52-Weeks Of My Life

Photos by Jacqueline Fay


Week 4 – #8. Broken

I had been walking around Ybor City and decided to get off the main street and do some exploring on a side street. As I walked along, I saw a young man sitting alone on a bench reading a book in his lap. From time to time, he would glance up. When he did so, I tried as I always do with people, to assess his mood. In his case, I couldn’t figure out if he looked sad, angry or a combination of the two. Later, when I studied this photo and others I had taken of him, it struck me that his spirit seemed “broken”. And if this was the case, how did this happen? Had he been physically and/or mentally abused? Some other kind of mistreatment? Possibly a series of failed relationships? He seemed so alone and isolated, and yet at the same time unapproachable.

I don’t normally do my photography at mid-day, so the harsh and contrasty light I viewed initially as a negative. Later, however, when I uploaded this image I thought that the dramatic lighting heightened the mood of the photo.

Ybor stranger on a bench red tint 2


Week 4 – #2. A Stranger

While in Ybor City doing some Street Photography, a man across the street called out to me. He had spotted me snapping away and wanted to know what I was doing, so I happily crossed the street and said “hello” and told him. Then I asked if I might take his photo, explaining that he had a wonderful face and I would love to have that opportunity if he felt comfortable with it. Luckily for me, he was willing, and we spent a few minutes chatting before I took a few photos. He had a lovely, sunny disposition and taking his photo was a pleasure. However, I did not have my favorite macro lens for Street Portraiture on my camera and was concerned about how the photo would turn out using my 35mm prime.  Taking this photo made me feel a bit like a naughty school kid since on this photography outing my assignment was to do Street Photography rather than the Street Portraiture which comes to me more naturally.

Ybor stranger


Week 2 – #33. Part of a Face/Head

While in Ybor City recently, I spotted this brightly colored storefront and thought I would wait for someone interesting to pass by so that I could photograph them in front of it. After a few minutes, a young woman walked by and spent what felt like an especially long time leaning into the window and conversing with someone within. Judging from her body language, I developed the distinct impression that she must have some warm feelings, possibly even romantic ones, for whomever was behind the glass but too much in the shadows for me to see. I waited until the man leaned forward just enough for me to snap a few photos and capture both his and her expression.

Even though I was only able to visualize a part of the man’s face/head, I felt that I was able to confirm my original suspicion:  that there were indeed some warm feelings between these two people. It also struck me that the colorful storefront matched their happy moment in one another’s company.

Buying a drink


Week 1 – #43. Starts With “O”

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours in Ybor City with some photo friends for the purpose of doing some street photography. I had previously only ever done street portraiture, so this was very foreign to me and required a dramatic change in approach to using my camera on the street.

The main street was very scenic and interesting and I was so caught up in the play of shadows in the contrasty light of mid-day, that I did not even notice the young woman ambling along the street. It was not until I brought the image into Lightroom and opened up the shadows that I was able to see her clearly. What struck me immediately was the relaxed and carefree look on her face, and how oblivious she seemed to everyone around her. Having been trained in portraiture to make sure that my model’s eyes stayed open for the shot, I was at first put off by the fact that her eyes are closed. After a bit, however, her beatific expression began to grow on me and I was no longer bothered by this small detail.

Woman on Ybor Street_


Week 9 -#49 Tiny World

I told my 11 year-old daughter that I had this blog project that I needed her help with once again, and that the topic was tiny world. We brainstormed a bit, and she decided to make food and table settings for her favorite barbie dolls. She chose to use Wikki Stix to make these items. Wikki Stix are made of hand-knitted yarn that is enhanced with a non-toxic wax, the kind used in bubble gum and lipstick, which makes them a great creative activity toy, especially when you have a long wait in a restaurant with little bored ones in tow. I recommend them highly!

In this case, I was impressed with Chloe’s creations because of their small size. To give you a sense of that, the pizza in front of the blond barbie is less than the size of a quarter. When it came to the set up, Chloe took charge and chose her favorite blanket for the background. All in all, I think you would agree that the barbies look pretty content with their meal!



Week 8 – #14 Enclosed

Recently, after a hectic week, I drove down to Boca Grande with my list of blog themes in the hopes that I could a) clear my head and b) start to catch up on my blog posts.

When I reached the lovely chapel by the beach, I noticed these two trees entwined with one another, and my first thought was how enclosed the palm tree looked in the embrace of the strangler fig. When it came time to process the photo, the lovely textures in the trunks of both trees seemed to call out for a black and white treatment, so that is what I settled on. Yesterday would have been a better day to post this since it was Valentine’s Day, but I figured a day late wouldn’t be so bad :-). Enclosed_.jpg


Week 6 – #40 Rusty

When our old washer and dryer started to fail, a friend kindly offered to take them off of our hands. He arrived in his truck behind which he was pulling a rickety, old and rusty trailer. I was immediately transfixed by the beautiful colors in the metal above the wheel wells, and started “itching” to dash inside and grab my camera. As soon as everyone was safely indoors, I quietly slipped inside the house for my camera to photograph something aged but lovely. Getting this shot involved balancing precariously on the edge of the trailer and leaning way out. After I got it, I noticed the friend of a neighbor peering at me strangely from the road. I waved merrily and continued on without explaining the crazy thing I was doing. When I later explained to my friend and family what I had been up to outside, I am not sure that the non-photographers in the group really “got it”. But, hey, that’s OK too!rusty trailer


Week 5 – #3. Before/After

I love to convert my portraits to black and white wherever possible, so I decided that it would be interesting to show the Before/After versions of one of my recent portraits. This is because I feel that the impact of the image in B and W is usually so much greater:  facial expressions seem to be more pronounced and dramatic because distracting colored details are eliminated. In the case below, I first processed the image in LR 5 and in PS CC. I then edited the image in to Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.  This is the only plug-in I use for converting an image to black and white. For those of you who have used Nik Silver Efex, you know that there are many presets available for portraits. I really don’t have a favorite one yet, so I try out many of them to see which one seems to fit the portrait I am converting. Then I tweak the preset setting using the sliders provided. (I never use the preset straight up.)  My last step is to try out a vignette, or to burn the edges of the photo. Most often, I choose one or the other. If you have any comments or feedback to give me, I would love to hear them! In this case, I feel that the B and W version has more impact. Please let me know if you feel differently.

George - before and afterGeorge - after