A Photographer's Journal

Rita Spiegel is an Oceanside-based portrait and pet photographer. Photographs not only to document our lives, but also tell a story. They bring back memories at a glance. Click here to get back to the main website: www.RitaSpiegel.com or Rita@RitaSpiegel.com. I invite you to look through my portfolios and I hope you enjoy my images.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ready for your close-up?

Are you ready for your close-up? At this time of year, we take photographs at many occasions, such as family gatherings, parties or just spending time with friends. 

Here's a few tips to help you look your best. First thing ... relax!  The camera shouldn’t be something to be afraid of. Your face and eye tell your story. Think about someone or something that makes you truly happy. That will be an authentic smile to your face.

But people do ask me about how to place their body in a photo ... so here’s a few tips. Posing for the camera, you’re using “body language” to tell a story of the event. Pointed fingers, sagged shoulders or head held down aren’t showing your best side. Remember ... be confident, head held high and shoulders up and stand tall.  I remembered my mother always saying “stand up straight” ... that’s a good though whenever you’re having a photo taken.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Macro photography creates amazing images

Macro photography is getting close up to your subject, about 1/10 life size. That’s a plenty more technical terms, but I don’t worry about the math. 

Being an photographer and an artist, my subject and the story I want to convey are the starting point for me. 

I saw this caterpillar basically eating all my tomatoes, I decided not to get upset, but grab my camera. I then decided on my composition and lighting options. With macro, there are many other “techno” stuff and there are many sites* you can google that will give you all the techno terms, but it is your eye and your imagination that really creates the photograph.  The close up on the rose, I was able to focus on the petals and where the rose starts to bloom. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Celebrate at Casa Romantica

I had heard about the wonder views and gardens of Casa Romantica in San Clemente. Built in 1927 by Ole Hanson (one of the founders of San Clemente), this 7-bedroom house is now on the list National Registry of Historic Places.

So today, I ventured up I-5 for a short 20 mile drive.  There is a $5 admission fee, but it was worth it help preserve this part of California's history and to see the such an incredible gardens. Casa Romantica view of the Pacific is one of the most spectacular in Southern California and their garden is a Monarch Butterfly way station, with plants that encourage them to come.  This image of the pier (above) was taken from the garden. The sounds of the waves can be heard from the above and there endless surfers are waiting for endless waves. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Model Freddy in a "How to Photograph a Baby" Session

Photography babies can be fun, but you can a challenge to photograph.  Here are few tips to help you and anyone who wants to photograph babies. At 7-months old, my Grand-Nephew, Freddy growing and changing every time I see him.  He likes to smile and gives funny looks when eating his solid food.

My sister, Diane, wanted an updated photo of "Grandma, Grandpa and Freddy" for her wall. While at Francine's (my niece) house, we had a great time taking photos, playing and watching Freddy eat. I just love his little chair. Such a big boy, sitting up by himself.  Images like this also make fun and interesting photographs.  Don't just shoot babies in standard setting.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Times of day create inspiring images

Living by the beach, I'm always inspired to sunset at the coast.  Especially when the weather is active. One thing to remember is the time of day you go out to shoot.

The lighting is best about 30 minutes before and after sunset.  Now for me ... I'm not a morning person.  My dog, Kharma doesn't believe that.  Sorry ... side note.

I like to shoot at the end of the day and sunset.  Now, if you are going to shoot after dark, a tripod is needed to keep the camera still.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harvest Moon

September 23, 2010 was the harvest moon. Simply, this means that this is time when the sun is closest to the equinox. The harvest moon comes soon before or soon after the autumnal equinox.

After checking on the time of the moonrise (6:40 pm), I headed to the Oceanside Harbor to photograph the moon rising over the ships in the harbor.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Woodies and dogs ... who knew

On Sept. 18, I had the opportunity to shoot more than 200 Classic Woodies.  They were blue, red and green cars.  Mostly from the 1940's - 1960's.  Buicks and Fords were the most popular cars.  
Just of few of the Classic Cars on display in Encintas, CA.
To get the angles of the cars, I used my wide angle lens, Tamron AF 11-18mm  It allowed me to get close up and get the entire car in the shoot.

