Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA: Blog http://www.masqueman.photography/blog en-us (C) Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Wed, 18 Mar 2015 00:40:00 GMT Wed, 18 Mar 2015 00:40:00 GMT http://www.masqueman.photography/img/s/v-5/u754041577-o687457420-50.jpg Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA: Blog http://www.masqueman.photography/blog 120 120 The Priceless Birthday Present http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/the-priceless-birthday-present
For my 45th birthday I received a surprise treasure from my mother. An unassuming box arrived in the mail, and there was no telling what would be in it because she has a knack for creative presents. This year she sent something of great personal value to her and now to me. It was from a time many years before I was born.

Carol and Charlie "JUST MARRIED" in 1960
 Back in 1961, my parents were newlyweds and financially strapped like many young folks. The stuff we take for granted today would have been considered luxurious for them at that time of their lives, especially since they were spending their summer working at Sky Ranch, a camp for "challenged" campers. Some of these young kids had no arms or legs, or suffered from the effects of polio and birth defects. My mother said that these children taught her and my father so much and made the summer a memorable experience.

Carol and Charlie Hughes in 1961
Having little money, my father got creative for their first wedding anniversary. He made my mom something with his own hands. In a way, these kinds of gifts represent an investment of time and love. Not to say that a store-bought gift is not appreciated, but in our product driven world, most people have stopped making things themselves. My father would continue to make her gifts for the rest of his life as seen by these whimsical butterflies made of crushed rock, wire and wood.


My dad carved for my mother a small wooden figure of woman carrying a baby on her back. For anyone who knows my Mom, they will know that this has more than a surface meaning. 


She has raised 4 of her own children, 4 grandchildren, a gang of neighborhood kids and several stadiums worth of teenaged counselors and campers. Not only that, she was the oldest of 8 siblings and helped with her mother with baby raising duties.

The timeworn face of a mother
To me, the figurine of a mother carrying her children symbolizes her perfectly. I suspect my father knew this when he carved it. My Mom  put her children before her own concerns. The weight was heavy as you can see from the stooped back, but she did it anyway... and is still doing it today in her late 70s.


You may never meet a more caring, insightful and funny lady. Many of our late night calls are filled with laughter and funny yarns filled with juicy details... just the way a good tall tail should be told. She is the type of person who knows who everyone is at somebody else's family reunion. I am sure she has introduced cousins who did not even know that they were related. My mom will make strangers feel welcome, and always let you know how much she loves you. I kinda feel sorry for the rest of the world, because I have the best mom out there... just saying.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Carol Hughes Charles Hughes mother parents wedding anniversary http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/the-priceless-birthday-present Sat, 14 Mar 2015 09:29:00 GMT
Executive Portraits for Spin-off Healthcare Corporation http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/executive-portraits-for-spin-off


If you have not heard, last year Kimberly-Clark Corporation spun off a $1.8 billion healthcare division resulting in an independent, publicly traded company named Halyard Health. This new entity will be  focusing on preventing infection, eliminating pain and speeding recovery for healthcare providers and their patients.

I was hired to create executive headshot portraits of the international board of directors. I would only have a minuscule 30 minute window of time to do it since their day was crammed with obligations. This meant showing up the previous day to set up my portable headshot studio consisting of a backdrop, 4 lights, a camera and a photographer... that's me.

I had to cut the set-up short because apparently the flash was bouncing into the board room making people think it was lightning outside. To put it mildly, this was distracting during an important Powerpoint presentation. We all had a chuckle about this later... but not then.

I showed up 2 hours early the next day to finish the setup. Then, during a short break in the meetings, I took all the portraits, packed up and hit the road. Mission accomplished.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) corporate photography Graphic Works head shots headshot portraits Masqueman Photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/executive-portraits-for-spin-off Tue, 10 Mar 2015 06:30:00 GMT
A New Watch Blog is Born at WatchHunter.org http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/new-watch-blog-at-watchhunter-org
A perfect storm of watch collecting, photography and blogging has come together in a pet project of mine located at www.WatchHunter.org. I just launched this blog last week and am trying to fill it with at least an article per week.


I started this to have an outlet (other than my patient wife) to write about my passion of being a horologist... also known as a watch nerd. You can often tell a watch nerd by the way he wears his sleeves just above the watch. He does this so that he can gaze upon the amazing timekeeping device on his wrist, much like a proud parent may look at a newborn. 

