Elevensies

I was recently tagged by Karifur for the Elevensies meme. So in keeping with my Spare Time theme, I’m going to give you eleven spare time adventures I have tried:

1. Bellydancing! See here, here and here. Thank you Roxanne Gritt for the pic of my latest performance!

Enchanting Erica performing with Bad Weather Burlesque at the Erotic Art Show. Hosted by the Red Raven.

2. Sewing – I constructed the coin bra and harem pants in the above pic.

3. Photography. I don’t get a chance to do this as much anymore. I miss it a lot, but I only have so much spare time! Check it out here. NSFW!!!

Heavenly!

4. Scrapbooking.

5. Soapmaking. I had to give this one up, so I buy hand-made soap on Etsy.com.

6. Papermaking – that was particularly short-lived.

7. I went back to MSUM and took art classes several years ago. I prefer photography.

8. NaNoWriMo – I have completed two novels and given up on two novels.

9. Collecting art by local artists.

10. Travel – this also combines with photography, but I have a separate web site for travel.

Paul and Erica, Seville, Spain, 2011

11. Fused glass – Actually, I start that in earnest next month. Wish me luck!

Bonus twelvsie: BLOGGING! Sure, you’ve read this blog, and my dance blog, but did you know I also blog about less than truckload freight transportation? It’s a gripping read.

And now for Kari’s bonus questions:

1. In retrospect, what hair and/or fashion trend do you most regret following? Was it caught on film? Neon. It was the 80’s, and I only bought one shirt. My dad probably has a picture somewhere.
2. What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? Did you like it? Probably beef tongue. Good flavor but the texture was hard to get used to.
3. What would YOU do for a Klondike bar? Not much.
4. Whistling: awesome or annoying? Annoying
5. Rock climbing, deep-sea diving, or spelunking? Rock climbing, if the rock was not taller than me.
6. Blanket Forts or Snow Forts? Explain. Blanket fort – I live in ND!
7. Who would play you in the Lifetime TV Movie of your life? Monica Bellucci, because then my husband would totally watch it.
8. Would you rather have a TARDIS or a time machine made out of DeLorean? (If you had to click either of these links, go to the back of the class) Tardis
9. Can you drive a stick shift without dropping the transmission on the road en-route? Yes!
10. Which movie do you most wish you could un-see? Battlefield Earth
11. DisneyWorld/DisneyLand: Magic Kingdom or Overrated? We went to Disney World for our honeymoon. It rained a lot. Epcot was fun. The lines are too long for rides, which over too fast.

So now you know a bit more about little ol’ me. Coming soon: How I made that coin bra! To be published when I get some more spare time.

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Product Review: Gary Fong Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser

Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser

Diffuser on Canon SD1200 IS

Most of us have tiny cameras nowadays – on our phones, in our pockets and purses. They are so convenient! The problem is that tiny cameras have tiny flashes. Tiny but POWERFUL flashes that blind our subjects while washing out our pictures. Unfortunately most normal room lighting results in our pictures looking either grainy or blurry if we don’t use a flash. What to do?

Well, after seeing ads in Photoshop User and Digital Photo Pro magazines for many months I finally broke down and decided to try the Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser from Gary Fong. So far I’d have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the results. It’s not perfect but it is much improved. I dragged my poor, PJ clad husband from his NaNoWriMo to do an impromptu demonstration. I felt that was best because when people take party pics they are usually done in this fashion (except for the PJ’s, unless you are 16 or younger).

Filter Test 1

With filter on Canon SD1200 IS

Without filter

Canon SD1200 IS with bare flash only

These photos have not been touched up. As you can see, the filter really evens out light well. I still had some flash flare on Paul’s glasses, but I was in pretty close proximity to him. It makes the tones warmer but it is also a little darker. With some basic photo editing that can be fixed, so if you don’t mind a little post-production time it’s probably worth it. It is certainly less of a hassle to knock up the exposure in Photoshop than it is to warm up the skin tone and get rid of shadows. You may notice more obvious shadows and also vignetting in the bare-flash photo.

The filter comes in 4 different sizes so you will have to measure the lens barrel of your camera. There is a diagram on the web site that shows you how to do this. It is also slightly adjustable so if you are off by 1/8 of an inch it’ll still fit. It is made from a soft plastic and pops on really quickly and easily. I was also pleased that it only cost $16.15, so you’re not out too much if you don’t like it (although shipping is a bit pricey on the Gary Fong site – you can also buy through Amazon.com or Adorama.com, etc). It comes with a wrist strap so I just looped that around the camera’s wrist strap and that is pretty convenient.

One other note, I took the photo of the filter on my SD1200 with my Canon 30D using Gary Fong’s Puffer filter. But I will have to review that one when I have more spare time.

