Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Heart and Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes
My Heart and Other Black Holes, originally uploaded by margotwood.

I bet if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out.
This piece is very special to me. It's not because I think it's the best work I've ever done (it's not), but because this piece has more meaning to me personally than most of my other works. Like my other young adult inspired fauxtos, this one is an homage to a book: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. But I didn't get the idea for this fauxto until months after I read it, until I personally started using the imagery in her book to describe how I've been feeling as of late. 

There is a very specific sentence in Jasmine's book that I am interpreting here:  

I bet if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out.

That line must have lodged itself in my brain because I haven't been able to get it out of my head for months and now I've adopted the saying "black slug" to describe my current situation. 

As some, many or none of you know, my Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer 2 years ago. I blogged about it and I've occasionally spoken about it in public. I addressed it again about 6 months after his diagnosis when they found a 2nd tumor when I did the fauxto for The 5th Wave. And since then I haven't said much about it. Because since then he's been great. He's had no new tumors and has been relatively healthy and functioning normally for the past 2 years. His initial diagnosis was bad and for the last two years I've handled it probably better than most people. It helps when you have a great support system (hi Sean! hi sisters! hi Mom!) and you have a great job and great coworkers (hi Harper!) -- these things make it very easy to cope with shitty situations like this. 

But then a month ago, he went in for his routine scan and there it was. The Little Fucker was back with a vengeance and planted his ass right on my Dad's brain stem. That Little Fucker is a smart ass because he knew if he took up shop on the brain stem, doctors wouldn't be able to remove him. And while all hope is not yet lost, we find ourselves back on the front lines of this stupid war that shouldn't even exist in the first place. 

So ever since we discovered the new tumor, I've been having hard time dealing with it all and this wave of deep sadness has blanketed me and now I have my own black slug. Unlike Jasmine's character Aysel, I call mine the black slug of sadness. He's a cousin of the black slug of depression, but he's no less a threat and he's still an asshole.

Here's another quote from the book I love:

Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.

The thing is I was better at dealing with it than others, but now, not so much. And you know what? That's okay. Life happens. You deal with it, even when you feel like you can't. 

Jasmine's book is unique among other YA books that tackle depression. My Heart is honest. This book does not flinch in the face of the ugly parts of life and it does not try to hide behind humor or cutesy characters, it's the real thing. It confronts the issues head on and goes through them rather than dances around them. I've read others in the same genre but this is the only one I would recommend anyone dealing with depression read. Because while it is raw and honest it is ultimately hopeful. And that is something we could all use a little more of: hope.

Now, about this fauxto!

So how do you create a fauxto of a black slug sliding out of someone's stomach? Molasses. That's how. For a while I was researching various body paints and liquid latex and even concoctions I could make using castor oil and food dye but then while grocery shopping, I stumbled upon MOLASSES and was like Eureka! I've got it! So I bought a bottle of the stuff and promptly went home and made my makeshift photo studio using a 7ft ladder, a black plastic table cloth and just went to town with the molasses.

Okay, so the thing they don't tell you about molasses is that it gets everywhere, even in places you weren't even near.  The consistency and color ended up working really well for this fauxto, but hot damn was that a mess to clean up. I think I still have some of it in my hair.

This was by far the second messiest fauxtoshoot I've ever done. (The messiest ever being the one I did for Anna Dressed In Blood) But this shoot might win for fastest shoot, thanks to my friend, Molasses. I had about 30 seconds to take as many pictures as I could with my remote, hope they were in focus and then get that crap off me. Luckily, I ended up with exactly 2 shots that were usable! I chose to go with this one because I think the hand motions are stronger. I like the movement that is happening with my left hand.

Almost zero editing was done in Photoshop. I didn't darken the image or tweak the colors, those were left as shot. I did smooth out the top of the molasses line though, to give it more of a slice effect, but really, that was just some super subtle editing.

Overall, I am happy with this photo. It is dark, much darker than Jasmine's book but I hope it is an honest portrayal of that sentence in her book and depression and sadness in general. I'm happy that I will be able to mark this dark time in my life with a dark fauxto. But now it's time to move on to more hopeful things in life. Like donuts. And books. And more fauxtos.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Fatima Inês | The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Fatima Inês | The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

This is the first in a series of photographs inspired by the young adult novel THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton - one of the most beautiful and well-written books I have ever read in my entire life. This is the kind of book photographers like me dream about because it is so insanely visual and lyrical. If you haven't read this book, I cannot stress enough how much you need to read this amazing work of art. Because that's what the book is. It's art. Now, onto the fauxto....

I am planning on taking several fauxtos inspired by this book. Each image will depict very specific characters or moments in the story and in this shot, I am portraying Fatina Inês and this exact sentence from the book:

"When the priest set the host upon the rose of the young Fatima Inês's tongue, however, the holy wafer burst into flame."

No bodies of Christ were harmed in the making of this fauxto, but a few rice crackers did get eaten. To get this shot, I had to do it in two parts: first, photograph some fire(!!!) and then photograph Fatima receiving the holy host.

You know what's a pain in the ass to photograph? Flames. It is really difficult to capture detail when doing macro fire photography and to be quite honest, I don't really have the equipment capable of getting incredibly detailed close ups, so I had to just work with what I got...which was a Wood Wick candle, a tripod and my 35mm fixed lens. Oh yeah, and using my left hand to fan the flame so it would dance (dance you monkey! dance!) while also trying not to burn myself, my hair or my apartment down.

Next, I photographed myself eating some crackers. That was basically it. I asked The BF (aka The Darkling) to stand in as my "priest" and just hold the cracker on my tongue while I pushed the shutter release button down with my right hand. I am super profesh, you guys.

Then came the tedious part. Photoshopping the crap out of these flames because holy mother of all that is annoying is it hard to make flames on a cracker look realistic. I have three different versions of this fauxto. One where the flame was big and dramatic but had minimal detail, and one with a small, skinny flame that looked way more realistic. What I did was combine the two and make really, really tiny edits until I got it in a place that wasn't sucky.

