Arizona January 2022

Well it’s been a while since I posted, but life took a turn for the busy. So here is what I have been up to:

Last year in January, I became a Nali (grandmother in Navajo) to a beautiful baby boy. My son and his wife gave me an amazing gift with this little boy as they announced they were pregnant around my birthday in 2020 with his birth being in early 2021. This year I wanted to be there for his first birthday and I took my sister with me (his great aunt). We had a such a wonderful time with family. I must say January and early February is the perfect time to travel to Arizona, it’s cooler and the dessert is always beautiful.

The flight was easy, and on time and without any issues. Still have to mask up, but honestly it’s not too bad. We flew over the Rockies as our first layover was in Denver. Just stunning from up above. Very little turbulence and lots of time to enjoy my sister. It was our first trip together and I know not our last.

Upon arriving, my grandson was a bit shy, but warmed up nicely. I had just seen him in early December and I think he remembered me. When asked where his Nali was, he would point to me and shyly smile. Most of the time was spent with the family at home, but we did take a couple of close to home trips; one was to hike into the San Tan Mountains and another to hopefully see the Salt River Mustangs. The San tan Mountains are beautiful!

As my sister found out, it the desert can be a dangerous place too, She managed to find a supersized sand spur (cactus spine)

Good thing she had on good shoes!

Due to his Grandfather having to work on his actual birthday, Jaxson’s party was held on the following Saturday. It was wonderful, lots of really good food, presents, a lot of familymembers and a happy, but tired at the end of the day little boy. He was just so good, never didn’t nap and never fussed because of tiredness.

The day we went to the Salt River was beautiful. I lot warmer and just the perfect day. We had a picnic then went on a hike to enjoy the river and hopefully find the wild Mustangs. Jaxson and his daddy walked across. We didn’t see any horses here, but we saw fresh evidence they had been there earlier.

We decided to drive to where Jim and I saw the horses last year. We could hear them in the distance and didn’t realize we could walk to them. Once we found that out, we were able to get pretty close and I was in my glory! Wild Mustangs up closeūüėćūüėć

This was such an amazing trip. I hope you enjoyed the bit of commentary and the photos. Until next time, I’ll see you behind the lens.

2022 Already?

Can you believe it? 2022 is upon us, where has the year gone? As long as 2020 was, 2021 moved along at warp speed. I had a fairly good year and here is a list of what happened in my 2021.

  • I became a Nali (grandmother) on January 21 and flew to Arizona to meet him in February (thank you Jimmy & Natashia)
  • Lost my beloved Harpo (my cat of 12 years)
  • Adopted not one, but two new kitties. An older female stray I named Shai and a kitten from Ocala, FL who was named Sherman. Shai was 7 according to her past records and Sherman was 10 wks.
  • Concerts and events started to pick up some
  • Became the official photographer for US41 Radio and continue to work with my wonderful friend Matt Mangas
  • After a year I was able to photograph the PBR once again at Hertz Arena
  • Contracted Covid19 in late July early August, but thankfully for the vaccine, I had a mild case
  • Planned another trip with my girlfriends in North Carolina
  • Planned my trip to Arizona for January 2022 for his first birthday
  • Was able to see my grandson when my son and daughter in law came to Florida for a brief visit
  • Spent a lovely Christmas with my youngest son Tommy Owen
  • Won a fishing reel from a local YouTuber Digital Four Ten so I decided to rig myself out with a new pole and some gear and a license; will finish the year fishing the Estero River
  • I didn’t get to blog much this year, but due to the current world situation, there wasn’t much to post, but I did a little
  • Looking forward to the blessings of 2022!

Considering the way things are and the closures of 2020, 2021 was great and I’m sure it passed so quickly because of all the things that happened. Here is a short video of what the year has brought me.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Back At It!

I have neglected this blog way to long, but with Covid19 and just doing nothing but working and staying indoors, I have been so uninspired. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. I have a blogging friend who lives in Canada and he has posted pretty regular even during his country’s lockdown and is such an inspiration to me when it comes to getting out and shooting. You can check him out at https://robmosesphotography.com, Thank you Rob for the past few years of inspiration!

I had a few photos to edit from my Photography group Meetup; we went to Ave Maria and photographed this beautiful church. It’s a wonderful little self contained town in the middle of nowhere, built by the owner of Domino’s Pizza. After, we had a nice lunch at a small pub with lovely outdoor seating.

I needed to get outside today and wanted to write. It’s a beautiful day with a wonderful breeze and I am the only enjoying the outside of the Starbucks seating area. It feels good to just be outside working for a change.

Photography work is picking up and people are getting out a bit more, so I’m hoping for more “outdoor” time with taking more photos and just enjoying my life.

UPDATE: New cat Shai from my last blog post. She is officially mine and is just delightful, well behaved and a wonderful companion. Although I miss my boy she is filling that love void in the best possible way.

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.

 

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

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!

Into Nature

One of my passions is camping and if you add my camera, then it’s simply incredible.¬† I have not camped all season simply because I have not had a free weekend to do so and now it’s almost too hot…..almost.

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I decided to camp over Mother’s Day, this way I get to spend time with my youngest son, and as a bonus his best friend as well.¬† The boys got me the most beautiful card and wrote the most beautiful sentiments on it, I was also graced with a bouquet of flowers and a scrumptious meal prepared by my son and we went to breakfast the following morning.

