Sunday, December 27, 2009

Capturing Kids

It's Christmas and I have 5 little nephews running around like crazy, giggling, wrestling, making funny faces and just being kids. There have been snow ball fights, bingo games, opening presents, a few tired tears, hugs, and a bunch of love. I brought the camera with the goal of trying to preserve some of those special moments. Before I started I equipped myself with a little knowledge to help make it a little smoother. One important lesson I learned was to capture the unexpected. Get away from "Posing" them the way you want, don't force the smiles and look for the special times when they are just being kids. So I waited and watched. At the park I took pictures of hands. Just hands making sand pizzas. At home my brother and my sister's two boys sat together in GrandDad's chair. One nephew on his own with hands behind is head and his feet crossed looked just like GrandDad.

As the day progressed I was able to see things about each child that I had never noticed before. The way one cocks his head to the side when he is trying to figure something out. The way one twirls his hair around and around with his little fingers while watching a movie. It was truly insightful.

Digital photography makes it possible to experiment. You can shoot and shoot and shoot and then sort through the photos to capture the ones that express what you want to express in your photo montages. Kids don't stay small for long so get busy captures those special moments.

Show me some or your favorites! Here are a few tips I found on Digital Photography School Its great to go prepared!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Something I Made!!

Well, Christmas is coming and it seems everyone is in the Christmas spirit, but much more cautious about spending. While many are hitting the stores, there are just as many finding ways to cut costs, and still enjoy the Spirit of Christmas. To me, its be a new, exciting challenge to see how I can create something new, spend less, and make it special. Photography allows for so many options and whether you print your photos at home, or send them out, there are special discounts for first time orders, free shipping, and more. There are three areas that I focused this year and here is what I did:

1) Holiday Office Party and Gift Exchange: I decided to make it homemade. I found a vintage style Candy pedestal for under $10. I was making holiday candies for family and friends so I made 2 doz to go along with the gift. All the candies were simple recipes using pretzels, oreos, peanut butter, rolos. For the recipes I used give me a call!

2) Christmas Cards. I made my own. The photo in this listing was a tree I found on my photography expeditions. A little photoshopping, a few snowflake brushes, a Word Art layer, and some other layers (all free, including the cardinal!!) and I am good to go! If you can't find any of the free things I am talking about, drop me an email or leave me a comment on this post and I will point you in the right directions.

3) Family gift exchange. This year, we are taking a cue from Just Something I Made and the gifts are coming from inside our house! Just go to her site and click on the Thrifty Gift Exchange Post on December 14th! We all have so much stuff in our house that we don't need, don't use, that someone else may enjoy. Why not give it a try. Our family is now on the phone, talking, trying to figure out what they are going to give up, or bring, and its really stirring up some humor, stories, and excitement.

I hope you will try to do the holidays and little different this year. You don't have to do it all, just pick a few things you can do and make it happen. You will be surprise how much fun it is!

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Many Free Photoshop Resources on the Web!

I am addicted to Photography and Photoshop and constantly amazed at the number of people willing to share information, techniques, expertise, and more. And the resources, tutorials and on-line education available all for free! I have met so many interesting and talented paper as I learned Photoshop, and I encourage everyone to search for anything you might need to learn a new task, develop a new talent.

Lately I have been interested in layers and textures. And now there are actions! All designed to help improve your photos. And so many people have created free ones that you never have to purchase them if your budget does not allow. Some of the sites ask for donations or have select products available for purchase, but the free items are available without commitment or obligation. So try your hand at something new.

What amazes me about layers and textures is that it can transform the ordinary photo. Give it the extra oomph! that it might need to soften, highlight, texturize.

Here are some new sites I have happened upon. Please drop on in on them and let me know what you are working on. That is what the internet is all about. People connecting with People. Its a virtual library, a social event that you need to participate in. Don't be a wallflower!

ShadowHouseCreations The author creates the most interesting photos, and offers all kinds of free brushes, textures, and layers. His brushes were used to add the birds, and an extra tree in the photo above!

This is an amazing site that offers tutorials, resources, free actions, and more. She accepts donations of any amount to help her keep her site running, but its not a requirement for using the information. For me, a donation is well worth it. Her items are fantastic!

Another informative site that offers tutorials, layers and actions and walks you through how upload them in any version of Photoshop. They also have a newsletter! Great tips and techiniques. They also have products for sale, but again, a lot of freebies.

If you want to try your hand at layering, trust me its easy. Drop me a line if you need some help.

Another huge resource is Flickr groups. People share their photos and work, you can get free textures of all kins on this site, and the groups allow you to post challenges you are having and get advice and suggestions from people who may have had the same struggle.

There is no excuse for learning. The free information is out there, print, bring it home and learn a new skill. Its easy peasey!

This photo includes my photography of a tree off the Potomac River, 1 cloud layer, one cloud texture, and one color texture all from ShadowHouseCreations and/or downloaded from Flickr. It has an eagle that was added using a brush set that was free on ShadowHouseCreations.

Now on to actions! Don't know much about them yet, but I am doing the Research. Will keep you posted.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pictures I see may not be the picture you see...

Recently, someone purchased a picture from me. It was a picture taken at Bellows Beach on the island of Oahu. My home town. It was one of my older pictures so I was a little leery of the request. He wanted an 11 X 14 of the picture, and I was fearful that it wouldn't look as good as his expectations of my work. I am an amateur. I am getting better, and sometimes I get the perfect shot, but in my opinion this wasn't one of those times.

We talked back and forth and I learned that he had some very fond memories of Bellows Beach. It was his memories that made that photo beautiful to him. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say, and I have come to realize how true that can be. Each day when we pick up our camera, we are taking pictures of the beauty we see, or the oddity, or juxtaposition of the shot.

But someone else, is seeing a memory of their past, or perhaps a goal for their future. They are remembering a tale once told, or a song once rehearsed. Photos allow others the opportunity to relive or replay their own stories.

