Barriers – Part II

I’ve rewritten this a few times and nothing is flowing today. So I’ll let me first real HDR and Panoramic photos speak for themselves…. (Click for large versions


These are the three images I used for my first HDR
My first ever HDR that actually worked out! I’m pretty excited at how beautiful it is!
My second HDR. The tonal range is pretty astounding compared to the original! Sure, I know that many people have been doing them for a LONG time, but having it so much more accessible is wonderful – especially when the results are so gorgeous.
The lake on Slate River Road (I’m not sure of the name.)


3 Image panorama
Uncropped panorama. I’ve tried so many other apps that stitch, but you can see where the sky is put together from two different photos… and it’s a challenge to adjust that. I am thrilled with how this turned out!
Overlooking town (Took these 6 photos last fall, but finally tried to stitch together with a beautiful result!)

(sorry for the delay – I was sick for several days)

Barriers – Part II


sun is setting on old habits

I’ve had a few words that keep popping out at me lately – and one of them is barriers. Not external barriers, but rather how I am limiting myself in my head, putting up my own road blocks.

Some of them are obvious…. “I’m a portrait photographer and that’s where my focus has been for the last 8-10 years, I can’t change direction!”

Others are more subtle. “I need to get [insert something not important} done first.”

Or maybe it’s just guilt – feeling like I should be doing something different instead, that what I’m doing isn’t important. Isn’t helpful.

What it really boils down to, though, is being outside my comfort zone. Do. Not. Like. Or rather, I just don’t feel comfortable there! Odd, eh? LOL!

So this next assignment is going to be looking at where I am only staying in my comfort zone… Here are a few things that are outside my comfort zone:

  • Playing around in Photoshop (I’m a Lightroom gal, but do love Photoshopping interesting things!)
  • Unplanned photography time – wandering around taking photos for the love of it!
  • Getting Pixifi more dialed in. (*love* Pixifi, FYI. Client and photography business management online software.)
  • Sketching out ideas and trying something new and different
  • Getting in touch with galleries to show my work

What am I going to do to push myself? I’m not sure, but I’m definitely going to try something that makes me uncomfortable! (In a good way…)

Are you going to join along? What is outside YOUR comfort zone?


Play(ful) – Part II

I think “struggle” will have to be a topic one day… it’s something I definitely did a lot of that in the last few days!

With that said, though, I got some interesting results from my first self-assignment – play, ones that made me happy for various reasons. I’m just going to share my thoughts on each photo….

unexpected rainbow
unexpected rainbow

Unexpected Rainbow

If you change your aperture to a large number, (close down your aperture – I can chat about that in more depth another time, if anyone is interested), you can partially hide the sun or another bright light and create a little star. With my creativity at a low, I decided to try this – and was shocked to download the photo and find a beautiful rainbow in the shot!

I am finding that just by trying one thing, you find something completely unexpected. And often, it’s quite thrilling that way!

tiny drop
tiny drop

Tiny Drop

In Crested Butte, spring is slow and summer feels very far away at this time of year. Our friends and family far away speak of green grass, warmer weather and getting outside while we receive snow just as we’re ready to melt out.

But it’s these signs that appear out of nowhere that I find exciting. Green sprouts, little droplets of “dew” (read: melting snow) and warmer breezes combined with a slow, lazy off season town. This is one of my favorite times of year…

hills and valleys
hills and valleys

Hills and Valleys

I’ve always been intrigued by shapes and shadows. It hasn’t been until more recently that I started to enjoy taking photos in color. Traditionally, I’ve loved black and white far more. And when I want to get back to my roots, while “playful” isn’t the word the pops to mind, “fun” definitely does.

I have fun turning an otherwise mundane object into a thoughtful, unexpected photo. (Can anyone guess what this is?)



In this photo, I enjoyed playing with color. It’s more vibrant here than it is in real life and the shapes are so interesting to me. Why would you put a hook on the side of your garage?

How did I feel about this project?

Honestly, I feel like I could have embraced it more. I could give you the litany of why it ended up falling a little flat for me right now, but basically it boils down to being distracted by life.

