Celestosphere

Celestosphere

Celestosphere


Celestosphere’s Inscription

Atop the edge of the final layer
By Celestosphere’s roses
Dawn approaches
And she meets Duality;
A reflection, a revelation
As water reveals Light
So does she achieve true ascension.

Just finished this digital painting, I experimented with style a lot here and went for a more indie game art style. The easiest way to do that is to simply remove the outlines; paint backwards, so to speak. Using negative space as the positive space, yet not quite. It’s really the outlines that can change a style drastically I feel, with simple line variation techniques. I kind of blurred the two worlds in Empyrean Pet.

However, I realized subject matter becomes harder to pinpoint, and color becomes much more important in distinguishing that. Sera is just sitting at the edge of the clouds (now that I think it, I think of DreamWorks), and there’s definitely some major juxtaposition between sky and aquatic elements. The ripples above imply a reverse underwater scenery, like walking through an aquatic tunnel in a marine museum, and the bubbles are interchangeably clouds by simple negative shapes. Falling, yet already high in the sky, I love themes of duality and reflection. Growing up as an artist in high school, I often studied a lot of juxtaposed works as my teacher loved them, and I guess in a way it’s passed down to me.

My inspiration for this piece was based off of my favorite artist’s new remake version of their song, Hemisphere. I actually sent an email recently thanking him for essentially, saving me from my art block. ARForest is one of the reasons why I was able to get back into drawing again, rekindling that fire through music. I felt that this was the least I could do, since I’m too stingy (but I have debated and thought on this) to spend money on albums.

Thus, Celestosphere was created! Based on the remake, I was reminded of a few key elements: rain drops, soaring, skies and clouds, and underwater scenery. Particularly, I remember specifically a scene in The Ancient Magus’ Bride manga where Chize was looking up from a void of black. I absolutely loved that scene.

Reference1

And this is why I save references on my phone for anything I can get. 😀 A loooong time ago, I also saved this reference of a Google image, I think maybe it was the splash image of a YouTube video, but I loved this artwork. I couldn’t find any other source for it. But I imagine one of these days (actually I did do a sketch with this in mind I think already) I’ll be using this as a more concrete and solid reference.

Reference3

As you can see, music dictates a lot of my inspirations. A Midsummer Dreamer is an old favorite of mine, particularly the DJ Noriken remix.

One other thing I realized is that no matter what, I think I always need to start from paper. It’s kind of interesting that it is almost impossible for me to just start pouring ideas onto the screen instead. I think the bigger reason why I can’t really do that is because of the mechanical disconnection — if I had a Cintiq tablet, I think that would eliminate this issue. But because I started my artistic roots in traditional drawing, just like every artist, it’s also my beginning for visualization of basic ideas, which then gets immensely manipulated digitally.

Celestosphere_sketch

Don’t mind that sketch outline in the background, it’s just another sketch I made in a previous session, during class. 🙂

Sometimes, it doesn’t turn out the style that I wanted, but this time, it turned out almost 95% the way I intended from beginning to end. In my artistic process, I also realized that there’s a lot of improvisation that occurs. The wings for instance did not exactly turn out the way I had originally imagined. But I just went with the flow, and I created a new pair of another visualization I had while I was blocking in the base color.

This was fun, but I also really itched on getting this done. Like with many of my projects, once I’m inspired, I want to get started, lay down the colors, finish it in one session. I’m a binger. Of course, that doesn’t quite work out when I have a class the next day. So tonight I finally finished it. 🙂 It probably took a total of… I wanna say, 10 hours? From concept to finish. Not bad for a tall painting.

Speaking of length, I realized later that it was also perfect for my phone wallpaper. I put it on there, and it fit perfectly. At least the width wasn’t too much of an issue. It’s actually a rather large painting — actually if I had not modified the image size closer to the beginning of the coloring, it would have easily exceeded 70 inches as the highest dimensions. I tend to work large in Photoshop so I don’t have resizing nightmares, but storage space and loading times can be a pain too if it’s too big. *sigh*

In any case, this was my first hand at trying something new and experimental. I also wanted something that I could display that wasn’t always character driven, this time focusing a lot more details on the environment. I think it’s not only healthy to experiment and expand horizons, but also fun to test the waters, push the limits. I still feel that my core style is present, in some shape, form, element.

