The Bear Bulletin Vol. 6

This is part of an ongoing series in which I round up a week’s worth of bear photos along with some thoughts on my photography.  You can find previous volumes of The Bear Bulletin here.

I’m back!  After spending a warm, colorful, delicious, completely beautiful 10 days in Mexico (first with my husband and then on a retreat with Stasia Savasuk and 6 other incredible women), my reentry to the northeast was…cold and gray to say the least.  Maybe that makes it appropriate, then, that I could only make the first several photos of the bears work in black and white.  The first block of photos was taken before Mexico (with the exception of my Project Sleep #SleepIn2018 photo of me in bed with the bears), and then the second block was taken afterwards. It might be kind of obvious.

The most exciting thing to happen this week was introducing Misty Bear to El Pollo.  We bought El Pollo – a bear-sized, rainbow colored, clay chicken – at the Museum of Mexican Folk Art at the Xcaret Park in Playa del Carmen.  We spent some time in the gift store (museum gift stores are my FAVORITE stores aside from thrift stores because of the impeccably thoughtful curation of goods) and left empty handed, but as we passed by the shop window El Pollo caught our eye and we couldn’t go on without her! I used my Spanglish to learn that she was made by an artist in Jalisco, and to negotiate a metric ton of bubble wrap to ensure El Pollo’s safe journey to her new home in Connecticut.  Evidence suggests that The Bears love El Pollo.  (El Pollo series shot with Fujifilm – ya know, the clear photo – + iPhone.)

I’m eager to get back into my routine and have some colorful posts planned for the next couple of weeks.  Thank you for following along!

Winter Whites and Gale Force Winds

I recently went to NYFW (read: was in NYC during Fashion Week) because my best friend was in town for a children’s clothing expo.  It just so happens that my best friend is also a professional photographer. So I put on the outfit I’ve been dreaming up since the moment I knew I would be within 100 miles of NYC during fashion week, and dragged her down to Battery Park before thrusting my camera into her hands.

On our way back to our hotel via Korean food, we happened upon an uncovered Subway grate that simulated gale force winds. Since Christa and I become completely blind to social norms when we are together, she pulled out the camera, adjusted the shutter speed, and told me to back up and walk over the grate again. And again. And again. Together we created this effortless looking Marilyn Monroe sequence.

All of these photos were taken in one walk-through because Christa is #goals. The repeats were so that we could capture a boomerang! #millenials

I left this experience with a newfound respect for the calm that Marilyn Monroe portrayed in this situation.  Nothing about this scenario is chill.

Christa and I were in the city together for 4 days and left the camera behind on our other adventures.  I think it’s the first time that we’ve hung out – just the two of us – since 8th grade.  And it was DIVINE!  Highlights include, but are not limited to:

  • seeing Wicked for the first time
  • taking a pedicab for the first time
  • going to Stand Up NY
  • eating (pastries, cookie dough, milk bar, sushi, Korean BBQ…)
  • and staying up way too late to talk about nothing and everything every single night.

Outfit details

Headband: Lysande
Teal coat: Talbots via the Charlottesville Goodwill
Denim jacket: Express via the Charlottesville Goodwill
Poppy shirt: no name via my mom’s closet
Bag: LYDC via Rethreads in Charlottesville
White dress: Banana Republic (retail)
Shoes: Naturalizer (retail)

One more thing!

I am over-the-moon-and-beyond THRILLED to say that I was featured on DC Goodwill Fashionista’s Blog this past Friday.  You can read the post here and please be sure to follow her on social media!

The Bear Bulletin Vol. 5

This is part of an ongoing series in which I round up a week’s worth of bear photos along with some thoughts on my photography.  You can find previous volumes of The Bear Bulletin here.

This week’s photos are some of my favorite yet. I put the camera on the tripod while the bears helped me pack for a few days in NYC with my best friend and this is what happened.  I love pretty much everything about these photos: the color, the light, the texture, and of course that the bears are adorable.


The Bear Bulletin Vol. 4

This is part of an ongoing series in which I round up a week’s worth of bear photos along with some thoughts on my photography.  You can find previous volumes of The Bear Bulletin here.

This week’s Bear Bulletin turned into a study of black and white photos.  The bears were being intensely adorable as they stared out the window in our bedroom, which meant that I shot directly into the sun for most of the photos.  I loved the silhouettes I captured so after playing around in Lightroom for a while and realizing that I wasn’t going to get what I needed with color, I finally opted for black and white.

How do you decide when a photo should be in black and white versus in color?


DSCF0344Beginning this week, there will be a new segment in which Darrell writes about the bears’ behavior and snuggle status, among other things.

Bear snuggles are up 2.75 on a promise of tasty food.  While Michelle was out of town for NY fashion week, the bears stole and ate part of a carrot out of a casserole dish on the stove, and I cleaned it up the next day when it didn’t agree with Misty Bear’s stomach. That’s the Bear Report, TM, INC, MD.

The Bear Bulletin Vol. 3

This is part of an ongoing series in which I round up a week’s worth of bear photos along with some thoughts on my photography.  You can find previous bear bulletins here and here.

We’ve had a rough two weeks and the bears pulled their weight in snuggles.  Unfortunately I didn’t do as many photo shoots as in the previous bulletins, but perhaps that’s a good sign that I was taking the time to be present, and stay in the snuggle.  Photography-wise, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with aperture since the last Bear Bulletin.  This is due in part to product photography I did for sleep&sparkle and realizing that when the aperture number is low, the image I get looks like garbage when I try to clean it in photoshop.

In my first attempt, I used my 56mm prime lens and you can see that the scarf looks great at the exact point of focus but once I cut the image out in photoshop to lay it on a white background it looked like poorly done plastic surgery because of the blurriness of the rest of the object.  (I also did a bit of editing to color correct the scarf due to wonky lighting.)

First effort: Fujifilm X-T20 with 56.0mm at f/1.2 (ISO 1600, 1/500).

Once I realized what was going on, I switched to my zoom lens (because I can be closer to the product) and increased the aperture.

Second effort: Fujifilm X-T20 with 18.0mm at f/5.6 (ISO 1600, 1/45).

It’s nice to finish the week feeling like I have an understanding for one of the parameters in the camera.  I need to fidget with every single thing in isolation so that I get a deep understanding for what is happening, otherwise I feel like a monkey with a rocket ship.  I’ve started playing with the ISO and next week’s photos will talk a bit about that.  If you have favorite exercises you did to get a grasp on aperture, let me know in the comments. Now that I have an idea of what’s happening, I’m ready to practice for hours so that I can commit it to memory.

And now on to the bears!

And some shots from my phone for good measure…

Wishing you a fabulous Caturday and a great rest of the weekend!
-Michelle, Misty Bear, and Nimbus