This can quickly get out of control with the advanced watch nerds skipping the wrist watch altogether and opting for the ultimate neck watch. Of course, you have to ask someone else "What time is it?"

Photo by Comedy Central
My plan is to write about the watches I own and ones I would like to own. I will have different series within the blog including "Strap Swap", "Meet the Watch", "Watch DNA" and perhaps a sales corner with product recommendations. The subject is limited only by the time I throw at it.


The www.WatchHunter.org blog will also create photo studio projects for me to hone my watch photography skills. Watches can be incredibly tricky to shoot. Believe me, every spec of dust, microscopic scratch and unwanted reflection tries to photobomb the shot. There are also industry standards as far as how the hands are set ... usually at 10 and 2 just like they taught you in driver's ed. Of course, rules are meant to be broken as seen in a sample above.

If you have an interest , please check it out and subscribe. 
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes blog horology Masqueman Photography product photography watch collecting http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/new-watch-blog-at-watchhunter-org Sun, 08 Mar 2015 06:30:00 GMT
Web Site Design for a Large Manufacturing Conglomerate http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/web-site-design-for-manufacturing-giant
Some websites are designed like simple calling cards to hold position on the world wide web. This was the case for site I designed at Graphic Works for OCI Enterprises Inc. This manufacturing conglomerate has several corporate layers under the main umbrella company. 

OCI Enterprises web site
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Graphic Design Graphic Works web site design websites http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/web-site-design-for-manufacturing-giant Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:31:00 GMT
Shooting 225 Badge Photo Portraits in 3 Locations http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/shooting-225-corporate-badge-photos
There are different quality levels of portrait photography from a typical DMV mug shot to a multiple-light professional headshot. The difference is all in the lighting and maybe the willingness to make the subject look decent. I was asked to do something in-between, and was hired to make 225 badge photos for a national healthcare company in multiple locations in the Atlanta area.


Many of the subjects shared horror stories of past badge photos during a bad hair day, when a pimple sprouted on the tip of their nose or they got just one attempt. Though a necessity, many employees do not like getting these and they are in a rush to get back to the day's deadlines or lunch. 


On the flip side, many people are not willing to give up the 10 year old badge photo of their younger self. I made it my personal mission to make them look good and maybe even have some fun. There is nothing fancy with the 2 light setup, but it works for this sort of thing. 


Many of the photos were taken in just 2 shots. I had them write their names on paper and hold them up like they do in a police mugshot. Here's one guy who is familiar with that concept...just kidding Nick.
Regardless of the quick nature of these utilitarian photos, quite a few of the employees were photogenic... not bad for a badge photo.

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) badge photos corporate photography Graphic Works head shots headshot portraits Masqueman Photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/3/shooting-225-corporate-badge-photos Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:00:00 GMT
Creating an Impromptu Architectural Image for an Atlanta-based Healthcare Company http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/2/creating-impromptu-architectural-image
A photographer must be ready for any hot potato a client throws his direction. It is not always possible to accommodate impromptu requests, but the more versatile I can be, the better.

Perspective corrected image...
While on location setting up a mobile headshot studio for executive portraits, I was asked to make an architectural image of the client's new building. They had just completed parts of the build-out so this location still had that "new car smell"... and they needed an image the next day.

Outside was dull, dreary and threatening snow. I only had a few moments to snap some images before I was needed inside. I did the best that I could with the 24-70mm portrait lens I had with me. I normally do not bring my wide-angle 16mm lens to portraits so it was this or nothing.

A tilt shift lens would have been handy to dial out the perspective, but that is a rental for me. As such, I had to remove the extreme perspective in Photoshop. There are limited to what looks realistic. The very first image is what a tilt-shift lens might have produced. I'm not sure which I prefer since the second slightly distorted one looks more epic.

Building with some of the perspective left in...
The light played to my advantage with the foggy overcast sky acting like a giant softbox to evenly illuminate the structure's facades. The sun was cooperative and placed itself directly behind the building allowing parts of the giant glass tower to be both reflective and transparent. 

Out of camera capture...

Of course, the sky had to be replaced with something better than boring white. Above is the original out-of camera shot... I think I added enough drama to make it work.


