Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When the Work Becomes Professional

I love photography. If it sounds like I have said that before, it's because I have. Like, a million times.

Lucky me, because lately I have been doing a lot of photography work, and actually making money at it. WooHoo!

While the fine art stuff I do just because I have a wild hair is my favorite stuff to shoot, and is what I hang when I have a gallery show, the stuff that tends to pay the bills are portraits, head shots, and commercial gigs. I am getting more and more of these, and could probably have a full schedule if I were to hit the pavement and ask for more work.

Right now I have enough on my plate, but perhaps I'll start seeking more work in early December. My father has a fairly large mass that is causing him pain (located behind a kidney and pressed tightly to his aortic artery.) They are not sure what it is, but already we've heard words like "surgery", "chemotherapy" and "lymphoma", so needless to say I am worried and distracted.

However, despite the day to day anxieties and business I have, I try and focus on what's good and exciting, and certainly continued work is one of these.

Local Flavor Magazine is one of these, I've enjoyed quite a bit of work with them this past summer and recently, having shot a local radio station, KHFM, Nob Hill Bar & Grill (left), Keller's Farm Store, Que Chula!, Just a Bite Bakery & The Wild West Cafe, and this past week Prairie Star Wine Bar.

One of the pluses to these shoots is that I get to find great new places to shop and visit. Several of them I may never have seen until I dropped in to do the work, then I became an instant fan and frequently return as a customer.

Other work which has fallen my way this past year has been usually because of networking connections I have made over the years, which goes to show that hermit status isn't a bonus here. More than half the work I get comes to me by word of mouth, and you can't beat that.

A billboard I did this past Spring was this kind of project. A friend of mine for many years asked me if I would be willing to donate some work for him for a billboard. I was thrilled to do it, though I had many people tell me that free work was a waste of my time. I found that the shoot itself not only connected me to several new potential clients, but it gave me a billboard to put in my portfolio. Another bonus was that several months later when they needed professional business portraits for their employees, it was me they came to, and paid me.

I could certainly use help in the advertising and self-promotion department. This is evident if you spend any time on my website. The truth is that I get a great idea for my site and start it, then find I don't have enough time to do what I planned so I rush through it, and when it's done I hate the disaster it is -- but I have far to much work to do for someone else to fix it. This is a vicious circle that keeps repeating itself, and I am currently in the process of trying to get some professional help.

No. Not that kind of professional help, though I am sure I need it.

I'd smack myself on the back of the head for my faults, except I have grown so much better over the years that I can't help be proud at my own progress. There is, quite certainly, a great deal of work and re-focusing that needs to be done, but over all I can honestly say that where I am at now has surpassed my expectations from six years ago, and I have great plans for the future. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking Moment to Say Thank You

(Thanks to Pam Roth for the Photo)

Veterans Day is important to me.

According to Info Please there were 23.6 million veterans in the U.S. in 2007. With numbers like that, the likelihood that you know a veteran are high.

Both my grandfather and my great grandfather served in the military, my father served, I served, both of my husbands served. Having been a member of the armed forces and having lived as a military wife for nine years I have known and been friends with more military personnel than I have ever known civilians in all my life. Even after becoming a civilian myself I worked for several years with an organization for helping needy and homeless veterans.

For me, celebrating Veterans Day isn't about what beliefs that either myself or anyone else might hold about politics, or the country we live in, or in war in general. It's about honoring those people who sacrifice to serve their country. And it is a sacrifice. For whatever reason a man or women joins the service, they give so much, and usually get so little in return.

They often risk their lives, they get very little pay, and if they have family even their family sacrifices. But usually the service member is happy to do it. Proud to serve, proud to know they are doing their part to keep the country they love strong.

Last year my eldest son introduced me to one of his friends, and part of the introduction was... "...and hey, my mom is a Veteran!" He told me later how proud he is when he can tell people that. It meant so much to me, because so often it easy is to feel like that part of your life is unappreciated and unimportant anymore.

If you know a veteran, tell them thanks today. Tell them how proud you are of them. They love the United States, make sure you let them know you love them back :)

Veteran's Day Tribute

When America had an urgent need,
These brave ones raised a hand;
No hesitation held them back;
They were proud to take a stand.

They left their friends and family;
They gave up normal life;
To serve their country and their God,
They plowed into the strife.

