Feeling the photographic love

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life41 Comments


I've let my photo skills…slide. What I mean by that is that most of the time, I'm not taking great, "Ohhhhh…i LOVE that" kind of photos any more.

And I'm not saying that I was ever Queen of All Things Exposed in some prior life. No. Not really. But, I did try real hard like to get good shots.

So on Sunday, the day after Dan was hitting on the automated phone attendant, I went out and took a few shots of Aidan before she was whisked away to a previously arranged engagement. And, after running a few actions (of which, I have NO idea where they came from) I thought: hmmmm. It's nice.

So I've decided to try an pay a little more attention. To depth of field. And ISO. And exposure compensation. Just to see what happens.

One of the things that bums me out is that my home has the natural light equivalent of the sets on the film The Descent, minus the white, gooey, blind humanoid cave dwellers (Thank, God!). So unless I'm outside, the light is truly atrocious.

I actually thought about launching a new photographic movement: ALL FLASH, ALL THE TIME. And I would strive to get photos like this;


or this…


All the nuance and subtlety of…four 11-year-old-girls at 3 in the morning. Know what I'm saying?

And so it goes…the quest for better photos.

And apparently, a comb.

Cathy ZielskeFeeling the photographic love

41 Comments on “Feeling the photographic love”

  1. #2

    I love the picture of your daughter. What type of camera do you have? In order to be like you, we need the goods!
    Love the hair too.

  2. #3

    Hey be nice to yourself. We all have a Christmas photo like that in a drawer. I have many. The one thing that makes me feel better about myself on Christmas mornings is that I put on a bra and brush my teeth. If I can get that far, well it’s a good morning. I love your blog. Keep up the good work.

  3. #4

    all flash all the time!
    yes, finally a movement I can get behind!
    Aidan is adorable in that shot. Adorable.

  4. #8

    Hey all flash all the time isn’t SO bad. It can be angelic. Uhm well, at least that’s what I tell myself, so I feel adequate about having a 2.1 MP point and shoot camera. Sigh.

  5. #9

    Beautiful photo of Aidan, I just wish I knew how to work my PSE software. I feel like it is going to take me the rest of my life to work out how to alter photos. I guess taking a class might help.
    Great hair by the way mine is looking like that right now.

  6. #10

    You crack me up…Great shot of your daugther. Not so shabby looking yourself, at least you didn’t end up with glowing red eyes (from the flash)…Now that’s what would have ruined a perfect picture 🙂

  7. #11
    Jen Donnelly

    Wha? Cathy, what happened to your head? Those are supposed to be great pots, though… do you like yours?

    Who is the blond kid in the lower left? Does he know that picture’s up there? Best not to tell him, I think.

    Most importantly, that is one beautiful young lady you are raising. She looks so grown up in that first picture.

  8. #12

    Hey that’s what my photos look like. And that is why I love scrapbooking. How hard is it to highlight a really great photo? Put it on a white piece of paper with a small bit of text and one color block and it’s done. The photo stands alone.

    What I really love is how scrapbooking can take those random, poorly composed, off kilter, blurry, messy shots, and turn them into family heirlooms. Through physical cropping, orientation, relationship, order, and design, a story is told. A story of real life.

    For *me*, that is the creative challenge worth spending my free time on. Because those shots are all about how messy, blurry and off kilter life is. I think those shots are more about life.

    But obviously no one listens to me… just look at the current scrapbooking magazines. No one cares about documenting what’s REAL any more. Just what’s idealized and what can be created with a $1200 camera and a $4000 computer.

    Maybe someday scrapbooking will swing back towards documenting what’s real, what’s messy, what’s not perfect. That would be great. Then I could actually buy scrapbooking magazines again.

    –michelle, who is an anthropologist/documentarian, not an “artiste”, and wishes she was not so alone out there

  9. #13

    Gosh, Aidan is gorgeous!! Looking so much more mature too, wow.
    And I hear you on having a dark and dingy house.. I can’t get a good photo in mine either b/c I just don’t have the light, and it drives me NUTS.. I have very similar pics ( sans the creuset pot and hair :p). I constantly dream of a big airy house with floor to ceiling windows in every room. Of course at that point I’d be rich enough to hire someone to clean them. 😉


  10. #14

    I forgot to ask you if you’re still using the D70? I love mine, but I’m looking for a new lens. The one that came with the camera just doesn’t cut it in my dark house without a flash most of the time.

  11. #15

    flash users unite!!!!!!!!! there are more of us!! i love natural light, but there’s nothing so natural about it in most houses i know. hooray for refreshing candor:) and of course those “adjust fill light” sliders in photo editing programs!

