Trees

Surprising Moments | #ThrowbackThursday #tbt

It was a nice sunny day as we stopped to hike a trailhead that someone recommended to us. It didn't look like much, but the bright green trees, colorful vegetation, and fresh, clean air was calling our names, so we didn't even care if the views were nice wherever we were going. It was just nice to be outside in nature for a change (rather than a dusty, dirty, big city). As well, we were with great friends, which made anything we did that day worth it. 

As we neared the top, we began to see a wide opening in the midst of the trees and the view was absolutely amazing. We stayed their a while, looking out at the small quaint town talking while the kids played nearby. It was an amazing sight, one that we couldn't have anticipated (or at least I didn't know what I was walking into!). I really appreciated it though and as I look back at this photo I'm reminded of the enjoyable moment I spent with my friends on that hilltop.

2017.11.02 - Germany Scene for blog 01.jpg

What's been a surprising moment for you lately? I feel like sometimes we have to stop what we're doing and recognize that it's a special moment, otherwise we miss it. Fortunately I was in the position to just take in the beauty around me in this moment, but that's not always the case (and beautiful places that catch your eyes like this one does don't exist everywhere!). But I think there is value in noticing the beauty in the things around us. I know for myself, learning to slow down and appreciate what's around me is something I'm still working on. What about you? 

I hope that you have a surprising moment today that is encouraging to you!

-Ashley

By the way, for those of you who are wondering, this image was taken with a 24mm f/2.8 on my Canon 5D Mark II. This lens is a great one to have in your bag, especially for landscapes or tight squeezes, although you have to be careful of lens distortion. I'll share more about this another time. :)

Goodbye 20's

Well, it's been a while since I've blogged, which is very abnormal for me, since I blog at least 4-5 times a week. The last two weeks have been extremely busy for me, filled with lots of travel and getting ready to leave. Which, yes, we are leaving the state's in June! We're excited, but there is so much to do before we can leave.

In the past two weeks, an exciting thing happened--I turned 30! Some people probably think I'm crazy, but I'm very excited to be 30! I've been anticipating this for a while.

As I reflected over my 20's, I realized so many great and sad things happened:

  • I got married in January 2007.
  • Moved 11 times (not including all the small moves that we made throughout that time--that would probably put us well over 20 times that we moved).
  • Paid off 64K in debt (and have stayed debt free)!
  • Lost our first child, Rose.
  • Lived overseas in a couple third world countries.
  • Got scuba diving certified. :)
  • Learned a foreign language (this was a goal of mine and I did it! So exciting!).
  • Worked through a ton of hurts, habits, and hang-ups that were keeping me back from living the life God wanted for me and found freedom. I'm still not perfect, but I have the tools to keep moving forward in these areas.
  • Taught my first photography class in a university setting!
  • Learned how to live out of a suitcase for a year (we're still living this one...we're ready for it to end).
  • I had many "first time" experiences in many places (like trying new foods, visiting new places, doing different things, etc.).
  • Had Salmonella-Typhoid. :) Probably shouldn't put this on the list, but I learned a lot during my 15 day stay in the hospital while my body fought this sickness. I've never been that sick before!
  • and so much more!

My 20's will be hard to beat, as so many amazing things happened. Not everything in that list up there was exciting and fun, some of it was really hard to go through. However, I feel like all of these experiences have made me who I am today.

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4 |  f/5, 1/1000 sec, ISO-800  |  Somewhere in Texas! :)

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4 |  f/5, 1/1000 sec, ISO-800  |  Somewhere in Texas! :)

I am truly so excited for what's ahead in my 30's. I'm anticipating some great things!

So goodbye 20's--it was good while it lasted. :)

-Ashley

Me + Camera + Sunsets = Happiness!

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-1000  |  Dow Park, Deer Park, TX USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-1000  |  Dow Park, Deer Park, TX USA

ashleytruckey:   I'm loving the time I'm having with my nephew. What a blessing to be here. I'll be sad when we leave, but for now I'm so grateful. #thankful #babylove #cutiepie #blessed #socute #myheartissmitten

ashleytruckey: I'm loving the time I'm having with my nephew. What a blessing to be here. I'll be sad when we leave, but for now I'm so grateful. #thankful #babylove #cutiepie #blessed #socute #myheartissmitten

I love pictures that involve the sun rising or setting--it just never gets old. After I finished taking pictures of my sister with her baby bump, we were leaving the park and this just caught my attention. How could it not?! I just love the colors the sun makes on water as it sets. It's beautiful!

Since this photo, my sister's son has arrived and we are more than thrilled. Every time I'm around my nephew I snuggle with him. He's just too precious. I have always been afraid of infants, but with him I just can't get enough! I keep holding him every chance I get! I'm hoping to take some photos of him this week and I'll post those when I do. 

Have a happy Monday!