They fought for freedom and for peace
On strange and foreign shores;
Some lost new friends; some lost their lives
In long and brutal wars.

Other veterans answered a call
To support the ones who fought;
Their country had requirements for
The essential skills they brought.

We salute each and every one of them,
The noble and the brave,
The ones still with us here today,
And those who rest in a grave.

So here's to our country's heroes;
They're a cut above the rest;
Let's give the honor that is due
To our country's very best.

By Joanna Fuchs

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Clowning Around

Or: This Isn't So Funny

Do you like clowns? If you currently like clowns, did you as a child?

I like them well enough now, and I even recall enjoying their antics when i was about 9 years old or so at the Circus while they were crawling out of cars (you know... the classic 15 clowns in a car that shouldn't fit one grown man in it gig) and doing funny tricks. But when I think back to memories I might have of clowns before that, I don't think I thought they were funny. Or cute. Or adorable. I thought they were creepy and menacing.

Even as an adult, I can see why. Even though they are dressed in bright colors, covered in silly motif's and carrying around balloons, there is something just not right about a face with that crazy make-up on.

For that matter I can't remember my children, my nieces or nephews, or any other child I have ever known to not react with trepidation to an approaching clown, if not outright terror.

That's me in the photo up there. Hired out to be the happy spot for the kiddos birthday party. The adults thought I was a hoot. The kids cowered in fear. Mom and dad asked that I hold the birthday boy up for a shot of us together. I noticed he didn't look happy, they said" Naw, he loves you! He's just tired!"

Hmm. Dunno, I think sometimes we as parents might try to hard to live vicariously through our kids. Or maybe I am just being too serious.

After all... who listens to the clown?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Always Looking Up.

It has been a full few weeks. Not good, not bad, but certainly containing element's of both.

I've had several photo shoots I was excited about, but which evaporated before fruitation, and other unexpected photo shoots which turned out wonderful.

Two shows in the past thirty days, (the second which begins tomorrow) and others up and coming.

Quality time spent with my oldest boy who I don't see nearly as often as I'd like to.

Frightening news that my father has a "mass" of unknown origin behind a kidney, for which we have to get a biopsy for on Tuesday.

Continuing arrival of paid photography work, which is certainly a good thing in this economy.

Discovering a friend whom I have long missed will be returning to Albuquerque within the next two weeks.

The thrill of watching Obama win the election last Tuesday, and knowing it was in my lifetime. And I was part of it.

There is so much, everyday, which happens in my life, and I have many years of practice in which to find the best of it all and be grateful.

It is a magical world I live in, and I am looking up.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ya Gotta See This!

There's a new scene in town... and it's hot.

Chroma Studio's describes itself as "Chroma Studios is an Art and Music space on Central Ave. between UNM and I-25. We offer 14 studio spaces in a professional working environment. We also have a conference/classroom space available for hourly, daily or monthly rental. We recently expanded to include a gallery space. We also do framing at wholesale prices." But the description doesn't give this great place justice.

Thier Grand Opening Art Show was on Friday, June 6, 2008, and they've already had a second show, "Feathers and Flowers" and a book signing by Alyson Stanfield for her book "I'd Rather Be In The Studio", and already another show, "Albuquerque 'Scapes Photography Show".

I am excited to say I will be a part of this show, and I'd love to invite all of you, it will be great fun!

Here's the scoop:

Time: November 7, 2008 from 5pm to 8:30pm
Location: Chroma Gallery
Organized By: Paula Manning-Lewis

Event Description:
In November we are featuring a show of Albuquerque Photographers. Our featured artist for the month is Susan See, also included in the show are Jean O'Neill, Raine Klover, Kirk McGee, Dawn Allynn, Nick Giannotto, and a couple others. If you are in the area, please stop by for our opening reception on November 7th from 5-8:30 pm.

Trick or Treat!

Tomorrow is Halloween and I won't be able to post, so I thought I'd leave you a treat now. (the trick is to find something worth leaving)

Here's a few jokes I thought were pretty good, and a wish that your All Hallow's Eve full of spooky fun :)

Repeat Performance

One Halloween a trick-or-treater came to my door dressed as
'Rocky' in boxing gloves and satin shorts. Soon after I gave him some goodies, he returned for more.

