Working From Home

I have now been working from home with my regular job for 2 weeks, and going into the office one day per week. How is this working? Pretty well actually, I’m getting things accomplished, and staying on track with email, invoices and other busy work. I miss the office interaction and of course I miss my Sandee my office cat, but I do have Harpo checking in on my now and then.

I’m used to working from home because of all the photos I’ve edited and spent hours working on. However, this is different. I’m on a set 8 hour schedule Monday thru Friday just as if I were going to my employment, but home alone. I wanted to share with you a few tips that are working for me.

  1. I wake up early each day to give myself time to shower, make my bed and get dressed. I dress casual, but nice and put on a touch of make up, just to make myself feel better.
  2. A nice protein rich breakfast keeps me going. Then I wash my breakfast dishes and put them away, so I am not tempted to do them when I should be working.
  3. I created a designated office space where I am not in front of a Television or any other distractions.
  4. My water bottle is filled so I can stay hydrated throughout the day; for me this is very important, it keeps me from getting tired.
  5. Difussing essential oils helps with focus.
  6. By 7:15am I log into my work station and let my boss know I am ready to have the phones transferred.
  7. Going over my daily Passion Planner helps to set up my day and I add anything new that’s come up (My Passion Panner is set up the night before).
  8. My workday begins at 7:30am with checking email to see if anything needs my immediate attention, if so it gets added to the planner.
  9. By keeping my scheduled lunch break at noon, I’m able to keep on my daily schedule. I chose a heathy option for lunch and refill the water bottle
  10. Since I’m home I keep a Yoga mat behind me so I can periodically stretch, I find this keeps my brain more focused and gives me a “move” break.
  11. Keeping track of my daily tasks by making a bullet list of the items I accomplished helps me see what I have done and what needs to be carried over to the next day (I’m not 100%, but working on it).
  12. Finally as my day ends at 4 pm. I make sure I go over my planner and move items which did not get accomplished to the following work day.

So there you have it. Are you working from home? Do you have any tips to help get you through your day? If so what are they, please feel free to share them with all of us.

Until next time, stay home, stay healthy and WASH YOUR HANDS!

The New Normal

As of this past Thursday, Our state is in a mandated shutdown. Because of my job, I’m considered essential so I am still working. However, after work and on the weekends I am sheltered at home.

During my “normal” life I am a full time employee and my spare time I’m an event photographer at a local event arena. With COVID-19 all of that has dried up. I really don’t mind the sheltering in place, but I really miss working with my camera. I decided to just set up somet things and play around with my 50mm and my 100mm Macro. I will be doing more of that on the weekends along with more writing and some artistic painting.

What are you doing during this shelter at home? Let’s keep social by having conversations on how you all are coping. Just know this too shall pass. Until next time…….

Life Interrupted

Well, life has changed once again. As I write this we are experiencing a Pandemic in not just the United States, but throughout the world.

Personally I am still working my day job; who knows how long, however we have made drastic changes and have limited who walks through our door. I don’t have as much human contact as I once did. I go home and again no contact. I may be an introvert, but I miss being with friends, but most of all I miss shooting the concerts and events which have all been postponed or canceled. This is my busy time of year too so now I’m doing basically nothing. I am adjusting, but also have been on an outing or two, with social distancing. I did that his Sunday with a friend. Kati and I met at our destination, stayed a reasonable distance apart, yet was still able to talk to each other, be outside in the sunshine and fresh air and photograph some of the cutest Owls on the planet; burrowing Owls with their young. I have starting doing Yoga at home which helps with the stress, and I bought supplies to paint again. Listening to music also helps.

I don’t buy into fear mongering, I’m doing what I can to keep my hands washed and my place clean. I know I’m not the only one feeling this impact upon our lives, so share with me what you are doing to get through this trying time in our lives. Are you self quarantining? Are you still working your regular job or are you working from home? Are you in the service industry? Let’s hold a conversation and get each other through this trying time in our lives. Just know this too shall pass. We are all in this together, God bless each and every one of you.

Update on Life

So much has happened in these short three months.  I moved to a larger place, I went on a quick girls trip to North Carolina with my best friends, I have been shooting concerts, and events like crazy and I did a maternity shoot. 

Let’s start with the move.  Back in early December a friend told me that there was a place to rent that was within my budget and much larger than where I was.  I went from about 350sq ft to well over 850sq ft.  from one tiny bedroom/kitchen living area to two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a large kitchen and living space.  Oh, and I’m much closer to my day job.  This move took what seemed like forever, it was just me doing the work with the help of a friend with a truck for my “big” stuff.  (I didn’t really have that much, just the fact that I had to do it after work, and on my own time was exhausting.  Then in the middle of this I had a trip planned to go to North Carolina early February.  A trip that had been planned for about nine months or so.