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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes architecture corporate photography Graphic Works Masqueman Photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/2/creating-impromptu-architectural-image Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:17:00 GMT
Happy Birthday to My Second Dad http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/2/happy-birthday-to-my-second-dad
We may get to pick our spouses in life, but we don't always get to pick the family attached to them. I hit the in-law jackpot by marrying into a very nice family. In particular, I not only gained a father-in-law, I gained a friend in Ronald Heady.

To me, he exemplifies the best that a man can aspire to be. I have never met a more intelligent or analytical mind in my life. I am sure that if scientists performed intelligence tests on him, their machines would have to be recalibrated. My relationship with him allows me to share my interests from photography, guns, gadgets, watches, robotics and science... not your typical "how's the weather" banter.

A few years ago, he allowed me to take some portraits of him. He had just given me two special gifts for my camera collection that reaches back as far as the 1930s. One was a Minolta camera that he personally used. 


The other was a Yashica twin-lens reflex camera that his father, Ray Heady, used as a newspaper reporter for the Kansas City Star newspaper beginning in 1943. I was over the moon to get these treasures and they are displayed in a place of prominence in my collection.


Here he is with his favorite gal, Sue. Happy Birthday, Ron! We love ya!

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) male portrait Masqueman Photography portrait photography portraits http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2015/2/happy-birthday-to-my-second-dad Sun, 22 Feb 2015 09:42:00 GMT
Two for One Headshot Sessions http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/11/two-for-one-headshot-sessions
When two of my buddies told me within the same week that they wanted new head shots, my response was to proverbially kill two birds with one Canon. There is nothing more business-like than high efficiency, but that does not mean we had to be boring. They wisecracked jokes the whole time. I am afraid that they might hurt me for posting the photo below... ha ha.


We knocked out the standard business head shots first. Unless I am trying to specifically match the style of a company's headshot, I tend to shoot a variety of backgrounds for the client. I can do this quickly by moving a few prearranged backdrops.


The requirements for Jason were slightly different since the headshot was going to include his company logo on his shirt. He owns Performance Audio & Video Atlanta...one of the best audio, video and home automation companies in Atlanta. Give him a call if you need any of that.


While Justinas was dressed to the nines, I took some full body portraits in case he becomes a CEO or lawyer in the coming years. I remember the first time I met him with long hair riding a motorcycle. Now he is a respectable business man, and he cleaned up nicely.


We then moved on to more stylized photos. For Jason, I used a warmer tone to match his shirt. For Justinas, I chose to use a slightly blue cast to match his shirt. I think doing this emphasizes the face more and the clothing less.


I know for sure that I have the best friends in the world.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes corporate photography head shots headshot portraits Masqueman Photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/11/two-for-one-headshot-sessions Sun, 02 Nov 2014 12:38:00 GMT
Halloween Character Portraits http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/10/halloween-character-portraits
What is the best holiday of them all? I say Halloween for many people including adults. This might be the only yearly event where people get to step outside of their mundane lives and become somebody more interesting for a night.


In years passed, I have been hired to run photo booths at masquerade parties. These are as much fun for me as the participants. I love to see what will walk through the door. Maybe stars from the past will reappear...



In the case of Ricky and Lucy here... they were just enhancing reality with a sense of humor.


I think you can tell a lot about a person from the disguise he or she chooses. It could be a hero or villain unlike themselves. So, our next guy could be the dashing Clark Gabel...


...or a scoundrel tycoon named Dick Dasterly. You decide.


 A costume could be in poor taste and you wish you had not seen it. An example of this was a pudgy white man I saw (in 1998) who dressed himself as a minstrel-styled Aunt Jemima... yes, the nice lady from the syrup bottle. He even had a plate of pancakes and sang what he called "spirituals." Unfortunately,  you can't unsee or unhear some things. My advice... don't do this. And by the way, the guy next to him is no priest... 


The characters can come from literature like the Queen from Alice in Wonderland.


...or from pop culture like the Tom Petty styled Mad Hatter that came with the Queen.


This only makes sense if you saw his 1984 music video for "Don't Come Around Here No More"


Sexy vampires almost make you want to get bitten. More than once please...


I'm not sure if the motherly Morticia from the Adams Family was a vampire or not...


