Skatepark: Bird’s Eye View – Jenna Martin Fine Art Photographer

This is one of those photos that happened all at once. I had made up my mind to shoot another photo this night, but as soon as I drove past the skatepark I completely changed gears (get it…nice). I decided I wanted to do something completely different. So I went home, changed, and headed back down to the local skatepark and hoped there were still people there.

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There were. There were plenty of people there. The 90 degree day had slowly cooled off to the low 80’s, meaning it was just about perfect weather for a little time-killing.

Believe it or not, this was actually one of my easier photos to take. After I did the floating part, I just sat back and relaxed while I took plenty of photos of everyone else doing their tricks. Of course no shoot is complete without just a little bit of goofing around…

And then here are a few “extra” photos ūüôā

Not a bad night if you ask me :).

In the end, this was the final photo. It was awesome getting to hang out with everyone, and thanks to all the people that let me photograph them doing awesome tricks!

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Runaway Bride – Jenna Martin Fine Art Photographer

I’d actually been waiting for a cloudy day for this picture, but since the suitcases are on loan I decided last night was as good of circumstances as I was going to get, and in reality, I kind of like the way it turned out with the setting sun in the background.

I have to say, while some photographers plan their shoots to the millimeter, I tend to be more of a free spirit. I have a general idea of what I want the photo to look like in my head, but until I’m on location I never really set anything into motion. I guess you could say it all kind of comes to me in the moment. Sound cheesy? Probably, but I can’t quite think of a better way to explain it.

For this photo, I used suitcases as my prop. I set my camera up in the direction I wanted then began photographing myself until I got an image I was happy with. Fortunately (since I was quickly losing light) I hit a decent pose rather quickly, which meant the rest of the night was spent positioning my props the way I wanted them. Besides the¬†obvious¬†stares from cars passing by (no doubt wondering who the crazy lady dressed in white is and why she is standing on the side of the highway throwing suitcases into the air), the shoot went pretty quick. I snapped this photo right in the middle of the fiasco while taking a much needed break (it’s hard work throwing suitcases around!).

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The editing, however, is not a fast process. It’s now 4:50 am and I’m just getting around to finishing up the blog post. Here’s a little peak of my morning as the editing goes along:


While I say I have about 8 or 9 layers going in the video, the final photo ended up as a composition of 32 layers, then a few extra for effect. It all came together for this final product:

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In the end, I’m actually pretty happy with it! Click here if you’d like to see the first of the “Dream” collection, and don’t forget to visit my website or Facebook page for more!

http://www.jennamartinphotography.com

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Can I Get a Hottub?! – Jenna Martin Fine Art Photographer

On my first outing with my underwater camera housing, I had no idea where to go. I knew the water had to be semi-clear, but I had no idea just¬†how¬†clear. Could there be a little murkiness? Would I maybe actually¬†like¬†the murkiness? How much was too much to where it would distort the image? I had no idea. So the first place I went was to Lake Elmo, a spot right here in Billings. Granted, it’s known as a giant mud puddle to locals, but I needed to start somewhere. I recruited my boyfriend’s mom, Eddy, to come hold the camera while I attempt to model underwater.

Turns out, Lake Elmo was not the best place to start. The water was so murky I couldn’t see anything more than 6 inches in front of my camera. One hour of work down, no results. Next location.

Spot #2 was the river. I figured with moving water, the fine muck and mud would be washed downstream and the water would be fairly clear. I was even curious to see what the motion would look like. But alas, it was still too murky. I could see a vague blur of color where the subject was, but there still wasn’t anything I could possibly edit. I’m still in search of a deeper part of the river where the dust and mud can settle, but for now I needed another option.

I’d already taken pictures at the pool, but everything had that blue tint. I thought it was just the background of the pool itself, so I brought a variety of backgrounds. As it turns out, the blue tint is because of the chlorine. It can taken out in post, but it’s definitely quite the process. I needed an unchlorinated spot.

Eddy explained that we could try her hottub. It was tiny, but it was unchlorinated. Sure we were going on 3 hours of wasted time and I was unsure of whether or not I could even get a photo in a tiny space, but we¬†had¬†to try. So I put a wide angle lens on my camera, submerged myself in barely 1′ of water and clicked away. And these were a few of the results :).

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Feel free to click here if you’d like to learn a little more about how I made my underwater camera housing :).

http://www.jennamartinphotography.com

Daydreamer At Heart – Jenna Martin Fine Art Photographer

In all reality, I shot this photo because I wanted an excuse to wear my new white dress :).

I got it for $12 at Goodwill and I’m pretty sure it was used as a wedding dress at some point. Thing is though, it’s HUGE on me, so unless I cinch it with a belt and wear a few inches of footwear, it’s barely manageable to walk in. All that extra fabric really helps when it comes to taking a floating photograph though.