Anyways, that's what you see here and I am pretty jazzed about it, but even more jazzed about the next fauxtos for this mini-series within a series. All I need to acquire for the next Ava Lavender shots are a pig's heart, some blue ashes, a dead canary and a set of incredibly realistic-looking wings that also happen to be 12ft long.


Check out The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton! 
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Have suggestions for YA fauxtos? Share them with me in the comments below with any specific ideas you have in mind!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Young Elites

The Young Elites

This is the first fauxto I've ever done where makeup and a wig played a bigger role than Photoshop. It was while reading the very first chapter of THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu that I knew what my next fauxto would be. The main character, Adelina Amouteru is a young girl who has white hair (that means lashes and brows too!), light eyes, and has one eye missing. Oh, and she also happens to be kinda evil, or just has a lot of nasty darkness brewing in her head.

When I first thought about portraying this character I thought I'd just end up making the color alterations in Photoshop and calling it a day, but when I tried to do that, I failed miserably and everything just looked too "fake". So this time I resolved to suck it up and rely on the real world for my characterization.

I scoured Pinterest for some Young Elites theme boards and found a cosplay one with a link to a pretty cheap wig ($12 on Amazon) and then went to CVS and bought one of those mascaras that has two ends, one with the "conditioning" end and the other just plain mascara. Fun fact: When you paint your eyebrows with that stuff and then let it dry, it's really really hard to move your eyebrows, so your expressions are pretty limited!

Funny story, so I was in my bathroom, putting on the mascara while wearing the wig and my plumber came in. It was an interesting moment.

After my hair and makeup were done it was fauxto time. I set my camera up on the tripod, stood right in front of it, and made faces at it for about 150 shots. I used the remote to take the pics and, as always, the shoot required endless amounts of taking a shot then running around to look at it and adjusting from there.

Now it was time to Photoshop! My (sometimes) favorite part!

My eyes are brown. After Photoshopping them this color I now wish they were blue because coooooollll. To change the color of my eyes in Photoshop, I just selected the area I wanted to change in my iris, feathered it 10px (that is a super important step to make sure it's not just going to change color on a harsh line) and then used the Selective Color tool to reduce the brown pigments and replace them with blues and greens. I just fiddled with it until I got the color I was going for.

I replaced my eyebrow in the original photo with one from another shot because it was clearer and brighter and then finally I darkened the hell out of the area where the "hidden" eye is.

Adelina Amouteru had one of her eyes removed and so she has scars over that area. I tried shopping in scars but again, those just looked incredibly fake. So instead, I just used the burn tool to continuously darken that part to make it look (somewhat) like scars over what could be a missing eye.

And that was it! There was a lot of technical, tiny Photoshopping details made to this fauxto but for the most part, what you see here is what was photographed!


Check out The Young Elites by Marie Lu!
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Have suggestions for YA fauxtos? Share them with me in the comments below with any specific ideas you have in mind!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Self Portrait 115

Self Portrait 115

A new self portrait to start off the new year. This originally started out as an attempt at a new YA fauxto but things were just NOT working out in my favor, but I did like this one shot and decided to pop it into Photoshop and work my magic.

I have a collection of 20 or so self portraits taken over the last 7 years. One (probably my family) might call me vain, but really, this is a life long project I will be working on. My goal is to do at least 2 self portraits every year for the rest of my life to track and see how I age.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Girl at Midnight

The Girl at Midnight, originally uploaded by margotwood.

Dragon scales for the win! A good friend of mine wrote this book called The Girl at Midnight. That good friend is Melissa Grey. Her book doesn't come out until April 2015, but when Melissa gave me an advance copy of it, there was just no way I was going to wait until April to do a fauxto for it. Especially after I read it and realized I would have the opportunity to test my hand at creating realistic looking dragon scales. Why? Because in her book there's an ancient race of people that have dragon scales. I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself though. There's more about this book you should know:

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

Want to create your own dragon look? Here's how I captured this fauxto:

Step 1: Find a stool, a blank white wall, a bright lamp and a fancy camera, tripod and remote.

Step 2: Position your camera on the tripod, set it to Manual (my new favorite mode after the last YA fauxto) and adjust the settings until you have it right. (Here's what my settings were: f/1.8, 1/50, 800 ISO, no flash, 35mm fixed lens)

Step 3: Sit your fine ass down on that stool and figure out what position you want this self portrait to be in.

Step 4: Get a super bright lamp and put it on the floor and angle it towards your face.

Step 5: Take about a billion pictures until you one that works for you.

It's actually more complicated than I'm making it seem, but I'm feeling lazy and don't want to give away all of my sekrets. Now for the fun part.

There are several ways you could go about creating dragon-y scales. One way is to do it with makeup. I am far better with Photoshop than I am with makeup so I went with the other route which is faking it with brushes in Photoshop. I downloaded a few scale brushes from DeviantArt (thanks!) and then it was just a matter of adjusting the size, placement, color and layering style from there.

All in all, it took me roughly 40 minutes to take the fauxto, and three hours to edit it. While it wasn't the lengthiest editing job I've ever done (Code Name Verity wins for that one) it was probably the one where I had to pay the closest attention to detail. Most of the fauxtos that require faking things in Photoshop are taken from far away and not closeups. This is pretty close up, and since my whole goal was to make dragon scales look natural and real, I had to really hunker down and edit the crap out of it to make it look as realistic as possible.  (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FAUXTO AT A LARGER SIZE!)

In the end, they probably look slightly more like fish scales than dragon scales, but just shut up Margot and tell the people you love it and think it's perfect. Guys, I love it and I think this is perfect.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Hit me up in the comments below! Or tweet me @margotwood!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



In honor of the Halloween season, I had to contribute some kind of fauxto, and so I thought I would share my favorite graffiti in my neighborhood –– a sidewalk tar portrait by Paul Richard. There are many in my Brooklyn neighborhood, but this one is my favorite, for obvious reasons.

Enjoy, and happy Halloween!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Exquisite Captive

Exquisite Captive, originally uploaded by margotwood.

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios is the inspiration for my latest YA fauxto and I have to say that this fauxto has just shot to my top five all time favorite shots.

