Wow, it’s been a couple of months since I participated in the Pros blog carousel.  This month I am particularly excited because our theme is ALTERNATIVE CAMERAS.  I had super high hopes for the execution of this month’s theme but ended up getting super sick for most of this past week and ended up unable to come up with something awesome while laying on the sofa all day.  🙂

Not to worry, I had a really cool AHA! moment earlier today – use of my FAVORITE alternative camera (my iPhone 4!) but with a twist.  Normally I use a few iPhone apps to create amazing works of phone camera art like the one below:


While the apps on my phone help me express my creativity within the confines of my phone – I thought it would be kind of cheating using just THAT as an alternative camera method.  To me alternative cameras include homemade pinhole cameras, Holgas, my old Polaroid cameras…you get the gist.  Manual, non-digital, more film-y things come to mind when you utter the term “alternative camera”.

While brainstorming I had a total AHA moment and started digging through my piles of never used items.  YES!  I found an old sunset filter (from my old Cokin system) and a homemade (on plexiglass) filter I made in 2010 at a creative photography workshop I attended.  Tons of snow here in the Chicago area would’ve made for some sort of stark images, I loved the idea of warming them up with the Cokin filter.  I used my iPhone – yes my handy iPhone – for pics with this filter combo.

The homemade filter is just a piece of plexiglass, cut to a rectangularish shape, beat up with sand paper, nails, black paint smeared by hand.  I made it sort of to have a built in vignette.  Lastly I am including a photo taken with that filter (and a quick BW conversion, nothing else) with just that filter and my Canon camera I use for all my shoots – just to showcase how incredibly awesome a small, relatively inexpensive homemade filter can create kind of cool art.


My Nigra Magnolia bush, cold & barren


The sweet gum tree is ready to shed these devilish balls come spring (sigh)

Here’s the two filters I used for the above 3 images in combo with my iPhone camera (no apps!)


Finally here is the photo I mentioned above, taken with that homemade filter + my Canon body and a simple black & white conversion:


I encourage you to round through the carousel and there is a lot of talent in this circle and some amazing ideas for this project, the next stop is my friend Dawn Sela – NY Baby, Child and Family Photographer

Previous blog carousel entries can be found here if you’re interested in what we’ve done before.  More of my iPhone blog entries are located here.

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  • Corey - January 22, 2012 - 8:33 pm

    Beautiful, Mare! Love your homemade filters – too cool!

  • alpana - January 22, 2012 - 9:13 pm

    What a great idea to use the filters – will have to steal it! Love your interpretation.

  • christine plamann - January 22, 2012 - 10:53 pm

    beautiful as always and i love that you have a homemade filter 🙂

  • Anna-Karin - January 22, 2012 - 11:25 pm

    Ooooh you are so creative! Love the idea of home made filter. I am inspired to try one my self now. Great captures with your choice for alternative camera!

  • dena robles - January 23, 2012 - 7:18 am

    Okay, um WOW! You have me hooked. Expect some questions coming your way or me knocking on your door someday soon.

  • June - January 23, 2012 - 7:26 am

    I was expecting something super creative from you, and of course you did not disappoint! Gorgeous and inspirational!

  • Samara - January 23, 2012 - 7:58 am

    Ok SERIOUSLY?! You must write up a little tutorial on how you made those filters because that is AWESOME! love love love!

  • jules - January 23, 2012 - 9:32 am

    love the landscape! seriously so gorgeous! thanks for sharing the textures, too! beautiful work as always!!

  • teri mason - January 23, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Wow, this brings back memories!! My dad used to make filters when I was a girl, and also did some of my own, gosh so long ago! Your images are great, love the ethereal quality of the woman. So dreamy!

  • Julie - January 23, 2012 - 10:23 am

    These are so great – I have not played around with making homemade filters in YEARS – not since I was a non-professional and was actually taking time to try EVERYTHING. This post has inspired me to get creative again with filters – how fun!

  • Mary Beth - January 23, 2012 - 1:49 pm

    Mare, I absolutely adore your creative take on this! Stunning photos and reading how you created them makes them even that much more special. I may just have to play with making some filters. I know I have some scrap plexi around here somewhere…

  • Danna - January 24, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    LOVE these Mare!! Now you have me thinking I need to go dig out all my old filters and start playing! lol

On location session fees for our BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE sessions are only $75 for the months of January and February 2012 (normally $295).  Regular print & digital purchases apply.  Call soon – we are only taking a limited number of sessions during this time and time flies when you’re having (cold weather) fun!