Catherine

So recently I’ve been watching game-plays of Catherine over again, and it’s made me realize a few things that I hadn’t noticed before. One, how genius the writers are; two, the psychology of a man; and three, a realization with my own dreams.

Catherine is a puzzle solving game with an anime styled cut-scene and animation that has such a riveting story and plot to it. While it may be for more mature audiences, and even has me feeling embarrassed at some points, it gets an overall “well done” from me. I constantly would be mentally solving the block puzzles myself, and it is true that it’s such a unique, while still a story adhering game. The tower of blocks Vincent must climb is truly metaphorical, something I commend the writers and designers of the game for.

If you haven’t already watched or played this game, you should check it outThat way you know what I’m talking about. Oh, and spoiler alert, even if its an old game. 😛

It really has been a long time since I last watched this with my sister. She knows the best games to watch, as stupid as that sounds since we’re not actually playing it. But we enjoy them for their story, and like me, mentally solving before the player makes the next move in my head is fun too, even if I can’t mechanically make those moves myself. Strangely, I started watching it again, and it is still a compelling story with its own charm that I so enjoy.

It begins with the ingenuity of the writers. You start out with a simple story, about a man and his girlfriend (Katherine) in a mundane world, with mundane problems, only exaggerated from the start once (the other) Catherine shows up. The duality of the name resemblance also elicits a tongue-in-cheek reaction from me. How simple, yet complicated, is this one letter change of a difference? It means the world, literally in this case, to make that distinction.

And as these relationship problems and emotional turmoils builds up, you delve more and more deeper into another kind of world, one that some married men might jokingly describe as an eternal place of torture. But, it really does become that for Vincent. In fact, all of a sudden, we see supernatural crazies happen, as dreams/fantasies blur with reality. In some instances, our dreams and fantasies become reality. That is after all, called an illusion: what Catherine is as a being, a succubus.

The execution of the story was so aligned and so tactfully arranged in such a way that any player watching or playing the game might not have realized this until the supernatural clues were spoken out loud by the characters themselves. I love this kind of story,one that just unfolds naturally and chronologically makes sense, even in such a naturally chronologically blurred timeline that involves dreams. How amazing is that, that a story involving something that should not make sense, does?

There’s something charming about dreams. At least for me, it’s not that I read into them anymore than I should, but they are still vaguely a story. We laugh, cry, and feel in them just as much as a coherent, fluid, and real story. We sometimes remember them, and sometimes don’t. For someone like me, I remember a lot of my dreams. But sometimes, just like Vincent, I wake up tired and exhausted even after I’ve rested well. Is it perhaps because I invest too much energy in them, even if subconsciously? Maybe some of these experiences are mutual to the writers of Catherine, and maybe that might be a part of the inspiration or motivation for how the story became. Either ways, or if none of it all, it was an interesting thought that occurred to me.

The other thing that stood out to me about this game the second time around, is that I’m beginning to understand the character’s psychology, specifically, all the male characters in the game who fall to the succubus’ trap. How can someone be so cruel to their girlfriend of long standing and cheat? What is the thought process of someone who cheats on another? It’s not exactly a male exclusive mentality, but the character insight, their actions, their reactions, their words, and the comparisons of all three in conjunction or dissonance with each other — it was almost enlightening. When Vincent demanded to meet Catherine and coerces Thomas to summon her, he is so determined, yet as soon as she instantly appears, he becomes a fool and acts shy, awkward, and little afraid. The saying/idea is the same and well known: men become fools for women. But thinking more than just that, their thought process is fascinating: if their ideal type is right there before them, they become confused, or suppress any other moral conscience. Perhaps it might be a shallow thought; who couldn’t resist someone who is the perfect ideal type, appearance wise? Women and men clearly have different chemical balances and makeups, and therefore a mental state or psychology to them. So is it true that men are purely in it for the looks? That all men are pigs? That might be a huge generalization, but for a moment, I could believe the justification on why Vincent cheated on Catherine. It was all in his head after all — the illusion, the affair, even his inner dialogue. It is revealing that internal struggle to the audience, ultimately, that also revealed his most human nature, even if by most standards it is wrong. After all, no human is exempt from sin, and perhaps that’s why even for a moment I felt understanding for him even though I have never dated before, or could ever know what he was going through.