After returning I finished up my packing and moving and I’m almost settled in……..almost, I still need a couple of pieces of furniture and a washer & dryer.  But I really like the space, I had not realized it, but I was in a bit of a funk and moving has lifted me up.  I was so grateful for that little mobile home and the timing of when I was having to move, but it was very small and seemed so far away from life. 

After this March came roaring in with concerts and events and I’ve been crazy busy, but it’s back to doing what I love.  A caveat to the move with the extra bedroom…..I have studio space and I put it to use with some beautiful family/maternity photos.  I’m excited on this prospect and the fact that I can do some entertaining. 

Life is really wonderful right now, I have a calming space I call home, my photo work is picking up, and I’m just getting back to having adventures. 

Stay tuned……..Life as we know it has abruptly changed; update soon.

 

Time With Friends

I woke up before daylight yesterday to go shooting with some girlfriends. We were going up to the Venice Bird Rookery here in South West Florida. We met up at 6:30 am and piled into one of the vehicles and headed off.

As we arrived we saw the line of photographers which reminded me of being in Yellowstone National Park when the Grizzly Bears show up. We sidled up to the other photographers and took in the sight before us; beautiful, nesting wading birds in full breeding plumage.

We spent a couple of hours then off to breakfast to a wonderful local breakfast spot.

I hope you enjoy a few of my photos.

Babcock Ranch Eco Tours

I belong to a Meetup.com group for photographers call the SWFL Shutterbugs. I have been a member of this group for quite a number of years and have made some wonderful friends. This past weekend 26 of us gathered and went on an eco tour of Babcock Ranch. It’s not just a historic part of Florida’s history, but it’s still a working ranch with the descendants of the original Spanish Cattle and real working cracker cowboys.

The best thing is the wildlife we saw. Lots of wild hogs and baby pigs (bacon bits!), Wild turkey, Sandhill Cranes and lots of Alligators; lots to photograph!

We were fortunate enough to have our own private tour with a wonderful tour guide. The tour uses old school busses as their swamp buggies. It’s open, and bumpy and just a lot of fun; we filled the bus with our group. I love the wildlife, but my heart danced with joy when the cowboy’s horses came over and graced us with their presence. Our tour was over 90 minutes and was simply wonderful.

After the tour we all had lunch together catered by the ranch. As much as our group loves to take pictures, we love to gather together fellowship with each other and eat just as much.

If you ever make it to South West Florida please visit the Babcock Ranch Eco Tour, it’s worth every penny. Please enjoy the photos and feel free to leave me your thoughts.

Welcome to 2020!

A new year with lots of new changes. So what’s new you ask? First of all I will be moving to a larger space, one that will allow me to take portraits and head shots in my home because I will finally have a dedicated studio space and an office to work in. I will also be able to be a lot more creative with more space to do so. The move will take place in the middle of January; I’m excited!

My year has already started with a bang and with 9 concerts & events, three Meetup events and add moving into that mix; this girl is going to be busy!

Another area I want to address is my social media, I want to set up a designated social media schedule that will allow me to plan out my posts and schedule them for the week. This is going to be a challenge, but I need a good challenge!

Well since I don’t have any new photos to share, please enjoy my cats.  Harpo my house cat is a tuxedo and Sandee my office cat is a tabby.41F19569-682C-4237-A3FF-FDD1643378F5

A Year in Review 2019

Out goes the old year and decade and in comes the new!

I’m not going lament on not posting a blog regularly, because I have let that go, I’m never have felt guilty or that I needed to this past year. 2019 has been an incredible year. My best in a very long time! I want to share with you all the wonderful things I have experienced. So without further ado lets get into it.

What have I been up to this past year? It comes to 91 different photo opportunities for the year which comes to almost 2 events a week. Here is a breakdown of what I have accomplished for this past year.

  • 6 – different elements of commercial type work.
  • 9 – Concerts outside of Hertz Arena (most with the radio stations I provide for).
  • 1 – fun creative project
  • 13 – events outside of concerts and Hertz Arena, again supporting the radio stations.
  • 28 – concerts & events at Hertz Arena
  • 4 – local band shoots
  • 18 – Meetup events with my Shutterbugs group
  • 7 – different places visited
  • 4 – portrait sessions
  • 1 – wedding

This year was also epic because the new owners of Hertz Arena where I am the house photographer decided to use several photos I have taken the past few years of events and concerts. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were museum quality prints in a large format on metal in approximately 38″ x 42″ size. Also, they posted an approximately 50′ collage banner all done in black & white over one of the concession areas.This year was also epic because the new owners of Hertz Arena where I am the house photographer decided to use several photos I have taken the past few years of events and concerts. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were museum quality prints in a large format on metal in approximately 32″ x 48″ size. Also, they posted an approximately 50′ collage banner all done in black & white over one of the concession areas. *Disclaimer: Melvin Vigo took the photos of me in the gallery photos and Ali O’Connor took the banner images; also the hockey images are the work of Kevin Bires.