Published in: on November 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bellydance Poster Design

Beginning Bellydance with Erica

The poster for belly dance class

In my spare time this week I committed myself to having less spare time! But it is a labor of love, as I am now the new belly dance teacher at the Spirit Room! I’m very excited about it as it is something I’ve thought about doing for a while now. The opportunity had not come up until recently. My most recent teacher, Rebecca, is working on her doctorate and would not have the time to commit to the class this year. So she asked me! I finalized things with Dawn, the director of the Spirit Room, and my first act as the new teacher was to make my own promotional poster. This is of course lots of fun for me being a photographer (travel and fine art) and having just upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS5. It’s nothing fancy, but it was fun. The silhouette in the poster is that of a fellow student from Laura’s class at the Y, Lori Landa.  I did a whole lot of things to the picture to the point where I can’t remember it all. I believe I started with cutting Lori out using the quick selection tool. It came out rough and I decided I liked it because it gave it a sort of ancient quality. Then I desaturated it, did a “find edges” filter, and then the “bask relief” artistic filter. The top graphic design is a brush from Obsidian Dawn. I kept this all B&W because I knew it would be photocopied for fliers.

I have also decided I need to start a belly dance blog. I only know two other groups of belly dancers in the Fargo/Moorhead area. Neither have updated their web sites in at least a year. It’s hard to get the community of dancers together when nobody is current! I do not have that set up yet.

So I’ll be doing that in my spare time.

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spaceship Interior Underway

Spaceship panel

Found objects make great art

Found objects

Raw materials

Well, it has been a couple of weeks but I’ve been keeping busy. Last weekend Eric and I were working on free-form sculptures that will, eventually, become panels for a spaceship interior (think MST3K). This will be for a photo narrative project that we have been working on. The story itself was Eric’s idea, and being the creative and artistic sort of person he is I just had to ask him to collaborate with me!

I can’t be sure how long it has taken him, but Eric has amassed heaven knows how many caps, bottles, cups and miscellaneous found objects for just such an occasion. And thank goodness for that! Last weekend we glued a lot of his collection to mat boards in whatever way we found aesthetically pleasing and over this week I have been working on painting them. This has been tremendous fun! There was something really Zen about this sort of non-representational art. No expectations or rules, just whatever we felt like doing.
I ran out of spray paint pretty early on so I’m behind schedule. I am using Krylon Fusion in hammered silver. It’s a great paint for plastic, but it has to be non-porous plastic. If you try to paint rubber it will never dry. I tried it on a pair of rubber boots and I ended up throwing them out. We used E6000, hot glue and double-sided foam tape depending on which type of material we were trying to adhere.
I just can’t wait until they are all painted and hanging up!

In other news, I am trying to tie dye a pair of jeans, and as if I don’t have enough to do, I have volunteered to teach a belly dance class this fall. I’m really excited about teaching actually. But I’ll tell you all about that when I get more spare time.

Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Scrapbooking on Saturday

This weekend was very busy but I didn’t get as much accomplished as I would normally like.

During the week I work as a shipping clerk. This means a lot of filing and reports. The same ones day after day. If I’m doing my job right nobody will know. A good day is an empty in-box. I feel like Sysiphus rolling that boulder up the hill, just to have it slip from my hands and roll to the bottom again. So in my spare time I feel the need to create something tangible. I need to be able to see, hear, feel or taste my accomplishment, whatever it may be. I need some evidence of my endeavors.

This weekend that was in the form of scrapbooking. I didn’t get as much time in as the other gals. They had all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I just showed up Saturday until about 4pm. I did manage to make entries for both CONvergence 2009 and 2010, as well as a henna party put on by my bellydance class. My designs are pretty minimalist compared to those of my cohorts. My sister in particular did some stellar work with photos from our trip to New Zealand. I just want it to look a little nicer than just sticking pictures in plastic sleeves.

Scrapbook of CONvergence 2010

Scrapbook of CONvergence 2010

Pictured is CONvergence 2010. On the 2009 page, not pictured, I used a little robot cut out made with a Cricut. Annette picked up a cartridge that was all robots. How cool is that? I had to use at least one. The paper I used is from the Rockstar collection. An odd twist, as I had also brought pictures from two concerts but did not have time to scrapbook them. I must confess I have a ridiculous amount of paper considering how infrequently I get around to actually using it.

Apart from that, I met with Eric regarding a photo narrative project we are collaborating on. For those in the comic book know, it is called “sequential art.” But I find anything that I draw without reference looks like a Gary Larson cartoon, and that is why I am a photographer. I got the idea from a photographer on jpgmag.com. She told her story about how she would tell her friends she wanted to make a movie but couldn’t afford it. One day a friend got tired of her whinging on about it and told her to just find a way to do it or shut up. So she decided to tell her story in still photos. An excellent idea! In another lifetime (ending 11 years ago last week actually) I worked in the world of broadcasting. My BA is in speech communications with special emphasis in film and telecommunication arts. I later went back to my alma mater for art classes. In other words, I actually do know what I’m doing. On Eric’s part, he is an excellent artist, costume maker, and all around creative guy. Also, he came up with the story idea.

But I will be posting updates on that project in my spare time.

Published in: on July 12, 2010 at 11:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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