What I found so fascinating was the complexity of the conflict within the basic story. Even more so, the connection to dreams even gave it an element of horror, when Vincent realized Katherine was after all a succubus and could not pin a shred of her existence until he remembers Thomas the bartender. How wonderfully simple! The solution is simple, but the journey, especially in the final levels of the puzzle solving madness, was not.

I’ve always always always seen dreams as “movies inside of my head, every night when you sleep in your bed” to quote DHMIS. It’s hilarious to think about, but to me I’ve had some of the most fantastical dreams, or the saddest dreams, that would end and I’d lay there on my bed trying to go back (sometimes successfully and/or regretfully) or to just ponder about. I love sharing them, but it’s hard to relate to when it’s a jumbled mess that only you can make sense of. All I can do, is place them out piece by piece on an online diary like this for my own enjoyment to read back on. And I’ve always wanted them to last, so I can remember. I imagine the worst way to die (for me personally) would be to have Alzheimer’s, where I don’t remember anything and decay day by day. But perhaps that itself, is another dream that becomes reality, where every day is “a movie.”

Sylvette’s Future

So, recently, I ERed my Cleric Sylvette. I decided now that Sera is back to cap and after burning through a bunch of Reaper quests and raids, I figured I could now dedicate some time to alts. 😀

It’s a bit strange for me. I suddenly feel motivated to start farming up stuff that some of the alts are lacking compared to Sera, like a Jibbers blade or a Bauble. I did a lot of thinking, and I think I finally figured out what my 4 alt dynamic should look like. A DC caster hybrid Favored Soul, a DC CC Bard, a DC AA Druid, and last but not least, a tanky healbot Cleric.

Yeah, that last one does kind of fall out of line a bit. But perhaps lore wise, it makes sense. I never really figured out what kind of Cleric Sylvette was to be. At first, I thought some sort of pseudo Clonk, back when those were a thing. Man, her first life was just so bad! Then I moved on to her first iteration of THF Cleric melee. That’s what her third life wound up being, a refined version: 15/4/1 CLR/FTR/WIZ. This was during the time when I kept thinking “I really need to utilize the benefits of being able to multiclass with 3 classes” sort of mentality. But now… after fighting with it back and forth, I think it makes sense to move forward with this Cleric tank build.

It kind of sucks. I know I won’t be high Reaper capable as a first choice tank, but she will be able to back up a lot better than Sera, or so I think. It’s weird because I have this feeling that I still would be a better character on Sera for even a specialized role as this, just because of all the Reaper points and gear. Crazy at how much time and energy put into one character can truly affect its well roundedness. But, at the very least, Syl can serve as a secondary healer for raids.

I wouldn’t say I exactly was inspired by a couple Cleric tanks that I’ve been running with lately; actually, if I did have to name an inspiration, it would be Dolgie. After observing his own hardy Cleric, and playing various alts whom I strictly played as pure healbots, I realized my love for traditional healing again. Although, this build has strayed far from that traditional meaning, even from Lydel’s original build!

So because of an ER, she remained the 15/4/1 split. But it actually seemed to work out quite well. That original split is a feat monster, in the sense that she has a plethora of feats. Essentially it allowed me to pick up all the necessary metamagic feats along with the Shield Mastery/Deflection and Mental Toughness lines. Nothing too special, just simply… lots. 😀 Oh well, I guess I did pick up the Dragonmark of Sentinel. Not sure how that’ll work out yet, but I think I like the idea of it. At first I was thinking Passage for DDoor, but because this build also has great close range synergy, I’m a huge fan of Globe of Invulnerability for certain quests. This would make it fantastic for use in high Reaper Memoirs for example where I don’t need to worry about failing scroll checks during combat.

