These past couple of weeks, I decided to challenge myself.
My daughter is currently in softball. I have created many collages for clients, but I have never created a collage of a team. So during recent games, I took time to capture images of all of the girls on the team.
Each collage I create is an individual work of art, I’m never quite sure what the final product is going to look like until I start playing on the computer and manipulating the images. I was pleased with how this came together. I think the softball girls were happy with this poster, too!
I was playing around in the studio this week with my Nikon camera. This is my first attempt, admitted rough, at light painting. I took a class a couple of weeks ago in Pennsylvania on this topic. The lighting in this image is done with an led flashlight, a led panel, and modifiers. Then pieces of individually lit areas are put together in photoshop. I picked a rather difficult first object to paint with light. There isn’t a lot of character to the shape of this camera and metal is hard to use this technique on, especially for a beginner. I wanted see what I could do with this camera for sentimental reasons. It belonged to my Grandma. In fact, it still has some long, lost film inside. I don’t know how to access it and I don’t want to break the camera body. This technique is new to me and I am making a few goofs, but I am giving it a try. Anxious to see how my next subject turns out!
This last year was a trying year for our son, and in turn, a trying year for his parents.
Our son was born to run!
Our son’s senior year of high school was difficult for this runner. The fall brought a bleeding ulcer during the cross country season. While he recovered toward the end of the season, he never got back to 100% before the season ended. During track season the following spring, he suffered an ankle injury which, despite physical therapy, did not seem to heal completely.
He went to UNI on a running scholarship in the fall of 2015. He would run, and then his ankle injury would flare up again. After 3 MRI’s in his freshman year of college, physicians in Iowa City discovered the cause of his problems – a torn tendon, an extra tendon, and bone spurs. He had ankle surgery in May of 2016.
Here we are today. He is running again! He is running his heart out! He is working to make up lost time. His distance medley team just got 3rd place in his conference. We are so looking forward to continue watching him pursue his academic and athletic dreams!
In our home, there has been 4 seasons for many years – track, softball, cross country, and basketball.
Tonight was the end of a great girl’s basketball season at Algona High School. Our girls had an amazing year and have much to be proud of! They worked extremely hard and played as a team with a 18 and 5 overall record. Congratulations on a great season!
Now we are on to track season…..
This month, I received an honor with Professional Photographers of America that, once upon a time, I never dreamed of accomplishing. I received my Master of Photography degree. This degree is awarded for superior photographic skills—demonstrated through photographic competition, advanced education and service to the industry. I honestly pursued this goal just to see if I could do it, it became my Everest. I also received a Bronze photographer of the year award for meriting with all 4 of my competition entries and one of these being admitted into the Loan Collection. Now that I have accomplished this goal, it is time for me to purse some new personal and professional goals. I have a couple of ideas, but I will keep you posted.
I apologize for not keeping up on my blog.
This has been a year of many changes in my life, one of these being the loss of my father. And frankly, I haven’t really been myself since his passing. I am working very hard to try to get back to feeling like myself again. Of course, maybe we never really feel the same again, but rather try to move on the best we can with our new normal.
I remember the day I took this image. This was a portrait of both my mom and dad together. It was in January of 2011, six years ago now. Dad very much wanted me to take a picture of him and my mom. Both of my parents were healthy and it was a great time to capture them. Little did I know at that time, that this picture would also serve as my Dad’s obituary picture a mere 5 1/2 years later.
None of us knows how much time we have left. Dad wasn’t ready to go when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 73 in September 2015. He had a lot of plans for traveling adventures and enjoy his and Mom’s golden years. Cancer treatment did not fit into his future. He was scared, yet he took on this challenge. He was so happy when an MRI indicated that the cancer was gone following his surgery and chemo treatments. Pancreatic cancer is sneaky, though, and it grew in spite of treatments. He passed peacefully with my mom and siblings by his side this past July.
I am still grieving.
I haven’t disappeared with my photography business, but merely needed to take a step back these last several months.
Thank you, friends, for giving me the opportunity to heal these last months.
I have spent the last couple of weeks reading the book “Choose Joy” by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. Sara was from our town of Algona, IA. Sara suffered from a rare autoimmune disease which caused her severe physical pain. Eventually, she was completely home-bound and passed away at the age of 38. I have been reading this book slowly, one chapter at a time and really digesting what Sara had to share. I have also been taking the time to write down 3 things which have brought me joy at the end of each day, or a gratitude journal. The last few days, I have not felt very well – most likely coming down with some sort of virus. I have found it harder throughout the day and at the end of the day to find something to be joyful about when my body is causing me physical pain. I am struck right now, even more than before, how incredible Sara was to choose joy when her body was causing her severe, searing, take-your-breath-away pain. The overall body aches I am currently experiencing are nothing compared to Sara’s pain. As I read last night, the part that really struck me was how Sara said that the operative word in “choose joy” was not joy, it was choose. My hope by the end of reading this book, is to come to further peace about the future, to put my complete trust in God’s infinite wisdom, to realize that my ability to try to control my own life is an illusion – God controls all. As I literally ache today, I praise God for Sara’s insight and wisdom.
