Thursday, November 29, 2012

Corrie's... uhh, I mean, Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree

For those of you who don't know, the tree that is annually put up in Rockefeller Center, well that is my tree <3  I've been in love with this tree since I was a little girl.  Last night they had the official tree lighting event in New York City.  The last time I saw the tree in person I was small ~ real small...

Rockefeller Center, NYC
circa 1986
© Corrie M Avila

This photo is special to me not only because of the tree but also because it includes my dad, my brother, and myself.  Since my dad passed away when I was young, the absence of him in my life is only illuminated by his absence in photographs.  So when I see a photo of something special, and he is in it too, it puts such a smile in my heart.  I also love the fact that it looks like my dad has a death grip on my jacket ~ he was probably trying to keep me from climbing on an angel or something :)

This year we figured it was time to go as a family and see New York City in all it's holiday splendor.  We get to spend five glorious days in Manhattan and guess what is number one on my list?  Yep, my tree <3

I will be blogging about my "must-see" holiday list for New York City.  If you haven't been, you must go... 

Happy Shooting!

Corrie <3

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Craziness

Hoping everyone had a nice Thanksgiving Holiday last week.  We've had a month full of battling cooties, lots of family visitors, and finishing up with my youngest almost knocking out his front tooth.  Needless to say it has been pretty much insanity over here.

My mom and I took the boys to the playground after taking my Aunt to the train station in DC.  As the boys were playing my youngest face-planted and his teeth sadly took the full force of his fall.  I took this photo to send to my father in law who is a dentist to get a phone consult... we iced it and were off to the ER because his front tooth was displaced.  He will make it and it looks like the tooth should firm up, but it was quite the scare.

© Corrie M Avila

I would have never taken this photo to blog about, but since I did take it, I am sharing.... As scary as it was to go through this, I love how big brother is looking from the distance.  He was heartbroken and drew a picture for my little guy while I was at the ER.  These guys are my life and I am so blessed and thankful for them.

In the meantime, if you are looking for something to read click here.  I had the privilege of guest blogging at VA is for Bloggers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Stay sane in the midst of the holiday craziness and remember to be thankful for the important things <3

Happy Shooting

Corrie <3

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coffee, Java, and Cafe

To say "I love coffee" would be a grandious understatement.  If you know me personally, I don't just love coffee, but have an infatuation.  I worked at Starbucks on and off during my time in college.  There was something about the sound of the coffee beans grinding in the morning, or the first shot pulled and watching it pour out like liquid gold.  OH, and the aroma <3  That heavenly aroma just blankets around me....

self portrait <3
ISO 200 ~ 60mm ~ f/5.6 ~ 1/80 sec
© Corrie M Avila

Something else I love about coffee is it transcends cultures and language.  I remember sitting on a street  in Paris and drinking a cup of coffee with a fresh croissant.  If I close my eyes I can imagine myself there again... in the moment.  When you travel, there is coffee.  When you are meeting someone new, there is the mutual ground of having coffee.  When I lived in Sault Sainte Marie, MI, I was invited out to coffee by my neighbor.  I was a new mom, in the throws of winter (coming from Miami), with no friends.  And this kind gesture created friendships I carry to this day.

the three parts of an espresso shot ~ (yes, I am a coffee nerd!)
ISO 200 ~ 60mm ~ f/3.5 ~ 1/13 sec
© Corrie M Avila

With winter on the horizon, I have been wondering what types of things I can photograph as I wait for Spring (and more importantly the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC).  Being in Northern Virginia, we have cold, but we don't get much snow.  While there is a certain appeal to the landscape in winter tones, it does not have the color that blankets everything in the other seasons.

my favorite drink right now ~ a caramel mocha
ISO 200 ~ 60mm ~ f/3.5 ~ 1/25 sec
© Corrie M Avila

As I was making my caramel mocha this morning I thought about how much I love coffee and especially making my own drinks,  and decided it was about time I photographed it.  Think about something you love.  Consider why you love it, what makes it special... then go ahead and photograph it.  Come up with creative angles, or perspectives that capture the essence of what makes this so amazing to you.  Once you do this, please share!!  Either tag them to my facebook site @travelingheartsphotography or on instagram at #travelingheartsphotography.

