Thursday, January 30, 2014

Facebook Page and Portfolio

In addition to the flickr photos, I post my best work on my portfolio.

christine estelle photography -

facebook -

Fun with Flash

Still needing some significant work on off-camera flash, Kymi and I set up a pseudo studio the bedroom.  One flash set up as a primary through a softbox and a consistent light set up through a shoot through umbrella.  I was going for a moody, angsty, starving musician environment.

Here are the best photos from our time together.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Best Face 2013

Every now and then I get my act together enough to participate in a photo challenge with  The first challenge of 2014 is Best Face of 2014.  I only had a couple photos I debated about and ultimately landed on this one ... it's a photo I took for the church band promo shoot.  I had a lot of fun doing this photo shoot and hope to do more band type shoots in the future.

Go check out more awesome Best Faces of 2013 at

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas at Church

I know it's January ... but I just realized I haven't posted any of my Christmas photos from the church.  Here are a couple that I snagged on Christmas Eve.

Children's moment

Senior Portraits

I had the pleasure of taking some senior pictures for a very beautiful young lady.  Of course I took these the day before I got a new camera body - I need to take her out again and get some more shots.

I started out inside a barn and trying to use my flash with my shoot through umbrella, but the batteries were dead in my flash (I had JUST replaced them ... guess I put dead batteries in).  All but one or two of the barn photos are sans flash with a much too high ISO.  We then moved outside with some indirect sunlight so I could decrease my ISO.

At any rate ... here are a few of my shots.

I had a lot of fun shooting these photos.  I hope I can get more portrait sessions like this.  I felt comfortable with posing and instruction.  She was very cooperative and a lot of fun to work with.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Solstice Sunset Photo Contest

Rick Sammon, one of the best sunset/sunrise photographers around, ran a contest for a Winter Solstice Sunset photo.  The only rule was the photo had to be taken at sunset on the solstice.

I thought this was an awesome excuse to go out and find the best place to take a sunset photo.  I made a whole day of it.  The winter solstice being just 2 days after my birthday, I thought I would just make a day with the family.  We spent the day in San Francisco, doing cool things at Golden Gate Park.  We ended the day at Treasure Island.  Treasure Island is a small island in the bay about halfway between Oakland and San Francisco.  You get to it via the Bay Bridge.  I think it's technically part of San Francisco.  It used to be a naval base, but was closed many years ago.  It's now very rundown and reminiscent of a ghost town.  We drove around the island checking it out.  There are some wine tasting rooms, a marina, an RV storage, a small residential community, and a couple small parks.  And a lot of rusty old buildings.

it was a little weird being there.  I could only imagine what it must've been like when it was an active base (if you ask my uncle, he could tell you.  Apparently he was there for a month in 1967 when he was in the Navy).

From Treasure Island there is a very awesome view of the San Francisco skyline.  The bay bridge.  On a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Richmond Bridge too.  And Alcatraz looks like a hop, skip and jump from the island.

There's a fantastic sculpture on the island.  From photos it looks to be about 15 ft tall.  But in reality it has to be 4 or 5 stories tall.  This thing is phenomenal.  It's huge.  I was absolutely in awe.

Anyway .... My plan/goal was to get a photo of the skyline with the setting sun.  Hoping for a decent silhouette of the skyline.

I took several (20 or so).  I took lots with a starburst effect due to a closed aperture.  I took some with an open aperture for a softer look.  Ultimately I liked the starburst effect better.

My favorite was one with some rocks from the Treasure Island shore in the foreground and the skyline in the background with a starburst sun behind a couple buildings (was hoping it would be behind Coit Tower, but it didn't happen).

I was really pleased with this photo.  Textbook silhouette landscape photo.  Almost panoramic, but wasn't really.

I am pleased to say that it won second place in the contest.   :D

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Goal Recap and 2014 Goals

From this post here (2013 Goals) I set my 2013 photography goals.

Almost immediately into the new year I realized I wasn't going to reach one of my goals (Project 52), and that was OK with me.  I watched a photography webshow that advised against doing a weekly/daily photo project.  I agreed with their reasons and re-thought that goal.  But I did, however continue to shoot photos of food and to try to improve that one area of my photography.  But I didn't do it as a weekly project.  And I think I learned more by not doing the project than if I had stuck it out.

The other 2 goals - "Storytelling, make a book" and "Street Photography" I met to some degree.

My goal with the photobook was to get the photos taken for the book. I still have a few more to get (office scenes and Christmas and a round of classroom photos).  But otherwise I think I have enough to create a book.  I took on new roles in the worship service at the church this year and that's prevented me from taking photos on Sunday mornings.  But I'm still working on this and I consider this a goal achieved.

My goal with street photography was to get out of my box and go do it.  And I did.  I was embarrassed and felt on the spot, but I did it anyway.  I actually did it a few times at a local street fair.  I didn't get into San Francisco for any street photography, but that wasn't part of my goal.  My goal was to just get out and try it.  And I did.  I don't know that I like street photography that much, but I do believe that it has the ability to stretch me and grow me both as a person and as a photographer.

Other photography milestones (for lack of a better word) met this year ...

  • bought a flash and started playing around with that
  • did a couple portrait sessions to work on portrait work
  • took official band photos for the church band
  • took photos for the end of the year slideshow for the preschool
  • went to an all-day photography class
  • signed up for Photoshop Creative Cloud (so I have full photoshop now for only $10/month)

2014 Goals

This is hard because where I currently reside in my photography skillset, I'm not sure where I want to go and what's next and what's reasonable.

  • Definitely want to finish the photobook.  
  • Take photos for VBS next summer
  • Get proficient enough with the flash that I can use it with minimal "guess and check."  This requires LOTS of practice.
  • Save up for a buy a new camera.  I feel like I've outgrown mine and want one that does better in low-light.  I'm willing to buy used.  I know what camera I want.  Just gotta save up for it - cause they're expensive.
  • Go to another photography seminar/class.  I'd like to hit up Joe McNally's One Flash, Two Flash class if it comes near here.  Other thoughts are a Lightroom or Photoshop class.  But none of those are coming near me yet.  I'll keep an eye out on them.  I'll settle for an online class or two as well.