Thursday, July 14, 2011

Out of Africa.........ish

(Snapped on 7/03/11)

I'm a little worried that these pictures may be too tame(?) or anti-climactic(?) to be following the last riotous lot. But ya' know? Sometimes ya' just gotta take the bad with the good...

The first of these two shoots came about sort of unexpectedly. My oldest daughter mentioned that she'd like to start jogging in the evenings (when the sun would be dipping, and presumably the temperature would too) at the arboretum up the road from our house. Which reminded me that I'd taken some spur-of-the-moment self-portraits there last summer - when she was on a similar exercise bent.

Something about certain parts of the arboretum (at this time of year especially) have always reminded me of the miniature of course, and on a dramatically less magnificent scale. And, (ever the opportunist) the notion of snapping "Out of Africa" themed self-portraits, seemed the perfect way to occupy myself and add some new pics. to the queue, while my daughter did her part to stay fit.

You know how in the wintertime I bitched constantly about how brutal it was to take naked pictures outside in the cold? Well...I'm hear to tell ya', I think I actually might prefer that - over taking pictures while clothed - in 98 degree, humid heatLawd, was it positively miserable...

Going into this shoot, I was prepared to be frustrated by not having the luxury of snapping pics. indefinitely - since my daughter had predicted that she'd probably only run for a half-hour, or so. Can I just tell you how relieved I was to see her appear on the horizon, and motion for me to finish up so we could head on back home? I sighed, "Hallefreakinluiah" and happily aborted the mission.

Not only was I sweating my fool ass off, but after a paltry 45 frames, snapped over a mere 25 minutes spent running back and forth between camera and pose - my heels had become so shredded by the ill-fitting riding boots, that they bore a striking resemblance to ground beef...yummmm-o.

Adding insult to injury, upon first inspection? The pictures to me, looked like absolute crap. It was only after I tinkered with the "sepia" effect on iPhoto, that I was able to (sorta) salvage this puny group...

(Snapped on 7/06/11)

The thought did cross my mind, that being so buttoned-up (which was mandatory since I'd been shooting in a public venue, with one of my offspring in tow) - had hindered my ability to manifest anything sensual, which in turn rendered the pictures dull and staid. Plus, they looked as if they'd been taken in Virginia (as they had)...and not in Africa (as I'd hoped).

Clearly a glutton for punishment, I decided to try again another time - after spotting this tree in a field that we'd passed, as my daughter and I walked back to our car that first day.

On our second visit though, I was less concerned with transporting myself and my readers to a faraway continent, as I was determined to steer clear of the stuffiness that had spoiled the last set of pics..

I knew however, that I'd still need to be conservative with how naked I got - since my daughter wouldn't be the only jogger on the path, who might chance to catch me in action...

Once again, I shot for 25 minutes - and snapped roughly the same amount of frames...and once again my resounding opinion was that the photos left more than just a little to be desired...rats. Plus those hideous, white shoes (which were at least a size and a half too small) put even more of hurting on my already mangled heels...(see...this is why I'm not a big fan of clothing or shoes...)

Anyway, on our last two visits to the arboretum, I left my handy dandy Cybershot, and those god-awful costumes at home - wore shorts and a tank top, and a pair of comfy flip-flops - and took pictures of other things with my iPhone, instead... endeth the whining...Amen


  1. Question? Do you hold your pose for the 10 or less seconds that it takes the timer to go off? Have you ever had some one walk in while you were waiting for the camera to flash and barely covered? Finally, where's that jogging trail? I might have to start
    As always, great pictures and awesome storytelling.
    AMC 7/14/11

  2. @Anonymous - Oh my GOSH's a mad panic - every single time, haha! It honestly takes practically every bit of each of the 10 seconds, for me to spastically TRY to get into place, and make sure that everything else in the frame looks ok...I only commit to and hold the pose for that very last FRACtion of a second...and even THEN - something inevitably looks funky. That's why I have to snap so many, many pics., each time. For example, last Monday - I did a shoot where I held the same exact pose, 40 times in a row...and the last frame is the only one outta the whole bunch that I will ever actually use...each of the others had some sort of issue...

    The photos in this post were taken at the Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum of Va....Rt. 50, Millwood, Va.. It's a great place to walk your dog, if you don't happen to be into jogging...

  3. I'm glad that you did end up posting this post and set of pics. I enjoyed them and I love Blandy so it's cool to know that you found a way to take pictures there that are so different from the usual wedding, landscape and floral close-ups. Not to say those aren't beautiful pictures too but it was so nice that you staged a shoot there. Thanks for posting. I've been reading your blog for a while and I've always wondered, how do you find just the right lighting for your shoots? Either you've just got the knack for it or you've had a bit of training. Curious to know that if you'd like to divulge.

  4. @Stephanie Frye - Hola, Stephanie! Long TIME!!! I'm stoked that you still come here, AND that you related to these pics....Blandy really is an amazing place...the photo-ops there are practically endless, and if my daughter stays on track with her fitness regimen - I predict there will be more "Blandy" self-portraits on my horizon.

    As far as the whole lighting thing goes, it's definitely more luck than training. My formal education ended after the 10th grade - so I'm pretty much self-taught in most areas of life, haha! I will say this though, I do find myself on a perennial hunt for interesting lighting (harnessing natural light is one of my most favorite challenges) In fact, there've even been times when I chanced upon almost magically illuminated settings - and staged impromptu shoots in order to take advantage of it.

    I'm so happy to hear from you, girl! Hope you're enjoying your Summer!

  5. You took a lot of flak (and gave a lot of it to yourself, as well) for the recent series of face shots, but I'm wishing you'd also done close-ups of the last three poses in addition to what you posted. Those would have been excellent, I suspect!

  6. @Steve Mouzon - The problem with both of these shoots - was that I barely had time to take the pictures that I got, since my daughter was only to be running for 30 minutes...That being said, if we ever get a day when it's NOT 100 degrees and humid out, we will definitely go back so she can run some more...and at that time, maybe I can focus on face shots, only - good thinkin', Steve!

  7. I must say that you sure seem to have captured the African look. As an ex-African, the setting does have some resemblance to the continent, and your costume is just right.