The moments between

(yes. it’s been two years since I posted a blog post).

It occurred to me as I was editing wedding photos for Courtney and Mike that you all don’t have the opportunity to see what I see. The back end of this work. In this digital age where we can click,click,click when waiting for the moment (a blessing and a curse), editing photos is this walk toward finding the moment. It reminds me of being in the darkroom, ages ago, when an image would reveal itself in its perfect imperfection, under the developer, watery and impermanent. My breath would catch when an image was developing. My memory triggered, the moment, the hope, the art, the light, the people. Did it all line up as I thought that it had in that split second when I chose to depress the shutter? That tentative dance that my mind and heart had to do –  between freedom and structure, technicality and intuition…how did it pan out? Every roll of film carried these questions. So much so that I still forget that people don’t see the world in the way that my heart and brain have been trained to see.

I was quickly clicking through this series, deleting all that didn’t resonate with me before sending these files to the client. I went through them in 10 seconds – and in my head I heard the mantra of all of these years in this field: “nope, nope, nope, nope, yup”. Yup. Her eyes are closed. Maybe the fifth is not a perfect image. But I see his eyes. The way that she abandons herself into him. And the way he looks at her. His wife, on this day.

That’s the one.

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It’s Not About the Gear Photo Classes

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IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GEAR

Fall 2014 Photography Classes

WHEN?

Class Series
Wednesdays —
10/15, 10/29 and 11/5: 7-9pm

BONUS “Putting it into Practice” Photography Excursion (25% off)
Saturday —
11/15: 10am-1pm

WHERE?
1390 Kenyon St. NW #525
Washington, DC 20010

HOW MUCH?
$240 (Class series)
$60 (“Putting it into Practice” photography excursion. Series students only. Location TBD.)

I get one question more than any other:
Q. What camera should I buy to take good pictures?

A. It’s not about the camera. Not to say that a high quality camera and lens selection aren’t important. Of course they are. But the fundamentals of photography are housed in the ever-expanding instincts and knowledge of the photographer. Buying the $7,979.99 bike that Lance Armstrong rode to win the Tour de France may make riding a little easier, but I’m not winning the Tour on it.

Join us for our Fall photo class series to learn how to use the camera that you do have to its fullest capacity. The foundation topics we’ll cover can apply to shooting people, landscapes, abstracts or anything else you can dream up.

Part 1: Settings. A focus on moving your camera from program settings to all manual. We’ll discuss camera settings and answer all of your questions. We’ll view some successful and not-so-successful images to illustrate the impact of making different setting choices.

Part 2: Composition. Have you ever taken a picture of something gorgeous and inspirational; only to view it later and say “it looked so much better in person?” The compositional choices you make as a photographer determine the visual impact of the final product. Learn to compose your images to create the image you intended.

Part 3: Lighting. In this class, we’ll discuss lighting techniques.

(BONUS) “Putting it into Practice” Photography Excursion. Apply the technical knowledge you’ve gained throughout the class series in a photography excursion. I will provide hands-on advice while you shoot in an outdoor DC metro location. Note: this option is limited to series students only.

A digital SLR is recommended, but not required for this series. Please bring all lenses that you have, a digital memory card, and a charged battery.

This series is intended for the novice to intermediate photographer.

To register, click on the link below.
http://staceyvaeth.brownbookit.com/schedules/fall2014photographylessons

Hope to see you there!
Stacey

Living in the Now

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I just returned from a wedding planning meeting with a new client, and she said something that made me stop and think….how obvious. How absolutely perfect. How much sense that makes. The ceremony is the most important part of my wedding day, she said. It’s the center, the meat, the reason for doing this thing. And she said, I’ve seen those pictures that photographers take of the ceremony. They’re at the back of the aisle, and capturing the whole scene, and it’s a shot of their backs with their iPad’s and iPhones in the air, recording the ceremony. I’ve been at a wedding where I had to move because the person in front of me was recording the entire ceremony on their iPad, she added.

And so, she said, we’re having a technology-free ceremony.

Simple as that. She said, we have you. You’re in charge of documenting the event, and we trust you to do just that. The responsibility of those around us is to be witness. To lend us their hearts for those thirty minutes as we bond ours to each other.

Her clear-eyed wisdom struck me.

The question for you is: how many tabs to you have open on your browser right now?

How many things are on your to-do list?

How much are you getting done right now, in this moment? If you want to be here, right now, reading this and reflecting on your own life, then be here. Turn off the phone, close the door, take five minutes to reflect.

Can we live in the moment without fear? The fear that if we are completely present, that we’ll miss something.

Remember: We cannot live the world in a moment.

Jessie

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Working with Friends

From some recent shoots with friends and family…ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Cherry Blossoms!

Just some of your standard DC springtime fun! What a hard-fought winter…we had some glorious warm days on the Tidal Basin to help bring on the spring. And for the first time in 6 Cherry Blossom seasons, I actually took one morning and walked the Tidal Basin to enjoy the blossoms myself. It was a great series of days, so great to see my annual CB clients!

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Cherry Blossoms at Dawn

Every year I muster up the courage to do the blossoms…the unpredictable weather, the traffic, the parking….and every year, once I get rolling on them, it’s totally worth it. What a gorgeous way to greet the morning.

First off, this is my 2014 take on the tidal basin at dawn:

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