Category: Photography

September 1 2017

The Best Total Solar Eclipse Photo You’ve Ever Seen

One of my photographer friends, Navid Baraty, recently released this photo of last week’s solar eclipse. First, I want to note that I just love the word totality. (It’s beautiful!) Now, on to the shot.

What he basically did was combine 12 exposures to capture the sun’s corona during the total eclipse. “I did my best to capture how the moment actually looked in the sky.”

Redditors loved his shot, shooting it up to their #1 post a few days ago. Some comments he received included:

“Wow this is incredible! I had the chance to see the corona in person and this is spot on, great shooting!”
“Yeah this is the first photo I’ve seen that actually aproaches what I saw that day. Kudos.”
“Great job, this is the closest I’ve seen a photo come to how it looked like in real life. It’s really phenomenal how amazing and gorgeous the Corona looks, it blew my mind.”

Navid shot this photo in Madras, Oregon. Spectacular!

May 4 2017

Fun Balloon Series Creates Happiness and Joy

Photographer Gray Malin has created a fun series featuring mylar balloons. He strings together balloons to create messages of love, joy and happiness. It all started back in 2009 at a photoshoot. While he was standing under the Eiffel Tower holding a dozen red balloons, everyone was staring at him with a smile of pure joy. This inspired Gray to create a new body of work using balloons as the focal point. Shot around the world, the series uses Mylar balloons in unique environments to evoke happiness and joy.

The series is called Up and Away.

Rather than the ones that spell out words, I like this rainbow hearts photograph.

February 14 2017

New Book: Strong is the New Pretty

It was about two years ago that I wrote about Kate T. Parker’s photo series Strong is the New Pretty where she showed pictures of her two daughters in empowering poses. The actual series started six years ago and it has taken her across the country to meet and photograph girls to show their unique strengths. The series has now turned into an actual, real life book which you can soon purchase. (See Amazon.)

Here’s the synopsis:

“Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves.

“Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images.

“A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.”

I love her arresting photos and this powerful message.






December 22 2016

How to Find Your Personal Photographic Style

While watching my first CreativeLive course, Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style, I came across some good “light bulb” moments. The first, is that your style will come as you get better, technically. In the beginning, you’re just learning the basics, like focal length, shutter speed and aperture. You need to work hard and get the basics down, and as you do, your style starts to emerge. It doesn’t happen magically one day, it’s a long process that takes years of experience.

Teacher Julia Kelleher also asks her students to find inspiration from outside the field of photography. Here’s where it gets fun.

Outside inspiration comes from:
Personality & Mood
Our personal growth or life story

Today, I decided to find 20 photos that show what I love, that’s outside the field of photography.


Decor and Design: I like the “Dwell” modern house look. Open spaces, mid-century modern/modern lighting and furniture.


Decor and Design: Love the inside/outside element to this house and how nature surrounds it. I also like how you can see the colorful bookcase from outside.


Decor and Design: I’m also into minimalism. The Glass Pavilion, designed by Steve Hermann, is a Montecito, Santa Barbara home that sold for $24 million. The whole house is wrapped around in glass.


Decor and Design: I love Eames chairs, all white walls and/or floors and statement piece lighting. Mostly, I like things clean, modern, timeless and pretty.


Decor and Design: I’m obsessed with the black Eames lounge chair. Wouldn’t it be great to have a reading nook like this is your house?


Decor and Design: In this bedroom, love the simple art that’s hanging on the wall, the grays and the pinks. It has a Scandinavian interior feel.


Decor and Design: I love Bocci pendant lighting. Each light resembles a raindrop, to me. It looks so clean, crisp and pretty.


Nature: Speaking of pink, I love pink peonies. They’re my favorite flower. They bloom beautifully and they’re just full, feminine and pretty.


Design and Personality & Mood: This Work Hard & Be Nice To People Print, by designer Anthony Burrill, is the perfect piece to put up in your house. It’s simple but memorable.


Art: I love Max Wanger’s use of negative space. (I know I’m not supposed to list other photographer’s work here but I count this more as art than photography.) This one is so simple yet clever.


Art: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room is one of those must visit installations. It blows your mind away. I love how the lights change colors and how immersive it felt. Space is also a big thing for me. I love anything to do with it.

Art: If I had to pick my favorite piece of art of all time it would be Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I love the colors he uses and his swirling lines of the sky.


Art: I love the work of Audrey Kawasaki. It was love at first sight. The way she draws the female form is like no other. Her girls are always on the precipice of adulthood, beautifully innocent but looking for adventure. No one does pop surrealism like her.


Art and Design: I love the work of Olly Moss. This Star Wars set of his is clever and unique.


Decor, Design and Nature: I like how this wood table is embedded with a glass river. It’s beautiful and interesting.


Design and Music: I love the early iPod commercials where they just used dancing silhouettes with white headphones against colorful backgrounds. It was a groundbreaking example of simple yet brilliant advertising.


Nature and Design: I’m into all things owl. In fact, I own this planter. He hangs out on my desk at work. I also have a small collection of ceramics.


Nature: I can’t get enough of cherry blossoms. Japan is known for their explosions of them in the spring.


Fashion and Design: Though I know Fashion wasn’t included in the subjects list, I thought it would be another great category. Lots of us find inspiration in fashion, whether that means following the latest fashion trends or just incorporated a style into our wardrobe. I love colorblocking, it’s fresh and modern and it never goes out of style. Though pink and red aren’t at two ends of the color wheel, they compliment each other nicely. (Also like this Kate Spade skirt.)

