All posts by Sharon

Challenge Yourself Part 2

I recently did a post on the importance of challenging yourself to stay inspired and boost creativity. I ended with images from a pocket watch challenge, which led me to a book challenge.

Book Challenge

The book challenge became an Open Book Challenge.

Photography and Motion Pictures by Sharon Popek
A page from an early history of technology book, discussing photography
The Clothing We Wear by Sharon Popek
A collage featuring an image from a shop window and chapter about clothing.

What’s Next?

These are images I worked on this week for my open book challenge. I feel like there is more to pursue here. So, I will be doing more of these. I like the idea of featuring images that pertain to the book’s subject matter. This is why I try to continue to challenge myself. It always leads to something new and inspiring. 

I would love to see your own challenges and inspirations! Share your links in the comments!

Challenge Yourself

After rereading a few of my end of year retrospectives, I realized that from November to February is a dry zone for my art. There are probably a few reasons for that. First, winter hits me hard, the cold, the short days, and don’t get me started on fucking holidays. Second, well, I think that first one is the big reason. So, to combat that, I’ve started a few challenges. One on Facebook, SP’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  The other is on Fine Art America, The Weekly Photography Challenge. I have found that sharing the challenges with others, helps keep me motivated. So, if you find yourself in a rut, take a deep breath, and challenge yourself.

The challenge was Stripes. So, I found a striped shirt of my husbands, and started taking pics. 

My Husband’s Shirt

Then, I put the shirt on and took photos of my hands.

Hands

After that, I realized that I had a striped dress on, so I took this pic.

My Pocket

The hand pics led to a Hands Challenge.

Holding Time

Which then led to a pocket watch challenge.

Time to Read

Next challenge? Books!

One thing leads to another and I’ve been working for 3 weeks straight. So, Challenge Yourself!

All images are available as prints, just click on the image and it will take you to the store! Thanks for visiting. As always, comments are welcome!

First and Last Images of 2018

At the end of 2017, I wrote a blog about my first and last images of the year.  I thought I would do the same this year. It’s a great way to see where I’ve been and if I have gotten better or worse or about the same.

The first image I uploaded in 2018. I love fantasy books and art. I have been attempting to create some of my own. Silver keys hang from an overgrown vine, just waiting to be plucked. It has the feel of a dream.

The Key to Fantasy.

The last image uploaded in 2018. This started out as an image created for a stripes image challenge. But it turned out to be more about the hands. I see a series of hands coming soon. 

Hands.


Be sure to share your own 2018 retrospectives in the comments! Feedback is also welcome.

All images are available as prints. If you click on the image, it will take you directly to my shop. 

Things I did and did not do in 2018

Every January, I set goals for myself. Sometimes those goals are small. Sometimes they can be far fetched and high reaching. In January of 2018, I set 3 goals for myself. I did not do any of them. However, I don’t feel like I failed myself. Because life changes, it’s important to be fluid and willing to change direction. So instead of completing my original goals, I found myself meeting goals I did not even know I had. 

Bohemia Moravia Prague Travel Map by Sharon Popek
Bohemia Moravia Prague Travel Map

My first goal was to create a training video. I have developed a strong desire to share my knowledge with others. But I guess I’m having a hard time convincing myself that people want or need that knowledge. I know that I should do it anyway, it’ll make me better at what I do. On a side note, I did create a video of my work flow for my new job. But cannot share it on here.

Speaking of jobs, I lost my job in July of 2018. This changed things drastically for me. I had to find a new job and so will not have actual vacation time until next year. That means, there was no beach trip for me. However, when I was unemployed, I was able to help a friend and go to New York City for a couple of days. This helped create a huge opportunity for me. I took some great photos and even got a couple of them into a juried show.

Ellis Island by Sharon Popek
Historic Ellis Island against the NYC skyline ©Sharon Popek

The loss of my job did give me a little kick in the butt and I have started my own commercial product photography business. So, that studio that I was going to set up? When I was out of work, I started really working on that.  I bought new strobes and have done several freelance jobs. However, now that I am back at a nine to five job, it’s hard to get myself motivated to finish it. It’s also difficult to pick up work, since I can only work after hours or weekends. 

