February 10th

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

I thought it would be fun today to share one of my favorite, go-to spots to shoot.

If you’re familiar with the “Social Media vs. Reality” Challenge, this fits the bill fairly well. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the idea of taking what most would see an “undesirable” location and making it shine. People have also used it to show that beautiful images, that look as if they’re done in a studio, can come out of the simplest of setups.

Well, meet my “studio.” Yes, this is in the barn, and yes, this is our clean shavings pile for our horses stalls. Yes, it is dirty and dusty, and yes, I love it!

Many would look at this and wonder what could be so special about it. Give me a chance, and let me count the ways…

  1. This is in our indoor arena. For sufficient light, the overhead lights need to be turned on. This is great, because it means that I can keep the lights off, and have a dedicated, controlled light source – the windows! Another plus to a darker building is that it provides me with the opportunity to have a black background and a lit subject.
  2. Did I mention that it’s dusty? While a pain for keeping equipment clean, it’s great for creating atmosphere, and for highlighting the light.
  3. These windows face South and West, respectively. So I have a lot of options for lighting at many times of the day.
  4. I like the texture that the shavings provide under people’s feet. It creates an additional layer of depth that sand doesn’t.
  5. Because these windows are 6-paned, this provides multiple shafts of light verses an encapsulating blanket of light that could come from an open door, for example.
  6. The opportunity for silhouettes!
  7. These shavings are Cedar, so they smell yummy 😉

As an example of these principles in action, here are some of my favorites from this spot. Fair warning – there are a lot of Paul and Henna. They are my favorites, so it makes sense, but consider yourself informed:

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Do you have a favorite “Social Media vs Reality” spot to shoot? I’d love to see your images!

January 24th

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

A lot of people go into the New Year knowing what they want their resolution to be.

I am not that person.

To be honest, I’m not really in on the whole “resolution” thing. I used to be, but always found myself failing. Who wants to be involved with something they consistently fail at?

Obviously not me.

So here’s what I did last year: I decided to work on my character. I chose something immeasurable to work on, knowing that I couldn’t fail. It could only be good. I either move forward, or I stay the same.

I decided to be fearless.

Decided. Not vowed, not hoped, not promised. I made a decision. Mentally, I decided I wanted to further who I was.

I started with being fearless, with being brave. I tend to play it safe. I painted the walls in my house beige for goodness sake. Where was my maroon wall? Where was that pop of color in my personality? How was I going to impact others in a positive way without being able to step out of my comfort zone?

So I started small. And you know what happened? I didn’t become daredevil extraordinaire, but I became more brave. And being brave showed me that above all else, I wanted to be positive and kind.

So, I started holding doors for strangers. I made eye contact and smiled. I paid for the person behind me in the drive through. I sent friends cards in the mail just to say “hey!”. I started seeing people’s strengths, what made them glow, stood back and saw how they impacted me, and I told them. When someone started complaining, started down a negative train of thought, I did my best to pull it back out into the sunshine, to the positive. Someone cut me off in traffic? I literally would say out loud “Peace be with you” *deep breath* to stifle the frustration.

And something awesome happened.

It became a habit. My outlook on life changed.

Do you know how wonderful it is to be able to smile at someone who cut you off because, hey, you don’t let it get under your skin.

How full of purpose you feel when you stop to hold a door for a mom carrying a screaming toddler, and she mouths “Thank you” at you, like you just bought her cart full of groceries.

How light you feel when a loved one comes to you with something that really knocks the wind out of you, but while you’re weeping you hear Matthew West’s song “Forgiveness” float through your subconscious, and you know that true forgiveness is more important than holding a grudge. To walk away from the past, and look to the future.

When friendships change for the so so good and deepen when you look at them and say “You are such an awesome cheerleader. You make people feel like they can accomplish anything.” Or: “I really admire you, because you have such a servant’s heart. You give selflessly and in turn really impact those around you.”

It feels so strange and foreign, and plain uncomfortable to do, but I pushed through it because I wanted to be that person.

Those little things kept building and building, and I became more brave. And I became content. I became happier.

God did a lot with my heart over the last year because I trusted his vision. So this year, I’ve been stewing on what I’d like this year to be about. And I keep coming back to the same thing, but it makes me uncomfortable, so I push it back down into it’s box.

I’m not ready.

Yes, you are.

God and I are talking it out. I’m trying to hold my ground, but He’s being extremely persuasive. Mind you, this is nothing huge or earth-shattering, it’s just a personal challenge for me.

For example, I’m sitting in my office today – day dreaming if we’re being honest. What does my business mean to me? Where do I want it to go? What are my hopes and dreams? Paul and I have really been dreaming together about what our 5 year, 10 year plan looks like, so how does family life fit into my business plan?

When “Different” by Micah Tyler comes on the radio.

If you’re never heard it, here’s a snippet:

“I don’t wanna hear anymore, teach me to listen
I don’t wanna see anymore, give me a vision
That you could move this heart, to be set apart
I don’t need to recognize, the man in the mirror
And I don’t wanna trade Your plan, for something familiar
I can’t waste a day, I can’t stay the same
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different
In me”
And I started to tear up.
And then the next song comes on, Se7nth Time Down’s “God is On the Move:”
“I see your generation standing on the truth
In each and everyday saying God is on the move
Anytime the Gospel stirs a searching souls
And someone says “send me, here I go”
I know, I know, I know, I know
God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
In many mighty ways
God is on the move, on the move
Hallelujah
God is on the move
On the move today”

 

I smile, because that song gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The art of persuasion people. And when the King of the Universe is the one doing the persuading, it’s inevitable.

I hear you, Lord. Let me sleep on it.

January 3rd

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

I’m still getting used to having cats in the house.

They’re so stealthy! They move so silently, so all of the sudden I think I’m by myself, but I turn around and a cat is staring at me.

But they are total goofballs, and they make us laugh everyday. And talk about being lovers – they just love to be where we are.

For example, this afternoon as I cleaned my office, Finn found a spot in the sun and slept there while I organized. The perfect company.

August 26th

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

So many new toys in the last week!

My business has been saving hard for a new camera and for a new monitor. It feels so good when you can meet that savings goal and purchase equipment that will move your business forward!

My monitor arrived a few days ago, but I finally got it out of the box and set up today. Just like my new camera body, it is a thing of beauty! The larger screen and better color calibration (although still a work in progress) is making editing a breeze.

On the docket for today? A super fun proposal I photographed yesterday! That’s right – a proposal! The couple hasn’t publicly announced their engagement, so for the time being enjoy her gorgeous ring! The stone came from her grandma’s ring, and he had it placed into a new setting.

As the newly engaged are great friends of mine and Paul’s, it’s a wedding that I am very much looking forward to!