'll be posting a list of some of my favourite resources for photographers
...stay tuned!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Beating the Winter Blues with Photos from Cuba

After reading several recent blog posts written by my fellow Canucks, (those living north of the 49th parallel) who are chomping at the bit for spring to arrive, I felt compelled to bust out some of my Cuba photos with the hope that the warm textures and vibrant colours would help to stave off the cabin fever just a wee bit longer! If you happen to be somewhere warm and sunny, good for you. Send me a postcard while you're at it! And if you're here with me in rainy northern California, well, perhaps you need a good dose of sunshiny-goodness too. Not to mention an extra shot of rum in that mojito that you're about to go mix up!

Happy Friday folks...enjoy your weekend and ¡Viva Cuba!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Albert + Jaimie at the Palace of Fine Arts

I've been dying to do a shoot at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts since we moved out here, and finally got the chance with Albert & Jaimie recently. We met at sunset, braved the chilly ocean air, and shot like crazy try to sneak in as many shots before the sun could dip into the Pacific. Well, more than likely it sunk below the Golden Gate Bridge and the surrounding hills before that, but the Pacific is most definitely the last thing the sun cast its rays upon before night fell in San Francisco!

Sigh...so I got my shoot at the Palace. I should be satisfied right? Nope. I want MORE!!! I'm so inspired by the endless possibilities for unique lighting situations amidst such dramatic columns, archways, and architectural detailing. I'd love to get there before sunrise to see the fog rise up off the pond and watch the eastern light warm the cool dome; I'd love to shoot there during a storm and photograph a couple taking shelter from the rain; I really want to go back once the summer comes and linger during the longest sunset of the year. Ideas...how great is it that we can never run out!!!

Got creative ideas to share? Locations you love? Leave your suggestions below!

Want to book a shoot? Come on, you know you do... Contact me and we'll drum up something fabulous and romantic!

Cheers to you all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Comings + Goings

I find I have not much to say about these photos only that I LOVE THEM! It's so rare that I get a chance to sort through, edit, and share photos from my personal life, but with so many visitors and visiting of our own lately I carved out time to make sure these received my attention.

Here are a few highlights from the past couple months' comings and goings:

-My parents' visit after the holidays. We had a great time showing them the city and our favourite wineries. We kill ourselves laughing every time we're together and I wouldn't have it any other way. I also bested them at Scrabble which was a lifetime first. They're fierce competitors and I was pretty proud that I'd finally schooled them!

-Bronwyn's 10-day visit on her way from Texas back to Calgary. Let me just say that we put away some pretty amazing food while that girl was in town. She's a truly inventive cook and a we spent a good bit of time not only cooking but talking about food and trying local specialties.

-Our trip to SoCal. Will had never been to southern California before, so we took the long weekend to go down and stay with the Jonkers...a family that's been like family to me for the past decade. On the Saturday I took Will out to Aguanga where I lived the year after high school (working on a ranch of sorts) and on Sunday we all went out to Anza-Borrego State Park. It was a quick trip, but a great chance to visit with good friends and get out on the road.

-Lauren & Elena's visit. My cousins from Saskatchewan (gorgeous girls with Disney princess eyes) came for a week during their school break and we had a great time bashing around the city, picnicking in the hills, and eating loads of great food. No wine-tasting though ;-) A favourite: Celebrating our Mennonite heritage and cooking beet borscht and baking rhubarb & strawberry platz. Oh. Yum.

Isn't my dad SO striking in this B&W pic!? He has the most piercing eyes!

I love deserts when they go through a brief stint as green and grey places. I especially love when late afternoon light hits the land and dark skies loom in the background...it's my all-time favourite lighting and I had to get a photo with it! I also have wanted to photograph this tree for over ten years and finally got my chance!

Talk about a stunning view from the loo ! And speaking of stunning...isn't Shannon just RADIANT?! And I have to say, my man looks pretty awesome too!

Oh San Francisco...how I love this newly adopted city!

I'd love to know which photos are favourites of yours!!! It feels so good to finally share them!