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Getting Out of My Own Way

It seems like ages since I’ve posted anything.  I have so many excuses, not enough time, too tired,  nothing to write about, and the latest one is my home is a wreck and I can’t work in chaos. The list goes on; yet none of these excuses are truly valid. I do have time most evenings, and yes, I’m tired, but I seem to find the energy to do ‘other’ things, and I have plenty to write about as my life is always an adventure.  I will say the past couple of weeks have been a bit hectic, I have to move from my tiny apartment and packing is never any fun.  I thought I had to be out by this weekend and the stress of it all was getting to be way too much for even me to handle, as if that wasn’t enough my boys dad had a heart attack which thankfully he has pretty much fully recovered from, add to that the 2 day concert festival.

The moving aspect has had my life in turmoil for well over a month now.  I do have a place to live, and I’m looking forward to the new adventure in a new place, in a new part of town (for me).  But, it’s not changed the fact that it’s very stressful and I’m not sure how mentally I am getting through it.  This is the time of life that being alone is not favorable, I don’t have someone to lean on in this time, but I will get through it. Not to mention I work full-time and photograph almost full-time in the evenings and on the weekends.  I need moving fairies to help me!

Photographically I have steady, but not over the top busy, I did a couple of portrait sessions for a couple of beautiful ladies.  I also had a huge opportunity to work with Stars on Ice and produced their 2017 promotional shot.  I have a large Metal concert coming up this weekend; Fort Rock, two days of incredibleness, and a lovely prom portrait session with two beautiful young people.  So, I really can’t use the excuse of not having anything to write about.

I just need to get out of my own way and write; once I’m settled, I know my words will once again flow.  For now…..just get me through the weekend!

Winter Weddings in Florida

On February 26, 2017 my son Tommy and I once again were hired to photograph another lovely couple at the Edison Country Club.  This historic club is a public course with an added restaurant and a lovely banquet room.  The wedding was performed indoors and it was interesting to see how the room was transformed from reception hall to ceremony space and back again.

The décor was beautiful glass with blue & silver accents and a white runner aisle for the bride to walk down.

As her father walked her down the aisle, you could see his emotion welling up within him.  He was giving away his baby girl.  It’s always beautiful to see the sweet relationship between the bride and her father. You could see how proud he was of her.

As dad passed off his daughter to the eager awaiting groom the ceremony commenced and soon they were pronounced husband and wife.

After signing the license, the couple took to the outdoors so we could get the iconic Edison in the background of their portrait shots.

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We didn’t have the usual Florida sunset on this particular evening, however we had some beautiful gold light, and the wedding party still had a great time.

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Treasures of Time

This past weekend I briefly took a step back in time.  I attended a reunion of friends from my youth.  As a young girl I attended a Baptist Church and became very active within the youth group.  We had a Pastor who loved the youth as well as his entire congregation and we had a youth leadership team who led us, and encouraged us to grow and to seek Jesus, we had a bond that was unshakable.  Yes, we would argue and fuss at each other, but we truly loved each other and knew how to say those two little words “I’m sorry”    Still today some of my greatest loves have come from this group; my life long best friends, respect for leadership who treated us like their own kids, and a love of the Lord that has grown stronger through time.

I was asked to document the weekend through photographs, which I did with portraits and candid moments, a book will be created from this collection and I look forward to working on that project.

The weekend began on Friday night with an informal gathering, skits, fun, and fellowship, reminiscent from days past. And of course it would not be a Baptist get-together without food, LOTS of food, an entire row of tables full of homemade fare.

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We told stories and shared memories and hugged each other, laughed and ate (did I mention we had lots of food?). One of the event organizers created a beautiful slideshow of those who were once a part of us, but have now graduated to heaven.  I never made it past the second slide before the tears started, even writing about it gets me choked up.

On Saturday evening, we met at a local restaurant in a private room.  Again with stories, laughter, hugs and lots of great food!  We gathered with some who could not attend on Friday and caught up with their life.  The evening ended with a group photograph and singing.  I’m sure the restaurant has never experienced anything like us before.

Sunday we gathered for worship as a group, and were surprised to see our very own Pastor Hammond in attendance.  I cannot say enough about this man. He is gracious and loves the Lord.   We could not wait to see him and talk to him, many of us  ran to greet him before he even sat down.  I was one of those, and he greeted me fondly by the nickname he had bestowed upon me years ago………’Trouble’,  yes, I cried just hearing him call me that. There is a story behind the nickname, someday I will share that story.

As I sat in the service, I really can’t recall what the current minister was speaking on.  My thoughts were encountering past memories, treasures of the mind; and for a time, we were teenagers, Pastor Hammond was up in the pulpit Randy Willett was sitting next to him, Tim Davis was at the Piano and Steve Wright was directing us youth in choir, and for a moment, time briefly stood still.  My heart is still full, and my eyes are still leaking with the thoughts of those I love.  We all experienced this weekend, those treasures in time.

Until we meet again……continue to let your light shine.  “You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

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The Truth About Preparedness

I have a routine when it comes to an upcoming shoot.   I try to do the same things over and over so that I don’t forget anything, because many times I’m further from home than normal and I don’t have anyone who can bring me any missing components.  Prior to getting ready, I take my gear out and decide what body and lenses I will need.  Will I need extra batteries and SD card?  Do I need my remote shutter? What about a flash?  Once I determine what I need I clean the lenses and pack the bag I will be carrying it all in.

