Photography

What's in my Bag?

I've had a few people ask me what's in my camera bag, and I thought I'd share! 

First off, let me just say that I am a minimalist (half by choice and half by necessity) so if you're looking for gadgets and techy items, I probably won't excite you much. But this all goes to show you don't need much to take good photos! As world and humanitarian photographer, David duChemin stresses all the time--vision is better! :) 

First off, the bag. Bags are important y'all. :) I have two bags that I love and have had for some time:

Jo Totes - "Betsy"

Jo Totes - "Betsy"

Crumpler - "5 Million Dollar Bag"

Crumpler - "5 Million Dollar Bag"

I've had my Crumpler bag now for six years and have practically brought it everywhere with no issues ever. It's a fantastic bag that I love taking on flights as it fits underneath the seats and it's a great bag for underdeveloped countries as it doesn't easily look dirty or look like a camera bag. There are tons of pockets to stash memory cards, gadgets, lenses, pens, etc. inside, as well as fits my camera with a lens attached and two prime lenses easy. It's a great bag. Good job Crumpler. 

My Jo Totes bag I have only used a little bit. I bought it three years ago because I didn't want to bring my Crumpler to weddings anymore--while it's an awesome bag, it's just not all that pretty. :) So I opted for a mustard yellow camera bag that looks like a pretty purse! This bag is great as it has tons of pockets to stash all kinds of stuff, fits my camera with a lens attached and two prime lenses, and even can fit comfortably up to a 15" laptop if I wanted to. Even with all of that stuff, it still looks nice and not overstuffed. 

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 5D Mark II

Okay, now gear. Again, I'm a minimalist.

The Canon 5D Mark II is a great camera. Yes, it is no longer being made as there is the Canon 5D Mark III and IV, but I will use this camera until it dies. Full frame, light, heavy duty, and takes great pictures in low lighting. 

I've had it now for five years and it has never given me any issues. It's gotten wet, been in dusty, dirty places, and has been dropped a few times (whoopsies), but it's still going strong! I love this camera and so glad that I got it as it's seriously a great camera. 

The lenses I carry always are:

 

 

 

Canon 50mm f/1.4

Canon 50mm f/1.4

Canon 24mm f/2.8

Canon 24mm f/2.8

Canon 85mm f/1.8

Canon 85mm f/1.8

When my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 died on me, I decided to go all prime and I'm so glad I did. The quality of primes is excellent and once you get used to shooting with them, it's easy and you find yourself being more creative (especially since you are the zoom!). Sometimes I do wish I had a zoom lens, but for the kind of work I do it's not something I think about all the time. 

The 24mm is the lens I've been using primarily for my fatherhood project, which gives me those wide angles that I'm looking for. The 50mm has been great for street photography and portraits. The 85mm is also good for portraits and getting closer to longer-distanced subjects, but I don't find myself pulling it out of my bag as often as the other two. It might be something I sell one of these days.

The other noteable thing that I carry in my bag with me at all times is this handy gadget I bought off of Amazon--a shutter release! These are great for portraits that you want to be in and for taking pictures on a tripod that have a slow shutter speed. Speaking of tripod's, this is my favorite tripod I've ever owned by MeFoto. It is a fantastic tripod that is stable and has never dropped my camera or fallen over. 

Off Brand Shutter Release

Off Brand Shutter Release

MeFoto Tripod

MeFoto Tripod

I do have a lens reflector that I use on shoots at times, as well as off camera strobes, triggers, etc., but they're something I don't always pull out. The things listed above are items that I use consistently all the time and have had great success with.

So that's all I carry and have in the realm of equipment! :) Feel free to ask me any questions about it. 

-Ashley

Shameless Sunset Share | #ThrowbackThursday #tbt

April 2017 - Istanbul, Turkey

April 2017 - Istanbul, Turkey

I know that countless sunsets fill up the internet, but why not clog it up more with one I saw earlier this year! :)

Last April we had the chance to visit Turkey and we happened to be crossing this bridge right at sunset. It was seriously amazing and I took way too many photos! Seeing this again makes me remember the incredible feeling of viewing it firsthand, thanking God for being such a wonderful creator. It is seriously breathtaking! 

Hope that you are inspired by something in your day today that brings you encouragement and thankfulness. Have a good one!

-Ashley

Final Project Progression

My project has been progressing well. I met with the professor for the course two nights ago and it was a very encouraging tutorial for me in many ways.

One of the things I was struggling with was how to take such a big project and break it down into bite size pieces. What was suggested to me by both the professor and the teaching adviser was that I make mini-projects for each module, breaking the project into smaller size goals, rather than one large project.

