Year 2 of Yes 2 Yoga

Donna Duffy, owner of  the Edison Square Yes 2 Yoga Studio,  celebrated the beginning of her yoga studio’s second year with free yoga classes, giveaways and sale merchandise. The original date in early January was postponed due to snow in Charlotte, but the following weekend was mild and perfect for hosting the event. I photographed the Grand Opening in January 2016 and was asked to photograph the 2017 happening.


Donna Duffy

At the original Grand Opening, I used both flash and natural light. I found I preferred the natural light images, so didn’t use a flash at all this time around. It was an overcast day and even with windows in the studio, I was still looking for more light. During the classes the lights are dimmed. So, I  cranked up the ISO and used one of my fast lenses. The majority of the photos were taken at ISO 640, but I used ISO settings of 400-1250 throughout the morning. I ran the files through Nik Define to reduce any noise.

I used two lenses – a nifty 50 (50mm, f/1.4) and a 24-105mm, f/4, and handheld the camera for most of the images. The tripod came in handy for group photos and interior shots of the studio. Donna added additional space to the studio during the first year, so I was sure to photograph the new areas.



I let the yoga students know  I would be photographing during the classes. A few let me know they would not like their picture taken, so of course I honored their request. I enjoyed quietly walking around the room during class, as well as the waiting area, looking for creative compositions.




I gave Donna a total of 60 images.





Some of the photos I took at last year’s Grand Opening were used in a neighborhood publication. Donna has copies of the booklet in the waiting area.


Thank you Donna for giving me the opportunity to once again document your important event. I wish you continued success!


Mr. & Mrs. Brad Riley

I attended the wedding of Bradley Steven Riley to Kyla Jo on August 27th. It’s the date that will always be in their hearts as the day they began the next chapter in their lives. I’m so happy for them, and wish them all the joy 32 years of marriage has brought me.

I brought my Olympus mirror-less camera, instead of the Canon 6D, to grab a few shots. It’s easier to slip the smaller camera in my purse when not in use. I knew the ceremony and reception were to be held outdoors beginning at 5 pm, so lighting would be good.

Brad became a friend of my son’s when they were in elementary school. Brad was a great kid back then and will make a great husband and provider. Brad’s parents, Susan & Steve, became our friends many years ago.


Susan & Steve Riley

Although one of the reasons I brought my camera was to practice people pictures, I couldn’t help but take some photos of a few of the other elements at the wedding.


Flowers at the ceremony


Program/Personal fan


Table seating for the guests


Jack & Lorraine – Table 12

My son, Cooper, and his girlfriend, Jillian, attended. The 17mm lens on my Olympus is not my favorite portrait lens, but I worked with what I had. I paid attention to where the light was even, and where it fell nicely on the subject’s face – something I have learned by practicing. I moved my subjects into good light.





It took my extroverted husband no time at all to begin mingling at the reception. Here he is talking to Pastor Art Beyer, the same Pastor who baptized Brad as a child.


Jack and Pastor Art Beyer

Pastor Beyer is a really personable guy!


Pastor Art Beyer

This guest needs a refill!



I chose a few children as my subjects to photograph at the reception. They were all adooooorable in their dress-up clothes. This little guy has eyes that matched his shirt.


Cuteness overload

The flower girl didn’t want her picture taken and kept running in circles. I finally caught one of her in focus.


Flower girl

The youngest guest at the wedding was 10-week-old baby Riley (named after her mother’s maiden name).



And finally…the guests of honor as they prepared to be introduced just before dinner.


Brad & Kyla

A gathering of family & friends, a beautiful ceremony and reception, and two hearts joined as one. All because two people fell in love.




Matt Groves married Katie Rogers this past weekend. Fun wedding! So glad to be part of the celebration!

I brought along my Olympus M10. It’s lightweight and easy to grab & go. I also didn’t want to look like the professional wedding photographer, so I used a smaller camera. Drawbacks, however, are that the Olympus doesn’t produce the quality images of my Canon 6D, and it doesn’t do an excellent job at high ISOs in low light conditions. I did my best with the camera I had with me, and used Nik Define to clean up some of the noise.

