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Archive for March, 2013

Eternal Spring (A Poem)

While I love to use a bit of symbolism in my poetry and almost always want to allow the reader to interpret my writing how they see it, this one is a bit different. It is heavily metaphorical, while also holding some literal meaning and is really meant to mean one thing and one thing only. I also reference two English Renascence era poets in specific lines and phrases. If you’d like a bit of an explanation, please read the notes after the photo below.

Please enjoy.

Eternal Spring

—————————————————

With the winter

All foliage does fade

And decay under the weight

Of frigid air and show

——————————————————–

Everything hides in waiting

Under the soil of the earth

———————————————————

Then comes the spring

And all rises anew

———————————————————

In the grand scheme of the cosmos

The longest winter has seen its end

And the eternal spring has risen

Resurrecting all things to new life

———————————————————–

This eternal spring shall never fade

Even against winter’s bitter sting

As the warmth of the sun’s love

Has truly set all free

Courtesy of Free13k.com

Explanation (or at least partial clues) as mentioned above:

Stanza 1 – “Winter”, the fading and “decay” of foliage and the “weight of frigid air and snow” all have direct metaphorical meanings.

Stanza 2 – The phrase “in waiting” and “under the soil” are representative of a specific state of being.

Stanza 3 – “Spring” and the phrase “all rises anew” also have direct relation to a desired state of being.

Stanza 4 – Thegrand plan” and “the cosmos” refer to a specific entity. The “longest winter” further emphasizes the theme in stanza 1. “Resurrecting” has a fairly obvious connotation in my opinion and the phrase “new life” goes along with it.

Stanza 5 – The phrases “eternal spring” and “sun’s love” again refer to a specific entity. The “winter’s bitter sting” is a metaphor for the cause of the metaphor for winter.

The referencing of the eternal spring “shall never fade” is also a nod to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and the aforementioned “sun’s love” also is a tribute to something in one of  John Donne’s works from his Corona.  Feel free to check them out.

American Idol Top 8 week recap

Last night’s American Idol Top 8 show featured a lot of strong performances and very few weaker ones. I also loved the fact that they had one duet and two trios sing in addition to the solo rounds. All in all it seems like the competition is still (and likely will remain) being dominated by the ladies this year.

Janelle Authur

Janelle Authur sings “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” PHOTO COURTESY OF: zeibiz.com

Here’s how I rank last night’s performances:

1. Janelle – Her song gave off a cool pop-country vibe somewhat reminiscent of early Jewel. The pace perfect and the vocals really stood out.

2. Candice – She showed so much range and it felt like classic Motown. Very well done overall.

3. Kree  She didn’t step away from the country sound all that much but her vocals are pure and powerful so it still worked out well in the end.

4. Lazaro – Much better than last week, even down to his style. He kept it simple and smooth.

5. Angie – Fun, sexy and very entertaining with a bit of an edge but it probably wasn’t the best song for her.

6. Amber – She showed a nice range but the vocals seemed to be just OK overall.

7. Devin – he did pretty good in making the song more fun and catchy but he faces some major competition and an uphill battle.

8. Brunell – He started off ok but the quality progressively deteriorated. The vocals seemed strained and there was much too much variation in pitch and vibrato.

Group Performances:

1. Amber, Angie and Candice – The song and the group pairing was a pretty good fit for them. They did well and showcased their individual talent.

2. Kree and Janelle – They worked well together and produced a strong group vocal overall.

3. Burnell, Lazaro and Devin – The song wasn’t a bad choice but the group didn’t mesh well together. It was average at best and that’s being kind.

Final thoughts:

While Paul was probably not the most likely person to leave last week, he was one of the legitimate possibilities. At this point, America still seems to be rather on target (in my opinion) in terms of voting. We’ll see if that continues tonight.

I do believe there is a pretty good chance we could see the judges use the save this week. Why? Well, voting may go against a girl this week because of a collective effort to even things out a bit. But, if it goes against a guy, perhaps the judges will try to take that approach so that the girls don’t outnumber the guys by 5-2. Not that I fully agree here. I personally feel that is any girl (with the possible exception of Amber) gets the least number of votes, that girl should be saved. As far as the guys go, I would not be willing to save any (with a possible exception of Lazaro) form elimination.

Artistic modern jazz dance on Dancing With The Stars

Dance as art

As we can probably all agree, dancing can be fun and exercise but also is undoubtedly an art of its own. Last night’s episode of the ABC hit series “Dancing With The Stars” proved that once again. In particular, I was really drawn in by the modern jazz performance of country music artist Kellie Pickler and her professional dance partner Derek Hough.

This particular dance routine featured some incredible choreography,  some really stunning props and so much more. In my opinion, it even came across as a really intriguing mix of a Sci-Fi sort of quality and something that might remind you of the classic dance film “Flash Dance.” 

