The Cat Knows

harpo
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

Mentor/Mentee

I belong to a local Meetup group called the South West Florida Shutterbugs and in two weeks we will be six months old as a group.  In that six months we have offered learning opportunities, trips both local and out of area and have met some really cool people.  Recently, we have initiated a mentor/mentee program and I have decided it’s time to take my skills to another level by working with an incredible portrait photographer.  This will stretch my knowledge and also take me out of my comfort zone.  I’ve already worked with him on a few shoots and he makes what he does look so effortless.  I know this will make me better, especially when it comes to using off camera flash.

Now, for the next part, I will be mentoring a more beginner photographer.  I really appreciate what has been taught to me and I want to give back.  When I started shooting I had no one to guide me and I learned on my own.  I learned that concerts and events were sometimes a crap shoot depending on the lighting, but now I go into them full of confidence in my own skills.  This mentoring will hopefully allow another beginner to feel more confident with their camera without having to learn it all on their own.

If you are in the South West Florida area and want to join a top-notch photography group, feel free to check out Meetup.com.  Happy shooting.

Love, Strength & Beauty: Ophelia

 I was invited  this past weekend to photograph a local playwright’s work.  He is a fellow photographer who is gifted in many areas; film, music and words.  It was a happenstance meeting in the camera department at a local big box store. He had told me about this play he had written and I decided I wanted to see it.  I feel we need to support all local artists of every genre of art and this fit right into my beliefs.

The story of Ophelia takes place back in the slave trade era of our nation.  It is a story of love, strength and beauty in a world that sometimes was anything but beautiful.

I really didn’t get to “see” the play in the tradition form, because I was trying to see it through my camera.  I am never sure of what I capture until I get home and load the images.  I will allow the photos to speak the rest of the story.  (To view all the photos from this body of work please visit my facebook page at: Ophelia)

 

Ophelia: Written and produced by Judah Williams.

An Unveiling

Recently I reconnected with an old friend through Facebook.  We had been friends back in our late Junior High early High School days.  He moved away and we kept in touch for a short time after; well before Facebook when letter writing was envogue.  He had moved back to the same area as an adult and joined the local Sheriff’s Department as a K9 handler.  He is currently retired and breeds/trains Malinois & German Shepherds.  He contacted me about photographing his dogs working so I took a trip up mid June to a training facility.  It was a huge field set up with obstacles and many different working dog owners.  I was allowed to be on the field with the dogs working and even though the field was full of water and mud it was a great time.  I met some incredible people and took some awesome photos.  Out of the photos I took THIS is why I was there!

Being Present

This past week and into this weekend life got a bit busy.  I work a full time job on top of being an almost full-time photographer. My photography work week began on Wednesday with an Elton John concert, followed by The Moody Blues on Thursday, Adelitas Way and Saving Abel on Friday and finished up Saturday with running a photo booth and photographing Trace Adkins. I did take time to join some of my fellow photographers to visit a most interesting ‘castle’  and today I met with an April bride.  The week was full of music and people, and lots of photographs.  To say that I’m tired is an understatement and my mind is also in need of refreshing.

Even with all the activity going on, I took a moment last night to make some observations.  As I was waiting for Trace Adkins to take the stage I took a good look around me and this is what I observed;  a large majority of the attendees were not really paying attention to the concert, they were on their electronic devices, either posting their activities or taking photos and videos.  While this isn’t necessarily bad, it did make me wonder if they were truly missing life by not being engaged and present.  Personally I try to put my phone down when I am out with friends, I don’t constantly check what is happening on Facebook or document what I am eating.  I do however post quite often when I am working events, but after my observation last night I am going to try to be more present in my activity.  Yes, I’m a photographer and I document life events and live music, it’s what I do, and I try to post on social media on the behalf of who I’m shooting for, but after I am done with my camera, I need to put my phone away and simply enjoy the music.  We get so busy taking selfies, recording the next YouTube video or simply capturing the moment, when in fact the moment is gone never to be returned.  Be present in your moment, enjoy the music, your family, your friends and loved ones.  Put down your phone and dance.  Music is cathartic and it take me to back to my younger days; especially with the bands I photograph, I want to take in every moment.

I am honored to have photographed some of the top names in every genre of music and to photograph in some of the largest stadiums & arenas and also incredible local events and happenings.  I also get to stand next to some of the best photographers in the business whom I get to call friends.

Please enjoy the photos from the week.  I truly love being a photographer.

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Looking Back – 2015

Lakes Park B&W-5
Reflection

 

A Look Back

Time seems to be passing by way to quickly these days, I barely find myself catching up with one thing and it’s already on to another. I will say it has been a fabulous year and has ended with a bang.

I was able to photograph a lot of great bands and to work several large festivals, which is always fun. I have met some incredible people and have broadened my social network.  Last fall I joined a little photography Meet-Up group and fell in love with the people, many have become really good friends and we have all grown together.  We have learned and participated in numerous excursions and enjoyed each other’s company.