Some people never grow up and have to take their mummies everywhere. This gentleman English explorer's costume and expression were spot on. Blimey!


Whoa! I hope it wasn't the liver paté that made her turn green...


A touch of the old country... all that is missing is some beer mugs and polka music.


Is this what the Tooth Fairy really looks like?


It's only fair that I should embarrass myself with my favorite Halloween outfit of all time. One year I went as my West Virginia cousin, Bubba Joe Jethro (the third). The ladies loved my dental work.


That guy always gets out of hand though. Here he is talking things over with a security officer.


I hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful Halloween. Be safe.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Halloween Masqueman Photography party http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/10/halloween-character-portraits Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:03:00 GMT
Zombie Transformation Caught on Film http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/10/zombie-transformation-caught-on-film
Fans of The Walking Dead have seen plenty of zombies. Usually they are shown in a state of decay just long enough to get their heads smashed in by the heroes of this popular TV series.

But, after watching every episode, I don't think I have ever seen a zombie transformation. For the first time EVER, this unseen event has been captured with time lapse photography. It's not a pretty sight either. If you are easily frightened, turn your eyes away now.

Apparently, the pre-zombie being grows a wild beard and his teeth turn into hideous bucktooth fangs. If you don't believe me, just watch the video evidence. It's got to be true if it's on the internet, right? See the link zombie video here.




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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Halloween humor Masqueman Photography time lapse Walking Dead zombie http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/10/zombie-transformation-caught-on-film Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:36:00 GMT
CEO Power Portraits http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/ceo-power-portraits
One of my favorite things to do is make corporate style portraits. Usually that involves head shots, but it can also include body poses too. These can be great for magazine covers, articles or web pages. You never know where the images could end up including company sites, social media, email or print. In the samples below, I composited the client into 2 different backgrounds.




In this case, they will be used for several different types of articles on the company web site. With just a few modifications in the studio, I was able to provide a wide range of photos from formal to more informal. Providing different looks during a shoot gives the client's graphic designer much more material to work with. Variations on a theme? Check, check and check...

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes corporate photography Masqueman Photography portrait photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/ceo-power-portraits Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:41:00 GMT
Burlesque Dancer at Rosé Wine Party http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/burlesque-dancer-at-rose-wine-party
Sometimes my job can be so fun that I forget I am working. This was the case when I was hired to take photos at a burlesque-themed rosé wine party.


A burlesque dancer named Amy was hired to entertain the surprised guests who were also dressed in various shades of rosé pink or sterotypical "French" attire. That includes berets and feather boas for us Americans. Check out the characters below... Magnifque!


Coincidentally, these two got engaged that day...


Entertainment included singing in French, comedy gags and Moulin Rouge style dancing. Plus, there was an elaborate strip tease with a "memorable" finale... If you want to see that, you are going to have to hire Amy. She is wonderful so you won't regret it.  Contact her at amyewachtel@gmail.com


 Afterwards, Amy took photos with the guests... never dropping out of character. This lady has tons of charisma which made my job much easier. She is also a master costume maker and seamstress. Look at the details in the outfit she made. Imagine putting that on by yourself.


Below is my favorite photo of the entire evening which I snapped in front of my light box.


Guess who had the better legs below?


Many of the partygoers were very old friends so it was a perfect time for group portraits! 


Here are some of my favorite photos of the night.




The last photo reminded me of Linda Carter... yes, the 1970s era Wonder Woman.


She thought I was crazy to think this, but I know that I am right.

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) burlesque costumes Event photography Masqueman Photography party photo booth wine http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/burlesque-dancer-at-rose-wine-party Sun, 24 Aug 2014 06:48:00 GMT
It Would Have Been 54 Years Ago... http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/it-would-have-been-54-years-ago
Wedding anniversaries in my family are not usually celebrated as big events outside of the married couple. Years ago, when my parents had their 50th anniversary, it came and went quietly. They did not want the attention or the hullabaloo.


Today would have been my parent's 54th wedding anniversary. 


My Dad missed it by less than half a year having passed away in April. My Mom is bravely facing this day "alone" so we are all thinking about her right now.


Over the years my parents rode the peaks and valleys of any marriage, learning to communicate as two totally different types of people and somehow made it work.


