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Cover Photo Fails

So I had fun today. Yes, that is meant to be as sarcastic as it sounds. In reality, I was an attempted feast for mosquitoes and injured by flipping off of a fallen tree. All in the name of cover photos. Let the story begin.

First off, some back story for you: I have been behind a camera almost for as long as I have been a writer. First in film, then in digital. The cameras always got better, so that helped capture what I saw. While I shall never claim professional status, I know I take some pretty cool shots. (Some of the best ones are on accident.) (Also, here is a shameless plug to my DeviantArt page.)

What I am not always comfortable with, however, is being in front of the camera. It's not something I'm asked to do often, nor is it something that comes with good results. You see, in front of a mirror, I know the right poses for what I want, and I can make some pretty decent expressions. The problem is, no one else I know can take decent pictures.

The thing about the covers of the Prideful Magick Collection seems simple. I needed pictures that I owned so that I could do what I wanted with them. To do that, I had to actually take the pictures. Which was all well and good, except that I had no models. Because of the aging Lex goes through, I would have had to find three or four people that looked enough alike to model through ages 9, 13, 15, 17 and 18. In my location, it was impossible.

Now, if you look at my author photos, I'm sure you've noticed I look 12. (It's the most common guess I get.) In reality, I'm almost 26. However, being short and dainty as I am, I figured the best thing to do would just keep shooting pics of me from the back. Well, when you're the only photographer you know in a small town, things get complicated.

Without a tripod, the next best thing was recruiting help. Since my mom and sister are not very picture-minded, I figured it was time to train my brother. And while he was helpful in getting several shots for Ivy, his work did not actually make it onto the cover. Instead, I was forced to improvise and the cover photo for Book One in the Prideful Magick Collection was taken with the camera propped on the hood of my car and held at the right angle by positioning the camera case beneath the lens. Not bad for an amateur, huh?

For Oleander, I forced my mom into helping me. First, I made her the model, so I knew where and how I wanted the camera positioned. Then we traded places and I told her all she had to do was click the button. By the time the cover for Valerian was due, we had a tripod. Again, my brother gave it his best effort, but the weather was as cruel to me then as it has been lately. So, at last, it was me setting up and having my mother just press the button.

So for today's story...

It's my day off and the weather has been warm and decent since Friday, so I figured it was the perfect day to do this. I straightened my hair, put on the outfit for the cover, and packed the tripod. First, I wanted to go to an overlook I favor (that is featured on the site) because I wanted a woodsy background. Well, it was way too crowded there for me to feel comfortable, so I drove off without getting out of the car. This time, I redirected my efforts to the same dirt road where the Ivy cover pic was taken. It took a while, but I finally found a spot I liked.

This is where it gets fun. I'm in a dress. The ticks have been god-awful already this year, and the mosquitoes are toeing the line of which is worse. I'm in the woods, and the weather is already hinting at rain. Which means that the mosquitoes are out hot and heavy. Also, I'm alone because my mom is at work.

For taking a picture of yourself, my camera only has two settings: 2 second delay, or 10 second delay. Nothing longer. This means that once I have the camera set up, I have to set the timer, hit the button, and jump into a position to take the picture. Then I have to run back to the camera and review the previous image so I know how to set myself for the next shot. To be fair, I had to do this for the Oleander and Valerian covers too, but not in the space of 10 seconds.

I'm out there forever. I start off standing in front of the camera, but that just looks stupid to me. I go over to a half-rotted log, and that shot turned out to be ridiculous. Then I look down the hill to a fallen tree. So I set the camera up at the top of the hill for a downward shot. Now remember: I have 10 seconds between the time I push the button, to get down the hill, and jump up onto this tree–in a sitting position.

Ready for the fun part? For a while, I manage. I keep running back up the hill to reset the camera and learn what I have to do for the next shot. All well and good. And then...

Being a short person, I've adapted to jumping and twisting to be in a sitting position. It's an action I'm pretty good with. Except in the case of this log, I am often not jumping enough and end up having to waste precious second in scrambling into some sort of position with the few seconds I have left. So, this one time, I decide to go ahead and jump a little higher and with more force.

I literally flipped over the back of this log.

Scraped the back of my thigh and my right forearm, but otherwise came out of it unharmed. And wouldn't you know it, the picture didn't snap until I was back on my feet, laughing at myself and trying to make sure my dress wasn't badly damaged.

After this little fiasco, what do I do but look over and realize that there is a rotting log supporting the one I'm on ... that I could have used as a footstep the entire time. After readjusting the camera and earning myself many new bites by the evil insects, I set up a new position and went about trying to injure myself a little less. You know what the product of all this effort was?

Two pictures. And I don't like either of them.

So now to wait for another day.

Someone remind me to keep bug spray in my car.

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