Thursday, March 31, 2011

Student Open House

Throughout the year, the Admissions Office puts on Open where prospective students can see Hallmark and all that it has to offer. The studios are all set up, the labs are filled with images we've taken, there is a special gallery featuring some body of work (whether an instructor's or our work), and there is yummy food. Students volunteer to work at it, showing people around and telling them about our experiences here as students. I've volunteered at the last few, and am helping out with the final Admissions-run Open House of the year.

One week from this Sunday, on Sunday, April 10th, we students get to lead our OWN Open House, geared toward the friends and families of ours who have been our biggest supporters. We play the roles that our instructors have played. We have been raising the funds to put the event on ourselves. Students designed the invitations. The bays will all be set up with our work. Prints of ours will be hung around the school. The food will be made/prepared by students. It will be an exciting day of allowing people to see where we've spent long hours and the last 10 months of our lives.

This is a portion of what the Hallmark website says about the day.....

(click on it to see it larger)

I know most of my friends and family can't come, but I thought I'd share it with you anyway. I will be working in the Commercial Studio as one of the co-chairs. We're excited about the work that will be shown.
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Snow, Snow, go away, and DON'T come again another day....

I thought spring was coming, but instead, we're getting another snowstorm tomorrow. It's currently raining outside, but it's supposed to turn to all snow through the early morning hours. This is the unfortunate forecast for the next 36 hours....


In the morning, I have a portrait practical, during which I have 6 min. to meter a shot, properly expose and take a picture of someone in the portrait studio. The lights are all set up...we just need to get the camera on and take the picture. Then I have portrait studio the rest of the day, so I will be at school working on editing pictures and keeping myself warm inside.

I hope spring is coming sooooon. When I was home over spring break, I saw daffodils blooming and GREEN grass. We still have snow piles and salt everywhere. The grass is brown-ish. The birds are chirping, but on barren trees. I don't think they quite know what to do.

Spring, please come this some rotten April Fools' joke??? If so, I don't like it!! :-)
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At school, there is a bulletin board, on which is posted job opportunities, models who are willing to pose, and information about various photo ops for us as students. As I walked by a few weeks ago, I saw a posting wherein a retired fire chief wanted his picture to be taken. All the post said was that he was willing to come to school and wanted a portrait of himself in uniform. I took the post down and called Ron that evening. Who I spoke to on the other end was this very sweet man who wanted a picture of himself. We set a date and time, and I told him to contact me when he arrived at Hallmark.

Ron and his wife Fran came to the studio and he looked so dapper in his suit. Once he was seated, he put on his hat as well. His wife Fran beamed with joy at the photos that she saw on the screen. While talking to Ron, he mentioned that he wears his suit for holidays throughout the year that celebrate veterans, and sometimes participates in parades and other such ceremonies commemorating the valiant efforts of those who have fought for our country. Ron is a WWII vet, and carries the burden - as many others do - of the tales of war.

Just a few bays over, one of our instructors - David - was working on photographs for his upcoming gallery featuring vets. I told Ron to hold on, went over to David, and told him I had someone he should meet. Long story short, David and Ron met, and David asked Ron if he could photograph him for the possibility of being another vet represented in his gallery.

It was neat to be able to connect them; I am excited to see David's final picture of Ron. I was pleased with the photos I got of him, too, and delivered him some prints the next morning. He was so appreciative of the photos and Fran teared up at the sight of them. They even invited me to come over, once the weather gets nicer, for a BBQ. They are hopefully going to come to the Student Open House on Sunday, April 10th. It's the first time we are able to - in a formal manner - invite friends and family to come and see what we're working on.

So here are the two pictures of Ron I like best. Isn't he such a handsome, proud-looking man??

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Phase 3 Additional Personal Submissions

There is much to post about...For now, I'll start with this...

Friday 3/18 commenced our spring break, but before we could leave for some R&R, we had to submit our Phase 3 personal submissions. They were due by 5:15pm.