Contact us at 815-603-8450

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As the 2011 Holidays come to fruition today on Christmas Eve I am reminded of the great gifts I have been given, not just this past year but for the past MANY years.  I am thankful for the dawn of yet another Christmas Eve and the time that I am given here to spend with those that matter most to me.

I am so thankful that I finally got my Holiday cards out & sent!  This year I was handed a more hectic (than the usually hectic!) December, the cards were the least of my worries hence the truly waiting for the 11th hour on those.   Thankfully (again!) my clients and friends should expect their card in the mail.   My online greeting for you today as we celebrate Christmas Eve:


And I thought I’d share a heart warming YouTube clip, I saw it on my friend Simone’s photography blog and thought “what a perfect share for this time of year!”  Those that work with children know what a crazy undertaking this must’ve been but beautifully executed:

Hart those sweet accents.

Happy Holidays to you & yours,

Whatever the reason for celebrating this season-

Many wishes for a beautiful 2012.

Love, Mare (& family)

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Once again I am taking part in the ELEVATE Fine Art Photography Blog Circle with a group of very talented women photographers that I am lucky to be friends with.  I am so very excited about making art an active part of my life again with slow season starting (right about the time my last holiday delivery goes out the door in the next week or so).  This time of year is my time to take a more active part in personal projects and ELEVATE fits into this goal.

This month I am pulling an old client image to show off – on location indoors – very suitable for this winter season in Chicagoland – indoors is where it’s at!  🙂  I am also including some work I had done for Professional Photographer Magazine, for which I  do the occasional photography equipment/software review for.    That second image happens to be one of my many faves from a Lensbaby Composer Pro trial that I did earlier this year for PPMag.  I am excited to include it here for ELEVATE.


Little E in one of my all-time favorite shots of her – l-o-v-e


To continue following the ELEVATE blog circle, please visit my wonderful & talented friend Nichole Van | Utah Portrait and Wedding Photographer – I cannot wait to see what amazingness she has in store for us this month!!

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  • terri - December 12, 2011 - 8:13 am

    The portrait of the little girl is just beautiful! Congrats, Mare!

  • Jennifer N - December 12, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    The last image is very cool. Congrats on PPM, you deserve it.

  • jules - December 12, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    would love to know what she’s thinking. beautiful portrait!

  • wendy - December 26, 2011 - 9:57 pm

    They are both so timeless! I love the movement in the second one. Beautiful.

  • Jacqueline - January 20, 2012 - 3:50 pm

    beautiful photos! Love the “Little E” one. 🙂

I used to post quite a bit on new little discoveries for the kid set: clothes, outfits, styling your family, new products, etc.   I sort of miss that aspect of my blog and decided why not change that?!  🙂  So here we are, back with a holiday gift idea that will make your “I want a cellllll phooooone!” tween or middle school aged child happy while keeping you happy because you’ll a) stay on budget and b) maintain some control over how the phone is managed.

Kajeet is a company that one of my client friends recently told me about and I LOVE LOVE them.  I did quite a bit of research on them in the past day or so and I can’t see a downside to their service.  Their cell phones come with parental controls – I’m pretty sure the quality of their controls isn’t matched on the market (I have been looking for months and we finally settled for a value plan by TracFone which I’ve been mostly happy with).  The great thing about Kajeet is that maybe you want your child to fall within a certain budget and allow them only text messaging (no picture messaging) unless they pay for it – Kajeet allows you to do so, break up the service so your child can add to their own “wallet” and have picture messages or other add ons taken out of that fund vs. your monthly bill.

Seriously you need to check it out if you’re considering getting a cell phone.  You’ll keep the peace of mind knowing you can reach your child wherever they may be with their phone, Kajeet runs on the Sprint network so you know it’s reliable service and they have such a wide selection of phones I can only imagine there’s one for every kid on your list.  You will have the peace of mind AND the control.  Win-win!

Kajeet Cell Phone Service for Kids

Thanks to my client, Dawn, who recommended it to me.  Here’s a favorite image from her gorgeous session that I just delivered yesterday:


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