When one thinks about the performing arts, most of us probably tend to dwell on a few details. These may include such things as the acting, storyline or music and dance if it is a musical production. But there’s another part of the story that helps to create the magic, the set design.
Photo from Instangram@mkhughesdesign and Patreon
Painter and muralist M.K. Huges is one of the people who bring the action to life via her wonderful and engaging set designs. A graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Master’s in Theater (Set Design), she has experience working with the Alabama and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals and is now responsible for the sets on the numerous shows conducted at Point Park University, a Pittsburgh area school widely recognized for theater arts.
Photo from Instangram@mkhughesdesign and Facebook M.K.Hughes Design
For more info on this talented young lady, check out her official website or any of her social accounts including Patreon.
Form time to time, most of us photography enthusiasts mess up a shot with high or low exposure. Our first instinct might be “oh, crap!” but once you step away from the moment for a bit, you could realize that a tiny bit of “incorrect” exposure isn’t always a bad thing.
See the charts below. They show a fairly significant swing in a typical meter. But, let’s suppose your shots hit less that 1 on either side, or even just the first dot. You have two options:
- Easily adjust in basically any editing program.
- Go with it because it might just produce a cool shot.
The photo on the right-hand side is one I took at Station Square in Pittsburgh but I used editing software to make the other two so as to give examples of extremely over and under exposed shots.
Here are a few shots people just went with or even did on purpose:
The city of Pittsburgh and nearby areas have long been known for cultivating people with great skills and talent. The list of athletes, performers and artists is extensive and growing all the time.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting two of these young ladies, along with a mentor who has helped mold their remarkable skills. And interestingly enough, they sort of fit into all of the categories I mentioned earlier.
Ashley King (21) and Alexa Siska (15) recently wowed audiences on the reboot of “The Gong Show” with their contortion performance. The girls are from the Dance Extensions Performing Arts Center in Canonsburg, a facility run by owner and director Betsy Shuttleworth and co-owner Dawn Churney.
The girls aired as the first performance of the evening and scored one of the highest scores of the night. Watch it here:
As you probably expect, a lot of hard work goes into these routines and contortionist training in general. The show was taped in May 2017 and the girls only had about one month before the show to practice the act after the show contacted Betsy when coming across an account on Instagram (@bendytrainer). And while due to unexpected circumstances, the girls has only paired up a few months earlier, Ashley has been working on her craft for about 14 years while Alexa has been in training for 4 years. Ashley is also one of the instructors at the studio.
The girls flew out to LA for on a Monday, rehearsed the next day, recorded their segment on Wednesday and returned to Western PA on Thursday. The recording session took 12 hours on the Sony Studios lot. While Ashley had been to the International Contortionist Convention in Las Vegas a few years back, this was certainly the most unique experience in Alexa’s dance career so far.
Both girls attend school online, Alexa is in high school while Ashley is working on a business degree. As that it was during the school year when the performance took place, the show had a social worker and a professional approach to making sure younger students would stay focused on their schooling.
According to Betsy, creative opportunities for dancers and contortion artists are growing in the region partly due to resources like GigSalad and the Global Sisterhood of Empowering Women. That’s wonderful news because both girls have aspirations of owning their own studios some day in the Western PA area.
During the last few years, the shelves in stores of all types have seen a major growth in the atsy and entertianing adult coloring book selection. Not only do these books offer an artistic option for people of all ages but it is also a good way to manage stress.
This is one of the reason’s why I’ve decided to begin selling copies of my photography pieces as pages for adult coloring. The shots below show examples from two of the categories (Landscapes and Models) in which you can find pics to order as such pages.
Price is $1.00 each per download.
If you have not yet heard about the music of one Abigail Jerri, it’s about time you do.
This young musician from suburban Pittsburgh, PA released her first album in 2016 and it is well worth checking out.
Entitled “Take A Chance,” the recording includes a total of seven songs. And while the official category according to CD Baby is Pop, it is anything but conventional. Jerri uses classical instrumentation and smooth, soft but strong vocal to create her own unique vibe. The artist meshes what I interpret as elements of jazz, country, rhythm and blues and even light rock to express herself though in a sweet vocal style. She brings out the emotion in the lyrics and I’d recommend you take some time to get to know her work. This young lady could really go places.
Here’s her Youtube video channel.
As a photographic artist, one of the things that might appeal to you is shooting stunning shots of some of nature’s wonderful scenes and animals. But, depending upon your location and ability to do some traveling, this may or may not be something that you can easily do.
In cases in which you can’t get out to the wide open spaces in the American Western states, take a trip to Australia or the Arctic, or even check out the hot, dry African wilderness, there are still some “cheats” you can do order to get some incredible shots of majestic beasts and landscapes.
1. Head to the nearest zoo
If you hit these facilities at the right time, you can get some great shots on animals and the man-made scenes that are set up for them to stay. Sure, you might have to deal with crowds and fences but there are sections that you can work around such problematic elements. You might also come across some aqua exhibits that you can explore through glass.
Here are a few samples of my own wildlife and nature photography at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
2. Find a local park or hiking tail
Some of these will feature beautiful vegetation and waterways and you might occasionally get a photo of anything from a small animal to something as large as a deer or bear. Of course, in these cases you have to be a little more careful as that there is nothing to come between you and the animal if it decided to get a little daring.
These are a few of the pictures I have taken on trails.
In our incredibly artistic universe, people are finding ever more interesting ways to showcase their creative side. A while back, in a trip to the local casino, there was a champion cardstacker who was brought in to build a view of the city of Pittsburgh skyline. Over the period of many days and with the use of thousands of cards, this was the cool stuff he came up with.
His name is Bryan Berg and you can check out is stuff here.