From Afar – Racking the Lens

I often get complacent with my photography because I have this easy factory gig paying my bills. Unfortunately this complacency leaves a grand feeling of unfulfillment. I often try to stave off this feeling by entering contests and such, and this month I found something perfect. While perusing my Facebook I ran across Craftsy’s May Photo Challenge. The challenge consists of creating a photo every day that goes with the particular day’s theme. I know I might not get to participate in the challenge every single day, but I am definitely willing to give it a go. Unfortunately I started a day behind right off the bat. I began the challenge on May 2nd with the theme “From Afar”. My mind went immediately to gazing at something from afar with a zoom lens. The next logical step for me was to step a little into my creative mode, and play.  I remembered a zoom lens technique called “racking the lens” that I thought would be perfect! Racking the lens is an in-camera technique that can be compared to its Photoshop counterpart, radial blur. The effect creates the illusion of motion. It is created by focusing in one spot and then zooming with the shutter open. Of course this requires a slower shutter speed, so a tripod can definitely come in handy. In my true “Fuck It” form, though, I decided to shoot bareback because my tripod was a whole two rooms away! I immediately had two different ideas jump to my head, so I decided to explore both to make up for my late start in the challenge. My first idea that jumped into my head was probably do to my recent dieting. I thought about how horrible it feels when you are hungry, and although the fridge is really far away, it seems as though it is right next to you calling your name. One of my favorite visually spectacular movies, Requiem for a Dream, popped into my head because of its scene with the beckoning refrigerator torturing Sara from across her apartment. I also thought of how far away the fridge seems when you’re chilling out and all munchied up. Times like that make it seems like the kitchen is in another universe for lack of wanting to move. With both ideas in mind I went after my fridge with my zoom lens in hand. I would have to say that I only wasted about 10 minutes trying to will my hands into being steady before I gave up, and that’s when I moved the couch over to steady myself. Ha! Who says you need a tripod! 🙂

My second idea revolved around the act of gazing at the alarm clock “from afar” while lying in my bed. Every day it’s the same thing. My alarm goes off. I flail around swinging my arm in every direction trying to hit snooze. Then I miss the button and successfully knock everything on my night stand onto the floor with the alarm still blaring. I know the clock is right next to me when I go to sleep! I will never understand the physics that move the darn thing so far away while I’m passed out! No matter where that clock sits, though, it’s like I’m gazing at it from afar and right in my face all at the same time. I knew that racking the lens would have an interesting effect with the coupling of the digital clock numbers, so I went all out. I climbed in my bed, got all comfy, and propped my camera on the nearest pillow. There will be no tripod for this girl! 🙂

Well I hope you enjoyed my photos from afar! Keep up with my challenge here or on my official Facebook page, and don’t be afraid to play along until we meet again!

PS… Kids, don’t be lazy like me! Take a minute to go get that darn tripod! As much as I want to be right, a couch may be sturdy, but is in no way shape or form a safe tripod substitute! Photograph responsibly 🙂

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Melodie Yvonne

Melodie Yvonne Ramey, owner, editor, & contributor at Photographic Melodie, grew up in the small southern Indiana town of North Vernon. She picked up her first camera at the young age of 5, and was immediately hooked. Every trip, even just to the local park, was turned into a fantasy scene of her own imagination that would later be turned into epic tales in word and photos.

Melodie spent her teen years learning from and mentoring under professionals such as Richard Young, John Sheckler, and The Grand Conundrum. She received an Associates of Applied Science in Visual Technologies majoring in Photography from Ivy Tech in 2002 after studying under acclaimed professors such as Hoosier photographer Darryl Jones, Jonathan Wilson, and many other masters in the field.

Melodie’s main focus has always been music photography. Growing up with photography and listening to amazing musicians inspired her dream to create visual images that made people feel the way they do when they hear the music. She wanted to help people SEE the music by capturing every magical moment of concerts that she could only dream about as she gazed into music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin.

Melodie has done numerous jobs around the country ranging from working for bands to even being the official photographer on many southern Indiana Poker Runs. Her specialties are in nature, music, and candid event photography, as well as one of a kind photographic creations. Melodie published her first print book Photographic Memories: In the Beginning, a collection of poetry, in 2011, and has since published 2 more print works, Photographic Memories: Meet me in the Middle and Hoosier Heavens, her first photo book. Melodie currently acts as publisher, editor & lead contributor at Photographic Melodie and does freelance work with many other media outlets, venues, and artists.

Melodie says, “I started out with a Tweety bird camera and a dream and I never let go. I will always love photography and the vessel it has given me to share the images of my heart and mind with the world. I have found that every single person on this earth visualizes the world in very different ways. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. Some people are daydreamers, and others keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photography allows me to show some of these different visualizations. It allows the rationalist to see that it’s okay to dream, it can show the monsters hidden in the dark, and it can show even the saddest of people that there is still joy in the world.”

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