Bella Vida by Letty


Portrait Tips ~ Photography

The photos I post are mainly scenic but I do enjoy looking at portraits. When I was a kid I’d play this game where I would look at someone and try to see their beauty. Meaning my eyes acted as filter to emphasize the persons most beautiful qualities and make them stand out. Then I would do the complete opposite and try to find the ugly. Did you ever play this game? It was almost like viewing a completely different person. Yes, I know I have always had an overactive imagination. 🙂

There are two ways to capture a person as subject:
– You can capture them as you perceive them
– Or you can capture them as they perceive themselves

I love photos were I cannot identify the person because they were captured in a way that is so different from my perception. I could stare at photos like these for hours trying to figure out this new side of them. The following are celebrity photos for which I had to do a double take to figure out who the person was. They can all be found on my Pinterest boards.

TIPS for Photographing Portraits

If you have any tips of your own please share them in the comments. I would love to read them.

– Eyes: focus their attention on something outside the field of view of the camera.
The audience is curious and wants to know why and what he’s looking at.

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Mark Wahlberg

What’s so funny outside the frame?

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Gael García Bernal

– Framing: I use this a lot coming from a video camera background.

This photo combines looking away from the camera and using a mirror to frame the subject.

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Jensen Ackles

Windows and Doorways are the easiest frames to find.

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Jodie Foster

Using Patterns to frame the face

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Jill Scott

– Background: let your imagination run wild
I think this shot of Robert Downey Jr. is amazing because it shows the open road behind him. It gives  us a story. He’s been somewhere and he’s going somewhere. love it!

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Robert Downey Jr.

Using colors and shadows in your background to focus on a non centered subject.

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Cameron Diaz

Blurred Background

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Isabella Rossellini

– Change your Angle

The camera is looking up at it’s subject.

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Pam Grier

It can be fun to literally tilt the camera.

Source: via Letty on Pinterest

Dennis Hopper, Natalie Wood, and James Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and interesting photo finds.  Don’t forget to leave me your photo tips.

If you’re on Pinterest you can Follow me Here.


“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams

“If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.” Garry Winogrand

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” Edward Steichen

“It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.” Paul Strand


If you’re on Pinterest you can Follow me Here.

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Growth: 1.a. The process of growing.b. Full development; maturity.2. Development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution.3. An increase, as in size, number, value, or strength; extension or expansion.4.a stage of development
“Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.” Pearl S. Buck 

Light Graffiti Miami Skyline 2011
 “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Albert Einstein 
Light Graffiti Miami Skyline 2011
“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.” Leo Tolstoy 
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy 

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” Lao Tzu ” 

“Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.” Chinese Proverb


Synonyms: advance, advancement, aggrandizement, augmentation, beefing up, boost, buildup, crop, cultivation, enlargement, evolution, evolvement, expansion, extension, fleshing out, flowering, gain, germination, heightening, hike, improvement, increase, maturation, maturing, multiplication, produce, production, proliferation, prosperity, rise, sprouting, stretching, success, surge, swell, thickening, unfolding, up, upping

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Florida Photography ~ Within

Within: 1. in or into the interior or inner part; or into a house, building 3.on, or as regards, the inside; internally.

“The only journey is the journey within.” Rainer Maria Rilke

Las Olas, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle 

Las Olas, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


“If you have an hour, will you not improve that hour, instead of idling it away?” Lord Chesterfield

“Insist on yourself. Never imitate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 
“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.” Herbert Otto 


Synonyms: in, in a period, in reach, indoors, inner, interior, inward, not beyond, not outside, not over, belly, bosom, contents, heart, heartland, innards, inner parts, inside, internals, intrinsicality, lining, marrow, midst, pith, pulp, soul, substance, viscera

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Cloudy Ft. Lauderdale Florida

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” William Arthur Ward

“There is a sort of jealousy which needs very little fire; it is hardly a passion, but a blight bred in the cloudy, damp despondency of uneasy egoism.” George Eliot

“We have not wings we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“She missed him the days when some pretext served to take him away from her, just as one misses the sun on a cloudy day without having thought much about the sun when it was shining.” Kate Chopin

“The infamous weather that covers the campus sky. No matter what the weather is like in the rest of the state or country, you can be sure it’s cloudy in Binghamton. It kind of makes you laugh after it pisses you off.” Marisa Marks

