Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Farewell to the fat

I've just read Tieka from Selective Potential's old blog post about her weight loss and have been inspired, like I am every few weeks, to lose weight.
Technically I'm still on the plan I was on before but I've just had a small period of not caring. But I have been eating less. Fatty food, but less snacks! Haha!

Anyway, in the past I haven't talked too much about weight loss on here but I've decided perhaps if I blog about it then it might inspire me to keep doing it. I don't plan on taking pictures of me sweating on the treadmill or telling you my weekly weight, but I'll probably focus on the food-aspect with healthy recipes and stuff! (I've been meaning to post recipes for so long now!)

I think there are a lot of people out there who are fighting with their weight but don't really talk about it, and I'm not saying that my blog is going to become a weight loss blog, but my blog is about my life and... this is an aspect of it!

I sometimes have conflicting opinions about weight because I don't agree with the ideal body image these days, but I know that as much as I don't agree with it, I still want to be it.
We have such contrasting issues going around at the moment, one about body image and one about obesity. We have to respect 'normal'/'real' body images yet we can't get obese. (I have a feeling that body image issues are really aimed at those people that I would think are a perfect body weight, who still want to lose 10kgs!)

I'm not into calorie counting because I know I couldn't do it forever, I'm more interested in general healthy eating. My extremely healthy sister is doing the City2Surf soon and has given up junk food until then, and she doesn't even want it anymore!
Now I don't think I need to go to that extreme because I think I'd get too depressed knowing I could never eat cake again, but I need to learn to control how much cake I eat.
I know very well that my eating can be completely obsessive and not because I'm hungry, and I'll eat things that make me feel terrible because I'm addicted to them. And I think that's what has to stop.

Another factor is exercise obviously. I used to do one or the other, diet with no exercise or exercise with no diet - and I wondered why I wasn't losing weight. I think exercise is such a big factor because I can eat badly, but if I exercise every day for a week then everything just starts toning up!

Anyway, the point of it all is that I think you need to feel healthy and confident. When you, like me, feel like your neck-flab wobbles when you walk too fast, then you need to take action to feel better about yourself!

I would love to hear from anyone else who's trying to lose weight especially via their blog, and perhaps we could make some sort of group or regular feature? I don't know!

So please, comment on this or email me at gracie.johns@gmail.com

Photography tips: Modelling for women

Okay, slightly off the photography tips here, but for portrait photography a big factor for your photo is the model! Now unless you have a professional model, you or your friend that’s posing for you are probably going to be feeling a bit awkward and all ‘I don’t know what to do’.
I know you’ll probably look at my photos and go... uh... Grace, you can’t model – why would you tell us how to? But point is... I can’t model, but I know a few tips that are supposed to make you model better that people I take photos of use and it seems to work. When it comes to me getting photos of myself though I just fail miserably but you know what they say: those who can’t do, teach!
(I’m not talking like high fashion modelling here, just wholesome basic stuff :p)
A lot of these are tips that I’ve picked up from the people I’ve photographed, a lot of people have their own little secrets. They’re also be a bit of stuff in here about how to angle your photo to make it more flattering.

Tip 1: Get the model to interact with something. Unless they’re amazingly confident with you, your model will likely freak out when you tell them to just stand there and look good. The most common thing I say is ‘why don’t you lean on that wall’ or ‘why don’t you sit down’. If you get the model to interact with their surroundings then they’ll instantly relax a bit. The amount of times people say to me ‘... I don’t know what to do with my arms.’


So to get them to relax, try getting them to lean on a wall, fence or pole, or get them to sit down. Sitting on the ground, chairs, etc, all works.


Tip 2: Take the interacting further. The model can do more than just lean on things and sit. You can get them to touch things around them or hold on to things. Get them peering through windows or something, anything! You can always get them to pick up a leaf or a flower and look at it. Some things will feel really stupid/sound really stupid (‘Can you just pick up that leaf and look at it? Now.. show me the leaf.’) but it tends to work.



Tip 3: Tips for standing. Sometimes you want your model to just be standing there doing nothing but looking hot, and that’s cool, but there are a few poses and things they can do to make it easier.

Justine who I photographed recently and who is a bit of an uber model told me that someone told her to play with her neck/face/hair area and it does work quite well!

Get your model to run their hands through their hair, play with the ends of their hair, play with a necklace they have on, play with their clothes or just touch their neck. This is obviously a very feminine thing.



Tip 4. Experiment with ‘poses’. A model gives a lot away about them depending on the pose they’re doing. Here are a few that I know of!