Its kind of wonderful when you think about it. Don't get so caught up in taking the perfect shot. Take pictures of what you love. You never know what memory you make wake up, or who you may inspire.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pondering a New Thought. What do you think?

On another website a therapist who works with photography to help people make changes in their life wrote "Your photos are actually "self-portraits" even if you are not in them". WOW, I mean Whoa! that caught my attention, made me feel a little bit uncomfortable so I knew I was in the learning mode with God at that moment and I had to think about that statement. Especially since I have been a little less than satisfied with some of my work. Her belief is that we take pictures of things that move us, people we want to spend time with, actions that amaze us. These snap shots can give us an idea or our mood, our journey through time, our future.

So I began thinking about what was bothering me about the pictures. They were too blurry, they weren't crisp or as "Pretty" as some of the other professional photos I see, I can't get the f stop, ISO, aperture correct, etc, etc, etc. And in this self analysis I realized a few things. 1) I am in too much of a hurry to be perfect 2) Because I am in too much of a hurry, I am taking pictures just to have a picture, but not really to learn the process and 3) Like everything in my life I rush, look for quick, fast easy ways, and don't enjoy the experience. And so, what do I get? Blurry photos. It is self portrait of my hurried, fast paced existence. The beauty comes from slowing down, looking for the best shot, perhaps not always taking the photo, but just enjoying that quiet solitude, those moments when no one is around and you are seeing it all take place around you.

I am challenging myself to make the time to slow down. To no be so worried about getting a shot, but to spend more time with the learning, more time with relaxing and enjoying the visuals. Finding composition through my own life interpretation.

I love to learn new things about myself, about processes, about people. Its no surprise to me that this new revelation about myself has come up "once again". It just is. I hurry. I move fast. A lesson to learn is the slowing down. Perhaps we will begin to see a change in the way we take photos as we slow down and enjoy the process.

This also translates itself to photo editing. Photoshop should not be used to just slap on some layers and call it a day. It should be another slow process where we feel the photo and find ways to translate the moods into a finer print. Textures, words, layers can all be useful in expressing what we saw during those quiet moments but it can only be done if we took the time during the shot to feel the experience, to relish and enjoy the shot. What do you think?

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Been Awhile, but can we keep it fun?

I haven't written in awhile mostly because my part time job just went back to full time (very long story), but also because I was so engrossed in learning about photography, and so frustrated with not getting right. Not creating the photo that I wanted, not being able to copy the "look" others were creating. Either I was out of focus, or not in focus at all, too much ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and not enough stillness. I was looking for the perfect shot, the perfect picture and I was missing the beauty in the stillness. Two things happened. I met a semi-professional photography on one of my walks and he gave me some new insight. He said that he tells everyone to have fun. Don't worry about composition, layout, ISO, etc. He said if you see something that draws your attention, just take a picture. In time, you will get better, you read a little here, a little there, and as you try new things in small doses, you will begin to perfect you craft.

He walked on, and I heard the Fall peepers. Do you know what those are? Little bitty frogs that make peeping noise throughout the marsh. You can never see them, so you have to be very still and just listen. And then it happened. The woods came alive for me. I saw a blue heron hiding in the march, another stretch his wings. I looked down in a patch of orange flowers to see what I thought was you know those little guys are impossible to shoot when they are moving! In any event, it wasn't a dragonfly, it was a hummingbird.

I came home so renewed, ready to download my photos, and it clicked. My reading, my photoshop practice seemed to come together. My eye was keener, my expertise a little smoother. I had learned, I was applying it, and I was having fun.

To some those photos may not be the best. But they are to me. A lesson I learned. Find your own style, take your time, ask questions, but realize that the learning may be important, but the stillness helps focus on why you love what you are doing.

Some of my resent photos. Look closely for the hummingbird. Doesn't the tree look like it has its own floral bouquet of autumn? How have you been? Thanks for keeping me on your list. I promise to get better.

What are you struggling with in your Photography? What would you like to learn? Please share it here and let's see what we can learn together.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I've Been Dreaming...

Well, I always dream but I have been trying to learn new ways of working with Photoshop, how to create fine art quality photos with the skill and finesse of someone like Florabella and it has been a fun lesson. I have to say there is so much information and knowledge available to you if you simply look for it. I wanted to find free overlays and textures, I searched for free overlays a textures. I wanted to learn how to create a fine art print from a photo, I search for "How to create a fine art print from a photo". Sure you have to read through, weed through some stuff. Some of it junk, but you do eventually come across the gem that teaches it in the way you need to learn it.

I stumbled upon florabella and while her overlays and textures are not free, she does offer quite a bit of support on her flickr site, and a community of people that are willing to help with information, advice, ideas. But her photos are just so darn gorgeous! I just have to go there about once a day and look at what she had created.

Here is my first practice photo. This photo was taken as an actual photograph of a butterfly. Then layered with various textures and overlays to achieve the dreamlike effect. I wouldn't say its easy to do, because it takes time to figure out what each overlay and texture does, how it changes the photo and different combinations do different things. But the applications are easy. I would recommend learning how to use masks, layers in Photoshop. To get the softer affect I created a duplicate layer of the photo itself, then adjusted the hue and saturation to give it a softer color. Once I applied the layers of color, texture, I went back over the butterfly with an eraser to bring the colors back out a little more. Pretty darn easy, although learning how to create the second layer and the erasing part took a little time learn. The beauty of all of this? You can always start over, take one layer off, put another one on. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mermaid Cottage Coffee

There is a blog on the web Mermaid Cottages and its really a peaceful little place to go on Tybee island somewhere in Georgia where the pace seems much slower, the residents embracing the tourists and the setting sun. The cottages offer coffee in their homes and Mermaid Cottage is looking for a name for their coffee blend! I woke up this morning and was inspired to create this label! Now you all know I am just learning Word Art, PhotoShop and all that entails, but it was so much fun seeing where my thoughts and inspiration could take me. Here is the final draft. What do you think? Go on over to Mermaid Cottage and leave a Coffee Blend Name, you might just win a free jar of Mermaid Coffee!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Having Some Fun with Word Art

So, I told you I was trying to learn to develop my own Word Art and its been a little bit of a slow process. Its much easier to buy it commercially because the cost is so low, but the only reason why buying it is easier is because my computer is so darn slow that I keep freezing and shutting down Photo shop every time I press the text button. I think if I am going to venture into the design side of photography I am going to need to invest in a better computer with more memory. Hhmmmm...another item to research! Oh well, its a continuous learning lesson this here life!

