Portraiture

There is something deeply fascinating in the looks people give no one but themselves.

Right after you drive by someone smiling, waving out the window.

And it’s unbearable eye contact with yourself in the rearview mirror.

So deeply it cuts, your focus lands into your own conscious 

Like staring through the viewfinder

And as you rotate your hand the background comes into focus

your eye lands upon your own face staring back at you

Frowning

And you can’t figure out why you might look so sad

I think I ignore myself so often that sometimes when I happen a glance in a mirror

It can actually be scary

Disturbing

Upsetting even

Is that a function of me forgetting to be introspective?

Maybe focusing so much about what other people think of me

That I don’t think of me

I want more than anything to capture those moments

In other eyes

So that maybe I could make someone think of themselves

So that maybe they might glance into their own eyes

And horrify themselves 

To allow for excruciating introspection

And to showcase

or maybe even just to see

those moments of introspection.

The moments where instead of looking out

Your vision rests precariously on the inside of your eye

That would be a good portrait

The kind of portrait I want to take

But I have to figure out how first.

Polaroids

On the center of the granite countertop of the mini bar in my grandparents’ house, a home I spent the majority of my childhood in, sits a single polaroid. In that polaroid is a picture of me as a little girl, food all over my face with my dog right in front of me.

That is the only photo I have from my childhood and I can barely remember the story behind the photo. Now, it makes me wonder how many memories I’m missing out on because I can’t remember. This is also because I have no photos to revamp my memory.

I have no photos of myself with long hair, with my parents, or pictures of my dogs. All I have are my memories; the ones blurred between the lines of trauma and bliss that was my childhood, the ones I desperately want to forget and remember all at once.

Photo Credit: theverge.com

It’s terrifying that I have such a clear memory of the smallest details nowadays, but I can’t even remember the details of my parents’ faces. The little things in life that were defining aspects of my day to day life as a kid are blurred images in my mind today.

All I would have are these photos, but I don’t even have those.

Now, I have an abundance of videos and photos piling up in my Snapchat memories and phones new and old holding numbers of concert videos that I barely look at anymore. Videos that I refuse to give up, in case I want to look back on them and smile. I have photo albums filled with developed photos, polaroids from prom and random nights with friends, lining the shelves of the desk in my dorm room.

Some people say you need to live in the moment, to put your phone away and let your mind keep the images. But, I can’t. I don’t take photos and shaky videos to post them on my social media; I take them so I can hold on to the memories forever in the literal palm of my hand.

I have no photos from my childhood. Not a single one. Not in a photo album, on my phone, but I wish I did. As much as I try to forget everything from my life before I was ten, I wish the memories weren’t becoming just memories. I wish I could hold on to a photograph and relive the moment all over again.

But, that’s why I take photos all the time through the lens of three different cameras. So in thirty years, I can look back with a clear image and not just rely on the one in my head.

Picture Perfect

I recently wrote a story about the bike ride our school took. They left on Superbowl Sunday, and rode about 25 miles from the campus to the beach.

I was very proud of my story. I had fun with it, and in my opinion at least, the writing was pretty good. But then came the art

Every story needs a picture to go with it, some sort of visual. And in our Journalism class we don’t stage or photoshop photos. This would be awesome if it didn’t complicate things so much.

I started out on my mission to get a picture of the group that went on the bike ride by asking the teacher who led the trip to make an announcement at morning meeting. He did, asking all the students who went to meet up with him and I quickly after the meeting.

Since I don’t have my own camera, and have absolutely no idea how to shoot good photos, my classmate helped me out. We had the group stand in a couple different places in the courtyard, then behind the Spanish room as well.

Unfortunately, in all the photos we took the lighting was absolutely terrible. Somehow the background behind the students ended up completely white.

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Star Trails.

Stars and the galaxy are things that attract photographers. After seeing a few pictures of star trailing photography, one of my friends fell in love with the beautiful circles the stars draws. And soon I found that it is actually really interesting.

Star trailing is basically shooting a picture with a very long exposure time at night. While the sky is being exposed, the earth will rotate but the stars will not. Therefore, the light of the stars are captured by the camera over time and the light will draw curly lines or semi-circles.

Creating star trail images is a fun technique that can occur a lot of different results depending on the shooting location, foreground objects and number of visible stars. While the technique can be simple, proper setup and then proper post-shooting preparations are very essential.

Shooting star trail pictures requires a camera with a tripod in order to make the lens steady. The camera should not move at all during the shooting process. Find north and aim the frame at that direction to get a centered and circle shaped star trail. Set the camera to a very low ISO and long a exposure time to shoot, and it works even better if the camera has a bulb mode.

Due to the length it requires to shoot the star trails, make sure there are not any moving objects around that may run into the frame, because they may mess up the whole picture. Control other light sources and be sure not to let any other light come into the frame except the stars. Set the focus to infinity so that star trails will be sharp and clear.

Charge the battery to full,  then put on warm clothes and begin shooting tonight !!!

Journalism Competition!

Last Friday, 8 out of 10 students from our journalism class went to Cal Lutheran University (where I’m going to college!!!) to attend the TCJEA event which is a very competitive and large journalism competition. There were 15 schools at the event in total and we were the smallest school there hands down. Many other schools had around 20 or even 30 writers with them to compete in all different categories. It was intimidating, yes, but the experience was so awesome that it hardly mattered how small our group was.

