Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unexplored Territory..........

I woke up on Sunday happy, but tired after teaching the second part of my "Flower Workshop" on Saturday. Even though I had a two page to-do list, I knew that what I really needed was a day off.

Inspired by Bob Ellis and his wife Diane, I asked my husband if he was up for "a drive".  Bob and Diane do this almost every weekend and Bob always returns with some wonderful images from his adventures.

I suggested we go to Capay Valley, a mostly rural valley northwest of Sacramento. One of the things the area is known for is it's "Almond Festival", so finding some blooming orchards were a possibility. While there were a few, I didn't really start taking photographs until we got deeper into the valley and started walking around "Cowboy Camp". This seasonal equestrian campground had some trails down to Cache Creek (the real thing, not the casino.)

It's always fun to explore an area you have never visited before and I look forward to going back. Here are a few of the images from that day.......................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

©2012 Dianne Poinski

Found this older orchard earlier in the day..................

©2012 Dianne Poinski

Hope to get a chance to hand color a few these soon!

Later this week: My "Project 365" (plus 1) continues...........................

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Here Comes the Sun..............

I want to share a little of the "behind the scenes" preparation that went into setting up for my flower workshop and the images I shared on Tuesday.  Before I do that, I must explain how the seasonal change in the angle of the sun brought with it a couple of challenges.  As a photographer I pay attention to this sort of thing and love the winter light. Outside that is......not so much in my studio.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I moved into my studio last May and was delighted to discover that the large south facing windows were perfect for setting up my backdrops and photographing flowers. I had a flawless system all summer.

Then I started noticing a difference in the quality of light streaming through those same windows. It had become harsh and direct. Not only would this be a problem for the flower workshop I had scheduled in February, but it would also prove to be an issue for my hand coloring classes as well.

©2012 Dianne Poinski

I was setting up for one class last fall when there were still a few leaves on the trees. Combine these leaves with a slight breeze and the angle of the sun and what you had on the tables reminded me of the laser light shows I use to go to in the 70's. This was not going to work without some sort of way to block the windows. I experimented for the hand coloring classes and made it work, but I knew the sun was still going to be a problem in February and was concerned about how I was going to set up for the flower workshop.

I do most of my flower photography using window light, but it must be diffused and soft. I solved the winter light problem by buying tension shower curtain rods that could be temporarily placed in the bay windows with white shower curtains. (The "temporary" part is important....ask my studio mates.) All for under $25!

For the rest of the setup I used backdrops that I bought from Table Top Studios (you can also use any fabric), florist foam or vases and a white board as a reflector. It's fairly simple (and a lot of fun!)

It's easier to just show photos. This is the set up for the two images in this post.

I can't wait to start hand coloring some of these tulip photographs. I am really feeling the need for some quiet time and I can't think of a better way to get that than hand coloring................

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tulip Tuesday............

This past weekend was part one of my "Flower Class". In this workshop I set up backdrops, buy flowers and help the students create floral compositions in my studio. It's great fun and I will share more about the class later in the week.

When I went flower shopping for the workshop, there was an abundance of tulips to choose from, including parrot tulips.  I love those flowers and don't see them very often!

The day before the class I made sure everything was working by setting up my own shots, trying hard not to damage any of the flowers. I really didn't expect any blooms to survive the class, but when I was cleaning up I was delighted to find quite a few tulips still in good form. I stayed in my studio and photographed until there was virtually no light left coming through my studio windows.

  ©2012 Dianne Poinski

Today is also "Texture Tuesday". This week's challenge was to use Kim Klassen's "Felicity" texture. In this image I used "Felicity" with a soft light blending mode at 100%. I also used her "Luminous" texture at 62%, again using the soft light blending mode.


The following two images, taken the day before the class, are of some of the other tulips I had on hand. I used "Felicity" on them as well.

©2012 Dianne Poinski
©2012 Dianne Poinski
I will share more about the set up for these images and what we did in the class, later this week.

Be sure to check out Kim's "Texture Tuesday" post to see what other people created with this week's texture. It's an amazingly talented group of photographers that participate. Here is the link: Kim Klassen Cafe

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

simple grace - the video

First of all, I want to thank everyone that pre-ordered my book "simple grace" last week. It looks like I might be getting those shipped a little earlier than I thought. Details about the hardcover book are on my website: diannepoinski.com

This week I want to announce that a softcover book as well as an ebook version can be purchased directly from Blurb. The softcover book will not be signed or include one of the small "thank you" gifts that arrive with the hardcover version, but other than that, it's the same book. Click here for more information: Blurb

Not being happy with the preview offered on the Blurb website, I decided to make my own. Watch the video (be sure to turn on your speakers!) to view all the images featured in "simple grace". The book includes text that you will not see in the video, but it will give you a good idea about the contents. If you are receiving this post in an email and the video is not showing up, click here: YouTube


In my excitement to get the news out last week, I failed to mention that a portion of the net proceeds from the sale of the book during the month of February will be donated to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.

If you have questions about any of this, please email me at diannepoinski@gmail.com

I already have plans for my next book, but you won't have to read about it for 2 years before it happens. I promise!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bare Trees............

Besides being one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, I have discovered how much I love photographing bare trees.

One of the reasons this is a new delight for me is because during the dark winter months, you can usually find me inside my studio photographing flowers. I am still doing that, but I have also been spending more time outside this year (partially because of our lack of rain).