But I have something so fun to share with you! I found a site that allows you to type in your words and it randomly creates a word art picture for you. The site wordle is so much fun. I created my own story using words and I am going to print it out and frame it. Think of how much fun you could have with children! Ask them to tell you words that describe them as a person and help them spell and put the words in and the press the button and it creates a piece of art. You can play with the fonts, the colors and its so easy! I just love fun free activities. In addition you can create phrases for your photos, coffee mugs, stationary. The possibilities are endless, but I just loved the way it took my words about me and created art. Give it a try and please post a link to your art so we can learn more about you. To get started with this one, I used my blog profile. Once I got the hang of it, I copied the words before I pushed the button to create, just in case I got something wrong and wanted to try again. I wanted my name to be more prominent, so I finally figured out what words were bigger and swapped them with one another. I hope you have some fun with this!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Frustrating Photos

Okay, I went out this past Friday (I had the day off) and headed over to a reserve at 8:00am to capture some shots of the Eagles they just let loose from rehabilitation. The day was perfect, it was very early in the morning, and not a soul was in site. The lake was calm and everything was coming to life. Butterflies, geese, birds, dragonflys, eagles, osprey, blue heron. I was in wildlife heaven, shooting photo after photo, after photo. Two hours later I headed home with some beautiful shots. You could see birds preparing to descent to catch fish, an osprey grabbing a fish from the water, a blue heron skimming the lake inches about the water. It was amazing and I was so proud that I had captured it all on film.

Coming home I was so excited, and tired. But I immediately began to download my shots. Photo after photo was blurry, out of focus. I was so upset and so frustrated. I just couldn't believe it. So I began to research the problem. And in a nut shell, here is what I learned.

1) Taking good shots is going to take time, patience and study. You can't rely soley on Automatic Focus. There are too many variables when it comes to capturing movement. In fact, there are three things that come in to play: Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. I could go into detail about it, but I recommend that you head over to this site: digital photography school read up! They are a wealth of information. They give good tips on all sorts of subjects. Photography at night, photographing kids, photography for children...and more.

2) Blurry photos can be fixed. I found this plug in FOCUS MAGIC that works as a plug in with Photoshop elements and while it looks easy, my first day of practicing its use was a little daunting. I will post more on it as I practice. It costs $45 so seemed reasonable enough. They let you have 8 free edits to try before you buy, but since I didn't read the instructions prior to trying, I didn't have much success. I broke down and registered for it, so I now have alot of practice time. I will keep you posted.

The great thing about Digital photography is that you can keep going back and taking more pictures and trying again. Its frustrating when you think you got the perfect shot, and you want to see it, frame it, send it out to all your friends!

As you can see, they are quite blurry, but they are very clear in my mind. Here's the thing, no matter how many times I go back and take that picture it will never come out right if I don't take the time to slow down, learn something new, and take a few risks.

And with digital, I can do it again, and again and again! Wish me luck! If I master the blurry corrections on these photos, I will post them to show you the differences. Are you learning something new? If so, please share it with us. This is what its all about!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Practice, Practice...

I have been practicing and this week has been about adding digital word art to photos. I have found so many sites that allow use of their digital word art for personal use. This is great as I create photo and note cards for friends and family but a little limiting for those cards and photos I want to create for my own cottage business. The rules for commercial use are very difficult to find and when you do, they aren't always so clear. So for me, if you are planning to sell it, make your own digital word art. I am going to tackle that challenge next week. I am pretty sure its rather easy, using different fonts, you create a layer for each word, or set of words is how I think it would work. This would allow you to create depth, change font sizes, change font color. weave fonts into one another.

In any event, here are some really interesting sites that I think you might find fun to work with in developing your own photos. Be careful and make sure you use them for your own personal use, or get permission. In many cases, the artist or creator asks you to give them recognition for their work.

I am posting a few photos that I have created for you review. If you are looking for resources here are some. Let me know if I can help you with any other additional information.

Oh, and you can purchase all kinds of frames, masks, word art, etc. But many of these also specify they are for personal use only as well. Make sure you check.

This one is free for both personal and commercial: This site provides textures, papers and they can be used for both commercial and personal use. Read the creator's profile. I like his willingness to help others.

Here is one for fonts:

I stumbled up this site and so far all of what I find here seems to be limited to Personal use only. This woman Elegant Word Art 2 has beautiful work and again, her word art is for personal use ONLY. If you want to use it for commercial use you need to contact her directly. I haven't heard back from her regarding my request yet. Her site is well organized and categorized and there is a lot to choose from.

The interesting thing about word art is that if you aren't creating your own then you are limited by the thoughts and ideas of others. Quotes are everywhere, and its not the quote that is protected, its the style, layout and fonts used. If you are learning photoshop you will learn quickly that you can and should do this yourself so that you can create and use your own thoughts and ideas freely.

I have posted one of the new ones I have done for my family. Please link to your sites and let me see what you are creating! In this photo I used the paper texture from Lost and Taken and Bethany's word art from

Check them out!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's Fun, Challenging, Frustrating all at once...

I continue to learn in my digital photo shop class. Today's lesson involved adding layers or scratches, frames, text, color. It was so much fun and I am excited about the outcome of this photo. It was challenging because the computer sometimes locks up on me, and freezes, or I have to go back and watch the video to see what step I missed. I am learning about adding fonts to my libray, finding new sites for free layers, masks and grunge looking styles. It is so much fun. I am so proud of this creation and hope you will venture into PhotoShop and try your hand at making your photos stand out.