Another exciting event was Stars on Ice. Last year I took a photo of Olympic Gold Medalist Charlie White during one of his routines with his partner Meryl Davis. This year, I had him sign the photo. Can’t wait to hang this in my new apartment!

Some of my favorite images from this past year are from many different events, concerts and work I have done in 2019.

I cannot wait to see what 2020 will bring my way, I know by looking at my new planner it’s already filled with numerous events & concert.

Feel free to share your 2019 with me and the best thing you are looking forward to in 2020.

Happy New Year 2020!

Life After Adobe Lightroom

Cancelling Adobe and using On1

A little over a month ago I decided to try a new (to me) software for photo editing.  I have been an Adobe Lightroom user for many years and I’m quite proficient with it.  So going to a new software with the schedule I keep shooting was a bit intimidating.  I started reading forums and watching videos just to see what I would be getting myself into.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results other’s were getting and at the ease they were obtaining them, so I did it, I purchased On1 and I also purchased a year of their On1 Plus.

A Rough Start

At first I was getting great results, it was easy and although I had to watch a video or two I was pleased with my purchase.  Then comes the update…….well that did not go smoothly at all!  At first I thought it was me, and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing with this program, so I went onto the forums and tech support to see what I was doing wrong, I found out it wasn’t me, it was the update, it was filled with bugs and naturally it was during a deadline for getting photos to my venue for a show I had shot and mind you I had already given up Adobe Lightroom; cancelled my membership and moved on to bigger and better things or so I thought.  In a panic I had to go back on and reinstall Adobe Lightroom to get my project finished.                                                                          

Two Weeks Later…

Two weeks after this happened, I was reading the forum and found out the bugs were fixed.  I still have to keep Adobe products for now due to their “contract”, but I have been editing 100% with On1 and I love it!  I have also talked to some photographer friends who are considering the move,  but they are waiting to see what I think first.

I have included a few before and after photos, can you spot the differences?

Before On1 Editing
After On1 Editing

After using this software for a while longer I will update you with the findings. For now use what you’re comfortable with, but keep your options open, because you may find something you like better.

I’ll see you behind the lens!

Road Trips

Since I was a little girl one of the things I remember were road trips with my mom & dad.  We would pile into the family car and my dad would just drive.  Living in West Virginia, there were lots of scenic back roads and I would sit in the back and listen to my dad whistle.  Long stretches of roads leading to nowhere in particular….

Seems as if in the past few weeks I’ve felt a need to revisit road trip travel and have several times over this past month.    

The second weekend I had a trip with my photo group to Gasparilla Island on Boca Grande and photographed the lighthouses. It was a beautiful day.

The following weekend I visited Solomon’s Castle and vivid piece of architecture which came from the imagination of an incredibly talented and eclectic man. His art is whimsical and speaks volumes of the man he was, sadly he passed away several years back, but his home is open to the public for touring along with his private collection of art and pre – 1935 cars. Unfortunately due to his estate, we were not permitted to take photographs of his artwork (I may be able to find some from a past trip when he was still living).   

Strolling through the grounds in the Florida heat & humidity, you simply take in the beauty of the land and his gardens, along with the beauty of the structure he built.  Photos will never do it justice. The tour is funny, insightful and gives you a glimpse of what life was like for this eccentric junk collector; although to him it was art and not junk.  If you live in Florida, this is a must see place, just remember however, they close from August 1 to October 2. 

Sunday June 23 was my birthday and I decided to head over to the Avon Park area, hang out with friends at their church and be closer to attend the funeral of one of my cousins.  I was able to reconnect with his daughters whom I’ve not seen in at least 50 years.  It was such a bittersweet time.  Oliver was probably my dad’s best friend along with Oliver’s brother Rich, growing up as kids.  They hung out together and played as kids; Daddy was the oldest, however he was also the first to pass almost 36 years ago. Oliver lived to be 91. As a child I remember him being funny and always up to some shenanigans with my father. I know he will be missed.  

This past weekend I headed back over to the Avon Park area so the I could participate in the Independent Day musical of a really good friends church. It was wonderful to be able to re-ignite another passion. Music Has been in my life since I was a little girl. My soul was so refreshed.

As you can see I’ve had a busy month traveling taking day and over night trips. It’s been refreshing to just drive the country back road Florida has.

Please enjoy some of my photos.

Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande

Solomon’s Castle, Ona, Florida

Cousins!