So, I find myself at the end of 2018, goals unfinished. As I said before, it’s important to be willing to change direction when life tells you to. So, 2019 will have new goals. I may not meet those either. But I have no doubt that I will still do some awesome things! 

Hopeful ©Sharon Popek
Reflections and rainbows and hope by Sharon Popek

Doorways

A favorite subject for many photographers is doorways. I am no exception. Is because they offer a sense of the unknown? What’s on the other side? What will you find if you enter? What might come out? Small town doors, big city doors, wood doors, glass doors, they all fascinate me. Enjoy this gallery of doorways.

Empty Shops in Williamsburg, KY.
2 empty shops side by side in Williamsburg, Kentucky. 
The Medical Arts Building Door in Knoxville, TN.
The entrance to the Medical Arts Building in downtown Knoxville, TN. 
Revolving door in the Empire State Building.
A gold revolving door to the Empire State Building in New York City.
Tiffany & Co. Doorway
Entrance to Tiffany & Co. in New York City.
Woodworker in downtown Berea, KY.
Downtown Berea, KY. 

Photography Exhibition

I have great news! Two of my pieces have been accepted into a gallery exhibition in New York City. The show is going to be held at the Salmagundi Art Club from February 3 – February 16. These are the 2 images accepted into the Glimpses of our World photography exhibition are below. 

Taken in New York City in September 2018, this images is one of my all time favorite window reflections. 

Red Silver by Sharon Popek

This was taken while walking around New York City, also in September. I love the juxtaposition of the historic building with the newer, more modern glass skyscraper. The Empire State Building peaks out between the two. 

Between the Old and New by Sharon Popek

My husband and I will be traveling up on the train for the show. I’m sure I’ll get more pics of New York while I’m there!

Thank you for visiting!

Year End Review – Night Photography

I did a year end review of my favorite and least favorite still life images. As promises here are my favorite and least favorite night images. 

Favorite Night Photography

Night photography is my current obsession. As I mentioned in my America After Dark gallery. This image is from the Dragon Lights Festival. There is a color version of this and it’s nice. But I love the way the black and white makes it about the light and dark and highlights the shapes of the flowers and people. 

Dragon Lights Festival flower tunnel
A tunnel of light with people walking through. 

A favorite of not just my night photography, but also my photos from Knoxville. The Tennessee Theatre marquee is lit up and people are walking through town. In the lower right corner is a young girl with a pink jacket, she makes this photo for me. I love subtle touches in photos.

Downtown Knoxville, TN after dark
Gay Street in Knoxville, TN after dark.

The Chrysler Building takes center stage in this New York skyline photo. I took this from the observation deck on the Empire State Building. I had to squeeze myself in between people taking selfies and some lovers making out. But totally worth it!

New York City after dark. The view from the Empire State Building.
New York City skyline after dark. Taken from the Empire State Building, with the Chrysler Building as the central part of this image.

The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN. I took this while wondering around downtown. I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye. So, I was headed back to the car. And there it was. The single person, the lone bicycle, and the shops all lit up for the night.

The Daylight Building in downtown Knoxville, TN.
The Daylight Building in Knoxville, TN. 

Least Favorite Night Photography

It’s not that I don’t like these images but I feel like they could be better.

I don’t like the stop sign or the car in this image. As we were leaving, I noticed a better angle and it’s been bugging me ever since. I think I will have to go back and get a better pic. Also, eat pizza!

Big Ed's Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN.
Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN. Big Ed’s has been at its current location since 1970. It’s a local staple and always busy. 

I think I might like this better if shot a little closer to sunset, so the 1907 and the outline of the clock could be more pronounced. Yes, I could lighten it but that would produce an unnatural grainy look. 

Lenoir City street clock
Street Clock in Lenoir City, TN. 

Thank you for visiting my most and least favorite list of night photography from this year. Feel free to share your own end of year blogs in the comments below! 

Prints are available of all images in my Pixels store. Click here. You can also click on the image and it will take you directly to the store.