Speaking of close range, this build will excel at that I think. There’s the Positive Energy Aura, Radiant Burst, the aforementioned Globe, and then Cleric Domains. I guess it is aura based, since it relies on my uses of turns and affect party members as well. But because I went Protection Domain, I also now have Radiant Forcefield! Woohoo!

This is one of the Domains I wanted to play, and thus partly sparked my interest in building a Cleric (pseudo)tank. It’s just so unique as a Domain comparatively. I know Elemental Domains are also very unique and useful, but Radiant Forcefield is an extremely valuable and rare spell to use. I think it’s worth a mention for tanks these days.

As for tanking in general, I suppose this isn’t a first choice Reaper tank, but it certainly wouldn’t be a Cleric standing back. I may have only picked up one stack of Block Energy for her EPL, but she’s got Shield Deflection 40% with a tower shield, along with the Block Energy from US ED. So, definitely packed with % absorption, along with Protection Domain granting her +15 to PRR/MRR essentially. Stats so far at level 20 look good, except for her AC I feel, even with the 10% increase from Mage Armor in EK. I think I’ll have to keep pushin’ to 30 to figure out the grand totals I guess, but this already feels like a huge improvement as a build. Remember, these alts are ancient — since years ago, I’m a new player building them now. It’s a bit nostalgic.

I’ve only done a few quests on Syl, but I’m having fun, and in a new way. I’m not rushing to instakill and DPS stuff down. Instead, I have the leisure of survivability (at these levels) and focus full time on healing only, along with spamming Intimidate. It’s definitely something uncommon, I feel. The Clerics I’ve seen generally focus healing first; for Syl, it’s been sort of this half and half effort. I’m a bit strange when it comes to min-maxing: obviously the term suggests optimal investment in a core area (often giving up others), but I tend to always seek a balance in building. I suppose, however, balance is key in a game like DDO as well even with min-maxing as part of the equation. 😀

So… Sylvette finally has her Domain. She’s a lot more enjoyable, although I miss DPS a bit. But my biggest struggle with her was that she could not excel at either, and wound up less than average. I figured, ‘OK if I want DPS, or agro, then I’ll have to get it another way.’ Or, that if I wanted better healing and healing styles (meleeing while healing does not account for even the best of reflexes to get out of that half a second delay, which often caused my targets for healing to die, annoyingly), that I should pick another fighting style that would be more target friendly. So, that’s where shield blocking as a tank comes into play. 🙂

Maybe I might change my mind later down the line. Who knows! I struggled for a good while on whether or not I should just convert her into a DC Cleric like the others, but Syl is the only one without any sort of caster past lives sadly. I figured I might as well go with this for now. Part of me gets OCD and hates that she’s breaking the mold of the caster theme I have going, but arguably Niveax isn’t exactly a caster herself (although it is very arguable). Oh and, Meredithium did get a name change. So the alt shelf is feeling a bit tumultuous at the moment. 😀

If there’s one thing that’s consistent, it’s the fact that I’m definitely making all of my 4 playing toons their own unique race. I think I’m still figuring that out, but if all goes as planned, it’ll be Aasimar, Half-Elf, Elf, and Human. And of course I surely want to make more! I definitely would love to make a Drow Elf and Gnome at some point. I really want to make so many alts for endgame and Reaper, but the amount of time and energy for that… ugh. Not sure it’s worth it, especially for caster toons.

But, we’ll see. I might read back on this later and find out I’ve completely changed Syl’s track. After all, the only thing constant is change.

Reflections

Recently, I was assigned to do a photography project based on a central theme, to which I selected the idea of reflections. While the scope of this project by most standards is not as deeper level as say, the concentration projects I had to create back in high school, such experience has helped me form my vision for this project which ultimately turned out for the better!

