Jan 222010

Yesterday I celebrated turning 33 with my twin sister, Cyndi, and my boyfriend John.  (and everyone one else who sent me nice messages and said hi!)   It was a quiet day with 2 people I love that are different sides to me.  Over the day I thought about things I want to do goals I want to achieve, places I want to go, and things I want to learn.

As a pediatric nurse, I’m strongly thinking about volunteering to go to Haiti.  As a bit of a photographer, I’d definitely want to take my camera with me if I can…if not my good one, then a point and shoot to remember the moments, to take pictures of the things I’m seeing there.  My hospital (Children’s National Medical Center) is asking for volunteers to go work in ORs…and as a Pediatric Intensive Care nurse, it would be an experience I’d never forget.  My Mom has volunteered to go and I just think it would be nice to do something like that once.  I know conditions aren’t great, I know that I’d be roughing it.  BUT, I’d be serving people which is something I’ve felt the call to do for years now.  That is one reason I’m a nurse.  I love to take care of people and as tough as it can be sometimes, it has it’s rewards, too.

I’ve been wanting to get better at portraiture and I think that as a nurse, the As I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation is something I could see myself becoming a part of…once I know I can take pictures that would assist the families in healing after the loss of a child.  I could even see trying to do something for older children’s families.  I see a lot of tough things where I work, and sometimes one has to cope by giving back, by finding hope for these families…that their children are no longer suffering, that they are with God (in whatever form the family believes).  I couldn’t do my job without faith that God takes these sick and suffering children and makes them whole.

I want to learn how to better edit a photo, how to take better photos, how to take better portraits, and how to capture what I see.  I have a creative eye, sometimes I struggle with the technicalities of photography.  My main teacher goes from one new exciting discovery to another moving on from shooting mostly digital images when we first started dating in October of 2008 to now shooting mostly film and re-learning how to develop it and also make enlargements.  He is all about the darkroom and I think sometimes he forgets I haven’t done all this for years and years like he has.  I’m still learning the basics and I’m trying to be as excited about all the other aspects of photography…but sometimes I can’t quite keep up because I’m still trying to learn aperture, focal length, and shutter speed.  I’m loving every minute of every adventure though and I look forward to going places and continuing this exciting adventure.

I think what I love shooting the most is nature, animals especially.  I just need to keep doing it so that I know what makes the best photo in the end.  I admit that I also really want another lens.  I think I need a longer focus…especially for shooting birds and wild animals.  I’m getting there and hopefully soon will be able to add a Canon EF 70-200 IS lens to my camera bag.  I’m saving for it.

Not only do I want to shoot nature, but history, and places, and people.  I’ve already said I want to improve my portraiture skills (as I’ve done next to none other then family pictures) but I also want to see different parts of the world!  There are so many national parks out there to see, so many countries that I can’t wait to visit someday!  I have to say that the best vacation I’ve ever been on was a 10 day trip to Rome back in 2007.  Wish I was more into photography then!  I have a bunch of great images from my point and shoot, but I just imagine what I’d have been able to capture if I knew more about how my camera worked!  I just have it on my must return to someday list.  I also look forward to someday going to England, Ireland, Scotland, back to Germany, and to many other places!  That is on top of exploring different parts of the United States I have yet to see.  Life is an adventure and I’m blessed to be able to share it with my friends, family, and others who look at my pictures.

I’m always open to suggestions, criticism (as long as it is constructive), and of course praise.  I need all the above to keep moving forward!

Jan 182010

Sometimes I wonder about what Novice really means versus the term Pro.  There are some “Pros” who I have seen act like anything but, and some novices that really look and act like Pros.  As someone beginning I’ve seen some photographers get bent out of shape because someone who hasn’t had a lot of oppertunities “oversteps” their bounds and tries to get a the shot of a life time from a professional vantage point.

I saw a contest last year that was not allowed to be won because professional photographers thought that one of their guild would be denied the chance to shoot at a sideline of a college game because the winner of said contest would be taking one of their places.  It wasn’t spelled out exactly in the contest rules that the winner would be going as an assistant to the person holding the contest, but still…  the outrage that I saw go through the “pros” was uncalled for in my opinion.  Everyone starts somewhere.  There was a time that it was their first chance at the sidelines.

It seems like in some instances photography is like my chosen career, nursing.  It is said that nurses eat their young.  It isn’t purposeful I think…and it isn’t done as much as it used to be.  Nurses are beginning to see that we NEED people to come into the profession because otherwise we will kill patients instead of save them.  It is hard to adequately care for patients when there is more then can be done by one person.

