Of course, this is the next photo...
I knew that I'd get a photo where he is smiling eventually. He usually just scowls at my camera, as they have an uneasy relationship. My camera is the sibling that takes mommy's attention away from him, so I doubt that they will ever be friends. Although he loves to look at pictures of himself that I've taken, and even more so, videos. He could watch videos of himself as a baby for hours. Now if I could only get him to both smile and look at the camera at the same time. Maybe soon. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Of course, this is the next photo...
Yes, I already wrote a post for today. No, it didn't have pictures and this one doesn't either. Sorry. BUT it is about taking pictures. Does that count? I was asked today to take photos of an event featuring one of O.J.'s lawyers. Yes, that O.J., from that trial. It will take place in a few weeks. It almost feels like a thread of my life has come full circle. My first job after college was closed captioning televisions shows. I was a coordinator, so no, I didn't type very fast, as many people asked. That part was done by a court reporter. I primarily worked on NBC and CNN shows. Sometimes CBS, but mostly NBC and CNN. I had been there a few months when the whole O.J. thing happened, and spent hours upon hours in the studio next to a court reporter during the arraignment, who would be writing everything verbatim as the proceedings happened. I remember watching this person on the banks of televisions in the studio for what seemed like forever, and now I will be photographing him in person. Interesting. And okay, maybe not full circle, as I am nowhere near finished yet. :-)
Hi there all readers, both new and old. I've had a huge increase in traffic here lately because of some high-profile work I've done recently, with most being shared through photography-related sites, so I know many people stopping by will have an interest in photography, too. So now strangers are beating a path to my door! Ha ha, not really, but it is fun to look at the site analytics both here and at MelissaLoganHaun.com to see that during the past six months, I've had visitors from 21 different countries. That's right, twenty-one. It really makes me feel like it is a small world, and I hope that if you are reading this that you like what you see from my world.
I find photographers to be some of the friendliest people I've ever met. To me, photography is like a unique language all its own, and when I first opened the door to this world, it was like I was hearing my native language. I will never forget being at a kid's birthday party last year when another set of parents sat down next to me and the dad had a DSLR. We started talking about all kinds of things like UWAs, ISOs, firewire vs. USB, 50mm f/1.8 vs. 50mm f/1.4, ball head vs. pan head; JPEG vs. RAW, PS vs. LR, unsharpen mask vs. high-pass filter and so on and so on. After nearly 30 minutes without a break in the conversation, his wife started to laugh and said she felt like she was in a foreign country listening to a foreign language because she had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. She said it sounded like English, yet she didn't understand it at all! I love that photography has given me this common language with others who share my love for it. I love that people with an interest in photography from around the world have stopped by to see the view in my corner of the world.
I find myself wondering what it looks like outside of your window. Are you one of those people from different countries that I've seen on my analytic reports? Are you from India, Russia, New Zealand, Sweden, El Salvador, Peru, the Netherlands (I know who you are :-)), Ireland (I know you, too)? Mauritius, Poland, Brazil? United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Portugal, France, Finland or the Philippines? And of course, not to forget visitors from 37 of the 50 states! I invite you to leave me a comment and share with me -- I'd love to hear from you. What do you like to photograph? Let me know the URL of your site so I can see your corner of the world, too. [Edited to add: Hellllo, Hungary!]
[Well, I say I'd love to hear from you unless you are that person who googled every variation of my name, even my name along with my phone number (Huh? What's that about?) and googled questions like, "Who is Melissa Haun?" I wish it were that easy to just google "Who is Melissa Haun?" All of my life's questions would be answered, LOL. But I know it comes with the territory of doing what I'm doing and sharing my work. I'm just not used to being the subject of such interest. But it's better than not having interest in my work, though. Right?] :-)
I truly hope that before my time on earth is over that I have the opportunity to see most of the world, though it will be a while before that happens with a little one at home. I've been fortunate to have seen some wonderful places already. I only wish that I had the photography knowledge and gear then that I have now. But I'm managing to find plenty to photograph around here.