With that said, let’s get to it! Image by image, I will detail the story, intended meaning (if any), and how it connects back to the idea of reflections. When I had presented it, I had quite a positive reception apparently, but there were also things I noticed along the way that I could improve upon.


Sequentially, the images are laid out in a very specific and continuous format, one that years of concentration and breadth projects have helped me develop an eye for, even unconsciously (that I will expound upon later). Most images were shot in Camera RAW, and then manipulated minimally in Photoshop to adjust certain flaws and highlight focal characteristics. I used two brands of DSLR cameras: Nikon and Canon, both 50 millimeter lenses.

Reflection1

The Sky’s Mirror

The first image here is actually a puddle within a small denture of a stone block that lines the roads across the heart of campus. I got real close and took several shots across all angles but I ultimately chose this one mostly because this specific close up emphasize the central, literal idea of reflections: the projected image of the sky perpendicular from the camera is reflected off the surface of rainwater. The orange tone of the stone surrounding the subject is excellent contrast to the deep blue of the sky peeking through the stratus clouds. The tip of the evergreen tree also casts an interesting, negative space with its silhouette. I often used low depth of field for my images because most of them tended to be close ups like this one; the focus is once again then emphasized on the reflection or subject matter itself so that there is no question as to what the theme is.

This one was also metaphorically, in a slight way, represented as the reflection of the sky through nature’s “mirror” so to speak. When I was younger I came up with an idea that the ocean is simply the sky’s mirror, so that’s why “the sky is blue.” 🙂 I basically extended that idea to a smaller scale: a puddle of rain water. Thank goodness for the rainy week right before this project was due, seriously saved me more than once.

Reflection3

Daylight Riding Time

This image was going to be more of a filler image but it has it’s interesting perks. I manipulated with this one much more so that the image has a very crisp and definitive appeal to it, almost to the point where I feel that I am back in Korea. The simple reflection of bikes was shot from this specific composition frame, where the real bike tire pokes out from the top so that the viewer has no question about what they are exactly looking at. The reflection itself is intended to have curving, smooth lines with the white of the bike rack, which then leads the eye out onto the bright, white concrete ground. I manipulated this a lot more in Photoshop than other photos due to the original, boring color – HSV values were adjusted to achieve an unnatural blue color, and contrast aspects (Levels) were utilized to erase all the noise within the concrete ground. The one thing I found interesting with this one was the fallen leaf that originally does not look brown, but it seems to have captured my eye being so alone.

Reflection2

Naturescape

The third image was also intended to be a filler image, but somehow a lot of people enjoyed this one. I recall one mentioned that it looked as if it were an underwater scene; however, in the print, the image turned out a lot more “bleedy” because it was not shot in Camera RAW, so the color printer could not read beyond the limited color space of the .jpeg file. This one was more fun and visually interesting despite the lack of focus within any subject matter/focal point. The dappled fade of the leaves at the bottom of the stairs looked pretty cool to me, and the stairs leading into the array of leaves, particularly in the dark spot, seemed almost wondrous to me. It almost gave me a The Secret World of Arrietty feel, although the ATEC stairs, not as much. Still, what blew my mind was that a couple of folks pointed out that the reflected red-orange light streaks would soon lend itself an excellent artistic transition into the next image.

Reflection5

Bleeding Lights

Bleeding Lights was one of the photos that I had to take in a flash (although I cannot say literally here lol, as I turned off flash… wasted pun opportunity there). I remember hurrying to get the camera started and callibrated to the light meter while my sister and I were at a stop light one late night driving home. This basically meant I had one shot to do it, and it came out so fascinating. The dew from the drizzle can be seen in the top section, and I hid the traffic lights at the top well enough so that I could only focus on the reflection. Again, I wanted to make it very clear so that there was no doubt in any of my pieces, which I suppose the “clarity” portion lends itself to the theme as well in that far-fetched sense. The transition note that the couple people made is also present here: the far distance carries also vertical streaks of green, the complement of the previous image. Paired together, there this nice reverse synergy and I was just seriously mind blown when they brought that up, never having thought about that prior to sequencing my images (which was intentional). While I had mentioned just that, the prof did say that I chose these images in this sequence for a reason, hence ultimately my decision. That was awfully kind of her to say, and I took that as a great compliment.