Being called "additional personal submissions" meant that we could photograph anything we wanted. The only requirement was that the pictures we took needed to be in line with the statement of goals we developed for our Career Business Plan. Since I want to enter into the world of weddings and portraiture, I created my pictures to focus on these things.

Here are the pictures I submitted...we had to submit 7 plus a self-portrait.








yours truly:

We also heard from Justin and Mary Marantz , this awesome husband/wife wedding team, on Thursday before we left (St. Patty's Day). They offered practical advice and even did a mock wedding to give us some pointers.

Friday marked the end of Phase 3 and the beginning of Spring Break. I went home to NJ and had a wonderful (but quick) week home. The weekend kicked off with a bridal shower for my friend Janice (post to come), then seeing my friend Jess who had a baby girl on 3/13 (also a post to come), then ended with a wedding for my friends Mike and Karen (yet another post coming)....guess I have a lot to post about.

But now I'm back at school and about to head to the guest lecturer for the morning. This afternoon we have portfolio prep., where we get our Phase 4 assignments and the schedules for the remainder of the year. I'm sure it's going to feel like syllabi shock all over again!! But I have to remember, in just shy of THREE months, I will graduate from Hallmark!! June 24th, you can't come quickly enough!!!

More to come soon.....
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Me Love Cookies

Video class began at 8am.

Our instructors showed some examples of video and told us we'd be creating a video during our 4-hr. block of class.

We were told to get in groups to go out and shoot a video that could be used to capture an event taking place. We were given some topics, including sports, creating art, reading, driving, cooking, to name a few.

We had an hour and 1/2 to film, then had to come back to school and edit our video, add a title and the names of those in our group, and drop the video in a dropbox on the server.

During the last little bit of class, we watched all the groups' videos that had been made.

Our group decided to go to my apartment and make cookies. We had such a fun time filming.
Here's our final product....remember this is the first video we had to do from start to finish and the first time editing real data that wasn't previously selected by our instructors.

I think we did well....

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring is on its way....

The other night I went to have dinner with M L. We had a fantastic menu, including vegetable soup, sweet potatoes with bread crumbs, homemade bread sticks, a salad with avocados, and a quiche. Then to top it all off, she made an apple crisp with blueberries. We also sipped on chai tea. It was soooo yummy!

But before I left, M L made me leave with beautiful daffodils. I looove daffodils, almost as much as I love sunflowers. In high school I had to research a Romantic poet. I chose William Wordsworth. He has a poem entitled "Daffodils", sometimes referred to as "I Wandered Lonely on a Cloud".

Here's the poem:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

My heart is definitely filled with pleasure.....

Some of the stems hadn't yet bloomed, but over the course of the last few days, they all opened up and looked so beautiful.

Thanks for the flowers, M L! My roomies and I enjoyed them on our kitchen table for the last few days!

It makes me excited to think spring is really a-comin'!
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Phase 3 Critique

Today I had my Phase 3 critique.

Here's the play-by-play:

You are instructed to go into the auditorium and sit in a specific chair to wait for your individual time. Then one of the instructors comes out to "escort" you to the viewing room. You are told where to sit, and greeted by the faces of 4 people - the head guy in portrait (Rich), the head guy in commercial (Dick), one of the design instructors (Joan) and the woman in charge of all academic areas (Lisa). They are both looking at their computers and looking at the images displayed in a lightbox in front of them. First Lisa talks about the career business plan, noting different pieces that are good and areas that could use improvement. She also reviews what I hope to do and where I hope to be doing it - both to confirm with me and to inform the other instructors of my plans.

Then Rich looks at the portrait work and critiques on the things that need improvement. Dick does the same for the commercial work. Joan then goes over the ad, brochure and product shots, and finally it's wrapped up by an overall summary of the work that has been turned in.

Since I had shown my work to Rich and Dick, they didn't have much to say, since the advice they gave was listened to and the things changed that they recommended. They gave me some suggestions, which will be below.

