Archives for the month of: May, 2010

I wanted to share a few more links to websites that make me smile.  Websites that I always click on.  Isn’t this post deep and inspirational (“rolls eyes)…

what if I add a few photos I forgot to post from a winter TtV session?  Does that make everything better?  Oh good – cause that’s what I was going to do!

I’ve been out-of-town, working hard, stressing out lately.  All for good reasons that I will share with you later.  So this post is what I have left to offer, but these websites really do offer some great stuff and if you already know about them all…whoops!

First up: I heart faces

 This website is awesome for photographers of every level.  They host weekly “challenges”, experts show how they edit photos on “Fix it Fridays”.  Plus the photos are beautiful. It’s a great learning tool (I have picked  up tons of Photoshop tricks and tips) and it’s a place you could easily get lost for hours!

Next: Craft Gawker

I shared my love for this site earlier this year when they accepted my first photo:

It is awesome for reasons beyond that they accepted my work.  (I still love them for this though!)  They’ve recently changed their submission requirements.  They don’t allow users to just post items for sale on Etsy there any longer.  For awhile this website was just a promotional tool for people’s Etsy sites, it got kind of boring and old.  I always saw awesome stuff, but since I couldn’t afford their Etsy site prices it was like very painful window shopping.  Now it’s more of an inspirational, how-to, DIY-ing type website.  I love looking at what other people create and learning how they do this is even better.  Craft Gawker also leads me to this great new-to-me blogs; like this one: Mrs. Priss.  Great blog, great DIY tutorials!

Now on to my long-lost winter TtV photos to beef up this post a little:

Berries

 

This TtV set makes me happy – and I remember I hate winter!  But I like the slight blur and the way the old glass caused some of the branches to overexpose and others to be just right.  I’m liking the duo and think I’ll print them and frame them for my new decorating projects (since I need more projects…rolls eyes again)  I think they’ll help remind me how much I don’t miss winter.

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I finally managed to update my Etsy shop a little bit.  I’ve been bad about adding new work and updating my shop.  I’m working on being better at that. 

In the past couple days I did add a few new prints that have already been featured on the blog. 

Allium:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/48051012/allium-5×7-fine-art-photograph-free

http://www.etsy.com/listing/47981726/allium-5×7-fine-art-photograph-free?ref=v1_other_2

Petals:

 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/47762457/petals-8×8-fine-art-photography-print?ref=v1_other_2

I also just wanted to add a reminder that all prints on this site are available for purchase through my Etsy site.  Just send me a message or an email and I’ll set up a custom listing for you.  Also prints are available in all sizes, not just the ones listed.  Please let me know what you’re looking for.

Also, while I’m shamelessly self-promoting.  I also am still available for photo sessions through the end of June.  It’s a perfect time for senior photos, engagements, babies, you name it!  Again just contact me and let me know what you’re looking for.

I’ve been writing a lot about inspiration here lately.  More to come on my views of “inspiration” later, but today I wanted to share a bit more about my usual.

All artists have preferred mediums and subject matter.  Degas painted lots of ballerinas, Warhol printed his opinions of mass-produced society, and Picasso often featured…well not always sure what he was featuring.  But this usually holds true for us amateurs as well.  If you have kids, chances are they are one of your prime subjects of interest.  Or perhaps your husband is willing to sit still long enough for you to consistently photograph him. I am no different; well I guess different in some ways (no kids or husband to take portraits of).  I love taking pictures of people, but when I don’t have people willing to sit still for me…I tend to gravitate towards several subjects.

Let me give you a little tour of my favorite subjects:

1. Rusty, Dirty or Broken Stuff…I posted about this subject recently and yes I realize this isn’t very specific but I can’t help but love old stuff.

 

2. Things that grow also are a favorite of mine (mostly flowers but I’ll photograph grasses, trees, and even moss).  I love to garden and have always loved to take photos of flowers.  Flowers were my first subject of choice … I was always out in my mom’s garden taking pictures of her blooms; back when digital cameras were not the norm.  Nothing has changed, I still photograph her garden every time I’m home!  And now that I have my own garden I have even more things to photograph! (Check back next week for an update on my allium post)

Although I could post any 1 of the 1.9 million photos of flowers/tree/shrubs I’ve taken over the years.  Here’s a little duo that I’ve been meaning to post for awhile now:

 

3. And last but not certainly not least…one of my most favorite subjects of all time…country stuff.  Yup, I know it’s real specific, but I just love everything that has to do with farms and the country.  I love barns, sheds, weeds, tractors, crops, cows, you get the idea.  I think this goes back to my childhood.  Growing up in a farming community surrounded by fields helped shape my love of all things country-life.  So if you live on a farm…feel free to invite me and my camera over.  Trust me I know some basic farm rules (even though I didn’t live on one). I know to keep the gate shut, not to trample crops, grab electric fences or piss off bulls.  I’m a fun guest too –  I swear 🙂

I couldn’t decide which version of this image I liked better…so I’ll share them both!

