Goals, Part 2!

July 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I'm sure you remember this little guy.  Or maybe you don't.  But if you DO, you'll notice that he now has TWO eyes!  That means that after months of his glaring, accusingly pop-eyed, at me while I edited photos...I graduated!  

I learned a lot from the New York Institute of Photography and definitely feel like I am a better photographer for having finished my coursework.  The feedback I got from my instructors on my photo projects was invaluable, and it suited me perfectly to be able to go at my own pace through a ton of well-organized material.  I had previously been digging through the Internet on my own, finding tutorials that were definitely helpful, but maybe not as thorough as what I learned with NYIP.  I was exposed to all kinds of photography genres, some of which I had never really considered, and given ample opportunities to improve my skill set.

My last photo project took me a while, partly because it was largely over architectural photography, and that's just not my jam, and partly because we got CRAZY BUSY with the end of school, baseball, camps, and so on and so forth.  I could have turned in fewer photos and passed, but I liked having the chance to get feedback on as many images as possible.  The only photo I did not turn in was a boudoir/glamour photo.  Strangely, I didn't have a lot of volunteers for that assignment.  

These are the photos I turned in for my last unit.  The first assignment was to copy an ad shot, and I copied a lovely ad for copper mugs.  Shooting a curved, metallic surface is really challenging, if you don't want all of your surroundings, including yourself and your camera, reflected in the final image.  I had to build a huge light tent out of an old drop cloth to get the shot I wanted.  My shot is on the left, the catalog shot on the right.  My mugs are not so shiny as the ones in the ad, and I used real ice rather than plastic ice, so had some fogging of my mugs.

My next assignment was to photograph the interior of a building, and to remove clutter and showcase the best features of the room.  I photographed the kitchen of the carriage house where I stayed in Boulder, CO recently.  I wanted to be sure to show the granite countertops, stained glass door leading to another room, wood floors, and the high ceilings.  I loved that the only criticism I received on this shot was that I removed *too much* of the clutter!

Again, architectural photography is not my thing, but the next assignment was to photograph the exterior of a building at night.  I have no idea who owns this lovely house, but I am thankful for their landscape lighting!  I really wasn't even going to turn in this photo, as I had enough to complete the photo project without it, but my instructor loved it!

The last architectural assignment was to photograph the exterior of a building during the day.  I took lots of photos for this one, but was kind of bored by modern buildings.  I'm drawn to old, abandoned buildings, and always curious about the story behind them.  I finally settled on photographing the Boydston elevators near my house.  I had to be out at 6AM to get set up for this shot, and after taking a few test shots, realized the best way to avoid some linear distortion was to set up my tripod on top of my car.  Because these elevators are just off I-40, you can imagine the looks (and honks) I got from curious passers-by.  What is that crazy person doing taking pictures on top of her car at daybreak?!  

Finally, I had an assignment to take a head-and-shoulders photograph of someone whose photo I had not previously submitted.  It is funny that Brenna is the one child whose photo I never submitted, because she is my most enthusiastic model.  She even seeks out new areas for photos ("Oooh, Mama, we should take pictures HERE!"), and chooses her clothes for the day based on whether her photo is going to be made.  Brenna got to stay up late so she could help with my final assignment, and I actually think I like this photo better than any of the ones I took for her birthday.  She looks like a fairy princess!  The sweetest thing is that I had a hard time getting her to smile for the longest time...she'd found a baby horned lizard and was way more interested in him than in me.  When I finally asked her, "Who do you love?" she smiled this sweet smile, looked right at me, and said, "I love my mama."  My heart could not be any more full.

I finished my coursework in almost exactly two years, though I was allowed three.  I enrolled with NYIP on June 26, 2014, and received my graduation form on June 23 of this year.  I spent a lot of time sitting in parking lots, waiting on kids to finish activities, while I did my lessons, and it was definitely worth it.  My major goal for this year has been accomplished and I am ready to take many more photos!





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