That scenario happened this past Thursday as I had an arena shoot with Lynyrd Skynyrd and I was using two camera bodies and two lenses; one long and one wide.  When I returned home I emptied my bag and downloaded my photos.  All was well……

Until……Saturday evening comes along and after spending the day cleaning house I started to get ready for an event I shoot for every other month during the fall/winter  months;  The Cape Coral Bike Night.  Nothing unusual, I grabbed my bad and headed out the door.  I completely forgot to go over my checklist of what I would need, because I figured I had my gear from Thursday still in the bag.  Nope, I get ready to shoot and all I had were two camera bodies and no lenses.  Panic sets in, then I realized I could still shoot the band, but use my iPhone 7 and shoot through Lightroom in RAW.  If there had been national acts playing I would have taken the time, run back home and retrieve the lenses I needed.  But instead I really had to pay attention to my camera/phone settings to get the images I was looking for.  I shot wide as I new those images would be best, and I set my phone’s ISO to 400 and shot at 1/250 sec.  The camera lens is F1.8 so it’s fairly good in low light, thank goodness! Were these my best images? No of course not, but they were usable and I was able to salvage the night and it was fun thinking out-of-the-box instead of relying on great camera gear.  Let me know what you think, did I nail it with the iPhone?

 

I’m a Gear Nerd

Being a photographer I have a good collection of gear.  I love gear, new, used, doesn’t matter, if it goes on or near my camera I want it. I have great lenses, extra batteries, things to light up my subjects from the smallest critter to an entire family of people;  I can create beautiful images in natural settings or provide the gear to set up a studio.  Yep, that’s me the gear nerd!  Recently I added to my addiction in the purchase of a new (to me) Canon 70d crop frame camera.  I had the opportunity to purchase another full frame Canon 6d, but opted for the crop frame for several reasons.  First of all, I needed a second body so that I don’t need to change lenses while in the concert pit or at weddings and chance missing the shot, the second reason is because the 70d’s button placement is almost the same as my 6d and lastly because my son shoots with the 70d and as my second for weddings I may need for him to use the second body and he needs to not have to think about where the buttons are and what to control.  I tried it out this past weekend and I like it a lot, the shutter is a bit noisier, but overall the pictures were clean and crisp; I will use silent shutter for events.

My next purchase is an upgraded 50mm.  I currently own the Nifty Fifty which is Canon’s f1.8 5omm lens.  Great little lens, but I need something a bit sharper and faster.  I have looked at the Canon f1.2 and have read, watched videos and compared it to Sigma’s ART series F1.4 50mm.  With a cost difference of about $400 I think I may be going with the Sigma Art Lens.  The reviews are incredible and I’ve even seen a few who pit it against the Canon f1.2.  Stay tuned………..

The Cat Knows

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Harpo laying his head on my arm while I’m working

Almost eight years ago I adopted a kitten. Okay he adopted me, because we all know you never own a cat, they own you.  However this little guy literally reached his paws out to me as I made my second pass through the pound.  How could I resist? I brought him home that day.  He’s not like any other cat I’ve ever been owned by, he’s different.  Different how you ask? He’s intuitive; he understands me and my moods better than just about any human I’ve ever been around.

 

On days I don’t feel well he sticks close by laying against whatever is ailing me at the time, headache, stomach, etc..  At times he will even lay on the part of my body which is hurting at that moment.  I don’t know how he knows, he just does.

Yesterday I had spent much of the day on Facebook (yeah I know, big mistake), but I had nothing really planned, all my work was caught up and I wanted to see what was going on with all the political rhetoric (again a big mistake).  I totally understand everyone has an opinion, and each side think they’re right and try to force it upon the opposition to prove their point, but there comes a time to just stop.

I woke up just not feeling right, kind of in a bad mood.  No one else lives with me, it’s just the cat and I, so I had to backtrack as to what triggered those feelings.  This morning I came to the conclusion of how much the negative noise of social media had really affected me over this past election and inauguration of our 45th President. When I realized Harpo had not slept on my bed or next to me all night, I knew he was sensing something wasn’t right with me.  He came in around 5:30 this morning, jumped up on the bed at the far right corner and barely acknowledged me.

How did this happen?  None of those posts were actually pointed at me, but something did happened at the end of the evening that set me off prior to going to bed.  Someone began verbally attacking one of my friends for something she said on a post I had made because she  didn’t agree with his philosophy, I immediately fired back and removed his post.  Harpo picked up on this and didn’t even sit with me on the couch as he usually does, he snoozed on the floor….totally out of character for him.  Somehow his instincts told him I was in a bad mood and he steered clear of me all night and all this morning.  He didn’t even beg for his breakfast, he waited patiently for me to feed him.  I left the house feeling bad, knowing I had upset my little black & white buddy.  He understands me.  I know he will be back to loving me tonight, I will make sure of it. But my point in all of this is, if a cat can pick up on the negativity, then how is it affecting each of us?  I know I didn’t sleep well, and I obviously was in a melancholy  mood, so now what?  First I prayed, asked for the spirit of negativity to be lifted.  Then I made a decision regarding reading what is on Facebook.  I will keep scrolling, if it’s political in nature, no matter what side it’s on I will steer clear and even hide the posts if needed.  I will not engage in any of the online badgering/bullying that is happening and I will choose to be joyful throughout my day.  This year I chose the word “Intentional” as my word for the year to work on in my own life.  I am going to be intentional in what I post, to make sure it’s free of negative language and to make sure it’s uplifting to whoever reads it.  I choose JOY! And I will listen more to my cat, because he knows.

If you would like to read more in depth on this issue, please visit Karen Zeigler’s post: Light, Love and Letting Go

Zoo Miami

My first big outing for the new year was with my photo group, and we traveled to Zoo Miami (formerly known as Miami Metro Zoo).  The weather was perfect, however this zoo is quite expansive and we did a lot of walking through each of animal enclosure areas.  Here are a few of the photos I was able to take during the day.  I used a Canon 70-300mm f4 – f5.6 lens to hold down on the weight of my equipment.