Recently I’ve been taking a lot of portraits in order to build the concentration category of my AP portfolio, and because it’s still quite cold outside, many of these have been shot in the studio. For each of these photos, I got big pieces of fabric and hung them behind the subject for a coloured background. I used one key light, either a softbox or octobox, at 45/45 on the subject. I was really trying to experiment with foreground in these, as you can see with the mirrored reflections, flowers, and hands. I’ve also been trying to focus on getting shots at a variety of widths whether that be up close, mid length, or full body. Here are some of the photos!
Today I went down into the city of Philadelphia and took some photos while exploring Reading Terminal Market and walking through the streets. Even though I spend a lot of time in the areas surrounding Philly, I never really venture into the city. I had a great time today between the Nutella banana crepe I had from the Reading Terminal creperie and shopping around Walnut street. Here are some of my pictures!
Yesterday my AP photography classmates and I went to New York City for the day to check out the Stanley Kubrick photo gallery in the Museum of the City of New York and to photograph the beauty of Autumn in Central Park. I took many photos yesterday; here are some of my favourites!
Last night my AP photo class and I had the opportunity to work with photographer Anne-Marie Caruso. She taught us some of her lighting techniques and how to manipulate dark shooting locations to create ethereal scenes. Our objective was to create a scene and tell a story using our model and strategically placed lights. We shot in a series of basement tunnels and rooms at school with a few different models… Here are some of the photos I got!
Today a few of my AP photography classmates and I ventured to New York City to photograph the happenings of Times Square. The focus was mostly on street life and creating persepctives. Although we didn't spend a lot of time in the city, I was able to capture some cool images. Here they are!
Astrophotography is something that I had always wanted to try but never had the equipment or ability to do so. (Or so I thought!) Since I have upgraded my camera, I now have a lens that is able to open as wide as an f1.2 aperture. What I realised as I was attempting to and researching how to take photos of the stars is that you don't need special gear to enable you to take these photos; all you need is the right camera settings. Although I still have much to learn about taking star photos, here are some of the things that have helped me so far!
To take any photos of stars, you need a relatively clear or cloudless night and an area with little light pollution. If you can't see the stars, chances are that your camera won't be able to either. The only piece of equipment that is pretty much necessary for astrophotography is some kind of tripod - if your camera isn't completely still, you won't get a clear image of the sky and the movement will be evident in the photo.
The first and most important thing is to have your camera set to Manual mode and manual focus. I have learned the hard way to not put all of your trust into your camera's autofocus abilities - going home to edit your photos and finding that they are all out of focus is the worst! After having your tripod set up, focus your camera all the way to the Infinity marking or as far away as the focus seems to go. Then, make it a tiny bit closer or less than Infinity. I have found that putting my camera in Live View mode (switching from the viewfinder to the screen) better enables me to see where my camera is focused. You can also simply monitor the size of the dots of the stars as you change your focus, and set your focus at the point where the stars appear the smallest.
The next step is to explore your camera settings to figure out what combination of aperture, ISO, and shutterspeed will result in your desired photo effect.
For me, the easiest thing is to use a set aperture and work around it with the other settings. With the lens that I have, I set my aperture as low as it will go, and starting with an ISO of about 100-200, explore how different shutterspeeds affect the look of the photo.
Having a lower ISO will help you to keep the dark colour of the sky, and when you pair that with an extended shutterspeed, your camera will be able to pick up the stars. An easy way to determine the ISO you should have is to put your camera into Live View mode and change your ISO level until it is dark enough that you can only see the brightest stars on the screen with a normal shutter speed.
The longer that you make your shutterspeed, the more, smaller stars you will be able to see in your photo. For lenses with more standard apertures such as f2.8 and f5.6, a good shutterspeed range to explore is between 10-30 seconds depending on how many stars you want in the photo. If your photos still aren't bright enough after 30 seconds, you can either try raising your ISO or setting your camera to BULB shutter which allows you to hold the shutter open for as long as you want. If your lens can go wider than an aperture of 2.8, you can try using shutter speeds under 10 seconds depending on how much light you have.
One thing to remember is that anything in the foreground of the photo will give off and reflect light, any change in your settings will affect how the foreground appears too. Don't forget that with an extended shutterspeed, anything in the foreground (especially trees!) will be out of focus if there is any breeze or movement!
It took me 3 different nights and attempts to take the lighthouse star photos before I finally got the result I wanted. (Pictures below!) A successful picture of stars can be a difficult thing to achieve, but so long as you are determined and willing to take the time and sit outside while experimenting with settings and checking your results, you can absolutely do it!
