Florida After 10 Years

My best friend and I have been planning to go to Walt Disney World together for the entire duration of our over-a-decade-long friendship. There have been a couple instances where it almost happened but then didn’t, leaving us both broken hearted and disappointed.

BUT AFTER TEN YEARS, WE DID IT YA’LL

One of the perks of being an adult and out of college– you can go to Disney when you want (well, after over a year of planning and saving, but you get the picture.)

Allie, my bff, is an expert on all things Disney. She will smoke your ass in trivia, knows probably every song from every movie (even obscure ones,) and has been to WDW in Florida more times than years she has been alive. It’s wild, she’s wild, and our trip was amazing for it.

We drove down from Michigan for two days, finally stopping in Celebration, FL. Celebration is a town that was designed by Disney and it is very charming with its colorful buildings and hybrid 1950s-meets-Cuba architecture.

After Celebration, we went to our rented condo and relaxed for the night, going out to Old Town to check out the shops. There was an anime shop and the guy working there was so friendly and enthusiastic, I asked him to pose for a photograph. He moved his hands at the last second, but like I said… he was enthusiastic!

Our trip was jam-packed, wild, and AMAZING. We started our marathon with a full-day at Magic Kingdom, where we of course Disneybounded. My partner, Mitchell, was the Prince Charming to my Cinderella, and Allie was Merida. We made the cutest princesses ever, and it was super fun to hear parent’s say to their kids “Look honey, those girls are dressed as Cinderella and Merida!”

In the evening we ran home, changed, and went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, also in Magic Kingdom. Mine and Allie’s favorite holiday is Halloween, so we got all dressed up as extra af. Allie went as a mermaid (she made her entire costume herself and it was INSANE) and her boyfriend, Dom, went as a pirate. I was a rainbow and Mitchell was the sun. Some Disney Cast Members stopped Mitchell and I and gave us pins that said “Most Dynamic Duo!” because they loved our couple costume so much. Yeah, we were all super damn cute.

I ADORED the Halloween party. As an adult who doesn’t like to go to adult-parties (where there is alcohol and awkward socializing,) it’s hard for me to celebrate Halloween. It’s legit my favorite holiday, but it’s not like I can go trick-or-treating, and I live in an apartment in the city so decorating my house and passing out candy is a no-go. The Halloween party at Disney was awesome because we got to actually go trick-or-treating, there was a dance party, and the park was only half-full because you have to have a special ticket to get in after 6PM. There was also a special Halloween parade and a Halloween stage show, which featured the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus and all our fav Disney Villains. I wish I could spend every Halloween there!

Our second day in Florida was spent at Universal Studios. We went on some of the rides, got super sick because apparently we are all old and can’t handle anything anymore, and spent the majority of the day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This was my second time there, but the first time I went the park had just opened, so it was really like I was experiencing it again for the first time. The best part? Allie and I went to Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and there is a little show that they put on where Ollivander picks someone from the crowd and has a wand “choose” them. Allie and I were picked because we were dressed head-to-toe in Slytherin garb, so basically it was the coolest thing ever and Allie and I got interactive wands out of it. Best. Day. Ever.

The Disney-marathon continued with the Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT, which was AMAZING. It’s hard to say it was my favorite part because I adored Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but man, it was incredible. I love food, EPCOT is my favorite park, and I got to Disneybound as my favorite character ever, Quasimodo. The whole gang had Hunchback themed bounds that day– Allie was Esmeralda, Dom was Phoebus, and Mitchell was Clopin.

After getting rolled out of EPCOT (we were sporting food babies after all the delicious food we consumed,) we took a break from the parks and spent a day walking around Disney Springs, formerly called Downtown Disney. We all Disneybounded as droids from the Star Wars franchise for this expedition. I was BB-8, Mitchell was C3PO, Dom was R2D2, and Allie was K-2SO. It was a pretty relaxing day, after spending three full days in the parks.

We picked back up with an adventure in Animal Kingdom, where we saw the new Avatar-themed world, Pandora. The new rides, Rivers of Light and Flight of Passage were AMAZING, especially Flights. Like, goodness, I could stay on that ride forever. For that day, Mitchell and I bounded as Pongo and Perdita from 101 Dalmatians, and Allie was Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog and Dom was Hades from Hercules.

Our last day at WDW was spent at Hollywood Studios (or as Allie and I will always call it, MGM,) where we got sick once more on simulators, I lost an umbrella (and FOUND IT BECAUSE DISNEY CAST MEMBERS ARE AMAZING,) and we saw the incredible show, Fantasmic. Mitchell and I also met Kylo Ren, which was an experience. You can tell that we were terrified to be in his awesome Vader-fanboy presence. (Side note: I constantly refer to Kylo Ren as my space-trash-husband, so this was a big deal.) For MGM, Allie bounded as Loki, Dom as Thor, and Mitchell and I went as Dipper and Mabel from Gravity Falls (my favorite show EVER.)