Speaking of being fortunate, we all know that with the economy being in the state it is in, many families are struggling to get by (great transition, don't you think?). A fabulous organization called Help A Mother Out is partnering with Tucson's St. Mark's Preschool to hold an upcoming community event called Tucson Swap-O-Rama, which will benefit the local Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. I have volunteered to photograph it. I think it promises to be a wonderful and worthwhile event, and I am really looking forward to it. Organizer Rachel Miller is a champion of raising funds, diapers and awareness for HAMO and the Diaper Bank. If you are local, I hope you will join us. If you are not local, I hope you will consider supporting the Diaper Bank in your community. To quote HAMO's homepage, "Children cannon wait for the economic recession to be over before they have access to a clean diaper." I don't think I could say it better than that.
And with that, good night to all, or good morning, depending on what part of the world you are in as you read this. As always, thanks for spending some time here with me.
It was a nice weekend all around. I was able to take photos just for fun with no pressure of producing images for a class or for a client or for sale. These are a few of my favorites from the Desert Museum -- just snapshots, just for fun. All taken with the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 135mm f/2L lens.
I also took photos at the Carnaval celebration, which I will post when I've finished uploading.
I have a new back-up camera, the 5D Classic. By now, you may know how I feel about buying used gear. Well, I don't feel anything about buying used gear because I don't, I buy everything brand new. Oh wait, I did buy something used once, at the Western Photographic Historical Society annual used camera sale. It was the lens hood for the Canon 55-250mm kit lens. It looked brand new so I saved a couple of bucks, LOL. Anyway, I had been musing to hubby last week after the Event-With-Dim-Light-and-Dark-Brown-Walls that I wanted to test out my T1i's expanded ISO capabilities in the event that something happened to my 5D Mark II (I know, perish the thought!) and if necessary, upgrade my back-up body to a used 5D Classic or to a 7D, which would be harder to find used, I think, since it's much newer.
Anyway, the very next day, an old friend from college who now lives in Brooklyn announced via FB that she was selling her gently used 5D Classic and thought she'd mention it on FB before going to eBay. On top of that (follow me here), a fellow photog friend/family member recently asked me to recommend a digital SLR for her, as she is finally giving up film! Soooo, my thought was that I would get it and pass it along to my lovely young relative if she was interested OR keep it for myself as a full-frame back-up if she wasn't. Either way, it would have a loving home. I asked a few questions about condition, actuations, if it came with cords, manuals, software, etc., and every answer was the right answer, so I bought it.
It arrived today and I couldn't be happier. The friend that I bought it from took exquisite care of it, just like I take care of my gear. Everything was in the original box and everything looked brand new -- not a mark on it. And she included three batteries and the Canon 50mm f/1.8 ("nifty fifty") lens along with a Canon UV Haze filter. Honestly, if it were almost anyone else, I wouldn't even have considered buying it used. And even though I haven't seen her in person since she left for graduate school in 1993, I knew that I could trust her and trust that she took good care of her gear. And I was right. Even the sensor is very clean. I did the test below, and it looks a heck of a lot cleaner than my 5D Mark II's sensor did, that's for sure! But then again, I live in the desert, and in the desert, you find dirt, dust and sand in greater quantities than you'd find in Brooklyn. I hate to say it, but I don't think I'm passing it along to my film-shooting relative. This baby is making a home right here with me. And since I'm not going to grip it, I may use it for those times when I want to carry a lighter camera. And I promise that I will give it a very good home, too. Welcome home, baby!
Updated to add: Okay, I'm probably going to grip it. I was playing around with it and I can't function without a grip. But since you can no longer buy them new, it looks like I will have to get that used, too. Nice way to be forced to save
Jack participated in the same Photowalk that I went on a few months back with my photography club, the urban one on 4th Avenue. There were 15 or 16 of us and we immediately split up into little groups, and he was in a group with me, a man named Jim and another woman. After I posted my images to the club's site, he made a nice comment about my work.
