Friday, November 28, 2008

Non-Dominant Eye Experiments - Part 1

It was recently brought to my attention that we humans have a dominant eye - the eye our visual center defaults to, with the other creating our 3-dimensional sense around the first. This seems like common sense, if you've ever laid in bed staring at a pillow up close, closing one eye, and then the other. One eye gives a perspective that seems utterly disorienting from when you had both open - the other is just about what you expected.

You can test this for yourself by aligning your thumb with an object in the distance (both eyes open), and closing one eye and then the other. Your dominant eye will show the thumb aligned with the object. Your non-dominant eye will show the thumb quite removed from the object.

I happen to be fascinated, not only by the visual cortex, but also by the workings of the brain hemispheres. I am right-handed, and was often jealous of the off-kilter, creative thinking of my left-handed peers. (For novices on this subject, if you are right-handed, you are left-brain dominant - and logic oriented. If you are left-handed, you are right-brain dominant - and artistically oriented.) When I was in college, I tried writing left-handed for an entire semester to see if it would effect my thinking process, and open up some creativity in the writing I was doing at the time. It was nearly impossible to take legible lecture notes this way, which changed the way I was thinking, in and of itself.

So, when I heard this theory about having a dominant eye, I was intrigued! After performing the test, I discovered that I am right-eye dominant, as well as being right-handed. Of course, my college experiment sprung to mind immediately, and I wondered what would happen if I started taking pictures closing my right eye, and using my left to look through the viewfinder.

First of all, this was physically challenging. I had to really think about closing that right eye. I shot all of the photos in this post with my left eye, and I felt a different kind of mental presence in the exercise, although I am not sure they are altogether more creative than they would have been, had I shot them with my right. I wouldn't go as far as to say I could sense when my right brain hemisphere had been activated (although wouldn't that be cool if we could sense that?), but I did find myself very much in the moment, and absorbed in the process of capturing my surroundings in a way that felt fresh and new.

These were taken in the Catskills - in a small town called Medusa, New York.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall Kids' Portraits - Part 3

One final set of kids' fall portraits!

This one was particularly fun because of the angle of the sun during the shoot. Once again, this little one found a twig - it had leaves and an encased nut attached, but it was a twig nonetheless.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves about how much fun this shoot was!

I am honored to have had the pleasure of serving my clients by photographing their beautiful children this fall - and want to thank them for allowing me to share the results with you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fall Kids' Portraits - Part 2

Prospect Park was simply beautiful this fall - full of color and light - and with some mild November days, it was the perfect setting for these portraits of an energetic little guy and his parents. (Click on any of the photos for a larger view, and hit back to return here.)

What I am learning from photographing kids ages two and under, is that they love sticks. What is it about sticks? They're fun to run with. They're fun to hold. They're fun to use to poke at things. Sometimes I wish I was so easily amused, and that all I needed was to find a stick and run gleefully through the trees...

Time and again, working with little ones reminds me of our light-hearted true nature. This child's smiling eyes were so endearing, and his nature so honest, that when I looked at him, I couldn't help but think, "Perhaps life is not so hard, after all." Often I wonder if kids like him - able to change an adult's attitude with merely a glance - have any sense of the joy they bring to the world. Does he even begin to fathom his tremendous inherent value?

I couldn't hurt for all of us to remember our role, as bringers of delight! I want these photos to remind me to smile more, and I hope they'll do the same for you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fall Kids' Portraits - Part 1

The changing of the seasons in New York this fall has been absolutely bursting with color! I have had the pleasure of photographing lots of kids' portraits against this stunning backdrop, and I wanted to share some of the highlights (this is part 1 of a 3-part series of portraits).

This shoot took place on the far side (coming from Manhattan) of Prospect Park, where horses meander along the trail by the water on their way back to the nearby stable. It was a gloriously sunny day, and the 1-year-old subject was more than delighted to see a row of horseback-riders rambling by.

We sat in the shade and played in the leaves, and as 1-year-old's do, this one kept finding sticks and trying to eat them. (No amount of hearing the word "Yuck," could convince her otherwise.)

She was a delightful
subject and would sit and look right into the camera, or glowingly at her mother. Talk about merging work with pleasure! It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, and I found myself in total appreciation of the fact that my career consists of being willing to bask in the sun on a mild fall day, and play in the leaves with a 1-year-old. What an honor to get to spend an hour with this beautiful, little girl.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Autumnal Moments

This year in New York City, autumn has been gorgeous!

In years past, I noticed that the trees in NYC would stay green until Thanksgiving and then be suddenly bare. This year, fall slowly but surely turned leaves yellow then orange and red, at a pace slow enough to be relished and delighted in. Rainy days have alternated with sunny, and the temperature has fluctuated from cool to mild. All in all, a perfectly quintessential fall!

Not only was I able to take several of my clients to the park for their child's yearly portrait session on some of the more radiant afternoons of the season, I have also made time to capture the brilliance of the leaves on rainy days, too. While rain isn't any good for shooting portraits, the overcast sky makes for extraordinarily vivid colors, so I was finding myself enamored with the leaves as they changed colors and scattered themselves on the ground.

These are some images I snapped, inspired by the last burst of fiery life in these plants before they take their well-deserved winter respite, and a shot of a heart-shaped cloud break on a lovely fall morning, just after setting the clocks back for daylight savings.