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Q. What does visiting my son, an antique store and zebra finches have to do with this image?

August 1, 2018

A. Everything.

You see, even though I take photographs, I don’t see photographs — I see stories — everywhere — and all the time. I feel blessed this is the case and I do know why. Besides loving to read, I grew up with some of the best storytellers that ever lived. Some are still here but most are gone now, and I owe them so much of my joy. All of my uncles, most of my aunts, my dad, my mom, all of my grandparents, (one grandmother would tell her stories for so long, that as little kids, we’d sneak out of the room before she was done. Hahaha!) However, I’m so grateful to her now. When I was growing up, I remember sitting around listening to the adults tell their stories — so many stories — these people lived life! Even the mundane was made funny and interesting (at least to me). One uncle (who could not hold a note) put his stories to music and whenever he would visit he would bring his guitar and “sing” his stories. I LOVED it! Many in my family are musicians, singers, dancers and so music was ever present. I have memories of my parents dancing to Motown in the living room, my mom having me sing for any company that showed up, singing at the missions with my sisters while my mother played the piano, and listening to my grandmother sing in church (so loudly that it would put Ethel Merman to shame).

Anyway, because of this wonderful cast of characters, I see in stories, and so when I went and visited my son recently, and he took me to a lovely breakfast, and then a walk around town, we wound up in this beautiful, upscale, antique store. In the store was an amazing birdcage (we’re talking the Taj Mahal of birdcages here) and in the cage were the most beautiful sounding zebra finches. I’d never heard a zebra finch before then, but they make the sweetest sounds, and those sounds and the birdcage drew me right in. I started thinking; one could imagine that they’d be some of the happiest captive birds while living in this beautiful cage, looking at all these beautiful things. They were even positioned in amazing light. But when I got in closer to take a better look, I realized, from their perspective, it was still just a cage and looked like it. They were just looking out onto beauty but not living it, you know? I was thinking hard about this (and hearing the song The Lark Ascending in my head) when my son said, “Mom, there are a lot of other things in this store.” Giggling a little, I had to agree, and we moved on but…this is how this image (and the finals from the shoot) came to be. Here’s how I explained it to those on set…

“Our little birdie finally got her wish to be human. Breaking out of her gilded cage she was finally able to live the free and glamorous life she had watched so many live in this room before.”

I imagined this image, but my husband brought it to life with his photographs. I like that about him. ☺

Grateful to all the crew, Christina, Jason, Steve and Viktor from KelbyOne, Julio and Kathy for photo assisting and to MJ for modeling, Hendrickje and Anna for makeup and hair and Julia for her unique and perfect dress. Such an amazing team. Here are the Instagram and social contacts if you’re interested.

Photographer: @scottkelby
Creative Director: @kalebrakelby
Production Company: @kelbyonepics
Producer: Christinam007
Model: @mjbutterly
Costume Designer: @xiaolindesign
Makeup Artist: @hendrickjemakeup
Key Hair: @style.hairandmakeup
Camera Assistant: @julioaguilar
Camera Assistant: @kathyporupski
Behind The Scene Stills/Video: @steven_nicolai_417
Behind The Scene Stills/Video: @darkrequest
Location: @rialtotheatretampa
Special Thanks: @thehiproom
Lighting by: @profotousa

You can see the entire shoot and final images at Scott Kelby’s Adobe Spark page.

Happy Wednesday everyone and I wish you stories.

Featured, iPhone, Moments, Nature, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day

I was reminded that…

July 28, 2018

Love is a verb. You can give it by showing kindness, through a shared experience, or by simply listening to someone. If you manage, somehow, to accomplish all three of those at the same time? Well, that’s a little bit of heaven on earth. This image is from a moment like that, and I will hold it in my heart and never let it go.

I wish you peace, joy, and an active verb. 😉

Featured, Moments, Nature, Personal Side Interviews, Travel

The Personal Side of Moose Peterson

July 10, 2018

In this Personal Side Interview, I get to sit down with my friend, award-winning wildlife and aviation photographer, Moose Peterson. Moose talks about his childhood, his family, and how he met his wife Sharon (Mrs. Moose). For Moose, art and photography were always a part of growing up and the combination sparked a true passion for him, making photography a full-time career. This interview was one I truly couldn’t wait to do and I hope you’ll take the time to watch it here at KelbyOne.