If they can pull it off, the standing straight up with legs together and hands in pockets or by your/their sides is kind of cool. You would have seen it around a lot with indie fashion photography.

The one leg straight, one leg bend. Like you’re leaning a bit on one leg. You can put your hand on your hip or play with your hair or anything like that.

Face away from the camera and turn back. This one’s a bit cheesy but it can work if you do it right. I like the photo of Zoe that I have below, bit of a come hither look :p


One of my favourites is the arm in hair one. You put your arm up so it’s in your hair and the other arm can go on your hip or just somewhere else and it just... works. I think.

Angles to flatter models.

Some people you photograph will look good at every single angle you photograph them from, but that’s not so for all of us! Haha, so here’s some tips for making sure, as the photographer, you get flattering photos.

Photos from the above are almost always flattering for girls. Stand on a chair or something and shoot down at them and it will slender out their face and make their eyes look huge. I personally don’t do this too often though because I get a bit sick of it. It’s flattering but also a tad boring.

Shooting from below is a bit of a no-no for some people. I have the ‘pelican neck’ problem and will not let anyone take a photo of me from below lest I enter double-chin-ville. In saying that though, if a girl has a really crisp chin and neckline then that’s probably a pretty cool way to shoot the photo.

If all fails, just try to keep the camera around the eye-shoulder line and you should produce something that’s nice.

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If you have any tips for modelling I would love to hear them and add them to this post! And as usual, if you have any questions about photography just ask! gracie.johns@gmail.com

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fill in the blanks Friday

A blogger I follow, Under Lock and Key posted this 'fill in the blanks Friday' thingy and I thought I might as well join in (I don't have anything else to say). If you want to join in too you can!



Hello, my name is Grace but you can call me whatever you want to call me [wink!]. Today, I am wearing black skinny legs, my ‘journalist’ shirt, a new vest and a beanie. I am looking forward to Saturday night! I am feeling many positive emotions, focused at someone in particular. I miss Kevin Rudd but that still doesn’t mean I’ll let someone get away with making sexist remarks about Julia Gillard! I wish my lips weren’t chapped.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GoosieGander letterset launch!

Woohoo! After months of drawing, procrastinating, drawing some more and forgetting that I was trying to open an Etsy shop... I finally have!
I would also like to note that for all those Aussies out there, I have a made-it shop too so you can always buy from there.

For an Etsy shop launch it's a bit of a small one (it's hard to make a shop when you have a full time job, y'know? hehe) but it's fun to have some products up on there anyway!

The shop is called GoosieGander, I intend for it to be a vintage and handmade shop, but at the moment I only have these handmade letter sets for sale.









1. Traveller letter set 2. Seasonal letter set 3. Vintage gamer letter set

All of these letter sets are great for sending a letter to an old friend, distant love or new penpal and I'm sure it will make their day! Let's bring back the lost art of letter writing, I say.

The plan was originally to have all of this printed on recycled paper, but I was having quite the hard time finding any recycled paper that was cream coloured, so if I get a bit of enthusiasm about these I will definitely switch to recycled paper. You can be happy knowing that the packs they come in are vintage paper that would have been thrown out had I not used it!



So feel free to have a look around, or if you don't want to that's fine too!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I fell for you, honey, as easy as fallin’ asleep

Have I told you recently how much I love Joanna Newsom? Well I do.

I finally have an outfit post to show you! This one was taken when I did the shoot with my sister, but I decided just to hold it for a few days.





These photos are taken by my lovely sister, who was using an SLR for the first time, so a very good effort I think!
 
 

This dress is quite exciting, I think. It was one of those purchases where you saw it and you were like... 'I love you.' and then you try it on and it kind of doesn't fit perfectly, and even though you'd just been saying to the person you're with 'form now on i'm only buying things that fit me perfectly!' you get it anyway.



This one's a tad tight along the bust, but you know what? I can't do anything about my apparently HUGE bust :p so I'll just have to deal. Other than that it fits like a charm!






Dress: Handmade, Glebe Markets
Jacket: My mums!
Shoes: Oxfords, Steve Madden
Ring: Diva

Photography tips: Aperture and Depth of Field

Firstly I want to thank everyone for the enthusiasm about my photography tips column! I’m half surprised you understood anything I said because I was kind of rambling, but that’s good that you seemed to! Haha!