Disney was seriously a blast. Shout out to Allie for making sure we had a lot of photos together in our Disneybounds, and for putting the adorable borders on the photos!

Speaking of adorable borders… I brought my Fuji Instax Mini with me, and loaded it with Disney Tsum Tsum themed film. I adore these pictures so much, as they add just a little more magic to our already magical trip! You can find this same film (and other films with Disney-themed borders!) on Amazon or eBay. If you order from eBay, it’ll take a while to get to you, so keep that in mind when you order!

So, enough with the typical vacation photos. If you made it this far and you’re wondering where the photography is, you’ll be pleased to know it’s just a few more lines of text away!

The photographs I made in the Disney Parks and in Universal Studios were more formal studies and examinations of light, rather than normal tourist pictures. I can’t help that Disney and Universal make things so picturesque– it’s almost as if they want people to take pictures. Who knew?

It was a little bit of a challenge, though. I wanted to make really cool pictures of a few of the most popular places in the United States– hell, the world, even. I think I managed to get a couple shots in that aren’t so standard, but I’m content with the photographs that are a little more par-for-the-course, because hey, the light was really pretty and I dig it.

We ended our amazing trip with a visit to Daytona Beach, where I lounged like a beach bum, Mitchell built a sand castle, Allie sat in the sand and Dom let himself get knocked about by waves. I love the ocean, I think it is beautiful, but I am not keen on large, open bodies of water where all sorts of critters live and I freak out when seaweed so much as brushes my leg so I sat on the beach and enjoyed the sounds and sights.

Annnnddddd that’s my trip to Florida, told through my rambles, vacation photos, and photography. Again, shout out to my BFF for the best photos of our cute ass crew. I’ve been really spoiled these past few months with all the travel– and next month I’m off to Vermont, so keep an eye out for a post on that!

Safe Travels and Happy Shooting!

My Love,

I have a confession.

When I was off adventuring across the country, gallivanting through mountains, torturing my hardly-ever-used muscles… I missed my significant other. So, like any other sensible artist, I made a piece.

Now you all know that I’m actually a huge sap.

When I travel, I’m really happy, but there is also an underlying casual sadness that permeates my bones. It’s like my entire being knows that what I am experiencing will eventually become a faded memory, even though I’m not actively thinking that way. Couple that subconscious feeling with missing my love, and you have these kinds of letters.

I missed him, and now I miss the mountains. Go figure.

I shot the images on my Fuji Instax Wide, using the Instax Wide Film.

Happy Shooting!

New Orleans Cemetery #3

I had a very limited time in New Orleans. Of the four and a half days I was there, I had one day to sight-see. That day, my family and I went around the French Quarter and took one of those bus tours around the city. It was really nice, getting a crash course on New Orleans. We stopped at Cemetery #3, but were only allowed ten minutes to explore. So, naturally, I wanted to come back.

The day we were leaving we woke up at 6AM so I could go take pictures at the cemetery before driving alllll the wayyyy back to Michigan. If that’s not familial love, I dunno what is.

So, we went, and spent an hour walking around. I took a lot of pictures with my Lomo Fuji Instax Mini, and got to do some double exposures with it. It’s a neat little camera. I also took a lot with my medium format (my pitiful Voigtlander,) which I need to get developed. I love that camera because of the antique aesthetic is gives my images. Wow, that was a very hipster thing of me to say.

But yeah, antique? Old graves? I’m into that.

STORY TIME.

So my mom and I were walking at the edge of the cemetery, where there were these sort of tombs in the wall– think morgue, but lots of them. So we’re walking along, taking pictures because that’s not disturbing to do in a cemetery, and we start to hear this knocking sound. My mom and I looked at each other, made a “no freaking way there is not someone knocking in that wall” face, laughed at the ridiculousness of that idea, and continued taking pictures.

But the knocking sound continued. After a while my mom and I were like “okay, this isn’t funny,” and we were the only people we saw in the cemetery. So, who was knocking?

We weren’t going anywhere in a hurry, until I finally said, “THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DIE IN HORROR MOVIES.”

So, yeah. We left that place reallllll quick after that conclusion.

If you’re ever in New Orleans, I recommend Cemetery #3. The more famous ones are #1 and #2, but if you’re not in the mood for crowds, #3 is less visited by the touring masses.

Just. If you hear knocking… run.

Happy Shooting!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! In celebration of today, here are some fall/Halloween themed instax photos!

Those cute little kids are my neice, nephews, and their friends.

And my brother makes an excellent giraffe.

