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Working with Apocalypse Ink Productions

clock April 19, 2012 17:23 by author Amber

This weekend is going to be fun. I'll be spending time out in the field creating some test images for the project I'm working on with author Jennifer Brozek and her label, Apocalypse Ink Productions. In technical terms, it's a fumetti*, or photo graphic novel. In the more abstract, it's awesome, a tale of deceit, power grabs, and dead people.

You may be asking yourself, "So what, Amber? That's exciting and all but what does that have to do with taking test photos?"

I'll be playing with a new technique and a new type of lens I've never used before; a LensBaby Composer. I've never played with one so it's good that these are only test photographs. I've taken a few pictures already and fiddled with it some more but we'll see how it goes.

Yeah, I'm going to have fun with it.

* I have to thank Donna Barr for pointing me in this direction.

"A Moment of Hope" takes the People's Choice Award for Best Horror!

clock April 9, 2012 17:54 by author Amber
Kyle watched his hand reach out to her face.  Just as he was about to touch her, she shrieked through her stitched jaw and wiggled on her pedestal.  Kyle backed away, and she yelled louder.  He whispered to her to be quiet, but she wouldn't stop squirming. -- Squirm by Doug Goodman
Copyright null, Stopped Motion Photography.
A Moment Of Hope. Originally published on April 14th, 2008, for the short story SQUIRM by Doug Goodman on the Edge of Propinquity.

I am very pleased that I was awarded the People's Choice Award for Best Horror in the Norwescon 35 Art Show. I am very gratefull to everyone who voted for my work and I'm sure it wasn't an easy decission as there was some wonderful horror pieces in the show this year.

A teaser from yesterday's shoot

clock March 18, 2012 09:37 by author Amber

I had so much fun shooting Whisper De Corvo, a rising star in the Seattle burlesque scene, and Miss Velvet Ice, a living legend of burlesque. We were shooting poster photos for an upcoming burlesque down in the alleys of Pioneer Square, an section of town with amazing architecture.

Here's a tease from the shoot.

Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography.

A Razor Fine Edge

clock December 19, 2011 22:54 by author Amber

Copyright 2011, Stopped Motion Photography.

2606 photos.

That's the number of photos I have shot for the Edge of Propinquity in the six years since Jennifer asked me to help. Most of those photos have never seen the light of day. I still remember the day when ideas started coming together ver clearly. Jennifer and I used to work at the same software shop in Kirkland, Washington, building software for attorneys. Over lunch we would often take walks together as means of simply getting out of the office. Frequently during these walks we would bat ideas around like kittens with a favorite toy. As is the nature of ideas, some of them soared, some of them floundered, and others really weren't that air worthy to begin with. But one of the ideas that did soar started off humbly enough.

It was during one such walk up Lake Washington Boulevard when Jennifer said to me, and I'm para-phrasing pretty liberally here, "I want to turn the web site into a webzine for short stories." As someone who loves the short story format, this was golden as far as I could tell. "I want to illustrate it with black and white photos. Would you help me with that?" I'm sure you could guess what my response was and if you said the response was enthusiastic, you'd be on the right track.

We hashed out the important details for the photos like resolution and file formats and the next thing I knew, we were spending a cold, sunny, December Sunday in Seattle taking photographs. We walked along the path that says "MAZE", over the I-90 Mount Baker Tunnels; you can even see those painted letters, if only barely, on Google Maps. We even took photographs of the pedestrian tunnel as well. We wandered through downtown Seattle and took photos of roads and pedestrians and shot glasses. Overpasses and bridges filled my view finder as well. Copyright null, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.comEven the University of Washington campus was our play ground that day. We were exploring the world around us to get a visual feel for the world Jennifer had created and figure out what was allowed and what wasn't. That day, I shot over 260 photos

Several of those initial photos became iconic components of the Edge of Propinquity. The Mount Baker Pedestrian Tunnel figures into at least three images put together for the webzine, including the banner image and one print advertisement. Those were just the beginning. I produced images for all 12 of Jennifer's Kendrick stories, three of Ivan's Vorare series, and the eight guest author stories for the first year and thing never really slowed down since then.

But the greatest treasure for me was getting to read all of the stories. Those stories all touched me in some fashion, whether they were urban fantasy, mystery, or even just good-old-fashion horror. Even the stories that didn't make into my mostest-favoritest list still had impact. My favorite stories were ones with interesting protagonists dealing with morally ambiguous issues, when the best choice still isn't a good way to go or the story where there's a monster in the darkness and the only thing that will keep it away is the charm of a child. Of course, that'll only work if you're lucky.

Looking over the edge like that was an honor and a privilege. While I am sad to see her go, TEOP had and amazing run and ended on solid ground.

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Half Off Portraiture Sale at Stopped Motion Photography

clock October 31, 2011 23:01 by author Amber

Copyright 2009, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.comNow through November 6th, if you schedule a portrait session for the month of November and pre pay for your session, get 50% off your total!

