Tuesday, May 31, 2011

San Francisco in blue

You all know I'm crazy about Yosemite, and the outdoors in general...so it would seem that urban scenes aren't always my favorite.  While that's sometimes true, there's a certain time of day that I LOVE urban photography: blue hour!

Blue hour is a magical time that comes every evening after sunset.  The sun goes down, the colors fade, everything looks drab...and then as the sky darkens, it passes through the most sublime course of blue shades any connoisseur of color could ask for.

I'm too indecisive to settle down on a particular favorite color -- I have a whole repertoire of favorite colors -- but these deep, rich, magnificent blues definitely rank high on the list!

Everything around turns blue, reflecting the sky, and when you combine that with incandescent lights, I think it's just gorgeous.  Here's an image I took in San Francisco a few weeks ago during blue hour:

This was during Julie and Dan's engagement session, and yes, we did some photos of them at blue hour too!  Looking forward to sharing those with you soon!  :)

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

Kelsey Schweickert  |  San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer
Visit my website  |  Email me  |  Follow me on Twitter  |  Like my photography on Facebook

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some "fun stuff" and "pretty stuff" from our Yosemite Landscape Workshop

This last week has been so full of fantastic photos, I don't know where to start!  But a while ago (before I got sick, ha) I did promise more photos from the Yosemite workshop, so those will get priority.  Not to mention that they're pretty awesome photos of really awesome people in a thoroughly awesome park!!

First, you should meet the cast of characters (and yes, we are characters).  Here we are posing very seriously after dark on a ridge overlooking Yosemite valley.  (Unfortunately, I moved, so I'm kind of blurry.  But blurry is kinda my norm...so there ya go.)

And here's the photo I annoyed you all with last night on Facebook.  Don't you want to see what they were shooting? :)

Here it is!  We found this beautiful cascade as we exited the Park, on our way back to the Bay Area.  Perfect spot to work on blurred-motion, using neutral density filters to slow our shutter speeds.

The day before, we found a lovely mossy-green wall near lower Yosemite Falls and did a few portraits...here's Amanda! :)

She has great expressions.  :D

We found this beautiful late-afternoon rainbow in the clouds of mist below Bridalveil Fall...

Here's something that half bothers me, half makes me laugh.  Have you ever noticed this tree before?  It shows up in a TON of the images taken from the Tunnel View, near Inspiration Point.  You can often spot those goofy flat-topped branches in people's photos, over on the right side near Bridalveil Fall.  Next time you see a photo from this famous spot, check the tree!

Night view from the same spot...with my fisheye.  (Presumably that silly tree is here somewhere...just too dark to spot it!)

The obligatory crazy waterfall-hair self-portrait.  (Not too crazy this time.)

The students picked up on all my bad habits.  They take self-portraits all the time now...

...and they have a similar infatuation with sun stars...

...and they can frequently be seen taking photos of their feet.  Hahahaha.

They even do it when they have snowshoes on.
(We snowshoed partway out the Dewey Point trail -- it was a blast!)

Food makes us happy.

Erin is a true photographer...she'll do whatever it takes to get that awesome photo!  (This can't have been a comfortable position!)

Sometimes we use tripods...

...and sometimes, we use bag-o-pods.  (My faithful Tamrac Velocity 9 has served me well in this capacity for several years.  It's the real reason I carry a camera bag around -- to put my camera ON, not IN. Haha.)

(Sometimes we also use friend-o-pods, but I didn't take any photos of that phenomenon.)

We did lots of blurred-motion water photos:

...and stopped-motion studies.  This is one of my favorites.  I love these colors, and how the image caught the water's motion.

A pretty pathway at Happy Isles

This woodpecker was very busy making holes in the oaks in Sentinel Meadow.

The little guy (and his friends, I guess) have been quite industrious, as you can see...

Perched on a rock above the Merced River, Cathedral Rocks in the background...

I'd been trying to decide which highway to take home, and asking the Lord about it.  Finally decided at the last minute to take highway 140.  In true Father-who-loves-us fashion, God had a surprise waiting for us!  As we headed into the central valley, we came around a bend and there was a huge patch of stunning wildflowers.  (I think I'll post a few more in the Facebook album.)

We went to San Francisco that afternoon, drove down Lombard Street, and made good use of certain famous items for sale at Ghirardelli Square.  We finished the day on the Embarcadero with some "blue hour" shots of the bridge...but I'll save those last couple images for another post.

