Archives for the month of: June, 2010

Today is my birthday…and this got me thinking about a post I’ve read on the Making it Lovely blog.  I’m coming up with a list of 25 things I’d like to do before my 25th birthday. 

I’ve got a few things on my list….but I’m open to suggestions for others.  I’ll be posting my list here so you can all hold me accountable during the next year.

What are the things you really want to do but haven’t done quite yet?

*Note: The photo has nothing to do with this post except that I like to post photos with my posts and I had this one just waiting to be shown off!

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Lately this phrase has been dominating my life, and I know I’m not the only one.  Life just gets busy sometimes.  But the real  truth is that life keeps on getting busy, things don’t slow down, they don’t stop, and when you cross one thing of the list another is waiting to be added.  I know that people subscribe to the “simplify” motto, and while I would love to be one of these folks.  I’m easily distracted, over-ly interested, and need to stay moving. 

Why do I bring all this up?

Because I’m sure many of you feel the same way.  Your to-do lists keep growing…and growing…and growing.  Next thing you know, you’ve got a list 50 pages long…like mine (on a good day!).  My problem is putting things off, wanting to do things and next thing I know…life gets busy!

You know when you need to make an appointment and you write “make appointment” on your to-do list.  You may mean do this on Friday morning, but then it’s 5:30 by the time you check your list.  So you move it to Monday’s to-do list.  Then … life gets busy and you realize 2 months later that you never did make that appointment.  This happens…life gets busy…I’m working on this problem myself.  And I’ve learned I never get to my to-do list.  So I’m not making them any more because…life gets busy…plus I think not making lists is probably better for the environment! 😉

I’m supposed to be packing right now…

But I really wanted to show you 1 quick photo from an engagement session I did last night with my good friends Amy & Brent…

More to come as soon as my packing is finished…which feels like never but hopefully is soon!

I just love this girl…she melts my heart.  Especially when she’s looking right at the camera!

I’m submitting this photo to the I heart faces photo challenge: All About Babies

I posted a similar version of this photo earlier in the week, but this one was edited to add a slight pink cast to the image.  I wanted to really show off her girly-ness.  I also like the brightness and light it adds to this shot.

I miss her and her brother already…and it’s only been a week!

I find the creative process and creative evaluation fascinating.  This concept was part of the reason I started blogging.  I wanted a record of my creative adventures.  I wanted to look back and see what I did, why I did it, and how my work has evolved.

Defining my creative vision has been a long and continuous process.  I don’t think I have reached the maturity in my work yet to be able to define my exact style.  And I’m ok with that.  I like to see my work evolve and change as I’m influenced by others.  Gosh what did people do before the internet?  Aren’t we lucky to be able to see so many people’s work, processes, and thoughts all in one place?

I think part of growing and learning is figuring out my strengths and my weaknesses and then determining a way to highlight my strengths while working to improve on my weaknesses.  Although it can be difficult to self-reflect in this manner.  I think it’s time for me to post here. You all hold me accountable.  We all need someone to keep us accountable.

Strengths:  I find this portion much more difficult to talk about, it’s hard to talk about what I’m good at.  I think it was part of my upbringing.  I was raised to be modest…and although my personality doesn’t exactly reflect modesty at all times.  I am modest about my personal, creative, and professional strengths.  That being said….in terms of my photography I think I am good at photographing things that don’t move.  I find I do well with macro & close-up photography.  I think I also do well thinking outside the box in terms of creative ideas and methods of photography.

Weaknesses Limitations Areas for Growth:  There are several areas that are areas for growth in my photography.  These things aren’t really new concepts to me…but I have been working hard to work on these areas.  I will show you my plans to do so below:

1. Actually taking photos:  This seems crazy, I love to take photos.  I love the sound of the shutter clicking away.  I love having the final product, but sometimes I just forget or I don’t stop and take the time to take the pictures.  I don’t always have my camera with me either.  I feel self-conscious busting it out in certain places.  I’ll talk to anyone about anything…except I don’t like explaining my photography.  Strange right?  Maybe it’s because I’m always getting busted and I don’t want people to yell at me for taking pictures of things!

How to fix it:  I am improving at this…I am… I swear.  I have been reminding myself to actually take my camera places.  Now sometimes this means I just have my camera and I don’t actually remove it from my camera bag.  So this is the next step.  Everytime I take my camera somewhere I’m going to take a photo…even if it is not what I intended or even if it’s not a “keeper”

2. Taking a step back.  I am great at the close up shots…sometimes I forget to zoom out.  I am a detail girl…but I need to work on taking pictures of the bigger picture.