Photo Package A--a hour shoot that includes two 8x10's, four 5x7's, and a Photo Disc that contains all of the finished photos from the shoot in a high resolution formation. Buying these individually would cost you $275, but as a package it's only $234. Now if you order it the package and pay for it this week, it's only $117 plus tax.

The Student Headshot Package, a one hour session, two glossy 8x10's, and a Photo Disc with all of the finished photographs from your shoot. This pack is normally $113. This week, it's only $56.

For more information, send an email to and I will get back to you within 24 hours or less.

Over the Edge: Hostage Situation

clock July 16, 2011 09:30 by author Amber

Ivan Ewert's "Idolwood" has been a mixed bag for me in terms of inspiration for the images that go with the story. Some times the image ideas come quickly like in a nightmare after reading the story right before bed. (Ivan cackled maniacly when I told him about that for the story.) Some times I have to really work the story over in my head to figure out what I'm going to do. This story, Abductions and Reflections, is an example of that. Don't get me wrong, the story is excellentm but coming up with the right image just left me perplexed. Late on the night of the 8th, inspiration finally hit. I give you, "Hostage Situation".

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Over the Edge: Molting

clock July 15, 2011 14:42 by author Amber

Sometimes a story yields only a single image concept. Some times there are a couple of idea. On the rare occassion, however, there is outright warfare as the image ideas fight their way to the top. After reading "Jim Towne Hollow and the Skinwitch" by Jennifer Adam in the latest issue of the Edge of Propinquity on the drive home from WesterCon, my mind was rife with ideas. Fortunately, a fourteen hour drive gives you plenty of time to evaluate your options.

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Over the Edge: Reflected Power

clock June 21, 2011 09:04 by author Amber

It's not often a story like Seren Draig, by T.D Edge, comes along; a story with so many great mental images, how do I choose one? I knew I wanted the black Mercedes that's featured in the story, but what do with it?

I could put the main character in front of the grill back to the camera. No, that's been done before. Well, what about including the female antagonist? No, she's not in the same scene as the car. Since I wasn't really happy with the concepts I was coming up. I figured I would go shoot photos of the car, since I had a very small window to shoot it in, and look at the photos in post production and see if anything sparks an idea.

And idea was sparked.

Copyright null, Stopped Motion Photography.

 This photo is actually two photographs. The Mercedes was shot in a parking lot in South Seattle with the sun and a single strobe at 1/60th of a second at F/16. The SB-800 was running at 1/4th power to help overpower the sun. Very little modification to the car was done at this point.

The dragon was shot in my studio at 1/100th of a second and F/10 against a black background and used a SB-600 at 1/64th power as the sole light source. I wanted the the heavy shadows to help shroud the beast in mystery. After removing the black background the dragon was placed on the car and distorted like any reflection would be. I also cut out areas of non-reflective surfaces.

Over the Edge: Safety in Ritual

clock June 1, 2011 17:40 by author Amber

Kyle Cassidy, one of my photography idols, once gave several pieces of advice to photographers at large by way of his blog as a means of answering the age old question: "What advice would you give new photographers?" The one piece of advice that really stood out to me is one that I've tried is simple.

Surround yourself with creative people.

That's an idea I agree with with whole heartedly. I have friends who are artists and authors, painters and dancers, actors and musicians. In this, I am truly blessed.

But where am I going with this, you ask? The answer is simple.

Copyright null, Stopped Motion Photography.

One of my friends, Lillian Cohen-Moore, is an author--and she's a model and a stage manager and an all around amazing woman--has a story April Edition of the Edge of Propinquity. One of the images that really struck me as I read the story was of the main character cutting strawberries as she sat next to her ailing grandmother who laid in the living room bed and that formed the basis of the image. This is one of the rare photos I've created for the Edge of Propinquity where the author was the subject of the final photo.

The photo was shot with my Nikon D700, and 50mm lens at f2.8 and 1/250th of a second. The image is light with a single Nikon SB-600 SpeedLight that is sitting on the ground to the right of the camera, pointing up at the ceiling.

Putting on the Ritz

clock June 1, 2011 06:48 by author Amber

Tight turn around times can be very hard, especially when you're looking for that perfect shot. But the pressure can be very can be very rewarding. Take this one, for instance, where Miss Vixen Valentine, a local burlesque performer and producer who needed a show flier on very short notice for Puttin' on the Ritz.

Copyright 2011, Stopped Motion Photography.

The model is Eva Harlowe, stage kitten and purveyor of the pick up arts. That is a fancy way of saying she picks up the discarded items while entertaining the audience at the same time.

Makeup by Miss Vixen Valentine. Hair by Beatrice Belladonna.

Technical bits: F/2.8 at 50mm, 1/100th of a second, two strobe set up. SB-800 at 1/64 power on a silver fill umbrella with an SB-600 and a white shoot trhough umbrella against a focus gray (60%) background.

Total time from appointment to flier: 94 minutes.

Puttin' on the Ritz is on Wednesday, June 29th, at the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater.

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