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 http://www.lulu.com/. 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 www.etsy.com/alchemy 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 http://www.lilybeandesigns.etsy.com/ 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 http://www.picnik.com/. 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 www.sowingoats.etsy.com. 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.