While practicing driving today, I went down to Beavertail State Park and took pictures of the beautiful sunset and lighthouse. The pink sky, warm light, and some planes flying overhead made for some really cool photo opportunities. This was also a perfect chance to experiment with my new camera and lenses! Here are some of my favourite images from tonight:
Today my friend and I went to the Dream Machine art installation in Brooklyn, New York. The Dream Machine is a series of 10 rooms, and each of them has its own wild and fun theme - all great for photos! Our favourite rooms were the smoke bubbles room, ballpit pool room, laundromat room, and the light hallway. The installation will only be open until the 31st of May, so if you're interested, hurry! Here are some of my favourite photos from today.
Today my friend June and I had a photoshoot using a ton of glitter and a giant softbox. It was super messy, super fun, and led to some great pictures. Here are some of our favourites from today.
Over spring break, my family and I went home to Bermuda to visit friends and family. It was such a lovely trip, and provided many chances to take photos of the beautiful islands and my old friends. Here are some of the pictures I took!
Each year around the holidays, I head to Longwood Gardens to take photos and explore. The gardens and greenhouse are always spectacularly decorated for the holiday season. Early this morning, I drove down to take pictures before the crowds showed up. Here are a few pictures I took in the greenhouse, my personal favourite part of the gardens.
Over break from school, I headed out to take pictures of the sunset at Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, Rhode Island. While taking these photos, I tried to experiment with a few things. Recently I have been trying to take more vertical pictures versus my typical horizontal images. Every time I get the opportunity, I incorporate reflections into my photos to add another sense of depth. While editing these pictures, I mainly focused on the tones and tints in the images.
This weekend, a small group of students from my school headed over to Lakota Wolf Preserve to see and take pictures of the wolves, bobcats, and foxes. It's a bit of an uphill walk from the parking lot to get to the preserve, but the experience is so worth it. Seeing animals with such an aggressive stigma in such an up-close and intimate setting is fascinating. Contrary to folklore, wolves are not naturally aggressive towards humans. In fact, just like house pets, the wolves were beyond excited to receive treats and pats from the preserve owners. Taking pictures was challenging due to the fences in between us and the animals, but they proved to be worth the extra effort. The preserve not only does good by rescuing these animals and providing them with the most natural life they can while in captivity, but also by allowing others to see and experience these animals in a setting so special.
Yesterday, my school's AP photography classes took a trip to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eastern State is an abandoned prison that makes for some rather edgy and eerie pictures. We first went on a quick tour and then spent a few hours exploring and taking photos. Both from the prison bars and the dilapidated nature of the building, sunlight was always flowing in through cracks and crevices that provided for some really cool portrait lighting. Shooting in low exposure allowed for a more contrasted photo that incorporated the dark, creepy aesthetic of the prison. Because Eastern State is so different from any place I've ever taken pictures, it was really fun to experiment with lighting, angles, and filling the frame.
This past week, my friends and I have been walking around campus practicing portraiture. Backlighting is one of my biggest tricks for shooting portraits. Backlight lights up the hair and features of the subject while also enhancing the bokeh and colours in the background, adding many layers of visual interest.
The Narragansett Bay is home to many sailors and boaters alike. Each day and night, ships big and small pass through the estuary on their way to the many islands around and throughout. Last night, my friend and fellow photographer Stuart (http://www.wemplephoto.com) and I set out in search of photo opportunities as the sun set. Pictured are a schooner out for a sunset cruise, a two 12-metres sailing swiftly upwind, a lone nacra with a bold red spinnaker, a moth gliding over the water on its foils, three 12-metres in a perfect line with the early moon, a vivid sail reflection in front of the Newport Bridge, and two 12-metres seconds before crossing tacks.
8 of us, made up of family and friends, spent the last week in Whitefish, Montana. The week was packed full with laughs, adventures, bonfires, long drives, and good times. We started off the week by going white water rafting with Montana Raft Company down through the rapids of Flathead River. Throughout the week we drove around the entirety of Glacier National Park, taking in the view of the mountains and lakes. We went on a hike to Avalanche Lake, and after 2 miles of up and down treks, finally arrived at the stunning waterfalls that run down the mountainside. On rainy days we went bowling and explored the town of Whitefish. For breakfast on Friday, we made a trip to Amazing Crepes for yummy crepes that were nothing short of amazing. After a long week of endeavours and staying up much past the 9:30 sunset, we set off for home on Saturday morning.