How to fix it: Zoom out – duh!

3. People.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think my people shots are bad…and I really enjoy shooting people.  I just need to keep practicing.  I feel my close-up inanimate object photo skills are at times stronger than my take-a-step-back-people shots.  I’m working on gaining the experience and growing in my skills.  I’ve already grown a lot but now I’m at the point where I need to refine and learn even more. 

How to fix it: As I said…I don’t need to “fix” my people photo skills exactly…I just need to continue to practice.  Click, click, click that’s all!

I don’t post all this as a pity party…far from it.  I just want to put it out there that I am self-evaluating and to point out the areas I can work on.  Writing it down helps me to make it real.  And it also keeps me honest and holds me accountable for my own growth.  I think we all need to do that from time to time!

 This past weekend was crazy.  I already posted on my home town disaster, but I wanted to share the more positive highlights of the weekend too…since there were lots!

Chicago

After going home to see my parents, I went to Chicago to see all my friends who live there.  It seems that all my friends moved away from home, all to different parts of the country, then all ended up back in Chicago.  I’m not complaining though.  I’ve always loved Chicago, plus it’s great to see everyone in 1 place. 

While in Chicago I saw my Streator Girls, as well as my good friends Lauren and Phil.  Lauren and I went for a long walk along the lake and it was great.  I stopped every 3 feet to snap a picture…thank you Lauren for your patience.  Here are some of my favorites:

Family

The next part of my trip invovled 2 of my favorite people…my sweet baby niece (MissM) and my studly nephew (L).  Of course the camera was out in full force for this part of my trip.

This boy hardly stands still…I caught this shot as we flying by on his 4-wheeler. Thank goodness for fast lenses!

Look at that face…I just can’t get over how sweet she is!

Brother & Sister

This is one of my favorites.  I am always asking L to give his sister a kiss.  But as I mentioned before…this kid moves fast!  So it’s hard to catch the moment.  But I love the look on MissM’s face.  I can feel the sibling love between these two already.

A Country Drive

On the way back home from this long, crazy weekend, I took my time.  I really took in the scenery and took photos along the way:

What a great, long, strange weekend it was.  But it was one of those refreshing trips home that I needed so badly.

I have some big changes planned for this little ‘ol blog & my Etsy site.  I would love love looove to completely rework this entire blog.  I’ve got lots of ideas although I’m naturally a “I-want-it-all-so-I-end-up-being-a-little-indecisive” kind of person.  It’s hard for me to pick just 1 thing I like when I’m drawn to so many different things.  I’m taking a few steps back and going to focus on what image I’m trying to portray a little more. But all this dreaming is a little difficult when I have 0 internet/programing/computer skills.

I want something that is completely me.  I don’t want to imitate others, I want to be true to who I am and what kind of work I do.  Since I’m having some trouble putting my finger on exactly what that is at the moment as well, I decided to take a cue from the design world and put together a little inspiration board.  I’ve used a few images from istockphoto.com as well as some of my own photography.  There are lots of blogs that really get me excited and although I want to share these on my “design board” as well, I don’t want anyone to be upset with me using their designs in a way that wasn’t intended…so I’m not going to do that.

1. Andros Indoor/Outdoor Rug 2. St. Martin’s Indoor/Outdoor Rug 3. Scotch Tape Stock Photo – istockphoto.com       4. Library Card Stock Photo – istockphoto.com

Now if only I had a clue how to program things….this project would be much easier.  Keep checking back for (hopefully) some progress here soon!  Perhaps I won’t get the entire site re-worked this time but I’m  hoping at least for a bit of an update.

Before I continue on to my photo-journey of my crazy trip this past weekend.  I wanted to tell you what happened to me last night.  Let me back up a bit first…

I’ve mentioned before that I love to photograph old, crumbly, aging stuff, but this sort of photography comes with 1 teeny-tiny problem…trespassing.

I don’t try to break laws, I don’t like to trespass, but in order to capture some of those images…on occasion I gotta bend the rules.  I never disturb the area, I don’t break things, leave trash, or tear up lawns.  I’m respectable, I’m quick, I try not to bother anyone.  So I don’t see why anyone would really care…but that’s not how it normally works out for me.

