Soraya Rudofsky Photography » | Capturing the American Dream

The first ever Bentonville Film Festival is underway!  Last night, my parents got to see the premiere of Now Add Honey, starring Portia de Rossi and Lucy Fry.  They really loved it, hope it wins! Tonight we’re going to see Miss India America.

I’ve been working almost non-stop this week, so it was time for some rest and relaxation while my folks are still in town! I took my parents to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to see the temporary exhibit, Van Gogh to Rothko, before it closes on June 1.

Crystal Bridges Lensbaby 7 of 365 Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin ImageEvery time I visit Crystal Bridges I am struck by the incredible sculpture of the Tree of Life in front of the museum.  The way the light hits the metal branches makes me think of lightening.  I love how the glow of the wide open Lensbaby 56 brings that image to life!

Two more bonus photos today!  This one shows part of one of the Jackson Pollock paintings in the Van Gogh to Rothko exhibit.  I almost wish I had taken this one with the Sweet 35 instead of the Velvet 56 for even more dynamism – I think Pollock might have appreciated the Lensbaby look!

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And — today we also saw another star at Crystal Bridges – Robert De Niro!  He was there giving a talk as part of the Bentonville Film Festival.  We only saw him from a distance, but I had my camera in hand to get this one quick snapshot:

Robert De Niro Crystal Bridges Bentonville Film FestivalPin Image

Yes. I walked the same hallowed ground as The Godfather. As you can imagine, there were a ton of people with their iPhones in hand taking photos.  I like that I picked up a few of their reflections in the glass!

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I am in LOVE.  My wonderful, amazing husband got me an early 35th birthday present: Lensbaby Velvet 56.  I was really on the fence at first. Would it be too soft and glow-y for me? Would I use it enough given that it’s a manual focus lens? If I stopped it down would it lose the effect and be pointless?

My brilliant instructor and Lensbaby guru Caroline Jensen finally convinced me (with both words and images) that I had to have it. I’m so glad that she did! There is definitely a bit of a learning curve (and I’ve by no means mastered it yet), but I am smitten with the look I’m getting with this lens.

Yukon Lensbaby Velvet 56 Day 6 of 365 Northwest Arkansas Pet PhotographerPin Image

I’m working on a review that I will post shortly, once I have a little a more time with it. But as you can see even in the past 6 days, it really is versatile!  This is my sweet little bear, Yukon, playing in the yard. I was impressed that I was able to get this much sharpness, even at a relatively wide aperture and with him in motion! This project is definitely forcing me to improve my manual focusing skills!

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I am a member of the Bentonville-Bella Vista chapter of Altrusa International. Altrusa is an international non-profit organization dedicated to community service. Our chapter is focused on improving childhood literacy. One of our major projects is the Dictionary Project. Each year, we give  student dictionaries to all of the third graders in the Bentonville, Bella Vista, Gravette and Pea Ridge school districts. In order to make it happen, our chapter puts on several fundraisers throughout the year — one of which took place today!

Altrusa Game Day is a fun social game-playing event where folks get together in groups of 4 to play their favorite games (Mah Jong, Bridge, various card games, etc). This year we had over 120 players playing a whole host of games!  In addition, our club hosts a Game Day “raffle auction” where you buy raffle tickets and then “bid” on prize baskets by placing your ticket in the bag in front of that prize. This year, we also had a silent auction — an absolutely gorgeous signed serigraph by Janet Treby.

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I fell totally in love with this piece.  And won the silent auction! Here’s a look at Two Dancers through my Lensbaby LM-10 Mobile.

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It was bound to happen — so here’s my first “cheat.”  I actually took this photo yesterday — it was such a full and exciting day, I had to save a photo to post later! In the afternoon, after my morning photo session, Lee and I took my parents and the puppies to Pea Ridge National Military Park.  It was very interesting – we got the Audio Guide CD, and drove our car around to the various stops.  At stop 3 we got out of our car and took a short walk to the site of Leetown.  (Lee loved the name.) The town was destroyed during the battle of Pea Ridge, and what once was homes and shops is now just a bunch of trees, and the sunken remnants of a road.  But nature has a habit of healing, and what used to be Leetown is today quite lovely in its wild, overgrown way.

Pea Ridge Lensbaby Mobile Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin Image

The light filters through a tree at Pea Ridge National Military Park.

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Today was a MARVELOUS spring day at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks!  I had a wonderful morning with the fun and beautiful Bachman Family and so of course I had to try out my new Lensbaby Velvet 56! Spring Flowers Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Lensbaby Velvet 56 Northwest ArkansasPin ImageDoesn’t Mayah look beautiful with her flower crown in that lovely velvet glow?  I can’t wait to share more – there are so many great ones from this awesome session! It was extremely tough to pick just one as today’s Lensbaby 365 photo. Anabel looks gorgeous in all of them – we saw butterflies at the Butterfly House, and we even were able to capture a fairy in the treehouse! It was truly magical! Stay tuned for more soon!

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