Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As part of the Project 52, one of the activities was Self-Portraiture.  I've attempted it twice now and I've learned quite a bit.  Self-Portraiture is much harder than you'd think it would be.  I learned a few things that are applicable to both self-portraits and portraits of other people.

1.  Lighting is key.  This is important for any picture, but after my experience trying to take a picture of myself, I understand even more.
1a.  I've learned my apartment does not have good lighting - especially at night when you have to use the overheads and the flash.
1b.  Overhead lights do nothing to flatter a person in a portrait.  It causes very odd shadows.

2.  You have to figure out your good side.  I always thought this was a figure of speech but, alas, it's true.  You have to be able to understand a person's face to make sure you get them at the right angle.

3.  Backgrounds are important.  In my first series of self-portraits, I just used our wall as the backdrop.  It's a white wall so I thought it would be ok.  Unfortunately, with the lighting, the wall looks gray and gross.  The next time, I used a chair as the background and it turned out better.  You can buy special backgrounds for your studio or use nice fabric.  It's important to look at all your surroundings when out take portraits.

4.  Make-up is important.  No amount of photoshopping will fix an oily face (or maybe it will and I just don't know how to do it).

5.  Be creative.  When you're behind the camera, it's easy to be creative because it's not you in the picture.  You're not putting yourself out there.  With self-portraiture, it's much more personal.  You want to make sure you look good (especially if you'll be sharing on your blog) but sometimes that impedes you from experimenting.  I didn't experiment as much as I could have.  Maybe one day I'll talk HA into taking me out of the apartment so I can experiment in some fun locations.

I've include below a few of the pictures I took.  I'm not happy with any of them but I've learned alot from them that I can hopefully carry forward into some other shots that I might do.

No Make-up, bad background - not good

After some post-processing.  I look like I've been fake baking.

This one is for Mom so she can see I do this even when I'm by myself.

Lesson learned - do NOT lean back.  Chin always up - I'm not 18 anymore.

Looking up and into the camera is always universally flattering.  However, the overhead lights creating shadows under the eyes is not.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

My little sister Gene got married in May.  HA and I flew out to Colorado to help her celebrate (which is another blog post).  We booked a flight back to Oz to leave Monday night after the wedding.  We booked a flight from CO springs to LA to leave at 7:30 at nigh and the flight out of LA then was scheduled to leave at around 10:15pm.  I've taken this series of flights before and never had any issues - especially since they were all United flights and you on't have to change terminals in LA.

Unfortunately, our flight leaving CO Springs left nearly an hour late which meant that we arrived in LA right at 10:15.  We jumped off the plane and the monitors said that they were still boarding so we hustled our way to the gate.  When we get there, the gates are closed and they're no longer letting anyone on the plane.  So after talking with the gate woman (we got a very nasty "Where were you?  Why didn't you board the plane?"), they booked us into a hotel and rebooked us on the flight for the next day.  Consequently, our from MayDay was meant to be on that flight with us as well.  As it turns out, he missed his flight in Indianapolis so he was still able to join us the next day.

Hmmm...so a whole day in LA?  What do you do with yourself?  Well, naturally, you go to the Happiest Place on Earth!  Especially when one of the folks in the group has never been!  Adam and I checked our bags with the bell hop the next morning and grabbed a tourist bus to Disneyland.

Because it was a Tuesday and school was still in session, there was no one there!  It was FANTASTIC!  We were able to hit all of the big rides with very minimal waiting time.  It got to the point where we were doing our bottom tier rides.  I highly suggest Disneyland in the middle of the week during school.

Jedi Training
Our celebrity sighting - Santa on vacation
HA trying to be Prince Arthur
Hmm..Should I be worried?

The lady behind us couldn't take very good pictures.

We had a really great time and then also got to meet up with MayDay at the United Red Carpet lounge for a few drinks prior to our 14 hour flight.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bali - Part 3

Alright, lets finish this Bali series. I've been slacking in the blogging department. We've only got three days left for the Bali trip. We left off on Sunday where we visited the south part of the island and got to see one of the temples on the island.

The rest of the week was fairly quiet. I decided not to organize anymore trips, and to be honest, the rest of the folks I was with are not organizers. On Monday, HA and Boris decided to rent mopeds to tour the island. I was a bit worried for them but they wore their helmets (I wish I had a pictures of HAs - it was hiliarious). HA did have a run in with the law however. Apparently, it's illegal to be over the white lines in Bali so at a stop light, he got pulled up by the police. It is apparently illegal to drive a moped in Bali without an International Drivers license. The police officer told HA that he could pay 750k rupiah or go to court. HA wisely (in my opinion) decided to pay the bribe...I mean fine. While the boys were touring the island, the rest of us hung out at the pool and then decided to do a bit of shopping. Later that night, HA took me to nice dinner just the two of us. You can get fantastic food for very little money in Bali - one of the perks.
HA and Boris at Potato Head
On Tuesday, we hung out at the pool at the house all day. Then HA booked me, Boris, and himself into a spa for a two hour treatment. When we got there, we were told that two of us would have to do our treatments together in the couples room and the other would be seperate. I promptly told Boris he was either on his own or with HA. Wisely, I think, the boys decided the didn't need to do the treatment together. HA and I decided on a massage and then a scrub. I had a coffee scrub which was fantastic. The experience was a bit different than I'd experienced before but good - I won't go into the details here. Later that night, we had drinks at a beach club called "Potato Head" which was very cool. Unfortunately, we weren't able to have dinner there as they were fully booked, so we decided to have dinner at "The Living Room" - which again, was fantastic.
Dessert from The Living Room
Wednesday was our last day. We woke up to breakfast from Made, hung out in the pool and then went to the markets in Kuta. The markets were disappointing and none of us bought anything. When we got back from the markets, we headed out to an early dinner at Sardine. Sardine was highly recommended by multiple websites and the Lonely Planet book and I can completely understand why. The setting was more than beautiful and the food was fantastic. If you ever get to Bali, I highly suggest making a booking.
Sardine Restaurant
After dinner, we headed to the airport to catch our midnight flight. In order to leave the country, we had to pay a fee of 50k rupiah a piece - yes, we had to pay to leave the country. We also had to go through security with our luggage before even checked in. As we were leaving and we passed inspection, they put a security sticker across our zipper. We were also told that we either had to lock our bags or wrap them in plastic. It was a very strange airport experience. This is because of the Schapelle Corby story - google it to get the details. Either way though, I now have a Bali security sticker on my suitcase that won't come off.

We then got back to Brisbane and barely made our flight to Canberra - but we did. We all went home, took a shower and then headed into work. I'm glad we went to Bali but I don't think I'd do it again. There are many more interesting places to visit and Bali just wasn't that special.
Rice Patties near our house
The street we had to take to get into town