I think knowing about my preferences as an artist are important.  It helps me to identify places I need to grow, things I need to work on, and what makes me happy to keep clicking away!

This cooking adventure is otherwise known as Mac n’ Cheese.  But really, I think cheesy delicious noodles is much more descriptive.

I tried to make Mac n’ Cheese one other time…it was…eh…lack-luster.  And that’s putting it nicely.  It was really pretty terrible.  I think that’s because the recipe was for “healthy” mac n’ cheese.  And really there is no such thing – at least not in my universe.  Needless to say, I have been hesitant to make mac n’ cheese ever since.  But today I stumbled onto a new blog Vertigo B Cooks.  She cracks me up.  I love people who make me laugh out loud.  Plus she posts lots of recipes and I love that!

I found this post: Macaroni and Three Cheeses

And I thought to myself…It’s 11am and I’m hungry…I would like some of this.  With that thought I jumped in the car, headed to the grocery store, and went shopping.  Then I realized the store didn’t have any of the required cheeses.  Hmmm…looks like I’ll raid the cheese stash in my refrigerator and use whatever is in there.  Instead of cheese I bought something to compliment my lunch…chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  Mature right?

Anyways, here is what I came up with:

And Oh-my-holy-cheeses…this was fantastic!  Here is the recipe from Vertigo B Cooks (with my alterations in red):

Cheesy Delicious Noodles

1/2 pound medium pasta shells (I usually make a full pound, otherwise there is just too much sauce).  I have also used fortified penne and even rigatoni. Use the shape you like, believe me, it won’t make a difference!
I just used 1/2 lb of penne (because that’s what I had) but I halved the following sauce recipe so there wasn’t too much leftover.  My hips couldn’t handle that many leftovers.

 
2 3/4 cups whole milk (I used 1% because it’s what I had on hand)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups (packed) grated white cheddar cheese (8 ounces) or regular mild cheddar
3/4 cup (packed) grated Gruyere cheese (about 4 ounces) or Muenster
1/2 cup (packed) grated Fontina cheese (about 3 ounces) or Colby Jack
6 Tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or regular breadcrumbs

Cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Meanwhile, bring milk to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. When butter foams, add flour. Stir until pale golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in hot milk. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbling, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Add cheeses and stir until melted and smooth.

Preheat boiler. Add pasta to cheese sauce and toss to coat.

Divide pasta mixture between six 1 1/4-cup custard cups (or in a casserole). Sprinkle with breadcrumbs also add some parmesan cheese, because you can. Broil until crumbs are golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve.

 

This is probably much better the way it was intended…but a girl has to do what she has to do right?  It was fabulous and I highly encourage you to make this one ASAP!

I’m so sick of rain.  So. sick. of. it!  For those of you who don’t live in my neck of the woods…it’s been raining for weeks. WEEKS!  I’m ok with occasional rain.  In fact I don’t mind it at all.  I kind of like to listen to the drops pounding away at my windows.  I like to curl up on the couch with a good book during rain storms.  But for WEEKS!  Enough is enough.  How’s  a girl supposed to get anything done!

Side Story:  I teach dance classes (ages 3-12 mostly) and yesterday in class I said something similar to “what’s a girl supposed to do”  and one of my brilliant students said “Oh Miss Kate…you’re not a girl, you’re a woman”  As if that solved all problems…Man did that make me feel old! 
 

As a point of clarification…I was born and raised in a farming community…in fact I still live in one. So I do not wish rain to disappear forever.  I understand the consequences of that…but I hope the sun that is peeking through the clouds today is a sign of a little break.  I need it.  For my sanity.

Lately I’ve been reading and discovering lots of new blogs (well they are new to me; certainly not new to all the other people who are much better at staying connected than I am)

These new art/design/photo blogs have really inspired me to push my photography in new ways.  Playing more with post-processing, getting bolder, and learning a ton!  I wanted to share with you these phenomenally talented people today.

In no particular order:

Bloom, Grow, Love

Alicia has beautiful photos.  Dreamy, creamy, light and airy (sounds like angel food cake huh?)  But honestly, the light in her work is always golden and warm.  Her shots always make me think of summer….even when the subject is cold or snowy.  Her blog and portfolio are not to be missed!

Tonya Doughty Photography + Design

She is brilliant…yup…no better way to say that….brilliant.  Her photos are real…and beautiful.  She has a very unique point of view and her design work is great!  I recently purchased a print of one of her graphic designs and I love it!

Click to see the print I purchased

I can’t wait to find a place to hang this print proudly since it really sums up my life philosophy!  She also creates beautiful monthly layouts using photos from that month of her family and life events … I’m inspired to do the same. Although not sure that I will ever actually accomplish this feat. She also has been creating a collection of things she wants to tell her daughters, beautifully designed over photos.  You need to check these out.

Gallery 32

I keep getting drawn towards these photographers who have lovely light, lofty photos.  This photographer is no different.  Gallery 32 has images that are dream-like!  I love that there is a vintage quality to all of these prints…BEA-U-TIFUL!