A big component of their lives was their children and grandchildren, but this is just about them.


My Mom shared a personal story of how my Dad would hide Snickers bars under her pillow or present her with flowers gathered from everywhere except the florist. The example below looks like it did come from a  florist, but he probably borrowed it from somewhere. Don't ask...


This is one of the last photos that I took when my Dad still had a sparkle in his eye. He had the same sparkle when he would sing songs or expertly whistle tunes for my Mom.


This was the photo we used for my Dad's funeral, and now it hangs in their bedroom next to the sparkly butterflies my Dad made for my Mom aeons ago.


Almost 54 years together is quite an accomplishment. I really don't have the words to describe what their partnership together must have been like so I'll leave it to the expert. Alan Jackson... take it away. This song is dedicated to Carol and Charlie Hughes on their 54th anniversary. It is their life and I would have sworn he wrote it for them.

See video here: http://youtu.be/TTA2buWlNyM

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Carol Hughes Charles Hughes Masqueman Photography parents wedding anniversary http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/it-would-have-been-54-years-ago Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:07:00 GMT
A New Breed of Bearded Terrier Discovered http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/a-new-breed-of-bearded-terrier
What you are looking at here is the first known photo of the fabled bearded terrier of south eastern United States. These creatures are incredibly shy, living in the backwoods of the Georgia mountains. 


It is said that a regular old hound dog fell into a vat of 100 proof moonshine and swam a few laps. Then miraculously his beard began to grow like those Duck Dynasty guys. I have no idea if that is true, but these are amazing looking animals.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Boston Terrier Dogs Masqueman Photography tall tale http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/a-new-breed-of-bearded-terrier Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Welcome to Earth Little Michael http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/welcome-to-earth-little-michael

Just a quick post to welcome Michael to this fine planet of ours. Say hello...


New baby parts below...


He joins his parents Amber and Jason plus sister Alessandra.




Big sis has already broken in her parents so Michael might be able to get away with more as a second child. Or perhaps, they will know how to spot his rascally tricks. Only time will tell.


I love this pose as Mom cradles baby.


Michael calls this "the claw" pose... I think I heard him meow as he did this.


One thing is for sure... he looks like a cool kid. 


Already Michael has made his parents very happy, and all he has done so far is mess up a bunch of diapers. Just wait until he does something really great!

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes child phtotography family portraits Masqueman Photography newborns http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/welcome-to-earth-little-michael Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:23:00 GMT
Do Blondes Really Have More Fun? http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/do-blondes-really-have-more-fun
A client of mine brought her company's new CFO to our studio for a quick headshot and I just could not let her leave without me recording her new hair color. She used to be a brunette. She told me that she would let me know if blondes have more fun in a few months. This got me thinking about the origin of that common saying.


The question was perhaps first posed when some poor woman accidentally splashed bleach on her hair while washing clothes in a bucket. You know, before automated machines and woman's suffrage (a.k.a. the dark ages). Miraculously her hair changed color from brown to blonde... and so the bleach blonde was invented. I am making up that scenario since nobody really knows.

What IS known is that an astute woman named Shirley Polykoff solidified that concept into the collective of modern pop culture. Working for the ad agency responsible for the Clairol hair product accounts, she came up with these golden slogans for the company:

  • "Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure." This was the 8th top advertising slogan of the 20th century.
  • "If I only have one life... let me live it as a blonde." This one is clever because it sounds like a another famous slogan that reads "Give me liberty or give me death". It also hides a popular soap opera's name in the slogan which might have connected with housewives in that era.
  • And the last slogan "Is it true that blondes have more fun?" landed this creative lady into the Advertising Hall of Fame... one of only 5 women admitted. This is quite an achievement before the Women's Rights era.
Most of this info comes from an article by a Dr. Rosenthal which explores psychological studies on the subject. If you are curious, read more here: http://www.hairboutique.com/tips/tip8018.htm
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) advertising history blondes Masqueman Photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/do-blondes-really-have-more-fun Tue, 05 Aug 2014 07:00:00 GMT
Photos of My Little Sister and Her Twins http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/photos-of-my-little-sister-and-her-twins
This is a confession... I shot my sister and her two kids with a Canon. Before you call the cops, you should know that nobody got hurt and generally everyone had a good time.


