When Autumn and Your Lens Meet

"Autumn colors"

Autumn hues create a wonderful scene across north Georgia, USA

It surely is the favorite time of year for many. Those long hot, humid summer days wane as Fall turns its page on the calendar. The refreshing drier air moves in and all is so much more comfortable for man and beast. As a professional photographer, the season offers so much more than dry air and clearer skies. With the changing colors and shorter days magic or “golden hour” is that much more intense. I am referring to those two times of the day when the sun is either low in the morning sky or late in the afternoon as it approaches the western horizon. The shadows are long and the golden hues of light are the best for photography of nature, portraits (with diffusion) or anything your mind’s eye can imagine. When you are ready for it, the light becomes magic!

Using the Light Nature Gives Us     

"golden hour" "Atlanta GA"

A suburb of Atlanta, GA Northlake offers some excellent golden hour photo opportunities

The best light comes, no doubt, from our nearest star, our sun. The photo above was taken in the morning as the long shadows stretched to the northwest. Notice the back-lit leaves. The lower sun angle of the morning is accentuating those yellow and gold hues. Only nature can provide such a colorful display. I was particularly happy with the dark, silhouette-like tree trunks in the shot as they added that “Halloweeny” edge to the image. As I recall, I shot this image using my cell phone that morning and posted it onto my insta-gram page. Many of my followers were amazed at the colors and their vibrancy! The blurriness at the edges I added using an app and it creates that dreamy soft effect.

"Magic Hour" "Northlake Atlanta GA"

Sunlit Maple trees reflecting on Northlake. Atlanta, GA

Reflections from Northlake add an impressionistic quality to this photo, taken at magic hour.  When using the natural light of the setting sun do your best to notice what is around you. If you have a body of water, use it! The  image at right was taken in late afternoon with the sun illuminating the colorful trees and the stillness of the water blurred that color in the reflection! Amazing! Notice that I didn’t include much sky in the frame. “How come?”, you may be asking. Well, look at it. It was milky with rather unimpressive high clouds so I just didn’t include much it for that reason. When composing your shots-study what is and is not in frame before committing to hitting that shutter.

"Acer palmatum" "Japanese maple"

Colorful Japanese maple (Acer Palmatum) leaves in mid-day shade, Atlanta, GA

A great way to imitate magic hour is to fudge it a little with the sunlight. What does that mean? Well, consider taking a shot like this one closer to the middle of the day. This one, to the left,  was taken around 1:30 in the afternoon with only a slight bit of sunlight peeking through the right side of the frame. The reflective nature of the Japanese Maple leaves gives a less vibrant image but one worthy of shooting for the golden hues of autumn. Adding more interest, I purposely put the center of focus off-center and to the left. Did your eye go directly there?

Now, is there any post processing involved in shooting at magic hour?   Yes, if you so choose. If you choose to, be careful not to overdo it. It is pretty easy to get carried away. Be aware of what your colors look like as you shoot them. See what is there and if you need to adjust them a little, feel free. It is always best to let nature provide the show and leave it at that. So go out and capture some of your best Autumn images in the northern hemisphere this Fall. Share those images and lets keep the conversation going. If you have any questions of comments feel free to leave them here-we read every one of them!

"Photographer Federico Vasquez"

Federico Vasquez shooting with Canon 60D at Northlake, Atlanta, GA

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The Power of the Web and Your Business

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     So, I went to my monthly networking meeting the other week.  We met at a local watering hole in Atlanta and I met someone there who introduced me to a new idea. You know how I love a new idea. This gentleman told me about this broadcasting outlet online called Business Radio X. He said it is a way to market your business in an interview type format with several other local business owners. I though,”great idea, how do I get in on it?

   It really wasn’t that difficult-a week later we were in the interview and it was pretty easy. Now for the fun part…it is free! Apparently, as is done in terrestrial radio, the sessions are sponsored but the time does not cost the participants at all. I highly suggest you partake in this for your business to get the word out as to what you do and how your business fits into the scheme of your locale. When your session is finished they put together a great piece of audio of the session and post it onto their website for you to grab and post wherever you feel it would best be heard.  They even offer you a list of potential uses for it which makes thinking of ways less time consuming!

Answering one of the interviewers questions on DeKalb Business Radio X

Answering one of the interviewers questions on DeKalb Business Radio X

I have this link for you to hear a portion of the interview. Between two other businesses and myself it only took about a half hour to record it. Are these only in Atlanta? No. they are all over the nation! If you are interested in more about it go here: Business Radio X  If you want to become a broadcaster with them, they offer franchises too! They supply the equipment and you supply the space. It really is a great business opportunity unto itself if you have the drive and the interviewing skill.

As a media creative, I found the experience to be enjoyable plus I was able to see how other businesses get out to promote themselves. It was fun too to meet them. We all live and work in the area and before this didn’t know of one another…just another great way to network!