“The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days.” Robert Leighton
Cloudy: 1. Full of or covered with clouds; overcast. 2. Of or like a cloud or clouds.
3. Marked with indistinct masses or streaks: cloudy marble. 4. Not transparent, as certain liquids. 5.a. Open to more than one interpretation. b. Not clearly perceived or perceptible. 6. Troubled; gloomy:
Synonyms: blurred, confused, dark, dense, dim, dismal, dull, dusky, emulsified, foggy, gloomy, heavy, indefinite, indistinct, leaden, lowering, misty, mucky, muddy, murky, mushy, nebulous, nontranslucent, nontransparent, not clear, nubilous, obscure, opaque, overcast, somber, sullen, sunless, vaporous, obscure, opaque, overcast, pitch-black, pitch-dark, pitchy, rayless, shaded, shadowy, shady, somber, sooty, stygian, sunless, tenebrous, unlighted, unlit, vague

Sunday Snapshot

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South Florida Sunsets

“Love is the dawn of marriage, and marriage is the sunset of love.” French Proverb

“A moment, and its glory was no more. The sun went down beneath the long dark lines of hill and cloud which piled up in the west an airy city, wall heaped on wall, and battlement on battlement; the light was all withdrawn; the shining church turned cold and dark; the stream forgot to smile; the birds were silent; and the gloom of winter dwelt on everything.” Charles Dickens
“Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon
Like a magician extended his golden wand o’er the landscape;
Twinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest
Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.” 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Things We Find Inside

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Dreams of Falling


dreams of falling
symbolic ??? literal

in your waking life

spiraling out of control
danger. danger. 

danger. danger.

in your waking life


letting go or loosing control
……………………………plummeting from great heights

in your waking life


Freudian sexual urges

lacking indiscretion

dreams of falling
in your waking life
in your waking nightmare 

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misrepresentation vs. misinterpretation

distortion, misreckoning, delusion; error, mistake, misunderstanding, illusion, miscalculation, misconstrual, misinterpretation , mistake, non sequitur, notion, paradox, perversion

**** All of these photos were taken by me during the Wynwood Artwalk in Florida earlier this year. None of the artwork is my own.  These are amazing pieces which fascinate me by other amazingly talented artists.****

wynwood artwalk 2011

I was thinking about how easy it is to misinterpret something said on the internet without the benefit of the author’s tone or expression.  As a writer my ultimate goal is clarity. An author has to communicate by using only the written part of language: words.  The best writers understand how important it is to chose the BEST word to convey an idea.  Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaimon and Truman Capote blow me away with their expertise. They make it look easy.  I wish I could master the ability to chose the right words. In the meantime it’s playtime with the thesaurus. 😛

When I’m painting I don’t feel this grand pressure to precisely communicate an idea.  I know what I am painting.  I know the feeling I am expressing with paints and I don’t have to think about it each step of the way.  I never worry about how my art will be interpreted.

Interpreting art may seem tricky to some.  I believe there is no wrong interpretation.  Art should stir some feeling inside of you and that feeling will be particular to each individual.

Look at the above photo of a gorgeous painting that caught my attention during the Wynwood artwalk earlier this year.  There is no doubt the artist (sorry I didn’t find a name) is skillful, the colors beautiful and eye catching.  It is the interpretation of the subject matter that will cause a debate. This is a good thing.  It’s how art teaches us to form  opinions.  Some people will be appalled, some people will be amused and others like myself will appreciate that the artist did a great job of stirring emotions.

What do you think of the piece? What do you think the artist was trying to say via those big beautiful innocent eyes?

wynwood art walk 2011
wynwood art walk 2011
wynwood art walk 2011

BS, baloney, bend, bias, buckle, coloring, contortion, crock, crookedness, exaggeration, intorsion, jazz, jive, lie, line

“Silence is a statement that is open to gross misinterpretation.” Craig Bruce

“I think my passion is misinterpreted as anger sometimes. And I don’t think people are ready for the message that I’m delivering, and delivering with a sense of violent love.” Charlie Sheen

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a Moment in Time

“How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?” Plato
Chicago, Illinois 1967

While going through old photos for yesterday’s Flashback Friday I found a photo of my grandparents living room in Chicago.  Seeing the year on the photo from 1967 made me think about how a photo is like a time capsule capturing a moment in time and preserving it.

I search the photo with ravenous eyes searching for a long forgotten secret.  Hopeful for a clue that might reveal who my grandparents where before I knew them.   I see Abuela’s sweet little knickknacks on top of the television; ceramic figurines, a card, a photo, water globe, some flowers, the lace doily . . .

They fit precisely with my memories of the woman I knew beautiful, dainty, delicate, sweet . . .

I’m sure these were gifts from family and friends and she wanted to display them in a place that would make the giver feel appreciated.