First, let's talk about this book. Since it doesn't come out until October, here's what you need to know: Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

This book is dark and sultry and oh so wonderful vibrant and colorful. Heather is a master at painting pictures with her words and there are eons of scenes in here I could have attempted to capture, but the one I chose is perhaps the most pivotal moment in the whole book. I won't go into details about it because I don't want to spoil it for you, but here's a non-spoilery part of the moment I tried to capture:

". . . showering her in a golden dust just as her fists crashed against the bottle's walls."

There was something about "golden dust" that sparked my imagination and so off to the craft store I went.


This is the first fauxto I've shot in M mode. M means manual. It means you control everything. It means you have to know your shit. And up until this point in my fauxto career, I've been a little terrified of M mode. A and S modes are cool, but M mode felt like a level of skill just beyond my reach.

I initially wasn't going to do this fauxto because I thought it would be too hard to achieve without a proper lighting set up and I was too scared to try M mode. So I threw in the towel before even trying and instead shot an entirely different concept. I was really close to settling for that shot and posting that. It was okay. But just OKAY. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. It was too simple. It was something I would have been fine with when I first started this project two years ago but I came to the realization that I should never settle for just okay. I should never just feel satisfied with a work of art. As an artist, you need to push yourself. You can't just be satisfied. Each new piece should be a challenge to do greater next time.

And so my C grade fauxto was archived and a new determination to succeed took over.


To achieve this shot I purchased a gold bracelet that looked similar to the one of the cover of the book, three small bottles of gold glitter (you never know how much glitter you'll need), hairspray and plastic black tarp. I taped the tarp to my wall and let it drape down to cover the floor, essentially creating a right angle.

I hair-sprayed the part of the tarp that was on the wall and sprinkled the glitter all around so it would stick. On the tarp section on the ground I dumped half of the bottle of glitter all around, leaving a strategic pile in the center.

Now for the hard, time consuming and awkward part. THAT IS MY HAND. And NO, I did not use a timer or a remote. I wore the bracelet on my left hand, held the camera at a vertical angle with my right, got all the way down on the floor in the most uncomfortable position I've ever been in and began shooting.

To get that glitter shattering effect I basically just slammed the palm of my left hand into a big pile of glitter and tried to time it exactly with the camera in my right hand. Since I was so low to the ground I couldn't get my eye through the view finder so I basically just had to eyeball it each time.

I shot the whole thing in M mode (!!!!) without a flash in about 100 takes. It took about an hour.


Once I decided I had enough glitter bombing (the glitter is EVERYWHERE, even after I vacuumed twice) I popped the raw stills onto my laptop, silently praying to the fauxto gods that I would get at least ONE decent shot out of this where the glitter would look like a shower of golden dust.

In most of the shots either the glitter would look great but the hand and bracelet were too out of focus, or I didn't time it right and the hand was in focus but no glitter was flying around. There were a few that worked well but the glitter wasn't bombing near the bracelet, instead it was coming out of the hands.

But then, there it was. The Perfect Shot.

I think I actually yelled or made some kind of goat-sounding noise when I saw it because I knew right away it was perfect. And the best part was, my first attempt at M mode was a massive success. The lighting was dark and moody but the gold was shimmery and bright. It was so good that I didn't do any major Photoshopping. All I did was crop, rotate and boost the contrast very slightly. That was it. I didn't fake any of that glittery in Shop or clone stamp any of it. This is a 99.99% natural fauxto.

Honestly, I look at this thing and refuse to take any credit for it's success. It feels like it was all just luck and chance and not really any skill. But looking back on most of my fauxtos, that's kind of how I feel about all of them. I feel like I just get lucky. Maybe that's why I'm still a fauxtographer instead of a photographer. Or maybe that's what real photographers feel too? Either way, I'm very proud of myself for taking a challenge and pushing myself to try M mode. I'm like a shooting star. I've come so far. I can't go back to where I used to be. It's a whole new world.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Brace yourselves, because this is a new adventure for me in the wonderful world of YA inspired fauxtography. SEX. VAMPIRES. SEXY VAMPIRES. OMG WHAT.

This fauxto is inspired by The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black - a recent vampire novel that puts most of the young adult vampire novels to shame. The book itself came after the vampire craze but still somehow managed to make the genre feel fresh and new.

I have done sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary and even historical fiction, but I have never taken on the idea of vampirism and I've never taken a fauxto that was so overtly sexual. I've shown skin before, but never in this kind of way and while some may think it's too NSFW for young adults, I disagree. Just look at the source material! Here's the particular passage I am making an homage to:

"She groaned against his skin. Pain raced along her nerves. She felt the pull of his teeth, the rush of everything warm inside of her pouring out. She felt the race of her heart, thudding faster and faster with fear. The taste of his blood was on her tongue, and cold pinpricks raced over her spine. Her lips felt numb. Her body was pressed against his, one of his hands against the sudden euphoria. Pleasure unfolded inside her, sinister and seductive. It was hard to remember to breathe, hard to remember to do more than bite down on his wrist and drown in looping rapture."

Focus on this one sentence from that excerpt: "Pleasure unfolded inside her, sinister and seductive." This is the sentence I wanted to capture.

I needed a fauxto that was sensual but also a little bit unnerving and maybe even creepy. Veins, I thought. That's it! Veins are creepy and gross and icky and we think of veins when we think of vampires, so that works. But how do you make veins realistic? Because with this series, I live for the struggle that is bringing reality to fantasy and this fauxto certainly had me worried about both. I achieved the blue veins by using a bright external flash that would better expose the natural veins under one's skin and then since this woman's veins were naturally blue, I just isolated anything blue in the photo and over saturated it. Then, obviously, I treated the rest of the fauxto to give it a darker, sexier atmosphere, but it's really the veins that stand out for me in this shot. I kept them blue (instead of making them red) because you think of blue when you think of cold things and that's how it felt for the characters when they drank someone's blood. It wasn't hot blood, it was cold, numbing. Blue.