In this, the reflection is not so much an actual subject matter but the idea of reflecting the color of the light itself. I highly emphasized this by intentionally increasing slightly the Saturation values, and then adjusting the contrast accordingly. I titled this Bleeding Lights as almost this subtle, dark warning of what this signifies, beyond the theme’s scope.

Dancing Lights

Dancing Lights

The fifth piece is also full of story. I wanted to do a piece where the focus was a sort of metaphor on the idea of “dancing lights.” That phrase came to mind specifically because in one of my blog posts, I recalled one night while working on a digital painting that I was watching the night lights from my tall window, the lights of passing cars, flash such entrancing dancing lights across the bedroom walls. I wanted to replicate that in some way, but dark light settings are such a pain so I took a shot using (cloudy) afternoon daylight.

I looked around in my older sister’s room, and I noticed she had a lot of knick-knacks or items laying around. I would inspect for something shiny and reflective until I came across this and the idea blossomed right then and there; her dancing trophy from so many years ago, maybe more than a decade I mean, was the perfect subject. I quickly cleared her night table (as I had used that area before for other photos) to create as clean of a background as I could. Placing her trophy at the edge, I opened the blinds of the nearby patio(ish?) door, which I then had to maneuver into staying a specific position so the light rays would hit the subject at just the right angle. Only problem was, it was a cloudy day (which would later rain heavily that evening), and every few seconds I would have to painstakingly wait for the light source to reappear. Because of this, this also became a shot where I had to take the image swiftly and efficiently. Unfortunately, as I look back on it, I realized there is a slight stain that I could have moved the table lace a bit so cover that up… and I realized trying to Photoshop it looked very artificial. So I was stuck with that splotch of color that now diverts my full attention (now that I have brought it up). The other thing that bothered me was that looking closely I can still see the dust on the trophy! Because this was a high light setting in an unlit room (so pure natural light), I was distraught to see the dust details.  But, perhaps that adds some character or something, I don’t know. It is very distracting to me personally. These things become very noticeable once I or someone mention it (although no one seemed to have comment during the review session, whew).

This one was one of the pieces that had a great reception. One mentioned that upon reviewing this image that the series had a cinematic feel to it, which I had not thought of but was pleasantly surprised to hear. I absolutely love the mood of the piece because the original still had great lighting and not much change, but once I had added some adjustments to it, it seemed to have this warm glow that made me feel happy. So satisfying to see an image with natural lighting and really shine.

Reflection6

Summer Halcyon

While this one may reiterate the literal translation of reflection, the title of the piece probably says a lot more about it in a more expansive way. This is probably one of my more favored pieces just because of how vibrant and clear the subject turned out. It was shot at an extremely low aperture of 3.8, giving it the shallow depth of field. I love focusing on the subject matter itself for that air of simplicity, although it was pointed out to me that better positioning or camera settings may be able to clear up the left side of the sunglasses a bit more. The area seems like a beach scene, but it is actually a recreational park on the side of the road that leads to a lake I used to exercise and take a stroll around with my family when I was younger. Funny thing was, I took this shot moments before the heavy downpour of rain; so this too in a sense was taken in haste. I knew it would be raining that day and it was just a matter of time – thank the Lord I was able to finish right on time before it started pouring on our way back home (after grabbing a bite to eat from a bakery <3).

I am so glad my sister is a fashionista because these sunglasses look superb, stylistically. They have a special tint to them, although most of the color correction (or should I say distortion since I “enhanced” it) was done in Photoshop. I amped up the HSV, to which the sky became this unnatural shade of crisp, cerulean blue with a violet tint. The shallow depth of field gives me this sense of relaxation and a “daze.” I like that feeling.

I definitely wanted to shoot something with glasses though. They are easily tied to the idea of reflection through careful thought. But with sunglasses, they are perceived as relaxation, hence the title Halcyon. It often takes tranquility for inner reflection though, and to be gazing out to the sea or ocean (or in my cheap small suburban town world, the pond) deep in thought.