The large television reminds me of my grandfather. I have memories of him staying up late watching movies.  They always had more than one television in the house so no one would be inconvenienced from being able to watch. lol

I know the reel to reel belongs to my dad but I’ll have to ask him why in the world he had one.  I’m sure it must be related to his love of music.

What will your photos capture?  What will they say about you to future generations?

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” Oprah
Florida sunset 2011

We are living a moment in time.  This is our moment.  Everything we do or say is left behind for others to make sense of.

Florida city sunset 2011

All of my posts have quotes.  They are insights from the lived moments of past lives.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.” Walt Whitman

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Orson Welles

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

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1. The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
2. A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.

Rainy Night Midtown Miami 2.2011

It’s very interesting to me that some people believe we can develop our own intuition. I’ve never thought about it that way before.

There are Four Primary Intuitive Senses
Intuitive seeing – we see with our inner vision rather than our physical vision.
Intuitive Hearing – may or may not sound like your own voice.
Intuitive Feeling – a physical or emotional sensation.
Intuitive Knowing – clear and spontaneous knowing.

I’ve experienced intuitive feeling and knowing but I just took it for granted that everyone had that. When in doubt I always check to see what I’m feeling then go from there. I had an experience a while back and since then I always listen to my intuition.

It was the weekend and a group of friends were at the house. We were laughing, listening to music and having a good time while getting ready to go dancing. But by the time I got into the car I had this awful feeling that wouldn’t go away. I didn’t know what it was so I got out of the car. I asked my friends to wait so I could leave my purse at home. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I didn’t want to carry it so I placed my keys, money and lipstick in my pockets.

The club was bumping good music, we got our dance on and everyone had fun that night. It wasn’t till we left the club to go back home that we found my friends car had been broken into and the sound system stolen.

If I would’ve brought my purse I would’ve left it in the car but I followed my gut instinct and left it at home instead.

Has something like that happened to you?

“Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality.” Alexis Carrel

Rainy Night Midtown Miami 2.2011
clairvoyance, discernment, divination, feeling, foreknowledge, gut reaction, hunch, innate knowledge, inspiration, instinct, intuitiveness, perception, premonition, presentiment, second sight, sixth sense

“Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.” Michael Burke

“Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.” Joyce Brothers

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.” Oprah Winfrey


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Do you pay attention to your interior as much as you exterior?

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”
Miami Book Fair 2010
Miami Book Fair 2010
“Art can only be truly art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior life.” Margaret Fuller
Miami Book Fair 2010
Miami Book Fair 2010

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” Victor Hugo

Some philosophies state that our interior life creates our exterior life. In literary criticism, stream of consciousness is a narrative mode portraying an individual’s point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes in connection to his or her actions. So if we affect each other with our actions that would mean that we are constantly creating and recreating the now.

Our thoughts affect us physically as well as emotionally. If we stopped to find out what is in our stream we could essentially control the exterior by manipulating our thoughts. By thinking a certain way we would be living a certain way. I’m going to let you ponder before my brains start oozing out my ears.

When was the last time you explored your thoughts?

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“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” Robert M. Pirsig
Amicalola Falls, Dawsonville, Georgia Sunset 2009

I can’t remember ever feeling more relaxed than at this mountain top.  After a day of hiking and exploring among nature I felt fulfilled.  My body wasn’t sore.  I wasn’t tired.  Sitting in a comfortable Adirondack chair with my feet propped up on a stone wall taking in the view was completely satisfying.

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Chinese proverb

Amicalola Falls, Dawsonville, Georgia Sunset 2009

I was in no rush to do anything or due to be anywhere.  
I was free to simply be.  
To feed my soul in contemplation,
To feed my eyes with the beauty of nature,
Fill my lungs with fresh air
and do nothing.
Free to do absolutely nothing.

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” Baba Ram Dass

Amicalola Falls, Dawsonville, Georgia Sunset 2009
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” William S. Burroughs
“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Ovid

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Rainy Photographs of Puerto Rico

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” Roger Miller
Capilla del Cristo Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

I love pictures of the rain, rainy days, rain washed settings . . .
The clouds conceal the light leaving it’s affects on how color is perceived.
Dark clouds stir emotions like a warning of something coming inciting the feeling of needing protection.

Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

I love rain water reflections. Precious diamond moments when we see ourselves projected outside of our bodies. Reminding us that we are here. We are alive. Ceaselessly taking part in the endless chain of being affected and affecting the universe.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” Joan Didion
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Langston Hughes

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