And the workshop ended.  And we returned home with many CF cards full of photos.  And we downloaded them all and were very happy.  The end.  ;)

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

Kelsey Schweickert  |  San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer
Visit my website  |  Email me  |  Follow me on Twitter  |  Like my photography on Facebook

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jacob and Adria - engagement session slide show

Jacob and Adria are so much fun!  They're getting married in July and I can't wait to photograph their outdoor wedding.  It's going to be grand!

Their engagement session in Pacifica was a hoot -- goofing off in the rain with umbrellas, posing in a playground, avoiding (sometimes) puddles and impromptu streams, and just joking around with each other and having a good time.  As you can see from the photos, they have tons of personality and are very comfortable in front of a camera...I love it!  :)

Hope you all have a happy Friday!

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

Kelsey Schweickert  |  San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer
Visit my website  |  Email me  |  Follow me on Twitter  |  Like my photography on Facebook

Monday, May 9, 2011

His yoke is easy

Happy Monday, everybody!  And hey, "happy Monday" is NOT an oxymoron!  :)  I woke up to sunshine coming through the window, a day filled with the work I love, and the health to do it...what's not to like?  ;)

See, I've been sick for a few weeks.  Again.  Grr!  I don't get sick like this.  It was some sort of bronchitis, a deep chest infection, the kind where you spend all your time in bed because you just don't have the energy to do ANYTHING else.  Not even watch movies or read books.  I coughed all night and slept all day.  My chest hurt and my voice sounded froggy.  And when I did get better enough to watch movies and read books, I quickly learned to avoid funny ones, because laughing set off the coughing again!

I'm still coughing a bit, but I'm awfully happy to conclude this unplanned hiatus from normal life (and blogging).  I've gotten behind on pretty much everything one can get behind on, haha... :P  Honestly, I was behind before getting sick, but now it's reached such epic proportions that I'm really kind of beyond worrying about it, if that makes sense.  I'm just working through the tasks as I can.  Everything will get done...all in good time.  I just don't have the health to push too hard.  No more late-night photo-editing sessions for a while!

OK, moment of honesty: in spite of the nuisance, it was good to be sick.  God had something He wanted to talk to me about.  No, He didn't want me to be sick and hurting and tired, I pretty much brought that one on myself!  But the situation was most convenient for Him to raise an issue with me.  He is never so near as when we are at the end of our rope, for whatever reason -- whether we brought it on ourselves or not.  And He wanted some time with me.

All my adult life I've struggled with over-committing myself, taking on too much, trying to squeeze more out of a normal 24-hour day.  (For that matter, I was always busy when I was a kid, too, just ask my mom.)  As if the Creator of both me and that 24-hour day didn't know best!  But no, I pack those 24 hours like sardines in a tin, with similar results -- things come out of that tin kinda squashed.  And I end up exhausted, bogged-down, burdened.

I'm pretty sure that's not how He meant life to be.  I'm pretty sure there's no Bible verse that says, "He leadeth me to exhaustion; He runneth me ragged."  That's not His design for us.  He says "my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  He knows what He designed us to carry.  Would the creator of a fine Swiss watch try to use that kind of clockwork to drive a truck?  Not likely.

Instead...resting in Him.  Giving Him my schedule, my time, my strength, my willpower.  Slowing down.  Stopping not just to smell the flowers (hey, I do plenty of that already...and then photograph them!) but to talk to their Maker and enjoy His presence.  And releasing my heart to Him in that moment, inviting Him into it, and giving Him control over my day.

Why?  Because He knows what will make me happiest.  He knows what He created me to do, and what I can do in a day.  And His companionship throughout my day is what makes any job come alive.  Like Brother Lawrence in his kitchen -- even if he was just washing dishes, he was in the presence of the Lord of all the earth, enjoying His company.  His presence sweetens any task.

So I've begun to break the habit of taking on too much.  My loving heavenly Father is the one who should get control of my schedule.  I'm leaving time to breathe...to play the piano, take a swim, whatever.  As Matthew West says, in this song I recently came across, to "Stop the World" and have some time with Him.

I'm learning to set down burdens He doesn't intend me to carry, and to come to Him...and find rest for my soul.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

- Kelsey

Discovering beauty...

Kelsey Schweickert  |  San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer
Visit my website  |  Email me  |  Follow me on Twitter  |  Like my photography on Facebook