We had writers enter almost every category available, including photography, sports writing, feature writing, news writing, and editorial writing. I was in the feature category, and we had such an interesting speaker named Cyrus Nowrasteh wrote and produced a many films including a mini-series titled “The Path to 9/11”. We listened to his story about the controversy over his series and the attempted sabotage of his career by people trying to cover up their mistakes. Then, we had about an hour to write an article on him and submit to be scored against all other works in that category.

Now, Mr. Alvarez is the best journalism teacher I could ever ask for. He has taught me so much – I was a terrible writer when I first stepped into his classroom. Regardless of his immense encouragement and preparation, I was still not confident that I could compete with others in programs much bigger and more well-known than our little “On The Hill” paper. But I was sure that we were a small but mighty force and had a great change of winning awards.

There were so many awards handed out. Each category had 1st through 3rd places and 2 honorable mentions. There were also awards for online newspapers, print newspapers, and overall best team called “sweepstakes”.

In the feature category, there were over 30 students that wrote an article for submission. My fellow feature writer Emmy Addison took a 2nd place in the feature category, and I received an honorable mention! I couldn’t believe it. I was recognized as a top 5 writer in my category. I was ecstatic. Another writer Jack Marcus also received 2nd place in the news writing category. Our online publication of the newspaper took 4th place overall, with is astounding considering it had only been officially up and running for less than a month. Overall in the competition, we placed 4th, receiving an honorable mention in the sweepstakes category.

It is just amazing to me how such a small group of students was able to go to that competition and practically dominate. We really proved to the other schools that even though we may not seem like much, we have an amazing, dedicated, and hardworking group of writers. I am so proud to be a part of this team, and the event was more amazing than I could have imagined. Congrats, journalism class!

Instagram

I will admit, I am one of those people who loves taking photos. Every chance I get I will take a picture of me and my friends doing anything exciting, something good I’m eating, a cool thing I saw while walking down the street, cute animals – really anything that’s remotely interesting. But, to be completely honest, it is not uncommon for those photos to be taken and only looked at once in a great long while, hiding away on my computer of phone.

This is why I am really into a phone application I recently downloaded called Instagram. It’s an awesome app that lets you take photos and edit them with many different filters that make the photos so charming and cute. It is very simple but I’m so into it. And, the best part is that each person using the application has their page that others can follow, kind of like twitter or facebook, where there pictures are posted and people can view them, comment on them, and like them. I was so excited when it came out for Android phones, because in the past, it has only been for iPhones.

Although it may seem to be a little bit boring and sound just like many social networking sites, it’s strictly for pictures. I have found a lot of very fun pictures that people have taken and posted. It’s great because I don’t have to be a master photographer to take a picture that doesn’t look so point-and-shoot like.

Bottom line is, it’s simple and so fun. If anyone out there is like me who likes to take photos, and you don’t want them to waste away, I would highly recommend this app. So many people are using it!

Baseball Photos

Last week the baseball team traveled through the windy road up the 33. It was a long drive up to Maricopa, CA to play against a school but the team made it up there and came out victorious. As a photographer I took it as an opportunity to take pictures of the team playing their sport, and that I did.

People might think that it is only standing in one place and pointing a camera but the truth is that if you take photography seriously you won’t just stand in one place, you will walk around like a mad man or mad woman trying to find the perfect shot and then moving on to find the next one.

While I was taking this photo..

I came up with the idea to take this next photo, I saw that the catcher was standing in pure dirt and his glove was getting all dusty, then it came to me. A ball hit his glove and dust blew out of his glove as if it was smoke, it looked awesome!

This is what I love about taking pictures! The fact that I can capture moments that we only see and forget without a camera. It is truly a great feeling to catch moments like these.

What do you think about the photo?

The Thing I Love To Do

Photography has always and most likely always will be the one thing that I truly love to do. I have been taking pictures for quite a while and still to this day I can not figure out what I like taking pictures of more.

I have taken pictures of scenery..

That picture was just a complete split second decision that I made before going and taking pictures of my friend Stosh Lindsey surfing, but I thought it would make a cool postcard 😛

Ive taken Black&White pictures..

This picture I took at the OVS play this year and in it are Jack Beverly and Carolita Landers.

I’ve taken pictures of surfing..

This was such a nice day, my friend Kai Lowe was out busting out some big airs and well I was lucky enough to be able to capture them.

and pictures of many other things but I don’t think I will ever want to settle for taking pictures of just one thing. I think the great thing about being a photographer is that you can show the world what YOU see through the viewfinder of your camera and allow them to see that not everyone sees the world in the same way.

Which one of the pictures above did you like?
and if you didn’t like any of them, feel free to NOT comment something rude about them :]

Smile for the Camera.

Click.
Click.
Click.

He hunches over with his camera in hand, turning at obscure angles to try and get the perfect shot of the two cars.

Click.

He stands on his tip toes, his camera far above his head, trying to see form a view that isn’t his own.

Click

He mounts a jack to his own car before attaching his camera and speeding down the winding roads of a mountain.
I’ll edit out the jack later, he thinks to himself while twisting through the turns.

Click.

He smiles at me as I take a picture of him, a wild horse right out of frame, laughing.
“These things are the spawn of satan,” he says to me.

Click.

He waits on the ridge of a mountain, keeping his camera in front of him and his eyes searching.
My shutter speed has to be perfect, he thinks.
There’s a flash of lighting far away, and a smile stretches across his face.

Click.

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