Fuji Instax Wide film doesn’t have many patterned frame options, so when I saw the Halloween ones I freaked and ordered them. Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday, so c’mon, gotta indulge a little bit.

It was the first time ever I had trouble with the paralax shift of this camera, for some reason. Probably because I was shooting up close. Whatever, I made a collage.

Happy Halloween and Happy Shooting!

Memorial Day and How Hot Air Balloons Exist

It’s Memorial Day in the United States, which means it’s a holiday weekend! This weekend I did quite a bit in the way of photography, so here it goes!

I got a new camera. Kaiden and I went to a couple flea markets and I scored a Sears KS-1 camera with a fixed 50mm lens. The camera is semi-automatic and I can only set the aperture. The camera sets the shutter speed. So, it’s good for when I’m in a hurry. I also scored a Promatic FTD4500AF Hot Shoe Flash- which I am SUPER HAPPY about because I’ve been wanting a flash for my analog cameras but hadn’t gotten around to it. Now I can play with gels and TUNGSTEN FILM I AM USING ALL CAPS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WANTING TO SHOOT TUNGSTEN WITH A YELLOW GEL FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW AND MY TIME HAS COME.

So that was pretty great.

Sunday morning was the more intense adventure. My boyfriend and I woke up at 3AM to drive two hours to see a hot air balloon launch in Frankenmuth, MI. For those of you who have been around for a while, my hot air balloon attempts from last year ended with two good photos of the balloons on the ground (one of which is being published.) I’ve started the hot air balloon season with determination, and I was not disappointed.

I was, however, deeply confused.

I’m new to this whole hot air balloon culture. All I know is that they are pretty and they fly and I want to photograph them. Last year, I always went to evening launches, where there would be a giant roped-off field and crowds of people sitting around it waiting for the balloons to blow up and get flyin’. Since every evening launch I went to ended with no balloons, I did some research and found that the balloons are more likely to fly in the morning. I’m not a morning person, but it was a “challenge accepted” kind of thing.

We got to Frankenmuth.

Nothing.

No one.

There was a field, but no people.

Imagine my tired confusion.

I took to the interwebs and found that they were not launching from the designated field, but rather from different backyards in the area, and that they were going to meet over a nearby air field. The hunt was on. We found the air field, but saw no balloons. On our drive though, we saw some balloons being inflated. So we waited.

The sky was dotted with balloons within 15 minutes. We parked the car and started walking, looking for a place to see the balloons more clearly. We got to an open field where there was a clear shot to the air strip, where the balloons were congregating. Pictures ensued.

Thank goodness I brought my zoom lens, because those balloons were a bit too far for 80mm. They are a bit back-lit, but that couldn’t be helped because, y’know, I can’t control the sunrise. I got a little lens glare as a result, but c’est la vie. Live and learn, as always.

I’m not super pleased with the photos, but I am excited I got to see balloons in flight. I’m going to more launches this summer, and I’m hoping that I’ll get to go to an evening launch, where the balloons will be a lot closer and hopefully not back-lit.

I took a picture frame that had a stock image of a hot air balloon in it with us because I had an idea for an instax picture, but we ended up using it for more than just that. Some of my favorite pictures are from messing around with it.

And that’s the hot air balloon adventure.

Our adventures on Sunday did not end there. We went to the beach to see my family and ended up going on a nature trail. I had my Minolta X-700 with me, but it randomly stopped working, so I was out of luck. I had my Minolta Weathermatic A with me, but it only had 6 shots left on it and it was quickly filled (but I can finally send it off to get developed!) I had to resort to using my iPhone, but I got a few pretty shots.

It was an excellent weekend for photography. I’ll have a double-exposed roll of my hot air balloon and beach escapades, but I have to finish the roll. And, speaking of double exposures, I’m still taking submissions for my double exposure challenge. Follow the link for more details and email your images to owensbydanielle@gmail.com. I’ll be posting the submissions by the end of the first week of June.

That’s all for now- I’m looking forward to seeing more submissions! Happy shooting~

 

Stopping by Woods with a Rainbow Umbrella on a Snowy Afternoon

I’ve been bored lately, and kind of in a photography slump. It’s not that I’m not enjoying taking pictures, because I am, and I’m not any less passionate, it’s just… I haven’t been happy with the work I’ve been producing for my classes. I think it’s the lack of freedom I have at this point in the semester, and hopefully that will change. However, I went out and did my own shoot. Because I can.

I had this idea since the first snow storm in my area. I pictured a girl in a red coat, in the snow. Simple, but I wanted to shoot it. I got my friend Rachel to pose for me, and she happened to have a red coat.

