Serenity Project - June 2018

Welcome to our Serenity Project for the month of June 2018. The Serenity project is a collaborative photography project in which we want to share images that convey peace and calm.

This past weekend I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up some flowers. I knew that I wanted something small to photograph; I picked up a bundle of camomile. I wanted to challenge myself to work with the regular LB lenses (I just love Lensbaby lenses; they are on my camera about 85% of the time). I tried a couple of images with the macro filters, but I am still partial to my converter.

The first image is just a straight (or not so straight) image taken with the Sweet 50. Why I love working with my LB Sweet lenses is that I can get creative. I love the fall-off on this image, which is typical for the sweet optics:

  Lensbaby Sweet 50  - SS 1/100 - f4.0 - ISO 640

Lensbaby Sweet 50 - SS 1/100 - f4.0 - ISO 640

The next two images are with the Lensbaby Sweet 35. Seriously, I just love how the lens creates such beautiful bokeh. I do like the second image, but the one taken with the converter got me little closer to my subject and it has better separation to the background.

  Lensbaby Sweet 35  +  Macro Converter  - SS 1/125 - f4.0 - ISO 640

Lensbaby Sweet 35 + Macro Converter - SS 1/125 - f4.0 - ISO 640

  Lensbaby Sweet 35  +  Macro Filters  - SS 1/160 - f4.0 - ISO 640

Lensbaby Sweet 35 + Macro Filters - SS 1/160 - f4.0 - ISO 640

I know that some of my photography friends are not happy with the Lensbaby Sweet optics, however for me it was the first love. The Sweet 35 I received from my hubby for my birthday in 2011; and it still is my first Lensbaby love. I am super thrilled that Lensbaby featured one of my images on their website this week. To say that I am over the moon is an understatement. If you are interested in seeing the featured images, check out the website. And the bonus for me is that I am featured with one of my all-time favorite female photographers, Caroline Jensen.

To see more contributors of this month's serenity circle, I invite you to visit my talented photography friend, Emily Hamson, of Lavender Lime Photography, showing you what serenity means to her.

Thank you for stopping by today...until next time, find some serenity in your life.

Iris (TGTG)

Sunday - Fancy Macarons - Simply Styled

Last night we went out to celebrate our son's 33rd birthday. After our fun dinner at our favorite Korean restaurant in town, we stopped over at Asiana Market.

I have to say that I was surprised of all the offerings their now have as they moved to a much larger space. We purchases several fresh fruit, and after we checked out, we stopped at the new Tous Les Jours Bakery inside the market. I couldn't go past the yummy macarons they had on display. This afternoon I took some time to photograph them.

I have to admit, I love the food styling of my photography friends, especially my friend Nadeen of Nadeen Flynn Photography. I invite you to visit her site to check out her upcoming workshop/retreat

As I was photographing this afternoon, I realized that I am drawn to simple styling in my images. I tried different things, but ended up just using a neutral background with the macarons in their pretty box they came in. Here are two images that I really like from my session this afternoon.

 Canon 50mm lens - f2.8 - SS 1/320 - ISO 800

Canon 50mm lens - f2.8 - SS 1/320 - ISO 800

 Lensbaby Velvet - f4.0 - SS 1/80 - ISO 800

Lensbaby Velvet - f4.0 - SS 1/80 - ISO 800

Slow down. Enjoy the simple pleasures in Life.
— Unknown

Thank you for stopping by today. Until next time, take a break from the hectic life to enjoy simple pleasures.

Iris (TGTG)

My Other Side - Night Photography

Not many people know this about me, but I enjoy night photography in the city. Unfortunately, I don't do it often enough. However, the last two Saturdays my hubby (who is an amazing street photographer by the way- you can see his work on Flickr) and I went in to town after dark.

Our first outing was two weeks ago. The Mesas Arts Center hosted "Fantastic Planet" by the Australian artist Amanda Parer. Unfortunately I didn't have my tripod with me that night, so I handheld my camera to photograph. I was able to capture only one of her marvelous creations. Unfortunately all my images didn't turn out. The next two images are from the same night walking in downtown Mesa.

