This blog captures my journey to take a break from jewelry designing to learn something new. Join me as I learn the art of photography and Photoshop Elements and watch me create through my lens. ~ Dee

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Present to You...Forks!

The days had better get longer soon, as I'm going a little stir crazy trying to find things to photograph indoors or near the house. Tonight we are seeing our first snow, so hopefully it will hang around long enough to capture something neat to remember this winter by.  In the meantime I present to you "forks".

Lesson Learned: 
Photography is all about capturing the light.

Unveiling with no food but forks,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

100 Possibilities...

Of a Kiwi..............

One of my projects this week has been taking 100 photos of one guessed it, I'm doing Kiwi!  

The goal is to think of different ways to express my subject, whether it be a person or an object, by looking at it in many ways, whether it be from the front, from the side, upside down, dissected, etc.  My goal wasn't necessarily to get it right, straight out of camera, but to get myself thinking differently.  There are unlimited ways to photograph a single subject if you just take the time to play around and have a little fun. I was also able to use this for my weekly P52 project.  

So far I've taken about 60 photos and I've been constantly thinking of how I'd like to show off my kiwi next.  When I'm done, I think I'll make a large print out of about 20 of my favorites and simply call it Possibilities.    

Lesson Learned: 
Be willing to experiment and take risks sometimes.

Unveiling in Kiwi and P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday - Week 1

Three posts in two days I'm sure you're thinking, but I'm trying to catch up in the New Year! 

*Special Note: Those here from P52 challenge scroll down for photo only*

I've been pondering whether or not I wanted to take the plunge again and try to do some type of photo project, especially since I bombed out with the 365 last year. I kept coming up with a blank answer, even as of today.  So, I've decided to do a scaled down version of the 365, called Project 52 Sweet Shot Tuesday.   

I choose this version, because I'm hoping the pressure of taking a photo weekly will be less stressful than daily.  When I started the 365 project, I found myself just taking careless photos many times, just to meet the midnight deadline.  I'm hoping...the key word here is hoping, that by giving myself a week, it will allow me to be more thoughtful about what I'm shooting or the technique I'm focusing on.  

The P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday project is hosted by Kent Weakley.  There is no weekly theme or challenge. P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday (or Project 52) is a 52-week photo challenge. The challenge is for each photographer to create a fresh new image to share with the community each week.  You can post photos to a website, blog or online photo album.  The final result at the end of the year for any of these projects is to be able to look back over a period of time, and hopefully see where you've grown in technique, becoming familiar with your camera or just capturing a year in photos. 

Each week, I will post a photo for the project with a brief description about what I was thinking or focusing on when I pressed the shutter button.  I invite you to visit the P52 website, read about it and join me, especially if you just got a new camera for Christmas or if your just looking for a reason to really begin using your camera, whether it be a point and shoot, film or SLR.  

Week 1 Photo
keep in mind, I just made a decision tonight.  This is a little pup my nephew won for me yesterday at a College Basketball game.  My nephew is 6 ft 4, and the little pup floated down from the ceiling with a parachute, needless to say, those around didn't have a chance!  Here he is playing around in the Christmas Tree before it gets packed away this week.  Now I just need help naming him. 

(35mm Lens, Nikon SB-700, f/3.2, 1/250 sec, ISO 1250)
Unveiling weekly,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Finding a Mentor....

This post is not so much about how to find a mentor but more about someone I've named my Mentor/Guru and what they have done and shared with me through my journey.  If you're interested in learning more about finding a photography mentor, Google is a wonderful thing. There are many posts and articles available online that can be helpful as you seek out your own personal guru.  I hope you find some inspiration from my post and a relationship that can help you in your quest.

It's important to first understand what a Mentor/Guru is.  By definition, a Guru (goo-roo) is a spiritual teacher. One who imparts initiation, one who leads a disciple to wisdom and self realization. A Mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behavior.  

As you can see, there is very little difference in the roles and terms, but because of a slight difference in the definitions, I like to say that I have a Mentor-Guru-Friend. Not only has he been instrumental in my learning,  we've also become friends through this journey.  

What started as a  network connection to go out occasionally on photo shoots with a fellow photographer quickly developed into a more meaningful relationship described below: 

Friendship - First and foremost my Mentor-Guru is someone I also call a friend. He has never once asked for anything in return for the times he's helped me.  We hangout sometimes with a purpose and sometimes just to catch up.  He is honest and thoughtful in his feedback when asked and gives it when I don't (smile), but that's what friends are for and I appreciate him for that.

Patience - I'll admit sometimes it takes a minute for the light bulb to go off in my head when it has come to learning photography.  The terms and concepts we've discussed have sometimes been confusing, but I know immediately he recognizes my "deer in headlight" look when he takes the conversation down to a more "dummified" level allowing me time to catch on or when he's volunteered to personally help me through a challenge we've discussed.  