  12. #16
    Heather H.

    Great photo. After I got my digital camera a year and a half ago I stopped using a flash altogether. A variety of influences but mostly because they usually come out crappy and I can take a ton and get to see if they look good now. I have a little canon A520 and seem to do pretty well. While my father-in-law has a souped up Nikon D-70 with some pretty fancy lenses and almost always has the flash on auto! I’d like to pry the camera out of the man’s hands somedays! It would be great, if you have time, if you could post more of your photography knowledge. I go back to what is in your books frequntly but info on actions and such would be fabulous!

  13. #17
    Amy Kropp

    Don’t even get me started on flash photos! At Christmas time here in Alaska, we’re only getting about four hours of sunlight — that means all my Christmas photos are flash photos. Sometimes I can force my crew to head outside in the -20 degree weather for a few seconds during the sunlight hours to get a shot, but that’s pretty rare. Summer makes up for it though — very long sunsets and hours of pinkish light. But, hey, count me in on that Flash movement you’re starting. We can have the annual convention at my house. In the middle of winter. 😉

  14. #18
    Shannon Lauer

    Seriously love the hair. If I had my way I would not shower nor get dressed on holidays and weekends. Who knows, that could be the “in” look any day now!

  15. #19

    I had to apologize to the phone company man this morning because basically that’s what I looked like when I opened the door.
    The hair, I mean.
    Your daughter is beautiful, nice photo. Missed your blog while you were away, Cathy.

  16. #20
    Lisa Cohen

    oh LE CREuSET! le creuset!!! I love that color!! still haven’t procured one of these for la lovely kitchen… but someday, my friend, someday.

    And that first photo of Aidan is GORGEOUS!!!!

    Off to watch the Gator basketball game. Have good night!

  17. #22
    Rebecca Foxworth

    Okay, hi. The kids are clamoring for dinner, and I’m apparently too stupid or too much in a hurry to find an e-mail link on your home page, so here I post. #1-Thank you for introducing me to dooce.com. It’s funny. Especially in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. #2-I’ll repay the favor and introduce you to http://www.fussy.org. There. Favor repaid. (As always, ignore the f-bombs.)

  18. #24

    screamin’ laughter here!!! all flash all the time — my dh doesn’t get it!!!ROFL!!! he’s so point and shoot!!!;) thanks for the giggle before bedtime! You’re terrific!!
    Blessings on ya~

  19. #25

    Hi Cathy, I am a fan of yours through your books. I’ve never logged into a blog before, but stumbled upon yours and can’t help but wonder if you would go out on a limb and recommend a camera. If you were buying one this week, it would be…
    I am in the market for a new good digital and would welcome your insights! Thanks. Deirdre

  20. #32
    erin yamabe

    what a beautiful shot of your daughter! i empathize with *natural light* or lack of in your home, same as mine. i will try the black felt in the garage thing next week…

  21. #33

    omg, they do that dish in GREEEEEEN? we have baby pink and blue and the traditional orange but greeeeeen? never let me near your kitchen, girl.

    and gosh darn she’s purty. and you’re taking pictures in COLOUR. just what is the world coming to?

  22. #34
    Kelli Johnson

    I love it 🙂 I love flashes…they are something to be used when you just don’t have perfect lighting…I mean not everyone has huge bay windows in their homes to expose partial light from the sun…they just don’t so…use a flash once in while…we will just say it’s the new pink 🙂

  23. #35

    Woot, Woot! Another girl who gets le creuset as a holiday gift! I LOVE mine!

    The picture of your daughter is absolutely stunning!

  24. #39

    AMAZING photo. Okay, I asked you in 2003 if you would please teach the world all of your wonderful photo knowledge-and I know you are crazy busy and need a real life too, but oooooohhhh what some of us wouldn’t give for two hours with you sharing yourself and your camera. Hey, how about a Big Picture Scrapbooking online workshop? Your fan club would be really happy…and our pictures and scrapbooks would thank you.

  25. #40
    Terri Barton

    I think I will be a charter member in the club. I am a dud with a camera. I keep think if I get a Digi Rebel that my pictures will be better. But I think I would have crappy pictures with a more expensive camera!! Lord, I missed your blog. Your daughter is a beauty and thank God you are normal like the rest of us! (whatever that means!) Flash on!!! (and say hello to that orange sweatshirt, will ya?)

  26. #41

    cathy, you are one hot mama! not to mention i have the same hair stylist this morning as i sit here and type my comment!LOL
    love the picture you took though. totally captures her beauty! great job!

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