Check it out below for yourself.

 

Quick and effective method to remove pesky background shadows

Shadows are a double edged sword

In photography, they can be used strategically to enhance shapes and form or even the overall tone of the image. But at the same time, inconveniently located harsh and harsh shadows can just about destroy an otherwise beautiful photograph.

Some of the photos you may not want in your shot are those that appear on the background behind your subject. This can occur commonly in studio or other indoor settings.

But fear not, there is a fairly easy way to correct it with the use of Photoshop or most other common editing tools. (This works especially well with either black or white backdrops but may work adequately with other really dark or really light colors as well).

Once you’ve opened your photo and decided what shadows much be removed, select your Dodge/Burn tool in Photoshop or the equivalent in another program.

If you’re working with a white (or really light backdrop), you’ll want to use the dodge tool. The reverse is true if you’re image has a black (or really dark) backdrop.

You may need to adjust the exposure and brush size. It is best to start out with a relatively low exposure such as 25% too see how things look. You can always adjust it to a higher or lower level if need be.

Use the tool to cover over the shadowy part of the background that you want to remove and that’s really all there is to it.

It may take some trial and error but you’ll get there.

shadows

 

No more shadows

American Idol Top 9 week recap

Before I begin this post, in the spirit of full disclosure, I missed the first two performances by Kree and Burnell. That being the case, I was only able to judge their showings by the brief snippet during the recap at the end of the show. That being the case, rating order could have potentially been slightly different had I seen the entire thing. However, I still think this is probably pretty accurate overall.

Angie Miller American Idol

Here’s how I rank last night’s performances:

1. Angie – She looked great. I love that song. And as a pure singer, she’s fantastic.

2. Candice – Awesome song for her. It really showed off both her vocal power and personality.

3. Janelle   She made a very good song choice and performed it with in a beautifully simple, subtle way. Very good job overall.

4. Kree – While I only saw the recap snippet, she sounded good and seemingly made a good choice of song.

5. Paul – One of his best yet. It was a good fit for him and I enjoyed seeing a slightly edgier side of Paul.

6. Devin –  Very smooth sound, nice tone. He did well overall.

7. Burnell – I didn’t see much nut from what I did he seemed a bit off.

8. Amber – The vocals came across nicely but the whole thing was kind of boring.

9. Lazaro – He has a great voice but the song didn’t fit and the music was distracting.

Final thoughts:

It seems that the voting public continued to remain constant last week and ultimate made what I feel was the right choice in sending Curtis home. It will be interesting to see what happens this week. I’m a huge fan of Lazaro and his inspirational story but he has been struggling as of late and I fear that he might be the one on the way home after tonight’s results show. I would assume the Top 4 I listed above should be safe but as for the rest, anything could happen.

Help choose the new photos for my website

What do you think?

My photography and creative arts business website is going to be getting a makeover in the near future. And, I’d love to have the readers here at Creative Dreamers offer up your suggestions for a new look.

The current look of the Three Rivers Creative Arts website features six photos on the homepage that rotate in something of a slideshow. While this format will remain, I’m looking to change the featured photos and replace them with others from the various galleries on the site.

In the end, a mix of photos from the following galleries will be chosen to be included in the new homepage layout:

Landscapes

Models

Occasional Portraiture and Events

Wildlife

To have your two-cents considered, feel free to choose up to six photos from the site by providing the name of the gallery, the page number within that gallery and the number sequence in which the photo appears. See example below:

Landscapes

You can submit you favorites by commenting on this post.

Thanks for your feedback!

Recent photo shoot with alternative pin-up model

When I shoot with models…

I love to work with all sorts of looks. One of which, if you’re even a casual reader of this blog you probably know, is alternative models. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, that commonly includes women featuring body art and subculture styles.

Another really cool style is the classic pin up look that came out of support for U.S. troops during the wars and battles of the mid-20th century.

So, why not combine both for an amazing model photo session?

The photos below are from a recent shoot with the stunning Brittany Jordan. They were taken at my studio location in Pittsburgh and I hope you enjoy them.

Brittany Jordan alt pin up model

This one makes use of a cool, classic vibe with the retro bar stool and the black and white coloration.

Brittany Jordan spot color pin up photo

This one uses a spot color effect on her vibrant hair mixed with a classic pin up pose to have an almost Andy Warhol like quality.

Brittany Jordan sexy teacher

Moving away from the pin up look for this one, it has sort of a sexy / naughty teacher theme if you will.

Brittany Jordan sexy chest shot

The spot color effect with a pose that accentuates the models chest makes for a fun, flirty photograph.

Brittany Jordan hot model sexy pink top and fedora

Last but not least, this one lends a little edge to the model’s look with the cigarette and the black fedora.

 

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