Thank you, Moose. It’s always a delight when we get to talk and the times we’ve shared with you and Sharon are some of the most wonderful travel memories I have — you two are the best!

Kalebra

Featured, Nature, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day, Tips, Travel

On Seeing…

June 30, 2018

I started out as a traditional artist, and I mean from the time I had my first vivid artistic memory. My father was drawing a pencil sketch on an entire wall of our home, and I remember watching him (while he whistled) and feeling at peace and thinking how beautiful the drawing was — I felt joy. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s, and questioning my mother about the drawing that I was told, “You can’t remember that you were only six months old!” Hahaha! I was always drawing, painting, singing, feeling and looking for wonder. It’s in my blood. My great-grandmother was among some of the first women to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. It was while she was there, that she met my great-grandfather, who had been invited to this country to perform violin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (He had been brought up in the King’s Court in Austria where he achieved Concertmaster).  There are ballerinas, painters, singers, writers, storytellers, and musicians on both sides of my family, so I don’t think I could have outrun art, even if I’d wanted to. I was lucky enough to know, and be influenced by many of them. However, I never met my great-grandparents — but I feel them all the time.

I told you all of that to tell you this…

I believe that seeing is so much more than seeing. Seeing is also feeling, and making a mental note about how you feel. Take this seagull photo I recently captured in Norway. I was standing hillside and looking onto this beautiful scene when all of a sudden this seagull showed up and flew right next to me, in front of me and soared high above me. I felt joy! As soon as I recognized my joy I went for my camera because I knew that something magical could happen (and so did that seagull). Sure enough, with a little patience, things lined up. Haven’t you ever been driving somewhere and looked out your window and saw a beautiful sky or shoreline, or tree, or haven’t you been present and heard a child giggling and felt joy? Or peace? Or wonder? Whatever the feeling was, you felt something, right? Oh man, when you do, when you feel that something, make sure you stop or go back or do whatever you have to do to see, see what you felt. Once you feel it, you can see it, and once you see it you can capture it.

I wish you joy, peace, wonder, feeling and seeing.

Kalebra

Featured, iPhone, Nature, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day, Tips

On Waiting…

June 25, 2018

My husband and I recently returned from a glorious trip to Norway. It is now one of my most favorite destinations, and if you were considering it, I highly recommend that you go. One of the things I wound up, most unexpectedly, falling in love with were the seagulls. They are very different from their thinner, fry chasing, cousins here in Florida in that they are big—very big—very healthy looking birds. They are also plentiful and seem to love being around people (very close) but not uncomfortably close. Hard to explain but they soar above and around a person with a subtle confidence that makes you feel at ease. I loved them! The photo above is of seagulls that followed our boat out to one of the Fjords. It was exciting because there were so many birds, flying so many patterns, and with so many amazing backdrops, and I knew, if I were patient, paid attention, and fired off enough shots that I would get something I liked. This photo above definitely qualifies as one of my favorites as these precocious birds wound up perfectly framing the landscape. I was lucky enough to get several well-timed images, and I credit them to waiting or actually, how I wait.

Waiting for things to line up the way I want used to be difficult for me until I discovered a secret. One day while I was waiting, I could feel my heart rate increasing as I felt myself getting anxious—and then it hit me…

I realized that, ultimately, what I wanted was to have the image—to have the bird, animal, subject or moment, captured. What I was most fearful about was not getting the image at all. I knew if I didn’t get it at the exact right moment—I might have waited too long and it (or the moment) would be gone. Aha! Figuring that out was key. So, what I’ve started to do is take a few (or more) shots before that all too critical moment so that I know I have it. I have something; even if it’s not perfect, I have it. Once I’ve taken a photo or two, the pressure is off, and I can relax and wait.

When using the iPhone (and it’s time to get a shot like this), it’s probably best to let the camera autofocus (you’ll know if that’s the case because you’ve already taken a few shots, remember?) Also, you’d better be taking advantage of Burst Mode—I use it all the time. Any iPhone above the 5 will take ten shots per second and will continue to fire as long as you press (and hold) the shutter button. Then, all you have to do is go through the images and pick your favorite.