Okay, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do for this one because when I thought of the photography tips idea I really only had one idea in my head: the last post I did. I had a think about it and tried to think of things that I remember learning when I was first really getting into SLR photography – so I’ve decided to talk about aperture and depth of field.
I know some of you reading this will know all about it and that’s cool, but if there are a few people out there that don’t then I think this might be a revolutionary post for you, haha!

I used to look at pictures where a wide aperture was used and think ‘they’re great photos’ but I’d never know why, then one day I realised that I liked them because the background was blurry – that’s when I began my love of aperture.
To be honest, I know about zilch about the technicalities of photography. I know how to use all the buttons on a camera, but I don’t know anything about what’s going on inside the camera (I guess that’s what you get for being self taught! Actually when I think about it, I’ve never done a proper photography class in my life...)
But what I can tell you, is how it works to change how your photo looks.
So when talking about aperture you have wide aperture or narrow aperture. Funnily enough, a wide aperture is the smaller number and narrow aperture is the bigger number. I’ll try to think of a way you can remember that because it took me about a year. Some people refer to it as large and small aperture, but that just makes it even more confusing. So let’s go with wide and narrow. Actually I remember that when I'm talking to people I often refer to it as wide aperture and 'big number' aperture. Smart, eh? But we'll stay with wide and narrow to try and get you to memerize it!
(Note: when speaking of aperture in numbers, you use an f which means something to do with ‘focal’. E.g. f2.8)

What aperture does is determine the amount of light that is let in when your shutter opens. Wide aperture lets in more light than narrow aperture. What it also does is change the depth of field or depth of focus (same thing, different name).

I’ll use photos to explain depth of field, because it’s just easier that way.



 
The photo on the left is taken with a wide aperture (f1.8), the photo on the right is taken with a narrow aperture (f8.0). Obviously, the photo is taken focusing on my finger. With a wide aperture, the background is very blurry, with a narrow aperture, it is a lot more in focus!

So that’s pretty much what I’m going to talk about – depth of field! It is a very, very handy thing and for those who aren’t particularly photographically knowledgeable, a depth of field where the background is out more out of focus will instantly be a better photo! (In saying that, for someone who knows loads about photography will probably go ‘er, she’s just using a wide aperture to look good’ but who cares!)

Here’s an example of a portrait with changing apertures. Is it just me, or does the one with the wide aperture look way better? (Okay both pictures are terrible. And I really need to start wearing make up at work.)

  
 But hopefully you get the general idea. This is a pretty bad example, but the idea is that wide aperture brings the subject forward so that the focus of the photo is on them. When you look at the left photo you probably look at my ridiculous face, when you look at the right photo you're probably like 'What a dou- hey, what's that in the background!'

That’s not always the case, but it can really clean up messy stuff in the background and it makes the subject look extra in focus.

[For those interested, this is in my office at work and I stick photos that have gone in the paper up on the wall if I really like them , to inspire me!]
Okay. So now you know (or have been reminded) what aperture is and how to use depth of field to your advantage. I should point out, however, that there are other things that contribute to depth of field.
- Focal length. You can make your background blurrier depending on your focal length. For example, with a camera with a lens focal length of 50mm and an aperture of f2.8 compared to a camera with a lens focal length of 100mm and f2.8 taking the exact same photos – the 100mm lens will appear to have a blurrier background than the 50mm lens.
- The distance between your subject and their background. The further your subject is away from your background, the blurrier that background is. For example, if you take a picture of someone with a wall directly behind them, the wall will hardly blur out. But if you take a photo of someone with nothing behind them but rolling hillsides in the distance, they’ll just be a big blur.

I hope I’m making sense here!


Here are some extra tips for when you’re playing around with aperture that should be considered.
- If you have a wide aperture and you focus on your subject then the background will be blurry. However, if you focus on your background – your subject will be blurry! It works the same for things in front of your subject and behind your subject. So, for example, if you wake a picture of someone leaning on a fence and you stand right near the fence too, the fence will be blurry until it gets to the subject, where it will be in focus, and then it will blur out again. So be wary of this.
- This is the same for taking a photo of more than one person. If you have a wide aperture, two people, and you’re focusing on one persons face, the other person will probably be out of focus. The only way to get them both in focus would be to make sure they were both in the same ‘line of focus’.
That pretty much means, if you have you camera set up exactly parellel to a line drawn on the ground, and two people stand on that line next to each other - as long as they are both on the line, when you focus on one of them then the other person will be in focus. If one person takes a step back or foward, then they will be out of focus.