Last night my man and I were walking around our front yard looking for the tree seedlings that have started popping up.  We were trying to mark a few that we want to keep (gotta mark them so we don’t mow them over later).  Anyway, I looked up and saw the most beautiful sunset.  The sky was on fire. Bright pinks and oranges, striped with dark blue clouds.  It was begging me to take it’s picture! Only problem…the houses across the street were blocking my view! So I convinced my man to abandon the tree seedling search and drive me a mile down the road to get an unobstructed view.  There just happens to be a spot I knew of (with beautiful old grain bins) that I had been eyeing for an upcoming photo shoot.  There isn’t a house on the property so I figured we coul pull in, I could get the shot and we could leave without anyone caring at all. 

WRONG. Think again!

We hurried along…but crazy mother nature set the sun too fast for our truck and my lens.  This is all I caught….

Boo.

I was a little bummed, but since we were there I shot 3-5 pictures out the truck window of the old buildings.  I didn’t even get out of the truck and were weren’t even there for 5 minutes.  Just as we were turning around.  A cranky property owner comes hustling to the truck demanding to know what we were doing.  We politely explained my need to take a picture of the beautiful sky.  He wasn’t pleased.  He hurummphed as we drove off.  This always happens to me.  At least this guy didn’t come out with a shotgun like the last time…Phew!

Well…at least I got a few ok pictures:

I spent yet another weekend traveling.  It seems as though I travel A LOT.  But this weekend was different.

I planned to post pictures of my travels (the city skylines, my sweet niece and nephew, country scenes and old barns) instead I’m borrowing these photos from a friend’s dad to show what happened during my travels.

While I was home visiting my parents a tornado swept through my home town.  My family and their houses are fine, but there was damage to the community.  Lots of thoughts and prayers going out to those who were affected by this.  The photos really don’t begin to describe the scene, the damage, and the rebuilding that will be done.  But one thing I can say is that this community will rally, rebuild, and lend a hand.  This community is filled with good people who help their neighbors and complete strangers.  I am confident of that.  Lots of prayers, lots of thoughts will be heading their way. 

I do have other happier photos to share later on, but I just couldn’t start with those while this was on my mind.

A few days ago I posted a link to this website:

I heart faces does a weekly photo challenge & this week is all about bare feet and shoes.  This theme mirrors their efforts to raise awareness and support for a charitable organization…

Soles4Souls is an organization which collects shoes and redistributes them to people in need.  They are currently giving away 1 pair of shoes every 9 seconds! It’s a pretty incredible organization!

My shoe related photo probably doesn’t depict the type of shoe that Soles4Souls prefer to give-away.  But this photo shows a technique that I have described here before and showcases part of my great shoe collection!  This photo was part of a double-exposure series I completed for my college photo course final.  It was a very fun, spontaneous type project and it was one I would like to further explore!  I decided to utilize my silhouette double exposed with things that represented my life, my “likes” and hobbies.  My growing shoe collection was certainly part of my small dorm life.  I think I had more shoes than anything else in my closet!  But they made for a good subject here.

Behind the process:  I want to attempt to walk you through my photo process for those that may be curious…if not, thanks for checking out my shoes and my first IheartFaces entry. My process started with me shooting an entire roll of film of things that depicted my life (in this case the shoes – sitting on a wooden cube I stole temporarily borrowed from the community lounge next door to my college dorm room). 

Then I rewound the film (because I was using a real film camera at this time) almost all the way to the end.  I didn’t completely rewind it otherwise you don’t have a tab hanging out to reload the camera. (Does that make sense?  Anyone even remember how to load film cameras anymore?)  Anyways, after re-loading, I shot a series of my silhouettes on the same roll of film.

In order to get a silhouette in my tiny dorm room I had an interesting little set-up.  I had to backlight myself to get the dark outline.  I was lucky at this time to have a bathroom attached to my room (I know…spoilled right?)  So I set my camera on a tripod in the shower (it was furthest from the door).  Then I turned off the bathroom lights so it was completely dark (there were no windows).  I used my desk lamp and the lights in my room turned all the way up to light the little hall just outside the bathroom brightly.  Then I did a crazy run to the camera….click….run to the doorway….pose….wait for the timer…run back routine until I shot the whole roll.  Then I developed the photos and prayed I got enough good shots for my final project.  Also…I repeated this in about 30 more rolls of film.

I did get the shots…and I got an A….as a bonus, I still love this series!