Working on my "Project 365" with my iPhone, I began noticing how beautiful tree branches look without leaves on them. They soon became one of my favorite things to point my camera iPhone at. It could be sunny out with blue skies, or foggy and dreary, it didn't matter......I simply loved the images I was getting.

Wanting to also capture these compositions with my Nikon, I got out early the other day to take advantage of one of our foggy mornings. What follows are a few of my favorite images.

The first two are looking up and the second two are branches with the American River in the background.

©2012 Dianne Poinski
©2012 Dianne Poinski
©2012 Dianne Poinski
©2012 Dianne Poinski

Once again, my intention to photograph daily has sparked a new creative inspiration. I know it is a common subject, but it's like I am seeing those branches for the first time and I am having so much fun!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hard to Believe.....................

I have in my hands what may be the last "proof" of my book "Simple Grace"! I was nervous waiting for this copy to arrive because if this version wasn't close to perfect, I truly believe I would have put the project on hold for another few months (or longer....or forever).

Luckily I don't have to do that. There are still a few tweaks I have to make, but I am ready to put it out there and already have it posted on my website for pre-orders.

A display of all my "proof" books..........

One of the ideas floating in my head all along was to package the book with prints or originals. I have mentioned the cost of self publishing before, so by combining "Simple Grace" with some of the actual artwork used to create the book, I can offer a better value.

I shared in "Another Update.....", that I was adding black and white photographs to the book and included a few images in that post. Today I was excited to add "Bloom" to my home page as the "Image of the Month" and offer it along with "Simple Grace" as one of the first "packages".

©2012 Dianne Poinski  

So my friends............... it looks like this dream is about to become a reality and I am pretty sure that if I hadn't written about this project so publicly, I would have given up a long time ago.

Thank you for all your encouragement, support, helpful hints, links and ideas. I couldn't have done this without you!

I may have a slide show or something featuring the images from the book to share next week..........Stay tuned...................

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Back to Yolo........

On Sunday, before my husband went off to enjoy the Super Bowl festivities, we went back to visit the Yolo Wildlife Area. There were some nice clouds in the sky and only a gentle breeze, unlike our visit a few weeks earlier.

While driving in, going the opposite direction from last time, I noticed this row of trees. Using my Nikon D300, I shot quite a few frames and decided to play with this image for Kim Klassen's "Texture Tuesday" challenge this week.

©2012 Dianne Poinski
While the entire sky was pretty cool, I decided to crop this and make it a panoramic. The textures gave me some ideas for hand coloring (which they often do....) so plan to see this one pop up again later.

Here are the details:   "Portrait" texture - blending mode: color (first time I used this!) 100%
                                   "Golden" - soft light at 67%

This is how it looked straight out of the camera:

Here is one more from Sunday:

©2012 Dianne Poinski
On this image I only used "Portrait" with the "color" blending mode at 73%. I applied a layer mask on the top to take away some of the texture from the sky.

Even though I am not a football fan, it was still the perfect day. Spend time outside on a beautiful afternoon with my husband, then hours of uninterrupted time on my computer while he is off enjoying the game with his friends.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Be Happy......................

February 1, 2012

I am going to talk just a little more about my "Project 365" and what it has done for my mood and my creativity.

My love affair with photography began almost 20 years ago. After five years of working with straight black and white images, I started hand coloring almost every print I made. With this came a shift in the subjects I focused on (no pun intended......). I became very deliberate about what I was shooting, which can be a good thing, but I discovered it was also very limiting. I was no longer catching the everyday moments or photographing something "just because".

I thought digital would change that but instead I became overwhelmed with the number of images on my computer and decided once again to limit myself.

Then I got the iPhone and everything changed. All of a sudden I always had a camera with me and because I was shooting purely for me and no one else, the sky was the limit as far as my subject matter was concerned. (I do have quite a few "sky" photos now too!) Everywhere I looked I saw possibility, beauty, humor and inspiration. I also began to slow down so I wouldn't miss anything. (Believe me, I needed this.....)

In my "pre-iPhone life", I probably would have seen the chalk writing on the sidewalk, but I wouldn't have stopped and really looked at it! Pausing to take this picture brought a smile to my face.

Which brings me to my next point. I do believe I am feeling happier and lighter since I began this project. I have been reminded how much joy photography brings to my life.

So like I mentioned above, I am seeing differently these days. I have noticed the early sun coming through my bedroom curtains for 16 years, but the other day it felt like the first time I actually "saw" it and I loved how it made me feel.

January 28, 2012

I have been going to the co-op to grocery shop for years, but never really noticed the beautiful colors or the way they displayed the produce.........

January 20, 2012

Last weekend I was at my studio and for the first time "saw" how much character this doorknob had.....

January 29, 2012

You get the idea....................As we get further into the year it may become a little more difficult to find interesting and different things to photograph, but it's a challenge that I am ready to take on.

Besides providing many hours of fun and creativity, this exercise has also helped me with my "other" photography (notice I did not say "my real photography"). Last week I was going through some of the photographs on my computer and began to notice images I had never "seen" before. Why did I pass these up? What's different now? What's different is I am using parts of my imagination that may have begun to get a little stale. I know that this is the honeymoon phase and it won't last forever, but I am going to enjoy it while I can.

To end this post I thought I would share a shot of my "calendar" of images..............