Reflection4

Watching Glass

Again, literal idea of reflection. I’m glad everyone was able to identify my theme even though I would kind of like a more extensive body of work.

I absolutely wanted to incorporate a watch or a clock into the frame of the mirror but I simply ran out of time and inspiration. I also justified that the general blankness of the reflection seemed to lend a negative space that gave me the feeling of emptiness. Not so much in negativity emptiness, but just hollow nothingness that made me think… simply deeper.

The extreme simplicity of this made itself popular with me, personally. I love pieces that invoke feelings of such emptiness, and this one had some preparation involved as well. Actually, prior to the start of my actual project delivery, I was shopping at Daiso with my sister for home and personal stuff. I was already thinking ahead of my idea for this first semester project, and so I spotted an item I could potentially use: a hand mirror. It is actually too bad because the back of the top side has this fake but beautiful sapphire gem embedded onto the entire area. The light source made it difficult to position it interestingly while still spotlighting the entire theme of this project.

Watching Glass is meant to be more of almost a inceptive approach to reflection. We see the reflection of the mirror onto itself, but we cannot see ourselves. The mirror reflects the other side, and gazes at each other in empty unity. The shape of the mirror as an antique hand clock also gives form to this idea. You have no idea how fun it is to press that spring.


Finally, I would like to wrap up detailing the final image of the project. Because it is an image with the subject being my sister, I cannot post it in a public platform such as here even if I’m the one mostly reading and writing content anyway… However, it is meant to be the most deepest form of reflection: Contemplation.

I love that I placed this last because it is a progression of surface level to a deeper, more metaphorical level. This was the entire reason why I selected this theme because I had a clear end point that I wanted to reach.

In the image, my sister wears a plain blue ruffled dress with a white laced under-blouse. She holds a mirror to her face, which is placed at maybe about a 45° angle in order to reflect the cloudy, more illustrious sky behind me. However, behind her is a storm of gray clouds that is more heavily populated across the right side of the photo, with the left side slightly more brighter and whiter. To me, this is the ultimate form of reflection that combines both literal and metaphorical weight: the mirror that reflects that sky is also reflecting her own face to which she gazes upon — we cannot see this but it is implied. The wind, supposedly from the clouded thoughts upon which she contemplates, billows the skirt of her dress in ripples (parallel to the lake). I chose this one specifically because of that, so that there is a bit more dynamic action, with the rest of the composition being highly placid. The colossal lake water behind her is unfortunately a grayish-blue-green, but the ripples are highly defined with shadows stroking the waves. While the water and houses that line in the far distance to the right are completely still, minus minimal action; the waves, the wind, her hair, and the clouds all form this unique dynamic of a gentle yet pushing action to prod her into her still central figure of her strong left arm holding firmly the mirror upon which she reflects on, literally and figuratively.

Aside from the same adjustment types, I had to correct the camera angle/tilt using Transform’s Skew tool. I basically aligned the proper horizon alignment of the water in order to make up for the lack of a tripod for a stable foundation. Even with one however, imperfections of the ground may have caused a slight tilt; thus, I aligned it properly using a ruler in Photoshop to measure a perfectly straight horizontal line. This very much satisfied my OCD nature.

In the end, I am proud to present the Reflection series to you, with a more behind the scenes analysis here. I am beginning to find these very fun, although I sort of worry that I may come off as indulgent or arrogant. To me, I kind of look at it with neutral eyes, detailing what I’ve been told in terms of feedback and years of artistic knowledge. Writing about these things, is also a form of expression of art to me.

While this was the first serious photography project, I was very surprised that I enjoyed the outcome of it. I honestly dreaded this, thinking I would not do well. After all, my older sister is the pro at this specific genre of the major, not I. But, I suppose that also lends itself to my advantage — she advised me a lot throughout the course of this entire class after all.

And somehow, a small part of me is starting to enjoy photography recreationally. 🙂