"Aren't you the same 'Rocky' who left my doorstep a few
minutes ago?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied, "but now I'm the sequel. I'll be back
three more times tonight too."

Top 10 Signs You Are Too Old Trick or Treating

10. You get winded from knocking on the door.

9. You have to have another kid chew the candy for you.

8. You ask for high fiber candy only.

7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, you lose your balance and fall over.

6. People say, "Great Keith Richards mask!" and you're not wearing a mask.

5. When the door opens you yell, "Trick or..." and can't remember the rest.

4. By the end of the night, you have a bag full of restraining orders.

3. You have to carefully choose a costume that won't dislodge your hairpiece.

2. You're the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood with a walker.

1. You avoid going to houses where your ex-wives live.

Halloween Costume - IRS Agent

The door bell, rings, and a man answers it. Here stands this
plain but well dressed kid, saying, "Trick or Treat!"

The man asks the kids what he's dressed up like for
Halloween. The kid says, "I'm an IRS agent." Then he takes
28% of the man's candy, leaves, and doesn't say Thank You.

Top Ten Reasons Trick-Or-Treating Is Better Than Sex

10. You're guaranteed to get at least a little something in the sack.

9. If you get tired, wait 10 minutes and go at it again.

8. The uglier you look, the easier it is to get some.

7. You don't have to compliment the person who gave you candy.

6. The person giving you candy doesn't fantasize you're someone else.

5. If you get a stomach ache, it won't last 9 months.

4. If you wear a Batman mask, no one thinks you're kinky.

3. It doesn't matter if kids hear you moaning and groaning.

2. Less guilt the next morning.

1. If you don't get what you want, you can always go next door.

The Devil
A woman whose husband often came home drunk decided to cure him of the habit. One Halloween night, she put on a devil suit and hid behind a tree to intercept him on the way home.
When her husband came by, she jumped out and stood before him with her red horns, long tail, and pitchfork.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm the Devil," she responded.
"Well, come on home with me," he said, "I married your sister."

Open Letter to Converse (Humor)

Have you ever received a phone call that was a wrong number, but the caller wouldn't believe you and just kept calling back? (This is a reoccurring problem in my home, I suspect someone with bad credit keeps giving out my number when she applies for something, and when she doen't want to pay, the collection company hounds me. The must believe I am lying when I say my name isn't Janine.)

I knew someone in North Carolina where I once lived who had this problem with his business. Converse Shoe Manufacturing Company had a similar phone number (one digit difference) and he received hundreds of phone calls a week from people who wouldn't listen closely when he answered the phone and identified his business (which sounded nothing like Converse Shoes). Eventually, to keep his sanity, (back then, changing your phone number was an expensive and convoluted ordeal) he made a joke of it and responded to the calls with the best humor he could under the circumstances.

Recently I came across a letter he wrote in fun, and never sent. It made me laugh. I thought I'd share it in case you might find it humorous as well. :)

By the way... the reference to the fire and hospital phone is untrue, but it did add and extra chuckle to the mix :)

Click on the photo of the letter to get a larger, more readable image. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

What a Great Show

The Tokyo-a-Go-Go Show was a blast.

Alright, it wasn't what I though it would be, but the truth is I knew it wasn't going to be like anything I'd been to before, so all I was truly prepared for was "different".

It was great. I wish I had my pictures here so I could upload them and show you right now. Maybe next week, as I am still drowning in too-much-to-do.

So much great artwork, lots of fun and talented personalities, ton's of people meandering through, new faces great food. It was a blow-out.

Gotta love it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Considering the Pace

I don't talk about my photography much anymore. More because when I am in photo taking mode, I am usually with my camera or on my computer doing editing, uploading, whatever. When I am in writing mode, I am usually trying not to think about my camera for a few moment. Possibly because what I think of when I think in terms of my camera is too big to get on paper in a week, much less in under and hour.

In truth, my camera consumes me. I spend dang near every moment thinking about my next shoot, or my last shoot, or the shot I missed. I look at everything in terms of, "If I were going to take a photo of this, how would I want to capture it?"

I spend little time trying to figure out how to make money from my photography. I am constantly berated by friends telling me I should do more, but I tend to be so centered on the photograph itself I forget to look at it as a way to make a living.