The Groves family are long time friends we met in GA when we all lived in the same neighborhood. I have fond memories of our time together. Matt Groves is one of my son’s best friends. His other best friend is Matt’s identical twin brother, Nate. The three met when my son, Trevor, was 6-years-old and they were as thick as thieves during our 7-year-stay in GA.


From left to right: Matt, Trevor, Nate


Matt was in Trevor’s wedding 3 1/2 years ago. Trevor was honored to be in Matt’s wedding.


From left to right: Nate, Trevor, Matt

The ceremony took place at the city’s old courthouse. It was scheduled to be outdoors, but inclement weather brought it inside.

After the ceremony, guests gathered on the first floor for appetizers and beverages. It was great mingling with the extended Groves family and my immediate family.

There were a few laughs……actually, many laughs.

We enjoyed dinner, more drinks and dessert. I caught Katie as she was moving from table to table after dinner.


Mrs. Katie Groves



N8 is on the left, M@ is on the right

You can’t beat fun in a photo booth – What a hoot!


Toby, Deb, Otto, Cathy & Bill


Ed joined the group




Trevor & Cooper


TREVOR & cooper

More silliness…..


Jack & I

Hurry, grab different props! The automatic camera is about to take another photo!


The one with the turkey on his head is Jack, the other one is me.

Congratulations Katie & Matt! #gonegroves





Steve McCurry Exhibit

Afghan Girl is a 1984 portrait by journalist Steve McCurry which appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. It is one of the most recognized photographs in the world, and has been equated with Leonardo da Vinvi’s  painting of the Mona Lisa. I was thrilled when I learned an exhibit of Steve McCurry’s work will be displayed at the Hickory Museum of Art, just an hour from my home, from September 12, 2015 through May 8, 2016. My first thought was, I must see the image of Afghan Girl in person. I brought my camera along not knowing if I would be allowed to take photos in the art gallery. Upon arrival, I was told I could photograph Steve McCurry’s images only if a person was present in my images. Oh, I can do that!

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s Afghan Girl!

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I had just my camera body and one lens with me – my favorite 100mm fixed focal length lens. I asked my husband to sit on the bench and the photo above was taken from a 2nd floor vantage point. This photo recently won me a red ribbon in a Charlotte Camera Club competition. Thanks Steve for the awesome subject!

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How can you not stop and admire Afghan Gril? Thank you Sharbat Gula for kindly allowing Steve McCurry to take your photo many years ago.

This is one of favorite Steve McCurry images (below). So intense. So awesome.


I like this image (below) with it’s great blue/yellow color and unusual location of the children. So well done. Thanks to my friend, Mary (with her blue shirt and golden hair), for standing in, so that I could take this picture.


Steve McCurry, you rock!







Yes to Yes 2 Yoga

Donna Duffy, owner of the Edison Square Yes 2 Yoga Studio, asked me to take photos of the Grand Opening. Yes! This would be a wonderful opportunity to photograph people. I enjoyed mingling with the yoga instructors and working in the beautiful new studio! I was able to photograph those participating in the free classes that morning.

There’s so much natural light in the studio.IMG_4121IMG_4126

I switched between using a flash and no flash and used a 24-105mm lens. Here are a few images using flash. Often seen when using flash, the background is dark in some cases and there are a few shadows. The flash did freeze the action though.


I definitely like the images taken without flash better. I had the camera on a tripod and fortunately Yoga isn’t a fast moving activity. I was able to use burst mode and get some good images using a shutter speed anywhere from 1/6 sec. to 0.6 sec.IMG_4245IMG_4226

The blurred feet and hands in these next two images show movement. I like that. I didn’t like the images that showed blurred faces though.IMG_4320IMG_4302

This image is just plain fun!IMG_4294

As Bert and John Jacobs, founders of Life is Good, would say, “Do what you love. Love what you do.” Some people love yoga. I love photography. Life is good.

