Why I didn’t want to do a 365… but did it anyway.

265 days down, 100 more to go. I’ve wanted to do a 365 ever since I saw Alex Stoddard, David Talley, and Rosie Hardy embark on theirs.  So why did it take 5 years before starting my own?   “I can’t be as good as they are.” Why does anyone start a project like this?  To get BETTER!  If you aren’t seeing progress in what you are doing, then you need to shift the way you do it. Yes, talent plays a huge role, but raw talent without refinement will still leave you frustrated knowing you can accomplish more.  Work hard so that your abilities can do your ideas justice!   “I don’t have the time.” Oh really?  But you have time for that tv show, for surfing the internet looking at cat videos, for looking at other people’s work despairing that you’ll never be as good as them? Trust me, you have time, it just won’t be the same amount or type of time every day.  It could be 10 hours on a Saturday and 1-2 hours every weekday.  You might need to shoot a week’s worth of images in one day, plan ahead.  You have the time, but you need to sacrifice less “worthy” things and prioritize yourself.   “I will probably fail.” Take that word off the table.  Don’t give yourself “failure” as a viable option.  Every day may not be the best work you’ve ever done, but we need the hoard of “mediocre” pieces to teach us how to make work that really soars! Give yourself permission to learn and make mistakes, but don’t let...

Wall Art: Stoic

As an artist, a lack of resources can be my most glaring limitation.  This limitation, however, forces me to use the materials I do have in a creative way.  Along the way I learn methods of how to bridge the gap. The “Wall Art” series is an exploration of a number of new techniques for me.  I don’t have access to the finest make-up, a high key studio, or a large budget.  Instead I have learned how to work with what is available (and feasible for me): costume body paint, an off camera strobe, and cardboard (oh, and Photoshop of course!). Body Paint: I use a paint from Party City (but I have started experimenting with a cream-blend paint by Mehron).  The paint has all kinds of drawbacks: its dry, crumbly, and delivers spotty coverage. Lighting: One day I would love to learn how to use studio lighting.  Until then, I’ll use my single strobe in a huge light-box and make-do.  Before figuring out the basics of my strobe I used natural window light. Budget: Working with a tiny budget forces you to get creative.  I use cardboard, curtains, fake flowers, and wrapping paper to construct the scenes for “Wall Art.”  The cardboard I use was actually a Christmas gift from my husband’s family last year (I get waaaay too excited about sheets of cardboard and nice boxes… there’s just so much potential!). Photoshop: Some of the “before” pictures are a little scary!   This typically leads to heavy post-production work to smooth out the color (mixer brush & selective color), keep an even texture (high pass), and add dimension (dodge &...

Photo Adventure: Taughannock Falls

I love photo adventures.  In fact, given the chance, I’ll probably try to turn even ordinary outings into adventures! Why?  Because it gives you the opportunity to see places in a way that most people don’t.  You climb over fences, look like a total nut, and capture moments of beauty. Back in October I had the delightful pleasure of hopping into a car to road-trip over to Taughannock Falls with Valerie Kasisnski, Alex Currie, and Elaina Trapani. We climbed over barriers, walked through ice cold water till our feet were numb, and ventured so close to the base of the mighty waterfall that all other noise drowned away into its roar. So without further adieu, here’s a little glimpse into our adventure.                ...

Sketch Runs Away

Sketch was sad.  Life on paper left her flat and lifeless. Sketch ran away.  Life on paper was two dimensional, and she wanted more. Sketch wasn’t sure what these were.  But maybe these were “friends.” Sketch will never go back to paper.  This world was so far beyond the borders she had been constrained to . . . and she loved it. The horses were an unintended addition to the series.  I ventured out into the pasture, noting that the horses were grazing off in the distance.  Shortly into shooting in the empty field, however, I heard the thunderous sound of 40 horses running towards me. It was one of those moments where you freeze with fear: I was alone, I didn’t have my phone, these things are massive, and I don’t look like a normal human. They circled up around me and began curiously nuzzling and sniffing me.  One was particularly interested in my camera on the tripod… he was notorious for photobombing for the rest of the shoot. So for him, here are some of his best bombs. www.facebook.com/Aleahmichelephotography www.instagram.com/aleah_michele...

Grace & Mike: Engagement

“Some people meet the way the sky meets the earth, inevitably, and there is no stopping or holding back their love. It exists in a finished world, beyond the reach of common sense.” -Louise Erdrich These two met early on in high school and have been together ever since. They have had the opportunity to grow together through so many of life’s transitions so far, graduation, college, long distance, maturing, and serving; and with marriage on the horizon, they have countless more to come.  I’m so happy I had the privilege to photograph them and capture a glimpse of the beauty of their love.     “Come away with me. Let’s go somewhere. You and me, just the two of us. Let’s wander through darkness. Forget our worries and do all the things today that will help carve a better tomorrow.” -R.M....