Fortunately for me, paying jobs often come my way despite my inaction. I get emails and phone calls on a fairly regular basis looking for a commercial photographer for magazine shoots, business applications, headshots, and for portraits of various types for families. I do well enough, but I know I could do better if I were to "pound the pavement" as my father calls it. I am not, however, much of a pavement pounder.

I am in fact, a fairly easy going personality and good friend. I like to socialize, and enjoy working others on a variety of projects. This has come back to me in a positive way in that most of my current work falls into the "found it through networking" category. I know someone who knows someone who needed a photographer kind of thing.

Lucky me, eh?

Still, I am getting the sense that I am missing out, that I could do more. So perhaps I will have to change my tactics and start reaching out. It is, after all, just another way to network, hm?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Art Show

I'm going, are you? :)

October 25th
Black Market Goods Art Show: Tokyo A-Go-Go!
This is a art show featuring 40-50 artists, photographers, crafters and awesome people. We are having a fashion showcase, a photo shoot, and art auction plus our regular, fun food, wine, dj, live music, and random acts of awesomeness.

Our photo shoot is going to run around 10am and we work thru the day and finish up in time to enjoy the art show.

All works will be put up on a website that will be accessible to people who are involved.

October 25th
5905 Marble NE
Show starts at 8pm
Photo shoot starts at 10am
more info @ www. mypsace. com/theangryyears

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Enchanted by New Mexico

I work in Albuquerque, for the most part, and live in the east Sandia mountains. Sometimes I find myself pining for the East Coast and the beaches and huge amount of activities to be had there, or for the Northwest and it's green and lush landscapes, but for the most part I am more than content to remain here.

I can say this from the point of view of someone who has moved away for many years at a time, living everywhere from the Chicago area to Texas, from Virginia to Colorado, Mississippi to Connecticut, and even spent three years living overseas. I haven't lived everywhere, but I have had a good taste of it, and while there is a great deal to say about those places I have lived, New Mexico has an charm of it's own that I missed every moment that I was away.

My mother tells me repeatedly how sorry she feels for me that I live so far away and have to make that long drive home, despite the fact I reassure her on a regular basis that I love every minute of it. Even the drive itself acts as a time where I can wind down from whatever daily exasperation's have plagued me; the drive through the canyon from either direction never fails to wow me.

Albuquerque and her surrounding areas reminds me of a elegant woman with a wild-child-side. Offering so much in the way of culture and entertainment (more every day, every week, every year) within an easy afternoon drive. She's beautiful, well balanced, and always right there ready for whatever comes her way. Home to both the past, present and future, Albuquerque is a great place to be if you want to be part of what is current in the world.

On the other hand, it still retains that small town feeling. It's a small enough community to be able to see people you know everywhere you turn. Networking and making friends can be a fairly easy process in a place like this, where you can meet the most eclectic variety of personalities I have ever seen anywhere.

Are there problems? Sure there are. Everyone has them. But I get the sense that people here are invested in their community, and want to see good changes occur, while being willing to pitch in to make it happen.

When I came back to New Mexico about eleven years ago with my two small boys I was excited to give them a chance to grow up in the richness of this place, just as I did. And they both love it here, proud to be members of the 505 and all that this embraces. And so am I.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pulling Out My Hair

I need to rework the way I do business. I keep falling in these pits where I almost work for free, because I don't fully outline what I plan on doing, or forget do get a signed contract.


Silly me, I just want it to be!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Going, Going, Going Green?

Isn't it funny how when you want to do something good for yourself or the world, it's harder or costs more?

I started a diet a couple of months ago, and found that eating right (healthy) is more expensive. I can eat crap all day for just a few dollars (take the McDonald's menu, for example) .

I decided to try and commute to work by bike and bus, and found that the bus runs at hours that won't work for my workday (I work an hour earlier than the bus arrives and an hour past when the bus heads toward my house) and stops way short of the area of town where i work. A bike costs way more than I can afford, and with winter coming isn't a real possibility. Not to mention I have kids that go to school, and there is no bus for them. Finding a carpool hasn't worked out either.

I decided to recycle gray water in my garden, but the rules and regulations for that just slayed me. Plus I can't afford a plumber to install the dang system.

We've been trying to go "green" and use the better light bulbs ($$) and use less electric, but what would really be great is if I won the lottery so I could invest in energy efficient appliances and windows, and make my heating and cooling systems more effective.