I know that taking a picture is not a matter of life and death as nursing can be, but all photographer started somewhere, but then again maybe it can be.  Crushing dreams can be as deadly as giving the wrong medication.  Sometimes the struggle is what makes the dream worth it, but sometimes the best things come from chance.  Denying the dream of someone just because of fear is not a good enough reason.  We all need to open our eyes, allow each other to exist, and assist each other.

If someone is obstructing the view of someone else, stop it, say something, then deny him access to the sideline (after first asking politely for appropriate behavior).  Don’t deny it over the principle!  Don’t deny it over fear of them actually living their dream while you had to struggle to get there.  Don’t deny over pettiness.  ALLOW the dream, help people accomplish it!  Working together we can ALL live better, feel better, and find our dreams.

Maybe it is because I am a pediatric nurse and have seen lives cut short by different things.  I have seen children denied the chance at a normal life by simply being.  Unfairness is already there in too big a quantity.  Don’t add to it.  Live, Love, and Laugh.  Those are three strong words to live by!  Don’t forget we all start out as children.  Just because we have experience doesn’t mean we know it all.  Even a child has something to teach each person that comes in contact with him or her. 

Jan 172010

Winter seems to be a time that many of us do less shooting then warmer months.  I don’t know if right now it’s because most free weekends around here there have been other things to get done, or if the cold just makes us all hibernate.  I do take my camera out less.  I have been shooting film more lately, especially on my walks.  I do admit that the paths behind my house haven’t been as interesting to me.  I also hope to figure out a good way to stay warm but still shoot the multitudes of birds that show up near my house this time of year.  I love the Cardinals and  Blue Jays that I’ve seen in my yard.  It also seems like they see me coming with my camera and take off to get away…I don’t even have a flash yet.  I think my next lens will be a 70-200 with stabilizing…just seems to be the lens I need the most.  John doesn’t use his Macro tubes, so I can keep hold of them to use when needed…and he knows where to find them.  Then I’ll save for the 2X extender.  Not sure exactly how long it’ll take me to save, but sure hope I can afford it soon!

Jan 132010

So I’m still a real noob when it comes to most parts of photography, but one of the things that I’ve had more issues with then any other is Photoshop.  I never used it before last January, and learning from someone who has used many different versions over many years can sometimes be a bit difficult.  I know a lot of programs, and have a very fair knowledge of computers and how they work.  I’m by no means an expert, especially at programing and stuff; but I’ve used many programs and did take a course many years ago in high school on computer programing.  I can tell you that I remember next to nothing of that course.  With Facebook and Myspace I’ve done a little tweaking of my pages and such.  I’m a member of a Harry Potter Fanfiction community and I can add banners and avatars to my posts there…but when it comes to much more specific then stuff like that I get thoroughly lost.

I was working on some images last night and the night before trying desperately to get them ready for a photo contest that is taking place tonight.  I could process them, re-color them, tweak them in little spots to make them look just a little better…but every time I tried to crop/re-size them my computer would lock up.  I’ll skip over all the frustrating things I did trying to get things to work properly including moving things around on my hard drive, deleting temporary files, and stuff and just say that in the end the problem was something I SWEAR I changed…I remember doing it, but I don’t know if it converted back or I’m dreaming that I actually made the change, but instead of pixels, it was trying to convert to inches.  800 pixels is A LOT smaller then 800 inches!  It was crashing my computer and causing me no end of frustration.  I have to thank John for being extremely patient with an extremely exhausted girlfriend who was missing something so small that was causing such a HUGE error/mistake.  I’m glad I have him to help me on these adventures.

So reminder to other newbies out there that are on this ride with me…NEVER FORGET TO DOUBLE CHECK WHAT YOU ARE CROPPING…especially if you are cropping to pixels instead of inches!

Jan 102010

I sit here and look at a lot of my recent photographs and realize that I have been shooting a lot of black and white film.  I don’t know what it is about it, but it just draws me in.  I even find myself looking at my digital prints and think about converting some of them to black and white.



Maybe it’s the romance one thinks of with black and white?  Maybe it’s the contrasty tones and noise behind the photos, but I find myself shooting a lot on the walking trail behind my house.  I love the blacks, greys, and whites that I see in the nature photos.  I love to shoot my grandfather in black and white, and even my niece who is only 2 years old.  One of my absolute favorite photos I have of her is in black and white.  I won’t be posting that one here as this is a public blog, but here is another of my recent favorites of her.

clip was missing

Film has its own trials, especially when developing it oneself.  The second time I tried to develop we discovered as I was getting ready to put it in the changing bag to spool it and put it in the developing tank we realized that the top clip was missing.  John had gotten some bulk film and put it in film canisters himself and I guess this one lost the clip somewhere along the way.  I have to admit I kinda like the effect.  See how the light went in through the holes?  This is a live and learn hobby!   Hope I learn enough not to re-do past mistakes!  I know I have a lot more to learn and I’m loving every minute of it.