It can be frustrating as you learn to use the tools in PhotoShop, but patience pays off and before you know it you are moving through the program quickly and everything is coming out the way you planned. It does take practice.

I am thinking though that if I am going to take this seriously I will need a faster computer that can hold, handle, store all of my images, new images and templates. What do you think? If you use Photoshop how do you keep all your images organized? Any ideas? Suggestsions? I look forward to hearing from you.

I have posted the after and the before pictures. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First PhotoShop Lesson with Jessica Sprague

I had my first PhotoShop Lesson today with Jessica Sprague and as an on line class it was easy to navigate, easy to learn. She teaches you different techniques designed for Digital Scrapbooking, but it also is helping me learn how to improve my photos, create unique accents to the photos, size them correctly for reprints and more. This is all from a free class she is offering this month in celebration of her website/company birthday celebration.

I definitely plan to take some more classes from her but for now, I am learning quite a bit and its free! I had a question regarding setting my workstation up and downloading some files, and I sent a note to them and immediately got a response within an hour! I was truly impressed.

Why I like this class? I can take each lesson at my own pace, go back and replay the class unlimited times as I perfect my skills. Jessica really took the time to set this up for any one to learn, the audio is clear, she gives clear instructions, and is available to answer questions should you get stumped. When I choose to learn more, the classes are priced reasonably and to me, well worth the minimal expense. Here is the sample photo I designed digitally using Photoshop Elements.

Let me know what you think!! The photo above was one of the first lessons. It included cropping, applying a brush, text art, and using layers. Its not the perfect picture layout as I am just practicing, having some fun, but it certainly opens up all kinds of ideas on how to portray my photos. Anyone can do this. Its easy once you become accustomed to.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Free Photoshop Classes! Registration Begins on Monday!

Hey everyone, join me at Jessica Sprague for her 2 year Birthday Bash. She is offering free Photoshop classes, giveaways and tips from other designers all on her site. Registration begins this Monday! Don't miss out. Its a great way to get your feet wet in Photoshop and if you are a scrapbooker a great way to learn digital scrapbooking techniques. I plan to attend and take all the classes. Can't attend? Jessica Sprague offers on line courses all year round. Costs vary, but once you order the course, you own it for life and can always go back and practice what you learned. I think this is the best training on Photoshop I have ever seen! Let me know how you do and what you thing!

Registration opens this Monday for the free class Photo Editing: Frame-Ups & Special Effects. In this brand-new class, you'll soak up dozens of awesome techniques to add effects to your photos, including brushes, frames, masks, textures, blending modes, filters and more! Don't worry about the class filling up-they've got plenty of space for you and your friends. But you have to register between June 22 - 28! So spread the word with our blog badges or by tweeting, posting on Facebook or emailing your friends and family.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sharing what you Know..

Well, I said I would be taking a class on Photoshop soon, and I was so excited about it that I went a week early! The class is this Wednesday so once I have the lesson, I will be sure to let you know how it went and some of the cool things I learned. I am having trouble learning how to load pictures onto the Photoshop, I think I get confused when I am uploading from my camera. Another program called JASC keeps opening and I just get confused. Jessica Sprague is offering some free Photoshop lessons on her site at and I plan to take those classes too! The more I learn, the more practice I get right?

Which leads me to this weekend. My husband and I headed out to a National Park in our area to see what we could take photos of this week. It had rained quite heavily and so we headed to the Falls. It was a beautiful day and although kind of a long ride, we went out and spotted red tail hawks, the falls, dragon flies, birds. All kinds of fun photographs! On our way out of the park there was a crowd of people with cameras taking pictures of something on the ground. I wasn't wearing my glasses so asked a photographer what everyone was looking at. He looked at me and said "Oh its just a really interesting tree" and he walked away. I believed him. So I kept looking and looking trying to see what was so special about it, and then it moved.

There up against the trunk was the most beautiful fawn. Its mother was on the other side of the tree eating grasses and she obediently sat there waiting for her mom to return. I sat there for about 30 minutes taking shots, waiting for her to raise her head. It was such a special site. Kids walked by and I shared my binoculars so everyone could enjoy that special moment.

That to me is the point of art, nature, life. To be able to share it with others. Shame on that man for not wanting to share it with me. Perhaps he thought we would endanger the young fawn, but I suspect he was just being selfish.

This site is about sharing what you learn. About anything. Photography just happens to be my art right now, but I am learning scrapbooking, card making, jewelry design and more. I learn from books that I read, people that I meet, and places that I go. I do hope you will come on in and share a little or alot. Don't be like the man who was simply looking at a "very interesting tree". Delight in your knowledge and share it with others. There is a little kid out there who may never see a fawn in the wild who is just happening by, and you could be his entrance into understanding that the world is much bigger than the space we take up. The photos above, are of the fawn and its mother. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

PhotoShop Elements 6.0 Learning as I go...

I have come to the conclusion that I am not a patient person. Well I have been told that all my life, but I didn't believe it. Well, I sort of did, but tried pretending that I was very patient. I am actually very patient when it comes to others. Patient in traffic, patient when the person in front of me cuts me off, or doesn't go through the light, even when they are on a cell phone. Patient with children, patient with old folks. Just not patient with myself. Which is what I am so frustrated!

I have been trying to learn PhotoShop. Of course I have been trying to do it without reading the book, trying to figure it out blindly on my own. The whole thing just seems so complicated. There is so much I want to know. Questions like layering words over a photo, sizing a photo in odd sizes and then getting it to print that way, creating a collage, making my own note cards, all of it. In reality I think I want a little more than just Photoshop. I think I want to be able to design my own images and perhaps that is more than just Photoshop?

And then there is the computer. Working on a laptop with a less than reliable connection, everything takes forever, from uploading photos, to saving photos it seems to move so slow. So here is the question: What does a person need in the way of computer technology, design software, and printing? Where does a person begin if they want to learn how to create their own cards, letterhead, brochures, advertisements and more?