(Photo by clix)

We do what we can, and I am sure it will get easier, as all things do. (I can remember when things like microwaves and VCR's were very expensive) It's just great looking for ways to be environmentally conscious now. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back in the Land of the Working

I went on vacation at the end of July, long overdue if you ask me, we haven't done anything as a family in three years! The plan was to drive to Virginia, drop down into South Carolina for my step daughters graduation from the Marine Corps, and then drive the lower route home.

Unfortunately Keri has suffered a setback and won't be graduating when planned because of a knee injury, so while in Virginia we changed plans and drove north, where we visited Washington D>C, and New York City, and a bit of everything in between. We Stayed in Memphis, Tennessee and enjoyed a couple of days there, stopped in Nashville, TN, to see the full size replica of the Parthenon, visited Virgina Beach and spent five great days there, including a day at Busch Gardens, two days in D.C., and two days in New York City. The drive back took us through Pennsylvania and Indiana where we enjoyed a few more stops. All in all we went through 15 states, (not including the one we started in) and 4,585 miles, or roughly 7,379 Kilometers. The states we drove through/ visited included: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.

It was a great trip, we had a great deal of fun. Photos to follow soon :)

So, I came back to find my subscription to DA expired (Oh No!) What looks like Billions of messages, and a pile of work on my desk that virtually ensures I am unlikely to have much free time.

Ah well, it was worth it :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Politics and Me

Until a few years ago I was uncomfortable with aligning myself with one part or the other. Nothing quite fit, to my way of thinking.

I am old fashioned enough to have some traditional conservative values:
  • Despite the constitutional right to freedom of speech I still don't think that cursing should be widely accepted in public or on television or radio.
  • I believe that the separation between Church and State should mean the State should stay out of religion (meaning if you want to pray in school, or have a religious symbol as part of your town or business you should have that right.)
  • I believe that morality is not just something that should start and end in a home, that it is society's responsibility to have a say in what it deems acceptable for the times and what should be part of larger society in general.
  • I believe that a strong military is important for our safety, and that we have some responsibility to assist other countries when called upon to do so.
  • I don't think "Gun Control" would do anything but take the right to bear arms away from law abiding citizens. Anti-gun laws only create difficulty for the legal right to own a weapon, not people who would buy the illegally. And someone who wants to kill someone doesn't need a gun to do it.
However, I am a product of my generation, and feel it's time to give up some of the backwardness of those who came before us. Children grow and learn, we as a society could stand to do the same:
  • I believe that someones sexual preferences are no business of anyone else, and should not be the foundation of any law that prohibits them from any freedoms anyone else enjoys.
  • I believe that women should have the right to have an abortion, regardless of the moral beliefs others may have in that area.
  • I believe that everyone has a right to believe or not believe in a religion without others creating difficulty in their lives because of these beliefs.
  • I believe that having a strong military doesn't give us the right to make other countries adhere to our principles, and that we should strive to be good neighbors, not bullies.
  • I believe the wealthy class of our nation shoulder far to little of the financial responsibilities and garner way too many tax breaks, while the middle class struggles unfairly to provide the funds for everything from business opportunities to educational opportunities for your children.
  • I believe that in order to be a good leader to the world in general, to be able to provide assistance of any kind, we first need to take care of our own. Our children should have top rate education, our families should have whatever support they need to provide sound upbringing for the children, and society needs to offer opportunity for higher education and jobs as they grow up. Without these the next generation will be in no shape to help anyone.
What does this make me? Before the Bush administration i would have said it makes me someone in the middle of the road somewhere who just wants what's best for America, and my own children's future. These days though I think it makes me a democrat. There is no way with the way the Republicans have driven our econmomy into the ground, lied to us about a war that is draining us without any foreseeable end, and made us rediculously unpopular worldwide. I know some people who would say they don't care about any of that, but I do. I like to get along with my neighbors, and I don't fool myself into thinking we will never need thier good will.

So how will I vote this November? I don't think it's too hard to guess. I don't know how it will turn out, last time you could have pushed me over with a feather to see that American's voted for Dubbya a second time, I only hope there is some sanity to found found this go-round.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Need More Time, or Money....

I've been trying to revamp my website, and the more work I do the more I realize that I can't accomplish what I want to happen without learning some new skills.

