Long Exposure: Playing & Writing with Light

The fun thing about photography is that there are SO many things to experiment with when it comes to lighting. Lighting can completely transform a photo, and the more you know about lighting, the better your pictures will be. I am still learning and perfecting my techniques, but I wanted to share with you a simple "lighting" technique that we will call "light writing."

Light writing is extremely simple if you know how to adjust your camera settings. First and foremost, to be able to write, you must be taking pictures in a relatively dark setting and have some kind of light source to write with. In the above example, I am in my backyard and have a headlamp (flashlight) that I am using as my light source. Even though it doesn't look like a very dark night, the moon was very small and the sky was not bright at all. My camera settings enhanced the color of the sky (and trees), while allowing me to write with light.

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The Workflow: Shooting, Picking, Editing

When I first started shooting, I didn't know what a workflow was. I would take pictures in jpeg format, upload them to my computer, and edit all of them except for the blatantly bad ones. Literally, I would open them up in Photoshop one by one and then manually edit each photo with what I felt like experimenting with at that time. It taught me a lot about how to use Photoshop, but all of my photos were very inconsistent in terms of style, and it took me absolutely FOREVER! I found my workflow through making mistakes. There had to be an easier way that was less time consuming, more consistent, and more useful.

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Retronaut: History Revealed

I don't know if you've ever come across the website Retronaut or not, but I must advise you go check it out. Retronaut is kind of like Pinterest, but just for photos of all things history. It's amazing, you can see anything from Johnny Cash sitting in a bush eating a whole cake to "Dead Head" Hitler Postage Stamps.  It has so many fascinating images, you literally can get lost in this site.  I really like how they have the website set up, too. When you click on an image it brings a lightbox up with the photo and to the right it has category, URL, era, source, and favorite buttons, and on the bottom it has "If you like this, check out:" suggestions. Sometimes the collections have multiple photos. 

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Hi, I'm Ashley Meier! {Guest Blogger from BlueHaus Studios}

Hi!  My name is Ashley Meier, and I am going to be a guest blogger for Modern Southerner on the 2nd Monday of every month. I am a Colorado photographer/creative professional, and am very excited to share my knowledge {and hopefully some spunk!}. By the way, it’s such a pleasure to virtually meet you all. This is the first time I have gotten to consistently collaborate with another creative like myself, and I am looking forward to working with Sarah and connecting with a new reader base. I will be posting about photography, wedding planning, business topics…a little mix of everything!

Now, I want you all to know that I DO have a little southern in me, even though I am Colorado native. My moms side of the family is full of southern belles, and I am actually a “Daughter of the American Revolution” if you want to get specific. I also have a ton of family in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. I did live in Nashville for one year of my life, so I was even able to pick up a little bit of an accent {temporarily}.

I am married to a boy from Kansas, and we are currently living in Fort Collins, CO. It is pretty much the coolest town in the US, and it keeps getting ranked one of the number one places to live in country.  We have lots of microbreweries {New BelgiumO’Dells, Etc.), and love to ride bikes into historic Old Town during the summer nights. We spend a lot of time with our dogs too, a Yellow Lab named Izzy, and a Golden Retriever named Teddy {Bear}. I take way too many pictures of them because we don’t have kids yet. Other than that, we love traveling {Costa Rica!!}, skiing, surfing, camping, going on adventures, and photography {I am even teaching my husband to shoot!}.

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Anyways, enough about me!  I can’t wait to get to know you all, and am looking forward to adding a little mid-western flavor to Modern Southerner. 

Ashley {Zenzen} Meier

BlueHaus Studios

http://bluehausstudios.com 

NEGLECTED


Whoops... I've sort of neglected the ole blog the past couple of weeks. I've been so busy with different projects that I haven't had a chance to give MS the love it (He?  She?  Nah, it.) deserves. I'm going to work on that now, but just wanted to reassure the world that Modern Southerner has just been temporarily on hold.  In the meantime, enjoy my cropped Instagram photos // User Name: sarmcmahon.  

Enjoy!












NATURE SHOTS



Here are some nature shots I've taken recently.  I love walking around in the Tennessee woods, especially in the fall. The colors, textures, and overall feeling is amazing.  With our unusually high temperatures this week it feels a little less like fall and a little more like spring, but at least it looks like fall/winter.  All I know is I'm ready for the cold winter to set in!

Enjoy!

INSTAGRAM PHOTOS // NATURE EDITION


Instagram photos, nature edition!!  WOOHOO!

Also, check out ELEVEN26 for some lovely vintage, retro, and handmade items!  New items coming this week, yo!

Enjoy! 



Overlooking Hot Springs, Arkansas with Mikey on a road trip in August.

Hiking in The Great Smoky National Park

Hiking in The Great Smoky National Park

Hiking in The Great Smoky National Park

Hiking in The Great Smoky National Park

In Cades Cove, TN

Tremont

In Cades Cove, TN

In Cades Cove, TN

In Cades Cove, TN

At a nursery in Knoxville.

On the Blue Ridge Parkway between Waynesville, NC and the NC entrance to The Great Smoky Mountains

On the Blue Ridge Parkway between Waynesville, NC and the NC entrance to The Great Smoky Mountains

In Cades Cove, TN

At a family friend's house for Labor Day

On a hike near Tremont 9.9.12

On a hike near Tremont 9.9.12

On a hike near Tremont 9.9.12

On a hike near Tremont 9.9.12

On a hike near Tremont 9.9.12

On a hike near Tremont 9.9.12

MOTHER NATURE'S FURY

Last Thursday a sudden violent storm came through East Tennessee. Drought has plagued the area for the past few weeks. To a Gulf Coast girl, this has been different.  I'm used to summer afternoon showers almost daily. On the coast it rains Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall, so the idea of drought is very foreign to me. I've watched crops on the side of roads go from lush green to dry brown. I honestly feel for the farmers here and across all the areas experiencing this drought.  

