Negative Twenty

Negative Twenty | Sophster-Toaster

Winter finally arrived last weekend and she seems to be making up for lost time. We got all of December and January’s missing snow in one day and then the temperature plummeted to -20°C the next night. We went from spring-like bare ground to middle of winter snowbanks in a few hours. Pepper couldn’t be happier, though.

We walked her downtown to get doughnuts Saturday morning, went to the park Sunday morning, played fetch in the yard and have had a hard time convincing her to come or stay inside. This dog loves her snow is making up for that lost time too.

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Coat ModCloth
Pants ModCloth
Boots L.L.Bean
Socks Walmart
Hat ModCloth
Scarf knit with yarn from Michaels
Mittens Roots
Sunglasses ModCloth
Earrings ModCloth

Negative Twenty | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me.

The Dancing Paintings

The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster

My grandmother was an avid painter. When she passed, my mom asked if I wanted any of her painting. I had vivid memories of these ballerina paintings hanging in a dark hallway in her home, so I asked for them to remember her by. I hung them up in a bright space above the stairs of the home we had just moved into and enjoyed seeing them again.

We were very careful to hang them straight and level, so I started getting annoyed by always finding them askew. I told my husband, after we had some people over, that I knew they didn’t look like much, but they were very special to me and I really wished people would stop touching them and bumping into them. I carefully straightened them again. A few weeks pass and they continue to move. I start to suspect it’s him brushing his broad shoulders against them. I ask him to be more careful and show him that it’s not me because I’m not tall enough to nudge them with anything but my head, and I’d notice that. He’s fairly confident it’s not him, but the painting continue to move….

This is an old house and a high traffic area, I’m sure there are a handful of ways they could logically be shifting on their own but as far as I’m concerned, my grandmother’s ballerina paintings are dancing.

The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster

Jumper Mod Dolly
Cardigan H&M
Nylons Pretty Polly
Slippers White Noise Maker
Glasses Warby Parker
Earrings ModCloth

The Dancing Paintings | Sophster-Toaster

Black & White

Black & White | Sophster-Toaster

As a way to push myself creatively, and really learn the ins and outs of light and shadow, I’m challenging myself to only take photos in black and white this month.

I learned the basics of photography on high saturation 90’s colour film and then graduated to bright and clear digital, completely missing any opportunity to practice without the easy allure of colour. I’ve spent most of my time focusing on the interplay of colours in my images, using them to draw attention or conceal. For the most part, I’ve striven for scenes that are well and evenly illuminated. I’ve played with light here and there, but why use light to create drama and intrigue when I’m surrounded by all these dazzling colours?

When switching into black and white, the first thing I noted was that I needed to change the way I look at anything I want to photograph. No longer am I looking for complementary colours and brightly lit spaces, now I need to see the world in light and dark, geometric shapes, and shadows.

Black & White | Sophster-Toaster

I decided to take my first honest stab at black and white in the comfort and control of my little home studio. I set up and found right away that taking pictures the way I do in colour, results in flat, boring and dull images. (What do you mean this black sweater and these dark blue jeans are reading as the same colour!?) Instead of trying to mimic the natural light coming in through the window and basically bumping up the total light in the room, I found I had to light my backdrop indirectly. I had to bounce light off the walls and ceiling while lighting myself with one light higher than usual and off to the side, thus making the window light the only true, direct illumination. I had fun stepping in and out of the shadows and seeing how things changed in my photos. I’m quite looking forward to how much I have to learn this month.

Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster

Top ModCloth
Jeans Angry Rabbit
Socks ModCloth
Shoes ModCloth
Glasses Warby Parker
Brooch found item

Black & White | Sophster-Toaster Black & White | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me.

Black & White | Sophster-Toaster

Favourite Pictures of 2018

I hate looking back at old work. I’m always striving to improve my skills and usually can’t bear to turn around and face my poorly aged practice work. I sometimes can’t believe how many risks, mistakes and stabs in the dark it took to grow and learn and move forward.

Photography’s ability to capture a feeling, memory, light, and moment – and create nostalgia – make it a little easier to reflect back on and feel good about. Looking back at the past year of photos my husband and I have snapped for the blog came with a fair amount of “I can’t believe I was so pleased with this” but it also brought back a lot of happy memories from all the things we did and the time we spent together. Here are some of my favourites.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

I was down in the snow with Matt standing over me, trying not to laugh at him, for a good, long while when we were trying to get this shot on a sunny January afternoon.

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Something about this photo takes me right back to the soft light and sweet scents of warm spring afternoons.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

Playing with bubbles in the backyard on one of the first nights the sun didn’t start to set until after dinner.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

The beginning of Pepper’s hobby of sneaking into frame.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

We got out of the lake, I quickly combed my hair and threw on my new favourite outfit while Matt opened some beers and tossed our dinner on the barbecue. He took this picture while we waited for it to cook with very little instruction or guidance from me. I love the light and how he was able to perfectly capture the feeling of our entire weekend in one image.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

We went to the beach many times over the summer, but this trip was special. The beach was packed so we walked far down to the “dog end” where it’s less crowded and people don’t mind a furry girl just trying to cool off. It was a terribly hot and muggy day and after a few minutes of playing in the water, we saw why. The sun suddenly vanished and big storm clouds started rushing in over the great lake. We stayed while they gathered but hightailed it out of there once the first lightning bolt struck far out on the horizon. The weird weather gave our pictures these amazing colours and made for quite a memorable day at the beach.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

Wanting to practice in a more urban setting, we went down to a scarcely used path downtown, on a lark, and took some of my favourite pictures of the year.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

Needing somewhere dry to take pictures on a cold and rainy day at the cottage, we went down to the boathouse to pass some time. I went in with low exceptions, having tried this dark and difficult place before with nothing to show for it, but we took our time and found the light and turned out some images that really capture the quiet and stillness of the lake on a day like this.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

I plunked a small table down in my overgrown front garden, set my camera up for full, harsh sunlight, said “let’s see if this works” and stunned myself when I saw the images.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

In stark contrast, the images I took this day came so difficultly, I wrote about it.

Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster Favourite Pictures of 2018 | Sophster-Toaster

I was taking test shots while setting the scene and someone burst into frame.

Photos by me and Matt.