Photo of the Day – Smoke

"Smoke" - Tracey Capone Photography  © 2013

“Smoke” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Today’s Photo of the Day – “Smoke” is one of the “oldies but goodies” which, as of last night is headed off to the lovely state of Washington on a 30×30 wood panel.

This shot was taken during my time in Nashville a few years back. I remember coming across these giant blooms on a very sunny day walking through a botanical garden. I spent about twenty minutes in front of the flower, playing with various lenses but, as always defaulting to my 60mm which I absolutely love for macro shots.

This photograph makes me more and more excited about what is to come this spring and summer. What flowers are you looking forward to seeing this year?


Photo of the Day – Granville (as seen in Sweet Paul Magazine’s Spring 2013 edition)

"Granville" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Granville” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Well what a fun way to start the day… today’s Photo of the Day, “Granville” is actually one of my older photographs but it’s been given new life by one of my favorite publications, Sweet Paul Magazine, as one of the picks to celebrate the beautiful color green.

Celebrate Green! - Sweet Paul Magazine Spring 2013 Edition

Celebrate Green! – Sweet Paul Magazine Spring 2013 Edition

If you haven’t checked out Sweet Paul yet, run don’t walk. It has a lot of amazing recipes, home decor tips and simply fabulous photography (not that photography is a big deal or anything ;))

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They only put out a few editions each year but they are jam packed with simply wonderful, beautiful, splendiferous finds.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!


Photo(s) of the Day: Catharsis and Papillon

"Wisp" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Wisp” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I have been in one of those mind-numbing creative funks again. I am convinced it’s a combination of lack of Vitamin D from the sun (it’s been rather dreary here in Chicago as of late) and the fact that my studio looked like a tornado had selectively ripped through it, sparing the rest of my pristine apartment but wreaking havoc on the one place I feel most at peace. Given I’m a full time artist who needs to create to eat, live and, frankly, breathe, that’s not exactly ideal.

The Eye - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The Eye – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I had all sorts of new ideas for my work, I even had new photographs and found objects I wanted to use, but, mentally and physically (more in the sense that the room was that messy I couldn’t get to my work bench without tripping) I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I was uninspired, tired by the mess, admittedly depressed and concerned, once again picturing myself asking, “would you like fries with that shake?” It’s funny how it works; it’s a Catch 22. The mess started because I got extremely busy and kept putting off organizing. Said mess grew to epic proportions and then started to chip away at my psyche, making me feel sad and uninspired, at times angry, and with no desire to clean, let alone create. So, I simply closed the door to the room and wouldn’t go in.

Opposites - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Opposites – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I am one who craves order. In my office days, everything was always perfectly aligned on my desk, to the point where people took great delight in “poking” my inner Milton Waddams by moving my stapler to various, completely illogical, locations on my desk. The only way I was going to get back to being creative was to override all the negativity holding me back and just take care of it.

Inspired by a friend, and fellow artist’s, desire to reorganize his own workspace, I set out Sunday to clear away the chaos. I would say, “it was that simple” but it wasn’t, however, once I got started it was as if someone was taking a broom and clearing cobwebs from my brain. As I worked, and the dopamine levels started to rise, I soon realized it wasn’t just the work space that needed to be “cleared” of negativity. (but that’s more for my journal and next serious “bestie conversation” and not so much for the blog) As I found various tools and supplies hidden by the mess, I got excited, I started to feel creative again, admittedly getting distracted more than once by my sudden desire to create. The more I wanted to create, the more I wanted to clean and, soon enough my studio, while not quite up to Martha Stewart’s standards, was back to it’s very workable organized chaos.

The Light - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The Light – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

A funny thing happened when I was done. I worked. I created. I smiled. It was a weird rebirth; all of my creative energy flooding back to me. At the risk of sounding like I should be the lead in a Greek play, it was a catharsis for me. The book(s) I had been burying myself in stayed shut, the TV stayed off, the music went on and I spent the evening creating. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was cathartic.

I realize I have been posting photographs of butterflies along with my rambling and you’re probably wondering what they have to do with any of this. I have been wanting to go to the Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center for the last several months and never did, mostly because of my slump. With the studio clean and a rejuvenation of my creative energy, what could be more fitting, and a better homage to Spring being right around the corner, than photographing a symbol of catharsis, the butterfly?

Extend - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Extend – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

If you have a butterfly haven near you, I highly recommend going, if not for the beauty of these creatures then for the shooting practice. While you might be lucky enough to get a few who land and stay perfectly still long enough to get the shot, it’s more likely you are going to have to exercise your shutterbug brain to capture them either mid-flutter or mid-flight. I will note that butterfly havens are purposely kept very humid. If you’re going to swap out lenses mid shoot, I highly recommend doing so outside of the haven otherwise your lenses, and, with the lens off, your mirrors, will fog up. While it makes for a very ethereal shot, if that’s not what you’re going for, you will be disappointed.

