Monday, November 14, 2011

retouching? no problem!

The Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra performed in St. Andrews this afternoon. And once again, I had to miss the concert. That's one of the things that I don't like about having class on Mondays: I have to miss concerts by one of my favourite orchestras. But I'm sure the PBSO understands--when you're a college or university student, classes and homework are your life.

Monday: In Output, we're currently doing two assignments: one is a portfolio book, and the other is researching archiving strategies. My book is of photos from the last two-and-a-half years, telling the story of my years at NBCCD through the assignments, with an artist statement on the first page.

The archiving assignment is making me realize just how badly I need to come up with some sort of system--now. At least for my RAW photos: those are my most valuable and important files. If I lost them, I'd be in serious trouble. For that assignment, we're to research archiving techniques and come up with a system that costs no more than $5,000. And we are to also come up with an organizing system for our files, which I admit I could use. My school assignments are neatly organized into their own folders ("Photoshop", "Lighting", "Advanced Digital Projects", etc.), but my RAW files--and the corresponding XML files--are just sitting there in two folders: "ORF photos" and "NEF photos". Though I'm forced to do better than I have been because the DNG Converter forces me to sort each shoot into folders so that I process just those files, rather than every single NEF file over and over again because it does whatever is in a folder. Frustrating, but a good kick in the butt. Thanks, Adobe!

Tuesday: I spent most of the afternoon reworking the model release for my project. The mom of one of the dancers had contacted me with concerns regarding the release that I'd given the girls the week before, and I'd emailed her back several times, each time with more info. I also emailed with Karen, Peter and Rod, as they have more experience with releases. That day, I ditched the current release, and, after talking it through with Peter, put together a new release, tailoring it to fit my project and what I intended to do with the photos afterward.

Before heading over to the dance studio, I paid a surprise visit to Karen in her office. She commented on how professionally I'd handled the situation. As I said to her, I try to do that: I try to treat almost everyone--friends, relatives, teachers, etc., how I want to be treated. I say "almost" because I don't know if I could extend that sort of attitude to someone like Harper, Bush or Cheney--or even Finance Minister Flaherty.

In my emails, I'd offered to meet with the mom before pointe class on Tuesday. We met, talked, she signed the release, and I was happy--until I found out that she was the only parent who'd signed a release. AAARRRRGH!!! However, the dance mistress, Leslie, and I sent the rest of the girls home after class with copies of the new release, and Leslie told the girls to bring the signed forms back the next day.

Wednesday: We're each doing a two-week-long independent study project in Photoshop. Mine is on photo manipulation, like what you see in ads and fashion spreads. Yes, all that photoshopping distorts our sense of 'beauty' and how people (especially women) 'should' look, but to me, there's a beauty to the process. Retouching is an art, and to make the model look like she popped into the world looking like that (even though we know she didn't) takes skill. But I will give you a hint: the Liquify filter is your best friend when changing the shape of the face.

The original photo, from a homework folder for Photoshop.

The retouched version. I still want to do more work on it.

Thursday: Business class is starting to invade Advanced Digital Projects! YIKES! Not really. This is useful stuff--and has made me realize that I really am going to have to get a better camera ASAP (I've been thinking about it for a year or so, anyway, as I've outgrown my current camera). And nice known' ya, kit lenses--sadly, you're not professional. Just as a pro violinist wouldn't use a student-quality violin (which is what my current camera, my Baby, is equal to), as I'm slowly going pro, I really should upgrade my equipment. I decided that day that if I land a summer job, I'm putting most, if not all, the money toward a new camera, wireless remote (I'd get one for my Olympus, but I don't see the point because I'm going to replace it at the first chance that I get), extra battery, and at least one GOOD lens.

...and then I'll replace my computer a couple years after that. As for my iPod Nano (second generation, meaning it's four or five years old--about the same age as my laptop), I'll replace it when it starts to really show signs of age. It's slowly getting there, developing a few more quirks, so I wouldn't be surprised if I get a new computer and iPod at the same time.

As part of the business component of the class, each of us is calling (or, in the case of one of my victims who doesn't list her phone number, emailing) a photographer in F'ton and asking them about pricing. However, we're undercover, and Peter gave us all a story ("I have [event] coming up...", etc.). Because this is a public blog, I won't give any details on the story.

After my meeting with Peter, I went up to the UNB campus to hand in my dorm extension application (which allows me to stay past December seventh, which is when NBCC, NBCCD, UNB law and grad, and STU students have to be out of their dorms if they don't fill out a form and provide evidence, e.g., exam schedule, school's list of important dates--which is what I use--note from instructor, etc.) and pay a fee that was overdue.

Once I was back on the NBCCD campus, I threw myself into homework and didn't emerge until that evening.

Friday (Remembrance Day/Veterans' Day): Unlike last year and the year before, I didn't go to the service--I was just getting up at that point. However, I observed the minute of silence at 11:00, and listened to CBC Radio 2's morning classical music program, Tempo, which had a special Remembrance Day show that morning (click on 'Tempo' or the plus sign to see the playlist).

I did some homework that afternoon, and put together a playlist for a celebration this December. This year marks my twentieth year dancing (I started when I was three), and I want to celebrate in style over Christmas break. Bangor Symphony, Andé Rieu, Met Opera Orchestra, Green Day, Celtic Woman, Royal Philharmonic, Ronan Hardiman, Lynn Brubaker, Gene Nichols--oh, my!

Chinese Piece is just a nickname. Because I didn't keep the online program from that concert, I have no idea what the original title is. March is from The Nutcracker.
In order to be included in the playlist, each track had to have played an important role in my life (like The Medley, which is present at every personal celebration, big or small), or been a major turning point (like East Jesus Nowhere, which was my first time doing floor-work successfully).

Saturday: That afternoon, I met with a friend and shot my lighting assignment (creative portraiture). Because I hadn't used a hot light since last year, I decided to use the one that's in the photo studio classroom. Bonus: because it's already outside the studio and I was using it in the school, I didn't need to worry about signing it out. Which is a major perk on the weekend, when the faculty is nowhere to be seen.

Afterward, I finally started my independent study project.

Sunday: I finally made time to go over photos, and pick out a couple to edit and print for Sunbury Shores' Deck the Walls Christmas sale. I printed them that afternoon.

I also started work on the portfolio book for Output, and went over the marketing plan for Preparing for Professional Life one last time, printed it out and stapled it. Yay for not having to run around like a crazywoman this morning!

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