What it did bring to light is how I felt about taking photos right now – like I “needed” to because I’d committed to a blog post. It became a job instead of a joy before the fact

But I did find out was that the “getting out” was the hard part, once I was out taking photos, I did enjoy it! I didn’t do the things I wanted to do so that I could get out of my head (jumping on the trampoline, finding something funny to contemplate, dancing wildly for no reason), but I moved myself forward to do this and, frankly, that felt really good. I did get to the “enjoying taking photos” part and that was important for me – even if it still didn’t feel like I was sparking creativity.

Maybe it’s a matter of “faking it ’til you feel it” sort of thing? Maybe, just maybe… if I do this again, I just might be able to incorporate all the aspects I’d like to?

Time will only tell…

What were your experiences?

What did you find helpful in this project? Were there any take away thoughts you had?

Play(ful) – Part II


finding balance (photo)

Or maybe the word needs to be “joy” or possibly “fun”… No! Playful! That’s it!

Interacting with others during a photoshoot, I can often find that sense of “fun” and “play”. But taking my own photos lately has really been summed up as “chore”.

Not a very inspiring word, right? (But then again, maybe chores are a joyful thing for you! If so, let me know… I’m happy to allow you find some joyful chores at my place.)

Getting out of a rut

I recently went to a conference (non-photography related) that suggested that when we get into a rut doing something the same way over and over, we can lose the joy we may have found in the past. But when we find ways to inject a sense of play into whatever it is, we can find our excitement, our inspiration again.

This thought really struck me. Sure, I take photos of my girls. I do the things I suggest to others – I move around, stand on top of something or way down low or left or right to change my perspective. But I’m not doing it with a sense of fun and excitement – I’m doing it because I just want to make sure I capture that moment and look like a professional.

Often, I’m removing myself from whatever I’m photographing and just taking snapshots (often with my phone) in an attempt to capture what? The “moment” I’m not really involved in? How uninspiring is that?!? (Don’t get me wrong, snapshots are definitely worthwhile, but when you’re using them as an excuse to pull back, it needs some closer examination.)

So I’ve been considering what this means: to play with my photography. I have some thoughts, but I almost don’t want to share. Not so much because I don’t want you to know, but rather because I don’t want to point you in a particular way or skew your idea of what “play” means in this context.

Instead, though, I’m going to give you some of the things I’ll consider as I head into this “assignment”. But before I do, why don’t you close your eyes for a moment and consider all the aspects of what finding joy or ways that you can be more playful in your photography

Go ahead. Close your eyes! Okay…. I’m going to close mine and then share my thoughts.

And please! Feel free to share yours on Facebook or here in the comments. …… Ways I feel I may be able to inject PLAYFULNESS into my photos:

  • Get involved with whatever is going on – be a part of it and take a photo of the part that makes me SMILE or LAUGH! Even if the point of the photo is missed by everyone, it’s something that speaks to ME!
  • Jump on the trampoline before I go out and shoot. ESPECIALLY if I’m not really in the mood. Or maybe I’ll dance. Or skip. Or put on a silly hat. Something that gets me out of my head! Makes me realize that I don’t need to be taking all this so gosh darn seriously!
  • Find things that perplex me, crack me up, confound me, confuse me and take a photo. Play with angles, locations, see if I can capture the FEEL of what I’m shooting. And if I lose it – I lose that interest, I STOP right then.
  • Play with the settings on my camera and do something completely different. (Okay, admittedly, if you have a camera phone, this may be tougher, but try doing something like spinning in low light and taking a photo. Should be interesting!) Slow shutter speed, fast shutter speed, adjust the light to be bright where you wouldn’t expect, create shapes and shadows….
  • Edit in a new, interesting, fun way without regard to who is going to see it. Those of you on phones can really take advantage of this with all the cool apps! Maybe we can share our favorite apps sometime?

Remember, this isn’t about the PHOTO.

It’s about the PROCESS of enjoying the photo and the moment.

While the photo taken in this way may be good, it may just as likely be bad or boring. (For the record, this is just as much a reminder for me as it is for you, dear reader.)

Because I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while, I have taken a few photos with this in mind. (And I plan to do more over the weekend.) So I thought I’d share my thoughts on them.