The funny thing is, this photo is nothing like how I imagined it would be. I actually arrived at the idea that I wanted to be floating away on an umbrella, very Mary Poppins-ish. Through editing though, I decided the umbrella was really just getting in the way. I didn’t want to appear that I was using the umbrella as a crutch, I wanted to be floating on my own. So hence, the umbrella got cut.

This was also done in a field close to my house and since it was taken around 5:00 am, I didn’t have to worry about getting in trouble for trespassing…which, um…I totally wasn’t.

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Building Underwater Camera Housing – Jenna Martin Fine Art Photographer

When I first started really getting into photography, the thought of underwater photos intrigued me. How amazing it would be to capture images underwater,”¬†I thought to myself. So I started researching exactly how one might go about putting their camera underwater, because lets be honest, this setup surely wasn’t going to do the trick (and yes, that’s one of my many beautiful cats lounging on my countertop).

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But upon typing in my search inquiry, my heart sank. It looked as though there were two options: 1.) A camera bag and 2.) A housing facility. The camera bag, priced at the low end of the spectrum (roughly $100-$150), seemed to better fit my budget, but after reading the horrible reviews every bag received (“Hugely susceptible to human error”, “Leaked the first time I tried it in my bathtub”, “Leaks if placed lower than 1′ of water”, “Leaks because it’s Tuesday” ) I decided against it. I needed something substantial that put one of my most valuable possessions in as little of harm’s way as possible.

So next I took a look at housings.

For a 5D Mark II, underwater housing starts at roughly $1500 and goes up from there.¬†$1500?¬†I was nowhere¬†near¬†being able to afford $1500! I slammed my computer shut and thought to myself, “It’s okay. I just need to save up some money before I can start taking underwater photos. I can live with that.”

Except I couldn’t live with that. The thought burrowed into the back of my brain and wouldn’t leave. “Does this mean only people with $1500 lying around should be able to take underwater photos?”¬†The more I was told I couldn’t take the pictures without proper equipment, the more I became obsessed with it. There just had to be a way…”

And that way, I decided, was to make my own housing. I figured I could devise a structure that would allow me to put my camera inside, and I could use an automatic shutter release to take the photos from the outside. As long as all my settings were adjusted before I put the camera underwater…it¬†was¬†possible. So I recruited the help of my boyfriend’s step-dad, Scott, and we started to build.

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The first prototype was part of an insulated cooler. I needed to have a removable lid so I could take my camera in and out. I figured we’d cut the bottom out, replace it with Plexiglas and seal any spots where water could get in. Seemed simple enough, right?

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Not even close. As soon as I reached a depth over 3′ deep the Plexiglas popped off the bottom like a dandelion head. Apparently I had completely underestimated the amount of water pressure I’d be dealing with here…

Some adjustments had to be made. Instead of sealing the Plexiglas on the inside of the container, we sealed it on the outside. By pushing the small disc against the contraption to which it was already attached, the water pressure was working with me instead of against me. There were still some issues with the lid leaking (as per the water-soaked dive weights inside), so I thought an extra dose of duct tape might do the trick for now. 

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How wrong could I be. The bottom seemed solid, but water was still rushing in from the top. Since I couldn’t find an O-ring large enough to fit inside, I tried everything else: thread tape, weather stripping, plenty of silicone and countless other options. Sealing from the inside certainly wasn’t going to do the trick.

So we opted for an outside option instead. We tried a variety of rubber options with a combination of pipe clamps. We even tried an old bike tire, but it turned out that it wasn’t even remotely waterproof (who would’ve thought?).

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Plus, water was slowly leaking in through the Plexiglas window. Somehow, it was coming in through the lid, seeping down through the insulation and coming back out through the bottom. I needed to start from scratch.

Instead of starting with something already built, I decided to design something myself. When I met with Scott that night, he showed me some of the designs he had drawn up and they ended up being almost identical to what I was thinking in my head. Since my camera measured a little more than 6″ across, I knew that would be my rough estimate of a sizing option.

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The available pipe options I had locally went from 6″ to 8.5″. We took a chunk of 8.5″ pipe, a chunk of coupling and sanded some Plexiglass to¬†barely¬†fit into the rim of the coupling. We sealed it, placed the pipe on top, sealed it with AVS glue and used a rubber pipe cap and pipe clamp as the lid. This¬†had¬†to work. It was just too pretty not to!

Off to the pool I went (thanks to the Comfort Inn for constantly letting me use their pool over the last few months!) hoping this would be the one.

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And the result?

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It worked! It worked, it worked, IT WORKED! Thanks Scott for all your help, and be sure to click here if you want to see my first round of underwater photos :)!

Now to make a list of all the things I can put underwater…

http://www.jennamartinphotography.com

Champagne, Pups and a Fishing Pole – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

When Rachael first contacted me about taking her family’s photos, I could tell right away that we would get along. She was easy-going, interesting and fun…and I got all of that from her¬†email.¬†

She told me about her family. How close they are and how they’ve¬†never¬†gotten family photos. When I asked how they would describe a perfect day together, she responded with, “Float the river with the dogs on the raft¬†while dad fishes off the end and mom and I make chitter chatter and crack jokes about dad’s fishing.” So instead of asking the all to meet me somewhere downtown, I suggested we go fishing. We can hike back in the mountains somewhere, toss out a line, run around with the dogs a bit and I’ll take photos of them in their natural habitat.