My sis, Gena, had been promising me for years to come and visit me in my new Atlanta home... well, it was new 8 years ago anyway. It seems that she has been busy raising a family so traveling 10 hours by car was not an easy thing to do.


Now that her twin kids are 8 years old, it is much easier to toss them in the car and make the grueling drive.  Our plan was to keep the kids as busy as possible by purchasing an Atlanta City Pass. This allows people to see the top attractions in Atlanta for a highly reduced price.


The first morning, we made monster waffles in honor of Waffle House, which originated in Avondale Estates, Georgia... only 8 miles from my home.


Then it was off to the Fernbank Museum for some natural history and dinosaurs.


They have a great whale museum, which I accidentally found out does not allow photo taking. Oops. The hands-on science section has great things to occupy kids of all ages.


The next day was spent at Stone Mountain, which is not on the City Pass, but well worth the $10 admission to get in. The kids loved hiking around the old mill.


They sat still long enough for me to snap a few family photos. I mean just long enough... some of these poses were mere seconds before they were off and running again.



Notice the hug disguised as the "stay here" clutch.


Twins born 4 minutes apart...


Drawing in the sand like a cave girl.


Look at that fiery red hair!


We watched a Dock Dogs event, which had a bunch of lovable pooches jumping in a long jump pool. 


Then, we explored the top of Stone Mountain by riding the tram. I think we could have really tired them out by making them run up the other side of the mountain, but I am not sure the adults were up to it. They climbed trees to get higher!



Later we watched the laser show with thousands of other people. That lawn can really hold a crowd!


The next day was going to be spent at the Atlanta Aquarium. This place is as large as a shopping mall, and designed as such. I think I felt the dollar bills being sucked out of my sister's wallet as we exited through the gift shop.


 Yes it is good for business... but it causes a lot of headaches for parents with tired children who do not know what money is. Just saying...  Regardless of that, the venue is top notch with amazing sights and sounds. 


 How many fish are in this place?!


Life takes some strange and wondrous shapes.


This might be the only time little Andy sat down. I took the photo as proof.


I did not know the aquarium had amazing acrobats!


After we had seen all the fish there were to see, we jogged over to the new Coke museum for a quick walkthrough. Two highlights for the kids were taking a photo with the excellent polar bear and a 4-D movie with whiplash moving chairs and spraying water.


It seems that the pinnacle of the whole Atlanta trip for them was all the "FREE" Coke products from around the world in the museum's sampling room. It is kinda cool to try different flavors that are not available here in the states. My favorite was Inca Cola from Peru that has a unique flavor derived from lemon verbena...an exotic flower.


The kids made friends with Zack the Boston Terrier who seemed to love hanging out with them. Little Andy even broke through to Zoey who is incredibly shy around strangers.


If they did not sleep in the car going back to Virginia, then I am not sure what else we could have stuffed into the 3 day weekend. I was personally bushed for the rest of the week.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Atlanta family portraits Masqueman Photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/photos-of-my-little-sister-and-her-twins Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Time to Say Goodbye to Nonna http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/time-to-say-goodbye-to-nonna
As a photographer, I believe that I am a keeper of sacred images. As hokey as that sounds, you never know which will be the last frame you will snap of someone you love or another family's cherished matriarch.


This was the case of Joan Mitchell Jenkins who passed away this week after several years of fighting life-threatening diseases. I would like to celebrate what I knew about her.


When I met Joan, she was already battling debilitating health issues. This was extremely difficult for her, but I never heard her complain about it.  Instead what I saw was a complete dedication to her daughter's family including a special granddaughter.


I have rarely seen such devotion to grandchildren (excluding my own Mother who is at the top of the heap). Joan loved little Alessandra fiercely and it brought her great joy to be with her.


Over the years, I would take photos of little Alessandra and Nonna would often be there.  Some of my favorite photos are from her first birthday. These two share the same look.


To get all three generations of women together was incredible. Alessandra was teething and it would have taken hot sauce on her fingers to keep her hands out of her mouth, but it does not matter. The moment was recorded.


The last photo I took of Nonna and Alessandra together was ironically on the day before my own father died. This weighed heavily on me as I took this last photo of the two together... not knowing if there would be another opportunity like this.