At the end, a grade sheet is printed with both the grade for your career business plan (worth a fake $50,000) and then the pictures themselves (also worth a fake $50,000).

And.....drum roll please....

I got $50,000 on both, for a whopping $100,000...a perfect score! Now if only they were real dollars!
Here's a pic of the grading sheet for my pictures.

Then your pictures are snatched up, your photos handed back to you, your career business plan handed back, and again Rich escorts you back to your "exit".

I was so pleased with the work I did. In all honesty, they did give me some advice...they say I am good with the technical and getting the assignments done, but they want to see more creativity and more of ME in my pictures. I GET it.....because I've felt that way for the past few months. I feel like I am stuck with the expected, and not taking the pictures that really please me. I am so concerned with making sure my lighting is right, that I took a picture of the white balance and color checker, and that the eyes are in focus. It's been draining simply remembering all that...and then being happy with the shot is obviously key.

So I am hopeful that I can take some pictures that really reflect me....and I don't quite know how to do that...I just wish I were feeling free to just take pictures. I know it almost sounds silly, but I feel like I've been stuck taking the procedures for face value and not putting my heart into them - not getting the emotions of those whom I am photographing.

Now I need to get my rear in gear and get these personal submissions going. I have 2 of the 8 pictures completely done. They just need to be printed. I am getting together with a couple on Friday morning and staging a mock wedding. Well, wedding portraits. I am excited for that. I hope they turn out great.

After I left school, I went to the grocery store and got a few some chicken to make my yummy Spiede sauce chicken tonight, plus some ingredients to make a trail mix - so excited - and also some asian apples, bananas, and apricots. Ooh, I am so excited to eat all my yummy food.

BUT then, to my surprise, I had not one, but TWO pieces of mail waiting for me ....a letter and a small package.

The letter....

...was from one of my best friends. After having such a wonderful day, the words of the card became that much more meaningful. She wrote and said, "....Hoping you are having a really great day today." Well yes, my friend, I AM!!!

THEN...the package contained a letter with some pictures of some dear friends and some earl grey tea (my FAV) and some seasoned oyster crackers. It is a recipe that my mom's godmother used to make...and now my friend Liz makes them and periodically sends them to me.

Thanks, Liz, for being a constant cheerleader of my efforts at school. You are a blessing.

So it's been a wonderful day! Tomorrow I have a Digital Imaging class and Event Photography class in the morning, then 4 hours of Business Communications in the afternoon. We are presenting on photographers who are having a significance in photography. My group chose to research Brad Guice, whose work you MUST check out, if you haven't already seen it. We presented last week and the presentation went very well. So now we can sit back and relax, and not be anxious that maybe our group will go, or maybe we won't.

Thanks to all of you who have been encouraging me in this journey called Hallmark. You EACH have made an impact on my life.
I appreciate you.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Snowmen Cupcakes

Hopefully winter is ending soon; I can't wait for warmer weather, no snow or ice, and the ability to take more photos outside without having my fingers freeze or my models smiling through chattering teeth.

But, as I was taking a photo of a cake baker at a local farm market, she was decorating snowmen cupcakes to fulfill an order for a customer.

Aren't they so cute??

Right after I took the picture, she was using pretzel rods for their arms...too cute!

It reminded me of this picture that I saw on the web awhile back:

There is this snow festival in Japan every year called the Sapporo Snow Festival. They have snow statues and ice sculptures; 2 million people go every year.

Wonder how long it took them to put together all those little snowmen!!
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Big News....

So I put a teaser out to some people in my email that I had big news to share...

I know it may not seem all that exciting, but to me, it's another step toward kick-starting my business.

I bought a new camera...a camera that I think will really enhance my images and allow me the opportunity to capture pictures that make me proud of my work and show my clients that I have the ability to give them solid photographs.

I bought a Nikon D700 with a 70-200mm 2.8 VRII lens, and am so excited to begin shooting with it.

I took some quick pics last night as I opened the boxes, charged my battery, and held my new toy.

Just look at that lens. It's going to give me some great images.
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