So there you have it! What do you think of my first (and probably only) vampire fauxto? How would you interpret vampirism in a photograph? And finally, what are your favorite YA vampire novels? Tell me in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Los Angeles

Los Angeles  
I took this photo while strolling down Broadway in downtown LA. That district is a total shit hole. The whole area feels like it's from an 80s B movie: decrepit buildings that are falling down, everything's been abandoned, random clothing stores and arcades are still around with people just aimlessly milling about. It's easy to see why that part of town is less desirable than say, Beverly Hills. But if you take a moment to look up and look at the architecture, you will discover that downtown LA is ripe with old beauties. Old, 1930s theaters litter the street. Some are in better shape than others, but most look like they desperately need a face lift. My favorite of these is the Los Angeles, a 2,000 seat MOVIE PALACE (that's a real thing) built in 1931. 

This building brings out my inner art history nerd. The French Baroque architecture is so stunningly beautiful and it's just so odd to see something so gorgeous on a street that is so neglected. Here's hoping more people notice it and start doing something to maintain its beauty.

The only editing I did for this photo was make it black and white and mess with the contrasts. The light streaks are 100% au naturale.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Faux Cover: Adaptation

Adaptation by Malinda Lo is one of those books that caught me by surprise. I honestly thought I wasn't going to like it. The marketing copy didn't sell me, "a romantic adventure with conspiracies!" Nope, sorry, it wasn't that. It was Wendy Darling of The Midnight Garden who sold me on this one. She promised me it would appeal to my fauxtographic sensibilities and she was absolutely correct.

This book is all the things. It's sci-fi, but also introspective. It's futuristic and still contemporary. It's coming-of-age and speculative. It's sexy and creepy as hell.

The thing I loved most about this book were the numerous images throughout the book of a egg-like womb. The main character dreams about herself being inside this veiny sack so much that she is compelled to paint the damn thing on her bedroom wall. Malinda Lo's descriptions of the sack were so vivid that the second I read that passage I knew I needed to interpret it in real life.

But where does one acquire a yellow egg-y sack with red veins? The answer is WALGREENS! So that orby thing you see in the fauxto above is actually a bottle of Method hand soap. Ha! I bought a bottle of the green soap because I knew it would be easiest to adjust the green to yellow in Photoshop. I took out the pump and put the bottle on my windowsill around 6pm - which is just before dusk when lighting is at it's softest. I used a straw to blow in a few extra bubbles and then took the fauxto.

I popped the shot into Photoshop and then sat there staring at it for about an hour, twirling in my chair, having no idea how I wanted to edit this. So I did what I always do when I'm stuck, I push buttons and try random settings and basically do the Photoshop version of button mashing on a video game controller.

After I landed on a style I liked, I did about 20 minutes worth of dodging and burning to bring out the "veins" -- which are just natural curves from the bottle that I enhanced -- and changed the colors around to my liking and here we are!

But then I got to thinking, "I wonder what this would look like as a book cover!" And so then I added some text and voila, a FAUX COVER! (If you want to see the version without the text, click here.)

So that's it! What do you think? Have you read Adaptation? What did you think of the book?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Film vs. Digital

It's that age old question - out with the old and in with the new? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Here's a fun fact: Before I ever picked up a digital camera, I was first taught in the art of fauxtography on a vintage 35mm Canon. The one course I took in college on the craft was strictly a film photography course and we even had to develop our own film in a dark room. The kind of burning and dodging I learned then was the primitive version of the burning and dodging I now do in Photoshop.

I loved film photography. There's a certain je ne sais quas about film photos that you just don't get with digital. Film is more unpredictable, less precise, less controlled. You have to be more careful and selective when shooting film because you only have so many shots per roll of film and film, my friends, ain't cheap. Digital allows you the freedom to shoot a bazillion times and it only costs you the one time fee of the actual camera and memory cards. Digital gives you clearer, sharper images and if you're really into the shooting, digital allows significantly more control over your shot and its outcome.

So why did I switch to digital if I loved film so much? Cost. That was the #1 reason. One roll of film has around 24 exposures and one roll of film costs about about $5 plus another $10 to develop each roll. So if I go out and shoot three rolls in one day, that's going to cost me roughly $45 for just 72 photos. When you're a fresh out of college, broke-ass young adult, $45 isn't the kind of money you throw around on something like photography. So I switched to digital and have almost exclusively shot that since.

A couple of months ago an artist friend of mine, Robert Brandenburg, sent me a big camera bag stuffed full with vintage 35mm film equipment. A Pentax Spotmatic, three different lenses, a bunch of filters and more. I was a bit overwhelmed by the collection that I just put it in storage and out of my mind. Until recently.

My Dad and I decided to go an epic road trip this spring and last week we went from Albuquerque to Las Vegas, following along Route 66, and I decided that such an adventure required different types of photography. I knew I was going to bring my Nikon D7000 for those intense, colorful, saturated photos of the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest and I decided to bring the Pentax because Route 66 screams 1970s to me and I needed to bring a 1970s camera.

The results of my photographic adventures have left me utterly torn. How could I possibly have forgotten how amazing film photography is? It's not great for those sweeping, epic shots because nothing compares to Nikon's DSLRs for those, but holy crap. For the weird, quirky, bizarre, or "everyday" photos? The Pentax blew my Nikon out of the water.

For your consideration:

The top photo is from the Pentax and the bottom photo is from the Nikon. Exact same subject, different angles, but completely, insanely different moods and outcomes. When I popped the Nikon version into Photoshop I struggled and struggled because I just couldn't get the mood across that I wanted. I finally landed on this one and was satisfied with it. Until today when I got my 35mm prints back and saw that shot (the one on top). The photo you see there is 100% untouched my Photoshop and it captured the EXACT mood and feeling I wanted to achieve with the digital one. 

While I think digital photos are fantastic and I love them and I will still use them for all of my YA-inspired photos because that's what they require, I think the 35mm film is just far and away a better option for your every day, "life according to ____" photos. What you see is what you get when it comes to film photography and that it how I see life. 