Is there one place you can go for all the answers? I don't know. But I intend to find out. In the meantime found a class at my local scrapbooking store that teaches digital scrapbooking using PhotoShop. The class is only $40 which to me seems reasonable and I am the only person who registered. Probably because people don't see the connection between Photoshop and Scrapbooking. The class is on Sunday, so come back and I will let you know what I learn. Hopefully the instructor will be patient with me!

I am posting a photo that I took with my new camera. Its either an egret or a heron, I am not sure. This is the photo I want to layer with text. I will let you know how it turns out!

What new thing are you learning? Are you taking photos? Developing a new skill? Please share with us!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Camera, Exercise, Turning 50 and FUN!

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...I turned 50 this month, had a reduction in my job hours, gained 30 pounds and life just wasn't looking all that rosy! And then my birthday came. My Mom decided it was important for my 50th birthday to be special and so her and My Dad bought me a new camera. When I found out I was speechless. It was an amazing gift. You see I had been using my company's digital camera to explore and practice my new found interest in nature photography. They had approved it, but after the job situation I just didn't feel the same there. I didn't feel like part of the team anymore, and just couldn't use it any longer. So it was back to the regular 35mm camera, waiting for your photos to arrive to see if you got good shots. It was different, but I would survive.

And then this wonderful gift. And you know, I started really thinking about it. It was so generous and so wonderful, but it was much more than that. It was acknowledgement. My parents saw in me what I wasn't seeing in myself. They saw my passion. Here I was at 50 with my negative voice saying "Who am I" "What am I passionate about?" Feeling down and a little unsure. And they were saying: "You are so creative, wonderful, passionate..." Well, those are what I heard!! LOL. My point is, we spend a lot of time second guessing ourselves and those that love us are showing us in so many ways how great they think we are. Maybe we just need to believe in ourselves a bit more and hang around those that think we are fabulous!

Well, as for the 30 pounds and the aching back, yesterday my husband and I took my camera on a hike and we caught so many wonderful pictures. I walked farther than I realized, the back pain is a little less painful this morning, I feel great and I have a feeling this camera is going to get me up and running again! I can't wait to get back outside today!

I am posting a picture today of a woodpecker. Its taken right outside through my screen door. Its not the best shot, but I am posting it because that is what this is all about. Learning. It could be a little clearer, it would be awesome in a tree with greenery in the background. But I live in the suburbs in a little townhouse with a small postage stamp backyard, and he was coming to the feeder, which in and of itself is a little odd because woodpeckers are typically insect eaters. Perhaps he too is having to adapt?

So, what are you learning today? What fear are you pushing through? How are you embracing the changes in your life?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Photo was featured in a Treasury on ETSY!

I am so excited. I was featured! That means alot on ETSY. What it means is that your craft item or photo is going to show up on the front page for everyone to see! That means a lot of people will be clicking on your item for sale! So, click on the link here and go see the treasury! Thanks for checking it out!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Photoshop, Classes, On Line Learning

I went to a scrap booking class the other day and ended up learning about photography. It sounds kind of obvious I guess but I had not made the connection. To me, scrap booking was paper, note cards, layouts. A pastime project. I had no idea that the photo could make the difference between an exceptional layout and a plain one. The funny thing here is that I don't do scrap booking. I do love card making, and I love photography. And it was here that I found some resources that I think will make my photo editing better. Check out the website for some very detailed, reasonably priced on line photoshop editing courses. Take some time to read her story and how she came up with these wonderful tutorials.

As I was paying my bill for all the paper, stamps I just had to have (I am sure some of it will show up at some point on my ETSY site!!) I was looking at the wall behind the counter and there was a series of photos that had been edited using Photoshop! And the photos they used were cherry blossoms. I was amazed how different they looked. If you have seen my photos in past posts you will know how many cherry blossom photos I have taken! So for $40 I am signing up for this class here. I will be going to a PhotoShop class on photo editing, in a Scrapbook Store for just $40! What a deal. I will pass along the learning once I take the class!

And then, you know how I just have to recognize other bloggers, etsy sellers that have passed along their information to help me with my business? Well, I came across a fellow ETSY photographer Laurie Ryan of LaurieRyanPhotography and had to have the picture she took of the Woodpecker feeding its babies. You have to check it out, its spectacular. Anyway, she gave me so many good ideas. Here are a few:

"I do have a few suggestions for you, retake some of the stamp images as they are blurry and the item will sell faster if its clear. For your images, don't use a watermark. What I do is greatly reduce the size and resolution before listing it, it will protect your copyright much better then a watermark. All a watermark will do is keep you out of treasury's and off the Featured Product Section, which you don't want. Watermarks can also be very easily removed with any photo editing soft ware. Cool eagle images I see you have a nesting mom near you. here is what I was told about wild bird images: The eye of the bird must be in good clear focus and the light must be reflecting off the eye so a person can see it clearly. Always keep the light at your back for that, sometimes that isn't always possible! Trust me I know that for a fact but try to keep that in mind when photographing birds and never ever use a strobe that disturbs the wild life, I never use one out in the woods. a good example of an excellent image with clear eye focus and light is your squirrel image very good job! Good luck and happy shooting, remember to always have fun when you are out with your cameras. That is the most important part." -Laurie

Isn't that enough inspiration and encouragement to keep going? Keep trying. Those helpful words are available to everyone. There are so many people on ETSY just willing to help, offer advice. Don't be afraid to ask.

She gave me many more suggestions because you know me...I Kept Asking! As I weed through the answers, check out her recommendations I will continue to post!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Selling Photography and other good things...

