Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Return of My Asian Sensation

Aliza is back! This set is being restored and new sets are on the way.

The blog below was originally published in Soles of Silk's Column section. It was archived and then republished here in 2016.

Back in October 2010 I was very excited to debut a good friend, and the second Asian model to grace the site, Aliza. She had just turned 18 and we were both eager to get her onto the site. Well, only two months later she contacted me and asked me to have her photos pulled. Without getting into too much detail, it was due to some family differences of view about her being here.

Fast forward almost two years later and I decided to randomly contact Aliza about the possibility of adding her debut set back to the site. I wasn't expecting much, but was surprised when Aliza said to go for it and that she'd like to do some new photos before it gets cold. I asked her if she was sure about this because if I added her back, I won't be pulling her again. She assured me it is fine and with this week's update, not only do you get the amazing Elakala Falls set with Mileena, but the reposting of Aliza's Gray Boots set. Furthermore, I have two other sets that were done that same day that were never posted of this Asian Sensation.

Be on the lookout for the reposting of all the content Aliza had appeared in over the next few weeks. Not only was her set pulled in December of 2010, but a video clip (reposted this week as well), and some downloads in the Downloads area. It's great to have Aliza back

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Photo Tips - Find Amazing Shoot Locations

The blog below was originally published in Soles of Silk's Column section. It was archived and then republished here in 2016.

Over the years I have always tried to shoot my models in unique locations. While that isn't always an option, or needed for the set, it is just something I prefer to do. Maybe it is the artist in me, but I just like to put as much creativity into my work as possible.

Having run Soles of Silk since the end of 2004, I can say finding new locations isn't always easy these days. I feel like I've exhausted all my local options sometimes, even though I can always seem to find something in a pinch. But this past year I've been making use of an invaluable tool - Google Earth. If you've used the program, you know what it's capable of. If you haven't, you really need to check it out. You can download the program here:

I used Google Earth to find interesting spots in Wildwood, NJ to shoot Jamie's first sets.

Over the years when I wanted to do a unique background I'd rely on going to an area where I know I'd have a handful of places to shoot - for example, Jamie's debut sets all done at Wildwood, NJ. I knew if I made the trip to the beach I'd have numerous places to shoot. All we'd have to do is drive/walk around, find a spot, and start shooting. Well, with Google Earth I can now look in areas that might seem uninteresting and find hidden gems.

Mileena's day long shoot that culminated with shoots at Blackwater and Elakala Falls in West Virginia provides the best examples of the power of Google Earth (see blog: "Hot Feet Week: 2012 Edition, Part 3 - Mileena"). Knowing that destination was a little over four hours away I utilized Google Earth and traced the route that I'd take to those destinations. To help break up the drive I began looking in towns and locations close to the roads we'd be driving for more photo spots. And boy did I ever find some.

The first location was in a small town in Western Maryland in their City Park. On first pass I would have thought nothing of the location, but having the photos option turned on allows you to view photos other people have taken. Often when you see a bunch of photos in one spot, it warrants a look. That was the case here as I found a location with a stream running to a small pond that was surrounded by rocks and featured a small foot bridge.

This spot Mileena used wouldn't have been found if not for Google Earth.

Our second location was in another town only about 10 minutes away. It was a rusty train draw bridge. It was located on some abandoned tracks at a small park area. I would have never thought to look here had it not been for that photos option being turned on. I clicked some of the photos and thought the draw bridge looked very unique - like nothing I had ever done in my photos.

The third and fourth locations were in another town I had been through years ago as a child. We had never stopped there, but I knew the town was very old by the look of the buildings. I made sure I looked here when tracing our route and found enough locations to use for an entire day of shooting alone. I kept the locations here to only two as I needed to save enough daylight to get to the falls. I ultimately went with a historic train station and a nearby bridge that passed over a canal.

The fifth location was supposed to be our gem - Blackwater Falls. I had been here as a child and was what I based this entire trip on. Seeing other photos of interest in the area, however, I also found our sixth and final location, Elakala Falls. I'm glad I did as Blackwater Falls turned out not to be as photo friendly as we had hoped.

Mileena had this to say about Blackwater and Elakala in her recent All Day Shoot Interview in the Interviews section of the site, "Initially I thought, 'West Virginia is too far to go.' But as soon as you started sending the photos, I fell in love with them."

The photos Mileena is talking about were ones I nabbed from Google Earth and sent to her in attempts to show her just how beautiful those locations are. Needless to say, she was sold.

Over a month later I'm finally posting the first photo shoot from Mileena's shoots - the one done at Elakala Falls. Had it not been for Google Earth, I might never have found the location.

Mileena also added, in regards to one of the other locations we used, the train station, "I liked the train station. It was fun to actually climb on the train for some pictures."

Another location from Mileena's all day shoot discovered via Google Earth.

