It’s December?

I’ll be honest. It’s been two months since my last post, and I have no great excuse as to why I’ve been off the radar. I have been dreading writing this update as so much and yet so little has happened in the last two months that I’m not sure what to say. I know 99% of the people who come here do so only for Stoli photos, so I didn’t want to bore everyone with a long and drawn-out rehashing of my existence for the last six weeks. So, I’ll be brief.

In early October, my work sent me on a business trip to do some shooting around the state of Texas. I can’t post the photos, which is killing me. I also can’t say too terribly much, but it was an amazing experience. Here are some low-quality pictures I snapped on my cell phone:

I got to spend a day on the beach in Galveston

I got to spend a day on the beach in Galveston

I held and fed this little guy, which pretty much completed my whole life.

I held and fed this little guy, which pretty much completed my whole life.

Oh, and I got to drive NASA's brand new, $4 million Lunar Rover. All in a day's work...

Oh, and I got to drive NASA’s brand new, $4 million Lunar Rover. All in a day’s work…

All-in-all the trip was a blast and I’d do it again in a heart beat. Besides getting paid to have what seemed like a vacation filled with shooting, I learned a valuable life lesson: flying makes me hurl. This was only my 2nd time ever flying (yes, I know: Gasp! Shock! Remember people, I lived under a giant rock named, “Iowa,” for 18 years and then was too broke to travel once I got out). Anyway, I discovered the wonders of Dramamine but was still quite an unhappy camper whenever I neared an airport. (I am dreading flying home for Christmas. If anyone has any good nausea-reduction flying tips, let me know!)

Since getting back from Texas, I have been trying to keep busy shooting for myself outside of work. I still have no models and don’t know anyone who doesn’t work in the same building as me, so mostly my shots are of Stoli. Which, I suppose that’s ok–it keeps his “fan club” happy. He’s becoming more of a celebrity. I made an international sale of one of my dog photos to a firm in the UK a few weeks back and then was contacted by an advertising agency wanting to use Stoli’s photo for an advertising campaign for Mentos. Additionally I just had a woman in Germany contact me about turning Stoli’s photos into puzzles for a Christmas present. This kind of stuff isn’t “the big leagues” per say, but I still think that it is really cool to see where Stoli is ending up.

Over Thanksgiving my parents drove out here to spend some time with me. It was great to see them again, and amazing to have people I actually know here. I was actually able to go out and do normal social activities! (It’s far less awkward going out to eat or to the movies when you’re not alone.) For Thanksgiving, my mom prepared an awesome meal. I was so psyched to have home-cooked food again. My dad carved the turkey, and of course Stoli “helped”.

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My parents stayed for a week, and then my boyfriend flew out for two days. It was so good to see him again, even if it was just for a short while. We did some shopping, went on an adventure to Cincinnati/Kentucky, and took in a movie. I also got him hooked on the show Breaking Bad, which is perhaps the single most addicting show of all time.

Cincinnati Skyline as seen from the Kentucky side

Cincinnati Skyline as seen from the Kentucky side. © Holly Hildreth 2012

We visited the Newport (KY) Aquarium. I was entirely too excited to see a real octopus. It was very dark, so this is the only photo I got of him

We visited the Newport (KY) Aquarium. I was entirely too excited to see a real octopus. It was very dark, so this is the only photo I got of him. © Holly Hildreth 2012

Andy and I with the Christmas decorations on the riverwalk in Newport, KY

Andy and I with the Christmas decorations on the riverwalk in Newport, KY

That pretty much brings us up to date. December will be a super busy month. It’s my 23rd birthday on Friday (which I am dreading. Birthday’s aren’t fun when you have no family or friends around to help you celebrate). Then I will be flying home to Iowa for about a week to spend Christmas with my family. I’ll try to be better at blog-keeping and plan on having a post later in December.

And now the part you’ve really come here to see: STOLI PICTURES!

Ok, this isn't a Stoli picture, but I just wanted to share the view from my apartment parking lot in October.

Ok, this isn’t a Stoli picture, but I just wanted to share the view from my apartment parking lot in October.
© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

The shooting of the previous shot. I got a background stand and seamless paper for my b-day/Xmas. I don’t have enough room in my apartment so I had to use my kitchen countertop as a table.

