CJ Wilkes

About CJ Wilkes Photography

Capturing Your Dance In The Rain is such a thrill and joy to me. Being able to look back on those special times through beautiful artistic imagery makes it a worthwhile challenge.
Learning to Dance in the Rain has been very easy for me. I am drawn to Water & Life! The exciting part for me is to teach you to enjoy your moment in the dance as I capture it from behind my camera.
Looking forward to Capturing Your Dance In The Rain
CJ Wilkes

Tag: ‘camera’



Right in Camera?

Monday, April 13th, 2015

I hear all the time – well if you get it right in camera. Yes, getting it right is important – But what is right?! Stop and think about it.

I enjoy editing and sometimes I know that if I underexpose for some situations I will be able to not worry about blown skin or highlights. If I boost my exposure some then I can fill in the shadows more if I like.

Personally – The natural light feel is what works for me, but then I have heard some people say that Natural Light is for those who do not know how to use OCF (Off Camera Flash) or lights.  I say – WRONG.  I have worked with both and can use both equally well. I still prefer the natural light look for most situations… especially outdoors, unless I am using street lights or a vehicle…. or plausible source of light for the setting.

Then there is the issue of color. You are limited with a camera when you hit the shutter key – that is what you get. Once you take your images into LR or PS you can tweak colors individually so as to help compose a masterpiece. I actually prefer PS because I love how I can play with those colors in layers to marry together the perfect combination.

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For me – this is right in camera for what I do. I wanted this exact Before so I could create this After. Could not be happier.  When it comes down to it you truly need to evaluate what you are doing and what you want in the end. There is more than one right answer. Like many things, there is often more than one way to go about achieving the desired look. Another thing to consider is that once you do understand the rules… they are yours to break as you see fit.

Don’t get discouraged – learn to make lemonade if you have lemons. In this case – I had just what I wanted and needed :)

 

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Weekend Starting Spring Break 2014

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

March 30, 2014 ~ The kids are all home from school for spring break and they are taking turns being sick. Oh joy! The nice part though, is that they will sit and watch a movie with me while we do the folding of laundry. They will go in corners and read books. If the sun is out and no rain in sight, they will also find their way outdoors to lounge under the TeePee Poles. Moments like this are what makes the sick days bearable for me. Thank goodness, this day they allowed me to come up with my posse to go all Paparazzi on them. Hee Hee! Love my kids!

When my kids are sick they sport one to two favorite blankets. They lounge in their dad’s art shirts (adult size) with pj bottoms. Of coarse that alone is adorable – but then they go and treat each other like they are the best friends in the world ALWAYS! Reading, building, playing. I don’t deserve so much cuteness – but will take it!

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I love that my husband made them a TeePee. Unfortunately, the outer lining did not survive the wind and rain here. No matter, the kids will play with it still. Here they dragged out a bean bag and blankets, with a favorite comic book.

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Of coarse these guys knew we were about – but it did not stop them from their brother time, reading. So grateful for my kids willingness to assist me at all times. There is no way I could do it without some help. Since moving, finding assistants has not been easy. The wind here was CRAZY! Well, umbrellas and wind make a funny combination as Mimi found out here.

PS – I love my crazy huge umbrella! So awesome for sessions. It has protected me and my camera from downpours so many times! A must have!

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Shortly after the breeze started up and we knew we needed to go in. We settled in to watch Sunny with a Chance of Meatballs 2 when I saw something fly into a tree just out my window. It was an owl! I ran to fetch my camera with my 70-200mm lens. Got the settings where I wanted them, opened the door as silently as possible. Unfortunately, the camera is not all that silent. I was able to poke the lens out the door and take 3 pictures of the owl just outside my window. It then decided that the shutter release was too loud for its liking and flew off. But I got it! I got it! It was a lucky and fantastic moment for myself and the children. They keep telling me how they watched as the owl spinned it’s head around one direction and then the next.

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All in all I consider the day a successful day. So many moments captured to keep our memories alive!  Thanks for taking time to look.

 

 

 

 

Practice Starts with Me March of 2013

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

I am the first to admit that I cannot stand being in front of a camera. I am not comfortable with the skin I am in and am not good at posing myself. I cannot tell you if I look good or not cause I don’t see it. But when I am behind the camera I see what I like or don’t like. Not sure how many can relate to this, but my self image is not the best.

