Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Flickr Find

I was just browsing around on flickr trying to decide what to post (and feeling very hungry apparently) when I found these...Cupcakes!!! I've always loved a good cupcake, they're the perfect size and they come in their own wrapping. There were actually quite a few pictures to wade through (and quite a few groups dedicated to cupcakes if you can believe it) but I chose these photos because, while the cupcakes look absolutely delicious, they are also well photographed (at least in my humble opinion). I think I'm going to try to bribe my sister to join me in making some yummy cupcakes this weekend! Hopefully they turn out half as good as these look. Have a great weekend everyone!!

rose cupcakes 1832, originally uploaded by hello naomi.

cupcakes, originally uploaded by MatthewA.

Sunflower Cupcakes, originally uploaded by PinkCakeBox.

glazed lemon cakes, originally uploaded by supergail.

IMG_02531, originally uploaded by mysweetandsaucy.

SWEETIE PIE, originally uploaded by snowy's goodthings.

valentine10, originally uploaded by mumutchan.

Rose Covered Cupcakes, originally uploaded by Bakerella.

Cupcake bouquet, originally uploaded by paulahennig.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Robert Socha Photography


I "met" the most incredibly talented photographer through the Etsy forums this weekend and am so excited to share his work with you!! I'm also happy to announce that he has graciously allowed me to interview him. I couldn't ask for a better candidate, he is talented, articulate and, to top things off, a genuinely nice person who truly cares about helping others. I was able to see that right off the bat not only from his Etsy shop, but also from his photography blog. Part of the proceeds from his sales at Etsy are donated to Children International, an organization where individuals can sponsor children living in extreme poverty around the world. Aside from this worthy cause, Robert is also dedicated to helping and encouraging other photographers (and amateurs like me) in their pursuit of the perfect photograph. He offers classes to teach the fundamentals of photography whether you are using a point and shoot digital camera or are more advanced. He also provides free tips and techniques on his blog. Robert just launched his gorgeous website to showcase his work...Check it out-it's beautiful and user-friendly!

So, lets get to know this remarkable photographer a little bit better, shall we?


When did you first become interested in photography? What type of training (if any?) have you had?
I can certainly thank my mother for introducing me to photography when I was very young. She is an artist and great photographer herself, and when I was…oh, less than 10 years old for sure, she would let me use her Pentax K1000 35mm.
I took that camera with me to Arizona to visit my grandmother and was hooked. I came home and made 8x10 enlargements and just loved the whole process.
The only training I’ve had was in highschool. The basic darkroom work. Other than that, I’m self taught. For photography I think once you have an understanding of how the camera works, you just need to shoot and develop your style and your creative eye. I have nothing against formal training but it’s not something I’ve been interested in. However, I’m always open to learning from other photographers, getting a different perspective and sharing ideas. That’s more helpful than a classroom.

Do you remember the first photo you took that made you, or someone else, believe that you had a real gift for this medium?
Since I started so young it’s hard to say, but I do remember I had taken some photos in Sedona when I was a kid and in hindsight they were pretty good. Later in highschool I was good at sports photography and would take portraits of my friends which they all thought were fantastic. Everyone would say “you should really do this”. A single photo? No, not yet.


Your photographs have amazing depth of field and clarity, how do you capture these shots? What type of equipment do you use?
If I look over my shots I often find that I enjoy shooting with a shallow depth of field. That is, having my main subject in focus and then throwing a portion of the photo out of focus. I like drawing attention to a certain part of a picture because to me it adds more feeling. I enjoy finding backgrounds with wonderful colors and patterns behind my subject and turning it into a dreamy, soft swirl of color.
Knowing what depth of field to use and taking clear pictures is a combination of two things. Having fundamental knowledge of how a camera works and how to control the various aspects of exposure, depth of field, etc. The second part is developing that artistic eye over time so that when you are looking at a potential subject, you can almost envision the finished photo in your head before you even take it.
That’s the artistic answer. The technical part of getting clear images is also to use good quality glass. Lenses are often more important than the camera body and I try to use the best glass I can, and a sturdy tripod. A tripod for macro work is absolutely essential.
Right now I shoot with a Nikon D300 dslr. But I have to say, though it’s the most often asked question “What kind of camera do you use”, at a certain point it really doesn’t matter. Of course, you can’t make 20x30 inch prints from a 1mp camera or a disposable so on a certain level it matters. But in reality, the quality of a photo depends on the skill and eye of the photographer. Having the latest or best camera doesn’t make someone a photographer.
If having the best equipment made a person great, it would translate into other fields as well. A bad golfer doesn’t improve his game with the latest driver. Hand me the best brushes and paints, and you’re still going to get stick-figures. Photography is a skill and an art that some people can do better than others, no matter what equipment they use.

I imagine that shooting wildlife is an extremely time consuming task, how much time does it take to set up a shot and how many usable shots do you usually come away with after a session?
It certainly can be but that’s half the fun. In fact, I would love to be able to take more time, travel and lose myself out in the wilderness for weeks if it were possible.
There are a lot of variables in photography and not everything goes as planned. You can get lucky, set up your equipment and within minutes have a fantastic shot, or you can literally sit there all day and come away with nothing. That’s really for animal or bird photography. Sometimes, you walk outside, raise the camera and bam, you’ve got it. Nature is unpredictable so patience is definitely a virtue. I’ve sat for 3 or 4 hours in the cold sometimes before I come away with something I like.
As far as usable shots, if you’re talking about shooting animals or birds that can really depend on your luck and the conditions, but my percentage is usually pretty high. My percentage of shots I’m happy with for regular landscape photography is very high because I think about the shot before I take it.
With digital photography now, people have a tendency to just click away. They don’t have to pay for film, they see the shot right away in the lcd and there’s instant gratification. But that instant thrill can also stop people from thinking and from seeing. When I decide to photograph something, I walk around, I look at angles, I try to think “How would this look at a different focal length? What if I changed the depth of field” I try to slow down and take my time. When you do that, you not only walk away with a bigger percentage of keepers, but you walk away with better photos.