BTS: Life Cycles

Caterpillar: Disguised Endings ” New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings…”-Lao Tzu Chrysalis: Allowed to Become “She knew this transition was not about becoming someone better, but about finally allowing herself to become who she’d always been.” – Amy Rubin Moth: Delight in the Beauty “We delight in the beauty of a butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou Behind the Scenes The Team   MUA: Allison Lodato Model: Liberty Darr Tree-Climbing Assistant: Laryssa Fierle We had an absolutely delightful evening eating apple chicken, getting dolled up, mothing about, climbing trees, and taking photos!  I couldn’t have asked for a better team to make this shoot happen with.  Allison did a fabulous job on make-up, Liberty made the cutest most bubbly moth, and Laryssa saved the day by becoming a sloth-lady and holding the cocoon up in the tree! The Outtakes...

BTS: Insult to Injury

“I’ve wanted to be the light one, the simple one, the sweet one. Last night I learned – or perhaps was reminded – that I am none of these things. I am powerful.” -Michele Gardella Golden as the light which filtered through autumn leaves, her wounds wept for the pain callously dealt. And you add insult to injury. Behind the Scenes! Kelsie, the lovely lady in these photographs creates absolutely gorgeous ink illustrations.  One of the themes that runs through her drawings is a fox that has been struck by an arrow. A photo posted by Kelsie (@__seasonpoem) on May 27, 2015 at 1:25pm PDT I hoped to pay tribute to this theme in the shoot with her!  (Over the summer I worked on this arrow and have been dying to finally use it in a photo!)  These photos represent the pain we feel from wounds dealt by those closest to us.  Kelsie managed to communicate the emotions quite effectively. As always, have a delightful...

Accused of “Photoshop”

I use Photoshop on all of my images *gasp!* Honestly, that’s no secret, one look through my portfolio and you’ll see that I use Photoshop on all of my photos.  In fact, its one of my favorite tools to create little worlds of fantasy.  So why did it sting when I was accused of using Photoshop on one of my latest photos? (On multiple platforms!) Because I hadn’t “photoshopped” the area of the photo I was accused of. I felt hurt that I had been accused of being deceptive, of trumping a “manipulated” moon as the real thing.  I also felt discredited.  (That being said, I do see how someone might see it as an editing mistake and I do not wish to slander anyone who saw it as such.) A few nights ago, September 27th 2015, I sat out to watch an incredible natural event: The Supermoon Eclipse!  It was breathtaking, and my camera did the scene little justice.  That being said I wanted to take a few photos to take advantage of the surreal moments. In this photo, I was accused of placing the moon in between the trees and being careless enough to forget to mask the branch back over the moon. The very thing that makes the photo look fake is simply purposeful placement. I used the Stargazer App to locate the exact spot where the moon would rise, and set everything up before the it had even hit the crest of the horizon. The photo below was taken very shortly before the concept photo.  The branches can be clearly seen in front of the moon, by moving my camera...

The Color Red

The color red.  To me, red is unabashedly bold.  It is the first color that catches our eye.  It has the longest wave length and bounds toward our attention first like an eager student in class.  It is the color of life in our veins, the blush on a face, and the petals of a rose. “Red protects itself.  No colour is as territorial.  It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum.” – Derek Jarman It is passionate, it cannot be quiet.  What if Red, in all of her vibrancy, wished to be calm and subdued.  What if she wished to be a color not her own? Red searches for other colors.  Red finds Blue. Red finds Green. Red finds Yellow. Red wishes to change her color. For this shoot I really did paint myself completely red.  Head to toe.  It was quite possibly the most uncomfortable experience of my life.  Not only was it 85 degrees and dreadfully muggy… but the paint was so sticky and icky that little bugs kept getting stuck on me!!!!  Also, I looked positively terrifying and can only imagine what any passerby must have thought of the spectacle! https://www.facebook.com/Aleahmichelephotography/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/-si-tu-savais-/...

BTS: Mermaid Tail

**I’ll start this post with a disclaimer.  There are many other ways to create a tail, my choices were based on the materials I know how to work with, a low budget, and experimentation.  That being said, it was huge learning process and the next time I make a tail I will know far better/more efficient ways to create it!** Materials: Black Neoprene Gold Spandex (Swimsuit grade) Flippers Fabric Flower Petals Hot Glue 2-3 Gold/Pearl Fabric Paint Bottles Illusion Fabric in Nude   1) Create Neoprene Base Rather than purchasing Neoprene by the yard, I used an old scuba suit.  I cut the inner seam and sewed both sides together.  A simple way to figure out shape, sit on top, line up the bottom with your ankles, and trace your shape with white chalk.  Leave 1/4 inch extra along all seams for sewing. 2) Create Spandex Slip Cover Line up two sheets of spandex with the pattern side in.  Lay the neoprene base over-top and carefully trace around ( I used a red washable marker).  Place pins on the inside of the line.  Cut 1/4 inch away from the line all the way around.  Use the line as your sewing guide.  With stretchy materials, sew everything twice for strength but NEVER sew the top or bottom if you are not using stretchy thread! 3) Flipper Covers You may use either a Monofin or Flippers for this step.  Place the Flipper/Fin on the backside of the spandex, trace with marker.  I left extra fabric at the end and fluted the ends so that they could pull on like socks.  In...

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