In the studio: Maria

12 06 2019

Maria Keffler was my first official portrait session in our first month (May) in the new shared studio space (with my friend and photographer Michael Powell).

Maria is a published author and a very talented fiber artist/pattern maker as well. Read more about her here. Purchase her books on Amazon here. She also sells crochet and knit patterns, and several of the pieces she is wearing in the photos below were designed and created by her. You can purchase her designs on Ravelry here. Find her on her Maria Keffler Books Facebook page here.

Michael and I are subleasing with another creative on a six-month basis. The price was right for a short-term commitment (and shared with Michael, for whom I am extremely grateful for helping make it happen) and I hope to shoot many more sessions during this time—and possibly be able to continue the experiment! It’s the first time I’ve had a studio space outside the house.

I’ll be announcing some studio portrait specials soon, so stand by! Visit Michael’s blog here to see his wonderful wildlife photography as well as educational and amusing narratives.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Maria Keffler Collage


National Geographic Live! events: Don George interviews Frances Mayes and Andrew McCarthy

30 06 2011

On April 12 Michael and I attended one of two travel writing lectures, part of the National Geographic Live! series. At the reception prior to the lecture, we feasted on Italian appetizers (an unexpected surprise, and welcomed since we hadn’t eaten dinner first!).

Frances Mayes was the guest author that evening. Mayes is the best-selling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. Her recent book is Every Day in Tuscany, which chronicles her latest renovation project—a 13th-century house in the mountains above Cortona.

National Geographic Traveler editor Don George hosted the interview. George is a legendary travel writer who has worked as a travel editor at the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle and was the Global Travel Editor of Lonely Planet Publications. His books include The Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing, The Kindness of Strangers, Tales from Nowhere, By the Seat of My Pants, and his latest book, A Moveable Feast. He also writes the “Bookshelf” column in National Geographic Traveler magazine.

We thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Frances Mayes weaves a verbal tale as well as she writes one and Don George asked a wide range of questions about her life in Italy and her writing process. I learned that Mayes was born and raised in Georgia, where many of the relatives on my mother’s side live. During the book signing, I got a chance to chat with her about Swan, the town she lived in. I told her that as a child I spent a few weeks every summer in Georgia with my maternal grandmother and various aunts, uncles and favorite cousins. Mayes and her husband now divide their time between their homes in Cortona and North Carolina. We bought several of her books and she signed them for Michael while I got the record shot. Check out her website and journal here.

On May 12 we attended the second lecture in the series. Don George conducted the interview with actor/director (and now award-winning travel writer) Andrew McCarthy (what girl didn’t crush on him in his younger days…hello?). While I was able to get some shots during the Mayes lecture, the McCarthy lecture was being filmed and the audience was specifically told “no photos.” Bummer. I had my gear with me, of course, and was all set with my ISO at 2000 or something like that, but I didn’t want to risk getting thrown out. So, no photos of the older (but still as handsome) McCarthy.

McCarthy is a two-time Lowell Thomas Award winner and was named the 2010 Travel Journalist of the Year. He discussed his acting and directing career at length, but then the conversation (finally!) shifted to how he got involved in travel writing. At the end, the mic was opened for the audience to ask questions, and brave little me had the perfect question ready (after working up much-needed courage)—“Are you a published photographer, too? Do you take a camera with you on your travels?”

One of the National Geo employees saw me raise my hand and came down to kneel by me while McCarthy answered a question from the other side of the room. Before I could ask the question, another attendee stole the question right out from under me. Bummer. McCarthy’s (paraphrased) answer: “No, not really.” (This would have been a very short interaction with him!) Apparently National Geo either has someone travel separately or must use existing stock to illustrate some of the places he writes about. While he has had photographers travel with him, he said he much prefers traveling solo.

Learn more about his acting career (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Mannequin, to name a few) and directing career (Gossip Girl and several theater productions) and read some of his writing on his site here.

Read his profoundly moving essay, “Going Back In,” which he wrote for the August/September 2009 issue of National Geographic Adventure. You’ll find that article by clicking here, then click on the Adventure magazine cover in the second row.

Isabel & Holly

3 03 2011

I had a fantastic mini-vacation with my friend Gina this past weekend. We flew to Dallas early Sunday morning, then drove to Bossier City, Louisiana to surprise her mother for her 69th birthday. It was a whirlwind, spontaneous three days and I shot lots of photos of people, places and things. This photo below was from a quick session on Monday evening. I photographed her cousin Greg and his family at their home—below is his wife Holly and daughter Isabel. It was an impromptu shoot with just my D300, Nikkor 18-70 lens, a Nikon Speedlight attached to a RayFlash ringlight and a bare office wall serving as a background—but with lovely models like these two, I couldn’t help but get a few good images. In many of the photos Isabel is a deadringer for a young Reese Witherspoon! More photos from their session to come…

In upcoming posts, I’ll have some photos and stories gathered on our road trip. Our three-day adventure concluded with an awe-inspiring tour in Shreveport of CRM Studios, a video and audio production company where Greg is the Director of Broadcast Production, as well as Moonbot Studios, the home of Bill Joyce, whose latest project is the short film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (which, as a self-admitted biblioholic, I cannot wait to see—the short will be available as an iPad download next month!). Joyce is an author, illustrator and leader in the digital animation industry and was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the 100 people to watch. Projects based on his works have been translated into feature films and television shows, including Robots and Meet the Robinsons, and the Emmy-winning series Rolie Polie Olie and George Shrinks. Wish we could have met Joyce during our tour, but we did get a brief glimpse of the studio where all the animation magic happens! (Thanks so much for the special tour, Greg!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


3 08 2010

A few months ago, I mentioned I had a fun shoot assignment for Gallaudet University Press. Today, my Hearing Loss Magazine editor, Barbara, e-mailed me the link to this book cover and asked if this is the one I had shot.

Turns out the photo was being used for the cover of Sara Laufer Batinovich’s book, Sound Sense: Living and Learning with Hearing Loss, to be released in October! I think the cover turned out great—love the clean silhouette treatment of the model. I’ve been published on lots of trade and professional association magazine covers and interiors, but this is my first stock shoot for a book cover.

While I haven’t met Sara in person, I have corresponded with her via e-mail and have done layouts on an article or two that she has written for the magazine. It was cool to find out the photo was to be used on the cover of a book authored by a Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) member and someone I just happen to know! If you’re interested in learning more about Sara’s book, click here.