Sunday, January 27, 2013

A little more Playtime... Schedule it in!

So - in the midst of a super busy week - with both expected and unexpected craziness - I was reminded once again that in order to remain fully present in the moment, you need to STAY!  Breath slower... look around and drink it in. Good and Bad... just slow it down to catch your breath!

Part of how I do that is to schedule in some playtime! Even when I feel I have little time to think straight, inhale/exhale, or even sleep - just a few minutes of Me Time can, in fact, give me more time!

While I would have LOVED time to paint... or go out for a few hours to play with my new found knowledge of shooting only on Manual... I will take what I can get and I see each time that it makes a difference!

So this week I managed to take a few photo's inside (while it was freezing temps outside!) and my hubby braced that freezing cold and ventured down by the river and I got to play around with some of his shots.  I also managed to help my girlie with a school project that required hours and hours of PhotoShop 'work'!

Here are a few samples of my Me Time/Playtime from this week:

What about you?  What do you do for Me Time?  What sort of playtime/hobby do you do even when you are busy and it feels like you shouldn't?  I'd love to hear!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stacking Stones - a Challenge to savor your Story

I am leading a small group on Tuesdays and we are getting our socks blessed off by watching the 5 session DVD series by Ann Voskamp based on her 'one thousand gifts' book.  I highly recommend both the book and the DVDs!  For our 'in between' homework this week, Ann writes about the tradition that the Israeli people have of stacking stones as a memorial. These memorials help to remind them of the great things that God has done!  It is a physical reminder that opens opportunity to share of God's goodness with your children, your friends, your neighbors.  

Of course - as a Scrapbooker and Photographer  (both personally, and professionally!) it is my honor to capture and commemorate memories and history and stories that are then passed down to the generations to come.  I am all about this! I LOVE love love to look back through old scrapbooks and relive family vacations, seasons of old, and remember what life was like... what God was doing... what we were feeling - in those moments! I also love to create these keepsakes for clients in both portraits and books.

Ann goes on to challenge us to take time to identify a few ways that we could stack stones; that we could remember... "This can happen in many shapes and forms: scrapbooks, a collective family journal left out on a side table to doodle in and record memories, a slide show of a family vacation on a computer screen... pictures on a wall, a blog post, one photo a day, and so on." (Study Guide, one thousand gifts, pp37 )

As I read this portion of 'in between'... I immediately remembered a photograph I took on Thanksgiving Day! We have a tradition of going for a hike or a walk as a family - before all the glorious madness of cooking and setting tables and guests arriving making the house full... and on our journey, we came across this:

A Stack of Rocks... 

Stones, stacked high... balancing just so... and oh, how I want this to be said of my life.  That I stretched tall - against odds sometimes - to give Glory to God!

So this week, my plan is to stack stones by making a new slide show for my computer... as well as inviting the family to each write in my journal a story from our life that reminds them of the goodness of God! After all - I journal for ME... but my intent is to leave them for my daughter so that she can drink in my Stacking Stones... the stories and conversations and prayers that I have had with the Lord through all of her growing years.

What about you? Did anything on that list stand out to you or did you think of something different you could add that sounds fun... that will encourage you to stack stones too?

I'd love to hear!


P.S.  I am linking up with Jennifer over at Studio JRU today for her "it's a small world" blog hop!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Less Photo's + More Writing = Little time for Scrapbooking

So... true confessions here:  I have only held my camera in my hands for a few short moments since my class on Saturday! I kept it on Manual though... played with settings... took a few pictures of fresh snow falling out over a busy street scene.  Nothing truly inspired... just practice.  Which I know will take lots of not... instead of a moment here and a moment there! The #1 Tip given to new photographers is usually to take photographs!  This - I will purpose to remind myself in the coming week! Inside... outside... I WILL turn the camera on and compose some shots!

One of the main reasons however that I did not venture out to play with my new found knowledge of shutter speeds and aperture settings is that I have been busy writing.  One of my other passions and goals I am focusing on this year.  So - I have decided to 'put myself out there' a bit more and have been able to write Guest Posts for 4 different blogs so far this year. In addition to that, I am trying to write consistently on my own blog (that is not this one...) but I don't want to neglect my little space here either!  Ideally - this blog was created to show off my crafty side... my photography and scrapbook and card making... this week, I have made little time for any of that!

This afternoon I hope to at least draw a stick figure or two and play with some watercolors... just something to break up all this sitting in front of my monitor! I also have hopes in working on some more Digital Layouts this weekend!

What about you... what have YOU been working on lately?

Do any of you have any fun Valentiney projects in mind? I am needing some serious inspiration!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Photography Class & Overcoming Intimidation!