But I was also able to get "close-up" on some other aspects too.  I don't use a wide-angle on a daily basis. I use it more for landscapes, but it was necessary to get the look I was going for.

What a ride!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trash the Dress

July 10 ... Lovely ladies came to Oceanside beach and decided to run in the water.  What's off about this? They were dressed in evening gowns.  "Trash the Dress" was a huge success.

The models were told to wear dresses that they "don't care about". So they did.  But they all looked lovely, even in wet gowns.

Rozz ... working the gown!
I was hoping for a sunny day (at least for the sunset), but the clouds had different ideas. Although, it was good for the "lack of shadows", it didn't allow for the fabulous twilight image.

Michele ... really getting into the task ... cold?

But ... all in all, everyone had a great time and I'm very happy with my images.  If you're interested in doing your own 'trash the dress", just let me know!

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Time in Mommy's Arms

Francine and Jason got to hold Freddy for the first time yesterday.  His blood pressure is getting better.  Jason said that it was low, but being a "preemie" Freddy has a few challenges.  But, he is getting stronger and stronger every hour.  They felt much better after being able to hold him.  

Freddy is still in the Prenatal Intensive Care Unit, so Francine and Jason can only visit him at certain visiting hours. Also, they don't know when he can go home.  He must weigh a minimum of 4 lbs.  We found things out as soon as the doctors let us know.

Francine was able to get out of bed and walked to the elevator ... and can eat whatever she wants!!  And, she finally got a good nights sleep.  The first on in 7 months.

That is about the scoop now ... More news as we find it out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are you ready Freddy?

"People of earth, your infant oppressor has arrived!" This was one of the first fun comments that my Nephew-in law Jason Toettcher said when he posted the birth of Frederick Howard Toettcher on Facebook.  Born on March 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm. Freddy weighed in at 3 lb. 12 oz. 

My niece, Francine and mommy of Freddy, called home around 3:00 pm to ask "what's happening"? to her mother, Diane. The answer "not much ... what's up with you"? Francine's response ... "my water broke". Within in an hour they headed to the hopspital and by 5:30, we were driving to St. Jude's Hospital in Fullerton.

Freddy was born 7 weeks premature. He scored "high" on the evaluation tests that Doctors gave him.  In the coming weeks, they'll be more tests coming his way, but Freddy's a fighter and making his mark on the world. 

Mom, dad, grandparents, uncles, aunts and the entire family ... and friends are happy and looking forward to spending time with Freddy and the entire Toettcher Clan! 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ostriches, camels and bulls ... oh my

What a way to spend Valentine's Day weekend ... watching Ostriches race around a track.  I was supposed to see Camel races, but the people at the Date Festival only had ONE race. Why they call it "races" ... plural?? I don't know.

All in all, it was a great day and fun event. I went with several fellow photographers from the San Diego Sierra Club Photo Section.  

To see more of my images, visit my site at:
Camels, Ostriches and Bulls ... wow

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vampire Images ... sort of

I always felt comfortable taking photos of dogs (and other animals) and I still do.  That is the focus of my business.  But what I haven't felt easy at is taking photos of people.  I'm excited about the images I see other photographers shoot.  So ... to get used to shooting people and directing them, I joined a model / photography group to practice.  The first event I went to a was a "vampire" shoot. It was enjoyable and I learned a lot by watching how the other photographers spoke to the models. 
This gal was very nice and very expressive.  The cape was great and really made the look.
This gal was sweet.  Her mother told me she was just 15 and starting her modeling career.  I asked her to twirl, but to stare at me when she turned around. I like the swinging cape.