I think the best part of this shoot was the snow. There was so much of it- we went down by the river, where no one has really been since December. Now, no snow had melted up to this point, so all the snow that had accumulated over the past two months was just chillin’ (HA! PUN!), undisturbed… Until Rachel and I decided it would be a good idea to try and freeze our legs off. The snow was above our knees in some places! There were a few pictures where Rachel looked super short because of how deep the snow was. It was super funny, until we couldn’t feel our legs anymore.

I took a couple cameras with me. Again: because why not. I was really hoping to get some good panoramas out of my Horizon Perfect, but this happened:

rainbowumbrellahorizon

I got an unwanted double exposure! I’m super bummed, but it is what it is. It looks kind of cool, at least. Kind of. Maybe… I’m a little disappointed, if you can’t tell.

I busted out my Fuji Instax as well and shot two pictures on it. The first one is alright, but I’m in love with the second one. It has the contrast of the figure vs. ground that I was hoping for in my panoramas… (I’m not bitter… Like my film that broke in the camera so the sprocket holes were ruined and the reel wouldn’t take the film up anymore… whatever… not like I care or anything…) But yeah, these are from the instax:

A bit out of focus… oops?

Yay- look at the orb on the left from the flash reflecting off of the falling snow!

Sometimes you just have to do something to keep yourself sane amidst the course work. I do believe the boring period is over, since it is officially half way through the semester. I have an awesome shoot happening in the studio this week- I’m so excited I can hardly wait! I have a list of lighting tricks I want to try in portraiture. I love photographing people- so buh-bye still-life assignments, nice knowing you (but not really…)

Watch out for more this week for when I get done with my studio adventures- I can’t wait to tell you all about the pictures and how they were taken!

 

California Dreamin’

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 treats you kindly. My year is off to a FANTASTIC start! I spent New Years Eve in Los Angeles, California. Actually, I spent December 29th to January 2nd. I went on the trip with the Spartan Marching Band in order to perform at the 100th Rose Bowl (thanks to our awesome football team) and the 125th Rose Parade. While we were there we also went to Disneyland and LA Live.

And.

Wait for it.

I took pictures.

Super shocking, right? I brought six cameras with me, but only ended up using four. First up is the Fuji Natura Classica. I am IN LOVE with this camera, and the photos below should give you a hint as to why.

The camera captures light beautifully. I love digital, don’t get me wrong, but you couldn’t get a photo like this without editing it in Photoshop. 10/10, would use again and again and again and… You get it.

At Disneyland I got the chance to play with my Fuji Instax- and man, I have a lot to learn on it. All my pictures were tourist photos. For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that the Fuji Instax HAD to be the camera I took to Disneyland. I had this romanticized vision of Polaroid-esque pictures of me and my loved ones. Not sure why this appealed to me so much- maybe it’s because all the pictures from my childhood are Polaroids and I was in Disneyland, a child’s dream destination. Or I couldn’t suppress my inner hipster or something. I really should stop drinking Starbucks and wearing trendy flannel shirts.

So yeah, even though they aren’t artful or anything, here they are. You are now subjected to my touristy photos. Boo-yah.

Now, I’m not the only one who had fun in Disneyland. There was another group there, a group that you haven’t heard from in a while…

THE BOXHEADS HAVE RETURNED!


And they made their creepy comeback in the happiest place on earth. Whoops? sorrynotsorry

Quick story about the Splash Mountain picture: I managed to get the BoxHeads into Disneyland in the first place because they are actually those collapsible storage drawers, so they fit in my backpack. Right before we got on the ride, I took one out and put it under my arm. I got on with no problem, and as soon as we turned the corner and were out of sight of the ride operators, I opened it and set it on my lap in the ready position. My group and I were super giddy about the idea, and when we started going up the hill to the drop I put the box on my own head. I hardly believed I had the guts to do it, since I’m not a fan of drops and I wouldn’t be able to hold on to the boat thingy because I’d have to hold the box on my head… But the box muffled my terrified screams as we went down and got soaked.

When we got off the ride, we went to the photo screens and found a group of people pointing and laughing at our picture. When we saw it, we practically fell over laughing. We ran over to the photo kiosk to buy it, but we forgot to look at the photo number. So, my friend told the cast member, “Ours is the one with the box on someone’s head!”

The cast member did NOT look happy.

“Well, that’s not allowed, so it probably didn’t end up here. We have moderators that take care of the photos and-”

“There it is!”

I guess the moderators missed our photo. The cast member still looked unhappy while she bagged our photos, but it was so worth it. Have a sense of humor, lady.

I have a shoot planned for these gems this weekend, so stay tuned for that. I have another set of photos from the trip that I took on my Horizon Perfekt, but I haven’t scanned the negatives in yet. So there is more to look forward to!

That’s all I have for now- I’m very excited to see what 2014 will do for everyone’s photography!