For this first module, I’ve decided I’m going to focus on the “Faces of Fatherhood”–a small mini-project where I will be photographing different fathers with their children. In this mini-project I’m hoping to discover about what fatherhood looks like by taking images of men and their children. I’m wanting to rid myself of my personal view of fatherhood, if I’m able, by being an observer in this society. Kind of like this picture below, you can see what I’m talking about:

The images might vary, but the general idea is to just catch a glimpse of what fatherhood/fathers looks like here.

I also was challenged in my project to not become universal in how I create this project. While I think fundamentally that humanity has many similarities just by the nature of how we were created in God’s image, it would be tragic of me to simplify the differences between cultures, reducing the value of the nuances and beauty that makes us all different from other nations. I felt this was really sound advice and something I want to be careful of.

Overall, I’m pleased where this project is headed and looking forward to what I uncover and learn in the process.

Commissioned Micro Project

In my class, we were given the assignment to pair up with another student in order to commission that student to create a piece of work. This is the brief Andrey commissioned me to do:

BRIEF: Is this really South Asia?

Can you create a series of images taken in your city that will very likely look decidedly non-South Asian in the eyes of most viewers. So no women in saris or men in Sikh headdresses or Ambassador cabs. It can be places, street scenes, people, or buildings that most will not likely associate with this area.

It was a fun micro-project that really made me think twice about the process of creating a body of work. Here's what I came up with! If you want to read the process I went through to create this micro project, you can find it here on my critical research journal for my class.

Opening in most large cities, fancy shopping areas are places to escape the heat and enjoy clean, air conditioned shopping without the hassle of markets.

Opening in most large cities, fancy shopping areas are places to escape the heat and enjoy clean, air conditioned shopping without the hassle of markets.

In a land where "Chai" (tea) is normally the hot beverage of choice, coffee is a new phenomenon that is gathering a following.

In a land where "Chai" (tea) is normally the hot beverage of choice, coffee is a new phenomenon that is gathering a following.

Franchises from other countries, like Cinnabon, have successful debuts, allowing other nations to enjoy something new and different.

Franchises from other countries, like Cinnabon, have successful debuts, allowing other nations to enjoy something new and different.

Exercise is a growing value that's drawing both men and women, working out in the same space—a taboo idea that makes some still feel uncomfortable.

Exercise is a growing value that's drawing both men and women, working out in the same space—a taboo idea that makes some still feel uncomfortable.

Sari's and Shalwar Kameez aren’t the only chosen dress for South Asians anymore—Western clothes are accessible and an acceptable clothing choice that many prefer to wear.

Sari's and Shalwar Kameez aren’t the only chosen dress for South Asians anymore—Western clothes are accessible and an acceptable clothing choice that many prefer to wear.

Thanks for taking a look! Hope you have a great weekend!

-Ashley

How's it Going?

Well, almost two months ago I blogged that I'd be starting my MA in Photography and I haven't given an update at all in my progress and how it's going. 

The program has been excellent. I have proficient teachers, a diverse cohort, and challenging material/projects. I've had to wrestle with concepts in photography related to my practice that I've never had to think about before. These topics are a variety of things--like the ethics of photography, photography being global, collaboration, etc. All the topics have been perfect for what I needed to work through and I didn't even realize it beforehand! All this to say, I'm extremely grateful for the program.

While there are certain things we have to do in the course of this program, the main one is our proposed project, which we have to complete by the end of the program. I think I've settled on my proposed project, which is a project on fathers and their children. I'm hoping to take assumptions of fathers and their relationship with their children and show actually what it's like where I live, hoping to break some of those stereotypes that exist. I have much to flesh out, but I'm excited about what I'll learn from this!! I'll post more about this as I discover more!

"After completing the collection of grass for hay, this man utilizes his bicycle to deliver the goods."   Canon 5D Mark II; 85mm f/1.8  |  f/3.2, 1/250 sec, ISO-500

"After completing the collection of grass for hay, this man utilizes his bicycle to deliver the goods."

Canon 5D Mark II; 85mm f/1.8  |  f/3.2, 1/250 sec, ISO-500

That's all for now, but one more thing to note is that my plan is to begin blogging again, so be looking out for most posts. It won't be daily like before, but my goal is around 4 times a week. We'll see how it goes. :)

Have a great week!

Ashley

Exciting News!

I'll just get right to the exciting news! :)

After a lot of praying, counsel from mentors, research, and thinking, I've decided to begin....drum roll please....an MA in Photography!