Stained Glass - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Stained Glass – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

So, with the studio organized, and once again feeling inspired, I am running through my list of places I want to hit. I have even been tossing around the idea of booking a trip to London ahead of my September trip to Spain and Portugal. Fish and chips, a Guinness and my camera. What more could a girl ask for? Funny what a clean workspace, and mind, can do…


Orange and Blue - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Orange and Blue – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Photo(s) of the Day: Portrait of a Jazz Singer

Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

If you have been following my work, you know that I have a very retro inspired bent to my photography. Thankfully, Chicago, and it’s rich history and culture, lean in to that and give me plenty of subject matter to shoot. So it’s no surprise that I was truly excited to get the opportunity to do an Old Hollywood style portrait session with Monica, a wonderful jazz singer from right here in Chicago.

Monica - Tracey Capone Photography  © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica knew what she wanted when she reached out to me. A set of portraits with that perfect mix of Old Hollywood meets Jazz; think Holiday meets Garbo. Having seen my past portrait projects she was convinced we would be a perfect match and I just love the results of our collaboration.

Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

It wasn’t without it’s hitches. Monica was, as most are, very nervous in front of the camera at first. Having done several self portrait sessions in the last few weeks, I completely understand the nerves; it’s a big deal to have a giant lens stuck in your face with lights blaring while someone you likely just met tells you how to stand, how to hold your head, what have you. There are a few ways to make your subject feel more comfortable:

  • I want my subject to feel as comfortable as possible so I shy away from over-posing my subject and let them move naturally in to whatever position feels most comfortable. If you’ve never had a photographer put you in to a pose that you would never, ever find yourself in naturally, trust me, you spend more time thinking how silly you must look than working with the camera. Let your subject move gracefully and freely and just keep shooting; you will get some fantastic shots.
  • Is there something that ultimately “soothes” your subject? In the case of Monica, she feels most comfortable with her mic in front of her, singing her favorite tunes. We put the jazz on the stereo and Monica did her thing. I got to hear beautiful music from one of my favorite genres and, within seconds, you could see Monica relax and get in to the session. The result was some of my favorite portrait work.
Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013


Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Photo of the Day: Thaw

"Thaw" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Thaw” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

It’s cold here in Chicago. So very, very cold and we are expecting a few inches of snow tonight. No big deal about the snow, I have lived in cold climates most of my life but winter is wearing on me a bit. I seem to recall this past summer, I was in an outdoor art fest where it was 102 degrees in my tent, without question and I kept wishing for winter. Silly me.

The first day of Spring is March 20th and I can’t wait. Buds on the trees, flowers beginning to bloom, being able to ride a bike without feeling like the skin on your face is tearing away from the cold. You know, the little things in life.

Today’s Photo of the Day, “Thaw,” is from my day out with the camera last week. On my way to the Shedd Aquarium, as I was heading down Lake Shore Drive, I noticed that the fog was creating such a beautiful abstract silhouette out of the city that I had to stop at the Lincoln Park Zoo to get a photograph from one of my favorite spots.

I love the giant hole in the ice. It makes me think that we’re not too far off from the ice and snow being a thing of the past and, yes, the dogwoods and magnolias being a plenty. 🙂


Photo(s) of the Day: Ghostly

"Ghostly" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Ghostly” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

It’s official… I am in love with photographing jellyfish. Nevermind the numerous times I got stung by them during our summers at the Jersey shore. I will look past that and forgive because these amazing creatures are mesmerizing. They also make for a wonderful abstract subject.

The other day, I shared more colorful versions of the photographs from my day at the Shedd Aquarium. Today I want to share the more haunting, monochrome photographs from that day.

"Ghost Lady" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Ghost Lady” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

They float through the water with a grace that is almost supernatural in nature. I wanted to make a brief departure from the explosions of color and pay homage to that ghostlike grace in a handful of photographs from that day.

"Pigment" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Pigment” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Some photographs almost ended up looking like abstract ink blots to me. (my own version of a Rorschach test?) Others ended up looking like something straight out of the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities books.

"Curiosities" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Curiosities” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Is it possible that some weren’t just floating aimlessly through the water but had their own dance going on?

"The Dance" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“The Dance” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

No matter what you end up seeing in the photographs, a dance, a ghost, or maybe just a jellyfish, plain and simple, I know I felt at peace spending a little time watching them and can’t wait for the next opportunity.


"Mushroom" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Mushroom” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Photo of the Day: The Eyes Have It

"The Eyes" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“The Eyes” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013


Yesterday, I brought you some colorful jellies, who couldn’t hide if they tried. Today, I’m bringing you a beautiful caiman from the Shedd Aquarium. When I first walked up to the tank, I thought it was empty, save a turtle that was hanging out on a log. Then, low and behold… the eye.

Undercover - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Undercover – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The difference between an alligator and a caiman, aside from region in which they live, is primarily in the snout, the latter having a more narrow one. They also tend to have less uniformly distributed scales and are a tad less mellow than the alligator, although you certainly can’t tell by looking at this guy.



Holding Court