It was Elakala Falls that did it for her though, a feeling I also share. It was just too beautiful, especially with her under the falling water showing off her adorable feet. "Nothing can beat the background of Elakala Falls. Not to mention, I had to work the hardest for that one!" Mileena said.

Mileena's shoots are far from the first or last sets I've used the program to locate shoot locations. Using it has even shown me some local spots I never knew existed. So whether you're out shooting foot photos, or just enjoy some nature photography, you might want to give Google Earth a try. It's been an awesome tool for me and one I use often.

Extra Photo Location Tips

  • Keep your theme in mind when it comes to location. For example, you don't want a girl in an evening gown if you're headed to a beach location.
  • If you're not comfortable shooting with people around, look off the beaten path or schedule your shoots when people will be more scare.
  • Keep to a single location for each shoot. If you shoot several pictures here, several pictures there, and then a few more in another place, you've exhausted several spots all in one shoot. Shoot a full set at each location.
  • Be careful of private property. Although I've been chased off a few train tracks, I try to be careful when going somewhere I'm not supposed to be.
  • Follow shorelines. You can find a great many parks, bridges, and areas of interest along the water. I sometimes feel like I shoot too many waterfront spots, but the locations are just too good to pass up sometimes.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August - The Good & The Bad

Layla was long overdue for some new photos. We finally got to find some time!

The blog below was originally published in Soles of Silk's Column section. It was archived and then republished here in 2016.

Man, talk about a month of ups and downs - mostly coming over the last couple of weeks. There is so many things to discuss, I'm once again going to break each thing down into a category, alternating between the good and the bad.

The Good: Layla Returns
Have to start off with this because I was almost certain that Layla was done modeling. I figured her Rocky Stream set I posted on the August 1st update would be her last. But low and behold, the week I posted that set (which I had held for almost two years), she emails me. We get to talking and decide to shoot again. Well, we did so on Sunday, even though it decided to rain. We didn't let it kill the day and did some great shots with her water beaded feet.

The Bad: Blue Screens!!!

If you've ever had a blue screen error from your Windows system, I feel your pain. If you've ever had them happen every single time you restarted your machine, you've probably found yourself saying every curse word there is about a million times over the course of a day. That was me from Friday evening until Wednesday morning. This is also the reason why the site is going up a day late - which I apologize for.

Nikki was so excited to do a set in front of this waterfall.

The Good: Nikki Poses Some More
Even though Nikki was kind enough to do three sets for me during the Hot Feet Week shooting spree back in July, she found herself back in front of my camera this month shooting three more sets. I have to say, Nikki has come a long way from her first sets and is so much fun to shoot. I could never grow tired of shooting those slender little feet of hers.

The Bad: Weather Delays Aspen's Beach Photos
Aspen and I had made plans to do an entire day of shooting along the Jersey Shore this week only to have our plans rained out. The day before our trip (the same rainy day I was shooting Layla), I looked at the weather at the beach for the following day. It read 80 percent chance of thunderstorms. I couldn't see driving all those hours and not coming away with the photos we wanted to take. We both have a feeling these will be awesome shots and didn't want to have them ruined by the weather. We're currently looking at possible dates for the future as we both really want to make this happen.

I loved how well this football themed set came out, featuring Olivia.

The Good: Olivia Shoots 2012 Ravens Set

As I've done every year for the site, this year's Ravens set will feature Olivia. She joins Lauryn, Andrea, Precious, Mindee, WendyNessa, Cierra, Ginger, and Mileena as girls to sport the purple and black in a set for Soles of Silk. The photo found above is one of many shots we did in my friend's basement that is decked out in Ravens carpet and features a large Ravens logo on the wall - painted by yours truly. I painted it earlier this year and told him I fully expected to be able to use the room for one of my future Ravens shoots. I didn't wait long to cash in and had Olivia draft her fantasy football team on one of the comfy couches under the logo.

The Bad: Lost Video Clip
Before I experienced my computer blue screens I took the time to render every single video clip I had shot so they'd all be ready to upload. Well, apparently I deleted part of one Jessie's clips when transferring them from my iPad. I looked on the backup CDs I made, but no dice. I had shot two segments for this clip, the first was barefoot and the second had her slipping her socks and tennis shoes on. Well, the second half is what was lost, so now the clip is a short 1:00 clip of her barefoot. I know all of you sock and tennis shoe fans out there will be bummed about that. I know I was.

The Good: Ryan & Aspen Set(s) On The Horizon
Being such good friends, Ryan and Aspen have been telling me idea after idea at work about shoots they'd like to do together. With both girls being so overly popular, I'm sure anything this pairing does will be an instant hit. If you have any ideas, I will certainly share them with the girls.

