Sunday, February 19, 2012

BBL 2011-2012 | Make Pasta From Scratch


#2 MAKE PASTA FROM SCRATCH

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I included this because I enjoy cooking, and Italian is my favorite food. So, it made sense for me to try my hand at making some homemade pasta.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

Umm. Let's just say it didn't turn out quite as I had expected!

The details...

I found a recipe online for homemade cheese ravioli, and another recipe for pasta sauce made from scratch.  So after buying the ingredients, I set out to make myself some pasta.  I really had no idea what to expect, since I'd never tried to make pasta from scratch, nor had I ever seen anyone else make it.

I have to admit that it was harder than I expected, and I struggled to get the dough rolled out properly.  It kept tearing, and I couldn't get it thin enough no matter what I did!  As a result, the ravioli was way too thick, and ended up a bit too hard after it was cooked.  I ended up eating only the middle out of each ravioli where it was a bit thinner.  It wasn't awful, but it wasn't great either. The homemade sauce, on the other hand, was amazing, and I can definitely see myself making the recipe again to use with store bought pasta.

Here are a few random photos that Kevin took of me while I was working on the pasta and sauce:






Ta Da...


Do you want to see my entire 2011-2012 Bucket List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at michelewhitacrephotography.com. Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Now get out there and smooch someone you love! :)


Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at michelewhitacrephotography.com. Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let's Play!

I thought I'd share a few photos that I took this afternoon of my crazy fur babies playing in the backyard.

Silly Lexi...


Doesn't that hurt?!...


Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at michelewhitacrephotography.com. Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Self-Portrait | February 2012

February's self-portrait was once again taken at our rental house in Phoenix. (I really need to get out more, don't I?)  In this photo I am attempting to show my frustration and exasperation with my crazy, insane hair.  I'm not sure if I succeed or if I just look like a bit of a lunatic.

I decided a year ago to grow my hair out from the super short style I had stupidly decided to cut it into.  (Why don't I ever learn?)  In at attempt to keep some sort of style during the growing out process, and with hopes of avoiding the 80's mullet look of my childhood, I let the top and sides grow, while continuing to keep the back trimmed.

Once I moved, and no longer had a familiar hairstylist, I basically just gave up all attempts and let it grow.  It's finally reached a length where I really need to decide on some sort of actual style, but I have no clue what I want to do with it!  Since it has no shape to it, I can't get it to cooperate no matter what I try to do with it, and it has been a huge source of frustration recently.

So, here I am blowing my hair up out of my eyes with a sigh of irritation, to represent the month of February...


While I'm loving taking my self-portraits, I'm finding myself struggling to capture images of myself that are completely in focus. It's challenging to know just where exactly to set the focus without a target in the frame, and using the auto focus feature is hit or miss. If anyone with self-portrait taking experience has any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at michelewhitacrephotography.com. Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Truth in Photography

In the past year there have been several instances of Professional Photographers getting caught manipulating photos. Here are links to just a few of the examples that I can recall off the top of my head:
All it takes is a quick google search for "photoshopped celebrity photos" to find hundreds of examples of magazine covers, etc. where the models have been photoshopped to the point of barely resembling their real selves.

And you know those super cute baby photos, with the baby's head propped up in their hands?  Yeah.  Those are photoshopped, too.

I'm even guilty of it myself!  The photo I posted for this year's Christmas photo was a photoshopped compilation of two other photos.  Gasp!

Kind makes you start wondering if there are actually any "real" photos out there, doesn't it?

So, what exactly is the point of photography?  Are we capturing truths or are we telling lies?  

I've been giving these question a lot of thought recently, and ultimately I believe that each photographer has to decide for him or herself exactly where to draw the line on manipulating photos.  For me, I am comfortable with basic enhancements to improve the color and quality of the photograph, and perhaps I may occasional do a compilation image.  (The Christmas photo was my first attempt - which I composed to experiment with photoshop and test my abilities.)  But that's where I draw the line.  As much as I'd like to remove a chin or two from myself in my personal photographs, I think it is more important that photographs represent real life and real people.

But there is more than one way to misrepresent the truth with a photo.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so allow me to give you an example.

I give you those three photos of my dog, Lexi.  These images were all taken on the same day, in a span of about 30 minutes:

Here she is really just playing with Zoe, but she looks pretty mean and fierce, doesn't she?...