Year End Review – 2018

At the end of the year, I like to revisit my images. I like to see where I started and where I ended. I usually choose my favorites from the year. But this year, I am going to share a few of my favorites and a few of my least favorites. I will do several of these. Each with a theme, so they don’t get too long. As always, comments are welcome! 

The first one will be still life photography. The next will be night photography. Then we will look at travel photography. After that, it’ll be 2019 and time to start again!

Still Life Photography

This was one of the first images I shared in January. In the winter months, I have a hard time going outside (cold, ugh). So, I often do some experimenting with still life images. The camera is an Olympus film camera. The case is an old make up case that I found at a garage sale in Winchester, KY. I have this in color and black and white. I prefer the black and white version because it echoes that sense of antiquity and gives it a vintage feel. Definitely, one of my favorite still life images!

Favorites

An old Olympus film camera sits atop a small antique make up case. Finished in black and white for vintage effect.
An old Olympus film camera sits atop a small antique make up case. Finished in black and white for vintage effect

This image was taken for the Weekly Photography Challenge. The theme was jewelry not being worn. I love the dirty, grungy background with the smooth silver and beads. The selective color gives it that pop. I want to do more of these next year!

Silver jewelry still life
Silver jewelry still life

Another image taken for the Weekly Photography Challenge. I love anything pertaining to time – watches, clocks, hourglasses. I finished this with a sepia tone and a vignette to give it an old, timeless feel. 

Pocket Watches
Two pocket watches sit on weathered wood, finished with a sepia tone and vignette.

Least Favorite

When I say least favorite, I just mean they don’t speak to me the same way the others do. I don’t hate them, or I wouldn’t be sharing them. 

The exact same image as above without the vintage finish. The watches feel too new and it just does not speak to me in the same way. 

Pocket Watches
2 pocket watches sit on weathered wood. 

This is my least favorite still life created this year. It’s boring and just does not speak to me. This was taken on a super bright spring day. I did very little planning and spent almost no time on it. Maybe I should try again. Maybe not. 

Acoustic guitar leaning against a brick wall.
Acoustic guitar leaning against a brick wall.

I hesitated on this one. I like it. I love the black and white finish with the white vignette. The shallow depth of field. And the phone itself is a work of art. But I think I could have done something better with this and will keep trying.

old fashioned telephone in black and white.
Old fashioned telephone in black and white. 

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to watch for the next installment of my year end review! Do you have a year end blog? Feel free to share in the comments! 

As always, the images are available as prints and other products in my shop! 

America After Dark

My current obsession is night photography. I love to see city lights after dark or small town lights. I never carry a tripod with me, so I shoot with a super high ISO or try to rest the camera on something. I use a Sony A7rII and it is great for shooting in low light with a minimum of grain. Although, I have night photos from around the world, this gallery is dedicated to America after dark. 

Knoxville, TN

Knoxville is my home town, so I have lots of images from here. Here are a few.

Downtown Knoxville, TN, featuring the Tennessee Theatre marquee after dark.
After dark on Gay Street, featuring the Tennessee Theatre marquee. This is one of my favorites from Knoxville. 
The Daylight Building on Union Avenue.
The Daylight Building after dark. This is a definite favorite. All of the elements are there, the lights, the single person, and a bicycle. 
The Bijou Theatre Marquee in Knoxville, Tn.
The Bijou Theatre Marquee in downtown Knoxville, TN. 

New York City

When I visited New York, I went alone. At first, I thought I might be too afraid to spend a lot of time out after dark, especially taking photos. But I got comfortable with it fairly quickly. 

Skylight Diner in Midtown.
The Skylight was my go to breakfast place, since it was just around the corner from my Airbnb. The food was excellent and ambiance was everything a diner in NYC should be.
A street scene in New York City, NY.
Street scene in New York City, NY in front of the Heartland Brewery and Rotisserie. 
Looking up at the Empire State Building in NYC.
Looking up at the Empire State Building in New York City. After going up and taking skyline photos and took this as I was leaving. 

Want to see more photos from after dark, click here.

Feel free to comment and share your own images of America After Dark.