Give and Take - While I initially thought I could never give back or share anything with him that compares to what he's done, I've learned that the relationship has been equally inspiring to him as well.  Even though you may be on a different level than one your helping, and your not so "above" yourself, the experience can also be fun, encouraging and inspirational as well for the Mentor-Guru.  The concept is similar to learning through the eyes of a child. Sometimes children and students see or do things differently, that even as a teacher/master, you can incorporate into your own style or take away something new. On occasion when he's asked for "my" opinion, I cannot even tell you the honor I've felt to be able to help. 

Mysterious Wisdom -  Some conversations have been similar to that of the Luke Skywalker and Yoda...yes, he'll impart some wisdom and leave me with no answers and I'm left thinking "what in the world does that mean?"  I honestly believe he does this because he's learned that I'm not one to be left in the dark for long and these conversations encourage me to seek out the knowledge, through Google, books or more practice and this self  learning always brings with it a light bulb moment that helps me see more clearly.  This is the Guru - he leads me to wisdom and self realization.  

Trust - I trust his advice when given...okay, now I do!  In the beginning, I'll admit I was a little rogue and felt that Google could provide me with more impartial knowledge, but would quickly have to admit "you were right" and listen to his "I told you so's" in laughter.    

Inspirational - He keeps me inspired to learn more. No sooner than I've caught on to one thing, he is encouraging me to learn something else.  I can hear the phrase ringing in my head..."Okay, now you need to..."  This has made the journey fun and interesting and pushed me to push myself. 

Leader - Not only has he been helpful and inspiring to me, but he shares this with everyone. He's comfortable in who he is and the skills he possess, and there is no fear in sharing what he knows with others who are genuine in wanting to learn. A Leader shares, learns and for that is respected.      

To those reading this post, I encourage you to find a mentor who is willing to help you in your journey, whether it be photography, a craft, or a profession, the relationship is a rewarding one if you find the right person.  

To my Mentor, Guru and Friend...I say Thank You for making this journey fun!

Unveiling in Gratitude,

Reflecting on 2012...

Happy New Year to Everyone!  Farewell 2012.....Hello 2013...what the heck!!!?? Where did the year go so fast?

I've been reading a lot of post this month so far, that have lists of things for the new year, but I'd like to focus or reflect on this past year this week.  A lot of this blog is about my lessons learned during my journey to learn photography, so I'd like to take a minute to reflect on this past year and what it has taught me.  This past year has been a lot about technical learning, trying different things and finding my passion with a few prize lessons here and there:

1.  Make every opportunity a learning one - I've taken several classes, read more than my share of books and connected with different photographers this past year and even the best of the best will tell you, every opportunity is a learning one. Even if you've learned it before, revisiting the basics can always provide you with new and different perspectives. 
A few of my many many books purchased on photography

2.  Push through the tough times - There were times when I just didn't feel like going out to take photos, but I forced myself and it was well worth it.  Most walks can take 2-3 hours, but on those days that I just didn't have the energy, it helped to make it into a game or challenge with a time limit. You leave home with a purpose, and you return with results and satisfaction.
I was very sick the weekend I took this photo, but the weather was beautiful. I forced myself to go out for just 1 hour to capture some Fall photos I had not taken yet.

3.  Enjoy life..take a break to do what you love -  I've always been a fan of "me time", but the past couple of years have made it challenging.  This past year I was able to carve some "me time" in just to get away and 2013 will bring more of it. 
Taken while on vacation at Virginia Beach

4.  Giving and learning -While learning this year, there were many opportunities for me to take photos for free.  My subjects got something out of it that they were able to enjoy and appreciate and they were more than happy to help me with my journey.  I appreciate each and every one of them for their patience and time. 
Taken at an Alzheimer's event this fall

5.  Snap with a Passion - I've seen the difference in photos I was taking just to be taking, and those events that I was passionate about.  Your photography is an expression of who you are and what makes you feel good, make every shot count.   

6.  Set small goals and keep them - I've learned this past year that long term goals don't work for me without a clear plan...365 project comes to mind.  This year I will set short goals with a purpose and try my best to follow through. 
365 project photo that went down the drain after less than one month

7.  Patience - Photoshop Elements and Lightroom 4 have both taught me patience in learning.  I've had my struggles during the year learning these software applications, but in the end, when I sat myself down and really focused on learning without shortcuts, the end results proved very was magical.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still working on getting it straight from camera, as my patience for post processing is still very limited, but I have tools to help me when need them. 

2013 here I come....

Unveiling about 2012,


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