All of these amazingly talented people inspired me to go back to the drawing board and look at photos that I’ve overlooked during my first pass of editing.  I started to re-edit some of my initially rejected photographs.  This exercise of looking back through my photo files have yielded some images that surprised me and got me inspired to keep editing and looking through my archives.  Here’s a few images that are a little outside my typical editing process, but that I’m loving all the same:

First up…a barn! Well there’s no surprise in the subject matter…but I did over-edit this one on purpose.  I’m liking the bold color combinations.  It reminds me of Andy Warhol.

I did a second version of this photo which is toned down just a bit 🙂 …

All the dreamy photographers out there also inspired me to try a few less-bold photo processing techniques.  It’s a type of photography that I love to look at, but haven’t done much of myself.  However – I’m liking these photos:

Now if you’ll please excuse me while I hid myself away in my studio (*cough spare-bedroom-full-of-stuff-I-have-nowhere-else-to-put cough*) I’m going to edit my little heart away.

Guess what showed up in my mailbox earlier this week:

This beauty….

Photo from Amazon.com

I was so excited.  I ripped the package open, changed out my camera lenses, then realized it was raining…shoot!  Why does it have to rain the day I get my new non-water-proofed lens in the mail.  Luckily there was a break in the storm.  A few precious minutes of daylight with no downpour.  I quickly ran out the backdoor and shot the only thing convienient…the deck:

Check out that shallow depth of field.  For those of you who don’t have any idea what I mean…see how just a few drops are in focus and everything else is blurry…that’s shallow depth of field.  My lens did that – not Photoshop.  She’s lovely isn’t she?  I think we’ll be happy together.

This weekend I graduated…finally.  And I do mean finally.  As in, it’s been a long road, a long winding road and I’m thrilled to be done.  But finally being hooded and walking across that stage made me look back and think about all the inspiration, help, and motivation that I’ve received which has shaped me into the person I am today.  So many people have had a part in helping me get to where I am.   This weekend was about looking back and seeing all those people,  looking at how far I have come, and realizing how much help I’ve had along the way. This is my way of thanking them all from the bottom of my heart. 

It wasn’t easy on me…the past 6 years.  They’ve been grueling.  I’ve missed out on family events, holidays, and get-togethers because I had finals, papers, exams, work, etc…  My poor mother has talked me through about 50,000 crying episodes because I’ve been so run-down, exhausted, or sick that I wasn’t sure I could get everything done.  This program was no cake-walk…it was exhausting.  And I’m sure it’s been a long exhausting road for my family as well.  They have been more than supportive…they saw me at my worst and were still willing to stand by me this weekend.  I also want to thank them for still answering the phone during finals week and checking in with me even though they know I might be a little on edge.  Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Now is the time I must thank all the faculty members who have helped shape my future.  I don’t say this lightly or because I feel it is something I must do…they care…really care…they have helped me to define what I see in my future, encouraged my natural talents, and guided me along the way.  They were always encouraging and thoughtful, ready with just the right thing to say at just the right moment.  I couldn’t be more thankful for those people who do much more than what their job descriptions require.

My friends have also been more than supportive along the way.  I don’t think they always knew why I was freaking out…but they were willing to listen, nod along, and help me escape from school stuff.  They always knew when I needed encouragement the most and were willing to share their wine!

I also am thankful for the people who took this journey with me.  Being surrounded by people you like, and who are inspiring to you makes this long journey worthwhile.  I don’t know what I would have done without my fellow classmates.  Encouragement from outside sources, family and other friends, made a huge difference in my life, but encouragement from someone who is right there next to you the whole time can’t be replaced.  It was wonderful to have people around who knew exactly what you’re going through, watched you breakdown due to stress, handled your finals-week attitude and are still willing to eat lunch with you … gosh that just can’t be substituted.  Thank you to my classmates who helped me to keep going when I thought I was at my breaking point.  And thanks for not hating me now 🙂  I’m going to miss you a whole lot.  You are all amazing and will do wonderful things. P.S. You best keep in touch!

We are all products of the people around us.  Our lives are shaped by a collection of experiences, words, people, and events.  I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by the best.  Thank you all for your love, support and encouragement.

Last week…before graduation…the girls from school planed one last get-together….we decided nothing says goodbye, congratulations, and goodluck like cupcakes.  Don’t you agree?

We went to The Cupcakery in Edwardsville, IL.  And all I have to say is….oh man! My hips will never be the same again.  These cupcakes are fantastic!

Check out these flavors like…The Gold Rush:

Golden Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

The Grasshopper:

Dark Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Mint Buttercream

The Peanut Butter Cup:

Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream

I left with a slight sugar rush (slight being an exaggeration!) but it was great to hang out with the girls for one last “lunch” date.  I’m going to miss these girls.

I bet they are going to miss me too…you know sticking my camera in their cupcakes before they eat and all.  Hey girls…I think we need to plan a lunch date again…maybe pie this time or icecream?

 My weekend was a happy kind of weekend for several reasons:

Family

Friends

Mother’s Day with my Mom

Celebration

And this…

More to come soon…