Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I spy a New Yorker

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Whenever I'm feeling uninspired I look to fellow New Yorkers to get my creative juices going again.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about this photo itself but on this particular afternoon I was in between errands and feeling lousy about the work I've been doing.  Rather than dwell on anything, I took my camera out and started shooting. 

I loved the confidence of this stranger's gait, the way that little girl is boldly and curiously peering into that store window and the light.  Maybe you had to be there but that street was buzzing with an energy and a motivation that is undeniably New York.  And, that's exactly what I needed.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Instagram Vacation

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Before the baby was born our holidays were not only much longer but way more adventurous.  Trips to Argentina, Mexico, Thailand, Paris and Tuscany were how we preferred to spend our vacation time and we would happily stay up all hours drinking way too much wine and eating way too much food.  At the end of our holidays we needed to not only detox from so much fun but it often felt like we needed a vacation from our vacation.  While we still rather love to eat and drink our way through pretty much anything, it's clear that with a toddler trips away are much different.  I'm looking forward to someday really showing her the world and I have a feeling she will have a serious case of wanderlust just like her mom and dad (she seems to have so much fun exploring pretty much anything so why would a new country or city be any different). 

Here are some instagram photos that I took over the last four days where my husband and I took a quick getaway for some time to ourselves in the Dominican Republic.  Lucia stayed at my parents' where judging from those photos she had even more fun than we did!


What has been your favorite vacation?  Paris is probably my favorite city in the world (other than New York, natch) but I think my favorite trip was to Italy.  Although, I've honestly fallen a little bit in love with every place I've ever visited.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman 

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman


Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Check out some of my travel posts here.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

We're on Holiday!

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

We're going on a long weekend trip that was planned on a whim.  My parents, sensing that we really needed to get away, offered to spoil watch the baby.  I already miss her desperately (it hasn't even been 12 hours since I saw her) but I know she will have the best time ever and that she is in the best possible hands.

I am going to try my best to be completely disconnected except for maybe the occasional Instagram and maybe a tweet or two.  Let's be honest, who is ever completely disconnected these days?

Until then, here are a few of my favorite travel-related posts from the blog...

Tips for taking better photos when you're on vacation.

Parisians on film.

The same but different.

A story about one of my aunts in Cuba.

Miami via Instax.

The Land of Smiles.

My grandmother in Argentina.

Vacation pictures!

A little girl who inspired me in Cuba.

 Or, you can see all of my posts under traveling.



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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Instagram Weekend

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Yesterday was a holiday in the U.S. so we enjoyed a lovely long weekend.  We went on family walks along the water, did a lot of cooking, took a few drives around the city to no place in particular and I had an epic birthday celebration with my closest friends and family. 

Here's our weekend via Instagram.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

What about you?

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

PS--Are you on Pinterest?  I'm hooked!

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Fridays

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
One of my favorite photos of my girl from this winter.  This was her first time running through the snow.  Check out this tutorial for taking photos of your babies and kids.

This week was wildly productive and completely unexpected and this weekend I'll be celebrating a milestone birthday with close friends and family.  I don't know where the time has gone but so far so fun!

Here are some cool links from around the web to get the weekend started.  Enjoy!

I partnered with art.com to giveaway a $50.00 gift certificate for their site!

Lovely watercolor and pencil illustrations by Bernadette Pascua.

Lovely and inspiring photos of Valentine's Day from around the world.

Pinhole Press has some great new products for showing off your baby.

I've seen this amazing place in Vienna and it's a feast for the eyes. Architecture really is fine art.

This week was New York Fashion Week and this was one of my go-to sites for fantastic photos. 

I also love following Nina Garcia on Pinterest.  She's got everything organized by seasons and trends and it's fabulous.

Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano gives Venus a Photoshop makeover by slimming her belly and increasing her breasts to fit today's standards of beauty.

Nikon released a Capture NX2 update. Woot!

Are you on twitterThis article on how to tweet effectively is geared toward photographers but the principles can be applied to pretty much anyone trying to market themselves via Twitter.

I love every single post on this design blog and yesterday these photos made me want to completely redo my entire apartment.

Who Shot It Better? Simon Emmett vs. Mert & Marcus: Adele 

9 ways to blog more in less time.  Great tips.

I need a vacation...here's a list of the most photogenic festivals in the world.

Copyright Monica L. 
Shulman

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

A tall order

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I don't have enough time to do everything I want to and feel like I need to do.  I've had this feeling hanging over me for ages.  I make my lists and talk about finding my balance and in theory I do, but really, something always falls to the wayside.  I know I work really hard at everything I do.  Being a good mom and wife, sister, friend.  I work hard at my work (and I love it) and I work especially hard at being good to myself because I tend to be my own worst enemy.  And really, if I'm not good to myself or believe in myself, then everything else will suffer.  Maybe finding my balance starts with simply believing that I can do it.

It's so easy (for me, at least) to go down that road of self-doubt, to wonder whether I'm making the right choices and decisions.  I really don't like speaking in cliche, but the truth is that I've found that as long as I go with my gut at any given moment with whatever it is that I am faced with, things have a way of working themselves out.  I think people (and by people I mean me) know deep down what is right or wrong for them but I also think that we allow ourselves to have those moments overcome by our own questions and second-guessing.  Sometimes it's good to have that back and forth with yourself but other times it just ruins what you plainly know you should and can do.