But I don't have the time.

I could hire someone to do it for me, I know what I want done.

But I don't have the money.


Everything is so complicated.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Growing Older Isn't So Bad When...

You can see what you created in your younger days is worth while :)

My oldest child, Logan will be turning 20 tomorrow. What a handsome lad.

You can see what you created in your younger days is worth while :)

My oldest child, Logan will be turning 20 tomorrow. What a handsome lad.

He's artistic, creative, outgoing and independent. He enjoys dancing (particularly break dancing) and stenciling, he works with developmentally disabled adults, and is hoping to be a trainer for others in his field of work.

I'm proud of him.

Happy birthday sweetheart.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Out for the Day, Feeling Low

I am not one to bring my personal stuff, for the most part, to my journal at DA, I don't mind when other people do, but it's just not me.

But I find myself today unable to concentrate, and uninterested in the internet as a whole. As I mentioned in my last deviation, a friend of mine passed away last week and I just found out about it.

Kirk was a good guy, he came through Albuquerque some years ago on his way to other places and his car broke down. I met him through the veterans organization that I had been working for, (Kirk and I both were Veterans) and we became fast friends. A short time later he also came to work for the same veterans group, and he loved it. He was happy helping other people, excited to know he was making as change in other peoples lives.

Kirk and I grew close, and I got to know him very well. He loved New Mexico Green Chili, (there's nothing else like it, anywhere else) and he loved those little plastic trolls that have the fuzzy heads. He enjoyed fiction books especially the ones written by Terry Goodkind, The Sword of Truth fantasy series. He liked good movies, nature walks, and odd comedy bits. He liked to see other people smile more than almost anything.

He helped me pick out one of my dogs, Rua Cu, who at the time was cute and reminded us of a big red beagle with big girlie lips (He called her "Butter Lips" quite often, interjected with funny names that were a play on her real name like "Rua Poo" and Rua Chew" depending on the no-no's she was involved in at the moment.)

Kirk had a problem at times with substance abuse, but his last letter was filled with excitement that he'd been clean for years, something I am so glad of now, I know it was something he was proud of. He eventually moved back home near his family, who he spoke of often and wistfully while he was here. I know he was glad to be close to those people he loved most in his life. He struggled at times with inner demons that made staying in one place difficult, and so one day he moved on again, though we kept in touch. The last few years we wrote less and less, as some friends often do. He mentioned he had cancer, but I thought we had more time to chat. (Isn't that the way it always goes? I thought I had learned my lesson with John Ronin, a close friend of both Kirks and mine who was killed by a car ... but it seems I didn't...)

I got the note yesterday that Kirk had succumbed to cancer, and I didn't react fully, I guess I was numb from shock. It set in today while I was at work, and I find myself unable to concentrate on simple asks, I am so sorrowful.

Even though we hadn't been in contact so much, this is harder, knowing there is no chance now to speak to him. So I decided it would be a good idea to write about Kirk, remind myself why we were such good friends, and introduce him to you all, who never had a chance to get to know him, but should have.

I am going to take a day or two off from the computer, take some time to get myself back together and say goodbye privately. I'll be back soon, thanks for letting me share.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Poker Party Fun

Every couple of years my sister gets a wild hair and has a poker party.

My sister loves parties and goes all out for them. Between the two of us we've hosted 70's parties, Luau's, and a couple of other themed parties complete with all the decorations. They are great fun to attend.

The poker party is fun, because it is an all-ladies event, and everyone comes dressed as a guy. It's a little odd, but a ton of laughs.

This year one of the ladies, Mattie, took some great photos and made a scrapbook of the images, which I thought I'd share with you :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Illness and Absences

I've not been answering my messages or notes this past week for the most part, because I have been sick. The kind of sick when you start thinking if you die in your sleep it would be alright, cause at least you wouldn't feel bad anymore... heh. :) I am not totally better, either. I've gotten sick with something else, or I've gotten new symptoms, but this isn't as bad as last week, so I can function. It'll be a few days before i get around to doing all the catch up I need to do though, so If you haven't heard from me, have patience... I'm getting there :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Little Bit of Heaven

I have a humble garden in my front yard. It is a odd mix of strawberry's, mint, lemon balm, basil, perennials, annuals, wildflowers, artichokes, pumpkin plants, and whatever I might find of interest at the green house. Peppered liberally in this garden are my benches, my birdbath and assorted garden decor pieces. It is by no means a piece of art, I'd win no awards, but it soothes me.