This guy was over-the-top.  He was great and seemed to enjoy showing his fangs off.  He also did a good job in "acting" like a vampire.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black and White ... A Photo Exhibit ... featuring me!!

I am very excited that several of my images, including this "Light House" will be showcased at Twin Oaks Gallery's Black and White ... a Photo Exhibit. 

The opening will be held this Friday, Feb. 12 from 6-8:00 pm.  This will be a great event.  I've already heard from several people who are planning to attend my opening.
I will be posting all the photos after the opening is held. This a great time to support local North County Artists.  You can purchase direct from me or from the gallery.

We're looking for a great opening ... Thanks to everyone who has called and emailed me.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sold a Print and upcoming Gallery Show

What a weekend.  I had a wonderful time with my oldest (Happy Birthday) and dearest friend and her sweetie pie (Tori & Carlos) hubby. We had a great time trying out a new restaurant, Breakwater Brewing Co.  The location is great, just a few blocks from the beach, and the food ... wow.  If I could marry "Garlic Bread" I would.

From viewing the ocean, we traveled south to view my photographs of dogs surfing on the ocean.

We ended the day playing pool (sorry, the image will be available soon).  We didn't "really" win, but had lots of "practice" with certain shots. I wasn't happy on the next morning ... my legs hurt so much.  Since I was doing "squats" to get my images, I could barely stand the next morning (and now too).

Except for the sore muscles, my weekend went well and ended up great.  After taking sunset pictures today, I read my email and saw that an order was placed ... Yeah! Two weeks ago, I was taking photos on the Oceanside Pier and met a nice couple from Idaho. I gave them my card and today, the order was placed. Bird ... up close  Tomorrow, I'll process it and get it ready to send out. 

On Feb. 12 I'll be featured as one of the artists for Black and White, at Twin Oaks Gallery, from 6-8 pm.  I'll have 6 images on display and for sale. Too see more of my images, go to  search for Twin Oaks!

I'm excited about more things to come!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunset in January

I just finished walking Kharma and we are both enjoying a sunset. I am
often amazed at the images that tha iPhone produces.

More when I get to a real computer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The surf is taking over!

Southern California needs the rain, but does it need to come in one week? Oh well ... if you can't beat the storm, run and dance in the rain.  That's about what I've been doing.  Since Monday (1/18) we've had four storms in a row and people (and dogs) are getting "cabin" fever.  I'm used to walking 45 minutes each day ... but I've barely gotten out.  Each time the sky clears, I rush my Kharma outside for a walk, since he's off his doggy schedule.

This morning the rain stopped and I was able to get out for 2 hours ... Kharma and I walked for walked at the park and then went to the beach. It was incredible how much the storm affected the beach.

We were by Oceanside Pier and much of the sand has torn away from the beach.  Several fire pits were taken by the surf. As you can see, more than 1/2 of the beach was taken.  There will be a lot of cleanup after this storm. It was windy and went it started to rain again, we headed back to the car. Once in the car, I drove the strand and it was also taken over by nature.  Very flooded and the same from the beach is also on the road too!

Now, we're back inside for a while.  I'm working on my photos, job hunting and my website.  I'm hoping the rain will stay away for a few hours ... to give me time to give Kharma a walk (after dinner).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back again ... after a cold and all the rain!

I've been sick since 12/23 and it is not fun.  I was in bed for New Years Eve. It's been a long since I stayed at home.  There is a not too much on TV.

Anyway, I am now feeling better and back into the fray (I'm not sure if that is correct), and back to photo taking and marketing my new Pet Photography Workshops.  I have more coming.  The next one is Feb. 6 ... Registration can be found at http://www.ritaspiegel.com/workshops

In addition to dog photography, I have been taking images of surfers and the sunset.  With all the rain, there is great shots.   We are in the middle of four storms hitting Southern California. After a day of rain, the sun gave us a great sunset.

Earlier this week, I was able to get a few images of surfers.  To see more, visit my website at Look! New Images