Fast forward to a few months later and he emailed me asking for a headshot to use for websites. I was over the moon as I would like to have more of a male presence in my portfolio. Thank you, Jack! This shot was my favorite from the session. Such a great smile and very engaging; great contact with the camera. He was quite enjoyable to work with as well, even though he warned me ahead of time that he doesn't like to be on the front side of the camera. You'd never knowing by looking at the images. :-)
I am rather proud this week. Adorama had put out a call for portraits for an article they were writing on portrait lenses for the Adorama Learning Center, and I submitted a photo. They chose mine to represent the 85mm category! YAY! And they said about my photo:
"And when shooting at f/1.2, that out-of-focus part of the image takes on an ethereal quality, as you can see in the photo below."
I am quite proud of myself! Of course, the woman in the photo is so beautiful that it wasn't hard to capture a great image, but I am thrilled anyway. And I confess that after they told me that they had chosen my image that I was a little afraid that they may put it under the category of "what not to do." LOL. I was also able to announce it to my photography club last week, which was fun for me, and they very kindly gave me a round of applause (though we do that for everyone's achievements). But still, it was nice to have a moment in the sun. Here is the link to the article so you can read it for yourself! The image was taken at the Chinese New Year celebration that I previously wrote about here.
Do you have any idea what that is? Care to reason a guess? It's a crop of my camera's sensor. Do you see the dirt? I first noticed an odd series of dots on a photo, specifically on a wood wall behind my subjects. I thought it was something on my lens. Please let it be the cheaper lens I thought to myself as I ran through the shots to see the EFIX data containing the lens information. I knew I had used both my 70–200mm f/2.8 IS USM and my 85mm f/1.8 lens for that shoot, as it was prior to my purchasing the 85mm f/1.2 (whew!). I was crushed when I saw that the photo in question was the more expensive of the two. And even further crushed when I later noticed that it showed up elsewhere, when I was using another lens. Which meant it was coming from my camera.
At the time, I had no idea what it was. Worst‐case scenarios were piling up in my head like dirty laundry. Thank G‐d for Google! I would have gone insane without it, because I figured out that it was probably a dirty sensor. I found a recommendation for checking the sensor — shoot as stopped down as you can get in manual focus against a blue sky. Thank goodness I live in sunny Arizona, where blue skies are the norm. If I was still living in Pittsburgh, I'd have to wait six months in the hope of a clear blue sky (alas, I will refrain from any further knocks against the 'Burgh, as they are still licking their wounds after their unfortunate loss to the Packers yesterday — in which I lost a $25 bet, but that is a whole 'nother story).
Anyway....I used my 135L lens that stops down to f/32 (f/32!!! Just one more stop and I'd qualify for Ansel Adams' f/64 club!) and took a shot pointing towards the sky, downloaded it and examined it at 400%. UGH. I am the not‐proud owner of a totally filthy sensor. In photoshop, I added a levels adjustment layer and raised the black point, used a hue/saturation adjustment layer to desaturate it and viola, let the dirt hide no more. So off my camera goes to Canon for cleaning. I am lost without a camera, that's for sure. I still can't believe it was so dirty, especially since I am rabid about taking precautions about lens changes to be as quick and careful as possible. Not to mention that the 5D Mark II has a built‐in sensor cleaning as well. Ugh. I'm so horrified, still.
So are you curious now to see your own sensor? Try the steps above (take camera outside on a clear day, narrow down your aperture as small as your lens will go, turn off the AF, point towards the sky and click. That's it. Then upload and examine at 400%. Do the hue/saturation and levels adjustment layer if you have PS. And then feel sick to your stomach when you see how dirty it is! Sorry.
On the plus side, I purchased the Portraiture, Noiseware and Real Grain professional plug‐in bundle for Photoshop. I did the free trials and while I wasn't wowed by the Noiseware over the great noise handling in ACR, I --- oh my, I'm not sure I want to confess this — I sort of liked the Portraiture. I can't believe I'm saying that because it's so Barbie‐dollish. But there, I confess! I kinda like it for some things. *runs away*
I'm trying to get in the habit of posting more often. I've sorely neglected this blog but I will try to be more present. We went to the Chinese New Year celebration today, which is one of my son's favorite events of the year. He talked about last year's for ages and was really excited to go again this year. Here are some photos of his favorite part of the event, the dragons. It was so wonderfully colorful. Take a look: