Tag Archives: Contax 645

I sort of accidentally ended up in Aix-en-Provence. I’d been planning to stay in Marseille, but after meeting someone in Italy who told me Marseille wasn’t as romantic as I’d dreamed, I opted for an AirBnB in Aix-en-Provence instead. It’s a good thing, too, because I fell absolutely in love with the place. Despite a terrifying drive into the provincial town (I accidentally turned down a few winding alleys that were barely wide enough to fit a car), it ended up being the most restful leg of my trip. I spent one of my days in Provence driving out to Marseille and Cassis, and I’m absolutely planning on going back- I need time to explore the Calanques de Marseille! For now, though, here’s a taste of the south of France.

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This was one of my favorite moments from my trip- I’d set out to wander the streets that morning and ended up stumbling upon a flower market in one of the squares. It was so delightfully unexpected, and just reinforced my love of traveling/wandering sans-guidebook. I never would have found this if I’d stuck to the beaten path!

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I think this is my favorite image from the entire trip. This, THIS is what I love about the French- they way they enjoy life, an afternoon lunch break on the rocks of Cassis for the simple pleasure of being in the sun out on the Mediterranean? I love it so much.

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Aix-en-Provence fine art film photographer- Abby Grace

 

You know those mornings when you get up and you have a well-thought out list of things to do, and then things keep happening that prevent you from getting around to your list until 2pm? That was all of last week for me. And yesterday, hence the fact that Tuesday Mash-Up is actually coming on a Wednesday. Whoops! I’m blaming part of it on the weather- all I want to do these days is sit outside with our puppies. I think we need to look into a nice set of lounge furniture for our deck, because I’d love to be able to work in the sunshine!

Stone Tower Winery wedding- Abby Grace Photography

So we installed our bees in their beehive while I was gone in Europe, and yesterday was the first chance I’d had to visit our hive with Matt. It was SO cool! The good news: they’re making honey! The bad news: the queen is MIA. So I made a trip yesterday afternoon to go pick up a new queen bee to make sure the entire hive doesn’t die off, and it was probably the weirdest trip I’ve ever made. Driving half an hour out to pick up a single insect so that we can install said insect into a nest of 5,000 other insects, all to keep them alive through the summer. Normally when I see a bug, I kill it. But honeybees have my heart :). I’ll bring my camera out with me next time so you all can see what we’ve been up to!

As always, lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • I got the rest of my #abbygraceineurope film back!! Get ready for an overload of tiny winding streets, window displays, and flowers. Ahh!
  • There are peony bushes all over our neighborhood right now, and as they begin to wither, I’ve started stealing blooms. I KNOW! I’m sorry! But they’re just so beautiful, and I figure if they’re already dying, no one will miss 1-2 blooms, right?
  • Dogs at weddings might be my new favorite thing. Corey & Lyn’s ring bearer was their Wheaten, sweet Wallace, and I about died when Lyn got into her dress and Wallace stared up at her. So precious! I can’t wait to blog their wedding this Thursday!
  • Things I’m absolutely loving this wedding season: cathedral-length veils, soft color palettes, adoring grooms, and working with incredible wedding planners. And PEARLS!
  • OOH! Ladies! I bought the Urban Decay Naked2 eye shadow palette and I LOOOOOVE IT! I’ve watched a few YouTube videos on how to use it, and all I can say is thank the Lord for internet tutorials. I would have no idea how to apply + blend eye shadow without it.
  • I was interviewed for a photo podcast! Rob of Take & Talk Pics sat down with me to chat about everything from failure to best practices, from “aha!” moments to starting over. If you have some time, you can give it a listen over here!

One more from Sunday’s wedding to hold you over until tomorrow’s blog post :).

Stone Tower Winery wedding- Abby Grace Photography

And a frame from Aix-en-Provence to tide you over until… this afternoon! To keep my blogging schedule from falling behind, I’m posting a second blog today!

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We’ve all done it: you go on an incredible getaway, you want to capture EVERY LITTLE DETAIL of every single thing you see and every person you meet along the way. And then you get home and find yourself uploading 1,000+ images to your computer, and you’re so overwhelmed that you never even get around to choosing a batch of favorites to print and frame or immortalize in an album. Am I correct? You’ve done this? I thought so. Because that’s exactly how I used to shoot.

What I learned from years of over-shooting, and thus NEVER printing my work, is this: I was actually doing myself a disservice by taking as many photos as I did. There’s a difference between REMEMBERING a vacation, recalling how you felt, things you saw, conversations you had, and just reliving through your photos. Photos are meant to help us remember, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, we get so caught up in taking photos that we forget to LIVE through an experience! It’s the same mentality that’s behind the unplugged wedding movement- we’re so focused on our technology that we’re missing out on life. I don’t want this to happen ever, but especially on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, so here my favorite points when it comes to taking great travel photos:

Photographing your next vacation- Abby Grace Photography

1) Take your camera OFF of multi-shot mode. Professional photographers, I’m looking at you. How many times have you gone to take a photo of something beautiful, and instead of taking 1-2 frames, you fire off 5-7? It makes culling (sorting through) those images later on that much more of a bother, and creates another stumbling block between your photos and getting them printed!

2) Don’t take photographs of every single thing you see. The first time I visited London, I was so enamored with the variety of pub names that I thought it would be fun to take a photo of every pub we passed by. If you’ve never been to London, you should know that there are likely to be at least three pubs on any given street, meaning I spent the entire first day wandering through with a camera stuck to my face and I totally missed the EXPERIENCE of just being in London that day. And did I ever do anything with those pub photos? Nope.

3) Delete duds and outtakes as you go. This makes for fewer images to sort through when you finally get home, which will hopefully make it less of a daunting task and more of a joy!

Photographing your next vacation- Abby Grace Photography

4) Don’t be afraid to use your iPhone! There were plenty of sights in London during our most recent trip that I wanted to share with friends but didn’t necessarily want to spend a frame of film on. So I took a few shots on my iPhone and published them to Instagram, and that was that. There are companies like Artifact Uprising that do a superb job of getting Instagrams into albums, so it’s not like you’ll never be able those photos in print.

5) Get some sort of non-touristy, non-obvious camera bag. I typically bring one of my Kelly Moore bags with me so that if I want to stash my camera away, it just looks like an ordinary purse. Anything that says “Canon,’ “Nikon,” “Sony,” etc. is just making you a target to pickpockets and thieves, which can be a bigger problem when you’re in a foreign country and are up against a language barrier as well.

Photographing your next vacation- Abby Grace Photography

6) Consider shooting film instead :). I know that’s not an option for everyone (I’m not suggesting you ditch your Nikon D700 for a 27-shot disposable Kodak), but if you have a film DSLR and know how to use it, consider taking that along. I know that when I’m in a beautiful location and have my 5dmk3, there’s a large portion of my brain that says “I can’t WAIT to show these off on my blog!” While there’s nothing wrong with that, I don’t want to shoot for my blog. I want to shoot for ME, for Matt, and for the stories we’ll one day tell our kids. Switching to film for all of my travel work has been so refreshing- I absolutely treasure our images from our trip last summer, and it’s because I wasn’t shooting for anything other than the joy of capturing something beautiful or interesting.

Shooting film also means I end up with substantially fewer images, with each of those images being intentional (since every click of my shutter costs about $2.00 with film costs and lab fees), so I’m much less tempted to take a photo of something that isn’t significant or truly incredible. Just to put things in perspective: I’ve been married for three years and haven’t made my wedding album yet from the 700+ images we received, but within 3 weeks of arriving home from Europe, I’d designed and ordered an album from the 250ish film scans I received back from the lab.

7) Don’t forget to ask someone to take your picture! Matt and I have four iPhone self-portraits, one photo taken in a road reflective mirror thing, and three images taken by our dear friend Angie. The ones from Angie are my favorites!

8) Make sure to print those puppies. I don’t care if that’s in the form of MPix, ShutterFly, or even (shudder) Target- just get those photos off your computer and into your hands.

Photographing your next vacation- Abby Grace Photography

 

Anniversary sessions are quickly becoming the highlights of my week. I feel like, at some point, every couples needs to do one, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to get close and cuddle up for a morning. Anniversary shoots are an opportunity to fall in love all over again, to remember how to flirt, to have someone capture your love in a way that reignites that butterfly feeling that can sometimes be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday married life. When Matt & I had our shoot in New York, I remember feeling like I’d never been so in love with my husband as I was in that very moment, and every time I look back at those photographs from J&M, I’m taken back not only to the place we were, but the WAY that I felt when the shutter clicked. Knowing how I feel about our photos means that I get REALLY excited whenever someone emails me to ask about an anniversary session of their own!

Katie contacted me way back in the Spring about a session for herself and her husband Justin, to celebrate their five year anniversary. Katie’s a photographer, so she knows how important it is to mark the milestones in life with photographs. Justin & Katie are also parents of two adorable little boys, so it was that much more of a priority to find the time for this- Matt & I don’t have children yet, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be with two kids to make time for dates, for an evening with just the two of you. It was so much fun to spend the evening with these two, to watch the transformation from those first few minutes of getting acquainted to being in front of the camera, to a familiar, romantic ease in their interactions. It left me with a heart fit to burst and smile I absolutely could not wipe off my face.

Justin & Katie, thank you a jillion times over for the chance to document your love! I know this shoot was a long time coming, and I appreciate your trust and willingness to climb over fences for the perfect shooting location :).

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Phew! I barely made it through July with my New Year’s Eve-resolution-mandated monthly film- I think I was perhaps trying to recover from the massive bill I received from all of the film I shot in Europe. I shot two rolls during my session with Thad & Rachel and waited six weeks to finally send it off because I convinced myself the digital files were satisfactory, and yet when the film scans arrived in my inbox, I fell in love all over again.

This process of figuring out my personal tendencies with film, the particular stocks I like best, the degree of overexposure I prefer, it’s been amazing. Every time I get a batch of scans back from the lab, I learn something new. Lately I’ve learned that because I’m no longer trying to emulate the look of other photographers’ work, my film and digital images are looking much more cohesive than they ever have before. And while that doesn’t mean I’ll be switching mediums, it does mean that my film work is leaving me much more satisfied! AND it means that if I want to break out my Contax during a shoot, that I won’t be delivering two completely different sets of images to my clients, which was the original problem I was having last fall.

So here’s to being ENCOURAGED!

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Shot on the Contax 645, Portra 800.

Happy Thursday!