There is something fulfilling about determining your own destiny, believing in yourself and your abilities and being confident enough to think that somewhere out there, someone wants what you have to sell. There is something awfully humbling about listing your items for sale, seeing people visit, but not having any purchases. This is the time that those less confident give up. This is the time when I begin to do some research and take a few risks. The marketing person in me, says that in order to reach the masses you have to be more visible. Yes, we can post our offering on ETSY, and they do a fantastic job of promoting crafters, but ultimately we are responsible for our own successes. I have been reading, reading, reading how people became successful and here are a few things I have learned:

1) You have to keep listing items. Shoot for a minimum of 100 listings. Work hard at developing your key words, tagging your items, and your photos. Photos of your product have to be crisp and clean. Mine, not always so good, but I decided to work at the 100 listings first then put in better pictures. About 80% of my photos are crisp, some a little blurry, but the blurry ones are not as important to me as the photos of my photo cards and photographs.

2) Get out more. Blog, meet fellow bloggers, go to craft fairs, use your items to promote yourself. I just began sending some sample cards out to unique card shops to gauge their interest.

3) Give your buyers more. I was selling just photos and then I started to look at other shops. They sell a variety of sizes, frames, etc. Many sell photos as art at 8 x 8 and larger art prints. These can be ordered on line and I have found the price to be about $12.50 per print. I haven't done it yet, because I haven't determined which photos are these that I want to focus on. I think if I start that I would create some that could be framed as a set.

4) Find out how others are getting their products printed. I just read a huge article about VISTA Print and how they are ripping off their customers with hidden credit card fees. You can find the article on the ETSY site. I will try to link it here later. I have now switched to Overnight Printers at I will let you know how they do.

Check out my ETSY site and see the new photo cards I am offering. By Friday, I plan to have over 100 items listed.

5) I was told that listing on Friday seems to be the time when you get the most people viewing your products. I don't agree with this completely. What you get on Friday is all the people who have nothing to do on Friday nights, and spend their time shopping. Which is a good thing, but do you really think that there isn't an opportunity 7 days a week? I am trying to list at least three times a week. It keeps me consistent, develops discipline, and keeps me looking for the best shot.

What are you learning as you build your business? Please come in a talk!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Challenge Me...

It's been awhile since my last post. I have been busy travelling, finishing up some last minute projects and working on an RFP for a possible consulting job. My company just reduced my hours to part-time so I thought I might try my hand at starting up my own business. My problem is I can't make up my mind what business to start. I have been writing a children's book for some time, I have my own craft site, but can't seem to come up with my focus. I love photography, but looking at my pictures I just don't feel the WOW! These are great! Maybe I should become a Professional Photographer?? LOL.

But I do love using a camera to see the world differently. I do love working with my hands, I do love children, and I have a ton of experience in association marketing. I am a creative minded individual with a ton of misdirected potential. So what do I do? I keep taking pictures, I keep writing, I keep trying to find my niche.

I would love to hear from you. What is your passion? Did you start a business? How did you know it was really what you wanted to do?

Spring is definitely in the air. I have shared my eagle story. Well, we just spotted another nest that is going to require a hiking trip this weekend. I am just fascinated with birds. If you have bird photo or some other photography passion, please share your stories, photos here. I would love to see them. I plan to decorate my office with nature pictures of birds in the wild. I have been collecting them, and taking pictures of them for some time now.

But lately its been spring blossoms that have been drawing my attention. All kinds of blossoms in pink, purple, white, green, blue, yellow. Isn't it wonderful to watch the season change, with the first sign of spring...a daffodil, a robin, a new nest. Virginia's state flower is the Dogwood, and right now they are blooming all over the state. What is your state flower? Try to capture it in a photo. Post your state flower here. Let's see if we can get pictures of all the state flowers!

My post today is about not getting discouraged. Keep trying new things. Keep looking for unique photo opportunities. It doesn't have to be complicated. Think of something you absolutely love to look at, love to see. Challenge yourself to see how many different ways you can take a picture of that special thing, person, place, item. Once you decide on the subject you will be amazed at how many you will see, and how many different ways you will begin to see it. My ETSY site doesn't seem to be getting a lot of sales. I love the photos, but apparently they either aren't the right size, aren't the right subject, or maybe not the right colors. I don't know but I do know I am learning, and I love the process. Perhaps I need to reevaluate the shop or the items I sell. Maybe people would prefer notecards? Art prints? Maybe I need to decide if I am going to be serious about photography and perfect my skill? Or continue to try new things until I find the right match for me?

What is important, is that I am having fun doing it. I am developing a better level of discipline. Finishing what I start, and not giving up. That alone is worth the effort. I challenge you today to think beyond the sale, think beyond your limits. See what others are doing, try your hand a something new, or a little edgy. Step in some puddles, climb a muddy hill to get closer to an eagle, walk in the rain, walk on the wild side. Whatever it is, do it with passion.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Before and After Photos

I mentioned in my last post this new site called Picnik and I promised to share with you a drastic photo change I did for some of our attendees at our spring convention. The Olympic Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner was our speaker and took time out of his day to meet, autograph books and pose with our attendees. He really is a great guy! But he sweats!! And you know what that looks like on a photo. So I took the liberty of touching the photos up with the blemish fix option on the site. And it worked wonders. This site removes red-eye, whitens teeth, fixes blemishes, allows you to layer and change backgrounds and more. Its easy and fun. I have tried using Photoshop and the learning curve was just too slow for me. I still plan to master Photoshop but Picnik helps you experiment, test things out and see what is possible. It's a blast! So, hope you can see the differences. I did do some cropping on this photo as well. And removed the shine on foreheads, cheeks, noses!

Remember the sweat marks under the arm? That was erased, but then I also cropped the photo. Remember the sweat mark near the button on his shirt? GONE! Compare the sweat around the forehead, shine, etc. All gone! Too fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Picniking is so much fun!

I have to tell you, I have just been playing around on the Picnik site that I mentioned earlier and have been having so much fun! You can too at It is so worth $25.00 a year for the advanced program but even if you aren't interested in paying for it, they offer many free programs you can try. You just load up your photos and start playing. This is a photo collage option that I just had to do. Isn't it fun? Not only that I cropped these photos, adjusted the color for better saturation, sharpened the image and edited a little bug right off the photo. Some of the petals were browning a bit, so I just put some blemish repair on them. Wait until you see the photos I am going to post tomorrow. A before and after of a sweaty speaker with lots of shine and glistening. I used Picnik, and voila! All gone. Check it out tomorrow.