- I probably consider everything from f1.4 to f5.6 to be of wide aperture. Lenses have a limit on the wideness that they can go. I have one lense that can go down to f1.4 and one that can only go to f5.6. A narrow aperture is anywhere from f6.3 to f22, but you probably don’t go above f10 unless you’re doing something crazy!


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Well hopefully some of this has helped you and it actually made some sense. 
As always, if you want to know something about photography then just reply here or email me at grace.johns@gmail.com and I can write up a post about it!
Similarly, if you have any questions about this post, feel free to do the same thing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

bring the noise.

Warning: This post has a high photo content.

Good afternoon everyone!

In regional NSW we have an organisation called Rock Up who put on all age music events. I used to be a full on Rock Up kid, whose only social interaction with anyone outside my immediate circle of friends took place at Rock Up's Battle of the Bands. They don't do Battle of the Bands anymore (sad) probably because of limited enthusiasm for it, but this year they've been doing a few different events, including a dance party called Rock Up Rave Fest!
Now, I have grown out of Rock Up being 20 years old (it's really aimed at the 13-18 year-old crowd), but that doesn't mean I am not in full support of it! I just embrace the fact that it is time for the new generation of Rock Up goers.
I must say though, I am very disappointed in this new generation of Rock Up goers. I mean... where are you?! When I was 16 I was at the front being slammed into the stage by 100 teenyboppers/angry metal fans at Battle of the Bands with my friends, squeeling and trying to see how many guitar players legs we could stroke! There are a few dedicated 16-year-olds who I see doing similar things at most events, but where are the rest of you?!
Not to mention, where are all the terrible high school bands that everyone loves because their boyfriends are in them?!
So this is my general rant, saying to all the under ages out there, go to Rock Up! Because if you don't support it then it won't keep going, and the closest thing you'll get to live music will be your school discos and concerts, and you won't get to meet anyone out of your current social group! Go! Stroke guitar players legs, try to pull lead singers' pants off, shout out 'TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT!' at drum players, rub faces with strange androgenous lead singers of special guest Sydney bands! You're young!

Bloggers: I want to hear your stories of high school band worshipping!

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Okay. Rant over. This event was pretty cool. Normally I would cut a major rug up, but I wanted to take photos and that's kind of hard with a huge camera on your shoulder. Plus, I didn't have my usual rug-cutting friends to dance with. I only saw DJs Treeboi & Kone and Wax Rabit who were thoroughly enjoyable!
Anyway, enough talking, here are some photos!

(Best viewed while listening to Treeboi & Kone's mixtape)


(Treeboi & Kone)








Wax Rabit

(Yay I'm popular)








Forgive me, I am only a maid


Good evening, blog friends :)

It's been a little while since I've posted, but I've had a busy weekend so I have a few fun posts planned for the week ahead!

My sister, Renoir, came up to visit this weekend and as she is a good model I took her out on a photography adventure. Except it was freezing so it was kind of a cross between huddling in the car, and running around outside.


We started off by going to a forest (I have quite a thing about taking photos in forests). The 'good' forest was blocked off because of some car rally - annoying - so we had to go to the not-good forest that is thick with bogans. But we found a few good spots.


When I first discovered this forest (and hadn't discovered the better, further away forests) I would drive to it every so often on one of my lunch-time exploring whims.
I'd driven to the forest once, but only with a car-load of people and it was dusk. This time I went down by myself, forgetting how I often get freaked out by the eeriness of these lonely places.
As I was driving down the dirt road to the forest, I could see this white coloured station wagon driving towards me on the dirt road - really slowly. Well it was either a 'feeling' or my general whimpiness that made me freak out at the sight of it and turn my car around to get out of there. I don't know, white station wagon going along at 10km/h coming out of a forest just looks creepy.
So I turned my car around and took off, not looking back behind me. I still had half an hour before I had to be back at work, so instead of heading back into town I thought I'd turn right onto the highway and go exploring somewhere else.
I turned off the highway and was driving along another road with a few houses on it, when I saw a cool cloud formation and decided to pull over, roll down my window, and take a few shots of it.
Anyway, when I had finished taking the photos I put the camera back in the car and looked in my rear vision mirror - to see a white station wagon pulling off the road right behind me! Arrrgghhh! Anyway, so I took off ridiculously quickly and took about half an hour to get back to work because I was too afraid to go back past the white station wagon, and instead went the extremely long back way.
So that's my story for today. Creepy white station wagon experiences :p


We also took some photos outside this amazing white house that I always drive by and admire. I think I would like to live in it.