Our intimate setting for the interviews

Our intimate setting for the interviews

So, if you’re looking for a new and fun way to promote YOUR business, consider Business Radio X, it could open a few doors for your success!


Time to Get Serious About the VOBusiness

Interview with voice over talent Ashley Sahler(Sailor)

  With all the interest in the voice over business as of late, it looks as though the floodgates have burst open with so many more people entering it.    We suppose it would be in the interest of those folks to help them along their journey with regards to getting their goals organized and achieved. What better way to do that than to bring it to video? Bluberry Productions,LLC is proud to bring to you “VO Business“. Each voice over talent is interviewed with answers to questions like, “How did you begin in the voice over business?” and “Are you currently training with anyone?” We are doing all this for our  benefit too in that we learn so much by working with every participant, at the same time giving them a little more exposure!

     With our inaugural talent, Ashley Sahler from Smyrna, GA, we had a relaxed time getting to know her specialty-animation. A graduate of SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, in Atlanta, Ashley is also familiar with sound design. Her credits include recording sound for various student projects after her time in college.  Ashley has voiced various animated projects, video games, app games, and as well commercials. She trained with well-known voice actors in the industry, such as Don Morrow, Crispin Freeman, Pat Fraley and Marc Cashman. She is amazing to hear. Her voices range from little boy to stern mother in scolding mode! Go to her website to hear for yourself-she really has a knack for this stuff!

Animation VO talent Ashley Sahler

Animation VO talent Ashley Sahler

                                            

     Ashley has also done a bit of acting during her young career. She says that one of the most valuable contributors to her acting prowess is the art of improv. Improv, she says, can free you to be other characters and many characters as it helps you get in touch with the emotions of those characters for easy access. Another element that is vital to her career success is persistence. To not give up may sound easy but with the word “no” as part of her everyday life, she has learned to hear. “no, not yet.”

     With so many more interviews to do in the not-too-distant future we hope Ashley will grant us more as her career progresses. We look forward to following Ashley for years to come-we’ll gladly share her success with you! Our first episode will be posted on our Vimeo page the week of June 15. We hope you enjoy the series and if you would like to see yourself featured and are an Atlanta VO talent-let us know by contacting us on our website.

Felesha Love, MBA

Felesha Love, MBA

    Being Present Can Avail You to So Much

     As Bluberry Productions races through another year, we are taking time to reflect on what blessings have come our way. In the few past months we have experienced milestones, not huge but still noteworthy for which we may be grateful. The lady pictured above, for example. Meet Felesha. She came to us through a mutual employer at the end of last year and brought along her sunny disposition and infectious sense of humor. Both of those proved too much for us to resist! Working with Felesha not only inspires but creates a tensionless environment so beneficial for enjoying what we do.

     Being present is part of her message. Her business, thrives on being present and available to her clients so they can better their lives with her coaching and her knowledge of yoga. Felesha Love, an appropriate last name I might add, gives so much in her work. It shows in her spirit, attitude and approach to her methods. A little more about Felesha from her website, “In in the late 90’s, Felesha was recognized on state and local levels for her contributions to community and fitness. Numerous public school teachers and administrators from Atlanta and surrounding counties presented awards of acknowledgment for her efforts to promote healthy lifestyles for youth K-12. In addition, she received “The Phoenix Award” from former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and the Lieutenant Colonel, Aide-De-Camp, Governor’s award from former Governor Zell Miller. Since 2006, Felesha has served as a faculty member at Spelman College where she created the curricula for Step Aerobics, Aqua Aerobics, Beginning Yoga and Intermediate Yoga courses. Find out why her classes are the most sought after courses in Atlanta. Book Felesha Love for your next workshop, seminar or training to deliver empowering education.” Now, if that isn’t accomplishment, we don’t know the meaning of the word!  Being present to the good life brings is our goal, as it should be everyone’s. Be open to everything but be selective in keeping those great relationships, both long and short-term, which offer mutual benefit.

     When some brief time had passed, Felesha knew we did photography and loved our work. She asked if we would like to photograph her, we jumped at that opportunity and here we are! Mutually benefiting one another both personally and professionally. For what more can we ask? Not much, we are happy to say!  Thank you to Felesha Love and her trust, understanding and giving nature!

     Oh, by the way…the photo shoot went really well!

Left to right-Charlie Sill, Felesha Love, Federico Vasquez

Left to right-Charlie Sill, Felesha Love, Federico Vasquez

My Dad and His Camera, by Federico Vasquez

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Me in 1961

One of the earliest memories I have of my father was him getting close to me with a black box in front of his face…yes, you guessed it…a camera!  I don’t know what brand it was because for many years I was not allowed to get close to it.  At that time all the cameras had film and you had to use a flash bulb and, of course, had to take them to be developed.  Little by little a deep drawer in the house was filling up with photographs. Those photographs are my family memories.