This weekend I went into town to see the Cherry Blossoms around the Washington DC area. I simply love them as you can see. I am sure I will be posting more photos soon, but these pictures are gorgeous! Its my favorite time during the spring season. When the wind blows, its like little pink petal tears are floating all around the city. They almost smell like cotton candy! Okay, maybe some of that is my imagination but I have to tell you its magical. Enjoy my photos, let me know your thoughts. I will be posting them on my ETSY site as photos as well as cards if you are interested.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

People Helping People...

When I started this blog I wanted it to be a place where people could come and share ideas. Where we could encourage one another. This began because when I became a member of ETSY at, I found so many people willing to share their story. How they got started, how they market their company. Many even told me how they do what they do. And then there were those that simply took the time to say a kind word, offer a word of encouragement to others. So this week, I want to introduce you to some of my friends, and their shops, their blogs.

It is so important to let people know when they have made a difference in your life. Tonight, I want you to check out an ETSY photographer who offers such unique and different photos. I have never met Erin Tyner except in email and she was so willing to share with me how she does what she does, that I just want to see her successful. And it seems she is quickly becoming that success! I believe it's because she doesn't view others as competitors. She embraces others and their creativity and encourages them by sharing her story. Her photos are so unique and different and they certainly are her own original ideas. Her willingness to share with me how she does what she does was encouragement and its that kind of response to others that I believe comes back to you 20 times greater. Take a look at Erin's site. Please tell her I sent you! She doesn't even know I am doing this, so I hope she will be pleasantly surprised! You will love the whimsy and thought provoking stories her photos inspire. You can find Erin here: Check her out! And tell her Taryn said Hi! This is one of her photos!

The second person I just recently met via on line blogging is Dani. Dani, you have made a difference in my life. You took the time to read one of my blog entries, and on a very low day, reading your comments to my post simply got me going again. I was able to put the sorry feelings away and move on. You took the time and I thank you for that. Blogging may seem easy to people but when you take the time to bare your soul and someone takes the time to realize that you are hurting it makes a difference. Your blog site is an inspiration to me and I am sure many other people. You can check out Dani's site at

Tell her I said hello! Her blog is a lot of fun and I think you will catch the inspiration bug just by visiting her site!

Don't under estimate the power of social networking. Keeping in touch with your family and friends, meeting people from around the world is expanding your universe and making a difference in the world one person at a time. Take the time to make someones day.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hawaii, my Home.

I recently took a trip back home to Hawaii and spent a full day travelling the island, swimming in the ocean, breathing in the salt air, and wondering could I live here for good? Pack up my bags, convince my husband to move, and take the risks that go along with that thought? Was it Hawaii calling or was it the thought of starting anew? I am drawn to the ocean. You can't step off the plane in Hawaii without breathing in the tropics. No matter where I have travelled, and I have travelled extensively, there just isn't a place on earth like Hawaii for me.

I recognize that some of the enticement comes from that place in your mind when you are on vacation. Every day you have nothing to do, every day is your day to spend the way you want it. Reality creeps in on about the second week, when you have to go back to work, have to make a paycheck. But for those two weeks its heaven. Couldn't every day be like that you ask? Can it?

I was recently in a chat room and asked the question: What does it take to "Make a Living?" I just took a 35% pay cut in my job, my hours are being reduced to 20 hours a week. I would have thought I would be angry, hurt, and in a hurry to rush and get that next full time job. But I am an not. I want to know what it means to be "Making a Living" through my own actions, my own creativity.

Which brings me to my dilemma. I have an idea for a children's book. Should I do it? Should I not? How would you approach it? I am fearful of what it would require as it seems that I have little knowledge about layout, design, photoshop, etc. I know that for it to be successful I will have to do it myself because otherwise the item becomes to price heavy.

What would you do?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Learning Photography

I have always viewed myself as a dabbler in just about everything. I latch onto new ideas, projects, crafts like challenges calling out to me. I have found though that I love photography. But I am not a patient photographer. I want to take pictures fast and furious in hopes of getting one good shot. I don't read the instruction manual, haven't tried to understand the modes, knobs, switches etc. Recently I began using a Canon Digital SLR camera with a zoom lense. I have used it to take all the eagle photos, flower photos you see here, and I just love the way it feels in my hand. I posted many of my photos on ETSY (No sales yet by the way) and I have played around with the images.

But recently I have started comparing my photos to others and I have been frustrated with the lack of sharpness in my photos. I had thought my photos were amazing, but when put up against a fine photograph I could see some improvements needed to be made.

So, I purchased a book on the Canon Rebel and began to read. It is amazing what I am learning about the camera, how to look at shots, how to adjust exposure, why you adjust exposure and more. I can't emphasize enough the importance of learning the art of photography. Many of us don't have the time to take a class, and many can't afford it, but the library and book stores have so many "How to Books" that can help you master any skill. The next time I go out in search of the perfect photo I will be better equipped to take my time to get the right shot.

I am not reading it front to back in a fort night, but taking one chapter at a time, slowly absorbing the information and applying it as I go. I feel comfortable now with all the bells and whistles, and have learned a few things that I am can improve on to get better photos.

I think my next step will be a class as it will give me the chance to perfect what I am learning. For now I will be an amrchair adventurer in the area of photography.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fun with Photos and Nephews! You too can be an author!