When I take digital photos and manipulate them in Photoshop, that's not how I see life. That's me creating a fantasy out of reality. That's what my Young Adults photo series is about. It's about fantasy vs. reality. But it's never, "Oh this is what it's like to see things through Margot's eyes." Does that make sense? 

So what has this format experiment taught me? Well, for one, it's always good to mix your mediums up. For two years now all I've taken photos of are stylized, conceptual shots from my young adults series. I lost inspiration and interest in taking "every day" photos and I think, and I hope, that my swapping my digital for my film camera will reinvigorate my love for just taking pictures and not always "creating art." Know what I mean? I love both and I will continue to do both, so all this hopefully means is that you might be seeing more from me (at least over on my Flickr page) and you might be seeing more and more every day shots. 

I hope you're ready. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Sabriel, originally uploaded by margotwood.

In the early 1990s, Garth Nix went to a flea market in Sydney, Australia and looked through a box of old, early 1900s photographs that were being sold for a dollar a piece. As he flipped through the photos he came across a photograph of a young woman in a military style coat wearing a belt made out of bells and holding a sword. He studied the photo, wondering who this mysterious woman was. He purchased the photo, took it home and promptly wrote the draft for his young adult high-fantasy novel, Sabriel.

THIS DID NOT ACTUALLY HAPPEN. But what if it did? And that, my beautiful friends, is the idea behind this fauxto.

I wanted to do something different for my Young Adults fauxto series. I've recently been doing character portraits and knew I wanted to do one for Sabriel, but to give it a twist, I wanted to take a fauxto of a real person that would serve as the inspiration for the fictional character. Does that make any sense?

Basically, in my imagination, Garth Nix based Sabriel off a real person and I wanted to explore what that woman would look like and voila, you have the image before you.

I was really inspired by those old early 1900s portraits of the last Japanese Samurai warriors and wanted to emulate those a bit. I shoot digitally, so I was never going to achieve that old, grainy, blurry effect and I tried faking it in Photoshop and it seemed really forced, so I did some minimal "aging" techniques, but for the most part left the photo as is.

The stoic model in this shot is my good friend, former coworker and YA reading pal Christina Ku (follow her on Tumblr or Twitter.) Chris was featured in another fauxto but it was just her hands and I was eager to feature her pretty face. It was pretty easy to convince her because Sabriel is one of her all-time favorite books.

We were originally going to include a cat in this photo (Mogget!) but I don't have any pets (yet) and the only cat we could track down was this really cool white one that would have been perfect for this fauxto but would have made things complicated in terms of locations, lighting, ect, ect, ect so the cat got left behind. (True story though: we did take a couple of shots of Christina holding a football that would serve as a place holder in case I wanted to go back and Photoshop the cat in.)

Let's start with the bells, because BELLS. When you think of Sabriel, bells should be the first thing that comes to mind. Luckily for me, I have collector parents who have a very eclectic collection of antique oddities. The bell belt you see here is actually part of an antique bridle (for horsies) that originally belonged to my maternal great-great-grandmother. We have no idea how she got it so it could very well be even older than that. But those are real brass bells increasing in size all the way up her shoulder.

What you don't see, because of the way I edited the photo, is this patterned sash underneath the bells. It's blue and looks as close to the original Sabriel cover illustration as I could possibly find. I ended up editing it out because it was sort of distracting and I didn't want to many things happening in the shot. The sword is real, although not for fighting purposes. It's actually a tai chi sword that belongs to Christina's brother, thanks dude!

So there you have it! My realistic fauxto that definitely did not inspire Garth Nix to write Sabriel, but maybe will inspire you.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die, originally uploaded by margotwood.

The thing is, I have been a mega-fan of The Wizard of Oz since I was a little girl. I was Dorothy for Halloween every year for about 4 years. I went to see The Wiz when it came to my town. I grew up with posters from musicals, plays and the movie on my walls. I read the book and even the three after that (they got really weird and it freaked me out as a kid so I stopped reading them.) So when I heard that HarperCollins was publishing a retelling of The Wizard of Oz called DOROTHY MUST DIE I kind of lost my shit. . . in a good way.

Dorothy has returned to Oz and over the years has become a corrupt, sadistic, egomaniacal, psychotic ruler of the once happy land and now the magic of Oz is draining because of her. The munchkins are basically squatters, Glinda is an unpredictable sociopath that does Dorothy's bidding, The Tin Man is made of saws, The Scarecrow is an evil scientist. In a word, Oz is fucked-the-hell up. And I love this version.

Danielle Paige has taken the beloved world I grew up with and and turned it into an acid trip. My copy of the book is riddled with highlights and post-its filled with ideas for fauxtos. But which one to do? God, with a book like this, the possibilities are endless. It's such a vivid retelling, I feel like a fat kid at Haagen Daazs.

So what is this fauxto you see here? This isn't actually anything from the actual book, it's a tease. The book doesn't come out for a few more months and it would be cruel of me to photograph a scene from a story no one can read yet, so instead I went with something simple: to literally interpret the title of the book and give everyone a taste of what they can expect.

Full disclosure: My fauxto is way darker than the book. The book is dark, don't get me wrong, but it's not crack-den dark. More like abandoned-tenement dark. (Does that make sense? I have lived in NYC too long.)

By the way, here's me as a young hipster in my Dorothy dress:


The idea for the structure of this shot actually came out of a discussion with my friend Adam Silvera. He occasionally sends me inspirational photos and most of the time they just make me seethe with envy because I wish I had more time, more money and better space to take all the fauxtos I want, but instead of being laden with artistic jealousy, I was inspired. The idea for this fauxto happened almost instantaneously. I wanted to show the yellow brick road and the iconic shoes and just enough of Dorothy's gingham dress so that anyone looking at this would know it was her. But the shot needed to be dark, grungy and reflective of the corrupt, downtrodden Oz that we see in the book.

A quick trip to my local fabric store yielded a yard of the pattern I wanted and red food coloring provided my blood. Now all I needed was a willing participant to bare her legs in the dead of winter, in the middle of a semi-sketchy street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn while I squirted fake blood on her. Oh, and she would have to wear glittery heels too.