Photo at the top of this post – Balance or Propped

We get a lot of snow here in Crested Butte and when things melt, you find the most interesting things. In this shot in my backyard (literally), my neighbor had a ladder that ended up getting hooked under the siding and propped across the top of her handlebars and is about 2′ above the ground on the other end of the ladder.

I didn’t have the right lens to capture the whole ladder, but decided to do the shot anyway – for some reason, it amused and interested me. While the image may not be “star quality”, it’s fun and illustrates some of the ideas I’m trying to incorporate into a different process….

 Don’t Fence Me In

I love photos with movement. In my previous post with the photo at the bottom as well as with the image above, I just wanted to play around with movement.

I feel that this gives some great graphical interest. Plus, it’s just plain fun to twist, move and swirl around trying to capture something new and unique! It’s usually unexpected and it’s often really interesting. I love this photo! You?

What are your thoughts?

Are you going to be joining me? What are you considering trying to do to have fun with your photos? What are your thoughts on these two shots? (And no worries – you can’t hurt my feelings!! It’s okay if you don’t like them. LOL!)

See you early next week with some more photos and some more thoughts!


finding inspiration

free fall photo
free fall

Sometimes we may feel at a loss about what photos to take – outside your everyday snapshots. We may be stuck by fear, indecision, frustration, boredom…. or about a million other things. Taking professional photos sparks my interest and keeps me engaged. But I’m currently finding that in my quasi-professional and my personal life, my photography has fallen into a bit of a rut – a bit of a free fall that feels like being unable to move in any self chosen direction.

For me, this is a frustration because I’m interested in shifting where my photography is headed and how I approach it with clients. But it’s hard to make a shift when the inspiration is so elusive….

As I was considering this (and desperately looking for the Inspiration Fairy to pop in front of me, wave her wand and fix this “problem”), it occurred to me that this is one subject I don’t believe I’ve looked into or seen before – finding inspiration for changing HOW you look at taking photographs, for finding new ways to express yourself in a completely different way. Either from a professional or a casual user standpoint. Suggestions might be made about topics, but not about the underlying issues…

Now, I could just hide behind my blog, website and camera and show you work that keeps you thinking I have it all together… I could lead you through some exercises… Or! I could take you with me on this journey I’m on… share with you how I’m pushing myself and maybe… just maybe… what I’m doing will spark something within you to see photography in a new way!

Over the next few weeks (I’m going to aim for Thursdays), I’ll share with you some of the assignments I”ll be giving myself, questions (some of them hard!) I’ll be asking myself and looking at new topics that I’ve never really explored before. Who knows where this will lead – I truly have no idea….

I invite you to join me! You can share your thoughts, photos, questions here or on Facebook and maybe we can get a dialog going that will inspire us to move beyond our comfort zone into something new!

Speaking of which! How will I go about this? I had considered doing the assignment or project or task and then posting about it. But I think, instead, I’ll post a the assignment with a  few photos and discuss the thought process behind it. Then I’ll have a second post with the images I took and share what I experienced with this process. (I’m going to aim for Mondays.)

And I’d love to hear your thoughts along the way, too. I want this to be fluid, to morph as it needs to into whatever… I have no set thoughts. Along the way, I encourage you to share your thoughts on the following questions: Do you have more considerations to add to the mix? Did you do the assignment, too? Can you post photos you took or share the experience you had?

So… How much experience do you need? Ideally, you’ll need a camera. And hopefully you’ll know how to press your shutter button. For now, that’s all you need! I don’t care if you’re just getting started or you’ve been a photographer for a long, long time….

Oh! And a sense of adventure!

Ooooh! Now I’m getting excited!!

See you soon….

dizzy photo dizzy (preview of my first topic)

finding inspiration

Testing – please stay tuned

Trying to decide on my new blog layout! Stay tuned…. you should see more posts soon!
orange poppy reflections in yellow dreaming tree

Testing – please stay tuned

Fall Family Photos – Crested Butte

With as busy as I’ve been, it’s taken me so long to get the images together for a video! These are some of the amazing families I got to photograph in Crested Butte this year. Rather than go on and on, I think just hitting PLAY will show you how much I’ve enjoyed this fall!

I hope you enjoy….

Fall Family Photos – Crested Butte