I have been passionate about photography since I was given a nice camera for my Sweet 16 and dove into learning how to use it.  It was pretty 'fancy' at the time and came with a nice little 'program' feature that my high school photography teacher LOATHED! He warned me, I will tell you that!  He taught Aperture and Shutter Speed, the importance of ISO (relating to what kind of FILM to buy... yes, I said FILM! I am old enough that that was our only option!)... we learned how to develop in a dark room and all about composition and light. It was a great course and I learned enough to pass the class and love my camera and fall into the bad habit of using the programmed settings soon after.  

This means that for the majority of my photo taking life, even when I played around a bit and especially when I moved on from film to digital and now DSLR... I spend the majority of my time parked in Guess mode... (Auto or Portrait or if I was feeling bold, Aperture Priority!) 

Over the past few years, my passion has returned and God it seems has opened up doors for me to consider Photography on a more professional level. I love this... I love interacting with clients.  I love creating beauty and finding new angles or locations or coming up with a new idea for a session.  However, as my excitement grew... I began to feel a little like a fraud.  I was hesitant to step into the title of Professional Photographer because... well - 1) because I am not, and 2) because those who are, would 'find me out'!

Then, I was invited to join a local Photography group online.  I was honored, and humbled, and loved just sort of stalking the pros and watching what they posted and gleaning insight from what they would share.  Every ONCE in awhile, I would be bold and post something.  They are nice bunch... very friendly and not at all smug or competitive.  Still - I felt a bit intimidated, so I lurked on.  

Just as I had decided that if I was going to continue with this line of work... if I was in fact going to go from Hobby to Job, I would definitely need to get over my shortcomings and that would have to start with admitting what I did not know!  At the same time, on this photographers group, someone posted an upcoming class for Basic Photography.  They said it was for beginner photographers and would go over the basics (all mentioned above!)  I had already decided that with each 'paying gig' - I would take half of the profit and sow it back into this passion... so when I got paid and saw that this would cover the price of the class - I quickly signed up! It was put on by Memory Montage Photography and it was a fun and super informative class - well worth the investment!

Their biggest challenge - that started IMMEDIATELY - was to never EVER move the setting on your camera off of Manual.  Never.  Ever.  Their encouragement? "Be ready to take some really horrible pictures.  It will take some time, but eventually you will get the hang of it and your photography will greatly improve!"  (Gee... thanks!)

We {re}learned about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. and they made us play around with it and change settings and find what was right - or at least close(r) to right... then they took us outside and we got to play with a model and put what we (sort of) learned into use right away!  So - here is me, being all transparent and vulnerable... showing some random shots from class time as well as some of my shots from our hands on training!

Our gorgeous model and fellow Photographer (Yes... a 'real' one!) was such a great sport!
It was FREEZING cold outside... but she was a trooper!


The thing that surprised me most of all:  How quickly and easily I got intimidated! It floored me... and I found myself withdrawing... being quiet and simply observing instead of fully participating!  It seemed that I was surrounded  by pros... with REALLY nice cameras and it felt like I was the only one who didn't already shoot on Manual all the time!  I was disappointed in myself ...I was surprised! (Ha - my OneWord for this year!)  I KNOW that that was not true... others were struggling too... but even if they weren't - I let myself get intimidated and I missed out on some hands on training... after all, I paid to be there, and if I was actually surrounded by Pro's - I should have taken advantage of that!

I am determined to not only be comfortable in who I am here - online - but also anywhere, in real life!   I am now looking for the next time I am tempted to shrink back... and praying that I remember that it is not a bad thing to admit that I don't know it all.  Because, in fact, I do not!!! No matter what the topic... I can learn from you and you can learn from me and it would do me good to remember that!

What scenarios do you find yourself intimidated by? Please tell me I am not alone!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Some Digi fun... playing Catch Up!

Happy New Year!  Last year, at this time... I was ALL done with our 2011 Family Album!  It was crazy fast - even for me... a rare Scrapper who is almost always 'all caught up'!  However, 2012 unfolded in unexpected ways and I picked up several other hobbies (photography, painting, back to writing, yoga, just to mention a few!) so this year, at this time - I am scrapping June!

Still, I have loved pulling out photo's from WARMER days, and playing with digital kits and layering... here is a little of what I have been doing:

What are YOU working on?  Any plans for Valentine Crafting? If so - I'd LOVE to hear what you are making! Anything super fun that you have discovered on Pinterest lately?  Comment below and share the wealth!

Scrap Happy!

I am linking up with Jennifer over at Studio JRU for her Creative Link party to show what various Artists have been working on this week!