Enter, my friend Alexa. (You may know her from She was gracious enough to trek to my neighborhood and participate in my little charade. I owe her a big thanks, and more donuts.


We shot this on an old brick road in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (Fun side fact, Greenpoint used to be a shipping neighborhood as it borders the East River. Ships would pull up and each street was once named for the type of product carried on the ships that docked there. This particular street is called Java Street.) The bricks on this road are wicked old and kind of disgusting –– perfect for the shot I wanted to achieve –– but no, the road is not yellow. That is all photoshop. Also photoshopped are the shoes on Dorothy's feet. We used Alexa's glittery heels that are actually a pale gold / silver color, so naturally some photoshop was required to make them red. Besides that, there was very little photoshop work done. Just a few filters, some tweaking here and there and voila! Of all the YA-inspired fauxtos I've done, this one will fall into the "mildly easy to achieve" category.

The bricks turned out WAY better than I had ever hoped for. To be honest, I'm not really sure what I did. I mean I know what I did, but I didn't do it on purpose. I used this filter but then made it dissolve into the original photo, instead of just overlaying it on top and it magically transformed the bricks into that sickly green, yellow color. I seriously didn't even come up with that color scheme beforehand, it was a purely happy accident during editing and for me, that is what totally makes the shot. During this whole process I felt like the wizard behind the curtain. The curtain this time just happens to be photoshop.

I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do and when you do get around to reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, let me know what you think!

SHARING RULES: As you can see by the rights that this is an attribution, share alike, non-commercial, no derivatives photo. This means you can share (and please do!!) but you must credit me (Margot Wood or The Real Fauxtographer) as the artist and you may not alter this in any way. Please respect this rule! :-)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Darkling

The Darkling, originally uploaded by margotwood.

A lot of people ask me when it comes to my YA-inspired fauxtos, do I take the pictures first and then find a book to match or read the book first then come up with the photo idea?

The answer, as of today, is YES.

Up until today I have always read the book first and then come up with the photo idea. Today was the first major blizzard NYC has had in three years. I have been waiting, so very patiently for this moment to arrive because I've been wanting to take snow pictures forever. Tonight, I was going to just take some self portraits in the snow doing snowy things but I'm tired of taking fauxto selfies and asked the boyfriend if he wouldn't mind posing for me. He has perfected the villain glare (it's his go-to pose) and so I told him to make like Benedict Cumberbatch and pop that collar and give me his best sexy, evil stare. This is the resulting shot.

I always share my fauxtos on Twitter and tonight when I shared this one, several people pointed out to me that this photo, his glare, his pose, his everything really reminded them of The Darkling - the sexy antagonist of one of my favorite YA fantasy series,  The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo. (Remember when I took this fauxto for the first book, Shadow & Bone?)

I'm not going to lie, I've been wanting to do a Darkling fauxto for years now and could never do it because IT NEVER SNOWED. When I originally took this shot, I was imagining it being a companion photo to this one I shot of my younger sister. So true, I did not imagine my boyfriend as The Darkling at this particular moment when I took this fauxto, but my original idea must have been in the back of my head the whole time because as my fellow YA fans on Twitter have pointed out, he resembles The Darkling quite a bit. (Thank you Gabby!)

So there you have it. I've broken my pattern. I took an unplanned photo and it somehow fit a book almost perfectly (the only thing I would change is the background - not too many brick walls in Shadow and Bone) and ended up being one of my favorite portraits I've ever taken.

So to my fellow photographers and artists –– keep coming up with ideas and keep searching for inspiration because sometimes even those random, unplanned, spontaneous moments can turn out to be some of your best work.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity, originally uploaded by margotwood. View it in a larger size here.

My first historical fiction fauxto has been added to my series of works inspired by young adult novels! This one was inspired by CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein - a gut-wrenching, novel a British spy plane that crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

After reading this novel I knew I had to do a fauxto for it. First of all, it would be an massive challenge for me since I've never done a historical photo before and secondly, I have never worked with props of this magnitude before –– but for some reason I was really intent on doing a shot that included a parachute, so I set my mind to it and voila.

I have a lot to say about this photo and not quite sure how to organize my thoughts on it so I think listing them out might be helpful.


1. WWII British military parachutes are really hard to find. WWII military parachutes that still have the lines and harness and aren't a gagillion dollars are even harder to find. I settled for a white, 28ft nylon, French military parachute from the Vietnam War. (Yes, yes. Wrong war, wrong country. I know. I know.) Thanks to the Federal Army and Navy surplus store in Seattle for selling me this and the flight suit my sister is wearing.

3. Laundry rope (the kind you hang clothes on) makes a great substitute for parachute lines. Most parachutes come with cut lines ––so you don't try to use them as real parachutes and end up killing yourself –– so I used laundry rope as a substitute. 

4. Getting a parachute to billow is a pain in the ass unless it's really windy out and you have an extra pair of hands. It was me, my Dad and my sister on "set" for this shot and we couldn't get the chute to open on it's own without all three of us involved, so instead, I put the camera on a tripod, laid the chute down flat on the ground and took the photo of my sister posing first. Then all three of us opened the parachute, my dad used a leaf blower (!!) to get it started, then nature did the rest. Once the chute was wide open, we all ran out of frame and the shot was taken. What you see here is a composite of those two photos - the one of my sister and the one of the open chute. Thank you, Photoshop.

5. Sunny days are killing me. Much like the fauxto I did for The 5th Wave, the sun was cursing me the day we did this shot. It was just too damn bright to really achieve the darker, more subdued style I was going for, but trying to get the family together at the crack of dawn was kind of not an option, so I had no choice. It was now or never.

6. I am not a hair stylist. But I am pretty proud of being able to get a 1940's style flip in my sister's hair like you see in the shot. (You should see the other side of her hair. . . it was awful.)