Here she's all tuckered out from playing and is crashed out, looking all calm and serene...


But the truth of the matter is that Lexi is neither mean and fierce, nor calm and serene. Instead she's just a crazy, lovable, goofball...


Depending on what photos I present to you, I can dramatically alter the way you see her.  It is so easy to misrepresent something in a photograph, and I think photographers have a responsibility to make every attempt to avoid doing so as much as possible.

What are your thoughts?

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at michelewhitacrephotography.com. Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photography Goals | 2012

New goals for the coming year on February 1st instead of January 1st?

Yep. Cuz that's just how I roll.

I could start off by making the classic joke about one of my goals being to stop procrastinating, seeing as how I'm posting my goals a bit later than one might expect.  But the truth is that I'm just insanely busy, so I haven't had the time to dedicate toward deciding what I want to accomplish in the coming year until now. Which does bring me to goal #1...

2012 Photography Goals

1. Dedicate more time to photography

I can't believe that I've lived in Phoenix for over 6 months and I still haven't opened up my shooting schedule and started looking for new clients. This makes me very sad and I really miss taking photos for others. But sometimes life doesn't turn out quite like we expect it to, and we have to play the hand we've been dealt.  Moving here didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hope, and it has delayed my anticipated schedule a bit.

The good news is that I've started down a new path that will allow me to start spending more time behind my camera and finish up the final things I need to do to reopen MWP here in Phoenix.  So, sometime this Spring, you can expect to see an announcement that I'm once again open for business.  Of course, that's when the real work will begin!  I have to admit that I'm terrified about how I'm going to get started when I don't know anyone here.  Eeeek! But others before me have relocated businesses, so I know it can be done.  Right?  Please, oh please, someone tell me I can do this! :)

2. Get outside of my comfort zone, and start exploring more areas of photography

Put a willing person in front of my camera, and tell me to take their portrait, and I'm all over it.  I love taking portraits and I'm comfortable doing it.  Put me in the middle of downtown, and tell me to photograph the buildings and I'm going to stumble.  I don't know the first thing about photographing architecture.

Second Street Creative, who is designing my new brand, tweeted this today, "Quit being afraid to fail. It paralyzes growth and makes you complacent. JUMP."

I couldn't agree more, and that's exactly what I'm going to do: JUMP.  Maybe not off the buildings, but headlong into photographing them, and every other subject that I haven't tried shooting before.

3. Create more emotional and symbolic personal photographs

In my Intro to Photography class, we were given an assignment to capture symbolism in a photo.  I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept, and I crash and burned on the assignment.  When we shared our images, one of my classmates had taken photographs at a cemetery for fallen soldiers.  All of the tombstones were the same and her photos of row after row of graves were stunning.  The composition of her images was gorgeous, and the symbolism behind them was amazing.

Ever since then, I have known that I wanted to work harder to add more symbolism, and emotion, into my own photography.  I know this won't be the easiest thing to do, especially when embracing the less happy things in life, but I want my images to feel real and to evoke feelings and emotions in those who view them... even if it is only me, and my memories and feelings that are brought back.

In the spirit of symbolism and emotion (and because I don't feel right about a blog post with no photos), I want to share these two images that I took last February when I was participating in a month long online photography class called "The Joy of Love" hosted by Willette Designs.  When viewing wedding photos of others, I'm always drawn to the photos of the rings.  Some photographers have the most amazing and creative ideas of how to photograph them!  So, for the class I decided to try my hand at photographing our wedding rings, and this was the result...



I do like the composition of the photos, but what I like even more is what the photos mean to me, and how they make me feel when I look at them. My wedding day was the most amazing and magical day of my life. Not because I had a fairy tale wedding, and I felt like I princess, but because it was the day that I joined myself to the person who I was made to walk through life with. Our wedding rings are a symbol of what we have together, and nothing could ever be more precious to me.

And, there you have it, my 2012 goals.  Since we are already a month into 2012, I guess I better get started!

If you've made it this far into the post, I thank you for sticking with me.  I do try my best to aim for more photos and less words, but I realize I didn't quite succeed with this one.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at michelewhitacrephotography.com. Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.
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