As  a photographer I believe in always challenging myself with new or different things, from editing to ways of shooting. Afterall, the more you shoot, understand, and practice – the better you can get. Does that mean all my images are great? NOPE Not at all. I take my fair share of FLOPS. The thing is I cull through the images before bringing them to you. Heeeheeeheeee. So this particular blog is not going to be my most comfortable blog. I am going to share my personal challenges from Feb. 2013 and a few images from it too.

Always remember that practice is just that – practice. Here I had challenged myself to shoot some self portraits. If I am not comfortable and feel what others feel, I may become more empathetic to how those in front of my camera may feel. Here – you all can see my own discomfort too. :/ Can  you sense my nervousness?

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So – I admit one thing here. I did not push the shutter and I had a tad of guidance from my dear friend Stacey. I will go into that later. Some things I did to feel better about the session was make sure I did my hair. I have natural curl, but I still curled it. I made sure to wear a little makeup, and I bought a new shirt. I felt beautiful. Because I felt beautiful – I was much more relaxed than I would have been otherwise.

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I loved the look and texture of the gray rug on the floor. Not too distracting but not too plain – hopefully adding without taking away from the image. I think it did well. I also put myself down lower on the ground so you could not all look at my double chin. That meant a lot to me.

As I mentioned, Stacey assisted me some with this, but it help me to think a bit outside the box. When I got home from Wisconsin I decided to try another self portrait session in my own yard, outside, on my own. I did get my daughter to help keep the camera from being blown over – but then I also ran back and forth attempting to get a good shot. (If that was possible.)

The day was a bit rainy so I went with wet hair. (Something, I realize, would have looked better had I done my hair or dried it some.) The feel was intended to be the raw me though, so I feel that it turned out as it should. I feel like a princess living out in the woods. It is hard to feel like a princess in the brush as I hope you can see in the next few shots.

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It is hard not to be in tears while posting this. I find that this shot is a small look into my soul so bear with me. I am not comfortable, I am nervous to look at the camera, I am ok with the viewer seeing simply a profile of me. I am a mom of five and my body shows that. Unfortunately, my metabolism does not make it easy to keep my once under appreciated body. It is hard not to look past my own shell.

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My first attempt to look at the camera when the shutter released was not easy at all. I had to coax myself into it. Not fully accepting of the moment, the task, or myself – I just did it.

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I then told myself to be pleased with the fact that I tried and that is what counts. Honestly, I am very proud of myself and often draw back on this experience when shooting others. I try to stop and remember how I felt so I could better help others feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Of coarse, I had to turn to my children to brush off the experience,  because thinking too hard about it is never good. I had time enough to edit and dwell on it – then becoming more pleased with the overall outcome.

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My girl is my constant companion! She loves to assist me on shoots – even those of just myself. She was also my comforter this day saying “Mom – You are beautiful!” I love that they are there to help me reflect through their eyes. This is my angel. Grateful I can practice on all of my babies.

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My son was hanging out watching what was happening. I thought – I want to practice in Full sun. Where would I go in a huge meadow with only one tree. He was in reg. school or play clothes – nothing thought out at all. So we worked it and he of coarse nailed it for me :)

This is not an uncommon day at all for me. I will keep some and get rid of other images – learning from it all. I then will go to plants and work on macro images. They are so fun and help me to become better at focusing. Understanding Depth of Field (DOF).

 

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I have discovered that although tilted images may be popular and fun – I don’t like how I do them LOL I tend to want to tweak it upright after all is said and done.

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Here are some shots of our huckleberry bushes. I love the contrast of reds and greens.  shooting in full sun gave me a bunch of options to work on – from dealing with shadows to over exposure. I also work on colors and b&w options.

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Both of these shots were played with in color and b&w. In the end I liked both options Hahaha.

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Many think that being a photographer is quite glamorous. I am here to testify that it is work, practice, work, with some success inserted – but never without work and practice.

Thanks for letting me pull some pieces out of my vault. Thanks for letting me share a bit of me.

 

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