The Bad: Jamie Gets Sick & Misses All Day Shoot
Each semester, especially the fall semester, I try to get Jamie in front of the camera to shoot a few extra sets. Since she doesn't go to college locally, I try to have a few sets to sit on while she's away. I had done several sets with her a few months back, but wanted to do some more anyhow. Well, the day before we were set to for an entire day, she contacted me saying she was sick. It isn't like her to cancel on me, so I know she wasn't feeling well. Unfortunately we were unable to reschedule before she left. I had plans with Layla and Aspen on her only open dates, so perhaps if she comes home one weekend we can squeeze some in during the fall or holidays.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Than Just New Feet This Week

Soles of Silk's newest addition to the model roster, Aspen.

The blog below was originally published in Soles of Silk's Column section. It was archived and then republished here in 2016.

This week marks a number of exciting new additions and changes to Soles of Silk. There are quite a few to go over, so I broke them down by category:

Aspen's Arrival
I've done it again. I've added another new sole mate to the model roster immediately after her 18th birthday. Her name is Aspen and she was only a day older than 18 when she did her first sets. The photo above is from the set I decided not to post first, so consider it an early preview.

Aspen, who I work with, has been wanting to pose for me for over a year. She's friends with a few of the girls at work who also pose, namely Ryan. Knowing the other girls pose and have fun with it, she's been eager to take part. I, of course, was counting down the days too.

Aspen and I had originally planned on doing a handful of sets at a beach resort town, but knew we'd have to plan that for a few weeks down the road. She wanted to pose right away and I was just as anxious to get her on the site. I told her we should just shoot something local to get her on the site and she agreed. We made plans to shoot on a Wednesday afternoon before work. And what made this shoot even sweeter was the arrival of the next topic on the list - my new camera.

Canon Rebel T3i
During the last several months I have been shooting countless photos using the camera I bought prior to opening this site. I literally shot about 10 months worth of content on that camera with the intent on buying a new DSLR camera in the fall/winter months. That changed when I was online and saw a deal I couldn't pass up. After a few days of research on the camera, I liked what I read and decided on the Canon Rebel T3i. I ordered the camera in a bundle pack (with an extra zoom lens) and waited for it to arrive.

The camera was shipped to my workplace and just so happened to arrive the day before Aspen's shoot. When I got home that evening I shot some quick pictures of my dog, spent a few hours working on that week's site update, and then spent the night in bed reading a self-help guide on my camera. I felt so comfortable with the camera and it's basic functions, so I used it the following day.

New File Sizes - Photos
For a few years now I've been posting the photos on the site in a 1280 x 960 size. I've been comfortable with that size. I think it displays nicely on computer monitors, tablets, and phones.

Now that I have the T3i shooting at 18 megapixels, I decided to bump the scale of the photos to 1920 x 1280. This size fills a widescreen monitor. There are sites out there posting photos at scales x2 - x4 times larger, but I just don't like having to scroll through a photo, or take ages to download it on a phone when I don't have WiFi.

Even though I shot those 10 months worth of photos on my old camera, I will be posting them in the new scale as well. There are lots of great sets that have been waiting to make their way to the site, but I first wanted to get through all the sets that I have been sitting on for over a year.

New File Sizes - Videos
When I first began shooting video for the site, my old camera only shot at the 800 x 600 scale. I used it for a while and then began shooting 720p HD clips using my tablet and phone. With the purchase of the T3i, you'll be getting the 1080p HD clips. There is a catch, however.

Since I shot a bunch of clips while out shooting the above mentioned sets, those videos will be posted in the 720p scale. Upscaling the video from its native format would cause too much image degradation. Expect to be seeing clips in both scales until all the 720p clips have found their way onto the site.

A shot from one of Nikki's new sets, done with the Rebel T3i.

New Shoots
I've said a few times now that I shot over 10 months worth of update material on my old camera. I previewed a lot of those sets in the Hot Feet Week series in the Columns section in July. Since that time, however, I've also been squeezing in more sets. Right before I got the new camera, Abby and Kayleigh both did a number of sets. And prior to the Hot Feet Week sets, Charlee and Jamie found themselves before my camera a number of times too.

In addition to all those sets, Nikki just posed for three sets on my new camera. While these might not go up right away, I assure you, they're really nice! Aspen and I have also set a date for next week to do her sets at the beach. Then there is the returning Layla set to pose next week as well. The T3i should also be seeing the likes of Ryan, Olivia, Kellie, Mindee, Cierra, Jordana, Carlin, and Jamie in the coming months. Lastly there is a chance another new model will make her debut, the wife of a former high school classmate. She's got the punky vibe about her and will be quite different than most of the girls you see here on the site.

New Interviews
Two weeks ago Kayleigh took part in a model interview for the site's Interviews section. It was a follow up interview that looked more in depth at Kayleigh's experiences with modeling for the site and her feelings toward the fetish. And this week you have Aspen's introductory interview that looks at her initial views toward posing and her feet. In the months to come I am trying to post even more interviews from various models to let you know just a little more about them.

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