Happy Shooting!

Corrie <3

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Eyes are the Window to your Soul

Walk down memory lane with me for a little while.  The date is August 27, 2001, and I am walking on campus at Florida State University for my very first day of classes (I transferred in as a junior).  My entire first semester was filled with Social Work classes and they were all located in Doak Campbell Stadium.  For those fellow Seminole Football fans, you know what a big deal this was!  Well, I had a mandatory class called "Interviewing and Recording."  I learned something that very first day that has stuck with me since... looking into someone's eyes can tell you more than a single word coming out of their mouth.  There is a saying that the eyes are the window to the soul.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Eyes speak volumes and contain hurt, pain, sadness, loss, happiness, joy, pride, and hope.

If I were to ask you to think of an iconic photo of someone's eyes, what would you say?  The first one that comes to my mind is this photograph by Steve McCurry that was published in 1985.  You don't have to know one ounce of background info on the girl or the cover story, and yet the impact is still there.  And we didn't know any of her background info until seventeen years later when McCurry was able to locate her once again.  Seventeen years later, her eyes still tell a story.  You can see a side by side photo of her before and seventeen years later here.

When you are taking someone's photo ~ whether it is a photo of your children, an event, photojournalism, or a paid shoot ~ you must take into account the eyes.  What are the eyes saying?  What story do they tell?  If you cannot connect with the eyes, your viewer will not be able to either.  Don't get me wrong, there are times when you want to creatively do something different, like a silhouette or a photo from behind.  But if you have the subject's face as the main focal point, focus on the eyes.  If you can command this, you will have emotionally charged and connected photographs that will convey the totality of the moment.

Silhouette of Girl Running on Beach at Sunset
ISO 100 ~ 22mm ~ f/8.0 ~ 1/100 sec
© Corrie M Avila

Girl with Umbrella ~ View from Behind
ISO 100 ~ 28mm ~ f/3.5 ~ 1/1250 sec
© Corrie M Avila

As a young girl, I remember the photo referenced above from National Geographic and it made an impact even in my youth.  Take the time to connect with your subject.  Don't just jump into "photo" mode immediately.  Step back and take a look around.  Talk to your subject, make eye contact (if culturally appropriate), and connect.

eyes are the focal point with a natural catchlight from nearby window
ISO 400 ~ 44mm ~ f/5.0 ~ 1/8 sec
© Corrie M Avila

even though hands are shading the eyes, this creates a mysterious feel.  if you could not see the eyes at all, this photo would not be effective
ISO 400 ~ 53mm ~ f/4.5 ~ 1/80 sec
© Corrie M Avila

here the eyes are closed as the child is sleeping, however, putting the focal point on the eyelashes still brings the emotional connection to the eyes
ISO 100 ~ 60mm ~ f/5.6 ~ 1.3 sec
© Corrie M Avila

This falls true even with animals.  When photographing an animal, if all you see is the back of the animal's head, it will be missing the intimate connection of eye contact.  Wait for the animal to look around and capture the photo at the moment you can connect with the eyes.

Side View ~ not as intense
ISO 200 ~ 300mm ~ f/5.6 ~ 1/400 sec
© Corrie M Avila

Fierce Eye Contact
ISO 100 ~ 300mm ~ f/5.6 ~ 1/320 sec
© Corrie M Avila

Get to know your subject, make a connection, search the depths of their souls, photograph the eyes.  I promise you will see a difference immediately in your photographs.

my love <3
ISO 800 ~ 53mm ~ f/4.5 ~ 1/80 sec
© Corrie M Avila

Happy Shooting!

Corrie <3