Every year it is the same thing. I go outside sometime in spring and think, "Wow, this is a mess, I should clean this up!" And then I wait about a month before I do. Buy then it is a ridiculous amount of labor to pulls the weeds, figure out what is not weeds, and trim and rework what I have this year. By then I want more plants, so I go to the nursery and buy some new stuff, (half of which will die because it doesn't do well where I live, or needs more sun).

My garden really should be on the other side of the house, but in the front yard is where we brought in top soil five years ago and it is the only place capable of sustaining life, unless it's weeds. (even the weeds struggle, however, so things like the tomato plants I crave have no hope.) The sun there is better, but the garden hose doesn't reach either. Poor me, I am so deprived.

Sometime during midsummer it starts to look good, and I can go outside and enjoy a book and a glass of tea in the middle of my lemon balm and mint (my favorites) and I begin to hope that my vegetable plants will yield some kind of fruit. (the photos above and below are from last year, btw... I can only hope some of these plants will look so good this year.) Invariably something goes wrong (Like having chickens who eat all my blooms, or too many grasshoppers if my chickens stay out of the garden.)


Anyway, it is that time of year. I am ready to start cleaning up, but it is just now getting warm so I may wait a few weeks. I'll keep you posted :)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oh Look! It's Baby Ducks!

I have something cool to tell you.

But before I do I thought I'd share the following, and see if any of you can translate? :D


So, on to the news.... (drum roll please...)

Two days ago I went to the feed and seed (to buy feed and seed) and I bought...


Yup! Those itty bitty things that go waddle, waddle, quack, quack!

Oh, the pictures right now aren't so great, because they move around constantly, and the lighting where I have them sucks, but they are soooo cuuuuute! :D

Now, I know this isn't great news for anybody else, but seeing as I have no one else to share it with, I am sharing with you :)

There's more pics in my scraps if you'd like to see (with chicks and a blue chicken and Turkey babies too...) hopefuly I get something good enough soon to put in my gallery :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Why I Offer my Stock Photos (for free)

Some of you may not be aware of it, but I offer my photos for other people to use.... FREE.

I got started sharing my photos online because a friend of mine looked through my pics and said "Wow, these are pretty good Dawn, you should sell them as stock!" I didn't know what stock was, or where to share it even when he explained. But once I understood what he was talking about, out I went to sell my great photos.

Except they weren't so great.

Of course I didn't know it then, to me they were fantastic and my fan club (friends and family) all coerced me into believing I was the next Ansel Adams. But enough rejections form the stock agencies cleared that issue up for me. I couldn't get anyone to take my images to sell.

My buddy said, Hey! no problem! Try SXC! ([link]) It's a place that gives stock images away for free, and you can practice you photography with them until you get good enough!

So off I went and submitted my images.... and they accepted about 2 out of every 10. (Those odds crushed me, let me tell you.)

I've been with SXC about four years now, and my acceptance level has grown exponentially. My rejections are now about 1 in 25 (and well deserved usually.) I now sell my best stuff at paysites, and take the rest and offer it here and at sxc.

But sometimes I have other photographers I know locally who ask me why I'd even consider letting someone use my photos for free.

So, here it is:

1. I am not going to do anything else with it, so why not?

2. I've had a ton of publications, many of which I have tear sheets for, worldwide. Those publications have helped my portfolio more than any sale I have ever made. EVER. (you can see a list of some of those publications here: [link])

3. The models I use for my images frequently get tear sheets or other items they can use for their own portfolios, which has made me fairly popular with the local models. :)

4. Every time I think I am getting good at photography, I can look through what I have offered in past years and realize how far I've come, and how far I have yet to go.

5. I get far more critiques from the free stock I offer, which gives me some basis on which to decide what I need to work on.

6. Some of the people who've used my stock have helped me learn better PS techniques, as well as helping me know what kind of stock is most needed. :iconchaoticmisfortune: :iconkayceeus: :iconamiens:

So, thanks again to everyone who not only uses or collects my stock, but who sends me links so that I can see how it's been used. Hopefully your interaction will bring much more and better free stock photos to come :)