One thing that I am known for is my colour-organised Instagram feed. (@lydia.rich) I am often asked, "How do you make everything in your feed match?" Well, in this post, I'll explain how I am able to maintain a theme that flows from not only one colour to another, but each post to the others.
The first step is to determine which colour or filter will be the easiest for you to continuously use and shoot. Depending on where you live and the kinds of photos you take, this could mean that a certain colour is more prevalent in your surroundings, or that a certain filter tends to work best for your photos.
If you want to assemble a theme based on a certain filter, all you have to do is make sure that each of your photos is being edited through the same process with the same effects applied to each.
If you want to assemble a theme based on a certain colour, you must keep this theme in mind when shooting. For me, the colour of my theme typically depends on the season, as I predominantly shoot outside. During the summer, my theme is typically blue, yellow during autumn, white during winter, and green during spring.
The key to getting a balanced, flowing feed is having a separate account where you predetermine what your feed is going to look like. This account can either be public for the opinion of friends, or private as to avoid spoiling the photos you are planning to post. This both allows you to easily see if a photo matches your feed before actually posting it, and to establish a queue of photos to post in the days to come.
If you want to change your theme, don't just post a photo that is completely different from the one before it. Make sure that the colours or filters slowly transition into another, such as from blue to green or black and white to colour. Shoot or edit so that there is a larger piece of the new theme colour in each colour you post. I achieved this when switching themes by taking horizon pictures where the ground is green and the sky is blue. This allowed me to eventually post photos that are completely instead of partially blue.
My final tip for keeping an organised and coordinated colour theme is to pay attention to how you edit your photos. Similarly to how you'd watch your editing habits with a filtered theme, you must make sure that the way you are editing your photos doesn't make the tone or temperature of the colour contrast with your other photos.
Organising and curating a theme is much like putting a puzzle together; you must observe and make sure it fits in place with the surrounding pieces. Sure, it's a little more work than just posting your desired photo; but not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it is also rewarding to see all of your work form a body of art that can be shared with the world.
This past Wednesday, a large group of art students from my school went on a day trip to New York City to visit the Met and MoMA.
The original plan was to leave early in the morning and visit the Metropolitan Museum first, but due to miscommunications with the bus, we ended up only having time for lunch and taking pictures. Myself and four of my friends who are also photo students went to Three Guys Diner for lunch.
After lunch, we walked into Central Park to take pictures for our upcoming shutter speed assignment. We saw everything from an incredible music group under Bethesda Terrace to a man making bubbles the size of elephants. We witnessed photoshoots of all kinds, whether they were maternity, marriage, or engagement photos. We were only in New York City for a short period of time, but made the most of it by exploring what we could and taking as many pictures as possible.
- Cherry blossom trees in Central Park
- Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
- Model sailboats at Conservatory Water
- Peach Industry a capella singers under Bethesda Terrace
- Three Guys Diner on Madison Street
For the last week of my spring break, my family and I went down to Florida to visit with grandparents and friends.
For the first few days, we spent time in Palm Beach and Delray with family. The Thursday after we arrived, we headed to the Surfside Diner on the island of Palm Beach for lunch and delicious milkshakes.
On Friday, we went to the Everglades for an airboat tour with Captain Mike, who had given us tours in the past. We saw many alligators, waterlilies, and a wide variety of birds.
On Saturday, we drove down for 4 hours to Key West to meet friends. Saturday night, we walked down to Mallory Square to watch the amazing street performers. On Mallory Square at sunset, you can find everything from crazy frenchmen with cats jumping through fire to guys simultaneously juggling torches and daggers on unicycles. From Mallory Square, we walked to the Rooftop Café where we enjoyed our dinner watching the end of the sunset.
Sunday was spent biking around the streets of Key West, exploring some of our favourite stores from past trips and discovering new places to visit in the future. We had lunch at Turtle Kraals and stopped at La Crêperie for dessert. On the way home, we biked and piked up dinner from Eaton Street Seafood Market and the island's best, meringue-overloaded key lime pie from the bakery at Blue Heaven.
On this trip I found these great places/ways to compose photos:
- Small garden on the corner of Florida A1A and Chilean Avenue in Palm Beach
- Duval Street in Key West
- Everglades National Park
- Mallory Square at sunset
- Exploring Key West by bike
- Mallory Square's street performers
- Pretzel bites at Turtle Kraals
- La Divine chocolate, banana, and strawberry crêpe at La Crêperie
- Shopping for curios at Besame Mucho and Petronia Island Store