1. Why does she have half a flight suit on? Well in my mind, the character my sister is portraying, Queenie, has just parachuted out of her friend's plane because her pilot friend, Maddie, couldn't land. But Queenie, being a British spy, would be wearing civilian clothes, but she wouldn't parachute down in them - she would wear a flight suit, probably over her civilian clothes. So I bought a flight suit and decided that the shot would be half flight suit as if Queenie had just started taking it off. I did this for two reasons: 1) I didn't want to have to put together a full, authentic 1940s outfit because I had already spent money on the chute and didn't have any budget left and 2) I didn't want her in the full flight suit because then she could have been mistaken for the other character in the book, Maddie.

2. Why is she looking away from the camera? When I originally conceived the shot I always pictured Queenie staring dead straight into the camera and I have several shots of my sister doing just that, but I decided to go with this one for a few reasons: 1) Her posture and glare is very confident and determined like the character and 2) in the plot line of the story, this scene would have taken place just before she is captured by the Nazi's. She's just landed in enemy territory, so I when I look at her looking away, I like to imagine she's getting her plan ready in her head. She's preparing herself for the task ahead. She's all business.

3. Why color? There are two versions of this fauxto and I love them both and had an incredibly hard time trying to decide which on I preferred. Last night I liked the black and white one better but this morning I decided the color version was the way to go. My coworker, Aubry, told me her grandfather's photos from WWII all looked like my color version, so that sold me. Color it is.


I gave my Dad my camera phone to take some pics while my sister and I were working, so here are some behind-the-scenes shots!

A NOTE ON SHARING: Sharing is allowed but please respect the art and the artist and do not make alterations to this work. If you post this on your blogs, please either link to this blog post or my Flickr page and cite me as the artist. Thank you!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shatter Me

It's not very often that I do a literal interpretation of a book's title but there was something about SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi that I just couldn't quite let go.

Truth be told, I actually did a completely different photo shoot for this book months ago. I made the BF shave his beard and kiss me for a close up shot of our lips and I photoshopped electricity lines between our lips. If I had actually been able to execute the shot in a way I wanted I still think it would have been cool, but somedays you just don't quite have "it" - whatever that happens to be.

Somedays you just have to abandon your initial goal and pick it up when you are in a better frameof mind. And that's what I did with this fauxto.

I decided I wanted to do a literal "Shatter Me" fauxto and instantly decided to go with a mirror because of wonderful, beautiful possibilities it could provide. I knew I couldn't just have a cracked mirror and that be it - I needed a human element - much like the main character in the story, Juliette, is immensely powerful but also incredibly human. If her touch could kill a man, certainly it could also shatter a mirror.

I bought a $2 mirror, wrapped it in a pillow case (don't forget the safety goggles and gloves if attempt this kind of shot at home) and one quick, hard slam with the hammer the glass shattered. (Also, I recommend getting a glass that is in a frame so the shards don't go exploding everywhere and it's easier to move around.)

Next, I just awkward moved my body around with my hand on the glass until I found an angle I liked then used the self timer to help take the shot. And voila.

This is probably the fastest I've ever conceived, shot, and edited a fauxto in this young adult series and it has given me the inspiration to pick this series back up.

So the moral of this fauxto story is that it is okay to abandon your ideas –– not every great idea you have is going to be as good as it seems in your head. Don't get discouraged if your art doesn't turn out the way you had originally hoped. Don't stress out about it - just relax, take a break from it. Step away and go do something else and you never know, your creativity might just come rearing back in full force.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Rules For Sharing

Hey there, friend! I love you and think you are 100% amazing for visiting my blog and supporting my work, especially the Young Adults fauxto series! So you want to share one of my fauxtos, that's great! But here are some rules. . .

The YOUNG ADULTS photo series falls under the Creative Commons license of Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.

What this means

You can share my photographs wherever you'd like but you must give appropriate credit to me, Margot Wood, as the photographer and link back to my blog or Flickr.

This also means you cannot under any circumstances sell or use my work for commercial purposes and you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT REMIX, TRANSFORM OR BUILD UPON MY WORK.

What about Facebook?

As for Facebook sharing, please don't download the image and repost it to Facebook. Facebook has this thing that says any photo you upload to Facebook they can use in ads and make money off it. Which ain't cool. Instead, I suggest just posting a link.

Isn't imitation the highest form of flattery? 

No. It's not. That statement is a lie and was probably written by someone who was never a creator or artist. I spend my time, my money and my energy for hours, days, weeks, months and even years creating these fauxtos and when I see someone on Tumblr that's taken my work and altered it, it fills me not with a sense of "Awww that's so awesome!" but more of a "I want to punch you in your soul."

I love you all and truly appreciate your support and feedback, but please, please don't steal my work and build upon it. The more times I see my work being changed and re-posted without my consent or credit given, it makes me less inclined to continue with this series. So if you like what you see and want more of it, please encourage others to respect the rules.

What if I see someone not complying with your rules?

If you see someone (usually on Tumblr) who has altered my work or not given credit, please email me a link to it so I can contact that person.

Oh crap, I totally forgot to give you credit. What will happen now?

I suggest you go back and give me credit! Or if you altered my original work, please go back and specify that you built upon my work and link to the original work. . . or, delete it. I'm a nice person (at least I like to think so) and will always give you the opportunity to fix the mistake! I'm not out to get you, and I totally get that sometimes it's hard to find the original post of things you find online. (Here's a fun way to search by images, by the way, to find the original source.) But just know that if I contact you to remedy the situation and you don't, I WILL go all Bruce Willis in Die Hard on you. (That means I'll contact Tumblr (or wherever) and issue a take down notice.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Another Little Piece

Another Little Piece, originally uploaded by margotwood.

This fauxto is not for the faint of heart.

This shot was 95% inspired by the young adult novel Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn and 5% inspired by the new TV show Hannibal.

What is there to say about the book this shot was inspired from? A few adjectives come to mind: gruesome, disgusting, beautiful, haunting, fucked-up, bizarre, gorgeous. It would be hard for me to tell you what this book is about without giving anything away, but let's just say that this is easily the most unusual story I've read in a long, long time.

Here is the quote from the book that inspired this shot:

"Her mouth was opening wide to take a bite, and an instant before her teeth sank in, a drop of juice fell from the apple. Not the juice of overripe fruit, but blood. Blood, still warm from the heart it had been pumping through."