Nonna probably would hate being seen in her pink cap and oxygen lines, but to me, this photo is a powerful reminder of how her world revolved around her granddaughter. Maybe this will become a reminder to an older Alessandra when she thinks about her Nonna.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Jason Caponi Masqueman Photography memorial http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/8/time-to-say-goodbye-to-nonna Sun, 03 Aug 2014 10:11:00 GMT
Portraits of a Little Lady http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/7/portraits-of-little-lady
I love watching kids grow up. Just a few months apart makes the changes more discernible. I have been photographing Allessandra since she was born, and she has become quite the little charmer. Here she is pretty in pink.


This black and white photo hints at what she may look like when she gets older which is the perfect combination of Mom and Dad. She was photographed using old fashioned tungsten hot lights... which produces a different look in my opinion. Plus, they can heat a room on a cold day.


It is obvious that she loves her Daddy. I like how their faces are so close here.


She is getting taller than Pops (as long as he is sitting on the ground).


There is no such thing as a subtle smile at 4, as you can see here with Mom and Dad.


It was dreary outside but a little flash trickery made it look like a lovely Spring day with Mom.



I'm sure the neighbors did not mind me using their azaleas as a backdrop.


I noticed on the way back inside that the red door would make a great background for her blue polka dotted dress. A moment later she leaned against the unlatched door and tumbled backwards. She was unhurt, but the look on her face was utter surprise. What a trooper!

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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) child phtotography family portraits Masqueman Photography portrait photography http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/7/portraits-of-little-lady Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:30:00 GMT
Hidden Garden Get Away in Asheville, North Carolina http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/7/hidden-garden-get-away-in-asheville


For our eighth anniversary, my wife and I drove to Asheville, North Carolina for a fun filled weekend during the Fourth of July celebration. If you have never been to that town... put it on your list. Asheville is surrounded by rolling mountains which makes it a beautiful place to explore.

The pedestrian friendly town invites you to sight-see, shop, eat, drink and loaf about. There are tons of gluten-free and vegetarian options if you are into that. The food alone is worth the drive. The people are very laid back and friendly with several locals chatting us up for no other reason than to be neighborly.... and I thought Atlanta had the market cornered on Southern hospitality!



The night before we left, I packed a pile of camera gear to take with me including all types of lenses and flashes.  At the last minute, I decided to leave it all behind and take my iPhone and a Canon S100 which is a tiny point-and-shoot. 


Normally trips = photo safaris, but this time I wanted to spend time with Jenny. She was the whole reason for me being there and I wanted to concentrate on us having fun. 


Instead of staying in an holiday-priced hotel, Jenny found us a micro house which was amazing... and half the cost. The host's house can be seen to the right for size comparison.


A micro house can be many things, but in this case it was a wonderful one room modern bungalow surrounded by a lush garden. 


This was one of the coolest places we have ever stayed including swanky hotels in big cities.


The structures and garden were the result of many years of work by the owner who is a home remodeler and a landscaper. He is also a heck of a nice guy welcoming us with warmth and kindness.


We spent a few hours exploring in the gardens and seeing different things. Below is an old stucco shed that had be refaced with bamboo and reclaimed corrugated metal siding.



The location used to be a stone quarry and evidence of that can be seen in the sheer rock faces that surround 3 sides of the garden.


Much of the rock has foliage growing over it and the walls have cascading icicles in the winter.










So many details can be discovered in the garden. 


Some of the plants were throw-aways from other people's yards. They found a new life here.


Bamboo gardens rustled in the mountain breezes, which was incredibly peaceful. Sunlight seemed to turn green as it filtered through the leaves...


Bamboo was used as a recurring theme throughout the garden and structures.



Spike the cat will greet you and make you feel like a welcome guest.



Since I had a point-and-shoot, we just had fun taking photos. If something did not turn out right... who cares? We were were on vacation. 


For once it was nice to just be in the moment and not worry about the technical side of things... just capture the snapshot and keep going.


Our favorite activity (besides stuffing our faces) was exploring the vast arts district full of fantastic old warehouses.  It was an incredible trip and one we plan on repeating in the future.
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masqueman@gmail.com (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Asheville Garden Masqueman Photography NC North Carolina vacation. snapshots http://www.masqueman.photography/blog/2014/7/hidden-garden-get-away-in-asheville Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:30:00 GMT