Into the Woods

“You look like an Irish hippie.”

That comment, made in passing by a stranger, gave me the idea for this shoot, which is definitely channeling both a flower child and fairy tale vibe! This was the first time I’ve ever photographed myself (I guess it’s taking selfies? That word evokes holding your phone camera at arm’s length or on a stick for me, and I went all-out with a tripod and remote on this one!). I was expecting to be really nervous and to feel awkward being seen out in public, but I actually had a lot of fun despite a few mishaps along the way.

Holly von Fox-Into the Woods-2

The day was ungodly humid. My hair started out in curls, they almost immediately went into limp waves. Which worked well, as it turned out, and I got lucky that my face wasn’t too shiny from sweat! But my ambitious plans of roaming all over the park were cut short pretty quickly, and settled for going to a few areas close to home.

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The first real trial of the day was breaking my favorite pair of sandals! I had just set up my tripod on a dead-end trail that was slightly off the beaten path for my first photos, when I unwittingly caught my shoe on a branch, yanked it and snapped the toe thong.

Luckily, the park I was shooting at is close to my home, so my SO was able to run out with our dog and a pair of emergency replacement sandals!

While waiting for him, I decide to start shooting, walking carefully to avoid having my shoe fall off. It would’ve been cool to go barefoot for the photos, but the trail was muddy (making an already messy situation messier!).

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70’s Vogue Look of Disinterest

But the moment I started shooting, a gentleman came ambling around the bend with his sweet, chubby old black lab. The lab immediately thought my legs were the most interesting spot in the entire woods, because he made a beeline for me and shoved his head right between them, getting mud all over my feet. I’m a sucker for dog lovin’ and had a towel to wipe my feet off with, so I didn’t mind. I ended up chatting with the man, learning the epic saga of this dog’s life, until my SO came.

After the shoe delivery (and my dog knocking over my tripod in his excitement at finding me in the woods), I decided it was time to change locations.

Holly von Fox-Into the Woods-5

I had much better luck in location two! It was a sunken area between two trails, a natural spring that’s had stone walls built all around it. So even though there was a constant flow of people moving on either side of me, they were somewhat at a distance, and I felt pretty isolated in a calming way.

Plus, being surrounding by rock and being below ground level meant it was blissfully cooler!

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I shot using my new 24mm f/2.8 lens (a pancake!). This lens has actually made me fall in love with using my DSLR. Up until now, I’ve been really disenchanted with my camera: the kit lens was too bulky and didn’t produce photos that excited me, and the prime lenses I’d tried (50 mm and 100 mm), forced me to get frustratingly far from my subjects. I just couldn’t visualize how to frame shots at those sizes.

Then I discovered the difference between full-frame and cropped sensor cameras. As it turns out, my camera is not full frame, meaning that nifty fifty was essentially an 80 mm lens (I have a Canon Rebel, so the sensor is at 1.6. I think Nikons are slightly less extreme).

Since I’m a novice photographer, I wanted a decent prime lens that mimics the human eye’s framing (which sees in somewhere between 30 and 50 mm). The 24 mm fits that bill nicely, and its slim profile means I’m actually pulling my camera out to use, instead of opting for my phone camera!

What about you? What adventures have you had taking photos? What’s your favorite lens? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Holly von Fox

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