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Day 132 of 365: TIPS on how to photograph flowers!

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Day 132: Tips on how to shoot flowers! One of my all time favorite subjects are flowers. They are so colorful and put a smile on my face, especially in the winter when I am starved for color! Here are some easy tips on how to best photograph flowers!

  • Get down on their level to shoot them.
  • Get as close to them as you can.
  • Shoot a part of a flower, may have to use manual focus.
  • Strive for good composition, place the center of the flower using the Rule of Thirds.
  • Use the Rule of Odds, in a group shoot an odd number of them, not even.
  • Use selective focus.
  • Use a wide open aperture in natural light, set vase in window, and make that great bokeh happen!
  • When outside, lay on the ground and shoot them at their level.

Hope this helps! Get out and shoot some colorful flowers today as they start to emerge from the soil!

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Day 118 of 365: Art Quote of the Day

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Day 118: Here is an “Art” quote for your day by Pablo Picasso, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” This quote rings true for me!

Think of it, art is so liberating! My art is mainly photography, but the framed piece above is one that I did in soft pastels from one of my photographs. Whether it is pastels or photographs, art feeds my soul! When I have a camera in my hand or around my neck in an image worthy environment, I can get lost for hours framing and capturing my view of this beautiful world.

All sense of time goes out the window, it is like I am in a different world. A world away from the chaos, stress and “dust” of daily life. I believe that my passion is my art in its various forms. The definition of passion is an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. I believe that everyone should have a passion. Something that fulfills, enriches and recharges you.

What is your passion? What washes the “dust of daily life off of your soul?”

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Day 115 of 365: We are hard on ourselves!

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Day 115: We are hard on ourselves aren’t we? I am sharing a quote from Thomas a Kempis that sums this up, “Who has a harder fight than he who is striving to overcome himself.”

A truer statement has not been said! I know in my case, I beat myself up all the time! I had a show a few weeks ago and did not sell a single thing! I felt so dejected! I kept asking myself, “what did I do?” I actively engage with those that enter my booth and establish a rapport with them and no one buys anything. I would like to say that those people that I encountered were not my target market.

This weekend was an example of this happening all over again, except it did not happen to me, because I was not showing my work. It did happen to some of my dear friends however. I feel their pain and have been there more times than I want to admit! The moral of this artist’s story is NOT to give up! At this point in my photographic art career I am not willing to give up and I sincerely hope that my artist friends do not think, for a second, about quitting! The quote from Winston Churchill is my inspiration, “Never never never give up.” This same message has been in my dear Dad’s room in the nursing home ever since his strokes, given to him by my dear sister. It is a powerful message and all of us should take this to heart!

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Day 111 of 365: Flowers

iris up close and personal
Irises up close and personal

Day 111: Flowers! One of my all time favorite things! I want to share a quote by Jean Giraudoux about the flower,”The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”

The flower is one of God’s most beautiful creations. They are visually stimulating, attractive and enticing. These are words that describe seductiveness. The lines, shapes, and smells of a flower can be compared to a female for example. Just like a man is attracted to a woman, the bee is attracted to the flower albeit for different reasons. With the coming of spring comes the unveiling of nature’s flowers in all their glory.

Flowers are very poetic, as they are so expressive and evoke feelings in us that are strong and intense. Some synonymous words include elegant, artistic, symbolic and beautiful. Take the rose for instance, it is considered a symbol of balance. The beauty of a rose expresses hope, promise and new beginnings. The many colors of roses each signify something different. Yellow roses symbolize joy and mature love, while the red rose is the traditional symbol for love and romance. The white rose is the traditional wedding flower, a symbol of purity, innocence and true love.

My favorite flower is the sunflower or helianthus. The sunflower is stunningly beautiful. They are rich in meaning. They symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. Their meaning is derived from its namesake, the sun. To me they are the happiest of flowers as they always face the sun and have big beautiful faces.

I could go on and on about flowers, but I won’t. What is your favorite flower and why? How do you feel when you see flowers?

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Day 108 of 365: Walking with Nature

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Day 108: Walking with nature has so many benefits! Here is a quote from John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.” I find this to be true every time I go walking. Here are some benefits of walking everyday:

  1. Improves your waistline
  2. Improves your hearth health
  3. Reduces arthritis pain
  4. Improves your attitude and boosts your mood
  5. Can lower your blood pressure
  6. Improves your balance and coordination
  7. Reduces body fat
  8. Reduces stress, check out my blog yesterday on how to decrease stress.
  9. Strengthens your bones
  10. Good for your brain
  11. Boosts your immunity
  12. Gives you time to think and sort things out
  13. Helps you sleep better at night
  14. Helps you appreciate the beauty of nature
  15. Allows you to go out and take pictures at the same time

There are more but those are the biggies! All these benefits can happen for you with just 20 minutes of walking a day:) Even if you can’t walk in nature, but have to walk in the city you can still enjoy most of these benefits! Do yourself a favor and go for a walk!

