Alt Design Camp Los Angeles Coming in May

March 27, 2014

Alt Design Camp for Photography

I am beyond thrilled to be teaching the Los Angeles Design Camp in May. The focus? Photography, of course.

A few things: The Bing property is fantabulous (off the chain photogenic), the location is adorable (Venice is super-cool) and the things I’ll be covering include some of my favorite topics from working with natural light, to compelling composition, and of course, making photo magic, to name a few. The best part? We’ll get to hang out, talk shop and shoot together! Seriously. It’s going to be awesome. So, who’s in?

There are some more details about the LA Design Camp and some specific information that is Universal to all of the various Design Camps on the Altitude Summit website.

If you want to get a feel for the Alt instruction vibe via the Alt Channel, I encourage you to consider the April Alt on Topic which is all about photography and curated by the amazing Justin Hackworth. I’ll be there too!

So many great things happening, I can hardly wait.


The Bright, Beautiful Side of Age

February 5, 2014

The Bright Side of Aging by Tracey Clark

I remember turning 40 and feeling on top of the world. I felt wise and confident, beautiful and even ageless. So, this is what everyone that had turned 40 before me had talked about? “Life begins at 40” some would say, and I could feel it in my body and my mind. I was ready to begin another amazing chapter of my life.

But, now I’m 46 and I have to say, over the past few years I think I have been mourning the quick-fleeting agelessness I felt at 40. I figured I’d have most of my 40s to feel it. But, that hasn’t been the case. Perhaps it’s because the last few years have brought with them some challenges from personal struggles to body breakdowns to hormonal changes. I mean, at least 2 of the 3 of those do have something to do with my age but for some reason, I just wasn’t anticipating them to happen to me. Not so sudden anyway. It’s been an adjustment, to say the least.

When I got the invite from Susannah Conway to share my thoughts and feelings about my age, and all the awesome things about it, I will admit I laughed out loud. But, it was the kind of laughter that comes from knowing that it was no accident that the invite came now, in the midst of my “adjustment” process. Thinking, reflecting, and writing about all the awesome things that have come with age is exactly what I’ve needed to stop focusing on the negative things and start acknowledging and appreciating all the positive things. I recently read a quote that said something like, “Which side has the greener grass? The side you water.” Well said.

And with that, I am choosing to get out my watering can. It’s true, my age has brought with it so many wonderful gifts. Regardless some of my physical and even some mental complaints (damn you hormones!) I wouldn’t change where I’m at for anything. I am more grounded and self-assured, and sure-footed than I’ve ever been. I’ve got a better outlook. I’m kinder to myself. I’m more resilient in almost every arena. I’m sure of who I am and what I believe. And perhaps where all of these things come to light for me—in the brightest and most beautiful ways—is through motherhood. As I have gotten older, so have my children and I now have two daughters—10 and 16—who I know are benefiting from me being a more experienced and balanced woman than I was when they were younger. I feel more confident in my guidance, more wise in my tutelage, and happier with myself, who I am and where I’m at than I was years ago. And the woman I am now makes the mother that I am now so much better for myself and my girls. I can feel it deep down. And that is an amazing feeling.

Although I might still be adjusting to the older me in body, I can tell you true, that I’m feeling pretty awesome in heart and soul!

Happy Birthday Susannah and thank you for encouraging us to celebrate our age. I’m so glad you did.


Where I’m at on New Year’s Eve

December 31, 2013
new years sunset

image courtesy of my husband

I’ve been working on my end of the year post for days now and I’ve written and rewritten. I’ve rambled on and have been rattled. I’ve contemplated things and confused myself.  I’ve almost published and then I’ve hit delete. Over and over. I guess I’m not certain of what to say. I’m not really certain of anything. Heading into a new year, I usually have a strategy, a road map, a plan. But, the start of this year feels a little different. Because instead of standing on the threshold of a new year holding my well-designed map, I’m holding hands with the Great Unknown.

Over the past few months, my focus has been on wrapping things up, creating space, making room, and slowing down. And truth is, it’s feels strange. I’m just not used to it. Not yet anyway. Truthfully, I’m feeling a little lost. But, not without hope.  Realizing that this is exactly the place I need to be right now is comforting but it’s not comfortable. Not being certain of exactly where I’m headed is unnerving but it means I’m having to embrace uncertainty.  And because it might be hardest thing for me, know it’s going to be a great exercise.

And with that, I wish you a Happy New Year and hope that you are exactly where you need to be and that you find some comfort in that place, whether it’s comfortable or not. Just know, that no matter where you’re at, you’re not alone.


iPhone Focus Lock (Yay!)

December 22, 2013

So, in my signature “stumble upon” style, the other day (while trying to capture Christmas tree light bokeh) I totally stumbled upon this little gem of an iPhone camera trick. Until that moment, I had no idea that there was a way to lock in the focus using my iPhone camera! And when you’re trying to shoot something out of focus, on purpose, an auto lock makes all the difference because your camera really wants to focus on your main subject, even if you don’t want it to. If you’re looking to shoot some lovely light in “bokeh” fashion, shooting out of focus can help you achieve that end result.

If you haven’t heard, bokeh is what they call it when light is photographed out of focus. It’s actually the small (or large) circles that the lights make when they’re out of focus that make it magic. In many instances, you’ll see the bokeh in the background of an image but when you shoot your main subject out of focus (like a Christmas tree) then the bokeh is the star of the shot. I love using this technique in my images, especially this time of year.

I figured I was the only one on the planet who didn’t know about the auto focus lock option on my iPhone camera because I’m not usually one to read manuals or instructions for my gadgets. It took me by surprise when I realized that a lot of people on Instagram let on that they didn’t know about the focus lock option either. And so, I figured why not share a quick video about using my new found trick to capture out of focus shots. As I mention in the video, when you lock the focus, you also lock the exposure (you can’t do one OR the other unfortunately) so you’ll have to play with this technique to get the results you’re after. I am a firm believe that they more you experiment with tricks like this, the better you get at it so give yourself plenty of trial and error time.

Alrighty, here’s me, playing with the auto focus lock.

iPhone Focus Lock (yay!) from traceyclark on Vimeo.

So, tell me…what tips and tricks have you discovered using the auto lock? What works? What doesn’t? And feel free to share links to your favorite out of focus shots!


Let’s Play in the new year

December 6, 2013

play big

I’m so excited to start the new year with a little Play! Actually, with a lot of Play! Check out all the details online at the Big Picture Classes Play page and start packing your bags for the live event. You deserve a trip to sunny So Cal for an event like this. And besides all the scrapbooking / crafting / photography fun, you can join us for a day at Disneyland (jumping up and down shrieking like a little girl). And what’s more, is my sisters, the Disney Sisters are going to share a little part in all of this too. Swoon. Who loves Disney? We do! We do! Details on that to be revealed soon. There’s so much magic happening, I’m floating on air! I’m telling you, it’s gonna be so much fun.

And if the trip isn’t in the cards for you (although I so wish it were) consider the next best way to Play! The online version of the event. Yes, it’s true, you can enjoy Play right from the comfort of your own home/office/studio. Wheeee! There’s a $10 discount code being offered right now too which makes registering for the online event even sweeter. Use the code HULAHOOP to get the $10 off your online event registration.

The details for both of the Play! offering can be found on the Play! Event homepage. Scroll down the page and you’ll see the Live event option on the left and the Online option on the right. And scroll a little further down for the new video that pretty much tells you everything you need to know and will hopefully convince you that this is an event you’ll want to be at! Wink wink.

One way or another we want you to kick off an awesome 2014 with Play!