Every Woman Can Be…A Beautiful Subject

I brought my Canon 6D, 100mm lens, flash and flash bracket to an Every Woman Can Be meeting as a always do. I took the usual candid shots of two or more ladies laughing, sipping coffee and conversing with one another. I also took head shots of individuals and those were the ones I like best. The first three images below are candid shots. The women didn’t know I was taking a photo (or they acted like they didn’t know). For all of the photos I took that afternoon, I didn’t adjust the flash compensation, but rather changed the camera settings to add or subtract light. Camera settings for the first three photos were 1/125 sec., f/2.8 to 3.5, and ISO 250.

It’s always a challenge to get an uncluttered background with many ladies moving about, servers coming and going, and all the plates, glasses and decorations on the tables. In addition, the room has dark wood and mirrors on the walls which cause a refection when using flash. Although there’s a lot of stuff in the background in the photo below, the fact that the stuff is blurred and that it’s quite monotone makes for a pleasing image. The subject stands out from the background.


The harsh shadow under this woman’s chin shows that the light from the flash was coming from above her. I’m okay with the shadow in this situation. Her face is well lit in this candid shot of a her listening to the opening presentation.

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I was looking for different angles and found one by standing on a chair. Cool hair, huh? Again a shadow under the chin.


As seen in the images above, the eyes are often not looking at the camera in my candid shots. In addition, many times the subject is caught with eyes closed, an unusual expression on her face because she’s in conversation, or a hand waving in front of her face. I’ve deleted those files.

The next three images are more portrait style. Each person knew I was taking her picture. I like this style of photography better and like the results better. Camera settings were 1/180 sec., f/2.8 to 3.5, and ISO 100.

I took several candid shots of this pretty lady while she was listening to the presenter, and wasn’t happy with just getting her profile. She noticed I was photographing her, turned toward me and struck a pose.

IMG_3754 less warmth

I tried several times to get a good photo of this woman, but kept getting the paneled walls as a background, and her hair color blended in. I finally stood on a chair and asked her to look up at me. The unique angle worked.

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Here’s another portrait achieved by giving a little direction. “Hey, can you keep your body facing that way, but turn your head toward me?”

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I’m glad I had the opportunity to photograph during the luncheon.

Practice makes better.



Fun @ the Run

The Kiawah Island Marathon was a great opportunity to photograph people. There were plenty of runners, spectators and volunteers. I was a cheerleader for my husband and a group of friends from Charlotte who were either running the half or full marathon. Unlike most marathons, this one allows bicycles on the course. Perfect for me. I’m a biker, not a runner, and my camera bag with my Olympus M-10 fit perfectly in the basket of the rental  bike.

It’s fairly easy to take photos of people I know. They all realize I enjoy photography, so many expect to see me with a camera.


Sara & Hazel

Friends always want a group shot. This one looks like a snapshot, but I thought I’d include it because these friends will be happy to see the photo posted here.


Race ready

Cute kids. I kinda know them. They don’t know me. Maddie & Owen.

Oh, I just had to stop and and take a picture of this girl. That hair is awesome! Compliment a person and she has no problem being photographed. There’s harsh light on the right side of her face, but I was just getting a grab-n-go shot. The group I was with was headed to the start of the race and I didn’t want to lose them.


The national anthem is a good time to get solemn photos. People are caught up in the moment.


And they’re off! I didn’t even try to stop motion. Sports photography is a whole nother thing.


My biking buddies! They were patient when I hopped off my bike several times during the marathon to take pictures.


Ali & Di

I started out by taking a photo of one of the volunteers near the paper cups at a water station. We had a brief conversation about how I was just taking pictures for fun, and she lost interest in standing there and went by the other volunteers. Well, shoot. I didn’t get a good photo of her. But what if I highlight the cups by putting them in the foreground….and have the volunteers blurred in the background….


This spectator wasn’t going anywhere until her better half crossed the finish line. I think she thought I was photographing the runners as they finished the race. I was also using a telephoto lens, so I wasn’t right up in her face.


Hands holding things. Ear buds before the race and a Bud Light after.

Sitting around with friends after the half marathoners finished and waiting for the marathoners to finish was a good chance to snap this photo of Mona. Still smiling after running 13.1 miles!


Not everyone is a runner.


I would have to agree with this t-shirt. Running sucks. Photography doesn’t.