portraits

2016

It’s currently 1:42am on Saturday, December 31st, 2016. 

When I was little, the countdown to Christmas went by in the time it took you to blink. Then before you knew it you were counting down the days until New Year, and until you had to go back to school, and that seemed to go even faster.

But I’m grown now, and the end of 2016 feels like these last few months have staggered and almost crawled to the end.

2016 will probably not be looked on fondly when people look back years from now. I can practically feel the echoing wave of collective sighs of relief when the clock ticks over around the world into the near year. To a lot of people, 2016 has felt like one long drawn out ending. We’re all holding our breath.

Good things happened; of course they always do. It can take longer to look for them sometimes. I feel like this year my photography finally took a step forward – it’s closer to where I want it to look, feel. I’m still not there (I’ll never feel quite “there”, I don’t even know where “there” is) but it definitely took a leap over the seemingly immovable static I had been feeling.

 

Osric Chau, Captain America, Vegas Cosplay Portrait, 2016

Osric Chau, Captain America, Vegas Cosplay Portrait, 2016

 

Rob Benedict, Viper Room LA, June 2016

Rob Benedict, Viper Room LA, June 2016

 

Billy Moran, Viper Room June 2016

Billy Moran, Viper Room June 2016

 

Matt Cohen, Phoenix 2016

Matt Cohen, Phoenix 2016

 

I was privileged to get to work with incredible people, to be supported by incredible people. I was able to push myself way out of my comfort zone and found I liked it; no, I loved it. Even when I hated it, even when I was scared of it, I loved it.

 

Briana Buckmaster, Seattle 2016

Briana Buckmaster, Seattle 2016

 

Matt Cohen and Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

Matt Cohen and Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

 

Makayla, September 2016

Makayla, September 2016

 

Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr, Seattle 2016

Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr, Seattle 2016

 

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Osric, Vancouver 2016

 

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Sunday, VanCon 2016

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Sunday, VanCon 2016

 

Kim Rhodes and Rob Benedict, PhxCon 2016

Kim Rhodes and Rob Benedict, PhxCon 2016

 

Angie and Brooke, October 2016

Angie and Brooke, October 2016

 

Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

Osric Chau, Phoenix 2016

 

Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles PhxCon 2016

Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles PhxCon 2016

 

Ruth Connell, SFCon 2016

Ruth Connell, SFCon 2016

 

Danielle, October 2016

Danielle, October 2016

 

2016 firmly cemented in my mind that portraiture is where my heart and soul is; it’s where I feel strongest, where I feel the most afraid, where I feel the most exhilarated. I was so, so fortunate I had such a wealth of amazing people that helped cement that for me.

 

Misha Collins, Vancouver 2016

Misha Collins, Vancouver 2016

 

Kat, LA 2016 Makeup by Vic Righthand

Kat, LA 2016
Makeup by Vic Righthand

 

Kim Rhodes, LA 2016 Makeup by Vic Righthand

Kim Rhodes, LA 2016
Makeup by Vic Righthand

 

Timothy Omundson, LA 2016

Timothy Omundson, LA 2016

 

Rob Benedict, LA 2016

Rob Benedict, LA 2016

 

But 2016 was an ending for me too. I don’t know what the future will bring, and it was an ending for me thinking that if I just sit back and be patient enough things will happen. I have to stop thinking that way. I need to become proactive and make things happen. Patience is a virtue, but so is passion and movement and action. If I really want this as much as I claim I do, I need to go out and get it.

I don’t know how.

I’m scared.

I will still tell myself I’m not good enough.

But I won’t listen anymore.

It’s now 2:22am, Saturday December 31, 2016. I’ll go to bed, wake up, and it will be the last day of this crazy, unrepeatable year.

Goodbye, 2016.

Hello, 2017. 

The MacGyver Backdrop

So, today I decided to put my little project to the test.

My lovely sister and her daughter Makayla offered to help test my handmade backdrop, whom I lovingly call MacGyver.

MacGyver was made using a painter’s canvas drop sheet (a wallrunner, so not too huge and unwieldy) and special Dulux Design Suede paint in a colour called Pompeii Ash (which seems a tad on the nose).

 

pompeii ash

 

Design Suede is one of those “texture paints” that are designed for interior walls and can give the effect of suede, or there are also types that mimic the effect of stone, or pearl. In some of the samples I’d seen, it kind of gave the same effect as some of the hand-painted backdrops I’d seen used.

Following the instructions, I went over the canvas with one coat with a paint pad (like a roller but better), left it to dry, then came back the next day and did a second coat using a special brush and using random crisscross strokes. Then I left that to dry. So all up with drying time it took about three days to finish.

 

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Because this was purely for experimentation, I thought it would be totally fine to go ahead and masking tape MacGyver to the brickwall at the back of the house. Which didn’t work more often than it did.

But, wonder of wonders, it didn’t look to bad in the end!

 

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Dani-8712wm

 

Now if you’re thinking that Pompeii Ash doesn’t look very “ash-y” you’d be right – the good thing about having such a neutral colour was that in editing it could take on any appearance I wanted it to. In this instance, because of my sister’s hair and colouring, I ended up boosting the blues/purples to compliment the red of her hair. Making sure to keep an eye on the white of her shirt (to keep things as realistic as possible) I could play around by bleaching out some of the yellow and cooling the look of the photos overall. By boosting the contrast and levels and using dodge and burn selectively, I could darken the background and give it a much edgier feel than when it was simply grey.

I was so surprised with how well it worked out. At the start I was so gung-ho, but after I got the materials I honestly wasn’t sure if it would work. But I think it did! And the best part is, Design Suede comes in lots of other colours to try! And it was CHEAP. Way cheaper than having to outlay on a framework and a proper hand-painted backdrop, which I am reluctant to do until I have completely mastered portrait lighting and shooting. But here’s to experimenting!