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Day 107 of 365: How to Decrease Stress

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Day 107: How to decrease stress! We are living in a more stressful world than ever before. It is important to know how to decrease it. Here is my list of things you can do to decrease your stress during the day:

  1. Get outside, take a walk and breathe the fresh air! My favorite. Sunshine is a good mood elevator and is a good source of Vitamin D.
  2. Visit your favorite coffee shop, boutique or bakery.
  3. Go to the gym and workout. It is good to work off some frustration with exercise!
  4. Play your favorite song and hit repeat.
  5. Call a good friend or close family member.
  6. Find a quiet place to just sit or meditate.
  7. Go for a drive in the country.
  8. Curl up with a good book.
  9. Take a short nap to reset and recharge.
  10. Write down what is on your mind and how you are feeling.

Those are some of the things that I do to de-stress! What do you do to decrease your stress? The sun is out here and I am going to take advantage of it and go for a walk with my camera! Hope you have a low stress day!

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Day 105 of 365: Success and Failure

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Day 105: SUCCESS AND FAILURE! I am sharing a quote today from BrainyQuote that reads, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” by Winston Churchill. I love this photo, even though I did not shoot it, because it describes what I feel success is.

Success is like reaching that summit. Life is full of “reaching summits” of success and “landing in pits” of failure. If we keep this in mind and do not quit while we are in those “pits” and keep plugging away each day we can look forward to more “reaching summit” days!

As the quote says success is not final, so we are not to assume that once we have achieved success that we can sit back and watch things happen. It takes constant work every day. This reminds me of the race between the turtle and the hare. In this race the hare is fast, cocky and assumes he will win, so he wastes time and loafs around during the race. While the turtle is steady and slow but keeps plugging along during the race and ultimately wins!

When we think about failure, we think we have lost. We have not lost, we have just suffered a setback. Remember that failure is not fatal, so that means we are still alive, still in the game. I think that failure becomes an opportunity for us to learn what it is that did not work and to not do it again. Through preparation, hard work and determination we are equipped to conquer the next summit.

We need to be armed with the courage to continue just like that turtle in the race, with steadiness, persistence and stubbornness if we are to have any chance of success!

So the moral of the story is that steady and slow really can win the race and to never never never give up!

I would love to hear your stories of success and failure. What is your story?

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Day 104: Critique of a photo!

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Day 104: Today I am going to critique my own photo! This is a photo shot from a bridge a few days ago with my 85mm f1.8 Nikon lens. We are still in the throws of winter here, unfortunately! I am so ready for spring! At the University of Alaska Anchorage I took film and digital photography courses. In both courses we showed our work and the class was to critique our work, both positive and negative. I am going to critique this photo as I would have in class, except it will be of my own work.

  1. Composition is good as it is layered, interesting and the different layers are divided into thirds, which lends itself to the Rule of Thirds.
  2. I could have cropped the dark colored area on the upper right side of the image, one’s eye is drawn to that and thus slightly distracting.
  3. The different textures in this photo make this image more interesting.
  4. The fact that this image is monochromatic showcases the texture better than if it were in color.
  5. The white vertical strip of ice is eye catching and is slightly off center and helps to draw the eye into the image.
  6. There is good contrast in this image.
  7. There is good sharpness in this image, which causes the eye to look closer at it.

I would really like to hear your comments about this abstract monochromatic image! Good or bad.

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Day 103 of 365: 5 of my biggest pet peeves!

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Day 103: 5 of my biggest pet peeves! Now I know everyone has pet peeves! Here is my list of pet peeves:

  1. My spouse not replacing the toilet paper roll or not putting the seat down.
  2. People who do not close their mouths when they chew.
  3. People who can’t put their cell phones down when they are out to dinner with someone else.
  4. People who pollute.
  5. People who turn into your lane and nearly clip your bumper when there are miles of road ahead of them.

Thank goodness I don’t have a bunch of them or else I would be “crazy” all the time! What are some of your pet peeves?

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Day 101 of 365: Gratitude

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Day 101: I am talking about gratitude today! For those of you that have been following my blog, and I love you for that, you know that I have just taken on a new business venture. That venture is an art printing service. Since I made that commitment and announcement 3 days ago, I have made connections with 3 different artists that want to utilize my business. It is AWESOME! I had one artist tell me that I am going to be very busy and I take that comment to heart and HOPE that I am busy!!! I told him that I want to be the “artist friendly” art printer person!

I am grateful that this COULD be my niche! Everyone needs to have a purpose and to feel useful. I feel that this is that avenue for me. As a photographer who has been struggling to make a sustainable living at it, I was in search of a way to support my LOVE of photography. I really want to buy a nice macro lens and cannot afford it right now, unfortunately! After my recent purchase of a large format printer, affectionately called “the Beast,” I saw an opportunity to not just use it for my own purposes, but to turn it into a money making venture, so I did! I could not be more grateful for this opportunity!

There is a website that I go to often for inspiring quotes, BrainyQuote.com. I found a great quote about art and gratitude written by Friedrich Nietzsche that says, “The essence of all beautiful art, is gratitude.” I believe that as an artist and a photographer, I actively look for beautiful light in our landscape in order to capture and preserve an image for posterity. This has become my passion, it feeds my soul and for this I am grateful! I am also grateful that I have been given this art printing opportunity in an effort to help other artists make their art.

What are you grateful for? Let me know!

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