Because I was in the Big Cypress, of course I have to drive Turner River Road, Wagon Wheel¬†and Birdon Road.¬† Didn’t see much when it came to wildlife although I did see a deer, but he moved to quickly for me to get a photo.¬† I was downcast to see several dead snakes and a dead baby alligator, I wish people were more careful.

Tommy and I also walked the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk and were invaded by Deer Flies, but we persevered and were graced with a young Barred Owl, of course on this trip I only brought my iPhone so there are pictures, just not close up; I did get some great cell phone shots from our walk.

 

This is a time lapse photo, but it’s a bit jumpy (sorry)

I love being outdoors, I need to do it more often.

Until next time, I’ll see you behind the lens!

The First Three Months

 

Since I have not put any pressure upon myself to blog this year, I have been enjoying photographing and writing a bit more.¬† Pressure is off and I’m being more creative.

January was busy, February a close second and March is catching up!¬† In the past three months, I’ve photographed mega star Cher, WWE, a¬†Bacon Jam festival, a circus, a couple of local bands & events, Joe Bonamassa,¬†Shinedown with Asking Alexandria and Papa Roach (more on this later).¬† I have also photographed¬†a hip hop concert and a TacoFest!

I have upcoming this month (March) Impractical Jokers and a couple more local events.

I would have had a few more opportunities, however the Shinedown concert took me out of the picture for about a week.¬†¬†The concert was great, but the fog used, not so much.¬† ¬†I know I can’t be around smoke for very long without running into breathing issues, but I never once thought about stage fog, and I was out for several days due to bronchial asthma caused by the fog.¬† Live & learn!

Recently I’ve been doing some commercial work for my son’s best friend.¬† He recently returned from Vietnam where he was managing a resort and has started a Bamboo Straw business.¬† Because I have done some website photography work for him, he has given me a discount code for my followers who may be interested in purchasing a renewable no waste straw to replace using plastic ones. ¬†These straws are fantastic, no aftertaste, they can be composted so they are zero waste and with the beautiful travel kit you will received a lovely pouch with a coconut button closure. The discount code is EARTH¬† and it will give you 10% off your total purchase; ¬†his website:¬†Bamboo Step.¬† Please visit and consider saving our planet one straw at a time.

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Advice From an Avid Learner

Camping Myakka-30

Here’s something I question.¬† As an artist (photographer)¬†we see things differently than others, and because art is subjective, there will always be works we like and works we dislike; I get that.¬† What I don’t understand is a photographer who has an eye for their subject, yet they don’t do anything to make their photograph exceptional.¬† I don’t mean necessarily over working it in processing, but just brining out details or taking it from a different angle.¬† I know I’ve been guilty of not doing much to photos, but I do try.¬† One of the areas I am a full believer in is learning, you must continually learn your craft if you want to be better.¬† You must have the tools to enhance and to make your photograph even better than what it shows in camera.¬† You must learn from those who are more advanced than you and have been around the proverbial¬†block a time or two, and you must apply what you learn to your own style.

Here are some suggestions that may help: 

Follow photographers on social media¬†who’s work you admire and try to understand why you are drawn to their work.¬† I personally follow many photographers, some are friends and some I simply find because I look for what appeals to me.¬† Join groups online and places like Flickr, NG Your Shot and a few other’s where you can follow the work of some GREAT photographers.¬† Join groups on Facebook,¬†however, be warned if you post something be prepared for it to be torn apart by some not so friendly folks who feel their work is superior to anyone else’s.¬† I limit the groups I’m in to only those who are closely monitored, and where I can develop online friendships with some awesome people.

Join a club or group and get hands on with them.¬† Learn a new skill, take a class or just go out shooting with them; PAY ATTENTION and ASK QUESTIONS!¬† I love to teach and¬†if you come across someone who won’t allow you to ask how they got the shot, then move on, be with people who are not afraid to share knowledge.¬† I shoot concerts and I am always willing to teach someone else how to get the shots I get.¬† Are there better concerts photographers than me……oh heck yeah!¬† I’m still learning, and improving with each and every click of the shutter.

Ask for advice, ask for critiques and always stay open minded about what someone tells you.  Have I gotten my feelings hurt? Oh you better believe I have, no one likes to be told their work is awful. However, I have a group of pros I know I can rely on to ask either for help or for a critique. They genuinely care and I trust them.   Leave your ego at the door, there will always be someone better than you are.

Stay away from photographers who feel as if they know everything and don’t need to learn any more; they are not the ones to help you to improve.

Be helpful to someone¬†newly learning, don’t come across as a know-it-all. ¬†A couple of people I have “mentored” over the past few years,¬†are phenomenal photographers. One¬†¬†is currently working with photographers¬†on an NFL team and is doing quite well on his own, the other is learning and gaining hands on knowledge and improving daily.¬† They know when I critique their work or explain an improvement,¬†I’m¬†not being hurtful, I want to see them succeed. They will take their talent to new levels far surpassing anything I have done and I’m really proud of them!

Remember, posting¬†a mediocre photograph¬†on Facebook and getting the oo’s and ah’s and “Likes” from your friends is not a critique and can be more harmful than good; why? Because it¬†will cause you to¬†think you don’t need to improve.¬† I know this is harsh, but if you want to be a better photographer then you need to have people in your life you trust to give you the real, sometimes hard truth about your work.

Always remember¬†“You are only as good as your last photograph”¬†– Unknown