Advertising and Art: Advertising is another one of those categories where you can draw inspiration from. The KENZO fragrance video, directed by Spike Jonze, left me speechless this year. It was fresh, cool and strangely interesting.

Above: This Christian Dior ad is probably one of the most memorable print ad campaigns I’ve ever seen. I love everything about this, how it’s whimsical, how there are colorful balloons lifting the woman up, the bright pink dress, and…Paris!

In conclusion: What have I learned? I’m big into mid-century modern design and modern design. How does this translates into photography? I love clean lines and white backgrounds and I like photographs that feel timeless. I love color but only when it feels fresh. I’m not into trends, rather, I appreciate things that can stand the test of time. I love images that are pretty, that are slightly more on the feminine side. I like when photographs give me an “aha!” moment, when it take a few seconds to click. I appreciate uniqueness and beautiful design.

December 21 2016

Best Online Photography Courses (for Me) are at CreativeLive

For the last year or so, I’ve been working at this new career as a “photographer.” (The lifestyle blogging thing is more of a side project.) With my seven years of experience, curating art and photography for My Modern Met, I knew I had a knack for picking out creative photography but I wasn’t quite sure how I would define my own style.

To be a successful photographer, one has to decide on what field to go into. What you want to be known for. Which genre appeals to you. Every day for a few months I would take pictures of my boys, honing my technical skills but also trying to figure out if family or kids photography was right for me.

So what have I learned? Sadly, not much. As much I loved taking pictures of Parker and Logan, I didn’t try going outside of my comfort zone. I’d look at Instagram images from some of my favorite photographers, like Max Wanger, Alice Gao, and Paul Octavious, and wonder what my niche and style would be. Like Max Wanger, would my photos have a light and airy feel about them? Would I be big on negative space? Or like Alice Gao would my photos be more clean and crisp, looking like an advertisement I’d see in a luxury magazine? Who would my clients be?

I felt like Alice in Wonderland, the girl who fell down the rabbit hole. Where would I begin? First, I took a few photography classes on Skillshare, then on but I would only pick up bits and pieces of information. Nothing seemed groundbreaking. No class inspired me to find my own voice.

Then, I remembered that there’s a website called CreativeLive that teaches Photography (and many other subjects). The company was co-founded by a photographer himself, Chase Jarvis. They’re curated classes taught by the world’s top experts. Perusing their website, I noticed that these classes wouldn’t be cheap. You could watch them for free when they’re live but if you wanted to watch an archived video, at your own pace, (they call it “on demand”) you’d have to pay, on average, close to $100. Is/was this a good investment?

The format is interesting. Each class is taught with an instructor speaking to a “live” class. The people in the room become participants, so the classes are somewhat interactive. They’re like stand-ins for those of us who are at home.

Yesterday, I selected six courses that spoke to me. They are:
Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style with Julia Kelleher
Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home with Kirsten Lewis
Getting Started in Professional Food Photography with Steve Hansen
Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling with Todd Porter and Diane Cu
Adobe® Photoshop® for Photographers: Beyond the Basics with Ben Willmore
Photoshop for Photographers: The Essentials with Ben Willmore

Then, today, I picked up three more:
Incredible Engagement Photography with Pye Jirsa
The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience with Jasmine Star
Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story with Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

I see these online courses as an investment in my career. You could go to a local college or photography club to learn these things but why would you when you can do it all from the comfort of your own home? Before I purchase a class, I like reading the reviews. They help lead me into making a decision on whether or not I should buy it.

If you haven’t checked out CreativeLive, you should. Especially with the sale they’re having right now! I’ve only started watching the first video, Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style, but so far I can say that I like the way it’s taped (with a live studio audience) and that the subject was exactly what I was looking for.

November 23 2016

Winners of the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016

The winners of USA Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 have just been announced and their photos are nothing short of spectacular. One of my favorites is by Mark Basarab who won the DPR Special Award Youth Winner for his clever photo showing a leaning man juxtaposed with a slanted tree. It was taken in Point Reyes, California.

The two big winning images can be seen below. You can check out all the winners on the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year website or you can sit back, relax and enjoy a compilation video, that includes a great selection of the winning images.


USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Winner: Alex Noriega
Sunrise light illuminates Mount Rainier as it rises above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake, Washington.


My USA Youth Winner: Raiatea Arcuri
Coastal lava tubes in Kona, HI cause the water to flow in and out creating beautiful water motion.

Winners video from USALPOTY on Vimeo.

November 16 2016

Unreal Supermoon Photo

By now we’ve seen our share of Supermoon photos. This one just popped up on my Facebook feed and it made me smile from ear to ear. It’s by @trevorandkahlua who wrote this, “The super moon last night and tonight was insane! I hope everyone had a chance to get out and see it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t howl.” Love how Trevor (of Trevor and Kahlua) is pushing the moon while his little doggie, Kahlua, sits on top of a mountain.

November 3 2016

A Sweet Moment Between the Obamas Caught by David Burnett

If many of you are like me, you’ll miss the Obamas in the White House. Love this sweet picture taken by photographer David Burnett between the two in 2012. President Barack Obama and wife Michelle take a brief break for ice cream after speaking at a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa.

This is just one of many pictures American photojournalist David Burnett has taken of the US presidents. In 1963, Burnett’s final year of high school, his mother took him to see John F. Kennedy speak in downtown Salt Lake City. A chance moment and a borrowed camera led to a lifelong career.

His exhibition, The Presidents: From JFK to Obama, will be open until Saturday, November 12, at the Pop Up Gallery: Australian Centre for Photography in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Come see some iconic images of the US Presidents from the last 50 years.

Photo courtesy and © the artist.

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