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What I Did This Summer || Part 3: Night Photography in the Eastern Sierras

Last summer I traveled to the Eastern Sierras for a Night Photography workshop with Lance Keimig and Scott Martin. I had such an great experience, that I really wanted to return this summer. So, I wrote a summer research stipend proposal to FMU to go back and was so happy to receive the stipend again. This year we spend one night at Mono Lake, one night at Bodie Ghost Town and the third in Yosemite. It was an advanced workshop focused more on astrophotography. The first night before our shooting with the group began I went to Dechambeau ranch near Lee Vining, CA. To my delight, the Milky Way was a clear as day. This may sound trivial to some of you, but I was so amazed because it was my first time ever seeing the Milky Way with my own two eyes. It was incredible. I think I could have just stared at it all night, but I had to get to work. I was able to do one high ISO shot with the Milky Way and then I also attempted a star trail. The star trail shot is 4-8min exposures stacked together using Photoshop. Once again, I am thankful for all that I learned from these guys and I was astounded at the their knowledge on the subject as well as their knowledge on post-process. Here are a few from the trip. I still need lots of practice, so I was so grateful for what I learned!!! If you are interested in a Night Photography workshop I highly recommend checking out the workshops taught by Lance Keimig and Scott Martin. Click HERE for more info!

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What I Did This Summer || Part 2: Wet-Plate Collodion

One of my absolute favorite things to do, photographically speaking, is learning and doing historical photographic processes. Last year I spent quite a bit time dedicated to the gelatin dry plate process. This summer, I started my exploration into the wet-plate collodion process and I absolutely love it! In July I attended a wet-plate workshop taught by one of the best practitioners of this process Quinn Jacobson. I can’t tell you how much I learned, it was incredible. I really wanted to attend this workshop because I was a bit intimidated by the dangers of the chemicals used to complete this process. Quinn spent a lot of time discussing theory surrounding the process as well as how to mix and use the chemicals properly. He demonstrated every step of the process and I was also able to do some plates myself. I had such a great time! When I came back home I immediately started gathering materials and equipment so I could start doing to process myself. Quinn’s workshop along with all the wonderful resources in his book and website have made this process much more accessible. It is clear by his knowledge and the strength of his personal body of work that he has put an enormous amount of time into this process as well as other 19th century process. If you want to learn this process and/or wish to attend a workshop, I highly, highly recommend this workshop! The plates towards the end are my first plates…don’t judge…I have a long way to go!

Quinn made this plate to demonstrate the process:


TJ made this plate of me (we traded plates…you’ll see a plate I did of him a little later):


This is a small plate that was exposed using an Ansco film camera. You don’t have to have a large format camera to get started in this process. You could use a medium format camera like a Holga or even one of the earlier box-like cameras.


Portrait of TJ:


This plate was a bit of a group effort:


Ok, these are my very first plates…I know I have a long way to go, but at least it’s a start!


What I Did This Summer || Part 1: Denver, Colorodo

This past July I traveled to Denver, Colorodo to study the wet-plate collodion with Quinn Jacobson. I had a little extra time while I was there, so I traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park as well as Mt. Goliath and Mt. Evans. It was such a beautiful place and of course, quite different from South Carolina. When I left South Carolina I was at a mere 800 ft in elevation and by the time I got the Mt. Evans I was over 14,000 ft in elevation. Needless to say, not much hiking for me. It would have taken me a while to acclimate to the high altitude and I was definitely feeling a little bit of high altitude sickness by the time I drove to the summit. By the way, Mt. Evans is the highest elevated road in North America. Mom, if you are reading this, you may not want to look at the images with the roads in them…or just pretend I didn’t drive on them 🙂

The images I took around Summit Lake were my favs. It was interesting how the weather changed so drastically on the ascend. It was 70ish degrees and sunny before I started to drive up and then when I got the summit it was probably about 45ish degrees and stormy, with crazy lighting (I stayed in my car until the ranger said it was safe to get out) and thunder.I don’t claim to be a landscape photographer, but these are some of the sites I saw along the way.


This image was taken at Rocky Mountain National Park with a Fujifilm X-Pro1.


This image of the same scene as above was taken with a Burke & James 4×5 film camera and scanned using Kami Fluid Wet-Mount materials on an Epson Perfection V750.


“Had to Try It”

Last semester I taught a lighting class at Francis Marion University and we covered a variety of lighting techniques as well as subject matter. I decided to do a food photography project with my students where they had to choose a recipe, prepare the recipe (either themselves or have someone else prepare it), and they had to photograph it, of course. But the best part of the whole project was that they had to bring the food in they photographed (even if they had to make it again) and we all pigged out while we critiqued our work. I participated in this one because I refused to be left out. I have always wanted to try my hand at food photography because for one, I love food (especially chocolate), and I love the act of arranging these in different ways and experimenting with lighting. We all learned so much, especially a deeper appreciation for super awesome food photographers because this takes so much patience. One of the other things I love about photographing food is that you can come up with all kinds of DIY lighting techniques. Most of these are a mix of window light and a little fill flash or bounced flash. I started at my Mom’s house. She made the cupcakes (thanks Mom!) and then I went through the entire process again in my apartment after I learned a few things the first go round. So, here are my first attempts. Oh, and the recipe is at the bottom…enjoy these Mocha Caramel Cupcakes!! I “had to try it”…the cupcakes and the process!


Image Transfer to Wood || Video Tutorial

Can I just say I must have the worst voice for video in the world. Nevertheless, I wanted to do this video for my students at FMU so they could access it anytime after the classroom demo if they needed a quick refresher. You can also click on the link below the video if you want to view it on Vimeo’s site.


WoodTransferProcess from Julie Mixon on Vimeo.