Renoir's outfit: 
Red jumper/romper/pantaloons :p: Mine, from Dalena Vintage
Coat: Cue

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quintessential Orange

It's taken me awhile, but I'm finally doing a post about the exhibition that some of you may remember me raving about.
So, there is this exhibition running at the moment, curated by Vince Lovecchio, featuring 8 professional photographers from my area, and I am one of them! The reason I am is because I work for a newspaper, and thus get paid to take photos, and therefor am a 'professional'.
Anywho, the idea is that we were taking photos that described something about our area, and I chose to feature the young people!

Here are a few shots from the night taken by photographer, Rodney Shrimpton.









In the photos is me, and two of my 'models' Steph from If I Only Were A Goth and Rosemary from Oh, Valencia (I don't really know if she used that blog anymore, but that's where she is!)

My outfit for the night was:
Necklace from Baja Design
Black wedges from Big W

And I thought I'd post all of my photos that featured on the night here so you can have a look! Each photo was accompanied by a statement from the subject, and I'll include that because someone commmented to me recently that they thought they were quite good!


Hanli
“I like to learn and to read, to write, to sing, to listen to music and make music, to look at art and clothes, to make art and clothes, and also to learn languages and travel. I like theatre, I love opera, I like movies made between the early 1920s and the early 50s, a few new ones too. I’m happiest when I have ideas and plans and put them into action in real life. Did I mention travel?”



Joel
“For me painting is a form of expression. Being able to create emotion or tell a story is what inspires me to paint. I like painting as it allows me to show things that I have seen, experienced and dreamed, as well as perspectives that others may have not seen before.”


Rosemary
“If you think that in life you no longer know how to feel alive, try standing barefoot outside in Orange during winter for 10 minutes. The answer should arrive shortly.”


Anthony
“Orange is similar to most places in terms of style, particularly that of younger people, in that there will always be a more socially accepted ‘norm’ and the minority who flutter a little closer to the fringe.
“That dynamic will always exist – no matter where you are – and in smaller towns and cities it will always be more difficult for you if you don’t fit a certain mould. Orange is a lot luckier than others in that it has a large arts and music scene, and with a more cultured population comes more acceptance and more room to experiment.”

Georgie
“Music is pretty much everything I live for. My whole family is musical in one way or another and we love playing together. Music is the language of us all!”


Liv
“Nothing beats fitting yourself and fifty of yours friends into a hammock on a warm summer’s day. I love the laid back environment of Orange, especially at Lake Canobolas when you take multiple car loads filled with eskies and inhale the scent of your sausages when you give them a turn.”

Zoe
"I love Orange because I grew up here and my family and friends are around. I just love wandering around parts of the area, it’s so bright and colourful especially in the autumn.
I like the parks, especially in daffodil season it’s so beautiful! And I don’t mind the chilly winters either, in fact I love them, I think they make for excellent fun!
Oh, and I love balloons. A lot."

Sebastian
“I believe that once you have made a connection, forged a friendship with another person in the adventure that is your life, that this bond can never be broken. The community and warmth of Orange reflects this ideal and enhances the depths and branches of friendship.”



Bec
“I like to long board and giggle with friends in O-town. P.S. Everyone should smile and giggle.”


Alex
"I just wish that everyone would chill out more."


Greg
“Every day an artist gets up and knows he has to run. He has to run faster than the distant fragments of our time, faster than the voices hemming him in, telling him that however much he thinks, imagines, writes or communicates, the system has already found a new way of drowning him out.
“Every day an artist gets up and knows he has to run. What he doesn’t know, perhaps, is that he doesn’t have to run …alone”.



Oliver
“I love to DJ. It’s a very giving thing, and you get so much back. It’s amazing to see hundreds of people move to the beat of your music. The idea that you have to take them on a journey, to keep up their stamina with the right grooves is a thrill ride in its self!”



Steph
“I’m not going to deny the difficulties that sometimes arise in relation to people’s attitudes towards my choice of style, however it’s not restricted to Orange in particular. “I’ve encountered a lot of prejudice over the years everywhere I go, including stares and derogatory comments. But it’s not all bad news! Sometimes people approach me on the street and exclaim their adoration, which is always a nice boost for the old ego.”


Hannah

“Sometimes I wanna get out of Orange and start somewhere completely new, but then I think ‘would life even be any different somewhere else?’

“I’m thankful for grace, love, freedom and laughter and I realize I have all those things right here in Orange, my home.”