The storm started around 5:30 PM.  We experienced a few brown outs, and then the power went out only to come back around 12:30 AM. I actually went to bed at 10 PM due to sheer boredom and lack of light to do anything. I did enjoy wine and great conversation with my mom on her front porch after the storm.  As dark and ominous as the sky got that afternoon, the rain was relatively short and uneventful other than the power outage here in Knoxville. Over in the Great Smoky National Forrest it was a different story. 

The park was closed until yesterday due to clean up crews having to clear the roads. There were also a few deaths, which I won't go into, but they were due to the weather. Friday morning when we woke to the joys of the internet we discovered the state of the park and those the storm had taken. Today my mom and I went over to the park since the road to Cades Cove was reopened. On the way up there were a lot of down trees. The one mountain face looked like it had been logged. All the trees were uprooted and strewn all over the side of the mountain highlighted by rock, brown dead leaves, and crumbling dirt.  

Below are some photos. It was hard getting good photos of the damage, and I couldn't get near the mountainside that was really destroyed due to lack of sufficient pullovers, but the down trees should give you somewhat of an idea. It's sad, but sometimes I think Mother Nature has to put us in our place.  We think we garden Earth, but sometimes Earth has to show us who is boss. Sadly, beautiful things get destroyed. Don't worry though, it's not Katrina bad in that area, but River Road from the Wye in Townsend to Gatlinburg is still closed. I just hope it isn't too bad.

It's hard to tell, but these are down trees across the river.

 It's a little easier to see in this photo, but the impact is nothing how it is in person.

A broken tree in Cades Cove.

This was just pretty.

I'll post more photos once River Road to Gatlinburg is open. Let's hope it's just taking longer because it's a longer road. It's so beautiful I hate to think of it destroyed.

BITS AND PIECES, SUMMER 2012





























































1.    Sweet typography in an antique store in Knoxville, TN.
2.    More super sweet type in the same store in Knoxville, TN.
3.    Beautiful lake in Dandridge, TN.
4.    Crazy antique place in TN.
5.    Inside the crazy antique place in TN.  Those are tons of old toasters.
6.    DO NOT PUNCH KEYS, just made me want to punch them more.  Don’t worry, I didn’t do it.
7.    They had an amazing bottle collection, too.
8.    I really liked this blue label for some reason.
9.    Garlic at the Lavender Festival in Oak Ridge, TN.
10.  Beautiful lavender was everywhere!
11.  Old bed with flowers was at the festival, so cute!
12.  I LOVE the type on this book!
13.  Beautiful river in Tremount near Cades Cove.
14.  Elkmont cabins.
15.  Leaf... nothing special, just liked the color.
16.  Wall of retro soda cans!
17.  Beautiful Fire King cups that will be for sale on ELEVEN26, COMING SOON!
18.  Adorable rose pattern that will also be for sale soon.
19.  ELEVEN26 will have men’s items!!  WOOHOO!
20.  This town was sad, everything seemed to be out of business or going out of business.  There were a few sweet buildings, though.
21.  Open or For Sale?  Confused... sadly it was closed and FULL of cool stuff. 
22.  Atop the Foothills Parkway.
23.  The mountains on that part are HUGE!
24.  Sweet old graphotype.  SO NEAT!

INSTAGRAM FLOWERS

I love flowers.  Honestly, who doesn't?  I mean they color our world, and that's pretty spectacular if you ask me.  In addition to loving flowers, I also take photos of them whenever I can.  At first I felt like this was cliche, but then I decided screw cliches.  I mean, really.  Do what you love, photograph what you love, and ignore cliches!  My theory is cliches were birthed out of observation and ignorance.  Sure, I get the idea behind them, but like I said, SCREW CLICHES and all their holding back power.  Anyway, I decided I'd start snapping photos of every beautiful, colorful, and amazing flower I saw.  Thankfully, when I don't have my Nikon in hand, I have my iPhone, so I really don't miss any opportunities for photos at all, including flowers. 

Here is a collection of Instagram photos I've taken this year that are floral, colorful, and (to me) beautiful.  I hope you enjoy!





















Instagram :: sarmcmahon

BEEN A WHILE...

Hmm, been a while since I posted anything, but I assure you that is going to change.  To prove it to you that I've learned the error of my blog neglecting ways, here are some sweet designs that are sure to tickle your brain.  Enjoy!

Update on my whereabouts, what's coming up, life's interesting moments, and much more, COMING SOON!

 by :: Sarah

 by :: Mikey


 by :: Sarah


 by :: Sarah & Mikey

by :: Sarah


 by :: Sarah & Mikey

LAZY SUNDAY

Guess who got an iPhone finally?  That's right, me!  I'm a lover of Macs, but I had Verizon and I liked them way better than AT&T, then they finally got the iPhone and my contract wasn't up, but yesterday my life changed!  Ok, a bit dramatic, but I've been wanting one forever (that one is for you, Marcus)!  Anyway, I jumped on the Instagram bandwagon, and I have to say I really like it.  I've taken some photos of my up coming jewelry collection (two pieces have been released on Replay, so make sure to go check them out!

Here are some Instagram photos, and if you want to follow my photos (I will be using this for everything), follow me at sarmcmahon.

Enjoy!  Oh, and I threw in two adorable creatures, too.