Portrait and Landscape Photo Blog - Milieux Photography

G+Elena Grigorian

Protea Flower

Looks like a Queen Protea to me (sorry Proteus). This beauty is originally from the banks of Limpopo River in South Africa and is also known by the name of sugarbushes. I find it simply stunning; what a privilege to add it to my flower collection.

Protea

Protea Flower

Protea flower

King Protea Flower

Iris Flower

Seemingly a monster, it might look like one up close, an iris is a contradiction in many ways. I chose to see beauty in this flower, but most definitely an edgy one. So, to accomplish my vision, I went against the most common advice in flower photography, as one of the first words you would normally read is “defuse.” In this case I say: CONTRAST; every shot is lit from underneath and against a dark background. My vision, my rules. Final result: a beautiful iris flower with attitude.

Iris


Windmill Farm ,California

Sometimes things just come together: the light is amazing, the lines are perfect….. and an old train just casually rolls into the frame.

Windmill Farm


Improve your portrait photography

Improve your portrait photography with self-assigned projects.

Envision it, execute it, own it, learn from it


I greatly enjoy the inexhaustible learning opportunities that photography represents. I also believe in the practice makes perfect theory when it comes to photography. This makes for a very simple formula which I have been following using these simple steps:

1. Learn from the best

2. Practice what you've learned

3. Do it again

4. Do it better, don't move on until you can do it with your eyes closed (well, maybe just one eye so that you can see through the viewfinder)

Getting better at portrait photography can be as easy as planning a fun-filled self-assignment project. This is the time when you can do whatever you like and experiment as much as you want. NO PRESSURE. How else can it be done? Practicing or experimenting on a client is really not a good idea. The only thing is not to forget all the crucial steps and plan the shoot as if it were for a real client, otherwise there's no point. Envision the project, plan it, sketch it and prepare for it. Afterwards, analyse your work, learn from your mistakes, learn from your successes and do it again.



BECOME A BETTER ARTIST

Artist Up! 

The first e-mail I read in 2014 included a newsletter from a friend who is a wonderful writer/instructor/mentor. This one piece is universally applicable to all artists, photographers included. I found it immensely inspirational and just had to share it (and keep it here as a reminder to myself for the future).

Slightly shortened, the parts applicable to writers only are simply dots and the rest is useful to any artist. Full article can be found in the December 2013 Newsletter. It’s about doing your best and then doing better. But I’m not a writer so I’ll hand things over to D.J .Adamson.


Redoing, Rethinking… The Process of Art.

Many artists hate to have their work critiqued. That goes for the professional as well as the student. Yet, the point of criticism is to find out how your work is being perceived. Here are a few points to keep in mind when getting the criticism:

Listen, don’t defend. Despite what you are hearing, don’t interrupt, make ex-cuses or try to explain how they didn’t get it.

Don’t start blubbering like a baby. Artist up.

Don’t expect a standing ovation.

If the criticism is making you angry, then it is probably something you already knew but didn’t what to hear.

Begin making a list of repeated criticism …. These are your weak points.

Once you are by yourself, scream, rant, rave, and swear at all the comments you received, then do it again.

By D.J. Adamson www.djadamson.com


Beautiful Morrow Bay

Just like that, 2013 is almost gone.

This is my beautiful memory at Morrow Bay Beach; my daughter looking at a shell she found, just like she did when she was 5.

My wish for a Happy New Year is: More Happy Memories!

Morrow Bay, California


Christmas Puppy

Without a conscious commitment it became a tradition for my little Cookie to be my Christmas puppy model.

My poor baby, she hates the costumes, but she does love the treats.

Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays to everyone!

Cookie the Christmas Puppy


Yosemite Half Dome and Stoneman Bridge in HDR

I stopped counting images of Half Dome I’ve taken over the years a long time ago. This time, I wanted something different so I started planning as soon as we got to the valley as it’s not always easy to combine a family and a photography trips into one. No matter how supportive my wonderful family is, I know that oftentimes they wish I had accidentally left my camera at home; so I chose the not-so-remote location just off Stoneman Bridge. It is conveniently located right next to the parking lot and just a couple of minutes walk from a nice coffee shop which also serves ice cream - all of the elements in the choice of location were vital to the success of my project. Once the logistics were out of the way, the rest was pure fun: 9 exposures (11 originally) at sunset, same equipment setup as for motion blur (still missing the emote shutter release cable which I have now decided is NOT optional). This image was processed using Photomatix Pro Software which I absolutely love and finished off in Photoshop. I will not even attempt to write up an HDR tutorial as there's a fantastic free HDR tutorial available by Trey Ratcliff (thank you Trey!).

Yosemite Half Dome Reflection under the Stoneman Bridge in HDR

Golden Gate Bridge, California

Our trips to San Francisco are never complete without a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Golden Gate National Park. It’s an amazingly fascinating and beautiful place which is never quite the same; this place it’s ever changing and captivating to the extreme. Man-made marvel and pure beauty of nature all in one place, all at once is simply magical.

These two sea gulls seem to share my appreciation for it’s appeal and took on the visual role of it’s guards. Maybe it was the play of a whimsical mind or simply a result of exhaustion after a seven hour drive at the time but here I am, several month later, still seeing the same thing. Interesting. Well, after all, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see” per Mr. Henry David Thoreau.

I could not agree more.

Changing Guard at Golden Gage Bridge

Changing Guard at  Golden Gate

Creating a Perfect Reflection with Motion Blur

Sometimes the best compliments are not completely intentional. Looking at this image, my daughter said: “mom, the reflection doesn’t look real, why’d you do it?! (The brutal honesty of a teenager). My reply was simply: “I did not. That’s how I took the photo.”

Motion blur adds a sprinkle of emotion to a scene; I find it fascinating because the results are not always predictable so there’s always an element of surprise. If, however, you’re looking for a predictable outcome and wish to create a perfect reflection with motion blur, it’s pretty simple to accomplish.

To do this you’ll need three pieces of equipment in addition to your camera:

1. Tripod (this is NOT an option!)

2. Neutral density filter, I recommend the 9 stop Hoya (this allows you to shoot at 30 seconds in midday sun)

3. Remote shutter release cable (semi-optional but not really) This shot was taken in Yosemite National Park, the waters of the Merced River, to my delight, were high for August. Taken at a 20 second exposure at F/22, ISO 200. The semi-optional cable release was missing from my bag so there’s a slight camera shake which I do not mind in this image but best safe than sorry.

Happy shooting!

Motion blur effect

The Fairy

Outdoor Portrait

The Human Experiment.  
A study of angles, expressions, poses, lighting, interaction with the subject and whatever else might come along in order to achieve the ultimate goal of portraying one’s beauty in the most natural way.
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