I have five nephews and every time I spend time with them I just want to capture every moment, every cute word they say. This year I decided to try and write some personal stories for each of them and publish a book. My first book was written for my three Moseley nephews. I wrote a cute simple little story about them becoming super heros and listening to their parents, keeping their rooms clean, etc. I then went on ETSY and listed a request for a an illustrator to draw the pictures for a book. That was a lesson in and of it self, and while the outcome was awesome, contact me if you want to go this route as I learned alot and can offer you some tips on making it a success. My challenge was the time frame, payment terms, artist ego, etc. I also learned that I had my own image of the illustrations in mind, and if you hire an artist, they also have their own image. If you want to see the end result, you can view it here at Just search for a book called the "Amazing Wonder Kids". You can view a number of the pages. I think you will find its a personal story, its rustic, but it was so much fun to do, and the end result was a book that will be treasured forever by three nephews who have their names and stories captured in the book. I printed three books and that plus the illustrator cost me about $200. Not bad for a Christmas present.
My second book was for my nephew Dylan who is fascinated by wild animals. One day he was talking to me about wild animals and wanted me to tell him stories about each one. We sat and I made up stories about each animal and Dylan. Silly stories, nothing mind shattering or difficult to write, just simple short stories. I then put another request on the ETSY alchemy site looking for someone to help me layer photos of Dylan with photos of wild animals. You can see from the pictures how much fun they are! Just imagine the stories you can create! The result was so much fun. I wrote one page short stories, and made a photo book that I printed in Snapfish. The cost for all of this? I think all in all I spent $72 for the photos, I wrote the story, and to print the book I ordered a hardcover copy for $24.99. Can it be done cheaper? Well, I suspect layering photos is a skill that can be learned, but I hired someone who already knew how to do it. The book, if you have book binding skills could probably also be made for less. That just wasn't the route I chose to take. But I have to tell you, with technology the way it is today, I think there is no better book than one that is written about you, for you! To get in touch with my photography layering guru, check out Tell her I sent you. Dana was fun to work with, she listened to my ideas, oh, and by the way, she created my banner ad for this blog!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Live Life to Your Fullest. Dare to Be.

A dear friend of mine, Norma shared this poem with me a few weeks ago when I was being challenged in all aspects of my life, and wasn't sure how to deal with it all. I was overwhelmed with it all and in our prayer time, she suggested I take some down time and just read this poem, perhaps once, maybe twice and let it just sink in. And so I did. I have to say it changed my outlook and God really spoke to me through this poem. I want to share it with anyone listening, because I think if we all began to pay attention to what its saying we could change the world. Even if its just our own little part of it. I hope you enjoy it. Would love to get a discussion going on it, so please post your thoughts and let everyone know what you took from it!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you NOT to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightening about shrinking
so that other people don't feel insecure around you.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our own Light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

Author unknown

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Learning with ETSY

Recently I opened a shop on ETSY. I wanted to try my hand at selling crafts, photographs, etc. so decided to give it a try. Its actually very easy but where I got stuck was in the loading of photos. I immediately went over to the ETSY chat rooms and sent a question out to the group. I was having trouble with blurry photos in the listing. I asked if anyone had any recommendations for how to correct this. I learned that photos have to be saved at a certain size. When you take pictures with a digital camera they aren't always taken at a level satisfactory for posting and in addition when you use a higher resolution camera sometimes the photos can be too large. To fix the problem you need to utilize software that allows you to enlarge or reduce the photo. This of course was all new to me. I have PhotoShop Software but didn't really know how to use it. I asked for recommendations and was immediately directed to this fantastic site! I highly recommend you check out Picnik: photo editing awesomenessIts so easy to use and so much fun. I have played around with my pictures with this new site as well. Just look at the little spring geese I have made for cards and photos. I also recommend you upgrade for the cost of $24.95 a year so you can take advantage of all the features. If you are new to photography and want to have some fun creating and improving in the process, then this is the place to go. You simply upload the photo you want to correct, adjust or fit, and you are on your way. You can't harm the photo, as you keep the original on your desk top. Just make sure to change the title when you save it. I tried all the special effects, all the cropping, all the text (this can be used to add text (watermark) to protect your photo rights). If you sign up for the program please tell them you heard about it on the Born Barefoot Blog!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eagles Building a Nest

This morning I drove down the parkway in anticipation of what I would see next. I left for work early in the event that I could get out of the car, walk down toward the trees near the nesting area and snap away at pictures! And I did. They were actively flying and building their nest. It's amazing to watch them maneuver huge sticks into the building of a nest. Did you know that Eagles mate for life and return to the same nest each year sometimes building it as big as 10ft wide? As you can see, they were all over the place.

You can't tell from this photo, but this nest is across the street from the Potomac river. There is plenty of good fishing there for hungry eagles. I learned the other day that roughly 50% of an eagles offspring do not survive. I haven't found out why, but I think that is an interesting statistic. If anyone knows that answer please post a comment! Here are a few more photos of the eagle activity in Alexandria!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Eagles have Landed

I wasn't lieing when I told you I am fasciniated with this pair of eagles. Each day I look over at the nest as if to say "hello, over there, what's going on?" This morning they were active! Searching for sticks and bringing them back to the nest. I caught this one in flight. Isn't it magnificent. Its one thing to see an eagle picture in a magazine, its a totally different thing to capture the moment yourself. If you want to see the series, log on to my Etsy site at It was a cloudy overcast day when I shot this photo but the effect makes it look almost as if the eagle was layered onto a background. I have been playhing with it trying to add a blue sky as a background. I will share my success later!

Spring is Here!

I carry my camera with me everywhere and watch as I drive along the Parkway to see where the serious photographers are pointing their cameras. Imagine my giddy surprise and delight when "I" the Photographer wannabe, with a camera half the size came across a professional photographer and his camera pointed high in the trees! Snapping away at a Bald Eagle. I immediately did a turn around and headed to the parking lot, grabbing my camera and "Click, click, click" I had my photo! Now to get home and Zoom it in the hopes of getting a photo worth bragging about. I think its pretty good, what do you think? Its a little blurry, but he was quite far away.
I am just amazed by these large birds. For me its a symbol of hope and survival at a time in the world where things are portrayed as so grim. Hope you enjoy it.