**I AM SO EXCITED!**

Giggling incessantly, my nephew Zachary is showing the excitement I feel for this program!  Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.2, 1/1250 sec, ISO-400  |  Houston, TX USA

Giggling incessantly, my nephew Zachary is showing the excitement I feel for this program!
Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.2, 1/1250 sec, ISO-400  |  Houston, TX USA

This is something I have wanted to do for such a long time and the timing has always been off. I love teaching, interacting with students, doing personal projects, etc. and I really felt that this would enhance my work as a photographer and allow me to teach even more proficiently than before. 

I'm gaining my masters through Falmouth University, which is ranked one of the top arts university in the UK (!!!). They began this year a Flexible Learning program, where students can gain a masters level degree in an art field online.  The program I'm enrolled in is part time (15-20 hours/week) and completed over a two year period. You can read about the program here!

One thing I love about this program, is that it's focused on the student and their practice. It's not about learning photography skills (which I'm sure I will learn more during this process), but the focus is on improving your practice of photography in the field you're already working in or hoping to move forward in. They're also offering four optional residencies, where you can visit the event taking place and meet faculty and other fellow students in person. I don't think I'll make it to all four, but I do plan to try for at least one.

There are so many things I want to accomplish during this time and I'm so excited about the possibilities. I'm also thrilled to work on my final project, which I already have great ideas for! 

That's the exciting news! I'm sure through this process I will be posting photos, concepts, ideas, projects, and the like on my blog. I will not be able to continue my photo of the day project, but I will still be posting a few times a week!

Thanks for following me through this process! Excited to share it with you.

-Ashley

Life Happened

I've been slightly avoiding this initial blog post after my hiatus, as I knew it had been an incredibly long period since I had written on this blog. I went from updating from 4-6 times a week to nothing for two months! What happened?!

Let me tell you--life has happened. Not only did I move across the world during this time, but visited a few places in between and have been more busy than I ever could have anticipated! Between setting up a home, getting used to living in South Asia again (which includes figuring out how to not talk in English!), and trying to get into a routine--everything else has paused whether I've liked it or not. And unfortunately I'm far from finished with the above things.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to post like I was previously for now, but I do hope to post at least a few times a week, as I have many exciting things coming up in the future in regards to photography. I'll explain those more in another blog post (believe me, super exciting)!!

For now, I just wanted to say, "I'm alive and doing well" and post some long overdue photos, which I had planned to post in July (...such as the 4th of July fireworks). Such is life.  Better late than never! :)

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/22, 1/80 sec, ISO-640  |  Koh Samui, Thailand

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/22, 1/80 sec, ISO-640  |  Koh Samui, Thailand

This picture was taken last year some time on a trip to an island in Thailand. It is a beautiful place and I recommend everyone going, especially if you like to dive! I wouldn't know, because I didn't dive on that trip, but I'm told it's stunning. I'm normally drawn towards color, but I liked the change to black and white for this photo, as it accentuated the texture of the sand and the light on the water. :) 

Happy Friday!

-Ashley 

Struggles Turned to Growth

When I was younger, I was really insecure. 

People made fun of me for my wild, curly hair that I didn't know how to tame. People teased me for my last name, my forehead, my shyness, and even my clothing. I honestly can't think of one thing I wasn't teased for!

Although those experiences were hurtful and I wouldn't want to go through them again, I'm thankful for the experience. Because of them, I have had to struggle to find out who I am and who God has created me to be. These experiences made me who I am today. 

One piece of who I am that I've uncovered so far, is photography. I've mentioned this on my blog before, but I feel like I glorify God when I use my camera. Photography has been a tool for me to express how I see the world. It has brought a way to express messages that words can't for me. 

Although we all have our struggles and none of us will ever be exempt from the ones to come, I do hope that your struggles or issues don't define who you are. Mine did for 12 years and it restricted me from doing anything valuable. I couldn't imagine myself doing anything with my life that was purposeful. The crazy thing is that I didn't see my self worth (or lack there of) as restrictive, but who I was. Wow, I was so wrong!

It wasn't until 2008 when I began working through them did I find the freedom to see myself in a different light. The same year I began my part-time business, taking photos. This never would have happened if I didn't go back and work through past hurts, habits, and hang ups. My struggles wouldn't have allowed it.

So friend, what are your struggles? Are you willing to work through them, no matter how painful? I'm no psychologist and I don't know your past, but I do know there is freedom available for you. And besides just experiencing freedom (which alone is amazing), this freedom will allow you to do the things you love. 

What experiences have made you who you are today? Feel free to share them below in the comments!

-Ashley