I sent the email and waited. “Please say yes,”¬†I thought.¬†“This would be so much fun!”¬†Sure enough, she wrote back and said her parents were all for it! So on the day of the photoshoot, I drove the 60ish miles to Red Lodge, MT, where I met up with Rachael, Dave, Deb, Griffin (the Jack Russel Terrier) and Sadie (the German Shorthair). We drove past the Red Lodge campgrounds to an undisclosed location, tossed out a line, let the dogs run around and even drank a little champagne (here’s to finally having family photos)!

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Love and Mountains – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

I had the honor of photographing Justin and Katrina a few months ago during my paint fight engagement session. So for their actual engagement session, we decided to do something that didn’t involve them ending up with paint all over each other. When they asked if I would be willing to travel to Red Lodge, I instantly said yes; Red Lodge is one of my favorite places! Not to mention the fact that the Beartooth Pass is now open, and it’s rated as one of the top scenic drives in the¬†country.¬†How could I say no?

Plus, add on the fact that these two are about as laid back as you can possibly be, and I knew it would end up being an awesome time. It was. Climbing around like a hyper mountain goat with a camera, I was definitely in my element. We even ended up making it all the way to the top of Beartooth Pass, despite avid complaints from the car. Oh well, I think it was worth it :).

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Out for a Walk in Old Town – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

When I first arrived in San Diego, I made my way straight to the place I was staying. I remember passing through Old Town, but in my confused exhaustion I didn’t remember a thing about it. After I arrived at my destination, however, it seemed like I couldn’t stop hearing about it. I overheard a group of people in a sandwich shop talking about a festival of some kind taking place in Old Town over the weekend, then I heard something on the radio, then someone else mentioned it on the beach in La Jolla. It almost seemed like a sign. So when Sabrina and Joe asked if I could meet them in Old Town for their engagement shoot, I was almost relieved; it would save me a trip to explore the place myself!

And it turns out, Old Town was an adorable spot for a shoot, especially when you’ve got an adorable couple as your subject. We wandered through the buildings and shops, and I got to see firsthand how sweet these two were together. They held hands constantly, and as you can tell it’s a rare shot that I got the two of them apart ;). Spending the evening with them was the perfect way to round out my trip to California.

Before I accidentally took a side route Tijuana, that is…but that’s another story ;).

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Lots of Laughs in La Jolla – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

My first time in La Jolla was definitely a shock – in as much of relaxed, comfortable way that a “shock” can be. I was staying at a house about 6 miles from La Jolla, and my friend let me use their bicycle for transportation. So I made sure to leave early, and pedaled the 6 miles with my backpack of gear on my back, weaving in and out of neighborhoods looking out over the coast. I arrived in La Jolla a little earlier than expected, and spent some time talking to the swimmers who come to cover every morning to swim to the pier. As an avid swimmer myself (I’ll be heading to the pool just as soon as I finish this blog post), I could easily see myself here every morning if I ever decide to move to California.

Shortly after my new swimmer friend left, I met Denise and Brad, and in all honesty, I was a bit blown away. It only takes about 8 seconds to see why these two are getting married: ¬†they’re perfect for each other. They finish each other’s sentences, they laugh at each other’s jokes before they’re even said out loud and they literally can’t seem to get enough of each other. Shooting their engagement session was a breeze; literally. We spent the morning exploring the beautiful rocky beaches of La Jolla, CA. Brad and Denise I can only imagine how much fun your wedding will be, and I’m sure your marriage will be a long and happy one!

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Beauty and the Beach – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

I had only been in San Diego a few minutes before I realized how much I already loved this city. Traffic consisted mostly of people riding bikes and carrying their surfboards under one arm. The restaurants had sand on the floors and most of the patrons wore little more than a swimsuit. Granted the friend I was staying with lived¬†right¬†on the beach, but I didn’t care. I’d already classified San Diego as one of my favorite stops yet.

About an hour after I arrived in town, I met Angel and Bryan on the beach walkway and we headed straight to the water. It soon became apparent just how smitten these two were. They kissed before I ever had to ask, they laughed while I changed angles and settings, and in general they set the bar for photoshoots in San Diego extremely high. Spending an evening at a gorgeous beach photographing two awesome people seemed a little surreal. At one point,¬†I actually remember looking down and staring at my bare feet in the water. I could hear waves hitting the shore and Angel and Bryan laughing in the background. I was standing in the ocean, photographing two people in love. “Holy #$%!,” I thought. “This is my job.”¬†

Man, I really do love what I do. Angel and Bryan, thanks so much for sharing this experience with me!

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