One of my resolutions this year was to believe more in myself and to recognize myself because I deserve it.  Why is this such a tall order?  I want to teach my girl that she should be good to herself.  And, the best way to teach our kids is by example.  Every day I tell her how special she is and how much we love her and how happy she makes us.  I tell her stories about all of the adventures we've been on so far and all the wonders that are to come and I know she understands me and believes me.  And I believe me too.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meet Trey Ratcliff (Plus a GIVEAWAY!)

Buy at Art.com
    Art.com

I first came across Trey Ratcliff's work when I stumbled upon his travel photography blog Stuck in Customs.  I can't really remember now how I got there but I remember when.  I was just starting to think about photography as a career and I was researching different photographers, styles, blogs and websites.  I was completely intrigued by the HDR style that Trey uses to create his art.   I started to truly appreciate and admire how this guy, who evidently grew up blind in one eye, looks at the world and how he translates what he sees through his lens into a remarkable and inspiring piece of art.  Plus the fact that he makes these pieces into something that is just so different from everything that is already out there...I love that. 

HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. It's a post-processing task of taking either one image or a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed.  A software process combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights both. This helps to achieve the same task in the final photograph that the human eye can accomplish on the scene.  I've never tried processing my images in HDR style but if you'd like to try you can check out this tutorial on Trey's site.

Since those days when I first found his work I have been following him on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest too!  He even has an iPhone app that I featured on this tutorial.  I like visiting his blog because the guy has been all over the world with his camera and he always has an incredibly thought-provoking dialogue about making art, photography, what it means to be a photographer today and why it matters.  Plus, even though I've never met him, he just seems to be an all-around nice guy.

So, if you're interested in buying any of these photos, you can head over to Art.com where he is now offering them for sale (pretty cool considering he's had work exhibited at The Getty and The Smithsonian). 

And, to celebrate this collaboration, I've partnered up with Art.com to give away a $50.00 gift certificate for use on the site.  You can use it to purchase one of Trey's works or one of thousands of other fantastic photographs (I've been thinking of picking one up for my gallery wall). My personal favorites of his are his images of New York (shocking, I know).


Leave a comment here to enter to win.  

Plus, send a tweet about the giveaway (@ciaochessa) and you'll get another entry.

      Buy at Art.com   
   
      Art.com
I love the subtlety of this one.  It's very romantic and quiet.

Happy shopping!

Buy at Art.com
   
      Art.com

      Buy at Art.com
     
      Art.com


Disclaimer: I'm an affiliate of Art.com so if you click through the blog and purchase something from the site, I will earn a commission.  However, I was not compensated for this blog post and I only share things that I truly like and feel excited about.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thinking Not Rushing

Copyright 2009 Monica L. Shulman

After seeing my work at this show in Tribeca, I was contacted by a new potential client about purchasing some work.  She visited my website and decided on this photograph above.

I am always so intrigued by the reasons that draw people to my work.  She and her husband apparently have a fondness for my beach.  This world is small -- funny that we should find each other with such similar interests. 

She asked me to provide a little bit of background on the photograph and I realized it's been a long while since I talked about an individual piece, my reasons for shooting the image and why I thought it was worth it to work on it and to explore.  It got me thinking about one of my resolutions for 2012: to be better to myself and to spend more time thinking and contemplating and not just always rushing to check things off of my list.

Anyway, here's what I said:

There is a long back story as to why I love photographing the ocean and the reasons why I started to turn my lens to the water and surroundings.  The majority of my work is urban and street photography.  I go out to shoot photos and I love to take part in someone else's world or experience.  I love the city and I love living here more than anything  but sometimes you just need to shut everything off and live in your own moment rather than working to be in everyone else's.

My husband and I bought a house in East Hampton almost six years ago.  After traveling back and forth from the city every weekend we started to fall in love with the countryside in the winter when it seemed like a lot of people stayed away.   We had the whole beach to ourselves and we would get out and walk on this seemingly abandoned stretch that is so crowded in the summer.  The beach is so alive when the weather is cold and when most people seem to turn their back on it.   Life is so noisy all the time.  Even when I look for a quiet place in my mind I can never seem to find it and this place is filled with so much silence that you can actually hear your own thoughts along with the wind rustling through the sea grass on the dunes.  The beach in winter is raw and so honest and this photo with its gray undertones and winter sky backdrop shows all the loveliness and beauty that is out there if only you take the time to look for it.

I pondered so many of my major life decisions here from whether I could find the guts to leave my job as a corporate lawyer to be a photographer full-time (I did) to whether I should give up on my hopes of having a baby because I struggled with infertility for years (I didn't).  I felt like I could tell this ocean so many of my secrets and it was comforting that no one ever spoke back to me except that howling wind on the dunes.  So it's also a very hopeful and spiritual place for me.


If you're curious, you can see a photo of the finished printed piece mounted on board over on my Facebook page.


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Monday, February 13, 2012

Instagram Weekend

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Since the weather has been unseasonably warm in New York this winter, I welcomed the extremely cold front (and snow) this weekend with open arms. 

Here's our weekend via Instagram.  What about you?

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Running an errand before we left for East Hampton.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
There's a new food truck court in Battery Park and they're pretty awesome.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Friday night view from our living room.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Saturday morning view from our living room.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Running on the beach.  One of her boots kept falling off and she just kept running and laughing. I'm grateful that I had the foresight to bring her snowsuit with us because the sand was soaked after all the snow had melted.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Instagram has some fun new features and I played around with them this weekend on some older photos.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman 

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
We did some painting and clearly I have a little artist on my hands.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
On the drive back home to the city.  The Manhattan Bridge is getting a facelift.



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