Majestic, Red Tailed Hawk

Coping, Tufted Titmouse

Standout, Male Cardinal

Diversidee, Chickadee (the cutest little guy-I LOVE this photo)

Do you visualize your shots ahead of time or are your photos more a result of the scene that presents itself?
This is related to my answer above but I’ll try to give a different aspect. Right now, I probably have 500 unfinished photos in my head, usually involving models. I don’t visualize nature or wildlife photography. Well, I’m lying. I do have ONE picture in my head of some horses but it hasn’t happened yet.
I approach nature shots carefully as I answered above, but I would say that it is very difficult to plan nature photography. Weather and light conditions change drastically from day to day, even minute to minute so you have to adapt. If you drive by something beautiful one day and think “Oh, I’ll come back tomorrow and take a picture” you’re going to be sadly disappointed. Plan as much as you can, arrive when the light is best or the best time of year for that particular shot, but then be ready to adapt yourself to what’s in front of you.


Summer Blueberries

What makes a good photograph for you?
Emotional connection. That’s all any art really is, something that moves you. Personally, I don’t care how an image was created, what kind of camera was used, I don’t care WHO took the picture, whether it’s someone famous or someone who got lucky on their first shot. I don’t care if the picture has been taken with film or digital, or anything else. If I like what I see, if to me it’s beautiful and if it connects with me on an emotional level, then to me it’s a good photograph.

Do you have a favorite photo you have taken over the years, tell us about it?
One that kind of sticks out in my mind at the moment is a shot of a Nuthatch. People can view the photo here: (I had to add it in because it's sooo brilliant!)
I was photographing birds in winter, it was extremely cold, and none of the birds had been cooperating at all. I decided to call it a day and just as I made that decision, the nuthatch landed on a tree and started making his way down the trunk. I composed it the way I thought it looked best and got 1 shot of him before he flew. To me it just all came together with the light, the colors, his pose, etc.
The bad news? My computer crashed and took the original file with it before I backed it up. Can you hear film loyalists laughing right now? Anyway, lesson learned and I make copies of everything immediately now.



Amazing!! That's all I can say after this experience... I want to thank Robert so much for taking the time to share a little about himself and give us a little insight into creating his fabulous photos. His work has truly inspired me and I hope that it does the same for you. If you are interested in purchasing any of the images you see in this post, please visit Robert's Etsy shop or his website. Also, for those of you on the east coast, Robert offers photography workshops as well as professional photography for both individual and commercial clients.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stay Tuned...

I'm so excited to announce that I had the opportunity to interview a terrific photographer this weekend!! I will be posting the interview on my blog tomorrow so don't forget to check back!! Stay tuned...

Fabulous Fabrics

I'm always on the lookout for contemporary, fun fabrics that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for. Thanks to Decor8 for introducing me to a fabulous fabric supplier who carries fabrics designed by some amazing, fun designers. Check out these designs and more at Purl Soho:

I absolutely love these fresh fabrics from Amy Butler:
Lime Star Paisley

Brown Lacework

Sand Star Paisley

Seagreen Coriander

Burgundy Gothic Rose

Orange French Wallpaper

Gold Morning Glory

These beauties are from the Chocolate Lollipop collection by Anna Maria Horner:
Ice Blue Sweet Swirls

Azalea Dotta Polk

Here are a few from Moda fabrics:
Dill Ascot

Paprika Soho

Eggplant Jazz

Black Trellis

Alexander Henry:
Noguchi Leaf

Veronique Blue

Fashionista Tea/Brown Bilbao

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Name in Print!!

I just got the copy of new Chicago Home Magazine which quoted me in an article!!!! It's in the upcoming March/April 2008 issue...I'm so excited!!!

Oscars Glamour

I'm admittedly not much of a fashionista, but I do like to watch the Oscars to see what people will wear...I just have to ask, what was with all the red and black???!!! Seriously, I think people should have talked to each other before hand (or at least their stylists should have) so they didn't all show up in the same color! Does this mean red is coming back? I hope not, I was ready for yellow and blue! Anyway, here are a few of my favorites (most of them are red...that's all I really had to choose from):

I think she had the best overall look...flawless!

Beautiful but I wasn't too crazy about her makeup.

Red again but I like how it sets off her ivory skin.

She manages to get it right again! Gorgeous!!


Very chic, and I love her jewerly!

I love this dress...

While I wasn't crazy about the her overall look...I'm so glad someone wore something other than red or black!! (and the mom-to-be does look very pretty)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Flickr Find

So I'm a little late with my Friday Flickr Find post but it's been a hectic day at my job working on the restaurant (it opens in six weeks-yikes!).

Anyway, I decided to post photos of studio spaces, particularily-organized studio spaces. Those of you who know me know I love me some organization and the Container Store is a dangerous place for me (and my credit card) to visit...While looking for pictures, I came across some very scary and unorganized spaces (which were giving me a headache just looking at them), but these make me feel calm and collected. I think one could get a lot done in these spaces.

New colors, originally uploaded by annamariahorner.

Office, originally uploaded by design_ski.

More office, originally uploaded by design_ski.

Studio Organization, originally uploaded by pinklovesbrown.

clean work space, originally uploaded by m•o•m.