The second I read that line I knew exactly the kind of shot I wanted to do. I wanted to portray that moment just before biting into a human heart.

No, I did not kill a human for the sake of my art. Instead, I hit up my local butcher and ordered a fresh, raw pig's heart. (After consulting with my doctor father, he confirmed that a pig's heart was a good substitute in size and shape for a human heart.)

I picked up my heart from the butcher, who tossed me the vacuumed sealed organ across the shop then yelled, "Stay weird!"

The thing about this photo is that I needed it to be dark, yet beautiful. That's where the show Hannibal comes in. If you've never seen this new show, I recommend at least looking at some screenshots online because it's the most beautifully shot show on TV right now. Simply gorgeous, but horrific. . . much like Another Little Piece. The show is about Hannibal Lecter - you know, the cannibal from Thomas Harris' novels. So drawing inspiration from the show felt like I was still being true to the cannibalistic scenes in Another Little Piece.

I studied the show, taking note of how they lit everything. From that, I was able to come up with a plan as to how to get my shot done. I used no artificial light for this - just filtered light from my apartment window.

I must take a moment to thank my brave friend, Christina, for agreeing to stand in my hot apartment holding a raw pig's heart while dripping with my fake blood concoction.

Originally, my idea for the angle of the shot was top down, looking at the heart from above. When I finished editing my photo (just minor vignetting and highlighting here and there), I was pleased with the result but not thrilled. Then, I got the idea to flip the photo vertically to see what would happen and BOOM - I was in love.

Now, the viewer is no longer a casual observer but the main character. Now YOU are the cannibal, staring down at the feast before you.

Would you like another little piece of my heart?

Monday, April 29, 2013

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave, originally uploaded by margotwood. (Click here to view this at a larger size.)

The latest fauxto in my Young Adults series was inspired by The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

Brace yourself for a long story, because this shot deserves a long post.

For those of you that haven't read The 5th Wave yet, allow me to brief you on what it's all about. ALIENS TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Okay, you've been briefed.

This photo is not a spoiler, but if I give you the background to it I will certainly spoil some of it for you, so instead, the only thing I'm going to say about this specific scene is that it is a literal interpretation of a scene in chapter 19 of the book. There was one sentence that totally stuck with me (okay, so this is an interpretation of just one sentence) : "We stepped into the bright sunshine, the man in the gas mask and the girl with the teddy bear."

To achieve this fauxto, all I needed was a gas mask (thank you Amazon), a teddy bear (see below) and a dude to pose with me. Enter my father, the hero.

Some of you may know that my Dad has brain cancer. Technically, it's called a glioblastoma and all you need to know about that is that it's a fucking bitch. He had one operation on Christmas Day and two weeks ago we found out that another tumor popped up post-surgery, post-chemo and post-radiation. That, my friends, is not good. Where my Dad's tumor is located is right in the middle of the memory part of the brain, so what we were most worried about with this second surgery was memory loss.

So, the Wood family made plans to come back into town for surgery #2 and I booked my trip a few days ahead of time so I could have some time to take some fauxtos. I knew I wanted to do a fauxto for The 5th Wave as I seriously adored the post-apocalypse novel, and since the book takes place in the Ohio valley I thought a trip home would be the perfect location for the shot (since I am from the Ohio valley).

My Dad has been in front of my camera several times over the years and when I told him about the idea I had for the shot he jumped at the idea of getting to wear a gas mask and hold a gun to my head. (We have a special relationship.) With the help of my Mom who did some location scouting along Route 52 that follows the Ohio river west, we found the perfect location - an abandoned 19th century stone house that sits right on the edge of a cliff that shoots down to the river. Here's an unedited photo of the front of the house, we shot behind it:

So my Dad and I took off for an afternoon adventure driving the hour west to find this stone house my Mom had spotted weeks prior. A few wrong turns and we finally found it and promptly ran inside the building (not a good idea) and got the crap scared out of us because massive vultures had taken up residence inside. Fun times. After clearing the house of vermin, we decided it was too bright (see how bright that photo is above?!) and I was missing an essential prop: a teddy bear. (Photographers take note: It is really, really difficult to shoot in bright, full sun. Never shoot at noon and always try to wait either until the "magic hour" or at least a few hours past noon to avoid the harsh light.)

Back in the car, we drive back east a few miles until we spot a janky old ferry that's taking cars across the Ohio river into Augusta, Kentucky - a tiny, TINY, town built in the late 1700s that pretty much the same still. There, we proceeded to raid the antique shops (we bought an old book on poison cooking) and found a teddy bear at the home / gift shop of some local resident. (PS - I decided to leave the teddy bear inside the house for the next adventurers. He can keep his aviary roommates company.) Next up was lunch at The Beehive Tavern and time killing until the light was better.

2pm and back on the ferry we go, back to Ohio. When we finally get back to the house it's still "shiny" out (my Dad's word) but better than it was before. Showtime! We took about 50 different shots, trying out various styles. Dad had fun pretending to shoot me and I had fun pretending to be annoyed. (Here's a closeup of us in the photo above since most of you are probably looking at this post on tiny phones.)

The 5th Wave - Closeup - by The Real Fauxtographer

As for the fauxto, well, I'm in love. I was worried it was going to be too bright (or shiny) and I wouldn't achieve the look I was going for, but a few tricks in Photoshop turned all the greenery into fall colors and the river on the right paired with the house on the left makes for one of my favorite shots to date. Unfortunately for internet friends, this photo is best viewed as large as possible as Flickr seems to compress the image on smaller screens making it look sharper than I intended. So if you can, try to view the shot on a large monitor - I want you to get the proper effect!

All in all the shot was captured and another adventure was had. This was a day for the memory keeper and will probably go down as one of my favorite times I've ever had with my Dad.

As of this morning my Dad's surgery was complete and he is awake and talking and, amazingly, the surgery did not affect his short-term memory. He remembers our little dragon-slaying adventure. So here's hoping that this next round of chemo works better than the last because I intend on having him star in as many future fauxtos as possible.