-Ashley

Up Close and Personal

Sometimes when people see an interesting subject to photograph, they either don't get close enough or they don't fill the frame (these are kind of one in the same). I know that was the case for me especially in the beginning. I would take photos at eye level (i.e. I wouldn't crouch or lay down to get a shot, etc.). Eye level isn't bad, but the idea is to change your perspective. Even just getting low and looking up can change your subject drastically. Take this tree, for example.

I loved how dreary it looked (as it was quite cold that day), I loved the snow on the limbs and I loved the texture of the bark. So instead of shooting it from afar at my eye level, I decided to snuggle up close to the tree and shoot up.

Filling the frame can make your picture much more interesting--so next time you take your camera out, try to get close to your subject and do something unique. Even if you try it and botch it, it would be better to experiment than to not try at all.

Let me know how it goes!

-Ashley

Accident or Intentional?

Have you ever seen a photo and you thought to yourself--wow! That person is awesome. How did they get that photo at that moment?

Well my friends, I'll be the first to admit (even if another photographer doesn't), that sometimes it is accidental! Take this here photo:

Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8  |  f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8  |  f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO-400

I saw this window of students in their class, but I had no idea that this student was going to lean over and smile when I was taking the shot! Afterwards I felt so blessed that I happened to capture it.

There is a phrase coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson (who is known as the "Father of Street Photography" and also for being a master of taking candids) that calls these moments "The Decisive Moment". It's that perfect moment in time, that doesn't last long--maybe just a second, that you catch on camera. I believe that these perfect moments can be calculated, and sometimes not. You have to be looking for them, especially when it comes to people!

When it comes to objects however, you can set it up. The photo I took below, was very intentional. I loved the snow on the branch and I loved the tree limbs in the background with the yellow/blue hues from the sunset. In this case, you could say that if I had waited another 10 minutes, it could have been darker and that exact coloring wouldn't have been there. I wouldn't had caught that moment in time when things were perfect.

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/1250 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/1250 sec, ISO-400

So accidental or intentional? I'd say both. I try to be intentional in every shot, but sometimes you do accidentally get that shot you weren't expecting, simply because you were there at the right time and the right moment. I wish it were like that every time!

-Ashley

Using Tendencies to Your Advantage

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/4, 1/1600 sec, ISO-250  |  Koh Tao, Thailand

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/4, 1/1600 sec, ISO-250  |  Koh Tao, Thailand

I like taking pictures of trees (well, I like taking pictures of most things!) because the lines are so nice. I naturally look for lines, colors, shapes, etc., so when I saw this I really enjoyed the lines of the palm trees. What do you naturally see that compels you to take pictures?

I think it's important to identify what you naturally gravitate towards in your art medium so you can use that to your advantage. Because I look for lines naturally, I am better able to use them and manipulate them in how I take pictures. It's the same with colors and shapes or even symmetry. 

To identify what you naturally do or see, go look at some of your favorite work that you've done, whether that's photography, painting, drawing, etc. Look for patterns between those pieces and make note of it. In photography, if you were drawn towards color, then look for places that draw your eyes with color while you're shooting and find out how to exploit what you see with your camera. The more you know yourself, your craft, your tendencies, and your skills, the faster you can grow in them and other areas that you're not so good at seeing.

I know what I mentioned might sound daunting or even boring, but it will help you grow and become a better art practitioner. Promise!

-Ashley

Bare Trees

Since I was traveling during winter months to Colorado, I really wanted to get a picture of trees that were bare. I have never seen all seasons before, winter being one of them I've never truly experienced. Living in the hot climates I'm from (Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, etc.), you only experience summer and then what many people would call a mild winter. I wouldn't say it's mild, but my friends in Michigan or Colorado would disagree. :)

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.5, 1/2000 sec, ISO-250  | Denver, CO, USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.5, 1/2000 sec, ISO-250  | Denver, CO, USA

Now that I'm back in Houston, you can't even tell it was winter in other places. It's sunny, 73 degrees Fahrenheit and really pleasant. We're about to take a walk actually! I'd take this weather over what my friends are experiencing in Denver, CO (36 degrees Fahrenheit right now!). 

-Ashley

Busy or Quiet?

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm 1.4  |  f/4, 1/2000 sec., ISO-250

Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm 1.4  |  f/4, 1/2000 sec., ISO-250

I just love the way trees look when you look up! This was taken on a very windy and overcast day an island in Thailand (Koh Tao). We were there during monsoon season, so it rained for at least an hour every day and it was about that time. We were almost back to our bungalow and I remember being surrounded by palm trees. It was really quiet except for the wind rushing through the palm branches. The ocean wasn't far away either, so you could hear it roaring in a distance due to the rain that was coming. 

It was pretty awesome. Living in a city filled with many people and lots of sounds, it was refreshing to be in a quiet place at that moment. 

It's interesting because I love big cities. I love all the sights, sounds, smells, etc. I love the liveliness of the streets and the different people who are surrounding me. It's a blast! However, there are times when the stillness of a place can literally stop me in my tracks and make me take in what I'm seeing. I appreciate those times!

Do you like the busyness of a city or quiet scene in nature? Tell me in the comment section below!

Ashley