The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity and quite emotional, too. Our son just graduated from high school in May. In addition to planning a graduation party, we had Drake Relays, many track meets, including State Track Meet, Baccalaureate, senior awards presentations, and of course commencement. We had prom in April, choir concerts, graduations celebrations for many of my son’s friends and classmates… It was a year of the last this and the final that, which has left me many times in tears. Life is supposed to be this way. We prepare our children to try to make the right decisions, to think critically, to behave with knowledge of the consequences of their actions, to be kind to others, to have a sense of compassion… This is the way it is meant to be and I believe my husband and I have not been perfect, but have certainly done the best job that we can. Our family changing from what we have grown accustomed to over the past 19 years. It is hard, but it is also time. Our son has chosen the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and will participate in their track and field program. We feel great about his decision! He has amazing coaches and friends that he has made so far during times visiting campus.
Yesterday morning, we packed and left bright and early at 6:00 a.m. to attend freshman orientation. During certain lectures and discussions, I found my eyes welling with tears, actually, they were downright rolling down my face, and my son looked at me, rolled his eyes a little, but also let me know, “It’s going to be okay, mom.” And it is going to be okay – it’s going to be great! I cannot wait to see the wonderful adventures that await him. He, along with his sister, are our very pride and joy.
Here we go! And I know, at least eventually, I will be okay!
Today, I packed up 4 images that I spent painstaking time and energy creating to send to PPA’s northcentral district print competition which takes place in Des Moines next month. Just as I was heading out the door to go to the post office to send my print case, I saw that another one of my print cases had just arrived home from national convention that took place in Nashville earlier this month. My case contained 3 of the 4 images that I sent last year. The 4th missing image is actually touring right now with the PPA loan collection. It’s quite exciting!
So why do I participate in print competition?
Sometimes I wonder why… It is truly one of the most difficult things I have ever participated in. Your images, which you work very hard to create, are given a once over by a panel of judges who scour them down to the tiniest detail. If anything is “off” in any way, shape, or form, I can guarantee you, the judges will catch it.
What are they looking for? It can range from seeing detail in the highlights and the shadows, it can be a spot that’s too bright, it can be sloppy composites, it can be a multitude of issues….
When I started out in print competition, I truly had no idea what I was doing, at least as far as the judging goes. I thought every image I submitted was great, and to the average eye, they were quite good. I watched over and over and each of my images was pulled apart or worse, not even acknowledged with a once over, just a lower score than I preferred or understood.
After each judging, I would pull experts over to look at my images and critique my work. In order to become better, this is necessary, but it isn’t very pleasant. For a few years it went like that. Then, I remember the day I got my first “merit” image – an image that scored at the magic score of 80 or above. This merit went towards earning my master’s degree with PPA. I already had plenty of educational merits to go towards my degree. Now I needed print merits – 13 to be exact.
Well, I’ve kept plugging away – last year I earned 4 merits in one year, 3 prints scored above 80, but the one that was nominated to go in the loan collection earned an extra merit. I now have 8 merits to my credit – 5 more to earn my master’s degree.
I guess part of the reason I have kept going back and back to competition, is my competitive spirit – I want to truly “get” it. I want to be capable of earning a merit with every image I submit. I want to know that I know what it takes every time. I’m getting closer, and that in large part is because I have become addicted to watching the judges critique print competition.
The end result? My day-to-day work gets better and better. I am more critical of my work. I want only my very best work to go into my client’s hands.
Competition has been a good thing for me and my business. I can’t wait to see my results from this year’s work!
… And the ball descended. “10, 9, 8, 7, 6….” My kids and I were watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve (Is it still called that?) on t.v. at the home of friends last night while my husband was on call at Kossuth Regional Health Center. “5, 4, 3, 2…” I found that my heart jumped just a little. “1! Happy New Year!” And the number lit up “2015.”
There really is an impact of seeing a new year written for the first time. It means fresh, new start. Even though every day is a new day with new chances, there is something about a new year… 2015, I have been saying that our son graduates in 2015 forever. Now the year is here. In five months we will watch him in his cap and gown. 2015, this marks my 30 year high school reunion. 2015, I will turn 48 and my husband will turn 49 this year – the big 5-0 is around the corner.
My goals for this year? I have been thinking about that all day. For one thing, I plan on getting some sort of exercise every day and challenging myself on the days I have a few more minutes to spare. Little things done each day can produce big results over time. I have had some issues this year which prevented me from always moving like I would like to. This changes this year. (I actually started to implement this in December, so it shouldn’t be a huge shock.)
Overall, I am quite happy with my business. I cut back on my number of sessions this last year. I may have to cut back even a little more, if I want to completely enjoy my home life and time with my family, as I would like.
I have several little cleaning projects I wish to implement before graduation in May. And I really do mean little. It won’t take a lot to get these things done. Once again, I just need to do a little each day to produce big results by May.
I am going to continue to work on my prints for competition. I am halfway to getting my Master’s degree with PPA – I’m not giving up now!
2015 will be an exciting year! Here we go!