 Canon 28mm - SS 1/160 - f9.0 - ISO 1250

Canon 28mm - SS 1/160 - f9.0 - ISO 1250

 Canon 28mm - SS 1/100 - f2.8 - ISO 1250

Canon 28mm - SS 1/100 - f2.8 - ISO 1250

 Canon 28mm - SS 1/500 - f4.0 - ISO 1250

Canon 28mm - SS 1/500 - f4.0 - ISO 1250

Last weekend, we went to Tempe Town Lake. What a bustling place on a Saturday night. We were surprised that so many people like to walk around after dark. After all, it was only 89 degrees, and a wonderful breeze coming up from the lake made the air feel cooler. Here are some of my favorites from that outing (this time I had my tripod with me).

 Canon 28mm - SS 4 sec - f7.1 - ISO 400

Canon 28mm - SS 4 sec - f7.1 - ISO 400

 Canon 28mm - SS 1.6 sec - f16 - ISO 400

Canon 28mm - SS 1.6 sec - f16 - ISO 400

 Canon 28mm - SS 1.6 sec - f10 - ISO 400

Canon 28mm - SS 1.6 sec - f10 - ISO 400

Now you have seen another side of my photography. I hope to do this more often this summer and hopefully my hubby will join me on the outings.

Thank you for stopping by today; until next time...try something new and exciting.

Iris (TGTG)

Sunday - Lite Lunch

As the days are getting hotter, I always like to find things that are good, yet lite, for lunch. One of my favorite lunches (or even supper for that matter), is mozzarella with tomatoes, fresh basil, Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, onions, and black pepper. And please don't forget a crusty baked roll (this one is a Bolillo roll, which is very common here in the Southwest).

 Canon 50mm - SS 1/100 - f2.2 - ISO 200

Canon 50mm - SS 1/100 - f2.2 - ISO 200

I enjoy using my slate plate; after I photographed this light lunch, I was able to eat off that plate. What are your favorite light lunches? Please share, maybe I can find something new to try for the summer months.

Thank you for stopping by today - until next time, enjoy a light lunch.

Iris (TGTG)

My 3 Year Journey to Click Pro

In 2015 I joined a photography forum for women. I loved what I saw and I wanted to be part of their prestigous "Click Pro" program.

However, my journey to archive that goal was bumpy; with many hours refining my portfolio. After I missed the goal last year by one point, I wanted to never.ever.try again. It was my 3rd attempt, and I didn't see that I could ever make it.

 Lensbaby  Sweet 35  - SS 1/640 - ISO 250

Lensbaby Sweet 35 - SS 1/640 - ISO 250

After the failure last year, I started shooting for myself. Shooting for myself brought joy back to photography. I photographed like crazy; mostly macro and food. I enjoyed the journey without any pressure. I saw that I improved with every image I took.

In November I looked at my portfolio again, talking to my sweet friend Eileen about maybe trying again in 2018. Eileen was encouraging me to keep shooting and see where it would take me. So I continued to shoot for myself. At the end of January I felt I was ready to put my portfolio back together.

I tossed out a lot of images from last year's portfolio, adding images that I took since June of 2017. In February of this year I started to work with Eileen and Jan Tyler to go through my images; to put together my portfolio.

At first it was a rough going, but I remembered what the amazing Jennifer Carr told me after I failed my first attempt: "Detach yourself emotionally from your images". And Jan added: "Show what you do, and NOT what you can do". Such wise words from both of them.

So, on April 17, 2018 (it would have been my dad's 85th birthday), I submitted my set for review. Eileen was my emotional support over the 4 weeks of waiting time. She kept checking on me to see how I was holding up. It was a roller coaster ride for sure. I am grateful for Eileen's friendship and support.

On Monday, May 14th I received my acceptance letter to the Click Pro program. I was over the moon and it is still sinking in. Why I am sharing my long journey on my website? Because I want to encourage others to not give up on their dreams. Do keep going, even if it takes more than one try. For me being part of the program is like for a chef receiving a Michelin Star for their restaurant. And trust me, they work hard on getting that Star.

If you are interested in seeing my final portfolio that was accepted, check out my album on Flickr.

Thank you for stopping by today...until next time, keep your dreams alive.

Iris (TGTG)