I have expanded my business this year to include a small home studio, it’s not perfect, but it works for me and that’s really all that matters. I have stayed busy with portraits and weddings and hope to increase that business next year.  I was told this year my wedding price is too expensive , but the potential clients who said this got exactly what they paid for by not using a professional.  I learned this is not my battle to face, because I am geared to a certain type of client and I will gladly allow the them to learn their lesson.

This year I finally purchased my dream lens; the Canon f2.8 70-200mm.  This lens is awesome for my concert/wedding and portrait photography.

The Future

I am looking for 2016 to be bigger and better than ever. I have had an invitation to go to Vietnam and photograph a resort there and will be working out the details of that potential trip and my son may go with me;  I can’t think of anyone I would rather work with more than him.  Which brings me to another note, he will be opening his first full solo photography art show on January 9, 2016 and will run through the end of February.  I’m excited for him as he is quite talented and has captured the flora and fauna of the Everglades quite well.

Another new feature for this new year is the rebranding of my business.  I unveiled a new logo and will incorporate it within my website/blog and all social media.  I have also finally changed my Facebook page web address from the former kdphotocreations to: http://www.facebook.com/photocreationsbydeb.  This was two years in the making, but at the time I had recently ordered business cards that had this address on it and needed to use them up; I received my new business cards and now I am ready to put a final note on a past element of my business.

I hope to do a lot more teaching this next year and expand on my basic digital camera workshops and add editing to the mix.  I also want to be involved with a few more communities.  I will include myself in the  need to be taught, I am constantly wanting to improve my own skills and continue to grow and simply be better.  Learning is huge for me, and there areas I struggle with, but I try to find those who can teach me.  If you are unwilling to learn and add to your craft, your craft will die a slow agonizing death, I’m not willing to allow that to happen.

Each year for the past couple of years I have adopted a new word for the year, instead of setting unreachable new year resolutions.  I have grown in leaps personally by applying these words to my life almost daily.  I began with ‘authentic’ and last year was ‘joy’, this year it will be ‘creative’ and I will do whatever I need to keep up my creativity.  I have a plan to create a wonderful show for a museum or gallery.  I will expound more on this once I am confident of the progress and talk to the powers that be in order to create this wonderful exhibit.  I will say it’s something that is extremely close to my heart and it’s going to be wonderful.

So as my eyes shift from the rearview to looking forward, I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy, Prosperous and Exciting New Year, hug your loved ones more, and enjoy time spent with those you care about.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

Positive vs. Negative…Positive Wins!

Photo taken by Tommy Owen of phloridaphoto.com
Photo taken by Tommy Owen of phloridaphoto.us

For the majority of my life I have been a perfectionist.  I was that way as a child and a teenager. I was the child who would throw an entire sheet of paper away if I made a mistake instead of erasing it.  If I wrote in pen it was even more difficult for me to deal with.  As I have matured I have come to realize that I will never be perfect and it’s okay not to be. I have learned to be more lenient on myself and in the realm of photography, after all I can’t take myself too seriously when I am on the ground  blowing raspberry sounds to get the attention of the little ones in a family.  Because of this I am more relaxed and a much better photographer; I can literally breathe into my photos and know what I do will be worthy of the clients expectations.  I never come upon any criticism from my clients.  However there are a few who choose to continue to try to tear me down within my social media realm. The ploy to upset me or make me look bad has not been successful, I don’t play the juvenile games of  the sophomoric minded.  Instead I choose to focus on all things positive and my future as a full-time photographer which is growing daily by leaps and bounds.  The extra funds I have, I pour back into my business for equipment, website and domains NOT into my social media outlets.  I have not placed one dime into Facebook or any other site, instead I place it where I know it can be best utilized which is in my business.  I am actually quite blessed with a very good following on my social media sites and my blog.  I also figured out how to tie them all together and utilize the benefits of doing so.

This is an exciting time in my life and so many wonderful things are happening I’m sure there are those who will continue to be small, jealous and bitter because it’s not happening to them, but I don’t have time to focus on the negative as I am too busy focusing on all the wonderful things transpiring within my life.  I have a handful of magnificent photographer friends who are guiding me and teaching me the art of the business, I also have incredible friends and family who have my back and are watching me grow and expand into a wonderful person with each passing day.  I am learning and gaining knowledge within my field of choice and honestly someone being negative has no real value in my life.  The simple-minded can believe and think what they want, I know where my heart is and where my focus is at.  I have amazing clients and I know God is on my side because he blesses his children.  He knows that adversity only makes me stronger and those that try to claim God is good yet don’t understand the simple concept of “do unto others” can’t claim the blessings. This girl is like the cream and is rising to the top, nothing will stop me from becoming successful and I plan on including my friends and family within my success.  God is truly good and I am amazingly blessed.

Thank you all for allowing me to write and to sometimes vent and to share my work with you.  We are all in this wonderful world together.  I’ll see you behind the lens!

Me