I began taking pictures using different point and shoot cameras in my teenage years. At that time i had no idea what the words aperture, ISO, or shutter speed meant. Needless to say most of those shots were horrible, however, thanks to my painting and drawing classes the compositions were good. This, somehow, augmented  my work as a photographer. Today, I see the photos of my dad and I admire his achievements capturing those exceptional images without a DSLR camera. I don’t know if today photography is easier or cheaper. What I do know is that my father would enjoy taking thousands of pictures without worrying much about the cost of development and exploring the alternatives on hand image editing.

Grandmother Juana chatting with my uncle Jani on a family picnic in nearby mountains of Caracas, Venezuela. Circa 1968

Grandmother Juana chatting with my uncle Jani on a family picnic in nearby mountains of Caracas, Venezuela. Circa 1968

I am still learning everyday there are new advances and new equipment and software. I hope that my father, wherever he is feels proud that I have followed in his steps putting that little black box in front of my face an, like him, try to capture the world around me and create new memories.

Mom, Dad and me. My father set up the camera and had someone else fire the shutter. circa 1964 in Cumana, Venezuela

Mom, Dad and me. My father set up the camera and had someone else fire the shutter. circa 1964 in Cumana, Venezuela

#VOAtlanta , What the Heck It Means

VO Atlanta conference 2015. Various attendees and presenters.

VO Atlanta conference 2015. Various attendees and presenters.

Well, when it comes to great performances, great ideas, great influences, examples and fun, it all happens at this conference. Now, only three years since its debut, the VO Atlanta conference is the largest voice over gathering of its kind in the southeastern United States. Hosted by the well known local outfit Voiceover City. having personally attended all three years I am able to tell you that it is NOT a scam NOR a waste of your money. Sure, it may seem expensive initially but if you are serious about your voice over education and ultimately flourishing career, it is a mere drop in the VO bucket to attend it. The wealth of input from experienced talent within the business is virtually endless as each year the presenters get more numerous and better! Before considering plunking down several hundred smackeroos, let me say this. I have three strong reasons why you should attend VOAtlanta, 1) You will take away so much applicable material your brain will fill quickly, 2) the connections you make will be lasting, and 3) Once you go you will wish you had long ago.

Let me chat about all the great material. Having been in the business since 1974, I have really only scratched the surface. No, really. I mean that the field of voice over has changed so much since then and continues to evolve it, at times, seem insurmountable. Do NOT let that stop you. Look at it as an opportunity to learn all you can from the best in the biz. You will learn so much from so many in a very short period of time. VOAtlanta begins on a Thursday and ends on Sunday with one hell of an outgoing message. From beginning to end you will be engaged, enlightened, curious, attentive, dazzled and occasionally overwhelmed…one lady cried on the final day with tears of genuine gratitude when she received some voice over love from the great Pat FraleyTears of Gratitude Really, one of the most moving moments I have ever seen as a photographer! The room was filled with a bidding war of gifts from the conference presenters to the attendees. A wonderful display of adulation and support which went freely in both directions. This was just one small part of VO Atlanta.

Connections are what this business and every business is all about. Who knows you? Do they know what you do? Do they know how good you are at it? Do they get excited about your enthusiasm for what you do? All these questions are the keys to obtaining what drives any business, connections. One ritual I love is the exchange of business cards. I know what you’re thinking. If we all do the same job as voice actors, why would we want the business cards of our competitors? Oh you silly readers! It is not that sort of conference! You are not there to sell anything, you are there to study and learn. I can be honest in letting you know that one product I learned about while at VO Atlanta this year is Voicezam. It was one of the sponsors and it is a web-based demo player you purchase and construct to put onto your website.

Full customization to fit your demo and all its fun categories!

Full customization to fit your demo and all its fun categories!

In all cases the connections you make at VO Atlanta will be valuable and it is in your best interest to nurture them both on the talent side and the productions side.

There is this funny thing in life called regret. I know, I have been there and it is sometimes and always the wouldda, couldda, shouldda things we want to do but don’t seem to accomplish. Once you attend this voice over event you will be back. Perhaps not every year but that is okay. The fire inside you will always be lit and stoked when you do. the fun part is that as time goes on you notice some of your connections have grown. My goal is to grow to the point that organizer, Gerald Griffith, will invite me to host a panel discussion on a particular topic and after being in the business for this long, I surely have much to give back!

Presenters from left to right: Stacey Aswad, Chuck Duran, Dan Friedman, Anne Ganguzza, Cliff Zellman, Roy Yokelson and on the bottom row...George Whittam

Presenters from left to right: Stacey Aswad, Chuck Duran, Dan Friedman, Anne Ganguzza, Cliff Zellman, Roy Yokelson and on the bottom row…George Whittam