…And now to get you into the Christmas spirit…

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012. DO NOT USE WITHOUT DIRECT WRITTEN CONSENT

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Photos are © Holly Hildreth 2012. Do NOT use for any reason without direct written consent | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

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The End of Break

First off, I would like to start by saying this is my official 100th post! This blog started out as a required project for a class and has morphed into my way of sharing my day-to-day shoots with people outside of Facebook.

Anyway, I spent two weeks of my Christmas break at my family’s house in Iowa. Initially it was a shock to the system, as I went from 50 degree weather in MO to highs in the teens in Iowa. I’m not a fan of winter weather to start with, so that was not a fun surprise to come home to. I got to Waverly just in time for Christmas. My sister, Kristin, had made some Christmas treats, and I decided to try my hand at photographing them. I have never really shot food before, and I don’t think it will ever be a huge part of my portfolio. I just used a lamp to light the scene and then had some tinfoil propped up to bounce light back into the scene. The cookies she made are two Ritz crackers with peanut butter in the middle, all dipped in chocolate. Needless to say they were delicious.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

My attempt at photographing hot chocolate wasn't so successful...

 

My other sister, Jen, has a Willow Tree nativity set. She has been collecting all the pieces over the years, and I thought I’d try shooting that as well. I used window light and then more tinfoil as a reflector to bounce extra light into the scene.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

My sister and brother-in-law left our hour Christmas Day, and my other sister, Jen, had to do the news all week, so life got boring around the house. I soon was setting off around Waverly, trying to find things to photograph. I found a flock of geese on an open patch of water on the Cedar River and decided they would be my next photographic victims.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

School starts back up and Monday, and I expect to be very busy as I am taking a huge credit load. Don’t worry though, I’ll have plenty of new material to update and will hopefully be posting more regularly.

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today in advanced studio, we were to shoot either food, beverage, or tobacco. I honestly had no idea what to photograph for this assignment, as my cooking skills are on par with most college kids and are basically limited to pre-packaged foods only. So, to get some inspiration for the project, I wandered around Walmart for about an hour last night waiting for a flash of genius to hit me. I wound up in the Christmas aisle, where I finally decided I would try to expand my set-building skills by making a Christmas scene while photographing food….and what (conveniently pre-packaged,) food says Christmas like candy canes?
Originally my idea was to have a Christmas tree branch with a stocking stuffed with candy canes. Well, when setting the scene up, I failed to take into account that the high quality 97 cent stocking I bought was not well-built and did not support anything heavier than its own weight. I attempted a few stocking shots, but wasn’t very successful.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

My next attempt was to hang the candy canes on the trees.  This too proved to be next to impossible to pull off. I got a few all right shots, but nothing too earth-shattering.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

I was starting to get discouraged by this point, as it seemed that nothing was working for me. Finally, I made a “peppermint martini” from water and red food coloring. I started liking the results I was getting with the “martini”. Toward the end of the shoot, I had a classmate sprinkle the fake snow while I shot, making it look like it was actually snowing.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

All Images and Content © Holly Hildreth 2011 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

 

Night Shooting

I’m currently back in my hometown in Iowa, for my Thanksgiving break. Over the break, we were assigned to do “night shooting” for my Materials and Processes class. I checked the forecast for the week and it sounds like rain for the first few days and then snow and highs in the low 20’s (a HUGE change for the 70’s back in Missouri!) So, I figured I better get out and try some shooting before I had to battle the weather for a good shot. I might do more experimenting with the concept later in the week, but I thought I would do a quick post for now. Also with these images I tried doing HDR processing. For those of you who may not be as photographically savvy, HDR (High DynamicRange,) photography is when you bracket exposures (start by taking a fast exposure and then change the shutter speed gradually). You can take anywhere from as few as 3 or 4 shots to 12-15 and then you combine them in a software program to make one image with the tonal rage of all the shots that you created at different speeds. I have never really done any HDR before and I’m not really sure what to think of it. I think if done tastefully, youcan get neat results, but I see a lot of fake, comic book-looking images out there that really turns me off from HDR imaging. I don’t have a good HDR program, so I downloaded a demo program, Photomatix light. This program did an OK job–I wasn’t too terribly impressed, and to top it all, the program pastes its logo all over your image when it combines the exposures, so you have to work on editing out all the watermarks. Anyway, here are a couple of the experimental shots. The reason I like this is that is you weren’t from around here you might think, maybe, just maybe, Waverly, Iowa isn’t horribly boring.