I hope this makes your waiting a little easier and if you use the burst mode, you won’t miss a thing.

Have fun!

Kalebra

Black and White, Featured, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day

I want to be just like the woman at the coffee shop when I grow up.

May 12, 2018

When I was around 20 years old and playing in a band full time, I would stop by the coffee and donut shop, near my apartment, after the gig. You’d always find me and several other regulars there, night after night, winding down from our “shifts” with coffee and a donut.

Or was that the reason we were there?

I knew that, for me, it was more about visiting with the woman behind the counter than it was for any coffee or donut — but oh the donut! The reason it was so good was that she knew I liked the maple glazed kind so, when she saw me coming in, she would take one and drizzle extra maple on it just for me. She’d greet me with a smile and a hug and tell me how happy she was to see me and then she’d always ask how the gig went? 

But here’s the best part.

She listened (really listened) to what I had to tell her. She’d laugh and smile her beautiful smile — I mean, who wouldn’t want that coffee and donut?! She made sure I knew I was special and she knew how special she was to me. Then one night, many nights into this coffee shop routine, I looked around the room and saw on the faces of others what I felt inside — welcomed and cared for — I mattered. If to no one else, I mattered to her and so did they. 

I listened to her conversations with them, as much as I listened to my own with her — this woman — this wise and beautiful woman was in her way…well, healing people from the inside out. Over the years I watched from across the room as laughter erupted, tears fell, and anger subsided. I don’t know what all the stories were about, but I do know they were made better by her. 

One person — one beautiful, wise, kind and caring woman — intently listening to people and making a difference in their lives.  What a gift! Making people feel…no, scratch that, making people understand that they matter and sometimes (by my observations) for the first time. I felt privileged to watch it happen. 

I was reminded of those times as I watched my mother from across the room, listening to my Yittle, just as beautiful as she was all those years ago in the coffee shop. Listening in that special way that she has always listened, and as I saw the look on my little girl’s face (a look I have seen on so many faces before), I felt privileged all over again. Privileged and grateful that my children have this beautiful woman in their lives to listen and listen well. 

Mom, in case I haven’t told you lately, you pour the best cup of coffee — ever. When I grow up, I want to be just…like…you.

Happy Mother’s Day — I love you.

 

I wrote this a few years ago, and it has now become a tradition to share it every year. To all the mothers — I hope your day is special and Happy Mother’s Day!  💐💝🌺

 

 

 

Personal Side Interviews

The Personal Side of Serge Ramelli

May 9, 2018

Photographer Serge Ramelli sees art in the world around him. Being an artist and having creativity is all about putting beauty out in the world – with many different ways of how to express it. Serge himself expresses art both through his photography as well as through acting and filmmaking. It was fascinating to hear the stories of how he got started, of his supportive family, and the dreams he’s still pursuing. His ambition is inspiring and motivating — I hope you’ll make time to watch the entire interview.

Merci beaucoup, Serge!

Kalebra

Featured, Nature

A Good Dawn

May 7, 2018

“Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees, the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern.” – Oscar Wilde

Happy Monday morning, everyone. 🌻

Black and White, Featured, iPhone

Struggling with your photography storytelling?

April 28, 2018

“We ate well and cheaply and we drank well and cheaply and we slept well and warm together and loved each other.”
– Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Pick up a good book.

It’s a fairly easy answer, but one I believe could make a world of difference to so many photographers struggling with their creativity. Think about it—if photography is storytelling, then you need to supply your imagination with many stories (tucked away in your sub-conscience) so that when the time comes to be creative, you have something to draw from. It is impossible for most of us to have lived enough really good stories, and even if we have lived some really good ones, even great ones, we only have our one lifetime to collect them. On top of that, how much of that life have we lived before becoming a photographer? However, if we read great literature, novels, and poems we can turn all those stories into a deep source for our own creativity. It’s similar to technically knowing how to operate your camera—you learned it well so that you don’t have to think about how to use it when you need or want to use it. In that same way, you will draw on the stories you have read (learned) when you go on to tell your photography stories. At the very least, it won’t hurt you, and you’ll have read some great books.

I wish you all the creative life you seek and I hope this helps some of you get a little closer. Have a great weekend everyone!

Kalebra